This is my second version of my mock draft. The previous version was posted at my blog before I joined EVT. Enjoy. Rip apart. Wash. Repeat.
(Please note: I purposely did not put in trades but I do think trades are a virtual certainty – especially at #3).
- Tennessee Titans: OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi – Despite recent talk about the Titans going after Jalen Ramsey, I believe Tunsil is their guy. They need to protect Mariota. Unless they can trade down, Tunsil is the pick. He is quite possibly the best LT prospect since Joe Thomas.
- Cleveland Browns: QB Jared Goff, California – When I evaluate QBs I try not to relate the college team’s success too much with the QB’s play or abilities (i.e. just because the team won, doesn’t mean the QB will be a good NFL QB). That Goff accomplished as much as he did without a decent OL and without top-tier receivers and running backs speaks to his elite skills. Goff is the top QB in the draft. (pick change; previously Carson Wentz)
- San Diego Chargers: CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida St. – I still believe there is solid chance San Diego will trade out of this pick but I think that likelihood is decreasing. If they stay put I think the Chargers will take one of: Ramsey, DeForest Buckner, and Myles Jack. Ramsey and/or Jack have the highest upside and they can get a quality DE later in the draft. Even though I think SD should trade back, I also think Ramsey is the best safety prospect since Sean Taylor (though Myles Jack is closing that gap in my mind – I really like Jack as a safety as well).
- Dallas Cowboys: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State – The Cowboys would be thrilled with this scenario. I think they’re desperate to find Tony Romo’s eventual replacement and they really want one of the top 2 QBs and Wentz is largely believed to be their favorite. I also think the ‘Boys are quite fearful someone may trade up in front of them and they could move up themselves. (pick change; previously Jared Goff)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Myles Jack, UCLA – The Jags would love it if Jalen Ramsey falls to them. And if he doesn’t go #1 overall and if the Chargers do trade down, there is a distinct possibility Ramsey could fall to the Jaguars. Under this scenario however, Jack addresses their OLB need as they try to build a Seattle-esque defense.
- Baltimore Ravens: DE/DT DeForest Buckner, Oregon – Buckner is the best interior DL in the draft. He shouldn’t be available here. The Ravens are another trade-back candidate as teams may want to get ahead of San Francisco. (pick change; previously Joey Bosa)
- San Francisco 49ers: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis – Lynch’s upside might exceed Goff’s and/or Wentz’. He has plenty arm and real good mobility/athleticism. He hasn’t made NFL-style call changes or reads at the line of scrimmage so he may need to sit and learn, but Chip Kelly’s offense is actually more simplistic than most realize. This might be an ideal fit. (pick change; previously Ronnie Stanley)
- Philadelphia Eagles: RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio St. – The Eagles aren’t particularly close to getting back to the playoffs. They could easily go with Bosa. Their secondary isn’t very good either, so Hargreaves makes a lot of sense here as well. Ezekiel is easily the best RB in the draft and at least one prognosticator says that he is slightly better than last year’s top RB, Todd Gurley. I disagree but I do really like Elliot and think he can be a difference-maker at RB. (pick change; previously Vernon Hargraves III)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St. – Bosa shouldn’t fall this far. Bosa is a legitimate top 5 pick. For weeks, if not months, draft experts talked about Bosa as the #1 or #2 overall selection. Bosa is probably a better 4-3 DE than he is a 3-4 OLB. Bosa fits the Tampa defense and is ideal for their defense. (pick change; previously DeForest Buckner)
- New York Giants: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame – The Giants were desperate for defensive upgrades and addressed that in free agency. They still have work to do on defense but Stanley is legit LT prospect. He pairs with Ereck Flowers to give the Giants 2 legit upper-first round tackle prospects. (pick change; previously Reggie Ragland)
- Chicago Bears: DE Emanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St. – Ogbah didn’t get a whole lot of ink after the Scouting Combine but I think he helped himself as much as any edge-rusher in the draft. He had very good production in college and he has very intriguing measurables. The Bears are desperate for pass-rushing help. Ogbah may be viewed as a reach here but I think Ogbah will be a solid pro and this is a good fit.
- New Orleans Saints: DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi St. – Jones has quietly been climbing mock draft rankings. He is arguably the 2nd best 3-4 DE in the draft. He legitimately upgrades the DL which will take heat off their linebackers and allow them to make plays. A WR would be a legitimate alternative here.
- Miami Dolphins: CB Vernon Hargreaves III – The Dolphins were extremely high on Elliot but he didn’t make it to him (he won’t fall past them). They also need a lot of help at CB. Getting a 3-time All SEC CB this late in the draft is a nice example of “letting the draft fall to you.” Based on team needs this might be a better option for Miami anyway. The Dolphins also need OL help. (pick change; previously Ezekiel Elliot)
- Oakland Raiders: LB Reggie Ragland, Ohio St. – Ragland may not be the athletic freak that Jack and injured Notre Dame star Jaylon Smith are but he’s an elite 2-down thumper who can wreck a team’s running game. The Raiders continue to make smart picks and bolster a fast-improving team. (pick change; previously Corey Coleman)
- Los Angeles Rams: WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi – Treadwell has been falling behind Coleman and Doctson on a lot of draft boards. But he’s a better pass-catcher and he has ideal size. The Rams are desperate for a QB and are probably the most likely team to trade up and get one. Treadwell is a good option if they do not. (pick change; previously Paxton Lynch)
- Detroit Lions: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama – Robinson is a freak. He wears #86 and if you don’t know who he is, when you see him in uniform he looks like a larger TE. His burst is amazing and for a team that has lost a lot of quality in the interior of their DL, Robinson is a nice reset pick. If Detroit does wind up with Robinson, watch Ziggy Ansah’s sack stats increase dramatically. (pick change; previously Jack Conklin)
- Atlanta Falcons: OLB/DE Leonard Flyod, Georgia – Floyd is a classic edge-rusher but his size/speed measurable make him a more likely 3-4 fit than a 4-3 DE. Either way, Atlanta needs pass-rushing help and Floyd fits the bill and most teams rotate into and out of 3 & 4-man D-lines routinely. Getting that “perfect fit” is less important than it used to be.
- Indianapolis Colts: G Cody Whitehair, Kansas – Ryan Grigson supposedly has a piece of paper on his desk that says, “Protect 12,” to remind him to get OL help to protect his franchise QB, Andrew Luck. The Colts drafted Luck in 2012. In 2013 they used a 2nd round pick on a guard, in 2014, they used a 2nd on a tackle, and last year they waited until the 7th to draft another O-lineman. Grigson needs to use this pick on OL help. Whitehair may be the best OL on the board.
- Buffalo Bills: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor – Defense is usually mocked here but the Bills need to take some pressure off Sammy Watkins. Coleman is regarded by many as the top WR in the draft. He’s a steal at 19. (pick change; previously Robert Nkemdiche)
- New York Jets: CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson – The Jets re-signed elite CB Darrelle Revis last year but they do not have a reliable option opposite him. Alexander, despite less than ideal height, is an ideal candidate to learn under Revis. He has shutdown corner potential. The Jets also need pass-rushing help but most available pass rushers are more 2nd round types. (pick change; previously Noah Spence)
- Washington: DL Jarran Reed, Alabama – Washington’s needs correlate nicely with this draft. They need a center (they’ll probably take one in the 2nd or 3rd) and they also need wide receiver help and DL help. Reed is a versatile interior D-lineman who can line up over different slots. He’s an instant upgrade for Washington’s DL. Many believe Reed should be a top 15 pick. This is a nice value/need pick for Washington.
- Houston Texans: WR Josh Doctson, TCU – Houston loves how this draft has played out. They need DL help, they need OL help, but this draft is historically deep in interior D-linemen. It’s not AS deep in OL but there are some good ones. Doctson however is an elite WR arguably one of the best WR in the draft. He definitely has a size advantage over Coleman, the WR with whom Doctson is most often compared. Getting Doctson at #22 is about right.
- Minnesota Vikings: OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St. – I’m not the biggest Conklin fan. I feel he lags as a pass protector and in today’s pass-happy NFL that’s a significant downgrade. Minnesota, however, loves to run the ball and Conklin is an excellent run-blocker. This is a nice fit/need pick as the Vikings do need to upgrade their OL. (pick change; previously Lequon Treadwell)
- Cincinnati Bengals: LB Darron Lee, Ohio St. – The Bengals have needs all over. They need a D-lineman and they’re desperate for wide receivers. But they also need to upgrade their linebackers and a real good one, Lee, is still on the board. Lee profiles best as weakside OLB. But he can cover and he’s fast. This is a great value pick. (pick change; previously Michael Smith)
- Pittsburgh Steelers: CB William Jackson III – Jackson ran a 4.37 40 yard dash and immediately jumped into the discussion of first round corners. Pittsburgh needs corners and Jackson’s film justifies the ranking. This is another value pick for a team that’s known for getting value in the draft.
- Seattle Seahawks: CB Eli Apple, Ohio St. – Seattle needs OL help but they rarely pick OL in the first round. Seattle also needs a starting CB to pair with Richard Sherman. Apple provides the size that Seattle likes in their DBs. (pick change; previously Jason Spriggs)
- Green Bay Packers: OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana – Aaron Rogers has dealt with an oft-injured, largely ineffective OL the past few years and those factors have kept the best QB in the NFL from playing in another Super Bowl. Spriggs is an athletic tackle (former TE) and can likely stay at LT though he may have to audition as a guard. (pick change; previously Taylor Decker)
- Kansas City Chiefs: DL Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech – The Chiefs are sitting in a nice spot. They don’t have a whole lot of pressing needs but interior DL is probably their top need. With so many teams making picks at other positions higher-rated D-linemen fall right to them. QB Conner Cook also makes sense as a developmental QB for a team without a bunch of needs.
- Arizona Cardinals: S Keanu Neal, Florida – Keanu Neal is a thumper. I think he is head and shoulders above any safety other than Ramsey (or Myles Jack if you consider Jack a safety). This is a nice pick for another team that doesn’t have a many weaknesses.
- Carolina Panthers: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St. – Anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows that Carolina needs to improve their OL. The turnstile play at RT probably cost them the game. Decker has his flaws but he also has talent and is probably more of a RT than LT anyway. (pick change; previously Mackensie Alexander)
- Denver Broncos: DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi – The Broncos get a player with top 5 athleticism. They are likely an ideal landing spot for the mercurial D-lineman (and not because their home state has legalized marijuana). This team won’t allow Nkemdiche to slack off. This defense lost Malik Jackson, Nkemdiche is an ideal replacement. I still think Denver will draft a QB but probably in the 2nd round. (pick change; previously Conner Cook)
Bonus time! Since this is a Chargers site we’ll continue this mock through the Chargers second round pick (#35).
- Cleveland Browns: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson – Cleveland has a lot of holes. They needed a QB and picked up Goff in the first. B. Mingo has been a bust so far, Dodd should be much more productive. (pick change; previously A’Shawn Robinson)
- Tennessee Titans: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson – One pick after his D-line-mate, Dodd, comes off the board, Lawson finally comes off the board as well. I believe Lawson is a monster and I don’t think he deserves to fall this far but in a deep DL draft undeserving D-linemen will fall. This is a fantastic pick. (pick change; previously Shilique Calhoun)
- Dallas Cowboys: DT Andrew Billings, Baylor – The Cowboys are having an amazing draft according to my scenarios. They got Wentz in the first, now they’re getting an interior DL who should have gone top 15/top 20. This is a huge steal. They could, however, look at a RB here.
- San Diego Chargers: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama – The Chargers are desperate to improve their Center-play. Trading back into the first to grab Kelly is a possibility as it is at least somewhat unlikely that Kelly is on the board at #35. The Chargers could also take a D-lineman here and try to solve Center later in the draft. (pick change; previously Jonathan Bullard)
First, let me say, to all those guys who do these on a regular basis, this is hard. Also, I don’t think my mock has a snowball’s chance in hell of actually turning out. There will be trades. And there are some players I am shocked that I still have on my board…
Secondly, I won’t defend any of the individual players I have mocked but I do think my analysis and reasoning is solid.
Thanks for reading.