06 March 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7th Edition

(USATSI)
Here is my latest NFL mock draft for 2015, with some changes from last week's edition. Enjoy.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Winston, as did Marcus Mariota, bucked the recent trend of the top quarterback prospects deciding not to throw at the Combine and he did throw and if anything, it only secured his hold on the top overall pick from before. Yes he ran a slow 40 but that is not as much a part of his game as it is for Mariota but what was important was that he reportedly interviewed well. It would be a surprise to me if the top pick in April would not be Winston at this point.

2. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Titans had an opportunity at the Combine to affirm their commitment to Zach Mettenberger at quarterback but both coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Ruston Webster did not seem all that convinced in him as their future. Now I doubt that they would pass on Mariota, who has some work to do in developing his pocket passing game but he has all the physical tools (size, arm, mobility) that you want out of your franchise quarterback.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Even as the Jaguars have gotten some decent production out of the defensive tackle position, Williams seems like a prospect that coach Gus Bradley would be hard-pressed to pass up on. Williams also has the versatility that would allow Bradley to move him all over the defensive line and the skill-set to play both the tackle and end positions. His combination of strength, quickness and motor could make him unstoppable down the line.

4. Oakland Raiders - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
One of the big winners at the Combine was Kevin White. White, who was an afterthought a couple of years ago, appears to have jumped to the top of crop at his position with a strong Combine performance showcasing better than expected speed as well as his impressive size. The Raiders need to build the supporting cast around young quarterback Derek Carr and using this draft pick to take White would make a lot of sense.

5. Washington - Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida
You can never have too many pass rushers in the NFL and Washington could find themselves having to replace a pretty good one as Brian Orakpo will be a free agent. It is not certain what kind of defense new coordinator Joe Barry will run in Landover but it probably will be a scheme that will features some multiple elements, ideal for a versatile talent like Fowler. The speedy and physical Fowler seemingly lived in opposing backfields these past two years in Gainesville.

6. New York Jets - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
I think it is safe to say that the Jets would be ecstatic should Cooper by available at this juncture. Todd Bowles and his new team have issues to sort out on the offensive end, particularly at quarterback but also at the receiver position where the team does not have much in the form of weapons. Cooper should be able to make an impact right away and while he is not huge, he has the skill-set to be a no. 1 wideout.

7. Chicago Bears - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Shelton moves surprisingly well for somebody of his size and he is very tough to block one-on-one, and with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl has seen his stock rise. He projects to be an excellent fit as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme and should be able to make an immediate impact at the position as the Bears, under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, are likely to move to a 3-4 defense.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
It is looking like all but a formality that Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be the new head coach of the Falcons and look for him to bring a whole new defensive mindset to a team that has been a mess on that side of the ball. Regardless of the defensive scheme, the pass rush is going to have to improve and therefore, the team would love for Gregory to fall to him. Gregory is not that big but he is tremendously athletic and excels at pressuring quarterbacks off the edge.

9. New York Giants - Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
The Giants rode a dominant defensive line to their two Super Bowl championships under Tom Coughlin but if Jason Pierre-Paul leaves as a free agent this offseason, the Giants will have a need for a dominant pass rusher. Ray would probably be the best player on the board and he would certainly bring an upgrade to the pass rusher. The Mizzou prospect will have to get stronger but his athleticism off the edge is tremendous.

10. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Scherff, T, Iowa
St. Louis is a club that has invested many picks and money on their offensive line but they may still have a hole at the right tackle position should Joseph Barksdale leave via free agency. Scherff is a mauler that could also play other positions on the offensive line and he can help the Rams improve their running game as well.

11. Minnesota Vikings - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Waynes is the top cornerback on the board and he is an aggressive playmaker with the ideal size you look for in a corner. He has only bolstered his draft stock after an impressive performance at the Combine. Xavier Rhodes fits the mold of the type of athletic cornerback that Mike Zimmer likes to employ but the team could use an upgrade opposite him at the other cornerback slot. A Rhodes-Waynes combination would be one to watch.

12. Cleveland Browns - Andrus Peat, T, Stanford
It looks like Cleveland will be a club that will focus early in the draft on both of the offensive and the defensive lines and there certainly are a handful of players at both spots that will help the cause. The Browns do already have a good offensive line but the weak spot is right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and he can be upgraded upon. Peat is a little raw and his tape is not all that impressive but there is no question that he has a high upside. He also has the ideal size and athleticism to excel on the edge of the offensive line and can turn into a very good left tackle down the line.

13. New Orleans Saints - Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Saints have not been all that great defensively in recent years but it really hit the fan in 2014 as they fell to the 31st overall ranking, and this was after an aggressive offseason aimed at improving the defense. New Orleans would certainly love to upgrade their pass rush and they have a number of options here. Beasley is not all that long but he has more than enough quickness to get off the edge and push the pocket.

14. Miami Dolphins DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The future of Mike Wallace does not seem to be all that promising in Miami as there is the possibility that he get cut this offseason. The Dolphins has high hopes for Jarvis Landry after he showed some promise as a possession wideout but the team could really use a no. 1 type of receiver for Ryan Tannehill. Parker already is a really good route-runner, has excellent size and good hands. He also is one of those sneaky fast wideouts and he could be a very good red zone target for Tannehill.

15. San Francisco 49ers - La'el Collins, G/T, LSU
Even with a whole new coaching staff with new head coach Jim Tomsula, I fully expect the 49ers to continue their run-heavy offensive attack. However, they could have a hole to fill on their offensive line with Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati being a free agent and the team could also look to upgrade over tackle Anthony Davis. Collins should be able to play either guard or tackle and he will need to develop his pass protection skills. That said, he is ready to maul in the run game at an NFL level.

16. Houston Texans - Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Collins is the top defensive back in this draft and he is a player that can play either safety spot. He has the size and strength to play in the box but he can also be that center fielder that the Texans could use. Houston drafted D.J. Swearinger only a couple of years ago but he has not been a free safety kind of player as he is more suited to hitting hard and playing in the box. Collins should be able to complement him better than the holdovers did.

17. San Diego Chargers - T.J. Clemmings, T, Pittsburgh
Philip Rivers had a strong 2014 season, even generated some MVP buzz early, but he is not getting any younger and his lack of mobility could leave him as a bit of a sitting duck at times. King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker are solid tackles but both are better in the run game. Bringing in a raw talent like Clemmings can help their line as he could fine his craft in the interior before bouncing back outside. Clemmings is very athletic and long which should help him in pass protection.

18. Kansas City Chiefs - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
It really is unbelievable that the Chiefs had zero receiving touchdowns from their wideouts during the 2014 season. While Alex Smith and his mediocre arm plays a key role in that, what also has to factor in is that the Chiefs' receiving corps is far from impressive. Strong should be good in the red zone thanks to his size and his good hands. The ASU prospect is also deceptively quick.

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
The Browns were a disaster against the run this past season as they were statistically the worst team in the league in that category. The defensive line will be a big focus for Mike Pettine and the Cleveland front office and a guy like Brown would be a welcome addition, and not just due to his surname. Brown will a guy that Pettine can move around the line due to his quickness but with his size, he should be able to help control the run game.

20. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
With Chip Kelly now calling the personnel shots in Philadelphia, will he be  privy to making a bold move up the draft board to select his former quarterback in Eugene, Marcus Mariota? You certainly could not rule it out but in the meantime, they could also use an upgrade at the cornerback position given how much the Philadelphia pass defense struggled last season. Collins has ideal size and he can run, which he showed amid a strong Combine performance, plus we know that LSU has groomed some solid defensive backs.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Ereck Flowers, DE, Miami (FL)
The Bengals extended stalwart tackle Andrew Whitworth's contract through this upcoming season, but there is no word on what could be his future going forward. And even if they want to keep Whitworth in town for years to come, he will turn 34 late next season and his backup, Marshall Newhouse, is a free agent. It may make sense for the Bengals to have somebody waiting in the wings. Flowers has a lot of talent and showed flashes of it with the Canes this past season, and he could possibly play the interior line as well.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
The Steelers will have a new lieutenant running the defense after the franchise parted ways with the venerable Dick LeBeau, replacing him with linebackers coach Keith Butler. The pass rush was good as always but the secondary really looked like a mess at times and could certainly use an overhaul. Johnson would seem to be a very good fit in the Pittsburgh defensive scheme as he has the cover skills to play both zone and man.

23. Detroit Lions - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh, a favorite of Packers fans, are both hitting the free agent market this offseason and one is likely to leave. That will leave void at a key spot for what was a fantastic Detroit defense under first-year coordinator Teryl Austin. Goldman may never be a double-digit sack guy but he has a nice combination of strength and quickness for a big guy. He is an excellent run stuffer and had a really nice season in Tallahassee.

24. Arizona Cardinals - Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
The Cardinals will certainly miss defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as he excelled at building strong, aggressive defenses even his unit was depleted by injuries. For a team with a strong secondary, upgrading an average pass rush could make the Arizona defense even more dangerous. Dupree still is raw but not only is extremely athletic, he was one of the elite pass rushers in the SEC, which by no means is a small feat.

25. Carolina Panthers - Cameron Erving, C/G/T, Florida State
Cam Newton showed off plenty of toughness this season as he took a beating at times. His offensive line did perform as a unit much better down the stretch but was an abject trainwreck early in the season. Therefore, they would be wise to add a guy like Erving that could play all over the offensive line. He performed much better when he played in the interior of the line but with his athleticism, he probably could play anywhere.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Considering he got kicked off the Washington team back in November after issues with assistant coaches, one can easily see why teams would skittish with Peters. But there is no question that the kid is talented, perhaps the most talented corner in this draft class. Baltimore has taken chances on problem guys before, plus their secondary could really use somebody with the cover skills like what Peters brings to the table.

27. Dallas Cowboys - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Now that the Cowboys have put the franchise tag on star wideout Dez Bryant, that certainly raises the likelihood that DeMarco Murray will not return even after an exceptional season. The fact of the matter is that running backs are simply not worth the big contracts anymore given that they have become more expendable. The Cowboys will able to tap into a strong draft class at running back and I think they will be willing to pull the trigger on the top back in the draft.

28. Denver Broncos - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
There are a lot of questions as to whether star tight end Julius Thomas will return to the Broncos with him being a free agent. Compounding the money issues is Demaryious Thomas also being a free agent. Should the team not be able to bring back the former Thomas, look for them to utilize their first round pick on the talented Williams. This Golden Gopher has the skill-set you like from a tight end with his hands and athleticism.

29. Indianapolis Colts - Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Thompson may be a bit of a tweener in the NFL like he was for the Huskies where he played some safety and some linebacker (not to mention some running back as well) but he is an exciting playmaker regardless of where he plays. For a team that could use some more depth and playmaking ability at the linebacker spot as well as filling a need at safety, Thompson could be a useful weapon.

30. Green Bay Packers - Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
The Packers battled inconsistent play from their linebackers in their 3-4 defense, even having to slide Clay Matthews to the middle to patch things up. They could use some playmaking abilities in the interior of the linebacking unit and a real thumper like McKinney could certainly be useful. The Clanga product will bring some youth and athleticism to the Packer defense.

31. Seattle Seahawks - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Seattle does have some decent players at the receiver position, led by Doug Baldwin, but that said it is far from a dangerous unit. Green-Beckham comes with his fair share of risk as he has a number of off-field questions (getting kicked off the Missouri team was not a great sign), but with the amount of talent he has, it could be a worthwhile roll of the dice for a front office that has taken their risks on players before.

32. New England Patriots - Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
New England has been able to mix and match a variety of wide receivers over the years in front of Tom Brady and it certainly did not hurt them this season when they only won the Super Bowl. That said, they could still use some upgrading to their receiving corps and they could use an early pick to do so. This UCF product has been rising on some draft boards and has a nice combination of size and speed.

Check out the WalterFootball mock draft database for even more mocks.

8 comments:

  1. Might wanna re-consider the Jets with Amari Cooper with the Jets acquisition of Brandon Marshall

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    1. I certainly will for next week so stay tuned.

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    2. jpp franchised by giants

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  2. The patriots haven't used a first round pick on a receiver in literally 20 years, they aren't gonna start now. Bad pick

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  3. Peat doesn't sound like the 12 overall pick in the draft according to what you wrote. maybe browns go parker or beasley there or trade down.

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  4. Actually think this is a good mock draft! Top ten picks look good to me, in fact a case could be made for all of these selections.....Nice mock!

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  5. For Steelers, Dupre--if he is there--before Johnson.

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  6. Packers will NOT take an ILB in the1st Rd.

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