2016 NFL Mock Draft: Preview, Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2015

Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) sprints away from Texas A&M defensive back Nick Harvey (8) for a 58 yard touchdown pass reception during the second half of their NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. No. 24 Mississippi won 23-3. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

As many football fans unwrapped their gifts throughout the holidays, many NFL teams have started to look forward to April when they can select some gifts of their own in the 2016 NFL draft. 

With just a select few college football games left this season, teams around the league only have one more chance to see some of the top players in the country in game action before a winter of scouting, combines and tryouts. 

Continue for my latest mock draft for the first round. The draft order has been decided by the current NFL standings heading into Week 16. This season, there will be only 31 picks after the New England Patriots were forced to forfeit their first-rounder due to Deflategate.

PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
3Baltimore RavensJalen RamseyDBFlorida State
4San Diego ChargersLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
5Dallas CowboysJared GoffQBCalifornia
6San Francisco 49ersJoey BosaDEOhio State
7Miami DolphinsVernon HargreavesCBFlorida
8Jacksonville JaguarsAndrew BillingsDTBaylor
9New Orleans SaintsRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
10Chicago BearsA'Shawn RobinsonWROle Miss
11Detroit LionsMyles JackLBUCLA
12Tampa Bay BuccaneersTre'Davious WhiteCBLSU
13New York GiantsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma State
14Indianapolis ColtsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
15Oakland RaidersJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
16Philadelphia EaglesConnor CookQBMichigan State
17Buffalo BillsTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
18St. Louis RamsJosh DoctsonWROhio State
19Atlanta FalconsDeForest BucknerDEOregon
20New York JetsLeonard FloydDE/LBGeorgia
21Minnesota VikingsVadal AlexanderGLSU
22Seattle SeahawksMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
23Kansas City ChiefsShaq LawsonDEClemson
24Pittsburgh SteelersJayron KearseSClemson
25Washington RedskinsRobert NkemdicheDEOle Miss
26Houston TexansEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
27Green Bay PackersKenny ClarkDTUCLA
28Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
29Cincinnati BengalsSu'a CravensSUSC
30Arizona CardinalsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
31Carolina PanthersAdolphus WashingtonDEOhio State

Notable Picks

San Diego Chargers: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

The San Diego Chargers need wide receivers. When Keenan Allen went down for the season, the pass-heavy offense didn't deviate much from its game. The problem was, there was no reliable receiver to really give quarterback Philip Rivers a set of hands to rely on. 

In their Week 16 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, San Diego's leading receivers were former backup running Danny Woodhead followed by second-year receiver Dontrelle Inman, who started the year as a third or fourth option.

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Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell could be just the solution that the Chargers need. At 6'2", Treadwell has good size, but his ability to go up to get the ball makes him almost impossible to cover. 

He's a wonderful mix of physicality and agility as he's capable of overpowering coverage and then creating yards after the catch.

Treadwell could flourish with the Chargers and become such a threat with Rivers delivering passes to him. He could start as the team's No. 2 receiver under a healthy Allen and then develop his professional game even further under him. 

Dallas Cowboys: Jared Goff, QB, California

In one of the weakest divisions in the league, quarterback depth has killed the Dallas Cowboys this season. Due to Tony Romo's run in with injuries, Dallas has started three different quarterbacks in Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore. 

They've limped to a 4-10 record and were eliminated from playoff contention against the Green Bay Packers after Week 14. 

Throwing in inexperienced, albeit veteran quarterbacks into the Cowboys offense didn't work as all three passers have looked lost at times attempting to navigate the Dallas offense. 

Bringing in a young arm like Goff and grooming him under Romo during his last years in the league would be the right way to go for the Cowboys. 

Goff ranks sixth in the NCAA with 4,252 yards passing and 37 touchdowns for California this season, both ranking in the top six among all quarterbacks in the nation. 

He's mobile enough to extend plays much like Romo can while showing accuracy to all parts of the field. Goff shows the patience to pick apart defenses with the power on his throws to fit in some tight windows.

Put him in an offense with Dez Bryant and the Cowboys could make some serious noise if he's able to transition well into the league. 

Houston Texans: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Arian Foster is not a reliable running back. Simple as that. 

With seven years in the league, Foster has played in just two full seasons. In 2015, he played in only four games due to injury. 

Playing with Alfred Blue and Chris Polk, along with Brian Hoyer as a starting quarterback, the Texans are still in the driver's seat for the AFC South division. Add a legitimate, healthy threat in the backfield and Houston would've had this division wrapped up some time ago. 

Which is why it should seriously consider drafting one this year in Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. 

Elliott is a patient runner, the kind that waits for blocks to develop and lanes to open up in front of him. Once his opportunity reveals itself, he's quick enough to make a cut or two, hit the hole and move upfield. He's a hard-working runner who has shown that he doesn't slow down as the game progresses.

He also is a nice receiving option out of the backfield if the quarterback is under pressure. Having a back with his hands would help Houston's quarterback, whoever it might be next season, settle in and get comfortable in the system. 

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com