NFL Draft All-Underclassmen Team (Offense)

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft passed a few days ago, and the NFL has released the list of players who declared. In all, 96 players were "granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft," which is two short of the record of 98, set in 2014. To be eligible for the NFL Draft, a player must be at least three years removed from high school. In terms of college eligibility, the players must be at least a junior or a redshirt sophomore. Another 11 players "fulfilled their degree requirements with college football eligibility remaining." What this means is the player earned their degree, but still had another year of eligibility. Basically, they are redshirt juniors with a college degree. This is part one of a two-part series that will look at the best underclassmen in the 2016 NFL Draft. Part two, defensive players, will be posted at a later date. Special teams players (kicker and punter) will be split between the offensive and defensive articles. Quarterback: Jared Goff, California Quarterback is always the position that everyone wants to know about. This year, Goff and Paxton Lynch headline the non-senior quarterback class and will battle to be the first off the board. Lynch has a high upside, but I prefer Goff, who rewrote the Golden Bears' record book in his three years as a starter. He could go as early as No. 2, where Cleveland needs a quarterback (again). Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State Derrick Henry may be the Heisman Trophy winner, but Elliott is the better pro prospect. A two-year starter, he rushed for over 1,800 yards in 2014 and 2015. At Ohio State, he played his best on the biggest stage, rushing for 625 yards and 10 touchdowns on 83 carries in three bowl games. He has an all-around game that translates to the NFL and the talent to go in the top 15. The biggest question with Elliott is how much value will teams assign to a running back? Wide Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss Treadwell entered the season as the No. 1 receiving prospect and nothing he did as a junior changed that. His biggest question mark was the serious leg injury suffered late in 2014. Setting career-highs in receptions (82), receiving yards (1,153), touchdowns (11) and yards per reception (14.1), he proved to be fully recovered and ready for the NFL. The 6-foot-2 receiver could go as early as No. 4 to Dallas, and if he runs well at the combine there will be more speculation about him paired up with Dez Bryant. Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, Ohio State Unlike other top receiving prospects, Thomas didn't put up great numbers in his final collegiate season. The lack of production isn't an indication of his talent, but a result of the Buckeyes' offensive scheme and changing quarterback situation. Thomas led the 2014 National Champions in receptions and all receiving statistics in 2015. The 6-foot-3 receiver will likely go late in the first round. Wide Receiver: Corey Coleman, Baylor Early in the college football season, Coleman took the nation by storm with a ridiculous 20 touchdowns in the first eight games. After that, injuries decimated the Bears' quarterback depth chart and their passing game suffered. The 5-foot-11 Coleman won the Biletnikoff Award with 74 catches, 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns. At worst he is a vertical playmaker, but he has the potential to become much more than that. He will challenge Thomas and others to be the second receiver off the board. Tight End: Hunter Henry, Arkansas Overall, the tight end class is pretty weak this year. This is good news for Henry, who looks to be the top prospect with O.J. Howard (Alabama) and Jake Butt (Michigan) returning to school. In 2015, he caught 51 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns. At 6-foot-5, 253 pounds, he possesses great size for the position. He needs to improve as a blocker, but that won't hold him back from being a high selection. Due to the lack of depth at tight end in this draft, he could sneak into the end of the first round. Offensive Tackle: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss One of the premier talents in the draft, Tunsil headlines an offensive tackle class that should put at least four players in the first round. Tunsil missed the early part of the 2015 season due to an NCAA investigation, but this won't impact his NFL stock. In his first game back, he faced Texas A&M's star defensive end Myles Garrett and held him in check. With Tennessee needing offensive line help, Tunsil is the early favorite to be taken first overall by the Titans. Offensive Tackle: Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame While Tunsil is the consensus No. 1 offensive tackle in the draft, Stanley is the No. 2. Stanley is at his best in pass protection, where he protected the blindside of Fighting Irish quarterbacks for two years after one year at right tackle. If he can improve his strength, he has the potential to become one of the better offensive tackles in the league. With the high demand for offensive linemen, it is likely that Stanley doesn't escape the top 10 selections on draft day. Guard: Denver Kirkland, Arkansas Many of the best guard prospects in the 2016 draft will make the transition from tackle to guard in the pros. Kirkland is one of these players, as he played left tackle at Arkansas in 2015. However, he already has experience at guard, as he spent his freshman and sophomore seasons playing guard for the Razorbacks. After three years on the massive Arkansas offensive line, he is one of the better guard prospects and could be selected on Day Two of the draft. Guard: Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State Playing three seasons at Oregon State, Seumalo saw time at center, guard and tackle. NFL teams will love the versatility that saw him start 23 games at center, nine at guard and five at tackle. After missing all of 2014 with a foot injury, he returned and moved to guard, which is his likely position in the NFL. Center: None No center declared early for the 2016 NFL Draft. Seumalo can play center, but his expected NFL position is guard. Kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State It is rare to see a kicker selected high in the draft, but Aguayo has a chance to be the highest selected in years. No kicker has been selected in the top 100 of the draft since Mike Nugent in 2005. Aguayo is the third most accurate kicker in the history of college football, making 69 of 78 attempts, and he never missed from under 40 yards. If there is an area of concern, it is that he had his worst season in 2015 (missing five field goals). Matt Pearce is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp and is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska. Follow him on Twitter@Matt_Pearce13

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