Tennessee Titans Receive: #10 Overall Pick (2016)
New York Giants Receive: #15 & 64 Overall Picks (2016)
Tennessee Titans (Round 1, Pick 10):
Jack Conklin – Offensive Tackle, Michigan St.
Generally I like to avoid projecting trades when constructing a mock draft but I believe in this scenario, both teams would bite at this opportunity. The Titans were able to stockpile draft picks after trading the #1 overall pick to the LA Rams last week. Tennessee’s top priority in this draft should be protecting franchise QB Marcus Mariota. With the top two offensive tackles off the board already (Tunsil & Stanley) and a number of teams picking between 11-15 with needs at offensive line, Tennessee is happy to part with a 3rd round pick in order to jump ahead of those teams. From the Giants perspective, with no obvious selection on the board for them, GM Jerry Reese is more than happy to trade back to accumulate the extra pick. It is also worth noting that the Giants and Titans were trade partners last year, with Big Blue trading up to Tenessee’s spot at the top of the 2nd round to select safety Landon Collins.
Tennessee selected Taylor Lewan in the 2014 draft and has been their starter at left-tackle since then. Although the results have been mixed, it seems most likely the Titans will opt to leave Lewan on the left side (which is his natural fit). The Titans are able to do this by taking Jack Conklin, a mauler in the run game who will start at right-tackle immediately. With the upside to one day be a starting left-tackle, Conklin makes a great deal of sense from both a need and value perspective, for an upstart Titans team.
NFL Player Comparison: Andrew Whitworth
Chicago Bears (Round 1, Pick 11):
Leonard Floyd – Outside Linebacker, Georgia
Chicago enters its second draft under head coach John Fox with much more talent on the defensive side of the ball than when he took over. After adding MLB Danny Trevathan in free agency, Chicago looks to add a speedy OLB to pair with Pernell McPhee, in Fox’s 3-4 scheme. Standing 6’ 6” and running a 4.60 40-yd dash, Floyd possesses a rare blend of athleticism and length at the linebacker position. Although Floyd will need to add size to his frame if he hopes to be a true three-down line backer, Chicago would be happy to use him in sub-packages early in his career.
NFL Player Comparison: Anthony Barr
New Orleans Saints (Round 1, Pick 12):
Sheldon Rankins – Defensive Tackle, Louisville
It seems like a recurring theme come draft time but once again the New Orleans Saints desperately need help at all three levels of their defense. With only one true pass-rushing threat in Cameron Jordan, the Saints take Rankins and immediately upgrade their defensive line. Although Rankins lacks the typical size of an interior defensive lineman in the NFL, on tape he flashes the strength and explosiveness to make up for the lack of size. The question is whether stronger offensive lineman at the next level will negate that strength. The same was said of undersized defensive tackle Aaron Donald coming out of Pittsburgh in the 2014 Draft. While Donald is obviously a best case scenario, without any threat in the interior of their defensive line, New Orleans is willing to take that risk.
NFL Player Comparison: Aaron Donald
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please like and comment if you enjoyed the article, and make sure to check back for the rest of Round 1.