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

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2016

Jared Goff is raising his stock most as of late.
Jared Goff is raising his stock most as of late.Associated Press

Folks aren't focused on NFL draft stock as much as they are Cinderellas, bubbles and other such basketball mannerisms right now.

For shame, too, because the future stars of the NFL continue to work through the draft process by going through their paces at pro days, interviews and more, altering the stock market like a rock thrown in a pond would send waves throughout.

Granted, nobody has tossed a boulder in the pond as of late, but enough subtle changes demand the attention of fans. To help keep pace with the constant updates in this distracting month of madness, here is a look based on team need and prospect value of the stock market.


2016 NFL Mock Draft

1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsJared GoffQBCalifornia
3San Diego ChargersJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
4Dallas CowboysMyles JackLBUCLA
5Jacksonville JaguarsVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
6Baltimore RavensRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
7San Francisco 49ersJoey BosaDLOhio State
8Philadelphia EaglesJack ConklinOTMichigan State
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersDarron LeeLBOhio State
10New York GiantsDeForest BucknerDEOregon
11Chicago BearsNoah SpenceDE/LBEastern Kentucky
12New Orleans SaintsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
13Miami DolphinsShaq LawsonLBClemson
14Oakland RaidersMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
15Los Angeles RamsCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota State
16Detroit LionsTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
17Atlanta FalconsLeonard FloydLBGeorgia
18Indianapolis ColtsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
19Buffalo BillsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
20New York JetsJonathan BullardDEFlorida
21WashingtonLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
22Houston TexansRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
23Minnesota VikingsJosh DoctsonWRTCU
24Cincinnati BengalsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
25Pittsburgh SteelersEli AppleCBOhio State
26Seattle SeahawksEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
27Green Bay PackersSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
28Kansas City ChiefsMichael ThomasWROhio State
29Arizona CardinalsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma St.
30Carolina PanthersKevin DoddDEClemson
31Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
Author's projections

Stock Watch

2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California

Here's a shocker—the guy who was the original No. 1 quarterback on most people's boards continues to reassert himself as the...No. 1 quarterback on most people's boards.

The NFL draft process loves shiny new things. Goff spent the entire collegiate season as the top quarterback, but Paxton Lynch out of Memphis and Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State certainly had their time in the spotlight.

Goff sits on the throne once again, though, after an incredible showing at California's pro day, including a laser of a pass on a rope captured by the NFL on Twitter:

Indeed, Goff chose to not do a simple scripted exercise at the pro day, garnering praise from NFL Network analysts such as Bucky Brooks.

"I think it's commendable that he showed (tougher throws)," Brooks said, according to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread. "He could've basically mailed it in, do an easy workout today, but he's actually giving scouts everything that they want to see in terms of using the entire field."

With a solid arm, an ability to read defenses and good size at 6'4" and 215 pounds, Goff should have never lost the top slot in the first place. 

He probably didn't in the minds of the Cleveland Browns. New head coach Hue Jackson will want his own guy to work with after years of reshaping Andy Dalton into a franchise quarterback in Cincinnati. Goff is his guy, and one who can start right out of the gates and develop over the course of a few years into a viable starter.

Verdict: Stock up


13. Miami Dolphins: Shaq Lawson, LB, Clemson

The airwaves have been all over the place with Clemson pass-rusher Shaq Lawson. 

Folks know Lawson as an elite athlete with great burst off the snap and a vast array of moves that help him to weave to quarterbacks and flush the pocket. Lawson has put this set of skills on display more than a handful of times so far to great effect.

Counterbalancing the positives, though, is a necessary medical recheck after at least one team flagged him for a shoulder issue. NFL Network's Albert Breer provided the context:

For now, Lawson's stock seems to hover right in the middle of the pack, which isn't such a bad thing for a team like the Miami Dolphins.

Mired in the same division as Tom Brady, the Dolphins only managed 31 sacks last season and lost Olivier Vernon. Adding Mario Williams helps, but getting deeper in the trenches and having an insurance policy such as Lawson to rush from different spots and angles can never hurt.

In fact, it might wind up as the edge that the unit needs to take home the AFC East.

As for Lawson, everything outside of the medical aspect looks great. Should the recheck go well, his stock might reach top-10 territory and remain there the rest of the way.

Verdict: No change 


19. Buffalo Bills: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

This is a wildly top-heavy draft for defenders, making the few notable quarterback prospects and their stock levels all the more important. 

The aforementioned Lynch has somewhat fallen in the process now compared to a small period of time when some considered him to be the top option, though other circumstances throughout the league have buoyed his stock.

Look at it this way—the Denver Broncos lost Brock Osweiler. The New York Jets still don't have Ryan Fitzpatrick back under contract. Other unexpected teams such as the Buffalo Bills could swoop in if they like what Lynch brings to the table.

And why wouldn't they? Osweiler only started seven games on a roster that went on to win the title, and he got a massive contract. Lynch might seem like a project, he but comes in at 6'7" and 244 pounds with a strong arm and an ability to pull the ball down and take off when necessary.

The Bills don't seem entirely sold on Tyrod Taylor as the future under center, based on comments that suggest an extension won't get done, per Matthew Fairburn of Syracuse.com. If that's true, the Bills might gamble on a guy they can groom for a season before unleashing him.

With so many teams in need and Lynch doing no real harm to himself during the process, his arrow remains up.

Verdict: Stock up


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

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