Let's face it: mock drafts are almost always wrong, and most of them look pretty much the same leading up to the actual NFL Draft. It's time to have a little fun with these things.
I've gone ahead and thrown together my own mock of the first round with one caveat: you can only pick draft-eligible players from the Big Ten. I understand that 31* Big Ten players will not be drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft come April 28. It will, however, be interesting to see if some of these players end up on the same teams in later rounds based on need and fit. If nothing else, it yielded a decent snapshot of the talent representing the Big Ten for the upcoming draft.
NOTE: This mock was done based on need and fit. I'll need Ohio State fans to remember that before sending me an email or tweet containing career advice in regard to Joey Bosa's landing spot.
(For the purpose of this exercise Carolina was given the last pick, which will be awarded to the winner of Super Bowl 50, merely to determine an order.)
All-Big Ten 2016 NFL Mock Draft
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Titans desperately need a blindside protector for Marcus Mariota. Decker would fit the bill, and he may even end up being the actual pick when Tennessee is on the clock.
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
Cleveland STILL needs a long-term fix at quarterback. They need to go get the safest, most NFL-ready signal-caller available. Cook is that guy.
Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
The Chargers are a relatively complete team with the exception of the wide receiver position. They don't just need a prototypical wideout, they need a playmaker. Carroo is the Big Ten's best playmaker at wide receiver.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
The loss of DeMarco Murray became apparent as the season wore on. Putting Elliott in the Dallas backfield behind that O-line turns the Cowboys into an extremely dangerous team offensively.
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The Jaguars are young, talented and close to getting over the hump. Adding a big, physical shutdown corner like Apple could complete the puzzle.
Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
The Ravens secondary hasn't been the same since Ed Reed left. Bell's physical style of play and athleticism are exactly what the Ravens need to get back to the top of the division.
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Chip Kelly is going to need a monster to open holes and protect his quarterback. Conklin is as mean as they come, an upgrade at the position, and an anchor on the line for a decade.
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Speaking of anchors, Spriggs has been that guy on the offensive line of the most exciting and dynamic offense in the conference for the past two seasons.
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa falls this far because of value. He's a terrific talent, but not the franchise-changing player you take in the first five picks. That said, adding him to the current Bucs D-line is a scary thought.
Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
The Giants need more depth at defensive end. They know what they are getting from a character standpoint, as Nassib's brother Ryan is already on New York's roster. Carl Nassib has the physical tools to develop into a J.J. Watt-type player.
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
The Bears are starving for a pass rusher. Calhoun is the best in the Big Ten, if not the entire country.
Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State
The Saints are dire need of help on defense -- particularly at outside linebacker. Perry is a big-bodied athletic defender who is ready to start in the NFL immediately.
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
New Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a quarterback himself and is going to want his own signal-caller to run his newly installed system. Hackenberg is probably as good as it gets from a fundamentals standpoint.
Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
You can never have too many corners in today's NFL. The Raiders have a need for depth at the position and Murray would be the best available at this point.
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
The Rams are going to be looking for a new face to their franchise after the move to L.A. Jones has shown that he is not intimidated by the spotlight. His mobility and big arm might remind coach Jeff Fisher of a similar player he had success with in Tennessee -- Steve McNair.
Anthony Zettel, DE, Penn State
Zettel is a powerful end with a quick burst, almost demanding to be double-teamed on every snap. He'd be a scary compliment to Ziggy Ansah on the other side of Detroit's defensive line.
Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
The Falcons need help in a lot of places, but getting Matt Ryan a dependable security blanket and additional red zone target is of extreme importance moving forward. Vannett is a safe pick here.
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
Howard is just the sort of hammer the Colts need as they look for a long-term fix at running back. He's a tough and patient runner between the tackles, but he also possesses the ability to break one and keep opposing defenses honest.
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Lee is the sort of fast, hard-hitting linebacker Rex and Rob Ryan like. He plays very much like Jonathan Vilma and would be the perfect guy to fill the void left by the Kiko Alonso trade last year.
Jordan Walsh, G, Iowa
The Jets have the skill guys they need and a solid defense. They need help in the trenches and Walsh is a sound interior lineman.
Jack Allen, C, Michigan State
The Redskins have their franchise quarterback. It's time to get Kirk Cousins a franchise center he can grow old with together. It might as well be a fellow Spartan.
Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
Washington is a versatile defensive tackle who can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3, possibly even sliding to the end spot in either scheme depending on the situation. The Texans -- aka New England South -- put a lot of stock in versatility.
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Getting Teddy Bridgewater more weapons is priority No. 1. Thomas would give Minnesota a big possession receiver who can also stretch the field if he needs to, complementing rising star and fellow Big Ten alumnus Stefon Diggs.
Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin
The Bengals need more character guys who can maintain composure at all times while playing at a high level in heated divisional rivalry games. Schobert is the perfect fit.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun, CB, Minnesota
Boddy-Calhoun had a bit of a disappointing year, but there's no denying the talent and potential. The Steelers will take any help they can get at cornerback.
Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State
Seattle's passing game found new life at the end of the season. If Pete Carroll wants to keep that going, he'll need someone who can draw attention away from Doug Baldwin. Burbridge is a sure-handed, solid route runner who can do just that.
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Collins' game is rooted in effort and physicality. He's always moving forward and would be a dangerous running mate to B.J. Raji on the Packer D-line.
Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska
Lewis has a nasty edge to him, which you want from all of your linemen at the professional level. He'd be a nice bookend to Eric Fisher. Additionally, his natural position is guard, so he gives you depth across the board.
Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
Miller is a bit of a luxury pick here. The Cardinals are a fairly complete team when healthy, so they could go a lot of different ways with the pick. Given Bruce Arians "abstract" approach, I'm thinking he'd like the idea of a Swiss Army knife-type of threat who could literally line up anywhere on offense.
Henry Krieger Coble, TE, Iowa
We saw Owen Daniels do some damage in the AFC Championship Game. That said, if the Broncos are set to move forward with Brock Osweiler as the signal-caller, they're going to want some different options outside of Daniels and Vernon Davis -- two aging veterans -- for him to target at the tight end spot. The sure-handed Krieger Coble makes sense here.
Tyvis Powell, FS, Ohio State
As good as the Panther defense already is, they'll be looking to upgrade at the safety spot. Powell is the best on the board at this point.
*New England does not have a first-round pick this year, which was forfeited as part of the Patriots' punishment handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the Deflategate scandal.