2016 Mock Draft: A record seven Buckeyes could go in the first round
One of the top football factories at the college level, Ohio State has its eyes on the first round record, which the Miami Hurricanes set in the 2004 NFL Draft with six selections. The Buckeyes are aiming for seven. Or more.
The 2003 BCS title game between the Miami Hurricanes and Ohio State Buckeyes showcased dozens of future NFL players. The 2004 NFL Draft was well represented by prospects from that contest as both school set records -- Miami for first round picks (six) and Ohio State for total draft picks (14).
Fast-forward to the present and Ohio State has a legitimate chance to break both of those marks in the 2016 class.
Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott are possible top-10 picks and Darron Lee, Eli Apple and Taylor Decker are considered mid-to-late first round options. And then there are several wild cards who could fit into the back half of round one like Braxton Miller, Vonn Bell and Michael Thomas, putting the Hurricanes’ record within reach. And that doesn’t include Noah Spence or Jeremy Cash who are both former Buckeyes.
Ohio State is the only program with at least 14 draft picks in a single draft, but could reach 15 this year. The Buckeyes had nine underclassmen declare for the draft early and along with seniors Decker, Miller, Nick Vannett, Adolphus Washington, Joshua Perry, and Chase Farris, 15 draft selections is reachable milestone.
: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Priority number one for the Titans should be to protect Marcus Mariota , something they have struggled to do consistently in 2015. Tunsil is arguably the most talented player in this year’s draft class and able to contribute from day one, pushing Taylor Lewan over to right tackle.
: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Hue Jackson has made it clear that the most important task for the Browns this off-season is to find a quarterback. And although Wentz lacks ideal experience coming from the FCS-level, he is the total package in terms of traits. With Josh McCown under contract for the 2016 season, Wentz won’t be pressed onto the field from day one.
San Diego Chargers
: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
San Diego ranked near the bottom of the league in pass rush production in 2015 and need to address the position in the draft. Although some will say he belongs in a four-man front, Bosa is scheme versatile with skill-set and instincts to be a disruptive force from different spots on the defensive line.
: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
The Cowboys have been searching for an athletic and versatile linebacker in the draft the past few years and Jack fits the bill. He is outstanding in coverage with the range and instincts to step in and make an impact from day one.
: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
The Jaguars have been searching for cornerback help for quite some time, but haven’t drafted the position in the first round since 1999. Ramsey has experience at safety and corner, but is better categorized as a versatile ballhawk.
: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Baltimore inked Eugene Monroe to a lucrative extension, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, making it tough for the Ravens to rely on him to start 16 games in 2016. Stanley not only adds instant depth, but gives Baltimore a long-term plan at a position of need.
San Francisco 49ers
: Jared Goff, QB, California
Many assume Chip Kelly desires a mobile quarterback, but the most important trait to run his offense is quick mental processor, which fits Goff, who also happens to be a native of the Bay area.
: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
With Olivier Vernon set to hit free agency and Cameron Wake turning 34-years old last month, the Dolphins could be in the market for a pass rusher. No one knows how each team will view Spence’s off-field baggage, but on the field, he is worth a top-10 pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Tampa will address the cornerback position next off-season, either in free agency or the draft, possibly both. Hargreaves is a tough-minded, instinctive cover man who is ready to start from day one in the NFL.
New York Giants
: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Similar to the Rams last year, who drafted Todd Gurley 10th overall, the running back position isn’t the top need on the Giants’ roster. But it’s tough to pass on dynamic players who will impact the team from day one. And like Gurley this past season, Elliott would do just that in New York.
: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
This is a match that almost makes too much sense as the Bears need defensive end help for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. And Buckner has an ideal skill-set to be an impact player at the five-technique spot.
New Orleans Saints
: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
The Saints have several holes that need plugging on the defensive side of the ball, including up front on the defensive line. Robinson lacks dynamic production, but his traits fit the mold of a high-end NFL starter.
: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
With the Eagles begin a new era this off-season and, assuming they move on from Sam Bradford , need a fresh face at quarterback. Lynch is very young in quarterback years, but he checks several boxes to develop into a quality NFL starter.
: Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
A player who hits anything that moves, Ragland is a tone-setting linebacker who can play all three downs and will give the Raiders another impact player in the front-seven.
St. Louis Rams
: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The Rams haven’t had much luck drafting the wide receiver position in the early rounds over the last 15 years, but Treadwell could change that trend.
: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Decker is a plug-and-play option on the offensive line, which would address the Lions’ issues at right tackle. With Calvin Johnson possibly retiring, keep an eye on Laquon Treadwell to Detroit if he lasts this far.
: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Falcons drafted a Clemson pass rusher in the first round last year ( Vic Beasley ) and could go in that direction again this April. Lawson is an instinctive rusher who can also set the edge vs. the run.
: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
The Colts need more speed on defense and Lee is one of the most athletic linebackers in this draft class. A high school quarterback, he is still developing his technique and discipline, but has high upside due to his natural athleticism and instincts.
: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
The vaunted Buffalo defense looked mediocre at times this season with many claiming that Rex Ryan’s “scheme” was the issue. Rankins has ability that transcends schemes with his ability to stop the run and rush the passer.
New York Jets
: Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Jets have plenty of beef up front on defense, but need to add some sizzle on the edges to better put pressure on the pocket. Floyd is a lanky bender with pass rush upside.
: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The Redskins have had good luck drafting cornerbacks out of Clemson ( Bashaud Breeland ) and if Alexander falls to No. 21, I don’t think he’ll be around at pick No. 22.
: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Texans won the South Division with below average quarterback play and as Bill O’Brien enters year three as head coach, he needs to find a young passer to groom (and no, Tom Savage doesn’t count). Connor Cook has his issues and might not have a high ceiling, but he’s ready to start in the NFL now.
: Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
With glaring needs on the offensive line, is it too early to draft a guard? Not if the pick is Whitehair, who is this year’s version of Zack Martin and ready to start in the NFL today.
: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
With Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu set to hit free agency, the Bengals could have a need at receiver this off-season. A former quarterback, Miller, who grew up about an hour outside of Cincinnati, is still very raw as a wideout, but his special athleticism was on display at the Senior Bowl.
: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
All 32 teams need cornerback help, but maybe none more than the Steelers. Apple tends to play too hands-on downfield, but for a 20-year old prospect, he has the size and speed to develop into an impact starter.
: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Seattle has several question marks on the offensive line, including the future of Russell Okung who is in a contract year. Conklin isn’t the most athletic player, but he plays with patience and power to win the point of attack and control speed rushers.
Green Bay Packers
: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Even with Mike Daniels locked up long-term, Reed is worthy of this pick with his versatility that fits Green Bay’s odd front.
Kansas City Chiefs
: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
The Chiefs’ defense was a substantial reason for their playoff run last season, but might be forced to replace several impending free agents in the front-seven like Jaye Howard , Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson . Smith’s future is up in the air during his recovery from knee surgery, but he could end up being a steal this late.
New England Patriots : forfeited selection.
: Vonn Bell, DS, Ohio State
The Cardinals need pass rush help, but with Rashad Johnson set to hit free agency and Tyrann Mathieu coming off an injury, Bell would help address a few questions in the secondary.
: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
The Panthers need to upgrade the pass rush and add more talent on the edges this off-season. Dodd is still raw in areas, but routinely threatened the pocket this past season using athleticism and hustle.
: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
With Malik Jackson hitting free agency this off-season, the Broncos will be looking for new beef at the grocery store. Nkemdiche has his red flags, but he is one of the best talents in this draft class.
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