Mock drafting 2016 first-round selections based on fit

This mock draft is unique from most, as it isn’t about guessing what player goes at what spot. Instead, the mock draft is about finding the best impact player for each organization and the system they run.

Below are good spots for the players to land:

Feb. 27, 2016; Indianapolis; Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch during drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Feb. 27, 2016; Indianapolis; Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch during drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

1. Los Angeles Rams: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

The Rams have been a star running back and a franchise quarterback away from pushing for the NFC West title the past three seasons. They were able to get the running back in Todd Gurley last year, and now is the time to bring in the quarterback. Lynch is unique in his size, athletic ability and ability to make most of the throws on the field. He has the biggest arm coming out of this class and would find quick success with a run-first system.

2. Cleveland Browns: QB Jared Goff, California

Goff could thrive under coach Hue Jackson. The former Bear appeared comfortable when making his throws off play-action fakes. Goff is willing to stand in the collapsing pocket to make the crucial throw downfield. There didn’t appear to be much panic, but he lacked athletic ability of some mobile quarterbacks currently in the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers: S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

Ramsey is one of the most athletic defensive backs in this draft. The first thing that jumps out on tape about him is the ability to read, react and close on the football. The former Seminole would be a huge asset for the Chargers defense by taking away the middle of the field as a safety in zone coverage. He is solid in run support and didn’t appear to be afraid to tackle.

4. Dallas Cowboys: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State

The Cowboys could use a future quarterback, the best running back on the board and help on defense. Bosa would provide the Cowboys an edge rusher they have lacked since Demarcus Ware. The former Buckeye is a relentless pass rusher with a quick punch and creates solid leverage against the offensive linemen. He would provide the Cowboys defense a necessary jolt.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Myles Jack, UCLA

Jack is the playmaker needed at the second level for the Jaguars. The Jacksonville defense needs help at the second and third levels to topple the Texans as the AFC South Champions. The former Bruin has impressive speed from sideline to sideline. He can blitz through the gap very quickly and drop into coverage without any issues. Jack shines when he is allowed to attack and would fit into Gus Bradley’s system perfectly.

6. Baltimore Ravens: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

Tunsil is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. He can come in immediately and play effectively. His tape is very similar to that of former Chiefs, current Miami Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert. Tunsil reroutes defenders well, uses proper bend and keeps his hands in good position on the punch. Tunsil didn’t get driven back a great deal with a good anchor and mirrored very well.

7. San Francisco 49ers: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Buckner’s tape show a player who wants to dominate on every play. He is an aggressive bull rusher that helps collapse the pocket in pass rushing situations. The former Oregon Duck is solid against the run and does not get driven off the ball.

8. Philadelphia Eagles: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

Spence is the ideal rusher for Jim Schwartz’s wide-nine system. The former Ohio State Buckeye failed two drug test and was banned by the Big Ten conference before landing in Eastern Kentucky. Spence’s rushing ability comes from his angles. When he is given a wide angle to rush, he can beat the tackle with power from his hips to perform a solid bull rush. Spence will need time to set the edge as a run defender, but allowing him to get upfield and attack would shine quickly in this defensive concept.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

Lawson has a unique quickness about him and is a very good run defender. The former Bulldog holds the edge well and has good bend for his size around the corner. He is powerful and relentless on plays.

10. New York Giants: LB Darrion Lee, Ohio State

The Giants are lacking at the linebacker and cornerback positions. The team is in a win-now mode with big free-agent signings that need to pan out. Lee would provide the team a good sized linebacker that can drop into coverage, take on a blocker and make the tackle. The former Buckeye will need help on taking proper pursuit angles to make the tackle, but has the speed to learn it quickly. Lee has good timing on blitzes and would help can help the Giants at both levels.

11. Chicago Bears: DE Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech

Butler would provide the Bears a well-rounded defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. He has a very powerful punch and can shed blockers very well. Butler has a quick twitch in his pass rushing and his athletic ability shows.

12. New Orleans Saints: WR Josh Doctson, TCU

Doctson looks very similar to Chargers receiver Keenan Allen with his cuts in and out of his breaks. He would provide the Saints with a key threat opposite of Brandin Cooks. The former Hornfrog is a very smart route runner and finds the voids in coverage. Doctson would help provide a reliable possession receiver that moves the chains.

13. Miami Dolphins: CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

Hargreaves is the combination of physical and athleticism the Dolphins have lacked in their secondary for multiple seasons. The former Gator has impressive body control and can mirror the receiver well, while not causing pass interference. Hargreaves has the ability to recover when beaten and reads the routes well from a zone coverage position.

14. Oakland Raiders: RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State

Elliot is the final piece the Oakland offense is missing to make a serious playoff push. His style of running would fit the power scheme that the Raiders are capable of running. He is an every-down back who reads the holes well. The former Buckeye can catch out in the flats and is a solid blocker in pass protection. The Raiders would have their three-headed monster with Carr, Cooper and Elliot.

15. Tennessee Titans: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

Stanley performs the combo blocks very well and does a great job of helping on chip blocks before going to the second level. He wants to put his defender in the dirt and seals the alley well on reach blocks. Stanley’s biggest challenge will be keeping his pad level down at the next level. He could play right tackle for the team immediately.

16. Detroit Lions: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

The Lions’ loss of Ndamukong Suh showed throughout the season, as Haloti Ngata was not able to fill the entire void. Robinson would help provide the Lions with a powerful one-technique that is stout at the point of the attack. He is capable of shedding blockers and delivering a strong jolt with his punch. Robinson sees things very well in a backfield and controls his gap.

17. Atlanta Falcons: DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

The Falcons still arguably have a ways to go defensively to close the gap on the Panthers. Ogbah would be a very big pass rushing piece at this spot and has good bend around the edge. The former Cowboy is capable of rushing from both sides with his hand in the dirt or standing up. Ogbah has impressive closing speed once he gets around the tackle. He has a very good rip and bull rush but will need to add a spin move and club once he sees regular snaps in the NFL.

18. Indianapolis Colts: DL Chris Jones, Mississippi State

Jones is a very athletic defensive lineman for his size and splits double teams very well. Jones has an impressive spin move and is able to set up guard or tackle until their weight has shifted. He has a violent club move and is relentless in his pass rush.

19. Buffalo Bills: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

Rex Ryan’s defense lacked a consistent quickness at the interior position opposite Marcel Dareus. Kyle Williams injury allowed offensive lines to negate the Bills’ rush. Rankins is a quick penetration tackle that can shoot the gap but also hold the point of attack. The former Cardinal does a good job of helping collapse the pocket and would help the Bills line experience similar success to the 2014 season.

20. New York Jets: DE Leonard Floyd, Georgia

Floyd is a lanky pass rush with a similar build to Aldon Smith’s sophomore season at Missouri. The former Bulldog can match his speed coming out of college, though. He will struggle to set the edge early in his career, since he needs to build up his strength, but his speed on twist and around the edge is arguably the best in the draft. Floyd was also utilized as a inside linebacker in the nickel package and looked very natural in coverage. He was able to cover opposing teams slot receivers and stay with them stride for stride. Floyd can rush with his hand in the dirt or standing up. His final step will be to continue building his strength so he can convert the speed into power.

21. Washington: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State

Apple can play press-man and zone coverage, attributes needed in Washington. The two-year starter has long arms and a good quarter turn on his transition that allows him to mirror receivers effectively. He will go up for the football and will compete to come down with the interception or the deflection. Apple is also physical in run support for a corner.

22. Houston Texans: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

Houston found themselves their starting quarterback in Brock Osweiler and their next running back in Lamar Miller. The final piece of the puzzle that could help them score an offensive touchdown in a playoff game is a receiver to complement DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans selected Jalen Strong last year, but would be wise to add an additional weapon. Treadwell is quick off the line of scrimmage, has natural ability and fluidity in open space. The former Rebel uses his body very well to box out defenders and makes over the shoulder catches look routine. He is also a relentless blocker.

23. Minnesota Vikings: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson

Dodd has the arm length to keep tackles from being able to get a good punch inside his framework. The former Tiger has very active hands that keep linemen from being able to control him at the line of scrimmage. He stays with his assignment on the backside and is very quick on the twist and stunts.

Dec. 25, 2015; Houston; Houston cornerback William Jackson III (3) reacts after a second-half play during the American Athletic Conference Championship game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Dec. 25, 2015; Houston; Houston cornerback William Jackson III (3) reacts after a second-half play during the American Athletic Conference Championship game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

24. Cincinnati Bengals: CB William Jackson, Houston

Cincinnati is getting long in the tooth at corner. Jackson will provide the team a very athletic cornerback to mold for the future. He will need to improve his hip turn after press coverage and allowing the route to develop in front of him rather than attempting to guess correctly. Jackson may struggle early with double moves and comeback routes until he gets more comfortable with what he is seeing on the field.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson

Pittsburgh needs cornerbacks as quickly as possible. Alexander would provide them with a very confident corner. He is a student of the game and studies a great deal of film to understand his opposing receiver’s skill set. The former Tiger has smooth hip turns and great recovery speed even when he doesn’t have solid footing. Alexander has a majority of the desired athletic ability to be a top flight corner, but will need improvements in his technique to reach his ceiling.

26. Seattle Seahawks: C Ryan Kelley, Alabama

Seattle struggled in their run game last season with the loss of Max Unger. Kelly would provide the Seahawks with a much-needed jolt in their run game. The former Crimson and Tide center had good flexibility and pad level to get a solid punch on his defenders. Kelly finishes run blocks strong with a good pop and drive blocks his defenders downfield on power-run plays.

27. Green Bay Packers: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Green Bay has struggled at the inside linebacker position for a couple of seasons and could use a more physical presence inside. Ragland would provide the team a physical inside linebacker who diagnosis well and can deliver a jarring hit. He reads the backfield well, attacks and closes quickly. The former Crimson Tide linebacker takes good pursuit angles and wants to deliver a massive hit. Ragland also has the athletic ability and coverage skills to stay in on all three downs.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: OLB Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

Calhoun would be a surprise to some at this spot but the tape shows an impressive edge rusher that is NFL ready. The former Spartan has a good bend around the corner once he gets even with the tackle and makes the correct adjustments in dipping his shoulder to close with explosiveness. He is very quick in the stunts his runs along the line of scrimmage and seems to get stronger with his rushes as the game reaches crucial closing moments. Calhoun plays with violent hands and refuses to let the offensive lineman lock onto him. He also has counters in his arsenal already and is capable of setting the edge against the run with his strength and ability to diagnose the block.

29. Arizona Cardinals: ILB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

Brothers, who is very similar to Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, disengages from blockers very well while reading into the backfield. The former Missouri Tiger has very good closing speed and looks comfortable in coverage.

30. Carolina Panthers: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor

The Carolina Panthers needed help at the receiver position and offensive tackle spots to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. The team must now attack those spots if they want to have a more successful trip back. Coleman will need time to learn all the nuances of an NFL route tree, but he is a very explosive receiver who would complement Kelvin Benjamin well. The former Bear is quick in and out of his cuts and capable of taking it the distance once the ball is in his hand. He will need to be coached on not drifting towards the sidelines on vertical routes, but is very aggressive at high pointing the football once it is in the air.

31. Denver Broncos: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

The All-Academic first teamer is a very athletic quarterback that can keep the chains moving with his feet. He typically had good placement with the ball and some of the better deep balls outside of Paxton Lynch. Wentz will need time refining his game, but Denver’s run-heavy system and reads split in half, would help him while growing into his potential. His athletic ability would fit Denver’s bootleg style very well.


Nick Jacobs is a contributing writer for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @Jacobs71.