NFL Mock Draft 2016: 1st-Round Projections for Most Exalted Prospects

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NFL Mock Draft 2016: 1st-Round Projections for Most Exalted Prospects
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine list was released earlier this week, bringing us one step closer to April's NFL draft. 

Until the combine begins in late February, we'll have a bit of a lull in terms of NFL draft news. 

During this time, teams are going back over their evaluations of prospects to put together early versions of their draft boards. Then, the combine and the pro days that follow will help to finalize those evaluations. 

Based on where we stand now, before the combine and free agency shake things up again, here's a look at how the first round of the NFL draft could play out.  

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

Notable Picks

Jacksonville Jaguars: Noah Spence

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Jaguars selected Dante Fowler Jr. in the first round last year, so another pass-rusher does not have to be high on their wish list. 

However, the potential of starting the 2016 season with two young, explosive edge-rushers has to tempt the Jaguars front office. Since Fowler missed the entire 2015 season due to injury, the Jaguars would effectively be adding two top-five picks to their defensive line. 

Noah Spence is a similar prospect to Fowler, and he will likely earn grades in the same range as the former Florida Gators pass-rusher. 

Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch is a free agent, so the addition of Spence would allow the Jaguars to start fresh with two new weapons on the defensive line in 2016.

Seattle Seahawks: Braxton Miller

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Seahawks have done little to address the wide receiver position throughout most of Pete Carroll's tenure in Seattle. However, the trade for Percy Harvin in 2013 did indicate an interest in adding a versatile weapon to the offense. 

Braxton Miller's dangerous playmaking ability after the catch gives him the potential to fill a role similar to the one Carroll envisioned for Harvin in Seattle. 

There's some risk in taking a raw prospect like Miller in the first round, but he should still be able to make an immediate impact. 

Adding a package of plays to get Miller the ball either in the backfield or on quick-strike throws would change the way defenses prepare for the Seahawks offense.

Carolina Panthers: Jason Spriggs

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

It's important not to overreact to one game, but the performance of Carolina's offensive line in Super Bowl 50 highlighted just how unprepared the Panthers are to compete with a dominant front seven. 

With that weakness now exposed, the Panthers should expect more teams to come after Cam Newton with a relentless pass rush in 2016, rather than sit back and react, as the Seahawks did in their loss in the divisional round. 

It's tough to predict exactly who will be on the board in the late first round, but the Panthers should target someone capable of taking over from Mike Remmers at right tackle. 

Indiana's Jason Spriggs is one of a handful of prospects who could be viewed as nice value in that range of the draft. 

Follow Ryan McCrystal on Twitter for more NFL and college football analysis.

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