1. Oakland Raiders (Projection: 1-15)
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: After going offense in 2015, the Raiders will look for more defense in 2016. Joey Bosa is clearly one of the most dominant players in college football. Not only can he rush against the run and the pass, but he can also get into the backfield quickly and hit for nice power.
2. San Francisco 49ers (Projection: 1-15)
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: With all the losses coming into this season, there’s a million different picks the 49ers could make here at #2. However, protecting the QB and blocking for the run game might take priority. Tunsil is a lineman who can seal the outside and move defenders in the run game. His only concern is his healthy coming into this season.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Projection: 2-14)
Robert Nkemdiche, DL/DE, Ole Miss: Nkemdiche headlined the Rebels’ recruiting class in 2013. His versatility and speed make him almost a no-brainer for Lovie and the Bucs at #3.
4. New York Jets (Projection: 2-14)
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State: I will say, there’s a chance that we’d hear about trade offers for the top three picks. Several teams might be looking QB in the first round, and Cardale Jones will be the top prize if he enters the draft. However, saying there are no trades, the Jets wouldn’t think twice about taking Jones with their 4th pick. Jones is a big QB with a bigger arm. After watching his performance against the Hokies in Week One, there’s no question he’ll be the top QB entering the 2016 Draft.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (Projection: 3-13)
Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State: This was a hard pick to make because Jacksonville could go one of two ways here. They could draft a WR or they could go defense. Right now, the bigger need is defense. Ramsey is a tall, athletic safety who could fit nicely into Gus Bradley’s defense.
6. Cleveland Browns (Projection: 3-13)
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: Boom! Second QB goes off the board! The Browns are another one of those teams that could be looking QB in the 2016 draft. Saying they don’t make a trade for Cardale Jones, they’ll go with the QB who might look better on paper in the B1G.
7. Washington Redskins (Projection: 4-12)
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State: One thing is certain. RG3’s time in Washington probably is coming to an end (who’s knows though with crazy Old Man Synder). If the Skins go 4-12 this season, they’ll definitely be drafting a quarterback. They could trade to Cardale, but will certainly take Hackenberg at #7. Hackenberg could be a “small project.” However, Jay Gruden can work with him better than RG3.
8. Tennessee Titans (Projection: 6-10)
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida: There’s two directions the Titans could go with the 8th selection. They could draft O-Line help to protect their quarterback of the future or they could draft secondary help. I say the Titans go with the ladder. Hargreaves is a guy who can immediately impact the Titans’ secondary with his quickness, coverage, and physicality.
9. Chicago Bears (Projection: 6-10)
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: DeForest Buckner might seem like a reach for Chicago at #9, but hear me out. The Bears decided to switch to the 3-4 coming into 2015 under new DC Vic Fangio. In 2015, they drafted their NT to be the rock on the D-Line. In 2016, theyll take the guy who can be on the edge of that line. Buckner is the perfect end for a 3-4 scheme, and he can get after quaterbacks…I.E. Aaron Rodgers.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (Projection: 6-10)
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: This was a hard pick to make for the Kansas City Chiefs because they could go in many different directions. However, in the end, they go with the best guy to plug up the middle of their D-Line. Robinson is a BIG BOY! He also can defend against the pass and the run as a rusher down the middle. His only weakness would be his “repertoire” for rushing the passer.
11. St. Louis Rams (Projection: 6-10)
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: One of the biggest concerns with the Rams this offseason was the wide receiver position. This team looks so good! Then, you look at the talent at WR that hasn’t lived up to expectations. Laquon Treadwell instantly gives the Rams a deep ball threat who can “take the top off the defense.”
12. Houston Texans (Projection: 7-9)
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA: What does Houston draft in 2016? Quarterback? Running back to maybe replace Arian Foster? Linebacking help? Defense is were I have them going. Jack can help Houston out in different ways on the field. He can rush the passer or runner nicely and can drop back into coverage when Bill O’Brien only wants to send his front four guys.
13. New York Giants (Projection: 7-9)
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA: One type of player the Giants are always looking for is talented D-Line help. Clark is a playermaker with good size (6-3, 308). He might be able to help make the Giants defense respectable again.
14. Detroit Lions (Projection: 8-8)
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: One area of weakness for the Lions coming into 2015 is their offensive line. That need shall be addressed in 2016. Stanley would be a great pickup for Detroit. He’s got great size (6-6, 315) and is versatile. He can play either the right or left tackle positions.
15. New Orleans Saints (Projection: 9-7)
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: It’s possible that the Saints go ahead and target their secondary in the 2016 draft. Kendall Fuller would be a nice pickup because of his athleticism and instincts alone.
16. Carolina Panthers (Projection: 9-7)
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: Right now, Jonathan Stewart sits at 28 years old coming into the 2015 season. By the 2016 NFL Draft rolls around, he will be 29. Stewart hasn’t had an “amazing” season since 2009 and hasn’t had a respectable one since 2011. If Zek is still here at #16, Carolina snags him. The OSU running back is almost the perfect player in the backfield. He just needs to improve his play as a receiver out of the backfield.
17. Buffalo Bills (Projection: 9-7)
Emmaniel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: Rex Ryan will draft defense in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Here, the Bills go with BPA (Best Player Available) at the defensive end position. Ogbah is a physical, power defender that I can see Rex falling in love with from Day 1.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (Projection: 9-7)
Su’a Cravens, S, USC: The secondary should continue to be a point of emphasis for the Eagles heading into the 2016 draft. Cravens is a safety with OLB size (6-1, 225 pounds) and can play in the box. He might get burned by quick slot receivers, but he can still hold his own in the coverage game.
19. Baltimore Ravens (Projection: 10-6)
Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame: Just like the Bills, I see the Ravens going BPA, but at the OLB position. Jaylon Smith is a nice talent who locks onto the ball and goes after it.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (Projection: 11-5)
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: Is he more than just an interner meme? The country will find out in 2015. The Bengals could be searching for D-Line help, and Oakman could be a great pickup (if he performs in 2015). As ESPN’s Todd McShay put it, he “could rise up draft boards this year if he plays with more urgency and consistency.”
21. Atlanta Falcons (Projection: 10-6/Wild Card)
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: Floyd is an athletic and explosive pass rusher for the Georgia Bulldogs. After getting outside rush help on the D-Line in 2015, Dan Quinn’s Falcons could draft Floyd too beef up their outside rushing in the linebackers.
22. Minnesota Vikings (Projection: 10-6/Wild Card)
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: Young rising quarterback? Check. The best running back in the NFL? Check. A strong defensive that only looks to be getting better? Check. The main piece missing from Minnesota is good offensive tackles. Decker is a big, physical blocker who is great at opening up running lanes.
23. San Diego Chargers (Projection: 11-5/Wild Card)
Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn: At the moment, this is a potential pick because Lawson missed the entire 2014 season due to injury. Although Auburn hasn’t looked great to start the season, Lawson could be a solid edge rushing pick-up for San Diego this offseason.
24. Denver Broncos (Projection: 12-4/Wild Card)
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: In Week 1 of the NFL season against the Ravens, the Broncos’ O-Line let Peyton Manning get sacked a total of 4 times. That was third most behind Blake Bortles and Russell Wilson. If this “trend” continues, Denver will need O-Line help this offseason. Conklin is a big blocker with a powerful upper body. He’d be great at picking up extra blockers for either Manning or Osweiler next season.
25. Green Bay Packers (Projection: 10-6/Divisional)
Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State: One of the biggest needs for the Packers is defensive line help. It may not be #1 this offseason, but it will need to be addressed. Washington is a guy who could help Green Bay out. He’s a big boy who is limber and mobile.
26. Arizona Cardinals (Projection: 10-6/Divisional)
Jared Goff, QB, Cal: Eventually, Arizona will need to replace Carson Palmer.Goff may not be as hyped as Cardale, Cook, or Hackenberg this season, but he could fly in under-the-radar for the Cards. He’s an accurate strong arm QB. After two games in 2015, Goff has throw for 630 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s also completed 73% of his passes.
27. Miami Dolphins (Projection: 11-5/Divisional)
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Is Lamar Miller the long-term solution for Miami at running back? Probably not. Plus, there’s a certain kind of success that comes from Bama backs (unless your name is Trent Richardson). Henry is a tough runner who could be a “Roll Tide” staple in the NFL with Ingram and Lacy.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Projection: 11-5/Divisional)
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska: If there’s one thing Maliek Collins knows how to do, it’s get into and disrupt opponents in the backfield. Last year, he led teh Huskers in tackles-for-loss and was 2nd in sacks (behind Randy Gregory). He’d be perfect for the “rebuilding” Steel Curtain.
29. New England Patriots* (Projection: 12-4/Conference Title)
30. Seattle Seahawks (Projection: 14-2/Conference Title)
Max Tuerk, C, USC: Ater trading away their center to get Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks will need to address that need this offseason. Tuerk is a solid blocker on the line, but he’s also versatile. Last year he played a full season at center, but played a full season at guard in 2013.
31. Dallas Cowboys (Projection: 11-5/Super Bowl)
Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State: He may not have the ideal size for the position, but he sure does make a lot of nice plays! Just his combination of athleticism, playmaking ability, and coverage skills make him a solid OLB pick.
32. Indianapolis Colts (Projection: 14-2/Super Bowl Champs)
Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Best way to repeat as Super Bowl Champs? Draft protection for Andrew Luck! Drango is big (6-6, 310) and is experienced as a three-year starter for the Baylor Bears. His only red flag is his back surgery from last offseason.
* = Deflategate penalty