This 2016 NFL mock draft order is loosely based off the order derived at SB Nation. They took current record plus strength of schedule into account. We then made a few changes based on how current injuries could impact the team and their final season record.
Team needs were sometimes, but not always taken into account. We played fast and loose with that because it’s still quite early. So many of these picks are “Best player available.”
1. Baltimore, Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
With Joe Flacco out for the rest of the season, I’m betting you dollars to donuts that the Ravens sendup in the #1 slot.
Bosa is as blue-chip a prospect as you’ll ever find. The Big Ten didn’t have anyone taken in the top ten 2008-2014. (Although they did provide the 11th overall selection both last year and in 2009). The streak ended end this April when Iowa’s Brandon Scherrf went to Washington with the fifth overall selection.
For more on Joey Bosa go here
2. Cleveland, Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Tunsil is projected #1 overall in several mock drafts, but I just can’t commit to putting him that high….yet.
3. Tennessee, Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly talked about Stanley’s leadership following the Irish upset of LSU in the Music City Bowl:
“The will started with Ronnie Stanley, Ronnie today was extremely vocal, and it kind of lit a fire under everybody, and carried over. Ronnie’s not a big talker, but he kind of got charged up and it seemed to elevate everybody. “
Stanley has started 26 consecutive games for Notre Dame dating back to the start of the 2013 campaign. He started all 13 games at right offensive tackle as a sophomore. He was part of an offensive line that allowed just eight sacks and ranked second in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in fewest sacks allowed.
Go here for more on Ronnie Stanley
4. San Diego, Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
Such a weak safety class in 2015. It was truly broke, and 2014 wasn’t anything special either. Now, finally in 2016 we’ll see a legit blue-chip safety prospect for this ultra pass happy league. Ramsey is more than that. He can play corner effectively too.
Go here for more on Ramsey
5. Dallas, Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Ole Miss
You’re just not supposed to move like Nkemdiche does when you’re his size. You just can’t. He sometimes looks super-human on film, like Jadeveon Clowney or Ndamukong Suh did when they were coming out of college.
6. Jacksonville, Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
In today’s NFL, you can never have enough pass-rushers, pass-protectors or elite pass-defenders. The best of the best at those positions will always have a premium placed upon them. Hargreaves is the elite corner of this class; and a slam dunk top ten selection.
Go here for more on Hargreaves
7. Detroit, Myles Jack, LB/RB, UCLA
This kid’s fortunes continue to rise.
8. San Francisco, Jared Goff, QB, California
Oh man, when you’re starting Blaine Gabbert, it’s time to draft a NEW QB!” Reportedly, the Niners haven’t totally given on Colin Kaepernick yet, but we still think in the end that he’ll be out the door.
Goff goes really overlooked because people don’t stay up late to watch those Pac 12 games, and Cal has been so down for so long. However, Goff is a star in the making, and he’s shown a mastery for a high-powered complex offense that will make him very pro ready. Sonny Dykes’ “The System” and its up-tempo “bear raid” offense has helped Goff flourish. Jared made big strides in 2014; putting up an impressive 35-7 TD-INT ratio for the season. Niners stay local here.
The media really overdo the “homecoming/local boy done good” stories, so the MSM will definitely go nuts over this.
For more on Jared Goff, click here
9. Miami, Shilique Calhoun, DE/OLB, Michigan State
Calhoun was one of only two defensive players in college football in 2013 to score three touchdowns. He’s a long athletic pass rusher, who surprised us all when he opted to go back, because he could have been in the first round mix. Like Leonard Williams, he can play either DE or DT so expect his stock to soar like Apple Corporation during the evaluative process.
Go here for more on Calhoun
10. St. Louis, Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
The breakout prospect who wasn’t really on the radar last year, but is now up front and center now.
11. New Orleans, Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
There was a lot of talk that the Saints were going to draft Drew Brees’ successor in 2015. Those reports also indicated that it might happen in 2016 instead. Again I think they’ll pass on signal caller and go best player available.
12. NY Giants,, Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Giants are atrocious on offense, they need to go best off player available in this draft. Decker is a dynamite player, great talker and a stand-up guy off the field we’re told. He also gave the most realistic and truthful soundbite you’ll ever hear from a college football player in response to a NFL mock draft.
“I think a big thing they look for is do you improve as a player year to year,” said Decker at Big Ten Media Day.
“I had a decent projection coming out of this year, but I want to improve upon it. If they sense complacency, it won’t improve my stock at all.”
13. Tampa, Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
The s really need to add more talent and depth on the DL
14. Philadelphia, DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
An Oregon player mocked to Chip Kelly because of course we do. Possible zaniess could ensue!
15. Buffalo, Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
To get past Tom Brady and the rest of the pass happy AFC, it’s a good idea to load up DBs in Indy.
16. Oakland, Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia
SEC players everywhere in this NFL mock draft. Imagine pairing this guy with Khalil Mack; what a force that could be!
17. Chicago, A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
In 2015, Robinson has 29 tackles with 4.5 for a loss and .5 sacks
Like Curtis Conway told me at the NFL Network’s NFL Draft Media luncheon, Foxy will go defense, let him go heavy defense. Hence we slot Defensive Best Player Available here.
18. Houston, Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
If Bill O’Brien is still the coach next year, he’ll make sure the Texans finally have a real quarterback for the first time in his regime. Should O’Brien be canned, well new regimes mean new QBs quite often.
19. Atlanta, Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
Falcons badly need to upgrade their pass rush, and this kid came out of nowhere to become arguably the best pass rusher in college football.
20. Washington, Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
This Skins game needs to strengthen the middle of their defense.
21. Kansas City, Connor Cook, QB Michigan State
Cook made the right call by returning to school. The Cotton Bowl performance showed us everything we need to know about the pro potential of Connor Cook. He has tremendous ability, but he’s certainly not there yet. You saw some throws that needed to be delivered accurately that weren’t. With his size, arm and his ability to beat you from the pocket he’ll be a franchise level QB eventually.
Cook is a guy who’s truly developed and progressed through his time in East Lansing. At first, he was a game-manager relying on his defense. Now he’s the focal point of not just the offense, but the entire team.
For more on Connor Cook go here
22. Seattle, Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU
Alexander started out his career at right tackle in 2012. LSU made a really smart decision by moving him inside to guard for 2013 and the sophomore made huge progress in his game. He had a solid 2014, but he should to return to Baton Rouge.
Could have left this year, if he really wanted to, but he’s making the right decision by staying in school.
23. NY Jets, Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
On the eve of Notre Dame’s (or as LSU/SEC folk call them “Notra Dame”) big upset victory over #22 LSU, Fighting Irish Coach Brian Kelly extolled the virtues of OLB Jaylon Smith:
“Certainly, physically, one of the better players that I have coached in my career. His best football is in front of him. We took him this year and moved him inside. Which is a big step for a guy that’s played outside, it’s a big difference so this year’s been a learning experience for him.”
Very high praise for Smith, who heads into the 2015 season as the most talented, and perhaps best overall player on the Fighting Irish. There were only three defensive players (DL Isaac Rochell, LB Jaylon Smith and CB Cole Luke) who started all 13 games for the Irish this year.
For more on Jaylon Smith go here
24. Indianapolis, Ezekiell Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Stock blew up like nitro in the post-season. His stock is continuing to rise this season. It’s just too bad the NFL doesn’t value running backs anymore like they used to.
Go here for more on Elliott.
25. Pittsburgh, Scooby Wright III, OLB, Arizona
Mock a linebacker to the Steelers, chances are you’ll get it right half the time. Or at least we have a confirmation bias for all the years we’ve been doing this. Whenever we get the Pittsburgh pick right, it’s an LB.
Said Joel Klatt of Wright: “He is the best defensive player in America. He leads the defense in the 3-3-5 scheme that adjusts well to the spread and they tackle well in space.”
If Zona gets a lot of “Scooby snacks,” by that I mean big time Scooby Wright plays: sacks, forced fumbles, scoop-and-scores, tackle-for-losses, interceptions etc. Wright will see his draft stock take off.
For more on Scooby Wright go here
26. Green Bay, Anthony Zettel, DE/DT, Penn State
It’s early but Zettel is rated among the top two or three Defensive Tackles on NFL Draft board. Right now he’s a sure fire NFL Draft first-rounder; as long as he stays healthy and produces. NFL scouts love his work ethic and discipline, and regard him to be an over-achiever, but also can over-achiever with tremendous talent.
Go here for more on Zettel
27. Arizona, Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
He admitted at Media Day that he wasn’t ready for the NFL last year, because he really wasn’t aware that he had much NFL Draft stock then.
Go here for more on Washington
28. Minnesota, Su’a Cravens, S, USC
Harrison Smith is the hardest hitting safety in the NFL, but he needs someone much better to work with.
29. Denver, Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Great starting defensive ends but both are in a contract year. There will be at least one hole to fill there.
30. Cincinnati, Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Michael Thomas has size, speed, separation, ability to win contested situations, ball skills, great at 50/50 balls, scouting buzzword XYZ, Todd McShay catch-phrase ABC, Draftnik cliche 123, insert Mel Kiper Jr phrase here.
Go here for more on Thomas.
An elite player at a very high value position in a class that’s very much loaded.
Go here for more on Conklin
32. New England, Maliek Collins, DL, Nebraska
Out of any individual player, on either side of the ball for Nebraska, Collins has the highest 2016 NFL Draft stock. Some draftniks see his ceiling as a late first/early second prospect.
Being that this is the NFL Draft, there will be extensive scrutiny of personality and character. Being that Maliek Collins is a NU Defensive Lineman, he’ll be compared to Randy Gregory and Ndamukong Suh; at least on a superficial level.
Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye. He also appears regularly on numerous television and radio talk shows all across the country. Catch him Tuesdays on KOZN 1620 The Zone.Follow paulmbanks