This weekend, Douglas Morrison dropped a great NFL Weekend episode focusing on how free agency will determine the course of the 2016 NFL Draft. And whereas he looked at pass rusher and middle linebacker getting bumped up the Rams' need board with the recent release of DE Chris Long and MLB James Laurinaitis, a new mock draft from CBS Sports' Pete Prisco lays out a clear nod to free agency ahead of what has been the conventional wisdom to this point.
Here's the top 14 from his first mock of the season:
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Jared Goff||QB||California|
|3||San Diego Chargers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Jalen Ramsey||CB||Florida St.|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Joey Bosa||DE||Ohio St.|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota St.|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Noah Spence||DE/O||Eastern Kentucky|
|10||New York Giants||Myles Jack||OLB||UCLA|
|11||Chicago Bears||A'Shawn Robinson||DT||Alabama|
|12||New Orleans Saints||Shaq Lawson||DE||Clemson|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis|
|14||Oakland Raiders||Mackensie Alexander||CB||Clemson|
Now this isn't all that different from Dan Kadar's mock I just posted. In fact, they share 13 of the same top 14 names differing only on a Jaylon Smith vs. Shaq Lawson schism.
Eli Apple (CB, Ohio St.)
They will likely lose one of their starting corners in free agency, and could lose both. Apple is a tall corner. I think he might end up being the best of the corner group in this draft.
Prisco clearly isn't buying into the Instagram hints of a package "Migos" deal involing CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Trumaine Johnson and FS Rodney McLeod. That lends credence to Apple as a selection at 15, let alone his quality.
One thing I mentioned in the Kadar mock re: Treadwell:
Treadwell's never been the supreme athlete. He's a physical monster that's just gonna be a nightmare for cornerbacks under 6'.
That's exactly the kind of aspect that propels Apple into first round contention with a 6'+ frame. The big issue for Apple at this point is technique having leaned on his size as an unseasoned redshirt sophomore at tOSU and racking up 11 penalties in the last two season via holding or PI.
Still, it's a good reminder that it's not as easy as leaning into the QB/WR foursome we've seen so often in mocks this year.
And as Doug notes, free agency may well answer some questions before the draft even gets here.