2016 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0- Post Free Agency

March 11th, 2016 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Eagles, Football, General, NFL.

Source: Scouts.com

The craziest part of the NFL year is in full swing.  Free Agency is upon us, and players are switching teams, and the entire league is in flux. Recent signings, and trades have altered some of my previous mock selections, so there will be a number of noticeable differences in this version. Before you all get bored with hearing me talk, let’s get into my second 2016 NFL Mock Draft- Post Free Agency Edition.

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.  They added to that arsenal of weapons by acquiring DeMarco Murray from the Eagles. That made an already easy choice, even easier.

2.) Cleveland Browns- Carson Wentz (QB/North Dakota State)

Same concept, different name. The Browns grabbing a QB is a no-brainer.  Cleveland hasn’t had a legitimate quarterback in years, and they thought that problem may have been solved by drafting Johnny Manziel.  Wentz starting garnering first-round buzz in mid-January, but Cleveland fell head-over-heels in love with him after the Senior Bowl. I’d be shocked, if this pick was anyone but Wentz.

3.) San Diego Chargers- Jalen Ramsey (DB/Florida State)

I previously had the Chargers taking Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame. San Diego’s lack of interest in offensive lineman on the open market, spoke volumes to me. That’s a clear indication that they don’t view the offensive line as a top priority. What is a top priority though, is their secondary. The Bolts just let Eric Weddle go. Weddle’s departure creates a huge opening in the Chargers defensive backfield. Jalen Ramsey is the perfect guy to bring in, and fill that opening.

4.) Dallas Cowboys- Joey Bosa (DE/Ohio State)

Jerry Jones has never been one to shy away from making flashy picks. While defensive line may not be a true need for the Cowboys, it never hurts to have it. The ‘Boys took a shot on Greg Hardy last season, and it didn’t seem to work out. Dallas signed Cedric Thornton this week, but clearly need a playmaker on the front-line. Bosa could be an instantaneous difference-maker for any defensive line in the NFL. He’s big, athletic, and has great skills. What’s not to like?

5.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Myles Jack (OLB/UCLA)

The Jaguars have been the most active team in free agency this year, spending a lot of that $81 million in cap room. They strengthened their defense by signing Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson, and added to their offense by signing Chris Ivory.  With a lot of talent on both ends of the football, the Jags opt to live by the “Defenses win championships” motto with this pick, by taking the ultra-talented Myles Jack. At one point, Jack was considered a possibility to go first overall when he came out, but an injury derailed that talk. Jack is now fully healthy, and has been cleared by UCLA doctors. That means that his stock will start to rise again, and Jacksonville won’t let him fall past No.5.

6.) Baltimore Ravens- Ronnie Stanley (OT/Notre Dame)

The Ravens have a ton of problems with their receivers, and you wouldn’t be wrong for having them go Treadwell here. On the other hand, I believe they opt to give Breshad Perriman a chance, before declaring him a bust. Instead, Baltimore will opt to fill their biggest need on the offensive line. The Ravens lost arguably their best lineman in Kelechi Osemele to the Oakland Raiders earlier this week, which means they’ll need help in protect Joe Flacco now. Stanley would immediately start for the Ravens, and could pick up right where Osemele left off.

7.) San Francisco 49ers- Jared Goff (QB/Cal)

In my previous mock, I had the 49ers taking Paxton Lynch. Things have changed since then, and Lynch’s stock seems to be falling a bit. Nevertheless, Chip Kelly is still the head coach of the 49ers, and is still likely to be in search of a QB. With Wentz already off the board, the 49ers opt to take a homegrown talent. Goff and Wentz are both viewed as “franchise quarterbacks”, with Goff having the higher ceiling of the two.

8.) Philadelphia Eagles [via Miami Dolphins]- Ezkiel Elliot (RB/Ohio State)

The Eagles surprised the football world yesterday, somehow managing to rob Miami of their 8th overall pick. I say rob, because they moved up five spots, in essentially a salary dump. We’ll get into that another time. Philly also moved DeMarco Murray yesterday, creating a large hole in their backfield. By selecting Elliot, the Eagles find themselves a franchise running back. ‘Zeke is a legitimate three-down stud, and has superstar potential. He’s a workhorse that can handle a 20-25 carry per game workload, that has drawn comparisons to Adrian Peterson. With this pick, Howie Roseman continues to find ways back into the hearts of Eagles fans everywhere.

9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DeForest Buckner (DE/Oregon)

Originally, I had Buckner as a top-5 pick. However, there were a number of events that took place in free agency, allowing Buckner to fall right into Tampa Bay’s lap. With this pick, the Buccaneers defensive line becomes one of the most dangerous in football, pairing Buckner 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. “Big Blue” has already replaced Prince Amukamura with Janoris Jenkins. However, the secondary still needs to be solidified, and Hargreaves serves as that.

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.) Miami Dolphins [via Philadelphia Eagles]- Jack Conklin (OT/Michigan State)

The Dolphins took a perplexing deal, that saw them drop down five spots, while taking on an incredible amount of salary. Sure, there’s potential. But, it just doesn’t look like it’ll work out to Miami’s liking. Nonetheless, the Dolphins have this pick, and need to make the best of it. By selecting Conklin, the ‘Phins are getting a very versatile offensive lineman, that has the ability to play not only at tackle, but also at guard. For Miami, they have the outside of their offensive line taken care of, with Ja’Waun James and Brandon Albert. Fortunately for the Dolphins, their interior offensive line is poor, providing an instant starting opportunity for Conklin.

14.) Oakland Raiders- Noah Spence (DE/Eastern Kentucky)

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

15.) Los Angeles Rams- Emmanuel Ogbah (DE/Oklahoma 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. Nonetheless, it seems that all they want to do is just run the ball with Todd Gurley, and play defense. The plan seems to be that Case Keenum will start under center, and they’ll let the defense do their thing. Having lost Janoris Jenkins, Chris Long, Rodney McLeod, and James Laurunitus this offseason, it only makes sense for the Rams to start the rebuild of their defense.

16.) Detroit Lions- Reggie Ragland (ILB/Alabama)

The Lions are in serious need of help at inside linebacker. Stephen Tulloch and Tahir Whitehead are both free agents, leaving the Lions with Josh Bynes to run the defense. If Detroit has any delusions of competing in the NFC North next season (without Megatron), they’ll need to find a better man to hold down the middle of the defense. Ragland would be just that guy. He’s got great experience already, coming from Alabama, which as we all know is a “Football Factory” for talent. Reggie is great in defending the run, a good tackler, and brings extraordinary physicality and athleticism to any team that drafts him. This kid will be a star, and he’ll hope to elevate the Lions defense.

17.) Atlanta Falcons- Kevin Dodd (DE/Clemson)

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- Laquan Treadwell (WR/Ole Miss)

For the longest time, I’ve had defensive line at the top of Buffalo’s list of needs. This thought was only furthered, when the Bills released Mario Williams earlier this week. However, as I looked at the Bills depth chart, I noticed a rather disturbing trend. Robert Woods is currently starting opposite of Sammy Watkins. In no world, is Robert Woods as a starting wide receiver okay.

20.) New York Jets- Paxton Lynch (QB/Memphis)

Lynch’s draft stock tumbles its’ way down, from 7th overall to 20th overall. The Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick were unable to agree on a new contract before the 4:00 deadline on Wednesday, resulting in the “Amish Rocket” hitting the open market. Fitzpatrick’s reported price tag is said to be pretty high, and likely out of New York’s price range. As a result, “Gang Green” opts to draft their signal-caller. Lynch will likely struggle early on, as his tools are still raw. It does seem like the Jets window for winning has closed though, as their losing players to both age and free agency. With no running back, and a defense that is weakening, it only makes sense to get a jump on retooling.

21.) Washington Redskins- Derrick Henry (RB/Alabama)

I present to you, this year’s “WTF?” pick….

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 Derrick Henry is. While this is a bit of a stretch for the 22nd pick, 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- Will Fuller (WR/Notre Dame)

I originally had Christian Hackenburg as the choice here, because of his relationship history with Bill O’Brien.  That changed, when the Texans were able to lure Brock Osweiler away from the Broncos. Going down my list of possible targets for Houston, I have them selecting Will Fuller. Fuller has been garnering serious buzz as a potential late-first-round target. Houston needs to find themselves a complimentary deep threat to pair with DeAndre Hopkins, and Fuller is it.

23.) Minnesota Vikings- Josh Doctson (WR/TCU)

The Vikings thought they’d gotten a big boost to their offense last offseason, when they signed Mike Wallace. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well and Wallace was released this week. As a result, the Vikings are in need of a wide receiver. Currently, they only have Stefon Diggs to take some pressure off of Adrian Peterson.  That’s not going to cut it, as Diggs started to fade off down the stretch. Doctson is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Vikings.

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

The run on wide receivers continues. Cincy took a major hit in free agency, losing both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Losing Jones and Sanu leave the Bengals very bare behind A.J. Green, leaving them with practically no other choice except to draft a wideout. Coleman would serve as a great compliment to A.J. Green, as he’s a known playmaker. Coleman played well at Baylor, but does come with concerns. His drop rate was a pretty high 11.7%, and his durability causes concern due to his small frame. He’s capable of growing as a route-runner, but remains pretty limited to this point. Overall, it’s a nice pick for the Bengals, but he’s got room for improvement.

25.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Kendall Fuller (CB/Virginia Tech)

The Steelers are getting fantastic value, here. A healthy-Fuller would be taken about 15 picks earlier, but injuries have derailed that. The Steelers have a long history of great defenses, so adding Fuller would perhaps be the start of the new generation.

26.) Seattle Seahawks– Darron Lee (OLB/Ohio State)

Seattle lost Bruce Irvin this offseason, so there’s an opening. Lee is an extremely athletic linebacker, and that fits the player mold that the Seahawks follow. It’s a natural fit.

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- Taylor Decker (OT/Ohio State)

The Cardinals recently lost Bobbie Massie to the Chicago Bears, creating a hole along the Cards offensive line. The 2015 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year would be a fantastic addition to an already dangerous Cardinals team. For such a large frame (6’8″), he’s very athletic. He’s also durable, having started 41 consecutive games for Ohio State. There’s also a growing confidence among scouts, that Decker possesses the ability to play both inside, and outside.

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- Connor Cook (QB/Michigan State)

The Broncos were on cloud-9, having just won the Super Bowl. Denver came crashing back down to Earth this week, and in a huge way. The downward spiral has included the departures of Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathen, with the expected departure of C.J. Anderson only 5 days away. The big bullet came, when Houston lured Brock Osweiler away, leaving the Broncos without a quarterback now. Peyton Manning retired on Monday, and Brock Osweiler left on Wednesday. Horrible timing, right? The free agent market is pretty bare, and the trade market is full of nothing outside of Colin Kaepernick, who the 49ers “plan to keep.” This leads the Broncos straight to the draft, where they grab the former Michigan State signal-caller. In Cook, the Broncos are getting a player with good leadership, a rock solid arm, and has shown to produce in clutch moments. The only knock seems to be his lack of consistency, which should come along in time.

32.) New England Patriots- FORFEITED 

That’ll wrap it up for my second edition of the 2016 NFL Mock Draft. With roughly two months until the draft goes live in Chicago, this can still change. Stay tuned to TSP for further updates, as the offseason moves along.

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