Welcome to the final addition of Razzball’s 2016 NFL Draft Preview, covering the final picks (except for pick #29, because of “Deflategate”, and yes, I am biased, but I’m also bitter). I am keeping the same theme from the previous articles, picks #1-10 and picks #11-20, as I will ultimately break down a team’s season in a few sentences, and then go on to determine the biggest team needs of the specific team selecting and then if this impacts their selection.
We’ve had some trades and plenty of other news thus far leading up until Thursday, and the anticipation is building and building as we draw ever so closer to the first night of the draft, and I cannot wait to see how these selections will shake up.
And on that note, let’s get started and finish up this mock draft of ours!
#21 – Washington Redskins (9-7 Record)
Well after a few weeks of the annual (happens in at least one division each year) “Which Team Wants It Most?”, the ‘Skins emerged from the NFC East and into a playoff spot. They didn’t have the best of years, but were in the right time and the right place to make it into the playoffs. Kirk Cousins liked it, and the rest of the team made plays when it mattered the most, and definitely got some help from the rest of the division. Combined with the newest addition of Josh Norman, the Redskins could easily replicate 2015’s results with a great pick here to help them.
Team Needs – Linebacker, Center, Defensive End
Pick – Jaylon Smith, (Inside) Linebacker, Notre Dame
Smith could go in the first round if Washington likes him enough, or he could end up in the 4th round. Unfortunately for Smith, millions of dollars are on the line in the next few days pending a medical exam on the inside linebacker. Smith tore both his ACL and MCL in the Fiesta Bowl last year, something that could potentially cause him to miss the 2016 season. However, we won’t officially know until his medical comes back, which it hasn’t yet. If he is a-okay, then this could be a huge impact for the ‘Skins. They desperately need to add to their pass rush, and an inside linebacker helps a ton. Smith is very good at stuffing the run, and his pass rush is very complimentary of the other guys on Washington’s defensive front.
Fantasy Impact – Little, but if he plays at all. Like I have mentioned in all of these articles, few defensive players have any fantasy impact, and I am not eager to select the Redskins D/ST in my leagues, nor select Smith in IDP’s. A good real-life selection, but not for our purposes.
#22 – Houston Texans (9-7 Record)
After a horrid start to their season, the Texans managed to claw their way to the playoffs in dramatic fashion. Granted, it was in one of the worst divisions last year, and Andrew Luck probably won’t be hurt a majority of the 2016 season again, however they all came together as a team (except for Ryan Mallet), and managed to string together some wins to ride into the AFC Wild Card Game. Now with a new guy under center in Brock Osweiler, and a fancy new toy in Lamar Miller, the Texans should be looking to improve and challenge the Jaguars for the top spot in the division next year, with some help in the draft on both offense and defense.
Team Needs – Wide Receiver, Defensive End, Guard
Pick – Will Fuller, Wide Reciever, Notre Dame
If you read Picks #11-20, I briefly mentioned how the Lions will not take Laquon Treadwell, but they should, as a combo of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones isn’t as nearly as good as a Treadwell-Tate-Jones combo. Tate is very speedy, and Treadwell is an exact replica of Calvin Johnson. Instead, I believe the Lions will look to improve on their defensive front, which is very respectable. So with Treadwell available, why do I believe Fuller will be selected by Houston? Well for starters, the Texans are linked to Fuller, as they have shown the most interest from him thus far. Also, if you can remember, DeAndre Hopkins is already the get-up-and-get-it kind of WR, and Fuller is a great compliment with his speed and quickness/agility.
Fantasy Impact – Tons and tons and tons. Not only his Fuller an excellent player to select in the middle-to-late rounds of your drafts, but he very well could be a guy you stash on your bench until he proves himself, which may not take long. Also, opposing DC’s have to respect Fuller, so that could draw away double coverage Hopkins could see without him.
#23 – Minnesota Vikings (11-5 Record)
God the Minnesota Vikings were not only fun to watch, but they had a fantastic year (kudos to Mike Zimmer and Co.). Aside from my Patriots, there aren’t many times I thoroughly just enjoy watching certain teams play despite matchups, and it was very entertaining to watch Teddy Bridgewater go to work, and their defensive did a lot of things right as well, in my opinion. Aside from my biases, the Vikings did have a good year, and were one kick away…. from losing to the Panthers in the next round. Bridgewater certainly needs some help in his receivers (Stefon Diggs can’t do it himself, and Cordarrelle Patterson only seems existent on Special Teams), and a few additions in the secondary should help Minnesota continue in the right direction from 2015.
Team Needs – Wide Receiver, Guard, Safety
Pick – Laquon Treadwell, Wide Reciever, Ole Miss
Finally. I really do believe that Treadwell is a fantastic wide receiver, however he didn’t have a good combine, which didn’t help his draft stock. However it is a truly remarkable story how Treadwell even got here, for those of you who don’t know what happened to him. In November of 2014, Treadwell broke his leg during a game against Auburn, which cost him the final four games of his Sophomore season. In the condensed version of his comeback after his injury, he entered the Spring Training stronger than ever, and posted a great 2015 season on his way to a first round pick. Treadwell is a fantastic get-up-and-get-it player, who is a very nice compliment to Stefon Diggs and Patterson, who are mostly speedy guys. Although he didn’t run the Combine 40, his pro day 40 wasn’t that good, which would’ve only helped his stock. Even without his speed, he provides a “safe” option with his QB’s, as his hight (6’2) allows QB’s to just “lob” it up there in hopes he comes back down with it.
Fantasy Impact – It’s tough to tell at this point. He could easily be this year’s Amari Cooper, yet if he struggles at all to get off the line with a lack of speed, he could easily be this year’s Nelson Agholor. I certainly like him, but I can’t tell you that I would be drafting him in leagues almost immediately. I would monitor the situation, and see if he plays well in Training Camps, OTA’s, Preseason, etc.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals (12-4 Record)
The Bengals, once again, crushed their division en route to another Wild Card berth, but unfortunately, couldn’t get past that round for another straight year, due to fumbles and costly personal fouls. Andy Dalton is returning from injury, and everything looks like the Bengals could return. Their defense is still stellar, their offensive line is one of the best in football (except for the Cowboys), and even without former OC Hue Jackson, their offense looks really well, and could use some more weapons to compliment the likes of A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Jeremy Hill/Giovani Bernard.
Team Needs – Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Center
Pick – Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Remember that feeling? The feeling of panic as all of your choices in your fantasy drafts vanishing before your eyes, and then you proceed to panic? This is likely how the War Room will feel come draft day for Cincinnati. In all seriousness, the Bengals are eyeing Coleman, and even though many other quality Wide Receivers are available in the later rounds (ex- Tajae Sharp, WR, University of Massachusetts), Coleman is a great receiver to help out Dalton. He isn’t an exact replica of A.J. Green, yet Coleman is very explosive off the line, and is pretty much equally talented as Laquon Treadwell, but possess better quickness.
Fantasy Impact – How do you feel about a QB who has: A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert, Brandon LaFell (signed in Offseason), and maybe Corey Coleman, in addition to one of the best offensive lines in all of football? Andy Dalton just got a little better with the possible addition of Coleman, and in the division of weak secondaries, I will be heavily targeting him in my drafts. As for Coleman, he’s definitely a sleeper, as opposing Defensive Coordinators can’t put two guys on Coleman, as they have to respect Eifert, Green and LaFell.
#25 – Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6 Record)
The Steelers were riddled with injuries all season long, yet managed to string together quality wins when it mattered most, and they rode into the AFC Divisional Game, and should’ve, but didn’t win against the Broncos. However, they looked great on offense, even with the departure of former DC Dick LeBeau, their defensive did not suck too bad. With a few additions on defense, and the offense continuing what they do best, the Steelers should be just fine.
Team Needs – Cornerback, Safety, Nose Tackle
Pick – Keanu Neal, Safety, Florida
Pittsburgh’s D could use a lot of work, and fixing their secondary is one of the biggest needs for them. Brandon Boykin is a free agent along with Will Allen, and William Gay was mediocre (except for his dancing) at best. The Steelers have been linked to Neal, and could very well select him here. They’re also linked to Cornerback Eli Apple, but Apple should be selected way before it’s Pittsburgh’s turn.
Fantasy Impact – Great selection in real life but not for our purposes. With some good receiving corps in the rest of their division, I highly doubt Neal will completely change things around. He could, but it’s not likely.
#26 – Seattle Seahawks (10-6 Record)
It’s hard to imagine the Seahawks not selecting in the 30’s, but here they are at #26. They had a very rough start to the season, starting 2-4. They definitely changed things around a rallied to make it to the NFL Wild Card Game, and eventually making it to the Divisional Round. Marshawn Lynch’s departure shouldn’t change things up too much, as Rawls provides a great option in the backfield. The offensive and defensive fronts could definitely use some work, and at this spot, a lineman could be needed to help get to the QB or a lineman could protect Russell Wilson, both are needed.
Team Needs – Guard, Linebacker (Preferably Outside), Defensive Tackle
Pick – Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle, Louisville
I’ll be honest with you, I never had Rankins going anywhere else, however I didn’t think we would fall this far, and yet he has (according to my mock, he may go higher in the draft), much to the delight of the Seahawks. There are a couple of positions needed to be addressed today for the Seahawks, yet DT hasn’t been a position they have acted upon in free agency. Offensive Tackle certainly is a need, yet Seattle has signed both Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb, so that could tell us that they won’t attack that position today. For the DT position, yes, Seattle did re-sign Ahtyba Rubin and sign Sealver Siliga, but that was to add depth, especially because they lost Brandon Mebane to free agency. Rankins seems to be the correct prospect for them.
Fantasy Impact – None, because you like Seattle’s D/ST in Fantasy anyways. However, Rankins is a very solid option, as he performed very well at the Senior Bowl, despite the attention being towards Carson Wentz. This is a very good addition to Seattle’s defensive front.
#27 – Green Bay Packers (10-6 Record)
Many many teams would love to go 10-6 and be in the NFC Divisional Game, yet for the Packers, it was a very disappointing year. Yes, there were many great Hail Mary’s, yet the offense struggled a lot (Eddie Lacy, for starters), and Jordy Nelson’s missing of the entire season didn’t help either. The defense is pretty good, and an addition up front today could really help the Packers get back to their previous ways, as I do not believe that their offense will suffer again in 2016, barring any injuries.
Team Needs- Linebacker, Nose Tackle, Defensive End
Pick- A’Shawn Robinson, Nose Tackle, Alabama
The Packers need a run stuffer, as they were run all over last year, and with B.J. Raji being a free agent (and they could very well not sign him), the defensive front is a big need. Robinson is another great player, yet there were some concerns with him. Robinson could have been the #1 overall pick, but he was very inconsistent in the final few games for the Crimson Tide. However, he definitely impressed in his pro days and scouting combine, cementing his status for a first round pick for the Pack.
Fantasy Impact- Little, and maybe another IDP-only play, as I doubt he’ll make the entire defense a fantasy option each week. Green Bay’s defense is definitely good, and they improve with Robinson, but not so much that you are targeting them heavily in your drafts.
#28 – Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 Record)
Remember when the Chiefs were 1-5? “Ha!”- Andy Reid. The Chiefs had a very good year, destroying the Texans en route to the Divisional Round, in which they exited. Unlike all of these other teams, not many rumors have been leaked from Missouri, so at this point, it’s anyone’s call as to what the Chiefs could do at the 28 spot.
Team Needs- Wide Receiver, Safety, Offensive Tackle
Pick- Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
What?!?!? A QB for the Chiefs!!!! Yup. At the beginning of the Offseason, it seemed as if the Chiefs would draft a defensive back, however throughout the course prior to the draft, the chiefs retained a lot of their secondary from impeding Free Agency. Now, don’t get me wrong, their offense (and even defensive) front(s) could use some work, but it could be addressed on the second, maybe even third days. Not only does Andy Reid like Lynch, what are the backup options to Alex Smith? Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray? They shouldn’t instill confidence in the Chiefs if Smith were to get hurt.
Fantasy Impact- None until he plays, which could be a few games into the season if Smith gets hurt, or it could be 2-3 years from now. We don’t know yet.
#29 – New England Patriots (12-4 Record)
Just kidding. Loss of pick due to “Deflategate”.
#30 – Arizona Cardinals (13-3 Record)
Wow did the Arizona Cardinals have a good year. Their offense was superb, their defense was absolutely lethal, and their coaching staff is one of the best in the league without a doubt. One single pick here won’t make or break the Cardinals’ year like it will for other teams, yet it can cement another fantastic season in hopes of Arizona making it to the promised land.
Team Needs – Center, Cornerback, Defensive End
Pick – Kevin Dodd, Defensive End, Clemson
In early 2015, after they lost to the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game, GM Steve Keim stated that their #1 goal of the Offseason is to create a pass rush. Acquiring Chandler Jones from the Patriots helps, but Dodd cements and achieves their goal. Dodd had an unbelieveable 2015 season with Clemson, the highlight coming in the Nat’l Championship Game, where he got to Alabama QB Jake Coker 3 times. His pro days and scouting combine weren’t off the charts, but they cemented his status to go in the first round.
Fantasy Impact – None, because you liked the Cardinals D/ST anyways, and he cements their status to be the first D/ST off the board in fantasy. As for IDP leagues, in which I am not an expert at, I really like Dodd to have a fantastic 2016 season in Arizona.
#31 – Carolina Panthers (15-1 Record)
Everything seemed to click for Cam Newton and Co., as they absolutely dominated the entire NFC in 2015, not to mention most of the AFC as well, except for the Broncos. However, with the loss of CB Josh Norman, their defense becomes a tad bit weaker, something they could fix with this pick. With Kelvin Benjamin coming back, Newton gains another target, and it is unlikely that the Panthers will take a first round pick at the WR position. However, there are other positions on both sides of the ball Carolina could attack, and it looks likely that they will repeat as NFC South Champions, and maybe even making another deep playoff run.
Team Needs – Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Safety
Pick – Germain Ifedi, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
With the departure of Josh Norman, everyone seems to have their mind set that the Panthers will take a CB or some sort of defensive back. However, this is not the case, as the CB position is one of the deepest positions this year. Also, guess where Josh Norman was drafted in 2012? The fifth round. In all likelihood, an O-Lineman is needed desperately, as the O-Line was exposed in the Super Bowl. Ifedi is a very good, and also very safe pick here.
Fantasy Impact- None, as it helps in real life, but we already liked Newton.
#32 – Denver Broncos (12-4 Record)
Even though Peyton Manning had the worst seasons of his entire career, the Denver D was absolutely lethal, pretty much winning the Super Bowl for them. If Wade Phillips doesn’t get a raise, I have lost all hope for humanity. In all seriousness, the Broncos should make a postseason run, even under Mark Sanchez (or Kaepernick?) this year without #18, and a addition here could only help them.
Team Needs – Guard, Linebacker, Center
Pick – Vonn Bell, Safety, Ohio State
Bell had an absolutely monumental 2014 season, and followed up with a solid 2015 season, to cement a late 1st round-early 2nd round pick. The Broncos’ D isn’t bad at all, but aside from the CB positions, their defensive backs could use some work. Bell is a solid addition to an already lethal defense.
Fantasy Impact- Little, if any. You already loved the Broncos’ D/ST, and Bell adds to it.
Alright! We’re done! It’s been a pleasure over these past few weeks, and I cannot wait to see how my predictions shape up, and what ends up happening later tonight! In regards to post-NFL Draft content, I am planning to have a kind of a “Top Prospects”-type article, but only for our purposes, those prospects who have the biggest fantasy impact.
I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did, as I always enjoy getting the 2016 NFL Season underway.
Again, if you have any questions, or if you agree/disagree with a certain pick, leave a comment below! Thank you guys, and hopefully you don’t boo too hard when your favorite team blows their chance at selecting a QB.
Go read a book…
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12