Copestick and Clemens’ Picks: NFL Draft


Anissa Gardizy

NFL DRAFT – The 2016 NFL draft was hosted in Philidelhpia. Pictured above is the room where prospects awaited team decisions.

As the NFL combine is underway, the impatient fans of the NFL are looking forward to the draft coming up in Dallas. In this edition of Copestick n’ Clemens picks (CC’s Picks) we break down our way too early predictions for the draft. From the struggles of the 0-16 Browns to the reigning Super Bowl champs in Philadelphia, we break down who teams should select to push them in the direction of Super Bowl glory.

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – The Browns need a quarterback after they passed on another potential star in DeShaun Watson last year, and instead ended up with DeShone Kizer, who isn’t the quarterback of the future. The Browns will try their hand with Josh Allen, who needs some work on his accuracy and mechanics, but his size and arm strength are traits the Browns will like- not to mention Allen turns the ball over far less than Sam Darnold.

2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA – With Eli Manning slowly aging out of the Giants, New York needs a young star that can handle the Big Apple spotlight. Rosen would benefit greatly from having wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC StateIt’s no secret, the Colts defense needs help, and lots of it. The Colts added talent in the secondary in last year’s draft, picking up ball-hawk Malik Hooker and corners Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston, but adding pass-rushers are still a need. Chubb is the best defensive end in the draft, and will step in right away and be a starter.    

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – The Browns are in dire need of offensive weapons. Bad drafting the past few years have led to their 0-16 season, and maybe Barkley will be the explosive player to boost them to a few wins next season.

5. Denver Broncos: Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS, Alabama – The Broncos have a great opportunity to select a quarterback, given that they have a pretty solid roster beyond Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, and third year quarterback Paxton Lynch. However, adding a safety as versatile as Fitzpatrick could give the Broncos the option to trade or cut current starter Darian Stewart, whose salary of seven million per year is not worth his production. A duo of Fitzpatrick and third-year safety Justin Simmons would give the Broncos a young, cheaper tandem of safeties to go with an already good group of corners.

6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – The Jets are in dire need of a quarterback, and Baker Mayfield may just be the perfect contrasting star to the Giants Josh Rosen. Two rookie New York quarterbacks fighting for fame in the big apple could be an interesting story this upcoming season.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU – It was surprising to see the Bucs select weapons for Jameis Winston in last year’s draft, instead of picking up a pass-rusher or two. The Bucs paid the price for that last year when Noah Spence, Kwon Alexander, and Lavonte David all suffered early season injuries, and sacks were few and far between for the Buccaneers. Denzel Ward could very well be the pick here to replace an aging Brent Grimes, but a pass-rusher to help out Noah Spence and Gerald McCoy should be the priority.

8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama – The Bears really need some offensive weapons and this polished wide receiver out of Alabama could be a step in the right direction. Getting help for Mitchell Trubisky should be a top priority.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State –  The 49ers are done the hard part – they’ve found (and paid) their franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. However, their secondary needs some help. The Niners have selected a Pac-12 defensive lineman in the first round each of the last 3 seasons in Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Soloman Thomas, who was the number three overall pick last year. In addition to selecting Thomas in last years draft, the 49ers traded up into the back end of the first round, and selected linebacker Reuben Foster to anchor the defense. Former Colorado corner Ahkello Witherspoon showed a lot of promise last year after he was selected in the third round. Denzel Ward would be a good choice to line up opposite of Witherspoon, and although Ward is a bit undersized, he’s very steady in coverage. With Ward being the selection, he’ll pair up with Ahkello Witherspoon to be the 49ers cornerback tandem of the future.  

10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, GeorgiaNicholas Morrow, Cory James, NaVorro Bowman and Marquel Lee are the names of the players who have tried to fill the Raiders glaring hole at middle linebacker. It’s time the Raiders stop trying to throw mid-round picks into the fire and find a guy who can put the Raiders worries in the middle to rest. Roquan Smith, who won the Butkus award for being college football’s best linebacker, has the tackling ability, physicality and instincts to supplant NaVorro Bowman, and give Jon Gruden someone who could resemble Derrick Brooks in Gruden’s old Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses.

11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame – The Dolphins could opt for a linebacker, but Nelson could arguably be the most pro-ready player in the draft. The Dolphins could stick Nelson in between left tackle Laremy Tunsil and center Mike Pouncey, and turn the left side of their offensive line into a strength. However, with Ryan Tannehill coming off a second major knee injury, the Dolphins could surprise the NFL and take a quarterback.  

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame – The Bengals run game struggled all last season and the team should be looking to fix that in the trenches. Mike McGlinchey is a strong tackle who is NFL ready and should be able to make a difference right away.

13. Washington Redskins: Sam Darnold, QB, USC – The Redskins just made a blockbuster trade for Alex Smith, and handed him a shiny 4 year, 94 million dollar extension, with 70 million guaranteed. Smith’s safe style of play could allow him to give the Redskins a good couple of years, but it’s hard to justify such a big contract for a guy who’ll turn 34 before the season begins. Darnold has garnered a lot of buzz to potentially be selected with the first overall pick, so he’ll most likely be the best player available if he slides this far in the first round. Darnold will sit and learn from Smith for as long as he needs to,  and eventually take over the starting role sometime down the road.

14. Green Bay Packers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa – Last year the Packers went with Kevin King (CB) in the draft but it is likely time to find a new corner. Joshua Jackson is a promising NFL corner. Team sources have raved about Joshua Jackson, and there’s a chance he’s the first cornerback selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMUWith the career of Larry Fitzgerald on its last legs, the aging Cardinals need some fresh blood in their receiving corps. John Brown is a free agent, leaving the Cards with Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson, and Chad Williams, last year’s third round pick from Grambling who only had three catches in his rookie season. Sutton has a similar frame to Larry Fitzgerald, and will give whoever is throwing him the ball for Arizona next season a big target who can go up and get 50/50 balls.

16. Baltimore Ravens: James Washington Jr., WR, Oklahoma State The past 2 seasons in free agency, the Baltimore Ravens were able to scoop up Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin to solidify their group of receivers. The Ravens have to realize that quality starters won’t just keep falling into their laps. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman has not shown he’s a number one wide receiver, and between suspensions and injuries, the Ravens group of tight ends has given them nothing. In last year’s draft, the Ravens only two offensive selections were guards, and because of that, they’re stuck in the same position they were in last year. James Washington would add some youth to Baltimore’s receiving core.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech – The Chargers defense played pretty well in their first season under former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, but the linebacking core was a glaring weakness. Denzel Perryman was hurt often, and journeyman Hayes Pullard III could only do so much. Adding Tremaine Edmunds would bolster the group of linebackers, and give the Chargers a young, intriguing trio of Edmunds, Perryman, and Akron product Jatavis Brown.  

18. Seattle Seahawks: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLAThe poor play of the Seahawks offensive line continues to be an issue that’s held back their offense, and even caused them to miss the playoffs this past season. Kolton Miller would add some size and athleticism on the outside to replace Luke Joeckel and Rees Odhiambo, who did little to help such a struggling unit.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Davenport, OLB, UT- San AntonioFor the second year in a row, the cap-strapped Cowboys are going to have to look to the draft to add talent to their roster. If the Cowboys don’t play their cards right, last years sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence could leave town to sign elsewhere, leaving a huge hole at pass rusher. Marcus Davenport’s upside has scouts raving, and could eventually develop into Dallas’ next star off the edge.

20. Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida – The Lions are in need of help on defense and the versatility of Taven Bryan could prove help out on the line. He is athletically gifted with loose lower body and plays with flexibility and agility of a defensive end. Scouts are worried about his size and lack of instincts.

21. Buffalo Bills: Vita Vea, DT, WashingtonThe Bills have been looking to possibly unload their current pair of defensive tackles in Kyle Williams and Adolphus Washington. Vita Vea is a monstrous, athletic presence in the middle, at 6’5 and 340 pounds, who’d open up sack opportunities for Shaq Lawson and Lorenzo Alexander. By getting rid of Kyle Williams, Vea would give some youth to an old Bills defense.

22. Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, QB, LouisvilleThe Bills are close. They have finally made the playoffs this past season and are looking to get a player who really pushes them over the edge. The Bills have had lots of trouble at QB1 and Jackson as a double threat, dynamic player may just boost their offense enough. However if the Bills are looking to convert him to a WR they may have some trouble as Jackson has stated repeatedly he is only a quarterback.

23. Los Angeles Rams: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio StateThe Rams offensive line is missing an anchor in the middle. Head Coach Sean McVay brought in his old center from the Redskins, John Sullivan, who did a modest job at the starting center spot. Billy Price, who won the Rimington Trophy for best Center in the country last year at Ohio State, should come in and improve an already solid Rams offensive line, and give Todd Gurley II even more room to carve up defenses in the future.

24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M – The Panthers have a solid quarterback and running back but lack depth at wide receiver. They could really use speed on the outside and Kirk is a quick receiver who is a savant route runner. Scouts love his competitiveness and “mental makeup”, however believe he will be better with making plays underneath rather than far down field.

25. Tennessee Titans: Derwin James, S, Florida StateIf a player of Derwin James’ caliber falls this far, new Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel will be licking his chops. The Titans need to add difference makers on the defensive side of the ball, and pairing James with All-Pro Safety Kevin Byard would be a good start. If the Titans select Derwin James with this pick, they can focus on adding talent on the D Line around Jurrell Casey, and adding to their linebackers.

26. Atlanta Falcons:  Harold Landry, DE, Boston CollegeThe Falcons are set to lose many defensive linemen to free agency and may look to the draft to lock up some young talent. Though he lacks height at just 6’3’’ Harold Landry has great arm length and is able to explode out of the gate with no missteps. Scouts worry he needs more of a diverse rush approach. Bottom line is he may struggle until he learns a proper pass rush technique, but once he puts it together has an opportunity to become a Pro Bowler.

27. New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, TexasAfter missing out on Reuben Foster in last years draft, the Saints signed A.J. Klein from the Panthers to man the middle of their defense. However, Klein was mostly a special teams player, and offered little when it came to defense. Adding in Malik Jefferson, who has the size, tackling, and coverage ability would be a welcomed addition the up-and-coming Saints defense, and would be a nice fit next to tackling machine Craig Robertson.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander-Esch, LB, Boise StateThe Steelers are an absolute mess at linebacker without Ryan Shazier who will be out all of next season recovering from his severe back injury. With Vander-Esch, Pittsburgh would get a big, long, and athletic player with a history of dominant performances. The downside is that he doesn’t have much experience and needs to fill out his frame a bit more.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State For reasons unknown to many, the Jaguars handed Blake Bortles a 3 year, 54 million dollar extension. The task for the Jags at the moment is to surround Bortles with weapons to mask his weaknesses. Dallas Goedert would give Blake Bortles a deep-threat at the tight end position that the Jags lacked last year, as James O’Shaughnessy was merely a non-factor, and Mercedes Lewis was used more as a blocker and doesn’t have the speed to take the top off the defense. Goedert would give Bortles a threat at tight end that he hasn’t had since he entered the league.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, G, GeorgiaThe Vikings offensive line is clearly struggling and needs improvement for them to be able to take the next step in the playoffs. Wynn is a quick, well aware, and strong run blocker, whose versatility for guard or tackle make him a solid choice. Scouts are looking for him to prove he can withstand the power and strength of the NFL.

31. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OT, TexasThe Patriots would be happy to scoop up Connor Williams at the end of the first round. With starting Left Tackle Nate Solder a pending free-agent, Williams could be the starter right away. His size, work ethic, and power are traits that Bill Belichick will covet, and Williams’ plug-and-play ability will save the Patriots some cap space to make other moves.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Rash’aan Evans, LB, AlabamaWith Nigel Bradham up for free agency and Jordan Hicks injury prone, linebacker could be a position Philadelphia looks to address coming off their Super Bowl victory. Evans is an all around athletic new age NFL linebacker. Where he lacks slightly in instinct Evans makes up for in explosive athletic ability. If he stays healthy he could turn into a bright star in this already great Philly scheme.