2016 NFL Draft Preview: When, Where, And Who

The 2016 NFL draft is now in our sights. This will be the 81st annual meeting of NFL teams to select new players.

When

As noted by Craig Stephenson at AL.com, the 2016 NFL draft will begin on Thursday, April 28, and run through Saturday, April 30. The first-round of the 2016 NFL draft will kick off at 8 p.m. Eastern. You can watch the first-round on either ESPN or NFL Network. Additionally, for those who have done away with their television, the NFL draft will be streamed online via Watch ESPN and NFL Network Online.

Thursday, April 28, will encompass only the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. The second- and third-rounds of this year’s NFL draft will occur on Friday, April 29. The second-round will commence at 7 p.m. Eastern on Friday.

The concluding phase of the 2016 NFL draft will occur on Saturday, April 30. That phase of the draft will begin at noon Eastern, and will include rounds four through seven.

Where

The location of the 2016 NFL draft will be the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. The theatre location can be found here on Google Maps. It is part of Roosevelt University, and is a National Historic Landmark, according to the Auditorium Theatre website. The 4,000-seat theatre was originally designed in 1889.

The 2015 NFL draft was also held at the Auditorium Theatre.

Who

The first selection in the 2016 NFL draft belongs to the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams acquired the first overall selection through a trade earlier this month with the Tennessee Titans. As reported on the Rams’ website, Los Angeles acquired the No. 1, No. 113, and No. 190 picks from the Titans in exchange for picks No. 15, No. 43, No. 45, and No. 76 in the 2016 NFL draft, and the first- and third-round selections in the 2017 NFL draft.

The second pick in the 2016 NFL draft now belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles also acquired their selection in a trade, this one with the Cleveland Browns. As detailed on the Eagles’ website, Philadelphia received the No. 2 pick from Cleveland in the 2016 NFL draft and their fourth-round selection in 2017. In return, the Browns receive the Eagles’ No. 8, N0. 77 and No. 100 draft picks in 2016, and their 2017 first-round draft pick, as well as 2018 second-round draft pick.

The remaining picks in the first five of the 2016 NFL draft are rounded out by San Diego, Dallas, and Jacksonville. For the full round-by-round draft pick order by NFL team, see the list on the ESPN website.

As usual, there has been quite a bit of speculation by pundits around which college players will be selected with the first-round draft picks by each NFL team. In particular, picks No. 1 and No. 2 have been thoroughly investigated. The trades by Los Angeles and Philadelphia have only fueled the discussion around which players will be selected with these first two draft picks.

It is highly likely that a quarterback will be selected with draft pick No. 1. Just which quarterback will be taken is still up for debate. The top two quarterbacks in the draft, according to most analysts, are Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.

Jared Goff played college football for the University of California, Berkeley. According to his profile on the ESPN website, Goff stands at 6’4″ and 215 lbs. Having completed three years at California, Goff most recently threw for 4,719 yards and a 64.5 percent completion rate. He had an astounding 161.3 quarterback rating, while finding the end zone 43 times with just 13 interceptions.

Carson Wentz played for a much smaller school, part of the FCS division, in North Dakota State University. As noted on the ESPN website, Wentz is 6’6″ and weighs in at 235 lbs. Wentz is 23-years-old, having redshirted as a freshman, and finishing up as a fifth-year senior in 2015. As noted by Chase Goodbread on the NFL website, NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein identified some of the reasons why Wentz may be considered such a high draft pick this year.

“He checks a lot of boxes. He plays in a pro-style passing attack that allows him to read the entire field. He has great size, a good enough arm, and is very courageous in the pocket. He has fantastic touch and accuracy down the field.”

Wentz was injured for half of his senior season, having broken his right wrist. He did come back for the FCS Championship game, leading North Dakota State to victory.

With the Rams and Eagles trading up for the No.1 and No. 2 picks respectively, it is believed that each team moved up to select either Goff or Wentz to fulfill their quarterback needs. A recent mock draft on the NFL website has three analysts predicting Goff as the first draft pick, with one picking Wentz for draft pick No. 1.

At pick No. 3, three of the analysts think that the San Diego Chargers will select Laremy Tunsil, and offensive tackle out of the University of Mississippi. From that point on, the variations on which players will be selected with which draft picks varies quite a bit. There are some names to watch for early in the first-round however, regardless of their specific draft pick. The names include, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey, DeForest Buckner, Ronnie Stanley, Myles Jack, and Vernon Hargreaves.

[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]