With the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago just 20 days away, we created a mock draft for the first round based on what each team needs. Which players are ready to produce right away and influence the NFL odds for their new teams?
This year's NFL Draft is loaded with playmakers, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but what's most intriguing is that plenty of players can help their potential teams immediately. Here are our projections for the first round:
1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2. Cleveland Browns - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
4. Dallas Cowboys - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
6. Baltimore Ravens - DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
7. San Francisco 49ers - Jared Goff, QB, Cal
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
11. Chicago Bears - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
13. Miami Dolphins - Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
14. Oakland Raiders - Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
15. Los Angeles Rams - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
17. Atlanta Falcons - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
18. Indianapolis Colts - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
19. Buffalo Bills - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
20. New York Jets - Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
21. Washington - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
22. Houston Texans - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
23. Minnesota Vikings - Will Fuller , WR, Notre Dame
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
26. Seattle Seahawks - Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
27. Green Bay Packers - Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Players Ready To Make A Difference Right Away
Here's a look at three players who can make an immediate impact with their new teams.
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Myles Jack was a star for the UCLA Bruins, but a torn meniscus injury he suffered limited him to play in only three games last year. He missed the Combine drills but still entered the 2016 NFL Draft, and it seems to be a decision that will pay off for him and whoever takes him.
Many expect Jack to be a top-five pick. I think that the Jaguars (+5000 NFL odds to win Super Bowl LI) will select him with the No. 5 pick and it will help this team get better. Jack totaled 163 combined tackles through his first two seasons, along with 15 tackles for loss, 18 passes defended and three interceptions. It would surprise if he falls from number 5, but if he does, any team that drafts him will be happy with their choice. Keep in mind that he is an amazing athlete, probably the best overall in this Draft.
Jack briefly became UCLA's starting running back in 2013 and 2014 and he was able to adapt to the new position seamlessly, to a point that many considered him one of the best running backs in the nation. He would finish with 68 carries for 387 yards and 11 touchdowns and 5.7 yards per attempt.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Taking Laremy Tunsil with the number one pick should be a simple decision for the Tennessee Titans (+15000 to win Super Bowl LI at Bovada). Most mock drafts expect them to select him, including mine, but there are rumors suggesting that they could trade that pick for the right price.
Should Tennessee make the trade? It's debatable for several different reasons, but if they don't want to, drafting him would help make them a solid NFL pick because they would finally have someone to protect the blind side of their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was sacked 38 times (tied for ninth-most in the NFL) in just 12 games last season. It's undeniable that the Titans need to get him protection as soon as possible and Tunsil is the right man for the job.
Don't forget that Tennessee recently traded for talented running back DeMarco Murray, who is coming off a down year with the Eagles but is expected to rebound and give them the weapon out of the backfield that Mariota needs. Keep an eye on what the Titans do on April 28 and how it can change their NFL odds for next season.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Last but certainly not least is Ezekiel Elliott, who I project to be taken with the No. 8 pick by the Philadelphia Eagles (+6600 to win Super Bowl LI), which makes sense because they need someone to replace DeMarco Murray, who as mentioned above was traded to the Titans.
Many speculate that Elliott could go to the Cowboys with the No. 4 pick, which would make perfect sense for him, although Dallas already signed former Redskins running back Alfred Morris to a two-year contract and they already have Darren McFadden, who shined last season with 1,089 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Elliott will help right away. Todd Gurley's impact on the Rams last season will make teams consider taking a chance on a similar type of player and Elliott is well-rounded and has great work ethic. He can excel with the Eagles or the Cowboys (+2200 to win Super Bowl LI).
I see Dallas taking either Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey, but if both players are gone prior to their pick, the Cowboys should give Elliott a chance, as McFadden, Morris and Elliott would dominate the ground game, helping them not rely on Tony Romo.