Picks 1-20 in this 2016 NFL mock draft reflect the current NFL standings. Playoff selections are determined by current standings and predicted results in the playoffs.
1. Cleveland Browns (2-8) – Jared Goff (QB/California)
Cleveland seems very non-committal with Johnny Manziel, and it seems like he can’t stop partying. The Browns have not only benched Manziel, they moved him to third string following the video. Josh McCown is a stop-gap solution.
To make matters worse, there really isn’t a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in this draft. Goff threw five picks in a game this season, but otherwise has the most polished skill set among the top prospects. He is accurate and has a good enough arm, but California hasn’t been overwhelmingly successful this season and he tends to crumble when under pressure.
2. San Diego Chargers (2-8) – Laremy Tunsil (OT/Ole Miss)
San Diego’s offensive line has been a mess for several seasons now, but this may be rock bottom. To make matters worse, Joseph Barksdale is a free agent after the season, so the team will have a void to fill at right tackle. Drafting Tunsil would give the Chargers a blue chip blinside protector and allow King Dunlap to swing to the right side, where he is a better fit at this point of his career.
3. Tennessee Titans (2-8) – Joey Bosa (DE/Ohio State)
Ronnie Stanley is also an option, but ultimately, I see the Titans opting for the top available player. Tennessee’s defense as a whole improved in 2015, but you can never have enough guys who can get to the quarterback, especially in today’s NFL. Jurrell Casey is a solid defensive lineman, albeit an unheralded one, but DaQuan Jones could be upgraded.
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-7) – Ronnie Stanley (OT/Notre Dame)
I have had Baltimore taking a pass rusher in recent mocks, but in the wake of Joe Flacco’s torn ACL, protecting him will be paramount next season. Eugene Monroe has been injured all season, forcing James Hurst, rated the worst left tackle in football by Pro Football Focus, to protect Flacco.
5. Detroit Lions (3-7) – Paxton Lynch (QB/Memphis)
Many Detroit fans may want Connor Cook, but at this point, Lynch is the superior prospect. The Lions are slowly cleaning house and Matt Stafford may become a victim of change as a consequence. If Detroit does indeed have a top five draft pick, that scenario becomes likelier.
6. San Francisco 49ers (3-7) – Connor Cook (QB/Michigan State)
Colin Kaepernick has been paced on injured reserve and he likely has no future with this team. Blaine Gabbert hasn’t shown any sign of a comeback, so expect the 49ers to target a new franchise signal caller in the draft if they are unable to land someone like Stafford via trade or free agency.
7. Dallas Cowboys (3-7) – Robert Nkemdiche (DE/Ole Miss)
Greg Hardy is becoming such a distraction that Dallas may not re-sign him in the offseason. Unfortunately for Dallas, Hardy is extremely talented and will be hard to replace. The team has Randy Gregory already, but adding Nkemdiche could make a fearsome combo on the pass rush.
8. Miami Dolphins (4-6) – Jalen Ramsey (FS/Florida State)
Louis Delmas is coming off of an ACL tear and is a free agent in the offseason. The team may ultimately opt to move on from him. Ramsey is being hyped as the best safety since Eric Berry, due much in part to his his all-around game, especially when the ball’s in the air.
9. Oakland Raiders (4-6) – Vernon Hargreaves (CB/Florida)
Oakland is struggling so much at cornerback that they are sending out David Amerson as a starter. To make matters worse, D.J. Hayden has never lived up to the billing as a first round draft pick. The Raiders have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, so fixing the leaky secondary will be a priority.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) – Taylor Decker (OT/Ohio State)
The Jaguars have done a poor job of protecting Blake Bortles this season. When Luke Joeckel isn’t injured, he is getting burned. Decker is a physical tackle who can provide support in the run game as well.
11. Washington Redskins (4-6) – Myles Jack (OLB/UCLA)
Washington had a nice 1-2 combo with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan until the former left as a free agent. With Kerrigan locked up for another five years, the Redskins could pursue another pass rusher to play across from him.
12. St. Louis Rams (4-6) – Laquon Treadwell (WR/Ole Miss)
While poor play at quarterback has played a role, St. Louis also needs to address the lack of talent at wide receiver. Treadwell is a physical wideout who can outmuscle opposing cornerbacks for the football.
13. Chicago Bears (4-6) – Jaylon Smith (ILB/Notre Dame)
Expect the Bears to make the defense their focal point this offseason. Smith is a very athletic linebacker who could become the next great inside linebacker in Chicago, but he needs to bulk up before entering the NFL.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) – A’Shawn Robinson (DE/Alabama)
Vinny Curry is a free agent after this season and Fletcher Cox hits the marker in 2017. It will be hard for the Eagles to retain both players, so if Curry walks this offseason, Philadelphia may turn to the draft to find a replacement.
15. New Orleans Saints (4-6) – DeForest Buckner (DT/Oregon)
Kevin Williams recently turned 35 and is at the tail end of his career. While used mainly as a rotational piece, New Orleans is better off finding someone who could become a three-down tackle. Buckner’s 6’7″ frame has drawn comparison to former teammate Arik Armstead.
16. New York Jets (5-5) – Leonard Floyd (OLB/Georgia)
The Jets cut Quinton Coples, but it isn’t like they have a slew of talent at outside linebacker. Floyd needs to bulk up a bit before entering the NFL.
17. Kansas City Chiefs (5-5) – Tyler Boyd (WR/Pittsburgh)
Jeremy Maclin has played well, but there is a void of talent at wide receiver outside of him. If the Chiefs are unable to land one of the top quarterbacks, they will likely go after someone who can stretch the field.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) – Jack Conklin (OT/Michigan State)
Donovan Smith could be upgraded, but even if they can’t get a blue chip left tackle, Gosder Cherilus has been awful on the right side. He is likely to be a cap casualty at the end of the season, so Tampa will again be in the market for a tackle.
19. Seattle Seahawks (5-5) – Vandal Alexander (G/LSU)
Seattle traded Max Unger and they seem to have regretted doing so since then. The offensive line is a mess and will be overhauled in the offseason.
20. Houston Texans (5-5) – Ezekiel Elliott (RB/Ohio State)
It appears that Elliott will enter the draft. Arian Foster is out for the year and the Texans have reportedly been interested in moving on from him. If Elliott is available here, he should be a no-brainer for Houston as Alfred Blue has failed to make the most of his opportunity.
21. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) – Scooby Wright (OLB/Arizona)
The Colts have failed to find an edge rusher in the post-Dwight Freeney era. Bjoern Werner has been a bust and Indianapolis seems to have accepted that fact, but they will need to upgrade from him this offseason, especially with Robert Mathis turning 35 in the offseason.
22. New York Giants (5-5) – Reggie Ragland (ILB/Alabama)
Jon Beason is again on injured reserve and it may be the end of his career. If he does retire, it will leave a hole in the middle of the Giants defense. Defensive end or cornerback could also be an option, but Ragland is the top available defender.
23. Buffalo Bills (5-5) – Shaq Lawson (DE/Clemson)
The Bills fearsome front seven has taken a step back in Rex Ryan’s first season, due much in part to a transition to a 3-4. Mario Williams has struggled this year and could surprisingly be a cap casualty.
24. Minnesota Vikings (7-3) – Michael Thomas (WR/Ohio State)
Cordarrelle Patterson has been phased out of the offense, Charles Johnson has taken a step back and Mike Wallace is terrible. Stefon Diggs has been a pleasant surprise, but Minnesota needs another target for Teddy Bridgewater.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) – Jason Spriggs (OT/Indiana)
Protecting Ben Roethlisberger has been an issue this year. Alejandro Villanueva has a great story, but isn’t suited to protect the blind side in the NFL.
26. Green Bay Packers (7-3) – Kenny Clark (DT/UCLA)
B.J. Raji is a free agent this spring and Green Bay seems ready for a divorce from their 2009 first round draft pick. Clark is the top defensive tackle available Clark is strong and versatile enough to play across the defensive line, but he does not excel when it comes to rushing to quarterback.
27. Arizona Cardinals (8-2) – Emmanuel Ogbah (DE/Oklahoma State)
Arizona is relying on Dwight Freeney’s corpse to get to the quarterback. It’s no wonder they only have 16 sacks on the year. Pass rush is the one weakness on the Cardinals roster and it needs to be addressed in the offseason.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (8-2) – Josh Doctson (WR/TCU)
A.J. Green is a force, but Marvin Jones is in the final year of his deal and may look for a bigger deal. Doctson has drawn comparisons to Green.
29. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) – Jayron Kearse (SS/Clemson)
Atlanta’s defense has improved with Dan Quinn as head coach, but play at safety has been a weak link. Kearse is a hard-hitting safety and at 6’5″ he has room to bulk up.
30. Denver Broncos (8-2) – Shilique Calhoun (DE/Michigan State)
With Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson entering free agency, Denver will look to fill the void if they are unable to retain both players.
31. Carolina Panthers (10-0) – Kendall Fuller (CB/Virginia Tech)
Charles Tillman has played well, but he turns 35 in the offseason, so Carolina should look to inject some youth across from Josh Norman.