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NFL Mock Draft: Post NFL Free Agency Edition

My prediction of what the first round of the NFL Draft could look like on April 30th. Who should the Bengals Target at 21?

Mock Draft Version 2.0 3/20/15

R1 Pick 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Jameis Winston-QB Florida State

At the combine, Winston was able to prove that he is the top quarterback in this class. He did great in the personal interviews both with his personality, and his whiteboard skills. Teams were wowed by his football IQ. In the on-field drills at the combine he threw well and ran fast enough the teams won't be concerned about his speed.  They will all be seeing him as a pocket quarterback anyway.

R1 Pick 2 Tennessee Titans select: Leonard Williams-DE/DT USC

Williams played the five technique spot at USC. He's very versatile and shows a good mix of the size, athleticism, and power. Williams is a great pass rusher, but he's also intelligent and when he doesn't get to the quarterback he gets his hands up and into passing lanes. Williams is my top DE/DT and can play the run as well as the pass. He is also a tough gritty player who has shown he can play through pain and injuries. He translates well to a 4-3 DE and can slide into the middle for 4-3 teams with their speed packages.

R1 Pick 3 Jacksonville Jaguars select: Dante Fowler Jr.-DE Florida

Dante is an athletic freak with a great blend of size, speed, and initial burst. Dante is a ferocious pass rusher and has that gritty demeanor that you want from your guys coming from the edge. With his skill set he wreaks havoc in the backfield and causes disruptions on nearly every play.

The Jaguars need help with their past rush this year and Dante is probably the right guy to do it. He has such great athletic ability he's probably if perfect fit for Gus Bradley's LEO position. He is the type of guy that could get this Jaguars defense over the hump that it seemed they couldn't do last year.

R1 Pick 4 Oakland Raiders select: Amari Cooper-WR Alabama

Amari is the most pro-ready receiver in this whole class. Even know there is probably more upside with a receiver like Kevin White the Raiders should go with Cooper. They have been burnt too many times with first round busts, so they should play it safe yet still get a very talented receiver that is ready to start day one. Cooper's route running is effortless and smooth and he still only 20 years old, which will give the Raiders a good chance of him being in his prime through two contracts.

The Raiders need to get some weapons for Derek Carr. Last year he showed that he could possibly be a franchise quarterback for a franchise that has struggled over the last decade. They need to surround Derek Carr with weapons to be sure if he is or isn't a franchise QB. The first step is adding a great player like Amari Cooper.

R1 Pick 5 Washington Redskins select: Vic Beasley-EDGE-Clemson

Vic destroyed the NFL combine and as a result got himself consideration as a top 5 pick. Vic added some weight before the combine and showed he can carry it. Washington can use him as an OLB and DE to utilize his versatility.  He can fill the spot that was left by Brian Orakpo when he departed via free agency.  Vic has a crazy first step and will be nightmare for the less agile OTs.

R1 Pick 6 New York Jets select: Marcus Mariota-QB Oregon

Marcus Mariota is the type of dual threat quarterback that can survive in the NFL. Because of the offense he ran it or again most people see him as a running quarterback, but that's actually not the case. He is a quarterback that can throw accurately from the pocket and can also run when necessary to buy more time and give his receivers more time to get open.

The New York Jets are in desperate need of a quarterback. Geno Smith is not the answer and they found that out last year, lucky for them another potential franchise quarterback is phone right in their lap. The only real question that we have about Mariota is because of his offensive scheme. Will he be able to throw guys open in the NFL? The offense in Oregon is not as easy as some make it out to be, he had to make pre-snap reads, small progressions, etc. Mariota just made it look easy because he is a very talented, smart, and gifted player; not to mention he knew it like the back of his hand. I think Mariota has Aaron Rodgers type of potential, whether he reaches that potential or not is yet to be seen but with his skill set he could easily mirror the same play style is Aaron Rodgers.

R1 Pick 7 Chicago Bears select: Kevin White-WR West Virginia

Following the trade of Brandon Marshall to the Jets the Bears will be looking for a new big receiver. Even though they have some major holes on defense, but I have to think if Kevin White falls into their lap they will be happy to replace Brandon Marshall as quickly as possible. The Bears have also been rumored to have stated don't count them out of the running for a receiver in the first round. We are well into lying season and this could just be smoke and mirrors, but I think there's a real chance that they take Kevin White. Since the Bears are a little bit in transition with Cutler at the quarterback position and they want to replace him, they are okay that white is a little bit raw and may not contribute fully in year one.

R1 Pick 8 Atlanta Falcons select: Shane Ray-EDGE Missouri

Shane Ray is probably the biggest boom or bust prospect of the edge rushers at the top of this draft. But when you're the Atlanta Falcons and you are in desperate need for someone who can get to the quarterback have to take risks sometimes. Shane Ray's ability to turn the corner and motor is second to no one in this class. He displays good balance, has a great first step, and gets involved in every tackle that gets near him. He will have to work on his play versus the run and not allowing blockers to get their hands inside his pads where they can control him at the point of attack. Note: After this mock was completed Shane Ray had his Pro Day and some real red flags are there.  He could be too risky all together.  His 3-cone is near the threshold of undraftable (there are minimums that most teams require).  Teams may still go off of his tape and the 14.5 sacks though.

The Falcons will be happy to get any of the top edge rushers this year. So they just hope that this situation happens where one of the top edge guys falls into their lap. Shane Ray is the type of guy that could be 20 sack type of player and they should be happy to get their hands on his possible upside.

The Giants would be happy to get another offensive lineman and continue to build in the trenches. Since they tagged JPP they will likely not draft an EDGE rusher here.

The Rams cut Jake Long because of his injury history and the right tackle is a free agent. That means Greg Robinson is going to have to move from left guard to either left tackle or right tackle. This is where Peat can come in and compete for the other OT spot.

R1 Pick 9 New York Giants select: La'el Collins-OT LSU

La'el is one of the best run blocking lineman in this draft and the best way to make Eli Manning play well is to give him a play action passing game. This will allow them to run the ball and throw deep routes to Odell Beckham Jr. all game long

The Giants would be happy to get another offensive lineman and continue to build in the trenches. Since they tagged JPP they will likely not draft an EDGE rusher here.

R1 Pick 10 St. Louis Rams select: Brandon Scherff-OT Iowa

The Rams need help at offensive line, Jake Long was let go and that means Greg Robinson is going to have to move to OT. Their current right tackle is a FA, so Robinson could end up at LT or RT depending on his play and how it shakes out. That means you have a hole at OT and at OG and Scherff could fill either of those spots. Plug and play day one player. Even if one of the consensuses top two WR is still available OL should be the pick. They've used too many early picks on WR it's time to build the trenches and not get your QB killed every year.

R1 Pick 11 Minnesota Vikings select: Trae Waynes-CB Michigan State

Marcus peters is my top corner, but if I know Zimmer he's not going to want him. Zimmer is one of the most brash guys you will mean and as no nonsense as they get. Regardless of how things went down in Washington he won't be interested in that power struggle. In comes Trae Waynes, he's a very capable corner and a former track star. He can absolutely fly. He's good in coverage and has great closing speed. He really needs to work on routes that cross his face though, he was beat almost 50% of the time on those routes. He will be another capable young corner for the Vikings young defense. The good thing for Minnesota is that Zimmer’s defense hides most of the flaws of DBs and lowers the time that they are in coverage.

R1 Pick 12 Cleveland Browns select: Devante Parker-WR Louisville

The Browns would like to make their wide receiver pick with their second first-round pick, but the way this draft is fallen they risk losing out on the first tier of receivers if they don't take him now. DeVante is a guy that covers ground quickly and he is a very smooth route runner. He is a receiver that can get some very good YAC yards as well.

The Browns need to get some options on offense and right now at receiver they really have nothing. If they ever want to become relevant they need to find a quarterback and someone for him to throw to. Since there aren't any more quarterbacks in this draft worth a first round pick, they can at least find a receiver. At least now, if they find a quarterback they would have someone for him to throw to.

R1 Pick 13 New Orleans Saints select: Marcus Peters-CB Washington

The saints need a true number 1 CB and Peters can definitely be that. I think there was something that happened but I also think Washington embellished the situation to make it look worse on Peters. Sine this draft is packed with Edge rushers they will wait for round two.

R1 Pick 14 Miami Dolphins select: Danny Shelton-NT Washington

The Dolphins have a big need at the nose tackle position. They need someone that can clog up the running lanes and allow their past rushers more opportunities to get sacks by making more third and long situations.

R1 Pick 15 San Francisco 49ers select: Arik Armstead-DE/DT Oregon

Wow, what a few weeks it has been for the Niners. They lost two starting linebackers to retirement, and one to free agency. Justin Smith still might retire; they already lost a running back, a receiver, and a guard to free agency, as well. They went from being in the Super Bowl to being in full rebuild mode in two years. Armstead is a perfect five technique to play along their 3-4 defensive front. Even though his playing sample size is small they just don't make people this big very often he could be a great NFL defensive lineman.

R1 Pick 16 Houston Texans select: Andrus Peat-OT Stanford

The Texans need help on the Offensive line; my top two linemen are gone. I'm not this high on Peat he needs more functional strength in my opinion, but mocks are about what your hearing from scouts etc. most scouts see him going in the mid first so this could be the spot. Houston could also go with a corner here because our good old friend Jonathan Joseph is getting long in the tooth and they need a long term option.

R1 Pick 17 San Diego Chargers select: TJ Clemmings-OT Pittsburgh

The Chargers need to sure up offensive line and protect Philip Rivers. TJ is a great fit for them because he can play offensive guard now and then transition to OT later on. TJ is still raw because he just moved to OL two years ago, but that also means he has a lot of upside.

R1 Pick 18 Kansas City Chiefs select: Erik Kendriks-ILB UCLA

What? No WR?? I know that's what you are thinking, but if the big 3 are gone the Chiefs have a huge need at MLB. Kendrick's is the best LB in the draft and a human missile vs the run. He has an uncanny ability to avoid blockers and be in the right spot to make plays.

R1 Pick 19 Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo) select: Randy Gregory-EDGE Nebraska

Randy Gregory is a unique size and speed players in this draft. The only real knock on him is that he is so slim teams worry if he can hold up to the bigger players in the NFL and help a team in the run game. With his athleticism and versatility he will allow the Browns to use him in multiple different schemes and get the most out of his past rush abilities.

The Browns have some FAs from the OLB/DE spots and Mingo has not been consistent as an edge rusher. With Gregory they can use him in different ways to make him most effective as a pass rusher.

R1 Pick 20 Philadelphia Eagles select: Jalen Collins-CB LSU

After his solid combine Collins is now a lock for the 1st round. His unexpected speed in the 40 yard dash and solid work in the positional vaulted him up most team’s boards.

He is the ideal fit for the Eagles who have a big need at corner. Their secondary got torched all season by big WR last year; everyone saw the prime time game Dez had against them. Collins is a bigger corner and that will help against the likes of Dez Bryant, and Odell Beckum Jr.

R1 Pick 21 Cincinnati Bengals select: Eddie Goldman- DT Florida State

The Bengals are in a more fortunate situation due to the re-acquisition of Michael Johnson via free agency. They can now take the top player on their board because they don't have any huge needs they need to fill. Both of their offense of tackles will be free agents after 2015 so if one of their top offensive tackles falls that will be the pick. With the board how it is now they will take their top defensive tackle. Peko has been in decline for the last few years, so Goldman would step in as a Day one starter next to Geno Atkins.  When Goldman dis-guards offensive linemen, he gets to the QB in very few steps.  Together Goldman and Geno would put pressure in the face of the opposition and fast.

R1 Pick 22 Pittsburgh Steelers select: Alvin "Bud" Dupree-EDGE Kentucky

The Steelers need to have a good pass rush to get back to their old ways.  One way to start is a freak athlete like Dupree.  They can use him at OLB and DE on passing downs. The Steelers would like to get a Corner here, but the bigger corner Collins is gone and they thought of Dupree is just too much to pass up.

R1 Pick 23 Detroit Lions select: Malcolm Brown-DT Texas

The Lions lost both of their defensive tackles be a free agency this off-season, but they did acquire a Haloti Ngata trade with the Ravens. They'll still need to add another defensive tackle and with one of the top players still available at the position they'll fill that spot right away. Brown is more of a penetrator then Ngata so they will be a nice pair.

R1 Pick 24 Arizona Cardinals select: Cam Erving-OT/C Florida State

One of the Cardinals biggest issues last year was pressure right up the middle. The switch from offensive tackle to center for Erving turned out to be a great decision. He's very strong "in a phone booth" and it suits him much better than when he was on the edge and his footwork was much more important. The Cardinals will look to sure up the offensive line in the hopes that they won't be using their third string quarterback come playoff time this year.

R1 Pick 25 Carolina Panthers select: Landon Collins-Saf Alabama

Collins is a steal here and a position that the Panthers can use an upgrade. Teams will not want to come over the middle with Collins & Luke on the prowl. Collins will really lower the boom on you if he lines you up, you'll feel it.

R1 Pick 26 Baltimore Ravens select: Dorial Green-Beckum-WR Missouri

The ravens have lost a lot in free agency this year, but securing a true offense of threat at receiver is a huge need for them. There is a big risk with taking Dorial, but with that risk comes huge reward. A 6'6" wide receiver with good ball skills and obvious size don't grow on trees. With their PR at an all-time low because of the Ray Rice incident; why not!

R1 Pick 27 Dallas Cowboys select: Todd Gurley-RB Georgia

The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray in free agency to the division foe the Eagles. Todd Gurley would be a top five talent had he not had the unfortunate ACL tear. At this point the Cowboys will see too much value and a possible long-term replacement to Murray. Since Gurley might not be ready at the start of the season they still have Joseph Randall to hold the fort down until he's 100% ready to go.

R1 Pick 28 Denver Broncos select: Shaq Thompson-LB/S Washington

The Broncos have a big need at linebacker and safety what better way to solve that problem meant to draft a very versatile athlete that some think will be a better safety and others think he will be a linebacker. This will allow him to come into their system and play the position they feel like he fits best.

R1 Pick 29 Indianapolis Colts select: Owa Odighizwa-DE

The Colts need to add a run stuffing defensive end to help them against teams like Houston and Tennessee that constantly want to pound the rock. Owa is a guy who can blow up the run, set the edge, and even provide pass rush with his pure strength. If Owa didn't have injury history he would likely be a top 15 player.

R1 Pick 30 Green Bay Packers select: Ronald Darby-CB Florida State

The Packers really need a corner and a nose tackle due to their losses in free agency. Ronald Darby finished stronger than his counterpart P.J. Williams at the end of the season and ran blazing fast at the combine. Some scouts think he could even creep into the teens of this draft and I've heard he's number two on some team’s cornerback rankings. It's a position of need and a really good value here for the Packers, and we all know they typically draft on value and best player available.

R1 Pick 31 New Orleans Saints (via Seattle) select: Eli Harold-EDGE Virginia

The Saints traded Jimmy Graham to get this pick and at the same time they got Max Unger and sured up their offense of line. With their first pick they got a cornerback they can rely on in here though get an edge rusher and I can put some pressure on the opposing quarterback. Eli really show some flashes on his tape and he is extremely fast for his size. At this point in the first round to get someone with the upside potential of him it's a good get for the Saints.

R1 Pick 32 New England Patriots select: Jordan Phillips-NT Oklahoma

The patriots lost Vince Wilfork by not picking up the final year of his contract. It's important for their defense to have someone in the middle that can stop the run. Jordan Phillips is a massive man and for his size he's extremely agile. The only question with him is consistency, but if he can put it all together he could be in ample replacement for Vince.

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