Pickin’ Bolts: Mock Draft 3.0 of NFL Draft (Whole 1st Round)

Credit: Espn

Credit: UT San Diego
Credit: UT San Diego

This is the third and final version of my mock draft. The first version was posted at my blog before I joined EVT. The second, which was posted immediately prior to the Rams-Titans trade, can be found here. Enjoy. Rip. Share. – Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I may post updates but I do not intend to post a fourth mock prior to the actual draft.

Please make sure to check back here on each day/night of the draft as I will be live-blogging. I will also be Shadow-drafting along with the Chargers for all 7 rounds so make sure you are following me on Twitter (@PickinBolts).

(Please note: I purposely did not put in trades but I do think trades are a virtual certainty – especially at #3).

Enjoy.

  1. Los Angeles Rams: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St. – I actually prefer Goff. I really do. I think that Goff had to elevate his team whereas Wentz’ team was typically more talented than the team lined up across from them. And I think the adversity that Goff faced prepared him more for the rigors and struggles quarterbacks face in the NFL. However, and I hate to throw this all on one thing, but reading Andy Benoit’s film study piece with Carson Wentz I realized how similar NDSU’s run-heavy offense was with what the Rams have done and will do with Todd Gurley. Wentz is ideal for that. And that he took more snaps under center than in a shotgun (which is beneficial for the running back) further facilitates a Gurley-focused offense and a Wentz quarterbacked team. As much as I think Goff deserves to be slightly higher rated, I think Wentz is ideally suited for the Rams. (Pick change, previously: Laquon Treadwell – at #15)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jared Goff, California – I really like Carson Wentz, but I have to give the nod to Goff. Not because he’s so much better but when Wentz walked up behind his center, his team was superior to the one across the line of scrimmage. Conversely, when Goff walked up, the opposing players were better than the talent on his own team. Despite that lack of surrounding talent Goff excelled. I think that level of adversity has Goff uniquely prepared for the NFL. Wentz may have a higher upside but I think Goff will transition easier. I think he’s the better prospect but I think Wentz fits Rams better and thus Goff falls to Philly. Philly fans may actually cheer – they should, the Rams are giving them a gift. (Pick change, previously: Ezekiel Elliot – at #8)
  3. San Diego Chargers: OT Laremy Tunsil – The NFL is a line-of-scrimmage (LOS) game. And when the Chargers offense lined up in 2014 and 2015 they most often lost the LOS battle. On top of that the Chargers probably have 3-4 more years of elite play left in Philip Rivers. To get the most out of Rivers, they need to keep him upright. And unfortunately Rivers cannot help his O-line much by running away from their mistakes. The Chargers were at their best when they had Marcus McNeil protecting Rivers’ blind side. Tunsil is arguably the best prospect in this draft. NBC’s Sunday Night Football analyst, Cris Collinsworth compared Tunsil’s feet to Collinsworth’s Hall of Fame teammate, Anthony Munoz. Tunsil has also been compared to Cowboys’ elite left tackle, Tyrone Smith. This is a no-brainer selection. King Dunlap hasn’t been able to stay healthy or protect Rivers well enough when he was playing. While defensive stars such as Jalen Ramsey and/or DeForest Buckner are enticing. Unless the Chargers can trade back, this is the proper pick. (Pick change, previously: Jalen Ramsey)
  4. Dallas Cowboys: CB/S Jalen Ramsey – In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cowboys took the unheralded Byron Jones in the first round. In this draft if they get Ramsey. As a result they will have one of the better young CB combinations in the league. The Cowboys are also a candidate to move up to #3 to protect against someone else (Jacksonville) moving ahead of them to take Ramsey. (Pick change, previously: Carson Wentz)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State – Bosa is frequently compared to JJ Watt. That isn’t fair; to either of them. But it happens because they’re similar sizes (at least when Watt was in the draft) and posted remarkably similar combine numbers. And, of course, they’re both white. Bosa, however, reminds me of Seattle’s DE/DT, Michael Bennett. Seattle moves Bennett around the line. Ohio State did the same with Bosa. Bennett wins with strength and technique. So does Bosa. Bennett isn’t the fastest D-lineman, but he is tenacious. As is Bosa. Jaguars head coach, Gus Bradley, coached Bennett in Seattle. He’d love to have a similar player to join him in Jacksonville. If the Jags don’t trade up to #3 to take Ramsey (whom they reportedly covet) this will be the pick. (Pick change, previously: Myles Jack)
  6. 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 to get Paxton Lynch. (Pick unchanged)
  7. San Francisco 49ers: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis – Lynch’s upside might exceed Goff’s and/or Wentz’. He has plenty arm and surprisingly good mobility/athleticism. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made NFL-style call changes or reads at the line of scrimmage so he will need to sit and learn, but Chip Kelly’s offense is actually more simplistic than most realize. This might be an ideal fit. The 49ers may be a candidate to trade up and prevent other teams from getting ahead of them and drafting Lynch. (Pick unchanged)
  8. Cleveland Browns: LB Myles Jack, UCLA – At least one expert has Jack as his #1 overall prospect. Information came out Sunday explaining the knee injury. Jack has a defect that could mean diminishing cartilage during his career. It is uncertain how long Jack may able to play football with this condition. At #8 Cleveland has a chance to take what may be the best overall player in the draft. It is unlikely they would pass on such an opportunity but they are also linked to Paxton Lynch. (Pick change, previously: Jared Goff)
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame – Stanley is considered good enough to play LT. He and Tunsil are the only 2 tackles that are considered plug and play left tackles in this draft. Supposedly there are a few scouts who like Stanley even more than Tunsil. (Pick change, previously: DeForest Buckner)
  10. New York Giants: WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi – The Giants would love to draft Stanley, but he went one spot ahead of them. And Ezekiel Elliot will probably go higher than this but this isn’t the spot for him either. The Giants’ WR situation, beyond Odell Beckham Jr. is muddied at best. Treadwell gives Eli Manning a bigger target to go along w/ OBJ’s dynamic shiftiness. (Pick change, previously: Ronnie Stanley)
  11. Chicago Bears: OLB/DE Leonard Floyd, Georgia – This pick is being mocked a lot lately. After getting rather ho-hum reviews, Floyd is rapidly climbing draft boards. We all may be a victim of the pre-draft favorite game of Liars’ Poker but the Bears do really need a pass rusher and Floyd is arguably the best edge rusher in the draft. He might be a better fit for a 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 DE but in today’s NFL where five DBs are common, he works better in any scheme than he may have 5-10 years ago. (Pick change, previously: Emanuel Ogbah)
  12. New Orleans Saints: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida – The Saints really want and need a D-lineman and that’s probably what they’ll want to draft with this pick. But DL are deep in this draft and they can pick up a good one in the second round. Hargreaves shouldn’t be available this late. He’s a legit top 10 corner even if he is somewhat undersized (think Jason Verrett). Sheldon Rankins and/or Chris Jones makes a lot of sense here too, obviously. (Pick change, previously: Chris Jones)
  13. Miami Dolphins: RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State – The Dolphins would run not walk to the podium to turn in their card in this scenario. The Dolphins have been rumored to be asking about the Chargers’ pick at #3 to move ahead of Dallas to secure Elliot’s services but the Chargers don’t want to fall back this far. It is HIGHLY unlikely Elliot will fall this far but I just cannot find a home for him before here. Even if Dallas lets him pass by, he’ll be off the board via a trade or something. But the Dolphins are likely to be that team that moves up to get him. So I’m quite comfortable linking the two. (Pick change, previously: Vernon Hargreaves III)
  14. Oakland Raiders: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama – The Raiders are probably the second most complete team in the AFC behind only the New England Patriots. Their OL is regarded by some as top-tier, others say they still need a tackle. Either way, the Raiders are in an enviable position of not NEEDING to go any specific position. While they may not need any specific position, the Raiders do need to improve against the run. Enter Reggie Ragland. Ragland, may not be 3-down LB but the Raiders don’t need him to be. This is a solid, if unspectacular pick for a team that doesn’t have many weaknesses. (Pick unchanged)
  15. Tennessee Titans: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson – Despite picking this late, Tennessee is one of the winners of this draft. Trading with Los Angeles gives them 6 picks among the first 76 of this draft. And depending on the order of finish of the Rams and Titans this season they will have 5 picks within the top 90 (probably within the top 75-85) next year as well. Lawson has been getting some pub about getting into the top 10 but I don’t think he’ll make it quite that high. Lawson has just produced, produced, and produced some more. Then in College Football Playoff final, he played injured and still had 2 sacks and garnered enough attention to help his linemate, Kevin Dodd, face one-on-one blocking assignments which allowed Dodd to rack up 3 sacks. Dodd would not have excelled to that extent without Lawson playing opposite him. This is a great pick. (Pick change, previously: Laremy Tunsil #1)
  16. Detroit Lions: OT 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 as NFL O-lines double-team Robinson. (Pick unchanged)
  17. Atlanta Falcons: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson –Some actually think Dodd is a superior prospect than his teammate Lawson. But Dodd will play this season as a 24-year-old so while he is talented his long-term prognosis is not as high. He is who is; there isn’t any projection left. His rookie contract will be 4 years plus a 5th year team option. He won’t be eligible for free agency until his 29-year-old season. That won’t affect his ability to produce in the short-term, but I guarantee NFL front offices are thinking and talking about it. He’s still a good fit for the Falcons who need help with their pass rush. (Pick change, previously: Leonard Floyd)
  18. Indianapolis Colts: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama – Kelly really ought to send a “Thank you” card to Cowboys’ Center, Travis Frederick. Frederick was graded by most experts as a 3rd round pick but the Cowboys took the highest-rated Center from the 2013 draft in the first round. Draft experts panned the pick but all Frederick has done is become one of the best Centers in football and anchor the best OL in the NFL. Kelly has that kind of upside and teams that are picking in the back half of the first round have increasingly been linked with Kelly. None more than Indy. (Pick change, previously: Cody Whitehair)
  19. Buffalo Bills: DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi – Bills head coach Rex Ryan is almost a comic book character. He loves defenders. And he isn’t afraid of guys who might come with baggage. In fact, he almost seems to prefer that type. Nkemdiche seems Hollywood-cast for a Rex Ryan defense. (pick change; previously Corey Coleman)
  20. 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 unchanged)
  21. 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. (Pick unchanged)
  22. Houston Texans: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor – Coleman is one of the two WRs most experts call the best in the draft. He has speed and it shows on film with an NCAA best 20 TDs despite missing his team’s bowl game. His only knocks are that he’s not quite as reliable of a pass-catcher as some of the other WRs (but I also wouldn’t call him drop-prone either) and he’s smaller. Getting a talent like Coleman at 22 is a great value. (Pick change, previously Josh Doctson)
  23. Minnesota Vikings: OT Jack Conklin – The Vikings still have Adrian Peterson, arguably the best RB in the NFL. And they have a young and promising QB in Teddy Bridgewater. Peterson excelled when Minnesota had an elite line to run behind. Now with a 3rd year QB the Vikings need to maximize AP’s ability and help Bridgewater develop. They can do them both a favor by building up that OL. Conklin is probably more of a RT than LT and may even start as a Guard but he’s an immediate upgrade for an OL that needs just that. As much as the Vikings would like to add a WR, OL help makes more sense. (Pick unchanged)
  24. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Josh Doctson, TCU – The Bengals have needs all over. But they lost two productive WRs in free agency and desperately need a compliment to A.J. Green. Doctson isn’t a burner but he’s plenty fast and has very reliable hands. He’ll be a nice WR for many years. (pick change; previously Darron Lee)
  25. 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. (Pick unchanged)
  26. Seattle Seahawks: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State – I have very little confidence with this pick. Seattle has not used a lot of early picks on O-lineman but they just invested a ton of money in Russell Wilson. And Wilson has taken a pounding the last couple years. Seattle knows they need to address this. (Pick change; previously Eli Apple)
  27. Green Bay Packers: OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State – Green Bay needs linebackers inside and outside. ILB is probably the bigger need but Lee is too good of a value pick to pass up here. (Pick change; previously Jason Spriggs)
  28. Kansas City Chiefs: DL Andrew Billings, Baylor – Billings should be long-gone by now. But I couldn’t find a fit for him. He might be more of a DT/NT than 3-4 DE but he’s so dominant and strong I think he and the Chiefs would make it work. AFC West defenses are getting good. Billings would be another stalwart. (Pick change, previously Vernon Butler)
  29. Arizona Cardinals: S Karl Joseph, West Virginia – Joseph is quickly climbing up draft boards. Near the beginning of the draft “season” most expected the talented safety to be a late-2nd or an early-3rd round pick. However, he’s probably the best pure safety in the draft. And prior to his mid-season injury, he led the nation with 5 interceptions in 4 games. He’s a legit 1st round selection. This isn’t some workout warrior late-climber. (Pick change, previously: Keanu Neal)
  30. Carolina Panthers: OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana – I love athletic tackles. And Spriggs is a converted TE. Many think that after letting Josh Norman leave, Carolina will take a 1st round corner but Carolina usually takes late-round corners. Cam won’t be Cam for long if Carolina doesn’t shore up their OL. Spriggs is a nice pick this late and can start day 1 at RT and perhaps move to LT within a year or two. (Pick change; previously Taylor Decker)
  31. Denver Broncos: QB Conner Cook, Michigan State – Anyone who believes that Elway is satisfied with their QB situation or even with the QB options that may be available (Colin Kaepernick? Sam Bradford?) hasn’t been paying attention. Elway knows the Broncos do not have a long-term option. Cook, despite his flaws is interesting. Letting him develop for a year or two could allow him to develop into a legitimate starting NFL QB. (Pick change; previously Robert Nkemdiche)

 

Bonus time! Since this is a Chargers site we’ll continue this mock through the Chargers second round pick (#35).

 

  1. Cleveland Browns: WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State – Thomas is probably my favorite WR prospect in this draft. He has elite size (6’3” 212 lbs.) and plays much faster than the 4.57 40 he ran at Indy. He has big hands and catches virtually everything thrown his way. I believe Thomas’ upside is staggering. This is a great pick. (Pick change; previously: Kevin Dodd)
  2. Tennessee Titans: OT/G Cody Whitehair, Kansas – Whitehair played LT at Kansas but because of shorter arms he profiles as a Guard. Some think, however, he could excel at tackle despite less than ideal arm-length. Either way, Whitehair dominates his DL adversaries. The Titans need to upgrade their OL, Whitehair may be able to play RT for the Titans (his physical profile is remarkably similar to collegiate LT turned NFL RT Erik Winston). This is a very un-sexy but solid pick that would provide immediate dividends for Tennessee. (Pick change; previously: Shaq Lawson)
  3. Dallas Cowboys: DE Emanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State – The Cowboys let Greg Hardy walk and they have two other D-linemen who are facing 4+ game suspension. They need pass-rushers. They could go for Noah Spence here but they’re probably gun-shy to go for another player with a drug history. Ogbah plays stiffer than scouts like but his collegiate production is undeniable. This is a solid second round pick. (Pick change, previously: Andrew Billings)
  4. San Diego Chargers: DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State – The Chargers would love to draft Ryan Kelly but he’s long-gone. After picking a tackle in the first, the Chargers need to grab one of the slipping interior D-linemen to play opposite Corey Luiget. Jones lives in opposing teams’ backfields. Jones is only 1 inch shorter than Buckner and weighs 20 lbs. more. He definitely fits the profile of a 3-4 DE. Another solid pick. (Pick change; previously: Ryan Kelly)

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 and please, follow me on Twitter: @PickinBolts

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Peter Friberg
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