Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Final Mock Draft- Mashup with You're on the Clock's Iron Mike

1. Los Angeles Rams-
(Mike+Matt) QB Jared Goff, California

2. Philadelphia Eagles-
  (Mike) RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State
  (Matt) QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

3. San Diego Chargers-
(Mike) DE Deforest Buckner, Oregon
(Matt) OL Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi

4. Dallas Cowboys-
(Mike+Matt) CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

5. Jacksonville Jaguars-
(Mike+Matt) OLB Myles Jack, UCLA

6. Baltimore Ravens-
(Mike) OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi
(Matt) DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State

7. San Fransisco 49ers-
(Mike) DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
(Matt) DL Deforest Buckner, Oregon

8. Cleveland  Browns-
(Mike+Matt) Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-
(Matt+Mike) Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves

10. New York Giants-
(Mike+Matt) Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd

11. Chicago Bears-
(Mike) OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
(Matt) DL Shaq Lawson, Clemson

12. New Orleans Saints-
(Mike) DT A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
(Matt) DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

13. Miami Dolphins-
(Mike) ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
(Matt) RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State

14. Oakland Raiders-
(Mike) OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State
(Matt) LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

15. Tennessee Titans-
(Mike) OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
(Matt) OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State

16. Detriot Lions-
(Mike) WR Laquan Treadwell, Mississippi
(Matt) DL A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama

17. Atlanta Falcons-
(Mike) DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
(Matt) LB Darron Lee, Ohio State

18. Indianapolis Colts-
(Mike) DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
(Matt) OL Taylor Decker, Ohio State

19. Buffalo Bills-
(Mike+Matt) DL Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

20. New York Jets-
(Mike) DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi
(Matt) QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

21. Washington Redskins-
(Mike) DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
(Matt) DL Jarran Reed, Alabama

22. Houston Texans-
(Mike) WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
(Matt) WR Corey Coleman, Baylor

23. Minnesota Vikings-
(Mike) WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
(Matt) WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi

24. Cincinnati Bengals-
(Mike+Matt) WR Josh Doctson, TCU

25. Pittsburgh Steelers-
(Mike) OL Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
(Matt) CB William Jackson III, Houston

26. Seattle Seahwaks-
(Mike+Matt) DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State

27. Green Bay Packers-
(Mike) DT Vernon Butler, Lousiana Tech
(Matt) DT Andrew Billings, Baylor

28. Kansas City Chiefs-
(Mike+Matt) DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson

29. Arizona Cardinals-
(Mike) TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
(Matt) DL Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi

30. Carolina Panthers-
(Mike) RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
(Matt) S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

31. Denver Broncos-
(Mike) OT Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
(Matt) DL Kenny Clark, UCLA

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mock Draft 3.0- Post Rams-Titans Trade

A new team now owns the first overall selection, and they gave up a small army of picks to obtain it. The Rams traded away a first, two second-round picks, and a third in 2016; and another first and third in 2017. I believe they gave away way too much in the trade, but the teams' "owner" wanted a new face of the franchise for their new town, in their new stadium, with their new guy on display when they star in "Hard Knocks" this offseason. Here is how I believe things shape out.

Update: Literally as i was adding the finishing touches, the Eagles and Browns agreed to a trade. It took another 4 hours for me to figure out what the fuck to do with this.

1. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff, QB (California)

The Rams cannot miss when they select first overall. They've given away too much already, and even without the pick being made, have likely set themselves back two or three years. I don't think Wentz is the better fit, on or off the field, largely due to the lack of talent he has played against, paired with the fact that he'd have to grow into a professional very fast, in one of the biggest spotlights in pro-sports. Goff seems to be more pro-ready, and should be able to handle the spotlight. Whoever the quarterback is, they have their work cut out for them.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with Browns)- Carson Wentz, QB (North Dakota State)

I couldn't even finish writing the article, talking about how Cleveland expressed interest in trading down, and that the Eagles were a likely candidate. The trade has been made, and while the Eagles didn't give up as much as the Rams did, they still mortgaged their teams future to draft a quarterback that could be Tim Couch with a better arm.

3. San Diego Chargers- Jalen Ramsey, DB (Florida State)

The Chargers could use some help on the offensive line, but the idea of replacing the departed Eric Weddle with Ramsey is too good to be true. Ramsey is considered by many, including myself, as the top prospect in this years' class. The Chargers are really one of the biggest winners in the Rams trade, because now they have the option of selecting one of the three best players in the class.

4. Dallas Cowboys- Joey Bosa, DL (Ohio State)

Dallas is in love with Jalen Ramsey, and although they aren't able to select him, they still get arguably the best defensive lineman in the draft with the fourth pick. The Cowboys need to address the hole that was opened when Greg Hardy wasn't re-signed, and Bosa could be a defensive cornerstone for a very long time in JerryLand.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Laremy Tunsil, OL (Mississippi)

Jacksonville looks to add talented players to a young improving team, and Tunsil would be the best player available. Keeping Blake Bortles from being sacked is a priority, and wether or not Tunsil breaks into the league at left tackle doesn't matter. Wether he's playing tackle or guard early in his career, he will be a difference maker for the Jags.

6. Baltimore Ravens- Deforest Buckner, DL (Oregon)

Buckner will be a starter from day one in Baltimore, and should add talent and youth to an aging defense. A front seven that features Bucker, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumerville should have AFC North quarterbacks worried.

7. San Fransisco 49ers- Ronnie Stanley, OL (Notre Dame)

Joe Staley is 31 years old, and the 49ers will eventually have to find a successor to the left tackle position. Stanley will likely play right side until his retirement.

8. Cleveland Browns (via trade with Eagles)- Myles Jack, LB (UCLA)

Not only does Cleveland add a stockpile of picks, but they get one of the most talented players in the draft in the process. There is still questions about Jack's health, but if it works out, they could get a player that could be the best in the class.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Vernon Hargreaves, DB (Florida)

The Buccaneers roster features a slew of under performers at cornerback. Hargreaves would come in and be an immediate starter, and should excel in the Tampa 2. He shows exceptional press coverage skills, and can lock-up in man coverage if asked. Hargreaves would be an early leader for defensive rookie of the year if he lands in Tampa.

10. New York Giants- Jack Conklin, OL (Michigan State)

The Giants wind up getting screwed by the Eagles before the season starts. The shakeup atop the draft leads to them drafting Conklin a bit too high, even though offensive line help is a necessity. Conklin is good, but they miss out on the top two tackles by an inch.

11. Chicago Bears- Leonard Floyd, EDGE (Georgia)

The Bears have gone out and added two talented inside linebackers in free agency (Jurrell Freeman and Danny Trevathon), but lack a real force as a pure outside pass-rusher. Pernell McPhee hasn't been what they wanted since signing, and Lamar Houston is in the back end of his twenties. Floyd could be the most athletic and purely talented linebacker in this draft class, and would be a great addition to an improving Chicago defense.

12. New Orleans Saints- Sheldon Rankins, DL (Louisville)

The Saints are in dire need of help along the defensive line. Pairing Rankins with Cameron Jordan could help sure up the holes that have been void for some time.

13. Miami Dolphins (via trade with Eagles)- Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State)

The Dolphins probably didn't see this scenario panning out the way it has when they let Lamar Miller walk in free-agency. They didn't have to overpay for a workhorse, and get the best running back in the class. Elliot will be a difference maker for Miami.

14. Oakland Raiders- William Jackson III, CB (Houston)

Leave it up to Oakland to stretch for a player. Jackson is a talented player, but I'm not sold on him being a first round talent. The skills that he has scream "Raider" and that is what will likely land him in the first round. The Raiders already signed Sean Smith in the offseason, and the trio of Smith, David Amerson and Jackson could eventually be one of the tops in the league.

15. Tennessee Titans- Taylor Decker, OL (Ohio State)

The Titans are still winners after trading out of the first spot, getting a reliable and talented offensive lineman to protect Marcus Mariota.

16. Detroit Lions- Laquon Treadwell, WR (Mississippi)

The Lions would like to add firepower on offense to help replace the production that was left behind when Calvin Johnson retired. Treadwell was a little disappointing in his combine and pro-day, and while some scouts say he could drop down to the third receiver taken, I believe he would be a good fit paired with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Matthew Stafford.

17. Atlanta Falcons- Darron Lee, LB (Ohio State)

The Falcons could use some speed and aggression in the linebacking corps, and Lee would bring exactly that. In Dan Quinn's defensive system, he would be allowed to roam freely and use his high motor and instincts to make plays, which should allow him to reach his full potential. This pairing could be a match made in heaven.

18. Indianapolis Colts- Noah Spence, DL (Eastern Kentucky)

The Colts miss out on offensive lineman yet again, but turn instead to a true difference maker on the defensive side. Spence has his share of question marks off the field, but the talent is too good to pass on.

19. Buffalo Bills- Reggie Ragland, LB (Alabama)

The Bills let a bunch of linebackers go through free-agency and trades, and need to gain back the hard-nosed identity of Rex Ryan. Enter Reggie Ragland: the enforcer of the 2016 draft class. Ragland will give Ryan his man inside the defense and add a tough streak to a defense thats remodeling.

20. New York Jets- Paxton Lynch, QB (Memphis)

The Jets would ideally re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick and have him under center to start the season, but while he is demanding a ton of money, the Jets have to have a backup plan. Assuming at the moment that Fitz isn't around, the Jets need a reliable signal caller, or someone they could trust in the future. Bryce Petty could be that guy, but the Jets should be intrigued by the multi-dimensional Lynch.

21. Washington Redskins- Jarran Reed, DL (Alabama)

The 'Skins need a difference maker on the defensive line, and Reed could be the guy. Reed is a prototype nose tackle, and adds toughness to the run-game and has a decent knack for getting pressure on the quarterback too.

22. Houston Texans- Will Fuller, WR (Notre Dame)

Adding the speedster receiver to an improving receiving corps will make newly signed millionaire Brock Osweiler very happy. Fuller adds a dynamic to the offense that nobody on their roster is capable of, and he could be one of the unsung talents in the class.

23. Minnesota Vikings- Josh Doctson, WR (TCU)

Minnesota has done an amazing job at drafting quality players over the last few years, and should use this pick to get a little flashy. It's not to say that they couldn't use a receiver, though. Charles Johnson is a hit-or-miss player, and Stefon Diggs should be a compliment type player. Doctson would give the Vikings a true number one receiver, and open up the passing game more for Teddy Bridgewater.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- Corey Coleman, WR (Baylor)

The Bengals aren't going to miss Marvin Jones and Mohammad Sanu much after seeing Coleman in tiger stripes. Coleman adds a dynamic to the Cincy offense that works perfect opposite AJ Green, being able to blow the top off of defenses. Add Tyler Eifert to the mix and Andy Dalton's hair will literally combust into flames.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Artie Burns, CB (Miami)

There are a ton of talented corners in this class, and the Steelers will surely draft one of them. The problem: I have no idea who it is. Burns is very talented, but so are Eli Apple, Mackensie Alexander and many others. Hopefully Pittsburgh has done their homework so they don't wind up making the wrong selection.

26. Seattle Seahawks- Chris Jones, DL (Mississippi State)

Seattle is yet another team that could use some help on the offensive line, but this deep into the first round, addressing that need is a huge reach. Seattle will take a luxury pick here and take the best player available, and a guy that seems to be a fit for Seattle. Jones would be rotated into the defensive line and eventually replace Ahtyba Rubin.

27. Green Bay Packers- Andrew Billings, DL (Baylor)

With the retirement of BJ Raji coming as a bit of a surprise, it seems likely that they'd try to find a replacement. Billings is a guy that could be a perfect fit in Green Bay, and would be a great professional nose tackle.

28. Kansas City Chiefs- Kevin Dodd, DL (Clemson)

The Chiefs are paper thin on the defensive line, so adding Dodd would mean he'd almost instantly make an impact. Adding Dodd to an already impressive defense surely helps the Chiefs stay in contention.

29. Arizona Cardinals- Robert Nkemdiche, DL (Mississippi)

The Cardinals have a loaded roster top-to-bottom, and could take a shot on a player like Nkemdiche. With some questions about his personal life, he could find himself out of the league if he doesn't make a 90 degree turn. Arizona would love to have the talent, and shouldn't be afraid to take the leap.

30. Carolina Panthers- Shaq Lawson, DL (Clemson)

Carolina literally just rescinded the franchise tag from Josh Norman, and might use this pick to fill the void. I don't think they could pass on the talent of Lawson, who could absolutely be a top-15 pick.

31. Denver Broncos- Kenny Clark, DL (UCLA)

Denver will surely look to replace the departed Malik Jackson. Clark is an eater of worlds in the run game and would definitely help plug up the middle for a recovering Denver defense.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Positional Breakdown: Quarterbacks

The quarterback position in the 2016 NFL Draft leaves a ton of questions on the table. Of the twenty-five prospects playing the position, only three warrant a first-round selection. There are a select few beyond those three that could be the next diamond in the rough, and there will surely be someone elected early, that could wind up being the next draft bust. Here are my best player, overrated player, and a player to keep your eye on, as well as a list of rankings.

Best in the class: Jared Goff, California

Many people are writing Goff off as the best quarterback in the 2016 crop, but I am NOT one of them. I'll address Carson Wentz momentarily, but the census is he is the best of the bunch. I think Goff has the proven track record during his time in college, and has taken his share of beatings, losses, and tough games. Goff fought through adversity at Cal, and even after a shoulder injury, he was able to lead his team for a full season. He broke records, most of which were held by Aaron Rodgers. Goff is as pro-ready as anyone in the entire 2016 class. He can make essentially any throw on the field, showing precision when getting the ball anywhere on the field. He arguably has the bet deep ball out of all the quarterbacks. Has good pocket presence, and can make throws when forced out and on the run. The deciding factor between Goff and Wentz, for me, is simply that Goff has played against a higher quality of talent during his college career.

Overrated: Carson Wentz, South Dakota State

Here's the thing: I could look like a genius by saying this, or I could look like the biggest idiot in the world when all is said and done. Wentz is a bigger player than most of the other quarterbacks, and had arguably the best combine of the group. That is just on paper, though. If I were a NFL GM, i would be scared for my job to even consider taking a 1A college quarterback with a first round pick. Wentz shows very well in film, throwing very accurate passes, and most times is able to throw receivers open. He can pick apart zone coverage as well as, if not better than any other prospect. I don't like how he sails balls when throwing on the move, and he often times locks onto a target without making his reads. The real issue i have with him, is the lack of talent he played against in college. Playing at SDSU, he may not have ever played against a single NFL caliber talent. The bottom line here is simple, the kid can throw a ball, but any team that selects him with a first-round pick should be weary that he may wind up as fools gold.

Keep your eye on: Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech

After Tim Tebow left Florida, the reigns were left to Driskel. That inevitably led to a sub-par season, and he then was granted a medical red-shirt. He left Florida and picked back up at LA Tech, where he threw for 4,033 yards, with 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Driskel has the prototypical size to play in the NFL, and tied Carson Wentz for the best 40-yard time among quarterbacks. Driskel does a lot of things I like when evaluating quarterbacks, including the ability to quickly set his feet before throwing the ball. He keeps active in the pocket, but not in a twitchy, goofy way. He can make most NFL throws, but lacks certain athleticism some other prospects have. He has a little accuracy issue, but with work could become a suitable starter. Be on the lookout for a team to grab him, and have him learn from the sideline until his name is called.

Top Ten Quarterbacks:

1. Jared Goff, California
2. Carson Wentz, South Dakota State
3. Paxton Lynch, Memphis
4. Connor Cook, Michigan State
5. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
6. Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech
7. Jacoby Brissett, N.C State
8. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
9. Cody Kessler, USC
10. Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mock Draft 2.0

Here is the second version of my mock draft. A few changes here due to combine and pro-day performances, as well as interviews. The biggest mover was Robert Nkemdiche, who almost dropped entirely out of the first-round, while Jaylon Smith dropped out of the first-round due to injury concerns.

1. Tennessee Titans- Laremy Tunsil, OL (Mississippi)

No big change at number one. I still think the Titans understand they need to protect the investment they made at quarterback last year. I have heard VERY quiet rumblings about potential trades, but I wouldn't read far into that.

2. Cleveland Browns- Carson Wentz, QB (North Dakota State)

While I do believe the Browns need a franchise quarterback, I'm still not sold that Wentz could be that type of player. He has the size and tools to be a solid player, but the lack of experience against pro-level talent could lead to a steep learning curve in Cleveland.

3. San Diego Chargers- Joey Bosa, DL (Ohio State)

The Chargers haven't had a legit pass-rushing force since Shawn Merriman, and to make things worse, they lost Kendall Reyes in free-agency. Joey Bosa seems to be a logical pick here and is versatile enough to play multiple positions on the defensive line. Factor in a Pro Day in Ohio where he showed substantial progression from the NFL Combine and you have a perfect match.

4. Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey, DB (Florida State)

The Cowboys seem to love versatile players in their secondary. Byron Jones and Orlando Scandrick are examples of guys who can play both safety and cornerback, and Ramsey fits the same mold as well. Having an influx of these type of players would allow Dallas to figure out the combination of players that work best together.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Vernon Hargreaves, CB (Florida)

The additions made in the secondary for the Jags shouldn't influence this pick at all. While they've added some very talented players, newly acquired Prince Amukamara is only on a one-year deal. Hargreaves is an absolute difference maker at cornerback, and I cannot see Jacksonville passing on such a talented player.

6. Baltimore Ravens- Ronnie Stanley, OL (Notre Dame)

Baltimore lost Keliche Osemele to the Raiders during free-agency, and while Stanley may be best suited at tackle, he could gain valuable playing time filling the void until Eugene Monroe hangs up the cleats. Baltimore could address gaps elsewhere, but most would be a reach this early in the draft.

7. San Fransisco 49ers- Myles Jack, LB (UCLA)

With new Head Coach Chip Kelly taking the reigns, the 49ers could take a quarterback in this spot. For now, Colin Kaepernick is still under contract and they should look to get the best player available, Myles Jack. He is a free-running monster defensively, and is one of the most athletic players in the class. Does this sound familiar? Pairing Jack with Bowman could be reminiscent of Bowman's pairing with Patrick Willis for the Niners.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami)- Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State)

After getting rid of Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to swap up to eighth overall, the Eagles could land the potential replacement for DeMarco Murray. Elliot is a talented back, who runs hard and catches very well out of the backfield. As we've all seen with Doug Pederson's offense, he could be used similarly to how Jamaal Charles was used in Kansas City.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Deforest Buckner, DL (Oregon)

The Bucs went out and signed Robert Ayers away from the Giants, but even with that addition they should look to surround Gerald McCoy with productive pass-rushers. Buckner might be the best player in the draft at getting to the quarterback, and would be a huge upgrade from William Gholson, who would be the starter otherwise.

10. New York Giants- Laquon Treadwell, WR (Mississippi)

A huge splash was made by the Giants so far this offseason, and they've filled many gaps in their depth chart already. The one thing they're still lacking is a playmaker opposite Odell Beckham Jr. Treadwell does a lot of things similarly to OBJ, and is a dynamic player that could fit in great with the offense.

11. Chicago Bears- Shaq Lawson, DL (Clemson)

The Bears have made major upgrades to their subpar defense during free agency, adding Danny Trevathon and Jurrell Freeman to sure up the inside of the linebacking corps. They could still use some fine tuning in the secondary and along the defensive line. Lawson isn't the best pass-rusher in the draft, but he could fit in the Bears' scheme as an edge setter in the run game.

12. New Orleans Saints- Sheldon Rankins, DL (Louisville)

Kevin Williams became a free-agent this offseason and likely isn't coming back because of his age. John Jenkins is a nice, young nose tackle, but adding another tackle along side him should be high priority for the Saints. Rankins is very athletic for his size and shows promise in both the run game and pass-rush. New Orleans definitely needs to add talented players to the defensive line to pair with their star, Cameron Jordan.

13. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia)- Reggie Ragland, LB (Alabama)

Miami has shaken up their roster a bit since the start of the offseason. Olivier Vernon is gone, and they swapped picks with Philadelphia to acquire Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell. Miami could go with the best available player, in this case I believe it is Ragland. Making this pick would also allow the Dolphins to potentially move Alonso to outside linebacker, a position that would allow him to roam freely and be more of a natural athlete.

14. Oakland Raiders- Jack Conklin, OL (Michigan State)

Oakland cannot open the season with Donald Penn and Austin Howard as its starting tackles on offense. Conklin could serve as an upgrade for the Raiders, wether it be immediately or somewhere down the line.

15. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff, QB (California)

I'm still a firm believer that the Rams shouldn't select a quarterback in the first round of this years draft. Even though the team might not have a long-term, or even short-term solution at quarterback on their roster, my belief is that drafting a quarterback in the first round would be a wasted pick for LA. The Rams are a young team loaded with talent, but really need to use their fifteenth pick to tighten up in other spots. The problem here? "Owner" Stan Kroenke will likely be looking to take a quarterback and make him the "Face of the Franchise," when in all likelihood, it could derail the teams progress even more.

16. Detroit Lions- Kevin Dodd, DE (Clemson)

The Lions are in a very unique space when it comes to this offseason. While they underachieved vastly, the roster has very little holes that require immediate addressing. At first glance, many would say that finding a replacement for Calvin Johnson should be first priority, but with a first round selection, I'm not entirely sold on any receivers having a huge impact right away. I could see Detroit looking to add a quality pass-rusher to pair opposite Ziggy Ansah, and rotate with Devin Taylor, who has shown huge improvements in his young career.

17. Atlanta Falcons- Darron Lee, LB (Ohio State)

This pick could be the closest thing to a perfect fit as you can get in the NFL Draft. Lee is a highly athletic linebacker with great vision and ball-hawking ability. In Dan Quinn's scheme he would probably play weak side linebacker, which would allow him to roam freely around the field and cause chaos. He is a little undersized, so adding muscle could be a key component to his success in the NFL. If he struggles as a linebacker, there could be a possible position change to safety.

18. Indianapolis Colts- Taylor Decker, OL (Ohio State)

Am I the only person that has noticed that the Colts have done very little to protect their franchise quarterback? I've said for some time they need to address the lack of talent along their offensive line, and yet every year they pass on potential high-caliber lineman in the early parts of the draft. This year more then ever it should be high priority to bring in fresh, talented young guys to help protect Andrew Luck, especially after an injury riddled 2015.

19. Buffalo Bills- Emmanuel Ogbah, DL (Oklahoma State)

The Bills should be looking for a someone to replace Mario Williams. Ogbah posses size and strength that could have him playing defensive end or outside linebacker. He is more of a run-stopper than someone who can get to the quarterback, but he has promise to succeed at both in the NFL.

20. New York Jets- Leonard Floyd, LB (Georgia)

The Jets haven't had an aggressive, play-making linebacker in a few years, and should be looking to add that type of player to pair with Muhammad Wilkerson. Floyd has the ability to get to the quarterback, something the Jets will love about him, but he also has above average coverage skills for an edge-rusher. Todd Bowels needs a player with the unique traits that Floyd will bring to the NFL.

21. Washington Redskins- Darran Reed, DT (Alabama)

Kedrick Gholston is listed as the starting nose tackle for the Redskins, but is more of a defensive end. Adding Reed would give them a true defensive tackle and add toughness to a defensive line that hasn't played very well in recent years.

22. Houston Texans- Will Fuller, WR (Notre Dame)

The Texans have added a ton of talent offensively, bringing in Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller. They should look to add a weapon that could compliment Deandre Hopkins and the rest of the passing game. Fuller is scary fast, and has above average hands, which should help him slide into the first-round.

23. Minnesota Vikings- Josh Doctson, WR (TCU)

Minnesota has two very young, talented receivers in Charles Johnson and Stephon Diggs, but after releasing Mike Wallace and the lack of production from Cordaralle Patterson, they should look to add another. Doctson could play as an outside receiver, and would add depth to an arsenal of weapons for Teddy Bridgewater.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- Noah Spence, EDGE (Eastern Kentucky)

The Bengals have a talented roster already, and could probably use some help in the secondary, but passing up on Spence could be a huge mistake. Spence is a force, who gets to the quarterback relentlessly. He would play defensive end in the Bengals' 4-3, providing youth and depth to the aging position.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mackensie Alexander, CB (Clemson)

The Steelers are basically playing defense without any corners at this point. They want to start a youth movement in the secondary, so adding Alexander makes the most sense. You'll likely see some combination of Senquez Golson, Doran Grant and Alexander if he is the pick here.

26. Seattle Seahawks- Germain Ifedi, OL (Texas A&M)

Seattle lost Russel Okung to free-agency, so it could be possible they look for the replacement here, or at least to add to a mix-and-match offensive line for 2016.

27. Green Bay Packers- Andrew Billings, NT (Baylor)

I thought this pick made sense earlier this offseason, and then BJ Raji retired, which all but locked the pick in for me.

28. Kansas City Chiefs- Johnathan Bullard, DL (Florida)

Bullard is a versatile lineman who could play inside as well as defensive end. He would likely slide right into the defensive line rotation as a starter, and share reps with some of the veterans while learning the pro game.

29. Arizona Cardinals- Robert Nkemdiche, DL (Mississippi)

The Cardinals could take a chance on a player like Nkemdiche at this spot. He has the talent to be a top-10 player, but has a ton of character questions. If he pans out, he'll likely be the steal of the entire draft.

30. Carolina Panthers- Keanu Neal, S (Florida)

The Panthers are paper thin at safety. Kurt Coleman will likely be their free roamer, and the addition of Neal should give them an athletic player, who can cover in any scheme, as well as step inside the box and provide above average run support.

31. Denver Broncos- Paxton Lynch, QB (Memphis)

Although the Broncos acquired Mark Sanchez, he is nowhere close to the answer for the team. Paxton Lynch would provide them a young talented player that could learn the system until his name is called. Having a legend like John Elway in the front-office would also be amazing for a player who probably needs some tailoring done to his game. Lynch is a mobile quarterback with a big frame, but lacks the experience of a pro-style offense.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mock Draft 1.0

This years draft class has my head spinning. There are positions that are loaded with talented, and other that seem useless. With that said, I present to you the first 2016 NFL Mock Draft of the offseason!

1. Tennessee Titans- Laramy Tunsil, OL (Mississippi)

Tennessee is in position once again to dictate the flow of the draft. They could use a dominant pass rusher, but I believe the future of the franchise lies in keeping second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota protected. Laramy Tunsil is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and is well deserving of the first overall pick.

2. Cleveland Browns- Jared Goff, QB (California)

It has been documented all season, and now into the offseason that Johnny Manziel hasn't been a model pro, and we learned he will be released in March. Josh McCown is still on the roster, but could be packing suitcases with Johnny Football, although it now seems less likely. Regardless is he's in uniform or not, he is not the long term answer for the Browns at quarterback. The Browns, in Goff, get a player that new Head Coach Hue Jackson will be able to work with from day one, and Goff seems to be the most pro-ready quarterback in the class.

3. San Diego(?) Chargers- Ronnie Stanley, OT (Notre Dame)

The Chargers may not be playing in San Diego after next season, but wherever they wind up, they'll need to add a staple to their offensive line to keep aging star Phillip Rivers protected. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Chargers move out of this spot, trying to negotiate a trade with a team that wants to move up and select Joey Bosa.

4. Dallas Cowboys- Joey Bosa, DL (Ohio State)

I have stated in years past that I don't mock trades in any articles I write, so as it stands now, Bosa will be available when Dallas selects fourth overall. Dallas needs to find a dominant defensive player, something they've lacked in recent years. Bosa is probably the best player in this years draft class, and could have JJ Watt-like presence on the field.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jalen Ramsey, DB (Florida State)

Jacksonville essentially has two first-rounders entering the 2016 season, since 2015 pick Dante Fowler Jr. was lost for the season during his first team activity. Jacksonville needs to improve their defense significantly, and Ramsey would be a major upgrade in the secondary. He is versatile, playing both cornerback and safety in college. He is regarded as one of the most athletic prospects in the 2016 class.

6. Baltimore Ravens- Vernon Hargreaves, CB (Florida)

In a similar scenario to Jacksonville, the Ravens had Breshad Perriman miss essentially the whole season with an injury. with two fresh faces coming in, the Ravens could make a splash. The AFC North is loaded with talented receivers, so the Ravens need to draft a player that could have an immediate effect. Hargreaves is excellent in man coverage, and could excel in the Ravens' scheme.

7. San Fransisco 49ers- Laquan Treadwell, WR (Mississippi)

I'm putting this pick in assuming that new Head Coach Chip Kelly wants to keep Colin Kaepernick around. Kaep fits his style of offense, and has a strong arm, which is something no quarterback in Philly had. Surrounding Kaepernick with weapons should be a high priority, as it seems like Torrey Smith will be the only receiver worth while returning in San Fran. Adding a dynamic player like Treadwell could be a big step in ramping up what should be a high powered offense. 

8. Miami Dolphins- Mackensie Alexander, CB (Clemson)

Miami needs to get younger on the defensive side of the ball, and should look to add to a struggling secondary that features an older Brent Grimes. They could address the offensive line as well, but with a top-ten pick, I believe the value of players available isn't strong enough to make that an option.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Myles Jack, LB (UCLA)

The versatile linebacker comes off the board with the ninth pick and adds raw athleticism and a unique style of play to an abysmal defense. Jack could play inside or outside, and would be a nice compliment to Lavonte David.

10. New York Giants- Deforest Buckner, DE (Oregon)

It would be in the best interest of the team if the Giants parted ways with Jason Pierre-Paul. If they do retain him, it will likely only be a one-year deal anyway. With that said, The front office will need to find someone who can get to the quarterback, and Buckner fits the mold as the replacement for JPP. He is considered one of the best pass-rushers in the 2016 draft.

11. Chicago Bears- Jaylon Smith, LB (Notre Dame)

Chicago has been in need of a difference maker at linebacker for some time. The defense was most productive when they had Brain Urlacher paired with Lance Briggs. Jaylon Smith is an athletic, and instinctive linebacker who flies around the field. If the Bears want to be competitors again, Smith could be the first piece to a team that has a ton of holes in it.

12. New Orleans Saints- A'Shawn Robinson, DT (Alabama)

The Saints desperately need help on defense, and there are a ton of holes for them to fill. Most notably, they need to add a run-stopper on the interior line. Robinson was a force in the SEC while attending Alabama, and the transition could have a quick turnaround time. The Saints have the weapons offensively, but need to start building a young, talented core on the other side of the ball.

13. Philadelphia Eagles- Jack Conklin, OL (Michigan State)

 After former Head Coach Chip Kelly shipped out a heap of his best players, the Eagles oddly find themselves in rebuild limbo. Two of the best lineman the Eagles had in 2014 were released, and the offense has suffered because of it. Conklin might be a little of a reach, but the need is too outstanding to not be addressed. Conklin had a successful college career and could be an above average starter in the NFL.

14. Oakland Raiders- Shaq Lawson, DE (Clemson)

Oakland is on the upswing, and with a very talented, young offense, the Raiders should look to add to a defense that features arguably the best defensive player in the league in Khalil Mack. Lawson would give the Raiders another pass-rusher, who paired with Mack, could become the most lethal duo in the NFL.

15. Los Angeles Rams- Paxton Lynch, QB (Memphis)

The Rams are probably entering the season with just two quarterbacks on their roster (Sean Mannion,    Case Keenum), and although there may be more logical players to select, owner Stan Kroenke will likely want to grab a quarterback to be the face of his franchise, and have a fresh face to put on display in LA. Adding Lynch gives the Rams a quarterback with mobility, something that the NFC West is very familiar with.

16. Detroit Lions- Sheldon Rankins, DT (Louisville)

The Lions are set to lose key players along their defensive line during the offseason. Addressing these gaps on the defense seems to be high priority. Rankins is a hot name that is shooting up big boards and could be a huge difference maker for a Detroit defense that is already fairly strong.

17. Atlanta Falcons- Reggie Ragland, LB (Alabama)

Atlanta has a need for defensive game changers, and Ragland fits the mold. With the possibility that inside linebacker Paul Worrilow could walk, Ragland could become an immediate starter. There are some other positions the Falcons could address (safety, pass rusher), but the issue is the value of players that would be available when they select at fifteen. Ragland was one of the most dominant enforcers in all of college football, and could become the same type of force in the NFL.

18. Indianapolis Colts- Taylor Decker, OL (Ohio State)

The Colts main concern this offseason should be keeping Andrew Luck protected. There are defensive needs, but the health and career longevity of their franchise quarterback should be top priority. Decker would fill a need and add more youth to a line that is in desperate need of revamping.

19. Buffalo Bills- Emmanuel Ogbah, DL (Oklahoma State)

If Mario Williams is lost during free agency, they'll have to find a pass-rusher to help replace him. Adding Ogbah to a defensive line that already features Marcel Dareus, Jerry Hughes and the possible return of Kyle Williams, would allow Rex Ryan to continue his aggressive style defensive schemes.

20. New York Jets- Darron Lee, LB (Ohio State)

The Jets could really use a pass-rushing linebacker to set the edge in their 3-4 defense. With the possibility that Muhammad Wilkerson could be gone, they could select a defensive lineman, but Lee seems to be a good fit for a team that hasn't much success with their linebackers in some time.

21. Washington Redskins- Jarran Reed, DT (Alabama)

The 'Skins could use some help on the defensive line, especially since Terrance Knighton could walk in free-agency. Reed has the run-stuffing capabilities that the 'Skins need if they're going to replace Pot Roast, and getting younger along the line at the same time makes this pick a great match.

22. Houston Texans- Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State)

Houston is starting to realize they need to have a running back in place as a safety net. Arian Foster is getting older, and has proven he can't stay healthy. Adding Elliot would allow the Texans to stay with their running oriented offense, while having a reliable and talented running back in the scenario that Foster gets hurt again.

23. Minnesota Vikings- Josh Doctson, WR (TCU)

Mike Wallace looks like he could be the odd man out, and Cordarelle Patterson isn't the answer they need at receiver. Charles Johnson and Stefan Diggs are great key pieces to the offense, and adding a player with Doctson's caliber could really help shape the receiving corps into an above average group.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- Corey Coleman, WR (Baylor)

At this point, Mohammad Sanu, and Marvin Jones are free agents. Teams will likely pay more than what the Bengals want to give them, so there will be a gaping hole to fill. Coleman could be one of the more underrated players in this class, and pairing him with AJ Green might be an upgrade from a player like Sanu.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Eli Apple, WR (Ohio State)

With arguably the weakest secondary in the NFL, the Steelers inevitably draft a cornerback in the first round. I think that regardless of who is available, they must address the need. Apple seems to be the best player available when they make their selection at twenty five.

26. Seattle Seahawks- Andrew Billings, DT (Baylor)

The Seahawks will look to replace veteran defensive tackle Brandon Mebane during the offseason. Even if they can keep him on the roster, he is an aging player, and drafting the successor to the spot seems all but likely. With such a talented roster already, there aren't many gaps to fill otherwise.

27. Green Bay Packers- Kevin Dodd, DE (Clemson)

Green Bay is in desperate need of a defensive end, and the pass-rush struggled last season. Datone Jones and Josh Boyd are the only ends on the roster, so adding a player at the position in the first round would help upgrade the position.

28. Kansas City Chiefs- Johnathan Bullard, DT (Florida)

The Chiefs starting nose tackle Jaye Howard is a free agent, and while Dontari Poe is a big bodied prospect, they could look to add depth to the position. Bullard has the tools to be a rotational player right away, while developing his skills at the NFL level.

29. Arizona Cardinals- Leonard Floyd, EDGE (Georgia)

Arizona has one of the more complete teams in the NFL, so this pick is more of a luxury. They could add depth to a lot of places, but in the NFL, you can never have too many pass rushers. Floyd lacks a pro-sized body, but that is something that can always be tailored, and what he lacks in that department, he makes up for with a high motor and relentless pass-rush.

30. Carolina Panthers- Darian Stewart, S (Boise State)

The Panthers need to start addressing the defensive side of the ball, especially since some of their key players are getting old. Roman Harper is in his 30's, even though he looks like he is 45. Finding someone to replace him should be a priority in Carolina. Even if Harper has a season or two left in the tank, it wouldn't hurt to add some youth to the defense. Cornerback could be another area to address. Peanut Tillman tore his ACL in the playoffs, and there is a small outside chance that Josh Norman might be leaving as well.

31. Denver Broncos- Carson Wentz, QB (North Dakota State)

While I think it is unlikely that the Broncos would start a rookie, it makes sense in this scenario that they take a quarterback. Wentz is another playing who's stock is skyrocketing, and while his potential is unlimited, there may not be a huge demand for quarterbacks this early in the draft.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Matt's Early Top-10 Player Ranking

This is my first post since last years NFL Draft, so instead of coming right out and doing a mock draft, I decided to rank the ten best players that are eligible or have declared for the NFL Draft in 2016. This is still very early in the draft process, so everything is subject to change.

1. Joey Bosa, EDGE (Ohio State)

No surprises at number one as of right now. Even after Bosa was ejected in his final college game, he remains the best prospect in the 2016 class. Bosa has been a force in the college ranks since he stepped on campus, and was named a NCAA Freshman All-American, as well as a unanimous choice for AP All-American this season. Bosa posses the size and speed that are required to play defensive line in the NFL, and has a ridiculously high motor. His disruptive play style will be highly regarded at the Pro-level.

2. Laremy Tunsil, OL (Ole Miss)

Tunsil is regarded as the best offensive tackle in this years class of prospects, and could be a potential first overall pick depending on how Tennessee wants to use their pick. He is an elite athlete, especially for a player his size, and he shows exceptional movement in basically every direction. He has a ton of explosiveness and is quick to initiate contact. Some scouts have compared him to Trent Williams, which sounds like a great investment for the future of any offensive line.

3. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB (Florida)

Hargreaves is the best pure athlete in this draft class, in my opinion. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at Florida, and could probably improve on that. More importantly, he was arguably the best cover cornerback in college football this season. His man to man coverage skills will likely make him a top five selection, and he can do damage in the return game as well. Hargreaves' coaches at Florida have credited him with superb leadership skills, and the ability to easily be coached, which should also help him come draft day.

4. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Florida State)

Ramsey is a gifted cornerback. He excels in press man-to-man coverage, and doesn't allow receivers much room to create space. He is very gifted athletically, and uses his body to overpower receivers. Ramsey played corner, nickel corner and safety at Florida State, and his versatility is highly regarded at the next level. He is also absolutely freakish in the weight room, which will surely help him stand out at the combine. He could use some work in his motions and fluidity while on the field, and some scouts think these characteristics will be the demise of his potential. Ramsey needs a very strong showing in the next few months to keep himself this high on the board.

5. Jared Goff, QB (California)

In my opinion, Goff may be the most pro-ready quarterback in this years class. He has desirable size for a pro, and has arguably the strongest arm of any of this years prospects. He moves very well in the pocket, and while he could use a little work on his accuracy, he should develop into an above average starter in the league. If presented the opportunity, he could be put into a similar situation that fellow Cal alum Aaron Rodgers was in, where he was able to sit a few years until fully developed. Goff will all but likely be a top five pick in 2016.

6. Ronnie Stanley, OL (Norte Dame)

Stanley has experience playing  both tackles in college, and was one of the best lineman in the NCAA last season. His big frame and long arms make him an ideal left tackle at the next level. He very rarely allows defenders to be the first to initiate contact, and moves players with force and technique. He is surprisingly athletic and durable for a player his size, and plays with both quick hands and feet. He has had his character and dedication questioned, and if he can work through those issues at the combine, he will remain a top-ten talent.

7. Jaylon Smith, LB (Norte Dame)

Smith is one of my favorite prospects in this class. He is built like a prototype NFL linebacker, and is the true sense of the term "hybrid." He should be able to play as a 4-3 outside linebacker, a 3-4 inside linebacker, or if a team believes in his physical play and raw speed, a 3-4 rushing linebacker. He shows amazing phenomenal lateral speed, and is able to make his way into the backfield and tackle running backs with ease. Smith can play in zone coverage, and can cover most backs and tight ends. With a good showing in the combine, he will more than likely solidify himself as a top-five pick.

8. Myles Jack, LB (UCLA)

Jack is a unique talent, very comparable to Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers. At UCLA, he played linebacker and running back, even being awarded the Offensive and Defensive PAC12 Player of the Year awards in 2013. His durability may be in question, as he sat out most of last season with a knee injury, but that won't stop most teams from having him atop their draft boards. He has pretty good speed, and uses his instincts to take him to the ball. If used the right way in the NFL, he will likely have limited duties aside from running around the field and making plays. Myles Jack has the talent to be a star at the next level and should be exactly that, probably very early in his professional career.

9. Deforrest Buckner, DE (Oregon)

Buckner is very comparable to his former Oregon teammate Arik Armstead, but is more of a polished player entering the draft process. I should probably have him rated higher than ninth overall, but like I stated earlier, it is still very early in this process, and these rankings will surely change. Buckner is huge, and would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. He has exceptional skills stopping the run, and has a good initial push when rushing the passer. His ability to cause chaos in both facets will likely make him a top-five pick in 2016.

10. Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State)

Elliot is an NFL ready running back right out of the gates. His durability is questionable, as he couldn't handle a full work load for most of his college career. Elliot is the rare talent that is capable of handling all duties NFL running backs are asked to take on. He obviously excels in the running game, but is an exception pass-blocking back, and catches the ball well. Has good hips and makes cuts and can change direction with ease. There are also some questions about his maturity, specifically due to his public compliant about lack of carries in a loss to Michigan State during last season. With that said, there is no reason why Elliot wouldn't be the first running back selected in the 2016 draft.