Here is my Post Scouting Combine 2016 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by updates heading into the NFL Draft on April 28, 2016.
This is not a mock draft where I substitute my judgement for that of the teams. Instead, I try to research the opinions of those who most closely follow NFL teams like scouts, insiders and beat writers from all of the NFL cities. I then try to make the most educated prediction as to which way each team will go in the draft.
My mock draft has been linked by DC Pro Sports Report, Walter Football, The Huddle Report, EDS Football, NFL Pro Zach, and SleeperU.com in their Mock Draft Databases, so click their links to check out all of their draft related materials and content.
1. Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, LT, Mississippi:
With a young franchise quarterback already on their roster, Tennessee could consider trading down a few spots and accumulating more picks with a team that needs a signal caller, but if you don't think the Titans won't select left tackle Laremy Tunsil after trading for running back DeMarco Murray, you're crazy.
2. Cleveland Browns – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State:
Another year, another general manager, another head coach, another offensive coordinator, and yet another quarterback for the Browns. Carson Wentz could finally provide the franchise with some much needed stability at a key position for years to come. Unfortunately, he's not a slam dunk pick, as his accuracy and level of competition still remain at issue, so Cleveland fans are facing yet another leap of faith.
Jalen Ramsey checked all the boxes with his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. With the Chargers and Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle set to part ways, Ramsey could not only serve as a replacement, but as an improvement.4. Dallas Cowboys - Luquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi:
Legendary Cowboy GM Gil Brandt has reported that Jerry Jones has informed him that the Cowboys are not looking at a quarterback with their #4 overall selection, and I tend to believe what Brandt has to say. If Dallas intends to ride with Tony Romo for the next several years, he could use another target at wide receiver like Luquon Treadwell of Mississippi to help open up the offense.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Joey Bossa, DE, Ohio State:
Joey Bossa's production never quite lived up to his hype at Ohio State, but he is still highly regarded by many scouts based upon his length, athleticism, versatility, and potential. By playing opposite of Dante Fowler, Jr., Bossa might actually put up some decent sack totals early in his NFL career.
DeForest Buckner would give the Ravens a high impact defensive end who could give them an elite inside/outside presence that they've been lacking in recent years.
The 49'ers are in quarterback limbo right now with Colin Kaepernick, and need to look to the draft in order to rebuild for the future. Local product Jared Goff of Cal would give San Francisco with a franchise quarterback to build around in Chip Kelly's new system.
Olivier Vernon is presently in the mix as a pass rusher for the Dolphins after being tagged as their "Franchise Player," but Shaq Lawson of Clemson would represent a much cheaper alternative for the salary cap strapped Dolphins should they decide to cut ties. A free agent signing could also be in the mix.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida:
Tampa Bay had the second worst secondary in the NFL last season. The question that the Buc's need to address is whether or not to solve that problem by adding a talented corner or improving their pass rush. For now, Vernon Hargreaves of Florida represents a better value as the best pure corner on the board, as opposed to settling for the third or fourth rated defensive end.
The Giants could use a quarterback for their defense. Reggie Ragland of Alabama is an athletic, yet intelligent three down player who could play a part in reviving the Giants' front seven.
11. Chicago Bears – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA:
The Bears are in the market for a new play making linebacker, and Myles Jack of UCLA fits the bill. He can cover a receiver like a nickel back does, but he has the body and run stopping skills of a middle linebacker.
12. New Orleans Saints – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State:
A pass rusher and a corner have to be the Saints' two biggest needs, and those are two really big needs. With a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense, Emmanuel Ogbah of Oklahoma State would be an ideal fit as a much needed edge rusher.
13. Philadelphia Eagles - Ronnie Stanley, LT, Notre Dame:
With Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, the Eagles appear set at offensive tackle. On the other hand, Peters has been often injured, the Eagles have expressed a desire in improving their offensive line. Either Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin of Michigan State would be no brainer picks if they were available when Philadelphia picks at the #13 spot.
14. Oakland Raiders – Jack Conklin, T, Michigan State:
Offensive tackle is an area where the Raiders could stand to improve. Jack Conklin is a former walk-on who developed into a three year starter at left tackle for Michigan State, where he excelled in an extremely complex blocking system against elite competition.
15. Los Angeles Rams – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis:
The Rams have a talented defense and a bell cow running back, but still lack a franchise quarterback as well as a true No. 1 wide receiver. Paxton Lynch of Memphis is a risky pick based upon the lower level of competition that he played against as well as his lack of familiarity with a pro-style offense, but he certainly has an NFL caliber arm.
16. Detroit Lions - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville:
The Lions are in the market starting caliber offensive and defensive tackles in this year's draft. If the top three offensive tackles are off the board, the Lions would love to find a play maker at defensive tackle like Louisville's Sheldon Rankins to help replace last year's loss of Ndamukong Suh.
17. Atlanta Falcons – A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama:
The Falcons need to improve their defensive line in general, as they struggled against the run and in the pass rush. While not an elite pass rusher from the tackle position, A'Shawn Robinson can provide a little bit of push from the inside while stuffing the run at the same time.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Taylor Decker, T, Ohio State:
Pass protection for Andrew Luck remains the biggest issue in Indianapolis, and a starting caliber tackle like Taylor Decker of Ohio State would help solidify their offensive line.
19. Buffalo Bills – Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky:
With Mario Williams wearing out his welcome in Buffalo, the Bills should be in the market for another defensive end. Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky, formerly of Ohio State, is not only a physical specimen, but he was a better pass rusher than Joey Bossa during his time in Columbus, and could help fill Williams' role as an elite pass rusher.
20. New York Jets – Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia:
With Mo Wilkerson's future in New York uncertain at best, the Jets could use a legitimate pass rusher from the edge in order to return Sheldon Richardson back to the trenches where he belongs. Leonard Floyd of Georgia has disappointed in terms of performance on the field, but possesses all of the measurables to be molded into an elite NFL 3-4 outside linebacker given the right coaching staff.
21. Washington Redskins - Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi:
The Redskin defensive line needs an upgrade, and while Robert Nkemdiche has some character issues off the field, Washington would love to see an athlete of his ability fall to them at the later end of the first round.
Despite some false reports going around, Connor Cook is a high character quarterback who is viewed as a leader by all of his teammates. Having watched all of his snaps 2-3 times, and having read every single article from Detroit's three major news publications, I've never heard ANYBODY speak poorly of his leadership or character. More importantly, and unlike most college prospects, Cook is an NFL ready signal caller who can go through pro-style progressions and stands tall in the pocket. His footwork is heads and shoulders above that of any other quarterback prospect in this draft class. While Cook did have some accuracy issues, particularly on some of his shorter throws, he's also been very safe with the football throughout his career at Michigan State. Cook is probably not a good fit for a west Coast offensive system, but should flourish in a team that employs a vertical passing attack like the Texans.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor:
Mike Wallace hasn't exactly worked out in Minnesota, and Corey Coleman of Baylor would give Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings a much needed true vertical threat at wide receiver.
Cincinnati is faced with the prospect of wide receiver Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu testing free agency in a market that is very thin. Rather than over paying for one of their own, the relatively deep Bengals may be in a better position to look to fill their void at receiver through the draft. Will Fuller of Notre Dame is a big time play maker who would provide the perfect compliment to A.J. Green at wide receiver and Tyler Eifert at tight end in terms of stretching opposing defenses.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eli Apple, CB, Notre Dame:
With several key players expected to return following injuries in 2015, the Steelers biggest offseason need is in their secondary. Eli Apple of Ohio State is an athletic freak who should develop into a much needed playmaker in the Steelers' secondary.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA:
The Seahawks have lost a lot of talent and depth along their once stout defensive line since their Super Bowl run two years ago. Kenny Clark of UCLA would be an immediate plug and play at defensive tackle, who's play is similar to All Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
27. Green Bay Packers - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State:
The Packers need to figure out what they're doing at inside/outside linebacker and find Clay Matthews a forever home. Rumor has it that Green Bay wants to move Matthews back outside permanently after he's rotated from inside to outside the last two seasons depending on the situation. Darron Lee played outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme at Ohio State, but has many of the same attributes that Matthews brought to inside linebacker in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme in terms of coverage and blitzing. The only question is whether his blazing 40 time of 4.47 at the Scouting Combine will put him out of Green Bay's reach come pick #27.
The Chiefs could use a 3-4 defensive end with interior lineman Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito possibly departing via free agency. Andrew Billings is a barrel chested, high motor machine in the middle out of Baylor, who would serve as an immediate compliment to incumbent nose tackle, Dontari Poe.
Arizona is desperately seeking another outside pass rusher. Shawn Oakman of Baylor is a physical specimen at edge rusher in the mold of Calais Campbell, but may need some time to develop a NFL motor.
After falling short of a Super Bowl victory, the Panthers have holes to fill at corner, defensive end and offensive tackle. Given the likely talent available, this would be an ideal spot for the Panthers to trade down with a team seeking either a top notch quarterback or defensive tackle. If Carolina stays put, they could look to a local product like Clemson pass rusher, Kevin Dodd.
31. Denver Broncos - Jason Spriggs, T, Indiana:
Denver has a decision to make on their highly priced and injury prone left tackle, Ryan Clady. Jason Spriggs of Indiana is a physical brawler who could offer them a cheap replacement and allow the Broncos to spend their available cap space on other pending free agents like DeMarcus Ware or Malik Jackson.
*(The New England Patriots Forfeited Their 1st Round Pick Due to the Deflate Gate Scandal)
32. Cleveland Browns - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama:
The Browns swung and missed on nose tackle Phil Taylor, and are still looking for a viable option to help stop the run. Fortunately, this is an extremely deep draft when it comes to defensive tackles, so several first round talents like Jarran Reed of Alabama should still be available at the top of the 2nd round.
33. Tennessee Titans - Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State:
If the Titans could anchor their offensive line with Laremy Tunsil and then come back in the second round and grab another receiver, it would greatly benefit Marcus Mariota in his development. Braxton Miller is a recent convert to wide receiver, but turned heads with his performance all week at the Senior Bowl.
34. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame:
The Cowboys need some bulk on the interior of their defensive line, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli apparently fell in love with Sheldon Day during their time working together at the Senior Bowl.
35. San Diego Chargers - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU:
The Chargers could use a viable option to play opposite of Keenan Allen. Josh Doctson is a big receiver who backed up his huge numbers at TCU by running better than expected at the Scouting Combine.
36. Baltimore Ravens - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama:
The Ravens interest in Trent Richardson seems like a classic smokescreen to mask Ozzie Newsome's potential interest in yet another Alabama alum at running back in Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry.
37. San Francisco 49'ers - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech:
Vernon Butler is a mammoth small school defensive tackle who showed surprising athleticism and starred at the Senior Bowl.
38. Miami Dolphins - Su'A Cravens, S/LB, USC:
Whether you look at the versatile Su'A Cravens of USC as an outside linebacker or strong safety, he could be a plug and play for the Dolphins at either position.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson:
With zero career interceptions, you can either look at Mackensie Alexander of Clemson as a lock down corner, or you can look at him as somebody who lacks ball skills. While Alexander has borderline 1st round talent, his lack of maturity and questions about his ability to immediately transition to the NFL as a stand alone corner will likely knock him back into the 2nd round.
40. New York Giants - Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State:
The Giants need to solidify their front seven on defense, and if they could add an established defensive end in a deep free agency class, as well as a middle linebacker in the 1st round of the draft, there should be plenty of talented defensive tackles available in the top half of the 2nd round to help totally revamp their defense.
41. Chicago Bears - Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State:
The Bears need playmakers on defense, and Adolphus Washington of Ohio State brings some skills as a pass rusher from the defensive tackle position that Chicago hasn't had since Henry Melton.
42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kendall Fuller, S, Virginia Tech:
Tampa Bay is looking to revamp their secondary, and an athletic free safety like Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech would add some much needed quickness to the mix, and could help form a long term duo if the Buccaneers are able to grab corner Vernon Hargreaves in the 1st round.
43. Los Angeles Rams - Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt:
Regardless of who the Rams' quarterback is, they need a go to wide receiver. Tyler Boyd was thought to be a solid 2nd round prospect heading into the draft process, and then turned in an amazing performance at the Senior Bowl.
44. Oakland Raiders - Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame:
Jaylon Smith went from being the potential #1 overall pick, to falling off several team's draft boards altogether. With his 2016 season likely a complete loss, the Raiders are the one team who might take a flyer on a top rated talent like Smith.
The Rams need a replacement for Kyle Long at defensive end. Carl Nassib is kind of a poor man's version of long. While he may need time to develop into the thick base end that Long was, Nassib shows more promise as a pass rusher.
46. Detroit Lions - Jeremy Cash, S, Duke:
The Lions are expected to make a run at free agent safety George Iloka. In the event that he re-signs with Cincinnati or ends up going to another team, Detroit will need to find a potential starter in this year's draft.
47. New Orleans Saints - Jalen Mills, CB/S, LSU:
The Saints hit gold with street free agent Delvin Breaux, but could still stand to add some talent in order to stabilize their secondary. Jalen Mills of LSU can play safety or corner, but would probably be looked at as a corner by the Saints.
Auburn cornerback Jonathan Jones cemented his status as a 2nd round pick with a blazing 4.29 time in the 40 yard dash at the Scouting Combine.
49. Buffalo Bills - Deion Jones, OLB, LSU:
Deion Lewis is the new breed of NFL linebacker. While he's a bit undersized, he's fast and can cover ground from sideline to sideline. Given the Bills' massive defensive front to protect him, Lewis could be a perfect addition to Rex Ryan's defense.
50. Atlanta Falcons - Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State:
The Falcons desperately are in need of edge rushers, and while Shilique Calhoun may not yet be a three down NFL player, he certainly fits the bill as a situational speed rusher who can develop over time into an every down player.
51. New York Jets - Le'Raven Clark, T, Texas Tech:
A right tackle to play opposite D'Brickashaw Ferguson would help lay the foundation for a better running game. A young running back in the 3rd or 4th round to replace Chris Ivory would further build upon that foundation.
52. Houston Texans - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State:
The Texans need a new bell cow running back to move the chains after cutting ties with Arian Foster. Ezekiel Foster may not be elite, but he has the initial burst to make it through the line and power to gain a few extra yards thereafter.
53. Washington Redskins - Nick Martin, T/G, Notre Dame:
Like last year's 1st round pick, Brandon Scherff, Nick Martin of Notre Dame could play guard or right tackle in the NFL. By solidifying their offensive line, Washington could make life much easier on a savvy, yet weak armed quarterback like Kirk Cousins.
A play making safety to play opposite of Harrison Smith would help neutralize division rival Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson:
The Bengals approach this off season with three quarters of their secondary heading to free agency. Whether it's a corner or a safety, Cincinnati will need to add at least one defensive back to the mix, and possibly move some other players around from safety to corner. The Bengals could lose both starting safeties in Reggie Nelson and George Iloka in free agency.
56. Seattle Seahawks - Shon Coleman, T, Auburn:
Depending on what happens with Russell Okung, Seattle could be in the market for a starting tackle. Shon Coleman of Auburn not only projects as a long term left tackle in the NFL, but he also has experience playing guard, so he would be able to contribute even if the Seahawks are able retain Okung.
57. Green Bay Packers - Kyle Murphy, T/G, Stanford:
The Packers don't have an elite offensive line, and when injuries hit, Aaron Rogers becomes vulnerable. A versatile lineman like Kyle Murphy of Stanford could not only provide Green Bay with a potential long term starter, but he could fill in as needed at tackle or guard in the case of a major injury.
58. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jordan Jenkins, DE/OLB, Georgia:
The Steelers are always looking to find a 'tweener at outside in their 3-4 scheme, and while James Harrison is returning for what is probably his final season, Pittsburgh could use some more depth in the pool to ultimately replace him.
59. Kansas City Chiefs - Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State:
The Chiefs could use a starting caliber safety to play opposite Eric Berry.
60. New England Patriots - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State:
New England was thin at receiver even before they released Brandon LaFell. Michael Thomas of Ohio State is a big possession receiver who could help take some pressure off of Julian Edelman and return him the complimentary role that he is better suited for.
61. Arizona Cardinals - Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State:
The Cardinals may have bigger immediate needs at quarterback, but Drew Stanton is a free agent, Carson Palmer isn't getting any younger, and who better is there to work with a young developmental signal caller than Bruce Arians?
62. Denver Broncos - Kentrell Brothers, MLB, Missouri:
With Danny Trevathan likely a salary cap casualty as Denver addresses other needs as he heads towards free agency, the Broncos will need to find a cheaper replacement.
63. Carolina Panthers - Germaine Ifedi, T, Texas A&M:
Germaine Ifedi could quickly develop into a starter after first providing some offensive line depth in Carolina.