By Kevin Turner | @KTFunTweets
I've traditionally had the annual habit of not doing a mock draft until the week before the NFL Draft, but sometimes peer pressure sets in, so I've decided to unleash a pre-combine mock draft along with my buddy Jeff Cavanaugh.
The disclaimer is this is not necessarily how I would draft for these teams, just an estimate of how things will shake out.
Also, trades will happen, but for the sake of this exercise, let's assume there are no trades.
#1 Tennessee: OT Laremy Tunsil Ole Miss
-In 2015 they took their franchise QB, and in 2016 they take their franchise left tackle. Nothing to see here. Titans quarterbacks were sacked 54 times last year. The idea is to make quarterback singular rather than plural by keeping Mariota healthy. Tunsil can't do it alone, but he's polished, strong, and has the talent to be the building block for the future for the Titans.
#2 Cleveland: QB Jared Goff California
-I know there's a lot of QB debate, but Goff is my QB1 and provides the ability to immediately step in and play for the Browns and new head coach Hue Jackson. It's still possible that Goff sits behind veteran Josh McCown, but Cleveland can't pass up on the best QB in the draft, and in my opinion Goff is that guy.
#3 San Diego: DB Jalen Ramsey Florida State
-Eric Weddle is no more, so this seems to make a lot of sense. If not Ramsey, Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley is a name to watch here. This is the first true wildcard pick of the draft in my estimation. Cowboys fans should be jumping for joy if the Bolts go with OL help, but I can't see them passing up Ramsey to get help on the offensive line.
#4 Dallas: DL Joey Bosa Ohio State
-A lot of this could clear up after free agency, but Dallas won't pass on the top guy on their board. It could be Ramsey, it could be Jack, but I'm predicting on this day that Bosa will be the guy. It also makes sense when you consider that Hardy won't be back and Randy Gregory is suspended for the first 4 games. Unless the Cowboys add some pass rushing in the free agency period, this pick really does make a lot of sense. The surge of DeMarcus Lawrence would allow the Cowboys to move him to RDE and make Bosa the strong side LDE.
#5 Jacksonville: EDGE Noah Spence
-Holy crap Noah Spence and last year's first round pick Dante Fowler rushing off the edge will make Gus Bradley a very happy man. The fit works as Spence is much better in space, where he has the ability to stand up, widen out, and get a little momentum off the edge.
#6 Baltimore: OT Ronnie Stanley Notre Dame
-Lots of issues for Baltimore on the offensive line and seeing Flacco go down last year makes this a pretty ideal selection. There's the possibility of cutting ties with LT Eugene Monroe as well. Plus, it's always good to see a guy named Ronnie make his way in the world!
#7 San Francisco: QB Carson Wentz North Dakota State
-I feel like Goff would be the guy Chip wants, but he settles for Wentz, seeking a long term solution at the quarterback position. Kelly knows this could be his last go-round in the NFL so he better get it right. After surviving a year of Kap at QB, Kelly selects Wentz as the QB of the future, and the savior to his NFL coaching career.
#8 Miami: LB Myles Jack UCLA
-The Dolphins can't turn in this card fast enough. Awful against the run, while also struggling to cover tight ends, the team needs help at LB and they get the best player in the draft in Myles Jack. As I type this, I can't believe i'm mocking him all the way down to 8. We'll be telling our grandkids about Myles Jack.
#9 Tampa Bay: CB Vernon Hargreaves III Florida
-While his stature scares the crap out of me, he's also one of the more gifted players in the draft, and ready to step in and cover right away on a team that gave up 31 passing touchdown last season.
#10 NY Giants: RB Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State
-A nightmare scenario for Cowboys fans. While the Giants clearly have other needs, the running game has been a big disappointment and the idea of adding Elliott to an offense with Manning, Beckham, and Cruz is too much to pass up. Elliott is the clear RB1 in the draft, and a Top 5 talent.
#11 Chicago: LB Jaylon Smith Notre Dame
-A Notre Dame folk hero stays close to home as the Bears go with one of the more talented players in the draft. Despite a gruesome knee injury in their bowl game, reports are that he's on track for a full recovery and the freakish talent is too much for the Bears to pass up at pick 11.
#12 New Orleans: DL DeForest Buckner Oregon
-Buckner at 12 allows the Saints to get creative in how they use him. Buckner is a lengthy run stopper who shows pass rush promise and will fit perfectly on the Saints d-line.
#13 Philadelphia: OT Taylor Decker Ohio State
-After witnessing bad quarterback play last year, this definitely appears like it could be a spot for QB. I'm going to assume they figure out something in free agency, and instead address the offensive line, a place they've ignored for 20 straight picks in the draft.
#14 Oakland: CB Mackenzie Alexander Clemson
-The Raiders have a ton of cap space, so they could address the position in free agency, but assuming they don't, look for them to add help in the secondary.
#15 Los Angeles: QB Paxton Lynch Memphis
-The Rams get their QB of the future in Lynch and also make a splash for their LA fan base. Lynch will need time to develop, but luckily Nick Foles is under contract for one more year.
#16 Detroit: WR Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss
-All of a sudden look who needs a #1 WR. The Lions jump for joy as the best WR in the class falls to them to take over for Megatron.
#17 Atlanta: EDGE Leonard Floyd Georgia
-Floyd's project-ability as a pass rusher off the edge to pair with Vic Beasley proves to be too much for Dan Quinn to pass up. Defensive gurus gonna be defensive gurus. That was redundant. Floyd needs to add some bulk, but the length, quickness, and athleticism to get the edge are there. This is a little high for me on Floyd, as I see him as a 2nd round player, but right here i'm banking on Dan Quinn's salivation.
#18 Indianapolis: OT Jack Conklin Michigan State
-He may not be able to play left tackle. I'd give it a shot for now, but a move to guard might be necessary. Either way, Grigson learns from a year with a beat up Andrew Luck and knows he must finally address the offensive line in the draft.
#19 Buffalo: DL A'Shawn Robinson Alabama
-Robinson has the versatility to play pretty much anywhere on the DL, which should be appealing to Rex. There are areas of Robinson's game that give me pause, such as pad level and snap anticipation, but his athleticism and run-stopping ability will tantalize Coach Ryan.
#20 NY Jets: LB Reggie Ragland Alabama
-Ragland is a pure best player available type of pick for the Jets. They do need help at linebacker, but I could see Bowles experimenting with Ragland at OLB. He tried to do some edge rushing at the senior bowl to show some versatility. To me he's a better fit as a 4-3 MLB, but I'll trust Bowles can make this work either as an ILB or OLB for the Jets.
#21 Washington: DT Andrew Billings Baylor
-The Redskins were 26th against the run last year. The long and short term future of Terrance Knighton, Jason Hatcher, and Chris Baker are clearly up in the air. Billings is a run stuffing nose tackle. Moving on.
#22 Houston: QB Christian Hackenberg Penn State
-Whoa, the silk shocker! You knew there would be one. Bill O'Brien reminesces on his time in Penn State and takes Hackenberg while he can knowing there's a chance he's not there when the Texans pick in the 2nd round. Obviously trading down is more realistic, or trading up from the 2nd round, but it's just a mock draft so let's have some fun. Besides, it's not like the Texans have a real NFL quarterback anyways. : )
#23 Minnesota Vikings: WR Corey Coleman Baylor
-The Vikings would consider offensive line here, but with all the tackles gone, they decide to help out Teddy by taking the 2nd WR in the draft. Coleman is not my 2nd favorite WR, as I prefer Michael Thomas, but i've got this feeling many in the NFL world won't have the same reservations as I do on the Baylor wideout.
#24 Cincinnati: WR Michael Thomas Ohio State
-Oh my God Michael Thomas across from AJ Green and Andy Dalton is a happy man. Thomas isn't an ideal route runner, because he kind of runs funny, but don't let that fool you. His unnatural movements actually help him get separation.
#25 Pittsburgh: CB Rashard Robinson LSU
-Oh yeah, i'm doing it. Rashard Robinson, mainly known for flunking out of school and breaking into a teammate's apartment, should also be known for his play on the field. He didn't play last year, and he's frail, but his recovery speed, twitch, and anticipation are all things that will intrigue teams. He's going to need to impress everyone at the combine. Look, it's a mock draft and being bold here actually is kind of arousing. What.
#26 Seattle: OL Cody Whitehair Kansas State
-The Seattle offensive line was a big story all year long, and Cody Whitehair has the versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line. Whether it's guard or tackle, slide him in and let him do his thing. It's a pretty safe bet that he's going to succeed in the NFL.
#27 Green Bay: LB Darron Lee Ohio State
-Although the ideal position for Darron Lee is WLB in a 4-3, the Packers want to move Clay Matthews back outside and Lee would pair with Michigan's Jake Ryan as the ILB tandem. Lee's coverage and blitzing skills stand out, but running is his best trait. He can fly, and the Packers are looking to add speed to the LB position, all the while moving Clay Matthews back outside where he belongs.
#28 Kansas City: DT Robert Nkemdiche Ole Miss
-The Chiefs proved last year that they aren't scared to take a guy with character issues. Marcus Peters wasn't on many teams boards due to his alleged choking of a coach, and he ended up winning the rookie defensive player of the year award. With future holes apparent on the DL, the Chiefs select one of the more talented players in the draft, despite the off the field questions.
#29 Arizona: EDGE Shilique Calhoun Michigan State
-Better in space, when he can fly, using his length and quickness to get around the edge. He's a pure pass rusher, and he's a liability in the run game, but when you're as stacked as the Cardinals are, you can afford to make a pick like this. Calhoun has the chance to be a double digit sack type of guy.
#30 Carolina: DE Shaq Lawson Clemson
-Pure best player available scenario here. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Lawson went in the Top 10.
#31 Denver: DL Jarran Reed Alabama
-Someone on the Broncos defense is likely going to have to go. Free agency will sort a lot of things out here, so i'll go with Jarran Reed a run stuffing Nose or 1-tech type of player who also has some flexibility to move all over the d-line if need be. He's just impossible to move, and that's why i'm making sure I find a way to keep him in the first round.
First Round Snub: Appalachian State DE Ronald Blair. Sorry buddy, when I went for shock value with Hackenberg at 22, someone had to get the raw end of the deal.
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