2018 NFL Draft

2016 NFL Mock Draft: North Dakota State QB belongs in first-round mix

2016 NFL Mock Draft: North Dakota State QB belongs in first-round mix

By Dane Brugler | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

There is no such thing as a "sure thing" when it comes to evaluating the quarterback position and that is especially true for the 2016 draft class. There isn't an Andrew Luck or even a Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, but there are several high-upside passers who deserve first round consideration.

Cal's Jared Goff and Memphis' Paxton Lynch are the top two names and both have a great chance of landing in the top 10. Michigan State's Connor Cook is widely believed to be this year's top senior at the position, but North Dakota State's Carson Wentz will be higher on some team's draft boards and also has a chance to wind up in next spring's first round.

Of those four quarterbacks, only Cook is ready to start as a NFL rookie, but Goff, Lynch and Wentz all have bright futures if given the chance to develop.

Team needs will change, the draft order won't end up this way and the prospects below will help and hurt themselves throughout the 2015 season. But if the draft was held tomorrow, here's how it might play out:

1. Tennessee Titans: 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.

2. Cleveland Browns: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
There is a lot of unknown with the future of the Browns franchise right now, including what the depth chart at quarterback will look like next season. If Johnny Manziel can do enough to keep Cleveland from drafting a quarterback in the top-five, Bosa will just need to hop on I-71 North.

3. San Diego Chargers: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Is Ramsey a cornerback or safety? Both. And the Chargers need help at both spots, contributing in press or zone, inside or outside.

4. Baltimore Ravens: 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.

5. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
The Cowboys' defense needs help at each level, including at linebacker, especially with the futures of Rolando McClain (free agent) and Sean Lee (injuries) in doubt. Although currently sidelined with a knee injury, Jack has top-10 talent if his rehab is on track.

Myles Jack would provide immediate impact in Big D. (USATSI)

6. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California
The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick are in the midst of a messy divorce and Blaine Gabbert hasn't done enough to convince the front office that he's the long-term answer. San Francisco native, Goff lacks elite physical tools, but his traits, especially between the ears, are extremely promising.

7. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
With a new front office, the Lions will be a wildcard in the first round, especially if Detroit makes a splash with one of the high-priced contracts (Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, etc.) on the current roster. Decker is a plug-and-play option on the offensive line, which would address the Lions' issues at right tackle.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
The Jaguars have been searching for cornerback help for a long time, but haven't drafted the position in the first round since 1999. Hargreaves isn't a lock top-10 prospect due to average size and speed, but his toughness and instincts make him a fit for Jacksonville.

9. Chicago Bears: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
The Bears are far removed from the days of Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs dominating the NFC and are missing impact players like that on the 2015 defense. Smith isn't the physical presence that Urlacher or Briggs were, but he brings a special combination of athleticism and instincts.

10. St. Louis Rams: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
The Nick Foles experiment hasn't worked and the Rams need new life at quarterback. Lynch is still a work-in-progress at the position, but he checks a lot of boxes and would give the franchise hope, whether that's in St. Louis or Los Angeles.

Paxton Lynch could be the future for the Rams at QB. (USATSI)

11. New Orleans Saints: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
Regardless of who is at quarterback, the Saints need to find the “new” Marques Colston – a large target with athleticism. That description fits Treadwell who is a less dynamic version of Dez Bryant.

12. New York Giants: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
The Giants rank near dead-last in the league in team sacks and aren't receiving the production they need from their edge rushers. Ogbah is among the NCAA leaders in sacks (13) and has the character and talent that fits the Giants' franchise.

13. Miami Dolphins: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Miami has missed that physical presence at middle linebacker, making Ragland a natural fit and day one starter as a rookie.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Tampa will address the cornerback position next off-season, either in free agency or the draft, possibly both. Alexander has the fluidity and aggressive nature to blanket receivers.

15. Atlanta Falcons: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
The Falcons ranks dead-last in the league in sacks and need more talent both inside and outside on the defensive line. Although he's still raw in areas, Nkemdiche has a sky-high ceiling as both an inside penetrator and outside rusher.

16. Philadelphia Eagles: Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Eagles have several holes on defense and need to add depth at each level. Floyd has a lean body type, but can bend the edge, disrupt the pocket and finish in pursuit.

17. Oakland Raiders: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
The Raiders haven't received the expected return on investment with 2013 first round cornerback D.J. Hayden, making corner a top need this off-season. White has the size/athleticism profile that intrigues NFL scouts.

18. Buffalo Bills: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Buffalo hasn't received the production expected from the big names on the defensive line, largely due to injuries. Robinson moves well for his size and can line up inside or outside in Rex Ryan's scheme.

19. Houston Texans: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Texans haven't selected a passer in the first round since their inaugural draft in 2002, but that should chance this year. Bill O'Brien has been searching for the right guy to groom at quarterback and whether or not Cook is that player, Houston needs to take a chance on a young signal-caller.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
Pittsburgh needs cornerback help and although King won't run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, he has the aggressive ballskills and awareness needed to start in the NFL.

21. Washington Redskins: Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor
Although he said he will return to Baylor for his senior season, Billings is playing himself into a high draft pick and plans might change. The Redskins have used veterans to fill the nose tackle spot, but Billings would give them a long-term option.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
As much as the Colts need offensive line help, they also need to upgrade the running game, which would have a greater impact on the overall offense. Elliott has an outstanding blend of vision, balance and acceleration to gash defenses and be a workhorse.

23. New York Jets: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
While Ryan Fitzpatrick is the present, who is the quarterback of the future for the Jets? Bryce Petty is more of a back-up option, but Wentz would give the franchise a player to groom as the future starter.

24. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
A lot of fingers can be pointed as to why the Vikings rank near the bottom of the league in passing yards, but the lack of perimeter weapons is a substantial reason. Doctson is a good-sized athlete with superior ballskills to make an impact as a NFL rookie.

25. Kansas City Chiefs: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
With Eric Fisher struggling and Donald Stephenson eligible for free agency after the season, offensive tackle could be the top priority this off-season for the Chiefs. Conklin doesn't have the athletic tools of Tunsil or Stanley, but he's effective in other ways that help him handle both speed and power off the edge.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Seattle's defensive line depth needs restocked and Clark is a terrific run stopper with potential to be more with some seasoning.

27. Green Bay Packers: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
With Mike Daniels and the Packers failing to reach an extension before the season, there's a realistic chance he hits free agency after this season. Even if Daniels returns, Reed is worthy of this pick with his versatility that fits Green Bay's odd front.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
With Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones both in contract years, the Bengals could be looking for wide receiver help in the draft next April. Coleman hasn't faced NFL caliber competition at cornerback yet, but his performance so far in 2015 has everyone taking notice.

29. Denver Broncos: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
With Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe set to hit free agency after this season, the Broncos might be looking for new beef at the grocery store. Buckner is still developing his pass rush skills, but has very high upside due to his size and natural talent.

30. Arizona Cardinals: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
A true wild-card prospect, Spence has first round talent, there is no question about that. But the former Ohio State Buckeye has a history of drug abuse, although he has cleaned up his habits since being banned from the Big Ten. Arizona has the front office, coaches and locker room to take a chance on a boom or bust player like this.

31. New England Patriots: forfeited selection

32. Carolina Panthers: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
The Panthers have received excellent production from the bargain bin at the free agent store, but also need to develop young draft picks at key positions, including left tackle. A former tight end, Spriggs has several traits that translate well to the NFL.

NEVER MISS A BIG STORY
Sign up to our newsletter and find out who your team could be picking
 

nfl Video

November 17, 2017
November 17, 2017
Larry Fitzgerald closing in on deal with Cardinals
(0:53)
November 16, 2017
Learning on the Job: Jay Ajayi
(4:40)
November 15, 2017
Ezekiel Elliott Withdraws Appeal
(0:48)

Latest