2016 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Day 1

By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
May 3, 2016


Miami Dolphins: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
This would fall into the category of a winner and a loser. Miami was a huge winner as the Dolphins landed the best player in the draft and they did it with the 13th overall-pick. Tunsil would be in the loser category because he was expected to go much higher. Tunsil fell in the first round because of a photo that was posted to his twitter account of him smoking pot out of a bong with a gas mask on. The photo had some shock value which was the catalyst for his fall, but across the NFL there is a huge amount of players that smoke pot and every team looks the other way as long as they don't test positive. Teams believe that Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott use hard drugs like Molly and E yet they went in the top five. The Dolphins come away with a franchise left tackle and a potential pro bowler. It was a great win for Miami.

San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The 49ers needed a lot of help on offense in the 2016 NFL Draft, but San Francisco wisely didn't reach for a need and took the best player available (aside from Laremy Tunsil). Given the turmoil in San Francisco over the past few seasons, it is understandable that the 49ers passed on Tunsil for a good player with great character in Buckner. San Francisco can't afford to have more character or off the field issues. Buckner could have gone as high as the third-overall pick and is a perfect scheme fit to go with Arik Armstead. The good 49ers teams in recent years were led by a furious defense at the point of attack. Buckner and Armstead could provide that again for San Francisco. Buckner was an excellent selection with the seventh-overall pick.


New York Giants: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The Giants had a huge reach in the top 10 with Apple. In terms of his tape and production, he was a mid to late first-rounder. I'm not completely against the Apple pick because he does have the skill set to grow into a good NFL corner. However, I think New York made a big mistake in a player that they passed on. The Giants had a huge hole at right tackle and Laremy Tunsil was available, the best player in the draft and future franchise left tackle. Tunsil and Ereck Flowers could have been a tremendous, duo but the Giants passed on Tunsil probably because of the photo and video that was released right before the draft of Tunsil hitting a bong. There are plenty of players in the NFL that are active smokers. There are some on every virtually every roster. As long as they don't test positive, most teams don't care. Tunsil could have been a franchise left tackle with Flowers being a dominant right tackle. I think the Giants are going to regret the decision to pass on Tunsil for Apple.

Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Titans made the same mistake the Giants did when they passed on Tunsil for Conklin. Across the league teams felt that Conklin didn't have the skill set to be a left tackle and would have to move to guard or right tackle. Conklin will do that with Tennessee, but the Titans need some elite athletes on the edge to protect Marcus Mariota. Conklin will be mismatched against the Texans trio of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. Tennessee would have had a better shot of matching up against Houston by taking Tunsil and putting Taylor Lewan at right tackle. As it is with Lewan and Conklin, I think the Titans are still overmatched on the edges against teams with good pass rushers. I don't think Conklin is a true solution to the offensive line that allowed the most sacks in the NFL last year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami

The Steelers took Burns because they were so desperate at cornerback. Burns is a quality prospect, but most teams had him firmly in the second round. The 6-foot, 193-pounder has some coverage skills but he needs development. Pittsburgh reached at a position of need, but there were better players available at other positions that could have used an upgrade like nose tackle. Kenny Clark, Austin Johnson, A'Shawn Robinson, and Jarran Reed are all better prospects than Burns. They were all available as well. In the long run it could work out for the Steelers if they do a good job of developing Burns, but Pittsburgh definitely reached in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

San Francisco 49ers: Josh Garnett, G, Stanford

Prior to the draft I surveyed a variety of teams and they said there was no guard worthy of a first-round pick. Many had Garnett as the top guard prospect, but they had him graded as a late second or early third-rounder. San Francisco trading back into the first round and give up extra picks for Garnett was terrible and the worst selection in the first round of the draft. It looks like a near certainty that 49ers could have had Garnett if they remained at pick 37 considering all of the defensive talent that went off the board at the top of the second round. The 49ers made one of the best, and the clear worst pick of the first round.



2019 NFL Mock Draft - Sept. 13

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2019 NBA Mock Draft - Aug. 13

2020 NFL Mock Draft - Aug. 1

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NFL Picks - Feb. 4



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