2016 NFL Mock Draft: Early 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2016

Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa (97) against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are miles and months to go in the draft season, and players who are in the first round of mock drafts in mid-February may not be there in late April, and players who look like second- and third-rounders right now could find themselves getting a handshake from commissioner Roger Goodell when he announces the first-round selections on April 28.

Many prospective draftees will attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month, and many of the biggest names will have private workouts for scouts and coaches.

But until those events occur, scouts are going over game film and studying reports to get the best reads on the top draft prospects.

Here's our early look at the first round of the 2016 NFL draft.

2016 Mock Draft
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsJoey BosaDEOhio State
3San Diego ChargersVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
4Dallas CowboysJalen RamseyDBFlorida State
5Jacksonville JaguarsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
6Baltimore RavensRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
7San Francisco 49ersLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
8Miami DolphinsJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersDeForest BucknerDLOregon
10New York GiantsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
11Chicago BearsJared GoffQBCalifornia
12New Orleans SaintsMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
13Philadelphia EaglesCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota State
14Oakland RaidersTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
15Los Angeles RamsShaq LawsonDEClemson
16Detroit LionsRobert NkemdicheDTOle Miss
17Atlanta FalconsEli AppleCBOhio State
18Indianapolis ColtsMyles JackLBUCLA
19Buffalo BillsKevin DoddDEClemson
20New York JetsDarron LeeLBOhio State
21Washington RedskinsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
22Houston TexansConnor CookQBMichigan State
23Minnesota VikingsVernon ButlerDTLouisiana Tech
24Cincinnati BengalsAndrew BillingsDTBaylor
25Pittsburgh SteelersJack ConklinOTMichigan State
26Seattle SeahawksMichael ThomasWROhio State
27Green Bay PackersJarran ReedDTAlabama
28Kansas City ChiefsLeonard FloydLBGeorgia
29Arizona CardinalsNoah SpenceDEEastern Kentucky
30Carolina PanthersShon ColemanOTAuburn
31Denver BroncosPaxton LynchQBMemphis

 

No. 2, DE Joey Bosa, Cleveland Browns (Ohio State)

The Browns clearly have significant holes to fill on both sides of the ball, and many expect them to go after a quarterback. However, Joey Bosa has game-changing ability and is an energetic pass-rusher from Ohio State who could become a lethal sack artist early in his career.

The son of former NFL defensive end John Bosa (three years with the Miami Dolphins) checks in at 6'5" and 275 pounds and has the power and moves to get the best of most offensive tackles. However, it's his quick first step and his ability to get sideways that make him so difficult to block.

Bosa had 13.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in Ohio State's national championship season in 2014. He was not as productive in 2015 (5.0 sacks), but he did manage 16 tackles for loss. Bosa has the lateral quickness that allows him to slide to the ball-carrier, which makes him dependable against the run. 

NFL draft experts have consistently lauded him, including the NFL Network's Mike Mayock:

.@MikeMayock's top 5 edge rushers in 2016 Draft:

1. Joey Bosa
2. Noah Spence
3. Shaq Lawson
4. Leonard Floyd
5. Kevin Dodd

— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) February 10, 2016

 

No. 7, WR Laquon Treadwell, San Francisco 49ers (Ole Miss)

Jan 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) celebrates his ten-yard touchdown catch against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter of the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Cred
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers fell apart from nearly every angle last season, and their inability to make big plays was a key factor in their last-place finish in the NFC West.

Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has a chance to be a game-changing player at the next level. Treadwell checks in at 6'2" and 210 pounds, and that gives him the ability to outfight defensive backs for the ball. Treadwell is coming off a stellar season in which he caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Ole Miss Rebels.

Treadwell has huge, strong hands, and he has the ability to wall off defenders and make the tough catch in traffic. He also has long, deceptive strides that enable him to eat up a lot of ground for a bigger wide receiver.

Treadwell will need to work on his route running to get to his maximum potential. However, he will be starting his pro career in an excellent position to become an impact player.

Treadwell ranks extremely high on Mayock's list of receivers (via National Football Post):

Laquon Treadwell top receiver on Mike Mayock’s list: SEC players figured heavily in noted NFL draft analyst Mi... https://t.co/T9SH4UnPf3

— NationalFootballPost (@FootballPost) February 11, 2016

 

No. 15, DE Shaq Lawson, Los Angeles Rams (Clemson)

Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker (14) passes the ball while defended by Clemson Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadi
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of hype about Shaq Lawson prior to the 2015 season, and he more than lived up to it with a breakout year for the Clemson Tigers.

Lawson had 24.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks last season, and his relentless style and high energy should allow him to become a devastating player against the run. While he is not huge for the position at 6'3" and 270 pounds, he is a fighter who has tremendous hands that allow him to win the battle against blockers and consistently make plays.

Lawson excels at setting the edge and holding it, and it is virtually impossible for a running back to get outside of him and gain any significant yardage.

While Lawson will see much bigger and more athletic offensive tackles at the next level, it's difficult to imagine opponents neutralizing him because of his impressive strength.

Lawson impressed the scouts from Pro Football Focus:

Tyler Boyd, Shaq Lawson are among our top NFL draft prospects from the ACC. https://t.co/ySm7dg7YwK

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 10, 2016

 

All heights, weights and stats are from CBSSports.com unless otherwise noted.