Rotoworld college guru Josh Norris and I did a podcast mocking the first round. You can listen to the show at this link.
1. Los Angeles Rams -- California QB Jared Goff
Born north of L.A., Goff will stay in his home state as the Rams' new franchise quarterback. He isn't exactly being set up for success, of course. Los Angeles has the NFL's worst pass-catcher group and one of the shakiest offensive lines. And the Rams won't go back on the clock until No. 110 overall in this draft. They also traded away their first- and third-round picks next year. Goff's supporting cast could pose a major stumbling block for his early-career fortunes.
2. Philadelphia Eagles -- North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz
If Sam Bradford gets his wish and is shipped out of Philly, Wentz might end up playing sooner than the Eagles hope. They view Wentz as a developmental prospect after he made just 23 career starts at an FCS college, sitting behind "Brock Jensen" his first two years. Chase Daniel would probably still open the season as the Eagles' starter, but I think Wentz would see the field at some point in 2016 were Bradford dealt.
3. San Diego Chargers -- Oregon DL DeForest Buckner
The Chargers' offensive line was one of the worst in the league last year due to hard-luck injuries. The Chargers' defensive line was the worst in the league last year due to a lack of talent. San Diego did add ex-Seattle NT Brandon Mebane in free agency, but he is a 31-year-old rotational run defender. There's Mebane and Corey Liuget on San Diego's line, and not much else. At 6-foot-7, 291, Buckner could be a John Henderson-like interior terror in John Pagano's defense.
4. Dallas Cowboys -- Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey
It's no secret at this point that Ramsey is No. 1 on the Cowboys' draft board. He would play boundary corner in Dallas -- upgrading on Morris Claiborne -- and solve one of the Cowboys' two biggest needs. I personally think Dallas should take Joey Bosa, but apparently their scouting department is down on him. It's believed they would select Ezekiel Elliott over Bosa on the off chance Ramsey went No. 3.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
A best-available pick. The Jaguars have put together an impressively deep defensive line group, but they're still lacking in the outside pass-rush department. Their top edge rusher if the season began today would be 2015 No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who didn't play a single snap as a rookie due to a torn ACL. $90 million man Malik Jackson is at his best on the interior. Bosa is a high-floor prospect whose ceiling has become underrated by pre-draft overanalysis. He'll be an immediate-impact player.
6. Baltimore Ravens -- Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil
The Ravens fielded a top-five offensive line as recently as two years ago. Now, LT Eugene Monroe's Baltimore future is in limbo for durability and salary-cap reasons. RT Rick Wagner is coming off a rough season and entering a contract year. LG Kelechi Osemele took the Raiders' money, and RG Marshal Yanda and C Jeremy Zuttah will both be on the wrong side of 30 when the season starts. Tunsil would address a need and is certainly worthy of the No. 6 pick.
7. San Francisco 49ers -- UCLA LB Myles Jack
In Philadelphia, Chip Kelly focused his drafts on defensive players because Kelly had so much confidence in his ability to scheme and coach up his side of the ball. The Eagles spent 15-of-21 (71%) draft picks on defenders in Kelly's three years there, including 5-of-6 (83%) in Kelly's one year as personnel chief. The "chondral defect" in Jack's knee is more of a long- than short-term concern, and GM Trent Baalke is never afraid to draft medically-flagged players.
8. Cleveland Browns -- Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta will serve in an "observer" role over Cleveland's draft as he hones in on learning the league after spending the last nine years helping to revolutionize major league baseball. There are only two predictions I'm comfortable making for the Browns' draft: They'll keep trying to trade down to stockpile future picks, and at some point they'll take a receiver. The former is an analytics-approved approach and the latter is a must as Hue Jackson attempts to salvage Robert Griffin III's career. The Akron Beacon-Journal is also projecting Treadwell to Cleveland, likely following another trade down.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves
The Bucs opened voluntary practices starting Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner at corner. Grimes' performance slipped dramatically during his age-32 season, contributing to his release by the Dolphins. He'll turn 33 in July. Verner was benched repeatedly by the Bucs last year. Hargreaves is a schematic fit under new DC Mike Smith, who is installing more man-coverage concepts. "VH3" would be Tampa Bay's top corner in year one.
10. New York Giants -- Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd
Floyd's shortage of play strength is a big concern for his NFL transition, but his stock has risen as coaching staffs have become more involved in pre-draft evaluations, which happens late in the process. Coaches see Floyd's mouth-watering blend of measurables, length, and combo coverage-rush potential and envision him as a Jamie Collins-type player. The Giants have one of the least settled linebacker corps in the league and are known to be high on Floyd.
11. Chicago Bears -- Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley
Stanley's sweet spot is 3-11. He's a rumored sleeper to San Diego at 3, and could easily go to Baltimore if Tunsil is taken in the top five. Stanley could also go to San Francisco or Cleveland, especially if the Browns trade LT Joe Thomas. The Bears are one of Stanley's best fits, sending incumbent LT Charles Leno back into his natural swing-reserve role. With Stanley bookending RT Bobby Massie, and Kyle Long, Hroniss Grasu, and Matt Slauson manning the interior, Chicago's offensive line would be solidified by this pick.
12. New Orleans Saints -- Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins
CBS Sports reported Wednesday that Rankins will be a top-ten pick. His likeliest landing spot there would seemingly be Tampa Bay at No. 9. I think the Bucs would be mistaken to take Rankins over Hargreaves and am instead sending him to New Orleans, where last year's Saints fielded one of the NFL's softest defensive lines. A three-technique interior tackle, Rankins can rush the passer and win with power. Current Saints three-technique Nick Fairley is a mercenary on a one-year deal.
13. Miami Dolphins -- Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Dolphins VP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum has a lot of friends in the media. It's been leaked ad nauseam that Miami covets Elliott, perhaps to the extent that they'll trade up for him. And Tannenbaum has a lengthy track record of draft-weekend trades. The Dolphins clearly see running back as a need after whiffing on C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson in free agency. Elliott would not only improve the Dolphins' run game, he would upgrade their blocking with NFL-ready pass-protection skills.
14. Oakland Raiders -- Houston CB William Jackson III
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle is one of the best on the Raiders' beat and believes Jackson is squarely in play for Oakland's pick at 14. The Raiders acknowledged 2013 first-rounder D.J. Hayden is a bust when they benched him last season. Adding Jackson to David Amerson and Sean Smith would give the Raiders a strong trio in a league where three cornerbacks are needed because teams play their sub-package 70-plus percent of the time. It would also allow T.J. Carrie to focus on safety full time, bookending Reggie Nelson.
15. Tennessee Titans -- Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
Media evaluators have mixed opinions on Conklin, but the NFL scouting community adores him. A former walk-on, Conklin is a self-made player with a nasty on-field demeanor, and he tested better than expected in Indy. Tennessee has been Conklin's most-linked landing spot. I'm buying in due to the Titans' offensive line need.
16. Detroit Lions -- Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
The 2015 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, Decker is viewed by many as a right tackle prospect but played left tackle at Ohio State. He could play either position in Detroit, allowing incumbent LT Riley Reiff to kick to the right side or manning it himself. The Lions' current starting right tackle is "Michael Ola." Detroit's line play was awful last year. Armed with ten picks, rookie GM Bob Quinn needs to emerge from the weekend with new starters at tackle and center.
17. Atlanta Falcons -- Alabama DL Jarran Reed
The Falcons have as many needs as any team in the NFL, but only five draft picks to address them. They need high-floor, immediate-impact players. Reed lacks flash, but he would help Atlanta right away. And Reed seems to be a consensus top-20 pick. Last year's Falcons ranked 25th in Football Outsiders' run-defense DVOA.
18. Indianapolis Colts -- Clemson DE Shaq Lawson
Lawson is a player I'm not comfortable projecting in the draft. I could envision him going as early as No. 9 to Tampa Bay. He absolutely destroyed the ACC as a 2015 junior and had a great Combine. I have no idea where Lawson will end up, but I do know he'd be a great get for Colts GM Ryan Grigson, whose current assembly of pass rushers is as old as it is putrid.
19. Buffalo Bills -- Mississippi State DL Chris Jones
Although I think outside pass rusher, offensive tackle, linebacker, and wide receiver are bigger Bills needs, Buffalo beat writers anticipate this selection being used on a defensive lineman. Jones flashed dominant potential at Mississippi State, earning College Football Focus' highest 2015 pass-rush grade among draft-eligible SEC linemen. Jones is also scheme versatile with the ability to handle five, one, and three technique.
20. New York Jets -- Memphis QB Paxton Lynch
A Wednesday report from ESPN New York's Rich Cimini claimed the Jets have "cooled" on Lynch. That seems like tactical pre-draft misinformation, for a team to so suddenly and publicly "cool" on a player the very day before the draft. Lynch could also be drafted much earlier than this, although it could be after the Jets move up the board to secure him. In Rotoworld college prospects guru Josh Norris' mock, he projected a 49ers-Jets trade with Lynch ending up on Gang Green.
21. Washington Redskins -- Baylor DT Andrew Billings
Last year's co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12, Billings is a country-strong power player who can push the pocket and would play nose tackle in Joe Barry's 3-4. All signs point to the Redskins addressing defensive line in round one. Billings is nearly three years younger than Clemson DE Kevin Dodd, another D-Lineman I considered mocking to Washington.
22. Houston Texans -- Notre Dame WR Will Fuller
There is a lot of smoke surrounding this match. The Texans are rumored to be as high as anyone on Fuller, while his game perfectly complements route technician DeAndre Hopkins from a stylistic standpoint as a vertical lid popper with 4.32 jets.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- TCU WR Josh Doctson
Doctson checks boxes as a prospect for Vikings GM Rick Spielman, who has placed an increased emphasis on pre-draft workout metrics recently. It's how he found Jerick McKinnon and stole Danielle Hunter in the third round last year. Not only is Doctson's game tape suggestive of a future No. 1 NFL wide receiver, he lit up the Combine with his jumps and agility scores. Doctson would give Teddy Bridgewater a contested-catch winner with a wide catch radius to complement 6-foot, 195-pound Stefon Diggs, a shiftier X to Doctson's Z.
24. Cincinnati Bengals -- Baylor WR Corey Coleman
Bengals guru Joe Goodberry predicted Coleman would be Cincinnati's pick at No. 24, which is good enough for me. The most naturally explosive wideout in this year's class, Coleman would fill a big Bengals need after Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left in free agency.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers -- West Virginia S Karl Joseph
Ohio State's Eli Apple and Clemson's Mackensie Alexander should also be in play at No. 25. The Steelers' biggest secondary need is arguably safety, however, with very little on the current depth chart behind Mike Mitchell. In DC Keith Butler's zone-based defense, the Steelers may be able to get by with William Gay, ascending Ross Cockrell, and 2015 second-round pick Senquez Golson at corner.
26. Seattle Seahawks -- Florida DL Jonathan Bullard
The Seahawks' biggest need on paper is very clearly offensive line, but they've trusted OL coach Tom Cable to maximize their up-front talent and dual-threat Russell Wilson to help hide their deficiencies. I do believe Seattle will address the O-Line -- possibly with multiple draft picks -- but not necessarily at No. 26. Bullard fits the Seahawks' profile as a plus athlete with multi-position versatility. Defensive line is also one of Seattle's biggest three needs.
27. Green Bay Packers -- Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland
There is some belief Ragland will go higher than this. I see the Packers as his floor. Ragland is the best pure inside linebacker in this draft, and no NFL team is as needy at this position as Ted Thompson's Packers.
28. Kansas City Chiefs -- Ohio State CB Eli Apple
Although not yet a finished product, Apple possesses the size (6'1/199) and physical playing style that Chiefs DC Bob Sutton prefers in cornerbacks. Kansas City could ease in Apple behind Marcus Peters and Phillip Gaines. The Chiefs' No. 1 need is cornerback.
29. Arizona Cardinals -- Alabama C Ryan Kelly
The Cardinals' one big offensive concern is center play. They've moved on from ineffective Lyle Sendlein and currently have short-armed journeyman A.Q. Shipley written in erasable pencil atop the depth chart. Kelly could conceivably fortify center for the next ten years.
30. Carolina Panthers -- UCLA DT Kenny Clark
The Panthers lost Josh Norman after rescinding his franchise tag, so they'll definitely use their first-round pick on a cornerback. That's probably a popular thought, but I'm not sure GM Dave Gettleman will be able to resist another hog molly. A decorated high school wrestler, Clark is a relentless and versatile defensive lineman. D-Line is a need for Carolina with DE Charles Johnson and DT Kawann Short entering contract years and DT Star Lotulelei's deal up after 2017.
31. Denver Broncos -- Ohio State LB Darron Lee
I think the Broncos will trade for a quarterback, probably Colin Kaepernick but perhaps Josh McCown or Sam Bradford. Acquiring any of them won't cost a first-round pick, and would allow GM John Elway to use No. 31 on an impact player at a position of need. I also considered Louisiana Tech DL Vernon Butler and Alabama DL A'Shawn Robinson here, but went with Lee instead. The Broncos use their inside linebackers as every-down players -- which Lee can handle -- and lost Danny Trevathan to the Bears. Fellow ILB Brandon Marshall is in a contract year.