The Rams moved up to #1 for a quarterback, and all reports seem to indicate they've targeted Jared Goff. With coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead reportedly on thin ice, adding the most NFL ready QB in the draft might be their best chance at keeping their jobs past this season. The fact that Goff also played in California makes the Rams choice that much easier with the team moving to LA this off-season.
2. Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU
The Eagles current quarterback situation is clearly set up to allow a rookie to come in and learn behind a more experienced quarterback for at least a little while. I believe the Eagles planned all along to try and move up to get Wentz, and once it became clear he was going to be a top 5 pick the Eagles made the final move up to #2. I fully expect the Eagles to trade Sam Bradford before the beginning of the season, and maybe as early as draft night. That would put Wentz squarely behind recently signed Chase Daniel. I think Wentz will be the best quarterback from this draft class, and learning from coach Doug Pederson while watching Daniel will be a good thing for the young man.
3. San Diego Chargers - Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss
I've seen a lot of people predicting the Chargers will draft Jalen Ramsey in this spot, mainly because they could use another young corner next to Jason Verrett, or possibly a star safety to replace the departed pro bowler Eric Weddle. While I believe Ramsey is the safest prospect in the draft and a future superstar, I don't see San Diego drafting him this high. They refused to make Weddle any kind of contract offer, deeming the aging safety not worth the relatively low price of $6 million a year. While Weddle may no longer be the player he once was, I think the Chargers made it clear that they don't value defensive backs as highly as other organizations. Because of that, I don't see them drafting one this high in the first round. Tunsil is a perfect fit and could possibly be an even safer pick than Ramsey.
4. Dallas Cowboys - Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, FSU
Dallas is in dire need of some defensive line help with Greg Hardy not coming back and DeMarcus Lawrence as well as Randy Gregory getting suspended for four games. A player like Joey Bosa or Oregon's DeForest Buckner are possibilities at this spot, but the draft has a lot of good defensive ends that should be available in the second round. Ramsey has been considered one of the top two talents in the draft since the college football season ended, and Jerry Jones loves to add big name players. Add in the fact that Dallas' dynasty really began taking off once they signed Deion Sanders under Jones in the 90's, and Deion is in love with Ramsey, I think the Cowboys will scoop him up if he remains on the board at #4.
**Trade** Jacksonville trades the #5 pick to the Miami Dolphins for #13 and #42.
5. Miami Dolphins - Ezekiel Elliot, RB, OSU
The Dolphins lost Lamar Miller via free agency to the Texans and then watching the Broncos match their offer for CJ Andersen, it's clear the Dolphins are in the market for a running back. It may seem odd for Miami to move up to #5 after moving down from #8 originally to 13, but I think that was a case where the team simply valued Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso too highly to not trade down. With less needs after the trade with Philly, the Dolphins can afford to give up a 2nd round pick to move up and get the player they seem to covet. With teams like the Browns, Giants and maybe even the Bears possibly looking at running backs, the Dolphins will need to move up to ensure they get him. Jacksonville's main target, Jalen Ramsey, is off the board here, so they should have no problem moving down a few spots and adding another high pick.
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, OSU
Long considered the drafts top prospect, Bosa's sub-par 40 time and less than impressive individual drills seem to have lowered his stock among draft experts. Baltimore would likely be ecstatic if Bosa fell to them at 6, as they clearly have a huge need at defensive end and Bosa is likely to be a key contributor from day one. It's also possible they're higher on a different defensive end, but in this situation they'd have their choice of whoever they prefer. For me, Bosa is the best one.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, UF
The 49ers are reportedly trying to lure free agent corner Josh Norman to San Francisco, but it appears as if he may not leave Washington, where he made his first visit. The 49ers secondary isn't terrible, but they lack a true top tier corner and Hargreaves could develop into a true shutdown corner. The team has bigger needs at quarterback and wide receiver, but the value simply isn't there at this point in the draft. A trade down is a possibility, but unless a team is enamored with Hargreaves themselves or maybe with DeForest Buckner, I don't see any prospects worth moving up for.
8. Cleveland Browns - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Buckner would fill a need for Cleveland, and he's likely the best player left on the board at this juncture. The team could also look to trade down again if another team wanted Buckner bad enough, or possibly if a team wanted to move up for someone like Ronnie Stanley. However, Buckner has the potential to be a force for Cleveland for years, and adding an impact player after trading down would be a perfect scenario for the organization.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Jack is a spectacular talent, to be sure, but coming off of a serious knee injury I think most teams inside the top 10 will look elsewhere. At this juncture, though, with the top two corners off the board, I think Jack makes sense for a team that just needs to add a few stars to grow with Jameis Winston's time frame. Jack should be an impact player from whenever he's able to take the field, and even if his recovery isn't coming along as fast as reported, Jack should be a sideline to sideline star, wreaking havoc on offensive game plans on a weekly basis.
10. New York Giants - LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
It's hard to understand why Treadwell seems to be falling among draft experts and scouts. While he didn't run a blazing 40 time, nobody expected him to. His ball skills and ability to get past defenders with a great double move more than make up for his lack of elite speed. Pairing Treadwell with OBJ would be a major coup for the Giants, and it would keep Eli Manning happy. With the team's new head coach an offensive mind, he's well aware of how badly the team needs to add a receiver or two in this draft. Treadwell is the most likely to make a big impact from day one, which is important with Manning aging.
**Trade** Chicago trades #11 and #206 to Tennessee for #15 and #76.
11. Tennessee Titans - Ronnie Stanley, LT, Notre Dame
The Titans trade down from #1, acquire a plethora of high draft picks, and then manage to move up only a few spots to get a tackle most have rated only slightly below Tunsil. There's a chance Stanley could've fallen to 15, but finding someone to protect your franchise quarterback has been a long-followed philosophy among NFL teams. Hopefully Stanley will be able to do just that for Marcus Mariota.
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
The Saints need help on defense, and a player like Robinson should help shore up their defensive line. Louisville's Sheldon Rankins is also a possibility, but Robinson just seems like the kind of player Sean Payton would fall in love with on film. He's been a productive player at the premier college football program in the country, but there's still clearly room to improve. I believe his upside is higher than Rankins, which is why the Saints select him here.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jack Conklin, OT/G, Michigan State
With the addition of Malik Jackson in free agency, the Jaguars likely won't spend a first round pick on a defensive lineman. With no safeties worthy of being drafted this high, and a player like Conklin still on the board, I think it's a no-brainer. Luke Joeckel has been a huge disappointment, but maybe a move to a different, less demanding position along the offensive line will help him develop, much like Robert Gallery years ago. Conklin should step in and be an upgrade from day one.
14. Oakland Raiders - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Henry has been projected near the end of the first round or early in the second, but I think he's been undersold. Henry is as strong as a tank and a 4.54 40 time is very impressive for someone with his size. While it's true Eddie Lacy ran a 4.57, Henry is by all measures a much harder worker, making it less likely he'll pack on the pounds like Lacy has since being drafted. While Latavius Murray has been a good player when healthy, the Raiders could use some insurance and Henry has the potential to emerge as one of the game's better running backs.
15. Chicago Bears - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Bears would be very happy if they were able to trade down to 15 and still land Lawson, the player they would have likely taken at 11 in this scenario anyway. Lawson has a chance to be an impactful player both against the run and pass, and for a Bears team that needs some impact pass rushers, Lawson could be a steal. It also gives the team some insurance for the Willie Young, should he leave via free agency after the season.
16. Detroit Lions - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
The Lions need to replace Suh and Fairley with some real talent, and it was clear last season that Haloti Ngata is no longer the force he once was. Adding a player like Rankins to pair with Ngata for a season or two makes a lot of sense, and Rankins is likely to make some kind of impact as a rookie. He could possibly be the best defensive tackle in this class, which would be a great get at #16.
17. Atlanta Falcons - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Floyd is one of the top remaining players on the board in this scenario, and he's a near perfect fit for what the Falcons are looking for. Players like Reggie Ragland or Darron Lee are also intriguing at this point, but I think Atlanta will take the kid who played in their own backyard.
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
This spot seems a bit high for Kelly, but the Colts have made it clear they want to upgrade their interior offensive line. There's very little chance Kelly will be around the next time the Colts pick, and interior lineman that are as polished as Kelly tend to go higher than projected. Travis Frederick, the Cowboys all-pro center, was projected in the mid 50's when Dallas made him the #31 pick a few years ago. That's worked out very well, and Kelly is an even better prospect in my opinion. He also should make the team better from day one, something that's important to the team's GM, Ryan Grigson, after failing with so many other first round picks.
19. Buffalo Bills - Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Ole Miss
Nkemdiche comes with a lot of off-the-field concerns which we won't rehash here. Once considered a potential top 5 pick, his pro-day and combine workouts showed he's not quite the athletic freak we thought. However, he's still a great athlete for his size, and we all know Rex Ryan likes guys that feel they've been under-appreciated elsewhere. If he comes in with a chip on his shoulder for falling to #19, the Bills will have a versatile and skilled player that Rex and Rob Ryan can move around to create havoc. Unless a better defender falls to this pick, I think this is a pretty safe bet despite some saying Nkemdiche is no longer a first round prospect.
20. New York Jets - Kevin Dodd, OLB, Clemson
Dodd had a great final collegiate season, and that kind of production should translate at least somewhat to the NFL. The Jets are in dire need of a 3-4 OLB to groom and develop, and Dodd's ability to at least be a third down pass rusher immediately make him a solid choice with a lot of upside. The team may prefer a different OLB, such as Darron Lee, but Dodd fits the team's scheme considerably better in my opinion.
21. Washington Redskins - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
While the Redskins may have bigger needs, they still need to find a big play receiver to pair with Pierre Garcon on the outside. Jamison Crowder is best suited to be a slot receiver, and giving quarterback Kirk Cousins another speedy target like Coleman could really jump start the offense. With the team closing in on signing corner Josh Norman, adding someone like Eli Apple or William Jackson seems like overkill. A few defensive lineman would fit well in this spot as well, but ultimately I think adding someone like Coleman is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
22. Houston Texans - Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
DeAndre Hopkins is one of the premier receivers in football, and he's likely only going to get better with the strong-armed Brock Osweiler in the fold. Personally I think Fuller is likely to be a bust because of his high drop percentage in college, and usually players who can't catch don't ever learn how to do it. But he's a speedster that can take the top off the defense, and would benefit from playing with Osweiler and next to Hopkins. I also wouldn't be shocked to see the team draft Christian Hackenburg here, Bill O'Brien's former quarterback, but that seems like a waste of assets after giving Osweiler the contract they did. Fuller fills a need and adds speed to an offense that could really use some.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
The run on wide receivers continues. Treadwell would be the perfect fit for the Vikings offense, as he's a great short-intermediate receiver with the ability to turn short passes into big gains with his ability to break tackles. Unfortunately, in this situation he's long gone, but Doctson is a nice consolation prize. His ball skills are reminiscent of another former Vikings, Sidney Rice. With Teddy Bridgewater struggling to make accurate deep throws, it's crucial the team gets a receiver that can high point the ball and out-jump corners and safeties. I think Doctson is a better fit for the Vikings than Fuller or Coleman, as we saw the Mike Wallace experiment failed miserably due to Bridgewater's lack of elite arm strength. Bridgewater can be a good quarterback, but it's important to add the right kind of talent around him to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. A left tackle like Taylor Decker is also a possibility here.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Reed projects as a 3-4 defensive tackle at the next level, which makes the Bengals an odd fit on paper since they run a 4-3. However, Reed has the ability in my opinion to be a good player in either scheme, and pairing him with someone like Geno Atkins will make the Bengals defensive front very very good in the near future. While the team needs a receiver, in this scenario they'd watch all three of their targets get drafted right ahead of them. There's plenty of skilled receivers that should be available in the upcoming rounds.
**Trade** Pittsburgh sends the #25 and #123 picks to the Cleveland Browns for #32 and #77.
25. Cleveland Browns - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
The Steelers need to fill a few defensive holes, and getting another top 100 pick by moving down a few spots is a solid move. With both Denver and the Jets still in need of a quarterback, Cleveland decides to move up to #25 to be sure nobody else does it first. I believe Hue Jackson and company have one of the lower tier quarterbacks ranked very similar to Carson Wentz, which is why they were willing to trade down from #2. Lynch is a developmental prospect, even more so than Carson Wentz, but that's fine with Cleveland. RGIII will get a chance to revive his career, and when he inevitably fails to do so, Lynch may get some game reps by mid-season.
26. Seattle Seahwaks - Eli Apple, CB, OSU
Corner back is not a need position for Seattle, after adding Brandon Browner. However, Apple fits the mold of the big corners that Pete Carroll covets, and he's got good speed to boot. Browner only signed a one-year deal and hasn't been very good since leaving Seattle, so Apple could become Sherman's pairing mate on the other side. At this point in the draft, Apple would be a steal.
27. Green Bay Packers - William Jackson, CB, Houston
The worst team in football* needs a lot of help. It's unfortunate they can't draft a new coach, because the Packers keep winning in spite of the big blob, not because of him. Aaron Rodgers returning to full health is likely going to make him as dominant as he'd been in prior seasons, as well as Jordy Nelson's return. In this scenario, there aren't a lot of players worth drafting that fill a clear need. Jackson is the best player left on the board, and teams are always in need of more defensive backs.
*Of course they aren't the worst team, and they don't need a whole lot, but come on, I'm a Vikings fan. What'd you expect me to say?
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The run on corners continues, as the Chiefs need to find a replacement for Sean Smith who left for Oakland via free agency. If Fuller had had an injury-free season, he likely would've been in the conversation with Vernon Hargreaves for the top corner after Jalen Ramsey. As it is, he's coming off an injury, and the Chiefs may very well steal another corner in the late first round one year after doing it with Marcus Peters.
29. Arizona Cardinals - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
Arizona would love for Ryan Kelly to be available in this spot, but in this scenario he's long gone. The team could use a corner to pair next to Patrick Peterson, but with three straight corners taken ahead of them, the value simply isn't there. Bruce Arians knows Carson Palmer doesn't have a lot of years left, so getting someone like Cook who has a chance to develop into a good starter would make sense.
30. Carolina Panthers - Taylor Decker, LT, OSU
Decker falling to 30 might be a dream scenario for Carolina. While they clearly need a corner to replace Josh Norman now, rookie corners very rarely have an impact in their first season. The team can likely draft and develop one in the second or third round, as the depth is fairly good at that position. Decker is the best player remaining and fills a pretty glaring need for the Panthers, so this is a no-brainer in this situation.
31. Denver Broncos - Noah Spence, OLB/DE, Eastern Kentucky
The Broncos need a quarterback, but I think John Elway knows that no QB drafted in this spot is going to be a key contributor from day one. With all 4 first round quarterbacks gone by this point, Denver has the luxury of taking the best player available. Ohio State's Darron Lee is also an intriguing option, but ultimately drafting and developing Spence to replace the departed Malik Jackson long term seems like a smart move.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
The Steelers would have been tempted to take Billings at 25, so to land him at 32 after trading down would make them very happy. He could step in from day one and be a starter, and fills a huge need for the teams defensive line. A cornerback is also a possibility, but as mentioned previously, their aren't many corners remaining worthy of this draft spot in terms of value. Billings would be a steal with the first pick in the second round.