2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects After Wild Card Round

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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects After Wild Card Round
David K Purdy/Getty Images

With the first week of playoff football in the books, the NFL draft order has four more teams locked into position. 

Following their loss Sunday, the Washington Redskins locked up the top spot among the playoff teams and will own the 21st selection in the draft. They'll be followed by the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals. 

Picks No. 25 through 28 will be set next weekend—unless the New England Patriots are among the losers. As a result of their Deflategate punishments, the Patriots do not own a first-round pick.

Based on the updated order, here's a look at the latest first-round projections. 

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

Notable Picks

2. Cleveland Browns: Joey Bosa

By hiring executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, the Browns have made a commitment to the use of analytics. 

It remains to be seen exactly how this will affect the team's draft strategy, but there is a good chance it decreases the likelihood the team gambles on one of the top quarterbacks in this class. 

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On a very elementary level, analytics are used to eliminate some of the guesswork involved in the decision-making process. And with no clear consensus around the quarterbacks in this class, the Browns' new approach will likely send them in the direction of a safer bet, such as Ohio State pass-rusher Joey Bosa

With his combination of size and athleticism, Bosa is a fit in every defensive scheme and should be able to develop into a perennial Pro Bowler in Cleveland.  

 

3. San Diego Chargers: Ronnie Stanley

Norm Hall/Getty Images

As quarterback Philip Rivers ages and loses mobility, protecting their franchise quarterback becomes even more important for the Chargers. 

In his recent mock draft, Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune also awarded Ronnie Stanley to the Chargers, reasoning that he would "[step] in as the starting right tackle day one, and would eventually transition into Philip Rivers’ blindside protector."

Current right tackle Joe Barksdale, who started 16 games for the Chargers in 2015, is a free agent, creating an obvious opening for Stanley in San Diego. 

 

15. St. Louis Rams: Carson Wentz

David K Purdy/Getty Images

After missing the majority of the season with a broken wrist, North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz made a triumphant return to the field just in time to lead the Bison to the FCS national championship on Saturday. 

Wentz's impressive performance restarted the hype machine, and potentially solidified his position as a first-round pick. 

NFL Network's Mike Mayock even floated the idea of Wentz as the top quarterback in the draft:

Jeff Fisher will be looking for a new franchise signal-caller in St. Louis (or wherever the Rams call home in 2016) after suffering through a season of Nick Foles and Case Keenum 

 

19. Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is a difficult prospect to place due to his recent arrest for marijuana possession

The arrest added to the rumors that Nkemdiche is a bit of a wild card off the field. Before the arrest in early December, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, quoted a scout as describing Nkemdiche as "really a different kid. He may scare some people. He's strange strange."

The scout is right to assume certain teams will be turned off by Nkemdiche during the interview process, especially following his arrest. But there are also some outside-the-box thinkers in the league who will embrace Nkemdiche's personality and fall in love with his production on the field.

So who better to gamble on a "strange" prospect than Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who is a bit of a wild card off the field himself.

 

Follow Ryan McCrystal on Twitter for more NFL and college football analysis.

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