McShay's tier rankings for 2016 NFL draft

Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner have proven to be elite talents. Getty Images,

As the 2016 NFL draft draws closer, it's once again time to run through our draft tier rankings, which uses our grades to separate prospects into different segments. This is helpful when comparing players who are close to each other in the rankings. It also helps with predicting where players will come off the board during the first three rounds of the draft.

Here are our draft tiers for 2016, covering players with first-, second- and third-round grades (which are in parentheses next to each player's name).

Tier 1

This is the elite class of prospects in the 2016 NFL draft. They should be starters from Day 1 and project as perennial Pro Bowl players.

1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Grade: 96)
2. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi (95)
3. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (95)

Bosa has been in the No. 1 position all season, and I see no reason to change that now. He plays with exceptional technique and effort. And while Bosa may lack elite speed, he's a dominant player on the field. Tunsil, meanwhile, is firmly in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick because of his rare athleticism and upside. Buckner, who has the versatility to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3, has a motor befitting a player who will have a long and successful career.

Tier 2

A notch below the elite class but still worthy of a top-20 pick in most drafts. Expected to be plug-and-play starters