The rumors are flying high and the intrigue is starting to head towards the climax point. Who will be the first quarterback taken? Who will be trading up? How does the top 5 shake out? Let’s dive in!
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 first-round selections correct than Fantasy Sharks’ very own Dan Collins.
Kiper = 1 Correct
McShay = 4 Correct
Mayock = 11 Correct
Collins = 13 Correct
Kiper = 5 Correct
McShay = 4 Correct
Mayock = 4 Correct
Collins = 11 Correct
Kiper = 6 Correct
McShay = 8 Correct
Mayock = 7 Correct
Collins = 10 Correct
Let’s get started!
1) Tennessee Titans
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
The Titans want out of the first pick in the 2016 draft. I don’t think they will find a buyer though. Nobody is sold on the “best player in the draft.” Everyone has an opinion and a different player as their choice. When the Titans are on the clock with this pick, the question will be which out of two players will they choose: Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey. The Titans have wisely left those two positions as the biggest holes to fill on their roster as of this date in free agency. Each one of these players would make an impact for this football team in 2016. The question will become which player has the least amount of question marks. So the decision rests between a cornerstone left tackle or a ball-hawking corner/safety.
Then the decision rests on two factors. The first is the grade and scouting report you have created on both prospects. The second is how far this prospect is above his fellow peers at the position and whether or not a solid talent can be found later in the draft. Jalen Ramsey is a solid talent for corner/free safety, but good talent can be found in this year’s draft in the mid-rounds with players such as Vonn Bell, Karl Joseph, DeAndre Houston-Carson, T.J. Green, Jalen Mills and Tyvis Powell at safety and numerous options at cornerback. Remember that the Chicago Bears drafted free safety Adrian Amos in the fifth round last year and he started all 16 games last season. In the left tackle department, the talent will go quickly in the early rounds and then developmental prospects will be the selections. They drafted a franchise quarterback (Marcus Mariota) last season and just added DeMarco Murray. If they want to improve in 2016 and create a solid foundation for the future, they need to draft Tunsil at left tackle with the No. 1 overall pick.
NFL Comparison: Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
From the first tape I watched of him, his mobility and athleticism are very elite like Smith, who ironically was the left tackle during DeMarco Murray’s breakout season.
2) Cleveland Browns
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
I struggled with this pick between Wentz and Jared Goff. I think Goff is the better prospect, but my opinion doesn’t matter to the Browns. I don’t struggle if this will be a quarterback or not. Robert Griffin III is only a significant signing because of the persona that he carries. If you remove the name, he is a quarterback that has struggled as a starting quarterback in this league. Coach Hue Jackson and the Browns knew if they signed this “big name” it would raise questions if they are drafting a quarterback or not. Very smart.
Jackson and the coaching staff understand that Wentz needs time to develop. I think he gets the nod over Goff because of his supposed higher ceiling and the energy he could bring to the Cleveland franchise. Giving Griffin III a shot to start in 2016 gives Wentz a chance to learn and grow before stepping into the “franchise quarterback” role right from the draft.
Personally, I think Goff is much better than Wentz. I also think Paxton Lynch is better than Wentz. Jackson is known to do whatever it takes to get the quarterback he wants. If I’m Carson Wentz, I want to end up with Jackson. The question will be which quarterback does Jackson views as “his guy.” More rumors and information still to come.
My NFL Comparison: Sam Bradford (Philadelphia Eagles)
A lot of hype leading up to the draft, question marks overlooked, seen by many as the a great quarterback prospect, does have talent to be an above average quarterback with the right coach.
3) San Diego Chargers
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Chargers were decisive this offseason by addressing their key needs early. Re-signing two tackles (Joe Barksdale, Chris Hairston), a wide receiver to complement Keenan Allen in Travis Benjamin, cornerback/safety in Casey Hayward, and a free safety in Dwight Lowery. These signings suggest they have confidence in their offensive line when healthy and will target a center (say Ryan Kelly in the second round) to complete the starting unit. Signing Lowery and a versatile defensive back in Casey Hayward really make it very interesting for them to invest in Ramsey here at No. 3 overall. They have two solid corners as well with Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett and wouldn’t need to use this pick to add another corner. It doesn’t necessarily make sense for the Chargers to invest in a player and positions that they already have covered for 2016 and the immediate future.
They have really set themselves up to attack a certain position with their first overall selection, which is their defensive line. Two players will be available at this selection that will be a big plus and solidify a position of need for this Chargers defense. Right now, it will come down to DeForest Buckner and Joey Bosa for the San Diego Chargers at No. 3 overall. Both can play 3-4 defensive end and be a playmaker along the defensive line. Most scouts, including myself, believe that Buckner is a better fit for a 3-4 defense than Bosa, and has a higher ceiling in this specific scheme. He is a monster in stature at 6-foot-7 and 291 pounds, and he has all the tools to be an elite defensive lineman in this league.
I believe DeForest Buckner will be the selection for the Chargers at No. 3 overall unless a team trades up to this position. Why you ask? If a team such as the St. Louis Rams believe that Dallas is looking at quarterback for its No. 4 pick, they could have discussions to move up to this spot to grab Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. Jacksonville could also be in play if it believes Dallas would take Myles Jack with its selection. The Chargers’ draft position could be where the first trade of the night occurs.
NFL Comparison: Calais Campbell
Similar physical stature and talent along the edge of a 3-4 defense.
4) Dallas Cowboys
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
First of all, the Cowboys will draft their future quarterback at the top of the second round or trade back into the late first. It will be Paxton Lynch, Dak Prescott, or Connor Cook. The No. 4 overall pick comes down to the top players left on the draft board: Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack or Joey Bosa.
If you are going by the best player on the board, Jalen Ramsey is the pick. It may come down to that in the Cowboys’ war room. Bosa would be a great upgrade to their defensive line, but reports are saying the Cowboys will pass on him. Myles Jack could be a possibility, and would add some quickness to the second level of the defense. When it comes down to it, Ramsey is the best player on the board and you can’t pass on him. Byron Jones can officially move to free safety and Ramsey can be a corner in this defense.
NFL Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu
Hard to find a good match but I picked Mathieu – a versatile defensive back that can play corner, slot or safety.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Myles Jack or Joey Bosa. What a difficult question. Both would fit well in coach Gus Bradley’s scheme and have an instant impact. What do they need more? A pass rusher or a versatile athletic linebacker?
Bradley and the Jacksonville Jaguars defense need a stud along the defensive line. A player who can be versatile but command attention anywhere he lines up. That player is Joey Bosa. He fits the mold perfectly in what Bradley would seek to have with Dante Fowler Jr. along the defensive front 7. My comparison is Michael Bennett, who Bradley had the luxury of having in Seattle and can be a menace all game long. He’d be the last key piece to making this defense excellent on paper.
NFL Comparison: Michael Bennett (Seattle Seahawks)
He can play in multiple positions along the defensive line and is constantly putting pressure on the quarterback.
6) Baltimore Ravens
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Even though he is not truly an inside linebacker, pairing him with physical tackler C.J. Mosley would be ideal for the Ravens. Jack would be a threat to make plays outside the box while Mosley controlled the area inside the box. They need athleticism in their linebacking corps and Myles Jack would be an instant upgrade. The Ravens would be happy campers if this is how the first round shook out.
NFL Comparison: Lavonte David (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Similar body builds, fluid athletes in space, instincts to pursue and find the ball from sideline to sideline.
7) San Francisco 49ers
Jared Goff, QB, California
I thought I had this all figured out until the news came out about Kaepernick’s meeting with John Elway over the weekend. Looks like they are going to figure out a way to get him to Denver which makes this pick a quarterback for the 49ers. With Robert Griffin III out of the picture after signing with the Browns, they have to draft a quarterback now with this selection. Chip Kelly will get to mold this quarterback into exactly what he expects his quarterback to be.
NFL Comparison: Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Similar body types, physical skill set and demeanor on the football field.
8) Philadelphia Eagles
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
The Eagles are geniuses. Brilliant. They are baiting the media into thinking they are really looking at a quarterback for their pick at No. 8. That’s why they traded into the top 10 in the first place. They want to make sure they get one of the six superior talents in the Draft: Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, Joey Bosa, Myles Jack, Elliott and DeForest Buckner. They need two teams in front of them to draft Carson Wentz and Jared Goff so they can get at least one of those players. Somebody (like Los Angeles) would feel the need to come up and try to get a quarterback before the Eagles have a chance at No. 8. They are selling this idea by holding private workouts and taking these players out to dinner. Do you really think they are drafting a quarterback in the first round after signing Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel to big contracts?
Elliott opens up the playbook and helps the Eagles next season. Elliott is everything you desire in a running back and exactly what coach Doug Pederson would envision his perfect back to be. He will take pressure off of Sam Bradford and allow Philadelphia to have a threat from the backfield in the run and pass game.
NFL Comparison: Arian Foster (Current Free Agent)
Non-injured younger version of course. Both can win with the run game, pass-catching, and protect the quarterback. Both can carry an offense.