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2016 NFL Mock Draft by HolmgrensGolfCart - 2.19
Published at 2/20/2016 8:32:42 AM

Post Super-Bowl, pre-Combine mock draft.

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Round 1

1. Titans: Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State

After spending the No. 2 overall pick last year on QB Marcus Mariota, there’s a temptation for the Titans to use their first round pick to select a franchise left tackle in Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil. Remember though, the Titans play in the AFC South, a division where J.J. Watt had a lot to do with a mediocre Texans team limping their way into the playoffs last season before being blasted by the Chiefs in the Wild Card. At first glance, Bosa doesn’t fit as either a 3-4 DE or OLB. However, Houston has shown that such a player can bounce around and cause havoc from either position. Therefore, Bosa becomes the pick and has every chance to be the next great defensive line regardless of what position he ends up playing.

2. Browns: Jared Goff, Quarterback, California

There’s no clear cut frontrunner in the race to be the first quarterback taken in this year’s draft. The Browns go with Goff, a 4-year starter who suffered from East Coast bias during his college career at Cal. Cleveland has had success with Golden State QBs before (Brian Sipe) and will take another chance here with Goff. They have no other choice. Manziel’s all but out after a tenure that featured more excitement on the tabloid pages than the playing field. The organization hopes Goff can do for the Browns what he’s done for Cal: slow and steady progress with little to no drama.

3. Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss

The Titans already grabbed Bosa, so San Diego will have to default to their second option, Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. This gives the team a bonafide franchise player to protect Phillip River’s (and his successor’s) “blind side.” Tunsil showed tremendous athleticism for a lineman and projects as an immediate starter in the NFL. The Chargers could play him right away at either the left or right tackle position. While King Dunlap has performed better at left tackle, that position would most likely be the one occupied by Tunsil throughout his career.

4. Cowboys: Myles Jack, Outside Linebacker, UCLA

The ‘Boys have been through a tough season. One of the elements that added to the difficulty was the disruptive behavior of OLB Greg Hardy, whom they signed to bolster their anemic pass rush. While he played up to expectations, Hardy often made his own teammates the target of his aggression. He got involved in a number of sideline scuffles as well as notorious interviews. He’s since been let go by the organization. In his place steps Jack, who had a stellar career for the Bruins. He fits perfectly into the Cowboys 3-4 defensive scheme and should provide a tremendous pass rushing asset opposite last year’s second round pick DeMarcus Lawrence.

5. Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, Cornerback, Florida State

After yet another disappointing, mediocre season, the Jags are left with plenty of holes to fill just to get back to respectibility. One major problem has been their secondary, which allowed opposing to tear into it for big gains this past season. Ramsey represents the first step to solving that problem as he would be a starter from Day One. He’s regarded by most, if not all, as the top cornerback in this year’s class. Also, it doesn’t hurt the Jaguars (who are always looking for ways to please the fan base) that he played his college ball for the Seminoles in Tallahassee.

6. Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

No one remembers who played wide receiver for either of the Ravens last two Super Bowl winning teams (2001 and 2012). That’s why, when faced with a decision b/w taking a top notch wide receiver or shoring up their offensive line, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome will probably opt for the latter. We can all recall hall of famer Jonathan Ogden but most have forgotten about top-ten bust Travis Taylor. Stanley was a brick at left tackle for the Fighting Irish, and his blocking helped guide DeShaun Kizer and Co. to a New Year’s Six bowl. With Baltimore’s line in shambles, Stanley could step in right away. Judging from Newsome’s skill at evaluating O-line talent, Stanley should be a feature on the team’s line for a long time to come.

7. 49ers: Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

Since the departure of the much-hyped Michael Crabtree for Oakland, the Niners have lacked any consistent play from the receiver position. Even the signing of burner Torrey Smith failed to ignite much of a spark under the passing game. Treadwell would change that. The unanimous leader of the 2016 WR class, Treadwell has the size, quickness, and acceleration to tbe the next Odell Beckham Jr. While the 49ers still have to get their quarterback situation sorted out, Treadwell gives the next signal caller a reliable target who can make game-changing plays.

8. Dolphins: DeForest Buckner, Defensive End, Oregon

Last offseason, the ‘Fins decided to sign All-Pro Ndamukong Suh from the Lions in what was undoubtedly the blockbuster move of the signing period. It didn’t pan out the way the team hoped and now they must go back to the drawing board in order to surround Suh with the talent necessary for him to shine in his new role. Buckner would be the second Oregon Duck first-rounder taken by the Dolphins in the last three years (Dion Jordan in 2014). Buckner should have no problem going from Mark Helfrich’s hybrid defense to Gase’s 3-4 scheme brought over from Denver. Furthermore, if SB 50 taught us anything, it’s that the rush linebacker position can win championships. Even, in the Broncos’ case, all by itself.

9. Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, Cornerback, Florida

The Bucs would have liked to have taken Stanley here, but the Ravens snatched him up at 6, so they’ll have to look at other prospects. Hargreaves, from the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville, would be able to step in immediately at corner and would help the Buccaneers abysmal pass defense (you know the one that got torched by Marcus Mariota in his first game as a pro). Again, we have a Florida team taking a player from a local university, which can’t hurt with the fans. Were this the pick, it would be the Bucs second FSU first-rounder in as many years.

10. Giants: Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Ohio State

At times last season, such as during their game in Tampa against the aforementioned Buccaneers, the Giants employed a 4-back RBBC. With this choice, they could subsitute one back-breaking workhorse running back for a stable of mediocre rushers. Elliott tore up the record books at Ohio State, leading the Bucks to a national championship victory in 2014. His game against the Ducks will go down in NCAA history as one of the best championship showings of all time. New head coach Ben McAdoo will appreciate being able to use Elliott and adding another weapon to an offensive unit that sputtered during his reign as coordinator.

11. Bears: Noah Spence, Defensive End, Eastern Kentucky

Da Bears were so thin at linebacker they were forced to start the likes of Sam Acho and Pernell McPhee last season. Enough said. Those players being fringe talents at best, Chicago needs to improve this significantly improve this position in order to get back to the days when future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher led a fearsome defense salongside fellow All-Pro Lance Briggs. Spence brings quickness and agility to the position, which should fit well in John Fox’s 3-4 scheme. Playing at E. Kentucky puts up a red flag, but most people today tend to think of DeMarcus Ware when considering small-school rush ‘backers so it’s no longer as much of a concern.

12. Saints: Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State

Drew Brees continues to put up impressive stats but, like Peyton Manning, he won’t be able to play forever. The Saints need to start planning for the future; whether or not that future includes such key higher ups as Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis. Wentz right now is neck-and-neck with Goff for the top quarterback ranking. He has outstanding physical skills, including an incredibly strong arm, and has led the Bison to a number of Division II (or whatever they call lower-tier CFB nowadays) titles. Wentz hopes to join the likes of Flacco et al. as the next great Div. II quarterback.

13. Eagles: A'Shawn Robinson, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

Philly struggled in many facets of the game last season, but Doug Pederson will start his rebuilding job by going back to the basics. Not since Hugh Douglas was harassing opposing QBs and doing Snickers commercials have the Eagles had a truly fearsome D-lineman. This pick will represent the team’s biggest investment in the position since taking Mike Patterson in the first round over a decade ago. Robinson fills the under-tackle role extraordinarily well, weighing in over 310 lbs. with the size and strength required to move the pile.

14. Raiders: Mackensie Alexander, Cornerback, Clemson

These are not your father’s Oakland Raiders. Or more accurately, they are not Mark Davis’ father’s Raiders. While the team used to waste its picks on the fastest, flashiest players (see: Darrius Heyward-Bey) they now spend picks on defense (Kahlil Mack) and even decided to take a chance on a player last year (Amari Cooper) who fell b/c of a slow 40 time. Both picks have paid off big time. With Alexander, the organization gets a much-needed top flight corner who has both the size and hard-hitting instincts to be a perennial Pro Bowler.

15. Rams: Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis

It’s a common adage throughout the league that “New regimes mean new quarterbacks.” If that holds true, as it often does, than how much more can the case be made for a new player under center when the team itself relocates. Lynch is somewhat of an unknown commidty but he matches the ethos of the City of Angels. He put up eye-popping stats in his final season at Memphis and has the potential to be a great quarterback if he can translate his skills to the next level. The selection of Lynch would give new Rams fans a figure to rally around and would convince a great number of them to head out to Memorial Coliseum out of pure curiosity.

16. Lions: Shaq Lawson, Defensive End, Clemson

Now that Jim Caldwell has been, deservedly, retained by the Motown organization, the Lions have a choice to make. They can either choose from an impressive tackle class in an effort to replace Ndamukong Suh or they can take a defensive end to pair up with Ziggy Ansah in the hopes of super-charging their pass rush. The sheer depth of this year’s defensive tackle class suggests they should choose the latter option. Lawson has plenty of talent and would be a serious upgrade over the aging Jason Jones, who doesn’t have a true scheme fit and lacks pass rushing ability.


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