NFL draft discussions are always more interesting when there's a legitimate debate about the top quarterback in the draft.
The Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota debate was intriguing in 2015, and we should have a similar situation this year with the North Dakota State Bison's Carson Wentz vs. the California Golden Bears' Jared Goff.
Wentz over Goff
Unless he stumbles mightily at the NFL Scouting Combine, Wentz should be the first signal-caller taken in the 2016 NFL draft.
NDSU isn't the type of program that usually produces first-round picks—let alone franchise quarterbacks—but nothing about Wentz seems like the usual. He has the ideal size at 6'5" and 232 pounds, solid arm strength, decent athleticism and excellent intangibles.
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Had he played in the SEC, Pac-12 or Big Ten, he probably would have won the Heisman Trophy, and he wouldn't have had to come almost out of nowhere in the last two months to garner national attention.
If the Tennessee Titans trade the top pick, there's even a chance Wentz goes No. 1 to the team that decides to mortgage multiple picks in an effort to leap to the top spot. There will be some who like Goff more than Wentz.
Goff's excellence came against competition that most fans hold in high regard. In this instance, it won't matter. Wentz will be the true franchise quarterback out of the 2016 class. He has the "it" factor, and the Cleveland Browns should take him at No. 2 if he's available or package their No. 2 with another selection to move up to No. 1 if need be.
That snakebitten franchise may not get another opportunity to draft a QB who can help turn things around for another 30 years. As for Goff, he should be right at home if the San Francisco 49ers do the right thing and take him with the No. 7 pick.
Here's a look at the latest mock draft. Just after the table is a breakdown of two more top-tier prospects.
|NFL Mock Draft 2016|
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota St.|
|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||Jared Goff||QB||Cal|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Myles Jack||LB||UCLA|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|10||New York Giants||Reggie Ragland||LB||Alabama|
|11||Chicago Bears||Leonard Floyd||OLB||Georgia|
|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||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis|
|16||Detroit Lions||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State|
|18||Indianapolis Colts||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|19||Buffalo Bills||Jaylon Smith||LB||Notre Dame|
|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||Kevin Dodd||DE||Clemson|
|30||Carolina Panthers||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|31||Denver Broncos||Jason Spriggs||OT||Indiana|
|picks per Mazique|
Ezekiel Elliott Is Just What Andrew Luck Needs
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts offense need a franchise running back who can get 25 touches per game and presents a legitimate threat on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield. With all due respect to future Hall of Famer Frank Gore (yes, I said that) at 32 years old, he can no longer be that guy.
The Ohio State Buckeyes' Ezekiel Elliott has the vision, power and speed to be the workhorse back who takes pressure off Luck and the passing game.
There's a chance a team could try and swoop in to take Elliott before the Colts pick at No. 18. If that happens, it would be foolish to move up to take him. The more sensible option would be to look at a running back like the Utah Utes' Devontae Booker in the second or third round.
However, if Elliott is still on the board, drafting him should be an easy decision for the Colts.
Ramsey Would Energize Jags Secondary
It will seem like the Jacksonville Jaguars had two first-round picks in 2016. Last year's first-round pick, Dante Fowler, didn't play in 2015 because of a knee injury. He'll be making his NFL debut this season along with the player the Jags draft with the fifth pick.
There's a few directions Jacksonville could go. Wide receiver is an option, but the best selection would be Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey. More than anything, Ramsey offers a prospective team versatility.
He could play safety in the NFL, but he figures to have more of an impact at corner. At 6'1" and 202 pounds, he has the size to match up with big receivers. His 40-inch vertical leap proves that he can elevate to create even more length to defend passes.
Plugging Ramsey in at corner in Jacksonville could potentially give the Jags a game-changer on two levels of their defense.