The Senior Bowl is over, as is the East-West Shrine Game. While both games had their moments, overall, it wasn’t really anything to get one excited. The players that were expected to shine didn’t live up to their pre-game hype. The ones that were expected to me mid-to-late rounders certainly may have helped their cause, but, just from a pessimistic view, they really had nowhere to go but up. With all of that as a backdrop, let’s do a Mock Draft, Top 10. This, of course, is pre-Combine stats, and pre-Pro Day for those not attending the Combine.
1. Tennessee/Cleveland– The need here is for someone to guard Marcus Mariotta’s blind side. It makes all the sense in the world. Mariotta is their golden boy, and they have to protect their investment. But, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies, Draft Day. Cleveland wants to “make a splash”, and they’re sitting at number two. Now, certainly, there’s nobody in Nashville, waiting on the phone to ring, to tell the new GM to “fleece him” as they said in the movie. Bot, Cal’s Jared Goff is out there, and with the Browns already making it known that Johnny Manziel is out, he has to be on their radar, as does Carson Wentz from North Dakota St. The trouble is: Does Cleveland want to gamble that Tennessee won’t trade out with someone else, and lose “their guy”? My prediction is that Cleveland trades up one with Tennessee, giving up a second or third round pick to do it, and the Browns, at number one take :Jared Goff, QB, Cal.
2. Tennessee– by virtue of a trade, Tennessee is now on the clock. Dallas is burning up their phones, trying to get Wentz ahead of San Diego. The Cowboys have a solid O-line, so Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss, can’t be on their radar. The Titans stay firm here, taking Tunsil to be the guy that covers for Mariotta. With the second pick in the 2016 Draft, the Titans select Laremy Tunsil, T, Ole Miss.
3. San Diego– This is where it could get interesting. Does Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have enough to trade up, or, does Chargers owner Alex Spanos take a quarterback to be the heir apparent for Philip Rivers? I think Rivers still has a few years left in his career, and a quarterback this high wouldn’t really make sense for the Chargers. So, taking the best player available to help their team, the Chargers select Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State.
4. Dallas– Tony Romo was battered last year. He came back, and was battered again. At 36, he doesn’t have a lot of time left to be a starter in this league. With his impressive college record, the Cowboys quickly select Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State.
5. Jacksonville– This is another place that a trade could be made. Baltimore could jump up one, and fortify their defense. Jacksonville could stand firm, and do the same. They could also get an explosive player to compliment their quarterback, Blake Bortles. In the end, this is a passing league. Jacksonville selects Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss.
6. Baltimore– Since Bosa is no longer available, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome still needs defense for his beleaguered unit. His team is picking here because of their inability to hold on to leads late in games. And, by sitting patiently, he now has his pick of defenders. Since Newsome went to Alabama, he was around for the national title game, and liked what he saw…from the other team! Baltimore selects Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson.
7. San Francisco– Here is where it could get interesting. Does former Eagles coach Chip Kelly trade away this pick to obtain a guy off another team’s IR, or, does he keep the pick and select someone that the 49ers can groom? This team certainly needs a lot of help in a lot of areas. My guess? Jed York steps in, overrules Kelly on any kind of trade scenario, and takes Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State.
8. Miami– What a mess this team has been. They fire their coach mid-season, they over-spend to acquire last year’s top free agent, Ndamukong Suh, whom the team is already wanting to re-structure his deal, and QB Ryan Tanneyhill is a bit of a malcontent. New head coach Adam Gase could try to trade back here to acquire more picks, but, best guess is that he and owner Stephen Ross make their selection, and let RB Lamar Miller walk. Miami selects Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State.
9. Tampa Bay– Talk about dysfunctional teams. This team fired its coach, Lovie Smith, after showing improvement from Season One to Season Two. They elevate their offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, to the top job just to keep him from interviewing with other teams. Koetter inherits a Pro Bowl quarterback in Jameis Winston. Will he be able to convince Doug Martin to stay in Tampa as their running back? Prudence ends up ruling the day here, as the Bucs go with the best player on the board at this spot. They stay local and take Vernon Hargreaves, CB,Florida.
10. New York Giants– Another team that deposed their coach, they go with a more offensive minded man in Ben McAdoo. His quarterback, Eli Manning, won’t be around for forever. Does McAdoo try to find the heir apparent for Manning here, or, does he go with the best available player? Since their star defender injured himself in a fireworks accident, it’s more likely they go with someone to provide punch on the defensive line. At number ten, the Giants select Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor.
Again, these are just wild speculation. If nothing else, it’s meant for us to debate who goes where, who will trade up, who will trade down, and who will select a bust. In later articles, I will go deeper into the first round. After the Combine Weekend in Indianapolis later this month, I’m sure a lot of these will change. Enjoy!