A lot has changed since the NFL Mock Draft 1.0 was posted back towards the end of March. As a result of two blockbuster trades, there are two new teams drafting first and second. The Los Angeles Rams traded up to the top spot in a deal with the Tennessee Titans, while the Philadelphia Eagles moved up again, this time to the second overall spot in a deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Here’s a look at how things might shake down this Thursday in Chicago. Trades will not be included, but keep in mind that there will definitely be teams moving up and down the draft. There have already been three deals, and now with quarterbacks expected to go 1-2, there are likely to be teams wanting to move up into the top 10 to get the top non-QB prospect on their draft board.
1. Los Angeles Rams – (from Tennessee) – Jared Goff (QB) California – It was said in Mock Draft 1.0 that the Titans would love to trade out of the top spot with a team hoping to land a quarterback. And that is exactly what happened, with Tennessee getting a huge return from the Rams in exchange for the first overall pick. There is no doubt what the Rams have in mind here, and that is to draft a franchise quarterback. It’s possible it might be Wentz, but as the draft gets closer, scuttlebut seems to point toward the Rams taking Goff, the California kid.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – (from Cleveland) – Carson Wentz (QB) North Dakota – It’s not a huge surprise that the Browns traded out of the second spot. After signing Robert Griffin III, it became less of a necessity for the Browns to draft a quarterback. What was somewhat surprising was that the Eagles were the team to trade up into the spot. They already have Sam Bradford and newly signed Chase Daniel on the roster, but they obviously believe that Goff or Wentz have the potential to be better and be their quarterback of the future. It sounds as though new head coach Doug Peterson is enamoured with Wentz, and he appears to have a 50/50 chance of getting his guy.
3. San Diego Chargers – Jalen Ramsey (CB/S) Florida State – Now that the top two picks have been traded, it puts the Chargers in a great spot. They can either stay put and draft the top non-quarterback prospect on their board, or they can deal back a few spots and pick up some additional picks. San Diego will likely decide between three prospects: Jalen Ramsey, Deforest Buckner or Laremy Tunsil. What it might come down to is what kind of player the Chargers think they can get at the top of the second round. In reality, they can’t really go wrong with either of the three aforementioned players. Ramsey would be a perfect replacement for the departed Eric Weddle at safety, and as an added bonus, the Chargers could play the versatile athlete at corner as well if that’s where they wanted to play him.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa (DE) Ohio State – Word has it the Cowboys have Ramsey at the top of their draft board, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he was indeed available when it comes time for Dallas to make their pick. In this scenario though, he is off the board, which will force Dallas to go another direction. With Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence both facing suspensions to start the season, the Cowboys could use some pass rushing insurance on the roster. They make like Ramsey better, but Bosa would be a very good fit for the Cowboys here.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack (OLB) UCLA – How teams feel about Jack’s surgically repaired knee will be a huge factor in where he ultimately ends up being drafted. There has been a lot of speculation lately that his knee is a ticking time bomb and will shorten his career. But all it takes is one team to fall in love with Jack’s freakish athleticism, and he would be an absolute terror for coach Gus Bradley’s defense. Jack and last years first round pick Dante Fowler could push the Jaguars to new heights.
6. Baltimore Ravens – Laremy Tunsil (OT) Ole Miss – The Ravens will sprint up to turn in their draft card if things unfold this way. Having lost their best offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele to free agency and unsure about the status of aging left tackle Eugene Monroe, Tunsil is a gift that falls right into Baltimore’s lap. He slides all the way here mainly due to the trading of the first two picks, where quarterbacks are pretty much guaranteed to go 1-2.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Ronnie Stanley (OT) Notre Dame – The 49ers may have been hoping Goff fell to this spot, but that surely isn’t going to happen now. Taking Paxton Lynch this high seems like too much of a reach, so perhaps the 49ers try and trade out of this spot. If they stay put, expect them to address either the offensive or defensive line. There are some in the scouting community who like Stanley better than Tunsil, and with current left tackle Joe Staley getting older, Stanley could start off at right tackle and then eventually move to the left side and stabilize the position for years to come.
8. Cleveland Browns – (from Philadelphia, through Miami) – DeForest Buckner (DE) Oregon – Don’t be surprised if the Browns try and trade down again. With a new front office and a long rebuild ahead, accumulating as many picks as possible might be the best course of action for the Browns to pursue. Should they decide to stay here, they would get great value here with Buckner, who could arguably go as high as third overall to San Diego. Pairing him with last years first rounder Danny Shelton would make the Browns defensive line a force to be reckoned with.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vernon Hargreaves III (CB) Florida – The Bucs could go a few directions here, but it’s likely that they will be drafting defense here having heavily invested on offensive the past few seasons. They could opt to take a pass rusher like Shaq Lawson or Leonard Floyd here, however instead they opt to stay in the state of Florida and take Hargreaves III, who despite being somewhat undersized is an elite cover corner with incredible athleticism.
10. New York Giants – Jack Conklin (OT) Michigan State – The Giants have some options here. Adding a weapon such as running back Ezekiel Elliott or wide receiver Corey Coleman will be very tempting if things unfold this way. Should Myles Jack fall this far, with is well within the realm of possibility, that would be another route to go. What the Giants could really use though is some stability on the offensive line and a stud at left tackle. Conklin has been slowly rising up draft boards and seeing him picked this high would not be shocking in the least
11. Chicago Bears – Leonard Floyd (OLB) Georgia – The Bears have been rebuilding the defense in free agency and continue to do so in the draft by giving their pass rush some much needed juice with Floyd. He can run hot and cold at times but has so much untapped potential. He can bend and get around the edge with ease. One other position to keep an eye on here is running back. Elliott might be too tempting to pass up if he falls this far and would form a lethal combination in the backfield with Jeremy Langford.
12. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins (DT) Louisville – There have been a few rumblings lately that the Saints might be a potential landing spot for a quarterback, which makes sense given the age of Drew Brees. But they did take a developmental quarterback in the third round last year (Garrett Grayson), and need to upgrade a defense that was absolutely terrible last season. New Orleans can have their pick of the defensive line litter, and Rankins is the guy that goes to them here.
13. Miami (from Philadelphia) – Ezekiel Elliott (RB) Ohio State – If Elliott gets by the Cowboys at the fourth pick, he could end up starting to fall down the draft board. The Dolphins lost Lamar Miller in free agency and attempted to pry C.J. Anderson away from the Broncos, so it’s obvious to everyone that they feel as though they need to address the position and Elliott is by far and away the best back in this draft class. They may have to trade up to guarantee they get him, but there is the potential that they could stand pat and have fall right to them.
14. Oakland Raiders – Eli Apple (CB) Ohio State – The Raiders have reached the stage in their recent development that they don’t have to necessarily draft for need anymore. They’ve hit it big with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack the last two drafts and landed some big fish in free agency. Oakland’s defense is pretty sturdy in the trenches and at linebacker, but they could use a little more talent and depth in the secondary, so the selecting of Apple (or another corner like William Jackson III) would make a lot of sense here.
15. Tennessee Titans – (from Los Angeles) – Taylor Decker (OT) Ohio State – Things have all of the sudden changed dramatically for the Titans draft war room. Loaded with a bevy of high draft picks this year, they could move back up the draft board if a prospect catches their eye. They already have their franchise quarterback, so they could make a really big leap if they hit on their day one and two picks. Here, they opt to fortify their offensive line by taking Decker to pair with left tackle Taylor Lewan.
16. Detroit Lions – Jarran Reed (DT) Alabama – It’s a little hard to get a read on what direction the Lions might go. They are the epitome of an average team, with not any glaring weaknesses, but also not many strengths. If one of the top four offensive tackles fell this far, that would be a direction they could go. In this case, those four guys are off the board, so the Lions will look to get back to having that dominating front four they had not that long ago by taking the versatile Reed, who can line up at either end or tackle.
17. Atlanta Falcons – Darron Lee (OLB) Ohio State – Some draft picks just make sense. This is one of those instances. The Falcons could opt to go another route on the defensive side of the ball, like defensive line for example, but given the depth at the position, they can wait and address that later on in the draft. Lee is a supremely talented and arguably the most athletic linebacker available in the draft. He does have to work on wrapping up as a tackler, but he fits perfectly in Atlanta.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Shaq Lawson (DE) Clemson – Now that his surgically repaired shoulder has been cleared by doctors, it’s possible Lawson goes much earlier than this now, perhaps even in the bottom half of the top ten picks. It’s obvious that the Colts need passing rushing help, so this pick makes a lot of sense. Offensive line is another position of need for Indianapolis, so don’t be surprised if they opt to go for a riser like center Ryan Kelly here as well.
19. Buffalo Bills – Kevin Dodd (DE) Clemson – The Bills defensive line has been a considerable strength for them the past few seasons. It took a hit in the off-season when they released Mario Williams and now it is not as deep as it used to be. Lawson’s teammate Dodd was a bit of a one year wonder, having an elite senior season after not producing much of anything in previous years at the college, but he’s backed his senior year up with a strong combine and pro day showing.
20. New York Jets – Paxton Lynch (QB) Memphis – The Jets haven’t been able to reach and agreement with free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick just yet, and while they do have a potential future starter in Bryce Petty, he is still a relative unknown. Lynch would give the team a good building block for the future, no matter what happens with Fitzpatrick. If they don’t go quarterback here, an edge pass rusher like Noah Spence would be a good fit as well.
21. Washington Redskins – Vernon Butler (DT) Louisiana Tech – Washington hit the lottery late last week when they were able to come to terms with cornerback Josh Norman, who was surprisingly let go by Carolina. Now that they’ve addressed the cornerback position, they can look elsewhere, at least in the first round. Butler tends to get overshadowed somewhat in a deep defensive line class, but he would fit in well here as a replacement for the departed Terrence Knighton.
22. Houston Texans – Corey Coleman (WR) Baylor – There is likely going to be a mini run on wideouts towards the end of the first round and it starts here with the Texans. They will have their pick of the litter here, and opt to stay in-state and take a burner in Corey Coleman. He was unable to participate in the combine, but he had an electric pro day and put himself back in the conversation to be the first wideout off the board.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell (WR) Ole Miss – Treadwell didn’t run very well at his pro day, but to be honest, that’s just nitpicking. He’s an extremely talented receiver with a soft set of hands. The Vikings found a mid-round gem last season in Stephon Diggs, but former first round pick Cordarrelle Patterson has not developed as hoped and franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs some more weapons at his disposal.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Josh Doctson (WR) TCU – The Bengals did sign Brandon LaFell to help offset the losses of Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu, but he’s had trouble staying healthy and really has only had one good season in his career. Doctson is probably the best receiver in the class at going up to get the football at its highest point. The rest of the Bengals roster is quite deep, so this position makes the most sense to address in the first round.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Karl Joseph (S) West Virginia – The Steelers aren’t ever likely going to be able to replace Troy Polamalu and the production he had over the course of his career, but this might be a good draft to pull the trigger on a safety early. It’s not a supremely talented class, but it’s fairly deep. Joseph did tear his ACL and missed most of his senior season, but he has steadily been climbing draft boards despite not being fully recovered from the injury.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Germain Ifedi (OG) Texas A&M – There’s no doubt the Seahawks need to address their offensive line, and they have yet to really do so in free agency. All of the top tackles are off the board at this point, so while a guy like Jason Spriggs might be an option here, Ifedi has the ability to play guard or tackle, giving the Seahawks some versatility in where they might line him up.
27. Green Bay Packers – Reggie Ragland (ILB) Alabama – The Packers don’t necessarily need a linebacker here, but Ragland’s production and pedigree at Alabama are just too good to pass up at this point. Pair him up a guy like Clay Matthews and the middle of the Packers defense becomes that much more formidable. Defensive line could be a spot where the Packers choose to go as well, with Andrew Billings or perhaps Chris Jones being potential selections here.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – Will Fuller (WR) Notre Dame – The Chiefs can go a lot of different directions here, but finding a complimentary piece to number one wideout Jeremy Maclin wouldn’t be a bad place to look at addressing. Fuller is a big play waiting to happen and could draw some attention away from Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce with his 4.3 speed. Cornerback might be another route to go as well after the Chiefs lost Sean Smith to division rival Oakland in free agency.
29. New England Patriots – Pick forfeited due to Deflategate
30. Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Kelly (C) Alabama – The addition of Chandler Jones makes finding a pass rusher much less of a concern for Arizona. They could still opt to double down here and get even more pass rushing juice, but here they opt to go for a more conservative pick. A few months ago, Kelly wasn’t really mentioned as a potential first rounder, but as the pre-draft process has gone on, he has gained a lot of momentum in the scouting community and would fortify a position weakness for the Cardinals.
31. Carolina Panthers – William Jackson III (CB) Houston – The buzz on Jackson has cooled somewhat since the combine, but he is still a first round talent. Now that the Panthers have decided to cut the cord with Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman, that position becomes one that absolutely must be addressed early in the draft and should Jackson III slip this far in the first round, it would be hard for Carolina to pass him up.
32. Denver Broncos – Kenny Clark (NT) UCLA – This is another player who is getting buried and not getting talked about much among a deep group of talented defensive lineman this year. Clark can line-up anywhere on the defensive line, which is something the Broncos 3-4 defense values. Quarterback is definitely an option here too, especially if Lynch falls this far.