2016 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Round 1

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

26.) Seattle Seahawks – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St (6’7 | 310 | 5.16)

Bradley Sowell, Terry Poole, J’Marcus Webb, and Garry Gilliam are the tackles projected to fight it out for a starting gig at not one, but both starting tackle spots for the Seahawks. Russell Wilson is fast, but his life may be in jeopardy with that group of mediocre blockers protecting the edges of the Seahawks o-line.

Decker is an underrated tackle prospect who I think has the ability to develop into a starting caliber tackle in the NFL, but it may take him a season or two before he’s ready. In the meantime he can be a successful guard, which would also fill a need for the Seahawks depleted o-line.

Decker has been a team captain for the Buckeyes and has all the tools necessary to start somewhere on an NFL offensive line. He’ll need to improve his footwork to play on the left-side and his strength to succeed on the right, but his nasty demeanor, polished technique, and overall football awareness should make him a solid starter at guard until he’s ready to move outside to tackle.

27.) Green Bay Packers – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama (6’1 | 247 | 4.62)

I hope Ragland is drafted earlier than this and doesn’t end up in Green Bay. He’s a perfect fit for what the Packers need though and would allow them to move Clay Matthews back outside where he can go back to terrorizing QBs. Ragland is a classic run-thumper inside who should be able to step in as a rookie and improve the Packers run defense. Moving Matthews back outside will improve the Packers pass rush as well. The Packers will still need to find a replacement at nose tackle for the retired B.J. Raji, but this is a deep draft for d-linemen.

28.) Kansas City Chiefs – DL Vernon Butler, Louisina Tech (6’4 | 323 | 5.25)

The Chiefs have two destructive d-linemen in Dontario Poe and Jaye Howard but lost starting defensive end Mike DeVito to retirement and don’t have much talent on the roster to replace him. Butler would give them a versatile weapon who can play all three spots along the Chiefs odd-man front including spelling Poe, who rarely needs a break, but could be more productive with an occasional breather.

Butler has the size, strength, and athleticism to fill in at any spot along the Chiefs front line. He has the ability to stuff the run or rush the passer when needed. I have Butler rated as the 13th best player in the draft, almost had the Bears selecting him at #11, and think he’s a steal this late in the first round.

Butler didn’t play against top competition in college facing Conference USA players who most likely won’t see time at the NFL level, but during the Senior Bowl Butler was unblockable. He consistently flustered the best blockers in Mobile, winning 1-1 battles with a combination of power, quickness, and heavy hands.

Losing a veteran DE like DeVito hurts the Chiefs depth, but replacing him with a potential beast like Vernon Butler should actually improve their overall defense.

Next: Picks 29-32