Nov. 11, 2016
2016 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0
It's that time of the year.
Mock drafts are springing up all over the place. At this point, we know who the contenders are and who's basically eliminated from the playoffs. This juncture brings with it the perfect time for mock drafts. The order used will be the draft order should the season end today. With that in mind, lets commence.
#1: Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Conventional wisdom would have Cleveland snapping up a quarterback here, but it looks as though Hue Jackson and the Browns will stick with Cody Kessler for the time being. The offense, upon a close inspection, has been surprisingly efficient, with Kessler avoiding turnovers and the team coming close to several upset victories. The defense, conversely, has been atrocious. The main problem is a lack of a pass rush. Garrett has a rare combination of power and speed. Playing as both a 4-3 defensive end, and a 3-4 outside linebacker, Garrett has bullied the top OTs in the SEC. He's a true can't miss prospect, and the Browns need defensive help immediately.
#2: San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
No quarterback situation is in more chaos than the one in San Francisco. Colin Kaepernick is washed up, and has been for some time now, and Blaine Gabbert was never even an average signal caller. Watson in Chip Kelly's offense would be a dream for both parties. Kelly's success with mobile quarterbacks has been well documented, but the trait Kelly values more than anything is accurate passing, and Watson certainly has that. Combine that speed and accuracy with a fantastic football IQ, and the 49ers may have found their next franchise guy.
#3: Chicago Bears: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
The Bears' ride on Jay Cutler coaster has to end soon, and the most effective way to do that is to draft the quarterback prospect with the most upside. Kizer has his flaws, as he is very raw and has difficulty fitting the ball into tight windows. What Kizer excels at is throwing on the run and using his rocket arm to toss the ball down the field. Even if Cutler starts for a year while Kizer sits, that is only a temporary patch, and the Chicago could finally have the arrow pointing north at the quarterback position for the first time in a while.
#4: Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
The Thursday Night beatdown highlighted the gaping holes Jacksonville has on their roster. Even the high priced free agents signed in the offseason have either underperformed or massively underperformed. Gus Bradley, if he somehow avoids getting fired, needs to shore up his defensive line. Malik Jackson and Dante Fowler have been ok, but beyond that, the rest of the line has been atrocious. Allen has shown unparalleled pass rushing ability and quickness for a guy who can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. Allen is as sure of a bet as an interior lineman gets.
#5: Carolina Panthers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Cam Newton has still been a fantastic QB this year when one looks at the tape. The biggest problem with the reigning NFC champion Carolina Panthers is the laughable pass defense. Bene Benwikere began the year as the #1 cornerback, and now he's in Miami. 2nd round pick James Bradberry has been hit and miss, but Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez, selected in the 3rd and 5th round, respectively, have been torched consistently. Wilson has yet to give up 35 yards receiving and gave up his first touchdown last week when he fell down. He is by far and away the best cover corner in this draft, and having Wilson would vaunt the Panthers back into the NFC elite.
#6: New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jets haven't used a 1st round pick on an offensive player since the ill fated Mark Sanchez selection. That needs to change now. Ryan Fitzpatrick is awful, but the Jets seem committed to give Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg a shot at the starting job. The best course of action is to improve around him. Fournette is the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson. Fournette is a 225 pound running back with blazing speed that barely anyone in college football can match. the track record for 31 year old running backs is not very good, which doesn't bode will for Matt Forte. The Jets shouldn't hesitate to grab Fournette if he ends up where they pick.
#7: Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Colts are historically inept with regards to their offensive line. The Colts ended up with one of the most talented quarterbacks in recent memory in Andrew Luck, but have failed spectacularly in surrounding him with talent or protection. This draft class is not very deep at offensive tackle. However, Robinson stands head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class. Robinson is a mauler who is surprisingly refined in pass protection, and he might finally be an offensive lineman that can keep Luck on his feet consistently.
#8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Tampa Bay is a team who seems like they are a piece of away from having everything click. They have a talented offense led by Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, but a defense missing something. A versatile defensive tackle, McDowell could be that piece. The defense, as evidenced against Oakland last week, is still very much a work in progress. Gerald McCoy is great individually, but the defense needs a shot of talent. McDowell has a prototypical nose tackle build, but is an outstanding pass rusher for his size. In a draft class without many great interior lineman, McDowell would be ideal for maligned Buccaneers defense.
#9: San Diego Chargers: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB/CB, Michigan
San Diego is much too talented a team to be picking here, as they have been limited by several crushing injuries. Injuries aside, even a healthy Chargers team is not exemplary on defense. Peppers is the most versatile defensive prospect in recent memory. He has played safety, linebacker, and cornerback at Michigan, and could go in the first round at any of those positions. I think he is best suited at safety, where his elite speed, bone-crushing hits, and ballhawking expertise will help the Chargers immediately. If he ends up at 9, San Diego would be hard pressed to skip over him.
#10: Baltimore Ravens: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Ravens have been a stuck in a rut offensively. Joe Flacco has been wildly inconsistent, and the running game has been non-existant. Terrance West has not shown that he can be a franchise running back. Cook's electric running style is the perfect compliment to the Baltimore offense, which alternates between short passes to speedy wideouts and running backs and streaks down the field. Cook's speed and ability to catch the football give him all the physical tools to take a scuffling yet talented offense to the next level.
#11: Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Tennessee has improved substantially this season, with quarterback Marcus Mariota and a top-ranked running game positioning them in a much better position than where they were at the point last year. The one thing this offense needs is a true #1 wide receiver. They thought the had it in Dorial Green-Beckham, but they ended up shipping him to Philadelphia. Williams is equally adept at making difficult, contested catches like a possession receiver and streaking down the field like the speedier wideouts. Williams has separated himself from the other receivers in this class, and would be a welcome addition to the Titans.
#12: Miami Dolphins: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Dolphins' defensive line should be one of the best in football, at least on paper. They have one of the best defensive tackles in football in Ndamukong Suh, and two sack masters in Mario Williams and Cameron Wake. However, Suh hasn't been himself this season, Williams hasn't performed up to expectations, and Wake can't stay healthy. This pass rush needs a shot of youth. Barnett plays in a similar way to Myles Garrett in that he can play as a rush linebacker and defensive end. Barnett's speed and motor make him a nightmare for anyone to block. Miami could get younger without to sacrifice talent by taking Barnett.
#13: New Orleans Saints: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
The Saints' defense is absolutely atrocious. And it has been for several years. Everyone is either too young or too old. The worst offenders are the cornerbacks, who have struggled to stop even average receivers for years. King would be the first step towards correcting that. An extremely experienced, physical corner, King's skills in man coverage would come in especially helpful in an NFC South that features Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin. New Orleans will likely go defense here, but the best pick would be a corner like King.
#14: Arizona Cardinals: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Cardinals need to find their quarterback of the future, and they have found him in Chapel Hill. North Carolina's high octane offense has brought Trubisky into the national spotlight. Deadly accurate, Trubisky and his 6'3'', 220 pound frame has put up great numbers in a system that utilizes several pro style formations and concepts. Though most of the system operates form the shotgun, and Trubisky is only a 1 year starter, the best situation for him would be waiting a year behind Carson Palmer and learning from an offensive guru like Bruce Arians in Arizona.
#15: Cincinnati Bengals: Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
The Bengals are among the most talented teams from top to bottom in the NFL. That distinction comes in spite of underperforming linebacking corps. Rey Maualuga has lost a step, and Vontaze Burfict is getting to become more trouble than he is worth, McMillian comes with no such character concerns. He is an old school thumper who flashes a surprising amount of speed, which would come in handy for covering the talented tight ends in the AFC North. Cincinnati gets a defensive anchor in the middle of the first here.
#16: Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Titans' defense has really shown up this year. Dick LeBeau has put his indelible stamp on this unit. What would take this unit to the next level is a true shutdown corner. Humphrey is a true #1 corner in more ways than one. Humphrey is an active run defender and tackler. Perhaps his greatest asset is his speed that has earned him a spot on Alabama's track team. He rarely commits penalties, which shows off his high football IQ. Humphrey would take a good defense and turn it into a great defense.
#17: Detroit Lions: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Detroit's pass defense, or lack thereof, has taken them out of several winnable games. The main reason is that this team lacks a legitimate game changer. The best safety in the draft, Adams' coverage skills in both man and zone coverage are simply fantastic. He is among the best run stoppers at LSU, and very few safeties in this class can hang with Adams in that department. The Lions secondary outside of Darius Slay is extremely below average and the addition of Adams would go a long way to rectifying that.
#18: Buffalo Bills: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Buffalo's offense as a whole is a fine unit. They have a good quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, a fantastic running game, and talented wide receivers. The line is a work in progress, especially at the tackle position. Seantrel Henderson is an immense liability. Johnson is much better at blocking the run than the pass, but looks like he would be able to improve in that area with more refinement in his technique. The Bills found a bookend left tackle in Cordy Glenn several years ago, and Johnson looks like much the same player, which could be a good omen for Rex Ryan.
#19: Washington Redskins: Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Redskins are a good team, but seem like they are missing something that keeps them from distancing themselves from their NFC East counterparts. That "thing" is a run stuffing defensive tackle. Though Lotulelei is not related to the former Ute Star Lotulelei, he plays in much the same veign as the current Panther. More than just a gap plugger, Lotulelei's penetration ability separates from the other defensive tackles in this class. Washington finds just what it needs to solve its defensive woes.
#20: Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles): Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Going with the theme of drafting defense in Cleveland, the best course of action here would be another corner to shore up their nonexistent pass defense. Tabor is the more physical to the two Florida star corners in this draft, but is just as effective. Tabor has also shown to be an exceptional zone corner, a strategy which the Browns adopt quite frequently. With two ex-Florida corners in Joe Haden and Tabor, and the previously selected Myles Garrett, the Browns' defense is clawing back to respectability.
#21: New York Giants: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee
The Giants spent a ton of money improving their porous defense, and this season has shown they still need to fill some holes, most prominently at linebacker. Be it in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Reeves-Maybin has excelled, though his best spot is in a 3-4 like the Giants run. A hard-nosed tackler, Reeves-Maybin has gone to great length to improve his run defense, and that improvement has catapulted him up draft boards. The Giants would love a player with Reeves-Maybin's playing style, and it just so happens he would slide to them in this mock.
#22: Pittsburgh Steelers: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
If there was ever a player who plays in the mold of the Steelers of old, its Foster. Foster is an extremely skilled, powerful middle linebacker. You'll see him make most of his plays in the running game, where few of the great SEC running backs can escape him. With Lawrence Timmons and Jarvis Jones in contract years, and Ryan Shazier playing out of position on the inside, drafting Foster is the first step towards rebuilding the great Steel Curtain defenses of old.
#23: Green Bay Packers: Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford
Eddie Lacy's contract is expiring. Without him, Green Bay has a battered, old James Starks and Ty Montgomery, who is a wide receiver, as their "running backs". Aaron Rodgers and McCaffery would be a match made in heaven. Though his skill as a runner would earn him a high draft selection, McCaffery's receiving ability is on par with that of wide receivers. The Packers have suffered from a lack of skill position talent around Aaron Rodgers. McCaffery's dual threat potential should give defenses nightmares when paired with Rodgers.
#24: Houston Texans: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
If you were to ask anyone what is the biggest problem with the Texans, roughly 100% of people will say Brock Osweiler. While Osweiler hasn't been what was expected, I'm willing to see if he can acclimate to the offense given a year. Giving him a great TE could help him out. Though he blocks often in the run-first offense of the Crimson Tide, Howard is the best receiving tight end in this draft class. Howard mixes wide receiver speed with a blocking tight end frame, which would exactly what the Houston offense needs.
#25: Seattle Seahawks: Pat Elflein, OG/C, Ohio State
The Seahawks have been reduced to starting a left tackle that and not started a game of football since peewee. That's embarrassing. Russell Wilson being kept off his butt should be priority #1. Elflein is a goof place to start. A versatile, veteran starter, Elfin has started at every position on the line, but guard is his calling card. This selection would kick Germain Ifedi out to his more natural tackle position, and give the Seahawks a revamped offensive line that can keep them in the championship hunt.
#26: Kansas City Chiefs: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Kansas City has become a black hole for wide receivers since Andy Reid arrived. Jeremy Maclin has not been putting up numbers consistent with his normal numbers, and they have failed to draft a suitable counterpart. Smith-Schuster would immediately supplant Maclin in terms of production. For someone so big for his position, JuJu is remarkably nimble. This combination allows him to run full route tree with no glaring deficiencies. If the Chiefs want to kick their offense up a notch, they should draft a receiver like Smith-Schuster.
#27: Atlanta Falcons: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
With Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett, the Falcons have improved on defense. However, they have not caught up with their top ranked offense. Lawson could accelerate their improvement on defense by filling a role that Dan Quinn likes to utilize the rush linebacker who can put his hand in the dirt and play defensive end. Lawson, a remarkably fast and powerful defensive end, is raw, but his athleticism is too enticing to pass on for someone in Quinn who loves working with players like him.
#28: Denver Broncos: Mike McGlinchy, OT, Notre Dame
The Broncos obviously have several big holes, most notably at offensive tackle. Russell Okung is a free agent after this year, and Donald Stephenson hasn't been a very good starter. McGlinchy has played all over the map at Notre Dame, and he has excelled at all of these positions. His performance at left tackle has been his best, and he profiles as a fine tackle at the next level. Denver needs a tackle, and McGlinchy seems like someone who would remain in the Mile High city for a while.
#29: Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Philadelphia needs cornerback help, as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys showed on Sunday Night Football. The best corner for Jim Schwartz's ultra-physical defense is Jones. Jones has limited the ludicrously overpowered passing offenses in the Pac 12 to severely below average numbers. Jones is a true man to man corner, which comes in handy when a Jim Schwartz defense brings the pressure. The Eagles shouldn't hesitate to grab Jones with this pick.
#30: Oakland Raiders: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
The Raiders were thought to have improved their defense in the offseason, but have given up the most yards through the air and in total. Jackson might be the most athletic prospect in this draft, and has shown this year that he is capable of shutting down receivers few can. Oakland's corners now, Sean Smith and David Amerson, have struggled this year. Jackson's unrivaled athletic ability, speed, and instincts will make an immediate impact.
#31: Dallas Cowboys: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
The Cowboys may have the most complete offensive team in football. The offensive line is the best in the league, Ezekiel Elliott is a star, Dak Prescott can play, and the receivers have shown up this year What's missing is talent on defense. In Williams' first year, he has shown that he can be as good of a pass rush specialist as there is. His best skill is his speed, as he lacks strength and refinement. However, after missing on Randy Gregory, the Cowboys need a pass rush, and Williams is just the guy to do it.
#32: New England Patriots: Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
The Patriots' offense is a well oiled machine already with Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels looking unstoppable at the moment. At wide receiver, however, they lack a substantial possession threat. Ford has really stood put this year. He has made several highlight reel catches, showing off his ability to make extremely difficult catches and run a variety of routes. Brady doesn't have fantastic wideouts, and Ford would immediately add another wrinkle in their offense.
#33: Cleveland Browns: Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
#34: San Francisco 49ers: Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
#35: Jacksonville Jaguars: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
#36: Carolina Panthers: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
#37: Chicago Bears: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
#38: Indianapolis Colts: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
#39: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John Ross, WR, Washington
#40: San Diego Chargers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
#41: Baltimore Ravens: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
#42: Los Angeles Rams: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
#43: Miami Dolphins: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
#44: New Orleans Saints: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
#45: New York Jets: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
#46: Cincinnati Bengals: Demarcus Walker, DE/OLB, Florida State
#47: Arizona Cardinals: Ethan Pocic, OG/C, LSU
#48: Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, OLB, Florida
#49: Buffalo Bills: Budda Baker, S, Washington
#50: Cleveland Browns: Marcus Williams, S, Utah
#51: Washington Redskins: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
#52: Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
#53: Pittsburgh Steelers: Zach Banner, OT, USC
#54: Green Bay Packers: Anthony Walker, ILB, Northwestern
#55: Houston Texans: Casey Tucker, OT, Stanford
#56: New York Giants: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
#57: Kansas City Chiefs: Dewuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
#58: Atlanta Falcons: Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
#59: Denver Broncos: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
#60: Seattle Seahawks: Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss
#61: Oakland Raiders: Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU
#62: Minnesota Vikings: Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA
#63: New England Patriots: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
#64: Dallas Cowboys: Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State
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