NFL Mock Draft 2016: 1st-Round Projections and Top Prospects' Stock Watch

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NFL Mock Draft 2016: 1st-Round Projections and Top Prospects' Stock Watch
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

There will be a lot of movement along draft boards in the next few weeks as teams make their evaluations heading into the 2016 NFL draft.

While the college football season has been over for more than a month, the stocks continue to rise and fall for many prospects. The senior bowl is in the past, but the upcoming combine, pro days and interviews will also play a major role in deciding where each top player is selected.

It's often difficult to keep up with the trends among the scouting community, but here is a look at the latest mock draft along with a breakdown of the stars on the rise. 

2016 NFL Mock Draft
No. Team Player Pos. School
1 Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
2 Cleveland Browns Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
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 DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
7 San Francisco 49ers Jared Goff QB California
8 Miami Dolphins Ronnie Stanley OT Miami Dolphins
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
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 Cody Whitehair OG Kansas State

Top Prospects on the Rise

Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

The Cleveland Browns clearly need a quarterback, but there is still some debate about who is the best in the class. Paxton Lynch has the size and arm strength, Jared Goff has the composure in the pocket, but Carson Wentz might be the best overall prospect at the position.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network—who listed Wentz as his No. 1 quarterback in his latest rankings—had high praise for the North Dakota State passer:

While there will be obvious question marks about the ability to transition from an FCS school to the NFL, the Browns can bring him along slowly until he is ready to compete. With that said, Wentz showed throughout his career an impressive understanding of the offense while leading his team to multiple national championships.

At 6'5", Wentz also has the size teams are looking for in a quarterback as well as the athleticism to make plays on the ground. Adding this to his accuracy in the pocket and we have the best quarterback in the class.

DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Ryan Kang/Associated Press

This draft is loaded with defensive linemen and edge-rushers but DeForest Buckner is among the best of the bunch. The 6'7", 290-pound monster uses his length and strength to force his way into the backfield and disrupt the offense on both passing and run plays.

Although Joey Bosa might still remain ahead of him in the draft due to his consistent play, Buckner might have even better upside due to his size and athleticism. 

Sam Monson of Pro Football Reference provide a simple look at the defensive end's abilities:

The Baltimore Ravens struggled defensively this season through the air and a lack of pass rush was a major issue in many games. Not a single player on the team finished with more than six sacks in 2015.

Buckner would provide some immediate help on passing downs and should eventually become an elite all-around performer on the defensive line. 

Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The first round will be loaded with former Ohio State stars, but few are quite as intriguing as Braxton Miller. The former quarterback is one of the most dynamic players in the class and his athleticism gives him even more upside than teammate Michael Thomas.

Sure, Miller doesn't have elite size at just 6'1", but he is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands.

After an impressive showing during the week of the senior bowl, Miller discussed what he could bring to a team, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:

I can play any position that’s on offense. That’s really eye-opening for them. They need playmakers that can do that. Somebody that can go in motion, come in the backfield at times. Go to outside receiver, inside receiver, punt return. All that type of stuff. It’s a lot. And I bring that to the game, and it’s going to be fun doing that, and I love doing it, too, so I don’t mind. 

This is what makes him such a perfect fit for the Kansas City Chiefs. The offense has a few weapons in Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce, but otherwise the passing attack needs a lot of help. Maclin can be a game-changing player on offense or special teams, and as he continues to improve as a route-runner, he can eventually be an elite receiver.

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