2016 NFL DRAFT : TOP 40 PROSPECTS
By Tyler Lurkins
1. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame-Smith is a special talent with a knack for getting to the ball. A supreme defender who can play ILB or OLB in a 43, or ILB or rush LB in a 34, Smith will make an instant impact in the NFL.
2. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss-He’s definitely not putting up the numbers, but on a poor team, and being double/tripled teamed, Nkemdiche is still holding his own. He moves so well for his size and withstands the constant attention he gets from blockers. In the NFL he can be a dominate 5 tech, or a gap shooting under tackle.
3. Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida-Hargreaves won’t wow many with his size, but he consistently shadows receivers, is rarely beat, and athletically can make any play.
4. Ezekial Elliott, RB, Ohio St.-Hands down, Elliott is the best RB in this draft. This draft lacks elite talent that can become instant all pros. No matter what scheme Elliott plays in, he shows the vision, footwork, and reliability to be a feature back.
5. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio St.-I like Bosa. What I need to see more of is athletic ability vs. raw strength. The frame is great, and he should have NFL strength, but he reminds me of a Chris Long, a talent in college, but a slightly above average pro.
6. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida St.-No doubt Ramsey is raw at corner, but you no one can look past his capabilities on a body that large. Versatility is a big key as well. In the right scheme, Ramsey will be an instant fit, and will be a true shut down guy as he develops.
7. Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame-Definitely the prototype size, Stanley plays balanced, but is excels more at run blocking. I see him as a stiffer lineman, but has the footwork to adjust and deflect. He can start right away at LT.
8. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon-Menacing size, combined with surprising agility, make Buckner a force to be reckoned with. For his long frame, he shows strength at the point of attack to clog the run game, but yet captures the edge as a pass rusher.
9. Laremy Tunsil, T, Ole Miss-Tunsil shows very fluid footwork, TREMODOUS explosion, and amazing agility to be a top blocker BUT comes with a ton of question marks. If he can show a decent combine performance, by all means he’s the first one off the board on draft day. He’s listed at 6’5” 305 lbs. I see a smaller frame than that. Watch the tape, watch as he doesn’t extend his arms out, he cradles the pass rusher in his body, that will get him knocked over in the NFL. Again in the tapes, watch how many times he’s pulling or getting chip blocks, as opposed to being 1 on 1 in space with an elite pass rusher. I don’t see the functional strength he will need to ward off 5 tech ends, or the arm length for the top speed rushers of the NFL. He his measurements are true, and he has a good wingspan, he’s great in my book. Right now, I see a pro bowl guard, and I rank him as such. All of this, and I’m not even getting started on character concerns.
10. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA-What stands out about Jack is his stunning athletic ability. He’s a sideline to sideline player and always finds the ball. He can play ILB in schemes, but will excel as a 43 WLB. With his coverage skills, a team may try to convert him to a feared SS.
11. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson-Lawson’s value will really shine if he can be a rush LB in a 34. Lawson destroyed Ronnie Stanley and has been one of the biggest disruptors in college football.
12. Christian Hackeburg, QB, Penn St.-If you didn’t stop reading after Tunsil, you might now. Look, Hackenburg is a bit of whiner, but you would be to after the carousel of coaches he went through. He has the arm. He has the accuracy. He understands a pro style offense. Do yourself a favor, and watch Hackenburg as he was being coached by Bill O’Brein. The opposite of Tunsil, I’ll bounce Hackenburg right off this list if he does poorly on post season workouts.
13. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson-Slight in stature, but Alexander brings the heat. He’s very aggressive and will be a star on teams like Pittsburgh or St. Louis
14. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St.-Naturally QB’s will always go high, and Cook should be the safest pick. He understands opposing defenses. Most importantly, he knows how to play under center and shines in the spotlight.
15. Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor-Billings is a gap shooting DT who gets after whomever has the ball. There’s a lot of Aaron Donald in him, but he’ll need show he can plug the run as well.
16. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss-Treadwell is a solid WR. He’s sneaky fast, but not overly explosive. His route running and hands are NFL plug and play material, but will he maintain the separation in the NFL?
17. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St.-Ogbah is a steady player who you can almost guarantee a sack from each game. Two years of consistency show the Ogbah is no fluke, and he has the size to over power smaller lineman.
18. Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky-Spence comes with more baggage than most players in recent years. However, he’s so gifted, and has maintained behavior, a team may be willing to take a risk. Spence is an edge rushing specialist. In an NFL uniform, he’ll be the guy that everyone is watching.
19. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh-I just can’t give up on Boyd. Pitt played a rough schedule this year. With an injured star RB and an average QB, Boyd’s production just dropped off. He is an elite route runner with sure hands. I’ll need to see a 40 time, but he has burnt every corner in the ACC.
20. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU-Great size, great toughness, and decent speed. White is a press man type of corner who can start day 1 in the NFL.
21. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis-Lynch is tough one to place. That size has scouts drooling. His arm is cannon. Yet that spread offense makes good QB’s, great. The reads are easy, knowing a defense isn’t a priority, and space is abundant.
22. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska-Collins is an explosive 300 pounder. That’s a highly coveted description for a DT in the NFL. A lot of his production comes from pairing with equally disruptive Kevin Maurice, but it proves Collins is a great complimentary player in the middle who will beat one on one blocking.
23. Vadal Alexander, G, LSU-Many guards are often deemed unimportant, but Alexander may be one of the more ferocious blockers in the college ranks. He has the ability to play both guard spots, right tackle, and in absolute pinch, he can play LT as well.
24. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama-Robinson is shooting up boards. With his Dontari Poe type of play. He’s a mammoth run stuffer, but is becoming more impactful as a pass rusher as well. Definitely worth the pick in the top 15, he’s just a bit raw for my taste.
25. Taylor Decker, T, Ohio St.-Decker isn’t overly explosive, he’s just your blue collar LT that gets the job done. A very aggressive run blocker, he needs to show better footwork to be a top pass blocker.
26. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor-As the talent dwindles in the first round, finding an extreme speedster who can stretch the field is always a good pick. Coleman is a smallish prospect with unrivaled speed.
27. Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson-Talk about a speedster who can lay the wood! Kearse is an exciting, but very unpolished product.
28. Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA-Clark may be the best run stuffer in the nation, but that doesn’t make you a highly sought after prospect. Clark does show great burst, he seems to lose his stride as he diagnoses the play. A definite prospect who will be very solid, he may not be a star in the near future.
29. Jared Goff, QB, Cal-Goff has a golden arm, but throws a ton of picks in the air raid offense. Not only does he need to be coached to playing under center, reading defenses, making sharper decisions, and gaining knowledge of the route tree, he’s a very wispy prospect who may see some injuries in the NFL.
30. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama-A punishing runner who has the speed to escape, Henry can be your bell cow back, or provide a great compliment to a shifty runner.
31. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michgan St.-Calhoun is the leader on this stellar defense. What impresses me most is his improvements from year to year. A definite first round prospect.
32. Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama-Ragland only has a home as 34 ILB. His coverage skills just won’t cut the mustard. Yet he can play up and down the line, diagnose, and penetrate to the ball carrier.
33. Germain Ifedi, T, Texas A and M-Ifedi could be stud in a zone system. He isn’t overly athletic, but is strong at the point of attack and can flow laterally. Probably best suited as a guard or RT in the NFL.
34. Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio St.-Washington isn’t overly productive, but has shown the ability to be play multiple spots on the D line, and fulfill his role. When he’s able to pin his ears back, Washington is a spectacular one gap pass rusher.
35. Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia-If you’re on top of the 2nd round and need a pass rushing specialist, Floyd could be a great prospect for you. He isn’t big enough to be a 3 down LB, and struggles in coverage. However, he flies off the edge as good as anybody in the draft.
36. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson-If you’re looking for a big, physical, tough WR who can make plays, Williams is your guy. In the new breed of big receivers (Benjamin, Jeffries, Funchess, Brandon Coleman) Williams will get plenty of looks.
37. Josh Augusta, DT, Missouri-Look out for this guy. At 350 lbs, Augusta is a mammoth in the middle who has a ton of strength, athleticism, and explosion.
38. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio St.-A very stout defender who excels in coverage, Lee could be terrific in a cover 2 defense.
39. Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama-A steady contributor, Reed’s athleticism is masked a bit by his scheme responsibilities. Reed can be a starter anywhere on the D line.
40. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio St.-Thomas is a gritty WR who can climb the ladder and get to the ball. Poor QB play has hurt his film, but he could be a very solid #2 in the NFL.