2016 NFL Mock Draft: Projections Based on Buzz Surrounding 1st-Round Prospects

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2016

The NFL is abuzz after a strong pro day from Carson Wentz.
The NFL is abuzz after a strong pro day from Carson Wentz.Bruce Crummy/Associated Press

JaMarcus Russell had a great pro day.

It's a quick but heavy statement of the perils surrounding the NFL during this portion of the calendar. In a way, it fits right in with the so-called madness of March.

As the NFL draft approaches, the top prospects continue to make waves in the stock department via pro days and individual workouts with teams. It's a fun time of year, but a cautionary one, as what could be as much as four years of film take a back seat to more recent events such as favorable workouts.

So keep such lessons from year's past in mind while perusing the NFL draft buzz. Here's a look at the latest and what it truly means.

 

2016 NFL Mock Draft

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
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 BearsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
12New Orleans SaintsNoah SpenceDE/LBEastern Kentucky
13Miami DolphinsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
14Oakland RaidersMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
15Los Angeles RamsCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota State
16Detroit LionsTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
17Atlanta FalconsShaq LawsonLBClemson
18Indianapolis ColtsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
19Buffalo BillsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
20New York JetsJonathan BullardDEFlorida
21WashingtonCorey ColemanWRBaylor
22Houston TexansRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
23Minnesota VikingsJosh DoctsonWRTCU
24Cincinnati BengalsLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
25Pittsburgh SteelersEli AppleCBOhio State
26Seattle SeahawksLeonard FloydLBGeorgia
27Green Bay PackersSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
28Kansas City ChiefsMichael ThomasWROhio State
29Arizona CardinalsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma St.
30Carolina PanthersKevin DoddDEClemson
31Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
Author's projections

 

Notable Buzz Around Prospects

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Vernon Hargreaves wowed scouts in workouts.
Vernon Hargreaves wowed scouts in workouts.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

See, there is a big difference between someone such as Russell, who had well-documented motivation issues, and a guy like Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, whose best comparison for years has been Joe Haden.

Hargreaves comes in at 5'10" and 204 pounds with elite athleticism, anticipation and explosiveness to plant himself around the football and make a difference.

The Florida product reinforced any and all comparisons by wowing scouts at the team's pro day, according to CollegeFootball 24/7:

Had Hargreaves tanked, this would seem like a much different story, but he took to positional drills and reflected his film, buoying his already-stellar stock in the process.

Rest assured the Jacksonville Jaguars paid attention to the local kid. If they cannot get their hands on Jalen Ramsey, Hargreaves is the next-best option to slap in a secondary that ranked 29th against the pass last year.

Adding Malik Jackson, Hargreaves and getting Dante Fowler back from injury should go a long way in helping Jacksonville turn things around on the defensive side of the ball.

 

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

Carson Wentz is the trickiest of the hype.

Wentz attended North Dakota State and didn't face any meaningful competition, but he's always looked the part at 6'5" and 237 pounds with an ability to hit most throws on film.

Folks began digging into Wentz after the season and liked what they saw, raising his stock. Wentz seemed to help himself at North Dakota State's pro day Thursday, as the NFL captured:

But again, these things have to come with a dash of caution. For example, NBCSN's Ross Tucker hit the nail on the head before the day even began:

Wentz threw the ball well in a workout he's done plenty of times on his home turf surrounded by teammates and supporters. While he looked great, it might be premature to swap him with California's Jared Goff in the draft process. 

Not that the Los Angeles Rams will complain if Wentz remains in the mid-round range. Avoiding another dose of Nick Foles, or at least doing so knowing there is a high-ceiling prospect learning on the bench, would help the franchise.

Such a ceiling might end up trumping everything else, but for now it's hard to shake the feeling that the hype around Wentz booms simply because this is one of the weakest quarterback classes in recent memory. For now, he's sticking around No. 15.

 

21. Washington: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Corey Coleman didn't have problems making waves at Baylor's pro day.
Corey Coleman didn't have problems making waves at Baylor's pro day.LM Otero/Associated Press

Baylor's Corey Coleman is another interesting case.

The explosive deep threat didn't do much at the combine, but years and years of productive film trumped the absence. Instead, Coleman chose to take to the Baylor pro day and put on a show. 

Which he did. Coleman put up explosive numbers, albeit on friendly turf. The NFL knows how to look past big numbers at a pro day and get right to the point, which it sounds like it has, as John McClain of the Houston Chronicle detailed:

Already considered a first-round prospect in college, Coleman enters a weak class sure to fulfill the expectations. The pro day, though, didn't make him a can't-miss prospect who will come off the board among the first 10 picks, as it's still muddy as to which wideout will hear his name called first.

Still, Coleman is quite the get for a team like Washington. The team kept Kirk Cousins under center and now needs another talented vertical threat to run with DeSean Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed.

With Pierre Garcon slowing, adding another dependable threat such as Coleman will work wonders for the spacing and timing of the Washington offense.

 

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

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