2016 NFL Mock Draft: Carson Wentz is the anti-Johnny Manziel for Browns
For a number of reasons on and off the field, Johnny Manziel is on his way out in Cleveland. And although North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz has some question marks as well, they aren't in the areas that have derailed Johnny Football's NFL career.
For a number of reasons on and off the field, Johnny Manziel is on his way out in Cleveland. And although North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz has some question marks as well, they aren’t in the areas that have derailed Johnny Football’s NFL career.
Both are athletic passers with winning resumes, but in many ways, Wentz is the anti-Manziel. The former Bison quarterback is built well for the NFL at 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds and has above average arm strength to stand tall in the pocket and deliver with velocity. He is also squeaky-clean off the field with the football character that will endear him to NFL coaches. Wentz is a 4.0 GPA student and already prepares like a pro with the study habits that translate to success on the field.
Coming from the FCS-level, Wentz is hardly a sure-thing and will face a learning curve in the NFL. But all the requisite traits are there for him to develop into a longtime starting quarterback in the NFL.
1. Tennessee Titans : Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Priority number one for the Titans should be to protect Marcus Mariota , something they have struggled to do consistently in 2015. Tunsil is arguably the most talented player in this year’s draft class and able to contribute from day one, pushing Taylor Lewan over to right tackle.
: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Hue Jackson has made it clear that the most important task for the Browns this off-season is to find a quarterback. And although Wentz lacks ideal experience coming from the FCS-level, he is the total package in terms of traits. With Josh McCown under contract for the 2016 season, Wentz won’t be pressed onto the field from day one.
San Diego Chargers
: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
San Diego ranked near the bottom of the league in pass rush production in 2015 and need to address the position in the draft. Although some will say he belongs in a four-man front, Bosa is scheme versatile with skill-set and instincts to be a disruptive force from different spots on the defensive line.
: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
The Cowboys have been searching for an athletic and versatile linebacker in the draft the past few years and Jack fits the bill. He is outstanding in coverage with the range and instincts to step in and make an impact from day one.
: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
The Jaguars have been searching for cornerback help for quite some time, but haven’t drafted the position in the first round since 1999. Ramsey has experience at safety and corner, but is better categorized as a versatile ballhawk.
: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Baltimore inked Eugene Monroe to a lucrative extension, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, making it tough for the Ravens to rely on him to start 16 games in 2016. Stanley not only adds instant depth, but gives Baltimore a long-term plan at a position of need.
San Francisco 49ers
: Jared Goff, QB, California
Many assume Chip Kelly desires a mobile quarterback, but the most important trait to run his offense is quick mental processor, which fits Goff, who also happens to be a native of the Bay area.
: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
With Olivier Vernon set to hit free agency and Cameron Wake turning 34-years old last month, the Dolphins could be in the market for a pass rusher. No one knows how each team will view Spence’s off-field baggage, but on the field, he is worth a top-10 pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Tampa will address the cornerback position next off-season, either in free agency or the draft, possibly both. Hargreaves is a tough-minded, instinctive cover man who is ready to start from day one in the NFL.
New York Giants
: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Similar to the Rams last year, who drafted Todd Gurley 10th overall, the running back position isn’t the top need on the Giants’ roster. But it’s tough to pass on dynamic players who will impact the team from day one. And like Gurley this past season, Elliott would do just that in New York.
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
This is a match that almost makes too much sense as the Bears need defensive end help for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. And Buckner has an ideal skill-set to be an impact player at the five-technique spot.
New Orleans Saints
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The Saints need defensive help, but if Treadwell makes it this far, New Orleans shouldn’t pass on him. A younger and better version of Marques Colston , Treadwell would be an ideal complement opposite Brandin Cooks .
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
With the Eagles transitioning to a 4-3 base defense and Vinny Curry a free agent, Lawson would be a natural fit opposite Brandon Graham .
Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
A player who hits anything that moves, Ragland is a tone-setting linebacker who can play all three downs and will give the Raiders another impact player in the front-seven.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
The Rams have a very talented roster, except at the most important position in sports: quarterback. And as the franchise makes the move to L.A., Lynch would give the Rams a young passer to groom.
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Decker is a plug-and-play option on the offensive line, which would address the Lions’ issues at right tackle. With Calvin Johnson possibly retiring, keep an eye on Laquon Treadwell to Detroit if he lasts this far.
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
I can hear Atlanta fans screaming at their computers: “we need players who are ready NOW.” But if there is any chance that Smith is able to return to the field in 2016, he would be a steal at this pick.
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
The Colts need more speed on defense and Lee is one of the most athletic linebackers in this draft class. A high school quarterback, he is still developing his technique and discipline, but has high upside due to his natural athleticism and instincts.
A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
The vaunted Buffalo defense looked mediocre at times this season with many claiming that Rex Ryan’s “scheme” was the issue. Robinson is a player who transcends scheme and would give Ryan a player who can play anywhere on the defensive line.
New York Jets
Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Jets have plenty of beef up front on defense, but need to add some sizzle on the edges to better put pressure on the pocket. Floyd is a lanky bender with pass rush upside.
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Redskins have had good luck drafting cornerbacks out of Clemson ( Bashaud Breeland ) and if Alexander falls to No. 21, I don’t think he’ll be around at pick No. 22.
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Texans won the South Division with below average quarterback play and as Bill O’Brien enters year three as head coach, he needs to find a young passer to groom (and no, Tom Savage doesn’t count). Connor Cook has his issues and might not have a high ceiling, but he’s ready to start in the NFL now.
Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
With glaring needs on the offensive line, is it too early to draft a guard? Not if the pick is Whitehair, who is this year’s version of Zack Martin and ready to start in the NFL today.
Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
With Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu set to hit free agency, the Bengals could have a need at receiver this off-season. A former quarterback, Miller, who grew up about an hour outside of Cincinnati, is still very raw as a wideout, but his special athleticism was on display at the Senior Bowl.
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
All 32 teams need cornerback help, but maybe none more than the Steelers. Apple tends to play too hands-on downfield, but for a 20-year old prospect, he has the size and speed to develop into an impact starter.
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Seattle has several question marks on the offensive line, including the future of Russell Okung who is in a contract year. Conklin isn’t the most athletic player, but he plays with patience and power to win the point of attack and control speed rushers.
Green Bay Packers
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Even with Mike Daniels locked up long-term, Reed is worthy of this pick with his versatility that fits Green Bay’s odd front.
Kansas City Chiefs
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
The Chiefs’ defense was a substantial reason for their playoff run last season, but might be forced to replace several impending free agents in the front-seven like Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito . Rankins is a stout run defender with better than expected pass rush traits for a 300-pounder.
New England Patriots -- forfeited selection
Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
The Cardinals will look to upgrade the defensive line this off-season for their hybrid front. Butler’s name isn’t found in many first round mocks, but it should be with his versatile skill-set.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
With Malik Jackson hitting free agency this off-season, the Broncos will be looking for new beef at the grocery store. Nkemdiche has his red flags, but he is one of the best talents in this draft class.
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
The Panthers need to upgrade the pass rush and add more talent on the edges this off-season. Dodd is still raw in areas, but routinely threatened the pocket this past season using athleticism and hustle.
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