By Zach Walker
The 2016 NFL Draft will soon be upon us. This is an early mock draft with needs and highlighting the player that each of these twenty teams needs to help out the most. Obviously these are the teams that did not make the playoffs this season and we know their draft order.
#1: Tennessee Titans: Player to help out QB Marcus Mariota is OT Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss. Move the raw power of Taylor Lewan to right tackle, let him be a beast out there, and let Tunsil be the technician protecting Mariota’s blind side.
#2: Cleveland Browns: Player to help out OT Joe Thomas is QB Jared Goff from Cal. Goff is going to have an uphill battle, unlike almost any other quarterback ever, maybe Goff’s best reference would be David Carr, but give Joe Thomas someone worthy to block for.
#3: San Diego Chargers: Player to help out WR Keenan Allen is WR Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss. When Keenan Allen went down, it seemed like he took the entire offense with him. Giving what remains of Philip Rivers another top option, on top of Antonio Gates for the full season, there should be a real resurgence.
#4: Dallas Cowboys: Player to help out CB/S Byron Jones is CB/S Jalen Ramsey from Florida State. Byron Jones is an excellent player, and when next season starts, he’ll have Orlando Scandrick to help in coverage, so that should improve things. Ramsey has excellent versatility, like Byron Jones, and could have either of them play free safety, and the other takes the corner spot.
#5: Jacksonville Jaguars: Player to help out DE Dante Fowler is DE Joey Bosa from Ohio State. Whoever the Jaguars select, they’ll be adding their first round pick from last season, Dante Fowler. Bosa has an elite skill set, and versatility to play either defensive tackle or the end across from Fowler, and adding two explosive pass rushers in a single off-season will be an awesome addition.
#6: Baltimore Ravens: Player to help out DE Terrell Suggs is DE Emmanuel Ogbah from Oklahoma State. Apparently, if Terrell Suggs goes down for the Baltimore Ravens, the lights go out and the heart stops beating. The Ravens need to grow a replacement for Suggs. Upshaw is good, but they need someone with specific quarterback hunting skills, and Ogbah is a player that can get Dalton and Roethlisberger and whoever the Cleveland QB is really moving.
#7: San Francisco 49ers: Player to help out FB Bruce Miller is QB Paxton Lynch from Memphis. It’s dumb for me to put Bruce Miller in my highlighted player, but who else is there for this new quarterback to improve. Lynch has good pocket awareness, freakish size, and an equally epic cannon for an arm.
#8: Miami Dolphins: Player to help out CB Brent Grimes is CB Vernon Hargreaves from Florida. Over the last few games, I’ve seen Hargreaves being burnt on more than a few plays, where I’d have figured a guy with so much draft shine would have been better. However, a few poor games late won’t erase a college career’s worth of work. Across from Brent Grimes, Hargreaves could work against the number two receiver and work his way up to speed.
#9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Player to help out DT Gerald McCoy is DL DeForest Buckner from Oregon. Personally, I believe that Greg Hardy won’t return to Dallas, and if that happens he’ll be a Buccaneer. Add a giant like Buckner to McCoy and potentially Greg Hardy, that’s a wall.
#10: New York Giants: Player to help out DE Jason Pierre-Paul is DE Robert Nkemdiche from Ole Miss. Nkemdiche might be a little crazy, or just immature, and may scare teams off, but the Giants are so lacking of defensive talent along their front seven, that they can’t afford to miss on this type of talent. Nkemdiche is a tornado of talent and skill and could really improve the Giants’ pass rush.
#11: Chicago Bears: Player to help out DE Lamar Houston is DE Shilique Calhoun from Michigan State. The Bears need to add some spice to their defense, they need some athleticism to chase down Bridgewater, Peterson, Rodgers, Lacy, and Stafford. Calhoun isn’t a giant but he is a good framed player, with a great motor.
#12: New Orleans Saints: Player to help out DE Cameron Jordan is LB Myles Jack from UCLA. The Saints are keeping their head coach, and that’s good. Now, Loomis needs to find a DC to fix that box of rocks called his defense. There are solid pieces all over that defense. They need a coach that can put together something. Myles Jack is massively talented, but coming off of injury, and could be a steal if Jack can come back from injury the same player.
#13: Philadelphia Eagles: Player to help out CB Byron Maxwell is CB Kendall Fuller from Virginia Tech. Oh, Philly. Players that didn’t “fit” Chip Kelly’s offensive design were tossed aside to benefit other teams. Kelly did almost nothing to improve his defense, and that’s where it starts. The Eagles need better corners, and with Fuller, they’d be getting one.
#14: Oakland Raiders: Player to help out QB Derek Carr is OT Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame. One of the NFL’s most exciting young teams, the Raiders, need to give Derek Carr and their offense some more breathing room, with drafting Ronnie Stanley, they can provide an extra half second for Carr to find Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, or get the push for Latavius Murray in the ground game.
#15: St. Louis Rams: Player to help out RB Todd Gurley is WR Michael Thomas from Ohio State. I don’t think the Rams are going to plan around Nick Foles as their future quarterback, and they drafted Sean Mannion in the third round last season. The Rams need to spread the field to take some safety pressure away from Todd Gurley. Michael Thomas is a size/speed combo athlete that can be an elite receiver and by far the best receiver that the Rams would roll out.
#16: Detroit Lions: Player to help out: DE Ziggy Ansah is DT A’Shawn Robinson from Alabama. The Lions need to get another dominant interior defensive lineman, especially to place next to Ziggy Ansah. Robinson dominated that big LSU matchup this season, and totally aided in derailing the Fournette Heisman train. Robinson is a Suh-esque play maker, without the stomps and tantrums.
#17: Atlanta Falcons: Player to help out QB Matt Ryan is WR Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh. Julio Jones is among the top receivers in the league, maybe the second best in the league, because Kyle Shanahan loves to scheme to get him open. Matt Ryan is almost horrible when not throwing towards Jones, so he needs a new weapon to spread the love. Boyd has some shade in his collegiate past, but has epic-Julio Jones type play making ability.
#18: Indianapolis Colts: Player to help out QB Andrew Luck is RB Ezekiel Elliott from Ohio State. Sorry, Andy, you’re screwed. Nothing is going to change. You’re not going to get the help that you should. What you need is a dynamic back that can take some of your heat. Elliott is a first round back, and that should pretty much answer all questions about the player that he is.
#19: Buffalo Bills: Player to help out RB LeSean McCoy is OT Jack Conklin from Michigan State. The Bills didn’t fail with Tyrod Taylor, but I don’t know how far they’ll continue to roll that set of dice. They’ve got the defense, albeit getting older, but putting more protection for their quarterback and running game is really a top priority. Jack Conklin has been Conner Cook’s blind side protector during his rise to power and played well against the Big-Ten talent.
#20: New York Jets: Player to help out LB David Harris is LB Jaylon Smith from Notre Dame. Todd Bowles could go a number of ways with this pick. Could go Conner Cook or if Elliott falls to 20, but I think adding to that defense, and making it even stronger is the way to go. Jaylon Smith is a major play-ravager, and if not for being pushed after a play in the Fiesta Bowl, would have gone ten picks earlier.