It's April now and the 2016 NFL Draft is just a few more weeks away. With the NFL Combine, free agency and all but a handful of pro days in the rearview mirror, the outlook of many teams and prospects entering the draft are taking shape.
You might know me best for my mock draft pie charts, but I don't just compile mocks. This week I'm stepping in for Dan Kadar for my first mock draft of the year while he's spending time handling the SB Nation NFL bloggers mock draft.
While Kadar's most recent mock draft featured trades that sent three quarterbacks off the board in the first 13 picks, my mock draft is without trades and barely even includes three quarterbacks in the first round. We don't disagree on everything, though. Three of our first five picks are the same, including the man at the very top of the draft order.
1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
There are arguments that could be made for players like Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa. But at this point, it seems close to a foregone conclusion that the first pick will be used to protect the team's most important investment, Marcus Mariota. The 2015 first-round pick missed four games in his rookie season and dealt with injuries in both knees, so pairing Tunsil with Taylor Lewan is an easy decision.
2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
While Jared Goff might be the more NFL-ready quarterback after making strides in the Pac-12, the Browns can take the bigger, stronger quarterback and give him time to develop in the steep jump from the FCS to NFL. Robert Griffin III probably doesn't solve quarterback for the Browns, but the addition of a veteran at least affords the team a little more patience at the position.
3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Chargers probably have the worst defensive line in the NFL, and Buckner would give them a huge lineman with big potential. Allowing Kendall Reyes to walk in free agency and adding Brandon Mebane is a step in the right direction for the San Diego defensive line, but drafting a 6'7, 291-pound athlete like Buckner gives the Chargers some scheme versatility and a player who should be an immediate impact player, even if he's still a raw prospect as a pass rusher.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Randy Gregory may wind up being a good player for the Cowboys, but for now he's a player who can't be relied upon to stay out of trouble and on the field. The distraction of Greg Hardy didn't work too well either, so now the Cowboys need to add more defensive line talent. Cedric Thornton is a start, but Bosa could be the most productive NFL pass rusher of the draft class and a perfect fit in Rod Marinelli's defense.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
With so much young offensive talent and big free agent acquisitions, the Jaguars are becoming a chic pick to be a surprising contender in 2016. The defense still has a ways to go, though. Finding a pass rush is still probably the top priority for the Jaguars, but what they really need is to just add star talent wherever they can and Jack is the type of player who can run wild and affect so much. Paired with Telvin Smith, the Jaguars would instantly have one of the NFL's speediest and most athletic linebacking corps.
6. Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Adding Eric Weddle could be a big move for the Ravens defense, but ultimately he's a 31-year-old defensive back who made little impact in 2015. Even if he bounces back, Ramsey is a versatile talent who can contribute anywhere in the defense and help it bounce back after the team finished with six interceptions last year, the fewest in the NFL.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California
Colin Kaepernick trade or not, the Chip Kelly era in San Francisco would be best served with drafting a talented young quarterback after finishing 2015 with the fewest points scored. Outside of a disastrous game against Utah, Goff showed that he has poise in the pocket and good decision-making, and may be the only quarterback in the draft class ready to be a serious contributor as a rookie.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
One of the biggest mistakes that Chip Kelly made in Philadelphia was that he added offensive talent to a team that didn't have the offensive line to make things work. Both starting guards left in the offseason and the Eagles relied on Matt Tobin to take over -- it didn't work well. Brandon Brooks should improve things, but Stanley continues to shore up the unit and gives the Eagles an eventual replacement for Jason Peters, who turned 34 in January.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
The Buccaneers were severely lacking at cornerback in 2015, and tried to address the issue some by signing Brent Grimes and Josh Robinson in free agency. Neither player is a solution like Hargreaves would be, and the Buccaneers could immediately benefit after rotating through several players in 2015.
10. New York Giants: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Yes, the first receiver off the board isn't Laquon Treadwell, but why that's a surprise and not happening more often is something I'm still trying to figure out. Doctson is faster and more explosive, and with Treadwell's recent disappointing showings at the NFL Combine and his pro day, I wouldn't be surprised if the TCU product is the first receiver off the board. In New York he'd be paired with Odell Beckham Jr., giving the Giants a dangerous one-two punch.
11. Chicago Bears: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Bringing on inside linebackers was a priority in free agency for the Bears, but adding pass rushers on the outside is still a project yet to be completed. Most project Lawson to be a 4-3 defensive end, but as a standing pass rusher in Chicago he could add to a group that didn't have any player finish with double-digit sacks in 2015. His ability to play with his hand on the ground gives Vic Fangio some room for creativity, as well.
12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
Nick Fairley is a start, but no team surrendered more points last year than New Orleans and allowing fewer than 4.9 yards per carry has to be the top priority. Rankins is a plug-and-play defensive tackle who will upgrade the middle of the Saints defense, which needs to rebuilt from the inside out.
13. Miami Dolphins (via Eagles): Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Elliott in Miami is a match that makes so much sense that I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Dolphins try to trade up a few picks to make sure it happens. In the best case scenario where he makes it to No. 13, the Dolphins get the top running back in the draft class to replace Lamar Miller and pair with Jay Ajayi.
14. Oakland Raiders: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
If D.J. Hayden turns things around in Oakland and becomes the player the Raiders thought he would be when he was picked No. 13 overall in 2013, then the team will have a solid pair of cornerbacks with Sean Smith also now in the fold. But Apple would add competition to a team that finished No. 26 in passing yards allowed, and could allow Hayden to play in a nickel role.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The Rams insist they are sticking with Case Keenum for now, and I believe them enough to think they won't force a pick on a quarterback in the first round. Instead, this pick gives Keenum some help in the form of Treadwell, who is still an elite prospect, even if his testing numbers don't necessarily show it. Plenty of receivers have found success after subpar times in shorts, and Treadwell entered draft season as the top receiver in the eyes of most.
16. Detroit Lions: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Riley Reiff's future with the Lions beyond 2016 is up in the air, but even if he's back, the Lions don't have many options on the other side of the line. Conklin is a powerful tackle who can step in at right tackle right away, which might be his best on the line anyway. He's a road grader type who should improve a running game that finished last in the NFL.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Linebacker is a popular projection for the Falcons, but Lee is a more athletic and rangy player than Reggie Ragland, so it's a fit that makes a little more sense for Dan Quinn's defense. The additions of Courtney Upshaw and Derrick Shelby give the team a little more room to be flexible with Vic Beasley, and Lee is another player that could do so much and be more than your average middle linebacker.
18. Indianapolis Colts: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
The problems on the offensive line for the Colts cost the team a promising season -- Andrew Luck couldn't stay healthy and Frank Gore couldn't find running room. With Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort, the Colts have a couple of promising young players, but building from the inside has to be a priority and Whitehair is probably the best interior offensive lineman of the class.
19. Buffalo Bills: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
While guys like Myles Jack and Darron Lee are athletic prototypes of the smaller, faster linebackers of today's game, Ragland is the type of linebacker who would be a top-five pick 30 or years ago. As Rex Ryan tries to reshape the Bills' defense, Ragland would be a tough, hard-hitting linebacker who makes adding pieces elsewhere easier. Players like Lance Briggs managed to be impact players at linebacker despite lackluster speed, and even if Ragland never approaches that, he shouldn't be any worse than a player like Philip Wheeler.
20. New York Jets: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
If Floyd is on the board at No. 20, this feels like a pretty easy fit and selection for the Jets. After loading up the defensive line with first-round talent, it's time to add an outside linebacker to the mix, even if Lorenzo Mauldin showed some flashes as a rookie. Floyd is tall, fast, explosive and just the type of linebacker that Todd Bowles could play with and move all over the Jets' defense.
21. Washington: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Adding Terrance Knighton a year ago didn't fix Washington's run defense and now after letting the nose tackle walk, the team could use a big body like Billings in the middle of its defensive line. The 6'1, 311-pound defensive tackle has plenty of upper body strength and is the type of squat defensive tackle who could fit perfectly as a run stuffer in multiple schemes. He should be able to help the team knock down the 4.8 yards per carry it allowed in 2015.
22. Houston Texans: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
DeAndre Hopkins is a star and the featured piece in the rebuilt Texans offense that now features Brock Osweiler under center. The next step is getting the former Broncos quarterback more help. Coleman plays much bigger than his 5'11, 194-pound frame and has elite explosiveness with a 40.5-inch vertical and 129-inch broad jump.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
The emergence of Stefon Diggs in 2015 gives Teddy Bridgewater at least one reliable wide receiver target heading into 2016, but Mike Wallace is gone and another deep threat could help open up the offense. No team attempted fewer passes than the Vikings and only the Rams threw fewer touchdowns. A speedy deep threat like Fuller should open up things more for Minnesota and stretch defenses to free up more room for Adrian Peterson.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu is tough, but A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert still provide Andy Dalton with some excellent options. With the No. 1 receiver role solidly filled by Green, the Bengals can snag Thomas, who is probably the most polished route-runner in the class. None of his measurables stand out as particularly special, but Thomas is a player who always found a way to get open at Ohio State and showed off stellar hands.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: William Jackson, CB, Houston
The roll of the dice to acquire Brandon Boykin didn't work out in Pittsburgh's favor, and Antwon Blake followed Boykin out the door. While 2015 second-round pick Senquez Golson might turn into a player the Steelers can rely on, a 6'0 cornerback like Jackson would give the Steelers length at cornerback that neither Blake nor William Gay gave the team in 2015.
26. Seattle Seahawks: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Protecting Russell Wilson is a top priority, but there's enough talent on the team that the Seahawks can afford to take whomever they decide is the most talented player still on the board and not force a pick. Robinson is exactly the type of penetrating defensive tackle who could wreak havoc in Pete Carroll's defense, which lost Brandon Mebane in free agency to the Chargers.
27. Green Bay Packers: Jarran Reed, DE, Alabama
Reed's best fit is as a 3-4 defensive end and he's perfect for Green Bay where he can plug in right away as a starter on the line. While he's still unrefined as a pass rusher, Reed developed quickly at Alabama and has plenty of upside. But even if he can't get after opposing quarterbacks, he'll eat up blockers and free up the outside linebackers on the team like Clay Matthews.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Chiefs made a great addition to their secondary last year in the first round by snagging the eventual Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marcus Peters. After losing Sean Smith in free agency, the Chiefs should be able to grab a cornerback to replace the veteran at the bottom of the first round, but it'll just depend on who slides down. With Eli Apple and William Jackson going ahead of him in this mock, Alexander is the one who slides to Kansas City.
29. Arizona Cardinals: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Like the Seahawks, the Cardinals have so many pieces in place that they have the luxury to take any player they deem the best available. Even after acquiring Chandler Jones in a trade with the Patriots, it wouldn't hurt for the Cardinals to continue to add pass rushers after Dwight Freeney led the team with eight sacks at age 35. Ogbah is an explosive athlete who has high upside as a pass rusher, but could be a liability in run defense. If he's used in a rotation, that could be a masked deficiency.
30. Carolina Panthers: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Most of the Panthers' pass rush came from Kawann Short on the interior, and Jared Allen literally rode off into the sunset after the season, so getting another defensive end to work in with Charles Johnson and Mario Addison is a move that makes sense for the Panthers. Dodd was somewhat of a one-hit wonder at Clemson, bursting on to the scene as a junior with 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. The question is how much of that is to be credited to him and how much was due to the presence of other pass rushers like Shaq Lawson on the stacked line of a national championship contender.
31. Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
I projected the 49ers to take a quarterback "Colin Kaepernick trade or not" and I believe the same is true for the Broncos. Even if a trade is made, it's hard to pin the future of the franchise on a quarterback who so painfully regressed, especially when a young player like Lynch is available with the last pick of the first round. John Elway pulled the trigger on an extremely tall quarterback in 2012 with Brock Osweiler and can replace him with a 6'7 passer who inherits a Super Bowl team.