NFL Mock Draft: Defense Dominates in Round 1
Mock season is upon us NFL fans! Analysts everywhere and even some ambitious fans will create an NFL mock draft every year, predicting what will happen come draft day. One thing is certain, however. Not a single mock draft will be entirely correct.
Predicting the outcomes of just the first round of the draft is roughly equivalent with getting your March Madness bracket correct. Thanks Michigan State! Nevertheless, it is always exciting to see what various people are thinking when it comes to your teams draft pick. So without further ado, here is our first round NFL mock draft:
Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil
The Titans found their franchise quarterback last year in Marcus Mariota. They also allowed him to hit the dirt more than any other team in the NFL giving up 54 sacks. Priority number one is protecting their young signal caller and Tunsil is the premier tackle in this years’ class. Laremy Tunsil kicks off this NFL mock draft.
NDSU QB Carson Wentz
As of this second, the Browns have not signed anyone to play quarterback. They are in talks with RG3, but a deal has not been done. The Browns will continue to draft quarterbacks in the first round here. One of them has to pan out eventually, right? Wentz has ideal size for an NFL quarterback at 6’5”, 237 lbs. He can be looked at as a gamble, but after drafting Johnny Manziel, it honestly cannot get any worse.
San Diego Chargers
Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey
After losing Eric Weddle to the Ravens via free agency, this defense needs a replacement playmaker for the back end. Ramsey, arguably the best player in the draft, adds youth and playmaking ability immediately.
Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
The third pick in the NFL Mock Draft is owned by the Dallas Cowboys. After a not so dominant combine effort, it looked as if Bosa may slip a few picks. Well, he fixed that right up with a very strong pro day. The Cowboys seemed to have moved on from the Gregg Hardy fiasco and with last year second-round pick Randy Gregory being suspended four games, they can use a pass rushing force who can also set the edge and help in the run game.
UCLA LB Myles Jack
The Jaguars offense is looking very promising. A few good moves were made defensively via free agency as well with the additions of Malik Jackson, Teshaun Gipson, and Prince Amukamara. They continue to build on that defense with the top linebacker coming out in Jack. He also played some HB at UCLA just to illustrate his speed and explosiveness. He makes plays behind the backfield and has the speed and agility to cover tight ends and backs.
Oregon DE Deforest Buckner
The Ravens can go either offensive line here or defensive. Since we are talking about the Baltimore Ravens, however, we like to assume it will be defense. Buckner has freakish size at 6’7”, 291 lbs. Last season at Oregon he produced 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. He can be a young tone setter for this Raven defense.
San Francisco 49ers
California QB Jared Goff
Goff slides a little due to his frame and the emergence of Wentz. Hand size continues to be a question with him. However, with Kaepernick wanting out of San Francisco, Goff can be an ideal pick for Chip Kelly to mold into his system.
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliot
The loss of Demarco Murray, now in Tennessee, leaves a gaping hole in the backfield. Luckily for the Eagles, arguably one of the best backs to come out of college in some time, is available for them here. He can step in and be a three-down feature back as a rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III
When you play Julio Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, and Brandin Cooks twice a year, you may need a reliable corner. As of right now, the Buccaneers do not have one. Enter Hargreaves, who has drawn comparisons to Joe Haden, to match up with the elite pass catchers of the NFC South. What he lacks in size he makes up in speed and ball skills.
New York Giants
Alabama LB Reggie Ragland
With the final lottery pick in the NFL Mock Draft, the Giants should go with a linebacker. The New York Giants are lacking a force in the heart of their defense. Ragland can immediately fill that hole. He is an old school run stuffing, hard hitting linebacker. Alabama has produced plenty of quality linebackers over the years and Ragland is another to add to the list. After taking Landon Collins last year to square up the secondary, they take his old roommate this year.
Notre Dame OT Ronnie Staley
With this draft class being so deep at defensive line, the Bears can easily pick up a quality player in the second or later round. Drafting Staley allows Kyle Long to move back inside at guard where he excelled and put free agent signee Bobbie Massey to right tackle. Staley can be a day one starter at left tackle.
New Orleans Saints
Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins
Drew Brees will continue to light up the scoreboard. That has not been the problem, however. The Saints defense has been pitiful as of late and could use help at all levels. Finishing 25th in sacks last year, Rankins can come in and get some push in the middle up front to generate some pressure on the edges.
Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
Losing Brent Grimes to free agency leaves a big hole in this secondary. They acquired Byron Maxwell from the Eagles in a trade, but could still use a quality corner to start opposite of him. Alexander is very confident corner who excels in man coverage.
Ohio State LB Daron Lee
The NFL Mock Draft shows the Raiders need to add some defensive help. The Raiders’ offense looks to be on the rise with young franchise quarterback David Carr and the play-making Amari Cooper. If the defense can step it up in 2016, this team can be dangerous. Daron Lee is the prototypical new age linebacker. With a 4.47 40 yard dash, he can be a Ryan Shazier type of player for this Raider defense.
Los Angeles Rams
Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwill
The Rams drafted there back of the future in Todd Gurley last year and that paid off very well for them. They still lack a legit number one receiver, however. Regardless of who is throwing the ball in Los Angeles next season, they need someone who is going to be on the other side of those passes.
Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
The Lions desperately need to solidify the blind side of Mathew Stafford. Riley Reiff is much better suited inside so with the addition of Conklin, they can slide Reiff down inside and make Conklin their starting left tackle immediately.
Georgia LB Leonard Floyd
Atlanta needs help across the board on defense, but with three of the top inside linebackers off the board and no elite safeties, they can grab a much needed pass rusher here. Floyd is a long athletic pass rusher that can excel at the next stage if he bulks up a little.
Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson
The Colts rush defense was abysmal last year to say the least. After giving up 122 yards per game and 4.3 yards a carry, Robinson can come in and instantly plug up holes and eat blocks to start to square up this rush defense.
Alabama DT Jarran Reed
With the 19th pick in the NFL Mock Draft, the Bills need to get younger up front on defense. Rex Ryan would love to have a gap eating tackle like Reed to anchor his defensive line. With so many quality defensive linemen in this draft, it all really depends on how high he is on some teams’ boards. He can go anywhere from 11 to the Bears to 20 to the Jets.
New York Jets
Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence
If not for two failed drug tests and a transfer from Ohio State to Eastern Kentucky, we may have been projecting Spence as a top 10 pick. The Jets interior defensive line is a force, so bringing in a quality pass rusher will only make this front scarier.
Clemson DE Shaq Lawson
The Redskins could use a center here, but with no elite prospects available they take the best available defensive lineman to fill a glaring need as well. Lawson can set the edge on running plays and also rush the passer quite well.
Baylor WR Corey Coleman
Deandre Hopkins is a great number one receiver in Houston, but they don’t have anyone to compliment him on the other side. With Colman’s big play potential, it will take double teams away from Hopkins opening up the field more for new quarterback Brock Osweiler who has one hell of an arm.
Notre Dame WR Will Fuller
The NFL Mock Draft shows the Vikings grabbing a wide-receiver. Mike Wallace is no longer with the team after being signed by the Ravens this offseason. With him gone, they can use another guy who can take the top off a defense. Will Fuller may be the epitome of that in this draft. He also caught every single pass thrown his way at the combine so he has hands to match with blazing speed.
TCU WR Josh Doctson
Much like Houston finding someone to compliment Hopkins, the Bengals could use someone to compliment A.J Green. Docston can run good routes and attack the ball at its peak. Adding him to a passing game already boasting Green and Eifert and I’m sure you make Andy Dalton a very happy man.
Ohio State CB Eli Apple
NFL Mock Draft Update: The Steelers are one of the teams that need to strengthen their defense. The Steelers offense will have no problem scoring next season. The defense, however, could use some help. Here they grab Apple who excels in press man coverage due to his size (6’1”, 199 lbs).
Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
The loss of Russel Okung leaves a glaring hole in the Seahawks offensive line. While it is still questioned whether Decker is best suited at left or right tackle, this late in the first round all the safest tackles are off the board. He is a good pick who can become a quality starter at the next level.
Green Bay Packers
UCLA DT Kenny Clark
The Packers, while picking late in most recent drafts due to success, always seem to find good talent. With B.J Raji retiring, they can use another nose tackle to anchor the middle of that defense under Dom Capers. Kenny Clark at 6’3”, 314 lbs, can be a run stuffing, space eating tackle just as Raji was.
Kansas City Chiefs
Houston CB William Jackson
The Chiefs lost Sean Smith to the rival Oakland Raiders via free agency which leaves a hole at the corner spot. They hit a home run with Marcus Peters last year so look for them to add another young corner to cement the defensive backfield for years to come.
Alabama C Ryan Kelly
A ton of analysts have the Cardinals grabbing Kelly at this position in the draft. He is the top center in the class and will most likely be the first off the board. It also happens to be a spot the Cardinals could use some help in. He can come in and give some stability to the interior of this offensive line.
Celmson DE Kevin Dodd
After Vonn Miller living in the Panther backfield in the Super Bowl it is tough to not give them a tackle here. However, all the quality tackles are off the board at this point so the Panthers can look for a DE to come in and add to an already intimidating front seven. One of the best run stuffing ends in college last year, if he can work on his pass rush look out for him.
Memphis QB Paxton Lynch
The Broncos decided to let Brock Osweiler walk in free agency due mainly in part to John Elway not believing he was worth the money he was asking for. They signed Mark Sanchez, but let’s be honest, Bronco fans are not planning on the Sanchize to be their quarterback of the future. Selecting Lynch here allows him to sit behind Sanchez or whoever they decide to bring in (Kaepernick?) and develop rather than being thrown into a leading role which I’m not sure he is quite ready for.
Note: The New England Patriots lost their first round pick due to deflategate, which is why they aren’t featured in this NFL Mock Draft.