Who'll be the first quarterback to go? Who'll take a tumble down the board? SI.com's Chris Burke projects the first two rounds of the 2016 NFL draft. 

By Chris Burke
February 10, 2016

Seventy-seven days. That's what we have left between the time this mock goes live and the 2016 draft. 

Sounds like a long wait. After all, if we backtrack 77 days the other direction, Week 11 of the regular season would have just concluded, with the Colts, Giants and Falcons all in playoff position and the Buccaneers among the league’s hottest teams.

A lot can happen in 77 days. There is free agency to come, for one. Players officially can sign with new teams beginning on March 9—just 27 days away. 

We promise not to drop a mock draft on you every morning, but there will be a few between now and April 28. Here is the latest, covering Rounds 1 and 2.

1
Laremy Tunsil
OT, Ole Miss
The remaining list of realistic options I see here (aside from trading down) includes Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, LaQuon Treadwell and, if they like him better as a franchise left tackle, Ronnie Stanley. Are any of those players a better fit? Tunsil is a standout player at a position of obvious need. 
2
PAXTON LYNCH
QB, Memphis
So, our first curveball comes early. To be clear, Jared Goff remains the top-ranked QB on the SI board and very well may be the most NFL-ready. But he definitely is not the unanimous No. 1 at QB across all 32 teams, with the view that Lynch and even Carson Wentz could hold higher upside. Lynch has all the physical traits but needs seasoning. Cleveland’s new guard can give it to him by allowing him to learn behind Josh McCown. This isn’t a one-year rebuild.• BURKE: Manziel’s disturbing situation keeps getting darker
3
JALEN RAMSEY
S, Florida State
This mock has Ramsey–Myles Jack–Joey Bosa as the next three off the board. It is feasible to mix and match that trifecta in any combo among the Chargers, Cowboys and Jaguars. The choice at No. 3 is Ramsey because of how desperate San Diego should be for a boost in the secondary, especially with Eric Weddle exiting.
4
Myles Jack
LB, UCLA
I’m still having a hard time believing the Cowboys will use this pick on a QB. Doing so almost would close the Tony Romo window—a backup quarterback isn’t getting them over the top. Jack won’t on his own, either, but his rangy, athletic game would make the Dallas defense much more formidable. • BISHOP: Tale of the Super Bowl 50 champion Broncos
5
JOEY BOSA
DL, Ohio State
Strange things happen every year at the draft, but this is about as low as I can envision Bosa falling. Any of the current top four could fit him in as a defensive starter, which says something for his talent. Bosa doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of an NFL pass-rushing DE nor of a dominant interior lineman, but he bridges the gap to create a potential All-Pro.
6
Noah Spence
OLB, Eastern Kentucky
A post on the Ravens’ website last week speculated that Spence could fall into Round 2. Forget it. But Baltimore could grab the edge-rushing dynamo here. Spence starred during Senior Bowl week, consistently beating tackles around the bend. Teams will have to dig into his character, but the talent is there to justify a top-10 spot.
7
JARED GOFF
QB, Cal
Everyone’s locked into the Colin Kaepernick–Chip Kelly match for the moment. But let’s expand those horizons. Goff isn’t cut from the Kaepernick mode as a “dual-threat” QB, but he’s also not a statue—his footwork in the pocket and desire to keep his eyes downfield are both pluses. Marcus Mariota isn’t walking through that door, and Kaepernick might be walking out of it. It is Goff’s talent as a passer that really would appeal to Kelly.• BANKS: Goff’s visit to SB50 serves as motivation for NFL future
8
VERNON HARGREAVES
CB, Florida
Hargreaves or Mackensie Alexander would be fine selections by Miami, which must find some help in the secondary. The Florida product can thrive in any coverage set and has the quickness to close on the ball—he intercepted 10 passes and broke up 27 over three seasons.
9
RONNIE STANLEY
OT, Notre Dame
The Buccaneers need help at several key spots on defense. So then why a tackle here? Well, for two reasons: 1. The gap between Tunsil and Stanley is small, meaning this could look like a bargain. 2. There is more depth at the pass-rushing spots and even at DB than at tackle. If Tampa Bay wants help along its O-line, this is the spot to pounce.
10
SHAQ LAWSON
DE, Clemson
Super Bowl 50 offered the latest reminder that a potent pass rush can undermine just about any team in the league. The Giants are lacking there, and Lawson is a force. He’s coming off a 12.5-sack, 22.5-tackle for loss season for Clemson.• ROSENBERG: All-time great defense makes Broncos SB50 champs
11
Reggie Ragland
LB, Alabama
There’s often hesitancy to take an inside linebacker early in Round 1 (and Ragland proved at the Senior Bowl with his lethargic performance that he is an ILB, not an OLB). But this is a terrific spot for Ragland, who instantly should be a standout NFL run defender.
12
DEFOREST BUCKNER
DE, Oregon
Others are higher on Buckner than I am (he was 18th on our last Big Board). However, the Saints could get on board because Buckner projects as a 3–4 run-stuffing end, yet also can slide inside on a 4–3. For a multiple-front defense like New Orleans has, that’s promising.
13
LAQUON TREADWELL
WR, Ole Miss
Honestly, it’s tough to get a read on the receiver class right now. Do teams wait on the position because of the depth, or do a bunch of prospects fly off the board early because of the talent? For now, lean the former. Treadwell remains the top option—a physically dominant receiver with plus blocking traits.
14
Mackensie Alexander
CB, Clemson
His height notwithstanding, the 5' 11" Alexander has the look of an eventual No. 1 NFL cornerback. I say “eventual” because college quarterbacks’ reluctance to test him combined with his limited experience (he was a redshirt sophomore in 2015) presents limited tape. When the ball was thrown his direction, Alexander clamped down on receivers, erasing space with a physical demeanor.• TRASK: All owners should hire like Al Davis
15
CARSON WENTZ
QB, North Dakota State
Of all the 31 teams currently in Round 1 (sorry, New England), I might argue that the Rams are most likely to take a quarterback at their current slot. The Browns might not fall in love with a QB enough to justify taking one with the No. 2 pick, the Texans could be too low to nab their future starter and there are few other obvious landing spots. But Los Angeles can open its new era by taking the high-upside Wentz, then seeing what he can do in camp.• DEITSCH: Reviewing the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl 50
16
A'Shawn Robinson
DT, Alabama
The knock on Robinson is that he is limited as an interior pass rusher. Well, the Lions have multiple DTs who can help there (Caraun Reid, Gabe Wright, Tyrunn Walker if he re-signs), but they’re shy on early-down bulk. Haloti Ngata walks, and Robinson replaces him as a starter.
17
JAYLON SMITH
LB, Notre Dame
What to do with Smith? Is he top-10 because of his obvious talent? Day 2 because of the knee injury he suffered in Notre Dame’s bowl game? The answer will depend on which team has enough patience to wait on Smith’s health, even if it takes a season or two. Should he get all the way back, he’s exactly the type of player that Atlanta’s defense is missing.
18
Jack Conklin
G/T, Michigan State
Something about this fit has made it an easy one to make in our recent mocks. Perhaps it’s that the Colts have no choice but to upgrade their offensive line after a miserable 2015 season. Or, perhaps it’s that Conklin has the wherewithal to start as a rookie at either guard or tackle. • The ten best games of the 2015 NFL season
19
Jarran Reed​
DT, Alabama
Consider this a strong depth addition to Buffalo’s 2015 D-line as well as a plan for the future—starting DT Kyle Williams will be 33 in June, and 82% of his $8.3 million cap hit can come off the books after the 2016 season. Reed (6' 3", 311 pounds) is a load up front.
20
Darron Lee
LB, Ohio State
Lee is not the prototypical edge rusher that the Jets need to find. What he is, though, is a gifted athlete who can play inside when New York runs a three-man front or step outside in a 4–3 base. Oh, and he did notch 11.0 sacks between 2014 and ’15, showing a nice burst when Ohio State turned him loose as a blitzer.
21
Robert Nkemdiche​
DL, Ole Miss
Which team is going to take the shot? Nkemdiche is a top-five talent with major off-field concerns—in December, he climbed out a hotel window and then fell 15 feet, reportedly while under the influence of synthetic marijuana. But, man, his raw football talent might be unmatched in this class. He can line up just about anywhere and is a remarkable athlete. Tap into his full potential, and Washington could have a perennial All-Pro.• KING: Do not put an asterisk on Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl win
22
Ezekiel Elliott
RB, Ohio State
Do the Colts pounce on Elliott? How about the Jets? Or maybe a wild card like the Dolphins, at No. 8? If not, and assuming the top three QBs are gone, Houston has to take a long look. Elliott can have a Todd Gurley-like impact on an offense as a rookie. He is a three-down back with great vision and an innate desire to initiate contact.
23
Taylor Decker​
OT, Ohio State
Tough call here between nabbing Decker for the line or handing Teddy Bridgewater a standout receiver. But Bridgewater can’t use his receivers without more protection. And a huge bonus when it comes to Decker: He’s outstanding in the run game, which Adrian Peterson would appreciate.
24
Andrew Billings
DT, Baylor
• JACOBS: Broncos should focus on their win, not Cam’s loss
25
Darian Thompson​
S, Boise State
We talked about “draft crushes” on last week’s On the Clock podcast, and Thompson was on that list for me even before he excelled at the Senior Bowl. The Boise State product was all over the field in Mobile, breaking up countless passes in drills. Adding Thompson would allow the Steelers to use hard hitter Mike Mitchell more often as an in-the-box defender.
26
Eli Apple
CB, Ohio State
Apple is a big (6' 1", 200), physical coverage corner who occasionally uses his hands too much. If that doesn’t sound like a Seahawks CB, I don’t know what does. Both Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead are set to be free agents, and Seattle would prefer not to repeat the Cary Williams nightmare via free agency. 
27
Leonard Floyd
OLB, Georgia
• BISHOP: Peterson on fatherhood, forgiveness, loss
28
SHELDON RANKINS
DL, Louisville
Rankins grabs a “DL” assignment instead of being specified as an end or tackle because he offers that versatility—likely end in a 3–4, tackle in a 4–3. Either way, he’s going to get to the quarterback. Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito are impending free agents, so the Chiefs could use another playmaker up front.
29
Emmanuel Ogbah
DE/LB, Oklahoma State
For all their recent success, the Cardinals have not had a ton of luck drafting pass-rushing help (though Markus Golden did show signs of life late in the 2015 season.) Enter Ogbah, a 275-pounder who could be a missing piece. His repertoire is a work in progress, yet he still totaled 22.5 sacks over his past two seasons. The Cardinals could move him around, too.
30
Jason Spriggs
OT, Indiana
If you watched even a few minutes of Super Bowl 50, you’ll understand why this pick is an offensive tackle. The Panthers boasted the league’s top-scoring offense despite starting Michael Oher and Mike Remmers; the latter was lit up by Denver when it counted most. Spriggs could slot in on either side of the line, and his quick feet would pair well with Carolina’s creative rushing scheme.
31
Hunter Henry
TE, Arkansas
The Broncos have their own issues at offensive tackle (and, you know, quarterback). They bypass the line here for the draft’s best tight end, a 6' 5" mismatch-creator. He is nowhere near the blocker Vernon Davis once was, but Henry could provide the type of passing-game target Denver thought it was getting from the veteran TE.• Get SI’s special Denver Broncos SB50 Commemorative Issue here
32
Josh Doctson
WR, TCU
 
33
Jeremy Cash
S, Duke
 
34
Derrick Henry
RB, Alabama
 
35
Jonathan Bullard
DL, Florida
 
36
Tyler Boyd
WR, Pittsburgh
 
37
Kenny Clark
DT, UCLA
 
38
Vonn Bell
S, Ohio State
 
39
Kevin Dodd
DE, Clemson
 
40
Corey Coleman
WR, Baylor
 
41
Vernon Butler
DL, Louisiana Tech
 
42
Cody Whitehair
G/T, Kansas State
 
43
Ryan Kelly
C, Alabama
 
44
Joshua Perry
LB, Ohio State
 
45
Michael Thomas
WR, Ohio State
 
46
Kentrell Brothers
LB, Missouri
 
47
Kendall Fuller
CB, Virginia Tech
 
48
Su'a Cravens
LB, USC
 
49
Spencer Drango
OT, Baylor
 
50
Braxton Miller
WR, Ohio State
 
51
Shilique Calhoun
DE/OLB, Michigan State
 
52
Christian Hackenberg
QB, Penn State
 
53
Deion Jones
LB, LSU
 
54
Miles Killebrew
S, Southern Utah
 
55
William Jackson
CB, Houston
 
56
Chris Jones
DL, Mississippi State
 
57
Nick Vannett
TE, Ohio State
 
58
Joshua Garnett
G, Stanford
 
59
Sterling Shepard
WR, Oklahoma
 
60
Jordan Jenkins
OLB, Georgia
 
61
Christian Westernman
OL, Arizona State
 
62
Carl Nassib
DE, Penn State
 
63
Connor Cook
QB, Michigan State
 

If Kony Ealy continues to play as he did in the Super Bowl, Carolina’s need at end is less severe. But it’s a need regardless. Nassib would produce as part of a rotation, with room to grow into more.

As for Cook, I’m of the belief that Denver will take a quarterback somewhere even if it keeps Peyton Manning or (more likely) Brock Osweiler. Gary Kubiak should see in Cook moldable qualities, including that he can thread the needle while on the move. Cook’s current situation is a tricky one. There is too much negative chatter about his personality to ignore, but how much of it is being pushed by teams hoping to see him drop? In this class, I still peg him as a Round 1 candidate, right in step with Wentz from a talent perspective.

Another one I still haven’t quite figured out: Shawn Oakman. The Senior Bowl MVP thanks to two sacks and a forced fumble, he probably gets a call somewhere on Day 2 (if not Day 1, should some front office roll the dice). The problem, as always, is that it’s so hit or miss with him. He showed up on game day in Mobile but was a non-factor during the all-important practices.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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