Bowl season is finally upon us! With that comes some excitement with the statement because…THE NFL DRAFT IS ALMOST HERE!!!
The mock draft below, MVP’s first official mock draft for the 2016, projects the first round of the draft.
There’s a few things we need to remember when it comes to this mock draft: 1) the Patriots are without a 1st Round selection (Deflategate), 2) things will definitely change as we venure through the draft process, 3) we still don’t know for sure what underclassmen are staying in college or going to the NFL, and 4) some NFL teams will be getting new coaches this offseason and new schemes/regimes.
However, this mock draft is the perfect primer/continuation of our Midseason Mock Draft for 2016!
Two quick notes: (1) The order in this mock draft is what it would be if the season ended following Week 14. (2) All underclassmen are noted with an asterisk.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss Rebels*
With the #1 pick for Tennessee, it’s going to come down to “Need vs. Best Player Avaliable (BPA).” That means choosing between defensive end Joey Bosa and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. The Titans went and drafted their franchise quarterback in 2015. Now, it’s time to protect him. Mariota has been sacked 35 times this season (5th most in NFL), and Tunsil will surely help lower that stat.
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State Buckeyes*
If there’s anything the Browns do best (or worst), it’s drafting quarterbacks in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. They’ll have a chance to do just that with Paxton Lynch on the broad. However, Cleveland finally learns from their past mistakes! Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa is too good for the Browns to pass up at #2. Plus, the Browns could draft a quality QB with their 2nd pick in the 2nd round.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss Rebels*
The biggest negative for the Chargers this season have been it’s play from the receiver position. Keenan Allen has been injured, Stevie Johnson hasn’t been living up to expectations, and Antonio Gates is getting older. Yes, Allen is coming back next season, but San Diego needs another playmaker at receiver. Treadwell is a big, physical receiver who can line up nicely opposite of Allen in 2016.
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State Seminoles*
Jalen Ramsey is versatile in the secondary (to say it best). Not only can he play either at the safety or cornerback position, but he can also match up in man, play center field in zone, and can stuff the run. Baltimore’s pass defense has been atrocious this season. Plus, Antonio Brown and AJ Green aren’t going anywhere this offseason.
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis Tigers*
All signs point to Colin Keapernick being down in San Francisco. This means the 49ers need to draft a quarterback in the NFL Draft. Now, in this mock draft, the Niners have a choice of drafting either Memphis’ Paxton Lynch or Cal’s Jared Goff. The clear choice would be Lynch over Goff. Lynch is the definition of effective and has only turned the ball over three times this season.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss Rebels*
Nkemdiche is going to be an interesting prospect to watch throughout the draft process. When healthy and trouble free, the Ole Miss defensive tackle is a Top 3 prospect in the NFL Draft. However, will we see him fall because of off the field incidents? Right now, I have Nkemdiche falling a bit because of his recent off the field incident. Also, Jerry Jones has never been scared to draft (or sign) with off the field incidents (I.E. Randy Gregory and Greg Hardy).
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Just like Marcus Mariota in Tennessee, Matthew Stafford has also been sacked a total of 35 times this season (5th in NFL). Offensive line help will definitely be a point of emphasis this offseason. Detroit will need to choose between Ronnie Stanley and Vernon Hargreaves III with the 7th overall pick. Since Stafford is the key, protecting him is a must to win. Stanley might need to improve his strength, but is an athletic lineman. He’ll help with Detroit’s protection from Day One.
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State Buckeyes
If there’s one word that best describes Taylor Decker, it’s “tough.” If Dan Campbell is hired by the Dolphins this offseason, Decker’s toughness will speak to Campbell. Protecting Tannehill hasn’t be the strong point for Miami this season. He too has been sacked a total of 35 times in 2015.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida Gators*
There’s no pick in this entire mock draft that makes more sense than Hargreaves to Jacksonville. Jacksonville will most likely get Dante Fowler Jr. back next season (which helps their pass rush), and they’ll need a corner to man their secondary. Yes, Hargreaves is smaller at 5’11”, 199 lbs. However, he doesn’t let that set him back in any way.
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon Ducks
This is a pick I’ve been projecting since my “Way-To-Early” mock draft before the season started. Pass rusher is going to be the #1 for the Bears, and Buckner fits their 3-4 scheme like a glove. It doesn’t hurt that Buckner can also get it done in the backfield, posting 12 TFLs in his nine Pac-12 conference games.
Jared Goff, QB, Cal Golden Bears*
In a perfect world for St. Louis, Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell falls to them at 11th overall. However, he’s not on the board at this point in this mock draft. This means Jeff Fisher and the Rams have a decision to make: draft their WR1 at #11 or draft their future QB at #11? Although Foles is under contract until 2017, the wide receiver pool is a little deeper than the QB pool this draft. Because of that, the Rams take Goff, who can develop for a year or two under Nick Foles.
Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish*
The Saints defense hasn’t done too good of a job stopping opposing passing attacks this season. This means that cornerback is a need for the Saints, but an outside pass rusher would be their #1 need. Jaylon Smith would be a no brainer pick for the Saints at #12 overall. Don’t let Smith’s 4.5 career sacks fool you. He can get after the quarterback in the backfield.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson Tigers*
Right now, the future of JPP in New York is uncertain. Even if the Giants bring him back for 2016, they’ll need address defensive end in the draft or free agency. Lawson is a DE who has made quite the leap in Clemson undefeated season. Posting 22.5 TFLs, Lawson is a prospect who can make an impact for teh Giants D from Day One.
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson Tigers*
After going offense with his 1st round pick in 2015, Lovie Smith will be inching to draft defense in 2016. The one defensive position Tampa Bay could be forced to prioritize is the cornerback position. Although Alexander is undersized, he’s an athletic and tough CB. He’d fit nicely into Lovie’s Tampa 2 defense.
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA Bruins*
After tearing his ACL in September, Myles Jack immediately declared for the NFL Draft. The Falcons need a LB who can develop into a leader on defense, and Jack could provide just that. With his health being the main issues, he could end up in the Top 20 easily if healthy come draft day.
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Gerogia Bulldogs*
There’s no hole bigger than the one at QB for Chip Kelly’s Eagles. However, none of the ones available at 16th overall would be worth using that pick on. Last year, pass rushing was a big need for Philly and should stay a need for them this year. Floyd might need to improve taking on blacks as an edge rusher, but his potential as one jumps right off the page.
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU Tigers*
White is no stranger to facing elite competition during his time in LSU (including Oakland’s Amari Cooper). Oakland could make CB a top need because of the lack of performance from 2013 first round pick D.J. Hayden. White is a first round talent with amazing closing speed on ball in the air.
Jake Conklin, OT, Michigan State Spartans*
This year’s draft has four offensive tackles who are clear top tier talents (Tunsil, Stnaley, Decker, and Conklin). With three of them off the board and their need of a RT, I don’t see the Bills passing up on Jake Conklin at 18th overall. Conklin could benefit from staying at Michigan State, but has a nice massive frame to develop into a quality OT talent in the NFL.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes*
To me, this is the most interesting pick in this mock draft. Houston has a few different moves they could make. They could draft a quarterback (Hackenberg?), they could draft the running back to take over for injury-plagued Arian Foster, or they could add to their already stacked defense. Houston can get a QB in rounds two or three. Foster is on the way out due to injuries and Elliott would be a steal for the Texans at 19th overall.
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Hokies*
The Steelers will need to address the cornerback position either through the draft or free agency this offseason. Kendall Fuller is a corner who can play outside or in the slot and finished with nine interceptions and 24 pass breakups over two seasons. The only questions with Fuller is his health. He tore his ACL during week 3 this season.
Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky Colonels*
Top need for the Jets this offseason should be the outside linebacker position. Noah Spence would be the BPA at OLB on the board at 21st overall. Spence is a first round talent and a “slippery rusher.” However, he has had problems with drug abuse in the past, but has cleaned up his habits since leaving Ohio State.
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State Buckeyes*
Last year, Minnesota got an absolute steal in Maryland WR Stefon Diggs. Now, it’s time to get him (and Teddy) some help on the outside. The choice will be between Baylor’s Corey Coleman and Ohio State’s Michael Thomas. Coleman might have the deep ball ability, but Thomas has a more solid build and can work over the middle of the field as well.
Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Is any inside linebacker having a better season than Reggie Ragland? So far, he has 90 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles. KC’s #1 need will be offensive line, but will go to need #2 with the top tier OTs off the board. Ragland has explosive power and speed. However, he’ll need to improve still in coverage.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama Crimson Tide*
The four main needs for Seattle this offseason will be wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, and defensive tackle. Three of those position have seen top prospect get draft, except for defensive tackle. Robinson is built like a Red Box and can push the pocket better than any DT prospect in this draft.
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor Bears*
Kirk Cousin has been a surprise for the Redskins this season. Although he might not be the long term solution, he’s the band aid that makes the QB position not a huge need this offseason. One of the other needs for Washington is receiver. Coleman would be available and could give the Skins another deep threat opposition DeSean Jackson.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide*
Ready for the shock pick of this mock draft? Frank Gore hasn’t been the running back Indy thought he’d be this season. With Gore getting older, the Colts could decide to move on at that position. Heisman Winner Derrick Henry could give the Colts offense a spark that it hasn’t had in many years. Henry runs like Mack truck and could compliment Andrew Luck nicely in Indy.
Su’a Cravens, OLB, USC Trojans*
Cravens is a bit of a tweener. However, he’s shown flashes as a pass rusher coming off of the edge (5.5 sacks). The Packers need another player to help rush the passer with Clay Matthews. Cravens’ athleticism could be a nice boost to Green Bay’s defense.
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M Aggies*
It’s still unclear what the Broncos plan to do this offseason (or regular season) with their QB. However, there’s a good chance Brock Osweiler returns as Denver’s future starting QB. Coach Gary Kubiak also stresses the importance of running the ball with his offense. Ifedi is a thickly built lineman who wall off run lanes to help Kubiak’s offense achieve what he wants.
Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame Fighting Irish*
I’ll be the first to admit. This may be a bit of a reach for the Bengals. However, they need a receiver to be their true #2 along side AJ Green. Fuller is a vertical threat and has a special ability for drawing defensive penalties. His ball position skills are also very good and they make defenders go through him to make a play.
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State Bison
Let’s be honest, Carson Palmer isn’t getting any younger. Sooner-or-later, the Cardinals will need to think about drafting his heir apparent. Wentz has climbed up draft board since the beginning of the season and would fit nicely into Bruce Arians scheme. Wentz is not ready to start Day 1 for Arizona, but could develop while Palmer finishes his career (much like Farve and Rodgers).
Jason Springs, OT, Indiana Hoosiers
Springs is a senior OT talent who can block in both the run and the passing games. He’s a quick and agile tackle who might need to adjust to the physicality of the NFL game.
Agree with your team’s selection? Disagree? Let us know down in the comments section!