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
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Jared Goff||QB||California|
|3||San Diego Chargers||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Joey Bosa||DL||Ohio State|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jalen Ramsey||CB/S||Florida State|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Mackensie Alexander||CB||Clemson|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Myles Jack||LB||UCLA|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Reggie Ragland||LB||Alabama|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|10||New York Giants||Jaylon Smith||LB||Notre Dame|
|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||Los Angeles Rams||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota 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||Washington||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|22||Houston Texans||Robert Nkemdiche||DL||Ole Miss|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Michael Thomas||WR||Ohio State|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Emmanuel Ogbah||DE||Oklahoma State|
|25||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kendall Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Noah Spence||DE/LB||Eastern Kentucky|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Sheldon Rankins||DT||Louisville|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||Corey Coleman||WR||Baylor|
|29||Arizona Cardinals||Leonard Floyd||LB||Georgia|
|30||Denver Broncos||Jason Spriggs||OT||Indiana|
|31||Carolina Panthers||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
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:
Senior Bowl: Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins (6-2, 304) has 1st round ability. Put him in a 3-4 or 4-3 front. Versatility & talent.— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) January 26, 2016
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.