clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Mock Draft 2016: Eagles draft defense in the first round

Mock your socks off.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

If you check your calendar, yes, we are still in July. However, the thirst for mock drafts around the world (Internet) is insatiable. Luckily for all the NFL Draft and college football fanatics like myself, I have been going through film on a handful of college football players since the 2015 draft ended. For those of which that though the the talent was a bit underwhelming in the most recent draft are in luck! As of now, there are several players in this upcoming class that look like "Blue Chip" caliber players.

Hopefully, the Eagles will not be in a position to draft such players, but even after the top tier, there is a bevy of talented players (especially on the defensive side of the ball) that Philadelphia could get a shot at. Remember, this is a mock draft in July, so there is no need to get your undies in a bunch (there is never a need for that).

In the end, this is a way to preview of the top talents heading into the season.

*Mock draft order comes from Bovada's latest Super Bowl Odds

1. Titans- Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Ken Whisenhunt, who  went to a Super Bowl once and convinced the world he could coach, has gone 3-21 in his last 24 games as a head coach. Likely, his team will be picking near this very spot when next April rolls around. There are a lot of holes in the Titans roster, but nothing more scary than the fact of something called Byron Stingley potential starting at tackle next year. After drafting Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick, it is imperative to build a strong offensive line around him. The addition of Ronnie Stanley will go a long way to solidify a young group. Stanley looks like as good of a tackle prospect as I have seen to this point and the Titans, and Marcus Mariota, would be happy to welcome him to the roster.

2. Jaguars- Jalen Ramsey, DB, FSU

Defensive genius and greatest coach in Eagles history, Gus Bradley, finds his team picking in the top three once again in this situation. Though they are likely in this predicament due to ineptitudes on offense, it is painfully hard to ignore the glaring hole at free safety on their roster. Bradley's defense require a rangy safety on the back end to make the rest of the defense function, and it highly doubtful Sergio Brown or James Sample will be able to fill that role at any kind of high level. Ramsey, who will have had experience all over the defensive backfield at this point, is best suited playing free safety. He has top notch recognition combined with elite athletic ability. He has the ability to play over the top, cover the slot or attack the line of scrimmage as a run defender. The Jaguars have very few true impact players on defense and adding Ramsey would give them a stud at a huge position of need.

3. Washington- Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

If Washington is picking in the top three, they are also likely to be looking for a new answer at quarterback. It is doubtful that Jay Gruden gets another year after a result like this, but quarterback has to be the pick after Washington has seemingly permanently damaged Robert Griffin III. Hackenberg has received a lot of criticism after following up a fantastic freshman year with a statistically underwhelming second season in Happy Valley. While there are some knocks to his game, the truth is that he is a tremendous talent with great size, athletic ability, intelligence and one of the best arms to come out of college since Cam Newton. He was limited by James Franklin's offense last season and should see success in a more nuanced system. Hackenberg looks like a cornerstone player for a franchise and a quarterback needy team would be foolish to pass on such a talent. (But this is Washington we are talking about)

4. Buccanneers- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

After selecting their franchise quarterback in the 2015 class, the Buccaneers should look to address their offensive line moving forward. While there is some intrigue in the group with rookie Ali Marpet and veteran Demar Dotson, the depth chart looks bleak from there. Tunsil is a tremendously talented lineman with every tool in the book. He does not have the polish that Ronnie Stanley has, but his athletic ability lends itself to him having a higher ceiling. He has all the potential in the world to be a franchise left tackle.

5. Browns- Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State

Despite missing on the top quarterback, the Browns are lucky enough to score an elite defensive line prospect in Bosa. The Brown's front seven had its downfalls this passed season and, even with the edition of Danny Shelton, still needs a dynamic presence on the line. Bosa is an incredibly powerful defender with violent hands and explosion off the line. His athletic ability and size allows him to play at various spots in a defensive formation, which will prove wholly beneficial in Cleveland.

6. Raiders- Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

The Raiders have done a good job accruing young talent the last two drafts, but there is still a few holes to be filled in the secondary. Hargreaves has been knocked recently for not having the elite size that teams want from their cornerbacks, but the reality is that Hargreaves has the ability to be a top flight corner. His athletic ability, awareness, and technique make him an elite corner prospect, size be damned.

7. Rams- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Every year, the nation's top wide receiver prospect gets mocked to St. Louis. This year, after years of upgrading the trenches, seems like the draft where they may actually do it. While a trio of Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey is a decent group, it lacks an top tier "X-Receiver" that so many offenses need to operate. Treadwell needs to fully recover from a bad leg injury sustained at the end of last season, but he has been "the guy" in college football since he first stepped on the field. He has the size, athletic ability, hands and mentality of an elite receiver, and he's the type of player who will make any quarterback look good when throwing in his direction.

8. Jets- Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

There is a lot to like about what the Jets have done  on both sides of the ball this offseason. One of the lesser groups on their roster, though, is their linebacking group. They extended David Harris, who is not much more than a high end thumper, and they still have Demario Davis, who is still teetering between mediocrity and above average. Maybe the group is not in dire straits, but being in a position to take Jaylon Smith could make most incumbent linebackers irrelevant. Smith, as of now, is my top player in this class. His speed, recognition skills and strength are reminiscent of Lavonte David. He can cover with the best of them, work through traffic to stop the run and function as a very efficient blitzer. Smith would be an absolute hellion in Todd Bowles aggressive scheme and could take the Jets defense to an incredible level working behind Sheldon Richardson and Muhammed Wilkerson.

9. Texans- Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati

The Texans are a team with a ton of talent and a very good head coach, but lack anything inspiring at the most important position in football, quarterback. Kiel, a former top high school prospect, had a huge first year at Cincinnati, displaying arm strength, accuracy, decision making and poise. It was pretty amazing to see a player operate at such a high level in his first year, which bodes well for him going forward. Kiel has all the tools Bill O'Brien looks for in a quarterback and I am sure the Texans would be happy with the opportunity to finally get a competent signal caller behind center.

10. Bears- Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Only two years removed from taking Kyle Fuller, Chicago gets the brothers back together in the Bears secondary. The defense is in dire need of talent across the board and here they take another stud defensive back. Fuller possesses great feet, closing speed and is a very aggressive tackler and run defender. Vic Fangio would love to have a Fuller duo in his secondary and it would go a long way to make Chicago better on defense.

11. Chargers- Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

The Chargers have a habit of drafting slow, thumping linebackers to play in their defense. 2015 draft pick, Denzel Perryman will probably do well at the SILB spot, but Manti Te'o usually waits for a runner to come five yards down the field before trying to hug him. Not to mention, neither is an asset in coverage. Myles Jack is one of the most natural coverage linebackers I have seen. He is so fluid in space, he got time at safety and cornerback at UCLA and looked tremendous. He has to clean up his ability to attack the line of scrimmage, but he flashes dominance coming downhill with his speed. Jack still has a ways to go, but he could emerge as an elite linebacking prospect.

12. Saints- Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn

The Saints have been trying to get more physical across the board, and adding a playmaker like Lawson will do a lot for their front seven. Lawson has great burst and bend around the edge and is a tremendously clean pass rushing prospect. The biggest concern is whether or not he can rebound from injury. If he can and he improves on his sophomore season, expect him to get hype as a top edge rushing player.

13. Lions- Robert Nkimdiche, DL, Ole Miss

The Lions lost a lot of talent this passed offseason as Nick Fairly went to St. Louis and Ndamukong Suh followed the money to Miami. It is incredibly difficult to offset losing such talent, but drafting the former number one recruit in the nation could help. Nkimdiche has been the victim of some overcorrection in the passed few months. He has been labeled a grade-A stud by many, and a dud by others, but the truth is somewhere in the middle. Ole Miss had Nkimdiche playing very heavy last season and it impacted his conditioning throughout games. However, there were flashes of absolute dominance as a pass rusher and run defender. I think Nkimdiche is best suited playing around 280 pounds rather than the 300 he was at last season. Ideally, he can move around a formation a la Michael Bennett and impact that way. If Nkimdiche can get in better condition and find consistency, he likely goes a lot higher than this.

14. Panthers- Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

The Panthers have finally geared their drafting towards putting pieces around their 100 million dollar quarterback. Kelvin Benjamin and 2015 pick, Devin Funchess provide more high variance, jump ball type receivers, but they both lack the consistency to spearhead a passing game. Doctson, who has flown under the radar to this point, has the potential to be a true number one on any team. Doctson is a tremendous technician at wide receiver, running precise routes with great footwork and possesses a great release. With the ball in the air, Doctson has tremendous ball skills and does a great job boxing out defenders and using his strong hands to come down with a pass. He is not an elite athlete, but his savvy at the position makes separation look easy and his vision after the catch makes him a threat from anywhere on the field. The Panthers need consistency from their skill players and Doctson could put a cap on what would be a dangerous group moving forward.

15. Falcons- Karl Joseph, S, WVU

Dan Quinn has had a great first offseason in Atlanta. His 2015 draft could go a long way in transforming that team, especially on defense. What still stands out is the lack of talent at the safety position. Joseph is a bit undersized, but he does not play small. Joseph has very good range in coverage and is a stud coming down on the line of scrimmage. He does not play the ball in air very well, but his athletic ability and recognition allow him to play over the top. He is a good fit at free safety in Atlanta and would solidify a young and talented defense.

16. 49ers- McKenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson

The 49ers have suffered a mass exodus from their roster in 2015 and could use an influx of talent all over the field. Alexander is a stud man coverage corner who has flown under the radar due to being in the same class as Fuller and Hargreaves. San Fransisco could use some talent on the outside of their secondary and Alexander impacts immediately in that situation.

17. Vikings- Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

The Vikings have a ton of young talent on offense, but their left tackle situation limited the team last season. It is to be seen if Matt Kalil can rebound, but the Vikings should be looking to move on if this is a trend from him. Decker is a very good technician at tackle with good strength and movement abilities. He will not wow like Tunsil or Stanley, but he has the potential to be a top fifteen tackle in the league. The Vikings need to address the offensive line and Decker is a safe bet to upgrade over Kalil.

18. Dolphins- Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU

The Dolphins have done a good job stacking the skill positions the last two years, but now they need to solidify their offensive line. Branden Albert and Ju'Wuan James can hold down the edges of the line, but there is still a need for players to strengthen the guard position. Alexander is a mauler through and through, but also possesses light feet for a man his size (6-6/32) and good leverage. He is expected to move to tackle this season, but I still feel he can be a very good guard in the NFL.

19. Chiefs- Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

It is rare that an Andy Reid team spends a premium pick on a linebacker, but with Derrick Johnson coming off injury and not much behind it, it is possible 2016 is the year Reid makes this call. Lee is a very athletic linebacker with good sideline to sideline ability and is very dependable in coverage. He needs to do better working through traffic, but a strong Chiefs defensive line would elevate Lee tremendously. The Chiefs are stacked on defense and the addition of Lee could make this team scary.

20. Bengals- Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

The Bengals have all world stud, Geno Atkins at one defensive tackle spot, but it is a very weak group behind him. Throw in a stalwart like Billings next to Atkins and the Bengals would have a formidable interior line. Billings has tremendous lower body strength and strong, violent hands to make him an absolute pain in the ass to move in the run game. He displays good leverage to get off of blocks and create pressure in the passing game. Next to a penetrating three technique like Atkins, Billings would be absolutely impossible to deal with.

21. Bills- A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

The Bills have a ton of talent on defense, but a sneaky need is along their defensive line. Marcel Dareus is a stud, and as is Kyle Williams, but Williams is not getting any younger and there is not much depth behind the two of them. Robinson is a physically gifted lineman with great size and strength. He is a perfect fit at five technique in Buffalo and would give the Bills a strong, young group for years to come.

22. Giants- Deforest Buckner, DL, Oregon

The Giants defensive line is in flux a bit after Jason Pierre Paul injured himself in a firework incident. Besides that conundrum, they could still use more impact players along there line to stack with Johnathan Hankins. Buckner is a disruptive and versatile linemen with very good athletic ability, technique and a high motor. He is not a polished pass rusher yet, but has the tools to win there and is already a good run defender. The Giants would be smart to continue to stack their defensive line just in case they end up losing Pierre Paul, one way or another.

23. Ravens- Su’a Cravens, S, USC

The Matt Elam experiment has been an abject failure (Ozzie does it again!) and the Ravens would be smart to move on from him as the answer at strong safety. Cravens would be a massive upgrade, bringing size, physicality and athletic ability to the Ravens secondary. Cravens attacks the line of scrimmage like a linebacker, but has the athletic ability to hold up in coverage. He is a versatile defensive weapon and could help the Ravens secondary take the next step.

24. Cardinals- Devonte Fields, EDGE, Louisville

Despite being a few years removed from football, Fields has the potential to throw himself into first round consideration this year at Louisville. He is a highly athletic and can do a ton of damage off the edge. There is some character issues at work and the fact that he has not played football in a few years after transferring to Louisville is a worry, but the talent is undeniable. The Cardinals lack a true edge threat and would jump at the opportunity to get a player like Fields.

25. Steelers- Cam Sutton, CB, Tennesee

The Steelers have been adding more athletes to their defense through the draft as of late, and Sutton is an athletic corner who would upgrade their secondary. Despite drafting Senquez Golson and Doran Grant last season, Pittsburgh could still use more young talent in the defensive backfield. Sutton has a good frame with long arms and possesses impressive ball skills. Sutton could stand to add weight (Only 190 pounds at 6-1), but there is a ton to like about the Volunteer corner.

26. Eagles- Tony Conner, S, Ole Miss

Oh. My. God. A. Safety. In all seriousness, it is hard to find a glaring hole on Philly's roster that can be addressed at this point in the draft. The best bet is to take a play making safety to start next to Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles are trying a lot of names in that spot this offseason and it is likely that they will be looking long term to fill it come next April. Conner is athletic and aggressive with good size and intelligence at the position. He tends to get a bit out of control at times, but he has the tools to be a top tier and versatile safety. The Eagles would be smart to make this play considering Jenkins would be entering the final year of his deal and the answer at the other safety spot is unclear.

27. Broncos- Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU

WHO!?!? Well, Wentz is an FCS quarterback, but that should not be misconstrued to think he is a lesser talent. Wentz has it all; Size, athletic ability, poise and an incredibly strong arm. After next year, it is likely Peyton Manning decides to hang it up for good and the Broncos will be searching for a new signal caller. Wentz has all the tools of a franchise quarterback, and his passing style is not dissimilar to Joe Flacco, who had a very good year under current Broncos head coach, Gary Kubiak. He may need some time to get adjusted to NFL speed, but Wentz is every part a first round prospect at this point.

28. Cowboys- Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

With the Dez Bryant situation on the rocks and a collection of underwhelming receivers behind him, it would be a smart play for Dallas to draft the Pitt Panther. Boyd is getting a lot of hype as a potential top fifteen talent, but I think this is the more likely spot for him, based on talent. Boyd is not a great athlete, but he is a tremendous technician at the position, with strong hands, good ball skills and impressive open field vision. I do not know if he will consistently be able to separate on the outside versus NFL corners, but he could be a very, very productive slot receiver, much like Jordan Matthews. Boyd very well could go higher, but the Cowboys should pounce on the opportunity to draft him here.

29. Patriots- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

The Patriots always seem to have holes at wide receiver and this year is no different. Julian Edleman is a slot receiver only and Brandon LaFell is very replaceable. A player like Williams could contribute immediately, as he is very strong at the catch point and is a gifted route runner. He has the size and athletic ability to make an impact all over the field, though he does not have the yards after catch skills to put him in the conversation with the other top receivers in this class. Anyway, his skill set is incredibly valuable and he would upgrade the Patriots receiving group immediately.

30. Seahawks- Anthony Zettell, DL, Penn State

The Seahawks have been a model of consistency on defense since Pete Carroll arrived, but it may be time to restock the cupboard along the defensive line. Zettell is an athletic technician at defensive tackle and a does a good job creating pressure as a pass rusher and disrupting the run game. He is a bit undersized at this point, but does a good job mitigating that with how well he uses leverage and anticipation. Zettell would be an absolute steal for Seattle this late.

31. Colts- Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State

As much as they love to pass the ball, the Colts could use a dynamic running threat to balance their offense. Elliot is as talented as they come at the running back position and likely would have been the first running back taken in the 2015 class. He has great size, vision, acceleration and power to make himself a complete back. Frank Gore will not last forever, so it would be a smart play to add an elite running back prospect while the Colts can.

32. Packers- Dadi Nicholas, EDGE, Virginia Tech

After spending every pick in 2015 on special teamers, the Packers would be smart to actually add players to their defense in 2016. Nicholas is a very athletic pass rusher who can bend around the edge or power through players. He is a bit undersized, but has the ability to play much bigger than he is listed. The Packers could use more talent at outside linebacker considering Julius Pepper's age, Clay Matthews part timing at inside linebacker and Nick Perry not playing up to his draft positioning. Nicholas would upgrade any defensive front, so this would be a good move by Green Bay at the end of the first.


Nothing is even close to being set in stone at this point, but this is a good way to look at who the top talents are in this upcoming draft class. Be sure to direct all your hatred to the comment section.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation