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2016 NFL Mock Draft

By Jared Smola 2:11pm EDT 4/26/16

The ink is already drying on the first 2 picks of the 2016 NFL Draft. All hell figures to break loose after that.

Who will pull the trigger on Ezekiel Elliott? How far will Myles Jack fall? When will the 3rd QB come off the board?

Here’s a slightly educated guess at how the 1st round will unfold on Thursday night.

1. Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff, QB, California

The Rams nab the more NFL-ready of the top 2 QB prospects to go with their stud RB and strong defense. With a run-loving coach and weak WR corps, Goff will be tough to like for fantasy purposes.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Big gamble by Philly to trade up for a guy who made just 23 starts at the FCS level. But Wentz has the size, arm strength and athleticism to become a star both in real life and fantasy football.

3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

Regarded by many as the top player in this draft class, Ramsey would be an immediate starter at S and could eventually move to CB.

4. Dallas Cowboys - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Ezekiel Elliott would be tempting here, but Dallas has gotten big rushing production lately without investing major resources into the RB position. Bosa might be rated even higher on the team’s big board and fills a major need.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Opinions vary around the league about how big an issue Jack’s right knee will be, and we have no way of knowing which teams have cleared him. But we do know the Jaguars worked him out after his last medical exam, so there’s clearly still interest there. Jack would bring much-needed playmaking ability to Jacksonville’s defense.

6. Baltimore Ravens - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

The Ravens get an NFL-ready LT to protect a QB coming off a torn ACL.

7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon

The 6’7, 291-pound Buckner reunites with former college teammate and 2015 1st-rounder Arik Armstead to give the ‘Niners a massive defensive line to build around.

8. * Projected Trade * Miami Dolphins (from Cleveland Browns) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The Fins move back into the draft slot they originally vacated in the trade for Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to select the guy they’ve been connected to more than any other team.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Hargreaves disappointed couch scouts with a 4.50-second 40 time at the Combine. But he crushed the other drills and landed in the 97th percentile among CBs in SPARQ.

10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

LT Ereck Flowers struggled in his 2015 rookie campaign, and RT Marshall Newhouse is a subpar NFL starter. The Giants need to protect 35-year-old Eli Manning. Stanley sits above Tunsil on some teams' boards.

11. Chicago Bears - Shaq Lawson, OLB, Clemson

The Bears get a productive and athletic edge rusher as they continue to build a 3-4 defense under HC John Fox and DC Vic Fangio.

12. New Orleans Saints - Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville

The 6’1, 299-pound Rankins adds beef to a run defense that allowed a league-high 4.9 yards per carry last season.

13. Cleveland Browns (from Miami Dolphins) - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

The Browns finished 28th in sacks last season. Floyd totaled just 17 in 3 college seasons but has untapped potential as a 6’6, 244-pounder with a SPARQ score in the 89th percentile among LBs.

14. Oakland Raiders - Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State

Jones is shooting up draft boards and would give Oakland some inside pass rush to complement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin on the outside.

15. Tennessee Titans - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

The Titans gave up a league-high 54 sacks last year and watched their 1st-round QB miss 4 games with 2 separate knee injuries. Conklin would immediately upgrade the RT spot.

16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Decker would be the 5th offensive lineman selected by Detroit in the top 76 picks over the last 5 years. Despite the investments, the Lions ranked 23rd in sacks allowed and 26th in yards per carry this past season.

17. Atlanta Falcons - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Lee led all LBs at the Combine with a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and would give the Falcons defense some much-needed speed and playmaking ability.

18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

The Colts miss out on the top 4 OT prospects in this scenario but land an NFL-ready, high-floor interior lineman to help protect QB Andrew Luck.

19. Buffalo Bills - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

HC Rex Ryan has been stewing all offseason about his defense finishing 31st in sacks last year. Dodd ranked 5th in the nation with 12 sacks in 2015.

20. New York Jets - William Jackson, CB, Houston

With older skill-position guys in Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Jets are closer to win-now than rebuild mode. So agreeing to a new deal with Ryan Fitzpatrick makes a lot more sense than drafting a QB like Paxton Lynch. Jackson would team up with Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine to give blitz-happy HC Todd Bowles a rock-solid cover group.

21. Washington Redskins - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Treadwell could easily be the top player on Washington’s board at this point. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are both entering the final year of their contracts.

22. Houston Texans - Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

A reach? I think so. But there’s been too much smoke around Fuller-to-Houston to think it’s not a real possibility.

23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

The Vikings need to start thinking about life after Adrian Peterson. Getting Teddy Bridgewater an athletic WR with a huge catch radius would be a good start.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

The Bengals make it 4 WRs in a row and might be getting the best one. Paired with A.J. Green, Coleman would give Cincinnati one of the most dangerous WR duos in the league.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

CB Mackensie Alexander is a strong possibility here if the Steelers are comfortable with his off-field character. But S is just as big a need as CB, and Joseph fits Pittsburgh’s hard-hitting defensive identity.

26. * Projected Trade * Denver Broncos (from Seattle Seahawks) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Broncos Hall-of-Fame QB and current GM John Elway isn’t going into the season with only Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian. So he makes a move up to grab Lynch, whose plus mobility makes him a nice fit in HC Gary Kubiak’s scheme.

27. Green Bay Packers - Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

A big thumper for the middle of Green Bay’s defense. Ragland’s addition would allow Clay Matthews to focus on rushing the passer from the outside.

28. Kansas City Chiefs - Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

Reed doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, which is why he might still be available here. But he’s stout against the run and is viewed as a high-floor prospect.

29. Arizona Cardinals - T.J. Green, S/CB, Clemson

The latest buzz has Green ahead of teammate Mackensie Alexander on many draft boards. The 6’3, 204-pound Green played safety last season, but many teams believe his NFL future is at CB. The Cardinals could use reinforcements at both spots.

30. Carolina Panthers - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

The Panthers won’t feel forced to take a CB early after losing Josh Norman, but this is a case of need meeting best player available.

31. Seattle Seahawks - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Seattle needs help at both tackle spots and values athleticism in its draft picks. Spriggs tested out in the 92nd percentile among offensive linemen.

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