NFL Mock Draft 2016

Welcome to Head & Heart Sports! We have been talking for some time about creating a blog to discuss our favorite sports insights, analysis, and scorching hot takes and here it is! This blog will cover a myriad of topics for the major professional and college sports and aims to be a fun, interactive site where numbers, analysis, and reason can merge with our fandom and inherent biases growing up as huge sports fans.

A quick background on us. We have been friends since 1st grade and argued about sports since we met on the playground. We still converse on a daily basis, mostly griping about our beloved Wizards perplexing moves and failures, but also arguing about all sports and the hot news of the day. One of us still thinks Vince Young can be a successful NFL Quarterback while the other thinks the Eagles could actually win a Super Bowl. Nonetheless, we hope this blog has more success than both of those pipe dreams.

Our first post revolves around one of our favorite nights of the year, the NFL Draft. The two of us went back and forth doing a Round One Mock Draft based on the team’s current draft positions (obviously subject to change with all of these recent trades). Randy took the top pick and we went back and forth with our projected picks and analysis from there. Hope you enjoy!

-Randy & Nick

1          Los Angeles Rams (acquired from Tennessee) – Jared Goff, QB, Cal

RH:      The Rams not only left St. Louis behind this offseason, but are also saying farewell to the Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Nick Foles and Case Keenum era. Otherwise known as the lock for six to eight wins a season and the “If only the Rams had a Quarterback” era. Goff will have your typical pressures of a number one pick, but will also have the pressure of a new city and his franchise giving up the farm to get him. If he hits, this team has the talent on defense to make the playoffs very quickly and kick off the “Hey, the Rams finally have a Quarterback” era.

NB:      Part of me hopes that the Rams take Ezekiel Elliott and create a 1960’s style 1-2 punch in their backfield. Having said that, Goff should be a good NFL player and can hopefully be the face of the new LA franchise.

2          Philadelphia Eagles (acquired from Cleveland) – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota

NB:      I find it curious after giving big money to both Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel this offseason that the Eagles would trade up for a QB. If I were the Eagles GM, I would have taken a page out of another (former) Philly GM’s book and tanked the 2016 season by not resigning Bradford and going with Daniel and keeping their draft picks. Then next season either draft their QB or look for one in free agency if Daniel can’t hang as a starter. It was a lot of picks to give up for a roster that has a lot of holes after the Chip Kelly era. Now that they did make the trade, I think Wentz has decent long term potential and it will remain to be seen if he can have the same success as another QB Philly drafted at second overall, Donovan McNabb.

RH:      (Reader note: I’m a lifelong suffering Eagles fan) When I first saw the trade happened I had no idea what to think, I had a feeling it was coming and completely understand you’re not winning in this league without a franchise Quarterback. They did give up less than the Rams which made me feel good. Wentz looks the part physically, but I am a little skeptical. Really good size, good arm, good mobility it does all sounds good on paper. You know what? I just talked myself into this a little bit more, he’s going to go from a just kid in Bismarck to the Prince of Broad Street! Let’s do this!

3          San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

RH:      If this pick ends up being Jalen Ramsey, I wouldn’t be shocked and can’t really argue the pick at all. Ramsey is the top player on some draft boards and would also fill a team need. I just see o line as a bigger need for a team that’s used a pick in the first five rounds on an offensive tackle just once in the last nine drafts. The king of the bolo tie is as tough as they come, but he’s long overdue for some help.

NB:      Pretty solid pick. I think San Diego will end up going Ramsey after losing Eric Weddle and convincing themselves that their offensive line is good enough.

4          Dallas Cowboys – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

NB:      The Cowboys have been smart drafters in the past few years and avoided the hype traps that plagued their past. I think they avoid the temptation of ‘Zeke Elliott and go after a stud for their defense. After losing DeMarcus Ware and the Greg Hardy fiasco last year, the Cowboys need to get a young, athletic game changer on their defensive line. Buckner will be physically dominant at the next level. At 6’7” and 290 lbs., he will be a force to be reckoned and will look absolutely intimidating representing the lone star on his helmet. QBs of the NFC East beware.

RH:      (Reader note: I cannot stand the Dallas Cowboys, everything about them disgusts me) Buckner appears to be a beast. Not sure his best fit is in a 4-3, but he should be good enough to make it work. This team has a pretty bad defense so they need whatever help they can get. If they take Jalen Ramsey here on Thursday, I’ll be shopping for a new TV Friday morning.

5          Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

RH:      The Jags should sprint to the podium to make this selection, but they’re the Jags so they’ll probably trip and fall on the way up to turn in the pick. Ramsey not only fills a positional need, he brings potential play making ability on defense to a team that currently has very little on that side of the ball. With last year’s first rounder Dante Fowler finally stepping on the field the Jags can now see the door that exits the basement of the NFL.

NB:      A note to readers that in our original mock draft, both of us accidentally forgot to draft Jalen Ramsey (insert monkey face emoji here). Great pickup for a Jags defense that can use just about anything.

6          Baltimore Ravens – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

NB:      (Reader note: I’m a big Ravens fan) YES YES YES. Assuming a healthy career (a big if according to some sources), Myles Jack should be the next defensive superstar for the Ravens following in the footsteps of Lewis, Reed, Ngata, Suggs, and company. This kid is an absolute stud and will pair nicely with CJ Mosley, creating the most formidable Linebacking duo the team has had since Lewis and Boulware at the turn of the century. The Ravens have lost some of their defensive luster since their last Super Bowl and Jack will be a great way to add some shine back to the Raven’s defense. Also, he would also become the best Running Back on their roster if the team got super desperate.

RH:      This is a huge pick up if he’s healthy and with this news coming out so close to the draft I think it’s just overblown. Jack just sounds like a Raven.

7          San Francisco 49ers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

RH:      This is an interesting spot, the Niners could go any number of directions and might even try to trade up. One of the deepest teams in the league a few years ago, San Fran suddenly has holes everywhere. The other interesting part of this is how much influence does Chip Kelly have? I think he has a little more than people think. He took Lane Johnson his first draft in Philly and that worked out pretty well, Chip loves athletic offensive tackles and he continues that trend with Stanley.

NB:      Niners need just about everything after their mass exodus the last two seasons. Bosa would be the pick if they go defense, but Stanley would be a nice addition for their line.

8          Cleveland Browns (acquired from Miami) – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

NB:      Breaking news: The Browns have a ton of needs. Following the trade with the Eagles, the Browns have plenty of draft assets at their disposal and can start filling some of those needs. Normally, I would suggest to take the best player available at this point (probably Bosa), but the Browns offense is so desperate for talent, that I would go with a player like Treadwell. The lack of top end speed doesn’t scare me, because this guy is a great competitor and frequently won the one on one battles in the SEC despite a lack of separation (something that will happen in the NFL as well). Even if Josh Gordon makes it back, the receiving corps is so barren in Cleveland that Treadwell will be able to make an immediate impact for a team that needs a playmaker.

RH:      This would be a very Browns-ish pick, Treadwell should be good no matter where he goes, but I’d like to see them take a lineman on either side of the football and build through the trenches.

9          Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

RH:      The Bucs filled some needs with the signings of Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers. They still need a lot of help at Safety and could use another young offensive tackle to go with Donovan Smith. In this scenario Bosa is a huge bargain and also makes sense even with the signing of Ayers. Tampa whiffed recently on high picks at defensive end when they took Adrian Clayborn and Da’quan Bowers, they make up for those draft busts here.

NB:      Great value getting Bosa at number nine. Get the best player available and worry about the rest of their holes later.

10        New York Giants – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

NB:      This is a great draft for Cornerbacks and the Giants are a team that knows they need to continue to upgrade their secondary. Landon Collins at Safety last year was a solid addition and I think Janoris Jenkins will be decent for them as well (but probably won’t live up to that huge contract). Another piece to the puzzle will be Hargreaves. He has great ball skills and awareness and could end being as impactful as another Florida alum, Joe Haden. He is poised to become a #1 Cornerback in the NFL and will feast on Romo, Cousins, and Wentz/Bradford for the next few years.

RH:      The G men spent approximately 17.2 billion dollars this off season to help improve a defense that’s been one of the worst in league history over the past few seasons. Good pick here for them.

11        Chicago Bears – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

RH:      This is my first reach of the draft. Scouts seem to like everything about Rankins except his size, questioning whether he can hold up inside on an every down basis. I personally think the guy is a really good football player regardless of size. He could slip in the draft because of the size concerns. I just think with his ability to make plays, play two gap or one gap and the Bears need for good players on defense, they snatch him up at #11.

NB:      Chicago is another team with a bunch of needs. There are other good defensive lineman they could also grab at this spot such as Reed, Lawson, or Nkemdiche. They may surprise us and go a different direction seeing as how deep this draft is on the defensive line.

12        New Orleans Saints – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

NB:      One of my favorite players in the draft, Alexander is one of the most competitive and intense Cornerbacks you will ever see. He trash talks all game long, but backs it up with stellar play and was one of the main reasons Clemson made it to the National Championship game. He can immediately upgrade a below average Saints defense that allowed 413 yards/game last season and will help bring some defensive identity to a team that has been lacking it for some time now.

RH:      Similar to the Giants two picks earlier, the Saints add a really good player to a historically bad defense. Maybe this year, the Saints opposing QB won’t be the best player in your fantasy league.

13        Miami Dolphins (acquired from Philadelphia) – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

RH:      This is my lock of the draft outside of the first two picks. I don’t agree with the pick from the Dolphins standpoint, but they’ve shown very little over the last few seasons that make me think they know what they’re doing. They are very likely to trade up a few spots to make sure they get ‘Zeke, possibly even up to the eighth pick they held originally. I think Elliott is going to be really good, but I don’t like taking Running Backs this high and the Dolphins have plenty of other issues they could/should address here.

NB:      Another point on teams thinking about Running Back this year is that they know next year there will be a handful of studs coming out like Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, and Dalvin Cook. This may convince them to wait a year and see if they can find a diamond in the rough. But I agree that the Dolphins would not be a team to look ahead like that.

14        Oakland Raiders – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

NB:      The Raiders were one of the pleasant surprises of the 2015 season with one of the most exciting, young offenses in the league. Oakland would be prudent to protect their investment in Derek Carr by bolstering their already solid front line with Conklin. He will bring Big Ten physicality and huge 6’6”, 325 lb. frame to a team historically known for its toughness. Conklin will give the Black Hole an opportunity to witness more big ACDC highlights in the future (either in Oakland or LA).

RH:      Love the pick. Conklin gives the Raiders a chance to have the best o line in the league. Love when an up and coming team adds to a strength making a part of their team great.

15        Tennessee Titans (acquired from Los Angeles) – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

RH:      The Titans made what is already crazy process completely fly off its hinges when the Rams traded the 15th pick along with four other high end picks over the next two seasons for the first pick. The Titans start off what they hope is a quick rebuild with all those picks and their new franchise Quarterback by giving him some much needed protection. Between Mariota getting hurt for parts of last season and what they’ve seen from division rival Indy, they quickly learned what you need to do when you get a franchise Quarterback.

NB:      Great trade by the Titans moving back in the draft. Great move getting an offensive lineman here to protect Mariota.

16        Detroit Lions – Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

NB:      The Lions need to keep bolstering their defensive line following the departure of Ndamukong Suh last year and the aging Haloti Ngata. Reed helped anchor a devastating defensive line at Alabama and projects as a pretty safe bet to be successful in the NFL. The Lions could go a lot of directions here, but it’s probably too early to find a Megatron replacement, so they should keep improving their defense and look for a wide out later in the draft.

RH:      Can’t argue with this pick. I would like to know why the Lions are cursed. Anyone have any ideas?

17        Atlanta Falcons – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

RH:      The Falcons need more good football players. It’s a very simple concept but it’s something they seem to struggle with. They have their Quarterback, they have an all-world Wide Receiver and a really good Cornerback. Outside of that what is there to like about this team? They’re not really good at any one thing which is usually a problem. Here they take Lawson pair him with last year’s first rounder Vic Beasley and have the beginnings of a good pass rush. They might learn one of these years that two to four great players cannot carry a team for an entire season.

NB:      An all Clemson defensive line isn’t the worst idea in the world.

18        Indianapolis Colts – Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

NB:      This might be a little early, but someone is going to take a shot on Nkemdiche. He is just too talented not to go in the 1st round. The Colts have struggled in the draft since they took Andrew Luck in 2012 and need to find someone who can impact their team right away. Nkemdiche is the guy who can elevate their defense, get after the opposing QB, and draw double teams so that other players can make plays. He also might be able to take some pressure off of Luck’s shoulders. Irsay, Grigson, and Pagano can’t afford another disappointing season. They need to win now and Nkemdiche is the best available player to help them do that.

RH:      Nkemdiche is really talented and the Colts always seem to need help on defense, but they’ve got to find a way this draft to get Luck some help on the O-line. The rest of their picks should be offensive and I’m only half joking when I say that.

19        Buffalo Bills – Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

RH:      The Bills defense took a major step back last year going from one of the league’s best in 2014 to a borderline liability in 2015. Rex Ryan will do everything in his power to fix his defense and it starts with Chris Jones. Jones is a very large human but also surprisingly quick, a combination like that will be a nightmare for opposing interior lineman. At a recent political rally Rex was heard yelling out to the masses “Make the D-line great again!” Oh wait maybe that was something different…

NB:      Let’s not get political in our first post Mr. Haines. I expect the Bills to go defense with this pick as well.

20        New York Jets – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

NB:      Even if Ryan Fitzpatrick ends up resigning, the Jets need a long term option at Quarterback. Paxton Lynch can be the QB of the future for the Jets. He is a huge, strong armed thrower with the athleticism to keep plays alive after his line breaks down. He could end up being a poor man’s Ben Roethlisberger for the Jets, which would be a big upgrade over most QBs that have come through the revolving door of the Jets. No matter what, I expect to hear a lot of J-E-T-S chants in Chicago on Thursday when this pick is announced.

RH:      I can’t decide if I like this pick or not. I guess I just don’t think the Jets are meant to have a good Quarterback. They should just take another defensive lineman and save themselves the heartache.

21        Washington Redskins – Karl Joseph S, West Virginia

RH:      Washington has plenty of needs for a team that just made the playoffs. They could use help on the offensive line as well as all three levels of the defense. Their secondary was really bad last year and has been for a long time. I’m giving them Karl Joseph with this selection, a guy with good size and instincts. We know they are in a division with Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant, but they need to take baby steps with this secondary. Much lesser receivers such as Kenny Britt, Rueben Randle, Riley Cooper, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams and Derek Hagan have all hit the Washington secondary for big games and long touchdowns the last two seasons.

NB:      The perennial offseason champions may have swung the draft with their signing of Josh Norman a few days before the draft. We’ll see how this impacts where the Redskins go at #21 and how the teams behind them (Pittsburgh especially) draft with one less team (seemingly) going for one of the good Cornerbacks in this draft.

22        Houston Texans – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

NB:      Vince Wilfork isn’t getting any younger, folks. The Texans made big moves on offense this offseason acquiring Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller. We know their defense is already good, anchored by JJ Watt, but it can’t hurt to boost their D-line further by getting a big fella from Alabama. Robinson has the potential to eat up interior lineman, allowing Watt and Clowney to unleash havoc on opposing QBs, as Wilfork moves into his twilight years. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the terrifying Texan’s defensive line.

RH:      Houston has put themselves in a position where they really don’t have a huge need. Best player available will likely be the move here. Possibly a Wide Receiver if they’re worried about Jaelen Strong’s issues.

23        Minnesota Vikings – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

RH:      This is a good, solid football team. They have their QB, their defense is good and deep, and they are pretty well coached. The offensive line could use some attention in this draft, but their first, second, and third needs should all be Wide Receivers and offensive playmakers. They appear to have hit on fifth round selection Stefon Diggs last year, but they need more than just him to help out Bridgewater. Josh Doctson is my favorite of the first round wide outs including Treadwell. Open up a new tab in your browser right now and look up some of his highlights from college (of course don’t forget to come back and finish reading our work). This guy has excellent body control and can catch basically anything that’s not thrown to the hot dog guy in the third row. Add Doctson, Diggs and one more young playmaker to this team and watch out Green Bay.

NB:      I love Josh Doctson. And we already know he looks good in purple.

24        Cincinnati Bengals – Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

NB:      The boring Bengals. They just keep quietly making solid picks year after year in the draft and building a deep, talented team at every position. They need a WR to pair with AJ Green, but I don’t think the Bengals will reach in the 1st round. They will take another guy to bolster their defense to keep them in the playoff hunt and build depth around Geno Atkins and company. Billings is powerful, yet quick for a man his size and could be dominate in the AFC North trenches once he adapts to the NFL.

RH:      Good pick here overall, but I see them picking receiver. Possible even trading up with Minnesota and Houston in front of them both possibly looking at Wide Receiver.

25        Pittsburgh Steelers – Eli Apple, CB. Ohio State

RH:      These aren’t your grandfather’s Steelers. Gone are the days of having one of the league’s top defenses, now you have one of the league’s most prolific offenses. Big Ben is playing at an elite level, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell both might be from another galaxy. They are most likely playing this season without number two wide out Martavis Bryant due to suspension so receiver could be an option at some point this draft. However first and foremost with this team they need to address the defense especially the secondary. I have them taking the best Cornerback available in Apple at this spot

NB:      I like Apple, especially after hearing why he changed his last name (google it if you want to shed a few tears), and he would be a good addition to the putrid Steelers’ secondary.

26        Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

NB:      This pick just makes too much sense. The Seahawks need to improve their offensive line to protect Rusty and open up holes for Thomas Rawls (pour one out for Beastmode). After trading Max Unger last year, they can replace him with the anchor of the National Champions line in Kelly. He can start right away and has the football IQ and leadership to lead the ‘Hawks O-line to more playoff success.

RH:      Good pick here plus fills a need. Their interior line was destroyed early and often in the playoffs against Carolina.

27        Green Bay Packers – Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

RH:      With several Linebackers still on the board I almost went that direction with Green Bay seemingly always needing an upgrade on defense somewhere. Ifedi has a lot of upside, fills a need and just feels like a Packer to me. The Packers midseason struggles on offense had a lot to do with lack of offensive line play. Ifedi could fill the swing tackle role this season and become a mainstay on the line for years to come.

NB:      No complaints with that pick. The Packers might draft Derrick Henry just so that he can eat the new, slim Eddie Lacy as a pre-game snack.

28        Kansas City Chiefs – Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia

NB:      Another savvy drafting team, the Chiefs could use upgrades at a few positions, but I like the idea of them adding another athletic Linebacker to their front seven. I’m actually surprised he slipped all the way to #28 in our draft and the Chiefs would be wise to nab him when they can. He has good speed and range for an outside Linebacker and could help mitigate the injury to Justin Houston and the age of Tamba Hali. Could be a draft day steal for a team that was already pretty deep last season.

RH:      Floyd seems to be rising up draft boards as the draft gets closer. Could be a beast. Get healthy soon, Justin Houston.

29        Arizona Cardinals – Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

RH:      There’s a lot of speculation that Arizona could go QB here, I’m not buying it. This team is really good and ready to win a title now, they won’t use their first round pick on a player that won’t see the field this season. Deone Bucannon is a heck of a story switching from Safety to an inside Linebacker spot last year. I just don’t know how long someone of that size can hold up, adding a good all-around player like Ragland allows Bucannon to become more a jack of all trades player for this defense moving him around in all kinds of creative ways. The Cardinals are close and they know it, they won’t over think this pick by taking a project Quarterback.

NB:      I hope they wait until later in the draft to get a QB. Give some more help to the defense and the Cardinals could get over the hump next year and make the Super Bowl.

30        Carolina Panthers – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

NB:      You have the MVP QB. You have to do more than just bring back Ted effin’ Ginn as his only deep threat. Possession receiver Kelvin Benjamin will be back next year off his ACL tear and the Super Bowl runner ups can take some burden off of him by adding Coleman, an absolute burner and big play wide out. Coleman can take a top of a defense and prevent teams from stacking the box on Cam and the running game in Carolina. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers added some depth to their defense, especially after losing Josh Norman, but I think the temptation of Coleman will be hard to pass up.

RH:      Ted effin’ Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery played big snaps for this team last year. Enough said.

31        Denver Broncos – Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State

RH:      Elway and company are really smart and creative when it comes to the cap. I can definitely see them trading this pick with a team that’s in the top six or seven of the second round, grabbing an extra pick or two and paying their top pick a second round salary. If they stay at this pick they get a steal with Darron Lee. A guy with a lot physical talent should be able to contribute in several different ways for Wade Phillips’ defense. My partner wants me to put Christian Hackenberg’s name here, he could be the target if Denver does end up trading back a few spots.

NB:      Hack! Hack! Hack!

 

Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer, AP

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