Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California
Since the Rams traded up with the Titans, I thought that Wentz was their target based on information from the Senior Bowl and some recent minor clues. However, teams sources told me that the Rams will be choosing Goff. Thus, he's the pick here even though I think they're making a big mistake in taking Goff over Wentz.
In 2015, Goff completed 64 percent of his passes for 4,719 yards with 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has a quality, accurate arm with field vision. Goff also has functional mobility to avoid rushers and pick up some yards on the ground. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is lanky and could use more weight. He also could have some issues with getting rattled and handling the rush in the NFL. Holding up against the pass rush led to him having some mechanical issues that he's working on fixing.
Goff enjoyed a breakout 2014 season. The sophomore completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,973 yards with 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He displayed real pocket-passing potential while playing with a less-than-ideal supporting cast. Goff became the starter as a freshman in 2013 and completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,508 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
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Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
The Eagles gave up the farm for Carson Wentz, and I think developing him as a backup will be good for his long-term success.
In 2015, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions while missing six games with a broken wrist. He also had four rushing touchdowns. Sources say that Wentz (6-5, 233) is a prospect who has everything you want in a potential quarterback. He demonstrated that at the Senior Bowl with a strong week that showed off his arm talent. At the combine, Wentz was the most impressive quarterback at throwing the ball.
Multiple teams have told me they had given Wentz a high first-round grade and think that he is the real deal. They say that Wentz has a good arm, size and athleticism, plus they love him off the field. They like his pocket presence, field vision, experience under center, ability to make play calls in the huddle, and potential to grow in the NFL. They also believe that Wentz will fill out his frame in a NFL strength and conditioning program. Scouts from multiple teams have raved about Wentz on and off the field with his play recall and football I.Q. Sources said the big challenge for him will be the drastic change in the speed of the game coming from North Dakota State's opponents compared to the NFL.
As a junior, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,111 yard with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. He had six touchdowns on the ground.
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San Diego Chargers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
I'm still torn on who to project to the Chargers. Taking Jalen Ramsey to replace Eric Weddle makes sense, while the offensive line had a lot of problems last year. San Diego has signed offensive tackles to contracts with significant guaranteed money over the past two offseasons, but I've heard from team sources a variety of names, including Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, and one said they think San Diego is leaning toward Joey Bosa. However, Stanley appears to be the favorite for the Chargers because they prefer his run blocking to Tunsil.
Stanley has the potential to be a franchise left tackle. He is very athletic and quick for his size. Stanley possesses good length to him and sustains his blocks pretty well. He also has the speed and agility to mirror speed rushers, and therefore is a skilled blind-side protector. His significant athleticism allows him to hit blocks downfield as well.
However, Stanley needs to add more power and play with more of a mean streak, and he has to improve his ability to avoid mental mistakes with penalties. Stanley can struggle with physical defensive linemen - see Clemson and Shaq Lawson.
Stanley (6-5, 312) generated a ton of late-season buzz in 2014, and he put an exclamation point on it by getting the better of the top 2015 NFL Draft-eligible defensive lineman in USC's Leonard Williams in limited plays against each other. In 2013, Stanley started at right tackle and was part of a line that allowed only eight sacks on the season.
Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, S/CB, Florida State
Supposedly, the Cowboys are hot for Ramsey and if he gets to their pick he's a slam-dunk selection. Dallas would play Ramsey at corner, but also could move him to safety depending on the situation.
Sources with multiple playoff teams have told me they have given Ramsey a second-round grade. They say that they feel that Ramsey is more special at safety and prefer him there to cornerback. A few teams picking in the top 10 told me they have Ramsey in the top 10 on their board, so while opinions vary among evaluators, it only takes one team to fall in love and there are teams out there that love him, including the Titans. Ramsey spent 2015 at cornerback and totaled 50 tackles, 10 passes broken up, zero interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown there.
Ramsey showed that he can be a press-man corner, but isn't great in off-man or zone. He struggles to prevent separation from speed receivers and sudden route-runners. The game tapes against South Florida, Clemson and Miami, among others, illustrate those issues. Ramsey's okay to go against a big receiver like Brandon Marshall, but he will have issues with a small, fast receiver like T.Y. Hilton. Teams feel Ramsey is a big press-man corner like the Seahawks use. As a safety, he could be a difference-maker as he has tremendous instincts to be a play-maker. If Ramsey plays safety in the NFL, he could stand to add more weight to tackle power running backs in the second level.
Ramsey (6-1, 209) was one of Florida State's best defenders in 2014 as a safety, notching a lot of clutch tackles. He totaled 79 stops, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 12 passes broken up, two interceptions and two forced fumbles on the year. As a freshman in 2013, Ramsey started on the Seminoles' National Championship team at safety and cornerback. He recorded 49 tackles and an interception that season.
Pick change; previously Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
From what I've heard from sources, Jacksonville would be happy with either Bosa or Myles Jack. If both are available, the Jaguars would go with Bosa because they want to improve their pass rush and value an edge rusher over a linebacker.
After missing the 2015 season opener with a suspension because he refused to take a drug test, Bosa totaled 51 tackles with 16 for a loss and five sacks on the year. While he didn't play poorly, he wasn't as tenacious as he was in 2014, despite seeing some single-block pass-rushing opportunities. Bosa looked better as a run defender. He achieved pressure on the quarterback, but wasn't prolific in the pass rush. Sources say that Bosa is like another Ryan Kerrigan for the NFL and the media has overhyped him. However unlike Kerrigan, teams have some minor off-the-field concerns with Bosa such as being a partier and liking to go to raves.
During 2014, Bosa recorded 55 tackles with 13.5 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and a pass defended. He simply lived in opponents' backfields. The 6-foot-5, 269-pounder has some speed to go with natural strength. He possesses a burst off the snap and can turn the corner, but isn't a true speed demon off the edge. As a sophomore, Bosa also showed good hands to shed blocks while working upfield. He racked up 44 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble that season.
Baltimore Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Ravens get their long-term left tackle and land the best player in the 2016 NFL Draft. This is absolute theft for Baltimore to land Tunsil with the sixth pick.
In 2015, Tunsil demonstrated his phenomenal quickness, athleticism and abilities to bend and mirror. He has a ton of natural talent to be a blind-side protector. Tunsil was dominant in 2014 and arguably the best left tackle in the nation. Not only can he shut down pass-rushers, he gets movement in the ground game.
After being suspended for seven games to start 2015, Tunsil returned to the field impressively for Ole Miss against Texas A&M and speed rusher Myles Garrett. Tunsil had some issues with Auburn's Carl Lawson in his second game, but still was solid. He was excellent against LSU and finished the year in fine fashion.
Tunsil (6-5, 310) was one of the top recruits in the nation coming out of high school. As a freshman, he validated the hype when he broke into the starting lineup and became an All-SEC Second-Team selection by the AP. The conference's coaches had him as an All-Freshman performer, and he was also named a Freshman All-American according to many media outlets.
San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
The 49ers are supposedly high on Buckner and he would give them 3-4 bookends with Arik Armstead. Chip Kelly drafting an Oregon product is no shocker either.
Buckner has a serious combination of strength, speed and size. He showed more pass-rushing skills in 2015 and looks like he could be an impact-making defender at the next level. Buckner would be a perfect five-technique in a 3-4 defense. In a 4-3, he could play end and move inside to tackle in passing situations. Sources say that Buckner is great off the field as well.
In 2015, Buckner totaled 76 tackles with 16 for a loss, 9.5 sacks and five passes batted. The 6-foot-7, 291-pounder has a similar skill set to former teammate Arik Armstead. Buckner recorded 81 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four passes broken up in 2014.
Pick change; previously Ronnie Stanley, OT
Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Cleveland could go a variety of directions with this pick, but I do think the Browns are going to lean to taking the best player available regardless of position. In this case, that would be Elliott. He would give Hue Jackson an offensive building block and a difference-maker. Of course, the Browns could trade down again with a team that wants Elliott like Chicago or Miami.
Elliott averaged 6.3 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,821 yards with 23 touchdowns. He had 27 receptions for 206 yards as well. In all but one game in 2015, Elliott exceeded 100 yards. The junior was tremendous with his burst, vision, balance and ability to rip off yards in chunks. He would hit the hole quickly and explode to the second level. In the passing game, Elliott showed nice blocking and receiving skills. Sources say he's a first-rounder.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder was the workhorse who carried the Buckeyes to the National Championship in 2014. He destroyed Wisconsin (20-220-2), Alabama (20-230-2) and Oregon (36-246-4) in the final three games to lead Ohio State. Elliott averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the year for 1,878 yards with 18 touchdowns. He had 28 receptions for 220 yards, too. Elliott showed speed, cutting ability and a knack to pick up yards after contact. He worked out well on the field at the combine, but he didn't impress teams in the interviews.
Pick change; previously DeForest Buckner, DL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
In speaking with sources, the Bucs love Jalen Ramsey but he won't make it to their pick. Tampa Bay has to improve the talent in its secondary and defensive line, so here's a Plan B to address the edge rush if Ramsey is off the board. Floyd is graded higher than other edge rushers and in the Bucs' 4-3 defense, he would play Sam (strongside) linebacker on run downs and rush the passer off the edge in passing situations.
Floyd totaled 74 tackles with 10.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 2015. He is a speedy defender who is just scratching the surface of his potential. Floyd is a natural pass-rusher with agility and a knack for getting to the quarterback. His ability to bend around the corner is extremely rare.
In 2014, the sophomore had 55 tackles with six sacks, two forced fumbles and 8.5 tackles for a loss. Floyd's run defense was a liability, and it caused him to get benched for a short time. He totaled 55 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks in 2013. The 6-foot-6, 244-pounder played at Hargrave Military Academy for a season after high school.
New York Giants: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
For years, the Giants have needed a play-making linebacker, but general manager Jerry Reese has favored drafting for offense. Plus, I've heard from league sources that the Giants aren't considering Jack. New York has taken an offensive player in the first round for the last four years with a preference toward the line. With Will Beatty having been cut, Conklin could fill the hole at right tackle and form a quality tackle tandem with Ereck Flowers.
Conklin is a well-balanced blocker who is effective at protecting the passer and opening holes in the ground game. He turned in impressive back-to-back seasons as the blind-side protector for Connor Cook. Conklin is short of elite traits in terms of athleticism and speed to be viewed as a franchise left tackle.
The 6-foot-5, 308-pound Conklin could use a little more power for the next level, but he should add that in an NFL strength and conditioning program. He probably isn't going to become more quick or athletic though. In speaking with sources from multiple teams, they feel that Conklin would be better off as a right tackle in the NFL. They say a team could get away with him at left tackle, but ultimately would be looking for an upgrade who is more athletic.
Chicago Bears: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
The biggest need on the Bears roster is for a No. 1 cornerback, and they are fortunate that Hargreaves gets to them. Hargreaves is a good scheme fit and should immediately improve Chicago's secondary.
In 2015, Hargreaves totaled 33 tackles, four pass broken up, four interceptions and a forced fumble - off Leonard Fournette. Hargreaves was having a good season before slumping late in the year. Sources have felt that Hargreaves can get bumped around and out-physicaled along with giving up some ground to deep speed. He could stand to improve on that in the NFL. However in terms of a natural cover corner to prevent separation, Hargreaves is the best in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Overall, Hargreaves was a true cover corner during his collegiate career. He totaled 50 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes broken up in 2014. Hargreaves went toe to toe with Amari Cooper that season and held his own. Both players showcased their elite skills and proved to be top prospects for the NFL. Cooper made some catches over Hargreaves, but unlike other defensive backs, Cooper wasn't getting separation or burning the Gator cover corner.
The 5-foot-10, 204-pound Hargreaves has natural cover skills to run with wideouts and not allow separation. He can play off man, press man, and zone. Sources have said that Hargreaves is a star off the field as well as a good teammate, worker and citizen. As a true freshman in 2013, he recorded interceptions in his first three college games while totaling 11 pass breakups and 38 tackles for the year.
New Orleans Saints: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Saints cut Junior Galette and still need a replacement. Lawson could form a dangerous pass rush with Cam Jordan and Hau'Oli Kikaha.
While teams have told me they gave Lawson a second-day grade, in speaking with a variety of teams they think that Lawson could be a mid- to late first-rounder. I think the team that likes him enough to take him will probably do so in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Lawson played really well in 2015 with 60 tackles, 25.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-2, 270-pounder has speed and strength on the edge. Lawson looked good with his power and speed, giving Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley a lot of issues.
Lawson is a smooth pass-rusher, but lacks explosion and is not twitchy. In 2014, he was a backup and totaled 34 tackles with 11 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Given his body type, he could fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Miami Dolphins: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The Dolphins needed to improve their cornerbacks even before they lost Brent Grimes. Miami has shown interest in Apple, plus Mike Tannenbaum has always been aggressive for acquiring cornerback talent.
Apple has a good skill set and lots of upside to develop. He has an excellent combination of size and speed, but he needs work on his technique. Apple grabs too much with receivers and needs to improve his ability to run with them without resorting to contact. That rawness keeps him from being a high first-rounder. The 6-foot, 200-pounder looks like he has No. 1-corner potential.
In 2015, Apple recorded one interception, eight passes broken up and 33 tackles. He had some coverage lapses early on, but played better to close out the year. Apple was very impressive for the Buckeyes in 2014 down the stretch of their title run, recording 53 tackles with three interceptions and 10 passes broken up on the year.
Oakland Raiders: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
The Raiders have plugged a lot of holes in free agency, but they could still use an inside linebacker. Jack could be a steal for Oakland, plus Reggie McKenzie likes rare athletes. With Khalil Mack, the Raiders could have a freaky athletic front seven.
Jack's natural pass-coverage skills are extremely rare. He has the speed and athleticism of a defensive back in the body of a linebacker. NFL evaluators love what he can do in the passing game, and he even played nickel corner at UCLA. Don't be surprised if the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder improves annually with his huge upside.
Jack notched 15 tackles, one interception and a pass broken up in his shortened 2015 season. He also had two carries for seven yards and a touchdown on offense. The junior suffered a knee injury in practice that ended his year early. As a sophomore, Jack racked up 87 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, seven passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. While only a freshman starter in 2013, Jack became a superstar who was named the Pac-12's Offensive AND Defensive Freshman of the Year. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 75 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions. His pass-coverage skills for a freshman were outstanding. Jack ran for 267 yards on 38 carries (7.0 average) with seven touchdowns, too.
Tennessee Titans: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Shortly after the Titans made the trade with the Rams, sources told me offensive tackle would be the preferred option for Tennessee at pick No. 15. The slight preference is for Michigan State's Jack Conklin, but they have him and Decker close together. Either one should step in and bolster the Titans at right tackle. In speaking with sources, Tennessee sounds like they are considering trading up into the top 10 if Laremy Tunsil slides.
Decker played well for the Buckeyes in 2015, but while he's strong at opening holes in the ground game, he could be limited in pass protection for the NFL. Some teams feel that you could get away with Decker at left tackle, but ultimately would want someone quicker and more athletic. Decker could be a more effective right tackle in the NFL.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder finished the 2014 season in really impressive fashion. Late in the year, he did a good job of protecting Cardale Jones and opening holes for Ezekiel Elliott.
Detroit Lions: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
Detroit let Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley leave last offseason, while Haloti Ngata showed signs of decline in 2015. Here, the Lions grab a talented defensive tackle to cause disruption next to Ziggy Ansah.
Rankins was an impressive defender for Louisville in 2015, totaling 58 tackles with 13 for a loss and six sacks. In 2014, he was even better when he had Lorenzo Mauldin on the edge drawing attention. As a junior, Rankins totaled nine sacks, 54 tackles and 14.5 tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-1, 304-pounder could be a speedy three-technique for the NFL.
Rankins had a strong week at the Senior Bowl. However, sources say that Rankins' tape wasn't as impressive as his performance in Mobile. Thus, he's a more challenging evaluation for what a team will get out of him in the NFL.