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Which NCAA teams have the best pro prospects for 2016?

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The college football season is on the horizon and that means it is almost time for the rampant analyzation of how each player projects to the NFL. Each snap will be heavily criticized throughout the year as each player tries to play their way into an opportunity with the NFL.

Most teams have a couple players who have the talent to play in the NFL, but some teams are loaded with NFL talent. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best teams in college football, it just means they have the most players who project well to the NFL.

For example, Trevone Boykin may be the best quarterback in college football; however, he doesn’t project well to the NFL. Therefore, he doesn’t really count toward TCU’s best pro prospects.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few teams who should hear their names called often in the 2016 NFL draft.

Ohio State Buckeyes

When you’re looking at the teams with the best draft-eligible talent, you have to start with the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes have the most talented team in college football and it isn’t relatively close. The Buckeyes have upwards of 13 players who have a legitimate chance to get drafted in the 2016 NFL draft.

On offense, it all starts with Cardale Jones, who may not even start when the season begins. Jones has all the physical traits you want in a quarterback, but you want to see a bigger sample size. After Jones, the Buckeyes have arguably the best running back in college football with Ezekiel Elliot who is a bulldozer with great speed and vision.

The Buckeyes have even reloaded at wide receiver with Mike Thomas and Corey Smith who both will likely hear their names called on draft day. At tight end, Nick Vannett is one of the best in the country and could vie for one of the first tight ends taken. On the offensive line, Taylor Decker is getting a lot of early round hype at this point.

On defense, the Buckeyes are truly stacked with a ton of talent on all three levels of the defense. First and foremost, they have possibly the best player in college football, Joey Bosa. He is a force against the run and pass as he uses his raw strength and fantastic hand usage to wreck opposing linemen. Next to Bosa, Adolphus Washington is another big-time talent who will undoubtedly rise up boards this season. At the second-level of the defense, Darrion Lee looks to be a fantastic “Will” linebacker prospect much like former Buckeye Ryan Shazier.

Next to Lee, Joshua Perry is another fantastic linebacker who will get a lot of buzz as the process goes on. The secondary is led by safety Von Bell, who could be the second best safety in college football behind Jalen Ramsey. Even redshirt sophomore Eli Apple would likely be drafted if he declared after this season.

Overall, the Buckeyes are stacked with draft-eligible talent and that will undoubtedly carry over to when the draft rolls around next year.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Another fixture in the NFL draft is the Nick Saban-led Alabama Crimson Tide. As always, Alabama has a ton of talent on defense, led by defensive end Jonathan Allen. Last year, Allen burst onto to the season with 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. In a down edge-defender class, Allen could hear his name called early on in the 2016 NFL draft. Another edge-defender who could see himself rise up boards is Ryan Anderson who takes over Xzavier Dickson.

Linebacker Reggie Ragland is one of the best linebackers in college football. he is a dominant run defender who doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to work in space. On the interior defensive line, Jarron Reed may be on the best defensive tackles in college football as he routinely wrecks opposing interior offensive linemen. A’Shawn Robinson is one of the few defensive linemen who can take up space and penetrate into backfields.

On offense, the Crimson Tide are loaded at running back. Derrick Henry may be the most athletic running back in college football and Kenyon Drake is an underrated back who may warrant a mid-to-late round selection. At tight end, O.J. Howard is a fantastic receiver who needs to work on his blocking.

Overall, the Crimson Tide have reloaded once again and you will undoubtedly hear their name a lot come draft day.

Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss may have the most top end draft eligible talent in college football. Laremy Tunsil, LaQuan Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche all have the potential to be top-10 picks in the 2016 NFL draft. Tunsil may be the best offensive tackle in college football with his fluid feet and great hand placement. Treadwell is a Dez Byrant-esque receiver who is physical with fantastic hands. Nkemdiche is an extremely strong defensive tackle who bullies opposing offensive linemen.

Evan Engram may be the best draft-eligible tight end in college football. he has a knack for getting open in the middle of the field and he is a fantastic red-zone threat. Tony Connors is an underrated safety prospect who could see himself rise throughout the process.

C.J. Johnson is undersized, but he could be a great pass-rush specialist in the NFL because of his speed and ability to bend the edge.

Overall, Ole Miss may not have the depth of talent of Ohio State or Alabama, but their top-five can match any team in college football.

Baylor Bears

Baylor isn’t known for their ability to send players to the NFL, but Art Briles has done a fantastic job of recruiting and developing draft-eligible talent in recent years.

The name that every knows is the menacing Shawn Oakman. His body looks like it is built from granite as he towers over opposing players with his terrifying frame. As a player, Oakman is still raw in terms of his hand usage and pass-rush moves, but his physical talent alone may get him drafted early in the 2015 draft. While Oakman gets the majority of the hype, Andrew Billings may be the better NFL talent. Billings is a fantastic athlete who routinely gets into backfields to cause disruption.

On offense, Spencer Drango may be the biggest name, but he will likely have to kick inside to guard at the next level. Drango is a powerful player who creates a lot of movement at the point of attack.

On the outside, Corey Coleman is a bit undersized, but he is an elite athlete. Coleman is one of the best players with the ball in his hands and you can bet that Baylor will find a way to get it in his hands a lot this season. Another great athlete on offense who will likely hear his name called on draft day is Shock Linwood. He doesn’t do well in confined spaces, but when he gets the ball in open space, watch out.

Baylor doesn’t have the type of talent as the other teams on the list, but you can be sure than NFL scouts will pay just as much attention to them as the others.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com