2016 NFL Mock Draft- Version 1.0

February 8th, 2016 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Eagles, Football, General, NFL.

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With the NFL season now in the books, it’s time to start turning our attention to the offseason. One of the most exciting parts of the NFL offseason, is the NFL Draft. It’s the time of year, where hundreds of bright-eyed college youngsters find themselves watching their phones, hoping for that one fateful phone call that will change their lives. Hundreds declare, while only 256 are selected.  The lights shine bright, and the media is out in droves. This year’s class is one of the more talented classes in the last 10 years, with Myles Jack, Laremy Tunsil, and Laquon Treadwell among the classes top prospects. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the clock, selecting Florida State product Jameis Winston with the first overall pick. Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota went second overall to the Tennessee Titans. This year, the Titans have moved up a spot, and the lights shine bright on them. Let’s get right into it, and break down TalkSportsPhilly’s NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0.

1.) Tennessee Titans- Laremy Tunsil (OT/Mississippi)

The Titans found themselves a franchise quarterback in last year’s draft, with Marcus Mariota.  They already have a number of solid, young weapons in Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, and Dorial Green-Beckham.  On the left side of the offensive line, Taylor Lewan is there to hold down the fort.  It’s not very often that you get the chance to have a pair of franchise tackles, protecting your franchise quarterback. For those reasons, it’s a no-brainer for the Titans to select Tunsil.

2.) Cleveland Browns- Jared Goff (QB/California)

Yet again, an absolute no-brainer pick.  Cleveland hasn’t had a legitimate quarterback in years, and they thought that problem may have been solved by drafting Johnny Manziel.  Well, that didn’t work out very well, as the Browns ended up rolling out Josh McCown and Austin Davis this year, before going to Manziel. In Goff, the Browns would be getting themselves a franchise quarterback. He can be the type of quarterback that can change a game, with one toss of the pigskin. Yet, he can also be the type of quarterback, that methodically and surgically picks apart defenses, while chewing up some clock.

3.) San Diego Chargers- Ronnie Staley (OT/Notre Dame)

The Chargers absolutely need an offensive tackle. Phillp Rivers has done the best that he can with what’s been given to him, but this year’s 4-12 record might be the final straw. There’s only so much King Dunlap that a team can handle, as Philadelphia Eagles fans know all to well. I mean, the Chargers allowed the 12th-most sacks in the league last season. It’s not a god-awful number, but it’s still a crystal-clear sign that things need to change up front.

4.) Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey (DB/Florida)

The Cowboys are dying for help in the secondary, as they’ve got absolutely nothing outside of Barry Church.  Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have been major disappointments, and Byron Jones is just getting his feet under him. If Dallas really wants to get back to their winning ways, it all starts with the defense. Pairing Byron Jones with Ramsey on the outside could provide nightmares for opposing quarterbacks, and allow for the defense to get off the field more often…a novel idea, no?

5.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Jack Conklin (OT/Michigan State)

The Jaguars have been in this scenario before. An offensive line in shambles, and they’re among the bottom of the league in sacks allowed.  So, they take Luke Joeckel. Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out. Two seasons later, they’re back in this situation. Only this time, Joeckel is part of the problem. Having allowed the fourth-most sacks in the NFL this season, the Jaguars NEED this pick to pan out. If not to help save the franchise, but to help Blake Bortles….the poor guy’s taking a beating out there.

6.) Baltimore Ravens- Laquon Treadwell (WR/Mississippi)

The Ravens have a ton of problems with their receivers.  Their first round pick in 2015 (Breshad Perriman) didn’t play a single snap, and their banking on an almost 40-year old man to come back from a torn Achilles tendon. Kamar Aiken’s a good option, but he’s their only option right now. Perriman is a total unknown right now, there’s a good chance Steve Smith is never the same, and they don’t really have a tight end. Not exactly the recipe for success, if you’re the Ravens.

7.) San Francisco 49ers- Paxton Lynch (QB/Memphis)

The 49ers just recently hired Chip Kelly, as their new coach. If the team planned to hang on to Colin Kaepernick, one would imagine that he would be informed of the Kelly hiring. He was not informed, so the writing is pretty much on the wall. With Kap out of the picture, Chip will look to bring in his style of quarterback. Paxton Lynch fits that mold, as he’s pretty much Colin Kaepernick…but better.  He’s got the scrambling ability of Kaepernick, but he’s better overall. He’s got a stronger arm, he’s more accurate, and he’s got better decision-making skills. I think that’s enough to sell 49ers fans.

8.) Miami Dolphins- Myles Jack (LB/UCLA)

It’s an understatement to say that the ‘Phins defense has problems. In fact, every aspect has their own problem. The most problematic part of the defense though, is their linebacker corps. Jelani Jenkins was their best linebacker in coverage last year, and he’s just average. That’s a red-flag right there. Before it gets brought to my attention…yes, I am aware of Jack’s knee injury. To counter that argument, I bring Todd Gurley to the table. 10th overall pick last year coming off of a torn ACL, and is a likely Offensive Rookie of The Year winner. If you have the talent, you’ll standout. Jack has the talent, and is the best linebacker prospect in the country. He’ll be ready to go for opening day, and will be a breath of fresh air for the Miami defense.

9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Joey Bosa (DE/Ohio State)

It’s a shock to see Bosa fall this low, but here he is. With this pick, the Buccaneers defensive line becomes one of the most dangerous in football, with Gerald McCoy and William Gholston. In a division that has Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan at quarterback, it’s never a bad thing to have too many pass rushers.

10.) New York Giants- Vernon Hargreaves (CB/Florida)

The Giants pass defense was atrocious last year, as was their secondary. Once viewed as a top-5 pick, Hargreaves’ stock has dipped a bit following a weak end to the season, but he’s still a top-10 pick. With Prince Amukamura hitting the open market this spring, the Giants will likely deem him to injury-prone to bring back. Hargreaves would slide in as Prince’s replacement.

11.) Chicago Bears- Shaq Lawson (DE/Clemson)

The Bears need all the help they can get, defensively. Their defensive line was mediocre at best last season, and is an area that must be addressed come Draft Day. Lawson proved to be a force in college, finding ways to get constant pressure on the quarterback.  In a division that has Aaron Rodgers, that’s an extra-special skill to possess.

12.) New Orleans Saints- A’Shawn Robinson (DL/Alabama)

Aside from Cameron Jordan, the Saints best defensive lineman is Kevin Williams. That’s a scary thought. What’s even scarier than that, was the Saints lack of a pass-rush in 2015. The lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, served as a key factor in the secondary getting picked apart, time after time. Putting the big man up there in place of Bobby Richardson presents a huge upgrade, that could result in more opposing quarterbacks hitting the turf.

13.) Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Wentz (QB/North Dakota State)

Ah, the Eagles. This team is a disaster right now. Entering the season with such high expectations, the Eagles crashed down to Earth with a 7-9 finish. A major flaw that many saw in the offense, was the play of Sam Bradford. One could definitely argue for the Eagles to go with an offensive lineman here, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, with Bradford not likely to sign an extension, it’s hard to imagine that Philly doesn’t go with a quarterback here. Many may view Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff as the best signal-caller in this class. I’ll go on record, as saying that in five years, we’ll all say that Carson Wentz was the best quarterback in this draft.

14.) Oakland Raiders- Robert Nkamdiche (DT/Mississippi)

The Raiders defense isn’t bad. In fact, I may say it’s almost good. Khalil Mack is a mega-star in the making, Justin Tuck has shown that he can still perform, and Aldon Smith will be a huge asset if he gets his head on straight. Adding Nkamdiche to this upstart defense can only make them better. Just imagine having Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, and Robert Nkamdiche make-up three-quarters of your defensive line. It sends a shiver down your spine, no?

15.) Los Angeles Rams- Connor Cook (QB/Michigan State) 

Man, the Los Angeles Rams.  That’s just weird to say, and I wasn’t alive during their first stint in Los Angeles. The organization can change cities all they want, but it won’t change the fact that they need a quarterback. Nick Foles was supposed to be the answer, when they traded Sam Bradford for him. He ended up getting benched in favor of Case Keenum, who also wasn’t the answer. Could they go with Christian Hackenburg here?  Sure.  I just believe that the Rams would value big-game experience, which Cook has.

16.) Detroit Lions- Taylor Decker (OT/Ohio State) 

The Lions are in serious need of offensive line help, as many saw this year. With Riley Reiff holding down the fort on one-end, the Lions now have the task of finding a complementary piece to go across from Reiff. There’s no better prospect left on the board here, than Decker.

17.) Atlanta Falcons- Emmanuel Ogbah (DE/Oklahoma State)

Atlanta used a first-round pick last year on Vic Beasley, and still finished with the fewest sacks in the NFL. It’s pretty obvious that they’re gonna need to use another first-rounder on a pass-rusher.

18.) Indianapolis Colts- Mackensie Alexander (CB/Clemson)

The Colts need some major help in the secondary. Outside of Vontae Davis, they don’t have much to get excited about back there. He may be slightly undersized, but Alexander is a phenomenal athlete, and would provide a major upgrade in the Indy secondary.

19.) Buffalo Bills- DeForrest Buckner (DE/Oregon) 

Reports have surfaced recently that the Bills plan to part ways with pass-rusher Mario Williams.  That will help save money, but would leave a big-time gap in their defensive line. Buckner is similar to his former teammate Arik Armstead, but has developed a bit better. He’d fit in very well with Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, as Rex Ryan looks to rejuvenate the Bills defense.

20.) New York Jets- Jaylon Smith (LB/Notre Dame)

You can’t pass on a top 5 talent when he falls to 20th, you just can’t. That’s exactly what Jaylon Smith is, or was before he suffered a very-ugly looking knee injury. Nonetheless, he’s still an incredible talent. Once again, I bring up Todd Gurley, who went 10th overall when recovering from a torn ACL. While Smith’s knee injury is more severe and will require a longer recovery period, he should be ready for action by later this year. With David Harris regressing and DeMario Davis an impending free agent, the Jets need the help inside. Not only for the present, but for the future…

21.) Washington Redskins- Ezekiel Elliot (RB/Ohio State)

Alfred Morris is on his way out, and Matt Jones didn’t exactly “wow” anyone this year. That leads me to this pick. In the hard-hitting NFC East, teams need strong, downhill runners. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliot is. If you need further proof of why he’s a perfect fit for Washington, I truly urge you to go research his game tapes on YouTube.

22.) Houston Texans- Christian Hackenburg (QB/Penn State)

A popular pick here for Houston is Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot. That may be a position of need for the Texans, but the quarterback position is even more of a dire situation. Houston used four different quarterbacks this year. I just want to let that sink in for you readers.  Four quarterbacks over 16 games!  That’s one quarterback every four games. Houston needs to cut that down next season, and drastically. Plus, the familiarity factor is there between Hackenburg and Bill O’Brien.

23.) Minnesota Vikings- Darron Lee (OLB/Ohio State)

Chad Greenway is on his way out, and has let the media know that he plans to play one more season. With his play having regressed over the past few seasons, it makes sense for the Vikings to draft his replacement.

24.) Cincinnati Bengals- Corey Coleman (WR/Baylor)

The Bengals are a very good team, which is why they made it as far as they did in 2015. However, they haven’t been able to take that next step. Every postseason, it’s disappointment for Bengal fans. This year, they had legitimate reason, as they played against the Steelers without starting quarterback Andy Dalton. With that said, a common theme in Bengals playoff games is the lack of big plays. Their top receiver A.J. Green always comes up small in the big moment, and there’s not really anyone to take the pressure off of Green. By drafting Corey Coleman, the Bengals finally find that complementary piece to go with Green.

25.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Jeremy Cash (SS/Duke)

The Steelers could be in trouble next season, as far as their secondary goes. Mike Mitchell is playing well, but Will Allen’s an impending free-agent.  Plus, Allen’s soon to be 34 years old. Cash is projected by scouts as the best run-defending safety in the draft class, and has shown great instincts in coverage. While a broken wrist derailed the end of his senior year (and could limit his pre-draft workouts), Cash makes a great deal of sense for Pittsburgh.

26.) Seattle Seahawks– Germain Ifedi (OT/Texas A&M) 

This position looks to be a major need for the Seahawks now. Russell Okung is an impending free agent, and the depth of the Seahawks offensive line isn’t as deep as it once was. In Ifedi, the ‘Hawks would be getting a behemoth tackle.  Standing a 6’7″ (325 lbs), Ifedi is a big man who is tough to move off of his spot. The only potential downfall to this pick, is that the former Aggie does have a tendency to get wild with his hands.

27.) Green Bay Packers- Tyler Matakevich (ILB/Temple)

 Green Bay’s defense is good, but they have one major weakness. They have a lack of depth up the middle.  Currently rostering three inside linebackers, the addition of Matakevich would be a fantastic one for the Pack. Speaking from personal experience having watched him play, this kid is everywhere on the field. His level of intensity is unbelievable, and his coverage skills are pretty solid. His only weakness, is that his over-aggressiveness tends to result in over-pursuing the play.

28.) Kansas City Chiefs- Andrew Billings (DT/Baylor)

This is your stereotypical Andy Reid pick, and I am not kidding. If you do research on the history of Philadelphia Eagles first-round picks from 1999-2012, only 4 of the 11 selections are non-lineman. Whether it’s an offensive lineman or defensive lineman, “Big Red” seems to have a thing for lineman. In this case, I like the pick.  Billings is a top-10 caliber talent, that has the chance to greatly improve his stock during the combine and pro day.  The Baylor product has the size and the make-up to be a force up the middle in Kansas City.

29.) Arizona Cardinals- Reggie Ragland (ILB/Alabama)

Much like the Packers, the Cardinals defense is good.  Unlike the Pack, the Arizona defense is what I would consider to be “elite”.  If you look at the defensive statistics, the Cards are fifth in total defense, eight against the pass, sixth against the run, and second in total takeaways. Getting back to the Green Bay comparison, the Cardinals weakness is depth up the middle. Much like Green Bay, they currently have three inside linebackers on the active roster. In Ragland, the Cardinals would get a perfect fit for their scheme. The Alabama product fits well into a 3-4 system, and his big frame (6’2″, 252 lbs) makes him a great option as the run-stuffer. Arizona walks away with one of the steals of the first-round here, as Ragland has top-15 talent. Their great defense, would become even better.

30.) Carolina Panthers- Eli Apple (CB/Ohio State)

The Panthers secondary was viewed as great this season. Outside of Josh Norman though, there wasn’t much greatness. Opposite of Norman, you’ve got Charles Tillman, an aging veteran that is closing in on retirement. Cortland Finnegan is not the cornerback that he once was, and has shown that he’s taken a step back.  Teddy Williams and Bene Benikware aren’t likely to become reliable options, leaving Carolina thin at cornerback. In Apple, the Panthers are getting a phenomenal athlete. Apple is a very “hands-on” defender, some may even consider him to be too hands-on. His lengthy frame allows him to be disruptive with receivers, and keep them off of their game. Perhaps his best feature, is his short memory. He doesn’t allow negative plays to haunt him. Pairing Eli Apple with Josh Norman will take Carolina’s defense to another level.

31.) Denver Broncos- Shon Coleman (OT/Auburn)

The Broncos are on Cloud-9 right now. They earned the right to be called the “Best Team in Football” for the next year, although they’ll have some issues to handle in the offseason. Great protection is the key to a successful offense, and Denver struggled at times this season. Their inside line benefited greatly from the acquisition of Evan Mathis, but the outside part of the line was the Achilles heel. With Ryan Clady on the mend resulting from a torn ACL, the Broncos were relying on Ryan Harris and Ty Sambrailo to protect the blind-side of Peyton Manning. That didn’t work to well, as the team ranked 17th in the NFL, allowing 36 sacks on the combination of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler. Even with the return of Clady next season, the Broncos offensive line will still have it’s concerns. Adding Coleman would be a great move for the Broncos. The Auburn product has drawn many comparisons to current Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Greg Robinson, the man who Coleman took over for. He’s big, physical, and is very difficult to move off of the line. This pick does come with its’ share of risks however, as Coleman has a documented past with cancer. The 25 year-old has potential to be a solid NFL lineman, but must clear all medical hurdles before that happens.

32.) New England Patriots- FORFEITED 

That’ll wrap it up for my first edition of the 2016 NFL Mock Draft. With roughly two-and-a-half months until the draft goes live in Chicago, this can and likely will change. Version 2.0 of TSP’s NFL Mock Draft will be released on March 1st, the day following the conclusion of the NFL Combine. Stay tuned to TSP for further updates, as the offseason moves along.

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