clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016 NFL mock draft: Did the Combine change the 1st round?

No players exploded into the first round after working out in Indianapolis, but we do have some clarity in the direction teams are taking.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For as much ballyhoo as the NFL Scouting Combine receives, the impact it's had on the 2016 NFL Draft has been somewhat minimal. There wasn't a single player who came out of nowhere at the Combine to vault high into the first round.

The Combine did offer some clarity for the direction some teams will be making this offseason. How that effects the draft will come much more into focus after free agency begins.

1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

As we get closer and closer to the draft, this is looking more like it will be the choice. Tunsil is pretty much everything you want in a left tackle. He's a stellar athlete with long arms and foot quickness to take on speed rushers. Nothing says "exotic smash mouth" on offense like stacking the line.

2. Cleveland Browns: Jared Goff, QB, California

Carson Wentz of North Dakota State might have the momentum in his favor, but Goff is simply the better player. Throw out hand sizes, opponent level, the all-star circuit and anything else but on-field play. When that's done it's easy to see Goff as the better player. He reads and manipulates defenses better, has superior pocket presence and is close enough to Wentz in regard to arm strength and pure athleticism.

3. San Diego Chargers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

The Chargers are seeking suitors for the No. 3 pick, most likely because they could go so many directions with this pick. If they stay at three, a strong argument can be made for Stanley being the pick. He's a highly regarded left tackle who could protect franchise quarterback Philip Rivers in the twilight of his career.

NFL Draft: How every team can avoid screwing up in the 1st round

4. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Jack may not have done a full workout at the Combine, but he's still worth a top-five pick. He's an active and rangy linebacker who will play all three downs. Although Jerry Jones has said he wants to bring Rolando McClain back, Jack would be a superb upgrade.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

As long as the top two picks in the draft go as expected, the Jaguars should be able to grab one of the two best defensive players in the draft. Some teams view Ramsey as a cornerback while some see him as a safety. Whichever the preference, he's a high-level player who should be able to make plays early in his career.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

It seems like some of the luster is off Bosa following the Combine because of an ordinary 40-yard dash. Don't let that fool you, though, Bosa is still the best player in this year's draft. If he happens to slide, this should be as far as he goes.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

The seemingly imminent departure of Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco means the 49ers will have to find a quarterback this offseason. Sorry to any Blaine Gabbert supporters and/or family members out there. Wentz is a strong-arm quarterback with natural athleticism and good upside. With a new system starting with head coach Chip Kelly, doing so with a new quarterback is a smart play.

8. Miami Dolphins: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

At the Combine, Alexander was adamant in his declaration that he is the top cornerback in this year's draft. If you consider Ramsey a safety, then that is a true statement. Alexander is a skilled cover man who can handle speedy receivers and physical receivers equally well, and he's the pick here with the uncertainty facing Brent Grimes' future as a Dolphin.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Whether he plays in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, Buckner is going to make a lot of plays at the next level. Among prospects this year, he's unrivaled in his combination of size, athleticism and playing strength. The Buccaneers need to improve their pass rush, and Buckner can start as a rookie and improve that area.

10. New York Giants: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

On one hand, Spence could be this year's version of Khalil Mack and completely be worth a top-10 pick in the draft. On the other, some teams may be completely afraid to take him because of his off-field issues at Ohio State. If the concerns about his past drug use bother too many teams, we could see him fall on draft night.

11. Chicago Bears: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

This mock draft had to be turned in before the unfortunate news about the severity of Smith's injury surfaced at the Combine. It's now expected that he'll drop all the way out of the first round. He was originally the choice for the Bears because they need playmakers on defense and leadership. Smith offers both. Now you wonder with the 11th pick if it's too early for Reggie Ragland of Alabama.

12. New Orleans Saints: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Saints head coach Sean Payton said recently that the last thing he thinks about before going to bed is improving New Orleans' defense. That could start with Robinson, a powerful defensive tackle who is pro-ready as a run stuffer and has some upside as a pass rusher.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

The Eagles may be trying to bring Sam Bradford back, but if that falls apart Lynch should be the choice here. Lynch has as high of a ceiling as any player in this year's draft, and has the athleticism and arm talent to develop into a franchise quarterback.

14. Oakland Raiders: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Latavius Murray is a solid player who rushed for 1,066 yards last season, but he was inconsistent for much of the year. Elliott can be a superstar in Oakland's offense. At the Combine head coach Jack Del Rio said he wanted to get better in the running game, and in this draft there's no better way to do it than Elliott.

15. Los Angeles Rams: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

With the top three quarterbacks gone, the Rams could go after Treadwell, the top player at his position in the draft. Although Treadwell may not be the fastest wideout, he doesn't need to be. He's a physical wideout who gets opens with his size and wins jump ball situations with ease.

16. Detroit Lions: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Perhaps no player has boosted his draft stock more during the offseason process than Rankins. For the Lions he would bolster a defensive line that has three free agents at defensive tackle.

17. Atlanta Falcons: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

It may be a surprise to see Lee picked ahead of Reggie Ragland of Alabama, but don't be shocked if it happens in the draft. Lee is a big-time athlete who can make plays sideline-to-sideline.

Through the Years: How the NFL Draft become such a spectacle

18. Indianapolis Colts: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

Whitehair is making the move from tackle to guard in the NFL, and he's arguably the draft's top interior blocker. In Indianapolis, he could be a nice piece next to Anthony Costonzo on the left side of the line.

19. Buffalo Bills: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Whatever team takes Nkemdiche will have to be comfortable with his off-field issues, and his admission of taking some plays off at Ole Miss. If he didn't have those glaring issues, he'd be a top-10 pick.

20. New York Jets: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

With Antonio Cromartie gone, the Jets need a good corner opposite Darrelle Revis. Buster Skrine is at his best in the slot, and Dee Milliner has been a disappointment thus far. Hargreaves could slip this far in the draft because he doesn't have the arm length some want in an outside corner. He's a natural in coverage, though, and would be a steal this late in the first round.

21. Washington: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

If Ragland falls in the draft, a team like Washington could be the benefactor. Ragland is a thumper of a linebacker who can step up and close down the run, but he's athletic enough to be a factor in coverage. He could be a force between linebackers like Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy.

22. Houston Texans: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

With the three top quarterbacks and Elliott all off the board, the Texans could turn to defense. Reed could come in and fill free agent Jared Crick's spot on the defensive line, and even move inside to nose tackle when Vince Wilfork retires.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

At this point, Conklin's talent is too good to pass up. Like Washington with Brandon Scherff a year ago, the Vikings could take Conklin and move him inside to guard before he eventually kicks outside to tackle.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

The Bengals could lose both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, and will need to upgrade the position so opposing teams can't overload against A.J. Green. Coleman may not have run a 40-yard dash at the Combine, but he registered excellent vertical and broad jumps. Coleman is a dynamic receiver who can score any time he touches the ball.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

Cornerbacks are often the choice for Pittsburgh – it's a pick I've made several times – but since current Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert joined Pittsburgh in 2000, they haven’t picked a cornerback in the first round. A nose tackle like Billings could fit nicely between Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward.


Get all kinds of NFL stories, rumors, game coverage, and inane comments from the NFL media in your inbox every day.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Lawson is an ascending player following his Combine performance, so his stock may be much higher than this come April. The Seahawks are negotiating with Michael Bennett on a new deal, but if things dissolve and he wants out, Seattle will need a defensive lineman who can create disruption, Lawson's specialty.

27. Green Bay Packers: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

With the top inside linebackers all gone in this scenario, the Packers could look to add a pass rusher like Floyd. Nick Perry is a free agent, and has been inconsistent throughout his career. Floyd is a good athlete for a linebacker and showed at Georgia he can play all over the field.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Chances are the Chiefs won't be able to bring back all of their free agents this offseason, and cornerback Sean Smith could be in for a huge payday. If he departs, Kansas City could go with Apple, a player with many of Smith's strengths.

29. Arizona Cardinals: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

Dodd got a second-round grade from the NFL Draft advisory board, but pass rushers with size like Dodd usually don't last that long.

30. Carolina Panthers: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Decker may not have boosted his stock much in Indianapolis, but that's a good thing for the Panthers. He's the draft's fourth-best offensive tackle, and getting him at this point in the draft would be a solid value.

31. Denver Broncos: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

The athletic Spriggs was one of the stars of the Combine, so much so that he may not last this long by the time the draft comes around. If he does, the Broncos should jump at the chance of drafting a long-term answer at offensive tackle.