I love a good mock draft. And by good, I don’t necessarily mean projected accuracy. I like them when they’re different...outside the box.
Many 2016 mock drafts you’ll see, or have seen, are going to have Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell or Memphis QB Paxton Lynch being the pick for the Los Angeles Rams when they’re on the clock at 15. But not former Pittsburgh Steeler turned NFL Network analyst Ike Taylor.
In this mock draft, which was published on Tuesday, Taylor kicks it off with a pair of names familiar at the top of many mocks. The Titans take Ole Miss’ tackle Laremy Tunsil, and the Browns follow by drafting Cal QB Jared Goff.
Pretty standard, right? But it wouldn’t be long before Taylor’s creative juices got flowing.
3. San Diego Chargers - Deforest Buckner, DE, Oregon
4. Dallas Cowboys - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
6. Baltimore Ravens - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
7. San Francisco 49ers - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida St.
10. New York Giants - Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
11. Chicago Bears - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
12. New Orleans Saints - Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
14. Oakland Raiders - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
and with the 15th pick - with the Rams on the clock - the two-time Super Bowl champion has the Rams selecting...
15. Los Angeles Rams - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Why, you might ask?
You need a rock down the pipeline. Kelly’s that guy.
You probably noticed as we worked our way through the picks that Paxton Lynch was still on the board. Taylor doesn’t see him as the fit for the Rams. In this draft, the Memphis QB goes 31st to the Denver Broncos. You might’ve also noticed that North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz was available at 15, as well. Taylor had him dropping to the...well...2nd round.
Corey Coleman was available. No dice. The Rams could probably use help at CB after losing Janoris Jenkins in free agency, and Mackensie Alexander was there for the taking. No thanks. Reggie Ragland or Hunter Henry? Not necessary.
For the Rams, according to Taylor, it’s the draft’s best center. Kelly, who’s 6’4" and 311 lbs., would certainly help bolster a Rams’ offensive line that currently features a serviceable, but very average, Tim Barnes at center.
This pick, for many, will probably sound crazy, as most would project him as a Day 2 prospect. But it appears Ike Taylor is buying what Jeff Fisher is selling. And that is running Todd Gurley down the opponent's throat for sixteen weeks. And if the Rams do intend on rolling with Case Keenum at QB in 2016, that idea doesn’t sound too shabby.