by Peyton Gallaher
1. Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff QB California
For picks 1 and 2 we have trades. This means teams are desperate to get the QB they want. The Rams have indicated, at times, that they prefer Goff, even though I don’t. However, I see what they like. Quick release, a great football mind, and pin point accuracy are all reasons to justify picking this Cal. QB at numero uno.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz QB NDSU
Philly traded up with Cleveland to get from eight to two. Like the trade between the Titans and Rams, this means the Eagles want to take a quarter back. The clear one and two are Goff and Wentz and since Goff is already taken they will happily accept Carson Wentz. I believe he is the best QB in this class.
3. San Diego Chargers
Joey Bosa DE Ohio St.
Here is where things get interesting. Jalen Ramsey could very well be the play for San Diego. However, I’m not as sold on it as many others. I think they take Bosa and are happy with that. The Buckeye is a good enough edge presence but he’s an incredible run stopper and ultimately a great football player. Joey Bosa is the most NFL ready player left and he makes a whole lot of sense at this spot.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Jalen Ramsey S/CB Florida St.
Taking the versatile talent Byron Jones last year to improve the secondary was a start but the defensive backfield is still depleted in Dallas. Ramsey is a super athlete with the ability to slot in at safety and corner at the next level. He’s got range and can cover distance quickly to make plays in pass and run defense. Jalen Ramsey can fill a big void for a team looking to make a jump to the post-season in 2016/17.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
DeForest Buckner DE/DT Oregon
With additions like corner, Prince Amukamara and end, Malik Jackson in free agency, the Jags have effectively bulked up a defensive unit to go with last year’s surprisingly prolific offense. They need one more piece and Buckner is that guy.
The 11-inch hands, no-stop motor, and great pad level make him an ideal prospect. I compare him to Leonard Williams who was outstanding in his rookie year with the Jets. (BTW Williams was my top prospect a year ago)
6. Baltimore Ravens
Laremy Tunsil LT Ole Miss
Baltimore is the direct beneficiary of the Titans choice to trade down. With Tennessee moving out of the top 10 no one else in front of the Ravens has a pressing need for a tackle. Potentially the best player in this draft, Tunsil has rare length and athleticism for his position. The rebel left tackle could be an immediate plug and play answer for the whole left by Kelechi Osemele.
Murmurs around the league suggest Ronnie Stanley is above Laremy on some teams’ boards so he is also in play here.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Myles Jack MLB UCLA
I think he’s the second best player in this draft but rumors in the scouting community have it that Jack’s knee isn’t healing well and have de-railed his draft stock a little bit. However, if healthy, Jack is an elite “anything” on the football field.
He can play all positions from corner to middle linebacker and that versatility is extremely valuable in today’s NFL. I think he slots in perfectly for the 49ers, wherever they want to put him, even though it’s speculated he could slide into the mid-teens.
8. Cleveland Browns
LaQuon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
Treadwell has gone way under the radar in this entire draft process. Whether it be his reserved personality or his average combine numbers, I can’t tell you, but somehow he’s alienated people.
I don’t see what’s wrong. He does everything well and with a great attitude. Cleveland needs a receiver for RG3 and who knows when Josh Gordon will be back if ever. Treadwell would be the perfect answer.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
Stanley, like Tunsil, is really raw. Despite this, it’s hard to deny his potential and athletic ability. He appears coachable. He improved dramatically every year in South Bend and could become an incredible value pick at nine if his skills continue to grow. Also, it’s always smart to get a great left tackle to go with a young franchise QB in Jameis Winston.
10. New York Giants
Ezekiel Elliot RB Ohio St
A stable of decent running backs couldn’t cut it in the Big Apple last year. The G-men have added defensively but the offense still has big gaps. One is on the offensive line and I get that this needs to be addressed. But you only get so many chances to draft players like Elliot. He answers a lot of questions for this offense and creates a deadly play action option.
11. Chicago Bears
Vernon Hargreaves CB Florida
Concerns about measurables, like straight line speed (4.50 in 40) and short arms (30 and 5/8 inches) have scared scouts away from Hargreaves. Once thought to be a lock in the top ten, his stock has tapered significantly in the last few months.
I’m going to get up on my soap box now and say WATCH THE TAPE. His cover skills are incredible and he’s not afraid to lower the boom if need be. I think he will slide but the Bears will be happy to add the best pure corner in the 2016 draft to their secondary.
12. New Orleans Saints
Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
This is easily the most disgustingly bad defense I can recant. Bottom of the league in almost every statistical category, the unit is almost completely devoid of talent.
Lawson is a versatile pass rusher with a diverse collection of rushing moves and he can potentially become a cornerstone player. In a division with Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, and Jameis Winston, if you don’t have pass rush you’re already dead in the water.
13. Miami Dolphins
William Jackson III CB Houston
Compare him to Marcus Peters or Patrick Peterson. Boom or bust, that’s what you get. William Jackson is a play maker and it’s clear as soon as you start to watch him. Unfortunately, a side effect of his advantageous play style is that he is susceptible to gambling in coverage resulting in breakdowns and big plays for opposing offenses.
The positive is that he gambles successfully most of the time. The potential is there and Miami needs a corner after Brent Grimes’ departure this off season. Jackson could be just the playmaker the Dolphins need.
14. Oakland Raiders
Darron Lee OLB Ohio St
This pick was specifically hard to figure out. In light of recent free agent moves, the Raiders have pretty much filled out a championship contending roster. They just don’t have that many holes. Here is what I figured: Darron Lee is a good football player and you can’t have too many of those.
He’s got the ability to play inside and outside linebacker, is good at finding the football, and can rush the passer alright. Lee could be a nice compliment to Bruce Irvin in the linebacking core.
15. Tennessee Titans
Jack Conklin OT Michigan St.
We’ve known since the 2015-16 season started that Tennessee sorely needed a tackle. Due to a medley of injuries and lack of solidity, Taylor Lewan was largely ineffective and it got rookie franchise quarter back Marcus Mariota killed.
Conklin, a former walk-on at Michigan State, is a consistent force in the trenches and handled top pass rushers like Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, and DeForest Buckner very well in his time in East Lansing. He’s the best tackle available so the Titans need to pull trigger and not think twice about it.
16. Detroit Lions
Josh Doctson WR TCU
The loss of Calvin Johnson will hit the Lions hard. Megatron has been the life blood of the Detroit offense for the better part of a decade. Golden Tate is a good option but he’s not a jump ball guy; but Josh Doctson is. He’s got the best ball skills in the class and is a player the Lions shouldn’t pass on. However, I think it’s reasonable if they take an offensive line man like Taylor Decker.
17. Atlanta Falcons
Karl Joseph S West Virginia
My favorite player in the class and it’s not close. I love how aggressive Joseph plays. He throws his body around with reckless abandon with one goal in mind and that is to make you hurt. Atlanta’s defense needs a shot in the arm and Joseph is the perfect piece to jump start a complete overhaul. Compare him to a smaller Kam Chancellor.
18. Indianapolis Colts
Reggie Ragland MLB Alabama
The colts need everything defensively except corners. The best way to start a defensive rebuild is to establish a presence in the middle of the field and Reggie Ragland personifies that. An old school thumping linebacker, Ragland can set a tone and bandage a defense that ranked No. 25 in rush defense last year.
19. Buffalo Bills
Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
Losing Mario Williams leaves a hole in the front line. If we know Rex Ryan he will be chomping at the bit to once more rev up his pass rush. Dodd was a one year wonder at Clemson but what he showed was spectacular.
As a junior at Clemson, he racked up 12 sacks but only got better as the year progressed as he totaled four sacks throughout the college football playoff. Dodd is a good fit in the Bills 3-4 defense and should be an immediate asset in getting after Tom Brady and the rest of the division next season.
20. New York Jets
Eli Apple CB Ohio St.
Great ball skills, fantastic length, and an ability to make plays when the defense needs it most are all reasons to like Apple. Antonio Cromartie was released this off season to save cap and Buster Skrine is far better suited to play the nickel. Eli Apple sneakily makes sense and is the kind of corner that Todd Bowl’s loves. Eli Apple would be a great find for the Jets.
21. That Team in Washington
Leonard Floyd OLB Georgia
Arguably the hottest player in the class, Floyd has been flying up boards across the league. As the draft Cold War continues and teams continue to look for an X-factor prototype, athletes tend to rise and that’s what’s happening. I can’t deny Floyd’s athletic ability and his promising frame but I can hesitate when you look at him play.
He’s got skills no doubt, but he lacked consistency in his college career and he fails to do one particular thing at an elite level. However, he’s still a good player and the franchise in Washington could use his multi-faceted skill set to add to an underwhelming front 7.
22. Houston Texans
Andrew Billings DT Baylor
Andrew Billings is a bulldozer. His physical strength and technique in handling interior blockers is astounding. I believe in a class that’s not as deep on the defensive line would see him picked in the top 10.
The Texans need a counter punch to take some of the heat off JJ Watt and frankly Jared Crick and Vince Wilfork aren’t getting that done. The more you think about it the more Billings makes sense.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Ryan Kelly C Alabama
Much like Oakland, the Vikings don’t have too many needs. You can make a strong case for a wideout, but Coleman, the next best option, is primarily a deep ball orientated receiver and Stefon Diggs already does that.
That said, I think they wait until round two to get a toy for Teddy Bridgewater. They do have a gap at center and Kelly, although it may be a reach, is the best center available. He’s a good leader, smart, and a mauling presence in the run game.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Corey Coleman WR Baylor
Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones both left for greener pastures in free agency and they leave behind a depleted receiver core for 2015-16. If AJ Green and his jump ball ability is Batman, let Coleman and his speed be Robin. Coleman can stretch a defense out and make things easier for a run game that took a big step back last year.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
The Steelers need a corner and Mackensie Alexander is a really good one. As cliché as it is, he will lock you up and throw away the key. For some, no interceptions in two years as a starting corner for Dabo Swinney is a red flag, but not for me.
In college, teams just didn’t test him at all and that’s typically a good indicator for a player’s ability. Mackensie Alexander has the potential to be the missing piece that can make a good young defense great.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Taylor Decker OT Ohio St.
The Seahawks offensive line was woeful during the early part of the season but consistently improved as the year progressed. A slow start is not something this bunch can afford next season without stud running back Marshawn Lynch to bail them out.
Not an easy task, considering Seattle lost Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung to the Broncos. Decker is an animal who wills opposing pass rushers into submission with sheer grit and nastiness and could massively help the Seahawks reload their offensive line.
27. Green Bay Packers
Jarran Reed DT Alabama
The Packers are another team in the market for beef up front. BJ Raji is taking a break from football leaving a giant fissure in the middle of the defensive line. Reed is just another great defensive tackle that’s been covered up by the depth of this draft class. A marriage is made.
28. Kansas City Chiefs
Robert Nkemdiche DT Ole Miss
The best talent in this class but also the most perplexing off-the-field problems. We all know the story and it’s staggering to say the least. Kansas City doesn’t really have anything to lose here. They can afford to take a risk on Nkemdiche because of the other stars on the defensive side.
Dontari Poe is set to fetch big money this off season and the Chiefs will try to retain his services, alongside all-pro safety Eric Berry. Would it be all that bad to have a ready-made replacement at nose tackle?
29. Arizona Cardinals
A’Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
I believe that the Cardinals are a piece or two away upfront, from being Houston bound for Super Bowl 51. After picking up Chandler Jones already this off season, you can get a nice running mate (Robinson was a terrific high school basketball player) up front. I compare A’Shawn to a younger, fitter, more athletic Vince Wilfork.
30. Carolina Panthers
Kendall Fuller CB Virginia Tech
Since Carolina let Josh Norman walk, the corner position has become an alarming roster hole. The current projected starters (via ESPN) are Bene Benwikere and Brandon Boykin. Not good.
Fuller was a top 15 pick coming into the year but injuries and inconsistency wore down his stock, like a JJ Watt bull rush. However, I believe Fuller has all the ability to be a solid, lock up corner in the NFL. He’s the best first round caliber corner left at this juncture and the Panthers desperately need one.
31. Denver Broncos
Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
A certain disgruntled QB in Philly named Sam Bradford complicates things, but I still think Elway goes under center with this pick. He checks a ton of boxes for me with his incredible height and arm strength. However, he’s got issues.
Bad footwork highlights a laundry list of kinks that need to be ironed out before Paxton should start in the league. Lynch is a project but he can sit for a year or two behind Mark Sanchez or whoever the quarter back may be next year. He’s better than Trevor Simeon.
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