2016 NFL Mock Draft: Breaking Down Latest Projections for 1st-Round Prospects

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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Breaking Down Latest Projections for 1st-Round Prospects
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

There's a lot of buzz surrounding North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.

So much so, that there's a strong belief that the top quarterback taken in this year's NFL draft could possibly come from the FCS level. Wentz could be mentioned in the same breath as California's Jared Goff and Memphis' Paxton Lynch.

His stock is rising, and he's the biggest mover in our latest mock draft, switching with Michigan State's Connor Cook at No. 15 to the Los Angeles Rams. That wouldn't be a bad selection for the Rams to usher in a new era in L.A.

But what makes Wentz so intriguing? For one, he did nothing but win in college. He also has the size and skill set that make him a must for a quarterback-needy team to take a chance on. 

Nothing has changed much in this latest mock draft with the exceptions of the draft order and Wentz's rise to the top half of the first round. Here's a closer look, as well as a deeper look into the North Dakota State prospect.

2016 NFL Mock Draft 1.2
Pick Team Player Position School
1 Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
2 Cleveland Browns Jared Goff QB Cal
3 San Diego Chargers Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
4 Dallas Cowboys Joey Bosa DL Ohio State
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey DB Florida State
6 Baltimore Ravens Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
7 San Francisco 49ers Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
8 Miami Dolphins Mackensie Alexander DB Clemson
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
10 New York Giants Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
11 Chicago Bears Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame
12 New Orleans Saints Myles Jack LB UCLA
13 Philadelphia Eagles Vernon Hargreaves III DB Florida
14 Oakland Raiders Jamal Adams S LSU
15 Los Angeles Rams Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
16 Detroit Lions Noah Spence DE Eastern Washington
17 Atlanta Falcons Vadal Alexander OG LSU
18 Indianapolis Colts Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
19 Buffalo Bills Robert Nkemdiche DE Ole Miss
20 New York Jets Jack Conklin OL Michigan State
21 Washington Redskins Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh
22 Houston Texans Connor Cook QB Michigan State
23 Minnesota Vikings Michael Thomas WR Ohio State
24 Cincinnati Bengals Tre'Davious White DB LSU
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Shilique Calhoun DL Michigan State
26 Seattle Seahawks Corey Coleman WR Baylor
27 Green Bay Packers Scooby Wright LB Arizona
28 Kansas City Chiefs Taylor Decker OL Ohio State
29 Arizona Cardinals Leonard Floyd OLB Georgia
30 Denver Broncos Desmond King DB Iowa
31 Carolina Panthers Kendall Fuller DB Virginia Tech

Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

  • Senior
  • 6'5", 235 pounds
  • 20-3 as a starter
  • Missed eight games in 2015 (broken wrist)
  • Returned to action in national championship game, accumulated 276 total yards and three touchdowns in win versus Jacksonville State

That's not a bad resume.

There was no way that a senior quarterback would miss the chance to play in his final game and deliver another championship to the Bison. Not only did Wentz play, he showed that there wasn't much rust to shake off after two months on the injured list. 

For those who haven't seen Wentz play, the hype is real. He's not just a big, tall quarterback that would be a first-year project. Whichever team takes Wentz in the first round should be prepared to play him Day 1, because he's certainly ready to take the reins of a franchise.

At 6'5" and 235 pounds, Wentz is the prototypical size for a quarterback in 2016. Not only do teams covet signal-callers that have size, but those who have a well-rounded game with a strong arm and quick feet when the pocket collapses.

His 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground against Jacksonville State in the national championship game speak for themselves. Wentz is good at making things happen when he escapes the pocket. However, it's throws like this, courtesy of NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, that have scouts drooling:

A lot had to go right for that play to work. First, Wentz needed to avoid the sack because two NDSU blockers missed their assignments—badly. Second, the arm strength and accuracy it takes to put the ball where it landed is absurd. That ball should've been thrown away or batted down. There can't be an in-between. Somehow, this is a touchdown.

Wentz is just as good when he's not running for his life. When given enough time to throw, he can deliver a strike—even when taking a hit at the legs, as Josh Norris of Rotoworld shows:

That should've been a touchdown, but this is a perfect example of Wentz's arm strength on display while under pressure. Not to mention, the accuracy is also on point.

And it's skills like these that have NFL draft expert Mike Mayock thinking he deserves to be in the conversation as one of, if not the top quarterback taken in the draft:

The question, though, is how far can Wentz move up? WalterFootball.com and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports both have Wentz going as high as No. 13 to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he'd be a fine quarterback for first-year head coach Doug Pederson and his West Coast offense.

There also seems to be buzz within draft circles that Wentz could be the second quarterback taken, over Lynch out of Memphis, according to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports:

Right now, Wentz is slotted at No. 15 because the teams ahead of the Rams have more pressing needs. While the Eagles would be an intriguing option, Philly could use a lockdown corner like Vernon Hargreaves III to solidify its secondary.

The Rams are in need of a quarterback that can be not only be the face of the franchise, but one that the Los Angeles community can rally behind. The Nick Foles experiment did not go well, and Case Keenum is not a quarterback for the future.

Head coach Jeff Fisher needs a quarterback like Wentz to inject some life into the 29th-ranked scoring offense from a year ago. It wouldn't be a shock to see the Rams attempt to trade up should Wentz's draft stock continue to spike.

Wentz has the physical gifts to be great and the intangibles to be a franchise savior. He's the guy to look out for going forward.

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