Mock drafts are everywhere, it's that time of year and you can't escape them. All the publishers or lead writers from the NFL Scout.com network have formed like Voltron to create our first mock draft of the year. We finished the first round, and are slowly but surely working on the second. We will also post a new mock closer to the draft.
Here is the link to the entire mock with brief explanations for each pick, below I will list all the picks and then explain the rationale, in more detail, behind my choice for the Jets.
1) Tennessee Titans - OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)
2) Cleveland Browns - CB/S Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)
3) San Diego Chargers - DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)
4) Dallas Cowboys - QB Jared Goff (California)
5) Jacksonville Jaguars - LB Myles Jack (UCLA)
6) Baltimore Ravens - DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)
7) San Francisco 49ers - QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
8) Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami) - LT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
10) New York Giants - WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
11) Chicago Bears - CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida)
12) New Orleans Saints - DE Shaquille Lawson (Clemson)
13) Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia) - OLB Darron Lee (Ohio State)
14) Oakland Raiders - ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)
15) Los Angeles Rams - CB Eli Apple (Ohio State)
16) Detroit Lions - OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)
17) Atlanta Falcons - DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State)
18) Indianapolis Colts - C Ryan Kelly (Alabama)
19) Buffalo Bills - EDGE Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)
20) New York Jets - OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
21) Washington - RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)
22) Houston Texans - WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
23) Minnesota Vikings - WR Josh Doctson (TCU)
24) Cincinatti Bengals - NT Andrew Billings (Baylor)
25) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB William Jackson (Houston)
26) Seattle Seahawks - DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)
27) Green Bay Packers - DT A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama)
28) Kansas City Chiefs - QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
29) Arizona Cardinals - CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
30) Carolina Panthers - DE Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
31) Denver Broncos - DL Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech)
Jets pick explained:
I really wanted to take Spence but of course the Bills scooped him up right in front of the Jets which is probably the most realistic thing in this mock draft. Of course Rex Ryan would take the guy with some character concerns and of course he would finally take that edge rusher Jets fans wanted him to draft when he was here and of course it just happens to be a player I think the Jets would love to draft. I also would've loved to take Conklin, Lee and Ragland over Decker, and I think it's possible at least one of those players is still on the board at 20 in the real draft but alas they were gone in this mock.
I strongly consider Elliot, though I'm usually against a running back in the first round Elliot is an exception, but ultimately I decided it wouldn't be any fun to pick him because I just don't see him actually being there at 20 (this is one of the reasons I hate mock drafts, too many moving parts and all it takes is one pick to throw everything way off course). And yes the Jets need a quarterback for the future, with or without Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I don't believe Lynch is worth a first so I passed. I was most tempted to go with Rankins to immediately replace the departed Damon Harrison, part of me wanted to do it just to watch Jets fans get mad at the thought of drafting another defensive lineman in the first, but ultimately I decided that the defensive line, particularly interior line, is the deepest position in this draft.
Which left me to take Decker. I'm not in love with the pick and I would've certainly attempted to trade down (another reason to dislike mock drafts as trades are borderline impossible to factor in), but there were no trades allowed in this mock. So, I settled on taking the tackle who could step in immediately at right tackle and be an NFL starter for the next decade. Decker would help solidify the running game and protect the quarterback. Spence, Lee or Ragland would be more exciting picks IMO but the Jets could do a lot worse than Decker.
One thing that's important to note, I truly believe Mike Maccagnan will stick to best player available and there's no way to know exactly how their board is constructed. In mock drafts people lean towards filling needs which can throw everything off but without access to each team's rankings, what else can you do? But the idea of drafting to fill a need has always been silly because no matter how good that player is or will be he's still just a rookie when you draft him and sure some rookies have immediate impact but you can't just expect that they will.
Fortunately for the Jets fans that want the Jets to draft for need I believe the need and best value will match up for the Jets. Obviously there's no way to know who the first 19 picks will be but my guess is once the Jets are on the clock the highest rated players on their board will either be an offensive tackle or an edge rusher. I also thought about taking Leonard Floyd, the linebacker from Georgia, but as much as I love his ability I have concerns about his long, thin frame. But as always I will defer to the scouts and if Maccagnan were to take Floyd over Decker I certainly won't knock him for doing so.
But for this exercise I went with Decker, I will look to hopefully add an edge rusher in the second, again because I think that will be where the value is, and I feel confident there will be great value at defensive tackle in the third or fourth rounds as well.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)