December Mock Draft (11-21)
11. Minnesota Vikings – PJ Williams CB/Florida State
The Vikings have shown potentially offensively and defensively with young talent, and shining the most bright is 2nd year CB Xavier Rhodes who has been very good. The Vikings are still struggling in the back end of their defense with corner and safety depth. Adding the top CB in this class in PJ Williams would help improve an inconsistent Vikings secondary that has the potential to be one of the best in the league. PJ Williams is a long athlete with good bulk who is fluid enough to cover an athlete. He often presses at the line of scrimmage and makes the WR work extremely hard to get open. Depending on workouts, he could go in the top 15 as the first corner or fall a bit, but he would be a good fit for the Vikings.
12. St. Louis Rams – La’el Collins OL/LSU
The Rams don’t have any glaring holes outside of QB, which makes this a tough choice since they are picking too late for a top one. With the defense humming, bolstering the offense is priority #1 and another offensive lineman may not be a bad deal. Jake Long is injured again and Greg Robinson is entrenched in that LT spot. The Rams could use an upgrade at RT over Joseph Barksdale or LG over Roger Saffold and move pieces around the line. La’el Collins is another absolutely massive SEC offensive lineman who could move inside to guard and likely dominate but has the upside and skills to play Offensive Tackle. Putting him together with Greg Robinson would be unfair for defenses trying to stop the run and give a ton of problems against the pass.
13. Houston Texans – Shaq Thompson LB/Washington
Shaq Thompson has had quite the year at Washington playing two ways at both LB and RB, showcasing top athletic ability at both positions. He is on the small side for LB play at less than 230 pounds, but is a better prospect than Ryan Shazier a year ago. Thompson is tough for his size and lays the lumber with big hits. He also has exceled in coverage and fits multiple defenses as a 3-4 ILB or 4-3 OLB. Houston has plenty of holes along the secondary and offensive line, but the ILB position next to Brian Cushing has been lacking for years. Thompson would give a versatile option who can play the pass and help cover TEs in the middle of the field.
14. Cleveland Browns – Dante Fowler LB/Florida
The Browns have two picks in this draft after the Sammy Watkins trade last year and hopefully can use it to continue their turn around. The Browns should take a WR (or 2,) early in this draft, but continuing to add to an inconsistent defense is necessary as well. The Browns have a solid group of pass rushers in Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo, and Jabaal Sheard but Sheard is slated for free agency and that role needs replaced. The Browns also need more help against the run, which they are struggling with. Dante Fowler accomplishes both of these as a DE/LB tweener who can stand up and rush the passer but is more stout at sealing the edge and stopping big runs. He can play an early down role and fits their defense perfectly.
15. Miami Dolphins – Trae Waynes CB/Michigan State
The Dolphins fall into a similar trap with the Vikings. They have a stud #1 CB but the defense is inconsistent past that. Cortland Finnegan isn’t a #2 anymore and adding a very good corner could go a long way to keeping their defense competitive against good QBs. Trae Waynes is next in line of successful Michigan State CBs and has been near shut down this season. He is tall and lanky at 6’1 but isn’t overly weighed down. He can be a bit tight and may need some development, but the football IQ skills are there to have an excellent career.
16. Kansas City Chiefs – Devante Parker WR/Louisville
WR will be a common pick for the Chiefs, and rightfully so. They have the worst WR group in the league and they are seemingly going to stick with Alex Smith for right or for wrong. After investing a pick in a pass rusher last year, it is time to pick a dynamic receiving option who can stretch the field and force the defense to stop focusing on Jamaal Charles. Devante Parker. Parker has good size at 6’3 and 211 pounds plus he has the speed to get deep. Combine with solid footwork, he is an idea combination WR who can be a possession and speed player. After coming back from injury this season, he has downright dominated and put himself in the conversion to be the 2nd WR off the board.
17. Cleveland Browns (f/ Buffalo) – Kevin White WR/West Virginia
If the Browns take the best available WR with the Bills 1st round pick, Kevin White would fit the bill. White didn’t have much publicity before the season, but his leaping ability and size make him an attractive possession candidate in the NFL. He has had 4 games this season with double-digit receptions and has shown flashes of dominance. His workout numbers will be crucial, but Cleveland does need to find that true #2 WR next to Josh Gordon. Gordon, White, and Hawkins would make a nice trio.
18. San Francisco 49ers – Cedric Ogbuehi OL/Texas A&M
Cedric Ogbuehi has had a rough season making the transition to Left Tackle and his draft stock has taken a slight hit because of it. He has shown incredible ability in the past at guard as a sophomore and right tackle as a junior, but teams might sour on his most recent play, especially against speed rushers that he has not been able to kick slide against effectively. Ogbuehi still has a ton of athletic upside and long arms that should make him a commodity in the NFL. San Francisco lacks big needs despite some of their struggles, but keeping their offensive line as one of the best in the NFL is crucial. It is almost a certainty that Mike Iupati will be gone due to free agency, and though they have drafted some replacements, Ogbuehi would be a massive upgrade. He could start at LG and be a future tackle starter for the team to try and pick their offense back up.
19. Baltimore Ravens – Todd Gurley RB/Georgia
Todd Gurley’s story is hard to swallow with a torn ACL that put him out of commission for the rest of the year. With this coming off his ankle injury last year, some teams may be wary of drafting him early. The talent is undeniable for his size, speed, explosion, and even catching ability. He could be a first round pick for a team that can put him on the PUP list and let him grow. For the Ravens, Justin Forsett has replaced Ray Rice and then some. Forsett certainly isn’t a world class talent, and he will turn 30 during the 2015 season. Drafting Gurley, letting him get healthy & develop while Forsett is used up would be a great way to keep the Ravens offense scary going forward.
20. Dallas Cowboys – Shilique Calhoun DE/Michigan State
The Cowboys defense has been much improved but they are still lacking that pass rush threat off the edge. Last year’s 2nd round pick Demarcus Lawrence isn’t getting playing time. George Selvie is a free agent and Jeremy Mincey only has one year left on his deal, so a pass rushing defensive end has to be high on the priority list. Shilique Calhoun has the size needed to be the Cowboys base end and compliment Demarcus Lawrence in the future. Calhoun has excellent range and is equal parts run stuffer and sack artist. He has a sack in 5 straight games this year and utilizes bull rushing power to collapse the pocket. He is a fringe Top 20 selection as his triangle numbers may leave some to be desired, but it would be quite the get for the Cowboys.
21. Atlanta Falcons – TJ Clemmings OL/Pittsburgh
Clemmings has gained a ton of steam this system. He converted from Defensive End to Offensive Tackle and has started every game at RT in 2013 and 2014. He is massive at 6’6 and 315 pounds with a huge wingspan. Pitt ran behind this right side often leading to their RB James Conner to be ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Clemmings has gigantic upside to play right tackle, move to left tackle, or even move inside to guard. The Falcons drafted Jake Matthews in the first round last year but they still need massive help around the line, including at right tackle. Clemmings could naturally slide in, help both in pass protection and run protection.