By: Matthew Terry and Jason Pinkus
- Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Obvious first overall choice. Not a sexy pick, but a surprising pick, but it’s the best pick to make. Tunsil, coming off a great combine, will be a rock on the Titans’ line for years to come, allowing them to move Lewan to RT. Tunsil will help protect Marcus Mariota, the future of the Titans’ franchise.
- Cleveland Browns – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Wentz did the best possible thing he could in Indianapolis, and that is impress the Cleveland Browns front office. Wentz was a proven winner at North Dakota State, and has the build and the game that the Browns’ front office loves.
- San Diego Chargers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The need for offensive line talent in San Diego was obvious after last season’s debacle. A multitude of injuries hampered this line, and now they have the ability to grab one of the top offensive linemen in this draft to help keep Philip Rivers upright and to give Melvin Gordon a better line to run behind, which is desperately needed if he wants to reach the levels he did while at Wisconsin.
- Dallas Cowboys – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Much like the Chargers, the Cowboys season was derailed by key injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. While some might say the Cowboys will draft a replacement for either, we believe the Cowboys will draft the playmaking defensive back that will help the team reach the postseason again. Hargreaves was a 2-time All-American defensive back and will instantly upgrade the defense in Jerry’s World.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
The Jaguars are a team that need help in the secondary bad. If Ramsey is on the board for them here at 5, the Jaguars have to be sprinting up to the podium to take him. Ramsey is a versatile DB that can play both cornerback and safety, and his ability to play all over the defensive backfield is a huge need for a team with the second worst scoring defense in the NFL last season.
- Baltimore Ravens – Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State
The fall of Joey Bosa stops at #6. Baltimore gets what most would call the steal of the draft, a player that could be legitimately, justifiably taken at #1 overall at the #6 spot, and they get one of the best players in college football in Joey Bosa. A two-time consensus All-American, Bosa is the best edge-rushers in this draft and could make a great impact opposite Elvis Dumervil
- San Francisco 49ers – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
No one could’ve predicted this two years ago. Patrick Willis and Chris Borland retiring, Jim Harbaugh’s gone, and now the 49ers are taking an ILB with their Top 10 pick, and they’re taking a hell of an ILB in Myles Jack. Jack is the top ILB prospect on the board now because Jaylon Smith’s reported nerve damage, and even then some were calling Jack the top man on their boards. Here, the 49ers grab a great ILB to pair with Navarro Bowman, in an attempt to make their defense feared again.
- Miami Dolphins – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
This is probably the worst case scenario for the Dolphins, and in an ideal world, they trade back right here. But Mack is still a solid CB that they can slide in at the #1 slot now that Brent Grimes has apparently decided to stop being a top CB. Mack didn’t record an interception while at Clemson, and while that may steer away some, it doesn’t change that fact that Alexander was a lockdown corner for the national runner-ups.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky
If Spence wasn’t an idiot and hadn’t gotten kicked out of Ohio State, he’d be right up there with Bosa in discussion for being one of the top picks in the draft. Spence is one of the elite small-school prospects in this draft, and here Tampa Bay gets a premium pass-rusher in a division where the quarterbacks are king.
- New York Giants – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
Buckner is one of the more versatile defensive line prospects in this draft, and the Giants get a great player that they can place at any position on the line to make an impact, especially if Jason Pierre-Paul leaves in free agency. Buckner solidifies the line on a team that needs drastic help on defense.
- Chicago Bears – Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville
With some of the talent that the Bears have in the front seven, including Eddie Goldman and Pernell McPhee, picking Rankins helps sure of the defensive line. Rankins helped his stock majorly in the Senior Bowl and at the combine, and we’ve seen his stock rise to where Top 10 isn’t completely out of the question. Here, however, he goes just out of the Top 10, at #11 to the Chicago Bears.
- New Orleans Saints – Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Saints defense is not good. They could go in a lot of directions, but the one that makes the most sense is help on the interior line, and that is where Andrew Billings comes in. Billings is an immediate starter at the Saints’ DT position and helps a run defense that gave up over 4 YPC last season.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Eagles were a confusing team to mock because there wasn’t the huge, immediate need that stood out to us, before the realization that Conklin was the best pick for the Eagles right here. Now that QB Sam Bradford is resigned, they now have the tough task of keeping Bradford upright and off the injury report, and Jack Conklin is the player that can do that.
- Oakland Raiders – Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
The Raiders have the offense to compete with some of the best, and they have Khalil Mack. But Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson have retired, and now the Raiders go for the best defensive player on the board right now, and that is Buckeye outside linebacker Darron Lee. Lee is one of the better man coverage LBs in this draft, and is very capable of blitzing the gap.
- Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, Calfornia
This year’s annual QB free-fall has stopped, as Jared Goff has passed QB needy teams such as Cleveland and San Francisco, and can now be the star QB for Hollywood’s latest NFL team. Goff faced top talent in the Pac-12, and showed up in a big way in his bowl game versus Air Force. Goff is arguably the most pro-ready QB in this class, and LA gets a very good compliment to Todd Gurley to try and balance their offense.
- Detroit Lions – Laquan Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Some are calling him the top offensive playmaker in this draft, and Treadwell has a very strong case to be the #1 WR taken in the draft, as he is right here. Treadwell excels at winning jump-balls, and with Calvin Johnson’s rumored retirement, Treadwell slides into his role perfectly as the next WR that Matthew Stafford can just chuck the ball up to into triple coverage.
- Atlanta Falcons – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
One of the greater beneficiaries of the combine, Ogbah will immediately slide in opposite Vic Beasley and create one of the better young pass-rushing tandems in the NFL. Ogbah was a decorated pass-rusher at Oklahoma State, posting a sack in 16 of his last 21 games. Ogbah can play both 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB, a great fit in Dan Quinn’s scheme.
- Indianapolis Colts – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Colts need help in lots of areas, but we feel that the need to improve the offensive line is way too big to pass on Decker right here. Decker, the 2015 Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten, is one of the better tackle prospects in this draft and will help protect Andrew Luck, coming off of a shoulder injury, reach his full potential when he doesn’t have to scramble every other play.
- Buffalo Bills – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Bills have continually had one of the top front sevens in the NFL over the past few seasons, and with the release of DE Mario Williams, in comes someone who can match his production in Shaq Lawson. Lawson is another player who is versatile to both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes and is incredibly hard to block off of the edge, and was an All-American in his first season starting for Clemson.
- New York Jets – Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
Finally, a pick that Jets fans finally may not boo. With the impending free agency of Chris Ivory, and teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay in the market for running backs, Ivory may not return to East Rutherford. Enter Ezekiel Elliot. The top running back on almost everybody’s board, Ez-E’s combination of size and athleticism give him the potential to be one of the top running backs in the league.
- Washington Redskins – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The run on Buckeyes continues, this time as the Redskins grab the best CB available in Eli Apple. The combination of size and speed that Apple possesses is one of the top things that jumps out about him, measuring at 6’1 with a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine. Apple has a few things he needs to work on, but if he can put together what was seen of him when he was recruited by Urban Meyer out of high school, he can be a top corner in this league.
- Houston Texans – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
The 6’7 gun-slinger out of Memphis, Paxton Lynch is the answer to the long awaited question, “Who are the Texans finally going to take at quarterback?” Lynch’s height, combined with his elite footwork not only in the pocket, but out of it, makes him a great pick for a Texans team that needs someone other than Brian Hoyer at QB if they want to see postseason success.
- Minnesota Vikings – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Touchdown Teddy needs some viable weapons over six feet tall, and here’s one of the top WR prospects in the draft. Doctson, out of the also purple-clad Texas Christian University, is one of those receivers that knows how to get the ball when it’s in the air. Standing at 6’2, Doctson has strong hands which help him come down with balls in the air, and after has great ability to rack up yards after the catch.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
The Bengals have one of the top WRs in the league in AJ Green, and with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu possibly leaving in free agency this season, pairing him with Corey Coleman will give quarterback Andy Dalton the weapons he needs to make a postseason run with an already stacked Bengals offense. Coleman’s speed gives him the ability to take the top off of defenses with ease, and could be a very big playmaker for this Bengals team.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Su’a Cravens, LB/S, USC
The Steelers never shy away from reaching a little bit for players that fit their scheme perfectly, and this is exactly that pick in Su’a Cravens. Cravens is an interesting player in that he’s a S who’s big enough to play linebacker, and fits into the role that was left unfilled when Troy Polamalu retired a few years ago.
- Seattle Seahawks – Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford
Don’t kid yourself, the Seahawks offensive line is awful. Russell Wilson’s amazing ability to avoid defenders is the only reason he isn’t spending half of the game under a heap of defensive linemen. The Seahawks desperately need offensive line help, and this time they’re not going to turn to late round defensive end prospects to do it. Garnett is the top guard in this draft that helps the gaping hole that was left in the interior of the line when Max Unger was traded last season.
- Green Bay Packers – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
If someone told me A’Shawn Robinson was 38 years old, I would believe them. But regardless, A’Shawn is the latest Nick Saban product to head up north to the Frozen Tundra. Robinson is a big guy that can plug holes up the middle and can eat up running backs for breakfast. His pure power is some of the best in this class, and the Packers get a steal with him here at #27.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year makes his was to KCMO, where he joins an already very talented linebacking corps including Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Ragland is an old-school style linebacker who missed just 3 tackles his senior season for the Crimson Tide, who has great instincts and is a hard-hitter.
- Arizona Cardinals – Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
The Cardinals are quite possibly the most complete team in the NFL, as we had a hard time finding an immediate need for them. We nearly decided to put Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg here, as an eventual replacement for Carson Palmer, but instead opted with the safer pick of Kevin Dodd, which could make this nasty Cardinals defense even nastier. This helps improve a pass rush which failed to garner any pressure on Cam Newton in the NFC Championship, and could help the Cards take the next step next season.
- Carolina Panthers – Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
The Panthers have a solid squad down in Charlotte, but the defensive line could still use some improvement. Here comes Vernon Butler, one of the biggest risers on boards after a strong Senior Bowl and a strong combine, Butler could wreak havoc on a Panthers line that already has some strong defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.
- Denver Broncos – Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
The defending Super Bowl Champions will need some help if they want to hold the same title a year from now, and that starts by improving an offense that was downright dreadful last year. As they say, the same is won in the trenches, and Whitehair can play all five positions on the offensive line, but mainly profiles as a guard in the NFL, which is a desperate position of need for the Broncos.
The Patriots’ first-round pick was vacated due to NFL sanctions from Deflategate.