2016 NFL Mock Draft - Kevin Hanson- Updated: Friday, July 17th
|Hanson's 2015 NFL mock draft was scored as the most accurate among the 113 experts tracked by The Huddle Report.|
It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts -- let alone more than nine months beforehand.
With this update of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the goal is to highlight some prospects and potential fits at this point. It's fair to say, this mock is going to look a lot different in the days leading up to the draft than it does today.
Obviously one of the challenges of creating a mock draft this far in advance is that we have no idea what the draft order will be. Well, we have "some idea" given that the Seahawks or Packers aren't going to be picking first overall, but you get the point.
The draft order used in this mock is the inverse of our NFL power rankings and we'll continue to use our latest power rankings for future updates until the real draft order is known. Where the order differs is that picks 21-32 include playoff representatives from all eight divisions as well as two wild-card teams from each conference.
With that said, here is my (still) way-too-early 2016 NFL Mock Draft:
1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
While it's certainly possible that a quarterback gets pushed up to the top spot next April 28th, the teams with top-three selections in this mock all have selected a quarterback with a top-three pick either this year or last year. Meanwhile, there's a good chance that Bosa ends up being the first non-quarterback selected in 2016.
Since arriving in Columbus, Bosa has been one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the country. So much so that one team used Bosa's freshman campaign as a measuring stick for evaluating draft-eligible tackles in 2014 that faced Bosa in 2013. Building upon his strong freshman campaign, Bosa, whose father John was a first-round pick by the Dolphins, posted 13.5 sacks and 20.0 tackles for loss with four fumble recoveries for the national-champion Buckeyes in his true sophomore last season.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
Perhaps Tunsil won't be the first offensive tackle off the board as Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley could certainly hold that honor, but the Jaguars allowed a league-worst 71 sacks in 2014. Even though the team used a top-two selection on Luke Joeckel a couple of drafts ago, the Jags would certainly consider Tunsil (or Stanley) if they don't significantly improve their protection for second-year quarterback Blake Bortles in 2015.
In his two seasons as the Rebels' starting left tackle, Tunsil was named First-Team All-SEC last season after being a Second-Team selection as a true freshman in 2013. Tunsil has allowed just two sacks in his two seasons with Ole Miss.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
If Bosa and Tunsil were the first two picks, the Bucs would ideally trade back with a QB-needy team here. The Bucs used a pair of 2015 second-round picks -- Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet -- to address their needs along the offensive line. Meanwhile, Demar Dotson played well last year although he's slated to start at right tackle with Smith opposite him.
So, while this doesn't fill the team's most pressing need, GM Jason Licht could view Stanley as the top player available at this spot. Stanley would have likely been the first tackle off the board in 2015 had he not returned for another season in South Bend. Both Dotson and Logan Mankins are set to become free agents after the 2016 season. In addition, Smith could kick inside to Mankins' left guard spot and Dotson is unhappy about his contract situation.
4. Oakland Raiders (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Selected First-Team All-SEC in both of his years in Gainesville, Hargreaves is the top cornerback prospect eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft. If he were eligible for the 2015 draft, he would have been the first corner off the board. After Hargreaves' freshman season, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah compared Hargreaves to ex-Gator Joe Haden. Hargreaves led the Gators with three interceptions as a true freshman and added three more last season despite offenses often looking the opposite direction.
5. Washington Redskins (team draft history): Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
A few different quarterbacks could be in play as the first-drafted quarterback in 2016, but if Washington is picking in the top five, it likely means that the team didn't get strong quarterback play from RG3. If Cook had declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, I would have slotted him in behind Winston and Marcus Mariota but ahead of any other quarterbacks in the draft class.
Playing in a pro-style system at Michigan State, Cook has prototypical size (6-4, 220) and arm strength and all of the physical tools to be successful at the next level. Returning for his senior year should help him work on his footwork and improve his accuracy -- only 58.1 and 58.7 completion percentages over the past two seasons, respectively.
6. Chicago Bears (team draft history): Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
After a strong freshman season (2,955 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions), Hackenberg threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (12) as a sophomore and his Y/A and completion percentages dropped from 7.54 to 6.15 and 58.9 to 55.8 percent, respectively. A new coaching staff (Bill O'Brien departed for the NFL), loss of his best receiver (Allen Robinson) and poor offensive line play (44 sacks vs. 21 in 2013) all contributed to his regression in year two.
With a bounce-back season, Hackenberg, who has prototypical tools, could certainly be the most-coveted signal-caller in the 2016 draft class. If the Bears are picking this high in 2016, it's possible that Jay Cutler had another turnover-prone season. Either way, he's not the long-term answer for the new regime in the Windy City.
7. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California
Since the return of professional football to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have had more than 20 different starting quarterbacks and they have used four first-round picks on quarterbacks -- Tim Couch (1999), Brady Quinn (2007), Brandon Weeden (2012) and Johnny Manziel (2014). Even worse, only three of them have won double-digit games -- Couch (22), Derek Anderson (16) and Brian Hoyer (10). Goff could be the latest on the long list of Browns' starters. As a true sophomore, the 6-foot-4 Goff threw for 3,973 yards with 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season.
8. New York Jets (team draft history): Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Mississippi
Lofty expectations come with being the top-overall recruit in the nation and some may feel that hasn't fully lived up to those expectations, but Nkemdiche has a rare combination of size, power and athleticism. Along with USC's Leonard Williams, he was named to the 2014 AP All-American Second Team at defensive tackle and one of his strengths, like Williams, is his versatility to play multiple positions along the line.
Muhammad Wilkerson will become a free agent the 2015 season and Sheldon Richardson is due for free agency after the 2016 season. It's certainly possible that the Jets won't be able to re-sign both.
9. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
A gruesome (broken) ankle injury ended his season in early November, but Treadwell appears to be recovering well and expects to be 100 percent in the summer and he's currently running routes "against air." Treadwell, who turned 20 in June, has a great combination of size (6-2, 229), strength and athleticism.
10. Atlanta Falcons (team draft history): Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
With exceptional quickness for his size (6-4, 275), Ogbah had a breakout season with 17.0 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks as a redshirt sophomore in 2014. If Ogbah builds upon last year's success, there's a chance that he could land in the top 10. While the Falcons drafted Vic Beasley with a top-10 pick last year, adding more pass-rush help would still make sense. Over the past three seasons, the Falcons rank last in the NFL in sacks (83).
11. New York Giants (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
Playing both cornerback and safety at Florida State, the versatile Ramsey is an outstanding athlete (ACC indoor/outdoor long jump champion) and finished with 97 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 2014. Cornerback Prince Amukamara will be a free agent next offseason as well.
12. New Orleans Saints (team draft history): A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
With the size of a nose tackle (6-4, 320), Robinson has played both nose tackle and defensive end for the Crimson Tide. As a freshman, he actually led Alabama with 5.5 sacks. Only the Giants allowed more yards per carry than the Saints (4.8) last season.
13. Houston Texans (team draft history): Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Give the team's quarterback woes, it's not a surprise that no team ran the ball more than the Texans last season and only the Seahawks (28.4/G) and Cowboys (29.8/G) threw it less than the Texans (30.3/G). While Bill O'Brien will roll with a pair of former Patriots backups atop the team's depth chart in 2015, it's likely the team will be in the market for a franchise quarterback next spring.
What a three-game run it was for Cardale Jones to close the 2014 college football season! There was some debate whether or not he should strike while the iron was hot and declare himself eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft, but he ultimately decided to return to school and gain more experience. Returning to Columbus with J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller complicates matters, but one excecutive told Fox Sports: "Maybe he would have gone in the second round, but I think it's just as likely we could have gone in the top 10 or 15. Look at that body, that arm -- and look at his competition (in the 2015 draft)."
14. St. Louis Rams (team draft history): Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Younger brother of Kyle Fuller, who was selected in the first round by the Bears in 2014, Kendall has started all but one of his 26 games with Virginia Tech and has a total of eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups in his two seasons. Meanwhile, two of the team's top three cornerbacks -- Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson -- are scheduled to become free agents after the 2015 season.
15. Minnesota Vikings (team draft history): Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Starting left tackle Matt Kalil is coming off a disappointing season and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2016. The Vikings used some mid-to-late round picks on offensive tackles -- T.J. Clemmings (fourth round), Tyrus Thompson (sixth) and Austin Shepherd (seventh) -- but Decker would become the team's starting left tackle for the next decade.
16. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
With similar size (6-7, 290) as ex-teammate Arik Armstead, who was the 17th overall pick in 2015, Buckner was the more productive and consistent of the two defensive linemen. Buckner led the team with 13 tackles for loss and led the defensive line with 81 tackles.
- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft
- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.
- 2015 NBA Mock Draft
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