clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Mock Draft 2015: Pre-Free Agency First-Round Edition

New, comments

Tis the season...NFL Mock Draft season! Things will definitely change as free agency unfolds and private workouts are broken down and over analyzed, but, before free agency Black Friday begins, here is how I see the draft playing out.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft time may be my favorite time of the year, and perusing mock drafts is one of my favorite past time, current time, whatever time you want to call it.

As with any mock draft, the context as to how the picks are being made is crucial. So, before we get into the picks, here is the context (and disclaimers) as to how I constructed this mock draft:

  • l'll be predicting who I think each team will take – that may differ from who I think they should take.
  • I have yet to watch any film on any of the draft prospects. At this point in the process, all my knowledge on these prospects is based off games I have watched throughout the season and research I have done (sans game film).
  • Trades will occur on draft day and will inevitably change the way things shakeout on draft night. However, because trades cannot be predicted, I will operate as if each team will draft in their allotted position.
  • The doors of free agency are about to open and by the time teams finishing losing their minds stumbling over each other like crazed Black Friday shoppers, team needs will have changed – that is why I will be running multiple mock drafts leading up to the draft.

That being said, here is my 2015 NFL Mock Draft, 1.0 style…

1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston

Pos:

es

School:

Florida State

Analysis:

I feel the same way about Winston as I did with Manziel last year - with his maturity and off field issues, I wouldn't touch the guy with a 10 foot pole…but I'm not an NFL GM. NFL GMs will draft him, and whoever makes the first overall pick is likely to take Winston. From an on-the-field standpoint, Winston is the most NFL ready quarterback.

2

Tennessee Titans

Leonard Williams

Pos:

DE

School:

USC

Analysis:

The Titans need a quarterback, but they took Zach Mettenberger last year and I don’t think they are going to give up on him yet. Williams is the best player in this draft and I think the Titans are happy to be sitting here with Williams still on the board.

3

Jacksonville Jaguars

Amari Cooper

Pos:

WR

School:

Alabama

Analysis:

This will come as a surprise to most, but here is my reasoning. When you draft a quarterback high (like the Jaguars did with Blake Bortles) you need to surround him with talent. I know the Jaguars took two second round receivers in 2014 (Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson) who played decent as rookies, but neither appear to be difference makers. I believe Cooper is a difference making receiver. However, if the Jaguars get word that Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville's 2012 first round pick, will be reinstated in 2015, this pick will change.

4

Oakland Raiders

Kevin White

Pos:

WR

School:

WVU

Analysis:

This plays out perfect for the Raiders. Regardless of whether Cooper is still on the board or not, I believe the Raiders go with Kevin White. No team likes speed and measurables as much as the Raiders and White has speed and measurables that impress.

5

Washington Redskins

Randy Gregory

Pos:

OLB

School:

Nebraska

Analysis:

With Brian Orakpo's return to Washington unlikely, they have an opening at OLB opposite Ryan Kerrigan. Gregory is a lengthy defender who fits as an OLB in a 3-4 defense and seems an ideal fit for Washington.

6

New York Jets

Marcus Mariota

Pos:

QB

School:

Oregon

Analysis:

I do not believe the Jets stay in this position, but if they do, I think new head coach, Todd Bowles, takes Mariota. Geno Smith is from the old regime in New York and has not shown any indication that he is "the guy" and therefore I don't see a new coach hitching his wagon to Smith. Some may have a concern with whether Mariota can run an NFL offense, but I like everything about this kid on and off the field. He is 6'4", athletic and accounted for 58 touchdowns (42 passing, 15 rushing, 1 receiving) and just 7 turnovers (4 INT, 3 fumbles) in 2014. Compare that to Winston's 28 touchdowns (25 passing, 3 rushing) and 20 turnovers (18 INT, 2 fumbles).

7

Chicago Bears

Danny Shelton

Pos:

DT

School:

Washington

Analysis:

With John Fox at the helm, the Bears are going to be running a 3-4 in 2015 and they need a 3-4 NT. Shelton fits that bill and will be a solid NT in the NFL. I think Shelton would be an excellent fit for the Bears.

8

Atlanta Falcons

Shane Ray

Pos:

DE

School:

Missouri

Analysis:

The Falcons were dead last in yards allowed in 2014, so it is safe to say they will be looking defense early and often in the 2015 draft. Only the Bengals (20) had less sacks than the Falcons (22) and this is a great draft to be looking for pass rushers. I think the Falcons are very happy to see Ray still on the board when they pick.

9

New York Giants

Brandon Scherff

Pos:

OT/OG

School:

Iowa

Analysis:

The Giants could go a couple routes here, including receiver, but they really need some help along the offensive line and they have a chance at the top lineman in the draft. Scherff may not be a left tackle in the NFL, but he can be a solid right tackle or very good guard.

10

St. Louis Rams

DeVante Parker

Pos:

WR

School:

Louisville

Analysis:

The Rams still don't have a long term answer at quarterback, but they aren't going to find their answer in the first round of this draft, so the next best thing is to give more weapons to the quarterbacks they do have. Parker has the potential to be a big time receiver and has even garnered some comparisons to A.J. Green.

11

Minnesota Vikings

Trae Waynes

Pos:

CB

School:

Michigan State

Analysis:

The Vikings would love to see one of the top four receivers available here, but in this scenario, they are all off the board and 11 is a little high for any of the other receivers. But, the Vikings are excited to get the top corner in the draft and with the receivers in the NFC North, this is a great pick.

12

Cleveland Browns

Andrus Peat

Pos:

OT

School:

Stanford

Analysis:

Speaking of teams that are bummed to see the top four receivers off the board, the Browns really need a receiver. They could take a chance on Dorial Green-Beckham, but after the Josh Gordon fiasco over the past 12 months, I doubt the Browns are willing to take that chance...but they are the Browns, so you never know. Without a worthy receiver, the Browns address their offensive line with Peat, a guy that many think will be the best tackle in this draft.

13

New Orleans Saints

Vic Beasley

Pos:

DE

School:

Clemson

Analysis:

The Saints could really use a pass rusher, and in my opinion, Beasley is the best one in the 2015 draft. Some are concerned with his size, but the guy can get to the quarterback and coaches will find a way to use guys like Beasley.

14

Miami Dolphins

Ereck Flowers

Pos:

OT

School:

Miami

Analysis:

Since joining the NFL in 2012, Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 123 times (basically 40 times per year). Translation? The Dolphins need offensive line help. Flowers has ideal size, can develop into a solid NFL tackle and provides an upgrade along the line for Tannehill and the Dolphins.

15

San Francisco 49ers

Dante Fowler, Jr

Pos:

DE

School:

Florida

Analysis:

With Justin Smith nearing the end of his career and Aldon Smith becoming unreliable, the 49ers are in need of help along the defensive line. Throw in the fact that their new head coach was previously the team's defensive line coach and it is a pretty solid bet the 49ers go defensive line with their first round pick and the 49ers are ecstatic to see Fowler still here.

16

Houston Texans

La'el Collins

Pos:

OT

School:

LSU

Analysis:

With the impending release of Andre Johnson, the Texans could look at receivers here. They could also use help at corner. However, I don't see a receiver or corner worthy of this pick. The Texans could use help along the line and Collins is a good offensive lineman and could play right or left tackle.

17

San Diego Chargers

Malcolm Brown

Pos:

DT

School:

Texas

Analysis:

The Chargers finished 26th in rushing yards allowed per game and only three teams allowed more rushing YPA than the Chargers (4.5), so the Chargers need help on the defensive line and Brown is a good one.

18

Kansas City Chiefs

Dorial Green-Beckham

Pos:

WR

School:

Missouri

Analysis:

This is a risky pick because of Green-Beckham's off field issues, but the Chiefs need a receiver like no team has ever needed a receiver. In 2014, the Chiefs had 0 receiving touchdowns from their wide receivers - hell, Andy Dalton had a receiving touchdown in 2014. Green-Beckham has the physical tools to be a top 10 receiver in the league, so he is worth the risk at this point in the draft for a receiver needy team like the Chiefs.

19

Cleveland Browns

Jaelen Strong

Pos:

WR

School:

Arizona State

Analysis:

This may be a bit of a reach for Strong, but the Browns don't have the luxury to wait. They missed out on the top four receivers already, so they take a chance with Strong.

20

Philadelphia Eagles

Arik Armstead

Pos:

DE

School:

Oregon

Analysis:

With the release of Trent Cole, the Eagles need someone that can pressure the quarterback and Armstead can play end in both a 3-4 and 4-3. He is a physical wonder and most have him going before the 20th pick, but I see him slipping. Armstead's toughness and love for football has been brought up as a question mark and to me, that is something that is very concerning for a defensive end. I think he slips and his old college coach picks him up. Chip Kelly loves his Oregon players.

21

Cincinnati Bengals

Bud Dupree

Pos:

DE

School:

Kentucky

Analysis:

I could see the Bengals going three different directions with this pick: DE, DT or OL. But, the Bengals had the league's worst pass rush in 2014 (20 sacks) and they hit the jackpot with the 2015 draft, as it is deep with pass rushers. Dupree is seen as a 3-4 outside linebacker who might also be able to play 4-3 end. Though his consistency has been a knock, the guy is a freak of an athlete and by all indications is as good of a person as he is a player. At 6-4, 269 pounds, Dupree ran a 4.56 40 and had the best vertical (42 inches) and broad (11 feet, 6 inches) jumps of those in his position. The Bengals could find a way to use a player like Dupree.

22

Pittsburgh Steelers

Landon Collins

Pos:

S

School:

Alabama

Analysis:

The Steelers' secondary was brutal in 2014, so they could go corner here as well (Jalen Collins or Marcus Peters), but the Steelers really need a safety. Troy Polamaulu has reached the end of his career and Mike Mitchell was a bit of a disappointment. Collins, like Polamaulu is an impressive athlete with good speed and the big size the Steelers like at safety. Like Polamaulu, there is some concerns about Collins in coverage, but I think this is a need based pick that falls perfectly for the Steelers.

23

Detroit Lions

Jalen Collins

Pos:

CB

School:

LSU

Analysis:

The Lions are ecstatic that the Steelers took the other Collins and left Jalen Collins, the corner from LSU. The Lions are weak at corner and in today's pass happy NFL, quality corners are always in need. Collins has good size (6-1, 203 pounds) for a corner and would be a big upgrade for the Lions secondary.

24

Arizona Cardinals

Jordan Phillips

Pos:

DT

School:

Oklahoma

Analysis:

The Cardinals could really use linebackers (inside and outside), but I don't see the value of a linebacker here. While Phillips is seen as a bit of a project and his game film doesn't scream first round talent, his size (6-5, 329 pounds) and raw athletic abilities are tough to pass up, especially for a 3-4 defense that relies on a big run stuffing nose tackle up front.

25

Carolina Panthers

T.J. Clemmings

Pos:

OT

School:

Pittsburgh

Analysis:

The Panthers could use some younger weapons for Cam Newton to pair with Kelvin Benjamin, but with the Panthers' line unable to protect Newton, keeping Newton upright and healthy has to be priority number 1 and 1a for the Panthers. Clemmings, though raw, would provide the Panthers with a big, physical athlete to put on the right side of their line to pave a way for Newton and the Panther running backs.

26

Baltimore Ravens

Devin Smith

Pos:

WR

School:

OSU

Analysis:

The Ravens need weapons and I believe they either go with a deep threat wide receiver or the best tight end on the board. In my opinion, this is too high for Smith, but Joe Flacco may be the best deep ball thrower in the NFL and Devin Smith is a speedy receiver who excels on the deep ball. It sounds like their deep threat - Torrey Smith - is likely to leave in free agency and Steve Smith isn't getting any younger. Devin Smith replaces Torrey Smith as the Ravens deep threat with better hands

27

Dallas Cowboys

Melvin Gordon

Pos:

RB

School:

Wisconsin

Analysis:

I don't believe the Cowboys re-sign DeMarco Murray because: 1) he is going to be very expensive 2) he as yet to calm the concerns about his durability and 3) with the line Dallas has built, any good back is going to be very good running behind this line. Melvin Gordon is a flashy toy and Jerry Jones likes flashy. He also happens to be a very good back and can step in and pick up where Murray left off. Even if the Cowboys sign Murray, taking Gordon makes sense because of Murray's injury history.

28

Denver Broncos

Eddie Goldman

Pos:

DT

School:

Florida State

Analysis:

The more I read about it, the more I think Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton does not re-sign in Denver, leaving a large hole in the Denver run defense (literally and figuratively speaking). As a result, I believe the Broncos take one of three tackles: Jordon Phillips, Eddie Goldman or Carl Davis. In this scenario, Phillips is gone, so I see the Broncos taking Goldman. Goldman is very similar to Knighton in size and style. Like Knighton, Goldman is not going to give you much in the pass rush, but at 6-3, 336 pounds, Goldman is a stout run stuffer.

29

Indianapolis Colts

Maxx Williams

Pos:

TE

School:

Minnesota

Analysis:

The Colts could really use some help along the offensive line and in the defensive front seven, but at this point, there is not a offensive lineman worth this pick. The Colts could go with a linebacker, but I think they can find one later in the draft and when you have a quarterback like Andrew Luck, surrounding him with weapons is a must. The Colts have found a number one receiver in T.Y. Hilton and I think what is left at wide receiver and offensive line at this point would both be stretches. However, the Colts may have a shot at the top tight end in the draft. While Coby Fleener had a solid year in 2014, he is not a difference making tight end.

30

Green Bay Packers

Denzel Perryman

Pos:

ILB

School:

Miami

Analysis:

With the release of A.J. Hawk and the age of Julius Peppers, the Packers have a huge need at the linebacker position. Perryman is a smaller linebacker (5-10, 236 pounds) but he is solid and will impress teams. He would be a good fit to replace Hawk as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 system like the Packers

31

Seattle Seahawks

Devin Funchess

Pos:

TE/WR

School:

Michigan

Analysis:

It is possible the Seahawks start re-stocking the shelves of the Legend of Boom and take a chance on a guy not far from home (Marcus Peters), but they have a great defense, what they need are offensive weapons for Russell Wilson. There are a few receivers worth a look at this pick - as is Todd Gurley - but Devin Funchess gives Wilson a big target and is a guy that was used more as a wide receiver than a tight end.

32

New England Patriots

Carl Davis

Pos:

DT

School:

Iowa

Analysis:

With the release of Vince Wilfork, the Patriots are looking for a replacement who can occupy blockers in the run game and that is what Davis can do. At 6-4, 320 pounds, Davis impressed at the Senior Bowl and once Shelton, Brown, Phillips, Goldman and Davis are gone, teams aren't going to find big run stuffing tackles. Consistency has been a concern with Davis, but I don't see that as a concern if he to goes to the Patriots.