It’s the day thousands of NFL fans have been waiting for. The day that team’s fortunes may be made with the right first round pick. The NFL Draft starts tonight at 8 PM ET on ESPN and the NFL Network. The Stack is here with not one, but two mock drafts (yes mock me, it’s OK). No playoff talk today though that was quite the game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs between Nashville and Anaheim (Nashville won their first ever game seven appearance 2-1). The New York Islanders also beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of the second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the NBA, Charlotte and Portland won on the road while Golden State mercifully ended the national nightmare we all had to endure known as the Houston Rockets. Now let’s get right to the mock drafts that we hope you demand even though hundreds have already been force fed to you in “the stack” for today, Thursday, April 28th:
2016 NFL Mock Draft
Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff (California)…It’s either Goff or Carson Wentz and the Rams go with the more experienced college QB.
Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State University)…Should the Rams take Goff, the Eagles would be absolutely delighted. They covet Wentz and will give him a year to sit and learn behind Sam Bradford.
San Diego Chargers – CB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)…Here’s the first real mystery of the draft. The Chargers need help in a lot of places and Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil is the other possibility, but Ramsey is the best shutdown cornerback in the draft and the Chargers need help in the secondary. Plus offensive line help can be found in the second round.
Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)…I struggled with this one here, because running back Ezekiel Elliott is a real play to be drafted here. Can you imagine what he would do behind that offensive line and with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant? A-may-zing!! Yes I know I spelled that wrong. Given the two suspensions though to their defensive ends, I think they go with Bosa, a sure pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)…Myles Jack, the defensive end from UCLA has been slated in this spot for much of the past couple of months, but I’ve been hearing more people fear about his knee and that he could drop out of the top ten. How about a solid tackle to help protect the franchise quarterback? It’s Jack or Tunsil here.
Baltimore Ravens – RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)…The Ravens would love Tunsil or Bosa to fall to them, but Elliott can help take the offense to new heights. Ozzie Newsome will take the best player on the board and the best player on the board at this point is Elliott.
San Francisco 49ers – DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)…Chip Kelly likes Oregon players. Buckner is a great defensive end and the 49ers need help all across the board.
Cleveland Browns – LB Darron Lee (Ohio State)…Three Ohio State guys in the top ten? Yes! Lee has quietly been climbing up the boards lately and the Brown, while they may look to take Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley here, go with a guy who just knows how to play defense. He will be an immediate starter.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves (Florida)…The Bucs could use some secondary help and Hargreaves was the best player on a good Gators defense that was on the field too often, because the offensive was terrible.
New York Giants – OT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)…Defense will be addressed early in the draft even though the Giants spent a boatload of money in free agency on that side of the ball, but if Stanley falls to them, tough not to pick him and make that offensive line that much better.
Chicago Bears – Myles Jack, OLB (UCLA)…Bears don’t expect to fall this far, but since he’s here they have to take him. Too good of a talent to pass up.
New Orleans Saints – OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)…Saints need a lot of help defensively and wide receiver is a little too high to take at this point so the Saints take the best defensive player available.
Miami Dolphins – CB Eli Apple (Ohio State)…Apple is a very good cornerback and the Dolphins will be happy to have him here.
Oakland Raiders – DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)…Rankins is arguably the best defensive tackle in the draft though Jarran Reed from Alabama thinks otherwise. The Raiders continue to build a strong team.
Tennessee Titans – OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)…Wide receiver is a strong possibility here, but in order to keep Marcus Mariota healthy, the Titans need to protect him.
Detroit Lions – DT Jarran Reed (Alabama)…tempted for the Lions to go wide receiver here, probably Laquon Treadwell since they need help at that position with Megatron retiring. They drafted Ndamukong Suh really high and lost him in free agency last year. They struggled and find a good replacement.
Atlanta Falcons – DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)…I have my doubts that Lawson will be here, but if he is, pairing him up with Vic Beasley will be huge for the Vikings defense.
Indianapolis Colts – OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)…Noah Spence, a defensive end from Eastern Kentucky is in play here because the Colts need help on the defensive side too, but the Colts know they have to protect the franchise, Andrew Luck, and can’t pass up on Decker.
Buffalo Bills – ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)…Spence is in play for the Bills here as is wide receiver and possibly even quarterback (Paxton Lynch anyone?), but the Bills go with Ragland, a superb linebacker during his time at Alabama.
New York Jets – OLB Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)…Lynch could go here, but Spence is a linebacker with a lot of talent that will be an asset to Todd Bowles defense. A cornerback here is also in play.
Washington – DT Anthony Billings (Baylor) No CB here for Washington since they signed Josh Norman. Maybe some wide receiver help, but defensive tackle is a position of need too. Billings is a big guy who will clog the middle for years to come.
Houston Texans – WR Wil Fuller (Notre Dame)…The Texans continue the offensive upheaval and give new QB Brock Osweiler another weapon and Fuller certainly is a weapon. Great speed, but some questionable hands. Tight end Hunter Henry from Arkansas is also an option here.
Minnesota Vikings – WR Laquon Treadwell (Ohio State)…If Treadwell is off the board, WR Josh Doctson from TCU becomes the pick. Even if both are on the board this will be a tough decision, but the Vikings pick the Ole Miss wide receiver in part because he faced stronger defense and more press coverage unlike what Doctson faced in the Big 12.
Cincinnati Bengals – WR Josh Doctson (TCU)…Whatever wide receiver the Vikings don’t pick the Bengals will after losing Marvin Jones and Mohamad Sanu in the offseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers – CB William Jackson III (Houston)…Steelers will go secondary here with the outside chance of taking Henry with Heath Miller now retiring. Artie Burns from Miami is an option as is Kendall Fuller from Virginia Tech, but the Steelers go with Jackson. Safety Vonn Bell is an outside possibility as well.
Seattle Seahawks – OT Jason Spriggs (Indiana)…Russell Okung is no longer there and the Seahawks need to make sure their offensive line remains a strong unit. Jonathan Bullard, a DT from Florida also is a possibility here.
Green Bay Packers – DT Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech)…Green Bay keeps picking first round defensive players and though they are intrigued with the idea of Hunter Henry, they elect to go with a more glaring need in light of Letroy Guion’s retirement for a season.
Kansas City Chiefs – CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)…Chiefs took Marcus Peters in the first round last year and pairing him up with Alexander who really shined on Clemson’s defense last year makes a lot of sense.
Arizona Cardinals – Jonathan Bullard, DE/DT (Florida)…A little versatility along the defensive line where the Seahawks lost a little bit in free agency will help the Legion of Boom continue to make life miserable for defenses.
Carolina Panthers – CB Artie Burns (Miami (FL))….They lost Josh Norman so the Panthers will take the best cornerback available.
Denver Broncos – QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)…Broncos have a need for a quarterback and like the Vikings did with Teddy Bridgewater, the Broncos select a QB with the last pick of the first round to secure that fifth year option.
Alternate mock draft
Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff (California)…See above, Rams need a star QB. Goff seems to fit more of what they want.
Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State University)…The Eagles covert Wentz and they will get him as part of their “long-term solution” at the QB position.
San Diego Chargers – CB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)…Again, thought about putting Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil here, but the Chargers need help in the secondary and moreso just had injuries on their offensive line last year rather than it being a need.
Dallas Cowboys – RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)…This is the big shock of the first round. The Cowboys need help at defensive end, but recognize that they shouldn’t have let DeMarco Murray leave last year and they will have a star in Elliott.
Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)…They would be fine with Myles Jack, but if Bosa falls to them, it’s going to be hard to pass him up.
Baltimore Ravens – OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)…The Ravens are in a good position here, either get a franchise bookend offensive tackle or a good pass rusher. Think they’ll take Tunsil.
San Francisco 49ers – DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)…Chip Kelly loves his Duck players. Could be a difficult decision between him and Myles Jack. The real bombshell pick could be if the 49ers draft Paxton Lynch or another team trades up for him.
Cleveland Browns – OLB Myles Jack (UCLA)…Browns need help on offense and will take Ezekiel Elliott if he falls to them. If not, they take the best defensive player on the board.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida)…Bucs need more help at defensive back and Hargreaves will help them in this area.
New York Giants – OT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)…If one of the defensive ends falls in the draft then the Giants will pounce them. In the meantime though, since they’ve spent so much money on that side of the ball in free agency they will help their offensive line.
Chicago Bears – DE/OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)…Bears head coach Rick Fox continues to build the defense. Versatility will certainly help and Floyd provides them that.
New Orleans Saints – DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)…Saints desperately need help on defense and Lawson will definitely do wonders for them.
Miami Dolphins – OT/G Jack Conklin (Michigan State)…Eli Apple is a possibility here at cornerback. Dolphins have big needs at both spots. True toss up.
Oakland Raiders – DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)…Oakland’s defense takes another step forward with the best defensive tackle in the draft. Raiders will be in good shape after this pick.
Tennessee Titans – OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)…Perhaps a little too high, but the Titans need someone to protect Marcus Mariota. A wide receiver pick is not out of the question here.
Detroit Lions – DT Jarran Reed (Alabama)…So tempted to go Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson here to help the wide receiver need, but the loss of Suh last year was really felt. Lions get Reed to help out with that.
Atlanta Falcons – OLB Darron Lee (Ohio State)…Think the Falcons would really like to have Lawson fall to them, but they’ll take the next best linebacker on the board and Lee will be exactly what Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is looking for.
Indianapolis Colts – DE Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)…With all of the offensive tackle guys taken, the Colts fulfill a big need on defense with Spence.
Buffalo Bills – ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)…Rex Ryan loves his defense. Could see the Bills go wide receiver or maybe even quarterback (Paxton Lynch?) Instead they go with Ragland who will help the Bills defense get back to the Rex Ryan defense of old since they really weren’t the same last year.
New York Jets – QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)…Given the Jets current QB conundrum, taking Lynch here is a bit of a stretch when there are a number of good guys on the board, but if they can give him a year or two to develop, he can be a big time starter.
Washington – DT Andrew Billings (Baylor)…CB no longer a need. Washington continues to build up that defensive line.
Houston Texans – WR Will Fuller (Notre Dame)…Bottomline, whether it is Doctson, Corey Coleman or Fuller, the Texans will draft a wide receiver to help out Brock Osweiler.
Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson (TCU)…Take either Treadwell or Doctson here. I don’t care. Vikings just need wide receiver help to help Teddy Bridgewater.
Cincinnati Bengals – WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)…Whichever wide receiver is left for the Bengals they will take.
Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Artie Burns (Miami (FL))…Steelers need help in the secondary and the Steelers go with Burns over William Jackson III.
Seattle Seahawks – DE/DT A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama)…Seahawks may be tempted to go with Robinson’s teammate, center Ryan Kelly, but they go with Robinson who provides lots of versatility on the defensive line. Seahawks will address the offensive line later in the draft.
Green Bay Packers – DE/DT Jonathan Bullard (Florida)…Packers need plenty of help on the defensive line specifically at the tackle position. They could go Vernon Butler, DT from Louisiana Tech here, but Bullard can be an end or a tackle.
Kansas City Chiefs – CB William Jackson III (Houston)…Chiefs could reach and take a quarterback here, but they will address that later in the draft. Remember they took Marcus Peters in the first round last year and he turned out to be pretty good. Make it bookend corners now for the Chiefs who take Jackson III.
Arizona Cardinals – C Ryan Kelly (Alabama)…Cardinals, like the Chiefs are tempted to take a quarterback to learn behind Carson Palmer, but they take Kelly who will bolster the offensive line.
Carolina Panthers – CB Mackenzie Alexander (Clemson)…Corey Coleman is a possibility here, the wide receiver from Baylor, but with the loss of Josh Norman just a few days ago, the Panthers need to address the loss quickly in the draft.
Denver Broncos – QB Connor Cook (Michigan State)…Offensive tackle Jason Spriggs is a possibility given the losses along the offensive line the Broncos suffered in free agency. There is a guy from Texas A&M too that may go here, but the Broncos go with a quarterback so they are able to pick up that fifth year option and because their quarterback situation currently isn’t you know, great.
No doubt the first round tonight will be much different than what either of these two mock drafts look like. Should be a fun night. Enjoy the draft everyone.
Coming up Friday: First round reaction plus a quick recap of NBA and Stanley Cup Playoff action.