Man, does a lot change in a month! Since we published our second mock draft in February, the prospects worked out at the NFL Combine in Indy, free agents have begun to find new homes, and some Pro Days are beginning.
This is the time of year where we can get a better understanding of the prospects and which directions the NFL teams could be going in the draft!
Here’s my third mock draft of the year.
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State Seminoles
With Bosa’s less than stellar performance at the NFL Combine, the door is wide open for Tunsil to become the #1 overall pick, right? Most people may be ready to crown the Ole Miss offensive tackle. However, there could be another player who may challenge him for the NFL Draft throne. The Titans have needs at cornerback and safety, and Jalen Ramsey could be a perfect solution. He’s athletic, fast (4.41 40-yard dash), and has a solid frame (6-foot-1, 209 pounds). There’s also a good chance Tennessee can find the protector for Mariota at 33rd overall in the draft.
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State Bison
The biggest need for the Browns in this draft is quarterback. Duh! After the NFL Combine, the question is still between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. It all comes down to personal preference for Hue Jackson’s squad. Wentz is athletic with bigger hands for grip, but Goff is more experienced against stronger competition and has a stronger arm. Not only do I like Wentz more than Goff, but I think Hue Jackson does too. Although, Jackson could go OT or DE if the Browns can trade for Colin Keapernick.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss Rebels
It may not be the biggest area of need for the Chargers. However, there’s no way you pass up on Tunsil if he falls to 3rd overall. Tunsil would give San Diego a shot in the arm when it comes to protecting franchise quarterback Phillip Rivers. However, they could try to trade the pick in there’s a team willing to move up to grab the Mississippi tackle at #3.
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon Ducks
The Cowboys need a few things, but one of them is impact defenders. Because Tunsil fell to 3rd, Jerry Jones can have his pick between three solid defenders. He could go top need with Vernon Hargreaves III or with DE help with either DeForest Buckner or Joey Bosa. Yes, Buckner may be a better fit for a 3-4 scheme. Although, he’s been climbing up draft boards and is currently ranked ahead of Bosa in most mock drafts.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida Gators
The clear overall need for the Jaguars is secondary help (cornerback or safety). Because of that, they’ll be happy with either Ramsey or Hargreaves. Hargreaves is a man-to-man corner that Jacksonville can stick against any team’s #1 receiver. This team needs someone who can defend against #1 receivers in their division, DeAndre Hopkins, Dorial Green-Beckham, and TY Hilton.
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Joey Bosa watch officially begins with the Ravens at #6 in the draft. The question is: “Do the Ravens go with BPA over fit at #6?” Personally, I’d go need if I were the Ravens. The keys to success for this team runs through Joe Flacco. They need to protect him and Stanley can do just that with his big frame and long arms. Other options for Baltimore include: 1) drafting DE Joey Bosa or 2) trading back in the draft to stockpile picks.
Jared Goff, QB, Cal Golden Bears
There seems to be a lot of trouble by the Bay when it comes to the 49ers and QB Colin Keapernick. This situation could handcuff Chip Kelly when the #7 pick rolls around. Bosa would be the BPA pick and a steal at 7th overall, but the 49ers can’t survive without a quarterback. This is why San Francisco drafts Jared Goff. Goff is an accurate passer with a smooth release point. Kelly may want to take Bosa here, but may need to take Goff.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes
The first pick for the Eagles was an easy one when they were selecting at 13th overall. However, Philly made a deal with the Miami Dolphins this week to move Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, and the 13th overall pick for the 8th overall pick. So now what do they do because OT would be a REACH at #8? One option could be grabbing OSU RB Ezekiel Elliott. The team did just trade Murray to Tennessee. They do still have Ryan Matthews though and could go elsewhere with this pick. Another possible option could be DE Joey Bosa.
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Bosa’s fall makes the #9 pick an interesting one for Tampa Bay. The team needs both a CB and a DE on defense, but secondary might be the greater of the two. The Bucs have some serious QBs and WRs they need to defend against in their division. Apple has the size NFL teams desire and can run with almost any receiver on the field. When you face Julio Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, and the duo of Brandin Cooks/Willie Snead, you need a CB who has the ability to keep up with them down the field.
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA Bruins
Not only did New York re-sign JPP this offseason, but they also gabbed former Dolphin DE Olivier Vernon as well. Because of this, DE is no longer a need (DUH!) for the Giants. Now, it’s the linebacker position. Myles Jack is a linebacker who can play all over the field. In today’s NFL, teams need defensive guys who can do just that. Jack would be a need playmaker for the G-Men at the second level.
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State Buckeyes
THE FALL IS FINALLY OVER!!!!! Joey Bosa is a member of the Chicago Bears! Just like in one of my previous mocks, this pick has a bit of history tied into it. As most of you may know by this point, Bosa’s times at the combine were eerily similar to DPOY JJ Watt. To make the comparison come full circle, Bosa goes 11th overall just as JJ Watt did in 2011. This would be an absolute steal for the Bears who would be getting an outstanding pass rusher to fill their top need.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama Crimson Tide
Any defense player here for the Saints could be seen as a positive, but some would obviously been seen as a reach. Robinson is a safe pick on defense for a team looking to change their identity on defense. Yes, CB may be more of a need in the fans eyes, but nothing beats a big D-lineman who can plug up holes on the line. Robinson does just that and could be the anchor for New Orleans on the line defensive for years to come.
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson Tigers
For the moment, I kind of like what the Dolphins did in their trade with Philly. For one pick, you get two proven vets (when healthy) and a chance to select the position they would have taken with the 8th overall pick. Dolphin fans might have been happier with Eli Apple, but Alexander isn’t a bad pick at #13. He’s got the all-around talent. He just lacks ideal size at the CB position and isn’t an INT machine.
Jake Conklin, OT, Michigan State Spartans
With four of the draft’s top cornerbacks off the board, it puts Oakland in a difficult situation. The team really could use an early round CB, but the next CB would be a reach. Instead, they’ll look at the offensive line. Conklin drops a spot because of the Dolphins-Eagles trade, but still finds a home. Derek Carr is the future in Oakland, and the team NEEDS to protect him.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss Rebels
Unless Peyton Manning pulls a page out of the Brett Farve playbook, it looks like the team will be needing a solid option at the quarterback position. However, Paxton Lynch may be too much of a reach for the #15 pick in the draft. Lucky for them, Laquon Treadwell has been falling in this mock because he didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indy. His stock may rise back up after he runs the 40 at his pro day on March 28th. However, for now, the Rams get a #1 quality receiver with the 15th overall pick in the draft.
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State Buckeyes
If you’re a Lions fan, you’re praying that the Rams select Paxton Lynch with the 15th pick in the draft. That’s because then your team can select Treadwell as the replacement to Calvin Johnson who officially retired today. Although, you’ll have to settle for protecting Matthew Stafford instead of giving him a target to throw to. Decker fills that hole and more so the team’s exact hole at the right tackle position.
Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Although it wasn’t too long ago, it seems to be forever since the Falcons had one of the more solid linebacking corps in the entire NFL. Ragland could be a guy to bring strength to the linebacking corp starting at its core. He’s a smart, tough, and contains amazing straight-line speed. He’d be a solid pick here, but other options for the Falcons could include 1) OLB Darron Lee and 2) DE Shaq Lawson.
Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State Buckeyes
With Tunsil, Stanley, Conklin, and Decker off the board, the Colts have two options at #18. These options include: 1) reaching for the next best OT on their draft board or 2) draft BPA. Jason Springs would be a bit of a reach for #18. This is why I have the Colts going BPA with OLB Darron Lee. Outside linebacker is another need for the Colts and Lee could fit it nicely. There’s a good chance this explosive and versatile OLB could have went at 17th to Atlanta. That makes him an even better value at 18th overall for Indy.
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville Cardinals
The #19 pick is officially where the Robert Nkemdiche watch could begin. Buffalo needs a defensive lineman, but is Nkemdiche’s off the field issues worth it here in the draft. I say no and have the Bills taking Sheldon Rankins instead. Rankins is a versatile D-lineman who has a combination of both quickness and power. He is highly underrated, but I could see Rex Ryan taking a stab on the DL product out of Louisville.
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Gerogia Bulldogs
This is a position where the pick could changed based on what the team is able to pull of during free agency. Will the Jets go with a running back, quarterback, or defensive line? I’ll give the Jets Leonard Floyd who is a prospect who can both pressure the QB or drop back into coverage. He may be a product that a team needs to work on, but Todd Bowles is up for the task. Bowles could mold Floyd into one of the better linebackers in the league.
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama Crimson Tide
Nothing has changed since my last mock. Reed fills a need for the Skins, but isn’t a lineman who will consistently rush the passer. He’s more similar to Robinson who went to New Orleans. He’s a nice stop gap up the middle versus the run which Washington could desperately need.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson Tigers
If the Adam Schefter’s sources are correct, Brock Osweiler could become a member of the Houston Texans. If that’s the case, then everyone can rule out Paxton Lynch to Houston at 22nd overall. Even without Brock signing with them, Houston will most likely go defense. Lawson is a possible Top 10 talent who falls to #22 (STEAL!!). He’s got a good first step, but isn’t the best athlete on the field.
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU Horned Frogs
Let me be clear…THE VIKINGS NEED TO DRAFT A WR WITH THEIR FIRST ROUND PICK IN THE DRAFT! Stefon Diggs was a great pick in 2015, and it’s time to take the guy who will play on the other side of the field for Teddy. Doctson is a great receiver when it comes to attacking the ball in midair and can develop into a quality deep ball threat.
Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Yes, the biggest need for the Bengals is wide receiver, and the team could draft Coleman or Fuller if they are high on the Bengals draft board. However, Vernon Butler would be a tough prospect to pass up at #24. At 6’4″, 323 pounds, Butler has the size to fit the nose tackle need in Cincy. He’s also got length (34-plus-inch arms) and upper body power (26 reps on bench press). Cincinnati would be wise to draft Butler for their NT and worry about the WR position in later rounds.
William Jackson III, CB, Houston Cougars
The Steelers have the power to set up exactly how the next two picks will go in the draft. This is because Pittsburgh needs so much. Right now, the top needs for the Steelers are CB, OLB, O-line, and (maybe) TE. Williams Jackson III was one of many players who came onto the draft scene with his NFL Combine performance. Jackson is the type of CB who can help the Steelers secondary in both cover and on the line against the run. Noah Spence could be another option for Pittsburgh here.
Jason Springs, OT, Indiana Hoosiers
This is a prime spot for Robert Nkemdiche to be drafted. However, he didn’t have the best of interviews at the combine, and the Seahawks have a bigger need at OT. At 26th, Springs might be a tiny reach, but nothing that would make people think this is a bad pick. He has the size and athleticism that makes him appealing to any NFL team. Russell Wilson is the franchise and protecting him is priority #1.
Noah Spence, OLB/DE, Eastern Kentucky Colonels
The top need for the Packers is someone to man their linebacking corp in the middle. However, Reggie Ragland is long gone and is the only ILB with a 1st Round grade. That means it’s to need #2 which is OLB. Now, Spence might not have had the best of combines, but he’s still has the potential to be an amazing puss rusher. Another option for Green Bay would be to draft Arkansas TE Hunter Henry.
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State Bulldogs
Just like the Seahawks, the Chiefs have the possibility to draft Robert Nkemdiche. Although, how much will his off the field issues and poor combine interview affect his draft stock? I have KC passing on him and drafting Chris Jones instead. Jones had a nice combine and one of the more interesting combine moments (WARNING: LINK IS NSFW). Now, Jones is a risky pick, especially compared to Nkemdiche. However, Chris Jones doesn’t have the off the field issues that Nkemdiche does.
Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State Buckeyes
The two biggest needs in Arizona this offseason will be safety and pass rushing. Other NFL experts have Boise State OLB Kamalei Correa climbing up into the first round here. However, I think the Cardinals will go safety if the right one is on the board. Bell is an elite cover safety with good recovery speed. For a team that was one game short of a Super Bowl appearance, Bell could start Day One to help the Cards reach their goal in 2016.
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State Cowboys
After losing Jared Allen this offseason, the Panthers need a DE to replace him. Ogbah has the length, quickness, and power to be an effective pass rusher and is amazing when he cuts loose. He’s only problem is inconsistency. Although, a terrific combine could boost him into discussion for the 30th overall pick. Germain Ifedi could be another option for the Carolina Panthers.
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas Razorbacks
It’s official. Owen Daniels is done in Denver. On top of that, Vernon Davis didn’t have the best of seasons in Denver after being traded from San Francisco. That means the Broncos are in the market for a TE and Hunter Henry would make a lot of sense to end the first round. If still on the board, another option for Denver could be Germain Ifedi as well.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss Rebels
Another fall ends to start the second round! After taking Wentz at #2, the Browns could definitely turn their attention to the defensive line in the second round. Njemdiche has fallen because of his off the field issues and less than stellar interview at the combine. However, he is a top talent and would be a nice pick at #32 for Cleveland. The question is can the Browns handle a guy with so many questions off the field.