With the Super Bowl in the books -- and the final draft order decided until compensatory picks are awarded -- it's time for Big Blue View to join the draft fray with our first official mock draft.
This time, I'm joined by Alex and Stephen, who helped put together our preliminary consensus big board.
We will be rotating our picks, with all three of us coming to a consensus -- I hope -- for the Giants' pick. Because I couldn't figure out a better way of doing it, we decided to go in alphabetical order, which means Alex is first up with the Tennessee Titans.
1. Tennessee Titans (Alex) - Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
In the 2011 and 2012 drafts, the Carolina front office landed their leaders on offense and defense respectively with Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. After seeing how the Panthers built around those players in the years that followed, and the success it brought them, it makes sense for the Titans to follow suit. They landed their quarterback of the future last year in Marcus Mariota, and by taking Bosa first overall here, they get a corresponding high impact player for the defense.
2. Cleveland Browns (Chris) - Jared Goff (QB, Cal)
This pick is pretty much a no-brainer for me. Goff is an accurate, high IQ, pro-ready quarterback to fill the gaping hole Cleveland has at the position. His skills fit the offensive schemes that Hue Jackson has had success with in the past. The Browns need a QB and just can't afford to wait on one being there in the second round.
This was a tough choice between Ramsey and Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who I consider the best left tackle in the NFL Draft. Pro Bowl free safety Eric Weddle and the Chargers have seemed to burn a bridge between one another, and a return to the franchise is unlikely for the polished veteran. Ramsey is the type of playmaking defensive back that will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares, and he's the best player on the board at this point in the draft. He is the best option available in both free agency and the draft for the Chargers to replace the void left by Weddle's departure.
4. Dallas Cowboys (Alex) - Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
A lot of people will disagree with me on this one because this is early, but it just feels like a Jerry Jones move to me. The Cowboys ran DeMarco Murray into the ground after one year and saw a decline in ground production last year with a bevy of replacements. Always one for the flashy move, Jones would love to have a playmaker like Elliott on his team as the next great Cowboys rusher. Behind that line, and as a weapon out of the backfield, this guy could do some serious damage.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (Chris) - Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
The Jaguars really need help in the defensive secondary. The hope is that Jalen Ramsey somehow drops to fifth overall but that didn't happen. Alexander might be a bit short, but he is a natural cover guy and has the attitude of a Jack Russell. The Jags haven't shied away from taking undersized (Telvin Smith) or unorthodox (Denard Robinson) picks before, so Alexander could work here.
6. Baltimore Ravens (Stephen) - Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
I promise I don't get joy tearing out the hearts of Giants fans with two straight selections, but Jack just makes too much sense for the Ravens. With Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil both aging, and the Arthur Brown experiment not paying dividends, Baltimore needs help at the linebacker position. C.J. Mosley is an intimidating presence on the inside, but in Baltimore's 3-4 defense, having Mosley and Jack on the inside would give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Jack excels in coverage and is extremely agile, which would help the Ravens deal with the top offenses in their division.
7. San Francisco 49ers (Alex) - Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
There is a lot of talk about the 49ers potentially needing a QB with question marks surrounding Colin Kaepernick. However, I don't think this is how they address that problem, and instead, build up an area that will help whoever does eventually take the reins at quarterback Currently, the 49ers don't really have a real No. 1 receiver, while Treadwell is the long, speedy type that fits the Chip Kelly mold exactly. This is a match made in heaven.
8. Miami Dolphins (Chris) - Laremy Tunsil (OT, Ole Miss)
The Dolphins could use some help in the defensive secondary, but it would be criminal to allow Tunsil to slide any further. Also, Dolphins fans are rejoicing because the top offensive tackle in the draft fell to help an offensive line they are still in the process of rebuilding.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Stephen) - Noah Spence (OLB, Eastern Kentucky)
The Buccaneers need more pass rushers to get to the quarterback, and they get one here in Spence. The edge rusher dominated during the Senior Bowl festivities and vaulted himself into Top 10 consideration. New defensive coordinator Mike Smith might use him in a role similar to that of former Atlanta Falcons star pass rusher John Abraham. Spence has been a popular pick to the Buccaneers in recent mock drafts, and I think he fits what the team needs.
10. New York Giants (Consensus) - Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)
Stephen: Let's go back in time to John Mara's end of season press conference. He said repeatedly that the defense needed to be a focus this offseason. After finishing last in the NFL in total defense, there's nowhere to go but up for the Giants. Drafting Smith would follow the Giants' method of drafting the best player available. Now, Smith comes with a concern after suffering a gruesome knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, and he may not be ready to go at the start of the season. However, he's a clear top-five talent in this draft if healthy. He has no red flags outside of the injury. He's part of the new age linebacker mold and can be slotted in either the middle or weak side. There is risk involved, and I don't know if general manager Jerry Reese would make this bold selection with his job possibly on the line, but I'm of the belief that Smith is the type of high-character person that will do all he can to get healthy and be a difference maker. Fixing the Giants defense isn't going to happen overnight, and Smith may not be on the field immediately, but I think in the long term, fans will be looking at a future captain of the defense and a perennial Pro Bowl player.
Alex: I wasn't trying to play "Devil's Advocate" on this one, but when we were discussing the pick, that's how my role developed. Our deliberations came down to two players for the Giants at this selection; Smith and Vernon Hargreaves III. My choice, if I was in the position that this front-office was in, was for Hargreaves. I acknowledged that I think Smith may, in fact, be the better player, but that he definitely presents a much higher risk.
Hargreaves would be a guaranteed Week 1 contributor as a slot corner -- an area that the Giants definitely need -- and could learn the ropes under Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- two of the best corners in the game.
I just thought selecting Smith would be too much of a risk for a front-office that has outlived two new coordinators and a head coaching change over the last three years. If things still aren't working after 2016, Reese and company become the obvious target for those seeking improvement.
Chris: I was on the fence between Smith, Hargreaves, and Leonard Floyd. Hargreaves is a very safe pick and probably going to be a good player in the league, and at a position where the Giants have historically struggled (mightily) with health. Leonard Floyd may be one of the wild cards in this year's draft. He has historically been a 3-4 pass rusher, but this season he showed the ability to play in space and cover that a 4-3 weak side linebacker needs, and his ability as a pass rusher is definitely needed by the Giants. But, he is very slightly built, and the questions regarding his ability to hold up in the NFL are valid. So I went with Jaylon Smith. Brian Kelly recently said that Smith is "a few" weeks ahead of where the doctors thought he would be at this point. He has a long road in front of him, and that report should be taken with a whole shaker of salt, but before that bowl game he was easily among the best prospects in this draft class.
This is a tremendous gamble, and not having your first round pick for half the season is a definite handicap (I'm assuming he starts his career on the PUP list, even if just out of caution). But getting a linebacker like Smith at any point in the 2016 season, and beyond, could make a huge difference for the Giants' defense.
11. Chicago Bears (Alex) - DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
The Bears were a good team last year, let down by some unfortunate roster holes. The addition of Buckner would immediately provide help along the defensive line. In Chicago's scheme, he would likely play as a 3-4 defensive end alongside last year's second rounder, Eddie Goldman, at nose tackle. If they can find someone better than Ego Ferguson in free-agency, then they could be sporting a fully rebuilt line in just two years -- an impressive feat that many Giants fans would kill for right about now.
12. New Orleans Saints (Chris) - Vernon Hargreaves III (CB, Florida)
Brandon Browner seems to be out in New Orleans, and the Saints just hope he doesn't commit another pass interference penalty on his way out the door. Hargreaves was in strong consideration for the Giants' pick, so he's a great value here, with an even greater need. Just about any defensive player will fill a need in New Orleans, so they get the best one available.
13) Philadelphia Eagles (Stephen) - Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
I don't get the feeling that Sam Bradford will be coming back to Philadelphia next season, and with new head coach Doug Pederson, he will get a chance to bring in his own new quarterback. Wentz has shot up draft boards, and I've seen him being mocked as high as the second overall selection. Ironically enough, Wentz reminds me a lot of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, where Pederson was the offensive coordinator. Wentz has prototypical NFL size at quarterback, excellent footwork and an accurate arm that unleashes the ball with a tight spiral. The former Bison star played in a pro style offense while in college and can also break out of the pocket and use his legs to create in the open field after reading through progressions. He checks a lot of boxes and fills a huge need for Philadelphia.
14) Oakland Raiders (Alex) - Reggie Ragland (ILB, Alabama)
The Raiders have a decent set of outside-linebackers in Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards. Add Ragland into the mix and suddenly that front seven might be one of the best in football. The defense still needs a lot of work on the back end, particularly at safety, but taking any of those here would be a reach. It makes more sense to fill the need at inside linebacker here and address their back four with other resources. Besides, a great pass rush can make even sub-par secondaries look like superstars.
15) Los Angeles Rams (Chris) - Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State)
The Rams seem to have seen enough of Nick Foles, and probably need somebody to hand the ball off to Todd Gurley -- and occasionally throw it. The choice here is between Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook. Both have their flaws, but Cook is the more pro-ready quarterback having played at the highest level in a pro-style system. Having a running back like Gurley should help to hide Cook's struggles when under fire.
16) Detroit Lions (Stephen) - Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
I was tempted to select Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas as the heir apparent to Calvin Johnson, who is reportedly retiring. But, Rankins is one of the best pass rushers in this draft and proved as much at the Senior Bowl. He arguably made the biggest noise without even playing in the Senior Bowl game. He fits best as a 3-tech and his quick burst helps him get in the backfield time and time again. He also reportedly had a formal interview with the Lions, so the match is there.
17) Atlanta Falcons (Alex) - Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
The Falcons, in their second year under head coach Dan Quinn, desperately need to improve their defense if they want to have a fighting chance in a division that features some of the heaviest offensive firepower in the league. Quinn is a defensive guy, and a someone like Dodd immediately gives them a better pass-rush. Their defense won't be fixed with the addition of one guy, but he's a necessary weapon in the fight against top-level QBs like Cam Newton and Drew Brees.
18) Indianapolis Colts (Chris) - Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame)
I was honestly surprised to see Stanley fall this far -- I had to go back and check twice to make sure --, and the Colts would be ecstatic. They desperately need a functional offensive line, and Stanley is the second best this draft has to offer. He is big, strong, and should be their left tackle for years to come. After having franchise quarterback Andrew Luck suffer a lacerated kidney (something more often seen in a car crash), they have to upgrade his protection. Potentially being able to run the ball will be a huge help as well.
19) Buffalo Bills (Stephen) - Robert Nkemdiche (DT, Ole Miss)
Nkemdiche has a lot of off-the-field issues, but the amount of talent he has is immense, even though when he has been on the field, it hasn't fully shown. The former top high school recruit in the nation has the body type to thrive as a 3-4 defensive end in Rex Ryan's defense, and I don't think Ryan will chastise Nkemdiche for his past transgressions off the football field. If Nkemdiche can live up to his potential, he could be the steal of the draft. However, if he doesn't, he could end up being the biggest bust, too.
20) New York Jets (Alex) - Jack Conklin (OT, Michigan State)
This would be the first offensive player selected in the first round since Mark Sanchez! Hard to believe it's been that long, and that they've held together an offense with duct-tape and string for this long, but it's also important to note that the Jets' offense wasn't bad last year. There aren't many holes, and you're unlikely to find a guaranteed upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick this late in the draft, so how about just focusing on keeping the guy upright. Bring in Conklin, and roll the dice on another year of Fitzmagic.
21) Washington Redskins (Chris) - Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
Washington is rebuilding their offensive line, but they don't have a real center yet. Kelly is the best center in the draft and was instrumental in paving the way for Derrick Henry's Heisman campaign. He's smart enough to quickly be able to call protections and should be mobile enough to play in Jay Gruden's blocking scheme.
22) Houston Texans (Stephen) - Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
The Texans have never truly had a franchise quarterback unless you count David Carr or Matt Schaub. As we saw in their 30-0 loss to the Chiefs in the playoffs, Houston needs a skilled quarterback to help them compete, especially in a division with Andrew Luck, Blake Bortles, and Marcus Mariota. Lynch has size and a similar skill set to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, but he does have his flaws. In particular, Lynch had played against a weaker level of competition and against Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl, Lynch struggled. He may be best to sit a year or two behind Brian Hoyer, but Lynch has about as much potential as any other quarterback in this class.
23) Minnesota Vikings (Alex) - Cody Whitehair (G, Kansas State)
The Vikings don't have a lot of holes. Teddy Bridgewater just needs a little help. They could do with another wide-receiver, but that's a much easier position to fill in free-agency or later rounds, so I've selected Whitehair here. He has the ability to play both guard and tackle but is likely better suited to the former in the NFL. Giving a top young QB like Bridgewater some added protection, while also providing blocking for the twilight of Adrian Peterson's career, Whitehair is a versatile player that would help this team right away.
24) Cincinnati Bengals (Chris) - Darian Thompson (FS, Boise State)
This pick might be a bit of a reach, but if the Bengals lose George Iloka in free agency (hopefully to the Giants) it could happen. Thompson has had a great winter so far, and is separating himself from the other safeties not named "Jalen Ramsey." He is a true free safety who can roam the deep middle, understands offensive concepts, and can help bolster the back end of the Bengals' defense if they decide to not pay Iloka.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers (Stephen) - Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
The Steelers don't have a lot of cornerback depth, and three of them are free agents, including top corner William Gay. Apple is a younger corner as a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore but has legitimate size at 6-1, 200 pounds. His footwork is clean and his hips are fluid. He does struggle to make tackles and to keep up with receivers at times, but overall, he is one of the top cover corners in the class.
26) Seattle Seahawks (Alex) - Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
If there's any team that can take a raw talent like Floyd, and turn them into a superstar, it's Pete Caroll's Seahawks. There were multiple times last year when the Seattle defense -- their trademark strength -- were nowhere up to their usual standards. John Schneider and the front office need a player like Floyd to keep this defense as one of the best in the league. There are other areas to consider on offense, but this is too good to pass up at pick No. 26.
27) Green Bay Packers (Chris) - Shaq Lawson (EDGE, Clemson)
The Packers will be getting Jordy Nelson back healthy to help their offense, so they go defense with their first round pick. Nick Perry hasn't panned out and Julius Peppers is 36 years old. Lawson is the top edge rusher on the board and projects better to Green Bay's 3-4 defense than Perry ever did. He doesn't have Peppers' explosive athleticism, but he is a stout run defender and should be agile enough to rush from a two-point stance.
28) Kansas City Chiefs (Stephen) - A'Shawn Robinson (DL, Alabama)
The Chiefs get what I think could be a steal here in Robinson, a projected top 20 pick. He could slide in as a 3-4 defensive end or even nose tackle behind Dontari Poe. Kansas City could lose Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito in free agency, so they replenish the defensive line by adding Robinson. Consistency is the question for him, but he is a tremendous athlete and has everything he needs to be consistent. The tools are there, and Andy Reid could put the puzzle pieces together.
29) Arizona Cardinals (Alex) - Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
A run on pass-rushers at the end of the first round makes sense. These are teams that got deep into the playoffs but were likely only a couple of plays short of going the distance. This is not how the Cardinals went out in the NFC Championship game. They were steamrolled and out of contention by halftime. Ogbah gives them a bit more of a fighting chance should the opportunity arrive next year. He's a strong run defender and possibly the best pass-rusher in his conference. In Arizona, he'd get a chance to refine his game, master the nuances, and hopefully become the next great NFC West defender.
30) Carolina Panthers (Chris) - Taylor Decker (OT, Ohio State)
If the Panthers have a glaring weakness on their team it is their offensive line, specifically their offensive tackles. They were able to camouflage it during the season, but the ferocious pass rush of the Denver Broncos exposed the weakness for what it is. Decker is a big, athletic tackle who is a natural bender and powerful enough to play in Carolina's run-heavy scheme. He can't play both spots, but he should be able to upgrade one of them.
31) Denver Broncos (Stephen) - Jarran Reed (DL, Alabama)
If free agent defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who could command as much as $12 million per year, leaves the Mile High City, Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed could be an option if he slips to the end of the first round. He's a powerful run stopper who could open up lanes for Denver's talented core of linebackers. He's probably a top 25 pick when the actual NFL Draft comes around, so the Broncos get a very good value pick here.