In preparation for the 2016 NFL Draft, lets take a look back at every 9th pick in NFL Draft History.
On Monday, we laid the groundwork. Now it's time to make the biggest pick in our fourth annual Buccaneers.com Mock Draft.
READ: MOCK DRAFT ROUNDTABLE, PT. 1[
](http://www.buccaneers.com/news/article-smith/2016-Mock-Draft-Roundtable-Part-1/8d7e9d47-aeb7-4736-bd7b-fa11c1e3809f)Splitting the 31-pick opening round (New England's choice was forfeited by the football-deflation ruckus) into four segments set us up perfectly for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' own pick at #9. Eight players are off the board – QBs Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, T Laremy Tunsil, DB Jalen Ramsey, DEs Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner, LB Myles Jack and RB Ezekiel Elliot – and now the Bucs are on the clock.
The MMQB's Peter King presents his 2016 Mock Draft, including potential first round trades.
Continuing our roundtable style of alternating picks through the randomly determined order of Joe Kania, yours truly, Andrew Norton and Casey Phillips means that Joe is about to send the Bucs' card up to the commissioner at the podium. Will he go cornerback or defensive end, as so many mock drafts predict, or will he look to the future on the offensive line? Maybe he'll go in a completely different direction. We're about to find out.
First, our usual reminder: These are our own opinions. They are not meant to reflect the opinions of Jason Licht, Dirk Koetter or anybody who will actually be making non-mock picks on April 28. With that said, take it away, Joe!
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Joe Kania's pick)
I accepted the responsibility of picking first overall and making the Bucs' pick, but both were pretty easy selections. When I opened up the final picks of the first Mock Draft Roundtable, I hit "Command+F" with the word "Hargreaves" to see if he had been picked. He wasn't, and he's all mine. Had Hargreaves been gone, this would have been an interesting pick as both of the top corners and pass-rushers would have been taken. Hargreaves is a smaller corner, but a "football guy." He grew up around football; his dad was a coach at the University of Miami in the early 2000s and he's spoken about how he spent his childhood idolizing guys like Sean Taylor, Ed Reed and Antrel Rolle. His man-to-man cover skills are top-notch and he can be an impact starter from the day he walks into the building.
10. New York Giants: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Scott Smith's pick)
It remains to be seen how much the Cleveland-Philadelphia trade will shake up the rest of the draft's top 10 picks, but it's sure doing a number on our mock draft efforts. Casey had to change her pick at #8, and in doing so she took the player I was going to grab here, Ronnie Stanley. Her original pick was Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, to the Eagles. So should I just make the swap and put Elliott here? It's tempting. Running back isn't widely considered one of the Giants' top need, but do you see any name on the team's current RB depth chart that would make you dismiss the idea: Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andrew Williams, Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey? The smart move for me here would be to move on to the next offensive tackle, Michigan State's Jack Conklin, because the Giants seem like the type to build from the lines back. But they spent the ninth pick on a tackle just last year. I'm making my first surprise pick here and going with Elliott. The Giants spent big in free agency on defense and now they want to give Eli Manning a backfield partner for one more run at a title before his career winds down.
11. Chicago Bears: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Andrew Norton's pick)
The Bears spent the offseason bolstering their defense in free agency and I think the trend continues on Draft Day 1. The main question is whether they go with a pass rusher (Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd) or choose from the very deep well of interior D-linemen. Considering the Bears' reputation has a hard-nosed, physical defense, they can't be too thrilled about allowing the NFL's fourth-most yards per carry last year. Because of that, I'm taking a risk and picking a player here who some experts don't even have going in the first round. A'Shawn Robinson could come in and play any position on the line in the Bears' 3-4, plus his physical style and top-notch run defense will be a great addition to this new-look Bears' front seven.
12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (Casey Phillips's pick)
After allowing a record 45 TD passes last year, clearly the Saints could use some pass rush. Rob Ryan's dismissal will bring about the return of the 4-3 and Rankins has the ability to play both DT spots in that defense. He had 26.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks between his junior and senior seasons, so it appears he could make an immediate impact in both the run game and in pass-rush situations. I know Saints fans might be more excited by the idea of giving Laquan Treadwell to Drew Brees as a new weapon, or even finding Brees's eventual replacement, but Rankins is a safe, smart move who could plug some of those gaping defensive holes from last year.
13. Miami Dolphins: Jack Conklin, T, Michigan State (Joe Kania's pick)
If there are three key positions the Dolphins need help at, they are running back, defensive end and along the offensive line. With Scott scooping up Ezekiel Elliott at No. 10, Derrick Henry is the next-best running back…but No. 13 is too high to take him. I was torn between taking Clemson's Shaq Lawson and Conklin here because both could fit in well in Miami. The departure of Olivier Vernon leaves a void to be filled, but I'm uncomfortable with picking Lawson this high after just one year as a full-time starter. Conklin's been compared to Jon Runyan and was described by an NFC North scout as being "tougher than old beef jerky." Consider me sold.* *
14. Oakland Raiders: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (Scott Smith's pick)
I clearly recall that, two years ago, both Andrew and I thought the Baltimore Ravens were getting a huge steal with Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley at #17. We both thought that Mosley was talented enough to go higher in the draft but had simply fallen into the Ravens' laps because the teams above them were focused on other needs. Well, I think history is going to repeat itself here with another 'Bama 'backer. The Raiders' edge rush is in great shape with outside linebackers Khalil Mack and newcomer Bruce Irvin and they've added some great pieces to the secondary in cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson, but they need a replacement for Curtis Lofton in the middle. This defense has a chance to develop into one of the elite units in the league, and Ragland could instantly become its anchor in the middle.
15. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Andrew Norton's pick)
The Titans drafted LT Taylor Lewan two years ago in the first round and their starting quarterback at #2 overall last year. It only makes sense to bookend the line with another tackle (and another Taylor). When the Titans traded out of number one, the reason was likely that they were just as comfortable drafting a mid-first-round tackle as they would have been drafting Laremy Tunsil. Being as their real position of need is at right tackle, not left, it is a move that made sense and they find their man here. Priority should be to keep their young QB upright, which is why the line is drafted over other needs at cornerback and receiver.
16. Detroit Lions: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (Casey Phillips's pick)
Offensive tackle might be one of the biggest positions of need for the Lions, but with Tunsil, Stanley and Conklin all gone, I see them addressing the other side of the line. Billings may be a bit raw, but he has incredible strength that could translate well to being a dominant run-stopper. He broke a Texas state lifting record that had stood since Mark Henry ("The Strongest Man Who Ever Lived") when Billings was just 18! If he is able to learn a few more pass-rush techniques to combine with that strength, he could be a truly disruptive force for many years to come for the Lions. The team does currently have five options in the interior of the line after free agency with Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker. But Billings could be the perfect replacement for Ngata since his deal is really only a one-year with a team option.*
(Click here to read Part 1 of the Buccaneers.com Mock Draft. Part 3 will be posted on Wednesday.)*