2016 NFL Mock Draft: v 3.0

I originally wanted to compose a seven round mock draft, but every time I got near the end, I had to go back and change the beginning.

Yes, mock drafts this close to the real thing is a futile exercise, but NFL Draft nerds have to do them anyway. Here is my Wednesday edition, with one more likely to come Thursday.


1. Los Angeles Rams - QB Jared Goff, California. I applaud the Rams trade up for this pick. Yes, they gave up a steep price. But the roster is very solid thanks to good drafting and the Robert Griffin III trade. Without a real quarterback, the primes of several young players will be wasted. Time will tell if Jared Goff is the answer, but I have preferred him to Carson Wentz throughout this whole process.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State. The Eagles will most likely be bad in 2016, but they did not want to wait until next year's draft, and traded up to land Carson Wentz. If Wentz had went to USC instead of North Dakota State, he would be the no doubt top pick in the draft. Of course, he only started a handful of games after being a backup for a few years. Scouts love his makeup and leadership abilities. The plan is for Wentz to sit as a rookie, but plans like that never really work out. He will see the field.

3. San Diego Chargers - DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon. The draft intrigue starts here. The Chargers are in prime position to trade down, but seem to be maintaining status quo as they workout their stadium issue. This pick will likely come down to DeForest Buckner and Jalen Ramsey. Buckner fills the team's biggest need as a run stopper who can also get to the quarterback, two areas the Chargers had a ton of problems with last year.

4. Dallas Cowboys - CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State. Jalen Ramsey was a workout warrior who punched a ticket to the top five despite a junior season where he did not intercept a pass. Dallas has spent quite a few early picks on the secondary in recent seasons, with little results. Ramsey could play either safety or cornerback, two big needs on the Cowboys depth chart.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss. Offensive line is a sneaky need in Jacksonville, and with Tunsil still on the board, Jacksonville could snatch him up. This would allow the overmatched Luke Joeckel to move to the right side, hopefully improving the offensive line as a whole.

6. Baltimore Ravens - DE/OLB Joey Bosa, Ohio State. The Ravens will go with defense here. Luckily for them, Bosa is still on the board. He is not a pass rushing dynamo, but is a complete end who has the athleticism to make it as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

7. San Francisco 49ers - QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis. Paxton Lynch is in no way worth a top ten selection, but the board dictates this pick. As does the fact that Colin Kaepernick will not be on the 49ers roster come training camp, and the thought of Blaine Gabbert as the only starting option scares me. So Lynch, who has talent but is extremely raw, is the pick here.

8. Cleveland Browns - OG/OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State. The Browns new analytics brass has decided to load up on as many draft picks as possible, and has over a dozen selections. Trading down opens up possibilities for pretty much any position. The term "plug and play offensive lineman" has been thrown around a lot the past few years, and Jack Conklin could qualify. Expect a team to draft him in the top fifteen and install him as an immediate starter at guard or right tackle. Cleveland has a need for both.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame. Everyone in Mock Draft land has Vernon Hargreaves III here, but protecting franchise quarterback Jameis Winston should be priority number one. Stanley has the look of a prototypical left tackle, and those guys are hard to come by. His addition could push the over matched Donovan Smith to the right side.

10. New York Giants - RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State. With the three top offensive lineman off the board, this pick makes too much sense. The Elliott hype train is running full steam. Elliott himself has said he would love to play for New York. The Giants have tried a patchwork backfield since the days of Tiki Barber/Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw. It might be time to add a true talent.

11. Chicago Bears - OLB Myles Jack, UCLA. Jack is the wild card of this draft. He has been mocked everywhere from 5 to 17, so I will split the difference here. The fact is, he is a dynamic play maker who could realistically play linebacker, safety or running back. But the knee will scare teams off. Eventually the reward will outweigh the risk. For a defense lacking an identity, Chicago could be a great landing spot.

12. New Orleans Saints - CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida. The Saints had the worst defense in the league last season, so the best defender available would be the way to go here. What Hargreaves lacks in height and athleticism, he makes up for in cover skills and interception abilities. After the Brandon Browning era, Saints fans would welcome Hargreaves.

13. Miami Dolphins - CB William Jackson, Houston. The Dolphins are rumored to be interested in trading up, after moving back to land bad contracts earlier this off-season. As a Dolphins fan, it's more of the same. Miami needs to stay put or trade down, as the team has a plethora of needs. At the top is cornerbacks who can play in Miami's new press scheme. William Jackson has great size and could excel at the role.

14. Oakland Raiders - DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville. The Raiders have drafted extremely well the past few seasons, but there are still plenty of needs. A team can never have too much pass rushing, and Sheldon Rankins offers plenty from the interior. His slight build would be negated somewhat playing next to the mountainous Dan Williams.

15. Tennessee Titans - DE/OLB Shaq Lawson, Clemson. The Titans have a big need for an offensive tackle, but the top three are off the board. Taylor Decker is a possibility, but with so many picks, they can try to address that need later. Shaq Lawson's shoulder is a concern, but he has reportedly been medically cleared.

16. Detroit Lions - DE/OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia. The Lions need practically everything except quarterback. Leonard Floyd has transitioned from a pass rushing specialist to an all around linebacker during his junior year at Georgia. He can line up at end, on the outside or even in the middle, and offers a solid all around game.

17. Atlanta Falcons - OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State. Dan Quinn and the Falcons lack the speed on defense to make the same impact he made in Seattle. Darron Lee would definitely add to that element. He is raw, but has the ability to be Quinn's LEO.

18. Indianapolis Colts - OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama. The Colts have done a poor job building a roster around Andrew Luck, and there are holes a plenty. Ryan Kelly is ready to start from day one. His best position is center, but he can play guard in a pinch and would help fortify a terrible Indianapolis line.

19. Buffalo Bills - DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson. Buffalo's ferocious pass rush disappeared in 2015. Mario Williams is gone, leaving only Jerry Hughes. Taking a pass rusher makes sense. Kevin Dodd is a bit of a project, but really made a name for himself during the College Football Playoffs. Pass rushing is at a premium, and he looks like a mid to late first round guy.

20. New York Jets - OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State. Even before D'Brickashaw Ferguson's retirement, offensive line was a need. Taylor Decker would fit well with New York, as a powerful run blocker. He may lack the footwork to block the NFL's premier pass rushers, but should do just fine at right tackle.

21. Washington Redskins - DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech. Vernon Butler has drawn Muhammad Wilkerson comparisons because of the rare athletic ability for a man his size. He has the strength to play nose tackle and the quickness to handle end in Washington's 3-4 alignment.

22. Houston Texans - DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole' Miss. Every mocker on the planet has the Texans taking a receiver here. It's a possibility, but I think the thought of pairing Nkemdiche with JJ Watt could be too tempting for Houston to pass up. They play in the NFL's most winnable division, and Nkemdiche could immediately produce, if he can keep his off the field issues in check.

23. Minnesota Vikings - WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss. Scouts are obsessed with 40 times, especially with receivers. If Treadwell drops this far the Vikings should pounce. He would be a great fit for weak armed Teddy Bridgewater. Think a young Brandon Marshall. Treadwell is a physical beast who catches anything thrown at him.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Josh Doctson, TCU. Wide receiver is an easy need in Cincinnati. The Bengals cannot afford to have teams load up on AJ Green. Doctson might not be as quick as Corey Coleman or strong as Laquon Treadwell, but he is extremely well rounded and a complete professional. He should make a very good number two and keep the ball moving in Cincinnati.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers. S Karl Joseph, West Virginia. Rumors have Karl Joseph going in round one, and the Steelers make sense. Pittsburgh rarely spends top picks on the secondary, but safety is a monster need, and a player who can control center field like Joseph would improve the defense as a whole.

26. Seattle Seahawks - DT Jarran Reed, Alabama. The Seahawks deep defensive line has taken a hit in recent seasons. Seattle likes to employ a deep rotation. Reed is not a penetrator, but excels as plugging holes and stopping the run.

27. Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State. Reggie Ragland would make sense here, but Ted Thompson does not spend early picks on traditional middle linebackers. Chris Jones is a big, strong tackle who could take over for BJ Raji at end in Dom Capers 3-4 scheme. This draft is extremely deep along the defensive line.

28. Kansas City Chiefs - CB Eli Apple, Ohio State. The Chiefs struck it rich with Marcus Peters last draft, but still need another starting corner. Apple has great size but is still a project at this stage. This is solid value late in the first round.

29. Arizona Cardinals - DE/OLB Noah Spence, Western Kentucky. With the trade for Chandler Jones, the Cardinals are in Super Bowl or bust mode. So this would be a good spot to gamble on Noah Spence. If he can keep his head in check, his situational pass rushing ability would be exactly what the Cardinals need.

30. Carolina Panthers - CB/S TJ Green, Clemson. Throughout the draft process, Mackenzie Alexander was the Clemson cornerback to draft. TJ Green has raced past him late in the process. He has outstanding athletic ability and scouts are enamored with his 6'3, 200 pound frame. The Panthers could snatch him up here and transition him to cornerback full time to make up for the loss of Josh Norman.

31. Denver Broncos - DE/DT Kenny Clark, UCLA. Everyone assumes the Broncos are going to draft a quarterback here, but I think one will be available at the end of round two. I still expect Colin Kaepernick to be on the roster come training camp. Denver lost several key defenders during the off season. Kenny Clark has the ability to get to the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spot.

Jonathan Carrano

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