Mel Kiper Jr.'s three-round 'Grade: A' mock draft


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.

Picks in order, Rounds 1-3

Los Angeles Rams

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.

Cleveland Browns

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.