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Ole Miss Drama: Did Robert Nkemdiche hurt Laremy Tunsil's draft stock?
2:26 | NFL
Ole Miss Drama: Did Robert Nkemdiche hurt Laremy Tunsil's draft stock?
Monday February 29th, 2016

The gap between the top tier of prospects in this year’s draft and the second tier is rather significant. Taking the quarterbacks out of the equation (they work on their own team need-to-draft slot ratio), there is but a small handful of prospects who look like top-five talent. 

That’s not overly unique compared to past classes. What makes the 2016 draft stand out is the paper-thin margin that separates everyone the top of tier two on down. There is very little separation between the players at, say, spots 25 and 55 on the rankings below. Same for 60–100.

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Combine notebook: Time to consider Ramsey as a potential No. 1?

The prospects landed where they did based on a combination of factors including their tape, their health, their combine performance and interviews, so this is not just a dart throw. Odds are, though, you will see quite a bit of variation from writer to writer (or fan to fan) when comparing rankings.

The draft should be a lot of fun because of that variation, even if this class does not go down as an all-time great one.

As for this specific top 100 list, let’s start by discussing—what else?—the quarterbacks. Four of them sit within the top 50: Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Carson Wentz and Connor Cook. Goff is the only one within striking distance of the top 10. Does that mean those players all will slide into late Round 1 or even beyond? No. But if we’re stacking all the prospects up across position, there are 30-plus evaluations I feel more comfortable with than those of Lynch, Wentz and Cook.

The next QB on my list doesn’t appear until past No. 100, so that is the shortest answer I can give to any questions about Christian Hackenberg’s first-round potential.

The combine helped confirm the depth of this class at a few positions: defensive tackle, wide receiver and, at least up top, cornerback. I could see five or six players from any of those positions taken in Round 1 ... and that even might be a low estimate on DTs.

Finding a home on the top 100 for Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was among the toughest challenges. Healthy, he would be in that small group with top-five talent; as is, his recovery timeline is very much up in the air and the opinions spouted at the combine matched the uncertainty—some argued Round 2 should be his floor, while others questioned if he could be drafted at all. I’ll lean in the former direction for the time being because the payoff of landing a healthy Smith could be immense.

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Team-by-team 2016 NFL Off-season Outlooks

In most cases, the combine should be largely used to confirm any scouting reports formulated off a player’s game performances, but there are two noteworthy exceptions that: 1) When the workouts in Indianapolis stray far from the notes, as often happens with surprising 40 times, and 2) when the combine demands a second look at a player sitting in the middle of the board. Ole Miss WR Cody Core (just off the top 100) might be the best example of the second instance this year. He was stuck behind Laquon Treadwell in the Ole Miss passing game and had several forgettable Saturdays, but he was outstanding at the combine, so I’ll rewatch another game or two of his. When players sneak within range of the top 100 between now and late April, that’s usually what happens.

A lot of prospects should be red-stamped after Indianapolis. Laremy Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Spriggs, William Jackson, Vernon Butler and a bunch of others did succeed in backing up what they’d shown during the year. The players who did not work out will get a chance to do the same at their pro days.

For now, this is how the top 100 looks, about two months out from Chicago:

Chris Burke’s Big Board
Rank Player Pos. School HT. WT.
1 Laremy Tunsil OT 6'5" 310
2 Jalen Ramsey CB/S 6'1" 209
3  Myles Jack LB 6'1" 245
4 Ezekiel Elliott RB 6'0" 225
5 Ronnie Stanley OT 6'6" 312
6  Joey Bosa DE 6'5" 269
7 A'Shawn Robinson DT 6'4" 307
8 Laquon Treadwell WR 6'2" 221
9 Reggie Ragland LB 6'1" 247
10 Mackensie Alexander CB 5'10" 190
11 Vernon Butler DT 6'4" 323
12 DeForest Buckner DE 6'7" 291
13 Noah Spence DE 6'2" 251
14 Vernon Hargreaves CB 5'10" 204
15 Jared Goff QB 6'4" 215
16 Sheldon Rankins DT 6'1" 299
17 Darian Thompson S 6'2" 208
18 Shaq Lawson DE 6'3" 269
19 Robert Nkemdiche DT 6'3" 294
20 Jack Conklin OT 6'6" 308
21 William Jackson CB 6'0" 189
22 Jason Spriggs OT 6'6" 301
23 Andrew Billings DT 6'1" 311
24 Josh Doctson WR 6'2" 202
25 Darron Lee LB 6'1" 232
26 Su'a Cravens LB 6'1" 226
27 Taylor Decker OT 6'7" 310
28 Kenny Clark DT 6'3" 314
29 Tyler Boyd WR 6'1" 197
30 Derrick Henry RB 6'3" 247
31 Joshua Garnett G 6'4" 312
32 Sterling Shepard WR 5'10" 194
33 Jeremy Cash S 6'0" 212
34 Eli Apple CB 6'1" 199
35 Corey Coleman WR 5'11" 194
36 Jonathan Bullard DT 6'3" 285
37 Paxton Lynch QB 6'7" 244
38 Leonard Floyd OLB 6'6" 244
39 Jarran Reed DT 6'3" 307
40 Carson Wentz QB 6'5" 237
41 Michael Thomas WR 6'3" 212
42 Cody Whitehair G 6'4" 301
43 Chris Jones DT 6'6" 310
44 Emmanuel Ogbah DE 6'4" 273
45 Vonn Bell S 5'11" 199
46 Connor Cook QB 6'4" 217
47 Braxton Miller WR 6'1" 201
48 Kevin Dodd DE 6'5" 277
49 Germain Ifedi OT 6'6" 324
50 Hunter Henry TE 6'5" 250
51 Jalen Mills CB 6'0" 191
52 Shilique Calhoun DE 6'4" 251
53 Kendall Fuller CB 5'11" 187
54 Will Fuller WR 6'0" 186
55 Ryan Kelly C 6'4" 311
56 Jaylon Smith LB 6'2" 223
57 DeAndre Houston-Carson CB/S 6'1" 201
58 Kyler Fackrell OLB 6'5" 245
59 Deion Jones LB 6'1" 222
60 Adolphus Washington DT 6'3" 301
61 Rashard Higgins WR 6'2" 190
62 Kentrell Brothers LB 6'0" 249
63 Javon Hargrave DT 6'1" 309
64 Josh Perry LB 6'3" 253
65 Ronald Blair DE 6'1" 272
66 Jihad Ward DL 6'5" 296
67 Le'Raven Clark OT 6'5" 312
68 Karl Joseph S 5'11" 197
69 Christian Westerman G 6'3" 296
70 Jordan Jenkins OLB 6'2" 257
71 Alex Collins RB 5'11" 215
72 Shawn Oakman DT 6'7" 269
73 Blake Martinez LB 6'1" 239
74 Artie Burns CB 6'0" 197
75 Willie Henry DT 6'3" 311
76 James Cowser OLB 6'3" 244
77 Bronson Kaufusi DE/OLB 6'6" 281
78 Shon Coleman OT 6'6" 313
79 Pharoh Cooper WR 5'11" 207
80 Austin Johnson DT 6'4" 323
81 Kevin Peterson CB 5'10" 173
82 Nick Vannett TE 6'5" 256
83 Connor McGovern G 6'4" 305
84 Xavien Howard CB 6'2" 200
85 Jordan Howard RB 6'1" 230
86 Harlan Miller CB 6'0" 182
87 Antonio Morrison LB 6'1" 232
88 Austin Hooper TE 6'4" 248
89 Sheldon Day DL 6'0" 286
90 Miles Killebrew S 6'1" 219
91 Matt Judon DE 6'3" 275
92 Marshaun Coprich RB 5'8" 207
93 Joe Schobert LB 6'1" 247
94 Kenneth Dixon RB 5'10" 215
95 Carl Nassib DE 6'7" 270
96 Kamalei Correa DE 6'3" 248
97 KeiVarae Russell CB 6'1" 186
98 Kyle Murphy OT 6'6" 300
99 Jack Allen C 6'1" 297
100 Maurice Canady CB 6'1" 191

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