We’re still three months out from the 2016 NFL Draft, but it’s never too early to get a head start. Last season in college football, we were witnesses to a host of talented sophomore and junior players that could be early picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. Some of these players spurned the 2016 draft to return for their senior season while others will likely enter the draft in their first year of eligibility.
Note: The draft order is taken from the latest 2017 Super Bowl odds via Las Vegas SuperBook.
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jared Goff, QB, California
Myles Garrett will likely be a Top-3 pick in the 2017 Draft and might even grade out as a better pass rusher than Jadeveon Clowney.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Deshaun Watson will be the No. 1 quarterback in the 2017 draft and he would fit perfectly into Chip Kelly’s scheme in San Francisco.
3. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Running backs will be a hot commodity in the 2017 draft and Leonard Fournette is the best of the bunch. He’s worthy of a Top-5 pick.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cameron Robinson, OT, Alabama
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Bucs took Donovan Smith in the 2015 draft, but they can’t afford to pass up Cam Robinson here to protect Jameis Winston’s blindside for the next decade.
5. San Diego Chargers – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Juju Smith-Schuster is a phenomenal wide receiver and will draw Dez Bryant-comparisons before the 2017 draft.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Derek Barnett didn’t live up to his phenomenal freshman campaign in 2015, but is still one of the best pass rushers in college football.
7. Oakland Raiders – Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
2016 Mock Draft Pick – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
McDowell will be perhaps the best interior defensive lineman in college football in 2016 and would be phenomenal when paired with Khalil Mack.
8. Miami Dolphins – Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Vernon Hargreaves got all of the hype, but Jalen Tabor quietly dominated the SEC as the Gators’ other star cornerback.
9. Los Angeles Rams – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Mike Williams sat out most of 2015 due to a neck injury, but proved as a sophomore that he’s a future NFL starter. If healthy, he should be drafted high in 2017.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Michigan has used Jabrill Peppers on both offense and defense, but he can thrive in the NFL as a strong safety.
11. Washington Redskins – Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville
Tre’Davious White decided to return to LSU for his senior season and could easily be a Top-10 pick if he improves his game.
12. New Orleans Saints – Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor
Brad Kaaya has been an underrated quarterback in college football and scouts have praised his ability to handle the terrible situation at Miami. He would be in a great situation sitting behind a veteran starter and learning for a year or two.
13. Detroit Lions – Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida
Calvin Johnson is retiring and if the Lions don’t address wide receiver early in 2016, they could take on early here. Dupre has been underutilized at LSU because they don’t have a quarterback, but has shown flashes of his five-star ability.
14. Chicago Bears – Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Another defensive lineman from the Missouri factory, Charles Harris would be perfect as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
15. Atlanta Falcons – Jamal Adams, S, LSU
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Another LSU defensive back, Adams has the size (6-1, 211 lbs.) and coverage ability to be a high-quality safety at the next level.
16. New York Jets – Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
“Big Rod” Johnson took over as a true freshman for Florida State and has all the tools to be a future NFL starter.
17. New York Giants – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Jonathan Allen spurned the draft to return for his senior season and should be a first-round pick in 2017.
18. Houston Texans – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
2016 Mock Draft Pick: A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
It’s likely that Arian Foster has seen his last days as a Texan so they grab the explosive Dalvin Cook to be his replacement.
19. Buffalo Bills – Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Montravius Adams returned to Auburn for his senior season and should continue to showcase the dominant ability that made him a five-star prospect out of high school.
20. Baltimore Ravens – Desmond King, CB, Iowa
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
The 2015 Thorpe Award Winner is returning for his senior season and should be one of the first defensive backs off the board in 2017.
21. Minnesota Vikings – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
With Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks already established, they can grab the instinctive Jarrad Davis to be their weakside linebacker.
22. Kansas City Chiefs – Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Darron Lee got all of the hype last season, but Raekwon McMillan should receive more attention in 2016 after becoming a star inside linebacker for the Buckeyes.
23. Indianapolis Colts – Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
A track star and Olympic hopeful, Adoree Jackson has a high ceiling as an NFL cornerback if he decides to pursue a career in the NFL over track.
24. Denver Broncos – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford
O.J. Howard has a chance to go a lot higher in the 2017 draft if he produces like the way he did in the national championship game.
25. Dallas Cowboys – Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Samaje Perine has been one of the best running backs in college football over the past two years and has game-changing strength and speed.
26. Cincinnati Bengals – Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
Da’Shawn Hand has been a backup for Alabama so far, but should have a breakout season in 2016 as he shows the country why he was a Top-5 recruit in the nation.
27. Arizona Cardinals – Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
Tim Williams burst onto the scene in 2015 as a situational pass rusher for Alabama and should dominate in 2016 as a full-time starter.
28. Green Bay Packers – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
2016 Mock Draft Pick: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
Ronnie Stanley moves on to the NFL, which means talented senior Mike McGlinchey will take over at left tackle.
29. Seattle Seahawks – Marquez White, CB, Florida State
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama
Jalen Ramsey was the superstar for Florida State, but Marquez White was quietly one of the best cover corners in the country.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
A former five-star prospect, Quin Blanding has a high ceiling as an NFL safety.
31. New England Patriots – Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
2016 Mock Draft Pick: N/A due to DeflateGate
Nick Chubb suffered a serious leg injury in 2015, but should return healthy by the time the 2017 draft rolls around. He was a star as a true freshman and should draw Todd Gurley-comparisons.
32. Carolina Panthers – Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
2016 Mock Draft Pick: Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
Carl Lawson returned to Auburn for his senior year, mainly because of injuries, but should continue to dominate the SEC when healthy.