The 2016 NFL Draft was littered with talent, and not just in the first round. Rookies such as Dak Prescott, Jordan Howard, and Deion Jones all made significant impacts from outside Round 1, proving how deep this draft class really was.
Some teams would like to have their first-round picks back after disappointing rookie seasons – the Vikings, mostly – so we took the liberty of re-drafting the first 31 picks. The draft order was kept the same as it was when Round 1 was completed, so the Rams, after their huge trade with the Titans, are on the clock first.
There were a handful of big risers, led by the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and other rookies who fell out of the first 31 picks. And besides one pick, the top-five picks were all nailed by the teams at the top.
Rams (via Titans): Dak Prescott, QB
The Rams once again address their top need, this time with a much more pro-ready quarterback than Jared Goff. Dak Prescott, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, proved he was the best signal-caller in the class, and worthy of the top overall pick.
Actual pick: Jared Goff, QB
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Eagles (via Browns): Carson Wentz, QB
It was an up-and-down season for Carson Wentz, but the potential is there – and that’s why the Eagles stick with him at No. 2. Now, if only they could surround him with better talent.
Actual pick: Carson Wentz, QB
Chargers: Joey Bosa, DE
The only other player the Chargers would consider here is CB Jalen Ramsey, but Casey Hayward proved to be an outstanding corner. Not to mention, Joey Bosa was a monster who racked up 10.5 sacks in just 12 games.
Actual pick: Joey Bosa, DE
Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, RB
No chance the Cowboys would go in a different direction, even with Jalen Ramsey sitting there for the taking. Ezekiel Elliott was just too good and was a huge reason the Cowboys went 13-3. He’s going to be a top back for the next decade.
Actual pick: Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Brace HemmelgarnBrace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB
Jalen Ramsey had a tremendous rookie season that only got better with time. In just his first year, Ramsey was arguably one of the 10 best cornerbacks in the NFL. He has all the tools to be a shutdown defender.
Actual pick: Jalen Ramsey, CB
Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, OT
The Ravens denied that Laremy Tunsil was their top choice if not for his draft-day free fall due to a leaked video, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been their choice. He played extremely well at guard for the Dolphins, but there’s little doubt he could play left tackle for the Ravens.
Actual pick: Ronnie Stanley, OT
49ers: Jared Goff, QB
This is an ideal scenario for the 49ers, who land the hometown kid in Jared Goff. He had an underwhelming rookie year, but there’s no doubt the 49ers would have rather selected him than enduring a season of Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. Goff has showed signs of being a franchise QB.
Actual pick: DeForest Buckner, DT
Titans (from Browns via Dolphins and Eagles): Jack Conklin, OT
The Titans nailed their first pick in Jack Conklin, who went most of the season without allowing a sack at right tackle. He’s given the Titans a very good duo at tackle alongside Taylor Lewan.
Actual pick: Jack Conklin, OT
Frederick BreedonGetty Images
Bears (via Buccaneers): Michael Thomas, WR
Don’t get it twisted, Leonard Floyd has a high ceiling as a pass rusher. This is more about the Bears knowing Kevin White is injury-prone and Alshon Jeffery may not return in 2018. Michael Thomas would be a great fit in Chicago.
The Giants need help at offensive tackle, and Ronnie Stanley is here to fix that. He would certainly be better than Ereck Flowers at left tackle, which would allow the Giants to kick him inside where he belongs.
Actual pick: Eli Apple, CB
Buccaneers (via Bears): Keanu Neal, S
The Buccaneers proved they need safety help, and while Vernon Hargreaves was a solid rookie, Keanu Neal has Kam Chancellor-type potential. He’d be an enforcer in the middle of the field with the ability to match up with tight ends.
Actual pick: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB
Jonathan BachmanGetty Images
Saints: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB
Sheldon Rankins missed nearly half of his rookie year due to injury, and even when he did return, he wasn’t himself. He’ll be better in 2017, but Hargreaves is too good to pass up here – especially after seeing the Saints struggle against the pass all year.
Actual pick: Sheldon Rankins, DT
Gary Rohman-USA TODAY SportsGary Rohman
Dolphins (via Eagles): Deion Jones, LB
With Tunsil off the board, Deion Jones is the pick for Miami. They struggled against the run this season, and Jones would bring an added element of athleticism to the defense alongside Kiko Alonso. He easily could have been Defensive Rookie of the Year with his 108 tackles, three interceptions and two touchdowns.
Actual pick: Laremy Tunsil, OT
John David MercerUSA TODAY Sports
Raiders: Karl Joseph, S
Karl Joseph showed great potential at safety for the Raiders this season, and there’s no reason for them to change their selection. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to be a very good player for a long time. He may not be Earl Thomas, but he has similar qualities.
Actual pick: Karl Joseph, S
Browns (from Titans via Rams): Paxton Lynch, QB
OK, so we don’t really know what Paxton Lynch is just yet. He could be an All-Pro or he could sit for his first two seasons and develop – no, regress – into Brock Osweiler. However, it’s worth the risk here for the Browns, who saw the RG3 experiment blow up in their face.
Actual pick: Corey Coleman, WR
Lions: Jordan Howard, RB
A second running back in the first round? What is this, 2012? Well, no, but Jordan Howard is well deserving of being a first-round pick, as he showed this season. He was the league’s second-leading rusher behind only fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott. The Lions desperately need help at this position, and have for years. Howard solves that.
Actual pick: Taylor Decker, OT
Falcons: Leonard Floyd, OLB
The Falcons need a pass-rushing specialist to take pressure off of Vic Beasley, and while Leonard Floyd isn’t an ideal fit, he’s absolutely worthy of the No. 17 pick. He would give the Falcons an outstanding duo at outside linebacker.
Actual pick: Keanu Neal, S
Colts: Cody Whitehair, G/C
Three straight Bears? Three straight Bears. The Colts chose a good one in Ryan Kelly, but Cody Whitehair offers more versatility with the ability to play both guard and center. He can help shore up the offensive line that has struggled in recent years. He was terrific for the Bears and would have a similar impact for the Colts – only, with a significantly better quarterback.
Actual pick: Ryan Kelly, C
Bills: DeForest Buckner, DT
Marcell Dareus had a down year, Shaq Lawson was injured for much of the year, and the Bills struggled up front for the most part. DeForest Buckner didn’t have a breakout year by any means, but he’s a good talent and a solid fit in Buffalo’s defense.
Actual pick: Shaq Lawson, DE
Jets: Eli Apple, CB
Eli Apple goes from the Big Apple to … the Big Apple. He lands in the lap of the Jets, who saw Darrelle Revis go from All-Pro to someone who struggled to hold his own as the second-best corner on the team. Apple was solid for the Giants this season and got better as the year went on.
Actual pick: Darron Lee, LB
Rob LeiterGetty Images
Texans (via Redskins): Tyreek Hill, WR
The Texans’ defense was one of the best in the NFL, allowing the fewest yards of any team. The offense, on the other hand, was not. They could have used a sparkplug like Tyreek Hill, who was a dynamic playmaker for the Chiefs.
Actual pick: Will Fuller, WR
Denny MedleyDenny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins (via Texans): Chris Jones, DE/DT
Josh Doctson has a world of talent and it’s seriously unfortunate he lost his rookie year to injury. Chris Jones was a solid pickup for the Chiefs and would be a much-needed run-stopper for the Redskins.
Actual pick: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.AP
Vikings: Taylor Decker, OT
The Vikings had major issues at both tackle spots, and Laquon Treadwell was the biggest bust of the 2016 class thus far. Taylor Decker could at least shore up the left side in place of Matt Kalil, which would keep one of the four pass rushers off of Sam Bradford for at least a split-second.
Actual pick: Laquon Treadwell, WR
Bengals: Artie Burns, CB
William Jackson III has a high ceiling, and his injury was one of the most unfortunate of the season. Artie Burns and his ability to play press would fit nicely in Cincinnati, proving to be a much better player than he was originally thought to be early in the season. Burns is an athletic specimen at cornerback.
Actual pick: William Jackson III, CB
Aaron DosterAaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Steelers: Noah Spence, DE
Noah Spence came into the NFL with character concerns, but he stayed clean in his rookie year and was productive on the field. The Steelers are in need of a pass rusher to go along with Bud Dupree and the immortal James Harrison, seeking a young spark on the edge. Spence is exactly that.
Actual pick: Artie Burns, CB
Broncos (via Seahawks): Su’a Cravens, LB/S
The Broncos lost Danny Trevathan in the offseason, leaving a hole at inside linebacker. They also could use safety depth, which Su’a Cravens also provides. He would be a versatile weapon for Wade Phillips and would be a weapon with that dominant pass rush around him.
Actual pick: Paxton Lynch, QB
Packers: Darron Lee, LB
The Packers need to get more athletic at linebacker with Jake Ryan struggling to stop the run. Darron Lee is exactly that, and while he was inconsistent, he has the potential to be a similar player to Ryan Shazier.
Actual pick: Kenny Clark, DT
49ers (via Chiefs): Corey Coleman, WR
The 49ers had the worst receiving unit in all of football, and while quarterback play wasn’t much better, they desperately need playmakers on the outside. Corey Coleman is a precise route runner who gets open with ease, which would help Jared Goff on his quick, underneath throws.
Actual pick: Joshua Garnett, G
They traded a first-round pick for a Super Bowl ring. They’re good.
Geoff BurkeGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals: Hunter Henry, TE
Jermaine Gresham played 72 percent of offensive snaps this season, but only caught 37 passes for 391 yards. Hunter Henry was a big part of the Chargers’ offense and is a real threat in the passing game. He would open up the Cardinals’ offense greatly.
James Bradberry got off to a rough start this season, but he rebounded to put together a strong performance against Julio Jones late in the year. Considering his play this year, it’d be hard to bet he’d be available in Round 2. Bradberry is a good value in the first.
Actual pick: Vernon Butler, DT
Jeremy BrevardJeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Seahawks: Joe Thuney, OG
The versatile lineman would help greatly in pass protection on an offensive line that was atrocious in 2016. He was a steal for the Patriots in Round 3, starting all 16 games for the Patriots. He’d be an upgrade over Germain Ifedi.