Draft Analysis: where will former Rebels go?

Posted on Mar 24 2016 - 8:16am by Cody Thomason

The 2016 NFL Draft is a little more than a month away, and former Ole Miss players Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche are all predicted to go somewhere in the first round.  A lot could change between now and April 28, but there is already plenty of speculation over where the prospects will find themselves.

Tunsil is the highest-rated player among the three, and has closest thing to a sure spot in the first round — the Tennessee Titans will likely select him with the first pick in the draft. Tunsil fits perfectly, as the Titans invested in a franchise signal caller last year when they took Marcus Mariota and now need a franchise left tackle to protect him in the pocket. It’s unlikely the Titans will pass on the chance to draft Tunsil, but it is possible that they trade down in the draft.
If that happens, Tunsil would likely still be drafted in the next two picks. While the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers both are not quite as good of a fit as the Titans are, Tunsil could still step in and become starting left tackle for either team.

Laquon Treadwell’s destination is much harder to pinpoint. Treadwell is definitely one of the top receivers in the draft, but questions about his speed could cause him to slip. The best-case scenario for Treadwell is probably the New York Giants at No. 10, who need to replace their No. 2 wide receiver after the departure of Reuben Randle. Treadwell would fit excellently in the offense across from Odell Beckham, Jr., as Treadwell’s strength and consistency would make him a great possession receiver to complement Beckham’s explosiveness. If he goes past the Giants, the New Orleans Saints could take him at 12 to replace Marques Colston. The Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings all have a need at receiver and could select him later in the round if he falls.
If teams drafted purely by talent, Nkemdiche would be near the top of the draft; but, due to off-the-field issues and effort concerns, its likely Nkemdiche will slip in the draft. His draft range is extremely broad, as a team picking in the teens could take a chance on him or the risk associated with him could make him fall too late in the first round or even to the second round.

The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets draft at 19 and 20, respectively, and both have an affinity for defense, so both are legitimate possibilities. The best case in the first round comes a few picks later at 26 — the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are in contention for the Super Bowl each year, and boast an impressive defense in which Nkemdiche would fit well. The Arizona Cardinals at pick 29 could also be a good destination, as they run a variation of the 3-4 defense, where Nkemdiche could potentially excel as a defensive end.
Right tackle Fahn Cooper also has a chance to be taken in April’s draft, but it will likely come in the later rounds. Cooper could catch on with a team like the Giants or the San Francisco 49ers and move into a backup role with a chance to earn a starting spot sometime down the road.

– Cody Thomason