With the combine two weeks away, I going to put out my first Mock Draft of the off-season. This will (hopefully) become a regular feature leading up to the draft, which will feature my seven round mock draft. This installment will only have the first round. Hope you all enjoy and feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section.
1. OT - Laremy Tunsil - Ole Miss
If the Titans keep this pick, they should take Tunsil. Marcus Mariota desperately needs help up front and Tunsil can help anchor the line. He fits their biggest need. I imagine the Titans will try to trade down and hope to stock up picks to fill up on other needs but the draft is not exactly loaded with franchise quarterbacks and I doubt someone will trade up for any other position at #1.
2. QB - Jared Goff - California
The Johnny Manziel era is over and this team has nothing at the quarterback position. Goff certainly fills a need here and at the moment is still the top quarterback in the class. Carson Wentz is climbing up the boards and rumors are circling that the Browns are really interested in him but that could be a smokescreen. Then again, I do not know if Browns ownership is smart enough to do that. After the combine I think we will find out who is the consensus #1 quarterback but for now, I'll go with Goff.
3. CB/S - Jalen Ramsey - Florida State
This is not a strong draft so taking someone at this position does not seem as risky with the 3rd overall selection. Ramsey is the top defensive back in the draft and can play both positions, which are an area of need for this team. If Tunsil happens to slip, the Chargers would likely nab him here. Joey Bosa is also a choice with this selection.
4. DE - Joey Bosa - Ohio State
The Cowboys defense stunk last year. Getting the top ranked pass rusher in the class will certainly help them. Bosa is also a fit in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses and can give them the pass rusher they failed to get in Greg Hardy. Any top defensive player should be on the board for the Cowboys here. Also, with Tony Romo getting older, they need to start thinking about the future at quarterback. They cannot depend on the parade of stiffs they trotted out last year when he went down.
5. OT - Ronnie Stanley - Notre Dame
The Jaguars need help in the trenches. Luke Joeckel appears to have been a bust as the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft so the Jaguars need to find a left tackle to help protect Blake Bortles. Stanley can also help with the running game. CB Vernon Hargreaves and DL DeForest Buckner are other possibilities here. This spot is also a good chance for the Jaguars to trade down for a team interested in someone like Carson Wentz, perhaps the Eagles at #13 or the Rams at #15.
6. CB - Vernon Hargreaves III - Florida
The Ravens are in desperate need of help in the secondary. Hargreaves is rated as the top cover corner in the draft and should be able to step in and start on day one. The Ravens also need a playmaker on offense and WR Laquon Treadwell is also someone to consider with this selection.
7. QB - Carson Wentz - North Dakota State
With Chip Kelly in charge, who knows what he will do at Quarterback. However, I cannot see Wentz slipping past this pick and I do not believe Blaine Gabbert is the long-term answer at the position so this seems like a good fit to me. And if not, Chip will probably trade the pick away. The 49ers also need help at receiver and across the offensive line and can possibly address those needs here.
8. LB - Myles Jack - UCLA
The Dolphins need a lot of help at conerback and at offensive line as well. However, there are not anyone at those positions worth taking here. Jack fits an immediate need at linebacker that can really help in coverage. Although coming off of season ending surgery, Jack is one of the best athletes in the draft and could be a steal here. If Hargreaves is still on the board, he is certainly a possibility here too.
9. WR - Laquon Treadwell - Ole Miss
The Buccaneers most glaring need is a pass rusher. Although there is a good amount of interior lineman worthy of this pick, there is not an edge rusher at the moment to take here. DeForest Buckner is still left in this scenario but he seems like more of a 3-4 defensive end and that does not help Tampa. Treadwell is too good to pass up here. Vincent Jackson is 33 years old and carries a salary that is almost $10 million dollars. Plus, one more run-in with the law and he faces a year-long suspension. Treadwell gives Jameis Winston another weapon on offense.
10. DT - A'Shawn Robinson - Alabama
Robinson can step right in at defensive tackle for this team. Not only can he stuff the run but at 315 lbs shown that he can also rush the quarterback. Other defensive linemen such as DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Rankins are possibilities here too. ILB Reggie Ragland could really fit a need but might be a reach here.
11. DE - DeForest Buckner - Oregon
Buckner would fit as a 3-4 end with the Bears, who need a lot of help at the position. He also prove to be very good against the run this year, which helps playing in a division with Adrian Peterson. The Bears also need help at tackle and could consider Michigan State's Jack Conklin here.
12. DE - Robert Nkemdiche - Ole Miss
Nkemdiche is arguably a top 10 talent in this draft class. However, he has some off-field concerns that could cause him to slide. The Saints have nothing on defense and he would step right in at defensive end for this team. The combine will be key for Nekmdiche, specifically the team interview portion. If he bombs, there is a chance he drops out of the first round. At the moment, he is worthy of the 12th overall selection.
13. OT - Jack Conklin - Michigan State
If Sam Bradford is not retained, then the Eagles can think about someone like Paxton Lynch here. Regardless of who is under center, the Eagles need a pair of offensive tackles. Conklin is the best on the board here and great at run blocking as well. The Eagles can also think about taking someone like Sheldon Rankins out of Lousiville, who seems like a perfect fit for new Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz.
14. LB - Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame
The Raiders biggest need is in the secondary but there is no one currently on the board to take here. Smith, who will likely miss the start of the season, could become the Raiders answer at middle linebacker for the next several years. The Raiders have a good offense and need to start building up their defense. Reggie Ragland out of Alabama is another choice here.
15. QB - Paxton Lynch - Memphis
Personally, I am not sold on Lynch here. However, the Rams are desperately in need of a quarterback and you do have to pay a premium for one in the league so the selection would at least make sense. The Rams can also considering trading down here too, seeing their biggest area of needs are tough to address with this pick.
16. DT - Sheldon Rankins - Louisville
The Lions lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley last season and have yet to recover. Rankins can step in the interior and cause some disruption in the middle. He stock is rapidly rising and after the combine there is a chance he might be gone before this selection. OT Taylor Decker out of Ohio State can also fill a glaring need here as well.
17. DE - Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma State
The Falcons only had 19 sacks last season. Ogbah had 13.5 himself for Oklahoma State and should be able to come right in and hep out the anemic Falcons pass rush. The team could also use help at linebacker and safety.
18. OT - Taylor Decker - Ohio State
Addressing the offensive line this off-season needs to be the top priority for the Colts. Decker makes sense here. The Colts can also shore up their defensive line and can address that here as well. However, this draft has a lot of depth at that position and they can address that later in the draft.
19. OLB - Noah Spence - Eastern Kentucky
Spence would have likely been a top 10 pick had he not been kicked out of Ohio State for repeated failed drug tests. While he had a great on the field during Senior Bowl week, there are some reports that he did poorly on the team interview portion. With Rex Ryan taking chances on players with "character issues" in the past and a team needing to bolster their pass rush, this pick makes sense.
20. ILB - Reggie Ragland - Alabama
The Jets need a lot of help at linebacker, especially in the middle, where Ragland is at the top of the class. This pick provides great value. The Jets can also target a rush linebacker here or even take RB Ezekiel Elliot, who can bolster that position.
21. DT - Vernon Butler - Louisiana Tech
The Redskins can use some youth across the defensive line. Butler can step in and takeover at nose tackle if Terrance Knighton leaves via free agency. Andrew Billings and Jarran Reid are other possibilities here. The Skins can also address the cornerback position with Eli Apple and Mackensie Alexander as two of the top options left on the board.
22. RB - Ezekiel Elliot - Ohio State
With Arian Foster's future in doubt and no one else on the roster capable of replacing him, Foster makes a lot of sense with this pick. The team's biggest need is at quarterback and unless coach Bill O'Brien wants to take a gamble on his former recruit, Christian Hackenberg, or if he thinks Connor Cook is worthy of this selection, then I do not see how you can address that here. Maybe trading up to get a QB is the answer if not the second round or free agency. Regardless, Elliot will help make it easier for anyone the Texans have under center.
23. OLB - Darron Lee - Ohio State
Chad Greenway could stand to be replaced. Lee is an athletic playmaker who could step and contribute right away. The team could also stand to bolster the offensive line or add some playmakers on offense, especially at receiver where Cordarelle Patterson has been a bust and Mike Wallace has disappointed since signing. Both of these positions can be addressed on the second day of the draft.
24. DT - Jarran Reid - Alabama
Domata Peko is no longer the player he once was and Reid can step in and team up with Geno Atkins in the middle of the defensive line. Depending on their losses in free agency, cornerback is a way they can go here and Eli Apple and Mackensie Alexander are options for them.
25. CB - Eli Apple - Ohio State
This team needs all sorts of help in the secondary. Apple can give them a cornerback with size (6'1 200lbs) who plays physical to go along with cover skills. They can also address nose tackle with someone like Andrew Billings or at linebacker as Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison are up there in age.
26. DT - Andrew Billings - Baylor
Although the Seahawks biggest needs are along the offensive line, a position where coach Pete Carroll has reached for before, I still think there is no one worthy for that spot yet. Billings fills their biggest position of need on defense and provides an interior pass rush too.
27. OLB - Leonard Floyd - Georgia
There are a few ways the Packers could go here. Floyd brings some much needed speed to the defense. He can give the team the edge rusher it desperately needs and he even played inside linebacker while at Georgia. The Packers can also look at addressing the defensive line here with a few tackles still left on the board.
28. CB - Mackensie Alexander - Kansas City
Drafting Marcus Peters in the first round last year certainly helped but the Chiefs do not much depth at all and Sean Smith is a free agent. If Smith is retained, Alexander can still fit here and be the team's nickel back at the very least.
29. OLB - Kevin Dodd - Clemson
The Cardinals really need someone to get after the passer. Dodd had a great showing in the National Title game and 12 sacks on the season. The Cardinals can also use some help at cornerback here as well.
30. CB - Kendall Fuller - Virginia Tech
There are a few ways the Panthers can go with this pick. DE Shaq Lawson out of Clemson is an option. And they look for a wide receiver or offensive tackle but there are not a lot of inspiring options. I think Fuller fits here as they need someone to line up opposite Josh Norman.
31. G - Cody Whitehair - Kansas State
Whitehair played left tackle, another position of need for the Broncos, in college but porjects as a guard in the NFL, where the Broncos are desperate for someone. Regardless of who is under center for the defending Super Bowl Champs, they need help upfront. The Broncos also have a lot of upcoming free agents and somone like Von Miller might need to be replaced and an edge rusher could be an option for the Broncos as well.