NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Pre-Free Agency Edition

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)

New: Same

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)

New: Same

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

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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.

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