NFL Draft 2016: Mock Draft Projections and Analysis for Top Prospects

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2016

Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell stands as one of the top prospects in the 2016 class.
Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell stands as one of the top prospects in the 2016 class.Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

So begins one of the wildest paths to the draft imaginable.

Not only have certain franchises moved while others are pondering such a billions-of-dollars sort of thing, the 2016 draft is on approach while more than a handful of teams retool coaching staffs.

As a brief example, the Cleveland Browns now employ Hue Jackson as their head man, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but it's impossible to know if he'll be content with grabbing a veteran quarterback (in an era when Brian Hoyer is a playoff quarterback) or shake up the draft by nabbing a prospect.

In other words, prepare for an offseason of entertainment. Here's a look at a mock draft based on need and stock and a deeper dive on a few key names.

2016 NFL Mock Draft

1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsJoey BosaDLOhio State
3San Diego ChargersRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
4Dallas CowboysMyles JackLBUCLA
5Jacksonville JaguarsJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
6Baltimore RavensMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
7San Francisco 49ersJared GoffQBCalifornia
8Miami DolphinsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersDeForest BucknerDEOregon
10New York GiantsLeonard FloydLBGeorgia
11Chicago BearsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
12New Orleans SaintsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
13Philadelphia EaglesTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
14Oakland RaidersVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
15St. Louis RamsConnor CookQBMichigan State
16Detroit LionsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
17Atlanta FalconsShilique CalhounDEMichigan State
18Indianapolis ColtsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
19Buffalo BillsJarran ReedDLAlabama
20New York JetsShaq LawsonDEClemson
21WashingtonLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
22Houston TexansSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
23Minnesota VikingsMichael ThomasWROhio State
24Cincinnati BengalsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma State
25Pittsburgh SteelersTre'Davious WhiteCBLSU
26Seattle SeahawksNoah SpenceDE/LBEastern Kentucky
27Green Bay PackersRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
28Kansas City ChiefsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
29Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
30Arizona CardinalsJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
31Carolina PanthersEli AppleCBOhio State
Author's projections.

Analyzing Top Prospects

3. San Diego Chargers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Athleticism and upside make Ronnie Stanley a top pick.
Athleticism and upside make Ronnie Stanley a top pick.RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Folks might not realize it, but drafting offensive tackles is harder than ever thanks to the collegiate spread offenses that make drafting quarterbacks harder than ever, too—it's why a team such as the Cincinnati Bengals gambled on two last season early in the draft.

Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame shouldn't have any problems, though.

The senior comes in at 6'5" and 315 pounds with arguably the most athleticism of any big man in the draft. He isn't the most sound from a technique standpoint just yet, but the sheer upside and the overall state of the class make him a borderline lock for the top 10. 

There, the San Diego Chargers will have a hard time taking a pass. Quarterback Philip Rivers took 40 sacks last year while right tackle Joe Barksdale ranked as the No. 30 tackle in the league at Pro Football Focus; left tackle King Dunlap wasn't far behind at 35.

With the threat of relocation hanging around, the Chargers might not get a new face of the franchise with an offensive tackle this high in the draft. Even worse, though, would be losing Rivers to an injury because the front office failed to properly invest in the basics.

Rivers is 34 years old. He needs better protection to extend his career, and when he's gone the organization needs a potential franchise offensive tackle to best help the person who takes over. Stanley gets the nod.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Don't scoff at the idea of a linebacker in the top five—look at the season Khalil Mack, the fifth pick in the 2014 draft, just had with the Oakland Raiders.

It takes a special talent at the position to make it this high, of course, but few can match UCLA's Myles Jack in that department. This is, after all, the guy who won Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2013.

Jack is an athletic freak, to say the least. He has few issues sniffing out the run, but really makes the reels with his ability to put pressure on passers. His versatile skill set has him looking like a great option for the linebacker-needy Dallas Cowboys, something Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke concurs with:

The 2015 season was miserable for the Cowboys, but picking within the top five is a decent consolation prize for a team that can be in playoff contention again soon. Even with Bosa off the board, Dallas has its choice of dynamic defensive playmakers here. Assuming Jack's health checks out, he might provide the most bang for the buck. The UCLA star is a rangy and athletic option at linebacker.

Jack had a serious knee injury cut his 2015 campaign short, but it figures to be a nonissue like most these days. Dallas only managed 31 sacks last year, and sooner or later the front office will have to stop worrying about whether a linebacking corps led by Sean Lee and Rolando McClain can stay healthy and not self-destruct.

The UCLA product looks like the right answer. Nobody outside of Ohio State's Joey Bosa matches what he brings to the table in an every-down capacity. It'll show on draft day.

21. Washington: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

This is a deep draft class at wideout, so even someone as talented as Laquon Treadwell can fall down the board a tad, especially when one takes into account the depth there and the strong top-tier prospects at other spots.

Treadwell isn't without issues, which helps him fall in this scenario. He had a significant leg injury in 2014 that teams will look at closely. Deserved or not, he might also be the most overanalyzed prospect of the class, with the most common comparison being Dez Bryant for his emotional play that sometimes led to penalties that hurt his team.

It's all positives after that, though. Treadwell's a big receiver at 6'2" and 210 pounds who caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 scores this past season. More important than numbers is his crisp routes, ability to make plays in traffic and tight end-esque catch radius.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller detailed just one of the Ole Miss product's dominant games against a top NFL-bound corner:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Watching Laquon Treadwell, and he put it to Tre'Davious White. Given the matchup, it's a game every NFL scout will watch.

Washington won't pass on such a talent. Head coach Jay Gruden loves his wideouts, and nothing's more ideal than adding a big-bodied prospect who can move the chains across from DeSean Jackson while opening things up for elite tight end Jordan Reed—especially if the organization can convince quarterback Kirk Cousins to return.

With a chip on his shoulder for falling, Treadwell would be nothing short of the perfect pick for Washington.

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and are accurate as of January 13. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

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