While Denver is still hungover with the sweet taste of Super Bowl victory (and Budweiser, at least according to Peyton Manning’s celebration plans), the rest of the NFL is now busy studying the next group of stars that will be drafted in April. Under two months from now, teams will select the players that will be the next generation’s stars and busts. This year’s Super Bowl emphasized the importance of having strong pass rushers and strong offensive tackles which is reflected in how I believe teams will draft this season. Here is how I believe the 1st round will shake out barring no trades:
1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Currently the consensus number one pick and the best tackle in the draft will go to Tennessee to protect Marcus Mariota’s blind side for the years to come.
2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, South Dakota State
Currently the most hyped quarterback in the draft and it seems it will either be Goff or Wentz going second overall barring any mistakes leading up to the draft.
3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
A better fit to the San Diego Chargers scheme then Joey Bosa, a skilled pass rusher with great size will help an ailing Chargers defense.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
While the Cowboys may get the heir to Tony Romo’s throne but they most likely will opt to fix up their pass rush to push back to the top of the NFC East next season.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Gus Bradley could use a shut down defensive back to build up the Jaguars defense like the Seahawks Legion of Boom. Ramsey could be the best player in this draft and has a tremendously high ceiling as a safety or a cornerback.
6. Baltimore Ravens: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of the road and the Ravens could use an upgrade at outside linebacker. The Ravens could also use a cornerback to cover the outstanding receivers in their divisions (AJ Green, Antonio Brown) or draft an offensive lineman to protect Joe Flacco.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
I could see the 49ers drafting a quarterback here, but I think they will give Kaepernick another year to prove himself under new head coach Chip Kelly. In the meantime, they could really use an offensive tackle or an inside linebacker. I think Reggie Ragland might be a reach at this spot and Ronnie Stanley provides great pass protection and is developing his run blocking.
8. Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Brent Grimes is turning 33 and the rest of the cornerback depth is lackluster. Hargreaves is a gifted corner in zone and press coverage, but time will tell if he is tall enough to play as an outside corner.
9. Tampa Bay Buccanneers: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Spence is a tremendous pass rusher, but has some off-field issues that need to be addressed. The Buccaneers, however, filled their need at QB last year with a guy that had off-field issues and it worked out well. They desperately need a defensive end and it will either be Spence or Dodd here.
10. New York Giants: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
It was ugly to watch the Giants defensive line without Jason Pierre Paul so the Giants absolutely need to pick up a pass rusher with this pick.
11. Chicago Bears: Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
Another team in need of a pass rusher, Smith is a rare combination of a fast upfield pass rusher and cover linebacker. Had he not torn his ACL and MCL in the Fiesta Bowl, he may have been a top five pick.
12. New Orleans Saints: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
This secondary was awful. Alexander has been an outstanding corner while at Clemson. Enough said.
13. Philadelphia Eagles: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
Before all the Eagles fans crucify me for not having them draft a quarterback, the guard play was terrible this year and no matter what you do at quarterback he needs to be protected. Whitehair is a versatile player who has produced both inside as a guard and outside as a tackle.
14. Oakland Raiders: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
They’ve got the franchise quarterback and now they have got to protect him. Decker has a high floor and will be a good tackle in the NFL for a long time.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California
If Jeff Fisher wants to be a legitimate contender for the NFC West, he must get a true franchise quarterback. Goff played football close to the Rams new home which will really excite the new fans in LA. Aside from the potential business he brings the team, Goff also is a very talented young man who can make all the throws with accuracy (most of the time) and velocity.
16. Detroit Lions: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The Calvin Johnson era has come to an end and I know that Matthew Stafford will not function without a top-tier wide receiver. Treadwell’s size and footwork could lead him to being a huge success in the NFL.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Floyd and Vic Beasley both coming off the edge… Good luck NFC South offensive lineman and quarterbacks.
18. Indianapolis Colts: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Colts only hope to contend lies in the hands of franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, selecting Conklin will begin to patch up a weak and unstable offensive line. This pick is an absolute necessity because Luck’s career won’t last very long if he continues to work behind the lines he has worked with so far.;
19. Buffalo Bills: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
If this guy works on his hands, he could become an extremely explosive receivers in the NFL. This guy could compliment Sammy Watkins well and provide Tyrod Taylor with a plethora of weapons.
20. New York Jets: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
An immediate starter who could put up huge numbers behind the Jets’ great defensive line. Very good against the run and can keep up with most running backs and tight ends in coverage.
21. Washington Redskins: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
A very powerful, well built defensive tackle, Billings could provide depth that the Redskins need. I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a wide receiver or cornerback here either.
22. Houston Texans: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Personally one of my favorite receivers in the draft, i think he has the potential to be something special if his wrist heals up. He’ll be a nice weapon to compliment Deandre Hopkins which will also help future Texans quarterback Christian Hackenberg grow.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Between Doctson, Fuller, Tyler Boyd and Michael Thomas, two of them will be selected with the 22nd and 23rd overall pick. I have Fuller going to the Vikings at 23 because he can torch defenders and always finds himself open which could definitely help the Vikings weak passing game.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
Drawing comparisons to Muhammad Wilkerson, the Bengals would be stupid to pass on this big, athletic nose tackle to provide depth and maybe push for a starting job next season.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Heath Miller has finally called it quits and the Steelers could hit an upgrade if they draft Henry in the first round. He did not drop a single pass this season while showing off his gifted route running ability. Even better, his running blocking abilities would be greatly appreciated by Le’veon Bell and Deangelo Williams.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
If this kid bulks up, he could be a less expensive option to plug up holes that could be left in the Seattle defensive line by free agency. They could really use to bulk up their offensive line with this pick as well.
27. Green Bay Packers: Scooby Wright III, ILB, Arizona
Wright was a tackle machine at Arizona and if he comes back strong from an injury plagued season, he could make a nice duo with Clay Matthews. I have a strong feeling that the Packers could reach for him even though he is considered by many to be a second round pick.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
In a division that features Khalil Mack, Vonn Miller, Demarcus Ware, and potentially DeForest Buckner (if the Chargers draft him), the Chiefs absolutely need stellar tackle play to keep Alex Smith upright. Shon Coleman has great size but still is a raw talent who needs to develop a little better.
29. Arizona Cardinals: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Adding another corner to an already well built defensive backfield will make it even more difficult to beat the Cardinals by passing the ball. Apple would fit in nicely on the opposite side of Patrick Peterson.
30. Carolina Panthers: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
I think the Panthers may reach in order to fill a need that became extremely obvious in the Super Bowl. Wouldn’t be surprised if they went with a safety or running back here, but they really need an offensive tackle.
31. Denver Broncos: Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
With most of the top tackles in this year’s draft off the board, the Broncos most likely turn to the guard position where they could move on from Evan Mathis or potentially land a quarterback with this pick.
**If you think I made a mistake and missed a team but can’t figure out who, allow me to remind you that the Patriots lost their first rounder thanks to everyone’s favorite sports scandal, Deflategate.**
I will most likely come out with a second mock draft after to update player’s draft stock and team needs. Also, i believe that Ezekiel Elliott will come off the board with the first pick of the second round to the Tennessee Titans.