The season and the Senior Bowl has come and gone. Now we get into the meat of the draft process. This includes the NFL Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and of course the main event itself, the NFL Draft. Many of these players will continue to be projected up and down the board as the draft process goes forward.
A lot of my projections are based where other experts have them rated, where I have them rated, and of course system fit. Certain players will fall because of how they value certain positions. I also don’t like to project trades until later on when there’s a hard rumor or an actual trade.
Enjoy, criticize, praise, and watch for a deep projection of the first three rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.
1. Tennessee Titans- OT Laremy Tunsil/Ole Miss
The Titans need to be able to protect their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota. I also believe Taylor Lewan may be better off as a right tackle for the time being he has a lot of talent as he was a first round pick.
The Titans could also trade down but there’s very limited options without a QB that separates from the other like Goff or Wentz.
2. Cleveland Browns- QB Carson Wentz/North Dakota State
Although my fellow inscriber friends may disagree with this pick but I do believe that Wentz has become the #1 QB in this draft class especially with his showing at the FCS title game and the Senior Bowl.
Cleveland could still draft Goff depending on coach Jackson’s preference. Hue Jackson may like some of the younger QBs in the league more at this moment.
3. San Diego Chargers- DE Joey Bosa/ Ohio State
Bosa will be the first Buckeye off the board in the 2016 NFL draft. The San Diego Chargers may not particularly need pass rush over other positions but does it definitely is the number one player on the board for them.
I compare him to Jared Allen in a sense that he can wreck havoc in the backfield as a pass rusher. Don’t let the goofy face fool you… He can lay the wood.
4. Dallas Cowboys- CB/S Jalen Ramsey /Florida State
Ramsey is one of the most versatile DBs in the draft he can play CB or FS and I believe he can be a pro-bowler at either position.
I still believe Hargreaves is the better CB but Ramsey’s versatility may get him selected before the Florida star.
Dallas needs anyone on defense, that’s the truth right here even from their fans. But Byron Jones, Randy Gregory, and Ramsey can build something there.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- OLB Myles Jack/UCLA
Jack was unfortunate to get her early in his junior season but even with the injury he proved that he has all the talent and athleticism in the world to be a dominant linebacker in the next level. Jacksonville need to continue to build their defense the way they been doing it because they are so close to being the best team in the AFC South.
I also know keeping HC Gus Bradley was the right decision for their young explosive offense and for their team chemistry.
6.Baltimore Ravens- CB Vernon Hargreaves/Florida
He’s my #2 overall player for the entire 2016 NFL Draft. I also believe that he is the definition of what a potential shutdown CB prospect should be.
Just imagine Jimmy Smith, Ladarius Webb and Vernon Hargreaves as a trio may not be as good as Denver’s but it’s still damn good. That’s only if Webb doesn’t get cut though.
Baltimore could look LB since they’re old there.
7. San Francisco 49ers- QB Jared Goff/California
I strongly believe the San Francisco like Cleveland will absolutely take a quarterback with their first round pick. The battle looks like it’s going to be between Goff and Wentz.
Newly hired head coach Chip Kelly has a lot on his plate in order to gain back some respect that NFL fans may have lost for him during his up and down Eagles tenure! Goff is from the area and can get the fans to believe again. Plus Kaep is nothing better than average.
8. Miami Dolphins- DE Emmanuel Ogbah/Oklahoma State
I haven’t talk to Miami Dolphins fan that disagrees with this pick Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon are both free agents the season. Although Vernon may get franchised, that still leaves a potential hole on the other side of the DLine.
Miami also could target Jack, Smith, and Ragland if they think they can get DE in Round 2.
Ogbah is an absolute freak. He is the prototype 4–3 DE. He has enormous potential and reminds me of Jason Pierre-Paul when he was drafted in 2011.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OT Ronnie Stanley/Notre Dame
I may believe that Ronnie Stanley is the most overrated OT in this draft. But I do believe Tampa’s need for OL particularly at OT is too dire to pass up with the ninth pick.
Hobart’s Ali Marpet May have had a solid rookie year in the NFL but that’s no indication that he is a guard in this league. I project him more as a Center. Stanley takes over as the blindside guy while Donovan Smith and Marpet and kick inside it’s a win-win for the Bucs here.
10. New York Giants- DE Shaq Lawson/Clemson
I projected Lawson as a first round pick all season long, in the Giants so need a DE opposite of Jason Pierre-Paul.
Lawson probably could fit into a 3-4 as an OLB in that scheme but I think he’s best suited as a 4–3 DE in the pro level.
The Giants could also target LB as well, whether it’s Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith or Alabama’s Reggie Ragland. But like their rival Cowboys they need anyone on defense.
11. Chicago Bears – DT Robert Nkemdiche/Ole Miss
In my opinion he’s a top five prospect. NFL teams are still concerned over minor character concerns. All I can tell you is that this former #1 recruit out of high school is the real deal.
He’s already accustomed to fighting off double teams consistently because of teams were prepared for him.
The Bears could use him as a 3tech or a 5tech to disrupt opposing team’s run games and also create some pass rush. He’s an odd character who’s a natural in the trenches.
12. New Orleans Saints- DE/DT Deforest Buckner/Oregon
Buckner’s one of those guys I can’t quite figure out, I have him graded as a mid to late first-round pick. But in any case he is a big body standing at 6-7 and weighing 280 pounds.
His college teammate Arik Armstead didn’t make a huge impact as a rookie but that may not hurt Buckner directly. Regardless the Saints need size up front, they could go for a pass rusher too.
Buckner will be one of those guys that shines or busts at the combine. He’s that fringy right now.
13. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Lequon Treadwell/Ole Miss
Don’t be surprised if three Rebels are selected within the first 10 picks. But Treadwell could fall if he cannot prove that he is a definite go-to-guy before the draft starts.
Philadelphia just released Riley Cooper and is missing Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson who were released and let go of the past two seasons.
Although they have a need a quarterback I don’t think Philadelphia will draft Paxton Lynch. I just can’t see them falling in love with him not much especially someone like Doug Pederson.
14. Oakland Raiders- ILB Reggie Ragland/Alabama
I switched this pick in the last minute because I came to think about the fact that Oakland really needs an attitude and I’m not sure if Smith will be healthy by the start of training camp, and that’s a huge reason why the Notre Dame star will fall in this draft not because of talent.
Adding Ragland to a core group of Mario Edwards, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and QB Derek Carr could help take the Raiders back to the playoffs as soon as 2016.
I know Oakland needs a CB but they can fill that in FA.
15. Los Angeles Rams- QB Paxton Lynch/Memphis
The Los Angeles Rams are in a new environment and will need a new future face of the franchise. I firmly believe Lynch can be the biggest bust in the draft. But in a league that overemphasizes the quarterback position it allows reaches like this particular pick.
There are rumors that Peyton Manning could be the starting quarterback of the team next year, until then I don’t buy any of it and I do believe they will draft a QB or trade up for one in the draft.
16. Detroit Lions- OT Jack Conklin/Michigan State
Conklin is my #2 OT in this draft in my opinion he embodies what s pass blocking OT should be in the next level. I also believe Detroit would be better off sliding Riley Reiff to RT next season.
One of the main problems with this franchise over the past six years has been there a lack of protection for QB Matt Stafford. CB and DT are also positions of need for the Lions but those positions are a little deeper then OL is.
17. Atlanta Falcons- ILB Jaylon Smith/Notre Dame
Smith is the best ILB in this draft. His gruesome injury during the Fiesta Bowl changes a few things with his draft stock, but he was once considered a top eight pic and a lock to go in the top 10. But now he may fall because there are doubts if he’ll be ready by the season.
Atlanta needs any form of help in the front seven to continue what they built on last year. He may have to redshirt 2016 at the worst-case scenario him but this pic is still too good to pass up at 17 whether it’s him or Alabama’s Reggie Ragland.
18. Indianapolis Colts- OT Taylor Decker/Ohio State
The Colts OL has been MIA since the Peyton Manning era. Andrew luck got tortured, beaten, and bruised by opposing defense over the past three seasons.
For the Colts to get back to the AFC championship game they must protect their franchise QB and moving doctor to write tackle and fellow Buckeye Jack Mewhort inside at LG provides the ability for the team to play their best group at all times.
19. Buffalo Bills- DE/OLB Noah Spence/Eastern Kentucky (formally Ohio State)
Projecting Spence to the spot may not be a popular selection but having seen this kid firsthand in a Buckeye uniform in 2013 I know exactly what this man is capable of.
Rex Ryan wants to bring pressure and caused turnovers there’s nothing more complicated about it Spence was a man who alongside Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington wrecked havoc in opposing backfields throughout every single game.
The only concern is his past drug history; otherwise you have a future all-pro pass rusher. Mark my words!
20. New York Jets- RB Ezekiel Elliott/Ohio State
I do believe that Derek Henry Alabama is the better RB but Elliot gives you much more versatility. I compare Elliot to former Ravens RB Ray Rice. He can be a personal protector for a quarterback in the passing game, he has the speed to break big runs, and he can catch many balls out of the backfield as a check down target.
The Jets can’t have false hope and thinking that Chris Ivory can carry the load of that entire running game by himself even if he comes back Elliot can still find some time on the field to make big plays for the Jets in a division where the patriots have dominated the past 15 years.
21. Washington Redskins- CB Mackensie Alexander/Clemson
For a redshirt sophomore, Alexander checks all the boxes as to what a number one corner in the NFL would be in a scout’s eye.
I don’t like redshirt sophomores declaring for the draft because they may not be ready to be pros. But looking at how Clemson worked against Alabama in the National Championship Game, he was a key player for Brett Venable’s defense.
The Redskins need secondary help. I don’t need to add more than that.
22. Houston Texans- QB Christian Hackenberg/Penn State
I may be the only believer left in this kid. But for some reason I keep looking at his freshman year tape and see what Bill O’Brien was able to have him do just makes me believe that he can be a starting QB in the NFL.
James Franklin was just not a good fit for this particular player. But after seeing Brian Hoyer in the AFC divisional round, I’m sure the Houston Texans are going to be forced to draft/trade for a quarterback by their fan base.
23. Minnesota Vikings- WR Corey Coleman/Baylor
OC Norv Turner is on the right path in the development of QB Teddy Bridgewater but the one thing Bridgewater wax at this point of his career unlike some of the other quarterbacks that Turner has coached he lacks a true go-to-guy.
The one thing Coleman did a lot last year was score touchdowns Minnesota could definitely use that the right in the passing game next to Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Michael Thomas/Ohio State
Thomas has been one of the most consistent receivers in college football for the past two seasons. He’s also done against top competition, guys like Cyrus Jones, Jabril Peppers, and Kendall Fuller.
Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones are both entering free agency this March. It’s very unlikely that they will keep both of them. I would think Sanu signs elsewhere and Thomas slides into that Y spot.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Kendall Fuller/Virginia Tech
I have been projecting this selection since October for two reasons. First, in that scheme for them he could probably be the number one CB heading into Training Camp. Also don’t forget that Fuller is one of the best zone CBs in this draft.
Pittsburgh starting CBs are Ross Cockrell and Antwan Blake. Fuller is definitely better than those guys at the moment. Fuller may also make those guys better as complimentary pieces.
26. Seattle Seahawks- OT Spencer Drango/Baylor
The Seahawks offense of line was a complete and utter disaster this season and protecting Russell Wilson. Russell Okung is likely to depart the Seahawks this off-season because he’s severely declined this season.
Watching Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl against UNC was like watching a train run over a track, as they literally ran the ball every single play and dominated. Drango was the catalyst of that attack.
27. Green Bay Packers – DT A’Shawn Robinson/Alabama
I do have some doubts about Robinson being able to be consistent play after play. But watching the last five games of Alabama’s season all you can see is Jaran Reed and Robinson blitzkrieging an opposing back fields in route to a national championship.
Green Bay has to finally give up on BJ Raji and Datone Jones and bring in some new blood. Robinson with team up with Clinton-Dix and Lacy. I see it as more room for Matthews to make plays.
28. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Tyler Boyd/Pittsburgh
In my opinion Tyler Boyd is the most talented WR in the draft. His “character concerns” quote is going to cause a lot of smoke between scouts when you’re at the Combine in the pro days. Across from Maclin, Boyd can provide another playmaker that has some size for that struggling Chiefs Red-Zone offense.
Boyd was the biggest star from Pittsburgh the season as you lead the team and catches again. What he needs to be on his best behavior for the next three months before the draft because he has first round talent, no one can debate that.
29. Arizona Cardinals- EDGE Leonard Floyd/Georgia
Leonard Floyd can make you believe that he could turn into Justin Houston (who also played at Georgia), but let’s be realistic and compare him to Dee Ford or Randy Gregory because his strengths and weaknesses resemble that of those two particular EDGE rushers.
Arizona has Ronald Powell, Dwight Freeney, and really nobody else and they can’t get consistent pressure on the QB. Floyd can change that and give them some added punch on the line of scrimmage.
30. Carolina Panthers- OT Jason Spriggs/Indiana
One month ago, I was sold Spriggs was going to be a second round pick, now I’m pretty sure he can climb into round 1, particularly in this scenario. Spriggs protected the blind side of Nate Sudfeld, who may not get drafted at all. Indiana runs a spread style that emphasizes the run game. Look at Jordan Howard and Tevin Coleman over the past two seasons.
Carolina can’t rely on Michael Oher to be the LT of the future after letting go of Byron Bell for whatever reason (granted he’s about to be replaced by Tunsil in this scenario. Spriggs can play LT; in fact I compare him to Nate Solder but not as raw coming into the NFL. Carolina benefits from him being available at this juncture.
31. Denver Broncos- DT Kenny Clark/UCLA
Wade Phillips and his defense gave Peyton Manning the best path to win the Super Bowl but they’re in a similar position they were after Elway won back-to back (1997 and 1998). They may have to find a QB if Osweiler isn’t their guy but boosting the DLine is the best way to go with Malik Jackson potentially departing in March.
Clark in my mind can fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme as DT/DE combo. This takes pressure off of having resign Malik Jackson AND Danny Trevathian.
Clark was a force for the Bruins and could rise or fall depending on how many teams reach on skill positions.
32. Cleveland Browns- WR Josh Doctson/TCU
The Cleveland Browns need a new weapon to compliment the new QB and #2 overall pick whether it’s Lynch, Wentz, or Goff. Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas may be the choices here because I believe it’s way too high for Braxton Miller or Leonte Caroo.
Doctson is a bigger WR that can replace Josh Gordon or line up on the other side of the field. I’d move Gordon if I were the Browns because I believe you have to alleviate the stench of losing culture that perpetually has existed since the team was revived in 1999.
33. Tennessee Titans- S/OLB Su’a Cravens/USC
Cravens is not that much different than 2015 NFL Draft selection Deone Bucannon who’s with the Arizona Cardinals. Despite the fact they’ll draft Tunsil #1, the biggest need at this point may be S and Cravens is the kind of player you can move around the defense between the line of scrimmage and deep in the secondary.
Cravens was a highly touted recruit who proved his worth at USC. But like Bucannon and Panthers LB Shaq Thompson, his trade value could fluctuate based on what position teams see him playing going forward.
34. Dallas Cowboys- RB Derrick Henry/Alabama
Henry won the Heisman Trophy this past season as well as carrying Alabama’s offense to the crown for another time. Henry is really the kind of playmaker that offense needs. He’s not as nimble as DeMarco Murray but I’m sure a combo of McFadden and Henry would set the turf in Dallas sideways.
Romo was effective with a great run game to open up the play-action pass in which Romo is superior to many in the NFL and Henry gives them the best chance to do that.
35. San Diego Chargers- OT Shon Coleman/Auburn
I haven’t mentioned much about Shon Coleman and that was because he’s a guy who soared up boards in recent weeks. The Chargers really should target a LT or RT in the 1st two picks, it’s a major need. Melvin Gordon looked lost all season long.
Coleman is 24 years old already which may be a drawback but starting 27 games at LT in the SEC does carry traction in the NFL Draft landscape, similar to DJ Humphries out of Florida last season.
36. Baltimore Ravens- DE Jarran Reed/Alabama
Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama alum and Chris Canty is aged to the point where it might be time to move on. Losing Haloti Ngata was painful being one of the main four pieces for the 2012 team that won the Super Bowl.
Reed is a top 20 player on my board and this is like landing two great players who start this upcoming season, already better than the 2015 NFL Draft for Newsome and Decosta in Baltimore.
37. San Francisco 49ers- CB Eli Apple/Ohio State
Another Buckeye off the board, but I’m not the biggest fan of Apple as a player. To me he’s a poor man’s Bradley Roby. His tackling ability was nauseating at times and he’d always give up one huge passing play in man-to-man coverage per game.
Chip Kelly did like Eric Rowe and could see similarities in athleticism and size. This pick is all potential because he’s really a guy like Jalen Marshall, who should’ve stayed another year at Columbus.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB William Jackson/Houston
Jacksonville could add two players who set the Jaguars apart athletically, essentially adding top two top 5 picks to the team this year because Fowler missed last season. Jackson and Mack as a combo bring youth and flashiness to Gus Bradley’s defense.
The Jaguars don’t need to add anything on offense unless it’s OL but that can addressed later on, maybe in round 3?
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- S Darian Thompson/Boise State
Tampa’s defense has Alterraun Verner, Jonathan Banks, and Sterling Moore at CB, that’s laughable but unfortunately they get screwed of a CB in round 2. Safety is a need also at both spots and Thompson really improves their situations. The Bucs need to improve the OL and in the secondary in desperate fashion.
Thompson could be the ball-hawk that can create turnovers and help them in coverage. He’ll need to be coached because he takes a lot of chances but he’s a risk worth taking, maybe he can play better in zone.
40. New York Giants- LB Scooby Wright/Arizona
The Giants made some huge shifts within their team releasing Beatty, Beason and Schwartz. My opinion is that they try to draft defense and add OL help through free agency. The offense definitely wasn’t a roadblock for them last season.
Wright gives them a playmaker that defense has truly lacked. Lawson and Wright can build a pass rush for the Giants, which was their calling card during their Super Bowls.
41. Chicago Bears- OG Vadal Alexander/LSU
Alexander is the best OG in the draft; he was a key part in Leonard Fournette’s success this season, getting into the second level. The Bears have decided to keep Kyle Long at RT and it’s unclear what they’ll try to do with Jerman Bushrod. But Alexander can play inside by the start of the season and that’s what the Bears need.
Alexander could go anywhere between 23 and even into the 50’s he’s a tough guy to project at this juncture.
42. Miami Dolphins- LB Darron Lee/Ohio State
Lee might end up being the top LB on Miami’s depth chart by the end of Training Camp beside Koa Misi because the depth they have isn’t going to get it done consistently. Lee, like Wright and Cravens, is very versatile.
Looking at the year he had for the Buckeyes, he can simply be a Swiss-army knife at LB. whether he plays strong or weak side LB is to be determined. Lee is another guy who’s sandwiched between the 1st/2nd round.
43. Los Angeles Rams- OT/OG John Theus/Georgia
The Rams drafted QB Paxton Lynch in round 1, so they need to protect him to the best of their ability because the guy can be accurate despite his boom or bust potential.
Theus can either play RT, LG, or RG for the Rams as they continue to try and build a line that can block for Tre Mason and Todd Gurley. Also add that Gurley is used to running behind Theus, as they were teammates at UGA. The Rams will also pick 45th.
44. Oakland Raiders- DT Adolphus Washington/Ohio State
Washington was a highly touted recruit out of HS and has certainly been excellent with the Buckeyes. But his recent legal situation still has to work itself out. When that gets resolved he’ll be on his way to being a top 40 pick in all likelihood.
Washington, Mack, and Edwards on the D-Line… too good to pass up even if they need a CB. You’ll find a player in free agency. Smith and Washington are excellent picks.
45. Los Angeles Rams- OC/OG Nick Martin/Notre Dame
The Rams double-down at the OL because every year it seems to be an issue. Time to resolve that and protect the new face of the franchise. They do need a WR but they can draft a WR in round 3 or 4 since that position has been diluted in today’s pass happy NFL.
Martin, like his brother, can play any of the interior line positions. The Rams already added Theus and having Martin can potentially build them a unit that can run the football like the old LA Rams. Gurley could pull an Eric Dickerson with 2,000 yards.
46. Detroit Lions- DT Andrew Billings/Baylor
I had Artie Burns here until I saw the cap space they had with Calvin Johnson and Reshean Mathis retiring. Billings is a gem for falling here to the Lions at #46. Playing next to Haloti Ngata can teach the Baylor star how to be a pro with an mentor beside him.
Billings and Oakman were dynamite at times for Baylor playing against the run. Billings can continue to build on an impressive season defensively especially after losing Suh and Fairley.
47. New Orleans Saints- TE Hunter Henry/Arkansas
The Saints are definitely in the market for a TE. Ben Watson is definitely getting older and isn’t a long-term option as a #1 TE. Drew Brees’s years are lessening. It’s time to consider putting the Saints back on “win-now” mode.
Henry was the second best TE in the SEC this past season but he’s a special talent. He’s going to be a matchup nightmare considering not many teams could cover him in the play-action passing game. Potential impact rookie!
48. Indianapolis Colts- OG Cody Whitehair/Kansas State
The Colts, in this situation, landed a RT in round 1 with OSU’s Taylor Decker. Now in round two you have options to consider. But it’s an easy move; pick an OG so you can make this weakness a future strength.
Whitehair played LT at Kansas State but like Redskins rookie Brandon Scherf did this season, Whitehair will slide to left or right guard, and the Colts O-Line looks like a threat in waiting, yeah I said it.
49. Buffalo Bills- S Vonn Bell/Ohio State
Rex Ryan’s past safeties include Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Bernard Pollard, Jim Leonard, and Calvin Pryor. Many of those men was enforcers back there and could cover WR’s and TE’s (like Leonard, Pryor, and Reed). Vonn Bell can be the thumper anyone wants, consider him like Donte Whitner, who was a 1st round pick in 2006.
Bell was the best DB on the OSU roster this past season and I have little doubt that Bills can strike gold again, like they did with Ronald Darby.
50. Atlanta Falcons- S Jeremy Cash/Duke
Back to back safeties here at 49 and 50, but these teams both need help. Atlanta needs help especially since William Moore was released. Cash can fill that void because he’s a very similar player as Moore.
Cash was an All-American safety… at Duke! It’s crazy! But he’s an extremely talented player who may even have the ability to by a hybrid linebacker. The athleticism helps his value.
51. New York Jets- EDGE Jordan Jenkins/Georgia
Jenkins and Floyd are a deadly duo. But in the NFL they’re likely not going to be teaming up. Jenkins had 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks this past season. He also slimmed down from 270lbs to 253lbs.
Some believe Jenkins can be a 1st round pick and I notice that his consistency is very good. But, Jenkins is a player that may need to go to a 3-4 team, which is the situation currently with this pick.
52. Houston Texans- RB Devontae Booker/Utah
Booker might’ve had the chance to be a 1st round draft pick but then the injury bug struck him. I compare him to Matt Forte when he was coming out of Tulane; perhaps similar to Jeremy Hill because of the style he plays.
Houston needs to give up on Arian Foster; the dude is clearly trusting the wrong people to get him working towards football shape. Booker and Henry would be great day one plug ins for their drafted QB whether it’s Hackenberg or somebody else.
53. Washington Redskins- OC Ryan Kelly/Notre Dame
Ryan Kelly was the brains and the brawn of the Crimson Tide OL. Kelly also won a few National Championships in his years with the Crimson Tide; on top of that he’s got the ability to be a great C.
After all, two Cs were drafted last year, Marpet and Morse. I’d take Kelly over both of them. Kirk Cousins needs more help up front along with Scherff and Williams. The run game has to be the focus for the Redskins if Alfred Morris returns.
54. Minnesota Vikings- S Jalen Mills/LSU
Jalen Mills is from Desoto, TX, same town outside of Dallas that was home to Von Miller, Patrick Crayton and Tatum Bell. Mills like Jalen Collins is an athlete, but Mills is an intelligent player and that’s always an added bonus for a S.
Mike Zimmer likes stocking up at DB. Mills who can compliment Harrison Smith and those CBs can replace Robert Blanton. Minnesota’s defense is that much scarier.
55. Cincinnati Bengals- DE Kevin Dodd/Clemson
People see Dodd as a top 20 pick, I don’t. I find it usually odd how fast some of these guys fly up draft boards. Dodd is the benefit of playing opposite Shaq Lawson and a great coaching staff in Brett Venables and Dabo Swiney.
The Bengals failed to develop Margus Hunt and simply can’t count on Michael Johnson opposite of Carlos Dunlap.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers- OT Germain Ifedi/Texas A&M
The Aggies have had quite a stretch with OL with Joekel, Matthews, Ogbuehi, and now Ifedi.
The Steelers missed LT Kelvin Beachum and like the Patriots need depth on the OL. The Steelers could target a S in round 3 because Karl Joseph and Jayron Kearse are still on the board.
57. Seattle Seahawks- CB Artie Burns/Miami
Burns is a guy who has a remarkable story, he has custody of his younger siblings and that’s the reason he’s going pro. Burns is also a track star, but like Byron Jones gets great leverage while in coverage. He could soar up boards after the combine.
Seattle could be looking at CB after how life has been this season opposite of Sherman and Jeremy Lane leaving as a free agent makes this a strong possibility because of his talent.
58. Green Bay Packers- DT/DE Sheldon Rankins/Louisville
Recruited by Charlie Strong, Rankins had a hell of a Senior Bowl until he left with an undisclosed injury. Depsite all that I still believe the combination of Rankins, Daniels, and 1st round mock pick A’Shawn Robinson could let these LBs free.
Rankins has a smaller frame but will work his way around blockers. Perfect for any spot on a three man front.
59. Kansas City Chiefs- OG Landon Turner/North Carolina
The ACC First Teamer slides to the Chiefs at #59 and this is a great fit for a team that likes to run the football. North Carolina had a stellar season with Marquise Williams making things happen. Part of that was Turner playing at a high level.
I project Turner at either G spot; we all know Kansas City could use the help with Denver in their division. He can play next to Eric Fisher build a strong right side of the line.
60. New England Patriots- WR Braxton Miller/Ohio State
Braxton Miller is one of the greatest players in school history; he was a fantastic QB for three seasons after the Pryor turmoil in 2011. He was a leader on and off the field, he was a playmaker, and he’s a hell of an athlete.
Miller made the move to WR and has impressed the Patriots in particular; the Julian Edelman factor plays a big part here. They also took a chance on Devin Gardner last year that made the move to WR from QB also. McDaniels could have him in Danny Amendola’s spot. Let’s hope he brings his spin move.
61. Arizona Cardinals- CB Darryl Worley/West Virginia
He’s a Philadelphia born and raised kid who was 1st team All-Big 12 at CB. He had six INTs standing at 6’2” 198lbs, he’s a ball hawk who can be physical and play up in run support.
Arizona is going to lose Powers in free agency like they lost Cromartie. They can continue to plug in the hole with a more permanent solution. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu would welcome the help in the secondary.
62. Carolina Panthers- RB Alex Collins/Arkansas
Collins ran behind the biggest OL in the country with the Razorbacks, he was always a blue chip committing to Arkansas. Collins is one of four RBs in this draft that could be picked in the first two rounds. Collins has some resemblance to current Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart.
Stewart gets injured too much to consistently set him as a long-term option at the position. He can still play but he can’t be the only speed back they have with that style of offense plus he’s getting up there in age.
63. Denver Broncos- OG Joshua Garnett/Stanford
Elway is a Stanford graduate, we all know that but Evan Mathis is an old man now and they need depth on the line going forward if they want to take that next step. The Broncos may move on from Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady, and Mathis altogether, that’s a lot at once.
Garnett struggled in the Senior Bowl but I think Denver has the scheme that could work with his ability even if he moves to C down the road. The kid is bright, that’s a plus on the line, look at Marpet last season, a guy who was over-drafted.
64. Tennessee Titans- CB KeiVarae Russell/Notre Dame
The Notre Dame slides into round 3; he’s a three-year starter at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. He may be 5’11” 196lbs but he’s no stranger to making tackles consistently. My concern is his tibia injury he suffered vs. Boston College.
Titans can afford to wait it out for a player who should be a 1st or 2nd rounder but falls due to circumstances of injury. The Titans lack talent in the secondary to really not take a chance here. Since Verner that secondary has been comparable to molded Swiss cheese.
65. Cleveland Browns- DT Austin Johnson/Penn State
Penn State’s offense didn’t help Christian Hackenberg at all, but that defense kept Penn State in games they had no business being in. Johnson, Nassib, and Zettal all had amazing years for the Nittany Lions.
Stopping the run needs to be a priority and I don’t think that’s a team which Shawn Oakman would fit in because he’s simply too raw. Johnson is a solid player who could step in the rotation and help that run defense.
66. San Diego Chargers- WR Will Fuller/Notre Dame
Will Fuller looked like a 3rd/4th rounder before the season and he had his big moments this season, particularly that catch vs. Virginia to win the game. Fuller did disappear some games but Notre Dame definitely would’ve be worse without his big moments.
The Chargers struck gold in the 3rd round in 2013 with WR Keenan Allen and he’s been their #1 WR. Philip Rivers knows Malcolm Floyd can’t be the primary safety valve for much longer. Fuller can be the downfield threat they’ve lacked for some time.
67. Dallas Cowboys- DE Shawn Oakman/Baylor
The same team in which Ed “Too Tall” Jones played for in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Oakman has reinvented himself since leaving Penn State in 2012; he has been a social media icon. But he’s no Clowney, he could be a huge boom or bust prospect.
The Cowboys took a chance with La’el Collins (who got screwed by law enforcement) and Randy Gregory (who committed his own stupidity), as well as Greg Hardy. With the needs on the DL, Oakman is definitely worth the gamble for “America’s Team”
68. San Francisco 49ers- WR Pharoh Cooper/South Carolina
Cooper was part of a South Carolina team that saw Coach Spurrier step down in the middle of the season. QB Connor Mitch was hurt and Cooper couldn’t get the spotlight on him enough.
Chip Kelly may not have personnel say in San Fran, but I still have reason to believe that he really saw something in Nelson Aghelor last year and Pharoh Cooper has the same kind of X-Factor for much better value.
69. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Jonathan Bullard/Florida
Bullard was sensational this season despite Dante Fowler leaving last season. Florida’s defense also didn’t miss a beat under new HC Jim McElwain. Bullard could go higher in the draft also, but the pieces fell as they may.
The Jaguars need to move on from Chris Clemons and pair Bullard, (pending FA), and Fowler this season. That pass rush will definitely come around. Watch out for Jacksonville if the defense can step up.
70. Baltimore Ravens- DE/OLB Joshua Perry/Ohio State
Another Buckeye off the board and it shouldn’t surprise anybody; they were an extremely talented team the past two seasons. At 6’4 247lbs he could be viewed similar to Paul Kruger or Pernell McPhee were coming out as mid round picks.
Perry is a tweener LB/DE and could provide versatility for the Ravens to replace Daryl Smith, Elvis Dumervil and worst-case scenario Terrell Suggs. The Ravens are heading in the right direction if this draft falls exactly like this.
71. New York Giants- OT La’Raven Clark/Texas Tech
The Giants need depth on OL, particularly since they’ve released OT William Beatty. Clark is not popular right now but his name will emerge closer to the combine because he’s absolutely massive and accustomed to playing in a passing game.
Clark is a 6’6 312lbs with raw technique always being in a two-point stance, Opposite of Ereck Flowers. He could be groomed technique wise to be the other bookend in the future.
72. Chicago Bears- LB Tyler Matekavich/Temple
The Bears need attitude on defense, they have Kyle Fuller, Adrian Amos, 1st round mocked Robert Nkemdiche, and need a leader like Matekavich to take that next step.
This guy was Temple’s unquestioned general on the defense as the MIC. Temple had their most exciting season in school history and Chicago needs a revival just like Temple. I think Matekavich could benefit from being a 3-4 LB because of he can most certainly excel against the run.
73. Miami Dolphins- RB Kenneth Dixon/Louisiana Tech
Dixon and QB Jeff Driskel really were relentless this season with their offensive attack. The guy scored 72TD and ran for 4480 yards at Louisiana Tech. He also put on a 6TD performance vs. North Texas.
Miami can’t trust nor rely on Lamar Miller being the feature back. Perhaps a platoon or a replacement would open up the office a bit. They do need to help QB Ryan Tannehill.
74. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Bronson Kaufusi/BYU
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander said the team needed more pass rushers. This guy could be the solution. Kaufusi is the son of Steven, the DL coach for the Cougars but he still has to get lower in order to gain leverage in the NFL level.
Tampa has taken chances on Adrian Clayborn and Dequan Bowers in the past but Kaufusi has the work ethic, size, and versatility to merit taking him here in round 3.
75. Oakland Raiders- S Karl Joseph/West Virginia
The Raiders get really, really, really lucky. Joseph is the last player in my top 50 still on the board and they need help at S with the retirement of Charles Woodson. The Raiders could probably slide Joseph into that role as a rookie.
Joseph and Worley (selected earlier) were the key components to the Mountaineers defense but he didn’t play much this season due to an injury. This is why he fell here. He’s definitely worth the pick even without working out in full at the combine.
76. Los Angeles Rams- WR Leonte Caroo/Rutgers
The Rams have to stop thinking Brian Quick is going to be a productive WR because he can’t stay healthy. Tavon Austin has shown flashes that he can be an X Factor but now you need a #1 kind of player.
Fortunate for the Rams, Caroo may slide because of his past character concerns. But in Big Ten play, he did put reasonably consistent numbers every week. Very similar to Devante Parker except that Caroo is tougher and runs better routes. This pick is a steal.
77. Philadelphia Eagles- OT Kyle Murphy/Stanford
Philadelphia may need to move on from Jason Peters with his constant injuries and age. Kyle Murphy is a solid T who can play on the right side as Lane Johnson moves to the left.
Murphy and Garnett paved for the way for McCaffrey this past season as he finished second for the Heisman. You know DeMarco Murray is going to be hungry this season.
78. New Orleans Saints- RB Paul Perkins/UCLA
Pierre Thomas is gone and Mark Ingram could be gone in March. The Saints need to find a RB who fits their role of a back out of the shotgun. The Saints already drafted DE Deforest Buckner and TE Hunter Henry.
Perkins may have battled injuries but he’s the closest RB to Pierre Thomas I could project in this class. Pairing him with the other backs in that offense could keep him fresh and less prone to dingers.
79. Philadephia Eagles- CB Zach Sanchez/Oklahoma
Zach Sanchez was a two-year starter for the Sooners and stood out because of his ball skills. His lack of elite size and speed could be detrimental to him in the future but Philly needs bodies in the secondary.
The Eagles have Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell but they clearly need more than that out there especially if they move either to S.
80. Buffalo Bills- OT Jerald Hawkins/LSU
La’el Collins last year, this year it’s Jerald Hawkins, he’s really an athlete and I really expect big things in the combine from him. But like Danielle Hunter in last year’s draft, he’s still got to develop
I’m sure Buffalo could play him right away with confidence. The Bills have to deal with Cordy Glenn this offseason and could potentially need to draft an OT.
81. Atlanta Falcons- C Max Tuerk/USC
Tuerk is a monster at 6’6” 280lbs, but he’ll need to put on weight to play G in the professional level. I see him as a C for Atlanta or any team. An injury in October is the only reason he’s fallen to this spot.
The Falcons OL has vastly improved but adding another piece could shape to a better unit. Tuerk is also highly regarded for his great technique and how simple snapping the ball is for him.
82. Indianapolis Colts- CB Xavier Howard/Baylor
The Colts have double dipped so far in drafting OL landing Taylor Decker and Cody Whitehair. Now they draft CB for the lack of depth and the fact Greg Toler is a free agent is frightening for the softest team in pro football.
Xavier Howard is a bigger CB at 6’1” and a two year starter, he can be physical and matchup with these bigger WRs.
83. New York Jets- DT Vernon Butler/Louisiana Tech
The Jets have to resign Muhammad Wilkerson and still might trade Sheldon Richardson (who was drafted with TB pick in the Revis trade). If both depart the team in the next month then the Jets will need to regroup.
Vernon Butler may go way higher than this but as of now I’m not convinced of what I saw on film merits him as a 1st or 2nd rounder. But Butler’s ability to play different spots makes him valuable so it’s possible he moves up based on that.
84. Washington Redskins- WR Sterling Shepard/Oklahoma
Sheppard was the go-to-guy this season for newcomer QB Baker Mayfield. Sheppard could be line as a #2 WR in the NFL because he’s a solid possession WR, which fits the west-coast styles some teams run.
The ‘Skins could be in the market for a WR with Pierre Garcon likely to be a cap casualty and DeSean Jackson in flux of rumors. Sheppard can probably be a factor day one with Jae Crowder.
85. Houston Texans- DT Hassan Ridgeway/Texas
Vince Wilfork isn’t the same player he once was and Louis Nix was a complete nightmare because of his injuries. For a team that made the playoffs they struggled early in the season. They need mass for the DL and Ridgeway fits the bill.
Ridgeway is almost an immovable object but his work ethic has come into question. We all saw Mike Vrabel and that staff last season. I’m sure Ridgeway would respond to someone like Crennel too!
86. Minnesota Vikings- OT Brandon Shell/South Carolina
Brandon’s great uncle is Art Shell, the former Raider OT and Head Coach. Shell also fits the shoe of an offensive lineman. Shell is very raw and needs to improve his balance and leverage but at RT, Shell can be a powerful run blocker on the other side.
The Vikings can absolutely grab depth at OL, they can’t feel 100% confident with Matt Kalil at LT, even if he bounced back and continues to play well.
87. Cincinnati Bengals- LB Kentrell Brothers/Missouri
I didn’t think Brothers would fall this far but every year we see certain players fall for unknown causes. Brothers can probably at MIC LB but I’d prefer to see him at strong or weak side backer especially in this 4-3 scheme.
Cincinnati got screwed over by Pittsburgh and losing Vontaze Burfict for three games is complete malarkey. But what’s done is done and they now need to add depth and Brothers is the BEST solution here in the 3rd round.
88. Pittsburgh Steelers- FS Keanu Neal/Florida
I have him listed as a FS, but Neal has the ability to play either S, with Mitchell opposite him in this scenario and he also has played both roles in the safety position. Neal also fits the kind of player the Steelers want and that’s an enforcer.
He could end up like Matt Elam if he doesn’t improve in coverage. But the Steelers need to give up on Shamarko Thomas and start fresh again.
89. Seattle Seahawks- DE Shalique Calhoun/Michigan State
Calhoun was once a 1st round lock but then I saw the Alabama game and he got crossed up and tossed like a rag doll. But in his defense, the entire team embarrassed themselves.
Seattle is going to start having to make tough decisions and adding Calhoun could give them flexibility at the DL with Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin on the way out whether this season or next season.
90. Green Bay Packers- OT Cole Toner/Harvard
I’ve been a long critic of players being overdrafted (ie Ali Marpet in 2015) but this Ivy Leaguer deserves to be a 2nd or 3rd round after a great Senior Bowl. Toner also was a 1st team FCS All-American, that’s enough evidence to give Toner a look.
Green Bay needs to consider Baakharti and Bulaga as expendable going forward, they’re either hurt, committing dumb penalties or just not getting it done consistently. Toner brings depth to that line, after the injuries in some places, this becomes important.
91. Kansas City Chiefs- QB Connor Cook/Michigan State
Cook really didn’t help his case with his snubbing of Archie Griffin after winning the Big Ten Championship. He also didn’t help with the Bama performance, but looking at Cook, I see a guy like AJ McCarron, a guy who has won and will tell you all about it. He better learn from Reid and Alex Smith.
Kansas City can’t really stand pat with their situation; they need a guy down the road who can succeed Smith when or if he breaks down. Andy Reid of all people could probably whip him into shape.
92. New England Patriots- CB Cyrus Jones/Alabama
Ok, I have to explain this pick. I know the Patriots need OL depth but they already have so many young guys like Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, David Andrews, Cam Fleming, and the horrible Marcus Cannon. At CB, they have Justin Coleman as their nickel at the moment…
Jones is a return ace, Jones is also a Baltimore kid who can potentially be a great #2 CB despite his stature. Jones can fill two spots as a rookie and I know Bill has drafted Alabama guys in the past.
93. Arizona Cardinals- OG Sebastian Tretola/Arkansas
Arizona’s OL improved a ton over the past few seasons but some extra depth at G is never a bad thing, especially when he blocked for a 2nd day RB like Alex Collins consistently.
Tretola is a mean player on the field, especially as a run blocker, he’s an absolute bruiser. Ted Larsen is a UFA and so is Bobby Massie, Arizona has a lot of ways to go here. But I have to assume Jonathan Cooper’s health is a huge question mark going forward.
94. Carolina Panthers- CB Harlan Miller/SE Louisiana
The Panthers have targeted small school CBs in the recent past with good success. I also believe even if they keep Norman that Bene and Tillman are likely out after the coming season, plus Denver proved depth is key and crucial to winning big games.
Miller has the frame at 6’ 185lbs that coaches look for in today’s NFL of “amazon” WRs. Miller is also very aggressive and is a great tackler in that regard because of his toughness.
95. Denver Broncos- QB Dak Prescott/Mississippi State
Denver is likely to cut Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady, and the other old timers so they can keep Sanders, Miller, Jackson, and maybe Trevathian. But I’m not sold entirely on Brock Osweiler.
Prescott could very well be the Russell Wilson of this draft. He has that “it” that I can’t describe. After all, as a junior Prescott had the Bulldogs ranked #1! Think about that, Mississippi State ranked at #1. His mobility is also a good fit for Coach Kubiak’s scheme.
96. Detroit Lions- WR De’Runnya Wilson/Mississippi State
Back to back Bulldogs here in the 3rd round and this is a need, especially with Calvin Johnson stepping away from the game this offseason. The Lions need a tall target for Stafford.
Wilson was the go-to-guy for Prescott the past two seasons. Being apart of a Bulldogs squad ranked #1 is special. He was a special two-sport athlete coming out too so I expect a big combine and a good broad and vertical jump.
97. New England Patriots- FB/TE Glenn Gronkowski/Kansas State
The Patriots have missed that second TE threat on the offense since Aaron Hernandez was indicted (and cut), they also missed James Develin this past season. He was a key run blocker for them.
But this pick can solve both of them with some legacy. Another Gronk in New England may involve more Dunkin commercials and hip gyration, but it may also include some ability to RUN THE FOOTBALL. Brady can’t sit back in the pocket 50 times a game at 38 and win a Super Bowl.
98. Seattle Seahawks- CB Eric Murray/Minnesota
Seattle has talked about bringing Browner back, but with Jeremy Lane becoming a FA, you’ll need some fresh blood in there to develop. I also believe Tharold Simon is horrible and shouldn’t be playing on any NFL secondary.
Although Murray got beat by Ohio State WR Braxton Miller, he pressed him well on that highlight until speed made the difference. Murray is a well-rounded player with no particular strengths or weaknesses. Seattle has also clinged towards big-school guys.
99. Denver Broncos- LB Blake Martinez/Stanford
The last selection of this mock draft! Of course you leave off with the doubted SB Champions… They could lose Trevathian and that hurts them in coverage because I don’t trust Marshall in there as the leader.
Blake Martinez was the unquestioned leader of Stanford’s defense. It also doesn’t hurt that the team CEO and President graduated from the same alma mater. Plus, Martinez has potential to be a Chad Greenway kind of player.