1. Tennessee Titans - Joey Bosa DE, Ohio State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Sammie Lee Hill, Shonn Greene, Al Woods, Hakeem Nicks
Notable 2015 Draft Picks, Marcus Mariota, DGB, Jeremiah Poutasi, David Cobb, Andy Gallik, Tre McBride
Teams Needs: LG/LDE/ILB/FS
For better or worse the Titans as well as head coach Ken Whisenhunt's future's are tied to Marcus Mariota's success. Depending on your opinion of Marcus Mariota the Titans had a solid draft filling big needs at QB, WR, and RT, and possibly an upgrade over Brian Schwenke at OC. But with so much young talent playing at key positions on the offense they should expect to experience another year of growing pains, culminating with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
The Titans already have their QB and LT of the future so this pick will be used on the draft's top pass-rusher, which if he decides to declare early, would be Ohio State DE Joey Bosa.
Joey Bosa has been compared to a bevy of past and present NFL stars such as JJ Watt, Justin Smith, and Patrick Kearney(basically any white guy that happens to be a good pass-rusher), and likely would have been a top 10 pick if the 20 year old true sophomore would have been eligible for the 2015 draft. The 6-foot-5, 285 pounds prospect was un-blockable this past season and only figures to get better.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Laremy Tunsil OT, Ole Miss.
Top 2016 Free Agents: Doug Martin, Lavonte David, Bobby Rainey, Chris Conte, Henry Melton, Mike Jenkins
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander, Kenny Bell
Teams Needs: OT/DE/RB/CB/S
As with the Titans, the Bucs' fate rests in the had of their new rookie QB. Tampa Bay also invested multiple picks to build the offense around Jameis Winston. One question that remains is, will rookie second round pick Donovan Smith play left or right tackle? The Bucs definitely need an answer at DE but with Joey Bosa not available an OT makes more sense, which would move Donovan Smith to RT and replace Demar Dotson who is a 2017 free agent anyway.
Laremy Tunsil is a former 5-star recruit who has definitely lived up to the hype. He stepped into the starting role as the blindside protector from the start of his freshman season and has not disappointed. He and Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley should be battling it out as the top OT prospect for 2016.
3. Oakland Raiders - Ronnie Stanley OT, Notre Dame
Top 2016 Free Agents: Donald Penn, Justin Tuck, Charles Woodson, Michael Crabtree, Trent Richardson
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards, Clive Walford, Ben Heeney
Teams Needs: LT/RG/DE/RB/FS/CB
Oakland got a couple of nice weapons for Derek Carr but failed to acquire any protection for him upfront. With Donald Penn set for 2016 free agency and turning 33 years old just before the 2016 draft, it will be imperative for the Raiders to draft a cornerstone franchise LT to protect Carr for the foreseeable future.
Had the redshirt sophomore declared for the 2015 draft, Ronnie Stanley likely would have been the first OT tackle taken. Stanley has excellent athleticism, drawing comparisons to a longer Zach Martin or slimmer Greg Robinson.
4. Cleveland Browns - Cardale Jones QB, Ohio State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Mitchell Schwartz, Phil Taylor, Tashaun Gipson, Craig Robertson, Gary Barnidge
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Danny Shelton, Cam Erving, Nate Orchard, Duke Johnson, Xavier Cooper, Ibraheim Campbell, Charles Gaines, IEO
Teams Needs: QB/RG/RT/TE/ILB/S
Another year, another chance to draft a QB in the first round. Teams do not usually give up on young QB's so fast but this is a Browns organization that's drafted Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel in the first round in the last four years, and tried to give up two first round picks for the right to trade up and draft Marcus Mariota. Fortunately for Cleveland, they will have their pick of all of the available QB's in the 2016 draft class.
Everyone knows Cardale Jones' story. The first three starts of his career were the Big10 Championship, The Sugar Bowl, and the National Championship, of which he won all three. He's been compared to Ben Rothlisberger because of his size, strong arm, and mobility. He would be a huge hit in Cleveland, and possibly give some stability to a franchise that hasn't had any in a very long time.
5. New York Jets - Connor Cook QB, Michigan State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Muhammad Wilkerson, Demario Davis, Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley, Willie Colon
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Leonard Williams, Devin Smith, Lorenzo Mauldin, Bryce Petty
Teams Needs: QB/RB/ILB/OT/OG
The Jets moved up in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft to take Baylor QB Bryce Petty, so a lot of what goes into this pick will be based on how much he proves his worth between now and then. Given that he's a late round pick his leash should be a short one, and should the Jets be drafting in the top 10 yet again it could finally be time to invest an early round pick at QB depending on who's available.
There should be a lot of options at QB in 2016, especially if the top rated underclassmen declare. At this point the top rated QB for 2016 could be Connor Cook. Had he entered the 2015 draft he would've been a top 15 pick, and quite possibly would have challenged Winston and Mariota to be the first off of the board. He has a solid frame, a strong arm, decent mobility, and a strong grasp of a pro-style offense.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars - Vernon Hargreaves III CB, Florida
Top 2016 Free Agents: Marcedes Lewis, Justin Blackmon, Stefen Wisniewski, Josh Scobee, Pat Angerer
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Dante Fowler, TJ Yeldon, AJ Cann, James Sample, Rashad Greene
Teams Needs: SLB
Gus Bradley has the Jags on an upward trajectory. Unfortunately the cupboard was bare when Bradley got there so it's going to continue to be a slow and painful process. In 2016 they may have to rebuild the offensive line if Luke Joeckel hasn't developed by then, plus they still have issues at LB and especially at safety. It's likely that the Jags will simply go with the best player available that isn't a QB or a DE, which in this case happens to be Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III.
VH3 is an incredibly smooth, natural athlete with elite cover skills. Like Laremy Tunsil, he's a former 5-star recruit who's been turning heads as a starter in the always tough SEC since his freshman season.
7. Washington Redskins - Robert Nkemdiche DE/DT, Ole Miss
Top 2016 Free Agents: Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Chris Chester, Terrance Knighton
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, Matt Jones, Jamison Crowder, Arie Kouandjio
Teams Needs: QB/OG/NT/FS
When the Redskins passed on Leonard Williams for a right tackle I wasn't sure what to think, it's possible that Washington doesn't believe that they can re-sign Trent Williams, and think that Brandon Scherff is their future starter at LT. If that's the case then fine, otherwise they just spent the fifth overall pick on a right tackle and bypassed a player many though to be the best prospect in the 2015 draft. Regardless, Washington has several big free agency decisions looming in 2016.
Robert Nkemdiche was the most hyped high school recruit since Jadeveon Clowney. Where they differ is that Nkemdiche may eventually grow into a full time DT given his 6-foot-4, 280 pounds frame. He may be best suited as a 5-technique, but with his combination of strength, speed, and athleticism the sky's the limit for him, and he could be a very versatile weapon regardless of defensive scheme.
The Redskins passed on Leonard Williams, possibly in part by the signings of Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton, but Knighton will be a free agent in 2016 and Jason Hatcher is coming back from injury so they could give serious interest in both Nkemdiche and Alabama's A'Shawn Robinson.
8. Chicago Bears - Kendall Fuller CB, Virginia Tech
Top 2016 Free Agents: Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Shea McClellin, Ryan Mundy, Ray McDonald
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Kevin White, Eddie Goldman, Hroniss Grasu, Jeremy Langford, Adrian Amos
Teams Needs: QB/WR/DE/OLB/ILB/CB
Unless the Bears find a way to dump Jay Cutler's albatross of a contract, thereby necessitating that they draft a QB here, Chicago will likely use this pick to continue rebuilding their defense. They drafted Kyle Fuller in the first round of the 2014 draft and here the Bears can draft a replacement for Tim Jennings in Kendall Fuller, who just so happens Kyle's little brother.
Kendall is the youngest of four brothers, the other three have all played at VT and gone on to play in the NFL, is fast, fluid, and might just end up being the best of the Fuller brothers.
9. New York Giants - A'Shawn Robinson DT/DE, Alabama
Top 2016 Free Agents:Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara, Cullen Jenkins
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins, Owa Odighizuwa
Teams Needs: DE/DT/CB/LB/FS
The drafting of Ereck Flowers seemed like a panic reach when Brandon Scherff was no longer available. Regardless, the Giants did fill three positions of need with three quality prospects int he 2015 draft. In 2016 they will have a number of high priority free agents to re-sign. Eli Manning will definitely be re-signed, and JPP and Prince Amukamara should be re-signed as well depending on their contract demands. Cullen Jenkins on the other hand will most likely be replaced at some point in the 2016 draft.
A'Shawn Robinson could be the best defensive player, and certainly the best defensive linemen, that Alabama has produced since Marcell Dareus. Robinson is another former 5-star recruit who has been a starter in the SEC since his freshmen season, and would have been a first round pick if he were eligible for the 2015 draft. With a 6-foot-3, 320 pounds frame, Robinson generates surprising first-step quickness off of the line to go with a powerful bull rush. He still needs to work on his hand placement and development of pass-rushing moves but he should be a highly sought-after prospect come draft time.
10. Atlanta Falcons - Jalen Ramsey CB/S, Florida State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Julio Jones, Joe Hawley, Peter Konz, Paul Worrilow, Antone Smith, Kroy Biermann
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Vic Beasley, Jalen Collins, Tevin Coleman, Justin Hardy, Grady Jarrett
Teams Needs: OC/DE/TE/WR/FS
New head coach Dan Quinn is certainly putting his fingerprints all over this Atlanta defense, which is taking the same shape as Quinn's defense in Seattle. Offensively the Falcons will need to add more playmakers, especially if they do not re-sign Julio Jones, but it's likely that Dan Quinn will continue to mold the defense into how he sees fit, including by finding his version of Earl Thomas to go with his version of Bruce Irvin in the form of Vic Beasley.
Jalen Ramsey is a smooth enough athlete in coverage to play CB(doing so in his freshman season) while still being very stout in run support. He was the first true freshman at Florida State to start at CB since Deion Sanders.
11. St. Louis Rams - Jared Goff QB, California
Top 2016 Free Agents: Brian Quick, Janoris Jenkins, Nick Foles, Chris Givens, Nick Fairley, Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Todd Gurley, Rob Havenstein, Jamon Brown, Sean Mannion, Bryce Hager
Team Needs: QB/WR/SLB/CB/FS
Some may consider Todd Gurley a reach, a gamble, whatever, but if the Rams think he's going to be the next Jim Brown than they almost had to take him, especially given the struggles they have had in the passing game which isn't likely to get better after trading Sam Bradford for Nick Foles. My biggest issues with the Rams 2015 draft class is what they did after the first round. Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown were huge reaches even if they do fill big holes on the depth chart. They also reached for Sean Mannion at the end of the third round. Going forward it is unlikely that Mannion is the long-term answer at QB.
Jared Goff has an extremely high upside due to his accuracy and ability to read through his progressions. He also has poise in the pocket but needs to work on adding some weight to his slight 6-foot-4, 198 pounds frame.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Miles Jack OLB, UCLA
Top 2016 Free Agents: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Chad Greenway, Robert Blanton, Matt Asiata
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, TJ Clemmings, Stefon Diggs
Teams Needs: LT/RB/WR/WLB/S
I thought the Vikings had one of the best 2015 draft classes. They took the best players available and got possible day one starters at CB, ILB, DE, and OG because of it. In 2016 they will likely re-sign Harrison Smith but will have a big decision to make about Matt Kalil. He's rapidly regressed since his promising rookie season. T.J. Clemmings may possibly replace him in time but will likely start his career off by being a massive upgrade at OG. Unfortunately the Vikings have missed out on the top two, and top tier, offensive tackles in this draft class. While they could take the next highest rated OT, which would be Michigan State's Jack Conklin, but they might be better served finishing off the rebuild of their linebacker corps with yet another UCLA linebacker, their third in a row, to replace Chad Greenway.
Myles Jack is essentially a larger version of Shaq Thompson at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. He is a solid pass-rusher but is a natural in pass-coverage with sideline-to-sideline ability. In 2013 he was both the offensive AND defensive freshman player of the year in the Pac12 and has the ability to play inside or outside linebacker.
13. Carolina Panthers - Jack Conklin OT, Michigan State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Cam Newton, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman, Amini Silatolu, Roman Harper, Michael Oher
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Shaq Thompson, Devin Funchess, Daryl Williams, Cameron Artis-Payne
Teams Needs: LT/SLB/SS/CB
The Panthers went with value over need in the first round, but traded away a valuable third round pick to move up for Devin Funchess who is essentially a poor man's version of Kelvin Benjamin, and probably could've been drafted without moving up anyway. In 2016 Carolina will still be looking for their long-term replacement for Jordan Gross. They may have to draft a replacement for Thomas Davis, who will be a 33 year old free agent with a history of injury issues, but could still use an upgrade over A.J. Klein.
Jack Conklin flirted with entering the 2015 draft but made the wise decision to go back for another year. While he may have been a first round pick, he was not a flawless prospect. With another year in school, Conklin can hopefully add some weight and clean up his technique a little bit, and may be able to challenge to be the first OT taken in 2016.
14. San Fransisco 49ers - Scooby Wright III OLB, Arizona State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Aldon Smith, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Alex Boone, Phil Dawson, Reggie Bush
Notable 2015 Draft Prospects: Arik Armstead, Jaquiski Tartt, Eli Harold, Blake Bell, Mike Davis
Teams Needs: ILB/CB
How many safeties does one team need? Adding Jaquiski Tartt to a secondary that already has Antoine Bethea, Eric Reid, and Jimmy Ward may make them very versatile defensively but that pick would have been better used on a cornerback if they wanted to address the secondary. After the sudden retirement of both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, in addition to having NaVorro Bowman coming back from an Achilles tear, you would think that the 49ers would have addressed the ILB position at some point in the 2015 draft?
Scooby Wright was an absolute beast this past season. He is a tackling machine, who has the speed to play sideline-to-sideline, the strength to hold up against the run, and can rush the passer with ease. He could very easily end up in the top 5 when the 2016 draft rolls around.
15. Miami Dolphins - Emmanuel Ogbah DE, Oklahoma State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Oliver Vernon, Lamar Miller, Louis Delmas, Matt Moore
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: DeVante Parker, Jordan Phillips, Jamil Douglas, Jay Ajayi, Tony Lippett
Teams Needs: DE/LB/CB/SS
Over the course of the last three draft classes the Dolphins have completely remade their entire offense and now it's time to start looking towards the defense. Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips should form an amazing duo inside but there could be issues on the edges with Oliver Vernon set for free agency and rumors that the Dolphins are looking to trade Cameron Wake. They also need upgrades at all linebacker spots and would be very interested in both Myles Jack and Scooby Wright.
Redshirt sophomore Emmanuel Ogbah entertained the idea of entering the 2015 draft and would have been a first round pick. He has solid speed and very good power from his 6-foot-4, 270 pounds frame. He wreaked havoc against a solid FSU line for 2.5 sacks, and finished last season with 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
16. Houston Texans - Christian Hackenberg QB, Penn State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Jonathan Joseph, Brandon Brooks, Ben Jones, Jared Crick
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Kevin Johnson, Benardrick McKinney, Jaelen Strong, Christian Covington
Teams Needs: QB/SS/RB
The Texans had a really strong 2015 draft class, nabbing four possible starters, but still lack a long-term starter at QB. If Christian Hackenberg enters the 2016 draft as an underclassman I'm sure that the Texans will target him.
Hackenberg was the jewel of Bill O'Brien's first recruiting class at Penn State, and his phenomenal freshman season lifted the spirits of the Nittany Lion faithful after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He is looking to rebound after suffering a sophomore slump but has all the tools necessary to be an elite QB at the pro level.
17. Buffalo Bills - Chris Jones DT, Mississippi State
Top 2016 Free Agents:Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn, Matt Cassel, Fred Jackson
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Ronald Darby, John Miller, Karlos Williams, Dezmin Lewis
Teams Needs: QB/NT/S
E.J. Manuel is not the long-term starter in Buffalo but, barring a trade up, the Bills will have to fill another need here. One position that Rex Ryan loves to address in the first round is defensive linemen. It's likely that Ryan will target Muhammad Wilkerson if he hits free agency but a more cost-control option to pair with Marcell Dareus and Kevin Williams would be Chris Jones.
Chris Jones is a former 5-star recruit who has been starting since his freshman season. He has a big frame at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds and commands constant double-teams to take away his considerable pass-rushing abilities.
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Tyler Boyd WR, Pittsburgh
Top 2016 Free Agent: Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Jeff Allen
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Marcus Peters, Mitch Morse, Chris Conley, Steve Nelson, Ramik Wilson
Teams Needs: OT/OG/ILB/OLB/S
The Chiefs filled a lot of future needs with their 2015 draft class but will still have serious issues at linebacker and safety in 2016. As usual K.C. will still need to add to an offensive line that has been ravaged with free agent losses as well as the bust of former number one overall pick Eric Fisher.
At this point in the draft there has already been a run on offensive tackles and the top coverage safety has already been taken, so instead the Chiefs could find a long-term number one WR to pair with injury-plagued Jeremy Macklin and slot WR Chris Conley.
Tyler Boyd is currently tabbed to the first WR taken in 2016. He's got decent size at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds with enough speed to be a factor in the return game. He's already tallied several big games against some of the elite college secondaries including Virginia Tech and Florida State.
19. San Diego Chargers - Shawn Oakman DT/DE, Baylor
Top 2016 Free Agents: Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle, Antonio Gates, Corey Liuget, Malcom Floyd, Kendall Reyes
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Melvin Gordon, Denzel Perryman, Craig Mager, Kyle Emanuel
Teams Needs: QB/DE/S/TE/WR
San Diego's biggest issue will be with Phillip River's pending free agency. Aside from the rumors that the Chargers were trying to trade up for Marcus Mariota, Rivers doesn't seem to want to move with the team to L.A. so unless the Chargers slap the franchise tag on him, something they are likely to do, then they will have to replace him.
The Chargers have needed to improve their defensive front and will absolutely have to do so for 2016 with the pending free agency of both of their starting DE's.
Before Shawn Oakman backed out of the 2015 NFL draft his projections have were all over the map. Some thought of him as a mid-first round pick, others had him in the second round, and there were rumors that some scouts thought he was a mid-to-late round pick at best, so he made the right decision to return to school. Oakman may have the highest upside of anyone in the draft class. His 6-foot-8, 278 pounds frame is ripped but lean. He is extremely raw as a player, with a quick but inconsistent first step, and will have to be used in a situational role until he learns the nuances of the game.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Shilique Calhoun DE/OLB, Michigan State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Bob Massie, Lamar Holmes, Rashad Johnson, Jerraud Powers, Sean Weatherspoon
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: DJ Humphries, Markus Golden, David Johnson
Teams Needs: CB/OC/OLB/ILB
The biggest issues facing the Cardinals in 2016 will be on defense. They failed to replace Antonio Cromartie who left in free agency and will need to replace Jerraud Powers in 2016. In the first round of the 2015 draft Arizona was targeting Bud Dupree as he started to fall but couldn't work a deal to trade up for him, and while they did draft Markus Golden in the second round the Cardinals will still need a long-term rusher at ROLB.
Shilique Calhoun surprisingly returned to school for another year when he could've been a first round pick in 2015. He's a solid speed rusher but needs to continue to add functional strength to his lean 6-foot-5, 256 pounds frame while developing a repertoire of pass-rushing moves.
21. New Orleans Saints - Vadal Alexander OG/OT, LSU
Top 2016 Free Agents: Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Parys Haralson, Rafael Bush, Ben Watson
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Andrus Peat, Stephone Anthony, Hau'oli Kikaha, Garrett Grayson, PJ Williams, Davis Tull
Teams Needs: DE/TE/OG/WR
Drafting Andrus Peat may have seemed like an odd move but he will likely play LT, sliding Terron Armstead to LG to replace Ben Grubbs who was traded to K.C. in an effort to find some cap relief. The Saints also extended Jahri Evans, saving them almost 4 million in cap space, but could still look to trade him to a number of suitors in 2016.
Vadal Alexander is a behemoth at 6-foot-6, 335 pounds but moves well for his size, making him very reliable as a pass protector from the inside. With La'el Collins moving on the NFL, Alexander will shift to left tackle but his home in the NFL should be at guard.
22. Detroit Lions - Max Tuerk OC/OT, USC
Top 2016 Free Agents: Haloti Ngata, Jason Jones, DeAndre Levy, Bill Bentley, James Ihedigbo
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Laken Tomlinson, Ameer Abdullah, Alex Carter, Gabe Wright, Corey Robinson
Teams Needs: DT/DE/OC/WLB/SS
The Lions seem intent on finally rebuilding their offensive line. Bringing in Laken Tomlinson and Corey Robinson to play LG and RT to pair with LT Riley Reiff and RG Larry Walford the only position left to address is OC. Detroit will finally move on from Dominic Raiola but Travis Swanson is looking like a third round bust. Manuel Ramirez was brought back via trade but is only a stop-gap to a long-term solution.
An extremely versatile offensive lineman, USC's Max Tuerk has played tackle and guard but really flourished after transitioning to OC during his junior year. Similar into mold of FSU's Cameron Erving, Tuerk has a long, lean athletic frame and is exceptional at pulling and getting to the second level of the defense.
23. Cincinnati Bengals - Marquez North WR, Tennessee
Top 2016 Free Agents: AJ Green, Leon Hall, Andre Smith, Andrew Whitworth, Reggie Nelson, Marvin Jones
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, Tyler, Kroft, Paul Dawson, Josh Shaw, Derron Smith
Teams Needs: WR/DT/CB
The Bengals seemed to have fixed their future free agency issues on the offensive line in one draft class. The biggest free agency issue facing them in 2016 seems to be at WR, where A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Denarius Moore could be lost. Even if A.J. Green is re-signed, the Bengals could take the opportunity to draft a compliment to take the pressure off of him.
Marquez North is a 6-foot-4, 221 pounds WR with a thick, muscular frame that should remind people of Anquan Boldin or Mike Evans.
24. Baltimore Ravens - Eddie Jackson CB/S, Alabama
Top 2016 Free Agents: Marshal Yanda, Courtney Upshaw, Will Hill, Kelechi Osemele, Jah Reid
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Breshad Perriman, Maxx Williams, Carl Davis, Za'Darius Smith, Buck Allen, Robert Myers
Teams Needs: RG/SS/CB/WR
As usual the Ravens had a very solid draft, picking quality prospects by not reaching and allowing the draft to come to them, and in the process filling a bunch of needs. In 2016 we should expect more of the same. Given the injury history of Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, the Ravens could be in the market for a CB early in the 2016 draft. During the 2015 draft it was rumored that their top draft target was Marcus Peters.
Ozzie Newsome loves players from his alma mater Alabama and he is sure to really like Eddie Jackson. The versatile Jackson has an ideal 6-foot frame, and started his career at CB but will be used this upcoming season at safety to replace the losses of Landon Collins and Nick Perry.
25. Philadelphia Eagles - DeForest Buckner DE/DT, Oregon
Top 2016 Free Agents: Sam Bradford, Mychal Hendricks, Cedric Thornton, Nolan Carroll, Walter Thurmond
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Nelson Agholor, Eric Rowe, Jordan Hicks, JaCorey Shepherd
Teams Needs: QB/DE/OG
After striking out on their bid to trade up for Marcus Mariota the Eagles will find themselves with no long-term option at QB and will almost assuredly lose Sam Bradford in 2016 free agency. If he's available the optimal QB prospect to fit into Chip Kelly's offense is Cal's Jared Goff. Elsewhere the Eagles will most likely lose Cedric Thornton and could quite possibly trade Fletcher Cox.
DeForest Buckner could've been a second round pick had he entered the 2015 draft. In fact, a lot of draft pundits were ranking him above uber-athletic teammate Arik Armstead. His 6-foot-6, 285 pounds frame is ideally suited for playing the 5-technique.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers - Cameron Sutton CB, Tennessee
Top 2016 Free Agents: Cameron Heyward, Ramon Foster, Kelvin Beachum, Willie Gay, Steve McLendon, Mike Adams, Sean Spence, Antwon Blake, Bruce Gradkowski, Cam Thomas, Will Allen
2015 Draft Picks: Bud Dupree, Senquez Golson, Sammie Coates, Doran Grant, Jesse James, Leterrius Walton, Anthony Chickillo, Gerod Holliman
Teams Needs: OT/OG/SS/CB/TE/NT
Wow, what a draft! Never did I think that Bud Dupree would fall to the Steelers, especially with the off-the-field baggage of Randy Gregory and Shane Ray. I don't think I've been that happy for a Steelers first round pick since David DeCastro fell to us. Adding the diminutive Senquez Golson and Doran Grant will be a big boost to the secondary. Initially I, like most of you, had some reservations about the size, or lack thereof, of Golson but in the modern NFL having a nickel CB who can cover opposing equally diminutive speedsters in the slot is a must, and while short in statue Golson's coverage ability and toughness in run support are good enough to play on the outside. Sammie Coates was a steal at the end of the third round, whether he was needed or not. That's just an example of a smart franchise taking the best player available. Admittedly I'm not the biggest fan of Jesse James, and I think his ceiling is that of a solid number two TE, but getting a potential red zone threat in the fifth round isn't something I can argue against. Leterrius Walton and Anthony Chickillo were surprises but only because neither were attached to the Steelers in any way during the pre-draft process but both will provide quality depth, provided that they both stick to the roster. Chickillo could even play the "Elephant' role that has been much discussed this draft season. And then there is Gerod Holliman, he of ballhawking lore. I've made it no secret that, despite accumulating an FBS leading 14 interceptions, I wasn't his biggest fan. There is a lot lacking in his overall game beyond his poor tackling issues that would cause the Thorpe Award winner to fall into the seventh round like that. But still, he was a great value pick and I hope he sticks to the roster long enough for the Steelers to be able to mold him into the player that he could be.
Depending on how free agency shakes out the Steelers could be in the market for an offensive lineman with their first draft pick in 2016. Two starters, Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster, as well as our top reserve lineman Mike Adams will all be free agents.
Hopefully by the 2016 offseason we will have a definitive answer to the question of whether or not Shamarko Thomas can come close to realizing his potential in replacing Troy Polamalu. Perhaps Mike Mitchell is our long-term answer at SS and either Doran Grant or Gerod Holliman can take his place at FS.
While everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that the Steelers spent two draft picks on the much needed CB position it could yet again be an issue that needs to be addressed early in the draft. Willie Gay will be a 31 year old free agent, the still largely unproven Antwon Blake will be a free agent as well, and we may be in year two of regret over the five-year contract that Cortez Allen signed in 2014.
As far as the prospects available that would interest the Steelers and fill their future needs, if the Steelers fail to re-sign either Beachum or Foster then they could be looking at Baylor OT/OG Spencer Drango. He sports a tall, lean frame with excellent athleticism and would be a good fit for Munchak's zone blocking scheme.
After a relatively weak safety class there should be a plethora of options in 2016 which include both Jalen Ramsey and Nate Andrews from FSU, Ole' Miss. SS Tony Conner, and USC's Su'a Cravens, the last of which I've previously mocked to the Steelers. It's apparent though that Cravens will shift to LB this season and will probably play the same position in the pros, a la Shaq Thompson.
Provided the Steelers do not re-sign Willie Gay, or at least sign him to anything other than a long-term deal, then they could give serious consideration to a CB in the first round. Antwon Blake is a fringe roster player until proven otherwise and Cortez Allen's 2014 season was so utterly abysmal that another bad season will sink him in the Burgh. Doran Grant will probably develop into a decent nickel CB or valuable CB/S swing player which would only leave Senquez Golson as a dependable starter in 2016.
A player who hasn't received a lot of national recognition but should become a hot commodity during the 2016 draft season is Tennessee's Cameron Sutton. Cursed with having played on an awful defense for the past two seasons, Sutton should get some more opportunities for splash plays, which raises his national profile, thanks to some solid recruiting by Butch Jones which will put more pressure upfront. He has a lean 6-foot, 185 pounds frame and has proven to provide blanket coverage on some of the SEC's top WR's including Amari Cooper. He's solid against the run and is an excellent return man as well. When all is said and done Sutton could quite possibly challenge VH3 to be the top CB taken in 2016.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Ezekiel Elliot RB, Ohio State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Dez Bryant, Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Greg Hardy
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Byron Jones, Randy Gregory, Chaz Green, Damien Wilson, Laurence Gibson
Teams Needs: RB/DT/LB/S/WR
Getting Byron Jones and Randy Gregory should go a long way towards rebuilding the Cowboys depleted defense but Dallas will still need to find long-term options at DT, LB, and safety. Offensively they must replace DeMarco Murray, and will have to find a replacement for Dez Bryant if they cannot come to an agreement on a long-term contract.
Overshadowed by the QB carousel going on this past season, Ezekiel Elliot was having a quietly productive season until, like Cardale Jones, he exploded onto the nation scene with impressive games in the Big10 Championship and the Sugar Bowl, before capping it all off by rushing for 246 yards and four touchdowns against Oregon in the National Championship. He sports a chiseled 6-foot, 225 pounds frame with the speed and cutback ability to elude defenders and the strength to pick up yardage after contact. Thanks to Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, elite RB's are now en vogue again in the first round of the draft and Ezekiel Elliot has the talent to go very high in the first round.
28. Denver Broncos - Spencer Drango OT, Baylor
Top 2016 Free Agents: Demaryius Thomas, Brock Osweiler, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Chris Clark, Danny Trevathan
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Shane Ray, Ty Sambrailo, Jeff Heuerman, Max Garcia, Lorenzo Doss
Teams Needs: QB/RT/WR/DE/ILB
Will Peyton Manning come back again in 2016? Regardless of when his time comes, is Brock Osweiler, a free agent in 2016, the long-term answer at QB? The answer will not be found at the end of the first round but must still be answered at some point.
Another question will be what happens with superstars Demaryius Thomas and Von Miller. Denver drafted Shane Ray presumably as insurance in case they lose Miller, but losing Thomas would be devastating to their offense regardless of the presence of Emmanuel Sanders and 2014 second round pick Cody Latimer.
Spencer Drango was a fringe first round pick before deciding to go back to school for another season. Drango has a lean 6-foot-5, 310 pounds frame but also boasts above average, fluid athleticism and a perfect kick slide.
Regardless of whether it's Peyton Manning at the helm, Brock Osweiler, or someone new, the Broncos need better protection upfront. That is especially true at RT which has been a revolving door of injuries and sub par play.
29. Green Bay Packers - Su'a Cravens LB/S, USC
Top 2016 Free Agents: Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, Casey Hayward, Letroy Guion, B.J. Raji
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ty Montgomery, Jake Ryan, Brett Hundley
Teams Needs: ILB/DE/NT
Green Bay had a solid 2015 draft but waited until the fourth round to replace Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk at ILB, and as such it'll be an issue again in 2016. The Packers managed to re-sign Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji to minimal one-year deals but they in addition Mike Neal and Mike Daniels will all be free agents. Add that to the fact that 2013 draft pick Datone Jones hasn't lived up to his first round status and the Packers could be in for a massive overhaul of their defensive line.
Su'a Cravens is a nightmare for any WR willing to cross the middle of the field. At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, USC has used Cravens in a hybrid S/LB role, playing close to the line of scrimmage. He's fluid in coverage with ball skills while being exceptional in run support and can even rush the passer. His 2014 stat line reads 68 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 9 passes defensed, and 3 int's, including a pick-6 against OSU's Sean Mannion. This coming season Craven will play LB full time. Based on the Packers recent drafting trends it seems like they are putting an emphasis on taking versatile defenders and Cravens could be an optimal fit to replace Brad Jones or A.J. Hawk.
30. New England Patriots - Jaylon Smith LB, Notre Dame
Top 2016 Free Agents: Nate Solder, Chandler Jones, LaGarrette Blount, Ryan Wendell, Jerod Mayo
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Trey Flowers, Tre Jackson, Shaq Mason
Teams Needs LT/DE/RB/WR/CB
New England will have two very important free agent decisions to make in 2016 with regards to Nate Solder and Chandler Jones. Solder had a down 2014 season but he could be more easily affordable and harder to replace than Jones, someone for whom the Patriots have a number of prospects already on the roster who could potentially take his place such as Dominique Easley, Jabaal Sheard or rookies Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom. Injury-plagued Jerod Mayo will be a free agent as well.
Perhaps even bigger free agency dilemma will happen the year after in 2017 when starting LB's Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower will be free agents. It is highly unlikely that the Pats will be able to afford both of them.
Jaylon Smith is a true LB prospect with experience playing both inside and outside. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he has the strength and physicality to hold up against the run as well as rush the passer, but enough speed and athletic prowess to cover WR's.
31. Indianapolis Colts - Taylor Decker OT, Ohio State
Top 2016 Free Agents: Anthony Castonzo, TY Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Greg Toler, Todd Herremans
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Phillip Dorsett, D'Joun Smith, Henry Anderson, Clayton Geathers
Teams Needs: OL/TE/ILB
It's funny that not even the Colts players were happy with Indy's decision to draft a WR in the first round. Phillip Dorsett is a good player, and great insurance in the event that they cannot re-sign T.Y. Hilton, but with plenty of cap space available do the Colts front office not plan on making a competitive offer to Hilton? If they do-resign him the Colts will have Hilton in addition to Donte Moncrief and two years left on the contract of Andre Johnson, so where does Dorsett fit into the offense?
The Colts should devote several draft picks to improving their protection of Andrew Luck, especially if they do not re-sign average starter Anthony Castonzo. Both of Andrew Luck's safety valves, Dewayne Allen and Coby Fleener, are free agents as well.
Taylor Decker would have been a fringe first round pick if he had decided to enter the 2015 draft. He has a tall, lean, 6-foot-7, 315 pounds frame and his size and skill set are very similar to that of Indy 2016 free agent Anthony Castonzo.
32. Seattle Seahawks - Leonard Floyd OLB, Georgia
Top 2016 Free Agents: Russell Wilson, Russell Okung, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Jermaine Kearse
Notable 2015 Draft Picks: Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski, Tye Smith, Obum Gwacham
Teams Needs: OL/WLB/DT/CB
In 2016 the time is will come for the Seahawks to pay the piper with regards to their success in drafting quality talent. With so many priority free agents needing to be re-signed someone is going to have to be replaced. Bruce Irvin is great in the "OTTO" role but he's not going to get paid before Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Okung.
Leonard Floyd is a bit of an enigma at this point. He flashes elite pass-rushing ability but is very inconsistent. He sports a very lean 6-foot-4, 230 pounds frame. Once a candidate to play 3-4 OLB, his body type suggests that he isn't going to be able to pack much more weight on his frame. He's played DE, OLB, and the "STAR" position (hybrid S/OLB role) while at Georgia and would be a prime candidate to replace Bruce Irvin in Seattle.
33. Tennessee Titans - Jerald Hawkins OT/OG, LSU
Teams Needs: LG/ILB/FS
The Titans have almost completely rebuilt their entire offensive line. The one position left is at LG, where Andy Levitre has been a massive free agent bust.
Hawkins has the skill set and build to be a prototypical LT in the NFL but needs to work on consistency and getting stronger in the run game. He'll compete with Vadal Alexander to man LSU's LT spot for the 2015 season.
34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Derrick Henry RB, Alabama
Teams Needs: DE/RB/CB/S
T.B. declined the fifth-year option on Doug Martin, so he and Bobby Rainey will be free agents in 2016.
Alabama doesn't rebuild at RB, they simply reload, and it'll be no different with Derrick Henry as the primary starter in 2015. He's built like a linebacker at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds and can pickup tough yards when needed and still has the speed to accelerate through open holes. Could easily be the first RB taken in 2016.
35. Oakland Raiders - Nate Andrews S, FSU
Teams Needs: RG/DE/RB/FS/CB
Charles Woodson will be a 39 year old free agent in 2016. How many more years can he possibly play?
At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds with good range and solid in run support, Nate Andrews and Jalen Ramsey are fairly indecipherable on the field.
36. Cleveland Browns - O.J. Howard TE, Alabama
Teams Needs: RG/RT/TE/ILB/S
Cleveland lost Jordan Cameron in free agency in 2015, and are set to lose Gary Barnidge and Rob Housler in 2016.
Howard is a classic "Joker" TE at 6-foot-6, 242 pounds. He lacks top end speed but is quick off of the line with soft hands. Woefully underused in Alabama's offense.
37. New York Jets - Germain Ifedi OT, Texas A&M
Teams Needs: RB/ILB/OT/OG
The Jets are looking to move on from D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has been in rapid decline for the last few seasons.
Next in a long line of quality Texas A&M offensive line prospects(Is A&M the new Iowa?), Germain Ifedi has the prototypical size for an NFL offensive tackle at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds. He's a little raw in terms of technique and is probably better suited be an OG or RT in the NFL.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Andrew Billings DT, Baylor
Teams Needs: SLB
Between free agent pickups and the multiple early draft picks the Jags don't appear to have many needs on paper. Andrew Billings should post the highest SPARQ rating of all of the available DT's, and quite possibly the highest for any defensive lineman in 2016.
For anyone who doesn't know who Andrew Billings is yet, do yourself a favor and Google search the clip of him chasing down KSU RB Corey Avery. After Avery caught a screen pass, all 6-foot-2, 300 pounds of Billings managed to accelerate and catch up to Avery 20 yards down field, grabbing him from behind by the shoulder pads and slamming him to the ground out-of-bounds. Billings has a 4.97 seconds 40 yard dash time. As a Texas high school senior, he broke a 22 year Texas state power lifter record with a total of 2,010 pounds(805 on squats, 500 on bench, 705 on dead lift). Like his teammate Shawn Oakman, Billings is a raw, athletic marvel with extremely high upside.
39. Washington Redskins - Tony Connor S, Ole Miss
Teams Needs: QB/OG/NT/FS
Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson are not long-term starters in the Washington secondary.
This could be a monster year for safeties as well as for Ole Miss players. Tony Connor is 6-foot, 217 pounds who is fast with excellent instincts.
40. Chicago Bears - Devontae Booker RB, Utah
Teams Needs: QB/WR/DE/OLB/ILB
Matt Forte will be a 30 year old free agent in 2016 and Chicago only has late round picks Ka'Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford.
Devontae Booker is the top senior RB prospect. He is a great one-cut runner with excellent vision and is very good catching passes out of the backfield, and is being compared to Arian Foster.
41. New York Giants - Travin Dural WR, LSU
Teams Needs: DE/CB/LB/FS
Victor Cruz will be working his way back from a patellar tendon tear and Rueben Randle will be a free agent, so why not try and grab another great WR from LSU.
As a redshirt sophomore Travin Dural considered entering the 2015 draft where he likely would have been a second or third round pick, so he made the right decision to return to school. Now Dural has a legitimate chance at the first round in 2016. He's got size, speed, and isn't afraid to make the tough catches in traffic.
42. Atlanta Falcons - D'haquille "Duke" Williams WR, Auburn
Teams Needs: OC/DE/TE/WR
With all of the money it will take to re-sign Julio Jones the Falcons may have to cut or trade a 34 year old Roddy White in 2016.
Duke Williams may have been a first round pick in the 2015 WR class but decided to return to school. He combines size, speed, and route-running with his 6-foot-2, 216 pounds frame to beat out speed freak Sammy Coates as the number one WR on the depth chart last season for Auburn.
43. St. Louis Rams - Jordan Jenkins OLB, Georgia
Team Needs: WR/SLB/CB/FS
Jeff Fisher would love to add a pass-rushing SLB to his defense, especially with Jo-Lonn Dunbar hitting free agency and Akeem Ayers a free agent in 2017.
Jordan Jenkins is an impressive athlete at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds. He's very muscular and has a few highlight real jumps over would be blockers trying to cut low on him. He has a fast first step and solid power, his only real issue is a lack of pass-rushing technique. He needs to do a better job using his hands and developing a repertoire of moves.
44. Minnesota Vikings - Corey Robinson WR, Notre Dame
Teams Needs: LT/RB/WR/S
Cordarrelle Patterson has been a bust and will be a free agent in 2017, not to mention that Mike Wallace may flame out in the mean time as well.
For those who may not already know, Corey Robinson is the son of former San Antonio Spurs player and NBA legend David "The Admiral" Robinson. The younger Robinson uses his 6-foot-5 frame to full advantage in jump ball situations but needs to refine his route running skills.
45. Carolina Panthers - Fabian Moreau CB, UCLA
Teams Needs: SLB/SS/CB
Charles Tillman and Josh Norman will be free agents in 2016.
A converted RB, Fabian Moreau is still very raw from a technical standpoint but he has a solid 6-foot, 200 pounds frame and and could possibly be one of the best CB's in this draft class if he reaches his potential.
46. San Fransisco 49ers - KeiVarae Russell CB, Notre Dame
Teams Needs: CB
S.F. failed to replace Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver in the 2015 draft and Shareece Wright will be a free agent in 2016.
Russell has first round talent and strong work ethic on the field but will have to answer questions by NFL teams regarding his suspension for the entire 2014 season due to academic fraud.
47. Miami Dolphins - Darron Lee LB, Ohio State
Teams Needs: LB/CB/SS
Miami could use upgrades at all three LB spots, the biggest need being at WLB.
Darron Lee would be a guaranteed first round pick if more teams played a 4-3 defense. Just like former buckeye Ryan Shazier, Lee is an extremely fast, high-motor player who should be able to run a sub-4.5 40 at the combine. If, like Shazier, he can pack on some good weight without sacrificing his speed then he too can be a first round pick.
48. Houston Texans - James Conner RB, Pittsburgh
Teams Needs: SS/RB
The Texans have solid depth at RB with Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard but Arian Foster is injury-plagued and will be a free agent in 2017. Plus, the Texans would have drafted Todd Gurley should he had been available.
James Conner's draft stock will be very dependent on his 40 time at the combine. At 6-foot-2, and reportedly up to 250 pounds, Conner is a bulldozer with three-down capability but if he can't run a sub-4.6 40 at the combine is stock could fall.
49. Buffalo Bills - Gunner Kiel QB, Cincinnati
Teams Needs: QB/S
E.J. Manuel is not the long-term answer at QB.
The much-traveled Gunner Kiel has a strong arm and decent accuracy but threw too many INT's(13) in his first year starting. He has two more years of eligibility left and many not enter the 2016 draft unless he just blows it up this season.
50. Kansas City Chiefs - Le'Raven Clark OT/OG, Texas Tech
Teams Needs: OT/OG/ILB/OLB/S
K.C. has suffered many free agent losses along the offensive line, but the biggest issue has been the bust of former number one overall pick Eric Fisher.
Le'Raven Clark reminds me a lot of 2015 draft prospect Jake Fisher. They have a similar frame and skill set. Clark has been a two-year starter at LT before starting at RG during his freshman season. He has flashes of LT agility but unless he can become more consistent he'll be an OG in the NFL.
51. San Diego Chargers - Hunter Henry TE, Arkansas
Teams Needs: QB/S/TE/WR
Antonio Gates is a 2016 free agent who will turn 36 years old shortly after the 2016 draft.
Hunter Henry is one of the best all around TE's prospects to come into the draft in a while. He has an ideal 6-foot-5, 250 pounds frame and, while he'll never be confused for a speedster, has decent speed to go along with great hands. He's also made leaps and bounds improvement as a blocker.
52. Arizona Cardinals - Jalen Mills CB/S, LSU
Teams Needs: CB/OC/ILB
The Cardinals failed to replace Antonio Cromartie and may lose Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson in 2016.
Jalen Mills is another in a long line of LSU DB's with a great size/speed combo, and one of the reasons why 2015 second round pick Jalen Collins only had 10 career starts while at LSU.
53. New Orleans Saints - Rashard Higgins WR, Colorado State
Teams Needs: DE/TE/WR
Marques Colston is a declining soon-to-be 32 year old who could be a cap casualty in 2016. Why not replace him with the Saints future QB Garrett Grayson's go-to option at Colorado State?
Rashard Higgins had a ridiculous 914 yards after the catch in 2014, part of a 1,750 total yards season. He has the size to play on the outside but would be very valuable in the slot as a quick throw, catch-and-run option as Drew Brees' arm continues to erode.
54. Detroit Lions - Jeremy Cash S, Duke
Teams Needs: DT/DE/WLB/SS
James Ihedigbo is a free agent in 2016.
Jeremy Cash is a solid coverage safety who should see his stock improve as more teams covet safeties who can cover in the slot, a la Damarious Randall and Jimmie Ward before him.
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Adolphus Washington DE/DT, Ohio State
Teams Needs: DT/CB
Domata Peko is a 2017 free agent who may be released in 2016 because of declining play.
Adolphus Washington may be best suited to play the 5-technique DE in the NFL but he has the strength and explosiveness off of the line to work was as a 3-tech in the NFL.
56. Baltimore Ravens - Carl Lawson DE/OLB, Auburn
Teams Needs: RG/SS/WR
Courtney Upshaw is a 2016 free agent who, while effective in run support, has never made much of an impact in the pass-rush.
Carl Lawson is a former 5-star and top overall recruit who will be working his way back from an ACL tear. An undersized DE at 6-foot-2, 257 pounds, Lawson would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 OLB.
57. Philadelphia Eagles - Tyler Johnstone OT/OG, Oregon
Teams Needs: QB/OG
Todd Herremans wasn't replaced and Evan Mathis may be released in 2016.
Like most former Oregon offensive linemen, Johnstone is a great athlete but will need to add bulk to his slender 6-foot-6, 285 pounds frame. Of course coming from Oregon he is ideally suited for the Eagles offense and is likely to be highly valued by Chip Kelly.
58. Pittsburgh Steelers - Antwaun Woods NT, USC
Teams Needs: OT/OG/SS/TE/NT
Having a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle who goes off of the field on third downs is no longer en vogue in the NFL, and some may consider it to be a waste of an early round pick, but when the Steelers had Casey Hampton anchoring the middle of the defense in the 2000's they consistently ranked in the top five in the NFL.
Steve McLendon will be a free agent in 2016, and while is a solid player he is also fairly unspectacular in addition to the injury history. His backup Cam Thomas, provided he even makes it to the 2015 season without being cut first, will be a free agent in 2016 as well. We all still have high hopes for "The Shade Tree" Daniel McCullers but given his height he may be a better fit as a rotational player at DE.
A throwback to Casey Hampton-esque proportions, Antwaun Woods has the same squatty, bowling ball-type of frame at 6-foot-1, 325 pounds. He has the force to penetrate when single-blocked but commands constant double-teams leading to less-than-gaudy statistics. Sound familiar? The one thing working against Woods' favor is that he'll be coming back from a torn pectoral muscle suffered at the end of the 2014 season.
Unless the Steelers somehow lose Kelvin Beachum in 2016 free agency then they should have the chance to fortify their defense with a necessary, albeit part time player that should help bring the defense back to its former glory days.
59. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Day DT, Notre Dame
Teams Needs: DT/LB/S/WR
Tyrone Crawford is a free agent and Dallas needs to continue rebuilding their defense.
Sheldon Day is limited by his size at about 6-foot-2, 285 pounds to 4-3 teams as a 3-technique but he is a tenacious player with explosive quickness off of the line to penetrate into the backfield. Some 4-3 team is going to get a steal with him.
60. Denver Broncos - Quinshad Davis WR, North Carolina
Teams Needs: QB/WR/DE/ILB
Denver may not be able to afford to re-sign Demaryius Thomas.
Similar to Laquon Treadwell but not nearly as severe, Quinshad Davis will be working his way back from a fractured tibia. Davis is a physical jump-ball WR with great hands and a solid 6-foot-4 frame.
61. Green Bay Packers - Jarran Reed NT, Alabama
Teams Needs: DE/NT
Green Bay has four defensive linemen set for free agency in 2016.
Jarran Reed has the size at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, that the Packers like in their defensive linemen.
62. New England Patriots - Jonathan Bullard DE, Florida
Teams Needs LT/DE/RB/WR/CB
Chandler Jones is set for 2016 free agency and Belechick has an affinity for Florida players.
At 6-foot-3 and 277 pounds, Jonathan Bullard is similar in the mold of Dante Fowler and Dominique Easley. With Fowler off to the NFL Bullard will have his chance to shine.
63. Indianapolis Colts - Reggie Ragland ILB, Alabama
Teams Needs: TE/ILB
Jerrell Freeman is a free agent in 2016.
Reggie Ragland has a good size/speed combo but needs to prove his worth on third-and-long situations before he can sneak into the first round.
64. Seattle Seahawks - Landon Turner OG, North Carolina
Teams Needs: OL/DT/CB
Seattle spent a few late round picks on offensive linemen but still haven't adequately replaces James Carpenter, plus J.R. Sweezy is a free agent in 2016.
Landon Turner will be the 2016 drafts version of Laken Tomlinson. He's a road grader at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds but is also a decent athlete and would be considered the 2016 drafts best pure OG.
THE BEST OF THE REST:
Mackensie Alexander CB, Clemson
Only a redshirt sophomore, Alexander is the top CB from his recruiting class and an elite cover CB who would be a first round pick if he decides to enter the 2016 draft.
Laquon Treadwell WR, Ole Miss
Treadwell could easily be the first WR taken in the 2016 draft. At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, He is fast and physical and is being compared to Dez Bryant. The only thing holding him back is a gruesome injury where he broke his tibia and dislocated his ankle that he'll need to work his way back from.
Eric Striker OLB, Oklahoma
Just like OSU's Darron Lee, Eric Striker has first round talent but could fall because at his current size he is only suited to play WLB in a 4-3 defense. Also like Lee, if he can add some good weight to his frame without sacrificing his speed, just like Ryan Shazier, than he could find himself in the first round when all is said and done.
Harold Brantley DT, Missouri
Only the next in a long line of Missouri defensive linemen, Harold Brantley could end up being the next Sheldon Richardson. He has a solid 6-foot-3, 290 pounds frame. He's tenacious and a very fluid athlete for a DT.
Dadi Nicolas DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
Dadi has amazing upside and will likely be in first round consideration after he blows up the combine. He gets misused as a base end in VT's defense and will play OLB in a 3-4 in the NFL. His frame is 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds and he's a quick-twitch athlete off of the line, reminiscent of Vic Beasley or Shane Ray.