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

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2015

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Ronnie Stanley #78 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action during a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 41-31. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2016 NFL draft order is almost set for the non-playoff teams, with only some minor shuffling remaining for Week 17. 

The draft order used in this mock draft is based on the unofficial order for the non-playoff teams and projected playoff scenarios for the playoff-bound organizations. 

Based on the projected needs of each franchise and a film evaluation of each of the prospects, here's an early look at how April's draft could play out. 

NFL Mock Draft
1Tennessee TitansJoey BosaDLOhio State
2Cleveland BrownsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
3San Diego ChargersLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
4Dallas CowboysJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
5San Francisco 49ersRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
6Jacksonville JaguarsDeForest BucknerDLOregon
7Miami DolphinsJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
8Baltimore RavensLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
10New York GiantsMyles JackLBUCLA
11New Orleans SaintsMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
12Philadelphia EaglesReggie RaglandLBAlabama
13Detroit LionsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
14Chicago BearsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
15Indianapolis ColtsVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
16Buffalo BillsSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
17Oakland RaidersKenny ClarkDLUCLA
18St. Louis RamsJared GoffQBCalifornia
19Atlanta FalconsShaq LawsonDEClemson
20Pittsburgh SteelersDesmond KingWRIowa
21Washington RedskinsMike ThomasWROhio State
22Houston TexansCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota State
23Seattle SeahawksNoah SpenceLBEastern Kentucky
24New York JetsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
25Kansas City ChiefsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
26Minnesota VikingsJosh DoctsonWRTCU
27Green Bay PackersMaliek CollinsDLNebraska
28Denver BroncosJarran ReedDLAlabama
29Cincinnati BengalsRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
30Arizona CardinalsDarron LeeLBOhio State
31Carolina PanthersJason SpriggsOTIndiana

Note: The New England Patriots do not own a first-round pick due to their Deflategate punishments. As a result, the first round will consist of just 31 picks. 

Notable Picks

5. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Ronnie Stanley #78 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the game at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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Not long ago, the 49ers offensive line was the strongest unit on the team, anchored by Joe Staley, Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis. But Iupati is now in Arizona, and Davis was one of the 49ers' recent unexpected retirements. 

The shaky offensive line has allowed Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick to be sacked 52 times this season, tops in the NFL.

Ronnie Stanley would likely start his career at right tackle opposite of Staley on the left side, once again giving the 49ers quality bookend tackles. 

According to CFB Film Room, Stanley allowed just three sacks this season in nearly 400 snaps in pass protection.

8. Baltimore Ravens: Laquon Treadwell

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Laquon Treadwell #1 of the Mississippi Rebels pulls in this reception against Cyrus Jones #5 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Im
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Even if veteran Steve Smith returns for one more season, wide receiver is a glaring need for the Ravens this offseason. 

More specifically, the Ravens need a big possession receiver who can emerge as a weapon in the red zone for Joe Flacco. 

Despite the fact that Smith hasn't played since Week 8, he still leads the Ravens in red-zone targets, according to NFLsavant.com. In fact, aside from Smith, Kamar Aiken is the only other wide receiver on the Ravens with more than two red-zone targets this season. 

The lack of production from the receivers has led the Ravens quarterbacks to target others, such as fullback Kyle Juszczyk (nine red-zone targets), an inordinate amount in critical situations. 

This wide receiver draft class doesn't quite match up to the past two years, but Laquon Treadwell sits atop the board for this position. 

Listed at 6'2", 210 pounds by Ole Miss, Treadwell has the size to be the quality possession receiver the Ravens need.

11. New Orleans Saints: Mackensie Alexander

Sep 17, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Mackensie Alexander (2) and safety Jayron Kearse (1) battle for a pass intended for Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Traveon Samuel (9) in the finals seconds of the second half at Papa John's
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have allowed over 4,000 yards through the air this season and a whopping 43 touchdowns—nine more than the next worst pass defense. 

Much of the blame falls on starting cornerback Brandon Browner, who has a Pro Football Focus grade of 25.3—the worst of all 119 qualifying corners.

According to Spotrac, Browner is guaranteed $4.05 million in 2016 and $1.3 million in 2017, but his performance has been so atrocious it would be difficult for the Saints to justify bringing him back next season despite the contract.

Alexander is only a redshirt sophomore, but he is coming off a stellar season for Clemson and is among the few elite cornerbacks in this draft class. 

NFL Network's Rand Getlin reported earlier this month that Alexander was leaning toward turning pro. 


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