Which B1G players get picked in the first round and where will they wind up?
We’re just over a week away from the draft, which means we can finally put an end to the mock drafts and get into the stuff that actually matters.
But before we do that, here’s a prediction on where each B1G player winds up in the first round:
6. Baltimore Ravens — Joey Bosa, Ohio State DE
The first B1G player off the board is the guy some had at No. 1 overall at the start of 2015. Perhaps the decline in sacks scare some off, which means the Ravens will get an elite, NFL-ready pass-rusher at No. 6. The Ravens have an aging core of edge-rushers that could use a lift from a talent like Bosa. Assuming the Cowboys don’t draft Bosa as their Greg Hardy replacement, Baltimore should get its chance.
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8. Philadelphia Eagles — Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB
When the Eagles traded up to No. 8, some believed it was made to move ahead of the rival New York Giants, who also wouldn’t mind adding the top running back in the draft. Philadelphia’s front office already talked about the value an all-purpose back would bring, and that there are running backs worthy of a first-round selection. As long as Dallas doesn’t snatch up Elliott at No. 4, don’t be surprised when Elliott lands with the Eagles.
15. Tennessee Titans — Jack Conklin, Michigan State OT
I fully believe that the Titans dealt the No. 1 pick with Conklin in mind. Instead of drafting an NFL-ready tackle in Laremy Tunsil to protect Marcus Mariota, it made sense to get that kind of value and wind up with either Conklin or Taylor Decker, both of whom can fill the open spot at right tackle opposite of Taylor Lewan. Two legitimate franchise tackles to protect Mariota would give the Titans offense a solid foundation to build on.
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16. Detroit Lions — Taylor Decker, Ohio State OT
There’s a definite market for tackles in the middle of the first round. I actually think that Decker has one of the tightest ranges of any player in the first round. At best, Tennessee gets him at No. 15. At worst, he falls to Indianapolis at No. 18. To maintain consistency, I compromised at No. 16 with the Lions. Detroit badly needs an NFL-ready left tackle to prevent Matthew Stafford from getting clobbered in his prime. Decker gives them that.
17. Atlanta Falcons — Darron Lee, Ohio State LB
In years past, it would be surprising to see a linebacker with Lee’s size going off the board in the middle of the first round. In today’s NFL, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t. The Falcons need a guy who can cover the field like Lee. There’s a thought that Leonard Floyd would be their top choice at the spot, but I think he goes off the board to Chicago at No. 11. That shouldn’t matter anyway. Lee isn’t anyone’s consolation prize.
24. Cincinnati Bengals — Michael Thomas, Ohio State WR
And the first mini-stunner of the draft is…Thomas at No. 24. It’s a forgone conclusion by some that Thomas isn’t even one of the top four receivers and that the Bengals would draft one of them instead. I think the Bengals are higher on him than the mock drafters realize. I also think that given his combination of size, speed and pass-catching in traffic, he’s one of the more underrated prospects of anybody in the first or second-round range. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that Thomas winds up being the second receiver off the board and the next compliment to A.J. Green.
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25. Pittsburgh Steelers — Eli Apple, Ohio State WR
The Steelers are in need of a lockdown cover corner after finishing 30th in the NFL against the pass. Late in the first round, Apple would be an ideal fit. Pittsburgh just released Cortez Allen and he doesn’t have a sure-fire replacement. The only question for Pittsburgh could be whether or not Apple lasts until No. 25. Miami, Oakland, Indianapolis and Washington could all go after a corner. But I think all four of those teams address other needs and Pittsburgh gets a steal at No. 25.