NFL Draft: April 28th-30th
This is the 2nd edition of GameDaySportsBlog.com’s Mock Draft and after the combine and a few Pro Days it looks like a few things have changed on the draft boards. Free agency has changed the draft scene even more, and here is how we see the things that have changed in our recent mock draft.
- Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
The Titans still have Marcus Mariota, and with the recent pick up of Demarco Murray Tennessee now has even more reason to pick up an offensive lineman with the 1st overall pick in the draft. Tunsil paired up with last year’s 1st round pick, Taylor Lewan, could anchor a great offense in a very winnable division.
- Cleveland Browns – Jared Goff QB Cal
The Browns did what we all knew was going to happen the day they drafted Johnny Manziel and finally let him go. What they need now is to move on from him, and after Goff’s great pro day who better than the Cal quarterback to try and lead to Browns to not being terrible.
- San Diego Chargers – Joey Bosa DE OSU
The Chargers are the most up in the air team in the NFL. They just lost their best player, Eric Weddle, to the Ravens after an awful break up, and nobody is even sure where the team will end up in the near future. What we do know is the Chargers could use a youth movement and a young face of the team and there might not be a better player in the draft than Ohio State’s Joey Bosa.
- Dallas Cowboys – Jalen Ramsey DB FSU
No team disappointed like the Cowboys last season and getting a healthy Tony Romo back along with a DB as talented as Ramsey could make the Cowboys a contender again in the league’s worst division. The ‘Boys just hope it’s not another Morris Claiborne failure, and it doesn’t look like it will be, as Ramsey may be the most talented DB prospect since Patrick Peterson.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Miles Jack OLB UCLA
We know Jack’s knee injury will scare a lot of people, and some boards may not have him even in the top 10, but Todd Gurley returned from a knee injury to win rookie of the year, so it is quite possible that Jack makes the same kind of recovery. And Jack alongside last year’s #3 pick Dante Fowler will give the Jaguars two new defensive playmakers that will make the AFC South a much tougher division.
- Baltimore Ravens – Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
Joe Flacco needs help. There is little doubt of this. The only person getting hit more than him is Ray Rice’s wife (sorry I had to). Right now Baltimore is leaning on Eugene Monroe to start at left tackle despite constant injuries. The truth is Stanley fills a need on a team that needs to get back near the top of this division before it gets passed by the Browns.
- San Francisco 49ers – Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
It seems that Colin Kaepernick does not want to play in San Francisco anymore which means that unless Chip Kelly wants to start off his 49ers tenure with former top pick Blaine Gabbert, he needs to draft a quarterback. He has one available at this spot with North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, somebody who fits pretty well into what Kelly wants to do on offense.
- Miami Dolphins – Vernon Hargreaves CB III Florida
The Dolphins, like the Jags, stay in-state for a talented DB, and get a gift at #8 where a corner who would have likely been the 1st DB picked in most other years falls to them. Hargreaves made 3 All-American teams while at Florida and is solid in both man and zone scheme making him a great asset to a team already loaded with pass rushers.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DeForest Buckner DL Oregon
The Bucs have one of the league’s best defensive lineman in Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, but the rest of the D-Line is less than stellar, and slowing down Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and MVP Cam Newton in the division will take a serious push up front; something that Buckner at his tremendous size (6’7” 290 lb.) could help with.
- New York Giants – Ezekiel Elliot RB OSU
Ohio State’s bell cow running back will look to be the main back in New York as an improved running game will hopefully take a load off of Eli Manning, OBJ, and the rest of the passing game. Elliot might not be Todd Gurley good, but the man can run the football, and in the NFC East all the teams are just one piece away from a division title.
- Chicago Bears – Laquan Treadwell WR Ole Miss
The Bears lost three huge offensive weapons with the loss of running back Matt Forte, wideout Brandon Marshall, and tight end Martellus Bennett. Fortunately for Jay Cutler and the Bears the best wideout in the class fell to them at #10, and Treadwell’s productivity will show up day one opposite of Alshon Jeffery.
- New Orleans Saints – A’Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
Make no mistake about it, the Saints’ defense was horrendous last season, finishing last in yards per play (6.6), yards per pass attempt (8.7), and yards per carry (4.9). Basically, last in total, pass, and rush defense. Secondary help will come by way of getting back 2015 3rd round pick P.J. Williams from and injury, but up front needs to be addressed via the draft, and 6’4” 312 lb. A’Shawn Robinson is arguably the best run-stopping defensive lineman in the class. Look for him to take over for 35-year-old Kevin Williams this season as the best player in the Saints’ front 7.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Jarran Reed DT Alabama
Yeah, that’s right. Two straight defensive tackles from Alabama go early in the 1st round. But they are that good of players, and Philly is that desperate for a defensive presence on the interior. The Eagles know they are only a move or two away from being real contenders in the NFC, and nothing is more imperative to a playoff defense than stopping the run, something Reed excels at.
- Oakland Raiders – Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma State
On talent and production this pick would have been Noah Spence, the former Buckeye transfer, but Spence has too many off the field problems (even for the Raiders), and Ogbah has too much pass rushing ability to overlook. Especially in a conference that became very winnable after the offseason the Broncos had. Add in the fact that Ogbah’s toughness and versatility could be put to good use, teaming up with All-Pro Khalil Mack in what is becoming a tough Oakland front 7.
- Los Angeles Rams – Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
Nick Foles wasn’t quite the Pro Bowl quarterback that he was under Chip Kelly, and the Rams move to Los Angeles could go with a move back to an offensive juggernaut if they could just find the right quarterback to get the ball into the playmakers’ hands. Lynch is a good quarterback prospect who would love to get the ball to Tavon Austin, or hand it off to Todd Gurley.
- Detroit Lions – Andrew Billings DT Baylor
Billing is a stud prospect, and just a year after failing to re-sign tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, the Lions could get a franchise type inside presence again with this Baylor big man, and they need to when facing offenses led by Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, and Teddy Bridgewater.
- Atlanta Falcons – Reggie Ragland LB Alabama
So far there are three defensive players from Alabama, but it was just such a good unit that it makes sense. And Ragland’s toughness and versatility could be put to good use, playing in Dan Quinn’s aggressive defense.
- Indianapolis Colts – Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
The Colts saw first-hand what happens to a franchise quarterback when you don’t protect him. They were the consensus pick to win a terrible AFC South, and instead they were surpassed by the Texans because of their injury at quarterback. Jim Irsay will do whatever he can to make sure that doesn’t happen again and drafting Conklin, who started 34 games at LT for the Spartans is a great start.
- Buffalo Bills – Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
Rankins is a scheme-versatile defensive lineman, which is something Buffalo desperately needs with one of the worst interior run defenses in the league. With Rex Ryan as the coach, you know the defensive line is going to get its fair share of draft picks, and this one is a good selection that should help out immediately.
- New York Jets – Connor Cook QB Michigan State
The Jets were close to making the playoffs, and they are a quarterback away from being a top flight contender. Now with Matt Forte replacing Chris Ivory’s touches in the backfield look for the Jets to try and grab a quarterback who can take them from a playoff bubble team to a double digit game winner. And although Cook hasn’t looked great since the Spartans’ blowout loss in the playoff semi-final, he is an upgrade over every Jet quarterback since Chad Pennington.
- Washington Redskins – Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
This ultra-talented corner is leaving Clemson after his redshirt sophomore season, but has already shown enough skill and talent to be considered a 1st round pick, and the Redskins will snatch him up in hopes of slowing down division rivals’ receiving threats like OBJ, Victor Cruz, Dez Bryant, and Jordan Matthews.
- Houston Texans – Will Fuller WR Notre Dame
The Texans are undoubtedly a one trick pony on offense when oft-injured Arian Foster is out of the lineup, and DeAndre Hopkins would be happy to have the coverage roll away from him and onto deep threat Will Fuller. And new Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler will get good use of his strong arm throwing the ball around to Fuller and Hopkins.
- Minnesota Vikings – Taylor Decker OT OSU
The Vikings have a glaring need at offensive line and a top prospect like Decker falling to them at #23 is a dream scenario for the Vikings, so if this happens, don’t expect the card to take long to get to the commissioner on draft day.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Darron Lee LB OSU
Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur will be free agents this offseason, and the Bengals will be without Vontaze Burfict for the first 3 games of the season, so it looks like Lee could walk into a starting spot on one of the best defenses in the NFL. And as an athletic, rangy, quick linebacker, the Bengals would love to have him despite him being undersized (6’2” 228 lb.).
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Eli Apple CB OSU
That’s right, another Ohio State Buckeye is selected, the 3rd in a row, and the 5th so far in the 1st round. But the Steelers have a need in the secondary, and with 3 corners set to be free agents this offseason, what better time for Pittsburgh to improve their defense with a more than solid cornerback.
- Seattle Seahawks – Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss
The 3rd player from Ole Miss’ loaded recruiting class of 2013 is the top high school prospect of that recruiting cycle. Nkemdiche has fallen a little bit as before the season he was seen as an early 1st round pick, but I’m sure Pete Carroll would love to see him drop to #26. The Seahawks have to replace both starting DT’s this offseason and Nkemdiche’s ability to slide inside and disrupt offensive lines will only make the Legion of Boom seem that much better.
- Green Bay Packers – Leonard Floyd LB Georgia
Floyd was almost exclusively used as a pass rusher in Athens, and who better to learn from then Clay Matthews. And with Nick Perry and Mike Neal set to be free agents this year, Floyd could see starting time opposite of the long haired linebacker this season.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Jonathon Bullard DL Florida
Watching every one of Bullard’s snaps this past season at Florida, there may not be a more disruptive defensive lineman in the country than the explosive Gator. And standing at around 290 lb. Bullard’s versatility could allow him to slide inside where the Chiefs could lose 2 free agents.
- Arizona Cardinals – Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
This 19-year-old edge rusher could be a God-send for the Cardinals. Despite a very strong season by Bruce Arians’ bunch, there is little doubt that outside of Calais Campbell there is not much talent on the defensive line. Adding this young high-motor player could push the Cardinals from the NFC’s #2 seed to the NFC’s Super Bowl representative.
- Carolina Panthers – Noah Spence DE Eastern Kentucky
Spence has some rough off-the-field issues to deal with, but his talent is undeniable, and with the Panthers lacking a pass-rush (until the Super Bowl), this seems like a great pick. After all, Cam Newton came into the league after problems with the law, NCAA investigations, alleged academic cheating, and the Panthers organization has done a great job keeping him in line outside the lines.
- Denver Broncos – Jason Spriggs OT Indiana
The Broncos are falling apart as their leader Peyton Manning and their back up signal caller Brock Osweiler have left, and the quarterback duties are going to be passed to habitual failure Mark Sanchez. The Broncos wish they would have a great signal caller to pick up at this spot, but instead Denver will try and turn into a run-first team and do so behind a line that is rumored to lose Pro Bowler Ryan Clady. That is where former Hoosier Jason Spriggs comes in. He can replace Clady at the tackle spot and after playing in a no-huddle spread offense at Indiana he looks to be athletic enough to block in Gary Kubiack’s zone blocking system.