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SI50: Joey Bosa, DE
0:57 | NFL
SI50: Joey Bosa, DE
Thursday April 28th, 2016

For NFL teams, the scouting of potential draft picks is a complicated process. There are many pieces to consider from a player’s 40-yard-dash time to his hand size to even his cooking skills.

With so much information to evaluate, it’s no wonder projecting the draft is such an inexact science. It’s also easy to see why sometimes it seems like the least important data used to evaluate a prospect is his actual on-field performance.

Here on the college football side of things, draft picks’ on-field performance is our wheelhouse for the three to five years they spend in school. It’s why we celebrate players like Troy Smith with a Heisman Trophy while NFL draft criteria makes him a fifth-round pick.

Obviously NFL teams have good reason to consider more than just what players did on the field in college. But there are already plenty of mock drafts based on NFL scouts’ criteria. Let’s take a look at what the 2016 draft might look like if all teams had to go off of was players’ college performance. For each pick, we’ll use SI.com NFL writer and draft expert Chris Burke’s latest mock draft to determine what position each team will target and select the player at that position with the greatest college career.

College-stats only NFL Mock Draft
  • 1

    1Dak Prescott
    QB, Mississippi State
    Think the Rams traded up to have their choice between Jared Goff and Carson Wentz? Not in this scenario. Los Angeles instead selects Mississippi State’s Prescott as its franchise QB after the dual-threat passer’s sensational junior and senior seasons. He led the Bulldogs to the top of the rankings in 2014 when he threw for 3,449 yards, rushed for 986 yards and scored 42 total touchdowns. Then, when many expected Mississippi State to come crashing down in ’15, Prescott helped the Bulldogs finish 9–4 with 3,793 passing yards, 588 rushing yards and 39 scores.

  • 2

    2Trevone Boykin
    QB, TCU
    Whether Boykin has a future at quarterback is up in the air, but his production at TCU makes him the clear choice for the Eagles in this exercise. The Horned Frogs’ signal-caller was one of the most dynamic players in college football of the past two seasons, helping TCU earn a share of the Big 12 championship in 2014. Boykin finished fourth in the Heisman voting that year thanks to his 3,901 passing yards, 707 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns.
     


  • 3

    3Joey Bosa
    DE, Ohio State
    Here’s one point upon which draftniks and college football fans agree: Bosa is a beast. Ohio State’s star defensive end was a two-time All-America honoree after compiling 18.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. He’ll likely be a top-10 pick Thursday night.

  • 4

    4Jalen Ramsey
    CB, Florida State
    Another point of agreement between scouts and college football fans is that Florida State’s Ramsey is a can’t-miss star at defensive back. He made 10 tackles for loss, intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles as a sophomore in 2014 before transitioning to cornerback as a junior and helping the Seminoles lead the ACC in yards allowed per attempt.

  • 5

    5ShaQ Lawson
    DE, Clemson
    Lawson continues the trend of Clemson defensive linemen who were studs in college and elite draft prospects, too. Stuck behind Vic Beasley until last year, Lawson broke out with a nation-leading 24.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded 12.5 sacks to help the Tigers reach the College Football Playoff national championship.

  • 6

    6Spencer Drango
    OT, Baylor
    Scouts question whether the Baylor left tackle has the athleticism and frame to start on the offensive line in the NFL, but there’s no denying his dominance in college. Drango, the Big 12’s offensive lineman of the year, was an anchor on the line for the Bears’ attack, which ranked first in the nation in scoring offense and total offense in 2015.
  • 7

    7Taylor Decker
    OT, Ohio State
    Ohio State’s left tackle is a likely first-round pick but isn’t expected to go this high in the draft. The 2015 All-America honoree and the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year started three years for the Buckeyes. Decker helped running back Ezekiel Elliott average 6.7 yards per carry during his Ohio State career.

  • 8

    8Reggie Ragland
    LB, Alabama
    On a loaded Alabama defense, Ragland may have been the unit’s best player. He helped the Crimson Tide lead the nation in yards allowed per play with 102 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Ragland is a likely first-round pick but faces concerns about his pass coverage skills at the next level.

  • 9

    9Carl Nassib
    DE, Penn State
    Nassib came out of nowhere to win the Lombardi Award as the top lineman or linebacker in college football last year. He was also named the Big Ten defensive player of the year after racking up 19.5 tackles for loss and a nation-best 15.5 sacks. Unfortunately for him, that success only has him as a projected third-round pick in the draft.

  • 10

    10A'Shawn Robinson
    DT, Alabama
    The second Alabama defensive player to be selected here, Robinson was a force in the middle of the line, consistently plugging holes despite frequently drawing double teams. The All-America defensive lineman recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and helped Alabama allow just 2.43 yards per carry. He’s expected to be a first-round pick.

  • 11

    11Derrick Henry
    RB, Alabama
    The Bears nab the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner to improve their backfield after Henry helped carry the Crimson Tide to a national championship. A workhorse back, he rushed 395 times for 2,219 yards with 28 touchdowns last season after gaining 990 yards with 11 touchdowns in ’14.

  • 12

    12Emmanuel Ogbah
    DE, Oklahoma State
    Ogbah was a dominant presence on Oklahoma State’s defensive line, recording a combined 29.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He was named the Big 12’s co-defensive player of the year in 2015 after leading the conference in sacks and finishing second in tackles for loss.

  • 13

    13Vernon Hargreaves III
    CB, Florida
    The consistency of Hargreaves’s elite level of production makes him the clear choice for the Dolphins. After working his way into a starting role and a third-team All-America selection as a freshman, Hargreaves went on to establish himself as one of the premier cornerbacks in college football. By his junior year he racked up 27 career passes defended and 10 interceptions.

  • 14

    14Mackensie Alexander
    CB, Clemson
    Clemson’s cornerback may have been the toughest matchup in the country for opposing wide receivers in 2015. According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander surrendered only 19 catches on 58 targets for 258 yards and no touchdowns. When he tangled with explosive Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller, Fuller left Death Valley with just two catches for 37 yards, his lowest totals of the season.

  • 15

    15Laremy Tunsil
    OT, Ole Miss
    A seven-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits limited Tunsil to just six games in 2015, but whenever the former five-star recruit was on the field he was a stabilizing force on Ole Miss’s offensive line. Tunsil earned a second-team All-SEC selection as a true freshman before becoming a second-team All-America honoree as a sophomore. He capped off his Rebels career with a two-yard touchdown run on a passback in Ole Miss’s Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State.

  • 16

    16Ronnie Stanley
    OT, Notre Dame
    Stanley’s building a late buzz that could make him the first offensive tackle off the board in the draft Thursday, but he’s the third to go here. The Notre Dame left tackle could have entered the draft last year but returned for another dominant season, earning a second-team All-America selection. However, memories of what it took for him to “block” Clemson’s Lawson ignite some concern.

  • 17

    17Tyler Matakevich
    LB, Temple
    Matakevich may have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called in the draft, but NFL scouts’ concerns about his strength and speed don’t matter here. The Temple linebacker was one of the most consistent players in college football, recording over 100 tackles in all four seasons. He won the Nagurski and Bednarik awards this past season after compiling 138 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and five interceptions in a breakthrough season for the Owls.

  • 18

    18Zack Sanchez
    CB, Oklahoma
    Though NFL teams have issues about Sanchez’s size, it wasn’t a problem for the junior at Oklahoma. The three-year starter finished off his time in Norman with a season-high seven interceptions in 2015, giving him 15 for his career. He was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 honoree and helped the Sooners reach the College Football Playoff last season.
  • 19

    19Eric Striker
    LB, Oklahoma
    Sooners defensive players go back-to-back here with the selection of the pass-rushing specialist Striker. Striker was one of the nation's most effective players getting into the backfield, making 34.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in the past two seasons. Like his teammate Sanchez, Striker faces concerns at the NFL level because he’s viewed as a tweener.

  • 20

    20Vernon Adams Jr.
    QB, Oregon
    After Prescott and Boykin went one-two to kick off this draft, the former graduate transfer Adams is the next QB off the board. He carved up the FCS with Eastern Washington, then shined in his one season at Oregon, leading the FBS in yards per attempt (10.2) while completing 64.9 percent of his passes with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. Although 2015 was a disappointing campaign for the Ducks, they went 7–1 when Adams was healthy. At 5’11”, he’ll have to overcome worries about his height in the NFL.
     

  • 21

    21Jack Allen
    C, Michigan State
    The All-America center was part of a physically dominant offensive line at Michigan State, where he started for four years. He was a Rimington Trophy finalist in 2015 after being named first-team All-Big Ten in ’14.

  • 22

    22Corey Coleman
    WR, Baylor
    Coleman shone in Baylor’s explosive offense, gaining 2,482 yards receiving with 31 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He was so skilled at getting to the end zone in 2015 that he needed only six games to break the Bears’ record for touchdowns in a season, grabbing 16 in those first six games before finishing with 20. His numbers might have been even more impressive had he not suffered a sports hernia that limited him to 183 yards over Baylor’s final five games.

  • 23

    23Josh Doctson​
    WR, TCU
    Of course, Coleman and Doctson go one after the other. The inseparable duo battled in the Big 12, much to the entertainment of all fans. Doctson put together an incredible 2015 season, gaining 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns despite missing most or all of the final five games of the year with a wrist injury. That was on the heels of a ’14 season in which the TCU wide receiver caught 65 passes for 1,018 yards with 11 scores.

  • 24

    24Robert Nkemdiche
    DT, Ole Miss
    The No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2013 lived up to the hype in his three seasons at Ole Miss. A three-year starter on the defensive line, Nkemdiche finished off his college career with seven tackles for loss and three sacks in 2015. The second-team All-America even got involved on offense last season, rushing for two touchdowns and catching one.

  • 25

    25Jeremy Cash
    S, Duke
    Despite his role as a safety, Cash was an expert at crashing down to stop ballcarriers in the backfield. Just 10 players averaged more tackles for loss per game last year than the Duke defensive back, who finished his career with 38 TFLs. Though hampered by questions about his ability to cover receivers in the NFL, he could still go on Day 2 of the draft.

  • 26

    26Andrew Billings
    DT, Baylor
    While fellow Baylor defensive lineman Shawn Oakman drew much of the hype due to his intimidation factor, Billings proved to be the better player for the Bears, racking up 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2015. That was enough to earn him a share of the Big 12’s defensive player of the year award.

  • 27

    27Sheldon Day
    DT, Notre Dame
    The Notre Dame defensive tackle was a three-year starter and developed into a leader on an Irish defense that relied on his consistency amid some injury-plagued seasons. Day capped off his career with his best year in 2015, making 15.5 tackles for loss and four sacks and forcing two fumbles.

  • 28

    28Kendall Fuller
    CB, Virginia Tech
    A torn meniscus cost Fuller nearly all of the 2015 season, but he did plenty to demonstrate his impact in his first two years at Virginia Tech. Fuller became a freshman All-America in ’13 when he led the ACC with six interceptions and followed that up with two more interceptions and 13 passes defended in ’14 despite playing much of the season with a fractured wrist. He’s set to become the fourth of his brothers to play in the NFL.

  • 29

    29Adolphus Washington
    DT, Ohio State
    Washington joins fellow Ohio State defensive lineman Bosa in the first round here after starting on the Buckeyes’ defensive line for the past three years. He shined on Ohio State’s run to the national championship in 2014, picking up 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks despite often drawing double teams to create room for now-Jaguars defensive tackle Michael Bennett.

  • 30

    30Laquon Treadwell
    WR, Ole Miss
    A gruesome injury that brought his promising 2014 season to a halt couldn’t keep Treadwell down. The Ole Miss wide receiver picked up where he left off to catch 82 passes for 1,153 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. He’s a pretty good blocker, too.
     


  • 31

    31Darron Lee
    LB, Ohio State
    Lee rounds out the first round despite playing only two seasons for Ohio State. The linebacker immediately stepped into the Buckeyes’ starting lineup and became a freshman All-America in 2014, helping win the national title with 80 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. In ’15, he was named second-team All-America after recording 11 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and a pivotal pick-six that helped Ohio State avoid an upset against Northern Illinois.

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