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

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NFL Mock Draft 2016: 1st-Round Projections for Most Coveted Prospects
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

It's February, which means it's officially mock draft season as we gear up for the NFL Scouting Combine later this month. 

Because it's so early in the draft process, many mock drafts will first begin to nail down which teams need which positions before attempting to predict the order in which prospects will be taken in the first round, and that's true for the mock draft below. 

While the prospects below may not come off the board in exactly the order specified, an attempt has been made to identify each team's top need in the first 31 selections. Note that the New England Patriots do not hold a selection in the first round as part of the team's Deflategate sanctions.  

After the mock draft, we'll break down projections for three of the most coveted prospects at this point in the process. 

2016 NFL Round 1 Mock Draft
Pick Team Player Position School
1 Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
2 Cleveland Browns Carson Wentz QB North Dakota St.
3 San Diego Chargers Jalen Ramsey CB/S Florida State
4 Dallas Cowboys Myles Jack OLB UCLA
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Joey Bosa DE Ohio State
6 Baltimore Ravens Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
7 San Francisco 49ers Jared Goff QB Cal
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 Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
14 Oakland Raiders Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
15 Los Angeles Rams Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
16 Detroit Lions Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
17 Atlanta Falcons Darron Lee OLB Ohio State
18 Indianapolis Colts Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
19 Buffalo Bills Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss
20 New York Jets Leonard Floyd OLB Georgia
21 Washington Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
22 Houston Texans Connor Cook QB Michigan State
23 Minnesota Vikings Cody Whitehair OG Kansas State
24 Cincinnati Bengals Corey Coleman WR Baylor
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Eli Apple CB Ohio State
26 Seattle Seahawks Shon Coleman OT Auburn
27 Green Bay Packers Reggie Ragland ILB Alabama
28 Kansas City Chiefs Jarran Reed DT Alabama
29 Arizona Cardinals Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech
30 Carolina Panthers Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
31 Denver Broncos Andrew Billings DT Baylor

Michelle Bruton's picks

Projections for Most Coveted Prospects 

Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Joey Bosa is regarded by many draft analysts as the best defensive lineman available in this year's draft, and in fact, ranked him as its No. 1 prospect overall.

This makes Bosa something of a wild card in early mock drafts.

While he makes perfect sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars to grab at No. 5 to pair up with Dante Fowler and create a monstrous pass rush, it's possible that another team finds it too difficult to pass him up earlier. 

For example, Fox Sports' Aaron Torres recently argued the Tennessee Titans, whom we have going with tackle Laremy Tunsil at No. 1 overall, "would be insane" to pass on Bosa:

The San Diego Chargers also desperately need to upgrade their defense, and he could be too enticing to pass up. 

A lot of different scenarios could take Bosa off the board before the fifth overall pick, but if he's still there, he makes perfect sense for Jacksonville. 

Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

Defensive back Jalen Ramsey makes a ton of sense for the Chargers, who will likely have to replace Eric Weddle this offseason. ranks Ramsey as the No. 3 overall prospect, making him a perfect value for San Diego at third overall. 

However, it's not certain that he will make it to San Diego's selection.

The Titans could go a few different directions, including trading out of the No. 1 spot, but defensive back is a big need. Perrish Cox can man the slot and Jason McCourty is under contract through the 2017 season, per Spotrac, but Tennessee could benefit from a versatile player who could play outside or even a hybrid safety role. 

"He has above-average anticipation, vision and instincts, seeing the field extremely well with uncanny awareness and timing to create turnovers and get his hands on the ball," Dane Brugler of noted. 

At this point, Ramsey and the Chargers seem like a perfect match.  

Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

The Titans are also in need of a tackle, and Tunsil is the best one in this year's draft class. So long as they don't trade out of the No. 1 pick, the pairing seems like a no-brainer. ranks Tunsil as the top offensive lineman in the class and the No. 2 prospect overall behind Bosa.  

"On the field, Tunsil is a nimble big man with a rare athletic skill set for the position, showing above-average balance and flexibility to easily bend, handle speed and absorb power at the point of attack," Brugler wrote

Tunsil struggled with injuries throughout his college career, never able to play a full season for the Rebels. He also started just five games in 2015, missing the season's first seven contests due to a suspension.

However, Tennessee has a major obligation to protect its franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, and Tunsil is a gifted athlete. The Titans shouldn't get too creative with this pick and should be sure to address their most pressing need.  

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