2016 NFL Draft: Dark-Horse Candidates to Rise into the 1st Round

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2016 NFL Draft: Dark-Horse Candidates to Rise into the 1st Round
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Every year, we hear about risers and fallers throughout the draft process, but on draft day, there are still surprises. Be it Bruce Irvin landing 15th overall in 2012 or Jake Locker being drafted eighth overall in 2011, there are always Day 1 shocks.

After examining this overall class, five names stick out as players who are infrequently being mocked in the first round or ranked in the top 30 prospects in the draft pool, yet they can make some noise on April 28 in Chicago. We'll dig into why these dark-horse first-round candidates have a case to go in the top 31 picks of the class (the New England Patriots lost their pick) and give at least one team fit for each prospect.

The draft cycle is speeding up rapidly. With the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl behind us, only the combine, pro days and private workouts stand between NFL franchises and draft week. Jot down the following five names on your watch list and wait for everyone else to catch on later.

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