One season ends and a new one begins. Although the official beginning of the NFL season isn’t until March 9th, it’s never to early to speculate where aspiring college football players will turn their dreams into reality. The NFL combine, trades and free agency are bound to change team needs, but that why this is mock draft version 1.0 right?
- Round 1
2015 Record : 3-13 4th Place AFC South
Team Needs: RB, OT, CB, S
Pick: Laremy Tunsil, OT (Ole Miss)
Personally, I believe the Titans may trade the number one overall pick, but for the purpose of the draft, protecting last year’s number two overall pick with probably the most NFL ready player in the draft. Tunsil is a gifted athlete with quick hands and feet. Tunsil will be able to step in an provide an immediate impact to help improve an offense that ranked 30th overall.
Pick 2: Cleveland Browns
2015 Record : 3-13 4th Place AFC North
Team Needs: QB, WR, DT, DE, LB
Pick: Jared Goff, QB (Califorina)
With the Johnny Manziel circus set to leave town, the Browns take yet another shot at selecting the quarterback of the future with the #2 overall pick. Goff has a great arm and can move around well in the pocket. The knocks against him are that he can become inaccurate from time to time, and he spent 99.8% in the shotgun or pistol formation, which could mean he may not be ready to run an NFL offense. The raw skills are there, but the Browns track record doesn’t bow well for Goff.
Pick 3: San Diego Chargers
2015 Record: 4-12 4th Place AFC West
Team Needs: QB, RB, DT, DE, CB
Pick: Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
The Chargers use the third overall pick here to add a dynamic play maker, who is strong both against the run and puts pressure on the QB.Knock against him is he may not have the speed to be an elite pass rusher. Joey Bosa fills a huge need for the San Diego Chargers who are looking to be relevant again after a lackluster 2015 campaign.
Pick 4: Dallas Cowboys
2015 Record: 4-12 4th Place NFC East
Team Needs: QB, RB, DT, CB
Pick: Jalen Ramsey, CB (Florida State)
Although many people believe the Cowboys are going to go after the quarterback of the future here, I think they go a different route and address the need for Tony Romo’s successor either via free agency or later on in the draft. Ramsey has great speed and an amazing vertical, but can get beat with a good move off the line. Ramsey has the raw tools to develop into an all-pro corner and the Cowboys fill a huge hole by drafting him.
Pick 5: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Record: 5-11 3rd Place AFC South
Team Needs: C, LB, CB, S
Pick: Vernon Hargreaves , CB (Florida)
It is no secret that the Jags need a quality cover corner, and with Hargreaves they get their man. He is extremely quick and always seems to be around the ball, but his small frame could pose as a problem against bigger NFL receivers. Hargreaves can become a pro bowl caliber player despite his size because of his great instincts. Due to the injury to Dante Fowler last pre-season, the Jags are esentually landing 2 top 5 talents on defense in the same year. The Jags defense should be much improved in 2016.
Pick 6: Baltimore Ravens
2015 Record: 5-11 3rd Place AFC North
Team Needs: WR, OT, OG, OLB, CB
Pick: Miles Jack, OLB (UCLA)
The Baltimore Ravens have some work to do, and they are a prime candidate to trade down. They need a weapon to help out franchise QB Joe Flacco. Playing in the AFC North, the Ravens have to face some tough wide receivers and need to find defensive help to deal with them. One way to do that is to add a dynamic linebacker with great speed and Jack fits the bill. The biggest issue with Jack is his health. A torn anterior meniscus cut his junior season short, and his health leading into the combine will vastly affect his draft position.
Pick 7: San Francisco 49ers
2015 Record: 5-11 4th Place NFC West
Team Needs: QB, WR, OT, ILB
Pick: Laquon Treadwell, WR (Ole Miss)
There is uncertanty behind Colin Kaepernick’s future in San Francisco so the 49ers might be looking toward the quarterback of the future. Kaepernick gets help here in San Fran if he winds up staying when the 49ers draft the top wide receiver in this years draft. Although he doesn’t have blinding speed, he is an excellent route runner with great hands. He has a knack for finding holes in zone coverage and makes plays happen after the catch. With a little polishing, he has potential to be the steal in this years draft.
Pick 8: Miami Dolphins
2015 Record: 6-10 4th Place AFC East
Team Needs: RB, OT, OG, ILB, CB
Pick: Reggie Ragland, ILB (Alabama)
Although a bit of a reach with the 8th pick, Ragland fills a void in the Dolphins defense. Ragland is the top inside linebacker prospect, but his speed could be an issue. He is a great tackler who hold his own and covers run gaps quite well. The Dolphins desperately need to strike gold on defense with a rookie contract, after getting themselves into salary cap trouble with the large salary (and mediocre at best performance) of Ndamukong Suh. If Ragland can adjust to the speed of the NFL game, he could become a leader on this Miami squad.
Pick 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2015 Record: 6-10 4th Place NFC South
Team Needs: OG, DE, CB, S
Pick: Mackensie Alexander, CB (Clemson)
The Bucs have two main needs; corner back and a pure pass rusher. Although they will be tempted to go after a pass rusher like fellow Clemson teammate Shaq Lawson, they decide to take the third corner off the board in the top ten picks. If you try to look up Alexander’s stats, Google won’t give you any impressive numbers. This isn’t a bad thing though, as Alexander is a shut down corner and teams simply wouldn’t throw his way. Alexander is a good start in making over a defensive backfield that was a weak point last season.
Pick 10: New York Giants
2015 Record: 6-10 3rd Place NFC East
Team Needs: WR, DE, LB, CB, S
Pick: Deforest Buckner, DE (Oregon)
The Giants are in desperate need for a pass rusher, and the Bucs need for a corner back is the Giants gain. Just like the Jets had the arugably the best prospect in the draft fall to them at pick six last year, the Giants are landing arguably the best defensive end in the draft with the 10th pick. Buckner will make an immediate impact in helping a defensive unit that ranked 30th in the league in sacks, which in turn will help the secondary.
Pick 11: Chicago Bears
2015 Record : 6-10 4th Place NFC North
Team Needs: QB, WR, OT, DL, OLB
Pick: Jaylon Smith, LB (Norte Dame)
The Chicago Bears are in rough shape as far as the front seven are concerned. Deciding on if they should use their first pick to draft an linebacker or defensive lineman will come down to best available player, and as of right now Jaylon Smith is it. Very athletic and quick, if it wasn’t for a torn ACL and MCL this past season, he might have been considered the best prospect in this year’s draft. If Smith can make a full recovery from a serious knee injury, the Bears will be handsomely rewarded with their pick.
Pick 12: New Orleans Saints
2015 Record: 7-9 3rd Place NFC South
Team Needs: OG, DL, OLB, CB
Pick : A’Shawn Robinson, DT (Alabama)
The Saints need major help along the defensive line. The Saints defense ranked 31st against the run, 25th in sacks, and 31st against the pass last season. These horrible numbers are due to an ability to seal running lanes, numerous injuries in the defensive backfield and lack of a pass rush. The Saints have a decision to make between an edge rusher and an interior lineman, but in the end, the Saints select the best defensive tackle prospect this year’s draft has to offer. A fantastic tackler, Robinson plugs running lanes, and even has the ability to create pressure up the middle. Robinson is a perfect fit to beginning to fix this broken defense.
Pick 13: Philadelphia Eagles
2015 Record: 7-9 2nd Place NFC East
Team Needs: QB, OG/C, OT, DE, S
Pick: Paxton Lynch, QB (Memphis)
Chances are, the Eagles will find a way to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford. That doesn’t mean they will shy away from looking for the quarterback of the future. After a below average performance last year from the oft-injured Bradford and a new regime in town, the search for the next franchise quarterback is on. Lynch is very athletic and quick. He is a perfect candidate to be groomed as his overall accuracy does need some work, but the tools are there for him to become a dynamic QB. The fact that he is 6’7″ doesn’t hurt either as he can eaisly see over the offensive line to scan the field.
Pick 14: Oakland Raiders
2015 Record: 7-9 3rd Place AFC West
Team Needs: OG, OT, ILB, CB, S
Pick: Ronnie Stanley, OT (Norte Dame)
Other team’s needs wind up playing into the Raiders favor. The great need for pass rushers allows a top 10 prospect to fall into the Raiders laps at 14. He is an excellent pass protector, something the Raiders lack. Although he needs to be groomed in opening up running lanes, he will slide in to a porous offensive line and start immediately protecting Derek Carr’s blind spot. The Raiders have a really solid foundation in place on offense with Carr and last year rookie stand out Amari Cooper. Now they just have to get some protection for that foundation to get to the next level.
Pick 15: Los Angeles Rams
2015 Record: 7-9 3rd Place NFC West
Team Needs: QB, WR, C, CB, S
Pick: Carson Wentz, QB (North Dakota State)
With a lack of true, pure, 1st round talent after Laquon Treadwell, the Rams draft a QB to groom into the face of the new L.A. franchise. Wentz played in a pro style offense in college, has ability to make NFL throws, is a naturally accurate passer. He needs to work on his accuracy when rolling out and locking in on receivers. This is something that can be taught, and the Rams could possibly groom him to be the franchise QB they haven’t had since Kurt Warner.
Pick 16: Detroit Lions
2015 Record: 7-9 3rd Place NFC North
Team Needs: WR, OT, ILB, CB
Pick: Jack Conklin, OT (Michigan State)
While the Lions might stretch for a wide receiver here if Calvin Johnson does retire, they decide to draft Conklin. Taking Conklin allows them to fill two position needs, as Riley Reiff can return to his natural position after Conklin fills the hole at tackle. Conklin has the ability to recover from being beat off the line with great core strength. He could have issue with speedy edge rushers, but might eventually be the piece to solidify the Lions offense line. If Calvin stays around and Matt Stafford has time to throw, this offense could be scary once again.
Pick 17: Atlanta Falcons
2015 Record: 8-8 2nd Place NFC South
Team Needs: WR, DE, ILB, OLB, S
Pick: Shaq Lawson, DE (Clemson)
Although the Falcons have glaring needs at the linebacker position, passing up on Lawson with the need for a edge rusher with the 17th overall pick would be foolish. Another talent that slipped out of the top 10, Lawson was among the leaders in the nation in tackles for loss and sacks. He could be converted into a 3-4 linebacker in the pros as he has flexibility issues that could be a problem on the pro level as a defensive end. He would be reunited with former teammate Vic Beasley to provide extra pressure on the QB.
Pick 18: Indianapolis Colts
2015 Record: 8-8 2nd Place AFC South
Team Needs: OT, OG, OLB, CB, FS
Pick: Taylor Decker, OT (Ohio State)
The right side of the Colts offensive line has been very troublesome. Protecting Andrew Luck after an injury plagued season has to and will be top priority. They get a solid tackle on the right side with Decker who’s intangibles are outstanding. He needs to become a little stronger and work on pass protection a little, but with improvement in those areas the big 10 offensive lineman of the year will be a solid starter for years to come.
Pick 19: Buffalo Bills
2015 Record: 8-8 3rd Place AFC East
Team Needs: WR, OT, DL, LB, K
Pick: Leonard Floyd, OLB (Georgia)
Although Floyd is listed as an outside linebacker, he is a hybrid player. He has great sideline to sideline speed and always seems to be after the ball. When needed to he can also puts his mitts in the dirt and rush from the edge. Rex Ryan loves to utilize the hybrid position, and with the loss of Mario Williams, Floyd seems to make sense here for Buffalo. Rex loves to have a player that can play the hybrid position. Add in the fact that Rex’s brother Rob will be helping with defense, and there will be plenty of creative way to get a player like Floyd involved.
Pick 20: New York Jets
2015 Record: 10-6 2nd Place AFC East
Team Needs: RB, OT, TE, OLB
Pick: Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State)
The Jets had the best turnaround of any team last off-season. The new regime faces many challenging tasks ahead though. They have some key free agents that if they don’t resign, could change up this pick. Three out of four running backs that were on the roster last season are no longer under contract. Resigning Bilal Powell seems the most realistic, and Elliot would be drafted to split carries with him, and save the Jets cap room for other needs. Elliot is the best running back on the board and can make cuts that will make you jerk your head. Elliot has been under a heavy workload at Ohio State, and he needs to do a better job of picking and choosing his collisions. The Jets offense strikes gold here at 20 with a play making RB.
Pick 21: Washington Redskins
2015 Record: 9-7 1st Place NFC East
Team Needs: C, WR, DL, CB
Pick: Ryan Kelly, C (Alabama)
The Redskins shocked the football world last year winning the NFC East as they were left for dead when the season started and Robert Griffin III ended. Their needs and even ability to move up in the draft could change depending on if they can get Kirk Cousins to sign a deal or not, but for now their biggest need is a center, and they draft the best center prospect in the draft in Kelly. He moves and blocks well and his play rarely results in the yellow flag being thrown, although he will need to beef up a little bit in order to survive in the NFL. Redskins fill a glaring hole here.
Pick 22: Houston Texans
2015 Record: 9-7 1st Place AFC South
Team Needs: QB, RB, DE, TE
Pick: Derrick Henry, RB (Alabama)
The Texans are another team that surprised the masses last year, taking the AFC South crown away from the Indianapolis Colts who had a lackluster year, mostly due to the absence of Andrew Luck. The Texans need to draft the quarterback of the future, but with the top 3 names already off the board, I see the Texans going after their replacement for the departing Arian Foster. Henry has a high top end speed, especially for his size. He is a punishing running back who had a massive workload last year at Alabama touching the ball almost 400 times. He takes a little longer than others to get up to top speed, but is hard to bring down when he does. This may be a stretch for the Texans, but he wouldn’t be around next time they pick, while some of the QB’s on the list might.
Pick 23: Minnesota Vikings
2015 Record: 11-5 1st Place NFC North
Team Needs: WR, OT, OG, S
Pick: Corey Coleman, WR (Baylor)
While getting someone to fill the tackle position might be the biggest need for the Vikings, wide receiver is a huge need for them as well in an offense that was ranked 31st in the league. Coleman is a tall receiver with a great vertical that is extremely quick off the line. He will provide the Vikings with a deep threat that they need, he just needs to work on getting his drops under control and improving his numbers inside the numbers. Drops will go down if he is taught to use his hands more rather than his body to catch the ball.
Pick 24: Cincinnati Bengals
2015 Record: 12-4 1st Place AFC North
Team Needs: WR, C, NT, LB, S
Pick: Josh Doctson, WR (TCU)
A tall, quick wide receiver who has a knack for the end zone, Doctson fills a void in the Bengals offense as they have four receivers on the depth chart who are set to hit the free agent pool. Doctson needs to work on disguising his breaks and becoming more physical as a blocker and breaking off the corner backs stuff at the line The Bengals could choose to use their pick on a center or line backer, but choose to fill the wide receiver glare instead.
2015 Record: 10-6 2nd Place AFC North
Team Needs: TE, OG, OLB, CB, S
Pick: Eli Apple, CB (Ohio State)
It’s no secret the Steelers pass defense needs some help. Ranked 30th in the league against the pass, the Steelers are going to take Apple who is rising up the charts on many people’s boards. Very tall for a corner back standing at 6’1″, Apple also has a knack for disrupting routes and making plays. He is quick footed, but is average at best in tackling and reacting to the quarterback. All things that can be worked on, the Steelers might be drafting their cover man of the future.
Pick 26: Seattle Seahawks
2015 Record 10-6 2nd Place NFC West
Team Needs: RB, WR, OT, DT
Pick: Sheldon Rankings, DT (Louisville)
Although the Seahawks could really use help on the offensive line, I think they look to hold down the defensive line to bring in the next generation of boom. Although considered undersized for an NFL defensive lineman, he is very powerful and athletic, generating a ton of backfield pressure in college. He has the ability to be successful in multiple defensive schemes, and the Seahawks might land a diamond late in the draft if he can overcome his size issues.
Pick 27: Green Bay Packers
2015 Record: 10-6 2nd Place NFC North
Team Needs: TE, OT, ILB, OLB
Pick: Darron Lee, OLB (Ohio State)
The Packers need a couple of linebackers to help Clay Matthews out. They pick up a potential top 20 guy here with Lee. Lee is a former quarterback and corner back, is built like a safety and plays outside linebacker. He is excellent in man coverage, but could use polishing in finding the proper receiver in zone. Very athletic with a knack for finding the ball, his draft stock may plummet due to his size, although that could be ignored with a good day at the combine.
Pick 28: Kansas City Chiefs
2015 Record: 11-5 2nd Place AFC West
Team Needs: WR, OL, DL, OLB
Pick: Andrew Billings, NT (Baylor)
A big body to put in the middle of the 3-4 defense, Billings went into college play as an offensive lineman but converted early. He has gotten better each year he has played there. He is extremely powerful and ha great closing speed for a big guy. Once he gets going one way however, that’s the way he is going, as he has trouble changing directions. Chiefs fill a big need with a guy who could be one of the biggest surprises from this draft.
Pick 29: Arizona Cardinals
2015 Record: 13-3 1st Place NFC West
Team Needs: TE, OLB, CB, S
Pick: Leonard Floyd, OLB (Georgia)
Although the Cardinals really need to grab a safety, linebacker is a need for them and they take a chance at a play maker with this pick. Vastly underweight for a linebacker, Floyd has found success at his position due to the ability to cover lots of ground, great ball pursuit, coverage skills, and nose to be around the ball. As long as the Cardnials feed him well leading into the season, he could become a dangerous player.
Pick 30: Carolina Panthers
2015 Record:15-1 1st Place NFC South
Team Needs: RB, OT, DE, DB
Pick: Kevin Dodd, DE (Clemson)
Although there is a shot the Panthers could draft a wide receiver here (Braxton Miller), the departure of Jared Allen to retirement needs to be addressed. This could also change depending on if the Panthers retain Josh Norman or not. Dodd was overshadowed in his playing career by Shaq Lawson, but he has great instincts and want to be invoved in every play. He only started for a year so his skills need to be polished, but his 12 sacks last season could help boost an already talented Panthers defense.
Pick 31: Denver Broncos
2015 Record: 12-4 1st Place AFC West (SB 50 Champs)
Team Needs: QB, RB, OG, OT, TE
Pick: Shon Coleman, OT (Auburn)
The Denver Broncos might be tempted to pick Hunter Henry with this pick given the aging tight ends they currently have, but protecting the quarterback is a bigger issue. Coleman is a feel good story beating Leukemia before entering the college football world. His mental toughness cannot be matched, his frame and agility are impressive, he just needs help with his footwork to be NFL ready.
The New England Patriots do not have a first round pick due to the league’s judgement in the Deflategate scandal.
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