2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting Destinations for Sleeper Prospects and Top Names

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

Joey Bosa is one of the 2016 NFL draft's top names.
Joey Bosa is one of the 2016 NFL draft's top names.Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Sleepers, top prospects, mocks, risers and fallers on the stock market, 40-yard dash times and more. 

It's NFL draft season ahead of the 2016 draft, all right.

Draft season never actually goes away, but simmers a tad during the regular season. It's back in full force now with 20 teams out of the running for the Super Bowl and looking toward the future, one defined by what appears to be an iffy quarterback class and loaded almost everywhere else.

Let's kick off draft season, otherwise known as mock season, with a look at the full order and projections for each team.

 

2016 NFL Mock Draft

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsJoey BosaDLOhio State
3San Diego ChargersRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
4Dallas CowboysJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
5Jacksonville JaguarsJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
6Baltimore RavensMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
7San Francisco 49ersJared GoffQBCalifornia
8Miami DolphinsMyles JackLBUCLA
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersDeForest BucknerDEOregon
10New York GiantsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
11Chicago BearsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
12New Orleans SaintsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
13Philadelphia EaglesTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
14Oakland RaidersVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
15St. Louis RamsConnor CookQBMichigan State
16Detroit LionsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
17Atlanta FalconsShilique CalhounDEMichigan State
18Indianapolis ColtsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
19Buffalo BillsJarran ReedDLAlabama
20New York JetsShaq LawsonDEClemson
21Pittsburgh SteelersDesmond KingCBIowa
22Seattle SeahawksNoah SpenceDE/LBEastern Kentucky
23Green Bay PackersRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
24Kansas City ChiefsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
25WashingtonLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
26Houston TexansSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
27Minnesota VikingsMichael ThomasWROhio State
28Cincinnati BengalsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma State
29Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
30Arizona CardinalsLeonard FloydLBGeorgia
31Carolina PanthersEli AppleCBOhio State
Author's projections.

Mock Highlights

Best Fit for Top Name: 2. Cleveland Browns, Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State

Cleveland needs a rusher like Bosa to boost the defense.
Cleveland needs a rusher like Bosa to boost the defense.Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

If the Tennessee Titans decide to help out Marcus Mariota with some beef up front like they do in this scenario, there's little doubt the Cleveland Browns will pull the trigger on Joey Bosa.

The Browns mustered all of 29 sacks this year, with defensive end Desmond Bryant pitching in six and linebacker Armonty Bryant 5.5.

While strong performances, that's not enough for a team that relies on pressure to relieve the secondary, especially when in recent years the front office has made moves such as signing Paul Kruger and drafting Barkevious Mingo to correct the issue.

For the Browns, picking up Bosa and letting him run wild within the scheme makes sense after he acted as college's most disruptive player last year. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller provided some context:

Bosa doesn't solve all of Cleveland's problems, of course. Some might prefer a quarterback this high, but the team has a few ways it could go with that position outside of the draft, if not taking one it likes later on in the process.

There's no reason to pass on a building block such as Bosa, whose sheer talent and disruptive play masks other concerns besides just his position. 

 

Perfect Spot for Top Sleeper: 27. Minnesota Vikings, Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

Michael Thomas got lost in the shuffle behind bigger names at Ohio State.
Michael Thomas got lost in the shuffle behind bigger names at Ohio State.Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Think Ohio State's Michael Thomas isn't underrated?

Go ask most anyone who the Buckeyes' top wideout is and watch them struggle. Thanks to Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, the position change of Braxton Miller and the sheer dominance of Ezekiel Elliott, many have let Thomas get lost in the shuffle.

Thomas, though the No. 1 wideout on the offense, only caught 56 passes for 781 yards and nine scores, similar to what he posted the year prior, too.

As Rotoworld's Josh Norris pointed out, though, there's a lot bubbling beneath the surface for Thomas as a draft prospect:

A team like the Minnesota Vikings would see the value in Thomas.

Minnesota needs more weapons around Teddy Bridgewater. Adrian Peterson's there, yes, but Stefon Diggs wound up as the team's leading receiver with 52 catches for 720 yards and four scores. Mike Wallace was a good pickup, but caught just 39 passes for 473 yards and two scores.

With Jarius Wright filling nothing more than a niche role and Cordarrelle Patterson looking more and more like a gigantic bust, the Vikings need to get Bridgewater an every-down receiver with reliable hands who can move the chains. The 6'3", 210-pound Thomas looks like the perfect fit.

 

Underrated Spot for Top Sleeper: 28. Cincinnati Bengals, Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

Few can disrupt plays like Emmanuel Ogbah.
Few can disrupt plays like Emmanuel Ogbah.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Though he hasn't committed to the draft just yet and folks don't know his name yet, either, most will get to know Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah in a hurry.

Few players outside of Bosa disrupted games more than Ogbah, who blew away the competition in the Big 12 on the way to gaudy numbers.

ESPN.com's Brandon Chatmon broke down his impact:

Ogbah led the Big 12 with 13 sacks, 16 disrupted dropbacks (sacks/interceptions/batted passes/passes defended) and 17.5 tackles for loss. Not only was he the conference’s most disruptive force, he was exceptionally consistent. Ogbah had just one game, against TCU, without at least half of a sack and had a disrupted dropback in all 12 regular-season outings.

There's a long time between now and the draft for Ogbah's slot to change, but right now he looks to fall in this area.

The Cincinnati Bengals don't have a ton of needs. They brought back Michael Johnson last year and his pairing with Carlos Dunlap, not to mention the presence of Geno Atkins in the middle, wreaked havoc. 

But what the Bengals missed was a rotational rusher that has traditionally put the unit over the top. With Wallace Gilberry aging and Margus Hunt struggling to find a role in the NFL, rotating in a player such as Ogbah would keep one of the league's top-scoring defenses right on ticking.

 

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and accurate as of January 4. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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