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2016 NFL mock draft: Projecting 1st-round trades

Every year picks are on the move in the draft, and this week's mock takes a look at a couple that could happen and how it would change the rest of the first round.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Every year in the NFL Draft we see trades take place in the first round. Last year, three trades involving first-round picks happened on Day 1 of the draft. In 2014, five trades happened on the first day of the draft. It's impossible to say what moves will happen this year, but they should be expected.

This week's mock draft ponders two trades, both inside the top 10 picks. The first move is for a quarterback, which is often a common move in the draft. The other is for a pass rusher, arguably the second-most important position in the NFL.

One trade you won't see in this mock draft is the classic cliche of a team moving back into the first round to pick a quarterback. That happened in 2014 with the Minnesota Vikings and Teddy Bridgewater, but there isn't that type of talent you move back into the first round to get. If it did happen, Michigan State's Connor Cook would be that player. Next week at the NFL Scouting Combine we should get a better indication of what the NFL thinks of the Spartans' signal caller. For this week, he's not in the first round.

What trades do you think will happen in the first round? Let us know in the comments. Here's a full first round with a few curveballs thrown in.

1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

No team allowed more sacks last season than Tennessee with 54, including 38 coming in Marcus Mariota's 12 starts. That should more than quantify the justification of this choice. You can qualify by saying Tunsil is the draft's best offensive tackle prospect since Tyron Smith in 2011. In fact, Tunsil's game mirrors Smith's pretty well. The Titans also need to get better at left guard, so that could be a strong Day 2 need.

2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California

Last season for Cal, Goff completed 64.5 percent of his passes. It's impossible to compare college stats to pro, but the Browns haven't had a quarterback attempt more than 100 regular season passes with that high of a completion percentage since 1992. Thirteen quarterbacks in the NFL just last season alone topped that number. Sure, it's no guarantee that Goff could do that in the NFL, but he'd probably get a lot closer to it than most of the awful quarterbacks Cleveland has had in the last 24 years.

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3. San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

There are a number of directions to justifiably go with this pick, which sort of shows why the Chargers are picking in the top five. Defensive ends Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner make sense. You can argue for an offensive tackle like Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame. You make a case for Ramsey, as well. The Chargers don't have a lot of young secondary talent after Jason Verrett. Ramsey could easily fill Eric Weddle's spot at free safety or step into a starting cornerback position.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Other than Sean Lee, the Cowboys don't have much in terms of linebackers. In Dallas, Jack can be a sensation. He's a very good athlete with range and speed. Taking a quarterback at No. 4 wouldn't help Dallas as much in 2016 as a linebacker like Jack would.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The combination of Bosa and 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler would give the Jaguars arguably the best young pair of pass rushers in the NFL. Bosa can play a number of positions, and would help Jacksonville open up its defense.

6. (Trade) Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

The Rams currently hold the No. 15 pick, and if they want a quarterback a trade may need to happen. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has never been averse to trading down. This trade could be somewhat similar to the deal the Rams made with the Bills in 2013. That Bills gave up picks Nos. 8 and 71 to the Rams for Nos. 16, 46, 78 and 222. With two second-round picks, the Rams have the ammunition to move up and get a quarterback. If they want one, they may have to bite that bullet. The Rams could look to move in front of the 49ers, who could take a quarterback with the No. 7 pick.


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7. San Francisco 49ers: Noah Spence, OLB/DE, Eastern Kentucky

After going with Spence to San Francisco last week, this is a pick I continue to like. Spence would upgrade the 49ers' pass rush and could be their version of Khalil Mack. The big issue is whether Chip Kelly would draft a player who was kicked out of a school for multiple drug violations. Kelly's draft history in Philadelphia would indication no, but talent often trumps question marks in the draft.

8. (Trade) New York Giants: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

This is a minor trade with the Giants slipping up to the No. 8 pick to get in front of Tampa Bay for a top defensive end prospect. In the past, moving up a couple spots in the first round would cost a team a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

The obvious question here is whether you think Buckner is a fit as a 4-3 defensive end. On the surface, Buckner may have the look and playing style of a 3-4 end, but that's in appearance only. Buckner's get off at the snap is good enough, he has solid long speed and knows how to play with power. There's much more to being a good defensive end than pure speed, and Buckner has every other key trait.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

With the top eight run on defensive ends, the Buccaneers could go the bargain free agent route at the position. If that happens and the Buccaneers hold at nine, the direction could be secondary where the team has few top players. Alexander's college production is minimal, but that also indicates how infrequently passes were thrown his direction.

10. (Trade) Miami Dolphins: Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama

With Kelvin Sheppard a free agent, one of Miami's biggest needs is a middle linebacker. Ragland may not be a ridiculous upside player, but there's a commodity in certainty and that's what he offers.

11. Chicago Bears: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Although the Bears need to add a lot of talent on defense, Stanley's value at No. 11 is too good to pass up. He could be the long-term answer at left tackle the team hasn't had for years.

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

Last week's mock draft had the Saints going the moderately luxury route with wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. This week it's a more practical selection with Robinson. The Saints desperately need to get better up front on defense, and Robinson would help improve the run defense while offering some disruption in the passing game.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Count me among the Sam Bradford doubters. Even though he's coming off the best season of his NFL career, he's been too unreliable to give more than a "show me" short contract to this offseason. Instead, the Eagles would be smart in hitting the reset button and build around Lynch, a talented quarterback prospect with good size and athleticism.

14. Oakland Raiders: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Hargreaves is just too good of a talent and too big of a need for the Raiders to pass up. Cornerback is perhaps their biggest need, and you can argue Hargreaves is worth a top-10 pick. For Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, this would be yet another home run selection.

15. (Trade) Baltimore Ravens: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

If the Ravens do trade down, the eventual target could either be a cornerback or pass rusher. Had Apple returned for his junior season at Ohio State, some believe he would have developed into a top-10 pick. Groomed properly, the Ravens could coax that value out of him with the 15th pick.

16. Detroit Lions: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Treadwell happened to slip in this week's mock, and the Lions would pounce on the chance to get their Calvin Johnson replacement. (Get it? Lions? Pounce? Sorry.) It may be unlikely Treadwell falls this far, but it's not impossible. Treadwell is the draft's top wideout, but he may have blazing speed, nor does he have unprecedented size. He's a player who is really good in just about every area -- which is ideal -- but maybe not a star-making trait.

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17. Atlanta Falcons: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Atlanta needs a playmaker at linebacker, and that's what Smith can provide. There's a unique level of urgency to Smith's play. He's quick to diagnose, react and close on a play. The first step by a linebacker is critical, and Smith probably has the best one in this year's draft.

18. Indianapolis Colts: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Indianapolis has drafted five offensive linemen in the last three years, but none before the end of the second round. It shows in how the Colts have struggled to protect quarterback Andrew Luck. Conklin could play a number of positions on the Colts' offensive line. Adding him would bolster the talent up front and let Luck finally become the quarterback everyone expects him to be.

19. Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Ole Miss

Repeating this pick may be getting a little dull, but it should show how much I love the thought of Nkemdiche as a five-technique in the NFL. Playing that role -- and replacing Mario Williams in Buffalo -- could really unleash his potential and cater to his strengths as a player.

20. New York Jets: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

Floyd is a player whose stock could skyrocket at the combine next week. He's a very good athlete with a good burst. He needs to get bigger than the 231 pounds Georgia listed him at last season, but he has the frame to add the bulk and power. If he's there at 20 for the Jets, he would solve the long-running need at pass rusher.

21. Washington: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Washington needs to get younger and better on the defensive line this offseason. Rankins or Alabama's Jarran Reed would both go a long way in that regard. Rankins is more of a disruptive force in the passing game than Reed, so he could be more apt as a Jason Hatcher replacement.

22. Houston Texans: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The quarterback value at No. 22 just isn't there for Houston. If a star runner like Elliott is on the board, which is no guarantee, he's worth taking instead of reaching on a quarterback. Elliott could quickly become the focal point of Houston's offense and be the type of workhorse Arian Foster was in the past.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could be on the verge of a breakout 2016 season, but may only happen if the Vikings can keep him upright. Taking an offensive lineman at No. 23 would help in that area. Decker could slot into either tackle spot, and second-year blocker T.J. Clemmings could move inside, which some consider the better position for him as a pro.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

The Ohio State run continues. Both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are free agents for the Bengals, and if both leave that leaves Cincinnati with little more than A.J. Green. He's obviously a high-end No. 1 target, but more is needed. Whether it's Thomas or someone like Corey Coleman of Baylor, the Bengals could strike gold with a wide receiver at No. 24.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Within reason, it's hard to see this pick being anything but a cornerback for the Steelers. Fuller has first-round talent as long as he stays healthy. He can finally be that No. 1 cornerback Pittsburgh has needed for a few years.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

By the time the draft comes around, Lawson may project much higher than the No. 26 overall pick. But if he's around, he could be the type of pass rusher who could thrive in Seattle's defense. He plays with strength and quickness, and has enough size to fit the system.

27. Green Bay Packers: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

With Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion both getting locked up on new contracts, the Packers don't need to address defensive line in the first round. That turns the attention to middle linebacker. Lee isn't the biggest, but he makes up for it with speed and range.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

Reed's talent level is simply too high for the Chiefs to pass up on at No. 28 overall. He's a stalwart on the defensive line and has the strength and playing style to be a factor early in his NFL career.

29. Arizona Cardinals: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

If the Cardinals don't value a pass rusher like Georgia's Jordan Jenkins this highly, they could go after a right guard in the first round. Jonathan Cooper has been an injury-riddled bust throughout his career, and he can't manage to stay on the field. With guard Ted Larsen and center Lyle Sendlein free agents, a player like Whitehair would be a smart choice. He's arguably the best guard in the draft, and would be fine at center, as well.

30. Carolina Panthers: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

You can go back and forth on which player is the fifth-best offensive tackle in the draft. That's what Carolina will likely be deciding if they go with that position in the first round. Spriggs is a highly athletic tackle and could be Carolina's answer at right tackle.

31. Denver Broncos: Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri

Almost every year we see a player from the Super Bowl-winning team cash in big in free agency. One of those players this year could be Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan. If he departs in free agency, the Broncos may want to strike fast on his replacement. Brothers was a consistently productive force for Missouri the past few seasons and should easily be able to step into an NFL starting lineup.