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2016 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 200, Positional Rankings And Sleepers

Former Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey (Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports)

The Big Board has all the info you need for the 2016 NFL Draft.

After months of speculation and way, way too many mock drafts, the draft is here. Two big trades at the top of the draft got things started with a bang. With the first two picks undoubtedly seemingly like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, the intrigue will begin with the Chargers at pick No. 3. They have a nice crop of elite prospects to choose from, should they decide to keep the pick.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sporst


After waiting as long as possible, my big board is complete. Last year’s big board was simply a list of overall and positional rankings. This year, the board contains the rankings as well as stats and athletic testing results for (nearly) every top prospect. Whether you want to compare players or get the inside scoop on who your team just picked, the big board will allow you to do that in the most efficient way possible.

My board was constructed using a balance of statistical analysis and the opinion of the top NFL draft minds in the business today. The sources that had influence on the board include (among others):

  • Daniel Jeremiah

  • Jon Moore

  • Josh Norris

  • Justis Mosqueda

  • Kevin Cole

  • Matt Harmon

  • Matt Miller

  • Pro Football Focus

At the end of the day, a board is judged by the players that are ranked highly relative to how they are ranked by everyone else. These are the players that will ultimately be selected on draft day.

Rather than a short blurb about every player on my board, I attempted to identify players that appeared higher on my board when compared to the consensus among the general public. We can refer to these players as ”diamonds in the rough” (hopefully).


Some of these guys will end up getting drafted earlier than expected, as we still have no idea exactly what NFL teams think about the player pool. Regardless, investigating these potential gems should prove an interesting experiment in years to come. 


Diamonds in the Rough

LB Travis Feeney, Washington

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


Feeney turned heads at the combine with an eye-popping performance (all while dealing with a sports hernia) that forced everyone to dive deeper into his tape and numbers. Feeney’s athleticism and versatility are evident in his impressive stat line.

In four years at Washington, Feeney compiled 248 tackles, 33.5 TFL, 15.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 11 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 forced fumbles. He spent time at safety and linebacker and has the ability to cover and rush the passer.

Feeney’s most appealing attribute is his versatility. Every team in the league needs linebackers that can cover, and Feeney can do that and more. Some teams will be concerned by his history of shoulder injuries and that may drop him a bit on draft day. Snagging Feeney in the late 3rd or early 4th round would be a dream scenario.

Mystery QB

Before looking at the answers below, try to guess these quarterbacks by their collegiate stats.



HeightWeight
Hand Size
Completion %Pass YardsTD:INTRush YardsRush TD
Player A6‘222610.875
62.89,37670:232,52141
Player B5‘1120310.25
60.911,720109:301,42123


Player B has the clear edge in passing yards and passing TD, while Player A is bigger and had more rushing yards and touchdowns. 

So, who are these players?

Player A: Dak Prescott

Player B: Russell Wilson

The comparison isn’t perfect, primarily due to the fact that Russell Wilson is undoubtedly a better passer. However, the comparison does shed light on Prescott’s ability to be a serviceable NFL QB.

If Prescott can develop into a poor man’s Russell Wilson, he will be more than worth a late 2nd - early 3rd round pick. In a quarterback-driven league, a slightly below average starting quarterback is worth a lot (i.e. Kirk Cousins just got $18 million), especially with a decent completion percentage and an added ability to run the ball. Prescott belongs in (or at least near) the top group of quarterbacks in this draft.

EDGE Tyrone Holmes, Montana

Kurt Wilson - Missoulian


Tyrone Holmes has the dominant production and elite athleticism that you look for in a small school prospect. He was unstoppable at the FCS level, racking up 21.5 TFL and 14 sacks last season on his way to winning STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year. 


At his pro day, the 6‘4 - 250-pound Holmes ran a 4.6 second 40 yard dash, posted a 37.5 inch vertical, notched 28 bench press reps and performed well in the shuttle and 3 cone drill. Holmes appears to have what it takes to be an NFL-level pass rusher and would be a steal if he makes it to the 4th round.


LB Jatavis Brown, Akron

Darron Lee and Deion Jones have received plenty of spotlight as the consensus top undersized linebackers in the draft. While both of these players have shown elite athleticism at the combine and their respective pro days, Jatavis Brown deserves a seat at the table.


Brown (5‘11 - 227 lbs) is built similarly to Lee (6‘0 - 232 lbs) and Jones (6‘0 - 222 lbs). He likely will never be an asset in base run defense, but his athleticism (4.44 second 40 yard dash) allows him to make splash plays. In four seasons at Akron, Brown totaled an impressive 40.5 TFL and 16.5 sacks.

The team that drafts Brown will need to design a way to keep him clean and put him in position to utilize his athleticism. If they can do that, this small school linebacker could provide big time return on investment.

DE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

Kaufusi reminds me of one of my favorite players in the 2015 draft, Henry Anderson. Both are tall, quick and thrive as a 5-technique, 3-4 defensive end. Below are visualizations of their respective combine performances courtesy of mockdraftable.com (which is fantastic site, I highly recommend checking it out).

Image titleImage title

Kaufusi outperformed Anderson in the 3 cone, 40 yard dash, and has longer arms. Incredibly, they are within 10 percentage points in height, weight, hand size, vertical jump and broad jump. 

While the athletic comparison with Anderson is nice, the real question is production. Kaufusi was responsible for 42.5 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks and 14 pass breakups in four seasons and improved steadily each year. Kaufusi is an enticing target at the top of the 2nd round. 


CB Kalan Reed, Southern Miss

Pro Football Focus has championed Reed as an underrated small school prospect that will likely outperform his draft slot. After assessing his college numbers and pro day testing, its clear they hit the nail on the head.

As a four year starter as Southern Miss, Reed recorded 112 tackles, 8 interceptions, 30 pass breakups and 3 interception return touchdowns. Combine that with a 4.38 second 40 yard dash and a 41.5 inch vertical jump at his pro day and Reed has all the makings of an NFL cornerback. He would be a strong pick in the middle of the 4th round.


Honorable Mentions:

QB Kevin Hogan, QB Vernon Adams, OL Joe Thuney, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, WR Daniel Braverman, WR Chris Moore, S Kevin Byard

Edited by Joe Sparacio.

SQuiz
How many tackles for loss did Jatavis Brown record in 2015?
Created 4/26/16
  1. 12
  2. 14.5
  3. 17
  4. 19.5

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