Mock Draft 2.0--2015 NFL Draft
Jonathan Ammerman's 2015 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Here we are! It’s Christmas for NFL fans! It’s hope and optimism for even the worst teams in America! It’s time for the Seahawks to snatch up more talent that makes the rest of the league jealous. It’s time for the Browns to move around the board twenty-two times only to draft some busts on route to firing and hiring a whole new regime. It’s time for shocking trades and unexplainable selections. It’s time for awkward face shots of nervous prospects who’ve been waiting their whole lives for this moment. It’s time to hype up the physical freaks who fall drastically short and underestimate the little guys who end up being all time greats.
It’s time for the 2015 NFL DRAFT in Chicago!
I’m extremely excited for the next few days; the NFL draft is an event like no other. After months of speculation and anticipation, round one begins tomorrow. I’ve got my final mock draft ready to go; I hope you all enjoy it. I’m not going to include any trades, although it was definitely tempting to do. I’m sure there will be a lot of movement, especially if the Titans don’t pounce on Mariota. But to throw possible trades around in this mock draft would only be complicating and confusing. So instead I went for a typical straight forward mock. All of my picks are based off of needs for the teams, whispers of what teams seem to like specific players, and a bit of my own bias of which player I think would fit on each team. Obviously I won’t get the whole thing right on, but it’s always fun to make a mock and see how close it ends up being. The draft has a domino effect. One team can completely change the draft by making one bold move or crazy selection. For example, a lot of experts have Todd Gurley going to the Chargers, but what if Gurley is picked in the top 10 by someone else? What if the Bucs throw a huge crab leg—er--curveball and they DON’T draft Jameis Winston? Trends are also a lot of fun to follow. Once one or two teams select a player at one position, there can be a rush of selections for more guys at that same position, even if some of them are a bit of a stretch.
This mock draft was a blast to make, after the whole draft is completed, I plan on doing some draft grades team by team. How will YOUR team do? Without further ado, here is my final 2015 NFL mock draft.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Jameis Winston(Quarterback, Florida St.)
If there’s any sure thing in this year’s NFL draft, it’s that the Tampa Bay Bucs will be picking Jameis Winston with the first overall pick. Winston is a polarizing talent. Some scouts say he’s only behind Andrew Luck as the best QB prospect of the last 10 years. Others say he is trouble off the field and sloppy on it. Winston has two major issues; his decision making on and off the field. Off the field Winston has well documented majority lapses; from accidentally stealing crab legs to accusations of sexual assault. On the field he threw to many interceptions in his last season at Florida State. I personally believe the interceptions are the bigger concern and that he will continue to grow as a man when outside of the stadium lights. Winston is a leader. He has a brilliant football mind. Paired up with the Buccaneers great skill players and Coach Lovie Smith’s defense and the Bucs could seriously turn things around. Jameis is a winner. He loves the game of football. I believe he has everything that it takes to become one of the truly elite quarterbacks in the league.
2. Tennessee Titans—Marcus Mariota(Quarterback, Oregon)
On my last mock draft I had the Titans going with Lenard Williams here. I still think that is a very strong possibility. However Mariota has been picking up steam as of late, even though he’s been considered a probable top 10 pick all along. The Titans seem to believe in Mettenberger, but placing hope in a 6th round pick with one of the least talented rosters in the league is a recipe for letdown. Mariota’s playmaking ability can instantly revitalize Music City. He has the chance to use his arms and legs, in similar ways to Steve Mcnair, to lead his team to Titanic success. His ceiling is extremely high. As soon as he’s drafted, he will become one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL. The floor for Mariota however is low. There’s a chance his body won’t handle the NFL and his playing style will never translate. Marcus is the prototypical risk/reward player, which is scary as a quarterback and number two overall pick with the franchise on the line.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars—Dante Fowler Jr.(Outside Linebacker, Florida)
The Jaguars have big needs in the secondary, but there’s no one worth a pick here. While the team has young talent at Wide Receiver, they will still take a nice long look at Kevin White and Amari Cooper to help out there selection in last year’s draft. In the end it’s probably going to be a tossup between Dante Fowler Jr. and Lenard Williams. The Jaguars need pass rushing help, Andrew Luck isn’t exactly going to fall down on his own, and any of these two guys could truly help. But the true pass rushing skills of Fowler will be too much to pass up on.
4. Oakland Raiders—Amari Cooper(Wide Receiver, Alabama)
On my last mock draft I had the Raiders going receiver here, but Kevin White instead. Both Cooper and White are amazing prospects. They bring different things to the table however. Cooper is the more polished receiver; he has the highest floor of maybe anyone in this draft. He’s about as much of a sure thing as we will get in this year’s draft. White might be faster and bigger, but he still has work to go. Even though White might have more wow plays and highlights, Cooper will most likely be the more consistent receiver. The Raiders are heading in the right direction. Derek Carr was my favorite rookie quarterback last year. I thought he showed remarkable poise and leadership. Giving Carr White to throw to, an explosive huge target would be nice. But giving him Cooper, a safety valve and a sure thing is even better. Think of a Jordy Nelson or Reggie Wayne type of talent.
5. Washington Redskins— Leonard Williams (Defensive End/Tackle, USC)
The redskins have wanted a dominating presence on the defensive line since they made one of the biggest free agency busts in NFL history in signing Albert Haynesworth in 2009. The Skins should be THRILLED that Williams dropped this far. At 6’5” and 290 pounds, Williams is a freak down in the trenches. By most scouts’ accounts, the defensive lineman from USC is the best player in this year’s draft. He can play inside and outside, making him extremely versitle. He can play the run probably better than any linemen coming out this year and his pass rushing skills are superb as well, racking up 7 sacks in his final season.
6. New York Jets—Todd Gurley(Running Back, Georgia)
One of the early surprises in the draft will be the Jets taking a shot at running back Todd Gurley with their sixth overall pick. However the more I think about it, the more this selection makes sense. First off, Gurley is an extremely talented runner. He has power and speed and authority with the ball in his hands. He is a great receiver out of the backfield, he can protect the quarterback while in protection, and he can take over games with his in your face running style. His major injury has kept him from being one of the top names during the pre-draft process. But remember Adrian Peterson? He had some injury and health concerns that hurt his status leading up to the draft. The Viking took a “gamble” with him as the seventh overall pick. I was blessed enough to be in New York, with that incredible energy at the NFL draft in 2007. I remember seeing Adrian come onto the floor as the Vikings made the pick and he just looked different. Some considered his injury risks to be too high for such a high pick, but just look at how that has turned out. I’m not saying Gurley is a transadent talaent and all time great the way Peterson is, but the similarities leading up to the draft are interesting. Take into account that the Jets new head coach just came from Arizona, where the lack of a dominate running back was truly felt. Yes the biggest reasons for the team’s failures were the incredible unfortunate injuries, but if the team had a Gurley type runner, the story might be different. The Jets still don’t know who the quarterback will be. But with a group of great receivers and Gurley in the mix, the Jets could suddenly have a surprisingly affective offense.
7. Chicago Bears—Danny Shelton(Nose Tackle, Washington)
Danny Shelton is a perfect fit for Chicago. He himself says he likes the idea of being a Bear. Chicago has a long-standing tradition of having dominating tough defenses. As of late that has been for from the case. However John Fox as new head coach for the team can make a great selection here by picking Shelton and re-building the defense. Danny is a bully in the trenches and his game is reminiscent of Vince Wilfork. I can see him being one of those life-time Bears that embodies the grit of Chicago football.
8. Atlanta Falcons— Vic Beasley(Outside Linebacker, Clemson)
Atlanta’s defense has been atrocious over the last few years, including last year where they were the worst in the entire league. The biggest concern is the pass rush; they have got to get help. Enter Vic Beasley. The Clemson star is a sacking machine; his 25 sacks in the last 2 seasons are absurd. He’s the most physically talented pass rusher in the draft in my eyes and I think he has the skills to be an elite player. Some will say that the main reason for Beasley’s rise is players like Randy Gregory and Shane Ray getting themselves into trouble. But I think Beasley is the better player anyway.
9. New York Giants—Kevin White(Wide Receiver, West Virginia)
And suddenly things get REALLY interesting. If White slides to the Giants, I just can’t see them passing on him. Yes the Giants need help at other places. They could use help on either side of the line. They need help on defense, as the Giants were one of the worst defenses in the league last season. But just imagine Kevin White and Odell Beckham Jr. on the same team. Victor Cruz is saying he will be back to his old self this year, and if that’s so the Giants would have an even more dangerous passing game. But either way, even if Cruz isn’t his old self or if White takes a year or two to get acclimated in the big leagues, the White and Beckham one two punch at receiver could be lethal for the next decade in the Big Apple.
10. St. Louis Rams—Brandon Scherff(Offensive Guard, Iowa)
The offensive line class is slightly polarizing this year. The top one or two players is usually very obvious, and some top tier tackle often goes in the top three or four picks. But this year there isn’t that elite must have eye-popping guy. Scherff however might be that guy when it’s all said and done. He is very versatile, and that will help the Rams who need help all over the offensive line.
11. Minnesota Vikings—DeVante Parker(Wide Receiver, Louisville)
On my last mock draft I had the Vikings picking up Amari Cooper here, but I don’t see him sliding this far. If the Raiders do pick White instead, it is possible for Cooper to slide, but the more realistic pick is Parker. White and Cooper are 1a and 1b. But Parker is only slightly behind them both. He possesses probably the best “go-up and get-‘em” skills of this year’s prospects. Meaning when the ball is in the air, you can bet he’s going to be the one to come down with it. He’s got great size and speed. He’s not a true blazer, but his 4.45 forty time will definitely do.
12. Cleveland Browns—Bud Dupree(Outside Linebacker, Kentucky)
I had the Browns selecting wide receiver DeVante Parker in my last mock draft here, but the Vikings just snagged him. Don’t be surprised of the Browns make moves in this year’s draft for any needed position. Wide Reciever is one of them. I can see them jumping in front of the Vikings or Giants to try to snag Parker or White. But, even though trades will most certainly ensue, I’m leaving trades out of this mock draft. So instead I have the Browns going with Bud Dupree. I talked about Shane Ray and Randy Gregory really hurting themselves with their off-field issues, Dupree is one of the beneficiaries of their mistakes.
13. New Orleans Saints—Ereck Flowers(Offensive Guard/Tackle, LSU)
The Saints are a curious case this off season. Needing to change the culture over the past couple years, Coach Peyton has hit the reset button on his team. Some core pieces are of course still there, like Drew Brees. But there’s definitely a change in the air, and it comes down to wanting to run the football more. If Peyton has it his way, Brees won’t be tying the league for most passing yards again in 2015. Instead he seems to be rebuilding the offensive line and creating an offense possibly reminiscent of what Dallas did just last season. Flowers can play guard or tackle, I see him being a bit better as a guard, which happens to be a bigger need for the Saints. He also favors in run blocking overpass protection.
14. Miami Dolphins—La’el Collins(Offensive Tackle, LSU)
One of Miami’s biggest needs is along the offensive line. It all comes down to whether the ‘Fins like Collins, D.J Humphries, or Andrus Peat. Again, this year’s offensive line prospects are a conundrum. It’s hard to pinpoint which player has the edge. I’m going with Collins here, he’s a tactician and a highly skilled player who has played top notch football against some top tier defenses.
15. San Francisco 49ers—Arik Armstead (Defensive Tackle, Oregon)
What an off season it has been for San Francisco. The team’s super hero coach left for the college game. Its Hall of Fame level linebacker, Patrick Willis, retired. Willis’ incredible young up and coming replacement shocked the world and retired after just one season. And the 49ers’ division rival Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl yet again. Meanwhile the Cardinals and Rams seem to have overtaken the Niners and the team that made it to three straight NFC Championships and a Super Bowl suddenly looks like the worst team in the NFC West. Can Arik Armstead fix all of that? Well no, he can’t; but it’s a start. Armstead has the chance to help solidify the defensive front for San Francisco and help rebuild a suddenly needy defense.
16. Houston Texans—Trae Waynes(Corner Back, Michigan State)
Sometimes great players just fall on a team’s lap. Trae Waynes is most likely the best corner back of his class. He’s ready to start now. The Texans will take a good long look at the offensive line and wide receiver positions, but with Waynes slipping this far, I don’t think they will pass him up. I think there’s a great chance that the Texans move around in the draft, but if they knew that Waynes would be here, I think they would be very content staying put.
17. San Diego Chargers—D.J Humphries(Offensive Tackle, Florida)
What is going on in San Diego?! The team looks like a strong candidate to move to Los Angeles, Philip Rivers wants nothing to do with the city, and rumors are plentiful of the team trading the QB. I don’t see the Chargers moving all the way up to number 2 for Marcus Mariota. Although Rivers having a reunion with head coach Ken Whisenhunt is an interesting idea. With all that being said, the Chargers need help at running back and offensive line. Gurley would have been a great fit, but he was taken early on by the Jets. Melvin Gordon is a great player, but he doesn’t seem to fit quite as well here. D.J. Humphries should be able to help fix the offensive line woes, whether that’s protecting Rivers or someone else in the future.
18. Kansas City Chiefs—Malcom Brown(Defensive Tackle, Texas)
The Chiefs could use more help at receiver, but the addition of Jeremy Maclin helps. The receiver pool is deep so they could get their guy in a later round. Malcom Brown fills a need for the Chiefs. Although there’s a need at offensive tackle as well, Brown is too good of a talent to let go.
19. Cleveland Browns—Breshad Perriman(Wide Receiver, Central Florida)
With the top tier receivers being snatched away before the Brown’s first selection, Cleveland waits to pick up their receiver with their second pick. Luckliy for them, Perriman is still available. Although even if he isn’t, still look for the Browns to pick up a player like Green-Beckham or Phillip Dorset.
20. Philadelphia Eagles—Landon Collins(Safety, Alabama)
The Eagles could go receiver here or corner, but I stand by what I said in my first mock draft, “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—Andrus Peat(Offensive Tackle, Stanford)
The Bengals are getting old along some of the offensive line. Andrus Peat brings youth and talent. It’s obvious more than ever that Andy Dalton probably won’t be the lead-horse to a deep playoff run. However his skill-set is still good enough that if the team around him is excellent, the Bengals can make a push. Peat would help protect Dalton as well as open up lanes for this run first offense.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers—Byron Jones(Cornerback, Connecticut)
This Steelers will look at Randy Gregory here, but the need at cornerback is so much larger and Gregory’s concerns scare them away. Byron Jones has shot up the draft board after his huge performance at the combine. Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest is a possible candidate here, as is Marcus Peters. But Peters’ maturity issues might be too much. Jones has the chance to play safety or cornerback. He’s a leader and somebody that players rally behind. After losing Ike Taylor and Troy Polamau to retirement, the Steelers are looking for leadership just as much as talent. Add on to that the fact that Jones literally broke world records at the combine and you have a pretty nice fit for Pittsburgh.
23. Detroit Lions—Eddie Goldman(Defensive Tackle, Florida State)
It’s truly sad that the Lions can draft two supremely talented players in Suh and Fairley and lose both of them in once off season. Hopefully the luck of selecting top notch d-lineman continues with the selection of Goldman.
24. Arizona Cardinals—Melvin Gordon(Running Back, Wisconson)
Head Coach Bruce Arians is as smart and savvy as they come. But any of us could see that the team lacked a threat at the running back position. Melvin Gordon has been compared to Jamaal Charles by many scouts. Imagine last year’s cardinals with a Jamaal Charles running with the rock. Gordon is extremely explosive in and out of his cuts, he also possesses sneaky power. If he can even be half the player Charles is, he’s worth the selection at 24.
25. Carolina Panthers—T.J Clemmings(Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh)
Clemmings played basketball in high school, which often translates to tight end in football. However T.J is a very talented offensive tackle who should be able to come in and help Carolina right away.
26. Baltimore Ravens—Kevin Johnson(Cornerback, Wake Forest)
The Ravens are usually just fine with picking up players with off the field issues, so they will take a nice look at Marcus Peters if he’s still available. Still, the gap between Johnson and Peters is very small, so taking the player who seems to have his head in a better place makes the most sense here. The Ravens don’t have to play against elite quarterbacks from the two teams in Ohio. But I’m betting they didn’t like the 6TD-burger dropped by Roethlisberger last season. The wide receiver talent in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati cannot be understated.
27. Dallas Cowboys—Marcus Peters(Cornerback, Washington)
On my last mock draft I had the Cowboys picking Maxx Williams here. And honestly I’d still love to see it. I think pairing him up with Jason Witten ala Gronk and Hernandez a few years back. And Witten doesn’t have too many years left, so Maxx could take over when the time comes. However Williams is probably too high of a pick here. Marcus Peters sliding all the way to 27 is something the Cowboys can’t pass up. They need help at cornerback and Peters would possibly be rated the number one corner if it weren’t for is maturity issues. Jerry Jones loves to take chances on guys like these; it worked out well with a certain wide receiver named Dez Bryant. I can see Peters being the cornerback equivalent.
28. Denver Broncos—Cameron Erving(Center, Florida State)
This could be the last hoorah for Peyton Manning. It might be Super Bowl or bust for the Broncos. The team that’s a mile high has equally high expectations. And whether it’s Peyton Manning or backup Brock Osweiler, the team could use some help on the offensive line. The Broncos look to be more of a running team next season and going forward. The change in head coach is one of the signs pointing towards that. Manning needs some more rest for the long season, and when Osweiler eventually does take over, the young quarterback will need some of the other pieces to help carry the load. Cameron Erving is a solid center and should be a nice piece of the hopeful championship puzzle as well as someone who can help towards the future.
29. Indianapolis Colts—Cedric Obuehi(Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M)
The Colts, just like the Cardinals, had some big problems with the run game. While the high flying passing game led by Andrew Luck should be dominant for years, the running game needs some major help. For starters, the Colts picked up Frank Gore in free agency. He’s definetly on the downside of his career, but he figures to have a few good years left in him. One of the biggest needs for the colts is offensive tackle. If Cedric hadn’t torn his ACL in January he’d be long gone at this point. Sometimes injuries have a positive effect. The Colts here would end up with possibly the most skilled tackle in the draft, and Obuehi get’s to spend his career protecting Andrew Luck. Everybody wins.
30. Green Bay Packers—Jalen Collins(Cornerback, LSU)
Look for some possible inside linebacker selections here. The Packers could go with Paul Dawson, Eric Kendricks or Denzel Perryman. The team has definite needs at inside linebacker, and picking one here could help move Clay Mathews back outside. But if Collins is still here I think they pick him up. He’s a first round talent, while those core three inside backers could be available in the second round.
31. New Orleans Saints—Randy Gregory(Outside Linebacker, Nebraska)
The Saints acquired this pick from the Seahawks in the gigantic Jimmy Grahm trade. New Orleans could go with any of the receivers still on the board, like Green-Beckham, Strong, or Agholor, or Dorset just to name a few. But it’s that depth at the position that allows the Saints to hold tight just a bit longer. They hold pick number 44 as well, which is only a baker’s dozen away. I’m sure some of these receivers will be there. Randy Gregory probably won’t. He has exceptional talent as a pass rusher and was once considered a lock in the top 15, maybe even top 5. But he has issues off the field that have caused his stock to plummet drastically. I honestly think it would be a surprise to see him slip this far even. The Saints could use a whole lot of help at pass rush. Gregory says all of his history his behind him, is so, the Saints could get the steal of the draft here.
32. New England Patriots—Dorial Green-Beckham(Wide Receiver, Missouri)
The Patriots haven’t drafted well at this position in the past. Green-Beckham could just be the next WR in that unlucky lineage in New England. Or he could be a super star receiver for Brady to throw to. It’s a coin flip as to what will come of the receiver from Missouri. But what is an absolute fact is his physical skill-set. Dorial is a monstrous 6’5” and 237lbs. Danny Amendola was worth his paycheck as soon as the playoffs arrived, and along with Julian Edelman the Patriots have a couple very good small receivers. Brandon LeFell is a much bigger target, but throw Green-Beckham in the mix and it would be scary.