NFL draft Big Board: 2016’s top 100 prospects

Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil and Ezekiel Elliott all made the top 10 of Chris Burke’s latest Big Board. But in what order?
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Stay focused. Don’t get distracted by the shiny objects. That’s sort of the challenge this time of year when it comes to figuring out how draft prospects should stack up. Between the combine, pro days and an endless stream of hearsay, it can be easy to start pushing players up or down the board.

The latest prominent example came Monday, when Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell posted unofficial times of 4.65 and 4.63 seconds in his two 40-yard dashes at pro day. That is, quite frankly, slow for a receiver.

So what to make of it? Does those times mean Treadwell should be moved down the rankings? Probably not, at least not on their own. Treadwell doesn’t play like a 4.4 or 4.5 receiver—he thrives on physicality and quickness and body positioning, not speed. There are big-play receivers with 4.4 speed in this draft to be had if that is a team’s preference instead.

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An argument against Treadwell’s stock could be made if one loops in his combine numbers: 12 bench-press reps, a disappointing 33-inch vertical, etc. The more details, the stronger the final case.

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But as always, it goes back to what a player can do on the field. Treadwell remains WR1 in our rankings because the way he performed for Ole Miss outweighs any sluggishness in the 40-yard dash. Not everyone will approach the variables in the same manner—that’s why every Big Board looks different and every team’s approach to the draft is unique.

Most of the draft game is trying to project how a player’s skills can translate to the next level, but at least a handful of those projectable abilities have to be present to begin with for a player to hang his hat on as he heads to the draft. Treadwell showed plenty on Saturdays. So, too, did the rest of the prospects in our updated top 100.

How much impact should these early-spring workouts have? Not as much as we tend to assume they will.

The latest rankings: