The 2016 NFL draft is now over, and my mock draft was blown to smithereens on the first day by a few unforeseen circumstances that shook up the top 10. Nonetheless, there were a multiple winners in the draft as teams addressed roster needs and picked up some potential starters that will influence the league next season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made a huge splash in the draft with the selections of highly rated defensive prospects, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack. The two players were highly regarded as top athletes in this years class, with the potential to be immediate disruptive forces on the defensive side of the ball from day one. The Jags found themselves with good fortune as Jack slid to the second round with questions about his surgically repaired knee. If Jack’s knee returns to anywhere near full health, he could be a steal when looking back at this draft in years to come. Figure in the return of last years top 3 draft pick, Dante Fowler Jr., and the Jags have a few dynamic young pieces that they can compete with under defensive-minded coach Gus Bradley. Jacksonville was trending in the right direction last season with the emergence of Blake Bortles and that passing offense. They will look to take another step forward and increase their win total from last year. Just ask Jag fans how excited they are about this years draft.
The Houston Texans followed up their offensive overhaul this offseason with a stellar draft. Not only did they grab speedy Notre Dame deep threat, Will Fuller, but they also snagged receiver Braxton Miller from Ohio State. Fuller is a downfield threat with the ability to take the top off of coverages, and Miller is an explosive athlete who can use his wide skillset to make a variety of plays. These additions will not only open up space and attract defenders away from Houston’s Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but provide more options for new signal caller Brock Osweiler as they look to ease him into his new role as the franchise quarterback. The moves show the mindset of the organization trying to improve its offense after their embarrassing playoff exit last season.
The Washington Redskins aren’t usually known for their sound roster moves , but the 2016 draft was generous to them. They secured TCU receiver Josh Doctson as another threat for Kirk Cousins, along with defensive backs Su’a Cravens (USC) and Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech). Washington aimed to protect their recent investment in Cousins by adding another capable target on the outside, along with improving their depth in a secondary that struggled to get stops in the first round of last years NFL playoffs. With the recent addition of Josh Norman to the secondary, they may have turned a positional weakness into a strength.
The Vikings were within a field goal of winning and advancing in the playoffs last season , so their level of talent is on par with top teams in the league. They added to their talent with the addition of Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell and Clemson corner Mackensie Alexander. Treadwell will be a capable pass catcher and pivotal instrument in the development of young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Alexander will immediately be asked to play a role as a cover corner in tough NFC North division, with pass-happy Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The two will immediately be inserted as starters on a team that is competing for the division crown.
*Note: The AFC South may prove be a tough division next year. With the Texans and Jaguars currently looking like draft day winners, the Titans also made solid moves by drafting Heisman trophy winner, Alabama tailback Derrick Henry, and highly rated Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin to compliment the addition of Demarco Murray on offense.