NFL DR Mock 2.0Posted: April 30, 2015
It’s draft day, everybody! Rejoice!
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. 2 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: Clemson OLB Vic Beasley (Previously Nebraska OLB Randy Gregory)
By trading up to no. 4, the Jets effectively scoop up the player the Redskins have been coveting at no. 5 (Fowler). However, Fowler isn’t the only big name pass rusher in this year’s draft. While we had previously projected Randy Gregory as a top-five pick, his off-the-field issues have tanked his draft stock in recent weeks. One worry with Beasley is his size (246 lbs), which will present a problem if he can’t put on some weight and learn to attack offensive tackles rather than beating them with athleticism.
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: Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree (Previously Clemson OLB Vic Beasley)
New head coach Dan Quinn has been connected to both Clemson’s Vic Beasley and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree in recent weeks, and it’s obvious why — Atlanta’s high-powered offense has to compensate for a lack of talent in the defensive front seven. While Atlanta misses out on Beasley in this situation, Dupree offers a potentially destructive pass-rusher with already good size for the position.
9. New York Giants: Iowa OG/OT Brandon Scherff
Scherff is a flexible selection that could play tackle or guard at the professional level, having played both on the left and right sides of the line at Iowa as a tackle. New York could plug Scherff in at right tackle and allow Justin Pugh to bump to left guard, or do the same with Scherff and keep Pugh at tackle. Either option drastically improves a weak offensive 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: Stanford OT Andrus Peat (Previously LSU OT La’el Collins)
Peat has beaten out the likes of LSU’s La’el Collins and Florida’s D.J. Humphries to be considered the draft’s best pure tackle. Grabbing Peat would allow the Vikings to bump recently re-signed Mike Harris into a swing tackle role and further give flexibility with left tackle Matt Kalil’s contract situation looming in 2016.
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 even after the addition of Perrish Cox in free agency. Waynes has a ton of upside and has been favorably 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: UCF WR Breshad Perriman (Previously Missouri OLB Shane Ray)
Andre Johnson’s departure for a more desirable situation in Indianapolis leaves a hole for the Texans that Cecil Shorts won’t quite fill (if he’s even healthy). Perriman has the size and speed combination to make him a star, but will need seasoning to reach his potential.
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): Missouri OLB Shane Ray (Previously Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree)
The Titans may have added Brian Orakpo in the offseason, but they’re not done improving the outside ‘backer position just yet. Veterans Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley offer a buffer for Tennessee while they coach up Ray, but ultimately both aging players have seen their best days already and Ray offers a solid (albeit risky) value in the late teens.
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: Florida OT D.J. Humphries (Previously Stanford OT Andrus Peat)
Peat’s earlier selection shakes things up a bit. Cincinnati is well known for letting veteran tackles walk in free-agency, and starting blind side blocker Andrew Whitworth is entering the final year of his contract at 33-years-old. Humphries is already an accomplished blocker, but needs to work on run blocking and handling power rushers in his transition to the NFL — and the Bengals can afford to have him learn behind Whitworth and Andre Smith as a rookie.
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: Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings (Previously Florida OT D.J. Humphries)
The Lions need help at tackle, and Clemmings offers a solid pass blocker to immediately jump in at right tackle. La’el Collins could also be a choice at this latter point of the first round if the Lions decide they can overlook his legal issues.
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: Miami OG/OT Ereck Flowers (Previously Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings)
Flowers may need some work in his pass block technique, but it already a mauling run blocker with great size and strength. A mean streak and authoritative blocking could make Flowers a cornerstone to build a revamped offensive line around and offers an immediate upgrade for the Panthers, especially with the likes of Nate Chandler and Michael Oher projected to start at tackle for Carolina in 2015.
26. Baltimore Ravens: USC WR Nelson Agholor (Previously 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. Agholor may not be the flashy receiver that fans are looking for after Torrey Smith’s departure, but he is a solid route runner and dangerous after the catch. The USC product could also contribute early on as a returner.
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: Nebraska OLB Randy Gregory (Previously Miami OT Ereck Flowers)
The offensive line may be a major need for Denver, but head honcho John Elway does not have a history of drafting for need in his tenure with the Broncos. Gregory is a risky pick, both due to his identity as a project player and legal issues, but offers a high-ceiling replacement for DeMarcus Ware down the line, who can work on his technique behind the likes of Ware and Von Miller as a rookie.
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: Miami WR Phillip Dorsett (Previously UCF WR Breshad Perriman)
The Saints defense suffered last season as a result of failing to give quarterback Drew Brees true receivers instead of gadget players. Jimmy Graham’s trade to Seattle only makes an offensive weapon more important. Dorsett is a big play receiver who could become an instant hit in Sean Payton’s offense.
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.
Stay tuned tonight for live coverage of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft!