It will take at least a couple of years to be able to really evaluate the 2016 NFL Draft. Some “can’t miss” prospects won’t pan out, and some late-round draft picks will develop into Pro Bowl players.
But that doesn’t stop us from speculating on which teams made the most of their selections.
Here are my three winners from this year’s NFL Draft:
The Titans acquired a potential mainstay on the offensive line for the next decade in Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin. Trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Rams allowed Tennessee to pick up extra draft picks for a team with a variety of needs. Selecting Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd in the second round could be a steal. Alabama running back Derrick Henry could also make an immediate impact.
With the No. 6 overall pick, the Ravens gave their Super Bowl quarterback Joe Flacco some adequate pass protection with Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Staley. Boise State defensive end Kamalei Correa boasts a unique motor as an edge rusher. Baltimore did a good job of drafting players that will fit into its system.
Coming off positive drafts the past two seasons by picking such talented players as Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, the Raiders added more pieces to a young, skilled roster. With the No. 14 overall pick, the Raiders were able to add a hard hitting safety in West Virginia’s Karl Joseph that will help make up for the retirement of Charles Woodson. Defensive ends Jihad Ward and Shilque Calhoun give Oakland more pass rushing options to go along with Mack. The fourth-round pick of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook not only gives the Raiders an option if Carr gets hurt, but it could also lead to a trade for more draft picks in the future. While Cook slipped to the fourth round, he was a proven winner at Michigan State.
Mark Schremmer has been a sports reporter since 2000 and has covered games at the professional, college and high school levels for The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Joplin Globe.
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