2016 NFL Mock Draft

Mock draft 1.0: Four-round projection

By Chad Reuter |

Draft analyst

Published: Jan. 29, 2016 at 06:00 p.m.

Putting together a four round mock draft is like someone giving you 150 pieces for a 127-piece puzzle ... and you have to give figure out which ones don’t fit.

The reason I went through this exercise so early in the draft process is to display the sheer depth of talent in this year’s class -- thanks mostly to the 107 high-quality players that submitted for early entry despite still owning one or two years or collegiate eligibility.

There is a good chance that some of the players I project in the second round will be picked in the first. Several prospects listed in the third or fourth round here could wind up being second round picks due to great workouts or one-on-one interviews.

Clearly, teams will find Pro Bowl-level players in the second round and immediate starters in the third and fourth stanzas. A few will undoubtedly find the last pieces of the puzzle for their playoff run in 2016 and beyond.

» Click here for four-round mock draft
  1. Pick No.
    1
    OT
    Mississippi
    Projected trade to Titans
    Adding Tunsil will allow former first-round pick Taylor Lewan to man the right side, giving Marcus Mariota two excellent tackles to keep defensive ends off his back.
  2. Pick No.
    2
    QB
    California
    Projected trade to Browns
    The Browns’ new front office brings in Goff to jump-start a moribund franchise with just three winning seasons since returning to Cleveland in 1999.
  3. Pick No.
    3
    OT
    Notre Dame
    Philip Rivers needs to be protected if he is to compete for an AFC title before he retires, and Stanley’s just the man to do the job.
  4. Pick No.
    4
    QB
    North Dakota St.
     
    – Tony Romo is undergoing surgery this off-season, and is already 35 years old. The Cowboys are coaching Wentz at the Senior Bowl this week, so they’ll find out all they need to know if they want to take him here.
  5. Pick No.
    5
    CB
    Florida St.
    Projected trade to Jaguars
    –Play him at corner, play him at safety…he’ll make an impact in either spot.
  6. Pick No.
    6
    DE
    Ohio St.
    Terrell Suggs is near the end and Courtney Upshaw is a free agent. Bosa might not be quite as explosive as Suggs once was, but he’s a damn fine player who will wreak havoc and play assignment-sure.
  7. Pick No.
    7
    WR
    Mississippi
     
    Chip Kelly finds a superstar to help out Colin Kaepernick return to his early-career form.
  8. Pick No.
    8
    DE
    Clemson
    Projected trade to Dolphins
    Miami struggled to get a consistent pass rush this season, averaging less than two sacks per game. Lawson can help in that respect, and could take Olivier Vernon’s spot if he leaves via free agency.
  9. Pick No.
    9
    CB
    Florida
    The Buccaneers find a playmaker in the secondary ... throw his way at your own peril.
  10. Pick No.
    10
    DE
    Oregon
    Building talent up front is a hallmark of the Giants, so grabbing a versatile defender like Buckner here makes a lot of sense.
  11. Pick No.
    11
    OLB
    UCLA
    The Bears can play the athletic and tough-minded Jack in any spot in their linebacking corps.
  12. Pick No.
    12
    NT
    Baylor
    The Saints begin the revamping of their defense with Billings, a load in the middle who will also collapse the pocket as a pass-rusher.
  13. Pick No.
    13
    DT
    Alabama
    Projected trade to Eagles
    Philadelphia is looking for athleticism in their three-man front, and they have multiple free agent five-techniques on the market.
  14. Pick No.
    14
    OLB
    Notre Dame
    The Raiders simply take the best defensive player on the board, betting that he’ll return from injury without an issue.
  15. Pick No.
    15
    QB
    Memphis
    Projected trade to Rams
    A new town for the Rams (same as the old town) means the need for a new strong-armed, agile gunslinger at quarterback.
  16. Pick No.
    16
    OT
    Ohio St.
    Decker joins fellow former Big Ten star lineman Riley Reiff on the Lions’ O-line, with the hopes that it helps in pass protection (44 sacks allowed in 2015) and the consistency of the bottom-ranked rush offense in the league.
  17. Pick No.
    17
    DE
    Clemson
    The Falcons had 19 sacks in 16 games, making them the least potent pass rush in the NFL. Dodd will be a much-needed shot in the arm.
  18. Pick No.
    18
    OT
    Michigan St.
    Andrew Luck will see his team picking the tough-minded tackle and say, "yes, please."
  19. Pick No.
    19
    OLB
    Ohio St.
    Lee’s potential is sky-high. With Nigel Bradham a free agent and Manny Lawson on the other side of 30, it makes sense for the Ryan Brothers to add another athletic linebacker into the mix.
  20. Pick No.
    20
    ILB
    Alabama
    Demario Davis is a free agent, so if he doesn’t return, the Jets would love to plug in Ragland next to David Harris in the middle of their defense.
  21. Pick No.
    21
    CB
    Clemson
    Washington finds another playmaker for the secondary, who happens to be a former teammate of current starter Bashaud Breeland.
  22. Pick No.
    22
    RB
    Ohio St.
    Since there aren’t any quarterbacks worth the value of this pick, they look to replace the 30 year-old Arian Foster, who is coming off a torn Achilles and is due a large salary in 2016.
  23. Pick No.
    23
    WR
    TCU
    Docton's wrist probably won’t keep him out of the first round, allowing the Vikings grab him as a legit deep threat for blossoming passer Teddy Bridgewater.
  24. Pick No.
    24
    WR
    Ohio St.
     
    Miller's still learning the position, but his athleticism and natural hands will earn him high grades. Combining A.J. Green and Miller on the outside will only make Tyler Eifert more dangerous ... and Andy Dalton more comfortable.
  25. Pick No.
    25
    CB
    Ohio St.
    Three of the Steelers’ top four corners are free agents, and Cortez Allen is coming off an injury. Apple, coming off his redshirt sophomore, is just scratching the surface of his potential.
  26. Pick No.
    26
    DT
    Louisville
     
    Rankins’ get-off and motor bolsters an interior defensive line in need of bodies right away, as free agents Ahtyba Rubin and Brandon Mebane may or may not return in 2016.
  27. Pick No.
    27
    DT
    Alabama
    It’s unclear whether the Packers will re-sign either of their free agent nose tackles, B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion. Reed’s power up front will be needed, and he’s able to test guards with more quickness than you’d expect.
  28. Pick No.
    28
    DT
    Florida
    Bullard gives the Chiefs a versatile performer on the defensive line, as he’s able to hold his own between the A-gaps but also step outside to challenge tackles with a quick first step.
  29. Pick No.
    29
    OLB
    Georgia
    Building the pass rush is crucial for the Cardinals to stay ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West.
  30. Pick No.
    30
    S
    Boise St.
    A versatile defender in the mold of Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis, Ron Rivera could use Cravens to replace veteran free agent Roman Harper in 2016 and move him inside whenever Davis retires.
  31. Pick No.
    31
    The Broncos’ offensive line needs to be upgraded if Brock Osweiler is to be successful taking over from Peyton Manning in 2016.
  32. 2016 NFL Mock Draft Central

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