NFL Draft 2016: 1st-Round Mock Draft and Projections for Top Prospects

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NFL Draft 2016: 1st-Round Mock Draft and Projections for Top Prospects
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The 2016 NFL draft is about to take center stage after the small matter of Super Bowl 50 is decided. 

We're less than two months away from the top college prospects finding new, professional homes, as NFL teams will look to improve their rosters via the draft. 

Here is my latest first-round mock draft. As a reminder, there are 31 picks in the first round because the New England Patriots had to forfeit their selection due to Deflategate:

2016 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round
Pick Team Player Position School
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 DE Ohio State
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey CB Florida State
6 Baltimore Ravens Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
7 San Francisco 49ers Carson Wentz QB North Dakota St.
8 Miami Dolphins Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma State
10 New York Giants DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
11 Chicago Bears Leonard Floyd DE Georgia
12 New Orleans Saints Myles Jack LB UCLA
13 Philadelphia Eagles Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
14 Oakland Raiders Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
15 Los Angeles Rams Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
16 Detroit Lions Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
17 Atlanta Falcons Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
18 Indianapolis Colts Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame
19 Buffalo Bills Andrew Billings DT Baylor
20 New York Jets Darron Lee LB Ohio State
21 Washington Redskins A'Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
22 Houston Texans Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
23 Minnesota Vikings Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh
24 Cincinnati Bengals Jarran Reed DT Alabama
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Su'a Cravens S USC
26 Seattle Seahawks Robert Nkemdiche DT/DE Ole Miss
27 Green Bay Packers Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
28 Kansas City Chiefs Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
29 Arizona Cardinals Shilique Calhoun DE/LB Michigan State
30 Denver Broncos Shon Coleman OT Auburn
31 Carolina Panthers Kendall Fuller CB Virginia Tech

The elite FBS talent has some company from an FCS player in North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz

Coming off an FCS national championship, Wentz played in just seven games due to a wrist injury. After an eight-week hiatus, he was able to come back for the national championship game against Jacksonville State and lead the Bison to their fifth straight title. 

He's 6'6", 235 pounds and is a pro-style quarterback. He has a big arm and brings a confident presence to the pocket. Yet he isn't afraid to bring the ball down and run if forced to. Wentz has good speed given his size and could surprise a lot of scouts moving forward. 

While ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. says in the video above that Wentz is a second- or third-round selection, the quarterback has skyrocketed up mock drafts by impressing a lot of NFL teams during the week of the Senior Bowl.'s Daniel Jeremiah explained what he saw from Wentz:

North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz entered this week facing more pressure than any other prospect in Mobile. He was by far the highest-rated passer heading into the week of practice and everyone was eager to see how he would respond to the pressure and higher completion level. He responded with an outstanding performance. He displayed ideal size, arm strength and most importantly, poise. This moment wasn't too big for him. I'm looking forward to watching him play on Saturday, but he's already done enough to earn his spot in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

A number of teams could draft a quarterback this year. Unfortunately for them, the pickings are somewhat slim. Only Wentz, Memphis' Paxton Lynch and California's Jared Goff are bona fide first-rounders. 

Michigan State's Connor Cook and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg are options, but I don't see them going until later on in the draft. 

That means Wentz could go early to the likes of the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles. 

Wherever he goes, the general consensus seems to indicate that Wentz is ready for the pros. 

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