Unless you’re a Patriots or Seahawks fan, most of us are looking forward to the free-agency period and the NFL draft. If Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay are allowed to be called “experts” even though they are routinely way off in their predictions, I figured I can throw my hat into the ring and pump out a way-too-early mock draft. (Mock listed at WalterFootball.com)
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Mariota – QB, Oregon
Rumor has it the Bucs aren’t even entertaining trade offers for the first overall pick. It sounds like they have their hearts set on Mariota, even though there are a couple other pressing needs. Mike Glennon has proven to be a marginal talent, so trying to find a franchise QB makes sense.
2. Tennessee Titans: Jameis Winston – QB, Florida State
If Winston didn’t seem to have off-the-field issues, he would be the clear-cut #1 prospect in this draft. Depending on how Tennessee feels about Zach Mettenberger, they might take a flyer on Winston, who is the most NFL ready QB in the draft. Passing up a talent that could potentially upgrade the most important position is a tough proposition for the Titans. I am very interested to see what direction they go.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brandon Scherff – OT, Iowa
The Jags have some youthful pieces in place, but they need help almost everywhere. I think it would be smart to forego a sexier pick and get a guy who can protect Blake Bortles for the foreseeable future. You can have all the skill players you want, but winning starts and ends in the trenches.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper – WR, Alabama
The Raiders aren’t as bad as it seems. They have pieces on defense – Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, DJ Hayden, etc. Cooper is one of those rare, can’t miss prospects. Oakland needs to get Derek Carr a clear #1 receiver, and Cooper can be that guy.
5. Washington Redskins: Randy Gregory – DE, Nebraska
Gregory may very well be the best defensive player in the draft. Based on team need and Gregory’s talent level, Washington selecting him here is a no-brainer.