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Mock Draft 1.0--2015 NFL Draft
2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
April 30th is fast approaching, and with it comes one of the most exciting few days of the NFL off-season. In fact, for some the draft is the best part of the entire NFL season. Not all teams can be the Seahawks or Patriots, so for many fans it’s the hope and thrill of draft day that makes them feel like they truly have a chance in the upcoming season. Things can change so quickly in the NFL. The Falcons were considered a powerhouse for a few seasons just a couple years ago. Now they’re picking in the top 10 for the second year in a row. The decisions made on draft day can change the outcome of the success of the team for years. Washington bet it all on RGIII in the 2012 draft, and they are still trying to see if they can make it all work or not. In the same draft, the Jets figured they could get rid of Darrelle Revis and be just fine with Alabama Corner Back Dee Milliner. Inconsistent play and a major injury later, Milliner needs to prove he’s not a major bust in the NFL. Meanwhile the Colts dropped all-time legend Peyton Manning at quarterback and picked Andrew Luck with the number one overall pick and they’ve been a constant playoff contender every year since. Picking the right player for the right system in the right city with the right team and coaches around him is much easier said than done. Every last second right up to draft night is used to analyze skill level, toughness, physical talent, collegiate success, football IQ, maturity, leadership, injury history and so much more.
Up until draft night, I’m planning on bringing my own input and thoughts on the draft prospects, where they may go, and what success they may have. This is my first Mock Draft for 2015. I will write at least one more, once free agency has passed and draft day is closer. Meanwhile the day after the combine has finished is a nice time to start predicting what will go down in round one.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Jameis Winston(Quarterback, Florida St.)
I’m a fan of Mike Glennon, but by his actions it is obvious Lovey Smith isn’t. Jameis Winston has everything you want in a pocket passer at the NFL level. His accuracy, pocket poise, and leadership skills are probably the best since Andrew Luck. But no one can escape the elephant in the room; his off the field maturity and decision making prove that picking him number one overall is a risk. But the Bucs need a boost. Jameis’ confidence and swagger says he is ready to grow up and be the face of the franchise. If the Bucs can build a great support system, Winston could turn this team around.
2. Tennessee Titans—Lenard Williams(Defensive Tackle, USC)
To most scouts, Williams is the best player in this year’s draft. The Titans could use a QB, but this is maybe too high to pick Mariota and they have Mettenberger, who could still develop to be a strong starting quarterback. Williams is one of the most sure things in this year’s draft. He’s got a high floor and high ceiling.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars—Dante Fowler Jr.(Outside Linebacker, Florida)
Who the best pass rusher is in this year’s draft is up for debate. Fowler Jr. is tall, long, and explosive. He racked up 8.5 sacks for the Gators in 2014. The Jaguars need help in the pass rushing game, they don’t have to look far for the answer, he’s just about 70 miles away.
4. Oakland Raiders—Kevin White(Wide Receiver, West Virginia)
Before the draft process really got going, Amari Cooper was the number one wide receiver on the draft board. But Kevin White really picked up steam over the past month, and his performance at the combine solidified his status as the top receiver. Kevin White is 6’3” and 215 pounds. He tracks the jump balls and attacks them in the air with his big hands. After he catches the football, he runs with power. But it was his 4.35 on the 40 yard dash that truly amazed. Kevin White and Derek Carr have the chance to make beautiful music for a long time in Oakland.
5. Washington Redskins—Randy Gregory(Outside Linebacker, Nebraska)
The Redskins seem to need help all over. There are some pieces to the puzzle in place; they just need to come together. The defensive side is the biggest issue, and Randy Gregory could be part of the fix.
6. New York Jets—Marcus Mariota(Quarterback, Oregon)
New York needs a quarterback. Geno Smith is even less the answer than Mark Sanchez was. The interesting thing is that if the Jets do pick Mariota, all three quarterbacks have similar personalities; slightly timid and quiet and possibly not enough confidence. Maybe not on the playing field itself, but the way a quarterback needs to conduct himself in the NFL off the field is sometimes just as important. Here’s hoping Mariota can develop in a pro style offense with confidence and assurance in the biggest city in US.
7. Chicago Bears—Danny Shelton(Nose Tackle, Washington)
Shelton seems like a perfect fit in Chicago. The once dominate defense of the Bears is no more, with his first pick as the head coach, John Fox will want to pick a player who will be a face of the franchise for years to come. Shelton can be a Vince Wilfork type player for the Bears and help the defense build back to what it once was.
8. Atlanta Falcons—Shane Ray(Defensive End, Missouri)
Shane Ray didn’t participate much at the combine due to an injury, and that’s ashamed. He is an extremely athletic defensive end that plays violent and explodes to the ball. How exactly he fits in the Falcons scheme is yet to be determined. But his 14.5 sacks in 2014 verify that he can improve upon the Falcon’s biggest weakness, the pass rush.
9. New York Giants—Vic Beasley(Clemson)
The Giants can’t help but snatch up promising pass rushers. Beasley’s combine performance was perhaps the best of any player at any position. He proved that he is fast, quick, explosive, and powerful. His 25 sacks in the past two seasons are incredible. There are some naysayers out there, but what better team than the Giants to turn Beasley into a phenom.
10. St. Louis Rams—Trae Waynes(Cornerback, Michigan State)
The Rams need help at the cornerback position. Trae Waynes is the best corner in this year’s draft. He’s got good length and ball skills and should be a pro-bowl level corner back for a while.
11. Minnesota Vikings—Amari Cooper(Wide Receiver, Alabama)
The Vikings are thrilled that Cooper dropped this far. Cooper is the best route runner and most polished receiver of the draft. If Minnesota gives Bridgewater a receiver of this level, if they maintain Adrian Peterson, if Corderrelle Patterson can develop the way the league thought he would last year, and if the young QB pans out to be what they hoped he’d be, the Vikings can suddenly have a dynamic offense. That’s a lot of “ifs” though.
12. Cleveland Browns—DeVante Parker(Wide Receiver, Louisville)
The Browns missed out on one of the all time great receiver classes in last year’s draft. They won’t make the same mistake this year. If Cooper get’s past the top 5, Cleveland might trade with a team like Bears, Falcons, or Giants. Because he won’t get passed the Rams and Vikings. If they miss out on Cooper however, DeVante Parker could still be a great pickup.
13. New Orleans Saints—Bud Dupree(Outside Linebacker, Kentucky)
The Saints had one of the worst defenses last year. They have to defend against Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and now maybe Jameis Winston. Bud Dupree is a talented pass rushed who can help turn around this putrid defense. As soon as the first team takes a pass rusher, the rest of the top five or so prospects will be snagged up quickly. Each year there are “runs” on specific positions in each round. The “run” in the first round will be the pass rushers.
14. Miami Dolphins—T.J. Clemmings(Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh)
Joe Philbin has one more chance in Miami to get into the playoffs and be a contender. He’s put some pieces together, now he needs to get the job done. One of the biggest issues for the Dolphins has been protecting the quarterback. Tannehill is an athletic QB, but he can be much more effective in a clean pocket. T.J. Clemmings is probably the best tackle in the draft.
15. San Francisco 49ers—Jalen Collins(Cornerback, LSU)
First pick for the new head coach of the 49ers. Sometimes coaches want to make a splash player with that first selection, other times they choose a safe pick. Jalen Collins is a very talented athletic cornerback with great instincts and ball skills. Jim Tomsula might just have a safe and splashy player in Collins.
16. Houston Texans—D.J. Humphries(Offensive Tackle, Florida)
It’s clear the Texans still have a giant question mark at quarterback. But there’s no QB worth a shot here. Bill O’Brien continues to build a strong roster and fills a need with Humphries.
17. San Diego Chargers—Brandon Schreff(Offensive Guard, Iowa)
As Phillip Rivers is in the second half of his career, it becomes increasingly important to keep him and his awkward release healthy. Brandon Schreff has the skills to be one of the best of the offensive rookie linemen.
18. Kansas City Chiefs—Dorial Green Beckham(Wide Receiver, Missouri)
In the entire 2014 NFL season, the Kansas City Cheifs wide receivers scored a total of zero touchdowns. There is not a more glaring need in the entire draft. Dorial Green-Beckham should be able to hopefully score at least one touchdown.
19. Cleveland Browns—Malcolm Brown(Defensive Tackle, Texas)
Both the two picks in the first round of the 2014 draft for the Browns could end up being great players, but as of now they are total busts. The Browns have two picks again in the first round this year, for the sake of the dog pound I hope these two fare better.
20. Philadelphia Eagles—Landon Collins(Safety, Alabama)
The Eagles haven’t had a pro bowl safety since Brian Dawkins in 2008. Landon Collins is the best safety of the draft and a steal at pick 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—Marcus Peters(Corner Back, Washington)
Marcus Peters is extremely talented and maybe the best corner of the draft. However his constant maturity issues are a major concern. Anyone who gets dismissed from his team due to run-ins with his coaches is a gamble. But the Bengals are the type of team who like to pick players like this. If Peters can handle his temper and get the right support, the Bengals can hit the jackpot with this pick.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers—P.J. Williams(Cornerback, Florida St.)
With four of the five teams ahead of Pittsburgh in need of a corner back, the Steelers may miss out on one of the top four or five corners in the draft. If Williams is still available here, the Steelers will take him. He didn’t have a great combine, which may have hurt his draft stock, but his tape shows he is more than capable of being a starter and possible pro bowler at the NFL level.
23. Detroit Lions—Arik Armstead(Defensive Tackle, Oregon)
Will the Lions lose N’Damukung Suh? It’ll be less of a kick in the gut (or face) if they pick up Armstead to replace him.
24. Arizona Cardinals—Benardrick Mckinney(Inside Linebacker, Mississippi St.)
Mckinney is a HUGE inside linebacker with the ability to help the Cardinals continue to improve in the NFC West. At 6’4” and 246 pounds, Benardrick hits hard and is a solid tackler.
25. Carolina Panthers—Andrus Peat(Offensive Tackle, Stanford)
The Panthers have a need at pass rusher and offensive tackle. With some of the best pass rushers already taken, Carolina chooses the massive offensive tackle from Stanford, Andrus Peat.
26. Baltimore Ravens—Devin Funchess(Wide Receiver, Michigan)
Steve Smith Jr. won’t get any younger, even though he may still have a nice place in the offense for the next two seasons. The Ravens could use a big tall receiver to go along with the other Smith, Torrey.
27. Dallas Cowboys—Maxx Williams(Tight End, Minnesota)
Maxx Williams is the best tight end in the draft, the Cowboys could start to utilize a two tight end set in creative successful ways with Jason Witten and Williams. And in a few years when Witten’s hall of fame career is over, they could have his replacement in Maxx.
28. Denver Broncos—Paul Dawson(Inside Linebacker, TCU)
The Broncos have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Yes, once Peyton Manning calls it quits, whenever that is, they could be in trouble. But Dawson could end up being the quarterback of the defense with his tough game and leadership qualities.
29. Indianapolis Colts—Melvin Gordon(Running Back, Wisconsin)
The Colts have a serious need at running back. The Colt’s talked up” Boom” Herron during their playoff run. But if he was really that great why wouldn’t they have handed him the keys to the running back car a long time ago when the whole league could see that Trent Richardson wasn’t the answer? Melvin Gordon is a Jamal Charles/LeSean McCoy type running back. He can play all three downs and has homerun ability, quick feet, and still manages to run with power.
30. Green Bay Packers—Jordan Phillips(Nose Tackle, Oklahoma)
Jordan Phillips seems to be a great fit for Greenbay. Each year there are whispers of a player being a lock for a certain team, like Jarvis Jones was for the Steelers in 2013. Whispers say the Packers may be eying Jordan Phillips, we’ll see if that’s true or not.
31. Seattle Seahawks—Eddie Goldman(Defensive Tackle, Florida St.)
The Seahawks were about as close as winning their second straight Super Bowl as you can possibly get. They don’t need to change anything, just continue being who you are. Eddie Goldman is a Seahawk type player and should fit in nicely in the league’s best defense.
32. New England Patriots—Breshad Perriman(Wide Receiver, Central Florida)
The Patriots are on top of the world, but to stay there they need to address the wide receiver issues. Perriman played well with Blake Bortles throwing him the ball in college, let’s see how he performs with Tom Brady at the NFL level. Well, unless Brady gets suspended for the season… ;)