In this mock draft, I play general manager for every team. Would I make your team better for 2016 and beyond? Let’s dive in!
(Formulated draft picks based on information of rosters through April 10)
1) Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil (OT) Ole Miss
Looking to trade down, can’t find a buyer, take player who can help Day 1 and protect my franchise quarterback.
2) Cleveland Browns – Jared Goff (QB) California
Pass on Carson Wentz; No. 2 is too high for him. My goal will be to convince other teams that I am going to take him here in the hopes that someone wants him and is willing to trade up with me. Seeing how I am the general manager for every team, I don’t bite because Wentz is a low first-round, high second-round quarterback in my opinion. I have coach Hue Jackson, who is a great developer of quarterbacks and I grab the best quarterback in the draft. The Browns are in a true rebuilding mode and there is no reason to not draft a solid young quarterback that can be molded into a very good NFL quarterback in time.
3) San Diego Chargers – Ezekiel Elliott (RB) Ohio State
If I had not drafted Melvin Gordon last year, I would take Elliott here at No. 3. Unless I can ship Melvin Gordon somewhere and get something out of him. How about the the Miami Dolphins? I ship Melvin Gordon to the Miami Dolphins for their No. 13 overall selection and some swapped picks. I take the best running back in the draft since Adrian Peterson and get another first-round pick just to swap my picks in the second and third round.
Chargers give: Melvin Gordon (RB), Pick #35, Pick #66
Dolphins give: Pick #13, Pick #42, Pick #73
This is also a win for me as I am looking for a young running back and can get a young stud for a decent overall price. If Melvin Gordon was in this year’s draft, he would be the second-ranked running back in my opinion and I would have eyed him at my No. 13 overall spot. The deal becomes even when I get to move up in the second and third rounds by swapping picks with the Chargers. Now I don’t have to fight other teams trying to get a running back in the early rounds and can focus on other areas of the roster. Trying to get Elliott later down in the top 10 or hoping he makes to us at No. 13 is too risky. Gordon can work well in Miami coach Adam Gase’s scheme and is a solid option.
4) Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa (DE) Ohio State
I honestly see this as a no-brainer. The defense needs pass rushing help and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will love his talent and versatility along the defensive line. I eye a quarterback in the early second round.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey (DB) Florida State
I love the idea of Jalen Ramsey playing at different spots in coach Gus Bradley’s secondary. He can play corner, slot corner, or safety and always be out on the field making plays for my defense.
6) Baltimore Ravens – Myles Jack (LB) UCLA
7) San Francisco 49ers – Paxton Lynch (QB) Memphis
Surprise! This would be ideal for coach Chip Kelly and his offense. A mobile, big-armed quarterback who can be molded into a dual-threat force. He can develop behind Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert for this season and be the starter in 2017 while I dump Kaepernick next offseason.
8) Philadelphia Eagles – Jack Conklin (OL) Michigan State
I’m going after a young quarterback in the mid-rounds, I’m not going to use my first-round pick on one without a second-round pick. Ronnie Stanley is higher on my big board, not by much, but I go with Conklin because he could step into this offense and play guard well before transitioning to right tackle. Jason Peters will eventually get moved via trade or release next offseason and then Lane Johnson will become the permanent left tackle. Conklin then moves to right tackle and I still have great young bookends for the future.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ronnie Stanley (OT) Notre Dame
Won’t pass on the opportunity to get a premier left tackle to protect Jameis Winston. I can move Donovan Smith to his more natural position of right tackle and have two very good bookends to protect Winston.
10) New York Giants – DeForest Buckner (DE) Oregon
I wasn’t sure about taking a prototypical 3-4 defensive end at first and playing him at 4-3 defensive end, but then I thought about the potential of that front four of the defense. DeForest Buckner, Damon Harrison, Johnathan Hankins and Olivier Vernon would stuff the run on early downs, creating plenty of third down and longs for my defense to attack the quarterback.
11) Chicago Bears – Shaq Lawson (DE) Clemson
There aren’t any left tackles on the board which makes me look at defense and pass rusher. Lawson would be a physical 3-4 outside linebacker opposite of Pernell McPhee and bring some more grit and power to the defense.
12) New Orleans Saints – Vernon Hargreaves (CB) Florida
The need for a quality starting cornerback is too big to pass on the best pure corner in the draft.
13) San Diego Chargers – Andrew Billings (DT) Baylor
After the trade with Miami, I sit with another pick here in the first round. Putting this beast in the middle allows more opportunities on the outside with my pass rushers at 3-4 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker.
14) Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland (ILB) Alabama
I need a leader for the middle of my defense.
15) Los Angeles Rams – Laquon Treadwell (WR) Ole Miss
Since no quarterback is worth taking this high, I go with my next biggest need of wide receiver and get an outside presence for the passing game.
16) Detroit Lions – Taylor Decker (OT) Ohio State
I solidify my line by adding an underrated tackle who will play right tackle in 2016, but could be the replacement at left tackle if Riley Reiff leaves next offseason in free agency.