The time has come for my dreams to be heard. My mock drafts will not be pushed aside and turned. Into your own, all ’cause you won’t listen. Less than five percent of you are actually reading this introduction. Thank you to those who are. These “projections” will change frequently. Don’t take these guesses as “X player is projected in the first-round.” It is too early to make such a statement. I suggest using early mocks as watch lists.
I am keeping the analysis portion to the top 20, since those teams are locked in. Do not read into the 21-31 order. It was done by lowest seed/worst to best record.
1. Tennessee Titans - Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil - The “top prospect” will not be a unanimous ranking this year. For years it has been accepted that left tackle is the most important offensive line position. In the past, it seemed all of the top pass rushers played opposite the left tackle. That played into the importance of the position. Now pass rushers are deployed from all different alignments. Basically I’m trying to explain why tackle will not be the pick here, since Tennessee’s interior seemed to struggle just as much as the edge. But, with no trade down possible at the moment, the Titans add a quality offensive line prospect.
2. Cleveland Browns - Memphis QB Paxton Lynch - We would all be shocked if the Browns don’t select a quarterback, right? There are many questions, however. Who is making the pick? Who is coaching? And which quarterback? Perhaps more than any other position, the NFL looks for a certain “type” at quarterback, and Lynch checks many of those boxes.
3. San Diego Chargers - Notre Dame OL Ronnie Stanley - The Chargers might have ended the season with the worst roster in the NFL, and a big part of that was injuries. The Chargers have acquired big and powerful offensive line over the last few offseasons, and it has not really worked. Stanley fits the length/athleticism mold more, so some self-scouting would have to be done for this pick to happen.
4. Dallas Cowboys - Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell - Treadwell and Dez Bryant on the same team? Why?.... Why not. Terrance Williams’ contract is up and he is an average talent at best. Jason Witten is very close to transitioning from Dad Running to Dad Power Walking. Treadwell is an ultra-physical receiver both before and after the catch.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Ohio State edge player Joey Bosa - But they took an edge rusher last year?... So. The Jaguars will likely lose three edge rushers this offseason (Clemons played 675 snaps, Branch played 616 and Davis played 250) and were in dire need of pass rushing productivity this year. Bosa is all explosion and power, shedding his opposition with strength and extension. He is one of the best run defending edge players I have seen.
6. Baltimore Ravens - FSU DB Jalen Ramsey - The Ravens’ secondary was horrendous for long stretches of the season. Ozzie Newsome loves to build his team from the inside - out. Ramsey could play safety in the NFL, or teams could evaluate him at corner. I bet we see the smart ones play him in both spots, as well as use him on blitzes.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Cal QB Jared Goff - There would be massive pressure with this selection, as Goff wears No. 16 for Joe Montana. Goff made so many highlight reel bucket throws this season. The 49ers seem like a total mess, which complicates things even more.
8. Miami Dolphins - Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III - Hargreaves’ 2015 season did not match 2014, but is was far from bad or even average. I was a big Jamar Taylor fan out of Boise State, but he has not played well. Unless the team really believes in young corners Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett as full time starters, expect them to address this position early.
9. Tampa Bay Bucs - Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander - I can see why a lot of people like Alexander. In fact, many love his game. Hate it or love it, corner is now a position of size and stature. It can be difficult to find sub 5’10” corner who successfully plays the ball in contested situations. Jason Verrett was one, and Alexander needs to follow that path.
10. New York Giants - Oregon DL DeForest Buckner - I’m not completely sold on Buckner’s pass rushing success early on. However, I am sold on Buckner's individual traits that can result in a powerful pass rusher. Let me explain. Buckner has desired size and length. He is not slow off the football. He has strength in his hands and uses length. All of these show up as a run defender. Once he shows urgency and intent to play behind the line of scrimmage and shed against the pass, he can be a huge factor on a defense. The Giants might see a Justin Tuck comparison here.