Another holiday, another mock draft! With only two weeks left in the regular season, the order of the 2016 NFL Draft is slowly coming into focus. The Titans hold the #1 overall pick at the moment, but the Browns are close behind. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter because the two teams have very different needs. It’s not like last year when the Bucs and Titans both needed quarterbacks. This year, the Titans have their quarterback while the Browns need one. The Ravens, Chargers and Cowboys round out the Top-5 picks.
1. Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss – This is absolutely the right choice with the #1 overall pick. Get your young quarterback more protection. Tunsil can compete with Taylor Lewan on the left side or start right away at right tackle. It’s a win-win situation for the Titans.
2. Cleveland Browns – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis – With Johnny Manziel’s future up in the air, the Browns grab their franchise quarterback here. Lynch gets the nod over Jared Goff due to his NFL-ready size and experience in the colder weather. Remember, Goff is a California kid and NFL teams will take into account weather when drafting quarterbacks.
3. Baltimore Ravens – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State – The Ravens need a playmaker on defense and Jalen Ramsey knows how to bring the swag to the field. He can start immediately at safety or cornerback and will be a building block for the Ravens to construct a defense around.
4. San Diego Chargers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – There are other needs, but the Chargers cannot pass up a franchise left tackle like Stanley. Life after Phillip Rivers is approaching and the Chargers can guarantee that their new quarterback will have blindside protection.
5. Dallas Cowboys – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida – Cornerback play has been terrible for the Cowboys this year and it’s likely that Morris Claiborne will not return. Drafting Hargreaves allows the Cowboys to move Byron Jones back to safety.
6. San Francisco 49ers – Jared Goff, QB, California – There are concerns surrounding Goff but the 49ers need a quarterback. Colin Kaepernick has been a bust and Goff can come in and provide some stability. It won’t be pretty at first, but Goff has the makings of a future starter.
7. Miami Dolphins – Joey Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State – A lucky break for the Dolphins as Bosa falls in their lap in this scenario. Cameron Wake is getting up there in age and their previous first round pass rusher, Dion Jordan, has been an absolute bust. Bosa is perhaps the best overall football player in the class and has a very bright future in the NFL.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame – Drafting Jaylon Smith gives the Jaguars perhaps the most athletic tandem of linebackers in the NFL when he’s paired with Telvin Smith. There are other needs for the Jags, but Smith is a playmaker and has all the tools to be a future All-Pro.
9. New Orleans Saints – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss – The Saints know their window with Drew Brees is rapidly closing so they draft Treadwell to give him some immediate help at receiver. Treadwell can be their possession receiver, which will free up attention from Brandin Cooks, their deep-ball threat.
10. Chicago Bears – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA – When healthy, Jack is perhaps a Top-5 prospect. But he falls here because we still don’t know how healthy he is from his knee injury. The Bears need linebacker help and Jack is an strong, explosive athlete who can start right away.
11. Detroit Lions – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss – The off-the-field concerns will be the main storyline surrounding Nkemdiche before the draft, but he’s still a very talented prospect. The Lions grab him here to pair with Haloti Ngata in their defensive interior.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson – Tampa Bay desperately needs a pass rusher and Shaq Lawson is a big, strong defensive end who can be that for them. Lawson isn’t as polished as Joey Bosa, but he’s capable of creating pressure, especially with offensive linemen focused on Gerald McCoy in the interior.
13. New York Giants – Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA – With JPP pass rushing ability in question, the Giants draft Clark to be the next big man on their defensive line. Clark can help in run support and has the tools to develop into a big-time pass rusher.
14. Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama – Khalil Mack is a monster at defensive end and the Raiders grab Ragland here to be the enforcer at linebacker. Ragland is perhaps the best inside linebacker in the class and is more than capable of stepping in right away. Mack and Ragland on the same defense will give offensive coordinators everywhere nightmares.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – To say Byron Maxwell has been a disappointment is an understatement. It’s likely the Eagles will try to get rid of him as soon as possible. If they can’t, they can still grab Alexander here to be his future replacement.
16. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State – The Bills seem to have found their quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, now they draft some help in Taylor Decker to give him a capable blindside protector and support in the run game for LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams.
17. Indianapolis Colts – Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State – Offensive line help is desperately needed in Indianapolis and the Colts are relieved to draft Whitehair here. Perhaps the best guard prospect in the class, Whitehair has been compared to Zach Martin from the 2014 draft class.
18. St. Louis Rams – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State – Whoever is playing quarterback needs a #1 receiver to throw to. Tavon Austin is a good offensive weapon, but not a true #1 receiver. Drafting Thomas gives the Rams the trio of playmaker they will need (Thomas, Austin and Todd Gurley) to compliment whomever the draft in round two at quarterback.
19. Atlanta Falcons – Su’a Cravens, LB/DB, USC – The Falcons need linebacker help and they draft Su’a Cravens here to help. Cravens represents the new age of versatile linebacker prospects and can play either linebacker or safety and cover tight ends better than traditional 240+ lb. linebackers can.
20. New York Jets – Leonard Floyd, LB/EDGE, Georgia – Despite all the talent on their defense, the Jets have a weakness at linebacker. Leonard Floyd is a prospect that can step in at linebacker as well as give them some versatility as an edge rusher.
21. Washington Redskin – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – If Kirk Cousins is indeed their quarterback, the Redskins need to build around him. They draft Doctson here to be the #1 receiver, which will free up attention from DeSean Jackson.
22. Houston Texans – Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State – Perhaps this is a reach, but the Texans need a quarterback badly. At the time of writing this, their depth chart is Brandon Weeden and B.J. Daniels. The Texans need to bite the bullet and draft one here and Cook is the only other QB worthy of a first round pick.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana – The Vikings need to do a better job at protecting Teddy Bridgewater. Spriggs can come in and start right away at right tackle and gives them insurance in case of an injury to Matt Kalil.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – Fuller has been out this year with an injury, but he comes from a long family of talented NFL players. The Steelers need some size and playmaking in their secondary and Fuller is more than capable of becoming that playmaker for them.
25. Kansas City Chiefs – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon – The Chiefs have plenty of pass rushers with Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and now Dee Ford, but they lack playmakers in the interior. DeForest Buckner is a player who might go way higher than this come April, so the Chiefs might be lucky to grab him here.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh – Doug Baldwin has been playing well, but the Seahawks lack that dependable, go-t0 receiver for Russell Wilson. Boyd is a receiver that has size, strength, strong hands and is capable of developing into a #1 receiver for the Seahawks.
27. Green Bay Packers – Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE, Oklahoma State – The Packers boost their pass rusher with Ogbah here, who can sit and learn behind Julius Peppers for a while before being asked to play major snaps.
28. Denver Broncos – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State – The Brock Osweiler era has officially begun and the Broncos draft Elliott here to be his running back of the future. Elliott’s ability in pass protection also contributes to his first-round grade.
29. Cincinnati Bengals – Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky – The off-the-field questions will surround Spence throughout the draft process, but there’s no denying that he’s a very talented edge rusher. The Bengals would take a flyer on him here to be that x-factor that could push them to a Super Bowl.
30. Arizona Cardinals – A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama – The Cardinals have very few weaknesses, but they lack a playmaker in the defensive interior. Robinson is a player who might experience a Malcom Brown-type fall to the end of the first round.
31. New England Patriots – Pick forfeit due to DeflateGate (but let’s be honest, they probably were going to flip the pick for a pair of 4th rounders anyways).
32. Carolina Panthers – Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M – The Panthers offensive line has overachieved this season, but there is no denying the holes in it. Ifedi is more of a developmental prospect, but can become a future left tackle if he is given the proper time to sit and learn.