NFL DR Mock 1.0Posted: April 10, 2015
It’s April and the draft is less than a month away. So, it’s about time we here at NFLDR got our mock drafts done!
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Florida St. QB Jameis Winston
Winston has been the odds-on favorite to go first-overall for months now, and while some draftniks believe the Bucs could pull a fast one and surprise everybody by selecting Marcus Mariota, we’re confident Tampa Bay falls in line with popular opinion come draft day.
2. Cleveland Browns (trade): Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
With multiple first-round picks and the apparent flop of 2014 first-round pick Johnny Manziel, the Browns are in excellent position to jump up to the no. 1 pick and grab their franchise passer. Sacrificing no. 12 and no. 19 may hurt, but Cleveland has the talent to compete now and just needs a solid quarterback at the helm to make a playoff run.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: USC DE Leonard Williams
The Jaguars get to reap the benefit of Tennessee trading out of no. 2 by grabbing a dominant defensive lineman in Williams. Touted as the top defensive prospect by many, Williams has a deadly combination of strength and speed that will make both opposing tackles and interior lineman struggle. The versatile Williams could play a number of roles for the Jaguars in Gus Bradley’s ever-shifting defensive front.
4. New York Jets (trade): Florida OLB Dante Fowler
As the dominoes fall, the Jets are the next team to trade up in what could be a very fluid draft should a team jump up the board to grab Mariota, bumping the Raiders down to no. 6 with some future compensation. With an aging (and declining) duo of Calvin Pace and Jason Babin paired with underwhelming former first-round pick Quinton Coples at outside rusher, the Jets dearly need to upgrade and look forward at outside rusher. Fowler is a dynamic player that reminds scouts of Kahlil Mack and Von Miller, who can work on his raw abilities as he works into the rotation.
5. Washington Redskins: Nebraska OLB Randy Gregory
The ‘Skins have some major holes to fill on the depth chart, but perhaps the biggest is the result of the departure of prominent pass rusher Brian Orakpo for greener pastures in free-agency. Gregory raised some flags by failing a drug test at the NFL combine earlier this offseason, but exhibits both the pass rush ability and explosiveness that teams look for in 3-4 pass rushing linebackers. If Gregory can put on some muscle and better use his strength to power through defenders, he very well could develop into an elite pass rusher a la Aldon Smith.
6. Oakland Raiders (trade): Alabama WR Amari Cooper
Cooper may not be the most flashy receiver in the draft, but he’s built solidly at 6’1″ 211 lbs and has plenty of speed to complement his size. A strong receiver not afraid to make blocks and with both the vertical ability and awareness to win jump balls, Cooper has all the pieces to be a true no. 1 in the NFL. The ghosts of Darrius Heyward-Bey very well may influence the Raiders in taking the surer bet in Cooper than speedster Kevin White.
7. Chicago Bears: West Virginia WR Kevin White
The Raiders’ loss is the Bears’ gain. The trade of Brandon Marshall to New York leaves a hole at receiver for a team that’s trying to turn it around quickly under veteran coach John Fox. White is a size/speed freak (6’3″, 4.35 40-yard dash) and has the both the ability to stretch the field and come down with contested passes, but showed a tendency to drop passes at West Virginia. Pairing Alshon Jeffrey and Martellus Bennett with White gives whoever is under center a shot at success.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Clemson OLB Vic Beasley
Whereas the Falcons have a high powered offense, their defensive front has been weak for several seasons now. Beasley is perhaps the best pure pass rusher in the draft and would make an excellent piece for new head coach Dan Quinn in rebuilding the defense.
9. New York Giants: Iowa OT Brandon Scherff
While some consider Scherff a true guard, the Iowa product is has size and athleticism that should let him succeed as both on outside and interior blocker. Scherff’s selection would allow the Giants to bump former first-round pick Justin Pugh to a better fit at left guard while Scherff anchors the right side of the line.
10. St. Louis Rams: Louisville WR DeVante Parker
The Rams are another team well set on defense but in need of help on the offensive side of the ball. Parker gives the Rams another option for new starter Nick Foles. Parker would likely be a higher prospect in other draft classes, but the 2015 class is ripe with receivers. With excellent size (6’3″) and speed (4.45 40-yard dash), Parker combines exceptional athletic ability with an already developed ability to run routes — making him a sure bet for quick production.
11. Minnesota Vikings: LSU OT La’el Collins
While the Vikings may have re-signed Mike Harris, Collins would offer the Vikings with a starter at right tackle and allow Harris to fall back into a better suited swing tackle spot. Aggressive and with the strength and mean attitude to back it up, Collins may struggle with elite pass rushers on the outside, but he gives the Vikings a dominant run blocker who can move inside later on if deemed he isn’t a fit at tackle.
12. Tennessee Titans (trade): Michigan St. CB Trae Waynes
The addition of Brian Orakpo shored up a need at pass rusher, but Tennessee is still searching for a corner after the addition of Perrish Cox in free agency. Waynes has a ton of upside and has been heavily compared to Kyle Fuller coming out of college. Waynes can afford to learn behind Jason McCourty and Cox until he can step in as a starter.
13. New Orleans Saints: Washington NT Danny Shelton
The Saints, who seem to be in a rebuilding mode, dearly need to upgrade on the aging Broderick Bunkley at nose tackle. Shelton would anchor the Saints’ defensive line for years to come in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.
14. Miami Dolphins: Texas DT Malcolm Brown
While the Dolphins may have signed a big name in Ndamukong Suh, they still have a major hole at no. 2 tackle in their 4-3 defense. Brown offers a big body who can stuff the run and by all means seems to have a high ceiling. A high motor player, fighting throughout plays and making a concentrated effort to bat down passes, Brown’s lone hole is pass rushing. If he can develop technique for interior rushing, Brown will be quite the force for Miami.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Oregon DE Arik Armstead
San Francisco suffered some surprising losses this offseason, with Patrick Willis and Chris Borland both prematurely retiring. However, another huge loss was in the form of veteran defensive end Justin Smith to retirement. Armstead can step in immediately as a 3-4 end and take over for Smith. The 49ers have other options at linebacker and can afford to look there later in the draft.
16. Houston Texans: Missouri OLB Shane Ray
Some expected Ray to be a top 10 pick with the predicted fall of Randy Gregory (due to off-the-field issues). Ray is an exceptional athlete that exhibits both quickness and strength that teams look for in a 3-4 pass rusher. While his pass rush abilities are still a work in progress, rusher is a need for Houston and Ray has the the tools to make him a solid mid first round pick.
17. San Diego Chargers: Georgia RB Todd Gurley
Although Gurley comes with some injury concerns (November 2014 ACL tear), the Georgia product is about as legitimate of a running back prospect as you’ll get. He has an impressive build at 232 lbs but flashed quickness and a knack for finding the hole in college ball, and in the pass game is not only a capable pass catcher but also well versed in pass protection. Gurley is a high risk, high return prospect, but could be a superstar at the pro level.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Florida St. C Cameron Erving
Erving played all over the line at Florida St., but Kansas City’s true need is at center as of right now. With a mean streak and capable at both run and pass blocking, Erving would step in at center and could help out elsewhere in the future, giving the Chiefs flexibility with their offensive line. Erving may not be the sexy pick, but neither was Travis Frederick in 2013 — who now anchors Dallas’ line.
19. Tennessee Titans (trade): Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree
While pass rusher isn’t a true need for the Titans, Dupree is a solid value pick in the late teens and offers a long term solution opposite Orakpo. A nature rusher with quickness, Dupree will need to add some muscle so he can play stronger and shed blocks at the pro level. Luckily, the Titans have a combination of Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley opposite Orakpo who can allow Dupree to essentially red-shirt as a rookie.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Alabama SS Landon Collins
While Nate Allen departed in the Chip Kelly exodus this offseason, the Eagles failed to bring in any serious competition for the strong safety position to compensate. Collins would step in immediately as the starting strong safety opposite free safety Malcom Jenkins, easily surpassing unimpressive late round pick Earl Wolff and Jacksonville throw away Chris Prosinski.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Stanford OT Andrus Peat
Something many have noticed over the years with the Bengals is that they do not like to shell out for departing players in free agency. To this point, Cincinnati has two contract year tackles in Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth, and can take this opportunity to secure a blind side blocker in the well versed Peat.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson
It’s no surprise that many draftniks have the Steelers selecting a corner with the 22nd-overall pick when their pass defense was 27th in the league last season. Johnson is an excellent cover corner, with quickness and size for an ideal starter. He needs some work in tackling technique and will need to tone down the aggressiveness when going for picks instead of staying in coverage, but offers Pittsburgh a solid upgrade over B.W. Webb as a starter from day one.
23. Detroit Lions: Florida OT D.J. Humphries
Humphries is already an accomplished pass rusher, and fills a big need for Detroit at right tackle. While Humphries needs some work at run blocking and could use some added muscle to help deal with power rushers, he fills a huge need and overs a ton of upside.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
The Cardinals thought they might be getting a future starter in 2013 sixth-round pick Andre Ellington, but 2014 proved he’s little more than a backup with a measly 3.3 yards per carry. Gordon may carry the stigma of past Badgers runners (Montee Ball, James White) performing highly in college only to flop in the NFL, but he flashes speed that Ball doesn’t have and shows excellent balance as a runner. While he’ll need work in the passing game, Gordon offers a home run back if he can develop an eye for the hole.
25. Carolina Panthers: Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings
While some may criticize Clemmings’ run blocking chops, Carolina should be just itching to get their hands on a blind side protector for Cam Newton. With the likes of Nate Chandler, Jonathan Martin and Michael Oher in the mix for tackle, Clemmings fills a need at perhaps the most tackle-needy team in the NFL.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Arizona St. WR Jaelen Strong
The departure of Torrey Smith in free agency and encroaching end to storied Steve Smith’s career means the Ravens dearly need a receiver for the present and future. While Strong may not be a burner, he has a knack for coming down with jump balls, strong physical presence to out muscle defenders and a hard working attitude that will make the Ravens coaches love him.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Florida St. DT Eddie Goldman
With Josh Brent and Terrell McClain as the current starters in Dallas’ 4-3 defense, Goldman is a no-brainer to shore up the interior tackle position. Goldman’s versatility should keep him on the field for most packages, serving as a stout run stuffer and ability to drive interior lineman back into the pocket to disrupt quarterbacks.
28. Denver Broncos: Miami OT Ereck Flowers
An aging Peyton Manning requires protection to stay productive, and that’s exactly what Denver failed to do in their playoff run in 2014. Flowers would prove to be an immediate upgrade on either Chris Clark or youngster Michael Schofield at right tackle, while allowing Louis Vasquez to play his true position at guard. While Flowers may be a bit of a work in progress, Denver has few missing pieces on a playoff ready team — and RT is a big one.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips
Phillips is a big body who would dearly help one of the worst defensive units in the NFL at the nose tackle position. GM Ryan Grigson would be hard pressed to pass up some a talented player to man the nose tackle position when Indy has failed to fill that need since moving to a 3-4 defense in 2012.
30. Green Bay Packers: Minnesota TE Maxx Williams
The one glaring hole in the Packers’ offense right now is at tight end, where sub-par starter Andrew Quarless sucked up snaps in 2014 and Richard Rodgers is more of a project player. Williams is a monster after the catch, jumping over and pinballing off of defenders, while a threat to come down with contested passes. While Williams could use some work as a blocker and a route runner, he could make an immediate impact if in tune with Aaron Rodgers.
31. New Orleans Saints: UCF WR Breshad Perriman
Perriman flashed up boards after posting a sub 4.30 40-yard dash, with some even projecting the 6’2″ receiver to go in the top 15 on draft day. Perriman is raw and will need work to develop into a superstar, but has the strength, size, speed and hands to make it big at the pro level. Expect big things from Perriman early on with a lack of receivers in New Orleans.
32. New England Patriots: Connecticut CB Byron Jones
The Patriots could very well use some help at cornerback following the departures of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. There’s little bad to say about Jones, who has excellent size at 6’1″, anticipates routes and sticks with receivers. Jones does have some injury concerns, but his athleticism and team-centered attitude make him an excellent pick for a Patriots team needing a solution at corner.