I mocked Ryan Kelly at this spot several weeks ago, but moved off it in favor of Andrew Billings and Noah Spence. As the draft approaches, I'm becoming more confident that Indianapolis will, in fact, select Kelly. There's a lot of buzz about him going in the top 25 - there's another team that will consider him in this area - and he would go a long way in shoring up Andrew Luck's protection.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Andrew Billings, DT - Indianapolis expressed a desire to upgrade the nose tackle spot entering the offseason, but thus far, nothing has been done about it.
2. Taylor Decker, OT - Right tackle is a massive need for the Colts, so Decker is someone who could interest them.
Pick change; previously Noah Spence, DE/OLB
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame
The Texans lost Ben Jones this offseason, but they won't miss him that much because of his mediocre play. That said, the center position will need to be addressed on the second day of the draft.
Rd. 3, Pk. 29
Graham Glasgow, G/C, Michigan
If the Cardinals don't draft Ryan Kelly or Cody Whitehair in the first round, look for them to target Graham Glasgow at the end of Day 2. They love Glasgow's versatility.
Pick change; previously Joshua Perry, LB
Rd. 4, Pk. 1
Max Tuerk, C, USC
The Browns acquired Jack Conklin in an earlier mock draft. An upgrade is needed on the offensive line, which is a train wreck. Max Tuerk can play both guard and center, so I'm sure he'll find some way to sneak into the starting lineup.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Pat Elflein, G/C, Ohio State
The Vikings grab some offensive line talent, and they've shown interest in Elflein.
Elflein was a solid blocker in 2016 for Ohio State at center. That looks like his best position for the NFL. The 6-foot-3, 303-pounder played well in 2015. He was an excellent run blocker, opening holes for Ezekiel Elliott. Elflein is also reliable in pass protection. As a sophomore, he was a starter at left and right guard while doing a superb job of helping the Buckeyes to feature a powerful rushing attack.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Ethan Pocic, C/G, LSU
The Seahawks could grab some interior offensive line help.
Pocic was generally solid for LSU in 2016. He had some problems with Auburn's Montravius Adams and Alabama's defensive front, but he performed well, overall. The senior was effective at opening holes up the middle and reliable in pass blocking. Even if his height is slightly exaggerated, the 6-foot-6, 310-pounder is taller than most interior linemen. Pocic was an excellent blocker for Leonard Fournette in 2015. Pocic broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jon Toth, C, Kentucky
The Redskins have a talented young offensive line, but they could use an interior lineman to finish it off.
Toth (6-4, 308) had a fine senior season and career at Kentucky. He started 47 straight games and was a big part of the Wildcats having a team average of 5.5 yards per carry. He also turned in a quality week at the Senior Bowl.
Toth has good size to be a center in the NFL. He has strength in his base and developed technique.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia
The Bengals could consider some interior offensive line competition after losing Kevin Zeitler.
Orlosky is good in the ground game and generally reliable in pass protection. The 6-foot-2, 292-pounder could develop into a starting center in the NFL. He isn't overly strong, but gets in good position and is an angle blocker.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Isaac Asiata, G/C, Utah
The Dolphins could use more offensive line competition.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Cameron Tom, C, Southern Mississippi
The Chargers grab some center depth and have demonstrated an interest in Tom.
Toronto needs a power forward who can score and preferably space the floor a bit. Ellenson fits the bill, but his 3 point shooting percentage at Marquette was very disappointing (below 30%). I believe that playing alongside an outstanding point guard like Kyle Lowry would help Ellenson's efficiency considerably. His lack of elite athleticism and defensive struggles have lowered his stock a bit lately, but I think his offensive game fits what Toronto needs them most: frontcourt scoring. Deyonta Davis and Skal are interesting picks that I could see at this venture, especially considering Ujiri's audacity when drafting. With that said, Ellenson has the most polished offensive game and best scoring track record of the three.
I believe that the Bucks should trade back, accumulate more assets, and draft Wade Baldwin later in the first - he just fits what the Bucks look for and need too well. However, if they stay here, I think that Poetl should be the target. They should take a long and hard look at Skal, but Poetl's production and higher floor makes him the selection here. Poetl doesn't have star potential, but is well-rounded and should be a solid starter in the NBA. To maximize his potential, Jakob needs to learn to play tougher when he gets to the NBA, especially because he's strictly a 5.
Toronto acquires an athletic energizer to replace Bismack Biyombo at this point. Some mocks have Diallo going higher than 27, so, in addition to providing depth and upside, this pick also offers good value. Although Diallo is still very raw, his work ethic and character should serve him well as he develops his overall game in Toronto. His shot blocking, rebounding, and overall energy should make him a useful reserve during his first year in Toronto.
The Celtics need a true rim protector and should address this need at some point during the draft. Damian Jones underwhelmed me for the most part as a collegiate player. After reviewing some game tape of his, I've come to the conclusion that he is the softest big man in this class. His athleticism and size would suggest otherwise, but I believe he busts. However, the Celtics have the ability to take a risk like Jones and hope he can develop into the basketball player his physical profile suggests.
They didn't really get better. And it's going to take some time. The Magic to me are a cautionary tale of what the 76ers don't want to be. Sure beginning of the season...what nice young players you have is what they said...but they know ...the feel it...falling into mediocrity.
Well here they are ...now what...
My answer is Stone...they perhaps think they can move Vucevic to PF...and they just need a true 'C' which is a dated concept but they just trades away a solid stretch 4...so fits the bill.
Jakob Poeltl, F, Utah - B+ Grade
The Raptors needed a power forward or backup big and land the latter here with Poeltl. He should be a solid NBA big man for years to come, and if can he and Jonas Valanciunas play together, I'll like this pick a lot more.
Rd. 1, Pk. 10
Thon Maker, C
Thon Maker, C, Australia - D- Grade
This is the ultimate risk/reward pick and insanely high to take Maker, who could be 19 years old like he says or in his mid-30s... who knows? Maker is long and a defensive presence which Milwaukee already has in John Henson. The Bucks would have been better off drafting someone like Domatas Sabonis or Henry Ellenson or Deyonta Davis or Skal Labisierre or... I think you get my point.
Rd. 1, Pk. 13
Georgios Papagiannis, C
Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece - Isiah Grade
This draft is drunk. Papagiannis was another dude I (and most other mocks) had going in the second round. The Kings traded down from No. 8 to land him here and must have really liked the 7-2 Greek. I mean, I guess... will he even play right away? Doesn't Sacramento already have Boogie and Willie Cauley-Stein? What is going on?
Rd. 1, Pk. 18
Henry Ellenson, PF/C
Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette - A- Grade
Terrific value for Detroit and a terrific fit for Ellenson. He is extremely skilled for his size and the Pistons could use a versatile power forward of the future to pair alongside Andre Drummond. Ellenson is a liability on defense, but having Drummond protecting the rim behind him alleviates that concern. He was once considered a top-10 pick so this is a great get for SVG and Detroit.
Rd. 1, Pk. 23
Ante Zizic, C
Ante Zizic, C, Croatia - B+ Grade
Damn it, I mocked the wrong international big guy here; I had Zubac not Zizic. Zizic could actually play right away for the Celtics who have a few free agents in their frontcourt. He will bring some needed toughness inside for Boston.
Rd. 1, Pk. 30
Damian Jones, C
Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt - C+ Grade
The Warriors need some size inside since they have a couple free agent big men. Jones looks the part, but wasn't as dominant at Vanderbilt as he should have been. He is skilled offensively and could develop into a nice role player in Golden State.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Ivica Zubac, C
vica Zubac, C, Croatia - A- Grade
The Lakers have a huge hole in the middle, and the 7-1 Croatian could plug some of those minutes, if he comes over right away.
Rd. 2, Pk. 3
Cheick Diallo, C
Cheick Diallo, F, Kansas - A- Grade
Diallo is raw and a project big with an incredible motor; dangerous but intriguing words to describe a prospect. He could develop into a nice role player for the Clippers in a couple years and definitely worth taking at this point.
Rd. 2, Pk. 7
Chinanu Onuaku, C
Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville - C+ Grade
HEY!!! I got this mock draft pick right. For the record, it's extremely difficult to correctly predict second-round picks. With Dwight Howard hitting the free agent market, Onuaku could be a defensive/rebounding presence for the Rockets.
Rd. 2, Pk. 10
Diamond Stone, C
Diamond Stone, C, Maryland - A- Grade
This is a good value for a guy who was a top-10 player coming out of high school last year. He isn't the most mobile guy, but could develop into a backup big.
Rd. 2, Pk. 11
Stephen Zimmerman, C
To me, Zimmerman is a poor man's Cody Zeller... and that's not a compliment since I am super anti-Zeller. He is skilled for a seven-footer but needs to add some strength. He could one day be Nikola Vucevic's backup.
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
Zhou Qi, C
Zhou Qi, F, China - C Grade
It was destiny that the Rockets were going to draft the Chinese center. Yao Ming made them how much money? Keep him on the roster for a few years, sell millions of jerseys in China, and this is a huge win for Houston even if the dude never sees the floor.
Rd. 2, Pk. 16
A.J. Hammons, C
A.J. Hammonds, C, Purdue - B Grade
Hammons should have been more dominant in college than he was because he is a skilled low post threat and also has a nice jumper. Sometimes, he looked like he was sleepwalking through games. If he plays with more energy at the next level, he could be a valuable backup big man.
Rd. 2, Pk. 22
Joel Bolomboy, PF/C
Joel Bolomboy, F, Weber State - B Grade
The Weber State product stays in Utah and could stick on their roster as a rebounding, physical energy player off the bench.