Super Bowl 50 is now in the past, which means all 32 teams are now focused on next season and specifically the 2016 NFL draft.
A lot can and will change in the coming months. Teams will fill some holes while losing other key players, changing the major needs on the roster. Top prospects will move up and down draft boards due to their performances at various events.
Despite the likely adjustments, here is an early look at projections for the first round of the draft in April.
|2016 NFL Mock Draft|
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Jared Goff||QB||California|
|3||San Diego Chargers||Joey Bosa||DT||Ohio State|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Myles Jack||OLB||UCLA|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jalen Ramsey||CB||Florida State|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota State|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|10||New York Giants||Shaq Lawson||DE||Clemson|
|11||Chicago Bears||Noah Spence||DE||Eastern Kentucky|
|12||New Orleans Saints||A'Shawn Robinson||DT||Alabama|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|14||Oakland Raiders||Mackensie Alexander||CB||Clemson|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis|
|16||Detroit Lions||Jarran Reed||DT||Alabama|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||Jaylon Smith||OLB||Notre Dame|
|18||Indianapolis Colts||Taylor Decker||OT||Ohio State|
|19||Buffalo Bills||Darron Lee||OLB||Ohio State|
|20||New York Jets||Leonard Floyd||OLB||Georgia|
|21||Washington Redskins||Reggie Ragland||ILB||Alabama|
|22||Houston Texans||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Corey Coleman||WR||Baylor|
|25||Pittsburgh Steelers||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Robert Nkemdiche||DT||Ole Miss|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Sheldon Rankins||DT||Louisville|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||Braxton Miller||WR||Ohio State|
|29||Arizona Cardinals||Kevin Dodd||DE||Clemson|
|30||Carolina Panthers||Vonn Bell||S||Ohio State|
|31||Denver Broncos||Jason Spriggs||OT||Indiana|
1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Many teams drafting No. 1 overall are forced to look at the quarterback position. That is clearly not the case with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick a year ago.
While there was some inconsistency, the former Oregon star showed he can be the quarterback of the future for this franchise if he can stay healthy. Of course, that is the challenge after the team gave up a league-high 54 sacks this season. Injuries limited Mariota to just 12 games—not exactly what the organization wants to see.
This makes drafting an offensive tackle a no-brainer for the Titans, and they can get a good one in Laremy Tunsil. The athletic lineman has great size at 6'5", 305 pounds, and he is agile enough to handle even the quicker pass-rushers in the NFL.
Tennessee did draft Taylor Lewan in the first round just two years ago, but the team clearly needs more help. Denver Broncos linebacker and recent Super Bowl MVP Von Miller also showed this postseason that it's just as important to protect the front side as the blind side.
Tunsil can step right into the starting lineup and make an immediate impact for this squad.
2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California
The Johnny Manziel era in Cleveland appears to already be over. New head coach Hue Jackson admitted adding a quarterback is a major need for the organization in an interview on SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio:
Bleacher Report SXM @br_radio
Hue Jackson on the Browns: "If there is a QB at #2 that is a best fit for our team, we need to go get him. It's my opinion we need a QB."1/17/2016, 3:09:09 PM
With the Titans unlikely to take one, the Browns will have their pick of the litter when it comes to drafting the best quarterback in the 2016 class. The only question is which is the best.
Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch all have their supporters and also plenty of reasons to be skeptical of them. Wentz might be the fastest riser after a strong performance at the Reese's Senior Bowl, but he hasn't guaranteed a spot on top of the draft just yet.
Goff still separates himself from the pack thanks to his work within the pocket. He still makes mistakes, but he does a great job of handling pressure in his face while finding a way to get the ball to his receivers.
"Jared Goff makes every throw," NFL Network's Mike Mayock said (h/t Chase Goodbread of NFL.com). "Everybody criticizes the system he's in, but if you really watch enough of his tape, you can find him scanning the field, doing full-field reads, climbing the pocket, making the correct reads and checkdown throws. I really like Jared Goff."
Other quarterbacks might look better in practices or at the combine, but Goff will be the best on the field.
3. San Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa, DT, Ohio State
Whether the San Diego Chargers are looking to fill a need or take the best player available, Joey Bosa should be their pick.
Bosa didn't always put up big numbers in college, but he was a dominant force on the defensive line for Ohio State, making plays against both the run and pass. He consistently penetrated into the backfield to blow up an opposing team's play and was almost unblockable in one-on-one situations.
His college head coach, Urban Meyer, had some serious praise for the defensive lineman, per Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports:
Stewart Mandel @slmandel
Urban Meyer, who's produced a Heisman winner, No. 1 pick and All-Pros, calls Bosa "the best I've ever coached." https://t.co/BXE6cYR9n72/8/2016, 6:49:29 PM
Beyond the explosiveness, Bosa also has great versatility to play multiple positions along the line and in various systems. Simply put him on the field, and he will make a positive impact.
This would be perfect for the Chargers, who were especially poor at stopping the run last season. Only two teams allowed more than San Diego's 4.8 yards per carry, while Pro Football Focus rated the unit as by far the worst in the NFL against the run.
Drafting Bosa would help turn things around on this defense.
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