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2016 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


Before Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon III earned top 15 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, many had speculated that franchise running backs were on their way toward extinction.

While clubs may be less willing to build around one franchise back, the running game in general remains a focal point for most every club. And given the smaller salaries rookies earn under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, some believe more running backs will find their way into the first round next spring.

Projecting what NFL teams will do is difficult enough days before the draft. So take this way-too-early mock draft as it is intended - as a fun peek ahead to provide college and NFL fans an idea of what to watch for this fall. For the sake of simplicity, we've elected to keep the same draft order for 2016.

NFL Mock Draft - 5/12/2015
Round 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(2-14)
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: A quarterback could ultimately leap Bosa, but he's the clear-cut top talent for the 2016 draft, demonstrating a combination of explosiveness and determination that reminds me of a young Justin Smith.
2. Tennessee Titans

(2-14)
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: By drafting Marcus Mariota No. 2 overall and gambling on the upside of wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, general manager Ruston Webster clearly loves "tool-sy" players. Oakman's length, power and athleticism scream future Pro Bowler.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(3-13)
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: The Jags are stouter at the point of attack but if picking early again, it might be time to question whether former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel will ever live up to his selection. Stanley, balanced and athletic, projects as a standout NFL left tackle.
4. Oakland Raiders

(3-13)
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Only the most extraordinary talents step into the SEC and stick out immediately, as Hargreaves - a true cover corner in the mold of former UF star Joe Haden - has been able to accomplish.
5. Washington Redskins

(4-12)
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: Yes, Washington picked up Robert Griffin III's fifth-year option, but unless there is significant improvement from the former No. 2 pick in Jay Gruden's scheme, the club may be forced to consider a replacement. That could be true especially if Cook, the top-rated quarterback in next year's draft, was on the board.
6. NY Jets

(4-12)
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA: Coach Todd Bowles inherited a dominant defensive line and this unit was reinforced with the selection of Leonard Williams. The linebacker corps needs help, though, and Jack is a superstar.
7. Chicago Bears

(5-11)
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: John Fox is a defensive wiz, but the Bears could again struggle to generate pressure on the quarterback in 2015. Athletic, stronger than he looks and experienced in the 3-4 scheme, Floyd could be the perfect addition.
8. Atlanta Falcons

(6-10)
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: Sure, the Falcons built up the defensive line with former Clemson stars Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett but more help is needed. Ogbah isn't a household name... yet.
9. NY Giants

(6-10)
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Even more gifted than older brother, Kyle, (a former Virginia Tech teammate and 2014 first round pick by Chicago), Fuller has the athleticism and instincts to help the Giants defend the talented passing attacks in the NFC East.
10. St. Louis Rams

(6-10)
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: The Rams invested heavily on offensive linemen the past two seasons but may not be able to pass up on a balanced, athletic blindside passer like Tunsil.
11. Minnesota Vikings

(7-9)
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Should Adrian Peterson return to Minnesota and his continue his Hall of Fame-caliber play, perhaps the Vikings will look elsewhere. Otherwise, coach Mike Zimmer could see Henry as the perfect back for Norv Turner's run-heavy offense.
12. Cleveland Browns

(7-9)
A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: Cleveland addressed its 32nd-ranked run defense with massive run-stuffer Danny Shelton in the 2015 draft. Robinson is similarly built and like Shelton, athletic enough to slide outside to the five-tech defensive end role to eliminate any space in the run-heavy AFC North.
13. New Orleans Saints

(7-9)
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss: After paying surprisingly little attention to their defensive line in the 2015 draft, the Saints could see the highly touted and powerful NKendiche as the perfect plug-and-play option in coordinator Rob Ryan's defense.
14. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Eric Striker, OLB, Oklahoma: Few clubs would be willing to invest this early of a selection in an off-line of scrimmage linebacker, but given the athleticism in Buffalo and New England and the Dolphins' need for improved play in the back seven, the aptly-named Striker might make sense.
15. San Francisco 49ers

(8-8)
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh: With defensive-minded head coach Jim Tomsula, the 49ers won't turn into a pass-happy bunch, but surrounding Colin Kaepernick with weapons could be the key to competing in the NFC West. Boyd is a smooth athlete already dominating competition in much the same manner as former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald.
16. Houston Texans

(9-7)
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State: Coach Bill O'Brien recruited Hackenberg to Penn State and helped him star as a true freshman. Hackenberg has talent, but didn't progress as anticipated last year and needs a strong bounce-back campaign as a junior.
17. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: The Chargers closely scouted the defensive linemen in the 2015 draft and need to see someone step up to help Corey Liuget. Buckner didn't get the attention of former teammate Arik Armstead, but he's similarly gifted, and frankly, already more consistent.
18. Kansas City Chiefs

(9-7)
Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State: The Chiefs addressed the need for help at cornerback with Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson in the 2015 draft, but might see safety still as a need, especially given the uncertain football future of Eric Berry. Ramsey has the athleticism and instincts scouts love, but faces a challenge, himself, with the Seminoles replacing both of their starting cornerbacks.
19. Buffalo Bills

(9-7)
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State: With only a handful of starts under his belt, projecting Jones as a possible first round pick might seem ridiculous. The tools are undeniable, however, and coach Rex Ryan has never been one to follow conventional thinking, especially considering his clubs' struggles at quarterback.
20. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Max Tuerk, C, Southern California: Recruited to play tackle and flashing first round talent at center a year ago, Tuerk offers great versatility and athleticism - traits that Chip Kelly requires of his offensive linemen.
21. Cincinnati Bengals

(10-5-1)
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: With each of Cincinnati's top four wide receivers set to enter free agency after the 2015 season (including star A.J. Green), the Bengals will be scouting wideouts closely this fall. Treadwell has top 10 talent, but must recover from a horrific leg injury which cut short his sophomore season.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers

(11-5)
Su'a Cravens, SS, Southern California: Few defenders warrant comparisons to former Southern Cal (and Steelers) great Troy Polamalu, but given his instincts, physicality and closing speed, Cravens is earning precisely that.
23. Detroit Lions

(11-5)
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State: Given the passing attacks in the NFC North, building up the rush in Detroit makes sense and the local product would likely be a popular pick with fans, as well.
24. Arizona Cardinals

(11-5)
Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri: Few clubs boast Arizona's athleticism at linebacker. Brothers offers similar speed and with Daryl Washington coming off suspension, Arizona might be willing be looking for some security at the position.
25. Carolina Panthers

(7-8-1)
Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Clearly the Panthers anticipate that Michael Oher will be able to lock down a starting role at tackle. If he struggles to fulfill expectations (as was the case in Baltimore and Tennessee), reinforcements could be in order.
26. Baltimore Ravens

(10-6)
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: Powerful and experienced in MSU's pro-ready scheme, Conklin makes sense for a club that consistently wins on draft day by sticking to the best player available approach.
27. Dallas Cowboys

(12-4)
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: If Darren McFadden remains healthy, he could make Jerry Jones look like a genius for letting division rival Philadelphia reward DeMarco Murray for his breakout 2014 season. Anything other than a breakout season from McFadden in 2015, however, could force the Cowboys to look to the draft for help. Elliott's power and speed could be make him excellent fit.
28. Denver Broncos

(12-4)
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: While not yet the finished product that his hype might indicate, Howard's size and athleticism would make a lot of sense in Gary Kubiak's TE-friendly attack.
29. Indianapolis Colts

(11-5)
Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida: Given the way they're likely to light up the scoreboard, the Colts will want to be sure to constantly upgrade their own pass rush. Bullard flashes the talent to follow Shariff Floyd, Dominique Easley and Dante Fowler, Jr. as a Florida defensive linemen selected in the first round for the fourth consecutive year.
30. Green Bay Packers

(12-4)
Curt Maggitt, OLB, Tennessee: The Volunteers were shut out of the 2015 NFL Draft for the first time since the Kennedy administration. If Maggitt (pronounced muh-JIT) is able to build off of last year's breakout season (which included 11 sacks), all will be well in Knoxville yet again. His agility and acceleration could intrigue the Packers, who could use some youth off the edge.
31. Seattle Seahawks

(12-4)
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: With left tackle Russell Okung entering the final year of his deal and the Seahawks likely forced to dedicate their finances toward resigning Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, offensive line could once again be a focus for the Seahawks. Decker, a powerful run blocker, plays with the physicality and toughness that the Seahawks love.
32. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Corey Robinson, WR, Notre Dame: Clearly, Tom Brady doesn't need help at wide receiver to win, but the Patriots could be intrigued with the size and athleticism of the latest Notre Dame star pass-catcher, who choose the gridiron rather than the basketball court like his father, former NBA great David Robinson.

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