The 2015 NFL Draft has been finished for less than 24 hours, but that will not stop folks from looking ahead to 2016. SB Nation's Dan Kadar put together a 2016 NFL mock draft to give us a way-too-early look at next year. He won't have another one until later this fall, but it is fun to have a baseline. And we can compare that with his first mock draft a year ago.
In this year's mock draft, Dan has the San Francisco 49ers grabbing LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White . The 49ers were perceived to have a significant need at cornerback heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, and they did not pick a single corner. They haven't even signed one in undrafted free agency. They could still add another body, but for the most part, they seem settled with who will compete for playing time this year.
A 2016 NFL mock draft in May of 2015 holds fairly limited value, if any at all. I suppose it gives people a chance to get a jump on who the perceived talent is for the upcoming college football season. But for purposes of projecting players, we are obviously taking it with a grain of salt. We don't know the draft order, let along who will emerge in college football later this year.
A look back at Dan's 2015 NFL mock draft is a fun little exercise in how much things can change. A year ago, he had Randy Gregory going No. 1, with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota going No. 2 and No. 3. He had players like Shilique Calhoun who ended up returning to school, Tyler Johnstone who tore his ACL in August and will be in the 2016 NFL Draft, and Noah Spence who was declared ineligible and transferred to Eastern Kentucky earlier this year.
Dan had the 49ers selecting Alabama guard Arie Kouandjio. He ended up going in the fifth round to Washington. Dan also had Mike Davis going in the first round. He ended up slipping later to the 49ers, so that's kind of cool, I suppose. It really is just an exercise in getting to know players, and considering where team needs stand immediately following the draft. Clearly Trent Baalke disagrees at this point that cornerback is a need. We'll see how he feels a year from now.
And I promise this is the last mock we'll look at until sometime later this fall, well into the college football season.