The NFL sets aside the time to honor the best the league has to offer Saturday before the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers hit the Super Bowl on Sunday.
While an incredible showcase, the majority of the league remains elbow-deep in the fresh draft process, trying to find the next set of players who will make it to the NFL Honors—if not the Super Bowl.
The biggest checkpoint the 2016 class has passed so far was the Senior Bowl, where big-name players furthered their agenda and several unknowns made a few handfuls of millions.
That was just the beginning. Before settling down to appreciate what the league already has, here's a look at what it's about to get.
2016 NFL Mock Draft
|1||Tennessee Titans||Laremy Tunsil||OT||Ole Miss|
|2||Cleveland Browns||Jared Goff||QB||California|
|3||San Diego Chargers||Ronnie Stanley||OT||Notre Dame|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Joey Bosa||DL||Ohio State|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jalen Ramsey||CB/S||Florida State|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Mackensie Alexander||CB||Clemson|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Myles Jack||LB||UCLA|
|8||Miami Dolphins||Reggie Ragland||LB||Alabama|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DeForest Buckner||DE||Oregon|
|10||New York Giants||Jaylon Smith||LB||Notre Dame|
|11||Chicago Bears||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|12||New Orleans Saints||Paxton Lynch||QB||Memphis|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles||Taylor Decker||OT||Ohio State|
|14||Oakland Raiders||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||Carson Wentz||QB||North Dakota State|
|16||Detroit Lions||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State|
|18||Indianapolis Colts||A'Shawn Robinson||DT||Alabama|
|19||Buffalo Bills||Jarran Reed||DL||Alabama|
|20||New York Jets||Noah Spence||DE/LB||Eastern Kentucky|
|21||Washington||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|22||Houston Texans||Robert Nkemdiche||DL||Ole Miss|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Michael Thomas||WR||Ohio State|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Emmanuel Ogbah||DE||Oklahoma State|
|25||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kendall Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Shaq Lawson||DE/LB||Clemson|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Sheldon Rankins||DT||Louisville|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||Corey Coleman||WR||Baylor|
|29||Arizona Cardinals||Leonard Floyd||LB||Georgia|
|30||Denver Broncos||Jason Spriggs||OT||Indiana|
|31||Carolina Panthers||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
Notable Picks Before NFL Honors
1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Folks might want the Tennessee Titans to post an attractive move at the top of the draft to keep things interesting, but for the front office, it might be wise to get as boring as can be.
Boring would be Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil. He's the best offensive tackle in the class and would come in and start on either side of the line right away after bullying his way through SEC competition with no major red flags on his tape.
For an expert such as NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, the impending rookie looks like he compares to some of the NFL's best. He compared Tunsil to Tryon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys on The Pick Is in podcast, according to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread:
I believe Laremy Tunsil is the next Tyron Smith. Laremy Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years. He's got the good arm length, that certainly helps, but what I love about him is that he came in as a five-star prospect and played at that level from the very moment he came into the SEC.
That's the type of player the Titans should want in front of quarterback Marcus Mariota, who took 38 sacks last year behind a miserable line. Said line allowed 54 sacks total when Zach Mettenberger and Alex Tanney had to see snaps as well.
For Tennessee, priority No. 1 should center on protecting Mariota. Grabbing a potential franchise tackle while waiting on other spots isn't asking too much in return.
10. New York Giants: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
OBJ's Trade to Cleveland Has the Browns Hyped
Le'Veon's Power Move Pays Off After Signing Massive Deal with Jets
WR Metcalf Looks Ready to Destroy NFL Combine or Take Down Thanos
Friends to Foes, Ex-UGA Teammates Meet in Super Bowl
Cooks Gave a Super Gift to This Rams Employee
Mahomes Loves Ketchup as Much as Torching Defenses
Bears Hoping to Ride Club Dub to the Super Bowl
The Worst Fantasy Football Punishments for Last Place
NFL Players Bring Soccer Traditions to the NFL
JuJu Is a Man of the People
Bills Superfan 'Pancho Billa' Continues to Inspire
Happy 26th Birthday to OBJ 🎉
Mahomes Is 'Showtime' Off the Field Too
Thielen's Ride from Underdog to Record-Breaking WR
Shanahan and His Son Carter Are Hyped for Carter V
Browns Winning Off the Field with Community Service
Conner's Journey from Beating Cancer to Starting RB
Does Donovan McNabb Deserve Your 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Vote?
B/R Fantasy Expert Matt Camp Gives His Picks for Keep or Release After Week 2
Does Hines Ward Deserve Your 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Vote?
A serious injury can only derail a can't-miss prospect's stock so much.
Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is a great case study on this point. Smith unfortunately tore up his knee in his team's bowl game, possibly ruining the stock of one of the best linebackers to enter the draft in five years or more.
Except according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, teams aren't letting the stock slip too much:
The top-ranked linebacker in this class, Jaylon Smith, is still a lock to go top-15, according to team sources. Smith, who tore his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl, is already back rehabbing two times a day, according to sources close to the player. One team to keep an eye on is the New Orleans Saints. I'm told there is a lot of like for him at weak-side linebacker on their board.
Smith would have to reach the New Orleans Saints for that to come to fruition, of course.
The bottom line here is pretty simple. A sideline-to-sideline enforcer who can sniff out the run and also incredibly resemble a safety in coverage won't see an injury ruin his stock. Few like Smith ever come around.
A team such as the New York Giants won't mind waiting on Smith, should he need to miss time as he recovers. The defense, which ranked last against the pass and 24th against the rush, needs a leader at linebacker who can shore up the entire corps while making the jobs of those behind it much easier.
Smith would do this as soon as he's capable. Taking an injured linebacker isn't the most wow-worthy move for fans, but those folks would be lining up for jerseys once Smith actually hit the field and made a difference.
20. New York Jets: Noah Spence, DE/LB, Eastern Kentucky
Maybe the biggest winner of the Senior Bowl was Noah Spence, who appears to a first-round lock after scouts finally got to see him up close and personal for the first time in a while.
The description says Eastern Kentucky, where Spence of course dominated, but folks will better remember Spence as a force of nature for the Ohio State Buckeyes before a few off-field issues caught up with him and forced his move.
So long as Spence assures the NFL he's past his problems, he'll go in the first round. A small sampling of notes from the Senior Bowl says it all. Check one by CollegeFootball 24/7, which captured the thoughts of Mike Mayock:
Or look at one from Marcus Mosher, who detailed a note by ESPN's Louis Riddick:
Not every team will give Spence a pass after a wild collegiate ride, but few will be able to dismiss his on-field talent.
The New York Jets look like a sound fit if Spence cannot boost his stock out of the 20 range. For all the credit the Jets get as a defensive-minded franchise, the defense only tallied 39 sacks last year. That only looks decent because Muhammad Wilkerson played out of his mind and grabbed 12.
Adding a weapon such as Spence to a versatile front means another major issue opposing offenses have to worry about. He can line up anywhere and apply pressure, meaning the Jets would get an incredible value given the slot.