Latest 2016 NFL Mock Draft: First Round Following Conference Championships

    Latest 2016 NFL mock draft following the conference championship playoff games. Find out who's projected to be selected in the first round of the draft this year.

    January 25, 2016

    Latest 2016 NFL mock draft following the conference championship games.


    With the conference championships wrapped up, it’s time to take another look at the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. A few things have changed, and there are definitely some names to keep an eye out for.

    Carson Wentz is currently the hottest prospect in the entire draft class, and he’s shaping up to have first-round potential. We will learn a lot about how high he’ll climb over the next couple of months. 

    The healthier Myles Jack gets, the higher his draft stock rises. It’s becoming increasingingly likely he’ll be a top five pick.

    What will be intersting is watching what the Tennessee Titans do with the first-overall pick. There is talk of them trying to trade out of the top spot. If they stay there, it’ll likely come down to defensive end Joey Bosa and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Do the Titans protect Marcus Mariota or select someone to get the ball back for him.

    Below is the latest NFL mock draft following the AFC and NFC Championship Games.


    2016 NFL Mock Draft First Round


    1. Tennessee Titans (3-13)

    Needs: OL, WR, DE

    Pick: Laremy Tunsil – OT, Ole Miss

    The Titans have a lot of needs to fill, but there isn’t any need more important than protecting their franchise quarterback. Tennessee needs to pick up a left tackle to keep Marcus Mariota safe, and Laremy Tunsil is the pick.


    2. Cleveland Browns (3-13)

    Needs: QB, WR, DE

    Pick: Joey Bosa – DE, Ohio State

    This is another case of taking the best player on the board. Joey Bosa is a dynamic defensive end who can stop the run and rush the passer. He’s a guy Cleveland can build around moving forward — even with the gap at quarterback.


    3. San Diego Chargers (4-12)

    Needs: OL, DE, DB

    Pick: Ronnie Stanley – OT, Notre Dame

    Much like the Titans, the Chargers need to protect their starting quarterback. Philip Rivers has a new contract and needs a little more time in the pocket. Ronnie Stanely would be a great addition to a struggling offensive line.


    4. Dallas Cowboys (4-12)

    Needs: DE, SS, FS, QB

    Pick: Myles Jack – OLB, UCLA

    It was never a question of talent with Myles Jack. It was his health, and it seems as though he’ll be good to go for the 2016 season. Dallas can build its defense around Jack and Randy Gregory.


    5. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

    Needs: CB, S, DE, OL

    Pick: Jalen Ramsey – CB/S, Florida State

    The Jaguars need help in their secondary, and while it makes sense to pair Vernon Hargreaves III with Dante Fowler Jr., Jalen Ramsey is too versatile to pass up on. Ramsey can play corner, but he projects as a hard-hitting safety, which Jacksonville has high on its shopping list.


    6. Baltimore Ravens (5-11)

    Needs: CB, OL, WR

    Pick: Jack Conklin – OT, Michigan State

    Baltimore is another team that needs to protect its starting quarterback. With Joe Flacco’s season being cut short with injury, the Ravens have to put a big body in front of him. While Jack Conklin’s draft stock doesn’t scream top 10, the need is there for the Ravens.


    7. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)

    Needs: QB, OL, DL

    Pick: Jared Goff – QB, California

    Chip Kelly’s hiring (most likely) means Colin Kaepernick has at least one last round left in San Francisco. But the 49ers know they can’t put all their money on a bounce-back season. Goff still has some consistency issues, but he has flashed a lot of potential with his strong arm. And it never hurts to have an insurance policy.


    8. Miami Dolphins (6-10)

    Needs: OL, DB, LB, RB

    Pick: Vernon Hargreaves III – CB, Florida

    Miami needs a few things here, but with Ndamukong Suh leading the front line, the Dolphins need to add a shutdown cornerback. Vernon Hargreaves III can be that guy. His technique is sound, and he can hang with any wide receiver in the league. He just needs to improve his tackling. Throwing himself at the ball carrier may work against some college teams, but he needs to wrap up in the NFL.


    9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)

    Needs: DE, MLB, FS, CB

    Pick: Laquon Treadwell – WR, Ole Miss

    He’s explosive. He has the hands. He has the size. Laquon Treadwell has playmaker written all over him. With Jameis Winston coming into his own and Dirk Koetter taking the reins, Treadwell would fit in well with Mike Evans. Also, Vincent Jackson won’t be around forever, so it’s just another reason to take the Ole Miss wideout.


    10. New York Giants (6-10)

    Needs: OLB, MLB, OL, DL

    Pick: Shaq Lawson – DE, Clemson

    Like many of the teams in the top 10, New York has a few needs, but most of them are on defense. The Giants’ linebacking core is thin, but they also lacked a pass rush. Taking Shaq Lawson at No. 10 would give Jason Pierre-Paul someone to rush the quarterback with.


    11. Chicago Bears (6-10)

    Needs: DT, WR, DB

    Pick: Andrew Billings – DT, Baylor

    The Bears showed flashes this season, and there are a lot of bright spots to build upon. Having taken Kevin White in the first round last year — still waiting to see what he can do — it makes sense to add the best defensive player on the board at No. 11. Andrew Billings can stuff the run with the best of them, and that’s important when you play Adrian Peterson twice a year.


    12. New Orleans Saints (7-9)

    Needs: OL, DL, OLB

    Pick: Taylor Decker – OT, Ohio State

    The Saints need offensive linemen just like everyone else. Drew Brees wants to hang around for a little bit, but he can’t do that if Tampa Bay, Carolina and Atlanta are sending the house at him. Taylor Decker can get reps in on the right side and be groomed into a left tackle.


    13. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)

    Needs: LB, QB, OL

    Pick: Jaylon Smith – OLB, Notre Dame

    Well, Chip Kelly is gone. Now what? Defense … when in doubt, draft defensively. With Kiko Alonso evolving, Philadelphia can put Jaylon Smith on the outside of him and take the fight to Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Kirk Cousins (assuming he re-signs).


    14. Oakland Raiders (7-9)

    Needs: FS, SS, CB, DT

    Pick: Jayron Kearse – FS, Clemson

    Charles Woodson is gone, and the Raiders need to find a replacement. Actually, the term “replacement” might not be right because it’s hard to find a replacement for someone as great as Woodson, but Oakland does need to pick up a safety. Selecting Jayron Kearse at No. 14 would be over drafting a little bit, but the need supports the pick.


    15. St. Louis Rams (7-9)

    Needs: QB, CB, WR

    Pick: Connor Cook – QB, Michigan State

    Todd Gurley is the future. We all know that. With the move to Los Angeles, the Rams can take Connor Cook and hope he grows into the face of the franchise with Gurley and Tavon Austin acting as safety blankets.


    16. Detroit Lions (7-9)

    Needs: DT, WR, OL, LB, CB

    Pick: A’Shawn Robinson – DT, Alabama

    Detroit signed Haloti Ngata to fill in for the loss of Ndaumkong Suh and Nick Fairley, but it’s really hard to replace Suh. Taking A’Shawn Robinson in the middle of the first round would give the Lions an athletic force in the middle who can close gaps and rush the passer.


    17. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)

    Needs: LB, DL, WR

    Pick: Robert Nkemdiche – DT, Ole Miss

    The ceiling on Robert Nkemdiche has always been high. He’ll need to impress scouts with his interviews, but he can be just as dominating a defensive tackle as Billings and Robinson — when he’s going full speed. Dan Quinn wants to build up the defense, and Nkemdiche can be a big piece of the puzzle.


    18. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)

    Needs: SS, OL, HB

    Pick: Vadal Alexander – OG, LSU

    Indianapolis needs a lot of help on the offensive line and in the secondary, but Vadal Alexander makes the most sense here. He can help shore up the inside and protect the A and B gaps. Andrew Luck certainly needs a big body in front of him.


    19. Buffalo Bills (8-8)

    Needs: DT, CB, WR

    Pick: Leonard Floyd – DE/OLB, Georgia

    Rex Ryan loves defense like a little kid loves action figures. There’s been talk about Mario Williams’ future with the Bills. If his time in Buffalo is limited, Leonard Floyd can help fill that hole as a hybrid edge rusher.


    20. New York Jets (10-6)

    Needs: ILB, OLB, QB

    Pick: DeForest Buckner – DT, Oregon

    The Jets surprised a lot of people this year with how well their offense did. With the word of a new contract looming for Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York can take the best player on the board in this case: DeForest Buckner. He’s big, athletic and be another threat in an already dangerous Jets defensive line.


    21. Washington Redskins (9-7)

    Needs: OL, DT, CB

    Pick: Cody Whitehair – OG, Kansas State

    The NFC East was not very good this season, but the Redskins also played very well down the stretch. More importantly, the emergence of Kirk Cousins and Matt Jones was encouraging. If Cousins is re-signed, Washington can take Cody Whitehair to beef up the offensive line to protect Cousins and provide running lanes for Jones.


    22. Houston Texans (9-7)

    Needs: HB, QB, WR, OL

    Pick: Paxton Lynch – HB, Memphis

    Houston absolutely needs to take a quarterback with this pick. Don’t be surprised if it eventually trades up to draft one. The Texans will probably end up choosing between Paxton Lynch and Carson Wentz here, but Lynch is the pick for now. After the combine and pro days, that could change, particularly if Wentz impresses, but for now, Lynch’s versatility and big arm seem like a good fit with DeAndre Hopkins.


    23. Minnesota Vikings (11-5)

    Needs: WR, OL, S

    Pick: Josh Doctson – WR, TCU

    Minnesota had more production from Stefon Diggs than most people expected. With Teddy Bridgewater settling into his own, the Vikings could give him a combination of weapons including Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Mike Wallace and Josh Doctson.


    24. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

    Needs: OG, CB, OLB

    Pick: Eli Apple – CB, Ohio State

    If the Bengals need anything, it’s another cornerback. Adam Jones and Leon Hall are aging, and Cincinnati needs a younger corner to add depth to the position. Plus, it’s another body to put in front of Antonio Brown.


    25. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

    Needs: OL, CB, S

    Pick: Vonn Bell – FS, Ohio State

    Speaking of Pittsburgh, the biggest need is in the secondary. While the Steelers could also go with a cornerback, or even address the offensive line, Vonn Bell could be the hard-hitting, play-making safety their young defense has been missing.


    26. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

    Needs: OL, OLB, DL

    Pick: Ezekiel Elliot – HB, Ohio State

    Rumors are rumors, and they’ll always exist. The latest one is Marshawn Lynch’s time with Seattle is over unless he takes a pay cut. That doesn’t seem likely. Now, the idea Lynch could retire is very possible. So, the Seahawks can snag Ezekiel Elliot at No. 26 to pair with Thomas Rawls, who had a promising rookie stint in Lynch’s absence.


    27. Green Bay Packers (10-6)

    Needs: OL, CB, DE

    Pick: Reggie Ragland – ILB, Alabama

    Sam Barrington and Nate Palmer will both be free agents after the 2016 season, and taking Reggie Ragland makes a lot of sense. It would keep Clay Matthews on the outside, and Ragland could grow into a force for Green Bay — stopping the run and jumping on crossing routes.


    28. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)

    Needs: WR, OL, DL

    Pick: Germain Ifedi – OT, Texas A&M

    Kansas City made an impressive run into the playoffs, but New England ended that and knocked around Alex Smith a little bit in the process. The Chiefs could certainly benefit from having another offensive lineman to protect their franchise quarterback. Germain Ifedi might not be a starting tackle from the start, but he can get reps inside and add some depth.


    29. Arizona Cardinals (13-3)

    Needs: DE, OL, TE, WR

    Pick: Emmanuel Ogbah – DE, Oklahoma State

    Arizona’s defense is scary. It’s very, very scary. But it could be a little more intimidating with Emmanuel Ogbah rushing off the edge. Calais Campbell is owed just more than $15 million next season and will hit the open market in 2017. Ogbah could be a long-term replacement.


    Below are NFL mock draft picks for each team remaining in the playoffs. The selection order has yet to be set.


    Denver Broncos (12-4)

    Needs: OL, DL, HB, QB

    Pick: Carson Wentz – QB, N. Dakota State

    Carson Wentz is the hottest name in the entire draft right now. It’ll be very interesting to watch his draft stock as we get closer to April 28. The NFL Combine or his pro day can send him into the top half of the first round if he performs well enough. He’s a big, mobile quarterback with a strong arm. He just needs to work on avoiding flat-footed throws and adding some depth to the ball when throwing down field with touch.

    Carolina Panthers (15-1)

    Needs: WR, OLB, DL

    Pick: Jonathan Bullard – DE/DT, Florida

    Carolina excelled this season without Kelvin Benjamin. Devin Funchess came on strong toward the end of the season, and Ted Ginn Jr. provided some big plays, too. Oh, and Greg Olsen is kind of solid, too. The Panthers might be able to avoid using a first round pick on offense because of that production. Drafting Jonathan Bullard would give Ron Rivera a versatile lineman who can stuff the run inside or slide down to the edge and rush the passer.


    More NFL Draft: What Early Entry QBs Are Making Right Decision

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