Why 31? There are 31 first round picks in the 2016 NFL draft.
#1 Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
His production is down on previous seasons but he’s still the best overall prospect available for this draft class. Endless motor and converts speed to power with ease. Similar to Chris Long who went #2 overall.
#2 Robert Nkemdiche (DE, Ole Miss)
A freak of nature who earlier this year scored a touchdown on a catch and run down the right sideline — moving like a tight end. Nkemdiche also scored a rushing TD. Ignore the production. He will destroy the combine.
#3 Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
He’ll be allowed to begin his 2015 season on October 24th vs Texas A&M after the NCAA sanctioned a seven-game ban for accepting benefits. A very rounded blindside blocker if a little sloppy in the midriff.
#4 Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
The complete package. Excellent athlete, adept technique and wonderful character. Was awarded the coveted #18 jersey by the Tigers for this season. Has scored a TD on a punt return. Highly underrated and teams will love, love, love Tre’Davious White.
#5 Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)
Rangy athlete and the modern day NFL linebacker. Can play multiple positions, fly to the ball and go sideline-to-sideline. Very few limitations and will prove to be a safe pick at the next level in a draft without major star power.
#6 Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
Teams will assess this quarterback class and ultimately could decide Lynch is the best bet. He’s 6-5 and around 230lbs but runs the read-option effectively. He’s accurate. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He throws with touch. If he continues his 2015 form he will be the guy.
#7 Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
Ignore the naysayers — Treadwell is the real deal. Crisp routes, competitive in the air, capable of the spectacular and a reliable #1 target in the making. He’s bounced back effectively from last years serious leg injury and looks every bit a future top target.
#8 Cameron Sutton (CB, Tennessee)
While the Vols have had an agonising season for the most part, Sutton has been their shining light. Teams daren’t take him on. On the few occasions he’s been tested, Sutton has looked as smooth as silk in coverage. He’s a great athlete with ideal size and length.
#9 Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
The Ohio State O-line hasn’t dominated as much as people expected and I’m going to adjust expectations for Decker as a consequence. At the very least he’ll be an accomplished right tackle in the NFL. Can he play the left side? How athletic is he?
#10 Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
Having fought cancer, teams will do the necessary health checks. They won’t need to check his heart, determination or love for the game. Coleman puts defensive ends on their ass. Like Decker he might not play left tackle — but he’d be tremendous inside.
#11 Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
He’s had a couple of rough outings but still managed to make plays. He has the entire skill set to be a very productive starting NFL cornerback. He will take chances — but he’s a playmaker. You can iron out the creases.
#12 Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
Another player who might move to the right side like Decker — but he’s Michigan State’s most talented player. Good enough in pass protection at the college level — Conklin has also improved in the run game. Former walk-on with basketball roots.
#13 Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
Very accomplished receiver with size and speed to burn. The big playmaker for Ohio State this season. Embarrassed Kendall Fuller in the opening week with a stunning stop-and-go route. High-points the ball, gets behind a defense. Superb talent.
#14 Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
Physical, pounding inside linebacker born to play in the AFC North. Hits hard and does a better than expected job at the line and working through traffic. Another big-time linebacker off the Alabama production line.
#15 Will Redmond (CB, Mississippi State)
Talented senior cornerback at 6-1 and decent size. Reads a quarterback well with good instincts to play the ball. Willing tackler but more of a coverage specialist.
#16 Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
Percy Harvin-lite. Not the same kind of athlete as Harvin but could be used in a similar way. Just get the ball in his hands. Has a chance to be special in the right offense. Keep an eye on him.
#17 Su’a Cravens (S, USC)
Every week he seems to find a way to make an impact play. Not many safety’s record his volume of TFL’s. Has the size to play strong safety but the instinct and coverage skills to be more than just a physical force.
#18 Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
It’s difficult to ignore his production (7.5 sacks in 2015) but there are still parts of his game that need improving. A little raw like Ziggy Ansah and perhaps a little less freaky — but he has a shot at round one.
#19 Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
Would be higher but for the injury. Fuller has the bloodlines and looks like the more talented brother. His college debut was a sight to behold, flashing his natural talent. If he heals properly he will be a first or second round pick in 2015.
#20 Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
A mountain of a man but similar to previous A&M left tackles hasn’t always looked settled in his new position. Could easily be a big riser in the post-season.
#21 Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
Perhaps Ohio State’s most underrated big talent. Lee roams around the field like Ryan Shazier used to. He isn’t close to Shazier’s unreal speed and athleticism — but he has enough to go in round one.
#22 Jalen Ramsey (CB/S, Florida State)
I’m not the big fan a lot of other people are. He’s playing as a tweener, lining up at safety and corner. The tape at corner isn’t fantastic. It’s OK. I think he ends up at safety full time.
#23 DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
Not the same kind of upside as Arik Armstead but possibly a more accomplished player. He had a couple of sacks against Washington State to establish some momentum. Let’s see if he can finish the year strongly.
#24 Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
The best player in space? Possibly. The Buckeyes aren’t using him as much as they could — but Miller is a genuine playmaker and a threat to make major gains on every snap. Watch his juke against Maryland. Watch his spin move against Virginia Tech. Watch him catch the ball. Miller is just getting started.
#25 Jared Goff (QB, California)
Capable of beautiful, surgical passes — but also capable of ugly turnovers and decision making. He has a shot at the next level but is he going to go very early or in the Teddy Bridgewater/Derek Carr range?
#26 Eric Striker (LB, Oklahoma)
People knock Striker because he’s small for a linebacker and big for a safety. The guy makes plays. He has the record for sacks by a Sooners linebacker. He gets everywhere. He’s physical and an athlete. Teams will love him. Players will love playing with him.
#27 Adolphus Washington (DT, Ohio State)
He scored a touchdown against Western Michigan and just draws attention up front with an active motor. He has the versatility to play end or tackle. He defends the run but also has the first-step quickness to penetrate.
#28 De’Runnya Wilson (WR, Mississippi State)
He has some character flags and the production isn’t enormous — but there just aren’t many human beings that can do what De’Runnya Wilson does. He’s a basketball player at receiver who makes the tough grabs. Has some concentration drops but so did Kelvin Benjamin.
#29 A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
Hasn’t been anything more than average so far. Defensive tackles fell last year and you have to wonder if he’s anything more than a solid starter? Robinson and UCLA’s Kenny Clark could easily be judged as second round options.
#30 Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
The thing that maybe hurts Elliott? The loaded class of RB’s expected in 2017. He’s averaging 6.9 yards a carry and does everything well. Whether he’s a feature runner at the next level remains to be seen. He might fall to a good team.
#31 Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
I think he will go in the top-45 despite the injury. There’s a lot to like about Jack — who played some running back as well as linebacker at UCLA. If he heals well pre-draft he can go earlier than this projection.
The overrated four (in my view)
#1 Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
Like several previous high-profile Florida cornerbacks, there are some questions. His play can be erratic, especially his tackling, and there are just better cornerbacks available in this draft.
#2 Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
At no point have I been truly convinced by Stanley and from what I’ve seen this year — he’s trending downwards if anything. I just don’t see a competent NFL lineman. He has time to show more.
#3 Cardale Jones (QB, Ohio State)
The last thing he should be thinking is ‘NFL’. Go back to Ohio State. Mature. Get some games. You’re not ready.
#4 Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State)
A thoroughly average passer without any special traits. Throws too many contested passes and rarely throws a guy open. Has mediocre games against sub-standard opponents. ‘Big’ win against Oregon now looking a little more routine.