2016 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Round 1

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

11.) Chicago Bears – DL Jarran Reed, Alabama (6’4 | 307 | 5.12)

This may seem like a reach or too boring of a pick to some fans, but Reed is exactly what the Bears need. Buckner would be a better pick, but he most likely won’t be available. Elliot would be exciting, but probably won’t make it past Philly. A lot of commentors on this site think Conklin is who the Bears need, but too me he’s a slightly better version of Gabe Carimi. Charles Leno Jr is going to be the Bears left tackle next season, so fans might as well get used to it.

Reed does a few things as well or better than anyone in this draft. He holds his ground verse double teams, he can play any position on the Bears three-man front, he might be the best run stuffer in the draft, he gets his long arms in passing lanes, and can collapse the pocket from the inside or the edge. At the Senior Bowl Reed dominated in 1-1 battles, showing the ability to generate a pass rush if matched up against just one blocker and using his long arms to disengage and stop running backs at the line of scrimmage.

Ideally the Bears could move back a few picks and grab Reed in the 15-20 range while adding another 2nd or 3rd round pick, but there is definitely a risk that Reed would be gone by then. Pro Football Focus graded Reed as the 2nd best run stopper in all of college football last season and first in run stops near the line of scrimmage. His technique against double-teams is as good as any player in the draft, his length allows him too see over o-linemen and track the ball, and while Bama’s scheme didn’t ask him to generate pass rush, Reed flashed the ability to beat 1-1 blocks and pressure the QB.

The combination of Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, and Jarran Reed would give the Bears three young, powerful d-linemen with the versatility to play all three spots on the Bears 3-man front and add just under 1000 pounds of run stopping force with an average age of 23 years old. It could be the base of a potentially dominant defense that can occupy multiple blockers and free things up for new ILBs Trevathan and Freeman to make plays. I understand it’s not the most exciting pick, but it could be the best pick for the long-term future of the Bears defense.

12.) New Orleans Saints – A’Shaun Robinson, Alabama (6’4 | 307 | 5.13)

The Saints need help on every level of their defense, but none more so than on their defensive line. They finished 31st overall in run defense and Robinson should improve that from day one. He has the versatility to play anywhere across the Saints front line and will be a force wherever he lines up. Robinson brings almost nothing to the table as a pass-rusher, but a d-linemen who can effectively take on double-teams and disengage to stop ball carriers has a ton of value. He’s a good building block for a defensive rebuild that will need a lot of new players.

13.) Miami Dolphins – Shaq Lawson, Clemson (6’3 | 269 | 4.62)

They lost DEs Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby in the off-season and replaced them with aging Mario Williams (31) and to team with long-time Dolphin Cameron Wake (34). The Dolphins need some youth and explosion off the edge and Lawson was one of the most productive pass rushers in college football last season with his 12.5 sacks and a ridiculous 25.5 tackles for loss. Questions about the stability of his shoulder had some teams giving Lawson a 2nd round grade, but a recent re-check on his shoulder came back clean and should ensure Lawson hears his name called in the top half of the first round.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports /

14.) Oakland Raiders – DL Sheldon Rankins, Louisville (6’1 | 299 | 4.96)

An up-and-coming team like the Raiders can go multiple directions with this pick, but with explosive edge rushers like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin on the outside, a potential interior force like Rankins makes a lot of sense. With teams needing to keep in a TE or RB to chip on Mack, it should leave Rankins with plenty of 1-1 match-ups inside.

Rankins proved at the Senior Bowl that he is all but unblockable by just one linemen and could give the Raiders one of the most explosive pass rushes in the league. They could go with Apple, Jackson, or a safety with this pick, but the potential dominance of Rankins inside is too much for them to pass up at 14.

15. Tennessee Titans – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida (5’10 | 204 | 4.46)

The Titans made one of the best trades in years, turning a #1 overall pick into six top 100 picks over the next two seasons. Drafting Laremy Tunsil would have been a nice addition to former first round tackle Taylor Lewan, but doesn’t fill a glaring need and gives the Titans four picks in first two rounds this season to fill some of their multiple needs on both sides of the ball.

They will eventually need to find some offensive line help to protect 2nd-year QB Marcus Mariota, but cornerback is a serious need for the Titans as well and they may have got the best corner in the draft with Hargreaves III with the 15th pick.

Next: Picks 16-20