It comes down to simple math, really. There’s two of us here at The Stain, so you get two mock drafts. For those of you who remember, Shaun nailed the first seven picks last year, after much trash talking by me. So this year, I’m doing it a little bit differently. Humbly, I… ah, who am I kidding. I’m still talking trash. The following is my first round mock for the 2016 NFL draft. Couple of disclaimers, I’m not projecting trades, though as Shaun and I agree, there could be many. And second, these picks are a combination of how I think the draft will play out, and my opinion of what should be done by the team. And without further ado.
1. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, Cal. I’d take Wentz. And as a Rams fan, I didn’t like the trade. But I get it. QB is an issue, the move to LA, gotta appeal to a new/old fanbase and make a splash. Wentz has the higher ceiling, but Goff the higher floor, and is therefore a safer pick. And though it might be the first time in nearly five years with Fisher as coach that the team does something that makes sense from a roster perspective, it kind of does.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, OSU. You moron, they didn’t just trade up for the second pick to take a running back! Didn’t they? I mean, all signs point to Wentz, but why would they spend a Brinks truck on Bradford and Chase Daniel, and then draft a quarterback? It just sounds too weird to me.
3. San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss. Quietly, Phil Rivers is putting together a Hall of Fame career. And the Chargers are paying him as such, so it would behoove them to keep him protected. Tunsil could replace King Dunlap at left tackle immediately.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, CB, FSU. If they’re pissed about missing out on Elliott, they won’t show it too much. Ramsey is a superstar at a position the ‘Boys sorely need to shore up.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ronnie Stanley, OT, ND. This Jags offense is going to be pretty good, but they need to protect Blake Bortles better. This is a good way to start doing that.
6. Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa, DE, OSU. He was once projected to be the first overall pick. He seems to be a bit of a one trick pony, but he’s certainly exceptional at it.
7. San Francisco 49rs: DeForest Buckner. Here’s where it gets really interesting. There’s a quarterback still on the board who isn’t a reach. But since Justin Smith retired and Aldon Smith went all criminal and stuff, pass rusher is a huge need. Like…yuuuuuge.
8. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU. If this happens, Cleveland wins the draft. I don’t even care what they do with the rest of their picks.
9. Tampa Bay Bucs: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville. I don’t know if the scheme fits here, but the Bucs need defensive line help. They’ve got nearly everything else covered. They’re not far away from being good.
10. New York Giants: Darron Lee, LB, OSU. My favorite player in the draft. You could argue he’s smallish but he is one of the best players in the entire draft irrespective of position and will play at a Pro Bowl level from day one.
11. Chicago Bears: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson. The Bears aren’t just one player away, so if they can find a taker, they will probably trade down. If not, Lawson can fill one of the 48 holes they have on defense.
12. New Orleans Saints: Laquan Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss. What good is a transcendent quarterback if he has nobody to throw to? This could also be Doctson or Fuller… or if you really want to reach, Shepard.
13. Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida. Cornerback isn’t really a giant need, but he’s a Florida kid and a plug and play starter. I’m surprised I didn’t have him gone to someone else before this.
14. Oakland Raiders: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama. Again, the scheme might be conflicting but he could sort of be a poor man’s Aaron Donald, and anyone who has seen the Rams play the last two seasons can tell you that is the highest of compliments. Some rating systems had him as ranked as high or higher than JJ Watt.
15. Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT, MSU. Young stud quarterback. Newly acquired star running back. Blocking for them makes sense.
16. Detroit Lions: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU. Knee jerk reaction? Hey, why not. Players like Calvin Johnson are irreplacable, but you have to start working toward filling the void in production his retirement created.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama. In the oversimplification of oversimplifications, a really good player on a really good defense makes sense to pick just about anywhere. But especially here.
18. Indianapolis Colts: Taylor Decker, OT, OSU. If Andrew Luck’s emulsified inner organs last season weren’t the wake up call the Colts needed, then I don’t know what will be. I don’t know if it’s Decker, or maybe Ryan Kelly or Cody Whitehair on the interior, but if they don’t draft offensive line help here, I quit. Well, no I don’t. But Colts fans should.
19. Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss. This is kind of a huge risk here, but think about who the coach is in Buffalo and tell me this doesn’t at least make some sense to you. How far do you expect a kid to drop over a measly fall from a hotel window anyway?
20. New York Jets: Eli Apple, CB, OSU. Revis and Cromartie aren’t getting any younger. Just sayin’…
21. Washington Redskins: Cory Coleman, WR, Baylor. The ‘Skins receivers aren’t exactly poster children for durability. And Coleman is a burner in the DeSean Jackson mold.
22. Houston Texans: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama. Kelly can play anywhere on the interior line. The Texans’ investment in Brock Osweiler is not as absurd as it seems on the surface, but it’s still an investment worth protecting.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia. This would be a huge value here for the Vikes. It’s adding to a nice accumulation of riches already on defense, but I don’t see any real offensive weapons to add here that won’t have a reasonable facsimile available next round.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Artie Burns, CB, Miami. The Bengals got excellent play from Pacman Jones last season, but he’s 32. There aren’t a ton of holes on this very good team. You could maybe make a case for Sterling Shepard here, but I’m going DB.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: William Jackson, CB, Houston. The Steelers got ruinously bad cornerback play last year, and only slightly better offensive line play. Take your pick, but one has to be addressed.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A & M. Few picks make as much sense as Ifedi to the Seahawks here. There’s a chance he’s not on the board, but they’ve got to go tackle here.
27. Green Bay Packers: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC. I don’t really know what position Cravens profiles at in the pros. But he’s a solid playmaker and there’s some USC pedigree at Lambeau already.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame. The receiving problems are real, people. The receiving problems are real. I mean, Jeremy Maclin helped but…
29. Arizona Cardinals: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis. Ok, I’m just gonna be honest. I have to put him somewhere. And Carson Palmer can’t play forever. And I don’t think they see Drew Stanton as a long term heir.
30. Carolina Panthers: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia. Pretty deep team gets a chance to fill one of its very few holes. Kinda makes sense. They could try to replace a certain cornerback who bolted to D.C. too, but I don’t see one that slots in at 30.
31. Denver Broncos: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor. Superbowl team loses Malik Jackson to free agency. Good player is available in draft. Superbowl team picks good player to replace departed good player. If only teams thought as logically as I do, this pick would happen.
32. New England Patriots: The Patriots do not have a first round pick as punishment for cheating. Again. At least they were creative about it.
Shaun did a really nice job going into detail on some additional players and where he thinks they’re going to go. I’m going to focus on just a couple. Rarely do you have two guys who could stake legit claims to being top five picks not being taken in the first round. This year, you do in Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack, the outstanding linebackers from Notre Dame and UCLA respectively.
Both young men have some serious concerns with their knees. Smith’s is more serious as some talent evaluators are saying they don’t even think he sees the field in 2016. People aren’t quite as paranoid about Jack’s knee, but I can’t see anyone risking a first rounder on him either until some reputable medical source clears him at 100%, and it ain’t gonna go down like that. The fourth round is when you can probably start picturing teams becoming willing to part with a pick to redshirt Smith for year, and I don’t see Jack falling past the Giants twice, if he even does once, so he won’t drop out of the second. What’s my point? I don’t really have one. Something just makes me a little wistful when great players drop in the draft due to injuries.
Anyway, come at me bros. Hit us up on twitter @thestainsports to let us know if you agree or disagree with our picks.