In our second first round mock draft, Dalbin Osorio predicts how the first round will go next week. This mock draft will feature no trades, and it’s what DO thinks the teams will do. Let’s jump right into the draft…
1. Los Angeles Rams, via Tennessee Titans: California QB Jared Goff
Why?: Rams get their franchise QB in Goff, the most NFL ready prospect in this draft, and the guy who becomes the face of the franchise in arguably the biggest market in the country. Goff is athletic, has good touch on his short and intermediate throws, and he is very accurate. He can sit behind Case Keenum or Nick Foles if Jeff Fisher did not want to rush him, but with a strong running game and defense in place Goff can start from day one.
2. Philadelphia Eagles, via Cleveland Browns: North Dakota QB Carson Wentz
Why?: The Eagles, after resigning Sam Bradford and agreeing to pay him $23M in the 2016-2017 season, went and paid $7M for Chase Daniel. This would’ve been and eventful offseason in and of itself, until they chose to hemorrhage their future to trade up for another quarterback. Don’t believe the “this was for Zeke Elliott” stuff coming out at this point. This move was for a QB, with Went (a high ceiling prospect) becoming the next QB since Donovan McNabb was traded away to try and become the Eagles franchise QB.
3. San Diego Chargers: Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
Why?: The temptation to draft Jalen Ramsey or Laremy Tunsil is going to be there for the Chargers, but I think they opt to pass on both of those players. They have King Dunlap as their starter at LT, and have Dwight Lowery penciled in as their starter at free safety. I think they aim for a safety in round 2, and take Joey Bosa from Ohio State to bolster their pass rush. Chargers were 24th in sacks, and need a pass rusher to get to Derek Carr, Alex Smith, and Mark Sanchez if they want a shot at making a surprising playoff run. Bosa disrupts the pocket consistently, and at 269 can be utilized as a standup rusher in different defensive fronts. He gives the Chargers someone to play in front of Jeremiah Attaochu and Melvin Ingram on the defensive line to give them more free rushes at the passer.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Ohio State RB Ezekial Elliott
Why?: I think Dallas bypasses Jalen Ramsey as well, and goes with the draft’s best running back in Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott isn’t Todd Gurley or Adrian Peterson, but in this NFL his value is tremendous because he never has to come off the field and he is as good a runner as he is a passer. Behind Dallas’s offensive line, Zeke becomes an early front runner for offensive rookie of the year. Dallas can target an heir apparent for Tony Romo in round 2, and this is too early to take a WR.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ole Miss LT laremy Tunsil
Why?: Arguably the draft’s best offensive lineman, Tunsil sees his slightly surprising fall end with a selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tunis can replace the very disappointing Luke Joeckel at LT, while Joeckel and Jeremy Parnell compete for the right tackle position. The Jaguars have had an eventful offseason and should be better next season, but adding Tunsil to protect Blake Bortles’s blindside is another step in the right direction.
6. Baltimore Ravens: TCU WR Josh Doctson
Why?: The draft’s first curveball comes in the form of Ozzie Newsome taking the TCU standout Josh Doctson. The Ravens might really be the most talented team picking in the top 10, and therefore have the luxury of taking the best player available. At this point, you could argue that it’s Doctson. Dotson left TCU with the most receiving yards in school history (2,785) and a single game (267), and he would immediately slot into the starting WR role opposite a returning Steve Smith Sr. The Ravens could go defense, but I think they opt to give Quarterback Joe Flacco a weapon on the outside that can replace Smith as the number one WR in the near future.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Memphis QB Paxton Lynch
Why?: I think the 49ers end up moving Colin Kaepernick during the NFL draft, and once this pick is made I think it will confirm that move. With Kaepernick off to Denver (assuming of course), Chip Kelly is able to take his quarterback. Lynch has a strong arm that last year’s free agent signing Torrey Smith would really benefit from. Lynch joins the storied list of 49ers signal callers and, with his underrated athleticism and familiarity with the spread formation, becomes Chip’s guy in San Francisco. Blaine Gabbert allows Kelly to ease Lynch in and start him when he is ready.
8. Cleveland Browns: FSU DB Jalen Ramsey
Why? Cleveland gets arguably the best player in the draft at 8, a true impact player in the back end of their defense. Ramsey gives new coach Hue Jackson a stud that will try and restore some of the swagger to this much maligned unit. Ramsey can play corner or safety, is athletic, can cover TEs and WRs alike, and excels in man to man coverage. The guy just makes plays, and he will help the Browns out immediately.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Notre Dame LT Ronnie Stanley
Why? The Bucs signed former Seahawks OG JR Sneezy this offseason, a year after drafting Penn State OT Donovan Smith and Furman OG Ali Marpet. The Bucs continue the rebuild of their offensive line by rafting Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame. At the beginning of the college season, I had Stanley ranked as the best OL in college football, and not much happened during the season that made me change that thinking. A slightly bigger D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Stanley can slot right into the LT position and Donovan Smith can move to RT to give the Bucs 5 starting OL all under the age of 27 to develop together and protect franchise QB James Winston.
10. New York Giants: Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland
Why?: The Giants had the worst linebacking core in the entire league last year, and the leader of the Crimson Tide defense goes a long way towards fixing that. After spending almost a quarter of a billion dollars to improve a terrible defense, the Jets look to the draft to complete the makeover. Ragland has solid anticipation, and is the epitome of a downhill thumper. This makes him a good fit to play behind the Giants front 4, as he will be able to take advantage of a ton of free runs to compete for a defensive rookie of the year award.
11. Chicago Bears: Houston CB William Jackson III
Why?: The 6’0″ 189 pound corner out of Houston has been rising up draft boards over the last couple of months, and similar to Trae Waynes he goes much higher than originally expected here. The bears pair jackson with Kyle Fuller to form a young cornerback tandem that will help defend Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and whoever the Vikings add for Teddy Bridgewater. Jackson has a higher ceiling than Waynes, and he has really good instincts when playing man to man coverage that will help his transition to the NFL.
12. New Orleans Saints: Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins
Why?: The only move the Saints made this offseason was signing underutilized former Colts TE Coby Fleener. This from a team that finished below .500 for yet another season under Sean Payton and Drew Brees. The temptation to reach for an offensive player to help maximize Drew Brees’s last few years, but they instead opt to go defense and improve a unit that was one of the worst in the league last year. Rankin, John Jenkins, and Cameron Jordan give the Saints 3 good defensive linemen. Rankins had 6 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss from the DT position, and he will get the opportunity to make a lot of plays in the middle of the Saints defense thanks to the presence of Cam Jordan.
13. Miami Dolphins: Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
Why?: The Dolphins trading for Byron Maxwell does not solve their secondary issues, and so the Dolphins draft the cocky former Clemson Tiger. Alexander displays good anticipation, has light feet, and is excellent in man to man. New Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph comes from the Marvin Lewis Tampa Bay Bucs Cover 2 School, but you can expect to see him utilize some man to man coverages that give the Dolphins pass rush a chance to get to the QB. Alexander will have to learn how to play zone in order to really morph into a top flight corner in Joseph’s system, but he should start right away for a team in desperate need of a corner opposite Maxwell.
14. Oakland Raiders: Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III
Why?: The Raiders continue to rebuild their franchise and, after having a busy offseason with the signings of Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin, and Kelechi Osemele, they take the draft’s best cornerback at number 14. Vernon Hargreaves paired with the newly signed Smith and what should be a ferocious pass rush ups the expectations in Oakland; this is clearly a team on the rise and a team that many will pick to win the AFC West. Hargreaves is excellent in man to man coverage and is the third best cornerback prospect i’ve ever scouted (Darrelle Revis and Marcus Peters being the other two).
15. Tennessee Titans: Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
Why?: One of the reasons they were interested in Laremy Tunsil was because they wanted to improve their OL. Adding Jack Conklin does that in spades, and he slots right into the starting right tackle position. Conklin is strong, able to stay balanced through contact, and finishes his blocks. The Titans traded for Demarco Murray knowing that he needs the best possible OL in front of him in order to be productive, and franchise LT Taylor Lewan and Conklin would give the Titans two bookends to help him return to productivity.
16. Detroit Lions: Ohio State CB Eli Apple
Why?: The Second Team All Big Ten member becomes the newest member of the Detroit Lions. Apple possesses the size you want to deal with bigger WRs, and he has great hips that allow him to keep up with shiftier WRs. He is also really good at defending the run, and he doesn’t shy away from contact. Darius Slay is one of the more underrated cornerbacks, and Apple would give the Lions a good second corner to improve the secondary.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Indiana OT Jason Spriggs
Why?: The Falcons signed All Pro Center Alex Mack after trading for Andy Levitre last year. They will be tempted to take Laquan Treadwell to pair opposite Julio Jones and so they can slot in Mohammed Sanu in the slot. However, they will choose to go offensive line and pass on Taylor Decker for Jason Spriggs. Springs is athletic and shows really good balance in pass protection. He can start at RT, and develop into a very good one. He has good initial quickness, agility, and is much more a finesse blocker than a power blocker.
18. Indianapolis Colts: Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd
Why?: The Colts, similar to the Ravens, aren’t as bad as their draft position indicates. This was a team that was picked to be a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of last season, but those hopes were derailed by the Andrew Luck injury. The Colts could go offensive line here, but a prospect like Vadal Alexander in round 2 represents better value. They lack a true edge rusher as Robert Mathis nears the end of his career and Leonard Floyd fits that bill. Some will view Floyd as only a speed rusher, but he has underrated strength and really good acceleration. He is a project, however, and the presence of Trent Cole will allow the Colts to ease Floyd into a starting role while he develops into a more well rounded linebacker.
19. Buffalo Bills: Clemson DE Kevin Dodd
Why?: With Mario Williams no longer in Buffalo, Rex Ryan and the Bills find themselves in need of a defensive end. I don’t think Noah Spence will be under consideration because he is too light to play on the Bills defensive line and the Bills signed Zach Brown to pair with Manny Lawson off the edge. I personally don’t like Dodd, as I think he was the beneficiary of playing opposite Shaq Lawson, but his production speaks for itself. He struggles with keeping his balance, but displays good quickness and power out of the DE position.
20. New York Jets: Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
Why?: With Laquan Treadwell, Noah Spence, and Taylor Decker all on the board the New York Jets opt for the offensive lineman from Ohio State. Decker has experience playing RT and he can, also, play inside for the Jets if they want to move on from Brian Winters. The Jets have ignored the offensive line for too long, but they took a step towards rectifying that by signing James Carpenter and drafting Jarvis Harrison. They need to move on from Breno Giacomini, and Decker gives them a chance to do that. He, also, provides insurance for newly acquired Ryan Clady. See our scouting report of Decker here.
21. Washington Redskins: Alabama DT Jarran Reed
Why?: 56 tackles, one sack, two pass breakups, and eight quarterback hurries land Jarran Reed with the defending NFC East champion. They lost Terrence Knighton and now have a gaping hole in the middle of their defense that Reed can fill. He plays until the end of the whistle, and he is surprisingly athletic for a man his size. He fits in the 3-4 and 4-3 looks, and Washington has enough depth that they can rotate Reed in with their packages before he takes over as a full time starter.
22. Houston Texans: Ole Miss WR Laquan Treadwell
Why?: If you’re going to give Brock Osweiler $72M, then you better get him another weapon in the passing game. Enter the best WR in the draft Laquan Treadwell. At 6’2″ and 221 pounds, Treadwell gives Osweiler another big target for him to potentially overthrow. A lot of people have remarked that Treadwell isn’t “fast” but if you watch film of him he looks fast enough. He displayed very good run after the catch ability, and is Brandon-Marshall like strong. At worst, he’d contribute in the red zone during his rookie year but with all the attention DeAndre Hopkins draws he’d be poised for a big year.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Baylor WR Corey Coleman
Why?: I think the Vikings would prefer Laquan Treadwell in this slot, but he goes one pick before so they opt for the former Baylor Bear and 2015 Fred Belitnikoff Award Winner. 74 receptions, 1363 yards, and 20 touchdowns highlighted Coleman’s ability to produce and pairing him with Stefan Diggs gives Teddy Bridgewater another pass catching option. While Coleman can’t run a full route tree yet, in Norv Turner I trust. I think getting Coleman the ball in space and letting him work will go a long way towards helping Teddy Bridgewater improve.
24. Cincinatti Bengals: Notre Dame WR Will Fuller
Why?: The Bengals lost both Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason, and so they need a number two WR. I didn’t have Fuller pegged as a first rounder at the end of the season, but running a 4.28 40 tends to change your draft status. Fuller can take the top off a defense, and will give Pro Bowl TE Tyler Eifert more room to operate over the middle of the field. An underrated aspect of Fuller’s game is his blocking, and he will quickly become Andy Dalton’s favorite target due to the number of one on ones he will face thanks to Eifert and top 5 WR AJ Green.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson
Why?: A perfect fit for a 3-4 defense, A’Shawn Robinson is the pick for the Steelers at 25. Robinson has experience playing both the nose and the 5-technique and he is able to engage multiple blockers to make life easy for the linebackers behind him. Robinson has the strength to win his one and ones and hold his own when double teamed. With Steve McClendon now in New York, the Steelers fill his position with this 307 pound monster in the middle.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Alabama C Ryan Kelly
Why?: If Seattle goes anywhere but offensive line with this pick, I will be shocked. If i’m them, I trade the pick to Cleveland for Joe Thomas but if they stay put I think Kelly is the pick. Kelly went two years without allowing a sack, and his quick first step allows him to gain an advantage that his smaller frame doesn’t allow him to get. The Seahawks struggled with protecting Russell wilson last year after the trade of Max Unger and the loss of James Carpenter, so they try to fix that issue through the draft with the selection of Ryan Kelly.
27. Green Bay Packers: Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche
Why?: Nkemdiche is incredibly raw, but the Packers need talent on the defensive line and Nkemdiche has a high upside. He played both DE and DT, so he could start at LDE or NT for the Packers. He said 7 sacks splitting his time at each position, and gets very low to the ground to beat blockers. He can also push the pocket consistently, which the Packers have not had anyone do in a long time.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas State OG Cody Whitehair
Why?: A 4 year starter at Kansas State who never missed a game at guard or tackle, Whitehair could start next to or replace Eric Fisher on the left side of the offensive line. Whitehair does not get beat by speed rushers off the edge, and he actually reminds me of arguably the best guard in football Zack Martin. He is consistent, doesn’t get beat often, and could be penciled in as a starter for the next decade for the Chiefs. The Chiefs opt for the hometown kid here, and this would be one of my favorite picks.
29. Arizona Cardinals: Ohio State OLB Darron Lee
Why?: Darron Lee, with his speed and range, gives the Cardinals another weapon on the defensive end. Adding Chandler Jones was a coup, but now adding Lee gives them more speed to utilize in different ways. Lee is a little undersized, but he is a violent pass rusher. When he hits you, you feel it. His athleticism also helps out when covering tight ends like Jimmy Graham, Vance McDonald, and the other TEs in the NFC. Lee would beat out Markus Golden and Kevin Minter easily, and start from day one next to Deone Buchanan.
30. Carolina Panthers: Texas A&M German Ifedi
Why?: German Ifedi made the All-SEC Second Team, and has gradually improved every year. After watching MVP Cam Newton get repeatedly driven to the ground by the Broncos pass rush, there is no way Dave Gettleman returns the same starting offensive line unit. Ifedi can stand to sit for a year before he is thrust into the starting unit, but with Mike Remmers slated to start at RT he might not have much of a choice.
31. Denver Broncos: UCLA OLB Myles Jack
Why?: If there is any team in a position to take Myles Jack in this draft, it is the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. They lost Danny Treviathan to the Chicago Bears, and now have a hole next to Brandon Marshall. There are concerns about Jack’s knee, which is why I think he falls here. However, Jack would be a difference maker and a playmaker on a defense already full of them. A 4 man linebacking core of Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, multiple time Pro Bowler Demarcus Ware, underrated ILB Brandon Marshall, and Myles Jack? Scary hours, indeed.
DE Noah Spence
SS Keanu Neal
DT Vernon Butler
DT Andrew Billings
DE Emmanuel Ogbah
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