2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Landing Spots of Top Prospects

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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Landing Spots of Top Prospects
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

All eyes are on the top NFL draft prospects at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week. 

As scouts, coaches and general managers get a close look at the prospects, a number of players are solidifying their spots on draft boards, or potentially elevating their stock. 

It's still early in draft season, but the Senior Bowl is a major step forward in the evaluation process. 

Based on the reports out of Mobile, here's an updated mock draft, and a look at some of the major developing storylines of the 2016 NFL draft. 

2016 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 DeForest Buckner DL Oregon
4 Dallas Cowboys Myles Jack LB UCLA
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey DB Florida State
6 Baltimore Ravens Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
7 San Francisco 49ers Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
8 Miami Dolphins Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers A'Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
10 New York Giants Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
11 Chicago Bears Reggie Ragland LB Alabama
12 New Orleans Saints Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
13 Philadelphia Eagles Jared Goff QB California
14 Oakland Raiders Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
15 Los Angeles Rams Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
16 Detroit Lions Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
17 Atlanta Falcons Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
18 Indianapolis Colts Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
19 Buffalo Bills Noah Spence LB Eastern Kentucky
20 New York Jets Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame
21 Washington Redskins Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech
22 Houston Texans Andrew Billings DT Baylor
23 Minnesota Vikings Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
24 Cincinnati Bengals Corey Coleman WR Baylor
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Hunter Henry TE Arkansas
26 Seattle Seahawks Robert Nkemdiche DT Ole Miss
27 Green Bay Packers Darron Lee LB Ohio State
28 Kansas City Chiefs Jarran Reed DL Alabama
29 Arizona Cardinals Leonard Floyd LB Georgia
30 Denver Broncos Jason Spriggs OT Indiana
31 Carolina Panthers Eli Apple CB Ohio State

Notable Storylines

Where Will Top QBs Land?

In this mock draft scenario only two quarterbacks land in the first round and none in the top 10. That contradicts most other mock drafts out there, but this wouldn't be the first time high expectations are set for a quarterback class, only to have reality set in later. 

In 2013, for example, Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib were touted as the top quarterbacks in the class for much of draft season. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports even had Smith going No. 1 overall in his mock draft as late as February 19. 

Both Smith and Nassib ended up falling out of the first round. 

Early in the process, those of us on the outside looking in tend to try to fill every vacant quarterback job with an up-and-coming prospect. But when there is as much disagreement over the prospects as there was in 2013, and appears to be this season, the early predictions rarely pan out. 

Jared Goff and Carson Wentz appear to be legitimate first-round talents, but are they strong enough prospects to entice a team such as the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers to snag them in the top 10?

It's certainly not out of the question that they could solidify themselves in that position. Carson Wentz is already doing his part with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport:

It's still very early in the draft evaluation process, however, and it's worth considering the alternative scenarios where none of the quarterbacks emerge as elite prospects in this class. 

The "Character Concerns" Prospects

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Two potential first-round prospects carry the dreaded "character concerns" label this year: Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence and Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche.

Spence was suspended after failing two drugs tests while at Ohio State, before being ruled ineligible by the Big Ten and transferring to Eastern Kentucky. He's since spoken at length about his issues with Ecstasy—detailed by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Nkemdiche's issues are more recent, having been arrested for marijuana possession in December and suspended from Ole Miss' bowl game. The bizarre incident, which involved Nkemdiche falling from a hotel balcony, is sure to raise questions during the interview process at the combine. 

Despite the issues, both prospects land in the first round in this mock draft. 

Teams are as cautious as ever about off-field issues, but certain talents are worth the gamble. 

Spence has proven to be among the elite pass-rushers in this class, and he may have solidified his spot in the first round at the Senior Bowl.

Kyle Crabbs of NDT Scouting has declared Spence one of the Senior Bowl winners: 

Nkemdiche, who left Ole Miss after his junior year, will have his opportunity to answer to questions at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February. 

As one of the premier talents in this draft class—Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranks him No. 13 overall—Nkemdiche should remain a first-round option so long as more red flags aren't uncovered this offseason. 

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