NFL Draft 2016 – The Top Five Picks?
It’s never too early to think about the 2016 NFL Draft, especially if you happen to be the Detroit Lions or the Tennessee Titans. Each team has just one win as the 2015 season hits its midpoint. History has shown that teams that start the season with just one win in their first four games (Detroit had none), do not make the playoffs. Teams that do not make the playoffs, or know that they don’t really have a shot at the playoffs, start thinking about next year. Next year starts with drafting some quality players. Here’s a look at which college players may be the first five picked in 2016’s draft.
- Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
Depending upon who has the first pick in the draft, Bosa, like any of these five, could be the top pick. His selection also depends upon whether or not he decides to forgo his senior year at Ohio State. Bosa is a 6-foot-6, 275-pound behemoth of a defensive end with a motor that just doesn’t quit. He was a first team All-Big Ten pick as well as a unanimous All-American as a sophomore in 2014 as the Buckeyes won a national championship. With the importance placed upon rushing the passer in the NFL, Bosa is a talent in the mold of J.J. Watt.
- Laremy Tunsil, OT Ole Miss
Again, Tunsil is just a junior but could decide to go pro after the Rebels season. It’s been a trying season for the 6-5, 305-pound Tunsil who missed the season’s first seven games after being named All-SEC as a sophomore. He was accused of taking improper benefits from agents by his stepfather. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze suspended Tunsil who was later suspended by the NCAA. In his first game back, Tunsil held the highly regarded Myles Garrett of Texas A&M to zero sacks as the Rebels dominated and beat the Aggies, 23-3.
- Vernon Hargreaves, CB Florida
Another junior who will likely turn pro, Hargreaves III was a first team All-SEC selection as a freshman and as a sophomore last year. After last season, he was also named a first team All-American. Hargreaves III has the ability to lock down a team’s best receiver. At 5-11 and almost 200 pounds, the Florida star has the size to match up with some of the NFL’s bigger receivers. He also possesses the speed to run with them. There are plenty of teams in search of the next Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis. Hargreaves III has that kind of talent and, as a result, is a likely top five pick in next year’s draft.
- Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE Ole Miss
Yet another junior, Nkemdiche is a rare talent. A starter as a true freshman, Nkemdiche is 6-4, 296 pounds, and can run. He runs well enough that Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze has used him in the backfield on offense. Nkemdiche was the nation’s No. 1 recruit coming out of high school and could very well be the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was a first team All-SEC pick last year and a second-team AP All-American. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and will likely be a finalist for several end-of-the-season awards this year. His stock will rise even higher if Ole Miss can somehow win the SEC title.
- Jared Goff, QB Cal
If there is a quarterback taken in the top five picks, it will likely be Goff. Like the rest of the top five, Goff is a junior. His numbers at Cal have been impressive. He started as a true freshman and last year threw for almost 4,000 yards. So far this season, Goff has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 2,537 yards and 22 touchdowns. The knock against Goff is that he hasn’t performed his best in big games. Against Utah this season, he completed just 53 percent of his passes and threw five interceptions. After starting the season 5-0, Cal lost three in a row. In two of those games, including Utah, Goff threw for multiple interceptions. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, Goff has the type of frame that pro teams like. He also has the arm strength.
While it is still early, these five players should find themselves drafted in the first round when the NFL holds its annual draft in May of next year. There are a few other names that may find themselves in the top five as well. Michigan State QB Connor Cook or Memphis QB Paxton Lynch could be the first quarterback taken. Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley is a mountain of an offensive tackle and Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey can play either safety or cornerback. There is still plenty of college football left and half of a season in the NFL remaining. Still, it’s just never too early to think about the NFL Draft.