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Brett Casella’s 2016 NFL Mock Draft Day 1

With less than 24 hours away from the NFL Draft, NFL Analyst Brett Casella (@NFL_iQ on Twitter) makes one last attempt to predict how the board might fall. Without further ado, here is his final 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

ROUND ONE

Goff

#1: Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff, Cal

The Rams gave up a king’s ransom to move to the first overall pick, and you can bet the bank that they’ll be using it to draft a quarterback. Which one is debatable, but Goff is more experienced than Wentz, moves better in the pocket, and is more ready to step in as the day one starter.Carson-Wentz

#2: Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

The Philadelphia Eagles also mortgaged their future, trading up to #2 to select whichever QB the Rams don’t. In this scenario, that QB is Carson Wentz, the D1AA product with a big arm, ability to make plays with his feet, and the leadership traits that teams look for in their quarterback. He may be a little raw, but his potential alone makes him worth the high pick.DeforestBuckner

#3: San Diego Chargers – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

San Diego could go a number of directions here, but Buckner and Ramsey are the two likely candidates. Buckner is the best interior lineman in a class loaded with them, and fits San Diego’s defensive scheme perfectly.JalenRamsey

#4: Dallas Cowboys – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

Jalen Ramsey is one of the top talents in this year’s draft, and has the skillset to play safety or cornerback. Pairing him with Byron Jones will provide the Cowboys secondary with a new level of versatility and athleticism.LaremyTunsilFeature

#5: Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

The Jaguars have a lot of holes to fill on defense, but Tunsil is simply too good to pass up here. The Jaguars have their franchise quarterback in Blake Bortles, and now they can protect him with a franchise left tackle.

 

#6: Baltimore Ravens – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

EzekielElliottThe Ravens offense leaves much to be desired, especially at the running back position. Forsett had a good 2014 campaign, but the fact remains that he is 30 years old, undersized, and coming off of a season-ending injury. Elliott is a rare three-down back who can run, catch, and even block at a high level.

 

#7: San Francisco 49ers – LB Myles Jack, UCLA

Myles Jack is a game changer. If not for a knee injury, he would probably be a top-three pick. While health concerns may cause him to drop out of the top five, San Francisco can’t afford to pass up on his talent at #7 – not to mention their history of drafting injured players. QB Paxton Lynch is also a strong possibility here.mylesJack

#8: Cleveland Browns – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

RonnieStanley_1053354_640x360The Browns lost two of their three best offensive linemen this offseason. Drafting Ronnie Stanley gives Cleveland time to develop him on the right side of the line, before eventually succeeding Joe Thomas as the team’s cornerstone left tackle.

 

 

#9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio StateBosa

Joey Bosa was once thought to be a lock for the first overall pick, but the Buccaneers will happily take him at #9. His ability to defend against the run and pressure opposing quarterbacks makes him the perfect defensive end in the Bucs 4-3 defense.

 

#10: New York Giants – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State

The Giants have a gaping hole at right tackle. Drafting Conklin can help lock down the left side, while allowing Ereck Flowers to move the right side, where he would be better suited.

 

Leonard-Floyd2#11: Chicago Bears – OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

The Bears improve their lackluster pass rush with Leonard Floyd. His upside is virtually unlimited, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is the perfect coach to unlock his full potential.

 

#12: New Orleans Saints – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

The Saint almost unquestionably need to go defense here. Rankins is the best interior lineman not named Buckner and provides a rare pass rushing presence from the tackle position.

 

#13: Miami Dolphins – CB Vernon Hargreaves, FloridaVernonHargreavesINT2

The Dolphins should learn from Chip Kelly’s mistake: Byron Maxwell is not a #1 cornerback. Though slightly undersized, Vernon Hargreaves has shutdown corner potential and would allow Maxwell to slide back to his ideal role as a #2.

 

#14: Oakland Raiders – CB William Jackson III, Houston

William Jackson III is a lengthy cornerback who can run with the best of them and has great ball skills. Lining him up on the opposite side of Sean Smith would be a drastic upgrade from the 2015 Raiders secondary.

Ohio State Buckeye offensive lineman Taylor Decker (68) Photo by; Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State Buckeye offensive lineman Taylor Decker (68) Photo by; Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

#15: Tennessee Titans – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State

The Titans gave up more sacks than any other team in the league last year. If Tennessee wants to keep their franchise QB upright, they are going to need to upgrade their offensive line.

 

AshawnRobinson2#16: Detroit Lions – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

The Lions have been looking for a disruptive interior defender since the departure of Suh and Fairley. A’Shawn Robinson is not the next Ndamukong Suh, but he does possess the strength and athleticism needed to make an immediate impact.

 

#17: Atlanta Falcons – LB Darron Lee, Ohio State

Darron Lee is an undersized linebacker, but has rare athletic ability to make up for it. He is the prototype of the modern-era linebacker in the NFL, and Dan Quinn would be happy to have him after working with similar players in Seattle.

 

#18: Indianapolis Colts – CB Eli Apple, Ohio StateEli Apple

Though offensive line is a huge need, Grigson can’t pass up on Eli Apple. Pairing him with Vontae Davis gives them one of the better cornerback tandems in the NFL, and will allow newly-acquired Patrick Robinson to slide into the slot.

 

#19: Buffalo Bills – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

Shaq Lawson falling to pick #19 would be Rex Ryan’s dream come true. Ideally fitted as a outside linebacker in the Bills 3-4 system, Lawson is dominant against the run and can provides some pass rushing ability to a defense that only tallied 21 sacks in 2015.paxton-lynch-memphis

 

#20: New York Jets – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

With no answer at the quarterback position, the Jets might feel pressure to draft one in the first round. If Paxton Lynch is already off the board, don’t be surprised to see them take Connor Cook.

 

#21: Washington Redskins, DT Jarran Reed, Alabama

Jarran Reed is a physically dominant defensive end who is perfectly suited for the Redskins 3-4 defense. He is the big, strong run stuffer that Washington is lacking on its defensive line.

 

#22: Houston Texans – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor

You can make an argument for Treadwell or Doctson, but all signs are indicating that Houston drafts a wide receiver here. Corey Coleman is lightning in a bottle, and is the perfect compliment to Deandre Hopkins.

 

#23: Minnesota Vikings – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole MissLaquonTreadwell

Minnesota has not had a 1,000 yard receiver since a guy named Brett Favre was their starting quarterback. If they are serious about Teddy Bridgewater as the face of their franchise, they need to surround him with playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.

 

#24: Cincinnati Bengals – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor

Everyone expects the Bengals to take the third wide receiver in a row, which would be Josh Doctson, but the value here is too great to pass up. Billings is a strong, strong man (like, benched 500 pounds in high school strong) and solidifies the interior line with Geno Atkins.KarlJoseph

#25: Pittsburgh Steelers – S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

Does any prospect embody the Pittsburgh Steelers mentality better than Karl Joseph? He is a fast, physical safety who hits as hard as anybody in this class. His knee injury may scare some teams away, but there is no denying that he is a first-round talent.

 

#26: Seattle Seahawks – G Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

The Seahawks badly need offensive linemen, and Cody Whitehair is one of the best that this class has to offer. He can play almost any position along the line, but is best suited as a guard.

VernonButler

#27: Green Bay Packers – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech

B.J. Raji’s hiatus from football has left a hole at the nose tackle position that only a 320-pounder like Butler can fill. Don’t be fooled though, Butler is more athletic than you would think and has some pass rushing skills for a man of his size.

 

#28: Kansas City Chiefs – WR Josh Doctson, TCU

Wide receiver has been a problem for the Chiefs in recent years. Jeremy Maclin was a good addition, but he can’t carry the load by himself. Doctson will make an immediate impact in Kansas City as a red zone target and vertical threat.ConnorCook

 

#29: Arizona Cardinals – QB Connor Cook, Michigan State

Carson Palmer won’t be playing for much longer, and it’s time for the Cardinals to start thinking about their quarterback of the future. Arizona is the ideal landing spot for Cook (or any quarterback, really), as it gives him time to develop and learn from two of the NFL’s best: Arians and Palmer.

 

#30: Carolina Panthers – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson

Cornerback may be the Panthers most pressing need, but GM Dave Gettleman was never one to draft based on needs and has a known affinity for hog mollies. With Charles Johnson re-signed to just a one year deal, Dodd to Carolina makes perfect sense.

 

#31: Denver Broncos – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Ragland ideally projects as a 3-4 inside linebacker, which is exactly what Denver needs after Trevathan’s departure. Denver’s system will allow Ragland to flourish as a two-down run stopper.

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