The mock drafts are done, the picks have been turned in and the first round of the 2016 NFL draft has come to a close. Just like that, potential future Pro Bowlers have found their new homes as they look to parlay their collegiate success into productive NFL careers.
It is no secret the teams that draft well are the ones who typically find themselves in the playoffs on a consistent basis, and this year's first round will be no different. Some teams performed better than others and added important building blocks to the foundation of their franchises, while others missed on opportunities to add difference-makers at critical positions.
With that in mind, here are results, grades and analysis for every first-round pick before a closer look at some notable selections who will turn in impressive rookie seasons for their new teams.
|First-Round Grades and Analysis|
|1||Los Angeles Rams||Jared Goff, QB, California||B+: There may be questions about the system Goff played in, but the Rams need a quarterback next to a strong defense and Todd Gurley. Worth the risk.|
|2||Philadelphia Eagles||Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State||B: May be the better quarterback of the top picks, but this only exacerbates the situation with Sam Bradford.|
|3||San Diego Chargers||Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State||A-: It's somewhat of a surprise pick, but he's an impact pass-rusher who can step in right away and bolster the defense.|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State||A+: Arguably the best player in the draft. May not have been a glaring need, but Elliott has superstar potential.|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State||A: Like Elliott, there is superstar potential with Ramsey. Even at No. 5, the Jaguars get good value.|
|6||Baltimore Ravens||Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame||B: Laremy Tunsil would have been a more talented pick, but he fills a need for the Ravens.|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon||B+: San Francisco still needs depth in the front seven, and Buckner brings a high ceiling and plenty of athleticism.|
|8||Tennessee Titans||Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State||B: Conklin's a versatile player who will help keep Marcus Mariota upright next season.|
|9||Chicago Bears||Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia||C+: A high-risk, high-reward pick. If his athleticism outweighs any concerns about his physicality, he could be a better long-term pick than projected.|
|10||New York Giants||Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State||B-: A bit of a reach in the top 10 but worth the risk if he develops into the best corner in the draft.|
|11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida||B: Tampa Bay grabs the in-state corner who brings plenty of instincts to the field.|
|12||New Orleans Saints||Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville||A: The Saints were perhaps higher on Rankins than most, but he's an impact defensive tackle who can immediately bolster the run defense and pass rush.|
|13||Miami Dolphins||Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss||B+: It wasn't that long ago Tunsil was the projected No. 1 pick. Great value here.|
|14||Oakland Raiders||Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia||B: Somewhat of an under-the-radar name, but gives the Raiders some depth in the secondary after Charles Woodson retired.|
|15||Cleveland Browns||Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor||B+: The Browns needed wide receiver help, and they got some. Will be questions about whether Coleman was a product of Baylor's system, but he has the speed and elusiveness to be a big-play threat.|
|16||Detroit Lions||Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State||A-: The Lions fill a need and get impressive value with Decker. The Ohio State product was a veteran presence in college and a solid run-blocker.|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||Keanu Neal, S, Florida||B-: There were bigger secondary names available in this draft, but Neal brings a physical presence at a position of need for Atlanta after William Moore left in free agency.|
|18||Indianapolis Colts||Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama||B+: Kelly is a safe pick and bolsters an offensive line in need of some depth.|
|19||Buffalo Bills||Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson||B+: Great value near the bottom of the top 20 for the Bills. Lawson is physical on the edge and will take the place of Mario Williams.|
|20||New York Jets||Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State||B: Lee is all about athleticism in space, and the Jets will find a way to have him attacking passers this season.|
|21||Houston Texans||Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame||B-: There were other receivers on the board, including Josh Doctson, who would have been better options. He has some drop concerns, although he is a speed threat.|
|22||Washington||Josh Doctson, WR, TCU||A: Great value for Washington outside of the top 20. The thought here is Doctson is the best wide receiver in this class.|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss||B+: Outside of Doctson, may be the top pass-catcher in the draft. Another solid value pick at the position.|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||William Jackson III, CB, Houston||B-: The Bengals needed a receiver, but most of the value was already gone by No. 24. Jackson will help with Cincinnati's aging cornerback group.|
|25||Pittsburgh Steelers||Artie Burns, CB, Miami||B: The Steelers needed help in the secondary, and they got just that. Personally like Mackensie Alexander better, but solid value here.|
|26||Denver Broncos||Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis||B-: Lynch is a project, although the Broncos need depth at the quarterback position after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left in free agency.|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA||B: The Packers have plenty of talent on the offensive side, so they went with someone who will plug right into the defense and help them contend for a Super Bowl title.|
|28||San Francisco 49ers||Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford||C: This was a reach for the 49ers on a guard they likely could have gotten in the middle of the second round.|
|29||Arizona Cardinals||Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss||A-: Nkemdiche is a top-10 talent. This is the best value pick of the first round.|
|30||Carolina Panthers||Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech||B: Butler didn't play for a powerhouse school, but he is a physical force who will slide right into what is already a strong defense for the defending NFC champions.|
|31||Seattle Seahawks||Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M||B+: The Seahawks need depth along the offensive line, and they seized an opportunity at the end of the first round. There is nothing wrong with filling a need at No. 31.|
Notable First-Round Selections
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
The Dallas Cowboys were 4-12 last season and finished in last place in the NFC East, but their offense will be so explosive in 2016 that they will be back in the playoffs. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is a major reason why.
The Ringer painted an enticing picture for Cowboys fans:
Many rookies are long-term projects, but Elliott is a win-now pick for a franchise with a closing window. Pro Football Focus suggested as much: "With [Tony] Romo's back (and age) the Cowboys' window is short. Elliott is a complete back with positive grades in every major category in 2015."
Elliott was one of the faces of college football the last two seasons as he helped lead Ohio State to a national title and a Fiesta Bowl victory. The defending Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year scored 41 touchdowns the last two years alone and became a household name when he topped 200 yards rushing in each of the Buckeyes' three final games to end the 2014 campaign with a national championship.
He topped off that streak with four rushing touchdowns against Oregon, and he also scored four times against Notre Dame in his final collegiate game at the Fiesta Bowl this season.
Elliott reached that production because he boasts the vision to see holes develop up front, the speed (4.47 40-yard dash) to burst through them or bounce plays to the outside and the toughness to plow through tacklers and pick up critical short yardage near the goal line or on third downs.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shared some head-turning opinions and comparisons from scouts regarding Elliott's talent and potential:
'He is the only one with all the traits,' said one scout. 'He's got a chance to be the best player in the draft. He, (Joey) Bosa, (Laremy) Tunsil. He can catch it, he can pass protect, he's got NFL size and he can run. If he stays healthy he's going to be a (Adrian) Peterson-type back.' Smartest RB in years (32 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test). 'Football intelligence might be the best thing he has,' another scout said. 'He goes to the sidelines and tells the coaches the block protections. The coaches tell me he tells them what to do. To me, your intelligence is your blocking.'
Some of the stigma of drafting a running back in the first round was lost last year when the Los Angeles (then St. Louis) Rams took Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick. He proceeded to run for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Elliott has the pure ability to mirror those numbers right away at the NFL level, which would make this early pick for Dallas well worth it.
No. 22 Washington: WR Josh Doctson, TCU
Washington made the playoffs last season but didn't have a single wide receiver top 800 yards through the air. In fact, tight end Jordan Reed led the team in receiving yards with 952.
Enter 6'2" touchdown machine Josh Doctson.
Doctson was nearly unstoppable at TCU, and production should not be a concern for Washington. He racked up 65 catches for 1,018 yards and 11 scores in his junior campaign and then improved on that with 79 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 on his way to consensus first-team All-American recognition.
His NFL.com draft profile noted he finished his career at TCU with the most touchdown catches (29) and the second-most receptions (180) and receiving yards (2,785) in school history. He did all that even though he began his collegiate career at Wyoming.
Pro Football Focus Draft highlighted just how effective quarterbacks were when targeting Doctson, which is probably music to the ears of Kirk Cousins.
Doctson's height and his ability to pinpoint jump balls in the air make him a lethal red-zone target, but he also has the speed (4.50 40-yard dash) to burst past cornerbacks on deep balls and the physicality to make difficult catches in traffic. His hand strength will also prove critical at the next level against enforcer-type safeties over the middle of the field.
Washington needs an impact receiver on the outside, and it got just that with Doctson on Thursday.
No. 12 New Orleans Saints: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
The New Orleans Saints were 25th in the league in sacks, 31st in total yards allowed and dead last in points allowed per game last season. Safe to say, they needed reinforcements on the defensive side, and Sheldon Rankins provides exactly that up front.
Rankins was listed at 6'2" and 303 pounds on Louisville's website for the 2015 season, and his sheer size and physical nature will help his new team plug holes against the run and dictate the tempo at the line of scrimmage. He is strong enough to shed blockers and can open up blitzing lanes for his teammates by taking up space with double-teams.
However, Rankins is more than just a run-stopper. He finished with 14 sacks the past two seasons for the Cardinals and is versatile enough to be a three-down player up front. Pro Football Focus shared Steve Palazzolo's praise of the defensive tackle that highlighted the fact his overall skill set transcends specific defensive schemes:
Rankins is the ideal mix of power and athleticism along the defensive line, and he will explode through blockers, even at the NFL level. He possesses the speed (5.03 40-yard dash) to get past slower offensive linemen and the strength to bull-rush his way through smaller, quicker foes.
The only way the Saints are bouncing back from their 7-9 playoff-less performance in 2015 is with drastic improvement on defense. It is no surprise they grabbed a potentially elite defensive tackle to anchor the front seven on Thursday.