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2015 NFL Mock Draft

Steve’s 2015 NFL Mock Draft

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Round 1 | Round 2


February 20, 2015:

1.     Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jameis Winston, Florida State

-The Buccaneers decision is going to come down to one of three players. Either the best player in this draft Leonard Williams or one of the two top quarterbacks Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. Given their massive need at quarterback, it is likely it’s a two man race at this point. Winston has a lot going for him that makes him an attractive candidate for Tampa Bay. He’s got the higher upside, he’s been in more of a pro style offense and coming from Florida State he would be a massive draw at the box office. In the end this could go either way, but right now I’d say Winston has the lead.

2.     Tennessee Titans: DT Leonard Williams, USC

-The Titans could absolutely go quarterback here, but early signs are that they are going to pass on a quarterback at this spot. If they pass on whichever quarterback is left look for their decision to be one of the top pass rushers or DT Leonard Williams. Williams is my highest rated player and would fit as a 5 tech in the Titans system. Though it would be tempting to take a top edge rusher, it is tough to pass on Williams. Williams would bolster the Titans pass rush in his own right, and would give Tennessee an impact player to build around.

3.     Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska

-The Jaguars are likely focusing on the defensive line with this pick. With Williams off the board they will probably look at the top edge rusher available. While it is possible they prefer Fowler or Ray, Gregory seems to fit what they are looking for. He could give Gus Bradley the Leo rusher he needs to be the centerpiece of the front seven.

4.     Oakland Raiders: DE Dante Fowler Jr., Florida

-The Raiders are one of the biggest wildcards in the first round. You can make a strong case for them to draft a top wide receiver, a top offensive lineman or a top pass rusher. Here I go with pass rusher and give the Raiders Dante Fowler Jr. to pair up with Mack on the edge. Fowler Jr. has a ton of upside and would be give the Raiders two premier rushers to build their defense around. While WR or OL are definitely options, neither would probably have as much of an early impact as Fowler Jr.

5.     Washington Redskins: DE Shane Ray, Missouri

-The Redskins definitely could look to trade this pick if someone wants to come up to grab Amari Cooper or Marcus Mariota, but assuming they stay here look for them to look at three areas: edge rushers, offensive linemen, and interior defensive linemen (either 5 Tech’s or NT’s in their 3-4). While OL or DL are definite options, the Redskins need to find a way to get after the quarterback at a much higher rate. With Brian Orakpo likely to walk in free agency, the Redskins are left with just Trent Murphy to handle the ROLB position. Murphy is a relentless rusher, with a non-stop motor, but he doesn’t have the twitchy/speed combo you typically want from right side rushers. As a rookie he was fairly ineffective as a pass rusher, so the Redskins could look to add a premier guy to go with him. Shane Ray showed this year at Missouri that he has the speed/quickness to rush from the right side and get after the quarterback.

6.     New York Jets: WR Amari Cooper, Alabama

-This pick will depend a lot on what Jets do in the offseason, but assuming they don’t feel like paying Percy Harvin $10+ million, they will need a receiver opposite Eric Decker. Now quarterback could be an option here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets trade/sign a stop gap and try to fix everything else this year.

7.     Chicago Bears: DT Danny Shelton, Washington

-The Bears could possibly look offensive line here as Chicago still has some holes along the line. The reality though is this pick almost has to be used on the defensive side of the ball. Chicago’s defense was simply awful last year and they need to start fixing that asap. With Chicago hiring Vic Fangio the defense will probably have more of 3-4 look. Danny Shelton could come in and fill the nose tackle role and be the center piece of the defense. While there are some concerns to his game (and don’t be surprise if a guy like Malcom Brown is a viable option), he would help in defending the run, an area the Bears struggled mightily in last year.

8.     Atlanta Falcons: OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson

-While some are going to be concerned about Vic Beasley due to his weight (which figures to be under 250 lbs), the fact is he’s one of the best pass rushers in this draft and that is a skill set that shouldn’t be ignored in today’s NFL. The Falcons need help on the edge and if Dan Quinn brings over a similar defense from what he ran in Seattle, Beasley should fit in just fine. Beasley may struggle some versus the run, but he should have a double digit sack total year-in-year-out.

9.     New York Giants: OT La’el Collins, LSU

-The Giants are a team that could go a number of directions with this pick. A pass rusher could be needed if Jason Pierre-Paul bolts in free agency, a linebacker could bolster a weak link on defense, a safety could upgrade a thin safety group, a wide receiver could be added to complement Odell Beckham, and finally help is needed along the OL. Here I went with La’el Collins to bolster the offensive line. While some of the other positions are nice, I don’t think they make the immediate impact of Collins. Pass rusher has already been picked over a bit, while a LB or safety would be a reach. Kevin White would be intriguing at WR, but with Beckham established as the number one he would probably get 90-100 targets at best. La’el Collins could play any position along the offensive line but center giving the Giants plenty of flexibility with how they best want to protect Eli Manning.

10. St. Louis Rams: QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

-Here’s where I see the 2nd quarterback coming off the board, barring a trade up. The Rams may opt to go a different direction at quarterback, but I think this would be a nice fit. St. Louis already has a lot of nice pieces in place on both offense and defense, they could just use a talented quarterback to put it all together. Mariota could be that guy for the Rams. He would probably take a year to get fully involved in the offense, but the long term upside is huge.

11. Minnesota Vikings: WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

-I actually think Kevin White is the best receiver on the board here, but it makes too much sense to not reunite Bridgewater with his college receiver. The Vikings really need to bolster the position because while Greg Jennings is solid, he’s nearing the end of his career and Charles Johnson has shown promise, but he’s far from a certainty going forward. Parker would give Bridgewater a top weapon on offense next year and help in the young signal caller’s development.

12. Cleveland Browns: WR Kevin White, WVU

-With Josh Gordon suspended again the Browns are desperate for receiver help. They need some defensive help as well, but if Kevin White is on the board I don’t know how they pass that up. White is a big physical receiver who should quickly become the favorite target of whoever is under center for Cleveland next year.

13. New Orleans Saints: DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky

-The Saints could go a number of different ways, but they need to add another pass rusher, and Dupree represents good value here.

14. Miami Dolphins: OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa

-Last year the Dolphins got a nice start in fixing the offensive line with Monroe and James, but they still have to add another starting caliber OL. Scherff is a good fit because he is versatile and offers immediate impact. If the Dolphins can start protecting Tannehill, their offense could really take off this year.

15. San Francisco 49ers: CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State

-The 49ers are a team in transition, but they should maintain their focus on winning defense. With that mindset, adding the top corner in the draft would go a long way in keeping their defense among the best units in the league.

16. Houston Texans: DT Malcom Brown, Texas

-The Texans need to find a quarterback this offseason, but with the top two guys gone they are going to have to look in a different direction for their first round pick. They could opt for any number players here, but I think they get excellent value with Brown at this spot. Brown has a very high upside and arguably should be a top 10 pick, he can play both the nose and 5-tech positions and give the Texans another dominant threat along the line.

17. Kansas City Chiefs: S Landon Collins, Alabama

-The Chiefs could look to replace Eric Berry with this pick and if Landon Collins is on the board it makes a lot of sense. The Chiefs are going to be pretty thin at safety as it stands right now and Collins would offer some immediate impact on the back-end of the Chiefs Defense.

18. San Diego Chargers: OT Ereck Flowers, Miami

-The Chargers starting tackle King Dunlap is a free agent so if he is allowed to leave a replacement needs to be found. Flowers could be that guy here and should be able to start right away.

19. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo): DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma

-The Browns need to improve their run defense and can do that immediately with NT Jordan Phillips.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Marcus Peters, Washington

-If the Eagles don’t trade up for Mariota, expect them to focus on the defensive side of the ball. Peters is arguably a top 10 talent, but some red flags could keep him on the board for the Eagles. He has shutdown corner potential and would help an Eagles secondary that faces Bryant, Beckham and Jackson twice a year.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Shaq Thompson, Washington

-Thompson would give the Bengals a very talented and athletic linebacker who can help match-up with top tight ends in coverage.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Nate Orchard, Utah

-The Steelers need help on the edge (particularly if Worilds leaves), Orchard could offer immediate support in boosting the pass rush.

23. Detroit Lions: OT Andrus Peat, Stanford

-The Lions could use Peat to strengthen two positions as they could move Reiff inside to guard.

24. Arizona Cardinals: LB Paul Dawson, TCU

-The Cardinals need some serious help at ILB, and Dawson could be a day one starter.

25. Carolina Panthers: OT T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh

-The Panthers offensive line was simply pathetic last year. Clemmings has a lot of upside and while he may struggle some as a rookie, he could be a long time quality starter for the Panthers.

26. Baltimore Ravens: WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

-The Ravens could use some help at wide receiver and Strong represents a solid value here.

27. Dallas Cowboys: DE Eli Harold, Virginia

-The Cowboys need to keep bolstering the defense and Harold would give them a nice edge rusher complement to DeMarcus Lawrence.

28. Denver Broncos: DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State

-The Broncos will likely lose their top defensive tackle in free agency creating a need here, while Goldman represents a solid value for this draft slot.

29. Indianapolis Colts: DE Arik Armstead, Oregon

-The Colts need to start adding more talent on defense and Armstead has high impact potential as a 5-tech DE.

30. Green Bay Packers: LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

-The Packers are looking to revamp their ILB’s and Kendricks would be a great first step.

31. Seattle Seahawks: WR Devin Funchess, Michigan

-Funchess is not a complete receiver, but he offers immense size and upside. Going to a team like Seattle that wouldn’t need to “rely” on him or make him the centerpiece of their offense day one would be great for him.

32. New England Patriots: RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

-The Patriots might not want to risk this pick, but if they believe Gurley can come back healthy they could pair a franchise back with one of the few franchise QB’s in the league. That might be too good to pass up.