Rd. 1, Pk. 4
Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
I've been mocking Joey Bosa to the Cowboys for quite a while, but only because Jalen Ramsey hasn't been available. They like Bosa, but Ramsey is the No. 1 player on their board. As potentially the best player in this draft, he would add a much-needed dominating presence to Dallas' secondary. I'll be shocked if the Cowboys pass on him, as they've already said they're not trading the pick.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB - Jerry Jones wants Elliott, but he has been overruled a lot recently. See Johnny Manziel.
2. Joey Bosa, DE/OLB - With Greg Hardy on his way out, and Randy Gregory now one strike away from a year-long suspension, Bosa makes a ton of sense for the Cowboys.
Rd. 1, Pk. 12
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
I don't think the Saints would've expected Vernon Hargreaves to be available a couple of weeks ago, but there has been a growing sense that the Florida cornerback could slip. If so, New Orleans will definitely consider him at No. 12. The Saints have some major injury concerns at cornerback, and they may consider Hargreaves to be the best player available.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Sheldon Rankins, DT - It was pretty tight between Rankins and Hargreaves for this pick. Almost a coin flip. Hargreaves edged out Rankins by a bit.
2. Jack Conklin, OT/G - New Orleans has a major hole in the inside of the blocking unit, which is problematic because the Saints greatly value interior blocking. Keeping Drew Brees healthy in the final few years of his career is extremely important if the team wants to have any sort of Super Bowl aspirations.
Pick change; previously Shaq Lawson, DE
Rd. 1, Pk. 14
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Myles Jack being off the board at No. 13 would screw up this selection, as the Dolphins would take Eli Apple, making him unavailable to Oakland. If, however, Apple is still up for grabs at this juncture, I expect him to be one of the favorites for this pick. The Raiders have Apple ranked very highly because of his athleticism. He'll also obviously fill a huge need across from Sean Smith if David Amerson leaves via free agency next offseason.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Sheldon Rankins, DT - Adding a fierce, interior pass-rusher like Rankins would provide a huge boost for their defense.
2. Darron Lee, LB - I don't know if Oakland thinks it's too early to take a non-pass-rushing linebacker, but Lee could be too talented to pass up.
Pick change; previously Vernon Hargreaves, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
The Titans were going to select Jalen Ramsey had they not traded out of the top spot. They desperately need cornerback help, and Xavien Howard is one of a couple of possibilities atop Round 2.
Rd. 2, Pk. 5
William Jackson, CB, Houston
The Ravens are probably going to pass on Vernon Hargreaves at No. 6 because they believe they can land a talented cornerback at this juncture. And that's exactly what has happened, as William Jackson is talented enough to be a first-round pick. I've actually had trouble slotting corners - namely Jackson and Kendall Fuller - into my first round.
The Giants spent big money on Janoris Jenkins, but they still lack proper cornerback depth, which has become more important over the years.
Rd. 3, Pk. 11
James Bradberry, CB/S, Samford
The Buccaneers might have the weakest group of cornerbacks in the NFL. Alterraun Verner was an abomination this past season, while Johnthan Banks has only been marginally better, but only by default. This is an area that absolutely must be addressed this offseason. And no, signing Brent Grimes doesn't count as addressing the position.
Rd. 1, Pk. 4
Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, 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
Rd. 1, Pk. 11
Vernon Hargreaves, 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.
Rd. 1, Pk. 13
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.
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
William Jackson III, CB, Houston
The Steelers have a big need at cornerback. Sources told me that Pittsburgh prefers William Jackson III over other corners like Kendall Fuller.
Jackson recorded 43 tackles, five interceptions and 23 passes broken up in 2015. The 6-foot, 189-pounder has excellent height and length, but also has a tall, lanky frame that he needs to fill out for the NFL. He was electric at the combine with a 4.37-second time in the 40-yard dash and a strong showing in the field drills.
Over the past two seasons, Jackson was a steady defender for Houston. He recorded two interceptions, 37 tackles and 10 passes broken up in 2014. The previous year, he had one pick, 35 tackles and seven passes batted.
Pick change; previously Kendall Fuller, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
The Titans could use a cornerback upgrade, and Howard is a great fit for Tennessee.
Scouts say they weren't expecting Howard (6-0, 200) to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft, but when he did they studied him for their reports and were pleasantly surprised. They say he is a talented cover corner. In 2015, Howard totaled 42 tackles with 10 breakups and five interceptions for the Bears. As a sophomore, he had 51 stops with 13 breakups and four interceptions.
Howard has ball skills and is put together well. The junior would fit a press-man scheme well.
Rd. 2, Pk. 5
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Ravens grab a talented cornerback to pair with Jimmy Smith.
Some sources have said that if Fuller (5-11, 187) had stayed healthy and played like he did in 2014, he would be the top cornerback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft. Some scouts have told me they graded Fuller higher than Vernon Hargreaves III or Jalen Ramsey based on his 2014 tape, but his knee injury ruined his hopes of being a high first-rounder. Following encouraging news from the combine medical re-check, Fuller could be a late first-or second-round pick.
Fuller only ended up playing in two games before going out for the year due to knee surgery. Fuller recorded seven tackles, one sack and a pass broken up in his shortened season. In 2014 he played at a very high level, racking up 17 passes broken up, two interceptions, 50 tackles and 4.5 tackles for a loss.
The younger brother of Bears' 2014 NFL Draft first-round pick Kyle Fuller, Kendall Fuller saw the field immediately as a freshman. He was a Freshman All-American and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Fuller had six interceptions and 58 tackles in his debut season. He is a quick, athletic, instinctive cover corner who does a great job of preventing separation and competing for the ball.
The 49ers didn't manage to sign Josh Norman, so they could take a cornerback early in the 2016 NFL Draft. They have shown a ton of interest in Alexander.
Even though some have hyped Alexander as a high first-rounder, I haven't heard that grade from teams. A few teams told me they have him as a second-rounder and expect him to go there. Some teams graded him later, but every team expects him to go in Round 2. The big issue that teams have is size. The teams that had Alexander (5-10, 190) graded lower think he could be relegated to playing a nickel role in the NFL. That being said, teams like his coverage skills to run the route and prevent separation.
For Clemson, Alexander was a cover corner who had a quality 2015 season. The redshirt sophomore totaled 23 tackles with five passes broken up and zero interceptions on the season. In 2014, he had 21 tackles, six passes broken up and zero interceptions.
Rd. 2, Pk. 16
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
The Saints continue to bolster their vulnerable pass defense with a talented cornerback.
Burns turned in an impressive junior season with six interceptions, 36 tackles and five passes broken up. As a sophomore in 2014, he had 40 tackles, six breakups and zero interceptions.
Burns lost his mother suddenly during his junior year. With his father incarcerated, Burns (5-11, 193) has custody of his younger brothers and his own son to support. Thus, he entered the 2016 NFL Draft. Sources say that Burns is grading out on the second day and they like his skill set. He had a strong performance at the combine where he ran well and looked good in the field drills.
Pick change; previously Austin Johnson, DT
Rd. 3, Pk. 26
Sean Davis, CB/S, Maryland
The Steelers grab their safety upgrade over Will Allen.
Maryland's defensive leader started 40 games as a Terrapin and finished his career with a strong senior year. Davis (6-1, 201) showed good run support and tackling with 88 total tackles in 2015. He also had three interceptions and three passes broken up. Davis had 115 and 112 tackles as a junior and sophomore, respectively. His steady and consistent play landed him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, he held his own and was competitive, while at the combine, he ran faster than expected and has impressed a lot of teams in workouts.
The Panthers grab some cornerback talent after moving on from Josh Norman.
In 2015, Sanchez totaled 45 tackles, seven interceptions and seven passes broken up. The junior has ball skills and can make big plays, but he can be a gambler, which led to a few games in 2015 during which he had some issues in coverage.
Sanchez was awful in 2013 as a freshman, and teams constantly picked on him for big plays, but he was vastly improved in 2014 for the Sooners. Sanchez was an all-conference pick that year and held up well when teams targeted him. He had 43 tackles with six interceptions and eight passes broken on the season. As a freshman, Sanchez picked off two passes and batted away 13. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder could stand to fill out his frame. He's a nickel corner for the NFL.
Hall has excellent size to be an NFL cornerback and was very impressive at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is a physical corner who has some Richard Sherman bulldog to his game. Scouts say they love Hall's length and toughness. He really stood out for Northern Iowa as he had six interceptions as a senior. Northern Iowa didn't play a top program in 2015, so performing well against more talented receivers was critical for Hall.
The Jaguars grab some cornerback depth and competition. Prince Amukamara only signed a 1-year contract.
Miller was one of the small-school defensive backs to take advantage of the opportunity to impress at the Senior Bowl. He had a strong week in Mobile and illustrated coverage skills for the NFL. Miller turned in an excellent senior year with four interceptions, 10 passes broken up, and 49 tackles. He had three interceptions as a junior and four as a sophomore.
Miller (5-11, 182) has decent height, but he needs to fill out his frame. He ran a very slow 40 at the combine, and that could hurt him come draft day.
Rd. 4, Pk. 9
James Bradberry, CB/S, Samford
The Dolphins could use another safety option to go with Reshad Jones. Walt Aikens is a converted corner and a pick of the prior regime.
Jaquiski Tartt represented Samford at the Senior Bowl last year, and this year, it was Bradberry. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder has a NFL skill set with size and speed. The senior recorded 45 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015. He had two interceptions in his junior, sophomore and freshman years.
Bradberry's steady play earned him an invitation to Mobile, and he had a respectable week. Bradberry has prototypical size for the next level and could fit as a press-man cornerback or a free safety; the latter is probably more likely.
The Lions could use some secondary depth and have shown interest in Russell.
In 2015, Russell had 60 tackles, four passes broken up, two interceptions and one sack before a fractured tibia ended his season early. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has some natural ability. He is fast enough to maintain coverage with receivers in and out of their breaks, but also plays bigger than his listed size.
Russell missed 2014 over an academic suspension. In his debut season, he had 58 tackles with two interceptions and two passes broken up. Russell continued his strong play for the Fighting Irish in 2013. The sophomore totaled 51 tackles, one interception and eight passes broken up that year.
Rd. 4, Pk. 20
Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
The Jets could use some cornerback depth after cutting Antonio Cromartie.
Redmond (5-11, 182) played well for the Bulldogs in 2015, making 25 tackles, two interceptions and one pass broken up before a season-ending injury due to a torn ACL. If it weren't for the injury, Redmond would probably be an early rounder. He is a tough corner who has the versatility to play on the outside or in the slot. In 2014, Redmond racked up 51 tackles with five passes broken up and three interceptions.
Rd. 4, Pk. 29
Jalen Mills, CB/S, LSU
The Bears use some secondary depth and competition.
Mills played in seven games during 2015, totaling 30 tackles and three passes broken up. He flashed in previous seasons as a corner and safety. Mills (6-0, 191) needs to add weight to tackle as a free safety in the NFL. He recorded 62 tackles with five passes broken up and an interception in 2014. Mills totaled 67 tackles, three passes broken up, three sacks and three interceptions in 2013.
Rd. 5, Pk. 4
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
The Raiders grab some cornerback depth.
Rd. 5, Pk. 14
Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
The Eagles grab some cornerback depth, plus they have shown interest in Robinson.
Rd. 5, Pk. 18
Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
The Broncos could use some cornerback depth. Aqib Talib could be a trade candidate or cap casualty in a year, so they could develop another corner to backup Chris Harris and Bradley Roby.
Pick change; previously Tyler Johnstone, OT
Rd. 5, Pk. 23
Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
The Chiefs could use some cornerback depth.
Rd. 5, Pk. 28
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
It never hurts to have cornerback and special teams depth. While Jones has gotten some hype, teams have told me they have third-day grades on him.
View Team's Next Selection
Its funny how every mock draft now has the Chargers taking Laremy Tunsil like its a for sure pick. Not so fast. Tom Telesco is re committed to the line he has last year and will not take an OT at 3 after the investments he has put out this season. King Dunlap would be the 14th highest paid OT to ride the bench? come on now. If the Chargers thought Tunsil was a possibility they wouldn't have resigned Dunlap and their other option to bench Orlando Franklin is foolish.
with that being said, Jalen Ramsey is the pick. You take the best player in the draft and he will immediately come in and tear things up. Its a win win situation for San Diego you can plug him in at CB and say goodbye to the struggling Brandon Flowers or you can use him at safety to fill the role Eric Weddle left behind. Ramsey, Verrett, Hayward... that's a scary secondary.
Scouting report: Dominant athlete. Sprinter and champion long jumper for Seminoles track team and hit a 40-inch vertical leap in high school. Prototype frame for a big, press cover corner. From press, lands accurate blows with extended arms into the shoulders of receivers. Can redirect and, in some cases, completely roadblock a route with his disruptive press strength and tactics. Has experience at safety and as slot corner. Boundary corner in 2015 and quick to crowd outside releases against sideline. Shines in trail coverage. Has athletic ability to slam on brakes from full sprint and shadow comeback routes. Length and closing speed make it difficult to beat him over the top. Elite leaper who can challenge jump balls against anyone. Uses aggressive ripping and raking against catch attempts. Aware and instinctive from zone and off coverage. Diagnoses quickly and will stick a foot in the ground and drive hard towards the throw. Balanced, wrap-up tackler in space. Allowed a completion rate of just 38.5 percent.
Other possibilities: DeForest Buckner DE, Joey Bosa DE, Myles Jack LB
Why Hargreaves? Because of OBJ, that’s why. The Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants will likely be favored (Philly expected to be bottom feeders) to win the NFC East come draft time. Yes, again that means nothing as preseason rankings are never accurate. However, Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones just watched Reese improve the Giants defense enough that their offense can finally be scary again. Right now the biggest question for the Eagles, Cowboys, and Redskins is how do we stop OBJ (trash talking be damned) as that is how you stop the Giants offense. The Giants will continue to look for complements to OBJ, but opposing team’s ultimate goal will be to stop OBJ. This is Dallas first step towards that as Brandon Carr is not that guy. Byron Jones to me is better suited at FS. Hargreaves on OBJ with Byron Jones over the top is start to containing OBJ (who they face 2 (possibly 3) times a year from here till he retires). Dallas needs secondary help period, I just highlighted OBJ as they face him twice a year and he is the best WR in the NFC East (Dez Bryant is in that discussion, IMHO [those words taste like vinegar], but he’s a Cowboy so….) Nevermind the 40 time at the combine, this is a 3 year starter in the SEC where he went against the likes of Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett, Jarvis Landry, O’Dell Beckham Jr., Jordan Matthews, Amari Cooper, LaQuon Treadwell and has produced, and produced well. Dallas would be wise to select Hargreaves as he is a top 5 player in this draft. I think Jerry will bring up Carson’s name, but Stephen and the rest of the war room will convince him to get a QB like Hackenberg on Day 3 to “develop”. It’s either DE or CB here for Dallas as both are needs.
I almost mocked Ryan Kelly here as he’s the clear best center prospect in this draft and a HUGE need for Arizona right now (currently slated to start AQ Shipley at center and as a Ravens fan, trust me that’s a bad idea), but I couldn’t justify passing on a potentially elite cornerback for a center. Especially given how much this secondary surprisingly struggled when Defensive Player of the Year candidate Tyrann Mathieu went down with an injury late in the year. Patrick Peterson is as elite as they come, Mathieu can play ANYWHERE, and the rest of the safeties are at the very least very solid, but the starting cornerback spot opposite of Peterson is a question mark. Justin Bethel struggled mightily when asked to play starters snaps and Jerraud Powers, last year’s starter, was unspectacular and is currently still an unsigned free agent. Enter Eli Apple (what a great name seriously). A prototype big, long corner that’s all the rage now in the NFL after watching Seattle dominate with these guys, Apple would be the perfect fit here. He’s a bit raw and might take a year or so to completely figure things out (he came out as a redshirt sophomore so he only played two years of college ball) but with Mathieu being the versatile superstar he is, Apple can ease into whatever role he is best suited to play with Mathieu occupying whatever other position is needed. He also gives them insurance in case Mathieu gets hurt again or needs some easing into himself as he recovers from a late season injury. Apple isn’t a fantastic tackler and his lack of experience really sticks out as he is not yet at the level he needs to be in terms of diagnosing and reacting to plays in front of him, but he’s got all of the natural ability to figure it out with time and scouts RAVE about this kids work ethic. This might be a bit low for Apple but in the long run this looks like the best possible fit for him as a player in the long run and the Cardinals as a franchise as well.
In a previous mock I wrote about how I wanted to mock a corner here and even mentioned Alexander by name, but I decided against it as I didn’t think he was worth the selection. Man have things changed. And I’m not talking about Alexander’s stock because that hasn’t changed much over the past few weeks; I’m talking of course of the whole Josh Norman shenanigans. Who knows if there’s anything behind the scenes we don’t know about that lead to his disfranchising and ultimately departure. What we do know is now a huge need just became an absolutely disastrous situation if an upgrade isn’t made. I’m not a believer in drafting solely for need (the best teams usually draft best player available or at least to the best of their abilities) and the Panthers are absolutely one of those top level franchises. However, this is different. The number one corner for Carolina right now is either Brandon Boykin who couldn’t even play in Pittsburgh’s abysmal secondary last season or Bene Benwikere (amazing name by the way) who is nowhere near anything special. Considering the only other real weakness on this team was safety it’s safe to say secondary help is a dire need these days in Carolina. Alexander isn’t the close-to-perfect prospect many originally may have thought right as the college football season ended, but he’s no slouch either. Blessed with the an amazing sense of arrogance and confidence (an amazing trait for a corner) and top notch quickness and man to man cover skills, this guy really looks the part while watching his tape. But, something is just missing. First, his size definitely holds him back a little bit as he’s just 5’10” 190 pounds. Second, the lack of production is really scary. He had ZERO interceptions in two years at Clemson and only 11 passes defended. Now, a lot of that truly has to do with teams just shying away from him entirely as he was all over the receivers he was covering, but even still it’s really alarming that his ball skills didn’t lead to at least ONE accidental interception or something. At the end of the first/early second round this guy is worth the risk. Carolina fills their dire need with a guy who can step in right away and hopefully make an impact.
The Raiders hit a home run with last years first round pick in Amari Cooper. The Raiders could use a new offensive tackle depending on what happens with Donald Penn and Austin Howard. However, for the time being their biggest need is at cornerback. The Raiders invested a first round pick in D.J. Hayden just a few years ago. this is looking like a huge mistake. Hayden has not been able to stay on the field and when he does is repeatedly burned on the outside and reduced to slot corner duties. David Amerson showed some life on the outside to end the year but he is not someone they can fully put all their faith in. Kendall Fuller suffered a major knee injury this year which is a disappointment considering he was so highly thought of to begin the year. Fuller seems to be a better prospect than his brother Kyle a recent first round pick of the Bears. Fuller excels in man or zone coverage, great hip flexibility, and outstanding ball awareness. One area he may struggle in is jamming receivers at the line because of his smaller size and handling bigger receivers on the outside one on one.
Stupid teams do stupid things. The Jaguars used to be a stupid team, but they've made great strides recently, and now look like they're on the cusp of competing for the playoffs. They've taken another step toward that with this pick. Jalen Ramsey is one of the top two players in the draft. Jacksonville shouldn't have been able to obtain him with the fifth-overall selection, but it did. Congrats, Jaguars! You're one of the winners of the draft.
Rd. 1, Pk. 10
Eli Apple, CB,
I had a feeling that Eli Apple might be chosen over Vernon Hargreaves. But that was more of teams being down on Hargreaves than front offices liking Apple. I think this is a bit of a reach. I had Apple at No. 14, but with Shaq Lawson, Hargreaves and Laremy Tunsil available, the Giants could've gone in a different direction. Still, I won't penalize the team too much, as they were blind-sided with Jack Conklin and Leonard Floyd both being snatched off the board right in front of them. A "C" grade seems appropriate.
Rd. 1, Pk. 11
Vernon Hargreaves, CB,
The Buccaneers landed a prospect many consider to be the second-best cornerback prospect in this class. Even better, they did so while trading down. That's exactly how teams should draft. Cornerback has been a huge problem area for Tampa, and Hargreaves projects as an immediate upgrade. This is a big win for the Buccaneers, even if the deal to move from nine to 11 wasn't that great. I'll be grading all of the trades on a separate page. I'll have those posted later tonight.
Rd. 1, Pk. 24
William Jackson III, CB,
The poor Bengals wanted a receiver badly. They had Josh Doctson atop their board, followed by Corey Coleman and William Fuller. They were all gone, so the Bengals had to look elsewhere. William Jackson is definitely not a bad consolation prize. As a matter of fact, I love the pick. William Jackson has both great film and unbelievable athleticism. There was some speculation that he could go as high as No. 11 to the Bears or No. 14 to the Raiders. Jackson's a great selection here, as he fills a big need in the secondary while providing good value.
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
Artie Burns, CB,
The Steelers typically take highly ranked players who fall to them. Think Alvin Dupree, David DeCastro and Jarvis Jones. I figured they'd be all over Myles Jack, but they went with a different strategy this year - reaching for a second-round prospect. Artie Burns is certainly a second-round player. He has great athleticism and size, but he's pretty raw for a player. That's pretty much the definition of a second-round prospect; not someone worth grabbing at No. 25 overall. There were better players available for the Steelers, such as Kendall Fuller, Jarran Reed or Andrew Billings. I don't like this pick at all.
Rd. 2, Pk. 7
Xavien Howard, CB,
This would've been a great pick had the Dolphins not traded for it. With lots of cornerbacks available, I don't think they needed to do that, however. Why surrender resources to do something like that? Having said that, I'm not giving Miami a poor grade, as a C+ seems about right. Howard should be a good player for them, and he's filling a big need for sure.
Rd. 2, Pk. 23
Mackensie Alexander, CB,
Wow, what a steal. Mackensie Alexander would've been a first-round pick if he didn't have the sort of character concerns that Tony Pauline reported about a week ago. Alexander doesn't fill an immediate need, but he was just way too talented to pass up. Also, it should be noted that the Vikings will have some corners hitting free agency after 2016, so Alexander could step in and start in 2017.
Rd. 2, Pk. 27
Sean Davis, CB/S,
This is a lot better than the first-round pick. Sean Davis is a versatile player who might be able to play both cornerback and safety. He's a big prospect who has tons of athleticism and upside. Davis needs to work on becoming a better football player, as he's very raw, but he could fill a big need in the secondary.
Rd. 2, Pk. 29
Cyrus Jones, CB,
We've reported that Bill Belichick has given up on drafts he dislikes, #yoloing his picks and taking seventh-rounders way earlier than they should be chosen. This isn't a crazy reach like Jordan Richards, but the Patriots took Jones about a round earlier than he should've gone. New England has two corners with expiring contracts after this season, so Jones makes sense from that perspective, but there were better players available at the position.