Here’s my first crack at every draft nerd’s favorite pastime, inspired heavily by Connor Rogers’ latest big board. A first round mock after the dust has settled from both the Senior and Super Bowl…
1. Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Tunsil is a big step up in protecting last year’s Marcus Mariota investment. Pass rushers are the one position group Tennessee can’t afford not to target.
2. Cleveland Browns – Jared Goff, QB, California
Wentz is climbing up boards, but Goff remains the consensus top QB and the best fit to start immediately on a team in need of a quarterback.
3. San Diego Chargers – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
A franchise defender to rebuild the defense around. Spence is climbing, but Bosa remains the safer pick.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota
The disaster that was the Cowboys’ 2015 season provides a golden opportunity to grab a QB of the future. With Romo, Dallas can afford to give Wentz the patience he’ll need.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Jacksonville could use help anywhere in the secondary. Ramsey did it all at Florida State and gives Gus Bradley at last a major building block in his defense’s back end.
6. Baltimore Ravens – Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky
Terrell Suggs has been one of the best pass rushers of his generation, but at age 33 and having missed nearly all of 2015, it’s time to find his successor.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
With the top two quarterbacks going in the top five, Chip Kelly’s first pick as 49ers head coach instead is a future number one receiver.
8. Miami Dolphins – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Brent Grimes is 33 years of age and Miami had one of the league’s worst pass defenses in 2015.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ronnie Staley, OT, Notre Dame
Just like Tennesee’s pick, Tampa Bay grabs a pass protector to build around their young quarterback.
10. NY Giants – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
A steal here at tenth overall, Jack is the type of player even linebacker-allergic Jerry Reese can’t pass on.
11. Chicago Bears – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Chicago’s defensive overhaul continues under John Fox with another first round corner to play across from Kyle Fuller.
12. New Orleans Saints – Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Nothing is more obvious than the Saints’ need for real defensive building blocks. Add Smith to last year’s early picks Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha, and New Orleans has a strong young linebacker core to build around.
13. Philadelphia Eagles – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Jason Peters is 34-years-old. Coming from the very familiar Andy Reid coaching tree, Pederson can be expected to invest heavily and often in the offensive line.
14. Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
A king-sized can’t miss linebacker prospect from Alabama will surely give Raider fans nightmares of the Rolando McClain bust, but Ragland is a perfect replacement for the ineffective Curtis Lofton signing.
15. Los Angeles Rams – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Sam Bradford is gone, the Nick Foles experiment was a disaster and Jeff Fisher in his fifth year as head coach is back to square one at the sport’s most important position.
16. Detroit Lions – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
Restocking Detroit’s defensive line is a crucial step toward returning the defense to the heights of 2014.
17. Atlanta Falcons – Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida
Seattle’s defense has a lot of qualities worth emulating, but former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn knows it starts with a deep and talented defensive line. Bullard joins last year’s first rounder Vic Beasley in Atlanta’s progress toward that goal.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Shaq Lawson, OLB, Clemson
Both the Trent Cole signing and 2013 first round selection of Bjoern Werner have not had anywhere near the impact the Colts were hoping for. Lawson is the next in a long line of highly touted Clemson edge prospects.
19. Buffalo Bills – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole MIss
Nkemdiche has both the good and bad traits that remind you of Quinton Coples. With Mario Williams likely to be out in Buffalo and a coach not afraid to take chances, Nkemdiche has a logical landing spot in Buffalo.
20. NY Jets – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
A first round running back? With how the draft plays out in this scenario, it’s a logical pick. There’s no good value at offensive tackle, quarterback or outside linebacker, and Elliott is easily the best player still on the board amongst a host of other prospects best suited as 3-4 defensive ends. If the Jets don’t find their long-term quarterback in this draft, then the next best thing is to build an offense that can function without one as best as possible.
21. Washington Redskins – Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor
The incredibly strong and compact Billings is a sound fit to replace the 33-year-old Jason Hatcher.
22. Houston Texans – Jarren Reed, DL, Alabama
An already formidable front seven gets even better with Alabama’s Jarren Reed, who slots in where free agent Jared Crick had the last few seasons.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Darren Lee, LB, Ohio State
Chad Greenway is a free agent and in the twilight of his career even if he does return to Minnesota. Darren Lee is a fitting replacement.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
2016 could be Domata Peko’s last as a Bengal. Robinson is an ideal replacement and Cincinnati is a good landing spot for a player that may need a year of polish.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
Pittsburgh has done a solid job rebuilding the front seven in the draft the last few seasons but the secondary has been largely untouched. 33-year-old safety Will Allen is a free agent and unlikely to return.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Mike Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Keyshawn Johnson’s nephew is a big-bodied receiver that’s a great fit for a West Coast Offense. Jermaine Kearse is also a free agent, and more quality targets are likely to be a priority as the offense shifts to being centered around Russell Wilson.
27. Green Bay Packers – Vernon Butler, DL, LA Tech
With 2013 first rounder Datone Jones failing to make much of an impact, Green Bay’s in a prime position to grab someone else. Vernon Butler has a great chance of being the player Ted Thompson thought the Packers were getting with Jones.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Jeremy Maclin proved to be a good signing for Kansas City, but big plays in the passing game remain a problem. Alex Smith certainly takes some blame for that, but Kansas City could use more explosive receivers too.
29. Arizona Cardinals – Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Athletic and versatile but on the thin side, Floyd potentially projects either inside or outside, both of which are spots Arizona could use young talent.
30. Denver Broncos – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Denver’s franchise tackle Ryan Clady missed all of 2015 with an ACL injury and 2014 third rounder Michael Schofield has struggled a lot at right tackle. Conklin can be insurance for either player, and in a best case scenario could move Schofield inside to guard long-term.
31. Carolina Panthers – Sterling Shephard, WR, Oklahoma
If Cam Newton can win MVP with the receivers he has now, it’s crazy to imagine what he could do with Shepard, a returning Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess one season better.