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2016 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

The Scouting Combine is over and the most important part of the draft process is next, free agency. Each NFL team had a chance to scout and interview the prospects to get a feel for what kind of talent is available at each position. They’ve assessed their boards and free agency to determine how they want to help improve their team. Free agency will start on March 9th and will be the key in developing the thought process for what teams will do with their 1st round picks.

I have included mini-preview of each team’s plans for free agency along with this Mock Draft. 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

The Titans are in need of a revamped roster based that includes some veteran leadership to lead the youth. There are two things that will help Tennessee this offseason with their rebuilding process and getting free agents: salary cap space and a young franchise quarterback. Some older veterans not ready to hang it up could find interest here with the goal of helping young players and their development while still starting for this team. They have plenty of cap space to afford these players and possibly young players hoping to make some big money in the market.

The struggle for the Titans in the draft is they need as many selections as possible to help rebuild this roster. They would love to get out of the 1st-overall pick, but nobody is a true “can’t miss” prospect with no questions. This is the trouble the Houston Texans had with Jadeoven Clowney two years ago. He was viewed as an elite prospect, but had too many questions surrounding him for someone to give up multiple draft picks to acquire him. In this draft, there also isn’t a true franchise quarterback ready to start Day 1 like an Andrew Luck.

This draft reminds me more of the 2011 Draft of quarterbacks including Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker.  There was a lot of hype behind one prospect (Cam Newton/Carson Wentz), questions about a player’s ability to transition from a spread to a pro-style offense (Blaine Gabbert/Jared Goff), and a project with some athleticism and potential for development (Paxton Lynch/Jake Locker). Nobody is really sure what they are getting and instead hope their staff can develop them into quarterbacks for their franchise. With no trade options, the Titans select a player to protect Marcus Mariota.

 

2) Cleveland Browns

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Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Even though I believe that Jared Goff is the better quarterback prospect and had a better combine, the hype train is too strong to stop rolling for Carson Wentz. Hue Jackson is locked into the idea that Cleveland needs a young quarterback. He is a great coach and can develop any quarterback he drafts into a reliable starter. Besides getting this young quarterback at #2 overall, free agency will be an integral part of how quickly the Browns can rebuild. They have some young pieces, but have some in-house free agents that will be interesting to watch: Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Travis Benjamin, and Tashaun Gipson. If they get Josh Gordon re-instated with a young talented quarterback, they could really be a competitive team for Hue Jackson next year.

 

*Trade: San Diego Chargers trade their #3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for their #7 overall pick and other picks*

3) San Francisco 49ers

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Jared Goff, QB, California

Why am I doing a trade in my Mock Draft? Because I can, and it makes sense. Colin Kaepernick’s relationship with the 49ers may be too broken to fix. He would have fit really well in this system, but management and Kaepernick may agree that a change of scenery would benefit both teams. They have plenty of salary cap space to release him and be just fine for 2016. If they trade him, I believe they only have one option that just won’t work: the ivisional rival Rams. There is only one team that needs a quarterback that could swallow Kaepernick’s salary. I don’t see them pulling the trigger on this type of trade as they will just release him in late March.

The 49ers will trade up after the divorce with Kaepernick and move up to get the best quarterback in the draft. They jump ahead of Dallas who needs a successor for Tony Romo and make sure they get their guy. If Chip wants his system to work, he isn’t going to find a veteran that wants to try out this scheme after Bradford struggled in it last year. He has to get a rookie quarterback that can be molded to make this work. The 49ers’ management and Kelly will be on the same page with this selection and make it happen on Draft Day.

 

4) Dallas Cowboys

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Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State

Dallas needs two things desperately this offseason: defensive line talent and a young running back. The Greg Hardy signing turned out to be a nightmare and Randy Gregory is having trouble off the field. Rod Marinelli needs talent along the line to have any chance at improving that defense. Dallas has a tight budget currently with only $10 million in salary cap space, which means limited big name free agent signings. This means they have to bring cheap, but great talent through the draft.

Joey Bosa is the pick here as Marinelli will love what he could do with Bosa’s versatility. I also thought that Jalen Ramsey could be an option here as a safety or corner for this defense. They did just draft Byron Jones who could also play safety or corner and decide to pass on taking another 1st round secondary player with similar traits. There is even buzz that the Cowboys should take Ezekiel Elliott this high in the draft. I’m looking forward to following this buzz and see if it starts getting more traction as a realistic possibility, but the Cowboys could be players to possibly trade back in to the very late 1st round to possibly take Derrick Henry.

 

5) Jacksonville Jaguars

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Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

This would be a dream scenario for the Jaguars if the draft unfolds this way. Jalen Ramsey is a perfect fit for what Gus Bradley needs in his secondary. The two biggest needs heading into the offseason for the Jaguars are secondary talent and a pass rusher. They will gladly add a stud ballhawk to their secondary with the selection of Ramsey.

I’m excited to watch what the Jaguars do this offseason with their $70 million dollars in cap space. They can really make some noise with this free agent class and make themselves a contender in the AFC South with the right additions. They need playmakers on defense and those type of players don’t come cheap in the free agent market.

 

6) Baltimore Ravens

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DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

I think I overthought this pick during my other Mock Drafts. The Combine assured me of this as I watched defensive prospects workout. The Ravens are very good at looking at the board and taking a player they need, but they are also adept at not reaching for a players. They need some help with their defense and being able to create pocket pressure. DeForest Buckner will solve that problem and has a very high ceiling. What gives him this high of a ceiling as a 3-4 end is his pass rushing ability. This will make it very difficult for the Ravens to pass on a player who can create production at an area of need.

I almost put Myles Jack here as they just released Daryl Smith. There are some athletic inside linebackers available in free agency (Danny Trevathan, Vincent Rey, Demario Davis, Jerrell Freeman) which deterred me for now from giving them a linebacker. Depending on their own free agents, they could also be in play for Ronnie Stanley here. Eugene Monroe could be on his way out if they can re-sign Kelechi Osemele, leaving the left tackle position open. Free agency and how they handle Osmele will be the tell-tale sign where they could go with this pick. There are lots of options here for the Ravens as they see who falls out of the top-5 in the Draft.

 

*Trade: San Diego Chargers trade their #3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for their #7 overall pick and other picks*

7) San Diego Chargers

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Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

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This was a tough one for me as I examined the board. Should it be Laquon Treadwell or Ronnie Stanley for the Chargers here after they traded down? The free agent market for offensive linemen is very good and San Diego has around $32 million in salary cap space. They can add some pieces to their offensive line and feel good heading into 2016.

On the other hand, the free agent market for wide receivers is extremely weak. The only way the Chargers are going to help Philip Rivers in the immediate future is a high draft pick of a wide receiver. This is especially important due to Malcom Floyd retiring and Keenan Allen coming back from injury.

Besides offensive line, the other side of the trenches needs help during free agency. The Chargers need some talented youth up front. Seeing how this class is deep with defensive lineman, they can wait and grab one in the 2nd round and feel great with the talent they can get. They will also have to replace perennial pro-bowler Eric Weddle at safety.

 

8) Miami Dolphins

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Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Some scouts view him as the top prospect in the draft. The Dolphins’ war room will cheer as they get the opportunity to get a star at a position where they desperately need talent. He is an impact starter that this defense needs to take the next step in becoming a great defense. He will add athleticism to a very slow linebacking corps and be the new “face of the defense” along with Suh.

If Myles Jack is not available, I think they go corner with Vernon Hargreaves as their second option, or if they are set on getting a linebacker, Darron Lee wouldn’t be a huge reach.

Adam Gase will improve the offense as the Dolphins should be very good in the passing game with Ryan Tannehill, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills. They will look to add a running back in free agency, possibly Matt Forte, to help fortify this offense. The Dolphins will also look to add competition to their offensive line and create a better starting unit.

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.