2016 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Round 1
11.) Chicago Bears – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
The Bears would be pleasantly surprised to see Buckner fall out of the top 10 as defensive line is still one of their biggest needs. By the end of 2015 the Bears were starting three defensive linemen they signed off the street during the season. Adding Buckner to NT Eddie Goldman and recently signed DE Akiem Hicks would give the Bears three promising young d-linemen for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to develop.
Buckner has the size (6’7 | 290) to handle double teams, the strength to set the edge against the run, and is quick enough to occasionally get to the QB as his 10.5 sacks last season attest to. He is strong enough to move inside if needed on passing downs and his combination of power, long arms and unusual quickness for his size could make him an effective interior pass rusher. Buckner also showed a knack for batting down passes with five pass deflections last season. He is polished enough to play right away and has the potential to be an ideal 5-tech in the Bears scheme.
I know plenty of drafts have Buckner going as high as three overall, but I don’t see the Chargers passing up Tunsil if available. The Ravens are obviously an option for Buckner at six, but they have a more glaring need at corner. The four teams picking before the Bears all play primarily 4-3 schemes which aren’t as good of a fit for Buckner.
If Buckner is gone, then I think the Bears would take D-linemen Sheldon Rankins or Vernon Butler, who both have the versatility to play anywhere on the Bears front and are explosive against both the run and pass.
12.) New Orleans Saints – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
The Saints need to rebuild their entire defense and Robinson is a good start on the d-line. He’s an elite run stopper who can get penetration inside or out and well he hasn’t shown much as a pass-rusher, Robinson has the athletic ability to do so in the right scheme. If the Saints want to improve their run defense, then Robinson is one of the safest picks in the draft, albeit with a limited upside against the pass.
13.) Miami Dolphins – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St
I don’t know why Ogbah isn’t higher on some draft boards, because I see an edge rusher with great size (6’4 | 273), above-average athleticism (4.63 40-time, 12’1″ broad jump, 35.5″ vertical), and elite production over the last two seasons (22.5 sacks) in a power conference. Ogbah may be a year or two away from a double-digit sack season in the NFL, but long-time DE Cameron Wake only has a season or two left so the succession plan works nicely.
14.) Oakland Raiders – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
One of my favorite players in the draft, who I like more every time I watch his tape. He doesn’t have the length most teams look for (6’1), but has long enough arms (33.5″) to keep o-linemen off him, the elite quickness to beat them off the snap, and the leverage to get beneath them and drive them into the backfield. Rankins is also versatile enough to play all over the d-line, but would be a force in the middle and make things easier for Khalil Mack off the edge.
15.) St. Louis Rams – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The Rams get a gift with the best receiver in the draft falling to 15. Treadwell might lack deep speed, but has great size (6’2 | 210), reliable hands, enough route-running skills to get open, and is fast enough to be dangerous in the open field (4.52). He would be the best receiver on the Rams from day one.
16.) Detroit Lions – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
The Lions interior d-line never recovered from the loss of Suh and Fairley, but combining Butler with their current DTs would help. Along with Rankins, he’s one of my favorite d-linemen in the draft. He has the size (6’4 | 323), long arms (35 1/8″), athleticism, and versatility to be a force from multiple different techniques. I think Butler would be best as a 5-tech, but could be an impact player anywhere on the d-line.
17.) Atlanta Falcons – ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
The Falcons have plenty of holes, but their interior linebackers were a weak spot all season and Ragland gives them arguably the best interior linebacker in the his draft. His taped speed isn’t impressive, but he looks faster on the field and can play all three downs which should instantly improve a Falcons defense that was weak up the middle last season.
18.) Indianapolis Colts – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St
It was tempting to take an explosive edge rusher here, but the Colts have to do a better job of protecting their franchise QB. Conklin is a polished blocker on both sides with elite toughness, a tireless work ethic, and showed surprising athleticism at the combine. Conklin was a former walk-on, who has built himself into a well-rounded tackle prospect who is solid in both the run and pass and plays through the whistle with a non-stop motor. Conklin will add much needed toughness to the Colts o-line.
Next: Picks #19-#25