The offseason is in full swing for all 32 teams. With draft season fast approaching, it’s time for the the next installment of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft – post combine/pre-free agency edition.
1. Tennessee Titans
Previous Pick: CB/S Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)
Sticking with my original pick here. Ramsey is an athletic, hybrid defender who will inject life into a zombie-like secondary.
2. Cleveland Browns
Previous Pick: QB Jared Goff (California)
Forget the small hands (9 inches, compared to Carson Wentz’s 10), Goff is a future star in the NFL. Hue Jackson turned Andy Dalton into a new quarterback (career highs in yards per attempt, passer rating, completion percentage, first year with single digit INT’s, lowest sack total in 2015), and he’s expected to do the same in Cleveland.
3. San Diego Chargers
Previous Pick: T Laremy Tunsil (Mississippi)
New: DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)
I changed this pick because Buckner not only had a good combine (4.47 40, 32-inch vertical), but because of the Chargers desperate need for better defensive play, especially up front.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Previous Pick: DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)
New Pick: QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
Bosa fills a pressing need for the Cowboys, who can’t seem to find a defensive end that doesn’t have some degree of off-field problems, but Tony Romo is 36 years old. The time for a new chapter of the Cowboys is now.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Pick: OLB Myles Jack (UCLA)
New Pick: Bosa
Unlike the ‘Boys, the Jaguars have their quarterback of the future on the roster, so they can focus their attention on improving the NFL’s 31st ranked scoring defense. Bosa is the edge-setting, quarterback-hunting presence Gus Bradley’s defense needs to succeed.
6. Baltimore Ravens
Previous Pick: WR Laquon Treadwell (Mississippi)
New Pick: T Ronnie Staley (Notre Dame)
With Eugene Monroe not likely to return to Baltimore, the Ravens could be in serious need of a left tackle. Given Joe Flacco was sacked 16 times in 10 games, Staley could be the franchise tackle for years to come while maintaining the physical style of football the AFC North demands.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Previous Pick: Wentz
New Pick: Treadwell
Anquan Boldin is 35 years old, and a free agent. The 49ers need a receiver who dominate on the outside, particularly in a division with two top dogs (Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson). Treadwell is the physically dominant receiver in the draft, and he would contribute to the offense immediately with his hands and red zone prowess.
8. Miami Dolphins
Previous Pick: LB Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame)
New Pick: Tunsil
Tunsil’s off-field questions (missed seven games after receiving improper benefits) cause a drop, but not past the offensive line-needy Dolphins. Branden Albert hasn’t stayed healthy since joining Miami, and the Ja’Waun James experience at tackle left many Dolphins plays in the backfield, or worse. Tunsil would give Ryan Tannehill a cornerstone at tackle.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previous Pick: Buckner
New Pick: CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida)
The Buccaneers secondary wasn’t good last season. They finished 21st in the NFL with just 11 interceptions (Marcus Peters had 8, by himself). Hargreaves is the lockdown corner that would certainly help the Buccaneers win more than six games in 2016.
10. New York Giants
Previous Pick: DT Robert Nkemdiche (Mississippi)
New Pick: DE Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
Nkemdiche’s personal problems might not make him undraftable, but they certainly take him off the Giants draft board, as their defense needs upgrades for the present, and future. Dodd is a rising star in draft circles, and his title game dominance of Alabama (5 TFL, 3 sacks), has some thinking he could be better than his hyped-up teammate, DE Shaq Lawson.
11. Chicago Bears
Previous Pick: CB Eli Apple (Ohio State)
New Pick: ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)
If the Bears are going to take the next step under Vic Fangio, they’re going to need a better inside linebacker than Shea McClellin. Ragland is a wrecking ball once he sees a lane, and don’t discount his coverage skills as well.
12. New Orleans Saints
Previous Pick: Hargreaves III
New Pick: DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)
The Saints have Cameron Jordan…and thats it. If they’re serious about returning to the top the NFC South, they have to make Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, and Jameis Winston feel the heat.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Pick: QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
New Pick: WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
With Sam Bradford back on a 2-year, $36M contract, the Eagles can focus on improving the rest of their team. Jordan Matthews isn’t a WR1, and Nelson Agholor dropped the ball, literally, and in expectations leading up to the season. Coleman is 5’11, but he’s a burner, and he knows how to score (20 TD’s in 2015).
14. Oakland Raiders
Previous Pick: CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
New Pick: Apple
Apple’s solid combine time (4.40) answered the questions of his speed, and for a team that has struggled at cornerback since Asamougha, Apple is an easy pick for a team on the rise.
15. Los Angeles Rams
Previous Pick: Staley
New Pick: Lynch
The Rams need a quarterback. Period. He may be slightly raw, but after watching Nick Foles, Case Keenum, and Austin Davis somehow perform worse than the other, Jeff Fisher needs a fresh start.
16. Detroit Lions
Previous Pick: DT A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama)
New Pick: WR Will Fuller (Notre Dame)
This is mostly based off the potential retirement of Calvin Johnson. Will Fuller’s speed (4.32) would pair with the rocket arm of Matthew Stafford, and give the Lions a bona fide deep-threat.
17. Atlanta Falcons
Previous Pick: Ragland
New Pick: WR Michael Thomas (Ohio State)
With Roddy White gone, the Falcons need a WR2 that can take some heat off Julio Jones (203 targets in 2015). Thomas is just as tall, and only two pounds lighter than Jones. He has better game speed than combine speed (4.57).
18. Indianapolis Colts
Previous Pick: T Jack Conklin (Michigan State)
New Pick: TE Hunter Henry (Arkansas)
With Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener free agents, and Ryan Grigson’s affinity for drafting offense and going all out in free agency for the defense, this pick makes sense. Henry is 6’5 and a big play threat down the middle.
19. Buffalo Bills
Previous Pick: DT Jarran Reed (Alabama)
New Pick: DE Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)
Spence’s off-field issues are well documented, but since the Bills released Mario Williams, they need an impact edge rusher. When on the field, Spence has the talent to outproduce the ends taken before him.
20. New York Jets
Previous Pick: RB Ezekiel Elliot
New Pick: Same
With Chris Ivory testing free agency, the Jets may need starting back by the time the draft rolls around. Elliot has the traits of a three down back, and would see five and six man boxes with the rest of the Jets offensive weapons drawing attention.
21. Washington Redskins
Previous Pick: S Karl Joseph (West Virginia)
New Pick: Robinson
To help their underrated pass rush, the Redskins get a big man to draw attention inside and help the Redskins take the next step in defending their division title.
22. Houston Texans
Previous Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)
New Pick: Reed
The Texans need a QB, but I feel they’ll take Christian Hackenberg in the second. Reed, like his collegiate teammate, is an excellent run defender, but Reed is the slightly better pass rusher, making him even more dangerous.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Previous Pick: Coleman
New Pick: Conklin
Accelerating Teddy Bridgewater’s development may not be a receiver after all, but an offensive line that gives him time to find the ones he already has. Conklin also excels in the ground, helping Adrian Peterson rack up yards.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Pick: WR Josh Doctson (TCU)
New Pick: CB Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech)
The Bengals could need receivers when free agency is all said and done, but cornerbacks Leon Hall and Adam Jones could be gone too. Fuller is a tall corner gifted in man and zone coverage.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Pick: Henry
New Pick: CB William Jackson III (Houston)
Jackson had an outstanding combine (4.37 40, 116-inch broad jump), and his size is another plus. The Steelers need cornerbacks, so the pick is a no-brainer.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Previous Pick: OLB Kyler Fackrell (Utah St.)
New Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)
Seattle gets a steal in one of the best all-around defensive tackles in the draft, while adding talent and youth to an outstanding defensive core.
27. Green Bay Packers
Previous Pick: Lawson
New Pick: ILB Darron Lee (Ohio State)
The Packers need to move Clay Matthews back to where he belongs, meaning Ted Thompson needs to address the middle of their defense. Lewis is crazy fast, and while he lacks ideal size, you can play him anywhere on a defense and watch him perform.
28. Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Pick: Dodd
New Pick: Doctson
Everyone saw how limited the Chiefs passing game was in the Divisional Round with a hobbled Jeremy Maclin, and a doubled Travis Kelce. To solve this problem, John Dorsey drafts the most natural receiver of all the first round prospects. Doctson can over the middle, and he’s simply uncoverable in the red zone.
29. Arizona Cardinals
Previous Pick: C Ryan Kelly (Alabama)
New Pick: OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)
The Cardinals need to find an edge rusher that an dominate, and alleviate some of the need to blitz constantly. Floyd has a slight frame, but he’s a menace on the edge.
30. Carolina Panthers
Previous Pick: T Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
New Pick: CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
The Panthers get the steal of the draft, taking Mackensie to pair with the All-Pro Josh Norman, while vastly improving their secondary.
31. Denver Broncos
Previous Pick: DT Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech)
New Pick: Decker
The Broncos offensive line wasn’t very good last season, and the Broncos won’t repeat unless they improve the quality of their front five. Decker is athletic, despite standing 6’8, and one he anchors, there’s no escape. He’ll help in stopping dominant in-division pass rushers Justin Houston and Khalil Mack.
Follow us on Twitter: @KCSportsNation