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2016 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

The offseason is in full swing as players are being released, rumors are flying, and uncertainty about players re-signing abounds. The Scouting Combine is around the corner and is a crucial part of the draft process. Players can skyrocket up draft boards, or be taken off teams’ boards completely with a poor performance. An important part for most of the draft prospects is what we cannot watch on TV, unfortunately, which is the interview process. Coaches, Scouts, and General Managers fall in love with players during that interview and we don’t even know it until they draft them. I’m here to inform you of who to watch for as your favorite team gears up for the NFL Scouting Combine! Let’s Dive In!

* = Not participating in on-field drills due to injury

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since 2013, no NFL Draft expert, not Mel Kiper, Jr. (ESPN), not Todd McShay (ESPN), not Mike Mayock (NFL Network), have gotten more 1st-round selections correct than Fantasy Sharks’ very own Dan Collins.

2013

Kiper = 1 Correct

McShay = 4 Correct

Mayock = 11 Correct

Collins = 13 Correct

2014

Kiper = 5 Correct

McShay = 4 Correct

Mayock = 4 Correct

Collins = 11 Correct

2015

Kiper = 6 Correct

McShay = 8 Correct

Mayock = 7 Correct

Collins = 10 Correct

Let’s get started!

1) Tennessee Titans

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Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

Believe it or not, Tennessee Titans’ fans need to watch Jared Goff and Carson Wentz at the combine. I understand your outrage over quarterbacks when Marcus Mariota is the future. The reason you need to watch them is to see if one truly separates himself from the other. If one emerges as a quarterback worth trading up for, then the Titans may have a chance to trade their #1 overall pick. This is a long shot, but still a possibility with many teams dealing with uncertain quarterback situations for 2016.

They need a cornerstone left tackle and there are two premier tackles in this draft. If they stay put at #1 overall, Laremy Tunsil should be the easy pick for the Titans to protect their young franchise quarterback. If someone trades up to take the #1 overall pick, then Ronnie Stanley could be in the picture as the tackle they need up front. If for some reason they get scared of taking an offensive tackle #1 overall (see Eric Fisher, 2013), Joey Bosa and Jalen Ramsey would also fit nicely on this defense as impact players.

 

2) Cleveland Browns

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Jared Goff, QB, California

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Cal QB Jared Goff.

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

Quarterback will always be the talk for Cleveland until they finally find someone that can lead this franchise. Hue Jackson is a great offensive mind and will really study the two main quarterbacks until he has to make his selection on Draft Day. They need a new face at quarterback after Johnny Manziel stomped all over it. I expect them to have extensive interviews with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz at the Scouting Combine.

If they somehow decide that a veteran quarterback is a better route, then the decision rests between two players that would greatly help their defense in Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey. Bosa would be a great addition to the worst rush defense in the league over the last few years. Ramsey could be the corner opposite of Haden or he can play free safety over the top against three solid quarterbacks in their division.

 

3) San Diego Chargers

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Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

As I’ve said before, the Chargers hold the key to how the dominoes start to fall in this draft. Due to their roster and its many needs, the #3 overall pick will determine where the rest of the Top 10 players land in this draft. They could go the quarterback route and take their “future quarterback” behind Philip Rivers (or take him and trade him to the highest bidder, which would be fun to watch). They need a premier #1 receiver and Laquon Treadwell is head and shoulders above everyone in this draft class. If he has a good combine, proves he has some speed, he will be in the #3 overall discussion again.

The Chargers offensive line was a disaster due to injuries and they could decide to invest in some bookends for the future, especially if Laremy Tunsil is on the board. If Ronnie Stanley impresses at the combine, he could be in this discussion. Defensive line will be a position the Chargers will have to make some decisions on this offseason, which could force their hand to take Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner here.

I conclude that as of right now, the Chargers need to take the best prospect on the board, which for me is Jalen Ramsey due to his versatility in the secondary. He could replace Eric Weddle at free safety for years to come, or play corner/safety in different packages.

 

4) Dallas Cowboys

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Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

There is a lot of buzz around the league that the Cowboys will look to get their future quarterback here at #4 overall. That’s great in all, but their are bigger needs on this team than a “backup/future” quarterback this high in the draft. They can get a solid developmental option in this year’s draft in the mid-rounds. Ezekiel Elliott is on the watch list because if they trade down with a team, he could be the answer later in the 1st Round. If Derrick Henry has a solid combine, they may have to move up from their position in the 2nd round to get him at the end of the 1st.

I think Joey Bosa is the easy decision for the Cowboys in this scenario as they need any young talent they can acquire at defensive line. DeForest Buckner and A’Shawn Robinson are also players that would be an interesting fit with Rod Marinelli and his versatile defense. Sean Lee’s injury history and lack of talent at linebacker may give Dallas a reason to look at Myles Jack here. Until Jalen Ramsey is off the board, he will be an option because of his extremely high ceiling and versatility.

 

5) Jacksonville Jaguars

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A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

Blake Bortles and company showed flashes of being a potential top-10 offense for 2016, but that defense kept them from competing in the AFC South divisional race. They need a new stud on defense to help Gus Bradley transition this defense into the monster that he coached in Seattle as defensive coordinator.

Dante Fowler Jr. will be healthy and ready to play in 2016, which is basically another rookie to this year’s class. A pass rusher here would be understandable to pair with Fowler Jr. such as Joey Bosa, but if he is gone and Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah have great days at the combine, they could become part of this #5 overall discussion.

I chose A’Shawn Robinson because they do not have an elite defensive tackle that can take up blockers in the middle and force more one-on-one situations on the edge for the pass rushers. If Jalen Ramsey is on the board here at #5, write it in pen that he will be in Jacksonville as they need a ballhawk in the secondary (unless they sign a free agent). Speaking of secondary, Mackensie Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves are also players that could fit for the Jaguars as they need cornerback help.

 

6) Baltimore Ravens

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Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

On the offensive side of the ball, Laquon Treadwell is an option because Baltimore struggled without an elite receiver in the lineup. Ronnie Stanley could be the choice as they decide that protecting Joe Flacco with a young bookend is more important.

I really think Baltimore goes back to its roots with this pick and gets an elite defender. Joey Bosa would be fun to watch as a 3-4 defensive end in Baltimore. DeForest Buckner would fit nicely as an edge sealer along the defensive line. With a great combine, Emmanuel Ogbah could be in the discussion as a high-ceiling pass rusher at linebacker. A’Shawn Robinson will be in the discussion as a top notch interior defensive lineman that could play all spots in a 3-4 front.

They could get an athletic linebacker to pair with C.J. Mosley in Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith. If Jalen Ramsey is on the board, book it, no chance he gets past #6 overall. I chose Mackensie Alexander as they need a fresh new talent at cornerback on this team as Lardarius Webb can make the transition to free safety. With a great combine performance, Vernon Hargreaves could overtake Alexander as the top true cornerback in this draft.

 

7) San Francisco 49ers

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Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

Chip Kelly thinks he can rejuvenate Colin Kaepernick’s career while rumors are starting that Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco. Until this situation gets cleared up, quarterbacks such as Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will have to be watched at the combine.

I chose Laquon Treadwell as Chip Kelly walks into a very bare cupboard at wide receiver with only Torrey Smith as a deep threat. Ronnie Stanley could be the choice as good offensive tackle play is crucial for Chip Kelly’s system.

A true 3-4 outside LB pass rusher would be an upgrade and Emmanuel Ogbah could jump up draft boards after the combine. Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith would be a great combination with Navorro Bowman in the middle of that defense. Cornerback is a weak spot on this roster and Mackensie Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves would be excellent additions to improve that part of the defense.

 

8) Miami Dolphins

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Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

1st Round Prospects to Watch:

Adam Gase is the new man in charge and could decide that getting an elite running back will get his offense and Ryan Tannehill to the next level. I believe that this is the highest that Ezekiel Elliott can go in the draft, which is unlikely, but still a possibility. They will be looking for a pass rusher as Olivier Vernon is heading to get paid in free agency, which could mean the Dolphins select Joey Bosa, Shaq Lawson, or Emmanuel Ogbah.

I think their biggest need is at linebacker which is why my pick is Myles Jack. They could easily fall in love with Jaylon Smith in the interview room and make him the choice as their game-changing linebacker. Darron Lee isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem because if Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith continue to work through injuries, Lee could be the answer for them at linebacker with a solid interview and Combine. Their lack of talent and age at cornerback could force them to look at Mackensie Alexander or Vernon Hargreaves as the answer here at #8 overall.

About Dan Collins

I have always been an avid football enthusiast. The NFL Draft and Fantasy Football is my passion in the realm of football. I write Mock Drafts and inform readers of what is happening during the critical stages of the NFL Draft. I spend way too much time working through Fantasy Football analysis, situations, and thoughts; it is an issue. Follow on Twitter @Dan_R_Collins for Football info and the occasional joke or wisecrack.