Gridiron Gentlemen Mock Draft: Dan
Finally I’ve had a chance to sit down and watch some of the draft prospects, which means I’ve finally also had a chance to put together my first mock draft. This year seems to be loaded with solid players, but with very few standouts. Also there is a ton of depth at defensive tackle, which is represented by the 5 going in my mock draft.
As always, this is based heavily on needs rather than picking best available. With that let’s take a look.
1) Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT – Mississippi
This just makes sense. Tunsil is near enough a finished article at tackle, who can slot in on the left, with Taylor Lewan moving to the right. Tunsil will go a long way to giving Mike Mularkey the offensive line he needs to get his offence rolling.
2) Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB – California
The Browns have picked up a number of unsuccessful QB’s from the draft and will have them rightly a little nervous about picking one up at the number 2 position. That being said it’s the obvious area of need and at number 2 they have the chance to pick up the most polished QB in the draft.
3) San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, CB – Florida State
San Diego have a number of glaring weaknesses on their team that gives them a certain amount of free reign to pick a legitimate talent, which is exactly what Ramsey is. Ramsey could be a decent replacement for Weddle if they push him to safety.
4) Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, OLB – UCLA
The hot pick for Dallas is a QB to replace Tony Romo, which makes sense after the season ended how it did for a strong Dallas team last year. QB for me though is a luxury pick on a team that has a number of big needs. with a number of players hitting free agency, now is the time to add an ever difficult to find 4-3 weak side line-backer. Jack can also line up as a pure edge rusher giving Dallas some much needed defensive versatility.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE – Ohio St.
Almost certainly the pick I’ll get killed for. Simply put I’m not as big a fan of Bosa as everyone else seems to be. Saw him in a couple of games get drawn offside. Bosa also on occasion got moved around by some of the bigger linemen. That being said he does have natural ability and lining up opposite Dante Fowler could give the Jags an insanely talented pair of defensive ends.
6) Baltimore Ravens: Vernon Hargreaves, CB – Florida
I’d be surprised if we don’t see Baltimore leave the weekend with numerous receivers, just not in the 1st round. Vernon Hargreaves could be a missing piece for a defence that was incredibly disappointing last year. With new talent to the secondary and a healthy front 7, they could turn a few heads.
7) San Francisco 49ers: Carson Wentz, QB – North Dakota St.
Wentz and Chip would be a match made in heaven. Wentz accurately moves the ball downfield in quick, short plays and making good, safe decisions. Chip could be given the ultimate QB to run his system, moving the chains, forcing mismatches, whilst eating up the clock. Easily my favourite fit in the draft.
8) Miami Dolphins: Ronnie Stanley, OT – Notre Dame
Miami were terrible in the trenches on both sides of the ball, which in no small part was down to coaching. Regardless they need to add talent on both sides, with the offensive line getting the slight edge. Ronnie Stanley gives the dolphins a starting right tackle and a legitimate replacement for Brandon Albert if he goes down injured.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE – Oregon
Tampa are a few additions away from being a legitimate force in the NFC South, one of which being defensive line. Gerald McCoy can cover a lot of issues, but adding a decent pass rusher to the line gives opponents something else to worry about, which should force more mistakes.
10) New York Giants: Noah Spence, DE – Eastern Kentucky
There is considered a potential risk, with Spence having a history of suspensions. It is believed that he’s put this behind him and could have a new sense of motivation, much like we saw with Tyrann Mathieu. Spence could provide some much needed elite rushing ability to an anaemic Giants defence.
11) Chicago Bears: A’Shawn Robinson, DT – Alabama
The Bears still need help in pretty much every area on defence. Now that existing players have got used to a new scheme it’s time to add some power up front. Chicago has 9 draft picks and I would be very surprised if at least 6 of them weren’t used on defensive players.
12) New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT – Louisville
To say the Saints cap situation is tight would be an understatement meaning they’ll be relying on solid draft picks to come in and make an immediate difference on a defence that struggled last year. Sheldon Rankins should help out the limited talent they have upfront to gain some pressure.
13) Philadelphia Eagles: Vernon Butler, DT – Louisiana Tech
On my list this is the 5th defensive lineman in a row and 3rd tackle. The fact that there is another 3 tackles on this list should give you an idea how deep this draft is for the position, which is handy for a team that’s changing to a tackle orientated Jim Schwartz defensive front. Vernon Butler will be Jim Schwartz’s centre piece.
14) Oakland Raiders: Jack Conklin, OT – Michigan St.
The Raiders are in the best position they’ve been in, in years. That being said there are a few areas they could improve in. Mackensie Alexander could be a good pick up at corner or Reggie Ragland at inside line-backer. In the end though I had them adding another piece to the offensive line giving Carr and Murray some much needed protection, with the other needs being addressed in free agency.
15) LA Rams: LaQuon Treadwell, WR – Mississippi
I’m not on the Paxton Lynch bandwagon and think picking him up in the 1st would be a mistake. So with Wentz and Goff off the board I’m giving the Rams some much needed height at receiver, then maybe look at QB later in the draft.
16) Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT – Ohio St.
Detroit’s offensive line has been a weakness for the last few years. Now that weak offensive line is looking old. So it’s time to give a resurgent Matt Stafford some much needed protection.
17) Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Ragland, ILB – Alabama
Dan Quinn is desperate for a solid line-backer group, much like he had in Seattle. Reggie Ragland has a chance to be Atlanta’s Bobby Wagner, someone to build a unit around.
18) Indianapolis Colts: Ezekiel Elliott, RB – Ohio St.
Oh Indianapolis. The Colts are desperate for offensive line help. Unfortunately if it falls like this they’ll be 5 or 6 spots either way from being in a prime position to pick a lineman. So at 18 the sound selection seems to be help at running back, selecting Elliott who looks like a legitimate talent. In reality though I can see the Colts trying to move up or down.
19) Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, DE – Clemson
As I write this Mario Williams is all but gone from Buffalo, leaving a gaping hole on their defensive line. Lawson wouldn’t be the 1st choice here, but I can see him fitting in quite nicely.
20) New York Jets: Darron Lee, OLB – Ohio St.
Todd Bowles will be on the lookout for versatile players that will fit what he’s trying to do in a fairly unique scheme. Darron Lee’s small frame makes him an excellent fit to find gaps behind the Jets defensive line. Although he plays in a very different way expect Lee to be used in a similar way to Matthieu in the pass rush.
21) Washington: Jarran Reed, DT – Alabama
Terrance Knighton seems to be on his way out of Washington in what was a short stay after a long stint with Denver. Now they’re looking for fresh blood in a defensive tackle heavy draft. Reed should fit the bill perfectly.
22) Houston Texans: Hunter Henry, TE – Arkansas
Paxton and Hackenberg could be answers for the Texans QB woes, but at 22 overall I think both are a reach. So then they could pick up a running back, but the latest talk is that they’re trying to rework Foster’s contract and I think they can pick up some talent in the later rounds. So what else do they need? How about picking up the top tight end in the draft. Hunter Henry should make the Texans life a lot easier when they eventually nail down the QB spot.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Cody Whitehair, G – Kansas St.
Potentially a reach for the Vikings but easily the offensive line stands out as the biggest glaring weakness. Cody Whitehair is the best guard in the draft and should vastly improve the line, that being said if Matt Kalil looks as bad as he did last year they’ll be picking up an offensive line in the next draft.
24) Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Coleman, WR – Baylor
The Bengals are in the market for a receiver with 1 or 2 seemingly on their way out. Enter Coleman, a perfect complement for AJ Green. Coleman could have a really nice career with the Bengals.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB – Ohio St.
Pittsburgh have the offence sorted, so long as they can stay healthy. So now it’s time to sort out the issues on defence, for which there are relatively few. With a solid front 7 though, now is the time to add a big, strong shutdown corner.
26) Seattle Seahawks: Robert Nkemdiche, DT – Mississippi
Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett had an excellent season on the outside and the secondary eventually started to look like the legion of boom we’ve seen over the last few seasons. Where the defence could really use help is on the inside. If they can get that nailed expect huge numbers from the Seahawks pass rushers. Seattle also need help at corner and on the offensive line, both areas I think they’ll address later on in the draft.
27) Green Bay Packers: Andrew Billings, DT – Baylor
This is quite simple. BJ Raji has been on his way out of Green Bay for the last few years, but now it actually looks like he’s gone, leaving them with a huge need at nose tackle. Billings fits the bill perfectly.
28) Kansas City Chiefs: Mackensie Alexander, CB – Clemson
A lot of defensive backs hitting free agency for Kansas and whilst I don’t think they’ll all be leaving, they should still be a little light at the position. Enter Mackensie Alexander, who should complement last year’s defensive rookie of the year, Marcus Peters perfectly, giving QB’s a difficult decision with where to throw the ball.
29) Arizona Cardinals: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE – Oklahoma St.
Ogbah landing in Arizona could be the best thing that happens to his career. To begin with I’d imagine he doesn’t see a great deal of playing time, as the Cards ease him into the role gradually increasing his snaps and eventually becoming an essential piece in the Cards pass rush. If Ogbah isn’t picked up by the Cards, he’ll probably land with the next team, either way they could both be very good for his career.
30) Carolina Panthers: Kevin Dodd, DE – Clemson
With Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, the Panthers have one of the top defensive tackle pairings in the league. However on the outside it’s a little thin and Charles Johnson has probably seen his best playing days. So at 30 both Dodd and Ogbah would be an excellent pick up, that could take full advantage of lining up opposite the Panthers best player in the Super bowl, Kony Ealy. Carolina could however look at bolstering a thin secondary instead.
31) Denver Broncos: Vadal Alexander, OT – LSU
I contemplated putting the Broncos down for Derrick Henry here, with a need for running back being close to the top of a short list. But after last year’s Super bowl success I thought it was time for Kubiak to make his mark and what better way to do that then bolstering a fairly weak offensive line. Alexander could push inside to guard filling in for Evan Mathis, who will be hitting the free agency market.
I’ll try and get another mock draft up next week, but realistically it’ll be up in a fortnight. In the meantime, don’t forget to join the Gents mock draft by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org