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Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 NFL MOCK DRAFT - 1/22/16

When the 2015 draft came to an end I am sure many of you were already wondering who the top prospects for 2016 might be, but now the actual college season is done ,and the real work begins. Keep in mind that some of these guys will get hurt, get in trouble off the field, and impress & disappoint in ALL-STAR games, or at the combine & during visits with teams. The Patriots " US against the world" mentality is working right now. I bet right now the deflate gate witch hunt, which I still believe was just a chance to retroactively punish the Pats for not punishing them hard enough for Spygate, looks pretty stupid to 'DICKtator' Goodell and his cronies right now. Carolina has emerged as the favorite in the NFC in my book. So I am now predicting a another PATRIOTS/PANTHERS SUPERBOWL, but this time the panthers gave a great QB too. The prospects have former or current NFL player comparisons below their name , so you can get an idea of who it is your team might be getting. If you don't know the player then just run a search. However, I will change them later if someone else comes to mind that I think is a better comp.  Right now I see a draft deep on the defensive side off the ball.  Interior D-line is the deepest overall position with 10-15 possible players with at least a second round grade. Edge rusher, corner back , safety, and off the ball linebackers all have at least one potential top 10 pick. All of those positions have at least 5 players with a chance to go in the first 2 rounds.  On offense the offensive line is the strongest position group, especially at tackle. There is no clear cut elite franchise QB at the top of of this draft right now, even though I think it likely that 3 QB's go in the first round, and it's possible that as many 8 could go in the first 3 rounds. Of the 2 QB's I currently with a 1rst round grade neither of them are as highly graded as Winston & Mariota last year. Although the rest of this years draft is better in blue chip talents at the top compared to last season .The Patriots have officially been docked their number one pick. So here it is. Enjoy.


# Is for a player with with reported character or maturity concerns.


** Is for a player with reported injury concerns.




1.TENNESSEE - JOEY BOSA - DE - OHIO ST.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JUSTIN TUCK - RAIDERS
For a young team that has already got some of the major building blocks of their rebuild in hand the best player available is usually the best strategy. Bosa has the highest floor with a pretty good upside,and in a draft where their is no clear cut number one pick he might be the best choice for them. The question is what defense the Titans will be running next season under their new bewilderingly hired head coach. Fortunately for Tennessee Bosa is scheme diverse.   Rarely do you see a 4-3 strong side end who is a great pass rusher, but Bosa is. He also has a great frame with long arms and the overall height & length to be a 5 technique with a little added weight. Shocks blockers with his hands off the snap, stays in control of them until he wants to shed them, and is an extremely polished technician. He is already very disruptive against the run or pass despite being a focus of offensive game plans.



2.CLEVELAND - JARED GOFF - QB - CALIFORNIA

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - TRENT GREEN - retired
I expected the Browns to still be planning on Manziel being their QB of the future, and with McCown getting knocked out of the game week one he was already getting a chance to play. If he had kept maturing, growing as a passer, and staying out of trouble he may have actually developed into that guy. I wasn't sold on him yet though, and he cleared things up by imploding again right after he was named the starter for the rest of the season. Since then he has done everything he can to screw himself ,and anyone else who believed in him. So the Browns draft a new potential franchise QB here. and Manziel is gone in this scenario. Goff is a top shelf talent with a good arm. If he can add 15 to 20 pounds of muscle before the combine to fill out his frame ,and can convince NFL teams that he can transition to a pro style offense ,he has a good chance to be the first QB drafted. Goff has improved in all areas this season, and even adjusted well after a spate of interception heavy games around mid-season. Even though Goff isn't an elite QB prospect right now, he is still pretty good. He finished really strong in his bowl game, has good touch & accuracy, has the guts to keep his down field & still make a good throw when the rush is bearing down on him, and is the only guy I could see starting from day one as a rookie in this draft. A QB needy team will probably snatch him up high, and there is no fan base & city more deserving & needy than Cleveland right now.


3.SAN DIEGO - LAREMY TUNSIL - OT - OLE MISS

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - TRENT WILLIAMS - REDSKINS
The chargers O-line woes have continued this year. They especially need a center , and I expect they will go there in round 2 or 3, but it's highly unlikely you will ever see one worth this pick in any draft .They have even spent a lot of money & draft picks on this O-line recently, and while injuries and retirements have contributed to the whole debacle, they don't look better just yet. Right tackle Joseph Barksdale is on a one year deal, and it's curious that the Rams( or anyone else for that matter )wouldn't pay him much after a good 2014 season. My guess is they move on from him , even though he has played OK this season. They are still financially committed to current left tackle King Dunlap, and that will probably be the difference between he and Barksdale, but they can flip Dunlap over to the right side. Tunsil was coming off a broken leg , and was being held out by the NCAA for receiving extra benefits before the season. The punishment finally came to an end and he started playing again on October 24th against Texas A&M. Not only did Tunsil play, he played really well against a likely 2017 top 10 pick in Myles Garrett, and continued to play well the rest of the year. He showed he is still the same elite talent I saw on tape before the injury too, and his ability to recover in the passing game on those rare plays where he is beaten off the snap is extremely rare, although he needs to add muscle to be more of a force in the run game. If he avoids any character mishaps, or another injury while preparing for the draft, I believe he will be the first OT taken.  


4.DALLAS - 
JALEN RAMSEY - CB/S - FLORIDA ST.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - CHARLES WOODSON - RAIDERS
Sorry cowboys fans. I was one of those who though you could pull out the division and make a run with Romo back, but without him it all went pear shaped. On the bright side a top 5 pick can not only bring you a premium player, but picking near the top of every round , in addition to the extra compensatory picks you are likely to have, could really fill out your roster for a title run next season .They need Bosa, Ramsey, or Miles Jack with this pick to fill a big need ,and also get value in the top 10.  No I will not give them a QB this high if your wondering. Not only does a healthy Romo make them an instant contender, but Jerry Jones isn't going to use a top 10 pick on a guy who is likely to sit at least a year, and possibly 3. Jerry is in his 70's , and desperately wants to to win a Jimmy Johnson-less title he can claim all for his own. Most don't count their last one in 1996 for Jerry, because Jimmy built the overwhelming majority of that roster. Although , I do think Dallas drafts a QB in the first 4 rounds to groom for the future, be a competent backup to Romo now & give them a better chance to avoid a complete collapse again if Romo's hurt for a stretch next year  . However, Dallas desperately needs playmakers on defense. Now if they would just fire predictable ,ultra conservative game micro-manager, run on almost every first down , give up before half time & kneel down, unable the manage the clock Jason Garret,  I would really think they could win it all next year. Norv Turner anyone? Sure, he's not Tomlin or Belichick  . However, he would allow Jerry the spotlight he craves and run this offense much better. It's highly unlikely though. Garret is Jerry's guy and I think he would rather lose than admit he made a mistake when he gave him a long term extension. Between the impending free agency & injury proneness of Morris Claiborne, the questions of how speedy slot corner Orlando Scandrick will look coming off a torn ACL, the high salary of Brandon Carr, and the fact that neither Carr or Claiborne has ever lived up to their billing Dallas is going to need help at corner next season. Ramsey is a former corner who converted to safety in 2014 and had a big season. They converted him back to corner this year , and he looked great. The NFL is longing for players who can play both, and Jalon is ranked number one on my board at free safety, strong safety, and corner. Personally I would play him at safety over corner. Ramsey can fill that need while teaming with Byron Jones to give their secondary a lot of flexibility for a long time. Plus he has the ideal size that the NFL is now seeking in corners.



5.JACKSONVILLE  - MILES JACK - ** - LB - UCLA 

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DERRICK BRROKS - retired
Left tackle is their biggest need in my opinion, but I see them going defense, because they had no problem scoring points this year. Paul Posluszny is a solid veteran player and the Jags defense is better when he is in the game, especially against the run. However he is injury prone, will be 32 next season, and the jags aren't financially tied to him. In addition Gus Bradley comes from Seattle where the versatile and athletic Bobby Wagner allowed his defense to do a lot of things Gus can't without a similar player. I am convinced that Jack can definitely be an elite playmaker as a 4-3 OLB, or in the middle of a cover 2 or 3 defense like the one Bradley runs. He was listed at 245 at UCLA, but he didn't look it to me, despite tree trunk legs. If he gets up around 250 by the combine, and their are already rumors that he has been using his recovery time to also add more muscle, he could even be a 3-4 middle or rush linebacker in any defense. How often do you see a linebacker covering the slot , AND doing it well? I even think he would have been a first round pick as a running back if he was devoted to only playing offense, because he is that great of a football player. He should be fine by the combine, and with the meniscus not generally being considered a long term problem, I think he still goes in the top 5.If both were completely healthy I still liked him a little more than Jaylon Smith, but Smith's recent serious knee injury makes any debate of who will be the first off the ball linebacker drafted moot. If Jalen Ramsey falls here he could easily be the pick as well. 



6.RONNIE STANLEY -OT - N. DAME
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DUANE BROWN - TEXANS

Joe Flacco's cap number will be north of 28 million this year. With him now coming off a major injury I can see why some might want the Ravens to take a new QB here. Especially because they aren't likely to pick this high again anytime soon, but I will tell you while I doubt it. First, Flacco's  cap number is so high because he had so much leverage coming directly off a Superbowl victory. The ravens were 3-7 with Joe at QB this year before he got hurt. Second, Flacco had also just had one of the great statistical postseasons in NFL history when he got over paid. This year before his injury Joe had 14 TD's, 12 picks, was 25th in QB rating, and 28th in total QBR. 4th- Flacco is coming off a major knee injury, and that not only depresses his value for next season, but also long term. You may look at Flacco and see a big plodding guy , but he isn't. Sure he hasn't been the athlete that Newton or Luck are as a big QB's, but he has always been underrated with his sneaky athleticism in my book. That is probably unlikely coming off this injury at his age. So with the Ravens likely to return from a rash of injuries, reload in the draft, and get Flacco at a much more reasonable price this time around, I doubt they go QB in the first round. With Eugene Monroe being injured again, and his knee being a long term issue anyway, the Ravens are probably looking for a long term left tackle prospect. James Hurst has been really bad replacing Monroe, both last season & this year. In fact it was his inability to hold his ground that caused Joe to tear his ACL & MCL. This pick added to a healthy Flacco, 3rd place schedule, and another great Ozzie Newsome draft can make them a contender right away. Stanley would have been a first round pick in the 2015 draft, would be a big durable upgrade at left tackle in pass pro, and would also be an asset in the run game in their zone blocking scheme. 



7.SAN FRANCISCO - 
LAQUAN TREADWELL - WR - OLE MISS

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - ALLEN ROBINSON - JAGUARS
Colin Kaepernick's Jeckle and Hyde imitation continued this season, and he was benched for almost the entire second half of the season., and while I think he got too much of the blame, his contract allows them to move on from him after this year without a big penalty. Since they brought in Chip Kelly I now think they will keep him , because he should probably excel in Chip's offense. Treadwell is my number one receiver in this draft , and the only one who might go in the top 10. He shook off the rust in the second half of the season ,and showed he was the same player before a serious leg injury. A big bodied fierce guy who attacks the football would be appreciated by any QB, and that's Treadwell down to his toes. He combines the passionate on the field temperament of Dez Bryant, with the off the field professionalism ,attention to detail ,and blocking of Larry Fitzgerald. If he runs well he could go top 5. 



8.MIAMI 
VERNON HARGREAVES the 3rd - CB - FLORIDA

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JASON VERRETT - CHARGERS
Corner back Brent Grimes has had a long a long distinguished career, but his play slipped some this year, he will be 33 next season, his salary is close to 8 million next year, and his wife publicly blasted their QB. In addition Jamar Taylor has never developed the way you would expect a 2nd round pick to do. Unless the Dolphins suddenly about face and dump Tannehill I don't expect Grimes to be back. I had previously never seen a sophomore corner be the best corner in all of college football, but Vernon was in 2014. He got beat more in 2015, but is hasn't affected his confidence. He isn't as tall as you would like , but he challenges receivers like a much bigger man. If he measures in at the 5'11" he is listed at he will be worth this pick. If he is under 5"10" then I think he goes outside the top 10. Either way he is too aggressive, fluid, smart, physical, and fast to fall outside the first round. The fact that he played his high school & college ball in Florida makes this an even better fit.



9.TAMPA BAY - JACK CONKLIN - OT - MICHIGAN ST.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JAKE LONG - FA

This yearTampa Bay's O-line has looked very bad in pass protection, and while all these younger players could theoretically develop in time, I think it's clear that Donovan Smith would be a better fit at RT , or even better inside at guard. If he really wanted to play left tackle he would have hit the weights , and already dropped at least 30 pounds of fat.Logan Mankins was still their best O-lineman this year, but with Mankins turning 34 this season, on the downside of his career, and having a salary close to 7 million,  he could be cut . Smith could then slide inside to left guard. If they want Jameis Winston to survive & thrive they will need to upgrade the left tackle spot at the very least. Conklin is a former walk on and self made man who earned a starting job as a red shirt freshman.  He is a 3 year starter in a power 5 conference who has improved every year, and still did a very good job this year while playing hurt. He has the angry play through the whistle style that coaches love, and does it with fewer penalties than I expected. He would be ideal in this run first offense.



10.NEW YORK GIANTS - SHAQ LAWSON - DE - CLEMSON

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - WILL SMITH - retired
The pass rush was the real key to the Giants 2 Superbowl victories under Tom Coughlin, and despite DC Steve Spagnouolo's return it wasn't very good this year. JPP already looked on the decline due to his back injury, but blowing up his hand in a boneheaded fireworks gone wrong incident only made things worse. They already rescinded his long term contract offer, and considering how badly he has handled the aftermath of this situation,  I would be shocked if they brought him back next season. He finally passed a physical and played well in the second half of the season, but even if they do bring him back I think he would he might be a better fit on the strong side now. So far they have kept playing him on the right though.Lawson had a great season against the run & pass. He is also big & strong enough to move inside on obvious passing downs. After the game he played against likely top 10 pick Ronnie Stanley everyone was already taking notice. I have had Emmanuel Ogbah in this spot for awhile, but not anymore. Lawson was more productive in the national championship game limping around on one leg than a healthy Ogbah was in his bowl game, and Jerry Reese is less prone to picking for upside than many other GM's. Both guys played against high level first round tackles too, but Lawson's higher floor could be the difference come draft day.



11.CHICAGO - 
DEFOREST BUCKNER -DE - OREGON
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - CALAIS CAMPBELL - CARDINALS
With Jay Cutler playing better than expected ,and Jon Fox having an aversion to playing rookies at key positions, I am now thinking they go a different direction in the draft. Although, a year without former OC Adam Gase things could change next year .The bears have plenty of needs though ,and Fox prefers to build on the defensive side of the ball. With the Bears switch to a base 3-4 defense ,and lacking the long term 5 technique DE prospects needed to take it to next level, Buckner's selection would be ideal.Buckner is a guy I couldn't help noticing on tape when I was watching 49ers 2015 first round pick Arik Armstead. He has similar gigantic dimensions, but was a much more productive player than Armstead on film. He had even better season this time around, won match ups against big time players this year, and must be accounted for on every play. He deserves to go higher than this in my opinion, but I am sure Chicago would laugh all the way to the bank if he was here this late.



12.NEW ORLEANS - 
MACKENSIE ALEXANDER - CB - CLEMSON
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - CHRIS HARRIS JR - BRONCOS
Brandon Browner was down right terrible this year. Usually you know you are going to get a lot of penalties with him, but also some physical quality play that frustrates receivers. Not this year, and if ever a guy was a candidate to be cut and eat his dead money on your cap ,it's him. That's really saying something considering the terrible cap situation in New Orleans. 
As a 3rd year sophomore Alexander wasn't a guy I thought would enter the draft, but after watching him blanket Sterling Shepard when he lined up outside in the Oklahoma game I have reconsidered. I started going through some of his tape and his feet & hips are awesome. He also has confidence and knows how to get into a receivers head. He may never pick off a lot of balls, but it's hard to tell because QB's tend to avoid throwing into his coverage. If his hamstring injury isn't serious, and he test & measures well he could go in the top 10.



13.PHILADELPHIA - TAYLOR DECKER - OT - OHIO ST.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JARED VELDHEER - CARDINALS
Chip Kelly got fired, and while I still believe he will be a great NFL coach in the right situation, they need to move forward rebuilding their O-LINE. Either way they are set up to run a zone system , and will value Decker more than most teams because he played in a very similar scheme in college. Cutting Pro bowl left guard Evan Mathis was a huge mistake for the Eagles. To rectify the problem the eagles need someone agile enough to play in their system, and strong enough to anchor the pocket in the passing game.That being said it would currently be a bit of a reach to take any of the OT's left on the board here, but like I said Decker is tailor made for their scheme, and could start out at guard. I expect he will test so well in the pre-draft process that many offensive line coaches will believe they could make him more consistent, and especially teach him to get off the ball quickly. If he does that alone more consistently he could be great. He can also slide over one spot to left tackle if soon to be 34 year old Jason Peters goes down again, and might be the long term answer there . That makes this an even better fit.





14.OAKLAND - EZEKIEL ELLIOT - RB - OHIO ST.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - (a faster) - ARIAN FOSTER - TEXANS
Despite elite tools Latavius Murray is inconsistent , is a free agent after the 2016 season, and 2015 was the first time he played in every game. 
AD is the current gold standard for NFL RB's. No Elliot doesn't have the explosive burst or elite long speed of Adrian Peterson, but he does have good burst and long speed, while still having similar size & breaks the same amount of tackles. However he does have better vision, and runs with a lower pad level than 'All Day' himself. Throw in that he is a good receiver & pass blocker , and unlike Peterson he isn't a fumbler. I have the same grade I did for both Peterson & Gurley when I evaluated them before the draft. Based on grade alone Elliot is the best player in this draft, but the devaluation of his position , larger injury risk to running backs compared to other positions, and shorter than average effective career span for most RB's make it unlikely he is that high on any ones board.Elliot is the only for sure first round back in this draft, has been extremely productive for 2 straight years, and can play in any system. I expect him to run in the mid 4.5's , but he could be that rare RB that goes in the top 10 if he runs better at the combine.



15.ST. LOUIS - CARSON WENTZ - QB - N. DAKOTA ST.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - CARSON PALMER - CARDINALS
Personally I now think Jeff Fisher is one of the most overrated coaches of all time, but the Rams brought him back anyway. Don't get me wrong , I am sure he is a nice guy. Also a skilled politician, is good at dealing with the media, and is even a good defensive mind. But he's not anyone who should ever have anything to do with an offense , and his teams consistently under perform in my book . As a matter of fact ,unless he had Steve McNair at QB his teams have always under performed even when they were really talented.
The rams obviously aren't sold on Nick Foles, and why they do have him signed for next season I believe Fisher will want to draft a QB high to give him an excuse to give him more time to produce a winner. With Connor Cook's leadership questions & disastrous bowl game , and Paxton Lyhch failure in his bowl game, I now see Wentz as the second QB off the board. If not for an injury that cost him half the year Wentz might have been the consensus #1 QB, but we will never know now. However, he has a chance to pump up his stock at the Senior bowl. After leading N. Dakota St. to a NCAA division 1 championship ,he was having an even better season this year when he broke the wrist on his throwing hand. While FCS guys are harder to project ,he did play in a pro style offense , and has good tools. He returned from injury for the bowl game ,and led his team to another FCS championship.



16.DETROIT - 
ROBERT NKEMDICHE - # -  DT/DE - OLE MISS

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - SHELDON RICHARDSON - JETS
The lions lost Suh and Fairley, and Haloti Ngata is just a short term partial stop gap at the position. They do have some promising young players inside, but a young potential ALL - PRO DT would surely be welcomed again. Nkemdiche has the size and strength to hold up against the double team, and the explosion & quickness to rush the passer. He was the # 1 overall prospect out of high school a few years back for a reason, but a recent bone headed high profile off the field incident involving weed could send his stock tumbling.


17.ATLANTA - 
JAYLON SMITH - ** - LB - N. DAME

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DERRICK JHONSON - CHIEFS
Roddy White has had a long and distinguished career. In fact he is a future HOFer in my book. However , father time is undefeated and has caught up to Roddy now, but with all the injuries among this draft's top receiver's it's not clear if their will be another receiver worth this pick after Treadwell's gone. I would take Corey Coleman , but I think his lack of size will cause him to be a late1/early 2. For now they can get value here with Smith, and fill a need. Paul Worrilow was a liability in the middle for the Falcons. If not for a major knee injury in his bowl game Smith would be at least a top 10 pick, and probably top 5 in my opinion. He has sideline to sideline ability, top level athleticism,  good size, and is a great blitzer. new head coach Dan Quinn should have earned enough of a grace period to think long term here. If Smith is back my mid-season this is a great pick. Even if he misses the whole year, but returns to form in year 2 it's still a good one.



18.INDIANAPOLIS - ANDREW BILLINGS - NT - BAYLOR

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - BRYANT YOUNG - RETIRED
Billy Wynn is better as a backup interior D-Lineman on any team, but he is especially miscast as 3-4 nose tackle. Billings is massively strong,  can take on the double team , penetrate, and has the quickness to develop into a good pass rusher. He has the second highest upside of all the DT's (behind only Nkemdiche)in this draft, and the ability to play any interior position in a odd or even front. If he takes well to NFL coaching and reaches his potential he could be elite.


19.BUFFALO - REGGIE RAGLAND - ILB - ALABAMA

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DONT'A HIGHTOWER - PATRIOTS
Preston Brown is good at taking on blocks and before this season he was decent at stuffing the run, but he didn't even do that well this year, and is just OK in coverage & as a pass rusher. This year he hasn't even stopped the run well. Also, he doesn't cover enough ground for the exotic defenses that Rex Ryan likes to run & Ragland's skills as a blitzer would be key in this scheme, and while he still needs work in coverage, he has the athletic ability to be as good as he wants to be. 





20.NEW YORK JETS - SHON COLEMAN - OT - AUBURN
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - KYLE TURLEY - retired
The Jets were a team with a good defense and bad offense last year, and I was expecting it to be the same this year despite more weapons on offense, until I remembered that Chan Gailey is their OC. Gailey is a coach that plays to his QB's strengths, instead of trying to force them into his cookie cutter offense. That being said , I thought Geno Smith now had a much better chance at success as their starting QB. With his broken jaw slowing down that process , it was really hard to see it going well enough to get them in the playoffs this season . From now on Geno should pay his debts , and also avoid writing checks with his mouth that his ass can't cash , or he could piss his entire career away.  The other main reason I expected them to still miss the playoffs is the lack of a significant upgrade along the O-line. Fitzpatrick played better than I thought he would, and they did narrowly miss the playoffs ,but at least they were close. However, all of the current starters except along the O-line except left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson are better as run blockers, and only center Nick Mangold is a all around plus player right now. Ferguson was once a Pro Bowl caliber pass blocker, but he is on the decline ,and I doubt he will be worth the 8.6 plus million they would have to pay him in 2016. The Jets could save a lot of money by cutting him and upgrade the position. Coleman is big, strong, athletic, and can bury people when he's on. If you watch him vs Texas A&M you see him as a first rounder, but if you watch him vs Alabama he looks more like a 3rd rounder with potential. I believe teams will think they can they can refine his technique and improve his awareness . If he interviews & test well at the combine a player with his aggressive tendencies  & obvious talent will go in the first round.Plus, he is ideal fit in this run first offense.



21. WASHINGTON - 
VONN BELL - S - OHIO ST.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DEVIN McCOURTY - PATRIOTS
With the skins being a somewhat surprising NFC EAST winner, but getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, the draft is very much on the mind of my best( he's a skins fan) friend already  . Since Kirk Cousins lead them there they will not only likely be out contention for a first round QB, but also might try to get him signed to a low risk middling ( for a QB) contract that only obligates them for about 2 years like the Nick Foles deal.  The skins lack a safety that can cover man to man when a team goes wide. Bell is another of Ohio states early entries ,and his ability to man up in nickel would be much appreciated in Washington.



22.HOUSTON - 
PAXTON LYNCH - QB - MEMPHIS
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - COLIN KAEPERNECK - 49ers
I have been thinking that I would mock Christian Hackenburg to the Texans in the second round for awhile, and had the taking Ezekiel Elliot if he fell here, but after finishing all of Elliott's' tape I doubt he falls anywhere near here.  On the other hand Hackenburg's tape had decreasingly got worse the more I watched it, and his accuracy is really bad. In fact his stock has fallen so far in my eyes that I think that's the earliest he might go despite his size & tools, but now I think that Bill O'brien takes a different QB.  A reader asked me why if I would continue to leave Lynch out of my first round mocks and this is what I answered"although I do think it very possible that a team trades back into the late first and takes him because of his size and tools. it's a QB needy league and they are routinely over drafted.That bowl game was just awful for him, and he didn't play well late in the season against Navy or Temple either. The 49ers are likely out of the first round QB business after hiring Chip Kelly, because Kaepernick is tailor made for that offense.  Players will rise & fall soon and Lynch can go either way, but right now he is on a downward spiral. Because of his obvious talent he can & should rise, but his failure in a game that he had a month to practice for is disturbing. It's one thing to light up Ole Miss when no one thinks you have much of a chance, but when you are now in the spotlight and keep failing it raises legitimate questions. Is he a guy who folds under pressure, and/or will he do the necessary preparation to succeed when given a chance? That's just 2 obvious ones. Every team is looking for a guy that has that it factor, and Lynch and Cook have both raised big doubts about their ability to show that quality for me. Ole miss was definitively the best defense Lynch played against and I was on him after that game, but the spotlight causes some guys to shrink, and when the spotlight got brighter he folded. It's too bad he isn't eligible for the Senior bowl, because a good week there could have rejuvenated his stock quickly. Now he has to depend on interviews , workouts, the combine, the craftiness of his agent, and chalkboard sessions to rebound. None of those things would do as much as a good Senior Bowl week would. Not to mention the vetting of his background has barely begun, but I have no reason to doubt his character right now. Time will tell, but I want to see something positive from him before I put him back in the first round.". I am already changing my mind though ,because Hacks's tape just sucked, although you can make a case that what they put around him was pretty bad. Lynch still has work to do, but a guy like O'Brien might be just the one to teach this guy consistency and touch.


23.MINNESOTA - GERMAIN IFEDI - OT - TEXAS A&M

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - ANTHONY COSTANZO - COLTS
Left tackle Matt Kalil definitely played better this year, especially in the run game, but was still better 4 seasons ago as a rookie. While he was is no way the franchise left tackle he looked like he was going to be in 2012,  barring something going really wrong this off season the Vikes will probably pick up his 2016 option. Left guard Brandon Fusco has just been downright bad in pass protection though. Ifedi is the next Texas A&M offensive tackle with a good chance to go in the first round. He has already played tackle & guard,  has been especially good in the run game, and in that's a big plus in this run first offense. He could play left guard as a rookie , and would at least give them a solid fall back option for Kalil if he gets hurt again ,or they decide to not resign him after next season.



24.CINCINNATI - 
A'SHAWN ROBINSON - DT/DE - ALABAMA
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - MARCELL DAREUS - BILLS
Domata Peko is still a decent starter who gives good effort, but he will be 32 next season, and they can save about 3.5 million off the cap letting him go. They could negotiate his salary down & try to keep him as a backup, but they have been trying to replace him since 2012 when they drafted Still and Thompson in the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Neither of them were able to beat him out .Still has already been let go, and Thompson will be a free agent after the year, so I believe they will be trying to draft a DT that can stuff the run & give more as a pass rusher than they are currently getting from their one techniques.
Robinson tape hasn't been as good as I hoped it would be, but he still has first round talent. 
He can hold the point of attack, penetrate, and get a good pass rush.


25.PITTSBURGH 
ELI APPLE - CB - OHIO ST.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - AQIB TALIB - BRONCOS
The Steelers defense is in a transition phase. They drafted 2 smaller corners in 2015, but need another with more size going forward, and they especially need to replace Antwon Blake. In that case I have Fuller as the highest ranked corner left. Fuller will join his brothers as NFL corner backs, and has the talent to be the best of the bunch. Although he is coming off an injury I still see his size, previous tape, and polish getting him into the first round.As a 3rd year sophomore Apple wasn't someone I expected to enter this draft, but I have been playing catch up with some of his tape this week. He's big, fast, athletic, and aggressive.He still needs to be coached up, especially on quickly recognizing route combinations & his penchant for penalties, but he has a high upside. His best football should be ahead of him.


26.SEATTLE - 
JASON SPRIGGS - OT - INDIANA
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - D'BRICKAHAW FERGUSON - JETS
Russell Oking is currently their best offensive lineman, but he is a free agent , not worth big franchise let tackle money,and they can't pay everybody in the salary cap era.First off let me say the Seahawks should pick nothing but O-lineman in the first 3 rounds, but I doubt they will. I think they trade back unless a tackle they think is athletic enough to play in a zone scheme, and is worth this pick is available when they are up. Spriggs is a 4 year starter that has improved every season. I have a low first round grade on him right now, but he has already grown on me a lot this season, and if he adds some more muscle & learns to play lower he can be great in time.  Like Ferguson his forte is pass protection right now, and he doesn't get a lot of push in the run game , but in the Seattle zone scheme he could make more of a difference than he could for some other teams.He could rocket up draft boards with a good senior bowl & workouts.



27.GREEN BAY - NOAH SPENCE - OLB/DE - #  -  E. KENTUCKY
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JUSTIN HOUSTON - KC

Clay Matthews is the kind of player that would be effective in many different roles. While the packers certainly miss him as an edge rusher they kept saying that they wanted to keep him inside as the QB of their defense .  They finally changed course now and say they want to move him back to the edge, but there is no clear cut ILB available in this scenario that is worth this pick, although I would personally take Scooby Wrighy. They should address the position in free agency or later in the draft .With Julius Peppers on the decline, turning 36 next season, and the chance to save over 7 million by cutting him they need an edge rusher. Add in that their other 2 primary rush backers(Nick Perry and Mike Neal ) are also free agents means addressing this need early in the draft is still a strong possibility, even if Clay is moved back outside. Spence is an elite talent who was kicked out of Ohio St. for failing some drug tests. He has more upside than any 3-4 rush backer candidate in this draft. If he can show teams his troubles are behind him he could sneak into the top 15.



28.KANSAS CITY
 - 
EMMANUEL OGBAH - DE - OKLAHOMA ST.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DeMARCUS LAWRENCE - COWBOYS
The only thing former #1 overall pick Eric Fisher has shown for certain is that he doesn't play well as a left tackle. Donald Stephenson is a good athlete , but watching him get mollywopped against Green Bay convinced me he is not the long term answer for the Chiefs on the blindside either. I now think they would have to reach too far to take a tackle here, and won't over draft one in this case. Tamba Hali had a good year on a one year deal, but he will be 33 next season, and is a free agent. If the Chiefs are going to spend significant money on their older free agents I think they will probably prioritize Eric Berry first & Derrick Johnson second. Dee Ford has shown he lacks the size & strength to hold up on the strong side for a lot of snaps.Justin Houston is already dominant on the right, and shouldn't be moved. Ogbah might be a fit and allow Ford to be more of a backup on both sides, and be used more regularly as a situational pass rusher. Ogbah has the explosive burst, size , strength, and violent play style off the edge NFL teams crave. He also has the strength to kick inside on obvious passing downs, and allow Ford onto the field more.He is still really raw and mostly gets by on talent right now, but if he can show a more consistent motor & more varied pass rush arsenal Ogbah could be a pro - bowler once he gets coached up. 



29.ARIZONA - 
JARRAN REED - DT/DE - - ALABAMA
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON- JOHNATHAN HANKINS - GIANTS
The Cards need help on the front of their 3-4 defense. Other than one elite 5 technique (Calais Campbell )none of their down lineman can both hold the point of attack against the double team, and get a good pass rush. Reed can dominate when 2 gapping against the run, and has improved as a pass rusher. I think he could have gone higher next year if he returned to school and showed more in the passing game, but he came out anyway. He already showed at Alabama that he can play the nose & 5 technique, and that's what the cards need.


30.DENVER - 
CODY WHITEHAIR - G/T - KANSAS ST.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JOSH SITTON - PACKERS
After the loss of Ryan Clady to his second major injury in 3 years I understand why some people will want a left tackle here, and if one pops up that I think might be available this late, that will be the pick. Keep in mind that Clady was the ONLY Bronco lineman I felt good about in this scheme before they lucked into Evan Mathis. No matter who the QB is next season I expect them to be running Kubiak's zone scheme. Whitehair is a college left tackle who would be playing left guard for the Broncos. With Cody's experience at both tackle and guard he can just slide to the left one spot if Clady goes down again , and fill in for at least the short term. 



31.CAROLINA - COREY COLEMAN - ** - WR - BAYLOR

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - STEVE SMITH - BALTIMORE
Out of all the teams that pursued La'el Collins the Panthers were the one that NEEDED him the most, but he signed with Dallas so they still need a left tackle. While Michael Oher has surprisingly looked pretty good at LT in pass protection , he has been horrible as run blocker, but I no longer think they will look to replace him in the first round. Cam Newton also deserves a reliable wide receiver. Someone who can get open and be relied upon to actually make the catch. Yes, I am talking about Benjamin, Funchess, and Ginn. if I was Cam i would be tempted to only throw it to Olsen and Cotchery, but that;s unlikely. Coleman gets open, can catch,  and he can stretch the field. If he was 6 "2" he would be a top 5 pick , but even at a reported 5"10" he has been unstoppable this year.He's fierce and reminds me of a young Steve Smith minus the dominant attitude that Newton doesn't need in his huddle.

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