2016 UNION WEEKLY NFL MOCK DRAFT

The one and only look into how April 28 might turn out

Richard Mejia   Managing Editor

After a wild couple of weeks, the NFL Draft is finally upon us. A series of unexpected trades shuffled everything around and saw the top 2 picks get moved to new teams. How did this affect the draft? Managing Editor Richard Mejia breaks it all down.

1.) Los Angeles Rams (Acquired from TEN):  Jared Goff(QB) Cal– Trading away a King’s Ransom in draft picks solidifies the Rams’ aim for a QB. The franchise has nothing at the quarterback position and with a move to a large market, a young franchise QB is an absolute must.

2.) Philadelphia Eagles (Acquired from CLE):  Carson Wentz (QB) North Dakota State- The Eagles gave up a lot to move to this spot, and Wentz is the pick. With starting caliber QB’s in Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel atop of the depth chart, this will allow the former FCS star to learn and develop into the franchise player Philadelphia is banking on.

3.)  San Diego Chargers:  Laremy Tunsil (OT) Ole Miss- The highest-rated lineman and offensive player in this draft is NFL-ready and can be the cornerstone at left tackle that can elongate Phillip Rivers’ career. San Diego had one of the worst offensive lines last season, and with Tunsil the pick here, he’d have the greatest impact of any rookie in the upcoming season.

4.) Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey (CB/S) Florida State- With a rare combination of athleticism, skill and instincts, Ramsey is touted as a generational talent, and you can’t miss on a guy like him. Dallas addresses one of their biggest needs with this pick, and create a talented and highly-athletic secondary with last year’s first round pick Byron Jones.

5.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack(LB) UCLA-  Despite a season-ending ACL tear in September, Jack has retained his top-10 draft status. With unbelievable instincts, ferocity and unmatched athleticism, Jack appears to be the next great linebacker in the same vein as Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis.

6.) Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa (DE) Ohio State- Considered as arguably the best player in the draft, Bosa’s natural rushing ability and impressive athleticism can be the force on defense Baltimore has been missing since Superbowl victory three years ago.

7.) San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner (DE) Oregon- This franchise needs talent, period. Next to fellow 6’7”, 290+ lbs. DE and Oregon teammate Arik Armstead, the San Francisco defense can slowly begin rebuilding defense around two potential stars.

8.) Cleveland Browns (Acquired from PHI through MIA): Ezekiel Elliot (RB) Ohio State- With a franchise in completely disarray, stockpiling picks makes the most sense and the best player available at this point in the draft is Elliot. The most complete back coming out of college since Adrian Peterson, Elliot oozes enough talent and versatility to take pressure of Robert Griffin III and give the Browns credibility on offense.

9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves III (CB) Florida- The Tampa Buccaneers have gone three straight years without drafting a defensive player in the first round, and it as paid dividends with a promising offensive attack. In Hargreaves, the Bucs get the best cover corner with Joe Haden-like ability and size.

10.) New York Giants: Ronnie Stanley (OT) Notre Dame- Last summer, Stanley was routinely mocked as the top player in this year’s draft. Fast forward a few months and questions about his work ethic, passion and physicality have arisen. Make no mistake, Stanley has serious talent, and bookending last year’s first round pick in LT Ereck Flowers can provide o-line stability for the next decade.

11.) Chicago Bears: Jack Conklin (OT) Michigan State- The Bears addressed their biggest needs on defense this offseason, and it appears Chicago will once again be a defensive powerhouse. However, their most glaring need is at left tackle. Charles Leno is one of the worst tackles in the NFL. Conklin brings old school grit to the position and can be one of the better linemen for years to come.

12.) New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins (DT) Louisville- The Saints finished 27th in the league in sacks and generally speaking, the team lacks talent on defensive. Rankins makes sense to plug up the middle, and unlike fellow interior lineman A’Shawn Robinson, Rankins has legitimate pass rush ability— Rankins has the higher ceiling but Robinson has the higher floor.

13.) Miami Dolphins (Acquired from PHI): Eli Apple (CB) Ohio State- Brent Grimes and his lovely wife have left the building. Even before then, the Dolphins needed help at cornerback, and with the addition of Byron Maxwell, it didn’t get any better. If he can get past his holding tendencies, Apple has the length and athleticism to be a legit #1 corner in the NFL. 

14.) Oakland Raiders: Mackensie Alexander (CB) Clemson- Oakland has done a superb job of moving away from Al Davis’ poor model of drafting to acquiring young, franchise talent. With the addition of Sean Smith and a blossoming D.J. Hayden, Alexander will bolster what was Oakland’s biggest deficiency last season.

15.) Tennessee Titans (Acquired from LA): Taylor Decker (OT) Ohio State- Marcus Mariota possess every trait desired in a franchise signal-caller, minus a competent offensive line. Decker provides stability on the right side for years to come and might prove to be the missing piece for the Tennessee offense.

16.) Detroit Lions: A’Shawn Robinson (DT) Alabama- Haloti Ngata severely underperformed lasts season, and the rest of the Detroit interior defensive linemen didn’t look at all promising. Robinson gives the Lions the big-bodied run stuffer they missed last season and alongside Ziggy Ansah, has the potential to develop into a pass rusher.

17.) Atlanta Falcons: Shaq Lawson (EDGE) Clemson – The Falcons defense has trouble generating pressure—enter Shaq Lawson. Lawson is a tough; hardnosed pass rushed and will bring a new attitude and style to this pedestrian Atlanta defense.

18.) Indianapolis Colts:  Noah Spence (DE/EDGE) Eastern Kentucky- The Colts are in dire need of a pass rusher, and they get the best one in the draft with Spence. There is no denying his talent, it’s his off-the-field issues that have held Spence in check.

19.) Buffalo Bills: LaQuon Treadwell (WR) Ole Miss- Make no mistake, Treadwell is the best wide receiver in this year’s draft. With his 4.6 40-yard dash time turning teams off, Treadwell is a bully of a wide receiver with a nose for the ball and excellent body control. 

20.) New York Jets: Reggie Ragland (MLB) Alabama- New York can go a number of ways with this pick, especially considering the state of the defensive line. However, Ragland fits the bill for what the Jets need at inside linebacker can flourish into an all-pro with their monstrous line.

21.) Washington Redskins: Jarran Reed (DT) Alabama- The Redskins shocked the NFL by unpredictably making into the playoffs. However, their lack of defensive prowess has held them back. Reed is ready to be plugged into the line and stuff the run as well as the athletic anility to get after the QB.

22.) Houston Texans: Will Fuller (WR) Notre Dame- The Houston Texans are finally building a viable offense. With the additions of QB Brock Osweiler and RB Lamar Miller, having a true deep threat to compliment all-world receiver DeAndre Hopkins will make the AFC South one of the more fun divisions to watch.

23.) Minnesota Vikings: Corey Coleman (WR) Baylor- The Vikings need to embrace Bridgewater as their guy, and in order to do so he needs to be surrounded by playmakers. Coleman is an absolute dynamo on the field and his blazing speed can certainly stretch the field.

24.) Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Billings (NT) Baylor- A perfect landing spot Billings, as he fits a need the Bengals will be yearning for soon. Only 20 years old, Billings will have the chance to learn from veterans in Domata Peko, Pat Sims as well as pro bowlers Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins.

25.) Pittsburgh Steelers: William Jackson III (CB) Houston- Pittsburgh had a lot of trouble stopping the pass and lack any game-changing players in the secondary. Jackson III absolutely crushed it at the NFL Combine and his superb athleticism is the injection of talented this Pittsburgh defense so badly needs.

26.) Seattle Seahawks: Kevin Dodd (DE) Clemson- The Seahawks are starting to hurt on defense. They’ve lost most original members from the Legion of Boom as well as DT Brandon Mebane and LB/DE Bruce Irvin. Even though Dodd lacks experience his athletic ability fits in on the Seattle front seven and fills a huge pass-rushing void.

27.) Green Bay Packers: Darron Lee (LB) Ohio State- Green Bay covets versatility, and there are few players more versatile in this year’ draft than Lee. With the ability to play all LB spots, his high-level of athleticism will give the Packers options help out an aging defense.

28.) Kansas City Chiefs: Artie Burns (CB) Miami- Marcus Peters has solidified himself as a top cornerback in only his first year in the league. However, outside of him, there isn’t much to say about Kansa City’s cornerbacks. Burns is blessed with incredible athleticism, but will need some time to develop into a proper sidekick for Peters.

29.) Arizona Cardinals: Leonard Floyd (EDGE) Georgia- The 6’6” 245 lbs. freak athlete might be thinly built, but his pursuit to the quarterback is uncanny and if properly developed, could prove to be a huge steal this late. There is serious potential for Floyd to develop properly as he’ll be playing with one of the best in the league in newly-acquired Chandler Jones.

30.) Carolina Panthers: Kendall Fuller (CB) Virginia Tech- The Panthers can use a pass-rushing end, however in releasing All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, Carolina now has a glaring hole in their secondary. Fuller isn’t the on Norman’s level, but his size and talent is reminiscent of Chicago Bears cornerback and brother Kyle Fuller.

31.) Denver Broncos: Robert Nkemdiche (DT) Ole Miss- The fall from grace ends here. Nkemdiche is arguably the best player in this draft, yet a plethora of off the field incidents and strange interviews has had him fall almost completely out of the first round. John Elway has shown before he’s willing to take a chance on troubled players as he selected Shane Ray last year.

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