NFL Draft 2016: Latest 1st-Round Mock Draft and Potential Surprises to Watch

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2016

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

Only 20 days remain until the 2016 NFL draft in Chicago, and the mock drafts are starting to get real. 

NFL personnel executives and scouts have most of the puzzle pieces they need to create as full a picture as they can of the prospects in this year's class.

The combine was one. Recent pro days were another.

And now teams are hosting prospects for private visits and attending workouts as they attempt to finalize their draft preferences. 

Let's take a look at how the first round could play out given the information we know now coupled with team needs, and then break down some of the surprises Day 1 could hold. 

NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft
1Tennessee TitansLaremy TunsilOTOle Miss
2Cleveland BrownsCarson WentzQBNorth Dakota St.
3San Diego ChargersJalen RamseyCB/SFlorida State
4Dallas CowboysJoey BosaDEOhio State
5Jacksonville JaguarsMyles JackOLBUCLA
6Baltimore RavensDeForest BucknerDLOregon
7San Francisco 49ersJared GoffQBCal
8Philadelphia Eagles (MIA)Ezekiel ElliottRBOhio State
9Tampa Bay BuccaneersShaq LawsonDEClemson
10New York GiantsRonnie StanleyOTNotre Dame
11Chicago BearsNoah SpenceDEEastern Kentucky
12New Orleans SaintsA'Shawn RobinsonDTAlabama
13Miami Dolphins (PHI)Vernon Hargreaves IIICBFlorida
14Oakland RaidersEmmanuel OgbahDEOklahoma State
15Los Angeles RamsPaxton LynchQBMemphis
16Detroit LionsTaylor DeckerOTOhio State
17Atlanta FalconsDarron LeeOLBOhio State
18Indianapolis ColtsJack ConklinOTMichigan State
19Buffalo BillsSheldon RankinsDTLouisville
20New York JetsLeonard FloydOLBGeorgia
21WashingtonMackensie AlexanderCBClemson
22Houston TexansLaquon TreadwellWROle Miss
23Minnesota VikingsWill FullerWRNotre Dame
24Cincinnati BengalsCorey ColemanWRBaylor
25Pittsburgh SteelersEli AppleCBOhio State
26Seattle SeahawksShon ColemanOTAuburn
27Green Bay PackersReggie RaglandILBAlabama
28Kansas City ChiefsCody WhitehairOGKansas State
29Arizona CardinalsRobert NkemdicheDLOle Miss
30Carolina PanthersKevin DoddDEClemson
31Denver BroncosJarran ReedDTAlabama
Michelle Bruton's picks

Potential Surprises to Watch 

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

If you're a fan of Connor Cook, perhaps you would not be surprised to see a team select him in the first round. 

However, many analysts would be. 

In a recent roundup of seven analysts' mock drafts, only one—Maurice Jones-Drew—sees Cook coming off the board in Round 1, heading to the Los Angeles Rams at No. 15. 

It's more of the same over at, where just one expert (Jared Dubin) out of five thinks Cook could be drafted in Round 1. 

Now, obviously, mock drafts are wrong all the time. But the question here is whether Cook is realistically valued as a first-round pick.

ESPN's Jon Gruden appears to think so, given his recent segment with Cook on his show Gruden's QB Camp.

"How the hell are you not the first pick in this draft?" Gruden asked Cook, per Mike Griffith of

Despite the fact that there's no way the Tennessee Titans, who hold the No. 1 pick, are drafting a quarterback with it, Gruden and a handful of other analysts believe Cook will come off the board before other prospects such as Memphis' Paxton Lynch. 

Still, most would be surprised to hear Cook's name called on Day 1. 

Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame

Based on talent alone, linebacker Jaylon Smith could be one of the first players off the board in this year's draft. 

"Without the injury issues, he's one of the top player's in this draft,"'s Lance Zierlein wrote

But taking Smith as a whole package does include those injury issues, and they're significant. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported during the combine that some NFL teams expect Smith will miss the entire 2016 season: 

But will the fact that he could be a franchise-changing player once he recovers tempt a team into grabbing him on April 28? 

Some experts think so;'s Ike Taylor, Chad Reuter and Bucky Brooks all think Smith is still in play in the first round in recent mock drafts

While there's no question Smith is one of the best defenders in the draft, it would still be surprising to see a team invest a first-round pick in him knowing that he might not see the field until 2017. 

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

If you've been following draft-prospect chatter continuously, you've no doubt followed the rise of wide receiver Josh Doctson, to a point where the TCU prospect is now being favored over Mississippi product Laquon Treadwell in some circles. 

It started when Treadwell, who did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February, underperformed at his pro day in March. His unofficial 40 time was 4.65 seconds, but that wasn't his only disappointing workout. 

"The more surprising result for Treadwell, in fact, wasn't his 40-yard dash time but a relatively pedestrian 33-inch vertical jump," wrote CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

No one is suggesting that Treadwell will fall out of Round 1. However, the door now appears to be open for Doctson to come off the board before him.

Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski is one analyst who is ranking Doctson higher on his draft board:

This may all be a matter of a couple of spots in the draft; the wide receiver logjam could happen in the early 20s, where the Houston Texans (No. 22), Minnesota Vikings (No. 23) and Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24) all need pass-catchers.

Still, Treadwell was touted as the No. 1 receiver prospect for so long that Doctson leapfrogging him would make for an interesting storyline come April 28.