Pre-Free Agency 2015 NFL Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Despite an overanalyzed slow 40 time, Winston impressed teams with his high football IQ. Draft guru Todd McShay also called him the second best QB prospect of the past decade (behind only Andrew Luck). Bucs’ head coach Lovie Smith seems to be on the Jameis bandwagon as well, so unless there is any drastic changes between now and April 30 in Chicago, expect Winston to be the first name called by Commissioner Goodell.
2. Tennessee Titans- Leonard Williams, DT, USC
I’m not sure how content the Titans organization is with current starting quarterback Zack Mettenberger, but I don’t see Mariota warranting the number two overall pick. Leonard Williams is the consensus best prospect in this draft, and Tennessee is desperate for difference makers like him. Alongside Jurrell Casey, Williams should excel in his first year as a pro.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Randy Gregory, OLB/DE, Nebraska
Only weighing in at 235 at the combine, Gregory worried some scouts, but his pass rushing ability along with his sheer 6’6” frame is too much for Jacksonville to pass up on. Next season the Jags could have a pretty formidable front four with Gregory, Clemons, Marks, and Bryant.
4. Oakland Raiders- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
White impressed scouts with both his size and speed at the combine which is why I have him passing Alabama’s Amari Cooper as the top receiver in the draft. Derek Carr should be ecstatic about the idea of throwing to both James Jones and White this upcoming season.
5. Washington Redskins- Dante Fowler Jr., OLB/DE, Florida
Washington should be drooling at the opportunity to pick Dante Fowler at fifth overall after a very impressive combine. With Brian Orakpo expected to hit the free agent market, Fowler is the perfect successor to play outside linebacker next season for Washington.
6. New York Jets- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Why take Cooper when Mariota slides to them at 6? One of two things will happen. 1)The Jets will be too terrified to take a system quarterback sixth overall and will take one of the safest players in the draft in Cooper. Or 2) Will trade back with another team that desperately wants Mariota such as the Eagles, Browns, or Rams. It’s pretty much win-win here for the Jets if Mariota and Cooper fall to them at sixth overall.
7. Chicago Bears- Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Hiring former 49er defensive coordinator Vic Fangio switches the Bears to a 3-4 leaving a gaping hole at nose tackle, and the 340 pound Shelton is the prototypical nose tackle along with surprising pass rush ability. The Bears could use any defensive help, and Shelton is the best defensive player available at seventh.
8. Atlanta Falcons- Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
Atlanta picked their offensive tackle of the future in Jake Matthews last year, and this year they get their pass rusher in Ray. Although he’s a little smaller than most defensive ends, he has a quick burst off the line to make up for it. The Falcons defense should improve with next season with a good free agency and drafting a pass rusher like Ray.
9. New York Giants- Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky
Don’t freak out Giants fans. I know Dupree is currently projected to go mid first round, and some mock drafts even have him going in the early stages of the second round. Despite a strong combine, Dupree flew under the radar a bit being overshadowed by Dante Fowler. Dupree has all the physical tools to be very successful at the next level, and he has, in my opinion, the highest ceiling of all the pass rushers in the draft. Many draft experts have gone so far to compare him to Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake, which is some pretty high praise. With Mariota still available here as well, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants traded down to gain some extra picks.
10. St. Louis Rams- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
How can the Heisman winning golden boy fall all the way to tenth overall?? Well, I for one do not buy into the hype surrounding Mariota. I just don’t think his simplified college offense will translate to the NFL game. Despite that, Mariota is still a very impressive athlete with a cannon for an arm, and I can definitely see Sam Bradford being moved between now and the draft.
11. Minnesota Vikings- La’el Collins, OT, LSU
After an impressive rookie season, Teddy Bridgewater needs some protection, and that comes in the form of outstanding run and pass blocker, La’el Collins. Not only can he protect Bridgewater, but with his long arms and quick feet he can clear huge lanes for AP or whoever is the starting running back come week 1.
12. Cleveland Browns- Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
Josh Gordon was suspended again for all of next season this offseason, and the Browns should look for his replacement in Parker. The Louisville product has the size and speed to be an explosive receiver in this league. Although he is the third receiver taken off the board, he is well worth it at twelfth overall especially with the Browns receiver concerns.
13. New Orleans Saints- Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
The Saints had serious defensive issues this past season. They’ll no doubt take the best defensive player available. Beasley was excellent at the combine, and he compares to Bruce Irvin and Von Miller, so he seems to be a good fit for defensive needy New Orleans.
14. Miami Dolphins- Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
I could definitely see the Dolphins addressing their need at receiver, but they could be scared away by DGB’s off field issues. Trae Waynes was the most impressive cornerback at the NFL Combine by a wide margin, and could pair nicely across from Brent Grimes.
15. San Francisco 49ers- Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Michael Crabtree is hitting the open market, so Kaepernick could really use a number one receiver, and DGB is a raw, but extremely talented prospect. Despite his off the field concerns, his talent and potential is too much for the 49ers to pass up on.
16. Houston Texans- Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
The Texans’ offensive line has been very good this season. It still never hurts to add more depth and they could use an upgrade at right tackle. If Scherff is still on the board when they’re on the clock, this should be a no-brainer for Houston.
17. San Diego Chargers- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Pairing Goldman with Liuget should make San Diego fans very excited. Defensive tackle might not be their biggest need, but Goldman might be too hard to pass up. I could also see the Chargers pairing another corner with Verrett.
18. Kansas City Chiefs- Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
As you all should know by now, the Chiefs receivers did not have a single touchdown reception last season. Jaelen Strong had a very impressive combine showing off his speed and size. Alex Smith should be thrilled to have someone like Strong to throw to next season.
19. Cleveland Browns—From Buffalo Bills- Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas
You could make a case for Cleveland to draft Brown at twelve because he might not last all the way to nineteen. Cleveland can’t afford to miss on another first round pick, and Brown is one of the safest picks in the draft and fills a need for Cleveland.
20. Philadelphia Eagles- Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
If Chip Kelly & Co. decide not to trade up to get Mariota, the other Marcus is the perfect fit for Philadelphia. He not only fills a need, but he could be a nice rival to division foes Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant. His attitude is a concern, but it’s the worth the risk at twenty.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
Erving’s versatility is very appealing, and fills a need for the Bengals. Because of his versatility, I have him going ahead of Peat, Flowers, and Clemmings. He will be an immediate starter for any team that drafts him.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers- Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Troy Polamalu isn’t getting any younger. Collins was once thought of as a top ten talent, but he has since fallen down draft boards. Even though his stock has dropped a little, he could still be a steal for Pittsburgh at twenty two.
23. Detroit Lions- Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Detroit’s pick is really hard to pin down because of all the uncertainty in free agency. I’m playing it safe and assuming that Detroit wants to protect Stafford. Peat is a giant of a man, and could start day 1 for Detroit. I could also see them going DT because of the status of Suh and Fairley.
24. Arizona Cardinals- Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
With Dan Williams entering free agency, Arizona has a pretty big hole to fill at defensive tackle. Armstead is a raw but talented prospect that could develop nicely under a Bruce Arians run defense. With a little polishing, Armstead could develop into an elite tackle in the league.
25. Carolina Panthers- Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
Carolina’s number one priority should be to protect Cam Newton. Flowers draft stock is all over the place, and if the Panthers don’t fill their O-Line need in free agency, it would be hard for them to pass up on the talented Flowers at twenty five.
26. Baltimore Ravens- P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
After a year that plagued their secondary with injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltimore looked for some consistency there through the draft. Williams has the height and speed to play on an island. He would be a good rival to division foe Antonio Brown as well. Baltimore could go running back as well considering that Justin Forsett is entering free agency.
27. Dallas Cowboys- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Demarco Murray is all but certain to bolt for free agency, so Gordon makes the most sense here for Dallas. Running behind the best offensive line in the league, Gordon should have a huge year along with OROY consideration.
28. Denver Broncos- Eli Harold, OLB/DE, Virginia
Because Demarcus Ware is getting up there in age, it would be smart to find his replacement. Harold showed off his explosiveness at the combine and is projected to be a late first-early second round pick. I could also see Denver picking tight end Maxx Williams because Julius Thomas is a free agent, but Peyton always seems to make tight ends out of nothing.
29. Indianapolis Colts- T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Although the Colts could use some help on defense, they should first find someone to help protect their franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck. Indy should be thrilled if Clemmings even makes it this far in the draft. Where he’ll be drafted is a little iffy because free agency has still yet to come, but if most of the tackle needy teams go the free agency route, he should fall right in the Colts lap.
30. Green Bay Packers- Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma
With B.J. Raji entering free agency, Green Bay will have a hole to fill at defensive tackle. They would be smart to fill that hole with the massive Jordan Phillips out of Oklahoma. His wide frame and long arms gives him the potential to one day be a pro bowl tackle.
31. Seattle Seahawks- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
32. New England Patriots- Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Like Seattle, the Patriots could really use an offensive weapon at the dispense of the best quarterback of all time. Adding him to this offense paired with another good defense could have the Pats fans talking repeat.