This piece was supposed to be launched on Thursday of last week -- about exactly the same time when the Rams and Titans essentially blew up the 2016 NFL draft as we knew it. So I took things back to the lab -- well, my basement office -- and reworked things. The concept is simple: I'm the GM for each team at each pick. This isn't me projecting picks; this is me making them, for three full rounds, based on what's best for each team at that slot.
The usual ground rules:
1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 4 just because I like the team better at No. 5.
2. No trades unless they're already done. I try to address team needs, but like the draft, value can supersede need.
3. Again: I'm not projecting. It's more a look at where I see value up and down the board.
4. Jaylon Smith: Let's be clear -- he's one of the best players in the draft. But I'm leaving him out because his draft range is all over the place right now based on his medical re-checks. I'll learn more between now and the draft.
There's a team-by-team look below, as well as a pick-by-pick version so you can see how the order of the picks progressed and get an idea of who was off the board when each team selected.
Round 1 (1): Jared Goff, QB, Cal
Analysis: Well, this situation changed just a wee bit. Before the trade, I had the Rams getting a wide receiver (Josh Doctson) in the middle of Round 1 and adding quarterback Paxton Lynch in Round 2. They're now the only team with just one pick over the first three rounds, but I do think Goff is the top-rated quarterback in this draft. That's why I selected him here. If the Rams do select Goff first overall, it's critical that they play him when he's truly ready, not when they simply want to show flashes of a potentially bright future.
Round 1 (2): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.
Round 2 (32): Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Round 3 (65): Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
Analysis: Since I'm drafting for the Browns here, I'd be disappointed that Goff isn't available, but excited to give Hue Jackson a player such as Wentz, particularly because he's in such a solid developmental situation, thanks to the addition of Robert Griffin III in free agency. Reed gives the Browns a gifted run-stuffer to pair with Danny Shelton on the interior -- I think Shelton could use the help to take off some pressure -- and the addition of Miller in Round 3 is a big-time upside play. My bet: He develops faster than many believe. And don't think he's just a slot guy; the size is there, which could help him become something more.