clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NFL mock draft: A new direction for the No. 1 pick

New, comments

The draft is still more than 100 days away, so we still have no idea what will happen. With that in mind, this week's mock has several notable changes.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2016 NFL Playoff Guide

Considering the 2016 NFL Draft is still more than 100 days away, it's important to not get too settled into having the same players going to the same teams in a mock draft every week. With that in mind, this week's mock has several changes, including a new No. 1 pick.

It's hard to get locked into what Tennessee is going to do considering the team doesn't have a head coach or general manager. At this stage, all we're really doing is making a guess. Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil may remain the best logical guess, but the choice is not a certainty.

There are some other intentional changes this week, just to see how it mixes everything else up. Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was dropped some due to the severity of his knee injury. The quarterbacks go in a different order this week, with San Francisco passing on one at No. 7. Finally, since we know the official order through pick No. 24, the back half of the first round has several changes.

1. Tennessee Titans: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

If you go purely by taking the best player available, Bosa should be the choice for the Titans first overall. He's a big-impact defensive end who can rush the passer with speed and power.

2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California

Goff would be the third quarterback drafted in the first round by the Browns since 2012, but maybe this one will stick. Unlike the previous two for Cleveland – Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel – Goff is known for his mental prowess on the field.

SB Nation presents: 2016 NFL Draft early studs and sleepers

3. San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Any type of fall for Tunsil in the draft won't last too long. Tunsil grades out higher than any offensive tackle prospect since Tyron Smith in 2011. Tunsil is the total package with quick feet and a big frame. For the Chargers he'd protect Philip Rivers and let the team make one big final push with the veteran quarterback.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

The Cowboys could use a player like Ramsey at either safety or cornerback, and he'd make an impact straight away. If they like him at corner, it would allow Byron Jones to be a full-time safety. If the preference is to put Ramsey at safety – which I view as his better NFL position – Jones can stay at cornerback. Regardless, Ramsey would go a long way in fixing Dallas' secondary woes.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Ramsey being gone would push the Jaguars in a different direction with the fifth pick. Alexander is a sensational cornerback prospect who will likely have better measurables than Florida's Vernon Hargreaves. Whether it's fair always comes into play in the draft.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Despite the best efforts to change up this week's mock, it's hard to see Baltimore not taking an offensive tackle with their first pick. The last time the team picked an offensive tackle that high it worked out pretty well with Jonathan Ogden. Stanley may not be Ogden, but he's an athletic pass blocker who just needs to tweak his technique a little bit.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

If we think the 49ers are going to pass on a quarterback in the first round, a risky gamble, where do they look? At wide receiver, the team has 35-year-old Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, a No. 2 receiver at best. Treadwell could be the top option for whoever is making the throws.

8. Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Hargreaves is going to be tricky to project if he measures short at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Jason Verrett of the Chargers, for instance, graded out high but fell to the 20s after coming at 5'9. For now, Hargreaves' pure talent and potential keeps him in the top 10.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

With the three defensive backs off the board, the Buccaneers turn to the draft's second-best defensive end in Buckner. It's a position Tampa Bay just hasn't been able to figure out for years. Buckner is an imposing end with his size and freaky athleticism. The hope for Tampa is that he becomes the next Simeon Rice, a comparison that may not be too much of a stretch for Buckner.

10. New York Giants: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA

This is another difficult pick because there isn't a head coach in place in New York. With the two ends gone, the lean becomes a playmaking linebacker. Jack has superstar potential, assuming the knee injury he's been rehabbing isn't too problematic for him.

11. Chicago Bears: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

With this pick the assumption is that Smith will be able to bounce back fine from the severe injury he suffered in Notre Dame's bowl game. The opinion on his health situation is arguably the biggest storyline of draft season. Healthy, Smith is a top 10 pick. If there are concerns, he could plummet. Landing in Chicago feels like a happy medium for now. He would solve Chicago's longtime issues at inside linebacker, and give the team a strong piece to build around.

12. New Orleans Saints:  A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Last week's mock draft had the Saints taking Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss. But if they have too many questions about his character, there's nothing wrong with taking Robinson. He's a big and nasty defensive tackle, capable of helping fix one of the league's worst run defenses.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

It was really tempting to go with a quarterback here. Instead, the choice is Decker, a tackle who can come in and play on the left or right side. Maybe a teammate of his can be brought in later in the draft at quarterback.

14. Oakland Raiders: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

Ragland would be another slam dunk pick for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. He's a plug-and-play option at inside linebacker capable of playing all three downs and leading the defense.

15. St. Louis Rams: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Could Nick Foles be one and done in St. Louis? Probably not considering the cap hit his release would cause, but he could be a decent enough stopgap with Lynch developing. The tools Lynch possesses – size, athleticism, a strong enough arm – make him purely the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft this year. If his pocket presence and footwork can be fixed a little bit, watch out.

16. Detroit Lions: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Nkemdiche's pure talent is good enough for teams to potentially overlook any off-field transgression. He can split gaps really well and is powerful enough to keep his gap responsibility against the run.

SB Nation presents: How to deal with a draft night free fall

17. Atlanta Falcons: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

This has not been ideal draw for Atlanta, with the three top linebackers and the better defensive linemen being off the board. Lawson isn't a bad fallback, however. He's big enough to handle playing the five-technique role and would give Atlanta another pass rusher. He could be their version of Michael Bennett.

18. Indianapolis Colts: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Offensive line is often a popular choice for the Colts, but this week is about changing things up. Elliott would help balance the Colts offense in a big way. He's a big and powerful runner who can break into the open field on a big run at any time.

19. Buffalo Bills: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

This pick is assuming the Bills don't re-sign left tackle Cordy Glenn. If not, Conklin could be brought in as a rookie starter to protect Tyrod Taylor.

20. New York Jets: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Jets head coach Todd Bowles has talked about wanting to get faster on defense next season, and Spence would be a start in that direction. He's arguably the draft's top pure pass rusher after Bosa and would slot in at outside linebacker in New York. Georgia's Leonard Floyd makes some sense as well.

21. Washington: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

Washington's defense needs some players who can make an impact, and that's Allen's specialty. He has 12 sacks this season and can line up outside in a three-man front or inside in a four-man front. He's not just a pass rusher either. Allen has the strength to get off blockers and stop the running back.

22. Houston Texans: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

This is another repeat pick from last week, but I just like it too much. Wentz returned on Saturday after missing several weeks with an injury. There's not much separating Wentz from Lynch, and the first round isn't out of the question for the Bison quarterback. He's a big and athletic signal caller who can put some zip on his throws.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

Minnesota has a good young receiver in Stefon Diggs, but it's clear the Vikings need a wide receiver who can be open at any time. Thomas has the size and leaping ability that will let Teddy Bridgewater toss the ball up, even when it looks like the Ohio State receiver isn't open.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

With Andrew Billings indicating last month that he's returning for his senior season at Baylor, Clark becomes arguably the draft's best nose tackle prospect. He can come into Cincinnati and star next to Geno Atkins as a run-stuffing force.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Both Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy are free agents after the season, so Seattle could go looking for offensive line fixes. Spriggs is a three-year starter at left tackle and an incredible athlete for the position. Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable could really mold Spriggs into a star blocker.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Pittsburgh seems to have an affinity for Ohio State, with four Buckeyes on the defense. Apple would be a good choice for No. 5. He entered the draft following his redshirt sophomore season, and projects well to the pros because of his size and athleticism.

27. Green Bay Packers: Spencer Drango, OT/G, Baylor

It's clear Green Bay has struggled on offense because the offensive line depth has under-performed. Drango can play guard or tackle, and could push for a starting spot immediately.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

As well as he's played, it's still no guarantee Derrick Johnson is back in Kansas City next season. The 33-year-old is a free agent after the season, and the Chiefs have high dollar free agents this offseason in safety Eric Berry and cornerback Sean Smith. Lee could be brought in on the cheap and the Chiefs wouldn't lose much, especially in regard to pass coverage.

29. Denver Broncos: Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

Derek Wolfe approaches free agency, and could price himself out of Denver. If he does, a player like Reed would be a nice addition. He can play anywhere along the line in a three-man front, and has the strength to stop the run.

30. Arizona Cardinals: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

With the 30th pick in the draft Ogbah would be too good to pass up. He's a good all-around end who gives high effort on every play. In Arizona he could split time with someone like Frostee Rucker, who only has one year left on his contract.

31. Carolina Panthers: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

We're still waiting to hear whether White is going pro, but he has first round talent. Don't forget, Josh Norman is a free agent after this season for the Panthers. He's going to cash in big and the other corners in Carolina aren't that spectacular.

*Remember, there are only 31 picks in the first round this year after New England lost their pick as part of the DeflateGate punishment.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NFL NEWSLETTER

Get all kinds of NFL stories, rumors, game coverage, and inane comments from the NFL media in your inbox every day.