So after two blockbuster trades for the top two picks in the NFL draft, and the unlikelihood that anybody is going to trade up the board prior to the draft, I have rolled out my 2016 NFL mock draft.
This mock draft isn’t necessarily what I would do if I was running each team, but what seems likely to happen given their biggest needs or particular moves those teams have made.
I also project draft day trades. I don’t look at value charts, but simply consider what teams are likely to need to part ways with to move up a few spots. I also consider which teams are most likely to want to move down and gain picks, and which teams I could see trading up to pursue a player they like.
So let the fun and your debates begin.
1. Los Angeles: Jared Goff, QB
You hear different reports about who the Rams really want to take. Some say it’s Goff, some say it’s Wentz. I believe it’s Goff for one reason: He’s thought to be the quarterback who is most ready to play in the NFL.
2. Philadelphia: Carson Wentz, QB
And that leaves Wentz for the Eagles. While I’m not a fan of how they handled their QB situation, at least they shouldn’t have to start Wentz right away. And that might be a good situation for him.
3. San Diego: Laremy Tunsil, OT
There’s some talk that the Chargers will take Jalen Ramsey, but Phillip Rivers isn’t getting any younger and the Chargers have three division rivals who will have strong defenses. Better to get somebody who can help the offensive line.
4. Dallas: Joey Bosa, DE/OLB
The Cowboys would appear to be a logical landing spot for Ramsey. But the suspensions of Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence suggest that the Cowboys could really use a pass rusher. And Bosa appears to be the pass rusher who they like the most.
TRADE! Jacksonville trades the No. 5 overall pick to Tampa Bay for the No. 9 overall pick and the No. 74 (third-round) pick.
5. Tampa Bay, Jalen Ramsey, CB/S
The Buccaneers need plenty of help on the defensive side of the ball, and if Ramsey does slide down the board to No. 5, I could see the Bucs wanting to deal with the Jaguars, given how much help the Bucs need in the secondary.
6. Baltimore: Ronnie Stanley, OT
Tunsil may be off the board, but Stanley could provide the Ravens some immediate help, too. He could start at right tackle as a rookie, then move to the left side next year if Eugene Monroe doesn’t get back to form.
TRADE! San Francisco trades the No. 7 overall pick to Miami for the No. 13 overall pick and the No. 73 (third-round) pick.
7. Miami: Ezekiel Elliott, RB
The Dolphins reportedly love Elliott and we’ve seen Mike Tannenbaum have no problem trading up for players before. If the Dolphins believe the Browns have their eyes on Elliott, it wouldn’t surprise me if they trade up with the Niners, who I think are more likely to want to trade down given that Goff and Wentz won’t be available at No. 7.
8. Cleveland: DeForest Buckner, DE/DT
Some people consider Buckner the best defensive lineman in the draft. If he were to slide down to the Browns, it’s hard to see them passing him up, because they need all the help they can get up front on defense.
9. Jacksonville: Myles Jack, OLB
I don’t think the Jaguars will be scared off by Jack’s medical reports, especially if they do trade down a few spots. Acquiring Jack gives them more help on defense and, if everybody stays healthy, that defense could put the Jags in contention for the AFC South title.
10. New York Giants: Shaq Lawson, DE/OLB
Perhaps it’s a few spots early, but the Giants could use some insurance in case Jason Pierre Paul doesn’t perform as expected. If he does get back to form, Lawson gives them another option to add to the pass rush.
11. Chicago: Leonard Floyd, OLB
Floyd may take a year to blossom, but I don’t think the Bears would pass him up, given the long-term potential he brings. Given that the Bears addressed several defensive needs in free agency, they don’t absolutely have to draft somebody who pays immediate dividends.
12. New Orleans: Laquon Treadwell, WR
After cutting ties with Marques Colston and making it clear they will stick it out with Drew Brees, it would help to provide him with a reliable receiving target. Treadwell is the best receiver in the draft.
TRADE! San Francisco trades the No. 13 overall pick to the New York Jets for the No. 20 overall pick, the No. 118 (fourth round) pick and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
13. New York Jets: Paxton Lynch, QB
There’s no way the Jets are going to trade all the way into the top 10, but at this spot, it’s OK to consider moving up and take a chance on Lynch. If the Jets are able to move Muhammed Wilkerson, they can get a draft pick or two back.
TRADE! The Oakland Raiders trade the No. 14 overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 17 overall pick and the No. 116 (fourth round) overall pick.
14. Indianapolis: Jack Conklin, OT
I suspect the Colts will want to leapfrog their division rival, the Titans, to get the best offensive tackle available at this point. Conklin would solidify the right side of the line, which has been an issue for the Colts.
15. Tennessee: Vernon Hargreaves, CB
If the top three tackles are off the board, the Titans are still in a good position to find players who can help on the defense. Hargreaves would give them some much-needed help in the secondary.
16. Detroit: Sheldon Rankins, DT
The Lions may have re-signed Haloti Ngata, but they could use additional help on the defensive line. Rankins could be exactly who the Lions need.
17. Atlanta: Noah Spence, DE/OLB
It appears Spence has put the off-field issues behind him, so it makes sense for the Falcons to take a chance on Spence. The Falcons’ pass rush was not good, but adding Spence should help.
18. Oakland: Eli Apple, CB
The Raiders did sign Sean Smith but they could use another cornerback, given that D.J. Hayden hasn’t lived up to expectations. Trading down and picking up that extra pick allows the Raiders to give Apple a shot at being the guy to line up opposite Smith.
19. Buffalo: Jarran Reed, DE/DT
The Bills really need a right tackle but, given that most of the players available aren’t worth taking at this point, they go with the other side of the ball. Reed makes sense as a player who can line up at either end or tackle.
20. San Francisco: Corey Coleman, WR
All indications are that Colin Kaepernick will stay with the Niners for the time being. But whether he or Gabbert claims the starting job, the Niners could use more help at receiver than just Torrey Smith.
21. Washington: A’Shawn Robinson, DT
The playoff game against Green Bay demonstrated that Washington needs plenty of help on defense. Robinson gives them a good defensive tackle to help on that side of the ball.
22. Houston: Will Fuller, WR
Fuller isn’t thought to be somebody who can be a No. 1 wide receiver. But he doesn’t have to be that for Houston. He just needs to be a player who can draw some attention away from DeAndre Hopkins.
23. Minnesota: Cody Whitehair, OG
The Vikings seem to like Whitehair, who wouldn’t have to start right away if they took him. He could take a year to develop behind other players and enter the starting lineup next year.
24. Cincinnati: Josh Docton, WR
Docton is another receiver who doesn’t appear to have the makings of a No. 1 wide receiver. But the Bengals don’t need that. All they need is a receiver who take attention away from A.J. Green.
25. Pittsburgh: Mackensie Alexander, CB
The Steelers need all the help in the secondary that they can get. Alexander might take a year to develop, but he has all the makings of a player who could be very good by his second year.
26. Seattle: Kevin Dodd, DE
While the Seahawks need offensive line help more than anything, it’s going to be hard for them to pass up Dodd, who is a good fit for their 4-3 scheme.
27. Green Bay: Reggie Ragland, ILB
You could imagine the Packers would be excited to get the best inside linebacker in the draft. Ragland’s arrival would free up Clay Matthews to rush the passer more often.
28. Kansas City: Darron Lee, OLB
The Chiefs may have extended Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, but Justin Houston may miss the upcoming season and they need somebody who can eventually take over for Johnson or Hali. Lee would at least not have to be the primary pass rushing threat.
29. Arizona: Karl Joseph, S
The Cardinals need safety help and now is as good a time as any to get the best safety in the draft.
30. Carolina: William Jackson III, CB
The Panthers need help in the secondary now that Josh Norman is gone. Jackson might be a good fit for their defensive scheme.
31. Denver: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT
Yeah, you’ve heard the scouts and what they have to say about his character concerns, but the Broncos have the players that can help him get straightened out. And getting a player of Nkemdiche’s talent with the final pick of the first round… well, that’s just too good to pass up.