For my fifth edition of the 2016 NFL mock draft, I bring you one that features trades.
Trades are a big reason why projecting how the draft might go is next to impossible, given the unpredictability of teams moving up or down the board to select players they want.
I used the traditional trade value chart to project the terms of these trades, even though I know it’s somewhat obsolete nowadays. But most draft-day trades still loosely follow it as a guideline to determine correct value for picks.
I tried not to go overboard but did my best to strive for realism with these trades. One thing I will note that I did not project nearly as many trades as I should have for the second round as the past three drafts have totaled around 19 draft-day trades in that round. I only projected two, which was all I could do to keep my head from spinning trying to keep track of everything.
But here goes:
1. Tennessee Titans – OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi
After projecting the Titans to go in a different direction in my last mock, I’m back to projecting them to take Tunsil with the top selection.
2. *TRADE* Los Angeles Rams (from Cleveland) – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Trade Terms: Rams trade their 1st (15) and two 2nds (43 and 45) and a 2017 2nd-round pick to Browns for their 1st (2).
Despite all the statements to the contrary, the Rams have the ammo to move up in the draft to try and upgrade over Case Keenum at quarterback. Wentz is the guy that they deem worthy of bringing on the move to L.A. as the face of their franchise. This trade also makes sense from the Browns’ perspective because I believe their new management is attempting to ape the Ozzie Newsome template of team-building by accumulating future compensatory picks by allowing their key free agents to walk. Another hallmark of the “Ozzie method” is to trade back in the draft to get more picks. Netting two additional second-round picks as part of this trade makes sense. Given the recent addition of Robert Griffin III at quarterback, they might be willing to wait until the second round to select their signal-caller of the future.
3. San Diego Chargers – S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
The Chargers need to replace Eric Weddle in the secondary, and adding a player like Ramsey makes perfect sense.
4. Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Despite reports that the Cowboys don’t like Bosa that much, this pick just makes too much sense given their needs.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – ILB Myles Jack, UCLA
The Jaguars have solidified every level of their defense in free agency except one: linebacker. They’ll leave that to the draft, where they can select Jack.
6. Baltimore Ravens – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
The more I see of Buckner, the more I believe he’ll be the next Calais Campbell.
7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Jared Goff, California
Even though they have yet to move Colin Kaepernick, it’s hard to imagine them reconciling with him. Goff gives them a fresh start.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
It’s a high selection for a running back, but not really once you consider how talented Elliott is.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
The Bucs get the edge-rusher they so desperately have sought the past several years.
10. New York Giants – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
He gives them a tough, physical run blocker that can play either tackle spot for them.
11. Chicago Bears – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
He can be plugged in immediately to man the left tackle position.
12. New Orleans Saints – CB William Jackson, Houston
Jackson’s stock is on the rise and truth be told, I have no clue how NFL teams view this year’s crop of top cornerbacks. Thus, they could come off the board in any order. Jackson has the best combination of size, athleticism and technique that should give the Saints at least some hope that they can check Julio Jones in the future.
13. Miami Dolphins – CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
It’s likely that the Dolphins’ new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph prefers bigger corners than Hargreaves, but he’s too talented and skilled to get too caught up in his measurables.
14. Oakland Raiders – OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State
The Raiders will deploy Lee in a hybrid inside linebacker/strong safety role, offering the versatility to plug two holes with one player.
15. Cleveland Browns (from Los Angeles) – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
A lack of trust in Justin Gilbert combined with Joe Haden’s injury concerns and Tramon Williams’ age, makes adding a player like Alexander a savvy move if he can help them keep Antonio Brown in check.
16. Detroit Lions – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
Rankins gives the Lions an impact pass-rusher on the interior hopefully to help the memory of Ndamukong Suh begin to fade away.
17. *TRADE* Denver Broncos (from Atlanta) – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Trade Terms: Broncos send their 1st (31), 2nd (63) and 5th (144) to Falcons for their 1st (17)
With some extra ammunition, the Broncos can afford to jump up to get their quarterback rather than going into 2016 with Mark Sanchez atop the depth chart. With Lee, Lawson and Rankins off the board, it makes sense for the Falcons to move back. Getting back the fifth-round pick lost a year ago was a key part of making this trade happen. They hope that they can still land a quality player at the end of the first round.
18. Indianapolis Colts – OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
The Colts want to upgrade their pass rush and think Floyd has the potential to do so.
19. Buffalo Bills – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
Dodd is a good replacement for Mario Williams in Rex Ryan’s scheme, given both his potential abilities to rush the quarterback and play the run in Buffalo’s many 3-4 fronts.
20. *TRADE* Seattle Seahawks (from New York Jets) – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
Trade Terms: Seahawks send their 1st (26) and 3rd (90) to Jets for their 1st (20)
The Seahawks desperately need to upgrade their offensive line after losing both Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy in free agency. Spriggs’ athleticism should fit really well in their zone-blocking scheme at left tackle. The Jets have several needs, but nothing so pressing that they can’t afford to move back a few spots and pick up an extra third-round pick in the process.
21. Washington Redskins – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
Billings will be tasked with replacing Terrance Knighton at nose tackle.
22. Houston Texans – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
Coleman is the explosive playmaker that the Texans are looking for to put opposite DeAndre Hopkins.
23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, TCU
The Vikings are looking for more playmakers at wide receiver and Doctson has the blend of size, ball skills and speed that Norv Turner traditionally likes.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi
The wide receiver draft trifecta is complete with the Bengals selecting Treadwell to replace Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu and potentially getting a much better player to put across from A.J. Green.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – SS Vonn Bell, Ohio State
The Steelers are looking for someone to be the leader on the back end of their secondary and Bell is that.
26. New York Jets (from Seattle) – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
The Jets settle for Decker (not related to Eric), who can be plugged in immediately at right tackle but also give them an heir apparent at left tackle should they part ways with D’Brickashaw Ferguson next season.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
The loss of Sean Smith opens a void here that Apple’s size and speed should be perfect at filling.
29. *TRADE* Miami Dolphins (from Arizona) – RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
Trade Terms: Dolphins send their 2nd (42) and 3rd (73) to Cardinals for their 1st (29) and 5th (167)
The Dolphins swung and missed trying to add running back C.J. Anderson to the roster and will “settle” to jump up to take Henry. The Cardinals don’t have a pressing need at this point and moving back and picking up a third-round pick helps offset what they gave up in the Chandler Jones trade.
30. Carolina Panthers – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
The Panthers will sit back and wait for a good pass-rusher to slide to this spot.
31. Atlanta Falcons (from Denver) – MLB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Even though there are legitimate concerns about Ragland’s fit in the defensive scheme, the Falcons can’t pass up their gaping need at middle linebacker. Whatever Ragland’s athletic deficiencies, the team is hoping he makes up for with his toughness, physicality and leadership over Paul Worrilow. The Falcons might try and minimize whatever limitations by asking him to play at 240 pounds or under.
32. Cleveland Browns – QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
The Browns get their young developmental quarterback at the top of the second round.
33. Tennessee Titans – FS Darian Thompson, Boise State
The Titans need to bolster their secondary and Thompson is a good fit to do so.
34. *TRADE* Houston Texans (from Dallas) – SS Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Trade Terms: Texans send their 2nd (52), 3rd (85) and 5th (166) to the Cowboys for their 2nd (34)
With Thompson off the board, the Texans can’t afford to wait around to see if a good safety slides to them. They pull the trigger to move up to get Joseph, who might be the most talented safety in this year’s draft class. The Cowboys get to move back and collect some more assets.
35. San Diego Chargers – DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Once projected as a potential top 10 selection, Robinson slides to the top of round two where the Chargers happily snatch him up.
36. Baltimore Ravens – DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
The Ravens won’t have many qualms about Spence’s off-field baggage given the amount of trust they have in the strength of their locker room. Spence gives them a young heir apparent to Terrell Suggs.
37. San Francisco 49ers – WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Chip Kelly will certainly be looking for more playmakers at wide receiver. Thomas passes the “SPARQ” test that Kelly cares so much about.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars – OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama
After trying for years to solidify this spot in free agency, the Jaguars decide to secure it with the consensus top center prospect in Kelly.
39. *TRADE* New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) – TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Trade Terms: Jets send their 2nd (51) and two 4ths (118 and 119) to Buccaneers for their 2nd (39)
The Jets have a hole at tight end given the lack of development from Jace Amaro. Knowing that there’s little chance that their guys slides to No. 51, moving up makes sense. The Bucs are willing to move down because they’re confident the cornerback they want will still be available later in the round.
40. New York Giants – DT Jonathan Bullard, Florida
The Giants will designate Bullard as an interior pass-rusher with the expectation that he’ll supplant Damon Harrison on passing downs and also give them insurance in case Johnathan Hankins departs in free agency next year.
41. Chicago Bears – TE Austin Hooper, Stanford
With the Jets snagging Henry, the Bears have to pull the trigger on Hooper.
42. Arizona Cardinals (from Miami) – OC Nick Martin, Notre Dame
The Cardinals can’t be sold on A.Q. Shipley as a 16-game starter, so they draft Martin as an insurance policy and long-term center.
43. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia through Los Angeles) – DE Chris Jones, Mississippi State
The Browns beef up their front by adding the versatile Jones.
44. Oakland Raiders – FS Justin Simmons, Boston College
Looking to replace Charles Woodson as their defense’s center fielder, the Raiders take a shot at the athletic Simmons.
45. Cleveland Browns (from Los Angeles) – OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
Ifedi will be tasked with the duty of replacing Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.
46. Detroit Lions – CB Xavien Howard, Baylor
The Lions look to improve their secondary by adding Howard to team with Darius Slay.
47. New Orleans Saints – OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford
Looking to replace Jahri Evans, the Saints go after the physical Garnett.
48. Indianapolis Colts – OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
The Colts can’t afford to keep neglecting their offensive line and manage to snag Whitehair.
49. Buffalo Bills – MLB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
Perry offers the versatility to play all inside or outside for Rex Ryan, but might be deemed savvy enough to man the middle initially.
50. Atlanta Falcons – SS Keanu Neal, Florida
Dan Quinn helped recruit him to college, now he’ll do the same for the pros. Neal gives the Falcons a physical run defender on the back end to replace William Moore.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from N.Y. Jets) – CB Will Redmond, Mississippi State
He suffered an ACL tear this past fall, but some considered him to be a first-round talent before it happened. Redmond will be redshirted for a year in hopes that in 2017 he can solve the Bucs’ Julio Jones problem.
52. Dallas Cowboys (from Houston) – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
Butler slides to a good spot for the Cowboys, who can plug him in beside Bosa, Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence to give them a very formidable front four.
53. Washington Redskins – WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
Fuller will be tasked with potentially adding the explosive element to the offense if DeSean Jackson isn’t back in 2017.
54. Minnesota Vikings – OLB Su’a Cravens, Southern California
Cravens will be played as a weak-side linebacker, replacing Chad Greenway.
55. Cincinnati Bengals – CB Jalen Mills, LSU
Mills will be groomed as the long-term nickel cornerback behind Adam Jones, but also might get some first-year looks at free safety to replace Reggie Nelson.
56. Seattle Seahawks – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi
The Seahawks showed with draft Frank Clark that they won’t shy away from character questions if they believe the player has the athleticism and potential to dominate.
57. Green Bay Packers – RB Devontae Booker, Utah
With Eddie Lacy entering a contract year, Booker gives them great insurance.
58. Pittsburgh Steelers – WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
The suspension of Martavis Bryant means the clean-cut Boyd could be deemed the long-term No. 2 to Antonio Brown.
59. Kansas City Chiefs – ILB Deion Jones, LSU
Jones will be plugged in beside Derrick Johnson, in the hopes that he can learn a thing or two over the next few years before eventually replacing him.
60. New England Patriots – CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
Jones gives them a young cornerback to groom in case Logan Ryan leaves via free agency next year.
61. New England Patriots (from Arizona) – RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
Dixon possesses the skills both as a runner and receiver to be an asset in the Patriots offense.
62. Carolina Panthers – WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
The quick Shepard will be dangerous option for the Panthers in the slot.
63. Atlanta Falcons (from Denver) – DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
The Falcons nab Clark to replace Paul Soliai at nose tackle, giving them another solid, young defensive tackle alongside Grady Jarrett and Ra’Shede Hageman for Dan Quinn to build around. Clark’s addition should allow the Falcons to limit Jarrett’s snaps in the base package, and make him fresher for snaps as an interior disruptor in the nickel sub-package.