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NFL Mock Draft 2016: Updated Order and Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Louisville defensive end Sheldon Rankins (98) runs through drills during NCAA college football practice for the Senior Bowl, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, at Fairhope Municipal Stadium, in Fairhope, Ala.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
Chris RolingFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2016

The first major stop on the path to the 2016 NFL draft is the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where college football's most experienced players currently lay it all on the line for scouts and NFL teams.  

With just the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers still alive, the majority of the league's attention focuses on the event, which will eventually give way to the scouting combine and other major landmarks in the coming months.

Long story short, it's the perfect time for fans of the eliminated franchises to catch up on the draft process to also begin the long journey. The best way to do so is through a mock draft outlining team need and prospect value, so let's do so below.

 

2016 NFL Mock Draft

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

Note: New England Patriots forfeited their first-round pick.

 

Breaking Down Notable Picks 

21. Washington: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Laquon Treadwell out of Ole Miss might be the draft's top wide receiver, but that's a "might," not a sure thing.

Wideout is one of the more confusing parts of the puzzle heading to the draft because Treadwell comes with both good and bad points around his stock. The good, of course, is the 6'2", 210-pound frame and the 82 catches for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Among other traits, Treadwell looks like an incredible possession receiver who can outpoint defensive backs, as CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler helps to detail:

Over this three years as a starter, Treadwell lined up inside and outside at Ole Miss and was consistently productive despite defenses game-planning against him. He has exceptional ballskills and attacks the ball similar to Dez Bryant, catching passes many other receivers are unable to make on a consistent basis.

The negatives aren't many, but a serious leg injury a few years back and emotional play also befit of a Dez Bryant description, including flags that hurt his team, certainly draw the eye. 

This is a sweet spot for a team like Washington. There are flags, but at this value, Treadwell becomes worth the risk. The team has a deep threat with DeSean Jackson and someone to move the chains with tight end Jordan Reed, but another big-bodied target who can spread things out would help quarterback Kirk Cousins in a big way, presuming he returns.

Treadwell could easily work his way into the top 10 on talent alone. Right now, though, Washington wouldn't complain about where his stock continues to hover.

 

26. Seattle Seahawks: Noah Spence, DE/LB, Eastern Kentucky

Here's another interesting value slotting for a playoff team on the hunt for improvement. 

Folks might remember Noah Spence as an All-Big Ten player with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2013. But things fell apart with failed drug tests, and he wound up at Eastern Kentucky before long and now sits as one of the most interesting players in the draft process.

Spence has the look of an elite rusher at the pro level, with former teammate Braxton Miller going as far as to toss out a Von Miller comparison, according to Bleacher Report's Luke Easterling:

It's not so far out, as Spence certainly qualifies as a top-15 prospect from a talent standpoint, though the red flags aren't hard to figure out.

Seattle won't mind providing Spence a little shot at redemption. The praised Seahawks defense only generated 37 sacks this past year, and in the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers, it wasn't athletic enough or applying enough pressure to stop quarterback Cam Newton, sacking him just once while he tossed a touchdown and his running backs scored twice.  

Throwing Spence into the mix on a rotational basis would provide a boost to the unit.

 

27. Green Bay Packers: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Many aren't familiar with the name Sheldon Rankins just yet, but the Louisville product won't have a hard time becoming a household name at this pace.

Rankins has quietly starred as the centerpiece for the Louisville defense over the past few years, providing solid pressure from the interior and boasting elite run-defense skills.

Those traits in mind, Rankins didn't have any problems wowing the crowd at the Senior Bowl. ESPN.com's Matt Bowen provided some commentary from the scene:

While Rankins might rise more in the coming months, the Green Bay Packers look like a sound fit at No. 27.

Green Bay ranked 21st against the run this past season and might grow tired of having to resort to B.J. Raji in the middle of the unit. Rankins can come in and boost this area right away, if not help add to the unit's 43 sacks.

Odds seem strong Rankins will continue to increase his stock alongside the increasing coverage surrounding his film and his numbers. Green Bay won't devalue him whatsoever, understanding that he's a rookie who can make a rather seamless transition and contribute.

 

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and are accurate as of January 27. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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