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Crystal Ball: Top prospects for 2016 NFL Draft


The Sports Xchange

With the 2015 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, there is no time like the present to break out the crystal ball and take a look at the top potential prospects 12 months from now. An early look at potential standouts for the 2016 NFL Draft:

Top 10 Senior Prospects

1. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: The Penn State-transfer recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in his first starting season and likely would have been a top 10 pick in 2015. His goal? Be the No. 1 overall pick in 2016.

2. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: Strong-armed, confident and a proven winner who could have gone in the first round in 2015 but was clearly behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Could lead the pack next year and has Sparty set up for a possible title run.

3. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: It’s not often that a 6-7, 290-pounder leads a team with Oregon’s speed in tackles for loss. With greater strength, Buckner is a first-round candidate.

4. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: An underrated factor in the success of Ohio State’s revolving door at quarterback.

5. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State: Productive edge rusher who could fly up draft boards with greater strength, consistency in 2015.

6. D’haquille Williams, WR, Auburn: Teammate Sammie Coates was Auburn’s most explosive receiver but “Duke” was the most reliable in his first season, showing terrific strength and hand-eye coordination.

7. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Made correct decision in returning to refine his game. Flashes NFL-caliber poise, accuracy.

8. Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Teams are hesitant to invest early picks in blockers from spread attacks but Drango’s frame, feet and strength are impressive.

9. Max Tuerk, OC/OT, Southern Cal: The former LT showed rare athleticism in his switch to center and should prove more consistent in 2015.

10. Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame: Quick and powerful, Day is a difference-maker in the middle for the Irish.

Top 10 Underclassmen

1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: Dominated Oregon in the national championship like he did everyone else last season, recording 21.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Explosive, relentless and a future top-5 pick.

2. Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA: Jack’s blend of size, physicality and agility would earn him first-round grades at outside linebacker or running back.

3. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: Might have been the top offensive tackle off the board in 2015. Scouts want to see more strength.

4. Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida: Considered the SEC’s best cover corner in 2014 as a true sophomore, Hargreaves could be a top-10 pick.

5. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: More fundamentally sound at this point than Hargreaves but not as athletic, Fuller would be quite the consolation prize if he doesn’t overtake his Florida counterpart.

6. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: Former teammate Justin Gilbert was a surprising eighth overall pick in 2014. The well-built and crafty Ogbah could match that high grade in 2015.

7. Kenny Anderson, DT, UCLA: Overshadowed at UCLA but he won’t be for much longer. Quick off the ball, powerful and tenacious.

8. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: Star edge rusher only needs to add a little more mass and strength to his lanky frame to fulfill his potential as a first-round pick.

9. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi: Wasn’t as dominant as a sophomore as he was in 2013. Has a combination of quickness and power that has earned comparisons to Lions All-Pro Ndamukong Suh.

10. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi: Must prove healthy after suffering an ugly leg injury (broken leg, dislocated ankle) in November but has all the tools to be an No. 1 receiver in the NFL when healthy.

–Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with

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