2016 NFL Draft: Final Mock Draft, Predictions and Prospect Rankings

2016 NFL Draft, NFL, NFL Draft, Predictions

Here we are.

The first day of the 2016 NFL Draft weekend is finally upon us.

It’s time to rejoice because tonight kicks off one of the most glorious and exciting weekends on the sports calendar.

Over the next three days, 253 gifted young athletes will realize their dreams of being drafted by an NFL franchise. They’ll be embraced and celebrated by fan bases who hope they can become key building blocks to a future championship.

It makes perfect sense that the NFL’s annual draft takes place in the Spring — a season of rebirth, renewal and regeneration.

This weekend marks the dawning of a new era for all 32 franchises.

The future begins now.

We’ve known for weeks that the first two picks are guaranteed to be the top two quarterbacks in the class: Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. However, it’s anybody’s guess who the Chargers will pick at No. 3 (if in fact they don’t trade down) and how the rest of the first round will unfold from there.

All along, we here at Gridiron Perspective have touted Oregon DE DeForest Buckner as the top prospect in this class. We feel he’s deserving to be the first positional player taken and the best prospect to reignite a sluggish Chargers defensive front-seven. Therefore we built the mock around the premise that Buckner will be the third pick and went from there.

Here’s a look at the final 2-round mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft, which includes projections and predictions for the first 63 picks of this year’s proceedings, along with complete Top 10 prospect power rankings for each individual position.

2016 NFL Draft: Updated 2-Round Mock Draft and Prospect Rankings

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Temperament, personality, desire, internal drive, work ethic, will power, character and heart — they’re the key intangibles which separate the good athletes from the great ones.

Unfortunately, those intangibles are so difficult for evaluators to measure and quantify.

Data for workout numbers such as 40-yard-dashes, bench presses and jumps of all sorts is widely available; so are game statistics for any category you could think of.

Still, these days when every  workout result, rumor, new trendy analytic of the day and hot story of the hour is broadcast out into the digital sphere for all to see, there’s still a mysterious behind-closed-doors feeling that remains surrounding the NFL Draft.

32 brain trusts are all searching for those special prospects that they can mold their organizations around for the future. None of them want to tip their hand before the proceedings start.

At all levels, coaches always trot out that line, “this game separates boys from the men.”

Well, one situation where that mantra certainly rings true is the NFL draft.

Saturdays and Sundays may only be separated by a single thin line on the calendar, but in the football world, it’s a clear dividing line. Excelling in the collegiate ranks against Kevin from chemistry class is one thing. But the NFL is a whole different rodeo. Handling the leap to the next level requires a special type of mental fortitude that only a few collegiate players possess.

It’s up to those 32 brain trusts to figure out who has it and who doesn’t.

The information accumulation phase of the process is pretty much complete. Now begins the all-important final decision-making period. This is the “separating men from boys” period for GMs, scouts, personnel evaluators and assorted front-office executives.

It’s time to hand out the grades, stack the board and prepare for a draft weekend that’s, as always, marked by both intrigue and mystery.

DeForest Buckner, the No. 1 overall prospect in this year’s class , appears destined to become the first overall pick in the 2016 festivities. Still, it’s far from a guarantee.

Tennessee could consider one of the other “Fab Five” prospects: Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil, UCLA LB Myles Jack or Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey. The Titans could also entertain the idea of trading down if an offer is overwhelming enough.

We’ve got another month left to debate, dispute and draw conclusions.

For now, though, here’s my forecast and projections for every pick in the first two rounds of the 2016 NFL draft, as well as complete prospect rankings for every major position.

2016 NFL Draft: Updated Mock Draft, Senior Bowl Edition

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The majority of the top prospects in the 2016 NFL draft may be underclassmen. However, this year’s draft class features more than its fair share of seniors who will factor into the first-round equation as well.

Some of those first-round hopefuls such as North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz, Alabama LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama DE Jarran Reed, and Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence chose to attend this week’s Senior Bowl festivities down in Mobile, Alabama, hoping to impress scouts and boost their draft stock.

Now that the underclassmen declaration deadline date has passed, and the order of the 2016 draft is just one game away from being finalized, you can sense the gathering wave of speculation on the horizon, as the mock draft silly season is almost ready to kick into full swing.

The Senior Bowl marks the true beginning of the offseason evaluation phase of the process. The next big stop will be the NFL combine, and then it’s onto the pro day/individual workout circuit.

The road to the 2016 NFL draft is sure to feature some interesting twists and turns. For now, here’s a look at the updated projections for all 63 picks in the first two rounds.

2016 NFL Draft: Mock Draft, Volume 1

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With the college football regular season complete and the 14th Sunday of the NFL regular season now in the books, it’s a good time to put together the first mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft and an updated edition of the prospect power rankings.

There’s still a month left for underclassmen to declare their eligibility for the 2016 draft, and a lot will change between now and draft weekend.

For now, here are the current projections for the first round of the draft.

2016 NFL Draft: Updated Mock Draft

1 – Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2 – Cleveland Browns: Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
3 – San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
4 – Baltimore Ravens: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
5 – San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, Cal
6 – Dallas Cowboys: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
7 – Detroit Lions: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
8 – Miami Dolphins: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
9 – Jacksonville Jaguars: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
10 – Chicago Bears: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
11 – St. Louis Rams: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
12 – New Orleans Saints: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
13 – New York Giants: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
14 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
15 – Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
16 – Oakland Raiders: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
17 – Philadelphia Eagles: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
18 – Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
19 – Houston Texans: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
20 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
21 – New York Jets: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
22 – Minnesota Vikings: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
23 – Kansas City Chiefs: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
24 – Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OL, Texas A&M
25 – Washington Redskins: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
26 – Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
27 – Green Bay Packers: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
28 – Denver Broncos: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
29 – Cincinnati Bengals: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
30 – Arizona Cardinals: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
31 – Carolina Panthers: Spencer Drango, OL, Baylor

Updated Prospect Power Rankings

*Asterisks denote underclassmen

The Top 5 Quarterbacks

1 – Jared Goff, Cal*

  1. Paxton Lynch, Memphis*
  2. Connor Cook, Michigan State
  3. Cardale Jones, Ohio State*
  4. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State*

 

The Top 5 Running Backs

1 – Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State*

  1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama*
  2. Devontae Booker, Utah
  3. Alex Collins, Arkansas*
  4. Kareem Hunt, Toledo*

 

The Top 5 Wide Receivers

1 – Michael Thomas, Ohio State*

  1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss*
  2. Corey Coleman, Baylor*
  3. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh*
  4. Josh Doctson, TCU

 

 

The Top 5 Tight Ends

1 – Hunter Henry, Arkansas*

  1. Evan Engram, Ole Miss*
  2. OJ Howard, Alabama*
  3. Jordan Leggett, Clemson*
  4. Austin Hooper, Stanford*

 

The Top 5 Offensive Tackles

1 – Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss*

  1. Taylor Decker, Ohio State
  2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame*
  3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State*
  4. Spencer Drango, Baylor

 

The Top 5 Interior Offensive Linemen

1 – Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M*

  1. Vadal Alexander, LSU
  2. Joshua Garnett, Stanford
  3. Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas
  4. Jack Allen, Michigan State

 

 

The Top 5 Defensive Tackles

1 – Andrew Billings, Baylor*

  1. A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*
  2. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss*
  3. Maliek Collins, Nebraska*
  4. Kenny Clark, UCLA*

 

The Top 5 Defensive Ends

1 – Joey Bosa, Ohio State*

  1. DeForest Buckner, Oregon
  2. Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State*
  3. Shawn Oakman, Baylor
  4. Shaq Lawson, Clemson*

 

The Top 5 Linebackers

1 – Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame*

  1. Reggie Ragland, Alabama
  2. Myles Jack, UCLA*
  3. Su’a Cravens, USC*
  4. Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland*

 

 

The Top 10 Cornerbacks

1 – Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*

  1. Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech*
  2. Mackensie Alexander, Clemson*
  3. Desmond King, Iowa*
  4. Cameron Sutton, Tennessee*

 

The Top 5 Safeties

1 – Jalen Ramsey, Florida State*

  1. Jayron Kearse, Clemson*
  2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State*
  3. Darian Thompson, Boise State
  4. Jeremy Cash, Duke