2016 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Every Team Ahead of Super Bowl

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 5, 2016

North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, of the North Team, throws a pass during the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, at Ladd–Peebles Stadium, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz is the hottest name in NFL draft circles. The 6'5" 232-pounder didn't attend a Division I school, but most talent evaluators believe he has the goods to be a franchise quarterback. 

Here's what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about Wentz:

With a body type that is as prototypical as they come and a background in reading the entire field and working through progressions, Wentz will immediately check a couple of boxes that many college quarterbacks won’t be able to check. While his arm strength is OK, he can still make all the throws and he can make them with accuracy.

His ability to escape pressure and pick up first downs with his feet will be yet another check mark in his favor. Wentz is still in a developmental phase after just two years at an FBS program, but has the mental and physical building blocks of a future, franchise quarterback.

Based on that talent evaluation, and similar ones from other draft prognosticators, it would be a shock if Wentz doesn't hear his name called within the first eight picks. Here's the latest first-round mock draft with a predicted landing spot for Wentz and the other top prospects available.

NFL Draft 2016 Mock Draft
1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota St.
3San Diego ChargersRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
4Dallas CowboysJoey BosaDLOhio State
5Jacksonville JaguarsJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
6Baltimore RavensMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
7San Francisco 49ersJared GoffQBCal
8Miami DolphinsMyles JackLBUCLA
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersDeForest BucknerDEOregon
10New York GiantsReggie RaglandLBAlabama
11Chicago BearsLeonard FloydOLBGeorgia
12New Orleans SaintsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
13Philadelphia EaglesTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
14Oakland RaidersVernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
15Los Angeles RamsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
16Detroit LionsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
17Atlanta FalconsShilique CalhounDEMichigan State
18Indianapolis ColtsEzekiel ElliottRBOhio State
19Buffalo BillsJaylon SmithLBNotre Dame
20New York JetsShaq LawsonDEClemson
21WashingtonLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
22Houston TexansRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
23Minnesota VikingsMichael ThomasWROhio State
24Cincinnati BengalsEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma State
25Pittsburgh SteelersKendall FullerCBVirginia Tech
26Seattle SeahawksNoah SpenceDE/LBEastern Kentucky
27Green Bay PackersSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
28Kansas City ChiefsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
29Arizona CardinalsShilique CalhounDEMichigan State
30Denver BroncosJason SpriggsOTIndiana
31Carolina PanthersEli AppleCBOhio State
Predictions by Mazique.

Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz

Many draft experts are having a hard time determining whether the California Golden Bears quarterback prospect Jared Goff or Wentz is the top prospect at the position. It could be a case of six in one hand and half-a-dozen in the other.

Because the two teams with the biggest need for a QB within the top 10 picks have very different climates in their home states, the ability to produce in the cold could be the determining factor. Wentz played his college career in the blustery winds of North Dakota in high school. There's no doubt he's accustomed to operating in cold temperatures.

Goff is a California kid who may be able to make the switch, a la Aaron Rodgers—who also came from Cal and has had a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the Green Bay Packers.

If you're the Cleveland Browns, the safer bet would be Wentz. As Zierlein indicated, Wentz passes all of the eye tests and he has the characteristics of a natural leader. Thus, the predicted spot for him is Cleveland.

Goff is a little slighter than Wentz, and everything about him says West Coast QB. At 6'4" 215 pounds, he's a little thin, but there's no reason to believe he can't bulk up for the NFL grind. His Cali roots would make him a popular selection for the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7.

His ability to run a fast-paced offense might make him an ideal candidate to run new head coach Chip Kelly's system.

Leonard Floyd

Brett Davis/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears have several needs, the biggest are at cornerback and safety. There won't be a player worthy of the No. 11 pick available. Because of that, Chicago should look at filling another need on the defensive side of the ball.

A pass-rusher to accompany Pernell McPhee would be a welcomed addition. After Ohio State's Joey Bosa is off the board within the top three picks, the next best option is 3-4 outside linebacker Leonard Floyd from the Georgia Bulldogs.

At 6'4" 231 pounds, Floyd is thinner than most defensive coordinators would prefer, but he has freakish athleticism. He's so quick and rangy, that he looks like a player who could develop into a double-digit sack producer if he's coached properly and gains a little muscle.

Ezekiel Elliott

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Running back Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rushes the football during the first half of the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Gl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The top running back prospect in the draft looks to be the Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott. There's a few teams that could use a workhorse back like Elliott, but which will be willing to make him a first-round pick?

Expect that to be the Indianapolis Colts at No. 18. 

Andrew Luck needs a ton of help on offense, and a dependable back would be a big asset. Elliott has the size and power to be an instant force in the NFL. At 6'0" 225 pounds, he's already built like an NFL back. He possesses excellent vision and enough breakaway speed to hit the occasional home run if he's given the room.

He'd be a great fit in the Colts backfield.