Everyone was wrong about the NFL Draft’s 1st round

I was wrong, you were wrong, and so was the rest of the world. No one could have predicted what would take place the night of April 28, 2016. The NFL draft once again took everyone by storm as the most unpredictable circumstances took place. From Laremy Tunsil doing his best Cheech and Chong impression to Myles Jack’s unforeseen fall into the 2nd round, it’s safe to say that the first round of the 2016 NFL draft has started off with a bang.

The first two picks of mine were correct as many assumed, but had Tunsil not had his account hacked and gotten toasted that night with family, presumably most of us would’ve gotten the San Diego Chargers pick correct as well.

The rest were quite obvious. The Cowboys needed a running back to go behind that great offense line, and the Jaguars needed a play-maker in the secondary. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was a solid choice as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing with the Ravens’ general manager Ozzie Newsome making the picks. The San Francisco 49ers will without a doubt have one of the best defensive lines in the league with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner paired together.

Then the real fun began with the Cleveland Browns going out of the norm and trading back as opposed to trading forward, and dare I say that they’ve finally realized how to play the draft! They gave the Titans who they wanted and received many more picks to play with in the process.

That wasn’t enough as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded their pick to the Chicago Bears, giving them their chance at linebacker Leonard Floyd. You can only imagine how much is he chomping at the bit to get a chance to work with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and company.

Former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple could’ve been considered a reach, but the New York Giants got their man. With the top 10 rounded out there was still much more to come!

The Bucs picked Vernon Hargreaves III, who fits perfectly in their scheme. The New Orleans Saints couldn’t help but grab a Mike Daniels clone in Sheldon Rankins. At this point, you could start to see the trend of drafting for need rather than best player available.

The Miami Dolphins then decided to pounce on Tunsil and make him the 13th pick in the draft despite his crazy night.

The Oakland Raiders knew they needed secondary help, and they got the best safety in the class in Karl Joseph. Finally, it was the Browns up at 15. Many fans and experts couldn’t help but wonder if they were going to make yet another trade, as if they were in grade school trading food at lunch. They chose Corey Coleman and arguably the best wide receiver in the class.

The Detroit Lions went for the solid yet unattractive pick in Taylor Decker, and the Atlanta Falcons surprised us all when they chose Keanu Neal at safety. Cue the crickets.

The Indiana Colts made the obvious choice in Ryan Kelly at center, and the Buffalo Bills got a perfect fit for their defense in Shaq Lawson. Then Darron Lee, the fifth Ohio State Buckeye of the night was chosen by the New York Jets.

Then it was the receivers turn to fly off the board. The Houston Texans traded with Washington Redskins for the speedy Will Fuller from Notre Dame. The Redskins went one pick back and took TCU’s Josh Doctson. That left Minnesota Vikings with Laquon Treadwell at pick 23.

The Cincinnati Bengals stayed and picked a top 15 talent in cornerback William Jackson III, and this left their bitter rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers to pick an unknown cornerback in Artie Burns.

Yet another first round trade from the Seattle Seahawks gave the Denver Broncos the opportunity to pick their tall big armed quarterback in Paxton Lynch, which should help challenge Mark Sanchez as the Broncos starter this year.

Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers stayed the course and drafted an unknown, low key player in defensive tackle Kenny Clark from UCLA.

The 49ers made a great move by trading back into the first round for the former Stanford Cardinal

Joshua Garnett. The Cardinals did what most fans wanted their team to do, drafting Robert Nkemdiche.

The exciting and unpredictable draft was followed by the NFC champion, Carolina Panthers drafting defensive lineman Vernon Butler, and the Seattle Seahawks picking offensive tackle Germain Ifedi.

The first round of the draft has been an emotional roller coaster for the fans, and they should expect nothing less tonight during rounds two and three. Let’s all remember that no matter how much we think we know about the draft, an unexpected video of a talented player smoking weed out of a gas mask could pop up and ruin your entire mock draft and favorite team’s plans.

 

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2016 Mock Draft

1st pick Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff (California)

This is an obvious pick here. They traded away their lives for him, but it’s not a bad move if Goff becomes “The Man”. He is as good as any QB I’ve seen in the draft. He has a great arm and can make all the throws, and he has the kind of accuracy that can be potent over time. His footwork and poise in the pocket is incredible. The Rams are going to get the guy they’ve been looking for since Sam Bradford.

Pro comparison: Matt Ryan

2nd pick Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)

Prototypical quarterback is what immediately comes to mind when I think of Carson Wentz. First-year head coach Doug Pederson wants to develop a quarterback, and Roseman gave Pederson exactly what we wanted. Let’s just hope the risk of trading all the team’s picks bears some reward in the next few years.

Pro comparison: Blake Bortles

3rd pick San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Chargers have many needs but the biggest is keeping Phillip Rivers upright. Tunsil has the entire package when you look at him. His technique is great and his long arms will keep defenders away from Rivers for years to come. He was a top performer in most categories at the combine.

Pro comparison: Tyron Smith

4th pick Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)

The window is open as long as Tony Romo stays healthy. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones knows he needs to get the ball back to his quarterback and that starts with a great secondary. Ramsey is clearly the best corner you’ll find in the draft and the most athletic. As long as Jones is the owner and Romo is the quarterback, expect the Cowboys to choose the best player available.

Pro comparison: Patrick Peterson

5th pick Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack (UCLA)

The Jaguars need all the help they can get on defense, and their line appears to be a strength with the signing of Malik Jackson and getting a healthy Dante Fowler back. The best player available is the extremely athletic Jack.

Pro comparison: Patrick Willis

6th pick Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

The Ravens can only be so lucky having Bosa fall to them in the draft. Their pass rush is getting old and is often injured. Bosa has all the traits of a star defensive end, but if he can keep his head on straight (which won’t be tough playing with Suggs and Dumervil), he will have no problem playing in multiple Pro Bowls throughout his career.

Pro comparison: Chris Long

7th pick San Francisco 49ers: Deforest Buckner (Oregon)

He’s big, physical, and strong as an ox. Standing at 6-7 and 290 pounds, he’ll pair with Arik Armstead for one of the better defensive end tandems. Last year, he registered 17 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. Buckner clearly has everything you’re looking for in a bookend defensive lineman.

Pro comparison: Calais Campbell

8th pick Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State)

The last time the Browns picked a running back in the first round, it was a complete disaster, but this time it certainly will not be. Elliot has all the traits of a complete every down back.

Pro comparison: Demarco Murray

9th pick Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Shaq Lawson (Clemson)

They need to be able to get after the passer, and Shaq Lawson will be a guy to build the pass rush around. He complements well with the speed of Jacquies Smith. He has immense strength and power to control the line of scrimmage.

Pro comparison: Robert Ayers

10th pick New York Giants: Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)

Treadwell ran a 4.63 40 at his pro day, and that’s OK because he plays to his strengths. He has great length, great confidence, and elite ball tracking ability. This kid will continue to prove scouts wrong and shine with Eli Manning. He’ll pair up great with Odell Beckham Jr. and a renowned Victor Cruz. Expect big things when they all get on that field together.

Pro comparison: Deandre Hopkins

11th pick Chicago Bears: Kevin Dodd (Clemson)

The Bears pass rush will get a lot better with this pick. Pernell McPhee was a great addition last year, but the Bears are still in need of another pass rusher and Dodd is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense.

Pro comparison: Justin Tuck

12th pick New Orleans Saints: A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama)

The Saints have so many needs on defense, and he’s the best player available. He’s as mean as Hall of Famer Joe Greene and doesn’t seem to let any guard stop him in the game. Robinson can do it all, and he is arguably the best interior defensive lineman in this draft.

Pro comparison: Nick Fairley 

13th pick Miami Dolphins: Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)

They need to keep Ryan Tannehill healthy and in a clean pocket. Athletically, Stanley can do it all and shows no apparent weaknesses there. The only problem for Stanley is his technique, and that is common in left tackles at the collegiate level.

Pro comparison: Lane Johnson

14th pick Oakland Raiders: Eli Apple (Ohio State)

The Raiders have made a lot of noise this offseason which no one was surprised by. They have a top 15 corner in Sean Smith, and Apple certainly fits the bill if he is still on the board at this point. Apple is fiery competitor with endless confidence. His prototypical size and athleticism makes him a no-brainer if he’s still on the board.

Pro comparison: Xavier Rhodes 

15th pick Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin (Micigan State)

Protecting Marcus Mariota should be their No. 1 priority, and they traded the No. 1 overall pick in order to do so. Allowing the most sacks in the NFL is not the best way to start off the young signal caller’s career. This pick is a no-brainer and allows Tennessee to enlist one of the better young tandems at tackle.

Pro Comparison: Bryan Bulaga

16th pick Detroit Lions: Vernon Hargreaves (Florida)

In a division with Aaron Rodgers, Teddy Bridgewater and a rejuvenated Jay Cutler, you better be able to stop the pass. The Lions understand that, and they know who the best player available is at this point in the draft at cornerback.

Pro Comparison: Brent Grimes

 17th pick Atlanta Falcons: Darron Lee (Ohio State)

Dan Quinn wants his Bobby Wagner-like linebacker and certainly can find it in Lee. He will run from sideline to sideline making all sorts of big plays. He has enough athleticism to cover receivers on the outside, yet he is listed at 232 pounds. This guy is the best player available and expect him to take over the Falcon defense day one.

 Pro Comparison: Ryan Shazier

 18th pick Indianapolis Colts: Cody Whitehair (Kansas State)

The next goal for the Colts is to build the offense line and give Luck a fighting chance. This is an easy pick and expect the Colts to draft with an offensive line mentality.

 Pro Comparison: Zach Martin

19th pick Buffalo Bills: Leonard Floyd (Georgia)

With the departure of defensive Mario Willams, head coach Rex Ryan needs a tall long pass rusher, and they will be gushing if Floyd is still on the board at this point in the draft.

 Pro Comparison: Randy Gregory 

20th pick New York Jets: Corey Coleman (Baylor)

Coleman can do a little bit of everything, and playing in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s spread system will certainly help him flourish as a rookie.

Pro Comparison: Kendall Wright

21st pick Washington Redskins: Reggie Ragland (Alabama)

The Redskins need all the help they can get on defense, and that starts with becoming strong up the middle. Ragland is as good of a run stopper as they come in football. He can still use a little work on his coverage skills, but in his rookie season that will not be his primary job.

Pro Comparison: C.J Mosley

22nd pick Houston Texans: Josh Doctson (TCU)

Doctson is as solid as they come at wide receiver. Ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and posted a huge 41 inch vertical. He has great hands and am obvious ability to go up and get the ball. He is a perfect fit with the Texans and makes for a dangerous combination with Deandre Hopkins.

Pro Comparison: Devante Parker

23rd pick Minnesota Vikings: Will Fuller (Notre Dame)

Bridgewater needs some help around him. They lost Mike Wallace and have a budding star in Stefon Diggs. Fuller is a speed demon as evident in his 4.3 40. Every opponent is going to fear him going vertical on them which is exactly what offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to do. This is as good of a fit as you can hope for if you are the Vikings.

Pro Comparison: Desean Jackson

24th pick Cincinnati Bengals: Su’A Cravens (USC)

The Bengals love USC linebackers, and they happen to need some help on defense. Cravens is a hybrid linebacker/safety and is a perfect fit with this defense that just lost safety Reggie Nelson and appears to be getting older at linebacker. He’ll play in the box, cover tight ends or play as the single high safety. Cravens is a complete football player and will excel playing in this scheme and learning from Vontaze Burfict.  

Pro Comparison: Lavonte David 

25th pick Pittsburgh Steelers: Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)

Tenacious immediately comes to mind when I watch him play. Alexander is a fiery competitor with a nonstop motor. The Steelers need help on defense and he certainly will help their secondary. Look for the Steelers to draft heavily on the defensive side of the ball in this year’s draft.

Pro Comparison: Kyle Fuller

26th pick Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Decker (Ohio State)

The Seahawks have to realize that you need your first round picks. Not having one the last two years will not help the team much. That’s why they finally stay at their pick this year and draft Decker, who can protect Russell Wilson’s blindside for years to come. Decker has all the traits of a Pro Bowl left tackle and has shown that he can hold his own against the best of them.

Pro Comparison: Nate Solder 

27th pick Green Bay Packers: Sheldon Rankins

The Packers have a glaring need at the defensive line with the departure of BJ Raji and four game suspension of Mike Pennel. Rankins allows the Packers to play multiple schemes. Pairing him with Mike Daniels will wreak havoc on opposing offensive lineman.

Pro Comparison: Mike Daniels 

28th pick Kansas City Chiefs: Connor Cook (Michigan State)

Kansas City has constructed one of the most solid rosters in the NFL, and now it’s time to upgrade at the quarterback position. Head coach Andy Reid has proven time and time again that he can coach a good offense despite his quarterback’s shortcomings. Cook can make all the throws needed and has first round talent written all over him.  I don’t see general manager John Dorsey passing him up if he is still on the board.  

Pro Comparison: Sam Bradford  

29th pick Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Billings (Baylor)

Power immediately comes to mind when you think of Billings. His size isn’t ideal for a one-technique, but the Cardinals will know exactly where to put him in order to give him the best chance to succeed. Good luck running on the Cardinals anytime soon.  

Pro Comparison: Brandon Mebane 

30th pick Carolina Panthers: William Jackson III (Houston)

Carolina lost Pro Football Focus’s third-ranked cornerback in Josh Norman so replacing him will not be easy. Look for Carolina to go secondary heavy in this draft starting with the ultra-athletic Jackson III.

Pro Comparison: Trae Waynes 

31st pick Dener Broncos: Paxton Lynch (Memphis)

Denver NEEDS a quarterback about as badly as Johnny Manziel needs to go to rehab. Lynch is a great prospect with a cannon for arm and mobility that allows him to escape from the pocket. He has all the potential in the world but a redshirt season is completely necessary.

Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill

By: Bradley Collins

Free agency be damned, all the Packers do is win

March 29, 2012.

This was the last day that Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson signed an unrestricted free agent. Yet, the Packers have won three NFC North titles and have made the playoffs the past four years, winning three playoff games.

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove was that player signed on March 29, 2012. He was subsequently released on August 24 of that year, never playing a regular season snap with the franchise.

Year after year billions (yes billions with a “b”) of dollars are spent when the NFL’s moratorium on signing free agents is over, yet the Packers typically stay out of it. Thompson’s strategy is clearly defined: draft, develop, and repeat.

There were only four players on last year’s Packers team that had even spent time on another team’s roster (John Kuhn, Julius Peppers, Letroy Guion and James Jones), and the Packers drafted Jones but resigned him last year amid a rash of wide receiver injuries.

Every year Packers fans whine and complain that Thompson should go after a free agent to help put the team over the top. While it is fun to imagine a top free agent pushing the green and gold back to a Super Bowl title like they did in in the 2010 season, signing a major free agent is not in the cards for the Packers.

There are always free agency rumors swirling around the league, it is what makes the NFL relevant 365 days a year. When Thompson and the Packers target someone though, virtually no one sees it coming.

Two years ago, it was signing the 34-year-old veteran linebacker Peppers to a three year $25.5 million dollar contract after he was released by the division rival Chicago Bears (after being released, a player does not count as an unrestricted free agent).

Peppers has started every game the past two years for the Packers and has totaled 18 sacks and 81 tackles in that span.

Thompson also signed the defensive tackle Guion from the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings (notice a trend) two days later. He had a career high 32 tackles and three and a half sacks before having a smaller role last year.

The times that the Packers dip into free agency recently, they come out with players that help them lock up the NFC North crown and make it back to the playoffs.

That is why Thompson’s latest foray into free agency to sign former St. Louis Ram and Tennessee Titan, tight end Jared Cook, has Packers fans feeling giddy.

Other than now third year tight end Richard Rogers making one of the biggest plays in Packers history with a crazy Hail Mary touchdown catch to win against the Lions last season, he had a largely disappointing season.

This year, the Packers will have a two-headed monster at tight end with Cook and Rodgers to give two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers even more weapons to throw to (it is nearly impossible to go an entire article without mentioning Rodgers when you talk about the Packers).

The NFL Draft, otherwise known as Ted Thompson’s playground, is in a month where he will find the next players to follow his championship-winning model.

Packers fans, be warned. The Packers are not typically going to be big players in free agency, but that is ok. Those NFC North titles and playoff victories speak for themselves. The Packers way works under Ted Thompson.

By: Justin St. Peter