2016 NFL mock draft includes seven Buckeyes
If NFL.com draft expert Dane Brugler has any say in the matter, the Buckeyes will be making some history come May 2016.
Brugler had seven Ohio State players being selected in the first round of his 2016 NFL mock draft, which would break Miami’s record of six for most players from one school taken in the opening round.
Among the Buckeyes Brugler tabbed as first rounders were No. 1 overall pick Joey Bosa, Cardale Jones (11), Ezekiel Elliott (15), Taylor Decker (21), Michael Thomas (26), Darron Lee (29) and Adolphus Washington (32).
Ohio State wasn’t the only team that got love on Brugler’s big board. Michigan State had Connor Cook (8), Jack Conklin (17), Shilique Calhoun (24) all taken in the first round.
The 10 B1G selections tied the SEC for the most first-rounders of any conference.
Here’s what Brugler had to say about each of them:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: The Bucs invested heavily on the offensive side in last spring’s draft, but that theme should switch to defense in the 2016 class. After missing the opener due to suspension, Bosa was active all day vs. Hawaii, showing power, quickness and veteran savvy few 20 year olds possess.
8. Houston Texans — Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: Two seasons in Houston for Bill O’Brien as head coach and he’s still searching for a quarterback. He passed on Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and others in the 2014 class, but likely won’t let that happen again if Cook is available for the Texans next spring.
11. Buffalo Bills — Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State: Tyrod Taylor has flashed some exciting moments as Buffalo’s starting quarterback, but is he the long-term answer? I’m not sold. And I’m not sold on Cardale Jones at the NFL level, but teams love his physical traits, which will drive up his value as a prospect.
15. Chicago Bears — Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: With Matt Forte, who turns 30 years old in December, set to hit free agency after the 2015 season, the Bears could be looking for his replacement next offseason. Elliott has a fantastic blend of balance, vision and quickness for the position and is the rare running back prospect worth top 20 consideration.
17. Detroit Lions — Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: While Riley Rieff has one of the offensive tackle spots locked down for the Lions, the other side isn’t nearly as secure. Conklin isn’t a quick-twitch blocker, but he is a quick-thinker with the core strength that makes it impossible for rushers to go through him.
21. Carolina Panthers — Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: The Panthers are relying on stopgap options like Michael Oher to protect Cam Newton, but Carolina can’t ignore offensive tackle much longer in the first round. Decker has his issues, mostly with pad level, but he moves well for the position with a physical demeanor to be a people-mover in the run game.
24. Cincinnati Bengals — Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State: The Bengals finished dead-last in the NFL last season in team sacks (20) and Cincinnati should be looking for upgrades next offseason at defensive end. Calhoun has shown improvement each of his seasons in East Lansing and could parlay a productive senior campaign into a top 32 draft pick.
26. Seattle Seahawks — Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State: With Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette hitting free agency after the 2015 season, Thomas would give the Seahawks a dependable X, Y and Z with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Thomas.
28. Dallas Cowboys — Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State: Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott are options for the Cowboys in the first round, but both are off the board in this scenario. The Cowboys were ready to draft Ryan Shazier in the 2014 NFL Draft before he was drafted the pick before so Lee, who replaced Shazier at SAM linebacker for the Buckeyes, will likely be high on Dallas’ draft board.
32. Green Bay Packers — Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State: Opposing rushers averaged 4.3 yards per carry against the Packers in 2014, which ranked near the bottom of the league. Washington is a stout run defender who has improved every season since he arrived in Columbus.