Josh Norris

Mock Drafts

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NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Thursday, February 11, 2016


17. Atlanta Falcons - Ohio State WR Michael Thomas - There are other positions the Falcons could target before receiver, namely linebacker and another edge player, but none fit in this spot. We all saw what the Falcons passing offense looked like when Julio Jones was the only talented piece. In fact, it is amazing how productive it was with just Julio carrying it. The team has a nice slot option in Justin Hardy, but are in need of a second option on the outside. I love Rumford Johnny’s comparison of Michael Crabtree for Thomas.


18. Indianapolis Colts - Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott - Elliott can be a foundation piece of an NFL offense. There are so many occasions where he turns three yard runs into 10 yard gains due to a combination of vision, quickness, balance and strength. On top of that, Elliott is a solid receiver and can play on all three downs. He might be the best blocking ball carrier I’ve seen.


19. Buffalo Bills - Louisiana Tech DL Vernon Butler - I see so much Mo Wilkerson in Butler’s game, so why not place the LaTech product with Wilkerson’s former coach in Rex Ryan, especially with the Bills needing talent along the front four. Butler can play either interior spot and even a 5 technique role in odd man fronts. He displays intent with his hands and is slippery when working around blockers. I love Butler’s game.


20. New York Jets - Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith - A team with patience will select Jaylon Smith in the first-round. Bits of news have been placed in the media regarding Smith’s timeline, but that will be specific for each team. He covers plenty of ground and appeared more aggressive at the point of attack this season. The Jets’ linebackers seemed to allow a high number of first downs this year based on positioning and a lack of speed. Smith could help fix that.


21. Washington Redskins - Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche - Jason Hatcher is a pivotal piece of Washington’s front seven. He turns 34 in July. Yes, Nkemdiche will be a talking point throughout the process, and the NFL will have far more information than the public, just like with every prospect. Nkemdiche has displayed uncommon explosion and power from a variety of alignments.


22. Houston Texans - Cal QB Jared Goff - There could be worse situations for a rookie quarterback to step into. Goff seemingly mastered Cal’s system, albeit a very simple one. It is a simpler offense than Mariota’s at Oregon, but no one is making that statement.


23. Minnesota Vikings - Ohio State OL Taylor Decker - Decker pulled out of the Senior Bowl, but all signs point to Decker being the third tackle selected. The Vikings need an infusion of aggressiveness and nastiness, and Decker plays until the whistle and sometimes beyond. He is working with LeCharles Bentley pre-draft, which has helped a number of prospects and players.


24. Cincinnati Bengals - Georgia LB Leonard Floyd - The Bengals need a shot of athleticism at linebacker. Floyd played more at the second level this season and also possesses pass rushing ability thanks to flexibility and bend. He could be used as the Bengals’ third edge rusher on sub downs.


25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Michigan State EDGE Shilique Calhoun - Despite taking an edge player in the first round last year, the Steelers still need to add talent at the position. James Harrison was arguably their best edge rusher last year. Calhoun might not fit the squatty, stocky build that has been linked with the Steelers, but he is a straight line player with length and intensity to attempt counter moves.


26. Seattle Seahawks - Louisville DL Sheldon Rankins - Don’t get me started on Rankins. He is a top 10 talent in this draft. He is a true upfield disruptor who is smooth, quick and versatile with his hands to win the balance advantage. I’ll go as far to say that Rankins could be this year’s Kawann Short. The Seahawks love disruption, and Rankins would offer it.


27. Green Bay Packers - DL Jarran Reed - Who knows what the Packers are doing… They could go with an inside linebacker to allow Clay Matthews to move to the edge. Or they could continue to add bodies up front with a few impending free agents along the defensive interior. We know Reed holds up well against the run, and he has more upfield ability than his teammate A’Shawn Robinson.


28. Kansas City Chiefs - DL Andrew Billings - There will be a long discussion about Billings’ best alignment. He might not be a true 1 or 0 technique on base downs. He shows very good mobility for an interior lineman in a number of games, and I would not be surprised to see Billings moved around in the NFL. The Chiefs could be without Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito next year.


29. Arizona Cardinals - Oklahoma State EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah - Compared to others, I have a lot of questions about Ogbah’s projection. Markus Golden has transitioned well to the NFL, but more young edge talent is needed. The Cardinals relied on Dwight Freeney in a number of situations. The Cardinals have done wonders with picks others have questioned (John Brown, Deone Bucannon and Rodney Gunter, among others.)


30. Carolina Panthers - Clemson EDGE Kevin Dodd - The Panthers have to upgrade their edge rushers this offseason. It will likely be their No. 1 priority. Charles Johnson and Jared Allen are likely gone. Dodd was close to dominant down the stretch. He won with hand use, separation and even showed he can turn the corner to take a tighter path to the quarterback. Jonathan Bullard is also a possibility, especially if the Panthers yearn for an edge player who can take some snaps inside.


31. Denver Broncos - Memphis QB Paxton Lynch - The Broncos were in the Blake Bortles sweepstakes a few years ago before the Jaguars shocked everyone and selected the quarterback in the top five. There is plenty of uncertainty around the Broncos’ quarterback position, and I would be shocked if they give Brock Osweiler a contract that, in real numbers, lasts for more than two years.


(The Patriots’ first-round pick is forfeited)



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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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