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. Tennessee Titans (2-9) – Laremy Tunsil (OT/Ole Miss)
With so many teams looking for a new quarterback, the Titans could also look for a big return and trade down. Taylor Lewan has rebounded since his meltdown against the Texans, but J.J. Watt is not someone who will be going away anytime soon. Marcus Mariota has already missed a pair of games this season, and improving the offensive line will be a priority.
Tunsil is a blue chip tackle who would be an immediate starter on the left side, allowing the team to transition Lewan to the right, ultimately upgrading two positions with one draft pick.
2. Cleveland Browns (2-9) – Jared Goff (QB/California)
If there was ever any doubt that the Browns want to rid themselves of Johnny Manziel, it should be gone as the team recently named Austin Davis their starter after Josh McCown went down for the season. Though Manziel is a head case, he was never really given a fair shot in Cleveland, due much in part to overall incompetence in the front office.
Now, Cleveland will again be forced to look for a new franchise signal caller. This time, they will be in position to go after the top quarterback available. Goff has a decent enough arm to succeed in the NFL and is accurate, drawing comparisons to Matt Ryan.
3. Dallas Cowboys (3-8) – Jalen Ramsey (FS/Florida State)
No defensive back has gone in the top three since Shawn Springs in 1997, but Ramsey could buck that trend as many teams are fawning over him. For the season, he is playing cornerback, but his true home in the NFL will be at free safety. The Cowboys are currently deploying J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church at safety, far from an ideal situation.
4. San Diego Chargers (3-8) – Ronnie Stanley (OT/Notre Dame)
There is no doubt that if Stanley or Tunsil are available the Chargers will leap at the opportunity to draft him. San Diego’s offensive line is among the league’s worst. Joseph Barksdale is a free agent after the season, opening the door for King Dunlap to swing to the right side.
5. San Francisco 49ers (3-8) – Paxton Lynch (QB/Memphis)
The Colin Kaepernick era seems to be over in San Francisco so the 49ers will need to find their new franchise signal caller. Lynch has flown up draft boards following a stellar season in Memphis. The 6’7″ thrower has been compared to Ben Roethlisberger.
6. Miami Dolphins (4-7) – Joey Bosa (DE/Ohio State)
Miami has players who can get to the quarterback, but in today’s NFL you can never have enough pass rushers. Given the Dolphins stuggles on defense in all facets this season, taking the top defender available will be likely.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) – Vernon Hargreaves (CB/Florida)
Jacksonville’s secondary has struggled all season long. Luckily for them, Hargreaves may be available and is already being seen as the next big thing at cornerback. Hargreaves has drawn comparisons to fellow Gator Joe Haden.
8. Baltimore Ravens (4-7) – Robert Nkemdiche (DE/Ole Miss)
The Ravens have two solid pass rushers in Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, but Suggs has missed most of the season after tearing his Achilles and neither player is under the age of 30. Adding a player like Nkemdiche can allow the Ravens some flexibility in their pass rush as they can rotate the three players and prevent overextending Suggs or Dumervil in 2016.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) – Connor Cook (QB/Michigan State)
Cook isn’t an ideal fit in Chip Kelly’s offense, but there is a good chance he isn’t with the team in 2016. Sam Bradford has flopped in Philadelphia (unsurprisingly) and the Eagles may again be looking for a new franchise quarterback. Cook doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but he can throw deep enough to succeed in the NFL and is the most polished of the top three available quarterbacks.
10. St. Louis Rams (4-7) – Laquon Treadwell (WR/Ole Miss)
The Rams have been so desperate for help at wideout that they brought Wes Welker back from the dead. Tavon Austin is a bust who has pretty much become a gadget player and Kenny Britt continues to be mediocre. Treadwell is a big, physical receiver who can win jump ball battles and stretch opposing defenses, much like Dez Bryant.
11. New Orleans Saints (4-7) – Myles Jack (OLB/UCLA)
Jack hasn’t played a snap this season after tearing his ACL, but talent-wise he definitely belongs up here. The Saints defense is a mess and coordinator Rob Ryan has been recently fired. As the team searches for their next defensive coordinator, upgrading all aspects of this defense will be a focal point this spring.
12. Chicago Bears (4-7) – Jaylon Smith (ILB/Notre Dame)
Another team in desperate need to upgrade their defense, Chicago is currently one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to stopping the run. Smith is an incredibly athletic player, but will need to bulk up before entering the NFL.
13. Detroit Lions (4-7) – Taylor Decker (OT/Ohio State)
Rumors of Matt Stafford’s uncertain future must have lit a fire under him because he has been on fire in recent weeks. Regardless, his pass protection is still a weak point and an area in need of an upgrade in 2016.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) – Jayron Kearse (SS/Clemson)
Currently, Chris Conte is the Buccaneers strong safety. Unfortunately, Conte is a marginal talent who should be nothing more than a stop-gap for the Buccaneers, but it could be worse, Dashon Goldson could still be there. This is a bit of a reach for Kearse, but Tampa is kind of in a weird spot here as the top available players don’t necessary fill their needs.
15. New York Giants (5-6) – Ezekiel Elliott (RB/Ohio State)
The Giants lack of running stability has stalled their offense. Going with a running back by committee can’t continue in 2016, so look for the Giants to find a new lead back.
16. Oakland Raiders (5-6) – Reggie Ragland (ILB/Alabama)
Oakland has made some strides this season, but play at inside linebacker has been pretty poor. Curtis Lofton has been the worst inside linebacker in the league in 2015 and needs to be replaced.
17. Buffalo Bills (5-6) – A’Shawn Robinson (DE/Alabama)
Entering the season as a strength, play at defensive end has regressed in Buffalo under Rex Ryan, possibly due to a scheme change. Mario Williams, in particular, has been disappointing and could ultimately be released. If he is gone, expect Buffalo to retool their defensive line.
18. New York Jets (6-5) – Leonard Floyd (OLB/Georgia)
The Jets released Quinton Coples last week, but nobody on the roster is a long-term solution for an edge rusher. Floyd is an explosive player who can be used by the Jets immediately on passing downs.
19. Atlanta Falcons (6-5) – Shaq Lawson (DE/Clemson)
Atlanta has the fewest sacks in the league, so there is a good chance they may double-dip for a pass rusher in the draft. Lawson would be paired up with former college teammate Vic Beasley.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) – Jack Conklin (OT/Michigan State)
Pittsburgh has done a poor job protecting Ben Roethlisberger (and Landry Jones/Michael Vick) this season. As Roethlisberger gets older, protecting him will become more important.
21. Washington Redskins (5-6) – Scooby Wright (OLB/Arizona)
Washington severed their ties with Brian Orakpo last offseason but never really found a replacement. Perhaps this year, they add someone to play across from Ryan Kerrigan.
22. Houston Texans (6-5) – Christian Hackenburg (QB/Penn State)
Hackenburg is more likely a Day 2 prospect, but quarterbacks have a tendency of being drafter higher than their actual value and Hackeburg was recruited to Penn State by Texans coach Bill O’Brien. Brian Hoyer isn’t the answer in Houston.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) – Jason Spriggs (OT/Indiana)
Eric Fisher has been a waste of a first overall draft selection. The Chiefs may choose to move on from him this offseason and find a new tackle in the draft. Quarterback is an option as well as the Chiefs won’t go far with Alex Smith’s limitations, but they will need to trade up for that to happen.
24. Minnesota Vikings (8-3) – Vandal Alexander (G/LSU)
Minnesota could stand to upgrade at guard where Brandon Fusco has been inconsistent all season long. The emergence of Stefon Diggs may allow the team to look for a position other than wide receiver.
25. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) – Tyler Boyd (WR/Pittsburgh)
Offensive line is a need, but Seattle just missed out on Vandal Alexander so they will look at another position of need. The Seahawks spread the ball out on offense due much in part to their lack of a true No. 1 receiver. Boyd has top 15 talent, but character concerns may make him fall on draft day.
26. Indianapolis Colts (6-5) – DeForest Buckner (DT/Oregon)
The Colts have holes all across their roster, so taking the top person available regardless of position will be a likely play. Due to Bucker’s frame, he has drawn comparisons to former teammate Arik Armstead.
27. Green Bay Packers (7-4) – Kenny Clark (DT/UCLA)
The Packers are apparently ready to move on from impending free agent B.J. Raji. Green Bay is in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards allowed, so upgrading Raji will be important this offseason.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) – Michael Thomas (WR/Ohio State)
A.J. Green is a solid wide receiver, but Marvin Jones will be a free agent after the season who may be seeking a big payday. Cincinnati’s passing game would benefit from another offensive weapon to avoid defenses double-teaming Green.
29. Denver Broncos (9-2) – Emmanuel Ogbah (DE/Oklahoma State)
With Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson entering free agency this offseason, the Broncos may find themselves suddenly thin at defensive end.
30. Arizona Cardinals (9-2) – Shilique Calhoun (DE/Michigan State)
Arizona is currently trotting Dwight Freeney out at defensive end. For a team so talented on defense, it is baffling that they are so bad at the pass rush. Calhoun is having a down year in East Lansing, but a solid combine can put him back on board in the first round.
31. Carolina Panthers (11-0) – Kendall Fuller (CB/Virginia Tech)
Josh Norman is having a banner year and even Charles Tillman has played well, but Tillman is turning 35 in February, so don’t expect Carolina to see him as the long-term answer.