Noah Spence, Dak Prescott and others stole the show at the 2016 Senior Bowl, the first major landmark on the path to the 2016 NFL draft.
The league-related festivities didn't stop there, with the Pro Bowl going down from Hawaii this last weekend, too.
While the results of both don't have a rather large impact on the first round of the upcoming draft, there are notables to understand from the event in Mobile, Alabama. For example, Prescott has swung the door pretty wide open at quarterback, making the order the position comes off the board more interesting than some would have thought.
The draft process is over the hill and picking up speed as it heads down the slope. As it does, let's take a look at a mock based on prospect value and team need.
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|
Notable Post-Senior Bowl Selections
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Senior Bowl was a haven for elite defensive line play, as strong rushers silenced notable quarterbacks besides Prescott.
Oregon's DeForest Buckner would have certainly helped, but he chose to decline his invitation. In fact, he was one of just three players to decline an invitation, as CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler pointed out:
Deforest Buckner, Connor Cook and Ryan Kelly declined Senior Bowl invite by choice.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 26, 2016
Maybe Buckner's on to something, though.
He might not be a household name, but Buckner is an athletic monster who doesn't really have an equal in the class. This, combined with a relentless play style and solid all-around game, is why someone such as ESPN's Mel Kiper mocks him No. 4 to the Dallas Cowboys:
You get a 6-foot-7, 290-pound defensive end who can put a tackle on skates right into his own quarterback. The No. 1 thing you love about Buckner: major motor. He plays hard. He could have been taken relatively early last year, but came back and put an exclamation point on it.
A scheme-versatile player, most teams in the top 10 have to love what Buckner brings to the table. This especially applies to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that got 38 sacks last year but could use a more unpredictable rush to mask a struggling secondary.
Some will knock Buckner for missing the event in Mobile, but he has plenty of in-game film, and the league can see him shine in practices at the combine. His stock hasn't suffered.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
One of the Senior Bowl's biggest winners?
Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State.
Many entered the event doubting Wentz, who has come out of nowhere as of late to see his name make the rounds in first-round talk. It speaks both to the somewhat weak quarterback class about to enter the league and how much Wentz (6'6" and 235 lbs) pops on tape when it comes to franchise-quarterback traits.
As Fox Sports' Charles Davis captured, some critics turned into believers after Wentz put on a show in practices:
NDSU QB Carson Wentz looks good early. As one scout told me this week "I came here skeptical, I'm leaving impressed"— Charles Davis (@CFD22) January 30, 2016
CollegeFootball 24/7 provided the thoughts of Mike Mayock, one of Wentz's biggest vocal supporters after the event:
Wentz didn't post gaudy numbers this past season, and it ended on a sour note with an injury. But scouts wanted to see up close and personal if the hints of a developmental talent on tape were truly there.
It turns out they are, and a team like the Los Angeles Rams won't have any problem jumping all over the opportunity. The Rams cannot afford to suffer through another year of Nick Foles and Case Keenum, or whoever else, unless there is a franchise quarterback waiting in the wings.
Wentz might be that for the Rams, a franchise in need of a new face in a new locale. The rebuild is far from over, but skimping on the most important position of all is a good way to find oneself stuck in rebuilding limbo.
30. Denver Broncos: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Jason Spriggs seemed to solidify his first-round status in Mobile.
It's early to say such a thing, but all folks needed to see from the Indiana product was the same play he showed on tape, but against some of the best senior competition the draft class has to offer.
Let's just say Spriggs delivered, taking home some individual hardware in the process, according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson:
Senior Bowl awards: Carson Wentz (top quarterback) Sterling Shepard (top receiver) Jason Spriggs (top offensive lineman)— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 29, 2016
In a game dominated by rushers, Spriggs stood tall and lived up to the hype, his 6'6", 305-pound frame and elite athleticism from his days as a tight end helping him counter almost any and all challengers.
As Brugler paired with colleague Rob Rang to conclude, Spriggs has an easy fit in the NFL:
Scouts looking for tackles to play in a zone blocking scheme will certainly want to check out Spriggs, a former tight end who has maintained his athleticism while getting bigger and stronger to start the past four years at left tackle for the Hoosiers. Quick and agile, Spriggs is very effective blocking on the move and has the length and balance to mirror in pass protection. He's not particularly stout, however, and may struggle acclimating to the power he'll face in the NFL.
There's no better fit in the first round for Spriggs than with the Denver Broncos.
Denver, Peyton Manning or not, continues to employ a zone-blocking scheme to protect its men under center and pave the way for runners.
The Broncos could use an upgrade on the edges, especially with Ryan Clady on injured reserve. Depth is never a bad thing, especially if Manning chooses to give it another go. And even if he doesn't, perfect fits don't fall into a team's lap often, and especially not at the end of the first round at one of the most important positions of all.