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2016 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock releases his first positional rankings

Mayock speaks, we listen.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine is under two weeks away, so NFL Networks draft expert Mike Mayock released his first position-by-position rankings for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Does your favorite prospect make the list?

Let's take a look at Mayock's rankings.


1. Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

2. Jared Goff, California

3. Paxton Lynch, Memphis

4. Connor Cook, Michigan State

5. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State


Mayock ranks North Dakota State's Carson Wentz as his stop quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. Following Wentz is Cal's Jared Goff and Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. These three quarterbacks are your sure-fire first round picks in the draft. All the conversation through the draft process will be about these three and how you rank them.

I expect the 4th and 5th spots to change a few times through this process, but right now Michigan State's Connor Cook and Miss States Dak Prescott are those guys.

With the Broncos potentially needed a quarterback this offseason, this will be an area to keep an eye on.

Running back

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

2. Derrick Henry, Alabama

3. Devontae Booker, Utah

4. Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech

5. Jordan Howard, Indiana


Ezekiel Elliott will be the first running back taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. He is a powerful runner who has good speed and is a helluva pass blocker already. Following him is the Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry. The former Bama back is huge(6'1", 242lbs) and will try to shake off the Alabama running back reputation.

Devontae Booker and Kenneth Dixon are both explosive backs who can be game changers in any offense. Rounding out this list is a back I really like, Indiana's Jordan Howard. He is a bigger back at 6'1", 230lbs and is a powerful downhill runner with some speed.

With Ronnie Hillman probably leaving, I could see the Broncos looking to find a compliment to C.J. Anderson via the draft this offseason.

Wide receiver

1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

2. Corey Coleman, Baylor

3. Michael Thomas, Ohio State

4. Josh Doctson, TCU

5. Will Fuller, Notre Dame


Laquon Treadwell is the popular pick to be the top receiver in the draft, but the rest of the top five is really in flux.

Mayock lists Baylor's Corey Coleman as his second receiver and Ohio State's Michael Thomas as his third rated receiver. Thomas is a bigger possession receiver while Coleman is one of the most explosive receivers in the draft.

Rounding out the list is TCU's Josh Doctson(a favorite of mine) and Notre Dame's Will Fuller.

The Broncos could be looking to add a receiver this offseason. Emmanuel Sanders is one season away from free agency and Cody Latimer has failed to step up as a receiver.

Tight End

1. Hunter Henry, Arkansas

2. Austin Hooper, Stanford

3. Jerrell Adams, South Carolina

4. Nick Vannett, Ohio State

5. Henry Krieger-Coble, Iowa


It's not a great year for the tight end position.

With that said, Hunter Henry is a really good prospect. He is a really good and reliable receiver. He didn't have any drops in 2015 and lined up everywhere. He does need to improve as a blocker, but that's not really his game. He probably will be the first tight end off the board.

Following him is Stanford's Austin Hooper and South Carolina's Jerrell Adams. Both figure to be day two selections in the NFL Draft.

I liked what I saw from Vannett at the Senior Bowl, and he figures to be a day two selection as well. Rounding out the group is Iowa's Henry Krieger-Coble.

It will be interesting to see what the Broncos do at the tight end position. Owen Daniels isn't getting any older, Virgil Green really didn't step up liked I hope, and Jeff Heuerman will look to make an impact next season. Kubiak does like his tight ends, so who knows if he will look to add another this year.

Offensive Tackles

1. Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State

4. Taylor Decker, Ohio State

5. Willie Beavers, Western Michigan


Tunsil is likely the first overall selection in this year's draft. He's big, strong, and athletic. If all goes well for him he is likely a 10 to 15-year starter and go to multiple Pro Bowls.

The next three tackles are all likely to be first round picks, but the ranking of them really depends on who you ask. I like all three of them and think they will be great additions to the team that drafts them. If I had to pick a favorite of the group, it would be Ohio State's Taylor Decker.

The real big surprise is Western Michigan's Willie Beavers. Most people viewed him as a mid to late-round pick, but Mayock listed him in his top five. I honestly know very little about Beavers(the prospect and the animal) so I will doing my homework on this guy.

The Broncos could certainly use a tackle or two, or maybe they don't. Ty Sambrailo figures to be the right tackle, and will they bring Ryan Clady back at a reduced rate or will they try to nab Joe Thomas again?


1. Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

2. Vadal Alexander, LSU

3. Joshua Garnett, Stanford

4. Christian Westerman, Arizona State

5. Graham Glasgow, Michigan


Cody Whitehair is a guy you will see mocked to the Broncos a lot in the coming months. He is one of those tackles moving to guard and figures to be a day one starter. LSU's Vadal Alexander is another potential first round option who could be there for the Broncos.

Garnett and Westerman are nice day two options in the draft. Rounding out the list is Michigan's Graham Glasglow. He is a 6'6", 305lb center/guard who really impressed me at the Senior Bowl.

I see the Broncos selecting an interior lineman early in the draft this year. Seems like Kubiak and Elway are serious about this youth movement along the offensive line, so adding another young lineman sounds right.


1. Ryan Kelly, Alabama

2. Nick Martin, Notre Dame

3. Max Tuerk, USC

4. Evan Boehm, Missouri

5. Jack Allen, Michigan State


Ryan Kelly is favorite by many draft experts. They see a future "All-Pro" talent from the former Alabama offensive lineman. He figures to be a late first to early second-round selection in April's NFL Draft.

Mayock's second rated center is the brother of Dallas Cowboy's Zack Martin. If he turns out like his brother, some team is going to be very happy.

Coming in third on this list is USC's Max Tuerk and Missouri's Evan Boehm who figures to be day three picks. Michigan State's Jack Allen rounds on this list, and honestly, I would put him third. I really like his potential in the NFL.

The Broncos seem set at center. Matt Paradis had a solid first year under Kubiak, and figures to continue to improve next year.

Interior Defensive Line

1. DeForest Buckner, Oregon

2. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

3. Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

4. Jarran Reed, Alabama

5. A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama


This group is so good.

All three of these players are probably top 15 picks.

I'm a big Buckner fan. He probably goes in the top 10 and slides in at DT or as a 3-4 defensive end. Nkemdiche is a top 10 pick as well, but off the field issues could drop him a little bit(another steal for the Broncos?).

Rankins made money at the Senior Bowl this year. Was unblockable and looks be a great interior pass rusher.

Rounding out the list are two Alabama defenders. Both are really good prospects and will be top 20 picks.

The Broncos will probably need one after Malik Jackson leaves this winter, and they will have plenty to choose from. There could be about 8 or 9 defensive linemen taken in the first round.

Edge Rushers

1. Joey Bosa, Ohio State

2. Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

3. Shaq Lawson, Clemson

4. Leonard Floyd, Georgia

5. Kevin Dodd, Clemson


Joey Bosa is likely a San Diego Charger here in a few months. He is a top 5 player, especially after Von Miller's performance in the Super Bowl.

Former Ohio State buckeye Noah Spence was a force at the Senior Bowl and will be a top 15 pick in the draft this year. He does have some off the field issues, but if they check out a team is getting a steal.

Shaq Lawson, Leonard Floyd, and Kevin Dodd round out this list. pass rushers will be a hot commodity after what the Broncos did in the postseason. These guys will be first round picks.


1. Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

2. Myles Jack, UCLA

3. Reggie Ragland, Alabama

4. Darron Lee, Ohio State

5. Deion Jones, LSU


The two of the better prospects in the draft are on this list. Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith and UCLA's Myles Jack would both be top five picks if it weren't for injuries. Both figure still to be early picks despite these injuries though which says a lot about their talent.

Alabama's Reggie Ragland might be overhyped a little bit. Solid player, but not an elite player like some of the other Alabama linebackers that have come out recently.

I'm a big fan of both Darron Lee and Deion Jones. Both are athletic and could be options for the Broncos. With linebackers needed to cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield, these two are expected to go high in the draft.

I could see the Broncos being interested in Lee or Jones in the first round.


1. Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

2. Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

3. Mackensie Alexander, Clemson

4. Eli Apple, Ohio State

5. Cyrus Jones, Alabama


Jalen Ramsey is expected to be one of the first defensive players off the board, same with Florida's Vernon Hargreaves. There will be talk whether or not Ramsey is a corner or safety, but he'll go high no matter what. Hargreaves is a more natural corner and a damn good cover corner.

Alexander and Apple figure to be top 20 to 25 picks and Cyrus Jones could sneak into the first round as well.


1. Karl Joseph, West Virginia

2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State

3. Darien Thompson, Boise State

4. Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah

5. Jeremy Cash, Duke


I'm a little surprised to see Mayock rank Joseph as the top safety in this draft. I would have put Vonn Bell as the top safety followed by Boise State's Darien Thompson.

I think all three of these guys go in the first two rounds, and probably in the top 45 to 50 picks.

Miles Killebrew and Jeremy Cash figure to be day two selections as well.

I could see the Broncos looking at a safety. Their depth isn't great and Wade could use some three safety looks.