2016 NFL Mock Draft – Round 1

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Steve’s 2016 Final NFL Mock Draft: Updated 04/28

  1. St. Louis Rams (via Titans): QB Jared Goff, California 

-The Rams made this trade up for one of the two top quarterbacks. Wentz might have higher upside, but Goff is probably more of a certainty and could lead to him being the option here. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (via Browns): QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

-The Eagles made the big move up to grab a franchise QB. At this point it looks like the Rams are taking Goff, which allows the Eagles to get the guy they have really wanted. 

  1. San Diego Chargers: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

-The Chargers are likely to go defense here and will probably take one of Ramsey, Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner. Any of those three would make sense here, but I think if Ramsey is gone, Buckner becomes their top option. He’s a big physical defensive lineman who could become a star on that defense.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

-The Cowboys will decide between a top defensive player or Eziekiel Elliott at this spot. While some may prefer Elliott, the Cowboys are really lacking on defense and would be wise to bolster there. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State

-Both Myles Jack and Laremy Tunsil could get some consideration here, but Bosa ends up being the pick. With reports that some teams could be down on Jack due to his injury, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jaguars are naturally concerned. Adding Bosa to Fowler would give the Jaguars a lot of edge help and with their other offseason additions could turn this defense into a strong unit.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

-This would be a homerun for the Ravens if Tunsil slid some, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility given a QB at the top of this class. 

  1. San Francisco 49ers: LB Myles Jack, UCLA

-Bosa is another player who could slide some in the draft as the top 5 teams could all go in different directions. 

  1. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia from Miami): OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

-There are a lot of rumors that the Browns are looking to move back again and that could very well be the case, but I’m not predicting trades in this mock draft. If the Browns stay here I think their options are take Elliott, reach for Treadwell or grab Stanley. Stanley would allow the Browns to potentially deal Joe Thomas, or it would help give RGIII one of the best offensive lines in the league. Either way he would be a nice pick for Cleveland at this spot.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

-The Buccaneers have to start fixing their defense and they should look to grab whatever top defender is left on the board for them. Hargreaves is a technically sound corner who should start day one and really improve their secondary.

  1. New York Giants: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

-The Giants might need to trade up to land Elliott, but he’s looking like their top target in this draft. If the Cowboys and Ravens pass in the first six picks and no one trades up for him Elliott could fall to the 10th spot. He would give the Giants the quality running game they had when they were successful a couple of years ago, and he would help be a building block post-Manning.

  1. Chicago Bears: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

-The Bears have to improve their defense and one of their top needs is a quality pass rushing 3-4 DE. That is the role Rankins is destined to play making him an easy fit here for Chicago and a guy who should make an early impact.

  1. New Orleans Saints: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

-The Saints offense was top 10 in the league in yards and points last year, but their defense prevented them from being a legit contender. They finished 31st in yards allowed and 32nd in points allowed, all while having one of the worst sack rates in the league. That is where Lawson comes in as he should immediately bolster the pass rush, and be a key piece on defense.

  1. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia): CB Eli Apple, Ohio State

-The Dolphins want Elliott and could very well trade up to get him, but if they stay here I think they will look at one of the top corners. Apple has big time upside and he could develop as a top level starter going forward. 

  1. Oakland Raiders: CB William Jackson III, Houston

-The Raiders don’t have a lot of pressing needs and they really could go a lot of different directions (don’t be surprised if they are a sleeper team to trade up), but if they stay here one position of interest could be cornerback. They did add Sean Smith, but I think they need more help here and Jackson is a guy who seems to be rising up draft boards.

  1. Tennessee Titans (via Rams): OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State

-The Titans could go defense here, but had they had the number pick OT Laremy Tunsil was on their shortlist. While there is a big gap between Tunsil and Conklin, Conklin is a good tackle and might be better suited at RT leaving Taylor Lewan at LT.

  1. Detroit Lions: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State 

-The Lions could go in a number of different ways that would make sense. They could add one of the top receivers to help replace Calvin Johnson; they could add a quality DE/DT to bolster their line, they could add a CB to help their secondary, or they could look to upgrade their OT position which has been weak. I think they end up grabbing the LT if Decker is on the board here. Decker allows them to help give Stafford the time he needs in the pocket, and that is something that has been a serious issue of late.

  1. Atlanta Falcons: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

-This maybe isn’t their top need, but I just see a fit here for the Falcons and Robinson. He’s not the most refined player, but the Falcons won’t have to push him too much as a rookie and they will benefit if he reaches his potential. 

  1. Indianapolis Colts: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

-Colts could go OL or defense here, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they strongly consider Ryan Kelly (particularly with the run on OT’s earlier), but I think they look to get a difference maker on the edge and try to bolster their defense. Floyd is generating a buzz and looks to be a top 20 player. He has 10 sack potential and he can help replace some of their aging veterans.

  1. Buffalo Bills: LB Darron Lee, Ohio State

-Buffalo could go a few different ways, but one intriguing pick is Darron Lee. People will question his size and ability to get off blocks, but Lee can play. He flies all over the field, and gives the Bills a nice linebacker who can be a 3 down player.

  1. New York Jets: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

-I actually see Lynch possibly going higher via a trade, but if he falls to this spot the Jets figure to take a long hard look. They continue to play hardball with Ryan Fitzpatrick and even if they get him back on a 1-2 year deal, Lynch could be the heir apparent. 

  1. Washington Redskins: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama

-With the signing of Josh Norman I think the Redskins will focus on defensive linemen, wide receivers, Ryan Kelly and a safety if they feel one is worthy of this spot (I don’t really see it, but possibly if they trade back to the end of the round). While DL or WR could be the pick, Kelly makes a lot of sense if he’s on the board. He offers an immediate upgrade at the center spot, and he could allow them to release a veteran to help the cap.

  1. Houston Texans: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

-The Texans could go DL to pair with Watt, but I think if Treadwell slides here they will add him to DeAndre Hopkins to give Houston a nice one-two punch for Osweiler to work with. Houston should still be able to land a quality DL in round two and this selection helps improve their big investment in the offense in free agency.

  1. Minnesota Vikings: WR Josh Doctson, TCU

-The Vikings need to add weapons for Bridgewater and Doctson is a very intriguing early round option. He is a nice combination of size and deep speed and he could quickly become one of Bridgewater’s top targets.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor

-The Bengals lost their number 2 and 3 receivers in free agency so they definitely could use some help in this area. Coleman would be a nice complement to A.J. Green and given Andy Dalton a great deep threat weapon. Also since the Bengals already have Green and Tyler Eifert, Coleman could have a bit more leeway as he develops.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Mackenzie Alexander, Clemson

-The Steelers have a lot of the makings of a championship contender, but their secondary sticks out like a sore thumb. If any of the top four corners are on the board that should be their pick. Alexander has some character questions apparently, but I don’t think it’s serious enough for him to slide out of the first round. The Steelers will love his toughness and competitive attitude and he should make an early impact.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

-The Seahawks need OL help, and perhaps if Decker, Conklin or Kelly are on the board they go in that direction, but I think they look for upside here and take Nkemdiche. If you believe that you can get Nkemdiche to be consistent and play at a high level he can be a stud, and Seattle will be willing to take that risk.

  1. Green Bay Packers: ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

-The Packers could go a few different directions here, but I think if Ragland is sitting there on the board for them they bolster their inside linebacker position. While there are some concerns with Ragland in coverage, he has a lot going for him and he can help a position that has been so bad the Packers have used Clay Matthews Jr. there to salvage the unit.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: G Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

-The Chiefs’ guards are really weak and Whitehair is one of the more talented guard prospects you will find. Kansas City does have some defensive needs, but I think adding to the interior OL is important for Kansas City and is a smart play here.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

-The Cardinals added Chandler Jones via trade, but I don’t think they are done adding edge help. Arizona is one of the top defenses in the league, but they didn’t have any edge rushers who really struck fear in opposing offenses, now with Jones and Spence they could have two and turn an already top tier defense into an elite one.

  1. Carolina Panthers: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson

-If one of the top four corners fall that could be the Panthers pick, and don’t be surprised if Carolina looks to trade up to ensure they get one. With all the corners off the board though I think the Panthers stay on defense and add help to their edge rushers. Dodd would only need to be a rotational guy early on, but he could be a long term DE starter for them.

  1. Denver Broncos: QB Connor Cook, Michigan State

-If the Broncos can’t swing a deal for Colin Kaepernick or perhaps even Sam Bradford, I think they will look to add a young QB in this draft early. They definitely could look to trade up to land Paxton Lynch, but in this scenario I think they go Cook. Cook skill set could fit Kubiak’s offense and while he might not be the option as a rookie, by year two he could be the future starter.