2016 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Round 1

Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports /
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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

26.) Seattle Seahawks – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St

He’s not a beast on paper, but Decker has been a very effective tackle who has enough skill and intangibles to become an excellent right tackle in the NFL. The Seahawks need upgrades on both ends of the o-line and Decker is polished enough to step in and start at right tackle on day one of his rookie season. If he gets stronger and cleans up his technique a bit, Decker could end up in multiple Pro Bowls by the end of his career.

27.) Green Bay Packers – LB Darren Lee, Ohio St

The Packers have been trying to move Clay Matthews back outside for a couple of seasons now and Lee could give then the chance to do that. Lee has elite athleticism with sub 4.5 speed, the ability to cover both back and tight ends, and enough power to be effective against the run.

28.) Kansas City Chiefs – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor

The Chiefs lost two contributors on their d-line through free agency and need to restock. Billings is a beast with enough quickness and power to line up anywhere from a 3-tech to a zero. The Chiefs would be better off with a player who could line up outside if needed, but Billings is the best d-linemen left on the board and combined with Dontarie Poe could give the Chiefs one of the best interior pairings in the league.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports /

29.) Arizona Cardinals – S Vonn Bell, Ohio St

The Cardinals are potentially losing two safeties in free agency (Johnson, Jefferson) and their coaching staff has already stated the need to get longer and faster at safety. Bell checks both of those boxes and is the best safety in this draft after Ramsey. I could see the Cardinals adding another pass-rushers like Correa even after the Chandler Jones acquisition, but safety is a more glaring need after the free agent losses and Tyrann Mathieu’s questionable recovery from injury.

30.) Carolina Panthers – OT  Jason Spriggs, Indiana

The Panthers came into the 2015 season with arguably the worst pair of offensive tackles in the league with failed prospect Michael Oher and journeyman Mike Remmers manning the edges. I wrote in my preseason preview that the Panthers had Cam Newton and that’s about it. They ended up getting excellent seasons from both Remmers and Oher, but can it last?

There was a reason that Oher and Zemmers were extremely available coming into the season. The two of them made just a combined $2.5M guaranteed this season, which is by far the lowest guaranteed payout for any starting tackle combo in the NFL.  While it worked well for the Panthers in 2015, it may not be a sustainable strategy.

The Panthers need some legitimate talent on the offense line and Spriggs had one of the best Senior Bowl performances of any linemen and has the ability to become an above-average NFL left tackle. If Spriggs can emerge as a competent pass blocker, it would allow Oher to move to the right side where his skill-set fits better and move Remmers to a swing tackle role.

31.) Denver Broncos – LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

The Broncos lost multiple key members of their defense in free agency including ILB Danny Trevathan, but get a replacement and possible upgrade at ILB in Smith. Before his injury he was a potential top five overall prospect. Smith is a steal this late in the draft and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes much earlier than this. Unless his medical reports project a problem in his recovery, Smith should be an excellent linebacker by 2017.