The NFL draft is months away, but teams have already started doing work on players and names like Myles Jack, Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland, DeForest Buckner, Robert Nkemdiche, A'Shawn Robinson, Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Ramsey could be some of the top prospects taken.
The Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants all are in the top 10 this year and that gives those teams a chance to get some talented prospects. All of those teams could use upgrades on defense and the players listed above could be potential targets in the first round. The Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles are the first three teams to pick outside the top 10 and it would not be a surprise to see those teams go after defensive players as well.
The 2016 draft class is considered to be a deep one at a number of positions and also on the defensive side of the ball. Joey Bosa is expected to be the first defensive player taken in the draft and after that, players like DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey and Shaq Lawson could come off the board. The linebacker position has a number of strong prospects this year and teams like the Giants, Ravens and Bears are expected to target that position at some point in the draft.
Mel Kiper at ESPN has put out his first mock draft and he has the Ravens going after Ronnie Stanley with the number six pick. The team could use some upgrades on the offensive line, but players like Ramsey and Laquon Treadwell also could be potential targets. The Ravens dealt with a ton of injuries on both sides of the ball last season and they are in good position to go after the "best player available" over focusing on a certain need at number six.
The Dolphins pick at number eight after the 49ers go at number seven and many early mock drafts have the team going after a defensive player. Last season the defense did not play up to expectations after signing Ndamukong Suh and even though Adam Gase is an offensive minded coach, the team could go after someone on defense.
Kiper has the team looking at Shaq Lawson from Clemson, who has quickly been moving up draft boards heading into the offseason. Lawson led the nation in tackles for loss last season and that should get him some attention in the draft from Miami, especially with Olivier Vernon likely leaving in free agency. Kiper has Hargreaves going to the Bucs, Jack to the Giants and Ragland to the Bears with his next picks, while Robinson and Nkemdiche are next to the Eagles.
That run of teams and those players all could be interchangeable among those picks, as the Giants, Bears, Eagles and Saints all need some upgrades on defense after the way they performed last season. The Giants usually avoid linebackers in the first round, but 2016 could be a change for the team if Lawson, Jack or Ragland are available.
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