As the 2015 NFL Regular Season comes to a close, as well as the looming Black Monday firing "witch hunt" arrives to many organizations, multiple teams this season has suffered disappointing results and will look to scrap it all up in the offseason. With that being said, the 2016 NFL Draft will start in late April once again, and it's never too early to start guessing which direction each team will take for the future. Here's the first, of what hopes to be many, VAVEL NFL Mock Draft of 2016.
1. Tennessee Titans - DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)
Bosa has been often compared to the Houston Texans' franchise player in defensive end J.J. Watt, and it showed by his time with the Buckeyes. His athletic presence and strength along the line of scrimmage would be a nightmare for any team's offensive line. The Titans seems to need almost anything besides a franchise quarterback, and getting the best prospect in the whole draft class would help immensely.
2. Cleveland Browns - QB Jared Goff (California)
After recent reports foreshadowing the inevitable divorce between the Browns and Johnny Manziel, as well as the reports of the firing of head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Jimmy Haslam, the Browns are scrapping it all once again. Jared Goff is the most pro-ready quarterback out of anyone in this year's class, as he has shown he can make any type of throw without fear and with pin-point accuracy, especially deep down the middle of the field. He would be the best chance for a football turnaround in Cleveland and saving them from an era of irrelevancy and sorrow.
3. San Diego Chargers - WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
After the injury to star wideout Keenan Allen in the middle of the season, the Chargers were forced to play multiple other receivers in order to even match half of his production during the season, but to no avail. Treadwell is a physical specimen that will go and beat you with his size and strength and beat any corner for a jump ball, similar to Dez Bryant with Tony Romo at quarterback. Laquon Treadwell would give the Chargers a deadly one-two combo for years to come.
4. Dallas Cowboys - QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
After seeing Tony Romo on the sideline for most of the season, it must have gotten team owner and general manager Jerry Jones seriously worried about the team's future at quarterback. Paxton Lynch would be a perfect pupil under Romo and head coach Jason Garrett. He's got the size, mobility and presence you want to mold in today's NFL quarterback, as Lynch would reassure that the future of the Cowboys will be as big as the star painted at midfield at AT&T Stadium.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - CB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)
While the Jags seem to be suddenly loaded with offensive talent, the defense had been lacking, especially on third downs and in passing situations. Jalen Ramsey has the size and awareness you want for a defense that needs to be tighter in coverage. His size could also put him as a safety or a 4-3 outside linebacker with his versatility, as it would give head coach Gus Bradley a very valuable weapon needed on defense.
6. Baltimore Ravens - CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida)
While the team's secondary seemed to have stepped up in the final half of the 2015 regular season, adding Vernon Hargreaves III would makes the Ravens secondary much-feared once again. At just a little under six-feet tall, he shows a lot of aggression and physicality that makes him valuable in both pass coverage and open-field tackling in run coverage.
7. San Francisco 49ers - OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)
The team has reportedly let go of head coach Jim Tomsula after one season, and potentially general manager Trent Baalke. The team is still rebuilding after the awful 2015 offseason of multiple players leaving. Laremy Tunsil would be a blindside tackle for the future, after the team misses out on the top two quarterbacks of the draft. Tunsil knew how to handle speed and power at the collegiate level, as he has the potential to be one of the best at the position for years to come.
8. Miami Dolphins - OLB Myles Jack (UCLA)
While the Dolphins look for a new head coach and general manager, the team has young and talented pieces on offense but need to add on to a lacking defense behind both Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. The freakish athleticism of Myles Jack should not be denied, despite the knee injury that he occurred in September. Jack flies all over the field with his speed and awareness, as he would give Miami a dynamic 4-3 outside linebacker for stability in every down.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State)
The Bucs need to replace veterans on the team, especially on both the offensive and defensive line that just won't cut for the future of the team. The addition of Emmanuel Ogbah gives the Bucs speed, length, and power needed for a 4-3 defensive end in Lovie Smith's defense. His physicality would make a perfect fit and fill a need for a very needy defense, especially with the other quarterbacks in the NFC North.
10. New York Giants - OT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)
Even with the addition of Ereck Flowers in last year's draft, the Giants would add another top-tier talent that would play opposite of him. The size, strength, and athleticism of Ronnie Stanley would give much needed protection for an aging Eli Manning at quarterback. No matter who the head coach will be with the Giants next season, protecting Eli as much as you can could be vital in a very vulnerable division next season.
11. Chicago Bears - DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)
For the Bears, it was a better year than most people expected but there is a lot of work to be done to compete with the rest of the NFC North, especially when getting into the opposing backfield. Buckner gives the Bears a long and powerful 3-4 defensive end that has the tools to get to the backfield with relative ease. He is a physical specimen at 6'7" and 290 lbs. that could become another defensive legend in Chicago.
12. New Orleans Saints - DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)
The Saints held the worst defense in the league last season, and it was impacted by the inability to get pressure at the quarterback, especially to help their struggling secondary. Shaq Lawson was one of the major surprises with his rise in many draft boards in 2016, but he has earned the right to be there. He has it all with his power, speed, and motor that many teams would love to get a hold of. His dominance this season may even put him higher on draft boards in the upcoming months.
13. Philadelphia Eagles - OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
The Eagles need a much needed reboot after the Chip Kelly experiment, especially on their much-beaten offensive line last season. No matter who's the quarterback next season, Taylor Decker can become a valuable member of the Eagles with his large frame at 6'7" and 317 lbs., and his strong hands to give the team much needed protection for both passing and running the ball.
14. Oakland Raiders - CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
While the offense seems to be heading in the right direction, head coach Jack Del Rio held one of the worst secondaries in football last season, as it should be their primary need in this year's draft. Alexander is a highly athletic corner who can move around like a running back. He holds a very aggressive play and instincts that would remind Del Rio of Rasheen Mathis back in his prime with the Jaguars, giving Oakland a much needed boost at the position.
15. St. Louis Rams - WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
The Rams offense seemed devoid of a passing game, whether you point that to another year of inconsistent quarterback play or a lack of weapons to pass to. Corey Coleman was one of the biggest deep threats in college football last season and would give the Rams a vertical threat. He is very aggressive for a 5'11" receiver and can make proper adjustments with his body and hands to give the Rams the number one target they have looked for since the Torry Holt days.
16. Detroit Lions - ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)
While playing more in a 3-4 atmosphere in Alabama, the Detroit Lions need a presence in the middle that could support rising star Ziggy Ansah on the defensive side of the ball. Reggie Ragland would give the Lions a physical presence that would be big for the squad, especially in run defense. His physicality also makes him a dangerous and reliable open-field tackler, when needed.
17. Atlanta Falcons - S Jayron Kearse (Clemson)
Head coach Dan Quinn took over a defense that needed many fixes. However, even with a void pass rush this season, they missed a safety that could be a nightmare for receivers and ball carriers to get past. Jaylon Kearse is a freakish strong-side safety at 6'4" and even though he is still trying to add on weight, Kearse's athletic range, ball skills and physical nature are why teams should be excited about his potential to be one of the best safeties in the league for years to come.
18. Indianapolis Colts - DT Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
After getting charged with marijuana possession and missing out on the Sugar Bowl for Ole Miss, which could potentially affect his draft status, the Colts need as much help on their defense as possible, no matter who's coaching the team next season. Robert Nkemdiche has nice athleticism for his size and can shift along the line easily to become a presence for any team, especially in run support. He is a talent that should not be denied by teams, no matter how far he falls in the draft.
19. Buffalo Bills - OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)
After multiple reports of Bills defensive players like Mario Williams complaining about the 3-4 scheme of Rex Ryan's defense, getting a 3-4 pass rusher should be a priority for the Bills in the draft. Leonard Floyd would give Buffalo much needed help along their pass rush, with surprising power for his smaller frame at 6'3" and 242 lbs. Floyd has a relentless motor that teams would appreciate to have on their team.
20. New York Jets - OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)
If multiple pass rushers are going to go by the Jets in this year's draft, as expected, they would need to bolster up the strong-side of their offensive line that massively struggled this season. Jack Conklin's intangibles make him a mauler in the run game. He has decent awareness and is well built with excellent core strength, while using his powerful upper body and center of gravity that would give the Jets stability at the right tackle position.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Tre'Davious White (LSU)
Pittsburgh's secondary struggled massively a season ago, and it would help to find a replacement for many of the veterans that are currently still on the Steelers roster. Tre'Davious White comes from a long line of LSU secondary players to have first round potential to call his own. His quickness and athleticism helps him blanket a receiver and has the instincts and ball skills to cause multiple pass deflections, which the Steelers need badly.
22. Seattle Seahawks - OT Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M)
The Seahawks offensive line gave multiple problems to Russell Wilson this season, as the team needs stability along the line, especially on the right side. Germain Ifedi could be involved in a long line of Texas A&M offensive linemen that have been drafted in the first round over the past four years, as he shows great presence in the running game with his big 6'5" 325 lbs. body that can beat up defenders with his shifty feet and long vines for arms.
23. Green Bay Packers - DT A'Shawn Robinson (Alabam)
The Green Bay Packers currently lack a presence along the middle of the defensive line that could help support a rising star in Mike Daniels. A'Shawn Robinson has the proportionate bulk, strength and balance to be effective as a top-tier run stopper, and even pass rusher, in the NFL.
24. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Jason Spriggs (Indiana)
Even with the already struggling Eric Fisher on the roster, the Chiefs still need another tackle to provide protection for Alex Smith and open up running lanes for Kansas City's slew of talented running backs. Jason Spriggs would give the zone blocking tackle the Chiefs would love. He has the athleticism that makes him viable in both pass and run protection to beat rushers along the line.
25. Washington Redskins - DT Kenny Clark (UCLA)
While Washington did win the NFC East this season, there are still multiple needs for depth along the team, especially in the trenches. Kenny Clark provides leverage and power from his time as a high school wrestling champion. He is a very versatile defensive lineman that can use his strength and quickness to get into the backfield with ease.
26. Houston Texans - QB Connor Cook (Michigan State)
While Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden have been solid in Houston's late push to win the their first division title since 2012, neither will be the their franchise quarterback for the next 10-15 years. He has the ideal size for an NFL quarterback with the arm and deceiving athleticism you would want learning the pro system. He has made multiple throws in college that would translate well into the league.
27. Minnesota Vikings - OLB Su'a Cravens (USC)
While the experienced Chad Greenway seems to be on the decline and potentially out the door in Minnesota, they would need to find a nice replacement to play in the 4-3 outside linebacker role. Su'a Cravens has the pursuit you want in an outside linebacker, almost playing like a strong safety in the second line of defense. He also has great awareness that makes him dangerous when locked in on the quarterback's eyes to make a play in the passing game.
28. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Michael Thomas (Ohio State)
Multiple wide receivers on the Bengals roster may be able to test the free agency waters this coming offseason, as some of them may not be able to return to Cincinnati next season. Adding Michael Thomas would give Cincinnati a nice slot receiver to go along with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert at tight end. He's a fantastic route runner and has nice hands to grind out the tough passes along the middle of the field.
29. Denver Broncos - OG Cody Whitehair (Kansas State)
The Broncos currently have an offensive line that has been banged up and holds Evan Mathis at guard, who may not return next season. Cody Whitehair does an above average job of handling speed along the inside of the tackle, as he shows nice hand placement and balance to provide valuable protection for passing and running the ball.
30. Arizona Cardinals - OLB Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)
The former Buckeye suffered problems at the university due to drug addiction and has since tried to get his life together and get his football career fixed, in the process. Spence's quickness and versatility would give the Cards the pass rusher they have been looking for, as well as the perfect team for Noah Spence, as head coach Bruce Arians can support him, as the team with the likes of Tyrann Mathieu a few seasons ago.
31. Carolina Panthers - RB Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State)
While the Carolina already holds a potent running game with Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton on the team, Stewart isn't getting any younger and the chance to add another talented running back should be tempting for the Panthers. Elliott is a very intense runner with his best being shown when he runs the counter play, showing nice agility, as well as the power with his size, to become a great back in the NFL. He would give the Panthers a power back, as DeAngelo Williams did multiple seasons prior.
This mock draft does not include Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith after his knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl.
Due to the "DeflateGate" investigation, the New England Patriots were forced to forfeit their first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Draft order is due to change pending results from 2016 NFL Playoffs.