It’s April time and in the NFL Calendar this means only two things: the start of voluntary offseason workouts and more importantly Draft season. There are thousands of mock-drafts littered over the internet, however, I thought I would play General Manager for a minute and give you my opinions on what I believe the teams picking 1 through to 10 will do with their first overall pick. So with no further introductions, the Tennessee Titans are on the clock…
Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil OT, Ole Miss
The consensus picks among most analysts here is that the Titans take their franchise Left Tackle who they will plug in for the next 10 years to protect their no.2 overall pick last year Marcus Mariota, someone the Titans also hope will be their franchise QB for next decade. However, I would not be shocked if the Titans trade down a few picks, depending on whether a team wants to leap-frog the Browns for one of two premier
QB’s in this years draft (Wentz and Goff) or if a team is particularly keen to take CB/S Jalen Ramsey. Yet I cannot see past Mike Mularkey and Jon Robinson wanting to bring in a consensus future All-Pro to help protect Mariota, the ninth most sacked QB last year despite only playing 12 games.
Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz QB, North Dakota State
Nw Head Coaches usually means a new Quarter Back arriving through the draft. Despite the recent signing of Robert Griffin III, I believe Hue Jackson will not want to hang his second chance at being a Head Coach (something he has waited six years for a second shot at) on a player who had one good rookie season four years ago and whose footwork and mechanics can be seriously questioned. Carson Wentz is pencilled in here over Jared Goff, as he is more pro-ready having played under centre in a pro-style offence at North Dakota State. He also has more physical tools than Goff and Wentz generated a lot of buzz at the Senior Bowl, something that has carried momentum and will continue to do so all the way up to the Draft.
San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey S/CB, Florida State
This would be a steal for San Diego. Jalen Ramsey is widely considered one of the best if not the best prospect in this years Draft. He falls to number 3 as a product of circumstance in which the Titans build up their O-Line to protect their future franchise QB, while the Browns, well the Browns are just being the Browns and still searching for that elusive franchise QB. Jalen Ramsey in a ball-hawk and playmaker. He is disruptive in both the pass and run game and his versatility means that thanks to his length he could line up opposite a no.1 receiver or survey the middle of the field from the safety position. As well as this he can be utilised as a blitzer who with his 4.41 40 time and his 6 foot 1 frame that can jump 41.5 inches vertically, whether or not he manages to get home, he will influence where the opposing QB will be able to throw the football.
Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa DE, Ohio State
I have seen a few mock drafts with Running Back Ezekiel Elliot pencilled in at this spot and others who have Jerry Jones taking a future franchise QB who will sit behind Romo for the next few years, much the same as Aaron Rodgers did behind Brett Favre. While Jerry Jones can be unpredictable at the best of times, I feel the number 4 spot is too high for a running back such as Elliot. While he is a gifted athlete and dangerous with the ball in his hands, he is not a Todd Gurley or Adrian Peterson prospect coming out of College. The stable of Running Backs that Dallas has built up over the past two-seasons also allows them to run by committee behind the Leagues best Offensive Line.
As far as drafting a QB goes, Jerry Jones is in a win-now mind-set. Jones will want to get as many good years as he can out of an aging Tony Romo. He has all the pieces in place on Offence: a good QB, a dominant WR in Dez Bryant as well as boasting the League’s best Offensive Line from which a trio of above average Running Backs can ware down opposing defensives. Picking at number 4 allows the Cowboys to pick up a blue-chip elite player on the Defensive side of the ball, someone that the Cowboys hope will develop into a future premier player who can be a game changer week in week out. This is exactly what Joey Bosa is. There was some talk of Bosa being the best player in this years draft, most of which seems to be coming from his own mouth. While I am not sure about that, I am sure that during his time at Ohio State he has put together an argument for being the best Defensive Linemen in college football over the past three seasons (he achieved 7.5 sacks as a true freshman). Bosa would give the Cowboys a huge playmaker coming off the edge and would also replace the void left by the departure of DeMarcus Ware to the Broncos 2 season ago (something that Dallas tried to plug with Greg Hardy last season).
And oh yeah, did you watch the Super Bowl or AFC Championship Game? Dominant edge rushers who can get home quickly wreck opposing game plans and win championships.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack OLB, UCLA
Jacksonville has started to acquire a young roster with a lot of potential. Blake Bortles threw for over 4,000 yards in his sophomore year and was tied second for the most amount of passing Touchdown’s with 35. As well as this the two sophomore Wide Receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both went over 1,000 yards. Although Blake Bortles was the most sacked QB in the League last year taking 51 sacks, I believe with the 5th overall pick, Defensive minded Head Coach Gus Bradley will want to add a Defensive stud to go with the 3rd overall pick last year Dante Fowler Jr., someone who missed the entire season after tearing his ACL on the first day of mini-camp.
With Ramsey and Bosa off the board, I believe the Jags could go either DeForest Buckner the DE out of Oregon or Myles Jack, the Outside-Line-backer who also played Running Back at UCLA. I currently have Myles Jack sitting at no.3 on my big board and believe that he is a versatile athletic line-backer who can play all three downs in a line backing core that features Paul Posluszny, a reliable Middle Line-backer who went to the pro-bowl three seasons ago. Jack is a talented player who lets not forget won both the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards in 2013.
Baltimore Ravens: DeForest Buckner DE, Oregon
The Baltimore Ravens’ 2015 season was ruined by the amount of injuries that they sustained on the Offence. The Ravens are pretty much set on Offence with QB Joe Flacco excited about the addition of the speedy but unpredictable WR Mike Wallace. When you think of the Raven’s recent Super Bowl runs you think of big strong Defence’s dominating their opponents. The Ravens have a good group of Line-backers and their Secondary is in an ok state where it would not require them to reach for one of the Corner prospects in this years draft. I believe the Ravens will taken the best player available on the Defensive side of the ball, the 6 foot 7, 291lbs Defensive End Deforest Buckner. Buckner pairs his natural strength and power with his long arms and has been a productive player while at Oregon, leading the Pac-12 this past season with 10.5 sacks to go with 17 tackles for a loss. Buckner has the potential to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL who could help the Ravens compete in a Division that boasted the AFC’s most dangerous Offence as well as a Cincinnati team with young Offensive stars.
San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff QB, California
The 49ers organisation is not sold on Colin Kaepernick and I cannot imagine a 49ers team where their named starter for 2016 season is Blaine Gabbert. After missing out on Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL Draft, I cannot imagine the folks over in Santa Clara missing out on the hometown boy Jared Goff. Jared Goff was widely considered the favourite to be the first Quarterback off the board until Wentz-mania hit following the Senior Bowl in late January. While Goff is not the mobile Quarterback that many associate with Chip Kelly’s system, he is a pocket-passer with a good arm and who has all the mental tools to thrive as an NFL QB.
Philadelphia Eagles: Ezekiel Elliot RB, Ohio State
New Head Coach Doug Pederson has spent much of the offseason ridding the Eagles organization of many of the signings Chip Kelly made during his three years in the city of brotherly love. Demarco Murray was shipped off to Tennessee and the rumour is that the Eagles are trying to trade Ryan Mathews as well. Ezekiel Elliot is most likely currently sitting at the top of Philly’s big board at this point in the draft, and the prospect of taking an exciting and explosive Offensive talent is something that would certainly appeal to first time Head Coach Doug Pederson. Having a back like Elliot would certainly help lighten the load on an uncertain Quarterback situation in Philadelphia as well as complimenting the equally explosive Darren Sproles in the backfield. Philadelphia’s Howie Roseman traded picks with the Miami Dolphins for a reason, he knew that picking at 8 rather than 13 meant that he could get one the 8 elite prospects that this years draft boasts and with only one left by this point, it would appear that Ezekiel Elliot will bring his talents to terrorise the NFC East.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronnie Stanley OT, Notre Dame
This selection is similar to that of the Titan’s where the Buccaneers will look to sure up an Offensive Line that was ranked 23rd by Pro Football Focus. Although the Buccaneers used their 34th pick last year on Donovan Smith, with the 9th pick this year they will choose a player in Ronnie Stanley who will not only help them get younger at the Tackle position, but also potentially lock in both Tackle positions for the foreseeable future to help keep their Franchise QB Jameis Winston upright through the rest of his NFL career. This is something that lends itself to the addition at Offensive Guard of J. R. Sweezy, someone who was a reliable starter in Seattle the past 3 seasons. The Buc’s have a fairly solid Defensive unit and their need at Corner could be addressed either later in this years draft or even in next year’s, however, the addition of a solid tackle would help compliment a team that is both young and talented on the Offensive side of the ball.
New York Giants: Laquon Treadwell WR,
There is some Defensive Line talent still on the clock, however, after the amount of money that the Giant’s pumped into their Defence this Offence, I would be surprised if Eli does not get a new playmaker. At 35 years old, Eli Manning only has realistically 3-4 years left in the tank and as a result the Giants organisation is in a win-now mode. The massive spend in the off-season that saw the additions of Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison and nearly $200 million being invested on the Defensive side of the ball. Although many felt that Treadwell would drop down the draft due to his low 40 time, Treadwell has the length and ball skills of a Deandre Hopkins, someone who ran a very similar 40 time. Treadwell would compliment the shorter and quicker Odell Beckham and give Eli Manning a new target for him to fire the Giants back into the promised land of the NFL play offs.