SRD NFL Mock Draft 1.0

It’s that time of year again folks, when the internet floods you with way too early mock drafts before the combine. The 2016 NFL draft is loaded with talent, allowing teams to find their future stars and role players that fans hope propel them to the promise land.

Now that the Senior Bowl is over and done with, we have a lot better look at what some of the rising stars will offer. Here is a look at my first edition mock draft.

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet, NFL shield, stage, and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet, NFL shield, stage, and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: New England forfeited it’s 2016 first round pick in its Deflate-gate punishment. The Patriots also forfeited its fourth round pick in 2017.

1. Tennessee Titans: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

To me this is a no brainer. The Titans defense was less than stellar in 2015 and need to find an anchor that it can focus around. Bosa is the best pass rusher in this draft and the Titans will have a hard time passing him up.

2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California

It is no secret that Johnny Football hasn’t figured out to be an NFL quarterback, and the Browns are ready to part ways with Johnny Football. That being said, new coach Hugh Jackson will need a franchise quarterback. Goff was regarded as the top quarterback in this draft during the college season and hopefully he can change the luck of the lowly Browns.

3. San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

The Chargers would be lucky if Tunsil is still on the board because they need offensive line help. Phillip Rivers needs help on the blind side and the best offensive tackle in this draft could fill that void. If Tunsil is there, they should be running to the podium to call his number.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Jack is a special kind of player and not even Jerry Jones could screw this one up. With a healthy Tony Romo, a dominant offensive line and Dez Bryant on the outside, the offense should be in good shape. Adding a playmaking linebacker who can do it all will make the Dallas defense more dangerous going into 2016.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

The Jaguars have made strides as a team but won’t get anywhere if they can’t tighten up their defense. Ramsey can be a reliable defensive back that can cover and play the run. Depending on what they do in free agency, they can fit Ramsey in at either safety or cornerback, which makes that defense a whole lot better.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

The Baltimore Ravens may not have itch defense of the past but they are still strong. Offensively, both Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett were injured and they need to be protected. Decker is a guy who can come in right away and take his lumps as they build a stronger line to protect their franchise quarterback.

7. San Fransisco 49ers: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

Many mock drafts have the 49ers taking a quarterback in the first round but Chip Kelly runs a run and gun offense that Colin Kaepernick could master. The loss of star linebacker Patrick Willis and emerging starter Chris Borland hurts, and the defense will need a pick me up after a rough season in 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went quarterback but the defense needs help.

  8. Miami Dolphins: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

The Dolphins have stars on their defensive line. But with Suh making a ton, Cameron Wake making a ton and having to likely franchise Olivier Vernon, a young defensive lineman may just be what they need if they have to cut Wake. It would be wise to invest some cheap young talent on the defensive line with the big salaries they are already paying.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Alexander is my top cornerback in this draft and it’s not close. The Buc’s have their quarterback, stud defensive lineman, stud linebacker but a less than stellar secondary. Alexander could be a player who makes an impact and allows Gerald McCoy to continue is dominance on the defensive line.

10. New York Giants: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky

If you haven’t heard of Spence, it’s probably because of his discretions at Ohio State and was removed from the team (you’ve got to do a lot to kicked off that team). Spence is an athletic freak that grades at the top of the list but character issues will push him behind Ragland as the top linebacker. The Giants need defense and he can surely make them better.

11. Chicago Bears: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Smith was a favorite to be a top linebacker in this draft but he knee injury late in the season makes him slide further down behind Spence and Ragland. Smith has all the talent in the world as a linebacker and the Bears love and need defense. Look for Smith to be a steal here.

12. New Orleans Saints: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Is it a surprise the Saints need a corner? They were a historically bad secondary and picking anything but a corner would be a mistake. Do us a favor New Orleans, take Hargreaves and never look back.

  13. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Wentz is a player that has seemed to come out of nowhere. He impressed during the week of the Senior Bowl and has shot up mock drafts like a fire in the wind. Wentz has the look of a NFL quarterback and the Eagles surely need a new guy behind center. Who would want Sam Bradford anyway?

14. Oakland Raiders: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Stanley has the potential to go way higher in this draft but with the lack of need at the position he may fall. Oakland needs the final piece to complete the young offense that is slowly becoming one of the best. Protect Carr, make holes for Murray and allow time for Cooper to catch passes and Stanley can be that main stay for years to come.

15. Los Angeles Rams: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Todd Gurly can’t do it all. With Nick Foles as the quarterback, he needs a playmaker outside of Tavon Austin to throw the ball to. Treadwell could be that player. He has the size, speed and hands to be the first wide receiver off the board and the Rams need a playmaker on the outside.

16. Detroit Lions: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

The Lions could go wide receiver or defensive tackle or linebacker but with the projected loss of Calvin Johnson, the offense line needs big time help if Matthew Stafford wants to stay upright. If the Lions expect him to do anything with no running game or protection, the offense will continue to struggle. With several defensive tackles receiving first round grades, they can find one later in the draft. The Lions desperately need to find their future left tackle and Conklin can be that guy.

  17. Atlanta Falcons: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Do the Falcons have a pass rusher? Who knows but that means they need one. Lawson is great edge rusher who can play when the lights are on. The Falcons defense showed promise early in 2015 but fell back to their leaky ways as the season progressed. Look for coach Dan Quinn to put his stamp on this draft.

18. Indianapolis Colts: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

The Colts have been bad at defense since I can remember and Lee could be a guy to strengthen it. Lee projects further down in the draft but with the top offensive tackles and linebackers taken already, Lee is a guy who can fit in right away.

  19. Buffalo Bills: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

Its Rex Ryan. Did you really expect an offensive pick? Me neither. Dodd put on a show in the national championship and has jumped up boards. As Mario Williams continues to age, the Bills need a young pass rusher to pass the torch to and that guy can be Dodd.

20. New York Jets: Ezekial Elliot, RB, Ohio State

Though the Jets have a chance to re-sign Chris Ivory, it doesn’t hurt to add the best pro ready running back in this draft. Having a two headed monster in the backfield only helps the wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker do their thing. The defense is solid and Elliot is a wonderful luxury to have.

  21. Washington Redskins: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

How has he fallen this far? Well some off the field issues may allow him to slip and the Redskins will be happy to take a guy with character issues. Washington had a sneaky good defense in 2015 and if he Nkemdiche falls, they would be hard pressed to pass up his talent.

22. Houston Texans: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

With the injuries to Arian Foster and his large cap hit, he might be on his way out. If that is the case, the Texans will look to take another big time running back. Henry can take the load off of whatever quarterback they have back there, and the defense should continue to roll. Look for the Texans to take a running back at 22.

  23. Minnesota Vikings: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

The Minnesota Vikings need a weapon not named Adrian Peterson. Teddy Bridgewater has developed nicely so far and it would behoove the Vikings to get him a young wide receiver to grow with. Coleman is considered as one of the best receivers in this draft and if he falls to the Vikings, they would be lucky to have him.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

The Bengals have been known for their defense over the years and getting a top end defensive tackle doesn’t hurt. The Bengals are on the cusp of becoming a championship contender and Ronbinson has the talent to push them over the hill of a first round out in the playoffs.

25. Pittsburg Steelers: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Spriggs is a guy that is looked over on most draft boards but if Roethlisberger wants to stay healthy then the Steelers will need to get him some help. Spriggs is a guy who has the physical ability that the Steelers love and he comes from a passing offense. He seems to fit perfectly with all the other top rated tackles gone.

  26. Seattle Seahawks: Jarran Reed, DT, Louisville

Much like the New England Patriots, the Seahawks seem to find talent on the offensive side of the ball. Reed can be an anchor in the Legion of Boom that continues their winning ways. That defense always seems to get stronger and the pressure would be off Reed to slide right in.

27. Green Bay Packers: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

The Packers are known for their offense so the defense gets forgotten. Butler can be molded to fit the Packers system and will help out with the often injured BJ Raji. If the Packers want to continue their ownership of the NFC North then they will need to upgrade on defense.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

Alex Smith can throw down field? Who knew?! Now that Andy Reid has the Smith airing it out more than the past, they need another playmaker to match with Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin. They have become a real tough team under Reid and now they need some added flash to help out Smith.

  29. Arizona Cardinals: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Yes, yes, a cornerback for the Cardinals. Sometimes the rich have to get richer. The secondary is has been great over the last few years but last year it wasn’t as strong in the past. Look for the Cardinals to add a safety or corner in the first round, likely it will be Fuller.

  30. Denver Broncos: Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia

Floyd has not been getting much play in the first round but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos reach for him. With their outside linebackers likely becoming free agents, they will need to replace one of those guys in the draft. Since all of the other top end outside linebackers are gone, Floyd seems like the right fit.

  31. Carolina Panthers: Jonathon Bullard, DT, Florida

The Panthers have a strong defense, but they also have Cam Newton. With Kelvin Benjamin coming back next season from a knee injury, the offense should be even stronger. That allows them to take a luxury pick in the first round, that being Bullard of Florida. He can clog the middle and allow for dominant linebackers and edge rushers around him to make more plays as he is worked into his role.

Johnson Walking, Not Running Away

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has a decision to make. A decision that he has to make not only with his heart, but also with his mind. A decision that he simply cannot take lightly.

News began to surface on Wednesday of rumors that Johnson might hang up his cleats after nine years in the NFL. Nine tough, demanding years that has forced the veteran to question his future.

“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future,” Johnson said through a team statement.

It’s no secret that Johnson is not 100-percent. The past couple of seasons the NFL single-season receiving record holder has battled through broken fingers, bum knees, and was hampered by a bad ankle.

 Calvin Johnson (AP Photo)

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (AP Photo)

In fact, a bad ankle continuously hampered him all season long as Johnson was listed as questionable on seven of the team’s final eight injury reports. Through many of those weeks, Johnson wasn’t practicing because he earned the rest. No; he was sitting out of practice because he had to. He had to make sure his name could be called upon if offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter called his number.

“I think he’s been through enough. And I think it’s just his time,” an unnamed former teammate told the Free Press’ Dave Birkett.

“He’s made the money, got the records, but whatever. I don’t know for sure if he’s going to do it. I don’t know if he’s going to get that itch to keep going. I really don’t know.”

Though battered, Johnson still managed to be productive. This season alone Johnson, who will be 31 in September, caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. When it was revealed he played games with taped, and broken fingers, Johnson broke the NFL single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards set in 2012.

He also has the most consecutive games with at least 100-yards receiving (8), and is tied for the most career games with 200-plus yards receiving (5). Johnson holds franchise-receiving records, including most career touchdown receptions (80), most career receiving yards (11,619) and most career 70-plus yard receptions (8) for the Lions.

Even though Johnson is thinking about retiring, let’s get one thing clear: he’s not quitting on the Lions and he’s not quitting on the NFL.

Some have made the connection, and rightfully so, that this is similar to Barry Sanders’ retirement, and they couldn’t be more wrong.

Sure the two are roughly the same age, Sanders retired at 30, and both are the arguably the best draft picks the Lions have had. But, Johnson isn’t faxing this one in.

People can say that playing for the Lions can beat you down mentally, and playing for the franchise can make you fall out of love with the game. Hell, watching them can too.

But Johnson isn’t driving on a free way and making a turn for the airport.

Maybe that’s because we live in a different age. Sanders never had to deal with the throng of social media comments or the 24/7 life style of being covered and scrutinized. While Johnson does, he is also smart about his media appearances. He talks when he wants to, much like Sanders did.

 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

NFL Reporter Ian Rapoport said on the NFL Network that he has spoken to those close to Johnson and they said he’s been open with his teammates about this decision.

There is also the talk about money. Johnson has four years remaining on the seven-year, $113.45 million contract he signed before the 2013 season. He’s scheduled to make nearly $16 million next season and count $24 million on the salary cap.

Money, and lack of production, can make a man think. Whether Johnson has played his last season is his decision. It’s a decision that he clearly isn’t hiding from. Whatever his decision is, you can bet that he’ll be the one to tell you, instead of someone reading a faxed letter of resignation on the day of training camp.

Johnson has played a full career. Granted his mantel is a bit empty with playoff wins, and not even a conference championship. If he’s leaving Detroit, he’s leaving them on his terms, and after he left it all on the field.

He’s not quitting. He’s tired, battered, and he’s allowing the chance for the Lions to replace him through free agency or the draft with ample time, which is more than what Sanders did.