1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
6’5 305 lbs.
Titans GM Jon Robinson said specifically that protecting his quarterback would be a priority this off-season. It would certainly help Mariota’s development if he wasn’t spending half his time on a professional field running for his life and the other half tasting turf.
2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, ND State
6’5 232 lbs.
New head coach Hue Jackson is taking a QB here, and it makes a lot of sense to bet on Wentz who has every trait teams could want in a franchise quarterback. Of course, the Browns better do something about that defense. Wentz is too much of a gamer not to turn into a pick machine if he feels the pressure to carry a game by himself.
3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
6’6 287 lbs.
Despite the Chargers having two superior prospects available in Ramsey and Bosa, they reach a bit for Buckner. GM Tom Telesco has proven unreliable in assembling a talented roster as of yet.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
6’1 202 lbs.
Word from Cowboys camp is Ramsey is their number one player overall so finding him at the 4 spot with a competent GM like Stephen Jones calling the shots, this is a no-brainer. They can mix and match Byron Jones and Jalen Ramsey as they please.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
6’6 276 lbs.
Jags GM David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley will be bowling people over to get this pick in. Joey Bosa will be an immediate infusion of talent paired with former first-rounder Dante Fowler Jr. They must address the secondary this off-season as well, but Bosa is too talented.
6. Baltimore Ravens: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
5’11 192 lbs.
Jimmy Smith is a slightly undersized corner who’s had success with the Ravens, so Newsome knows to target talent and traits over size. Of course the Ravens offense will continue to scare exactly no one until they get serious about bolstering that side of the ball.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
6’5 304 lbs.
Far be it from me to indicate GM Trent Baalke could make a good decision. Chip likes his tackles and Ronnie Stanley has all of the tools to thrive in his scheme.
8. Miami Dolphins: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
5’11 195 lbs.
Brent Grimes is done. This is his replacement. The Dolphins are probably convinced that Suh is a long-term answer so they pass up the much more safe (and smart) option of A’Shawn Robinson here.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
6’3 270 lbs.
Lawson is expected to shoot up the boards after an excellent combine workout. Perhaps the hype will be enough to tempt a silly franchise like Tampa Bay into taking him in the top ten.
10. New York Giants: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
6’1 245 lbs.
It’s time. They’ve tried to get by with Jasper Brinkley, Jon Beason and Uani Unga, to absolutely disastrous results. Unless the decision-makers are clinically insane, they address the position here with a prospect that’s drawing comparisons to Thomas Davis.
11. Chicago Bears: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
6’4 312 lbs.
Last year, I had the Bears married to Danny Shelton, and they ignored their need. They still haven’t addressed the void left by Henry Melton. Robinson is a classic space-eater with surprising athleticism. He has all the traits to be dominant. Perhaps with their flashy receivers already in the fold, the Bears will turn to addressing their actual needs this off-season.
12. New Orleans Saints: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
6’4 275 lbs.
The more I break it down, the more this makes sense. Payton and Loomis must know that the entire defense struggles because of their lack of push up front. Ogbah will fit right into the locker room as a hard-worker with relentless motor. Knowing Pay/Loo though, I should be expecting something off-the-wall like safety or tackle here.
13. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
6’7 320 lbs.
Some team will fall in love with the potential of this big-bodied athletic prospect. He’s played on the big stage against some excellent pass rushers and held his own. It remains to be seen whether Coach Pederson is competent enough to put him in position to succeed though.
14. Oakland Raiders: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
6’1 259 lbs.
Reggie McKenzie, against all odds, has nailed his last couple of drafts as Raiders GM. He’ll recognize, eventually, that Curtis Lofton often is looking toward the sideline for instructions while in coverage. Ragland has the athleticism and instincts to grow into another in a long line of talented Alabama linebackers of the Saban era.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, Cal
6’4 215 lbs.
The Rams are ecstatic to see Goff here and snag him without a second thought. But perhaps that second thought should have been that they already signed Kirk Cousins in free agency (I jest).
16. Detroit Lions: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
6’6 325 lbs.
The Lions need to invest in whoever is behind center or that offense will never reach its potential. While we’re on the subject. Man, that Lions offense is going to suck.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
6’4 231 lbs.
Dan Quinn has proven to be obsessed with his side of the ball as a head coach. Plus, the Falcons still don’t have a pass rush. Leonard Floyd is another swing at bat for GM Dimitroff and company. Pairing him with Beasley could make for a potent combination in a few years.
18. Indiannapolis Colts: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indianna
6’5 301 lbs.
This is a case where the Colts would probably like to trade back, but in my inspired trade-free mock draft, they stay put and grab the next best offensive lineman available. Protecting Andrew Luck must be priority number one for Grigson and company unless they want more comedy routines in week 17 (Ryan Lindley and Josh Freeman split starting duties, it’s like the beginning of a “walks into a bar” joke)
19. Buffalo Bills: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
6’1 304 lbs.
Rumblings that Dareus is looking to leave point to Rex Ryan’s continual inability to control a 53-man roster. Instead of booting him like they should, the Bills decision makers allow him to commit nepotism while also replacing a proven talent with a relatively unknown rookie. Poor Bills, they’ll never make the playoffs. On the bright side, Rankins shows a lot of potential. He might even be on the level of the greats (like Dareus) one day.
20. New York Jets: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
6’3 301 lbs.
In his first season as coach of the Jets, Todd Bowles impressed with a simplistic west-coast passing game to go along with a power running attack and a suffocating defense. I love me some old-school football and Whitehair projects as a road-grading guard for Ivory (or Powell… Stacy… Ridley… umm) that also has the quickness to hold up in pass-protection.
21. Washington Redskins: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss
6’4 296 lbs.
Second-year GM Scot McCloughan established a formula for building from the trenches. Last year, he shored up the O-line with Brandon Scherff. This year, he should follow suit on the defensive side with a blue-chip talent like Nkemdiche. Here’s hoping this basket case doesn’t end up doing the worm during a Monday Night Football game. Looking at you, Haynesworth.
22. Houston Texans: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
6’7 245 lbs.
The Texans stay put and take a talented prospect here in Lynch. He’s not ready to start right away, but he can’t be much worse than Hoyer was in that playoff game… right DeAndre Hopkins?
23. Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
6’2 210 lbs.
The Vikings need another receiver with the word being that Mike Wallace wants out. Big surprise. And Cordarelle Patterson still isn’t progressing. Big surprise? That leaves Stefon Diggs and Charles Johnson. I’m not quite inspired with that corps. Of course, Treadwell is not the best receiver in this class, but landing with an accurate passer like Bridgewater should help considering his inability to separate from even college corners.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
6’2 310 lbs.
The Bengals are constantly refueling their defense, it’s one of the reasons they have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. Billings is 20 years old and figures to blow up the combine. Snagging him here is a steal. On an unrelated note: Does anyone else have an annual pity party for the Bengals during Wild Card Weekend?
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
6’1 200 lbs.
Too long the Steelers have ignored upgrading this position. It’s time and they know it. Their secondary was a big reason they lost a lot of games last season. Apple is a rising prospect with ideal size who has big-game experience. You’ll be hearing that a lot during the rest of this mock draft.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
6’2 228 lbs.
The Seahawks have built such an impressive roster by snagging impressive athletes that fit in their scheme. Darron Lee is a potential fit as a Jack linebacker to replace Bruce Irvin, who’s leaving in free agency. In addition to impressive measurables, he’s ready for prime-time due to his big-game experience.
27. Green Bay Packers: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky
6’2 254 lbs.
The Packers have been trying to generate a pass rush with over-the-hill vet Julius Peppers. It was fun (and funny) while it lasted. But unless they want to continue to waste Rodgers’ prime years, they’d better get serious about building a defense from the ground up.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
6’3 229 lbs.
A perfect replacement for the departing great Derrick Johnson, once Smith is ready to go, he’ll headline a fearsome defensive unit that should only get better in the coming years. Andy Reid and John Dorsey are building a potential powerhouse.
29. Arizona Cardinals: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
6’5 253 lbs.
Jermaine Gresham was, inexplicably, unused in Arians’ offense. However, a play-maker like Henry should allow Carson Palmer to be that much more potent. He can also add some juice to the emerging running game.
30. Carolina Panthers: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
6’0 225 lbs.
Do the Panthers ever recognize or draft for their needs? Not since they double-dipped for Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first and second rounds respectively. Still, you can’t argue with Gettleman’s strategy here. Elliott is a game changer at running back. Him and Cam Newton in the same backfield would give defensive coordinators absolute fits. Also big-game experience blah blah blah.
31. Denver Broncos: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
6’3 325 lbs.
Elway wants to hold onto Malik Jackson, but it seems like Jackson might chase the money. Proven to have adequate eye-sight and cognitive abilities, Elway recognizes his team was special due to defense and continues to refuel with an impressive talent from a small school who has been shooting up boards.