2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Overrated Prospects Who Will Disappoint

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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Overrated Prospects Who Will Disappoint
Gregory Payan/Associated Press
Robert Nkemdiche faces an uphill battle to meet expectations in the NFL.

March Madness started in Indianapolis, folks.

There, the NFL combine in spirit kicked off the draft process, beginning the high-profile evaluations of the draft's most notable players, creating a shifting stock market, controversies and opinions that combine with free agency to morph into something even wilder.

One obvious result of this madness? Overreactions. Overcompensations. Overrated prospects.

It happens every year. There's a player who gets mostly universal praise that hits the league in the first round and goes boom, whether it's getting into trouble, never adapting right or simply flopping. After a look at an updated mock draft, let's dial in on some guys who could disappoint.

 

2016 NFL Mock Draft

Pick Team Player Position School
1 Tennessee Titans Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
2 Cleveland Browns Jared Goff QB California
3 San Diego Chargers Jalen Ramsey CB/S Florida State
4 Dallas Cowboys Myles Jack LB UCLA
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson
6 Baltimore Ravens Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
7 San Francisco 49ers Joey Bosa DL Ohio State
8 Philadelphia Eagles Jack Conklin OT Michigan State
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Darron Lee LB Ohio State
10 New York Giants DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
11 Chicago Bears Noah Spence DE/LB Eastern Kentucky
12 New Orleans Saints Reggie Ragland LB Alabama
13 Miami Dolphins Shaq Lawson LB Clemson
14 Oakland Raiders Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
15 Los Angeles Rams Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State
16 Detroit Lions Taylor Decker OT Ohio State
17 Atlanta Falcons Leonard Floyd LB Georgia
18 Indianapolis Colts A'Shawn Robinson DT Alabama
19 Buffalo Bills Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
20 New York Jets Jonathan Bullard DE Florida
21 Washington Michael Thomas WR Ohio State
22 Houston Texans Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss
23 Minnesota Vikings Josh Doctson WR TCU
24 Cincinnati Bengals Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Eli Apple CB Ohio State
26 Seattle Seahawks Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
27 Green Bay Packers Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
28 Kansas City Chiefs Corey Coleman WR Baylor
29 Arizona Cardinals Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma St.
30 Carolina Panthers Kevin Dodd DE Clemson
31 Denver Broncos Jason Spriggs OT Indiana

Author's projections

 

Overrated Prospects Who Will Disappoint

15. Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Let's see, small school, inflated stock in a poor quarterback class and a franchise that just relocated to Los Angeles. 

What in the world could go wrong?

Folks didn't hear much of anything about North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz during the 2015 season. The conversation was mostly about California's Jared Goff with a side of Memphis' Paxton Lynch.

Once the season ended, though, Wentz underwent this change into a guy with a booming pro arm, good stature and the upside of maybe someone like Andrew Luck

Whoa, right? 

To be fair, Wentz has good size at 6'5" and 237 pounds. He does throw well, and a 4.77-second 40-yard dash at the combine shows he can get downfield if necessary. In the words of Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, he showed well in interviews, too, according to Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

But the situation can fail a prospect as much as the other way around.

The Rams don't figure to wait long on the guy who will supposedly be the new face of the franchise. Wentz can have all the upside in the world while handing the ball off to Todd Gurley, but if he's throwing to Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin and a hodgepodge of others names, the rookie debut will end in disappointment.

Some would say the Rams won't let the locale change influence how quickly they go about trying to upgrade quarterback, but this is the NFL—they know better.

 

18. Indianapolis Colts: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Slap Alabama next to a guy's name, and expectations shoot through the roof. 

So it goes with defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, who looked like one of the top prospects in the draft before folks started to break down his film.

Coming in at 6'4" and 307 pounds, Robinson's frame suggested that he could plug running lanes and shoot up the field as a pass-rusher.

As a conclusion by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein reveals, though, Robinson has more issues at the point of attack than initially thought:

Hard to find an interior lineman with a more well-­proportioned frame than Robinson. His size and overall talent level will have NFL teams drooling and projecting him along any and all defensive fronts, but his film might leave them hungry for more. As opposed to teammate Jarran Reed who already plays with polish, Robinson is a projection-­oriented two-­gapper who can step in right away and help plug holes in a leaky run defense. If Robinson can improve his leverage issues and pass rushing, he has all-­pro potential; however, he’s not a sure thing to become a star.

The Indianapolis Colts have the defensive line as one of their biggest needs this year. Questions about upside or not, nabbing a Nick Saban-coached guy who seems like one of the best in class isn't a terrible idea.

Last year, the Colts ranked 24th against the pass and 25th against the rush. Attempting to upgrade the trenches and produce the ripple effect on the rest of the unit is the smartest way to go about things.

The problem, though, is if Robinson struggles in the areas of weakness his film exploited. Can he turn the tide, continue to develop and eventually become a noteworthy starter? It's there, but don't expect to see much of it as a rookie when Robinson faces a steep learning curve.

 

22. Houston Texans: Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss

Not too long ago, some mock drafts would have pasted Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche into the top 10.

One off-field incident later and a slew of research into film and other factors, though, and Nkemdiche's stock is a shell of its former self.

The former SEC star certainly looks the part at 6'3" and 294 pounds, but none of his combine drills ranked among the best at his position and talent alone isn't enough to help a guy escape "disappointment" territory.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. summed up one of the biggest questions around Nkemdiche, as captured by Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Rivals.com's Mike Farrell echoed these sentiments:

The best hope for Nkemdiche is to land somewhere with a strong nurturing environment capable of letting him develop while showing him the way.

The Houston Texans don't have a glaring need along the line, but Vince Wilfork continues to get up there in age and having J.J. Watt show Nkemdiche the ropes to both motivate him and help unlock that potential doesn't seem like a bad idea—especially if they can someday get on the field together.

Nkemdiche won't take the league by storm, which is disappointing. He may never do it. Overblown after rising to unrealistic heights as a top prospect out of high school, Nkemdiche will hit one of the harsher reality checks upon arrival in the NFL.

 

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and are accurate as of Monday. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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