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Green Zone League Articles

The X-Mas Mock (Yes, the whole DAMN 1st Round!)
By Anthony Fernandez
Special to gzl-football.com

Yahoo! Sports Presents
in association with, the GreenZone Report
A 2016 1st Round Mock Draft - Yes, the whole DAMN round.

Wednesday, December 25th, 2016
AF and John Stanley, Yahoo Sports!

So Stanley and I have been talking about doing a Mock Draft together for like 4 drafts in a row finally. Today, we finally culminated that idea into this article, as the two of us exchanged text messages for a couple hours, taking turns making picks with no knowledge of where the other GM was going. We have both had some pretty successful drafts in the past, and just used our draft boards (well, sorta) and matched talented players to team needs. AF picked odd (because, well, he's odd) and Stanley picked even - because he is always so damn even mannered. It's annoying. Get mad, you son of a bitch. Just once? You Super-Bowl-winning-with-backup-QBing-son-of-a-Charger. Enjoy!

1.1 -- QB Jonathan Higgins, Ole Miss
The Jets will start the new regime with a new QB, and he's a damn good one. I personally love Higgins - I think I like him more than any QB that has ever come out, but I just in nature get sentimental and fall for QBs this time of year even though I've got an annual MVP candidate on my roster. Higgins is built perfectly to build a team around. Great move by the Bengals moving down IMO, but also hard to not love the move for the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. New England won the NFC East with Ryan Mallett struggling under center and then had to watch Higgins, Andy Luck, and Russell Wilson join the division. Yikes.

1.2 -- OT Michael Millen, Toledo
The Falcons could address a number of needs here. By taking Millen, they can make sure they protect their franchise QB and boost an offensive line that was porous last season. The Falcons allowed a league high 75 sacks last season and while most of that was with backup QB Brock Osweiler under center, they did allow 6 sacks in under 2 games with Matt Ryan under center which would have still put them on pace to be one of the worst OL's in the league. Selecting Millen will allow them to move Sam Baker over to LT and have two bookends for years to come.

1.3 -- CB Tyrone Booker, Penn State
This is obviously a dream scenario for the Dolphins, as Booker is the best CB in a very stacked CB class. He has no business being on the board at #3, and I pray that the Falcons pass on him. I'd not be surprised if the 6'2" CB who should be 95/93/98 after 32 games goes #2 overall, and the Dolphins instead add explosive and versatile pass rusher Amos Houston.

1.4 -- WR C.J. Washington, Arkansas
WR might not be a huge need, but the Bengals don't really have any big needs besides OT worthy of this pick. Washington is a big bodied, physical WR in the mold of Kenny Britt and can be a #1 option in the passing game. He should be a nice complement to Fuller and Hopkins in the future.

1.5 -- DE/LB Amos Houston, Clemson
Jaguars built the roster to compete again on offense, going hard after players like Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, but if the team is going to compete in the AFC South for the next decade they need an explosive edge rusher to put pressure on Christopher Henderson and Kendall Irving. Amos Houston will come with a huge salary drafting a DE/LB this high, but he will probably be worth it. They can move Aluahu back to DT and play Houston at ( I think his best position) LE, or they can move him to LOLB and go hybrid 3-4, similarly to what I did with Dion Jordan. I think Houston will be a double-digit sack guy annually in GZL.

1.6 -- DE Clay Linton, Auburn
Having stripped his team down to rebuild, GM Adam Sloat has a number of directions he can go with this pick, but one of the biggest needs on the team is a starting LE. Linton has a great all-around game to go with good size for the position and should be able to play the run and pass equally well. Linton will be a starter from day one and likely be able to challenge for the sack title throughout his career. This would be a solid first pick for Sloat in his first draft with the team.

1.7 -- NT Ron Green, Ohio State
Brad likes his players big and strong, and they don't come much bigger and stronger than Ron Green. NT is a low impact position, so taking one at [1.7] is a move that is usually reserved for teams with far fewer holes to fill. That said, the Browns have done great filling the important holes (like Mallett at QB, and Franklin at HB) and still have a couple of the most talented players in GZL in their secondary. If they add local boy Ron Green to the center of that front 7, it could make talented players like Cam Jordan, Jon Bostic, Sean Spence, and Ross Homan look even better.

1.8 -- DT Angelo Miller, Auburn
Miller is the second Auburn defensive lineman to go off the board in the last three picks. Miller is an interior defensive lineman who displays quickness and pass rush ability, but can also play the run effectively. The Eagles have a number of directions they could go with this pick, but after having Phil Taylor leave for Washington in Free Agency and with Brodrick Bunkley getting older, this is a spot they could look to address in the draft.

1.9 -- WR Billy Crockett, Rutgers
Crockett is the best WR in the class, a pure mix of everything you want in a WR. He has the size, and with some help can be damn near 99/99/99 in a few seasons. To go with that, he has good starting CTH, and his OVR is high enough that you won't feel bad saddling him with a huge Top 10 contract right away. He reminds me a lot of my WR Ryan Broyles, with all the potential in the world to be even better - which is saying a lot with how outstanding Broyles has been. Crockett could help turn Barkley into Freeman.

1.10 -- DT Trevor Harper, Washington
With their second of back-to-back picks, the Panthers look to address the defense this time. Harper is the third DT to go in the top 10 and is a very good player. Harper could be compared to Fletcher Cox of San Diego who is slowly developing into a star at the DT spot. Harper has good size and is a good athlete for the position. He will team up with Lawrence Guy to replace J.J. Watt who was traded away this offseason to Baltimore.

1.11 -- HB Riddick Owen, Ohio State
There are a lot of good HBs in this class, so you can really pick your poison if you go first. The 49ers are loaded with 1st round picks, so it's possible that recent bad taste of Trent Richardson in the Top 10 pushes them into going HB with one of the later picks. If it were me, I'd just secure the best HB in the draft, and I think Owen is that guy. Some may disagree, but I think he'll be a Top 5 HB in this league.

1.12 -- OG Shannon Crockett, N.C. State
The Rams don't have a ton of needs to address despite having a pick this high in the draft. One area that could be addressed, though, is the offensive line, specifically adding youth considering most of their better offensive lineman are older. While it may be high to take an offensive guard, they are better off taking the top guard, in my opinion, then reaching for the next best tackle. Crockett is a day one start and can play multiple positions in the interior of the line, he would be a good pick here.

1.13 -- OLB Jorge Mays, UCLA
Laurenson had perhaps the best draft last year, and it continues here with a LB that many forecast to be a Top 10 pick. Mays may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I guarantee if he falls to 16/17 he won't make it past Tampa Bay. When I'd be done with him, he'd be 254lbs, 75STR, 89SPD, 83AGI, 89ACC, with TAK points loaded up at every progression period. The only concern is the height, but if he's at OLB that shouldn't matter. I don't think he'd have a very hard time beating out Bruce Parker to solidify the LB corps.

1.14 -- CB Pete Nickerson, Indiana
Three areas of need that the Patriots could address here would be CB, WR and OT. At 1.14, I think it would be a reach to go for the next best OT, and while there are some good WR that could be a fit here, there are some exceptional CBs remaining. Nickerson would step in and be a day one starter opposite Braylon Bender and lock down the secondary in New England for years to come. While smaller in stature, Nickerson makes up for this by being a smart and physical player. Nickerson is also a ball hawk, leading the NCAA in INT over the last 3 seasons. He'd be a good fit here for New England.

1.15 -- G Bryan Coles, Fresno State
Wade loves G's with good AGI, and Coles looks potent there, as well as SPD/ACC/STR. He will need some work with his PBK/RBK/AWR, but playing Guard that won't really matter (speaking from experience with two low AWR guards and a MVP candidate QB). Coles also has great size, and could realistically play either G spot for a few years while his blocking is worked on, before sliding over to RT to bookend the line with Clady.

1.16 -- WR Donald Lake, USC
The Bucs have four 1st round picks with no pressing needs, but what else would you expect from GM Anthony Fernandez? Here at 1.16 they choose to take Donald Lake from USC who could develop as a nice 3rd WR behind starters Mike Williams and Ryan Broyles and address the one potential need for the Bucs. Lake is a big bodied WR in the mold of Justin Hunter (who went 1.4 last year) but isn't quite as physical or athletic as Hunter. Lake should fit nicely for the Bucs for the next few seasons before they ship him off for 2 1st round picks in a few seasons.

1.17 -- CB Blaine Hasty, Maryland
This is really not a need pick at all, as we have Claiborne/Ambellina/Poyer - in fact I told a good friend point blank we will NOT be drafting another CB in this class - but that was before Hasty was available at #17. I still think with other pressing needs it would be tough to pull the trigger on the undersized talent, but he's so polished and could step in as a legit nickel for a decade that it would cause some chaos in the Bucs War Room.

1.18 -- OLB Oliver Nixon, Temple
GM Ben Harbinger can go a few different directions here with this pick. One area of need would be an upgrade at OLB where they have a few average players but no exceptional starters. Nixon could be exceptional. He has the prototypical size you look for in a LB and is also a very good athlete, who plays with good strength and leverage. He should step in and start from day one, and form a nice LB corps with K.J Wright, Hugh Harmon, and Rick Jones.

1.19 -- HB Gerard Campbell, TCU
Panthers add a fantastic runner very much in the mold of Eddie Lacy, who I had a lot of success with last year in Tampa. The Panthers have an outstanding HB in McCoy, but he's so expensive and the cap is so tight in GZL (especially when you've picked in the Top 10 as many times as the Panthers have), so expect his remaining time in Carolina is limited. With QB Barkley, WR Crockett, and HB Campbell - the Panthers could have a nice pair of triplets.

1.20 -- LT Chuck Kaufman, California
With their first pick the Patriots chose not to reach for an OT, but here they go with Kaufman who is no longer a reach here. Kaufman has great size at the OT position and is already very polished coming out of school. If he were a little more athletic he would likely go a bit higher in the draft, but he still a solid athlete with great strength for the position. He should be a day one starter for New England, more likely at LT than RT in the early going though.

1.21 -- OLB Jermaine Newsome, Troy State
The Titans are a wild card, as they have been peddling this pick for weeks without finding something they like. They have had a lot of success (albeit boring success) by drafting non-glamour positions like OL, and I think Nissen might be trying to avoid that here. HB could be in play if there's one that fits his fancy, and if they want an impact defender Newsome will be high on most draft boards.

1.22 -- S Jacquez Stokes, Florida
The Skins may have to ship this pick off after their free agency splurge left them with almost no money. But if they do hang onto the pick, they could select Stokes here who would fill a huge need for them. Stokes is a bit raw but has everything else you look for in a safety. He has great size and athletic ability to go along with great strength. He is a sure tackler and is a ball hawk when playing deep safety. His only problem is he tends to be out of position and make bone-headed plays from time to time, but with experience he should turn into a real stud at the safety position.

1.23 -- WR Ronyell Conway, Penn State
Dolphins like them big, hence the love affair with Chris Matthews a while back that actually culminated in them getting multiple high draft picks in return. Whether it's Wilson or Glennon, they will need WRs to throw to. Lockette is fantastic, but is the only real long-term solution there. Adding Conway on the other side would be incredible value at 23.

1.24 -- DE Vincent Hardy, Tennessee
Here come the Bucs to make their 3rd pick of the first round, and they still have no real needs to address so they go with the best player available. Hardy would be a real good fit in the Bucs 3-4 system at DE. He has good size and is a solid all-around player who isn't really exceptional in any one area. He could provide nice depth behind McCoy and Ballard and step in if either have injury problems. Hardy is a good value this late in the 1st round and would be a nice luxury pick for the Bucs.

1.25 -- WR Mark Perez, Florida
Mark Perez is sure to be high on a few draft boards, primarily mine. Another guy that reminds me a lot of Broyles, he could be 6'2", 99/90/99 with some work. His AWR and CTH is relatively low, and you'd like there to be lower fumble and injury risk, but all in all he'll be a great pickup for someone at the bottom of the 1st or top of the 2nd.

1.26 -- TE Cris Jones, Oregon
With their fourth and final pick in the first round the Bucs choose to address the TE position. Following the departure of Clyde Alton to Arizona in RFA, the Bucs had a hole at TE. They brought in Jermaine Gresham from the Bengals, but they could look to develop their own TE through the draft as well so they can flip Gresham to a TE-needy team at some point. Jones would be a good player to develop as he pretty much can do it all at the TE position and is ready to contribute right away.

1.27 -- C Fernando Wilson, Northwestern
Wilson is a Top 10 talent on ability alone, but there are a few factors that led to him being available this late for the 49ers. For starters, you can't move the C to another OL position. That locks him in and limits him only to teams that need a Center. The league talent level is pretty high at the position, so that limits the # of jobs he has too. It's also just not a glamour position that you draft very high. All these things hurt him, but he very well could be the BEST player at any position in the class. Somebody will really love him, and if he ends up on one of these teams with multiple 1sts, it will just be that much sweeter.

1.28 -- MLB Ed Holliday, Akron
With their second of back-to-back picks, the 49ers address the MLB position. They currently has Paul Posluszny, who is getting up there in age, and Michael Mauti, a mid-rounder from a few years ago who is more of a backup. Holliday is a starting MLB from day one, who has the size, athletic ability and smarts to be one of the better players at the position in the long run. He'd be a good pick here for the 49ers who already addressed their needs at RB and along the offensive line.

1.29 -- G Kenny Wagner, Boise State
Chargers OL looks pretty skimpy, and they had plenty of issues last year with injuries to QB. It's tough to tell which Stanley would like the most, but Wagner is high on my draft board and I'm sure he'll get drafted by someone in that 22-36 range. Stanley will surely add OL at some point in this draft.

1.30 -- OT A.C. Terrell, South Carolina
The Seahawks have very few needs, if any, to address here with their 1st round pick. There is a reason they made it to the Super Bowl after all. One area that could use some youth, however, is the offensive line. Jason Peters at RT is regressing and Logan Mankins at LG is also getting up there in age. Terrell would inject some youth into the line and be a nice long-term starter at either left or right tackle. Terrell has good size and is a sneaky good athlete for an offensive tackle. He would be solid value at 1.30.

1.31 -- WR Jorge Lloyd, Southwestern
The Broncos only have one WR worth writing home about on their roster, and the only reason he's still there is because they don't have the GZQ to trade him. That said, they will probably look to add a WR at some point in this draft. Lloyd is an absolute burner - he's almost an exact clone of my WR Broyles, and that's WITHOUT all the physical points I put into him. Guys like this are wildcards, as they can go anywhere from the Top 10 to the Bottom 10 of the 1st, but I don't think he's short enough to have him drop much lower than this.

1.32 -- CB Jeremy Briggs, Michigan State
The Lions have a number of needs that can be addressed here, but I think their biggest need may be to sure up their pass defense and get a REAL CB across from Jimmy Smith. Jonathan Wilhite, A.J. Jefferson, Curtis Marsh, and Marcus Gilchrist simply aren't doing it for me. The Lions are wasting Smith's talents by surrounding him with mediocre players in the secondary. Briggs is a very good player in a deep CB class whose only real weakness is his tackling ability, but as a pure cover corner he is very good and would make a nice pair with Jimmy Smith.

AF and Stanley cover GZL for Yahoo! Sports.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Drafting, GZLers!!!
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