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2016 NFL Mock Draft by Emallouhi - 4.2
Published at 4/12/2016 1:03:56 PM
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I really want to put Jalen Ramsey here because I believe he is the clear number one player in this class, but it all comes down to one thing in football and thats the quarterback position. The Titans gave up a whopping 54 sacks last year which is way too much for any team let alone one with a prized young qb like mariota who had problems staing healthy behind that offensive line. With that said, its not as if Tunsil is a slouch by any means. Hes probably the second best prospect in this class behind Ramsey and has the look of a serious All-Pro Left Tackle for the next 10 years. Draft him and never worry about the position again for 10 years.
The Cleveland Browns need a Quarterback, stop me if you've heard that one before. I actually really like the RGIII pickup as hes clearly got some talent and if anyone is gonna work his magic on him and return him to stardom is QB whiz Hue Jackson, the new Cleveland Head Coach. Carson Wentz is going to be a bonafide superstar in this league i think. His athletic tools and arm are top notch, hes got the build to withstand a couple hits, all reports about his character and interviews and the such are impeccable, and hes as smart as they came. Hes the whole package. The biggest worry about him with me is the competition level as he comes out of small FCS North Dakota State. But he performed so well throughout his whole career that its hard to ignore. I think with some time to adjust to the speed of the game and learn a little bit from Hue Jackson this guy can be a star in this league, RGIII will alow him that time.
Really hard for me to decide between Buckner and Ramsey here. The signing of Casey Hayward almost led to me pick buckner here as he definitely fits a need as a disruptive lineman in this 3-4 scheme, but Ramsey is the best player in this class plain and simple and hes the pick here. The chargers couldnt stop any team from passing all over them last year and while part of that has to do with Brandon Flowers struggling and Jason Verrett being injured, Eric Weddle also left in free agency making this a huge need. Ramsey can cover WR1's as well as star TE's and having that trump card in your secondary able to move around wherever you would like is a HUGE advantage in this current pass crazy NFL. Oh, and hes not so shabby of a run defender/ bltizer either. Complete total package.
I'm not buying the Ezekiel Elliott buzz here. I see the temptation in drafting the best running back prospect since 2007 (more on him in a bit) to fill out the offense, but I think as long as Romo stays healthy (and lets be real, if he isn’t healthy they aren’t going anywhere anyway) the offense will be totally fine with all of those weapons and a mid-round better value running back. The defense however is the main issue. Any of the top defensive players in this class are options here as they really could use help on all three levels. They’ve got some key worthwhile pieces like Byron Jones, Rolando McClain, Demarcus Lawrence, and Tyrone Crawford, but really everyone else on the defense is just average at best and no real young pieces to build on. So best defensive player available should be the pick here, and that is the incredible Joey Bosa. I think Bosa is an absolute superstar in the making I couldn’t be any higher on this guy. He’s right up there with Ramsey in my eyes as the top prospect in this class. You just can’t teach his production and motor. His broad jump, 3 cone drill, and 20 yard shuttle, maybe the three best judges of a pass rusher, were all best in the class and beyond elite. He has INCREDIBLE hands and really just top notch skills all around. The biggest knock on him was his average 40 time but it really was not even that bad at all and also is not a very telling stat for defensive lineman anyway. Joey Bosa may very well be the best player in the class and throwing him on a dline opposite of Demarcus Lawrence and with Cedric Thornton and Tyrone Crawford in the middle is a scary proposition for the rest of the league.
DeForest Buckner. This guy is just a man amongst boys no matter where and what level he plays at. Listed at 6’7 291lbs with 34 3/8” arms and about 12” hands this guy is a mountain of a man comparable to Calais Campbell the Arizona Cardinals stud. The Jaguars just signed Malik Jackson for A LOT of money and as awesome as he is he never had to be “the man” on the defensive line in Denver with Derek Wolfe opposite him truly making an impact consistently. For all the talent Jackson has, he rarely had to face double teams next year which likely helped lead him to his breakout campaign. Throw DeForest Buckner on the opposite with hopeful stud “rookie” Dante Fowler in the vaunted Leo Position and now all three studs should be put in great positions to succeed. Buckner plays a little too tall sometimes due to his massive frame, but it’s not a consistent problem. The most intriguing thing about Buckner’s game is his non-stop motor. He’s known as one of the most high energy effort guys in this class which really is impressive given his massive frame and top notch athletic abilities. I think this guy is underrated honestly.
I think this might be the Ravens dream scenario other than Jalen Ramsey somehow miraculously falling. CJ Mosely is an absolute stud in the middle but in the Ravens 3-4 defense the second inside linebacker position is extremely important and right now the disappointing Arthur Brown and unspectacular Zachary Orr are fighting for that job, not exactly ideal for Ozzie, Dean Pees, and crew. Enter Myles Jack, maybe the most freakishly athletic prospect not named Jalen Ramsey (can you tell I love me some Jalen Ramsey yet?) in this entire class. He did not get to test at the combine or run in his pro day (though he apparently could have if he so desired) due to a meniscus injury in college, but just from watching his tape this kid is EVERYWHERE. He’s got prototypical size and athleticism for this current version of the NFL and can realistically play ILB, OLB (another need for the Ravens) as well as some safety. Ozzie and the Ravens LIVE for that sort of versatility and adding Jack will truly be adding the sort of young impact player that this defense desperately needs as it transitions from the Ngata, Weddle, Suggs, and Dumervil era. Jernigan, Mosely, Jack, and Jimmy Smith are a great foundation to build off of. Jacks' coverage skills matched with Mosely's run stopping and blitzing skills are an amazing compliment in the middle of a defense. Huge win for the Ravens here. Despite all of that however, this also just feels like such a perfect spot for the first trade in the draft. The ravens love to trade down and add depth, especially with 35-60 seemingly as strong as ever in this class, and a qb needy team might want to hop San Francisco for the right to draft Jared Goff.
Perfect match here. The 49ers have needs everywhere as Trent Baalke has failed time and time again, as well as their seriously unfortunate amount of retirements in recent years. But, obviously none are more crucial to fill than the QB position and Jared Goff is only slightly behind Wentz in my board and likely is even more pro-ready. The fit is perfect first of all because he’s a hometown kid playing his college ball at Cal Berkeley, and he doesn’t have to be rushed because the surprising Blaine Gabbert played serviceably enough to continue being a stopgap. Goff has a really live arm and can make every throw in the book, even at the NFL level. One of the more impressive pure throwers in recent years. He’s got some aspects of his game that need working on such as his pocket presence and adjusting to the complexities of the pro game as he ran a very college-like system in the Bear Raid Cal offense. The other main thing that scares scouts is his hand size. The typical threshold for an NFL QB is 9’ hands, Goff measured in at exactly 9’ which is somewhat scary especially if he was to play in a cold weather city. Playing in San Francisco should help him with at least two of those problems as he can sit for a bit and learn as well as have him play in mostly nice weather. Watching this guy’s tape seriously is a joy as his is such an electric thrower. With some time to continue to grow his already impressive mind this guy can be a star in this league. Chip Kelly is going to love having this live arm in his system.
Pure stud. Running backs are devalued in this current version of the NFL but having a back that can be a legitimate 3 down bell cow superstar back just makes life so much easier. The Eagles have some “options” at QB but as of now no one that seems to be a franchise guy so they definitely could be in the market for a QB (potential trade partner for a team looking to trade down such as the Ravens at 6) but with Wentz and Goff off the board the best move is likely to make Sam Bradford/Chase Daniel’s lives as easy as possible and put them in the best place to succeed. This pick comes down to an offensive tackle (Ronnie Stanley) or Zeke. It was tough to decide especially with the Eagles of recent memory drafting more for need than Best Player Available, but ultimately Zeke will just be too good to pass up. A 6’ 225lbs bulldozer with soft hands and elite level quickness and speed, not just for a man of his size but for the position as a whole, Zeke is the total package. He’s able to stop on a dime and make the correct read as well as any recent running back. Perhaps the most interesting and telling aspect of his game is that he is very likely the best pass blocking back scouted in a while on top of his amazing running skills. This shows his willingness to get down and dirty and truly displays his desire to win and help his team at all costs. Zeke truly has very few weaknesses in his game and is probably just a small step below Adrian Peterson as the best running back prospect in the past 10 or so years.
This pick could be a few different things. Pass rusher and corner are easily the two biggest needs and the board stacks up pretty well for the Buccs here. Noah Spence, Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd, Leonard Floyd are all potential options should they choose to go the pass rusher route, but in my opinion the bigger need is corner and Hargreaves is also the best prospect of the few potential options here. Alterraun Verner has been a flop of a signing as a Buccaneer and Johnathon Banks has been a disappointment as well. The Brent Grimes signing helps a bit but he’s on the decline and definitely not a piece for the future. Hargreaves is a top notch athlete with incredible hips able to turn and run with anyone. He doesn’t have the prototypical size (5’10” 204lbs) necessarily and that leads him to fall ever so slightly, but he has the best pure man-to-man cover skills in this class, even better than Ramsey. His jumping measurements are absolutely unreal a 39” vertical and 130” broad jump are both best amongst his position this season. Hargreaves really is a safe bet to be at the least a solid CB1 with an even higher ceiling. I love this kid.
The Giants honestly must be pretty disappointed with the board the way it fell here. Hargreaves and Elliott are likely the top two options for the giants in this range and they both just came off the board. Ronnie Stanley however I not a bad consolation prize. Typically referred to as a “dancing bear” he’s got prototypical size with long arms and great movement skills. Great hands and great feet he hardly ever gets beat around the edge due to his next level quickness and agility. His biggest concerns are his power/strength and the apparent questions about his commitment and passion for the sport. He can definitely get beat with power rushers and bull-rush moves but an NFL weight room regimen should hopefully fix that. Drafting him for the Giants would shore up the tackle spots as him and Ereck Flowers could form a formidable tandem for years (along with rising star Weston Richburg in the pivot and Justin Pugh at one of the guard spots) and help hopefully prolong the aging, but fantastic Eli Manning as his career begins to wind down.
This pick gave me a really hard time but I eventually went with the massive run-stopping Robinson. He is an absolute load in the middle of a defense. More than likely an interior tackle, here the Bears hope he is versatile enough to play one of the end positions in their 3-4 defense with rising DT Eddie Goldman manning the middle some combination of young, but slightly disappointing so far Will Sutton and free agent signing Akiem Hicks opposite of Robinson. This may not be the best pass rushing dline in the league but it should be a formidable run stopping combination. Robinson is an immovable force down in the trenches with great power and the ability to use that power effectively to absorb double teams and make teams pay when they don’t double him. He plays a little high and doesn’t have a ridiculously high level motor, and his production at Alabama wasn’t always top notch, so he is more of a projection at this point. Scouts however seem to believe that he can live up to immense upside and he finds himself in a great fit with Vic Fangio and the Bears.
This honestly is one of my favorite picks so far of this draft. Pairing him next to John Jenkins (with Cameron Jordan on the end) forms an extremely daunting duo of extreme road grader mauler in Jenkins with electric undersized pass rusher in Rankins. Rankins is also pretty versatile so he can be moved around a bit. A bit undersized, Rankins is often compared, maybe unfairly, to Aaron Donald. While maybe a bit ambitious he does have a similar skillset in that he is undersized and a freakish athlete able to shoot gaps and use dynamite spin moves to beat blockers. Watching his tape it’s ridiculous how often he spends time in the backfield. Really his biggest weakness, and rightfully so, is just his lack of size, bulk, and strength. Will he be able to adjust and not be pushed around by bigger interior lineman in the NFL? That’s the big question here and something that I think teams will be willing to bet on, especially given the immense success of Donald in recent years.
This decision likely comes down to a cornerback or a pass rusher. Ideally, the Dolphins are definitely yet another team that is praying for Vernon Hargreaves to fall this low, but that just isn’t in the cards in this particular mock and with no other cornerback likely worthwhile at this juncture the Dolphins go with Lawson, the best pass rusher available on the board. Olivier Vernon got his MASSIVE contract (and rightfully so) to go play in New York this offseason and that is the signing that everyone knows and talks about. But, another big underrated departure from Miami this offseason was Derrick Shelby. Sure, when looking at the Miami depth chart and seeing Cameron Wake on one side with Mario Williams manning the other one might not see this as a huge need, but given Wake’s age and extensive injury history and Williams’ recent decline and attitude problems this clearly is a large need. Maybe not right away as the Dolphins are likely banking on these guys performing at least for one more season, but definitely long term. Shaq Lawson led the nation this past season with 24.5 TFL’s which is just a freakish number. To put that number into perspective former teammate and top 10 pick Vic Beasley never had more than 22.5 in a season. Lawson ran the fastest 40 and 20 yard shuttles amongst his position at 4.70 seconds and 4.21 seconds respectively, showcasing his elite level physical tools. Great motor early in games even though he does seem to slow down as the games wear on due to fatigue so he might need some conditioning work. Not an elite bender around the edge but converts speed to power really well and has excellent hands. He’s got a tremendously high ceiling and has the production to back it up as well.
This is as great of a fit from both the value and need perspective as any other in the draft so far. I absolutely love what the raiders have done over the past few years and GM Reggie McKenzie finally got the Raiders out of cap hell as well as adding key pieces through the draft. Who would’ve ever thought that the Raiders would’ve been able to bring in key free agents like Bruce Irvin, Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson without drastically overpaying really any of them. Players WANT to be a Raider for the first time in a while and I can’t say I blame them. Now, that’s not to say they are a great or complete team yet as they definitely have some needs, not the least of which is the middle linebacker position. This is where Reggie Ragland the linebacker out of Alabama comes in. Ragland is yet another stud coming out of Nick Saban’s Alabama defense. Ragland is as tough and instinctive as they come. He may not be as fast as some would like and he plays a non-glamourous position so he might actually fall lower than this, but to me he’s absolutely worth this pick, especially on this defense where he can focus on just being a hard-nosed thumper in the middle. Another one of my favorite picks in the draft and an easy one for me once the signings of Smith and Nelson helped shore up the weak secondary.
Not going to lie, it was real weird typing the Los Angeles Rams and not the St. Louis Rams, that’ll take some time getting used to for sure. Anyway, Treadwell is the pick here as I’m not a huge believer in Paxton Lynch this high in the draft. Now, I’m fully agreeing that if the Rams have any confidence in him becoming a franchise QB they NEED to pull the trigger here even if it is a reach because there is no more important position in all of sports than the QB position. Unfortunately I don’t believe in Lynch that much so I’m going to stay away here. Treadwell makes sense here because in order for a young QB to succeed he needs weapons, and right not the Rams do not have any pass catchers that scare anyone except for maybe Tavon Austin, and even he doesn’t keep defensive coordinators up at night. Once the Rams find their hopeful QB of the future he’s going to need weapons around him to succeed and added the talented Treadwell will do just that. Treadwell is massive at 6’2” 221 lbs with good sized hands. He is incredible at pinpointing the ball at its highest point and coming down with 50/50 balls and making tough contested catches that most other receivers just cannot make. His production was off the charts his whole career and his skills with the ball in his hand are vastly underrated as well, especially for a guy his size. Now, he’s definitely not without weaknesses. His pretty slow for a top tier receiver (4.63 second 40) and he’s had injury problems, and neither of those are issues that are easy to overlook. But, putting on a tape of this guy will make you forget it all as he really is just flat out talented. A lot of people have cooled off on him, and I can’t say I completely blame them, but I’m still a firm believer. Pair him up with Austin and running back Todd Gurley and you’ve got an excellent nucleus to start building around once a QB comes into place.
A fast riser, Conklin very well could go higher than this but the Lions would be excited if he’s available here. Treadwell or one of the other wrs would make sense here as all-world wide receiver Calvin Johnson just retired but Conklin is the best value and he also corresponds with a need. Current starting tackles Riley Reiff and Michael Ola leave a lot to be desired, especially Ola, and Conklin would come right in and likely start at right tackle for a season before hopefully moving Reiff over to his more ideal right tackle position (if they even retain him as he’s a free agent after this season). Conklin is as hard-nosed blue collar of a player as there is. A former walk-on who earned a scholarship halfway through his redshirt freshman season and has started essentially every game since then at both right and left tackle. His best and most impressive game by far was when he went up against DeForest Buckner of Oregon and completely stonewalled him. That’s a top 5 prospect we’re talking about. Has great strength and very solid technique, but even though he ran really well at the 40 yard dash, he may not have the athleticism to truly dominate and shut down speed rushers on the left side completely. Still, would you bet on this former walk-on at least becoming an average starter? I know I wouldn’t.