For 24 teams in the NFL, the season is over. Time for players to clear out their lockers and watch the playoffs from their couch. Management for these NFL teams have started the process of evaluating their players and deciding what their next steps should be heading into the offseason. I have taken an in-depth look at each team and evaluated their team needs to determine who I think they will select with their first round selection in the 2016 draft.
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.
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
I give the Titans credit for selecting Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 selection last year in the 2015 NFL Draft. They seem to have found a very good quarterback who has developed very well in his rookie season. They are sitting at No. 1 this year because they truly do not have any other impact players on their football team. This cannot be fixed via the draft alone. One thing they will not find in the free agent market is a cornerstone left tackle. Taylor Lewan has been a huge disappointment at left tackle this season. He could be moved to right tackle, but should not be their starting left tackle in 2016.
The top priority of any team looking to continue to grow and develop their quarterback is to make sure he is protected. You can see Tunsil’s skill set on tape, it is very evident that he is worthy of a high first-round pick. He has quick feet, the ability to seal the edge quickly against pass-rushers, and athletic ability. His ideal position is at left tackle in a a run-oriented offense. Side note: If Chip Kelly were to be the coach here, Tunsil would be a perfect left tackle for his scheme.
My NFL Comparison = Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
Dallas has established a very impressive offensive line in which Smith is a cornerstone at left tackle with his athletic ability and run game efficiency.
2) Cleveland Browns
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
“Really? Another quarterback?” you say. Well let me explain. After all the issues with Johnny Manziel this season, the choice should be clear for the Browns and their management team, current or new, Manziel must be gone or traded. He has played well enough to generate some possible interest from teams and you have to strike while the iron is hot. I think they trade him to Dallas. I would be happy to take a late-round draft pick for him. Get rid of the media circus, and gladly start fresh at the quarterback position.
Josh McCown should be the starter in 2016, but Lynch could be the future. Lynch needs time to adjust to the NFL game and McCown is a capable starter while Lynch develops. You will read and hear a lot of scouts say the following – “He checks all the boxes.” What that means is he is a player who has good height, good arm, shows good throwing technique and fundamentals, and looks to have some intangibles. He is a tall agile passer with potential that we got a quick glimpse of last season. Teams will have to understand that he needs to develop for a few years before being expected to lead an NFL offense.
My NFL Comparison = Sam Bradford (Philadelphia Eagles)
Sam Bradford was seen as the best quarterback in a very weak 2010 quarterback class (Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy were next three quarterbacks taken) Lynch has similar mobility, arm talent and intrigue as Bradford had coming out that year. Bradford did win the Heisman trophy, though, whereas Lynch has just burst onto the scene.
3) San Diego Chargers
LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
I hope the San Diego Chargers do not go with their “future franchise quarterback” here or attempt to trade up to get one. Philip Rivers is only 34 years old and signed a four-year deal before last season. This pick will decide the mindset and direction for the Chargers 2017 season. If they draft a quarterback here, they are telling the team that they are not looking to win now, but develop for the future. This team should have been in contention for the playoffs but injuries derailed them. They can get a quarterback in the mid-rounds this year with potential.
Or they make the decision to go with a player who can make an immediate impact and hopefully kick-start their playoff run in the up-for-grabs AFC West next season. Rivers desperately needs weapons to give this team and offense a chance to succeed. Treadwell has great overall size and physical features to be a potential No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He knows how to attack the ball in the air and beat defenders to the ball. He has the ability to be a physical receiver against smaller corners and a great red zone target. The only caution flag is a knee injury he suffered back in 2014. Side note: This free agent class of wide receivers is weak compared to previous years which will make wide receivers rise in the draft. Alshon Jeffery is the crown jewel, but after that the rest are just average at best, they are not game-breakers like Treadwell.
My NFL Comparison = DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans)
He has a similar physical presence and thrives on getting the ball at the highest point and winning in the red zone.
4) Dallas Cowboys
Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State
If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant had been healthy this season, the Cowboys would have been the NFC East champions. The NFL is a crazy world as we see the Cowboys picking fourth overall. If everyone is healthy, this is a playoff team. They need help at several positions this offseason, including a solid backup quarterback or two of them, youth and talent on the defensive line, and some secondary depth.
They take care of their backup quarterback issue with a free agent pickup/trade and a drafted quarterback in this year’s class. I think they make a play for Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III this offseason to shore up the backup spot and draft one for the future. They will not use a first round pick to do so, though. They will attack one of their other needs as defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will pound the table to get this player at No. 4 overall. Bosa would be a great fit in the Dallas defensive line. His versatility is what makes him a player with such a high ceiling. He can be a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive end and seal the edge and create havoc along the line of scrimmage, but he is also suited for a role as a versatile 4-3 defensive end or tackle and can takeover a game by disrupting plays from all over the defensive line.
I really think that Cowboys management will attack their “quarterback of the future” in the 2nd round or even the 3rd. When healthy, the Cowboys are a playoff team/Super Bowl contender and a playmaker like Bosa would go a long way towards making these dreams come true. Tony Romo was an undrafted player so the Cowboys know that just need to find a guy they believe in, be he a free agent or rookie.
My NFL Comparison = Michael Bennett (Seattle Seahawks)
Physically, they are very close (Bosa – 6-foot-5, 275 pounds/Bennett – 6-foot-4, 274 pounds). I’m not ready to make the J.J. Watt comparison just yet. Bennett is underrated and is arguably the best 4-3 defensive end in the NFL, strong against the run and a constant threat to get in the backfield or the pocket and make a play.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
The Jaguars are on the upswing, even though their record doesn’t show it. Their young offense is on the verge of being explosive with Blake Bortles playing well, weapons such as Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas, and a running game fueled by T.J. Yeldon. They need to help that defense and it starts with the secondary. A reminder that they drafted Dante Fowler Jr. in the draft last season but he suffered a season-ending injury in training camp and will look to dive in full force in 2016. With his pass rushing help, getting talent in the secondary will be crucial for them to compete in the AFC South next season.
Ramsey would be a great fit for the Jaguars to help them create the versatile defense coach Gus Bradley envisions. He will be drafted very early in the first round because he can play multiple positions in the secondary. He can play the outside corner, nickel corner or safety at a high level. A team that wants to use him a Swiss Army knife in their defense will love to have him. His potential and ceiling to be a top-notch defender in the league is sky high.
My NFL Comparison = Tyrann Mathieu (Arizona Cardinals)
Mathieu does everything for the Arizona defense and teams will expect the same from Ramsey. He can play corner, safety or even a coverage linebacker in certain situations.
6) Baltimore Ravens
Emmanuel Ogbah, Pass Rusher, Oklahoma State
This year will go down as the worst, or one of the worst, in Ravens’ franchise history. It was a very disappointing season in which they were supposed to battle Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the AFC North title race. Instead, they end up picking in the top 10 for the first time since 2003 when they drafted Terrell Suggs at No. 10 overall.
They have plenty to address this offseason including wide receiver, 3-4 outside linebacker and the secondary. General manager Ozzie Newsome is always one to find talent in every round and will get this team back on track next season. Taking a safety this high would not be smart or something Newsome would do if Jalen Ramsey is not available. The next best position for them to attack and find value for is pass rusher. Ogbah will soar up draft boards once he blows up the NFL Combine. He has the look of being a physical presence at the NFL level. He’s still a little raw, but with coaching and the right scheme, he could develop into an elite 3-4 outside linebacker in the league. He would be an ideal fit with the Ravens as their future at outside 3-4 linebacker to take over for Suggs.
My NFL Comparison = Pernell McPhee (Chicago Bears)
Both are physical players who get after it every play. They are bruising 3-4 outside linebackers with solid pass rush skills, but can also be effective in coverage if need be to keep the offense off balance.
7) San Francisco 49ers
Jared Goff, QB, California
As I said midseason, the Colin Kaepernick experiment is over in San Francisco. He will be cut by San Francisco after the season with the 49ers in a position to draft a new quarterback to lead their franchise. San Francisco will look to cut all ties to the Jim Harbaugh era and start fresh at quarterback. Blaine Gabbert has played well enough to be on the roster and compete for the starting role in 2016. But San Francisco can’t pass on a player who grew up in California, played his college days in California, and has the talent and skill to get the 49ers fans excited.
Goff is my personal choice for best quarterback in this year’s draft class. He has the arm to make throws with touch, accuracy and zip at the NFL level. If he plays in a more pro-style offense that also features a run game, his potential will be much higher than it is now in a pure spread attack. I honestly see the 49ers trading up to get their quarterback, it’s going to be hard to stay at No. 7 and get their quarterback of the future.
NFL Comparison: Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Similar stature and athleticism, with great arm strength, ball placement knowledge and accuracy, willing to make the risky throws for big plays. Matt Ryan had a bad second half to the season, but he is not to blame for all of Atlanta’s problems.
8) Miami Dolphins
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
This season has been a huge disappointment for the Dolphins. They were expected to be a playoff-contending team and instead is drafting in the top 10. You examine this team and you notice a couple big problems that need to be addressed to have any chance for improvement. Overall, the secondary is very weak, especially at corner, and their best player is 33 years old (Brent Grimes). Their linebackers are below average and are the main reason for the defense being the third-worst rush defense in the league.
These two position groups can be helped tremendously with this pick with either the selection of a cornerback or linebacker, which is where I think they go with this pick. You can’t pass on a true game-changing linebacker who can take over a defense and football team here at No. 8 overall. Smith has it all with football IQ, vision, ball-hawking nature, athleticism and physicality. He is a future star in the league. He is definitely one of my favorite prospects in this year’s class. There has been good news on his knee as a there is no sign of nerve damage.
My NFL Comparison = Luke Kuechly (Carolina Panthers)
They both have everything you want and need from the linebacker position.