The Mock-ing Stops Here
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - We are two days out and with all the heavy lifting done by Los Angeles and Philadelphia to clear up the top of the draft board, it's time to unveil our final NFL mock draft.
Join Mike Gill and I for a special draft day edition of "The Sports Bash" on Thursday live from Tailgaters on the White Horse Pike in Galloway Township to discuss it and all the other news leading up to the first pick.
So, without further ado, it's time to lock it down:
1. - Los Angeles Rams (trade with Tennessee Titans) - Jared Goff, QB, California - The Eagles seems very secure in the knowledge that Goff is the choice for the Rams and it makes a lot of sense because they are looking to make a splash in Year 1 back in Los Angles and need the more NFL-ready option, perceived to be Goff because he played against a high level of competition in the Pac-12.
2. - Philadelphia Eagles (trade with Cleveland Browns) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - The Birds get the apple of Doug Pederson's eye in Wentz, a prospect Philadelphia loves for his size, athleticism and arm strength but are particularly smitten with his leaderships skills and intelligence. The organization brought in a lot of minds who understand the QB position in the offseason to get this decision right and believes it has.
“He has more freedom at the line of scrimmage for a college quarterback than just about anybody I’ve seen since Andrew Luck,” NFL network draft analyst Mike Mayock said on his annual pre-draft conference call last week when discussing Wentz. “He changes the plays. He’s never gotten a B in school. He’s intelligent. He’s got a great work ethic, he loved he game of football, and if you’re talking about having a passion and being the face of the franchise, this is the kid.”
The plan is for Wentz to redshirt his rookie season as veteran Sam Bradford plays placeholder for a year with well-regarded backup Chase Daniel playing caddy. Once '17 rolls around Wentz would then be in line to take over and Daniel would remain as the backup with Bradford moving on to the another city.
That strategy may have looked good on paper but Bradford has already requested a trade now that his future has been defined, vowing to stay away from all of the Eagles' voluntary offseason work unless his demand is granted.
3. - San Diego Chargers - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - Tunsil would have been No. 1 overall if Tennessee didn't trade out and still won't last long. The Chargers have had issues for years in protecting Philip Rivers and this should solidify things at the all-important left tackle position for a decade or so.
4. - Dallas Cowboys - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State - The Cowboys' biggest need is probably pass rusher and they could certainly use a bell-cow back but this is a franchise that can't afford anymore mistakes when it comes to red flags and party-drug whispers continue to surround the Ohio State program. The versatile Ramsey is the best defender in this year's draft and has called himself a playmaker on the level of Von Miller.
5. - Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - Somebody is spreading rumors about Jack's knee and my guess is it's Jacksonville trying to scare others off. Gus Bradley is a defensive-minded head coach with 12 wins over his first three years in Northeast Florida who hasn't had much success on defense. If he doesn't want the fourth year to be his last, the stop unit needs to make major strides in 2016. Jack is a generational talent with meniscus issues.
6. - Baltimore Ravens - DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon - The Ravens need plenty of help at multiple positions but the versatile Buckner makes the most sense, a prospect with size, length, athleticism and an ability to get after the quarterback from both the outside and the interior.
7. - San Francisco 49ers - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis - Colin Kaepernick is so disgruntled that the 49ers almost have to move him. And that means San Francisco is forced to reach for the third best signal caller available and Lynch gets pushed up the board because of the Rams and Eagles.
8. - Miami Dolphins (trade with Cleveland Browns through Philadelphia Eagles) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - The desperate Dolphins jump up to get their running back while the analytics-driven Browns pick up a few more assets.
9. - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - The Bucs keep a very good corner in-state.
10. - New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - Ereck Flowers wasn't the answer at left tackle but Stanley is athletic enough to be, enabling Flowers to kick full-time to RT and give Eli Manning two impressive bodyguards for the rest of his shelf life.
11. - Chicago Bears - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia - There aren't many edge-rushing options in this draft so if you want one you have to strike early and the Bears may reach a bit here for Floyd.
12. - New Orleans Saints - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - Great value here. The Saints obviously need a ton of help on defense and Bosa falls a bit due to the Adderall whispers.
13. - Cleveland Browns (trade with Miami Dolphins through Philadelphia Eagles) - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State - After losing Mitchell Schwartz in free agency, the Browns get a nice fill-in with Conklin, the nasty Michigan State tackle who can team with Joe Thomas to give Hue Jackson great bookends.
14. - Oakland Raiders - William Jackson, CB, Houston - The Raiders certainly need help outside the numbers on defense and Jackson is the fast-riser at CB.
15. - Tennessee Titans (trade with St. Louis Rams) - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State - The Titans wanted Tunsil at No. 1 overall but Decker is a solid consolation prize that will team with Taylor Lewan to give Music City a pair of top-tier big uglies from the Big Ten.
16. - Detroit Lions - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville - Detroit has bigger needs but Rankins is a borderline-top 10 talent and a great value here who should fit nicely into the interior rotation with Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker.
17. - Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson - Vic Beasley needs some help on the pass rush and Lawson is the type of athletic edge option Dan Quinn loves.
18. - Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, OC, Alabama - The first priority of the Colts needs to be protecting Andrew Luck so Ryan Grigson goes need over best available.
19. - Buffalo Bills - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama - The Ryans are quickly losing their reps as defensive geniuses so bringing in Reed should give quite a boost to a front seven that was in major decline after Jim Schwartz moved on.
20. - New York Jets - Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky - The Jets take the gamble and bet on the former Ohio State edge rusher who is the best pure pass-rushing option in this draft.
21. - Washington Redskins - Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama - The Josh Norman signing takes corner off the board for the Redskins and turns them toward solidifying the middle of the defense where Ragland is a monster-sized, physical, old-school Mike.
22. - Houston Texans - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor - The WR run starts here. The best way to make Brock Osweiler a success is to surround him with skill-position talent. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the top three receivers in football and if you keep Coleman in-state, Houston will be well on its way to having one of the best duos in the game.
23. - Minnesota Vikings - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - Teddy Bridgewater's strengths are the intermediate throws and Treadwell is the king-sized receiver who understands route adjustments and will be become the QB's security blanket despite pedestrian speed.
24. - Cincinnati Bengals - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU - Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones were good, complimentary receivers next to the dynamic A.J. Green. Doctson will be even better than that.
25. - Pittsburgh Steelers - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson - The corner position has been a mess in Pittsburgh for a few years now and getting a proven producer like Alexander could have the team trending in the right direction at the position again.
26. - Seattle Seahawks - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana - Most would put a second-round grade on Spriggs but he's tremendously athletic and the offensive line is an even bigger need than usual in Seattle with Russell Okung now in Denver.
27. - Green Bay Packers - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor - With B.J. Raji gone, the Packers need a big body in the middle of the defense and Billings fills that prescription.
28. - Kansas City Chiefs - Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State - With Justin Houston's health in question, getting another athletic outside option is great value here.
29. - Arizona Cardinals - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama - The Cards could use some help on the interior of the defensive line and that position happens to be the deepest in the draft so the rich get richer here.
30. - Carolina Panthers - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State - The defending NFC champs get Josh Norman's replacement with the tough-minded Voorhees, NJ native who should be a contributor from square one thanks to the Panthers' zone-heavy defense.
31. - Denver Broncos - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State - The trade market is still relevant for John Elway but if he can't get Colin Kaepernick or Sam Bradford, look for him to pull the trigger on Cook, who has tumbled over leadership questions, not physical ability.
--Note: The New England Patriots have no pick in the first round due to league penalties related to DeflateGate.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen