Nick Wetzel, Staff Writer
The 2016 NFL Draft is Thursday, April 28 and with it comes an inordinate amount of false hope for teams looking for the player who could turn their fortunes around. With all the pre-draft talk comes mock drafts so I’d like to introduce the inaugural “Nick Wetzel Small Board.” For the sake of time, I won’t make predictions on the entire first round, but instead just the top ten. Also, trades are difficult to predict so I’ll be making my picks based on how the draft would look if no more trades take place. Let’s get started:
1st – Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, Cal. Goff is the guy everyone is saying the Rams have coveted and is the reason they traded into the first spot. He’s a Cal product and would become one of the faces of the new LA team.
2nd – Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State. The popular thought was that the Browns wouldn’t be able to get as much for the second overall pick as the Titans received for the first pick because whoever had the second pick wouldn’t have their choice of quarterbacks, but rather, whoever the Rams didn’t want. Apparently, that’s good enough for the Eagles. They’re either confident enough that they know who the Rams are going to take or love each quarterback enough to give away a bundle of picks to land either one.
3rd – San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss. The trading of the first two picks greatly helped the Chargers who now have their pick of the best players in the draft. They weren’t going to take a quarterback so it looked like they were going to have to wait and see what Tennessee and even Cleveland did, but now they can go in whatever direction they want. Tunsil was looked at as the first overall pick up until the Rams traded into that spot. Not only will he be able to protect Rivers for the remainder of his time in San Diego, but also their quarterback of the future.
4th – Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State. Jerry Jones will probably want to go with Ezekiel Elliot in this spot, but with Demarcus Lawrence’s four-game suspension and the loss of Greg Hardy, the Cowboys would come away with a great talent in a position of need for them if they call Bosa’s name.
5th – Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA. Jack is a question mark because of his knee, but if the Jags feel he is healthy enough to take then he’d be an immediate starter and impact player on their defense.
6th – Baltimore Ravens – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State. The Ravens have a big need for a corner to play opposite of Jimmy Smith, and Ramsey would fit that role.
7th – San Francisco 49ers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame. They desperately need a right tackle to block for Kaepernick as he runs as fast as he can out of town. They need a quarterback, but it’s too high in the draft to take any of the other available ones.
8th – Cleveland Browns – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon. They’d have to consider a tackle here so they can move Joe Thomas for more picks, but they will take the consolation prize of Buckner. He’ll be an immediate impact guy wherever he goes and he fills a need for the Browns here.
9th – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State. The Bucs need a more reliable option at the tackle position than they had last year so they can keep Winston upright. Conklin would be a great fit here.
10th – New York Giants – Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia. Floyd is one of the high- upside pass-rushers in this draft and the Giants would love to be able to add him to a front seven that they have already bolstered through free agency.
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