2015 NFL Mock Draft (Last Minute Edition)
If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s mock drafts. So here’s mine.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB (FSU)
– This one’s been locked in for weeks, if not months now. Winston is the most pro-ready QB in the draft, and has Ben Roethlisberger-type potential.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
– Could be Tennessee, could be Cleveland, could be Philadelphia. All signs seem to point to someone taking Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr. (Florida)
-Jacksonville has lacked a bona fide edge rusher for years now. Their total sack production ticked up last year, but they still need that one guy who strikes fear into the hearts of opposing lineman. Leonard Williams is a possibility here, but after spending a lot of money on Sen’Derrick Marks and Jared Odrick, it’s more likely that they eschew the draft’s best interior defensive lineman for the top outside rusher.
4. Oakland Raiders – Leonard Williams, DE/DT (USC)
– This pick comes down to either Williams, or a wide receiver. The Raiders need help along their defensive line, and they need to get sophomore QB Derek Carr more weapons for the passing game. However, this is a deep draft at wide receiver, so the Raiders can wait until round 2 for a pass catcher. Williams fills a need, is considered to be possibly the best player in the entire draft, and has also publicly stated that he wants to play for the Raiders. Seems like a good fit for Oakland at No. 4.
5. Washington Redskins – Vic Beasley, DE/OLB (Clemson)
-With Brian Orakpo gone, Washington could use another edge rusher to pair with Ryan Kerrigan. Beasley’s terrific Scouting Combine performance (and the fact that other top edge rushers like Shane Ray and Randy Gregory have knocked themselves down draft boards with some poor pre-draft decisions), Beasley is the pick here. He racked up 25 sacks over his last two collegiate seasons, and should be a big boost to the Redskins’ defense.
6. New York Jets – Amari Cooper, WR (Alabama)
– Jets could go in a few directions here, namely pass rusher, offensive line or wide receiver. No. 6 is a bit too high for any of the available offensive lineman, and the remaining edge rushers all have a few too many questions. Cooper is arguably the best player left on the board, and he’d give the Jets a No. 1 WR for the future to develop. Yes, they traded for Brandon Marshall earlier in the offseason, but he’s 31 and his bloated contract doesn’t make him a permanent solution for the Jets at receiver.
7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, WR (WVU)
-With Brandon Marshall gone, Chicago is in the market for a receiver to pair with Alshon Jeffrey. White is the best available, and could be the pick. The Bears may opt for a defensive player here, but if best-player-available is the tiebreaker, White is the pick.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Bud Dupree, DE (Kentucky)
-Much like Jacksonville, Atlanta has lacked a top edge rusher for years, and their defense has suffered because of it. They’ve attempted to squeeze production out of aged defenders like Ray Edwards and Osi Umienyiora, with predictably disappointing results. Time for them to get a young pass rusher to help out their stop unit.
9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, G/OT (Iowa)
– Despite taking Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh high in in the last couple drafts, the Giants still have work to do as they rebuild their offensive line. Scherff should help, as he’s very versatile (can player either tackle or guard spot) and is arguably the strongest lineman in the draft.
10. St. Louis Rams – Ereck Flowers, OT (Miami at FL)
– St. Louis could go a few different direction here, but their best bet is to probably add an offensive lineman to help protect new QB Nick Foles, who is a good passer, but also quite injury prone. Flowers should form a nice tacke tandem with last year’s first-round pick, Greg Robinson.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Devante Parker, WR (Louisville)
– Patience seems to be wearing thin on Cordarelle Patterson, and while Mike Wallace was a nice addition, he’s not a No. 1 receiver. Enter Parker, who has the potential to be a top receiver in the NFL, and will also benefit from reuniting with his old college QB, Teddy Bridgewater.
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, NT (Washington)
– If Cleveland doesn’t use this pick (and the No. 19 pick) to trade up for Marcus Mariota, Danny Shelton would be a good addition here. He is the draft’s top nose tackle, and will fortify a Cleveland line that was very weak up the middle last season.
13. New Orleans Saints – Trae Waynes, CB (Michigan State)
– Cornerback, wide receiver or edge rusher are the likely picks here. Again though, if best-player-available is the tiebreaker, Waynes could be the one hearing his name called by the Saints.
14. Miami Dolphins – Breshad Perriman, WR (Central Florida)
With Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace both gone, Miami needs to add a receiver early in the 2015 draft. Perriman may not be the most polished receiver in this year’s class, but his athletic ability gives him a very high ceiling. It’s not every day you can find a 6’3″ receiver with 4.25 speed.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, DE/DT (Oregon)
– With Ray McDonald (Bears) gone and Justin Smith hinting at retirement, San Francisco needs to restock the cupboard along their defensive line. Add in the fact that their new head coach, Jim Tomsula, was formerly the team’s DL coach, it’ll be hard for them to pass up someone like Armstead, who has intriguing size (6’7″, 292) and athleticism. He wasn’t the most consistent player in college, but with the right coaching, he could be a high-impact player in the NFL.
16. Houston Texans – Nelson Agholor, WR (USC)
-With Andre Johnson gone, there’s room for another wide receiver to pair with DeAndre Hopkins in Houston. Agholor has shot up draft boards lately, as teams have noticed his route-running and return ability, and could be the pick here for the Texans.
17. San Diego Chargers – Todd Gurley, RB (Georgia)
-San Diego may pick Gurley, or Wisconsin product Melvin Gordon III. No matter which, it seems they’re destined to snag a running back in the first round (unless they make the trade up for Marcus Mariota).
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Andrus Peat, OT (Stanford)
– Wide receiver or offensive line should be the pick for the Chiefs. However, let’s remember that Andy Reid is the one making the pick, and he’ll almost certainly opt for a lineman if given the choice. Peat can play either tackle spot for Kansas City, but he’ll likely slide in at left tackle, allowing embattled former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher to move back to right tackle.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo Bills) – Shane Ray, DE/OLB (Missouri)
– Ray’s marijuana citation may push him down on draft day, but the SEC Defensive Player of the Year is still a talented edge rusher. Barkevious Mingo is looking more and more like a bust, and Cleveland could use a sack artist like Ray to start across from him, if not outright replace him.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Johnson, CB (Wake Forest)
– At last, we get to the draft’s real wide card. Philadelphia’s biggest needs are at wide receiver and defensive back, but we know how much Chip Kelly loves his former Oregon players, and he may sell the farm to move up for Mariota. If the Eagles stay put, however, they’d do well to address their deficiencies in the defensive backfield with someone like Johnson.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Landon Collins, S (Alabama)
– Cincinnati’s defense is quite solid across the board, but they could stand to make an upgrade at safety. Luckily for them, Collins slides all the way to them at No. 21.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Marcus Peters, CB (Washington)
-With the retirements of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh’s issues along the back of their defense become all the more alarming. Peters is arguably the most talented cornerback in the draft, and would fill a big need for the Steelers, but he also comes with off-the-field and attitude issues. However, something tells me veteran lineback James Harrison isn’t the type to let a rookie come in and make trouble. If they can mold him and keep his head on straight, Peters can be the Steelers’ No. 1 CB for the next decade.
23. Detroit Lions – Malcolm Brown, DT (Texas)
-Following the departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, the Lions need to bolster the interior of their defensive line. Trading for Haloti Ngata helps, but they need someone next to him.
24. Arizona Cardinals – Melvin Gordon III, RB (Wisconsin)
– Edge rusher or running back? The former is arguably the bigger of the two needs in Arizona, but Gordon is the best available player available at either position.
25. Carolina Panthers – DJ Humphries, OT (Florida)
– Given the pulverizing Cam Newton took last year, it’s tough to imagine Carolina doing anything in the first round besides upgrading their offensive line. Humphries is a big, athletic tackle who has the potential to be a starting-caliber left tackle for the Panthers.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR (Oklahoma)
– With Torrey Smith gone and Steve Smith not getting any younger, the Ravens could stand to bring in a new receiver. “DGB” has one of the best combinations of size (6’5″, 235) and speed (4.4) in the entire draft, but also a host of character issues, including drug use and a domestic violence charge, that will cause him to slip on draft day.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Randy Gregory, DE/OLB (Nebraska)
– After gambling (and losing) on Greg Hardy, who will be suspended for most of the 2015 season, the Cowboys have to go back to the drawing board to fix their pass-rush issues. Gregory was once considered the top edge-rushing prospect in the draft, but questions about his drug use, thin frame and mental ability have his stock plummeting. Still, the Cowboys haven’t been afraid to roll the dice (see: Hardy, Dez Bryant, Rolando McClain), and could stop Gregory’s draft-day fall here.
28. Denver Broncos – Jake Fisher, OT (Oregon)
– Orlando Franklin (Chargers) left in free agency, leaving Denver with a big hole at tackle along their offensive line. Fisher’s draft stock has steadily risen since the Combine, and could find himself sneaking into the end of the first round to a team like the Panthers or Broncos.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Denzell Perryman, ILB (Miami at FL)
– Indianapolis has spent the offseason picking up players from “The U”, so why stop now? Perryman is arguably the best inside ‘back in the draft, and he fills a need for the Colts.
30. Green Bay Packers – Eric Kendricks, ILB (UCLA)
– Even before AJ Hawk left, Green Bay needed another inside linebacker. Things got so bad, they were forced to play OLB Clay Matthews out of position to try and mitigate their issues inside. Kendricks would give the Packers an athletic option for their linebacking corps, and allow Matthews to move back out to the spot where he’s been an All-Pro. Two birds, one stone for the Packers with this pick.
31. New Orleans Saints (via Seattle Seahawks) – Bryce Petty, QB (Baylor)
-There’s always one “surprise!” pick somewhere in the draft, and this could be it. New Orleans needs a young quarterback to develop behind Drew Brees. New Orleans’ franchise signal caller still has a few good years left in him, but it’s better for the Saints to plan for the inevitable now, than wait too long and scramble to find a replacement. Petty has a good set of physical tools, but came from a gimmicky spread offense in college. If he can learn behind Brees for a few seasons, he should allow the Saints to make a seamless transition from one franchise passer to another in the not-too-distant future.
32. New England Patriots – Jalen Collins, CB (LSU)
– With Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner gone, New England should grab a cornerback sometime in the draft. Might as well snag one here.