The NFL Draft is still over a month away, but PewterReport.com offers up a full first-round mock draft. Teams are finishing up free agency and are in the process of attending college pro days and scheduling visits with the top draft prospects as they narrow their draft boards. Take a look at what PewterReport.com thinks could happen in the first round and see if you agree.
1. TENNESSEE – LT Laremy Tunsil – Mississipi The Titans need to protect quarterback Marcus Mariota better than they did last season where the rookie took a ton of hits and finished the season on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard. Tunsil is the best tackle in the draft and new Titans general manager Jon Robinson will give Mariota the blindside protection he needs with the Ole Miss standout. Robinson will give Jalen Ramsey significant consideration but the team needs to protect Mariota better in 2016 than they did in 2015 and Tunsil is the man for the job.
2. CLEVELAND – QB Carson Wentz – North Dakota State The Browns are in desperate need to find a franchise quarterback after the Johnny Manziel debacle, and hope Wentz can be the elusive leader under center the team has been desperate for. Paxton Lynch or even Jared Goff could be in play here but Wentz is thought to have the most upside my many.
3. SAN DIEGO – DB Jalen Ramsey – Florida State Ramsey could actually be in play for the No. 1 overall pick by the Titans and Tennessee will look long and hard at the FSU standout who blew people away with his NFL Combine performance. Ramsey is one of the most versatile defensive players in the draft and one source told PewterReport.com he looks like a bigger Tyrann Mathieu. The Chargers need help all over but won’t be able to pass on Ramsey at No. 3, who replaces Eric Weddle.
4. DALLAS – DE DeForest Buckner – Oregon The Cowboys will think long and hard about a quarterback and if Wentz gets passed on by the Browns, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones would have a hard time not pulling the trigger on him after spending the week coaching the talented quarterback at the Senior Bowl last January. But if Wentz is gone, Dallas will look to take the Oregon product to help improve their defensive line. Buckner was a 3-4 defensive end, but can be a five-technique DE or a three-technique DT in a 4-3 scheme.
5. JACKSONVILLE – DE Joey Bosa – Ohio State The Jaguars went on a spending spree in free agency in hopes of saving Gus Bradley’s job which is on the line. Jacksonville would love to see Ramsey fall and with that being highly unlikely, they take their next top rated defensive player, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa.
6. BALTIMORE – OT Ronnie Stanley – Notre Dame Keeping quarterback Joe Flacco upright in 2016 will be a priority for the Ravens, and Ronnie Stanley should step in and be an impact starter for Baltimore. Many scouts think the difference between Stanley and Tunsil isn’t very big, and getting Stanley might one day be looked at as a steal.
7. SAN FRANCISCO – QB Jared Goff – California New Eagles coach Chip Kelly never had the quarterback he wanted in Philadelphia but gets his guy in Goff at No. 7. The talented Cal product will be right at home in the other Bay area and could end up being the better quarterback between he and Wentz, who could go to Cleveland.
8. PHILADELPHIA – CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida
The Eagles flipped spots with the Dolphins in the DeMarco Murray trade and won’t be able to pass on Hargreaves, who some have said expect to slip somewhat in the draft after a disappointing end to his final season at Florida. But the film doesn’t lie, and Hargreaves, despite being less than ideal size-wise, is one of the best cover corners in this year’s draft.
9. TAMPA BAY – DT Sheldon Rankins – Louisville The Bucs would love to have Ramsey, Jameis Winston’s former teammate, on their roster but unless they are willing to give up multiple draft picks to move up, Tampa Bay will look to Rankins to add depth and team up with Gerald McCoy to form one of the league’s best 1-2 punches at defensive tackle. Rankins has been compared to Pro Bowler Aaron Donald, and while those are big shoes to fill, the former Louisville star looks the part with his quick get-off and first step.
10. NEW YORK GIANTS – LB Myles Jack – UCLA
Jack could be off the board if the Jaguars decide he is their man, but if not, the Giants would have a hard time passing on the UCLA standout. Jack still hasn’t run his 40-yard time yet, but is expected to on April 1 as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired right knee. NFL teams have called him an athletic freak and love his potential as a coverage linebacker.
11. CHICAGO – DL A’Shawn Robinson – Alabama The Bears need help at defensive tackle and Robinson will be a nice complement to last year’s solid rookie pick Eddie Goldman. Robinson has the size that John Fox wants in a defensive tackle and would be ideally suited for Chicago.
12. NEW ORLEANS – WR Lequan Treadwell – Mississippi
Drew Brees’ long-time trusted receiver Marques Colston was released this offseason, but Treadwell offers New Orleans the same type of big receiver that will complement speedster Brandin Cooks. Treadwell is a highly competitive, physical receiver in the Colston mold.
13. MIAMI – OT Jack Conklin – Michigan State
The Dolphins have holes to fill all over the roster, but can’t pass up an opportunity to give Ryan Tannehill a blindside protector. Conklin started at left tackle at Michigan State, but might be better suited on the right side in the NFL.
14. OAKLAND – DT Robert Nkemdiche – Mississippi
The Raiders have a history of drafting controversial players, with some working out but many not. They will gamble on the talented, but possibly troubled, Nkemdiche and keep their fingers crossed. He’s a top 5 talent athletically, but is not the producer his talent indicates he should be.
15. LOS ANGELES – QB Paxton Lynch – Memphis
Jeff Fisher and the Rams moved west and decide to draft a shiny new toy in Lynch. While not the top-rated quarterback in the draft, Lynch isn’t too far off from Goff and Wentz according to most scouts and has Ben Roethlisberger size. Fisher knows that he needs a stud quarterback to win in the NFL.
16. DETROIT – Shaq Lawson – Clemson
Detroit was a dumpster fire to star the season in 2015, but caught fire late to win seven games. Yet it was too little too late to save jobs in the front office, especially G.M. Martin Mayhew’s. Can Lawson break the curse of recent so-so Clemson pass rushers?
17. ATLANTA – LB Reggie Ragland – Alabama
Dan Quinn is a defensive-minded head coach and it must have pained him to see Atlanta struggle at times on that side of the ball. Ragland is a safe pick, and potentially a very good one. He excels at stuffing the run and making plays at the line of scrimmage.
18. INDIANAPOLIS – OT Taylor Decker – Ohio State
The Colts went through quarterbacks in 2015 like Leonardo DiCaprio goes through girlfriends. Decker should be able to help that from happening in 2016. Andrew Luck approves this message.
19. BUFFALO – DE Noah Spence – Eastern Kentucky
With Mario Williams moving on to the Dolphins, the Bills and Rex Ryan take a gamble on Spence, who reportedly didn’t interview well at the NFL Scoutin Combine, giving some teams cause for concern. Ryan and his brother, Rob, believe they can get the best from the talented Spence.
20. NEW YORK JETS – LB Leonard Floyd – Georgia
Watching Floyd’s highlight reel, the Georgia Bulldog standout looks like Top 10 pick. But when watching the full tape you can see weaknesses, such as his ability to hold up against the run. However, there’s no argument over Floyd’s athletic ability and the Jets can’t wait to use it defensively.
21. WASHINGTON – RB Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State
The Redskins were thought to have some interest in Doug Martin before he re-signed with Tampa Bay after Matt Jones and Alfred Morris struggled with consistency. Jay Gruden sees a big time offensive weapon in the talented Elliott and can’t wait to get him on the field.
22. HOUSTON – RB Derrick Henry – Alabama
Henry is a bruiser and ran faster than most expected at the combine for a man his size. The Texans might be gambling a little taking Henry this high, but he could pay big dividends for Bill O’Brien’s offense. Houston turned the page on Arian Foster, so it’s time to draft his replacement.
23. MINNESOTA – WR Will Fuller – Notre Dame
With the release of Mike Wallace last week in Minnesota, the Vikings can’t pass up a chance to add a talented speedy playmaker in Fuller, who was one of the most productive receivers in college football last season. Fuller was the fastest receiver at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.32 time in the 40-yard dash.
24. CINCINNATI – LB Darron Lee – Ohio State
After the 2015 playoff meltdown by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who earned himself a three-game suspension by the NFL, the Bengals turn to this high-character talented linebacker. Lee is somewhat raw and a little on the lean side, but was a playmaker for the Buckeyes. He’s a sure tackler and is gifted in coverage.
25. PITTSBURGH – CB Eli Apple – Ohio State
Apple continues the string of Buckeyes being drafted in the first round as Mike Tomlin and the Steelers can’t believe he falls in their lap at No. 25. This young playmaker might be the best defensive back in the draft not named Jalen Ramsey.
26. SEATTLE – DT Jonathan Bullard – Florida
Gator fans know how good Bullard is, but was he overshadowed somewhat by a number of other players on Florida’s terrific defense last season. But the Seahawks were paying attention, and nab the versatile Bullard, who can play tackle and end, late in the first round.
27. GREEN BAY – DT Jarron Reed – Alabama
Reed’s stats won’t blow people away but his tape shows a very strong, gap-eating disruptive player who should continue to develop after just two seasons at Alabama. With B.J. Raji suddenly retiring, getting a big defensive tackle like Reed fills a big, immediate need.
28. KANSAS CITY – G Cody Whitehair – Kansas State
Whitehair could end up going higher but Andy Reid and the Chiefs will be thrilled to see the Kansas State standout still available when on the clock. Versatile, smart and dependable, Whitehair is a safe pick for the Chiefs.
29. ARIZONA – CB Mackensie Alexander – Clemson
Alexander may be one of the most confident players in the draft, and doesn’t mind mixing it up and jawing at opponents. But despite have excellent cover skills, not producing a single interception while in college was a red flag for many teams.
30. CAROLINA – DL – Kevin Dodd – Clemson
Dabo Swinney’s 2015 Clemson roster was filled with NFL talent but just not quite enough to win it all against Alabama. Dodd has been compared to Super Bowl 50 star Kony Ealy and the Panthers will be fine with Dodd if he can develop the same way as Ealy did over the last two seasons.
31. DENVER – QB Connor Cook – Michigan State
Cook has rubbed people the wrong way, his teammates included during his time at Michigan State, including not being voted a captain. However despite those issues, Cook is an excellent pocket passer with decent mobility and the Broncos take a shot with the last pick in the first round.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org