NCAA

Possible Top-Five Overall Players Available For the 2016 NFL Draft

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It is never too early to look ahead and gauge the next group of collegiate players that will eventually rise to the top of the NFL Draft. The 2015 NFL Draft is still fresh and barely a month old and already the anticipation to find next years batch of elite prospects is well underway. Each NFL scouting department has that list in hand and will watch closely if the perceived values of the players listed below match the end product likely to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

The list below does not include any quarterbacks due to the fact this list was based solely on the actual prospect overall and not the position. If this was a mock draft (which it is not), then both Michigan State signal-caller Connor Cook or Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg would be penciled in on the list of top prospects. This particular list focuses on the player themselves and their overall value on how they are perceived before the 2015 college season begins.

Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 285 lbs

 

The Buckeyes’ pass rusher aims to be fourth Ohio State player ever selected with the No. 1 overall pick. He displays a furious demeanor on the field. His non-stop revving engine is the hallmark of his game that leads to his other top qualities of playing behind the line of scrimmage and being a disruptive force on a consistent basis. A Scout five-start prospect, Bosa earned the No. 4 overall ranking at his position prior to his arrival in Columbus. He started 10 games as a freshman (2013) and in his sophomore season he was the leader and key component to Ohio State winning the first-ever College Football Playoff. In his two seasons at Ohio State, Bosa has recorded 21 sacks and 33.5 tackles-for-loss.

 

Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 203 lbs.

 

The best safety prospect since Sean Taylor left the Miami Hurricanes to go pro in 2004. Ramsey may duplicate if not exceed Taylor’s selection (fifth overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft if he elects to leave the Seminoles as a junior. Ramsey is not a one-trick pony as he displays the range and speed to cover deep and be a force in run support. One of the best traits he possesses is his knack to raise the level of play of those around him. He became the first true freshman to start at cornerback since Deion Sanders in 1985 as he played in all 14 games for the Seminoles National Championship team. Ramsey also thrives on the track being a three-time All-ACC honoree as a member of the Florida State Indoor and Outdoor championship track and field team. He placed third in the long jump at both the indoor and outdoor ACC Track and Field Championships and ran a leg on the conference champion 4×100 relay team at the outdoor meet.

 

Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 185 lbs

In order to be great first you must make great plays. There has to be those early moments in a career where you wow the crowd and lift your team and bring the fans to their feet. That is the exact way to describe Pitt’s junior receiver Tyler Boyd.

Panthers’ former head coach Paul Chryst said, “I’ve learned not to be surprised by Tyler,” reflecting on the abilities Boyd possesses.

If he played at Alabama he’d be mentioned in the same breath as Oakland Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper. Boyd has already broken several of Larry Fitzgerald’s school records and enters his junior season primed to set the ACC on fire. He has astonishing hand-eye coordination and the ability to precisely plant his feet and make a tip-toe catch and avoid going out of bounds. Boyd also excels on special teams adding to his lethal return ability which can put points on the board. The quarterback play and overall record at the Pitt may hamper his visibility nationwide, but NFL scouts already know he ranks near to top of up-coming prospects.

 

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 194 lb.

Hargreaves III, does not possess ideal size but his technique to simply shutdown opposing receivers is second to none at the collegiate level. In the summer of 2013 he arrived in Gainesville, Florida and quickly established himself as the team’s best defensive back. He started the final 10 games of his freshman season and earned first team All-American honors by the Sporting News, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. There was absolutely no sophomore slump for Hargreaves III as he ranked first in the SEC with 13 pass breakups and second on the Gators defense with three interceptions.

 

Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 317 lbs

Most likely the top ranked senior to come off the board in next year’s NFL Draft, Stanley looks to follow in the footsteps of the player he replaced for the Fighting Irish, current Cowboys guard Zack Martin. During the team’s Blue-Gold Game, Stanley caught a 14-yard pass which prompted head coach Brian Kelly to joke, “Well, the only way he was going to come back for a fifth year was if I put that play in. That was the sealer. As we were going back and forth on academics and he was really committed to Notre Dame for a lot of reasons, the number one reason for him coming back was to get that football today. I’m kidding.”

Besides displaying some decent hands, it is in the trenches where Stanley will rise up this season and make a possible run at the No. 1 overall selection. Stanley is proportioned to the exact measurables NFL teams covet. Some of his best plays are shown at the second level where he has the athleticism to get up-field and continue to finish blocks.


About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.