And this class of draft prospects is loaded with defensive talent.
"It's a defensive draft," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "Best interior defensive line I've seen maybe since I started doing this.
"We're seeing with the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos what started about five years ago, which is all the NFL teams are talking about: We've got to find people on defense that can affect the pass offense, because it's a pass-first league."
In this, the Times' first mock draft of the off-season, eight defensive linemen are selected — and that's with talented Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence dropping out of the first round because of character concerns, and New England not getting a pick because of Deflategate.
This mock also features three quarterbacks, two running backs, and one ultra-versatile player — UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, who could line up at virtually any position on the field.
1. TENNESSEE — Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi: The
2. CLEVELAND — Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State: The
3. SAN DIEGO — DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: The
4. DALLAS — Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: The
5. JACKSONVILLE — Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State: The
6. BALTIMORE — Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida: The Ravens allowed 30 touchdown passes last season, the most in team history.
7. SAN FRANCISCO — Jared Goff, QB, California: The
8. MIAMI — Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: Jack could go sooner — maybe to Dallas — but he's a good fit for a Dolphins team sorely in need of defenders.
9. TAMPA BAY — Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: The
10. N.Y. GIANTS — A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: The
11. CHICAGO — Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: The Bears finished the 2015 season with one active defensive lineman who was with them in training camp.
12. NEW ORLEANS — Sheldon Rankins, DT,
13. PHILADELPHIA — Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: Now that the Eagles have extended quarterback
14. OAKLAND — Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State:
15. RAMS — Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis: The Rams, who had the league's worst passing offense last season, need help at both quarterback and receiver.
16. DETROIT — Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State:
17. ATLANTA — Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State: Lee might help the
18. INDIANAPOLIS — Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: According to NFL.com,
19. BUFFALO —
20. N.Y. JETS — Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: The
21. WASHINGTON — Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA: The
22. HOUSTON — Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: The
23. MINNESOTA — Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: The
24. CINCINNATI — Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: The
25. PITTSBURGH — Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State: The
26. SEATTLE — Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State:
27. GREEN BAY — Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas: Henry, who didn't have a drop in 2015, would be another reliable target for
28. KANSAS CITY — Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: The
29. NEW ENGLAND — Pick forfeited.
30. ARIZONA — Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama: The Cardinals need an eventual replacement for
31. CAROLINA — Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida: Good as the team was, the
32. DENVER — Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn: The Broncos were down to their fourth and fifth offensive tackles in 2015 … but somehow they made it work.