Time for bold predictions!
1. A team will trade up for Paxton Lynch inside the Top 10:
Ever since the L.A. Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up for the Top 2 picks in the NFL Draft in order to select Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, Lynch became the biggest mover up the draft board. He will be the third QB to come off the board and there is still many teams who covet a young signal caller.
2. A total of 6 QBs will be drafted in the first 2 rounds:
After the position took a year off in terms of depth (7 total QBs drafted in 2015), teams will be chomping at the bit which will lead them to overdraft a quarterback. We all know Goff, Wentz, and Lynch should be taken off the board in the 1st round, but guys like Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, Dak Prescott, or Cody Kessler should follow shortly thereafter.
3. Myles Jack will fall outside the Top 10:
The dreaded medical report has been circulating around the league on Jack and it’s rumored that the UCLA linebacker is dealing with a “chondral defect” in his troublesome right knee. Uh-Oh, cartilage damage that can lead to eventual microfracture surgery can’t be good for NFL franchises. He has a chance to go 10 to the N.Y. Giants but he can become one of the biggest sliders in the draft.
4. The Miami Dolphins will trade up to draft Ezekiel Elliot:
The Dolphins have already had an eventful offseason trading down in the draft to acquire Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell from the Eagles, not re-signing their 24-year-old starting running back Lamar Miller, and now I’m predicting a trade up to get the draft’s best running back. The Fins need a back to pair with Jay Ajayi and they will need to trade up to secure Elliot.
5. 3 CBs will be drafted in the Top 15:
A position of strength in the 2016 draft, the cornerback position, is being overlooked due to a strong depth at the defensive tackle position. The NFL is all about passing the football so snatching a potential star corner is essential for NFL teams. Look for Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves, and either “my guy” William Jackson or Eli Apple to be selected within the Top 15 picks.
6. The Atlanta Falcons will trade down and select a defensive tackle:
The Falcons are the owners of only 5 picks in the 2016 draft due to losing a 5th round pick because of pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome and trading away their 6th round pick to the Titans for starting guard Adam Levitre. The Falcons still have holes on every level of the defense and are lacking offensive receiving weapons for Matt Ryan. They need more picks and trading down in the first round will help them acquire additional selections.
7. Mackensie Alexander and Robert Nkemdiche falls outside the first round:
Can eccentric personalities push talented players down draft boards? We shall see come Thursday as two of the more talented defensive players have apparently rubbed NFL teams the wrong way during their interview sessions at the scouting combine. Alexander’s boastful, “I know more than everyone” character and Nkemdiche’s “I want to buy a black panther and I was lazy at times last year” honesty can make two teams in the second round extremely happy come draft day.
8. Will Fuller will be the first receiver off the board:
I know Will Fuller is not the best receiver in the draft, heck I don’t even have him in my Top 3 at the position, but speed kills. How many instances have we seen in draft history that a speedster WR was over drafted?I have two off the top of my head, Ted Ginn Jr. and Darrius Heyward-Bey. So it shouldn’t be all that surprising if Fuller’s name is called before more talented receivers like Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and Laquan Treadwell.
9. No safety will be selected in the first round:
This prediction is contingent on Jalen Ramsey being considered a corner as he will be off the board within the first 5 picks. In what has become a trend recently, safeties are not as highly touted even though teams are passing at an all-time high. There are a coupe players like Vonn Bell, Keanu Neal, Karl Joseph, and riser T.J. Green who have a chance to get into the bottom of the first but I’ll bet against it mainly because there aren’t any great cover safeties in this year’s draft.
10. The Patriots end up drafting Kenneth Dixon and Keenan Reynolds:
The Patriots are very specific in drafting their type of guys. Players that can do multiple things and that can create mismatches on the football field. Although already possessing a plethora of offensive weapons, don’t put it pass Belichick to add more guys who excel in space. Dixon is a Dion Lewis type back who has a quick twitch in the open field and Reynolds is another former QB turned WR that can beat one-on-one matchups from the slot.
11. The Browns finally draft a receiver with one of their first 2 picks:
The Browns who has been desperate for a receiver over the last 3 seasons since the Josh Gordon suspension, have only managed to draft Vince Mayle over their last 18 draft picks. Come on Cleveland you can do it!!! Go out there and grab a difference maker on the outside to help your team after losing deep threat Travis Benjamin in the offseason and former star WR Gordon still battling drug addiction.
12. The Cowboys go defense with their first 3 picks:
There have been a lot of talks and Twitter debates that suggest that the Cowboys should grab Ezekiel Elliot with the 4th pick. The Dallas fan base is split on the decision with one side reminiscing and wanting to reinvent the 1990s triplets of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. I have two issues with that, Elliot is no Emmitt and the 1990s Cowboys had that sticky defense. Hopefully the organization agrees with me and draft defensive guys early and often in order to get the “Big D” back in Dallas.
13. Leonard Floyd drafted before Shaq Lawson:
I’m a big Shaq Lawson believer who believes he is a better prospect than Joey Bosa. His strength, tenacity, hand quickness, and scheme versatility should have teams tantalized to get him on their roster. But I believe Floyd’s ceiling and potential to become a 12+ sack wizard could lead teams to select him before Lawson. There are questions about Lawson’s shoulder which was flagged at the combine and his ability to bend the corner on opposing tackles that can make him slip, but I’m not worried about it one iota.
14. Jason Spriggs drafted before Taylor Decker:
Here is another example of potential over production as Spriggs’ athletic frame, long arms, and speed will catapult him up NFL draft boards. While Decker, more of a road grader lacks athleticism and knee bend in the passing game. Spriggs has the makeup to play left tackle with athleticism in the passing game which will allow him to be drafted before Decker whose best position is at right tackle.
15. A team will trade up for the first pick in the second round to draft Derrick Henry:
One of the biggest enigmas in the 2016 draft is Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. A powerful back that has breakaway speed lacks the agility to make defenders miss in the backfield. Paired with the right team and system, Henry can become a monster and terror for opposing defenders. If he gets out of the first round look for teams to target him at the top of the second round potentially acquiring a difference-maker.