Mock drafts are always meant to be a fun exercise that looks at team needs and the draft class to come up with possible fits. Given how early in the offseason teams are, this will likely change dramatically as free agency takes full swing. This version is meant to introduce some names and start to consider the various areas teams could look to address.
Full disclosure: Nick Whalen had the odd numbered picks, George Kritikos the even numbered choices.
- Tennessee Titans (3-13) Laremy Tunsil LT Ole Miss
Marcus Mariota got beat up pretty bad in 2015 and it led to multiple injuries. The Titans need to protect their investments if they want to see any dividends.
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- Cleveland Browns (3-13) Jared Goff, QB, California
The Browns will try again with a signal caller after the failed Johnny Manziel experiment. Goff does everything well but could do well to spend time behind Josh McCown to polish up some inconsistent mechanics (like throwing off the back foot in the face of a pass rush).
- San Diego Chargers (4-12) Joey Bosa DL Ohio State
The Chargers have holes all over the roster and will take the best player available. Bosa steps in to help generate some pass rush and he is good against the run as well.
- Dallas Cowboys (4-12) Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
The Cowboys need to think about life after Tony Romo, and possibly life during Tony Romo while he is injured. Wentz has shot up draft boards and has many of the tools to be a solid pro quarterback. Sitting behind Romo will benefit him as Wentz sees a large jump in play speed.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma State
When your division has quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck and Mariota, getting pressure is a necessity. The Jaguars will get a boost with 2015 1st round pick Dante Fowler returning from the ACL, but they need a pass rush specialist opposite him.
- Baltimore Ravens (5-11) Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
The Ravens have struggled to put talent in this secondary beyond Jimmy Smith. Hargreaves would provide a cover corner capable of sticking with any receiver and has the versatility to fit into any scheme.
- San Francisco 49ers (5-11) Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss (value drop…whaawaaa)
New head coach Chip Kelly has drafted WR’s high in the draft in Philadelphia and the cupboard is even more empty in San Francisco. Treadwell immediately becomes the #1 target and becomes a better version of Jordan Matthews.
- Miami Dolphins (6-10) Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
Another team in desperate need of cornerback help, the Dolphins need to get away from the declining Brent Grimes and his frightening wife. Ramsey has the versatility to play all over the secondary and would be an instant talent boost to an underachieving defense.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
Tampa’s defense needs a lot of help against both the run and getting after the quarterback. Buckner is a massive presence and can take attention away from Gerald McCoy.
- New York Giants (6-10) Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
The Giants have to look linebacker in a draft that actually features multiple first-round options. Jack could emerge as the best player from this draft and has the ability to stay on the field all three downs with his run stopping and coverage skills.
- Chicago Bears (6-10) Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
Matt Forte is leaving in free agency and Jeremy Langford showed he’s best suited as a backup RB when he averaged 3.6 YPC and dropped critical passes. Elliott steps in to make Chicago’s offense well rounded and help keep Jay Cutler upright with his good pass blocking skills.
- New Orleans Saints (7-9) MacKensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Saints will also look at pass rush help but cornerback has more talent at the top. Alexander has the coverage skills and length to deal with the young, big receivers in the division.
- Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
Sam Bradford proved to not be the guy and has no ties to new coach Doug Pederson. Lynch is a value at this part of the draft and Pederson can mold him from the start.
- Oakland Raiders (7-9) Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The Raiders are building a good offense but need to address the offensive line or risk seeing a second Carr quarterback succumb to the “pressure” of the NFL. Stanley has experience at both tackle spots and could start at right tackle while he learns, but ultimately his agility and speed for the position makes him an ideal blindside option.
- St. Louis Rams (7-9) Connor Cook QB Michigan State
Is this a reach? Sure it is, but the Rams are desperate for a startable QB at the NFL level.
- Detroit Lions (7-9) Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
I know most expect or want the Lions to go wide receiver here but the depth of the position and other needs could shift their focus. Instead, Smith gives them a leader on the defensive side of the ball with three down skills and he could slip this far given his rehab from a torn ACL.
- Atlanta Falcons (8-8) Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh
- Indianapolis Colts (8-8) Shaq Lawson, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Colts need interior offensive line help but that can come later. Instead, an anemic pass rush should be the priority in round one. Lawson is freakishly athletic and has the size (6-foot-3, 275 lbs) to slide right in at defensive end and make an impact early.
- Buffalo Bills (8-8) Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss
The Bills have needs at offensive tackle but also are looking to add depth across the defense. Nkemdiche is rated by some as a top five talent for his power and explosiveness but questioned by others due to his character concerns and lack of elite production. His draft position may be the most fluid of the class.
- New York Jets (10-6) Leonard Floyd, OLB/DE, Georgia
The Jets have missed on pass rush prospects in the past (see: Gholston, Vernon) but they have to inject youth here to keep this defense dominant. Floyd is a work in progress but has natural pass rush skills with great athleticism, two things Todd Bowles can work with.
- Washington Redskins (9-7) A’Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
Washington finished near the bottom of the NFL in total rushing yards allowed and yards per carry allowed. Robinson helps this weakness in a hurry, very stout run defender.
- Houston Texans (9-7) Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Texans would love a QB or RB here but I do not see a player on the board left worthy of the pick. The offensive line could use some help and Conklin represents a long-term starter at left tackle who proved his chops dealing with Joey Bosa for the last three years.
- Minnesota Vikings (11-5) Josh Garnett G Stanford
- Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
The Bengals are tough to peg on need as they have a handful of free agents that will dictate their priorities. Thomas represents an upgrade over free agents Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu and has the size (6-foot-3, 207 lbs) and should provide a nice counterpart for A.J. Green and option for Andy Dalton.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) Kendall Fuller CB Virginia Tech
The Steelers can’t stop the pass and need anyone to help stop the bleeding. Fuller had a great sophomore season, followed by a down and injured junior campaign.
- Seattle Seahawks (10-6) Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
The Seahawks have a few needs with WR and CB opposite Richard Sherman both unsettled. However, the defensive line has some free agents and Billings is explosive and powerful at the point of attack, making him an ideal fit to continue this team’s defensive dominance.
- Green Bay Packers (10-6) Josh Doctson WR TCU
Yes, other players fit needs here, but the Packers aren’t going to win unless they can put up points. Doctson is a huge target that will work the outside with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will work underneath with Ty Montgomery.
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
The Chiefs could opt for offensive tackle if they fall in love with a prospect but the team has a need with Derrick Johnson hitting free agency. Ragland slips in this mock draft and has the mean streak this defense needs and plays faster by being instinctive and quick to react.
- Arizona Cardinals (13-3) Jonathan Allen DE Alabama
The Cardinals DE is getting older and getting after the quarterback is the only thing holding back this defense from getting even better. Allen is an impressive pass rusher, as well as solid at the point of attack.
- Denver Broncos (12-4) Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
The Broncos have been snake-bitten on the offensive line and could really use a talent injection. Whitehair gives them a smart player who should be capable of playing early and helping the quarterback and running back, whoever they may be.
- Carolina Panthers (15-1) Noah Spence DE Eastern Kentucky
The best team in the NFL gets the best value in the first round? Only if Spence can keep his nose clean, but he’s a very good DE prospect with as much upside as Bosa.
Give us your thoughts in the comments below.