Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.
2016 NFL Mock DRAFT
- WALT'S | CHARLIE'S
Charlie Campbell was a senior writer at PewterReport.com.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell
NFL Draft Recent Links:
Back to Overreaction 2016 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
Atlanta Falcons: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Atlanta has a lot of needs, and one of the big ones is a replacement for Roddy White. With White declining and Tony Gonzalez's retirement, the Falcons' passing offense has nothing aside from Julio Jones. Here's a running mate for him.
Despite inconsistent quarterback play this season, Thomas totaled 56 receptions for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. He impressed in his battle with Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller during the 2015 season opener.
Thomas was the Buckeyes' possession receiver in 2014 with Devin Smith serving as the deep threat. Thomas caught 54 passes for 799 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He also dealt with a running quarterback in J.T. Barrett for much of the year. Thomas (6-3, 212) has a NFL skill set with size and quickness.
Indianapolis Colts: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Obviously, Indianapolis' offensive line has been a crushing weakness this season. Decker could upgrade the Colts' line somewhere.
Decker played well for the Buckeyes in 2015, but while he's strong at opening holes in the ground game, he could be limited in pass protection for the NFL. Some teams feel that you could get away with Decker at left tackle, but ultimately would want someone quicker and more athletic. Decker could be a more effective right tackle in the NFL.
The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Decker really finished the 2014 season in impressive fashion. Late in the year, he did a good job of protecting Cardale Jones and opening holes for Ezekiel Elliot.
Buffalo Bills: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Bills grab a long-term replacement for Richie Incognito with a power run blocker to pave the way for LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams. Obviously, Conklin could also play tackle depending on what Buffalo does in the offseason.
Conklin is a well-balanced blocker who is effective at protecting the passer and opening holes in the ground game. He turned in an impressive 2014 season as the blind-side protector for Connor Cook.
The 6-foot-6, 303-pound Conklin could use a little more power for the next level, but he should add that in an NFL strength and conditioning program. Conklin isn't all that quick or athletic. In speaking with sources from multiple teams, they feel that Conklin would be better off as a right tackle in the NFL. They say a team could get away with him at left tackle, but ultimately would be looking for an upgrade who is more athletic.
New York Jets: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Jets need a long-term starter at quarterback for Todd Bowles. When it mattered the most, Ryan Fitzpatrick gave New York proof that he's just a backup in the NFL. Cook has the athleticism to fit Chan Gailey's offense.
Cook connected on 56 percent passes this year for 3,131 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's shown NFL evaluators that he has a quality arm, pocket presence, flashes of brilliant passes, and the mobility to avoid rushers and roll out. However, Cook's lack of accuracy is real problem heading into the NFL. Sources also have questions about him off the field, his lack of leadership, and his focus on football.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder plays in a pro-style system and has shown steady improvement with his ability to function in the pocket while working through his progressions. There is that accuracy issue however. He will make some amazing throws into extremely tight windows and then miss on routine passes.
In 2014, Cook connected on 58 percent of his passes for 3,214 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 59 percent of his passes in 2013 for 2,755 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. Cook improved throughout that season and was very impressive against Ohio State and Stanford to close out the year.
Washington Redskins: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
The Redskins could stand to get better at middle linebacker, and they want to be a physical team that punishes the opposition. Ragland would be a perfect fit.
For the year, Ragland has amassed 97 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, six pass breakups, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. His man coverage on tight ends like Arkansas' Hunter Henry and Ole Miss' Evan Engram has been particularly impressive. That, in combination with Ragland's pass rush as a defensive end, has illustrated his three-down starting potential for the NFL. In 2014, Ragland notched 95 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, three passes broken up, one interception, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks. The 6-foot-2, 254-pounder is a big, physical in-the-box defender.
Houston Texans: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
The Texans can't count on Arian Foster to stay healthy and getting a feature back is critical for their offense. I bet Foster is a cap casualty after the season. I could see Houston signing a veteran like Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory, Doug Martin or Matt Forte along with drafting a back in the first three rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Elliott averaged 6.3 yards per carry this season for 1,821 yards with 23 touchdowns. He had 27 receptions for 206 yards as well. In all but one game this year, Elliott exceeded 100 yards.
The junior has a tremendous burst with his first step, excellent vision, balance and the ability to rip off yards in chunks. He hits the hole quickly and explodes to the second level. In the passing game, Elliott has shown nice blocking and receiving skills. Sources say he's a first-rounder.
The 6-foot, 225-pounder was the workhorse who carried the Buckeyes to the National Championship in 2014. He destroyed Wisconsin (20-220-2), Alabama (20-230-2) and Oregon (36-246-4) in the final three games to lead Ohio State. Elliott averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the year for 1,878 yards with 18 touchdowns. He had 28 receptions for 220 yards, too. Elliott showed speed, cutting ability and a knack to pick up yards after contact.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
The Steelers grab an upgrade at cornerback and land a replacement for William Gay.
White had 44 tackles with seven passes broken up and a punt returned for a touchdown in 2015. He had some struggles with big receivers in Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson and Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder is fast with the ability to prevent separation.
White played well in 2013 and 2014 with two picks in each year and solid run support. He had 55 tackles as a freshman and 33 stops as a sophomore. White has shown steady ball skills while batting away seven passes in 2013 and six as a sophomore.
Seattle Seahawks: Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
Seattle could use more young interior pass-rusher to replace Brandon Mebane. The Seahawks are willing to take major character question marks (see Frank Clark) and like players with rare athleticism.
Multiple teams have told me that they have off-the-field concerns with Nkemdiche. One team labelled him as having serious baggage. Another said that Nkemdiche loves the limelight and wants to be a movie star. They'd like to see him have the desire to dominate on the field.
Recently, Nkemdiche just had to go to the hospital after jumping off the fourth floor of a hotel while in the process of getting arrested for marijuana possession. The arrest landed him with a suspension for Ole Miss' bowl game. Between the off-the-field issues and Nkemdiche's overrated play, I have him sliding in the 2016 NFL Draft.
I've spoken with GMs who share my opinion that Nkemdiche is one of the most overrated players in this draft class. He would consistently break into the backfield, but rarely ever finish a play. Part of the reason for that is Nkemdiche has poor awareness. He also lacks pass-rushing moves. NFL sources say that while Nkemdiche has a great skill set, he just isn't a natural pass-rusher, and that can be seen in his pathetic sack production.
There is no doubt that Nkemdiche (6-4, 296) has a tremendous skill set with the speed and agility of a linebacker. For the NFL, he has the ability to be a disruptive presence at the point of attack if nothing else.
This season, Nkemdiche totaled 29 tackles, seven for a loss and three sacks, plus he caught a 31-yard touchdown pass. Nkemdiche recorded 35 tackles with two sacks in 2014. He flashed, but lacked consistency. As a freshman, Nkemdiche totaled 34 tackles with two sacks and eight tackles for a loss. He totaled seven sacks in his collegiate career.
Kansas City Chiefs: Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
The Chiefs grab a young five-technique. Mike DeVito turns 32 after this season, and it would make sense to continue to add talent to their front seven considering the age of Tamba Hali. Kansas City also took a player with character problems last year.
In 2015, Washington has racked up 49 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, four sacks, a forced fumble and a pick-six. The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder made a nice impact in 2014 as part of an excellent defensive line. He teamed with Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa to produce a consistent pass rush and a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Washington had 48 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble on the year. He totaled five sacks over his sophomore and freshman seasons. Washington hurt his draft stock recently with an arrest for solicitation.
Green Bay Packers: Scooby Wright, III, ILB/OLB, Arizona
The Packers have wanted a run-and-chase linebacker for years. Maybe 2016 will be the year where the Packers address it early. Wright would also help their pass rush.
Wright missed most of 2015, finishing the year with 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. In the season opener, he suffered a knee injury - a lateral meniscus tear - that he underwent surgery for. Wright came back after missing only two games, but he clearly rushed back and wasn't the same. Wright sprained his foot in his first game back - a loss to UCLA - and didn't played the rest of the regular season. In the bowl game against New Mexico, Wright collected 15 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and two sacks.
Wright took college football by storm in 2014. The 6-foot-1, 246-pounder was a pass-rushing force for the Wildcats and one of the top defenders in the Pac-12. He had 14 sacks with 163 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles for the year. Wright is an instinctive linebacker and was all over the field for Arizona. In 2013, he notched 83 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and an interception.
St. Louis Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
TRADE! The Rams move up with Minnesota to ensure they get a quarterback. St. Louis has two second-round picks, so moving up will be easy to accomplish. Nick Foles hasn't been the answer, and obviously, the Rams have a screaming need at the position.
If Wentz plays well in Mobile, there are enough quarterback-needy teams that someone could easily move back into the first round to make sure they come away with him. The Rams have the most ammo to get it done.
This season, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions before missing six games with a broken wrist. He also had four rushing touchdowns. Sources say that Wentz (6-6, 235) is prospect who has caught their eye and has early-round potential.
As a junior, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,111 yard with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. He had six touchdowns on the ground.
If Wentz can have a strong week at the Senior Bowl coming off the injury, his stock could really skyrocket with NFL evaluators.
Cincinnati Bengals: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
The Bengals have a good pass rush as a team thanks to Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. However, the rest of Cincinnati's defensive linemen aren't producing much in the sack department. Here's an upgrade over Michael Johnson.
In 2015, Calhoun totaled 10.5 sacks, 49 tackles, 15 for a loss, one forced fumble and three passes batted. His pass-rushing moves and overall play were improved over last season. For the next level, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Calhoun could stand to add some weight and functional strength, plus further expand his repertoire of pass-rushing moves.
After a slow start to 2014, Calhoun started playing better. The junior speed rusher recorded 39 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and a forced fumble for the year. Calhoun was one of the top players on Michigan State's superb defense in 2013. For the year, he recorded 37 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Denver Broncos: Vadal Alexander, G/OT, LSU
One area the Broncos could definitely address early in the 2016 NFL Draft is the offensive line. They have a big decision to make with Ryan Clady, but aside from him, they could use more talent and competition elsewhere on the offensive line.
The 6-foot-6, 342-pound Alexander is a massive blocker who can open holes at the point of attack. He played well at guard in 2014 as an impactful run blocker and reliable pass protector. Alexander is playing right tackle as a senior, but guard looks better as a long-term home in the NFL. This season, he has struggled in pass protection on a few plays and allowed some sacks in the early going, but has been better recently. Some teams could think of keeping him at right tackle.
Dallas Cowboys: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
TRADE! The Cowboys move up a short way with Arizona to grab their running back of the future ahead of Carolina. Darren McFadden ran well at times in 2015, but at his age and with his injury history, Dallas can't count on him to be its lead back in 2016. Here's a back who could help the Cowboys take advantage of their closing Super Bowl window before Tony Romo retires.
Henry has been superb in 2015. Not only has his running been impressive, but the blitz protection will really excite scouts. For the year, Henry has averaged 5.7 yards per carry (359 carries) on his way to 2,061 yards with 25 touchdowns. He also has 11 receptions for 91 yards.
As the No. 2 back in 2014, Henry averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 990 yards with 11 touchdowns. He added five receptions for 133 yards, too. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder has a burst to run away from defenders with the power to run through tacklers. He also has really improved his blitz protection and receiving skills. As a freshman, he racked up 382 yards on only 36 carries with three touchdowns.
Carolina Panthers: Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
The Panthers traded for Jared Allen, but obviously he's not a long-term starter for Carolina. Here's a pass-rusher who could be a beast in Carolina's front seven.
Nassib put together a torrid 2015 season with a bunch of multi-sack games and a huge presence in the opponents' backfields before an injury slowed him down in the final games. Nassib led the nation with 15.5 sacks. He also had 46 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles on the season. The 6-foot-7, 272-pounder also has drawn raves for his work ethic and practice habits from head coach James Franklin and former head coach Bill O'Brien.
Nassib could fit at end in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He really has put his draft stock on the map with a massive senior season. Nassib is a 1-year wonder as he had only two sacks combined over 2014 and 2013.
Arizona Cardinals: Jarran Reed, DE, Alabama
TRADE! Arizona moved down with the Cowboys. The Cardinals let Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams leave last offseason. Here's some young talent for Arizona's defensive line.
The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Reed has been a powerful defender for Alabama at the point attack. He is a strong run defender who fills his gap and is tough to move. Reed isn't much of a pass-rusher though. In 2015, he has 56 tackles with 4.5 for a loss, one sack and two passes batted.
As a junior in 2014, Reed had 55 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, one sack and five passes batted. He was a JUCO player before landing at Alabama.
Minnesota Vikings: Su'a Cravens, OLB/S, USC
TRADE! Minnesota moved down with the Rams. The Vikings grab a replacement for Chad Greenway and finish off their Los Angeles-sourced linebacking corps.
This season, Cravens totaled 86 tackles, 15 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, six passes broken up and two interceptions. He recorded 68 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three interceptions and nine passes broken up in 2014. Cravens was moved from safety to linebacker that season, but that looks like a better fit for him in the NFL.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder is physical, strong and quick. As a freshman, he totaled 52 tackles with four interceptions, one pass batted and a forced fumble. Cravens was named a Freshman All-American and a All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
NFL Picks - Dec. 2
New England Patriots: James Bradberry, CB, Samford
The Patriots have been able to get away with subpar corner talent this season, but in the offseason, they need to get more talent to defend elite receivers. Bradberry has a great physical skill set for Bill Belichick to work with.
Last year, Jaquiski Tartt represented Samford at the Senior Bowl, and this year, it will be Bradberry. The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder has a great skill set with size and speed. The senior recorded 45 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015. He had two interceptions in his junior, sophomore and freshman years. His steady play earned him an invitation to Mobile, and if he performs well against the better competition, his stock could really sky rocket given his skill set. Bradberry has prototypical size for the next level.
Back to Overreaction 2016 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
Other 2016 NFL Mock Drafts:
2016 NFL Mock Draft - Walt's
Charlie Campbell's 2016 NFL Mock Draft
2022 NFL Mock Draft - Dec. 1
NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 30
Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 8
NFL Draft Links: