The 2016 Ohio State draft class is special and potentially record-breaking. Filled with possible top-five selections, first round picks and highly conveyed depth players, this class will rival the special Miami draft classes of the early 2000s and could be one of the greatest draft crops of all-time.
There are hundreds of mock drafts out on the internet for the 2016 NFL Draft. But where is the 2016 Ohio State draft class going to be selected? This mock is broken down into where the player should go; based on skill set, draft position, and team need. The second part are other realistic fits, based on team need.
Where he should go: Dallas Cowboys, first round, No. 4.
Once a lock to be a top-three pick, Bosa has been slipping and no one is quite sure why. The tape does not lie with Bosa, as he is extremely consistent and is consistently the best player on the field. Bosa is a 4-3 left end who has the ability and size to kick inside for pass rushing situations. The Buckeyes lined him up inside, outside and stood him up at times. He has a high motor and possesses excellent technique.
If Jerry Jones wants the best player available and the player in which would make the greatest impact, Bosa is the fit at pick No. 4. With Greg Hardy long gone, Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory suspended, Bosa will be a day one cornerstone piece who will not give back his starting spot. If Jerry Jones decides to go flashy with Ezekiel Elliott or Jalen Ramsey, then Bosa will fall to the Jaguars, Ravens or possibly even the 49ers. But with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones, you never know what they are going to do.
Where he should go: Chicago Bears, first round, No. 11.
Ezekiel Elliott has the potential to be the best player in the draft. Not only does he have natural running ability, but coaches will love his ability to pass protect and his excellent football IQ. Elliott can step onto a NFL field right now and be one of the more complete backs in the league. He does it all.
It started with the Eagles before they traded up, then whispers about the Cowboys at four and more recently the Dolphins at No. 13. Then just days before the draft, Elliott proclaimed that the Bears' "love" him and that he would like to play for them. It seems like a perfect match because it is, as Elliott would be reunited with his former running backs coach at Ohio State, Stan Drayton, who has the same job title in Chicago and they just lost Matt Forte in free agency. But, this could also be a smoke screen by the Bears in an effort to get the Dolphins to trade up and get their future number one back (if the Cowboys pass on him).
Where he should go: Miami Dolphins, first round, No. 13.
Eli Apple took a huge jump from his freshman to sophomore seasons and is now a top-three cornerback prospect. His length, his ability to play man-coverage and his 4.39 40-yard dash have made him fly up draft boards. Apple has long arms and uses them well in press-coverage, which has been more prevalent in the NFL.
In a passing league, players like Apple are conveyed. He was pegged for Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but more recently, Miami has been connected to the two-year starter. The Dolphins have lacked size and physicality in the defensive backfield and they would welcome a player with Apple's skill set. He would also fit with teams who are begging for a physical, consistent cornerback; such as the Raiders, Steelers and Chiefs. Keep an eye on Kansas City if he falls.
Where he should go: Detroit Lions, first round, No. 16.
It has been a Big Ten battle between Decker and Michigan State's Jack Conklin to be the third tackle selected behind Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Staley. Standing at 6'7, Decker has great length and the ability to play both right and left tackle. He plays with a nastiness and has been a constant on Ohio State's dominant offensive line for three seasons.
After allowing Matthew Stafford to be sacked 44 times last season, the Lions need some stability on the offensive line. Decker could be a plug-and-play right tackle or possibly kick inside to guard. With the Lions being led by former Patriots' Director of Pro Scouting, Bob Quinn, he knows building from the inside-out is the key to success. Decker would bring toughness and stability to a poor offensive line. If the Lions decide to go with Conklin or a defensive lineman, Decker could land in Indianapolis or Buffalo.
Where he should go: Atlanta Falcons, first round, No. 17.
Darron Lee can do it all as a Will linebacker and is athletic enough to play in the Deone Bucannon/Pat Chung role of a safety/linebacker hybrid, who plays in the box. Lee can walk-out to the slot and cover tight ends, running backs and some receivers, while also being able to hold his own against the run. He also has a natural ability to rush the passer.
Lee will fit best in Atlanta as a Will linebacker and a stud in their nickle defense. He can match-up against backs and tight ends, with the skill set to come off the edge. The Falcons need a playmaking linebacker and Lee fits all of the criteria. Lee can fit almost anywhere, and he would be an asset for Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles or as Danny Trevathan's replacement in Denver.
Where he should go: Tennessee Titans, second round, No. 33.
Other fits: Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
One could argue that Vonn Bell's commitment on National Signing Day marked the beginning of the Urban Meyer's recruiting impact at Ohio State. Bell, a five-star safety from SEC country, surprisingly signed and made his first impact play as a true freshman, picking off Clemson's Tajh Boyd in the Orange Bowl. He improved his following two seasons and became a true ballhawk in the secondary. Bell played more strong safety at Ohio State, but due to his range, he looks like a prototypical free safety in the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans released Michael Griffin and now have holes at both safety positions. They did sign former Arizona Cardinals' free safety Rashad Johnson; however, it was just a one-year deal and Bell would be able to challenge at either safety position. In today's pass-happy NFL, Bell would fit with any team who has a free safety vacancy.
Where he should go: New Orleans Saints, second round, No. 42.
Michael Thomas' numbers do not stack up with the other top wideouts, but it was what he did with his chances that makes him a special prospect. Thomas was once just a spring game all-star, then he turned into an excellent route runner, equipped with soft hands. The spokesperson of #Zone6 will bring confidence, route running and the ability to make plays in traffic as a number two or three receiver to the NFL.
The Saints once had an embarrassment of riches, but now outside of Brandin Cooks, they have no true number two option. Thomas would be able to come to New Orleans right away and fight against the likes of Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman for a starting job. He would benefit from playing with one of the top quarterbacks in the league and his ability to gain separation would turn him into one of Drew Brees' favorite targets. There are numerous teams with holes on the outside, including the Bengals, Browns, Texans, Vikings and Falcons, where Thomas would have a chance to be the number two or three guy.
Check back for the next group of Buckeye prospects pegged to go on the second and third day of the NFL Draft