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Lance Zierlein's top 50 prospects for 2016 NFL Draft

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1

Laremy Tunsil - OT, Ole Miss

From a talent and technique standpoint, Tunsil is easily cleanest offensive lineman in the 2016 draft and might be the cleanest prospect period.

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2

Myles Jack - LB, UCLA

While UCLA asked Jack to do a little bit of everything, an NFL team is more likely to simplify his tasks and set him into attack mode to maximize his outstanding physical traits.

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3

DeForest Buckner - DE, Oregon

Buckner has similar power to former teammate Arik Armstead, but is a much better pass rusher and has a chance to become a dominant force in the NFL.

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4

Ezekiel Elliott - RB, Ohio State

While he's had to handle a heavy workload over the last two seasons, Elliot should still come out of the gates as one of the most productive young running backs in the league.

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5

Jaylon Smith - LB, Notre Dame

In this day and age of "tweeners" being labeled "hybrid" players, Smith is the rare commodity who is truly hybrid in the sense that he has the athleticism, speed and physical makeup to play any linebacker spot in either the 3­4 or the 4­3.

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6

Jalen Ramsey - CB, Florida State

Ramsey has all-pro potential and traits, but could use a little more bravado and attitude play in and play out.

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7

Joey Bosa - DE, Ohio State

Bosa might not have the pure edge speed to be an elite pass rusher, but his hand usage and ability to generate push as a bull-rusher should make him a very good 4-3 base end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.

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8

Jared Goff - QB, Cal

While Goff is a little leaner in the lower body than teams might like, he has good size, an NFL arm, advanced pocket mobility and the field demeanor of a franchise quarterback.

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9

Vernon Hargreaves - CB, Florida

With top-notch ball skills and exceptional instincts that drew praise from Alabama's Nick Saban, Hargreaves possesses the football makeup to become a Pro Bowl cornerback.

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10

Ronnie Stanley - OT, Notre Dame

While Stanley's core power is still a concern, he showed improved strength and run blocking prowess this year and should be ready to come in and start right away for a team looking to protect a high­end quarterback.

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11

A'Shawn Robinson - DT, Alabama

If Robinson can improve his leverage issues and pass rushing, he has all-­pro potential; however, he's not a sure thing to become a star.

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12

Leonard Floyd - LB, Georgia

Floyd is painfully thin and will struggle to matchup with the strength of NFL players, but he is rangy in space, plays with a good motor and has traits as a pass rusher that would be a mistake to ignore.

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13

Reggie Ragland - LB, Alabama

Ragland is a confident and capable early starter in league who has the temperament to become one of the premier run­-stopping inside linebackers in the pro game.

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14

Hunter Henry - TE, Arkansas

By far, the premier tight end in the 2016 draft. Henry should come in and become a very good NFL starter.

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15

Paxton Lynch - QB, Memphis

Unlike other size/speed quarterbacks like Vince Young and Colin Kaepernick, Lynch prefers to extend passing plays with his feet rather than bolting from the pocket, but he is still likely to make plenty of plays with his feet over the long haul.

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16

Cody Whitehair - OG, Kansas State

With his combination of functional strength and body control, Whitehair might be one of the safest offensive linemen in the entire draft. Whitehair has the ability to be a very good starter with a ceiling that could reach the all-pro level.

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17

Andrew Billings - NT, Baylor

With elite power and unusual closing speed for a big man, Billings has a chance to become something we rarely see - a playmaking nose tackle with the ability to dominate at the point of attack.

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18

Jack Conklin - OT, Michigan State

Conklin has some physical limitations, but he's got solid technique and exactly the field demeanor that offensive line coaches will be looking for.

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19

Kevin Dodd - DE, Clemson

Dodd already looks the part of an NFL defensive end and his desire to make plays coupled with his physical traits and talent should have him shooting up draft boards.

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20

Robert Nkemdiche - DT, Ole Miss

Nkemdiche's talent and frame are worthy of an early selection, but his lack of high-­end production and character concerns could cause him to slide. With that said, he has the talent to be an impact starter in the league.

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21

Laquon Treadwell - WR, Ole Miss

Treadwell is at his best when he has a clean, two-­way go off the line of scrimmage and he could be a challenging size matchup from the slot. While Ole Miss used him underneath quite a bit, he runs quality downfield routes and has the ball skills needed to become a more vertical receiver than underneath, possession guy.

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22

Carson Wentz - QB, North Dakota State

Wentz is still in a developmental phase after just two years at an FBS program, but has the mental and physical building blocks of a future, franchise quarterback.

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23

Mackensie Alexander - CB, Clemson

Alexander is a difficult evaluation because there are times on tape that he looks vulnerable to quickness off the line of scrimmage and he doesn't have the prototypical size of a top­-end NFL cornerback.

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24

Shaq Lawson - DE, Clemson

Lawson's frame and game are easily translatable to the NFL, but his average athleticism and pass rush skills will likely have teams viewing him as a 3­-4 edge setter or a 4-­3 base end.

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25

Chris Jones - DT, Mississippi State

Ascending prospect whose production this season matched the flashes he showed on tape. Jones has the quickness off the snap to disrupt in the gaps and the strength to control the point of attack.

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26

Jarran Reed - DT, Alabama

Reed's lack of pass rushing ability creates a potential glass­ ceiling on his draft stock; however, teams looking for a battle-­tested run ­stuffer will find an instant upgrade who should be able to come in and start immediately if needed.

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27

Sheldon Rankins - DT, Louisville

Everything about Rankins game screams winning football player. He has been extremely productive as a bull­rusher and edge rusher and he can hold the point of attack or play in gaps.

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28

Emmanuel Ogbah - DE, Oklahoma State

Ogbah's power will serve him well against the run, but he will have to become more skilled as a pass rusher. He can play 3­4 outside linebacker or 4­-3 defensive end, and he might have value inside in sub­packages.

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29

Hassan Ridgeway - DT, Texas

Ridgeway has a rare combination of power and athleticism that give him the potential to impact the game on all three downs. His talent could make him the most impactful defensive tackle to come out of this draft, but his floor is lower than some due to concerns over health and conditioning.

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30

Jordan Howard - RB, Indiana

Howard has the optimal size and talent needed to strap the pads on and become a productive workhorse for a team looking for one, true lead back.

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31

Vernon Butler - DT, Louisiana Tech

Butler has a raw but diverse skillset as a pass rusher that should excite NFL evaluators who see the potential of what he can be with more coaching and experience.

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32

Derrick Henry - RB, Alabama

Henry needs early running room as he's not a creator in the backfield, but once he gets up a full head of steam, he is a nightmare with his ability to punish on the second and third level or take it to the house.

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33

Will Fuller - WR, Notre Dame

Fuller doesn't check all the boxes with his slight frame, below average hands and limitations with his game-­by­-game production, but he possesses the coveted ability to hit the big play and score touchdowns.

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34

Noah Spence - DE, Eastern Kentucky

His issues are well-­documented, but his recovery and turnaround is what has NFL teams excited. Spence has been accountable for his actions and worked just as hard off the field as he has on the field to change his life and attack his problems.

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35

Su'a Cravens - LB, USC

Cravens will help on special teams immediately and could become an early starter for a 4-3 defense looking for a playmaking weak­side linebacker.

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36

Corey Coleman - WR, Baylor

Coleman's issues with drops near the middle of the field could be a concern if teams see him next as a slot receiver due to his lack of size. Regardless, he can line up outside and win and he offers immediate punt return help.

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37

Jonathan Bullard - DT, Florida

Bullard will need to improve his pass rush and add necessary size, but he is an ascending talent whose game should continue to improve at the next level.

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38

Darron Lee - LB, Ohio State

Lee's athletic traits and ability to make plays should make him a starter, but he won't unlock his full potential unless he gets strong enough to handle the rigors of an NFL linebacker.

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39

Willie Henry - DT, Michigan

Henry is an athletic 3­-technique who turns 21 in March and should continue to add functional mass and power to battle and win at the point of attack.

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40

Le'Raven Clark - OT, Texas Tech

Clark is an ascending left tackle prospect with the elite foot quickness and length that NFL teams simply don't pass up for very long. Left tackles with his potential in pass protection carry first-round value and Clark has a Pro Bowl upside with the floor of an average NFL starter.

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41

Scooby Wright III - LB, Arizona

Wright probably won't tear up the combine with eye-popping athletic numbers and his injury-plagued 2015 season put his name on the back­burner as far as draft discussions, but his instincts, production and overall competitive fire make him one of the safer second day bets in this draft.

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42

Austin Johnson - DT, Penn State

Johnson has the lower body power to become a block­-eating nose tackle with the ability to keep linebackers clean, but his energy, pursuit and tackle production show that he is much more than that.

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43

Kyler Fackrell - LB, Utah State

Fackrell's field versatility, coverage talent and potential as a pass rusher could make him one of the fastest rising prospects in this draft and a future contender for a Pro Bowl nod.

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44

Jordan Jenkins - LB, Georgia

Jenkins might not be viewed as dangerous enough as a pass rusher to warrant a first round pick, but he's a safe pick whose toughness and football IQ make him an early starter candidate.

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45

Tyler Boyd - WR, Pittsburgh

Boyd isn't a stand­alone WR1, but he can be a very productive starter in a play-­action attack that allows him to play to his strengths.

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46

Joshua Garnett - OG, Stanford

While he's a plus run blocker, his pass protection issues should not be taken lightly and will have to be vetted with offensive line coaches to make sure they are correctable issues. Garnett should be an early round pick who can come in and start right away.

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47

Kenny Clark - DT, UCLA

Clark's wrestling background gives him a huge leg up at the point of attack and he won't be 21 until October which means he's still filling out his frame. Would benefit from a year of rotational work as he continues to physically mature.

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48

Germain Ifedi - OG, Texas A&M

Ifedi has the tools and traits to become a good NFL offensive linemen if he can avoid the leaning and lunging that plagues him. A move inside combined with NFL coaching could unlock Ifedi's high ceiling.

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49

Charone Peake - WR, Clemson

Peake has the rare combination of size and speed that can often be found in No. 1 wide receivers. While his small hands are a concern, his athleticism and ability to operate on all levels of the field warrant consideration inside the first three rounds if his medicals check out.

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50

Taylor Decker - OT, Ohio State

Decker has the run-blocking prowess and mindset to be a long­time starter at right tackle, but may always be a little leakier in pass protection than offensive line coaches and quarterbacks might like.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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