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Mock Draft: Predicting The Denver Broncos First 2016 Pick

What will the Broncos do with their first round pick?

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Marcus Mariota took an absolute beating in his rookie campaign, suffering injuries on multiple occasions. The Titans have to do something about this; they cannot afford to have Mariota transform into David Carr. 

Tennessee's top goal is to trade down and draft one of the defensive backs. However, I'm not sure teams are dying to trade up for one of the underwhelming quarterbacks, so if the Titans stay put, Laremy Tunsil will be the pick. With Tunsil on the roster, the Titans will have outstanding bookend tackles, allowing Jeremiah Poutasi to slide inside to guard, where he would probably be more comfortable. Barring a lucrative trade - Tennessee is desperate to move down - there's no way the Titans will pass on Tunsil if they have a chance to obtain him. 

2. Cleveland Browns - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Toward the end of the season, I thought the Browns would draft Joey Bosa. Things change quickly, however, and as we all learned, Johnny Manziel is having major personal issues, pretending to be someone named Billy in Vegas while drinking his life away. The Browns have realized that they can't go forward with a self-destructive alcoholic, and they've stated that he will be released come March. New regimes mean new quarterbacks, anyhow, so Cleveland's front office will want to obtain its own guy. 

If you check out the Senior Bowl Coverage, you'll see that Charlie Campbell's Monday rumors page has a report in which the Browns really like Carson Wentz. This is a lot closer than people think between Wentz and Jared Goff, and if the former has a strong showing in Mobile, he could emerge as the favorite to be chosen No. 2 overall. 

3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

I've slotted Joey Bosa here for a while, but as mentioned on the draft podcast, we're hearing that there's a good chance he'll fall in the draft. Bosa has always been overrated as a prospect. That's not to say he's going to be a bad player, or anything, but the J.J. Watt comparisons aren't even close. Also, some teams are worried about some character issues with Bosa. 

With that in mind, the Chargers may look at Jalen Ramsey. They have needs at both cornerback and safety, and Ramsey can play both positions. He'll probably be better off at safety, where he can replace Eric Weddle. 

4. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

The Cowboys were awful defensively this past season when they lost either Sean Lee or Rolando McClain to injury during a game. Well, McClain happens to be an impending free agent, while Lee's durability history is quite dubious. Dallas will be searching for linebacker help and could possibly pull the trigger in the top 10, maybe even in the top five. 

And yes, Myles Jack is still a first-rounder and a likely top-10 prospect. Jack injured his knee, yet he's still in play to go this high. Todd Gurley was chosen No. 10 overall despite his knee injury, and Jack got hurt so early that he'll be ready for the 2016 NFL season opener. In fact, it sounds like Jack will be ready for the Combine. He's expected to dominate in Indianapolis. If he does, he'll cement his top-five status. 

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon

The Jaguars are going to focus on upgrading their defense this offseason. I had them drafting Jalen Ramsey in my previous mock, but as you can see in the NFL Draft Rumors page, Jacksonville will be focusing on its front seven over its secondary. 

A pass-rusher is desperately needed, and DeForest Buckner is one of the top prospects available. He would be a great complement for Dante Fowler. 

6. Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY

The Ravens, with their hearts broken that Jalen Ramsey is off the board, take the player that who was once slotted in Ramsey's current spot. 

I could see Joey Bosa slide to the Dolphins or Buccaneers, but Baltimore is a strong possibility as well. When Terrell Suggs went down, the Ravens struggled to get to the quarterback. Getting a third edge rusher - and an eventual starter once either Suggs or Elvis Dumervil moves on. It's also worth noting that Baltimore has taken chances on prospects with character concerns before, so Bosa's issues probably won't scare Ozzie Newsome. 

7. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California

Bold prediction: If the 49ers don't draft a quarterback in the first two rounds, Chip Kelly will start Blaine Gabbert next year, citing how his short-range accuracy makes him a great fit for his offense. Kelly is completely incompetent and doesn't understand NFL concepts. 

However, I think there's a good chance Kelly will select Jared Goff if available. Once again, new regimes mean new quarterbacks, and while the 49ers don't have a different general manager, they are, in a sense, starting over with Kelly, whose affinity for Pac-12 prospects will once again be prevalent.

8. Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Miami's secondary is a mess, as everyone took note in the Monday night loss to the Giants. The front office will have to find help at both cornerback and safety, and the former can be addressed here via the top pure cornerback in the 2016 NFL Draft. The opinions on Hargreaves are mixed - one team in the top 10 that needs a corner won't draft him - but perhaps the Dolphins will like him enough to pull the trigger at No. 8. 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith were called the Buccaneers' "top two pass-rushers" when they both missed a game during the middle of the season, which has to be discouraging to any Tampa backer. Smith is a marginal talent who definitely needs to be upgraded. Acquiring more pass-rushers makes sense in a division comprised of Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. 

Noah Spence would be a top-five prospect if he had no character concerns. Spence didn't help himself by bombing the Senior Bowl interviews, but some team may ultimately decide to pull the trigger on him in the top half of the first round. One candidate is the Buccaneers, who have taken chances on players with personality issues before. 

Pick change; previously Emmanuel Ogbah, DE 

10. New York Giants: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

This draft class is packed with talented defensive linemen. As luck would have it, the Giants happen to need multiple upgrades up front. They have to find a solid starter next to Johnathan Hankins, and the rising Sheldon Rankins seems like he'd be a great fit. New York had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL last year because it didn't generate any heat from the interior. Rankins would probably change that. 

11. Chicago Bears: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

The Bears will probably be targeting one of the defensive linemen with this selection - unless something like this occurs, and they can snatch up Ronnie Stanley, who falls because there's not much of a demand for him in the 8-10 range. The Giants could take him, but Sheldon Rankins might be considered the superior prospect. 

Chicago has a huge hole at tackle. Charles Leno and Kyle Long both struggled there in 2015. Leno is just a career backup, while Long belongs inside. 

By the way, I have the Bears picking first overall in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, selecting Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson

12. New Orleans Saints: A'Shawn Robinson, DE/DT, Alabama

We all know how bad New Orleans' secondary is, but part of the problem is that the team isn't getting any sort of push up front. It's especially dire at defensive tackle, where 80-year-old Kevin Williams is the team's best player. Something absolutely needs to be done about that. 

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

In case you haven't heard it before, new regimes mean new quarterbacks. The Eagles are beginning anew after firing Chip Kelly, and much like his mentor, Andy Reid, Doug Pederson will want to begin his Eagles' tenure by selecting a quarterback in the first round. 

This, of course, depends on whether or not Philadelphia re-signs Sam Bradford. That certainly could happen, and many here expect it to, but Bradford is going to command a huge price tag this offseason, and a team like the 49ers could throw a ton of money his way. There's also some talk of Pederson liking Nick Foles, but that would just be for a temporary starter or high-quality backup. Signing Foles would have no impact on this pick. 

14. Oakland Raiders: Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia

The Raiders were getting decent play out of Aldon Smith, but he's been suspended for an entire season. Trusting him for the long term is probably not a good idea, so they could have interest in Leonard Floyd, the top player on the board, as a replacement. 

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


Charlie Campbell recently reported that multiple teams have late first-round grades on Laquon Treadwell, but the Rams could definitely scoop him up at this juncture. Their need at receiver is extremely obvious, as they had no play-makers at the position outside of Tavon Austin. Treadwell would definitely change that, and he would also help open up running lanes for Todd Gurley. 

Pick change - previously Noah Spence, DE 

16. Detroit Lions: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

Andrew Billings could easily be selected in the top 10, so this is a steal. The Lions obviously need a big boost at defensive tackle after failing to properly replace Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley last offseason.

17. Atlanta Falcons: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

The Falcons finished at the bottom of the NFL in sacks. Something obviously has to be done about this, so I could see them pulling the trigger on a pass-rusher in the first couple of rounds. Emmanuel Ogbah may qualify as the top prospect available, so Atlanta could target him at this spot. 

Pick change - previously Laquon Treadwell, WR 

18. Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

Jerrell Freeman had a terrific 2015 campaign, but he happens to be an impending free agent. Meanwhile, the rest of the Colts' inside linebackers weren't very good. Reggie Ragland is one of the top players available, so he makes a ton of sense for Indianapolis at No. 18 overall. 

19. Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

I think this is the most natural spot for Robert Nkemdiche. Even before his latest off-the-field issues, the teams we spoke to believed that he was overrated. Both Charlie and I had him in the early teens before his recent incident, but he could fall to around 20 or so. 

The Bills might snatch him up in a heartbeat. Rex Ryan has shown that he doesn't care about character concerns, and defensive tackle is a big need. Kyle Williams, who turns 33 this offseason, is due $7 million in 2016, so the Bills could part ways with him. 

20. New York Jets: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

The Jets will have to find a long-term answer at left tackle soon, given that D'Brickashaw Ferguson will be 33 at some point during the 2016 campaign. In the meantime, an upgrade at right tackle would be welcome, as Breno Giacomini struggled last year. 

21. Washington Redskins: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Jaylon Smith tore up his knee, so he'll drop from the top 10 into the 20s, most likely. I think this is a good spot for him though. Remember, Todd Gurley tore his ACL and still was a top-10 choice. The difference here is that Smith probably won't be ready to play until late in 2016, but he's still too talented to pass up. 

Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley, will be free agents in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Mason Foster and Will Compton played at the end of the year, but neither was that great. 

22. Houston Texans: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The Texans were going to take Todd Gurley if he fell to them at No. 16 because the concerns about Arian Foster's soft-tissue injuries are real. Foster has never been the same since foolishly changing his eating habits, and he's never going to be a reliable player as a result. Houston will be looking for a new running back this offseason. 

23. Minnesota Vikings: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

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Mike Wallace was a predictable bust, and now the word is that he won't be returning next season. And rightfully so. Stefon Diggs flashed as a rookie, but Minnesota needs to give Teddy Bridgewater another downfield weapon. 

Pick change - previously Michael Thomas, WR 

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

The Bengals need to bolster the interior of their defensive line, as Domata Peko is no longer the same player he once was. There should be a couple of defensive tackles to choose from toward the end of the first round. 

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

The Steelers haven't selected a first-round cornerback in a very long time, but that's exactly what everyone said about them and an edge rusher, and the Chiefs and a corner, and the Cowboys and a lineman. These things change, and Pittsburgh's current status in terms of its secondary could prompt the front office to go against recent trends. 

Kendall Fuller is a talented prospect who would be in top-15 consideration if it weren't for an injury. Thus, the Steelers could continue their strategy of taking the best player available. 

26. Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

The Seahawks almost have to upgrade their offensive line, don't they? Russell Wilson was constantly running for his life early in the season. Seattle made some great adjustments at the halfway mark, but the front office still has to look at improving the blocking. 

27. Green Bay Packers: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

The Packers have been trying to add speed to their defense the past couple of offseasons. However, they haven't been able to find a talented inside linebacker while doing so, but perhaps that'll change this April. That would be the case with Darron Lee, who could be selected several picks earlier than this. 

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

Andy Reid loves bolstering the trenches. I've had him taking an offensive lineman all this time, but he could also find someone for his defensive front. Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito have both been outstanding this past season, but they also happen to be impending free agents. It'll be difficult to keep both around. 

29. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida

Outside of Calais Campbell, the Cardinals aren't all that talented on their defensive line. Plus, Campbell isn't getting any younger, as he'll turn 30 this upcoming offseason. Jonathan Bullard is a talented edge rusher who could be selected several spots earlier than this, so the Cardinals are getting a solid value choice here.

30. Carolina Panthers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Carolina's defense has obviously been terrific this season, and even Charles Tillman played well across from Josh Norman before he got hurt. That will be a problem going forward, however, as Tillman will be a 35-year-old free agent in March. 

By the way, special thanks to Mackensie Alexander for publishing his Draft Diary. It's a great read if you haven't checked it out yet. 

31. Denver Broncos: Adolphus Washington, DE/DT, Ohio State

The Broncos have a nice pair of starting defensive ends in Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson, but the latter will be a free agent come March. It'll be difficult to retain him after re-signing Wolfe. Adolphus Washington has some character concerns, but teams we've spoken to don't view them as a big deal. Besides, the Broncos took a chance on Shane Ray, so why wouldn't they do the same with Washington? 

Check out for tons of daily NFL updates, ranging from NFL Mock Drafts (for both 2016 and 2017), Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Picks, Free Agent Rankings and Signing Grades, and so much more. 

Would drafting another defensive player in the first round be right decision for the BroncosSOUND OFF in the forums!

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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