NFL Draft 2016: Final Mock Draft Predictions Before Wild Card Weekend

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
NFL Draft 2016: Final Mock Draft Predictions Before Wild Card Weekend
Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Florida State's Jalen Ramsey continues to help headline mock drafts during the NFL postseason.

Folks with great memories will remember how NFL mock drafts looked before Wild Card Weekend one year ago.

Namely, folks will remember someone such as, say, Nebraska's Randy Gregory competing for the No. 1 slot with the likes of Jameis Winston. The controversial defensive end went on to be selected 60th.

It's like the season up until the playoffs. Washington looked iffy and suddenly morphed into the NFC East champs and a team that could take down the Green Bay Packers.

Things will change, but before the lengthy path to the 2016 NFL draft, here's how the board stands.

2016 NFL Mock Draft

Pick Team Player Position School
1 Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
2 Cleveland Browns Joey Bosa DL Ohio State
3 San Diego Chargers Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
4 Dallas Cowboys Myles Jack LB UCLA
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey CB/S Florida State
6 Baltimore Ravens Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
7 San Francisco 49ers Jared Goff QB California
8 Miami Dolphins Reggie Ragland LB Alabama
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
10 New York Giants Leonard Floyd LB Georgia
11 Chicago Bears Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
12 New Orleans Saints Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
13 Philadelphia Eagles Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
14 Oakland Raiders Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
15 St. Louis Rams Connor Cook QB Michigan State
16 Detroit Lions Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
17 Atlanta Falcons Shilique Calhoun DE Michigan State
18 Indianapolis Colts A'Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
19 Buffalo Bills Jarran Reed DL Alabama
20 New York Jets Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
21 Pittsburgh Steelers Tre'Davious White CB LSU
22 Seattle Seahawks Noah Spence DE/LB Eastern Kentucky
23 Green Bay Packers Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss
24 Kansas City Chiefs Corey Coleman WR Baylor
25 Washington Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
26 Houston Texans Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
27 Minnesota Vikings Michael Thomas WR Ohio State
28 Cincinnati Bengals Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma State
29 Denver Broncos Jason Spriggs OT Indiana
30 Arizona Cardinals Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame
31 Carolina Panthers Eli Apple CB Ohio State

Author's projections.

Analyzing Notable Picks

1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
Laremy Tunsil looks like the surest thing in the draft at this point.

Right now the No. 1 pick could go a number of ways, ranging from a top offensive tackle such as Laremy Tunsil to a pass rusher such as Joey Bosa to an outright trade so a different team could pick up a potential franchise quarterback such as Jared Goff.

Seeing as the Tennessee Titans don't need a quarterback thanks to the borderline unexpected rookie explosion from Marcus Mariota, the franchise's best move might be to better protect him after he finished the season injured.

Mariota suffered 38 sacks as a rookie with the tackle tandem of Taylor Lewan and and Byron Bell struggling to get it done at times.

Tunsil, though, is the type of player who can make an impact upon arrival in the pros and upgrade the line wherever he happens to win the competition. The 6'5", 305-pound monstrosity might be the surest thing in the draft, an elite left-tackle prospect in need of little coaching when it comes to the fundamentals.

With protecting the future of the franchise a priority, grabbing a potential franchise tackle makes sense. Like many teams did this past offseason, the Titans can get pass-rushing help through other avenues, if not later in the same draft.

Tunsil's especially important to take here because year after year it becomes more difficult to project which offensive linemen will turn out well and which will bust. There's little doubt with the Ole Miss product.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

Mike Stewart/Associated Press
Ramsey won't have a problem keeping his stock in the top-10 range.

Too obvious, right? 

Why wouldn't the Jacksonville Jaguars stay local? Florida State's Jalen Ramsey is one of the best defensive backs to enter the NFL in a handful of years. He's a versatile, lanky, instinctive and turnover-seeking laser of a player who projects well at all phases.

Even with P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby gone, Ramsey shined in the newfound spotlight, locking down opposing receivers and playing smart overall ball most of the year.

CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler broke down some of the defensive back's strengths:

Ramsey has gliding athleticism with long strides and fluid change of direction skills, staying controlled in his pedal transition and collecting himself with ease in small spaces. He has above average anticipation, vision and instincts, seeing the field extremely well with uncanny awareness and timing to create turnovers and get his hands on the ball.

Jacksonville could certainly use the help. The Jaguars ranked 29th against the pass this year, coughing up 268.2 passing yards per game, a large part of the reason the unit ranked 31st in scoring at 28 points allowed per game.

It's not all bad for the Jaguars. Johnathan Cyprien and Aaron Colvin will continue to develop in the defensive backfield. Dante Fowler Jr., last year's No. 3 pick, will come back from injury. But with Blake Bortles and Co. surging on the offensive side, it only makes sense for the Jaguars to take the best defender available.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California

Many will boast that Goff will come off the board higher because so and so needs a quarterback and so on, but this is the era where teams have been content to roll with Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown and others. 

Why not? Quarterback continues to get easier to play by the year and unless there's a Winston or Mariota or Andrew Luck in the draft, the position pretty much looks like a crapshoot.

So Goff figures to land in the laps of the San Francisco 49ers, who could just as easily choose to ride Blaine Gabbert for a year. It wouldn't make sense, though, as grabbing a somewhat local prospect to act as the centerpiece of the rebuild looks like the best approach.

Goff, a prototype at 6'4" and 215 pounds, completed 64.5 percent of his passes in 2015 with 4,719 yards and 43 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while showing he can make all the throws and garnering praise from all levels, including the opposition.

"You have to get a calculator with Goff’s numbers," Stanford head coach David Shaw said, according to the Bay Area News Group's Jeff Faraudo. "He’s awesome. He’s tall, he’s long. He has a quick release. He can paint the sidelines from the far hash. That’s big-time."

San Francisco cannot afford to pass. The roster has a bevy of holes, but Carlos Hyde in the backfield and Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith at wideout should provide a somewhat stable learning environment for a few years while the franchise reloads.

So long as the 49ers don't want to lean on a journeyman under center, Goff looks like the guy.

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and are accurate as of January 9. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Follow Chris_Roling on Twitter

Follow B/R on Facebook

Team StreamTM

NFL

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.