We are counting down to the NFL Draft, as it is now just over a month away. The combine and free agent signings have altered some teams’ approaches in this year’s draft, so let’s take a look. Also, before you guys read this mock draft, I encourage you all to take a look at my first mock draft, with the link here: http://jake13sports.blogspot.com
(1) Tennessee Titans: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
One of the Titans’ biggest needs is to protect Marcus Mariota, but the opportunity to draft the best player available and have a centerpiece on defense should take priority. Jalen Ramsey has the highest potential in this draft and provides instant playmaking ability for the Titans.
(2) Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California
At this point, Cleveland has yet to sign a quarterback or trade for Colin Kaepernick, which means quarterback still remains their biggest need. Carson Wentz is the popular pick, but if Cleveland wants a guy who is pro ready and won’t take a few years to progress, Jared Goff has the upside and the ability to go in and play week 1.
(3) San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
San Diego has made some very good moves in free agency, and they have a chance at an AFC West title. One thing that needs to happen is for Philip Rivers to be protected. Laremy Tunsil is a very athletic offensive lineman and will provide stability at a position that has been riddled with injuries for the Chargers in the past few years.
(4) Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
There are a lot of ways Dallas could go here, but taking (in my opinion) the second best player in this draft should be the pick. Myles Jack has the upside and talent to be a perennial Pro Bowl linebacker, and with Rolando McClain signed for only another year, Jack would solve the linebacker position long term.
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
The Jags have made a lot of moves in free agency, but they still need a number one corner to solidify their defense. Hargreaves fits the mold of a number one corner with serious ball skills and toughness.
(6) Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The offensive line would make sense to address here, but with aging pass rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, the time has come for the Ravens to look for an heir apparent. Joey Bosa has the skills and the high motor to excel at the next level.
(7) San Francisco 49ers: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Chip Kelly coming to San Fran will hopefully improve the stagnant Niner offense. If Colin Kaepernick indeed is on the move, the Niners will look to the draft for a franchise QB. Carson Wentz has the strong arm and athletic ability to work real well in Kelly’s offensive scheme.
(8) Philadelphia Eagles: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The Eagles have the quarterback position pretty solidified, with the signings of Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. With Jason Peters nearing his final years, the Eagles opt to find a young offensive stud in Stanley.
(9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Bucs could go corner or safety, but with Ramsey and Hargreaves gone, it feels like a reach. Buckner will provide some extra pass rush that the Bucs absolutely need, and him and Gerald McCoy could be a fearsome duo up front.
(10) New York Giants: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
The Giants have had an overhaul on defense through free agency, but there’s one spot they have failed to upgrade at: middle linebacker. Luckily, the draft has a few excellent prospects at middle linebacker, Darron Lee being one of them. Lee has the speed to be all over the field making tackles, and would be a great addition to a vastly improving Giants defense.
(11) Chicago Bears: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Chicago has made some very good additions in free agency, but one spot they still would like to fill is at the defensive tackle position. Eddie Goldman looks like a good draft pick, but adding another tackle in the draft would be smart. Plus, Robinson could also play defensive end in Fangio’s 3-4 scheme.
(12) New Orleans Saints: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi
The Saints need to continue to build up their defense, and to do that they need to find playmakers. Although Nkemdiche has off the field issues, his athleticism, playmaking ability, and upside are too great for the Saints to pass him up here.
(13) Miami Dolphins: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
The Dolphins could address issues with their linebacking core or their secondary, but the Fins lost a very important piece in Lamar Miller in free agency. They failed to sign CJ Anderson away from Denver, and are we confident they fully believe in Jay Ajayi as the starting running back? Elliot provides Adam Gase with the super talented running back his offense needs.
(14) Oakland Raiders: Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Raiders have made a lot of nice moves in free agency so far, but they still need some more help in the secondary. Sean Smith will be a nice anchor at corner, but it would be in Oakland’s best interest to add another one. Alexander is the tough, physical corner that Oakland needs.
(15) Los Angeles Rams: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
It seems like a trend. The Rams keep drafting wide receivers in hopes that they’ll become the number one guy they have desperately been looking for. This year, Treadwell is that guy. He is a 50/50 ball winning machine with great hands and physical talent. Pairing Treadwell with Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley makes the Rams more dangerous on offense.
(16) Detroit Lions: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
With Calvin Johnson retiring, the Lions’ offense will be making some changes. They have added a couple nice receivers in free agency, but without a big body to throw it up to, the Lions may have to focus more on the run game. To have a successful run game, you need to have top notch blocking up front. Conklin provides the Lions with that stability.
(17) Atlanta Falcons: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Falcons have stated that they want to have another pass rusher that will complement 2015 first round pick Vic Beasley. Lawson provides the power and speed off the edge to become a good complement to Beasley’s skill set and to help out Dan Quinn’s unit.
(18) Indianapolis Colts: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The motto of this Colts team should be as follows: Protect Andrew Luck. They can’t afford more seasons like last year. Luck needs to be able to stay upright and healthy for full seasons. Taylor Decker is a big body mover that should turn the Colts’ line around and make it above average.
(19) Buffalo Bills: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Sometimes draft picks are about fitting a scheme. That’s what this pick of Dodd does for the Bills. Rex Ryan likes his four man front, and with the departure of Mario Williams, Ryan needs an edge rusher to fill his spot. Dodd has the natural pass rushing ability to be a great fit in Buffalo.
(20) New York Jets: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
The Jets are really building something special on defense, and retaining Muhammad Wilkerson (at least for the moment) shows that they want to continue to be dominant on that side of the ball. Losing Damon Harrison was a big blow to the front four, but drafting Reed, a guy who does everything well, will keep this front near the top in all of football.
(21) Washington Redskins: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
The Redskins are another team that needs to keep building up front. They have uncovered some talent at linebacker and edge rusher, but they still need a run stopping presence in the middle. Vernon Butler has the motor and the strength to be a very good at plugging up the holes in the run game.
(22) Houston Texans: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
The passing game is about speed these days. You need guys who can separate from defenders. Had Coleman not run a 4.37 pro day I would’ve considered Will Fuller for this spot, but the fact that Coleman has high end speed to go with his solid hands and very tough demeanor is a great thing. The first time I saw Coleman, he reminded me of Steve Smith. I think that is his ceiling.
(23) Minnesota Vikings: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
The Vikings have everything in place to have a very good defense again this coming year, but their issue is playmakers on offense. Stefon Diggs will be their number one guy in 2016, but they still need a guy to take the top off of defenses, and Fuller has that kind of top end speed.
(24) Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
The Cincinnati Bengals need to reload at wide receiver after losing both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency. Josh Doctson is a big bodied target for Andy Dalton, and has the potential to be a top notch possession receiver.
(25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The Steelers have one of those glaring needs in the secondary that must be addressed. A good start would be adding Eli Apple, a bigger cornerback (6’1″, 199) with good talent. He is a little raw, but he fills a giant need in Pittsburgh.
(26) Seattle Seahawks: Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor
Seattle has very little weakness on defense, but a big run stuffer is at the top of the list. They haven’t been as stout against the run as they were a few years ago. To top it off, Brandon Mebane left via free agency. Andrew Billings is the kind of player who can punish interior offensive lineman and who will leave running backs searching for holes.
(27) Green Bay Packers: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Yes, the retirement of BJ Raji hurts the Packers and leaves them with some need at defensive tackle. But, you cannot pass up a player like Ragland, who has great instincts and is a tackling machine. He can run sideline to sideline and be a good run stuffer. The Packers have been looking for a true middle linebacker for some time now, and Ragland fits the part perfectly.
(28) Kansas City Chiefs: William Jackson, CB, Houston
The Chiefs have done a great job with retaining their free agents by re signing guys like Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, but they weren’t able to keep everyone. Sean Smith, their top corner, bolted for Oakland in free agency. Even though Marcus Peters looks like a shutdown corner in the making, they need some more depth at the cornerback position. Jackson has top speed and solid ball skills, and will be able to play from the get go.
(29) Arizona Cardinals: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Even with the acquisition of Chandler Jones from the Patriots, the Cardinals still need to improve their pass rush. If there is one thing a team can’t have enough of, it’s pass rushers. Leonard Floyd has the size and speed to play defensive end in the Cardinals’ scheme, and pairing him with Chandler Jones will give Floyd plenty of opportunities with one on one blocking.
(30) Carolina Panthers: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
The NFC Champion Carolina Panthers do not have many holes to fill. Safety is a need, but they have opportunities to grab one in a later round. What Carolina does need to do is to find depth on their offensive line. Michael Oher played well for them last season, but it’s time to find a lineman who can become an anchor for the Panthers’ run game for a decade or longer. I think Spriggs’ athletic ability and toughness are a great combo of him to be a very good tackle for a long time.
(31) Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
After losing Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency), the reigning Super Bowl Champs need to find a quarterback for the future. There may be quarterbacks that are more polished at this point than Lynch, but his arm talent and athleticism are things you can’t coach. He can sit behind Mark Sanchez at the beginning and can develop behind him if need be.