in a couple of weeks for what that is worth. Here is my latest mock draft.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
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
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 - Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida
I bet that the Jaguars would love to trade down and accumulate more assets but who knows if that will happen come draft time. This pick would likely come down to Fowler and Leonard Williams but while Williams is the superior prospect, the Jaguars seem pretty set at defensive tackle, especially after signing Jared Odrick. The speedy and physical Fowler seemingly lived in opposing backfields these past two years in Gainesville and could be a fun fit in Gus Bradley's defense.
4. Oakland Raiders - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
I think new coach Jack Del Rio goes for his fellow Trojan in Williams right here. The Raiders are
still a mess defensively, even as they have some pieces in place, and could
certainly use a talent like Williams on the interior of their defensive line even after signing Dan Williams (who brings very little in terms of a pass rush. His combination of strength, quickness and motor could make him unstoppable.
5. Washington - Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
You can never have too many pass rushers in the NFL and Washington will have to replace Brian Orakpo, who departed for Nashville. 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 and thus another pass rusher to team with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy could be in store. Gregory is not that big but he is tremendously athletic and excels at
pressuring quarterbacks off the edge. He looks like a good fit for a 3-4
6. New York Jets - Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
I have previously been mocking either Amari Cooper or Marcus Mariota to
the Jets but neither seems particularly likely as the Jets have traded for Brandon Marshall and
I don't think Mariota will fall this far at this time. Given the team's
needs and the type of players available at the top of the draft, I
think the Jets will further build their defense and bring in an upgrade
to their pass rush. Beasley is not all that long but he has more than enough quickness to get off the edge and push the pocket. His stock has been on the rise of late.
7. Chicago Bears - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
8. Atlanta Falcons - Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
With Dan Quinn becoming the new head coach of the Falcons,
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 thus bringing in a
guy like Ray would make a ton of sense. The Mizzou prospect will have
to get stronger but his athleticism off the edge is tremendous.
9. New York Giants - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
10. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Scherff, T, Iowa
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
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
12. Cleveland Browns - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
am not all that sold that the Browns will be looking early to improve
their receiving corps but if a guy like Cooper is available here, he may
be too good to pass up. After all, Josh Gordon was a big disappointment
when he was able to play last year and the only guy brought in this
offseason has been Brian Hartline. And whoever the quarterback is (Josh
McCown or Johnny Manziel) will need a lot of help. 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.
13. New Orleans Saints - Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
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 to and the Kentucky product could very
well be find himself headed down to the Big Easy. The former tight end
still is raw but was one of the elite
pass rushers in the SEC (no small feat).
14. Miami Dolphins - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Unsurprisingly the Dolphins have dealt Mike Wallace and while the team has traded for Kenny Stills and is high on Jarvis Landry, I still think they could still 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
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 - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
healthy was a consistent struggle for Ryan Mathews in San Diego and it
played a key role in him not being able to meet his potential. Now
Mathews is heading east to Philadelphia and thus the Chargers do not
have anybody on their roster that can handle the load of being an
every-down back. Therefore, they will take a long, hard look at the top
running back in this draft. Gordon is fast and big and he can be
electric with the ball in his hands.
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Ereck Flowers, T, Miami (FL)
City has addressed their top need at receiver by giving a big contract
to Jeremy Maclin but I would not rule the Chiefs also drafting a wideout
here. That said, I think the Chiefs will address their need at tackle
and to further address their offensive line after trading for guard Ben
Grubbs. Flowers has a lot of talent and showed flashes of it with the
Canes this past season. He has all the tools to be a fine left tackle
and could be able to slide inside as well.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
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 be 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 - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
The Eagles have had a wild offseason
thus far and they have done much to address their top needs. However
with Jeremy Maclin heading to Kansas City to reunite with former coach
Andy Reid, the Eagles could use a deep threat for their offense and to
pair with holdovers Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper. Strong should be
good in the red zone thanks to his size and his good hands. The ASU
prospect is also deceptively quick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Arik Armstead, DT/DE, Oregon
Johnson proved to be a big bust in Tampa after leaving the Bengals but
his former team still missed him as they were never able to generate any
kind of a pass rush at all. Therefore, they finished last in the NFL in
sacks. They also could use some improved play from their defensive
tackles so given that, a versatile presence like Armstead could be
useful for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Armstead never put up
consistent production in Eugene but he is tremendously athletic, has
nice size and has a lot of upside.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
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. 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 in the past.
23. Detroit Lions - Andrus Peat, T, Stanford
The Lions lost both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency but after making a shrewd deal for Haloti Ngata, the need at defense tackle is not as big as it was a week ago. Therefore, the Lions could look to address other needs with this selection such as their hole at right tackle. Peat is a little raw but there is no question that he has a high upside. He also has the ideal size and athleticism to excel at tackle and can turn into a very good left tackle down the line..
24. Arizona Cardinals - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
The last time the Cardinals have been in the top half of the NFL in rushing was 2002. For context, their leading rusher was the immortal Marcel Shipp and the head coach was Dave McGinnis. They have been last four times since then and considering they have ranked 23rd and 31st under Bruce Arians. They seem poised to take a running back early in the draft and Gurley is a good one. He is coming off a torn ACL but he has the talent to be an excellent three-down back thanks to his combination of power and speed.
25. Carolina Panthers - T.J. Clemmings, T, Pittsburgh
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. They have already signed Michael Oher but they still need to do more to upgrade their tackles. Clemmings is very athletic and long which should help him in pass protection, but he is very raw. He should be able to contribute right away at right tackle.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
While the receiving corps was improved a year ago, now with Torrey Smith getting some money from the 49ers and Steve Smith not getting younger as he is now 35 years old, the position is certainly in some flux. Look for Baltimore to address the position early come April and this UCF product could get in the mix. He has been rising on some draft boards and has a nice combination of size and speed.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Mario Edwards, Jr., DT/DE, Florida State
Rod Marinelli did a very fine job turning a defense widely expected to be awful to be a passable unit but even then, there are upgrades that are needed to be made and particularly so on the defensive line as the pass rush was lackluster at times and there is a hole at tackle with the departure of Henry Melton to Tampa. Edwards looks like a tweener considering his weight of 280 pounds and his nice combination of speed and strength.
28. Denver Broncos - Cameron Erving, C/G/T, Florida State
The Broncos had issues with their offensive line all season long as they were mixing and matching and moving guys around deep into the season. That probably played a role in the decline in Peyton Manning down the stretch (as did an apparent weakening of his arm strength plus some reported thigh injuries). Erving can play across the offensive line as he did in Tallahassee and his athleticism should find him some burn.
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 - Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle) - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
It looks like the Saints are beginning some sort of a rebuilding process as they have made a ton of moves already this offseason. They already have touched on the cornerback position by bringing in Brandon Browner from the Patriots but considering the amount of issues they had last year against the pass, you could see them utilizing this pick to bring in another player. Johnson is a big corner with the long arms and the athleticism you like to see to be able to cover the top wideouts in the league.
32. New England Patriots - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Check out the WalterFootball mock draft database for even more mocks.