Love them or hate them, mock drafts are here to stay. And during the college football season they usually exist to inform other draftniks of different prospects you believe should be getting more exposure or consideration before the draft process starts.
So here is my first stab at how I see the first-round of the 2016 NFL draft shaping up at this point of the season. Draft order is a general estimation based on the current NFL standings.
- Detroit Lions select: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Lions need offensive tackle help, and it’s time to stop filling the position with mediocrity. If you ride with Matthew Stafford, you have to protect him and Laremy Tunsil has the Trent Williams/Jason Peters like qualities necessary for the run and pass to succeed in 2016.
- New Orleans Saints select: Jared Goff, QB, Cal
The Saints need an awful lot of stuff, but quarterback is a must here. Drew Brees has a huge contract and his arm has declined. Goff is the perfect type of quarterback to be the successor to Brees due to his lightning quick release and superb anticipation.
- Houston Texans select: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The rich get richer again. Without a viable quarterback left on the board for the Texans, they’ll just have to kill them. Bosa, Clowney and Watt is something that I want to see happen next year.
- Jacksonville Jaguars select: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Luke Joeckel hasn’t lived up to his draft selection. If Bortles is going to work he needs more time back there. Stanley has a nice mix of size, athleticism and technique that should work more than Joeckel has.
- Baltimore Ravens select: Parker Ehinger, OT, Cincinnati
The Ravens need a lot of offensive tackle and interior offensive line help in this draft. Parker Ehinger doesn’t get a lot of notoriety due to playing in the AAC, but he is a dominant left tackle with great technique and a powerful anchor.
- San Francisco 49ers select: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
49ers need a lot of help across the board especially on defense. Hargreaves is an aggressive, explosive and smart corner who is exactly what you need to help the back half.
- Kansas City Chiefs select: Vonn Bell, FS, Ohio State
Eric Berry is slowly getting back to his Pro Bowl form after beating cancer, but the secondary as a hole could use a player of Bell’s caliber. He’s the best all-around safety available and is at a position that rarely gets the attention it deserves due to the changing dynamics of the NFL.
- Miami Dolphins select: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Miami has searched for a stud pursuit linebacker for a while. Smith isn’t quite a Patrick Willis or Brian Urlacher, but he brings speed, fluidity, pass coverage and exceptional instincts to the linebacker position.
- Tennessee Titans select: Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
The Titans have pass rushers, but none are as dynamic or as instinctive as Joe Schobert. He has been putting on a pass rushing clinic at Wisconsin with flashes of Clay Matthews and Terrell Suggs like ability that has been paying off big time this year on the stat sheet.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Shawn Oakman, DE, Oregon
Oakman fits the Lovie Smith profile of what he covets in pass rushers. He’s a poor man’s Mario Williams on tape, but his enormous size and presence makes lots of scouts swoon.
- Cleveland Browns select: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
The Browns have some speed in Travis Benjamin emerging as an intriguing wide receiver going forward, but the rest are less than exciting. Coleman brings speed, explosiveness and awe inspiring power.
- San Diego Chargers select: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Offensive tackle remains a poor spot for the Chargers. They need a boost and Taylor Decker has the qualities they like at the position. In addition to being a solid overall tackle prospect.
- Philadelphia Eagles select: Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State
This seems extremely high for an offensive guard to go, but have you seen the interior play of Eagles lately? It’s horrible, and Elflein is one of the best guards in this class with impressive power and speed at the second level.
- Washington Redskins select: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Redskins need some youth in the inside of that defensive line. Buckner has size and a great anchor for his height to turn into a stud 3-4 defensive end.
- Chicago Bears select: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
Forte is in a contract year. And Elliot is a rare type of running back that could come in and fill the Forte role with the exception of his pass catching prowess.
- Seattle Seahawks select: Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
Everybody wants to get paid now after the Super Bowl runs. Nassib is a great all around full size defensive end prospect to fill the Michael Bennett role going forward if necessary.
- Oakland Raiders select: Corn Elder, CB, Miami
Travis Carrie has emerged as a good corner for the Raiders, but the depth and talent behind him is scary. Corn Elder isn’t a big name right now, but he’s an incredible man corner with great ball skills.
- Dallas Cowboys select: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Developing the interior defensive line is necessary to improve the pass rush and power against the run. Billings has explosiveness, speed and great instincts at the position.
- St. Louis Rams select: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Taking a wide receiver in the first isn’t always the best move for the Rams, but Boyd is a legit wide receiver prospect. He has great hands, body control and decent speed to turn into a top target for Foles next year.
- Pittsburgh Steelers select: Jeremy Cash, SS, Duke
Safety help is an understatement with the Steelers. Cash doesn’t quite have incredible pass coverage experience, but he’s powerful and instinctive.
- Minnesota Vikings select: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
The slide is mainly due to some inconsistent effort this season and others just being better. The Vikings have a nice rotation of pass rushers, but it doesn’t quite have a good bunch.
- Buffalo Bills select: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Clark is a powerful nose tackle prospect with a lot of potential. Bills don’t necessarily need defensive tackle help, but Clark is the best player available.
- New York Jets select: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Ragland isn’t the sexy pick most Jet fans would want, but he’s a very good inside linebacker. He can have a huge impact year one as a blitzer and run stuffer.
- Carolina Panthers select: Josh Harvey-Clemons, SS, Louisville
The Panthers have been relying on leftovers at the safety position. It’s time to get a young and talented player in the back half. Harvey-Clemons brings physicality, ball skills and a good football I.Q.
- Indianapolis Colts select: Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
The Colts have not drafted well in the first-round. Jenkins will be the step in the right direction for Grigson as a potential stud 3-4 pass rusher.
- New York Giants select: Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri
Every year the Giants don’t invest in pursuit linebackers. And every year their defense suffers through mediocrity at that position. Not anymore. Brothers is a high energy, fast and fluid will linebacker prospect with just the right kind of nasty.
- Arizona Cardinals select: Robert Nkemdiche, DT/Edge, Ole Miss
This may come as shock, but Nkemdiche has a lot of inaccuracies about his size, production and impact on the field. He’s more of a legend than a full fleshed out defensive prospect. All that I know is Nkemdiche reminds me most of a James Harrison/LaMarr Woodley type of rusher. Nkemdiche is a risky position switch candidate in the top 20, but this is the perfect spot for the switch to work.
- Denver Broncos select: Josh Garnett, OG, Stanford
Broncos blew up their interior offensive line last offseason, and we are seeing the results every Sunday now. Garnett isn’t the fastest or most fluid prospect in space, but he’s powerful and reminds me most of Gabe Jackson in terms of his anchor and technique.
- Green Bay Packers select: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Packers have Richard Rodgers, but he’s nothing to brag about. Howard gives Aaron Rodgers a future stud tight end to go along with his stocked wide receiver toys.
- Cincinnati Bengals select: Travin Dural, WR, LSU
Mohamed Sanu’s contract is up after this season, and if the Bengals go far this year it will make him a pricey free agent. So drafting a replacement, which is something the Bengals like to do is in order.
- Atlanta Falcons select: Jerrell Adams, TE, South Carolina
Adams might make too much sense for the Falcons who have lacked a clear tight end option since Tony Gonzalez. Adams shows a mixture of Julius Thomas and Antonio Gates like qualities to the position.
- New England Patriots: Pick vacated due to the fall out of deflate gate.