Mike Mayock NFL Mock Draft 2016: Complete Results from NFL Network Draft Guru

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIApril 28, 2016

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock talks with reporters during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Doug McSchooler/Associated Press

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock released his 2016 NFL mock draft Wednesday, the eve before the opening round unfolds at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Mayock's predictions for the first round are unique because he does only one mock every year, whereas most prominent analysts and personalities run myriad scenarios. He also includes projected trades—and featured a third one in the top 10 in this edition.

Below is a full look at how Mayock sees Round 1 playing out Thursday, along with analysis of the most prominent players involved:

Mike Mayock's 2016 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
Pick Team Selection
1 Los Angeles Rams Jared Goff, QB, California
2 Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
3 San Diego Chargers Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
4 Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
5 Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
6 Tennessee Titans (Mock trade via Baltimore)Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
7 San Francisco 49ers DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
8 Cleveland Browns Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
10 New York Giants Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
11 Chicago Bears Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
12 New Orleans Saints Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
13 Miami Dolphins Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
14 Oakland Raiders Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
15 Baltimore Ravens (Mock trade via TEN)Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
16 Detroit Lions Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
17 Atlanta Falcons Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
18 Indianapolis Colts Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
19 Buffalo Bills Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
20 New York Jets Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
21 Washington Redskins Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
22 Houston Texans Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
23 Minnesota Vikings Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
24 Cincinnati Bengals Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
26 Seattle Seahawks A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
27 Green Bay Packers Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
28 Kansas City Chiefs William Jackson III, CB, Houston
29 Arizona Cardinals Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Florida)
30 Carolina Panthers Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
31 Denver Broncos Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Source: NFL Media

The Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles swung trades to land the top two respective picks with the expectation that they would select a franchise quarterback. Mayock follows suit for those selections with California's Jared Goff going to L.A. and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz heading to Philly.

It's hardly surprising Mayock put Goff and Wentz up top. He's said he believes they're "every bit in the conversation" in terms of how good they are compared to Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota from 2015.

Mayock even likes Wentz more than Goff entering the draft, per his personal rankings released Monday.

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Another notable surprise from Mayock is that he chose Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley to go ahead of Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil; he has the San Diego Chargers picking Stanley at No. 3 overall to protect quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has Tunsil as his top offensive tackle and fourth-rated player overall. All five of CBSSports.com's draft guru mocks have Tunsil as the first player at his spot off the board.

In Mayock's own overall rankings, he has Tunsil and Stanley third and fourth, respectively, so he holds both players in high esteem. His projection comes down to what unfolds in his mock scenario, leading to one team preferring Stanley over Tunsil.

NFL Media's Michael Silver reported several general managers he spoke with liked Stanley as well, so it's not as much a knock on Tunsil as it may be perceived to be.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco is among those who believe Tunsil is the superior prospect:

But the wait for Tunsil wasn't long in Mayock's mock. He winds up being the centerpiece of the third top-10 trade, which Mayock projects will take place between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens for the rights to Tunsil at No. 6 overall.

A ton of players from Alabama and Ohio State—nine, to be precise—populate Mayock's first round. That's hardly a surprise considering the depth of talent both those powerhouse programs have boasted in recent years.

The most special player of that bunch seems to be Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 3,699 yards over the past two seasons and helped Ohio State to a national championship.

Elliott also logged 56 receptions in that span and proved to be an eager, punishing blocker. That's the type of skill set that makes for an every-down NFL back and is the reason Mayock has him going so high to the Dallas Cowboys.

America's Team has an excellent offensive line, which Elliott praised at length in an interview with the Star-Telegram's Charean Williams:

It would be an honor for any running back to go run behind them. I'm sure every running back in this draft is licking their chops for the opportunity to play behind that line. The commitment to the run and just all the all the veterans, all the superstars around you, is appealing. You've got some vets around you that you can learn a lot from. 

You can learn a lot from (Tony) Romo. You can learn a lot from Jason Witten. You can learn a lot from Dez (Bryant). I think it would be a good situation for me. I could go in there and I can learn and I can develop.

Aging Cowboys QB Tony Romo could also use someone like Elliott to take the load off as he tries to deliver a Super Bowl before his magnificent career expires.

Other consensus elite prospects such as Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and Elliott's former teammate, Ohio State edge player Joey Bosa, are gone early too.

Bosa rather fortuitously fell to Cleveland thanks to Tennessee's Tunsil trade. The Browns need elite players on their roster and would get a player who'd be a versatile scheme fit in coordinator Ray Horton's defense.

First among the four receivers Mayock has in the first round is TCU's Josh Doctson, who winds up with the Baltimore Ravens after their hypothetical trade down. Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported Wednesday that Doctson could go 15th regardless of whether Tennessee trades out of the pick:

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It's not until the 20s that a run of the next three wide receivers occurs, with Corey Coleman to Houston, Laquon Treadwell to Minnesota and Will Fuller to Cincinnati.

Mayock and his NFL Media colleague, Jeff Darlington, touted the depth of last year's receiving class compared to the strong 2014 crop.

The wideout group isn't as deep in 2016; the wealth of talent in the interior defensive line stands out most among the position groups. Mayock said during NFL Network's telecast it's the best group he's ever seen.

Leading off that cluster is Louisville's Sheldon Rankins, who goes 12th to the New Orleans Saints, a team Mayock feels needs an interior pass-rusher in his mold. Alabama's Jarran Reed was Pro Football Focus' No. 2 interior defender against the run and as a result goes No. 21 to Washington.

The biggest splash pick later in the first round was Paxton Lynch to the New York Jets. Mayock labeled him "Joe Flacco on steroids," but he is also a signal-caller who must sit for a full season before he's NFL-ready.

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If Mayock's mock is any indication, the beginning of this draft ought to be a blast even with the prior knowledge of the Rams and Eagles trades. They've essentially telegraphed at least their position of choice, but it's anyone's guess as to what will happen from there.

Among the other most interesting developments to see will be how the Browns fare moving forward.

In the midst of yet another regime change, their philosophy to trade down could be huge in rebuilding the roster—or it could water down talent and continue to inhibit Cleveland from making progress. Bosa would be an absolute dream scenario at No. 8 and is highly unlikely to be there.

With the New England Patriots out of the first-round equation but armed with two second-round picks, perhaps they will steal some headlines late on Thursday or make their big play on Day 2.

There is so much to monitor and account for that it's best for football fans to take the night to let Mayock's musings marinate and then simply enjoy the chaos that always accompanies NFL draft night.

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