By Wayne B. Jones for TonySoftli.com
When I was a young boy growing up in the western suburbs of Philadelphia; my father used to tell me that football games were won in the trenches. He would have loved the 2016 NFL draft, because it’s loaded with quality offensive and defensive line prospects. Offensive tackle, run-stuffing defensive tackle and edge rushers are the most talented and deep areas of this draft. To all NFL decision makers that need to strengthen these areas of their rosters; Christmas day is coming early this year.
- Los Angeles Rams Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
The Rams need a starting quarterback badly. The 32nd ranked passing offense needs a young signal caller to be their quarterback of the future. Lynch is a big strong arm passer with good mobility. He throws a tight spiral with good ball placement. He has excellent vision and pocket presence. Gets rid of the ball quickly after completing his progressions.
- Cleveland Browns Laquon Treadwell WR Mississippi
The signing of Robert Griffin III will give the Browns the opportunity to fill needs in other areas. They need a wideout in the worse way. Treadwell is a strong physical player. He attacks the ball in the air and is a big red zone target.
- San Diego Chargers Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
This offensive line needs some athletic help. Stanley is a very good athlete with natural knee bend and lateral agility. He has the skill to play either right or left tackle.
- Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
Tony Romo is 36 and Jerry Jones is “Mr. Right Now”. The days of running back by committee are over. Elliott is a three down back. He is an aggressive inside the tackles, downhill runner; with good balance and quickness at the point of attack.
- Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey CB Florida State
Ramsey is a long athletic corner with excellent movement and ball skills. He is a solid form tackler with a high football IQ. This talented prospect will help bolster a weak pass defense and allow more time for Gus Bradleys defensive line to get to the quarterback.
- Baltimore Ravens Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
Decker is a big, strong, physical athlete. He will be needed to protect Joe Flaccos return from a surgically repaired knee. He is an excellent drive blocker that can also anchor well in pass protection.
- San Francisco 49ers Jared Goff QB California
This club needs talent everywhere. Chip Kelly will start with a mobile, accurate, spread offense quarterback. Goff is a good passer with excellent pocket awareness. He makes quick reads, delivers the ball on time with good placement.
- Philadelphia Eagles Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
Now that Byron Maxwell is gone, Hargreaves will be the Eagles lock down cover corner. He has excellent coverage and ball skills. Excellent footwork, good hands, a “playmaker”.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Joey Bosa DE Ohio State
A “playmaker” is needed for this defense. Bosa is a quick, strong, athletic prospect. Has a high motor and makes plays in pursuit. He is an upfield player with the ability to drop into coverage if needed.
- New York Giants Myles Jack OLB UCLA
The Giants need linebacker help in the worst way. Jack has both rush and coverage ability. An explosive wrap and squeeze tackler. He has the foot speed to patrol the line of scrimmage from sideline to sideline.
- Chicago Bears Reggie Ragland ILB Alabama
The Bears received very little production from their linebackers last season. Ragland has good athletic ability and is a force at the point of attack. He has enough quickness to come off the edge and the movement skills to cover backs and tight ends.
- New Orleans Saints Deforest Buckner DT Oregon
The worst defense in the league needs a shot in the arm. Buckner is a strong, explosive prospect with impressive playmaking ability. Has the physical tools to set the edge and shed blockers at the line of scrimmage. He is a high motor pass rusher with deceptive speed.
- Miami Dolphins Vadal Alexander OG LSU
This offense last season was at the bottom of the league in points scored. A quick remedy for this deficiency is an upgrade along the offensive line. Alexander is a good run/pass blocker with position versatility. He is best suited for a man blocking scheme. He has excellent hand placement that allows him to redirect.
- Oakland Raiders Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
Last season the Raiders had one of the worse pass defenses in the league. This secondary needs an upgrade. Their inability at covering tight ends was apparent even to fantasy league players. Mackensie has excellent closing speed on balls thrown in front of him. Good man and off-man cover skills. Excellent lateral quickness. Good tackler, not afraid of contact.
- Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Mississippi
The Titans traded down with the hope of still getting their guy. Tunsil will protect Marcus Mariotas back side for the next 10 years. He has excellent footwork and technique. An effortless kickslide and mirrors well.
- Detroit Lions Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
The offensive line in Detroit needs some maintenance. It was the worse rushing offense in the league in spite of a strong finish by running back Ameer Abdullah. Conklin is big, strong, and physical. He has good feet and movement skills. He is a powerful run blocker with the ability to get to the second level. An efficient pass blocker with the technique to anchor and redirect with ease.
- Atlanta Falcons Shaq Lawson OLB Clemson
The Falcons have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball if they expect to get to the playoffs in the near future. A good place to start would be their terrible pass rush. Lawson is a quick, athletic pass rusher with an explosive first step. He has the strength and technique to shed blockers quickly and chase down the ball carrier from behind.
- Indianapolis Colts Kyle Murphy OT Stanford
If Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson want to keep their jobs going forward; they need to build a better offensive line. Murphy is a big athletic prospect that can pull and play in space. He is a fundamentally sound player with a quick first step and good hand placement. Should be move inside on the next level.
- Buffalo Bills Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh
The Bills have a lot of holes to fill if they want to make it to the playoffs. Another weapon for Tyrod Taylor would be the place to start. Boyd is a good route runner with quickness and separation. Excellent hands and vision. Not a speed merchant but knows how to set up blocks. Good football speed.
- New York Jets Jaylon Smith OLB Notre Dame
The Jets need an edge rusher. Smith is an explosive hitter who can make plays from sideline to sideline. Has the ability to shed blocks and locate the football with ease. Possesses the combination of speed, quickness and short area burst to be a top pass rusher. He can play inside or outside in any scheme.
- Washington Redskins Eli Apple CB Ohio State
The Redskins need to overhaul their secondary. It lacks depth and is long in the tooth. Apple brings strong press-man coverage skills and good run support to the 25th pass defense in the league.
- Houston Texans Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
The Texans no longer need a starting quarterback, Brock Osweiler is their man. What they really need is someone to help JJ Watt attack the pocket. Dodd is a good athlete who can play both the run and pass. He uses size and strength to set the edge and anchor on run plays. He uses length, quickness, and body control to beat offensive lineman when rushing the passer. Good upside.
- Minnesota Vikings Corey Coleman WR Baylor
The Vikings need to draft a wideout to help Teddy Bridgewater. The league’s 31st ranked passing offense needs a shot in the arm to compete for a playoff spot. Coleman has explosive speed and run after catch ability. Has good hands and can track the ball well over his shoulder. Can also be used as a punt return specialist. He is a raw talent and needs to be coached up on the next level.
- Cincinnati Bengals Darron Lee OLB Ohio State
The Bengals have a very good, but not dominant defense. Some depth at linebacker is needed. Lee is a good pass rusher with top level pursuit skills. He has excellent movement ability which allow him to cover backs, tight ends and slot receivers. He is a raw talent with great upside.
- Pittsburgh Steelers Artie Burns CB Miami
The Steelers pass defense is terrible. They need both safety and cornerback help if they are going to compete for a Super Bowl title. Burns is comfortable in both man and zone coverage. He has good hands and ball skills with the ability to mirror a receiver in press coverage.
- Seattle Seahawks Jerald Hawkins OT LSU
It was painful last season watching Russell Wilson run for his life when he dropped back to pass. Some offensive line help is needed, badly. Hawkins is a big strong run blocker who can get movement, turn, and seal his target. Good base and anchor on bull rush. He moves well laterally and is able to play right or left tackle.
- Green Bay Packers Kentrell Brothers ILB Missouri
The Packers need to return Clay Matthews to his natural position by drafting a downhill run thumper with coverage skills. Brothers is a strong, explosive playmaker who is quick to shed blocks and attack the line of scrimmage.
- Kansas City Chiefs Will Fuller WR Notre Dame
Andy Reid is an excellent coach, but if he wants to win the Super Bowl this season he is going to need a true vertical threat. Fuller has the speed to take the top off a defense. He just needs to learn how to catch the ball away from his body. He is a good route runner who gets in and out of his breaks well. His ability to uncover against zone or man is exceptional.
- Arizona Cardinals Noah Spence OLB Eastern Kentucky
The Cardinals are a well-balanced team but they need to improve their pass rush. Spence is a good athlete with exceptional quickness and speed. Sheds blockers well and pursues ball carriers with reckless abandon.
- Carolina Panthers Josh Doctson WR TCU
The Panthers need another wideout that can get open on a regular basis against playoff caliber defenses. Doctson will provide that threat for this 24th ranked passing offense. He is a big target with excellent hands. A good route runner and deep threat. He has the physical tools to beat both man and zone coverage.
- Denver Broncos Avery Young OT Auburn
The uncertainty at quarterback will allow the Broncos to have a more run based approach on offense this season. Young is a strong, powerful run blocker. He can play guard or tackle. Has a mean streak, big upside.
- New England Patriots Le’Raven Clark OT Texas Tech
The offensive line and 30th ranked rushing attack hurt the Patriots the entire 2015 season. Clark will provide much needed quality depth to this depleted position group. He has good size, length, and quick feet and lateral agility. A strong, physical gap down blocker who can also be effective in a stretch zone system. Excellent upside.