Back by popular demand (actually we can’t contain ourselves) is the 2015 NFL Mock Draft. You were probably wondering what we did over our Christmas break. Well here it is, enjoy.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks: Mariota to Mike Evans smells like victory to us. Vincent Jackson can also make Mariota look good. Mariota will be a Week One starter for the Bucs, no doubt about it. His courage in curving busted plays for positive yards will make the Buccaneers a contender in time. Tampa seems like ideal destination for Mariota even if it’s very far removed from anything he knows. Don’t believe the smoke screen your eyes will melt, Mariota is going to Tampa. Come on, there are those already writing odes to him. Using the voice of The Chipmunks. And sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” No, we can’t make this shit up (see video below).
2. Tennessee Titans – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State Seminoles: Winston actually reminds us of a more muscular version of Vince Young. Sorry Titan faithful, we are not trying to curse him. Maybe the fairer comparison is Ben Roethlisberger. Both Big Ben and Winston are big cats that are hard to bring down. They both also reek of winning. What is more important, however, is hiring a babysitter from same agency where Dallas got help for Dez Bryant. Hopefully, the young nucleus can rally together to make Music City rhythmic again.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California Trojans: It’s not like the AFC South has a reputation for bruising running attacks lately. The oft hurt Arian Foster might be a pedestrian player in the NFC West. Even so, taking Williams here will give the Jags’ defense a needed rush stuffer. Williams is one of those players running backs may choose to avoid after he gets a hold of them once. Look at what DT Dontari Poe has done for the sack numbers of DEs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in Kansas City, Williams can be that good. and his skill will have a trickle down effect on Jacksonville’s edge rushers.
4. Oakland Raiders – La’el Collins, OT, Louisiana State Tigers: Could you imagine the Raiders not taking a speedster, a fat QB or a player no one else wanted anyway in the first round? Collins will be a mean old school Raider. Protecting Derek Carr is a necessity and Collins will be a building block to keep the QB upright for a decade. The 325-pound Collins moves like a DE and will flatten would-be tacklers on rushing plays.
5. Washington Redskins – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford Cardinal: Sure, he’s just 310 pounds, but the extremely athletic and quick 6’7″ Peat could make Alfred Morris the league’s leading rusher. The Redskins ground game is already strong and Peat has all the makings of franchise tackle. In the world of stand-up DE/pass rushers, Peat will use his height and wingspan to punish blitzers.
6. New York Jets – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide: Cooper isn’t the franchise QB the Jets need but he is the best option at this position, especially if New York doesn’t retain Percy Harvin. Need does not trump best available here. Cooper looks like a hybrid of current Dallas WR Terrence Williams and, coincidentally, Jet legend Al Toon. Cooper will not be the same home run hitter he was in college but he will be a very steady performer with a long NFL career.
7. Chicago Bears – Landon Collins, SS, Alabama Crimson Tide: The Bears got more out of rookie FS Brock Vereen than they expected in 2014. By drafting Collins here they will have a future tandem at the back end they so sorely need. Collins is not a bone-jarring tackler, but he takes magnificent angles to the ball carrier and he gets things done. Nobody will complain about his consistent efficiency. Collins is a bit small for a safety but uses everything he has to take at least one of the ball carrier’s legs with him.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska Cornhuskers: What Atlanta needs (besides a HC with a massive pair) is some swagger. Gregory can bring that along with a little nastiness. Rome was not built in day and we saw the Falcons defense improve somewhat in 2014. Adding a couple of pieces in each draft should continue to help. Gregory is a fireball of emotion and not in a bad way. He might not be a sack master at the next level but that’s only because teams will keep the QBs moving away from his side of the field.
9. New York Giants – Shane Ray, OLB/DE, Missouri Tigers: While Ray, AKA “King of the Coverage Sack,” continues to get rave reviews, we simply don’t get it. He lacks true explosiveness and “Pro” linemen will throw him like a pebble into the pool of the overrated. That being said, the Giants need edge rush help and, hey, we were wrong about Kahlil Mack. Ray should be used mostly at OLB in the NFL and hopefully his ability to move laterally will get him some tackles in the pros. The Giants are hemorrhaging defensively and if they don’t draft defense first, their fan base will revolt.
10. St. Louis Rams – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson Tigers: The Rams defense was very respectable in 2014 and adding an athlete on the edge like Beasley will give Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn some extra leeway upfront to kill the carrier. Beasley mostly played DE in college, but his long arms and quick feet along with his smooth striding will allow for an easy transition. Just think of him as 62 per cent Leonard Little and 38 per cent Julius Peppers.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin Badgers: What’s this, a running back in the first round? But it’s not 2008! Calm down, draft pundits and projectors, and remember what the Vikings lost – Adrian Peterson. Gordon is a devastating runner from a conference known for producing them. The Badgers passing game was atrocious in 2014 and we all knew it. Opposing teams knew it was going to be Gordon left and Gordon right and they still could not stop him. Gordon actually reminds us lot of AP minus the catastrophic injury history. Gordon also keeps his weight very evenly distributed while running and breaking opponents’ ankles. Jerick McKinnon will take a backseat to the slashing Gordon and Matt Asiata might as well be put out to stud.
12. Cleveland Browns – Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington Huskies: Thompson’s makeup is 70 per cent Chris Spielman and 30 per cent Lavonte David. By this we mean he is all grit. Thompson can play any LB position on all downs and he is superb on special teams. Finally the Browns can have a multi-dimensional player on the field. He is athletic enough to cover a TE, but balanced enough to take on a pulling guard. Thompson only weighs about 225 pounds and that may make it hard for blockers to get a good lick on him.
13. New Orleans Saints – Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida Gators: Fowler doesn’t fit the first round mold, but he’s ideal for the Saints needs. We think he’ll be better at OLB than DE in the NFL but he can certainly play both if needed. The New Orleans defense took a big step back in 2014. Adding Fowler here and then secondary help later would be a smart way to go.
14. Miami Dolphins – Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State Seminoles: Fixing the Dolphins offensive line seems like a redundant statement at this point but, truthfully, it still needs a lot of work. “Texas tough” Ryan Tannehill still remains intact, however. Erving brings with him versatility and — while he might be better suited at OT — his play at OC for the Seminoles in 2014 was difference making. With inexperienced players at both OTs, and injury prone Mike Pouncey at C/OG, Erving is the logical choice here for the ‘Fins.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor Bears: With Justin Smith riding off into the sunset and Aldon Smith still dodging accusations, Oakman and his 20-foot arms should step in immediately. This defense is still one of the best in the NFL, but there is always room for improvement. Young depth like ILB Chris Borland and S Jimmy Ward will continue to grow and aid Oakman along the way. Assuming Aldon Smith can keep his nose clean, Oakman can be his clone on the other side. Oakman’s whipping arms are his best weapon for wearing down biscuit eaters upfront.
16. Houston Texans – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State Spartans: Just because you draft a CB in the first round doesn’t automatically make him a shut down corner. Waynes may not be the next Deion Sanders or Darrell Green, but he fits this scheme. If Jadeveon Clowney is ever healthy and effective, the Texans defense will be even more solid with the addition Waynes. J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing could use help on the corners as D.J. Swearinger continues to cream bodies in the middle.
17. Kansas City Chiefs – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville Cardinals: It may seem uber trivial, but have you seen Parker? Just go look for a photo of him and tell us that he does not look like an NFL WR. After a season that saw no Chief WR catch a TD pass, suggesting their WR corps needs an upgrade is an understatement. Also, considering QB Alex Smith is locked into an extended contract, KC will have no choice but to add weapons around him. Parker can be the true weapon the Chiefs have longed for since the days of Stephone Paige. From Tamarick Vanover to De’Anthony Thomas, lord knows they have tried.
18. San Diego Chargers – Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa Hawkeyes: Scherff hails from the vacant gravel fields of Denison, Iowa and his toughness is why San Diego will nab him here. He played mostly tackle in college, but will probably be better suited at guard in the pros. That is one of the reasons why we see Scherff slipping to pick 18. He has the thickness to play both positions but may not have the footwork to handle tackle.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo Bills) – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia Mountaineers: Wide receiver is one of many problems within the Dawg Pound. Given the Josh Gordon mess, Cleveland will have to nab a WR early. White’s size, hands and quickness are a cross between Jordan Matthews and Odell Beckham Jr.. White even shows the maturity and presence of a guy like Larry Fitzgerald. Just keep White away from Dwayne Bowe’s mistress Mary Jane and he might find the end zone as a Browns WR.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State Seminoles: After a disappointing season, HC Chip Kelly will be looking to make a major splash. Drafting Williams is the right move for this defense that should have drafted Darqueze Dennard a year ago. With Dez Bryant, Beckham, Victor Cruz and DeSean Jackson all in the same division, Williams will be tested often. Williams has shown the speed and range in college and bumping shoulders with Matthews and Jeremy Maclin in practice will foster quick growth.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State Seminoles: Somewhere within the heart of this organization somebody still believes in Andy Dalton. Cincy will not draft a QB here and we believe Goldman is the best value at this slot. His size and surprisingly good footwork are very impressive. The tenacious Goldman never takes a play off and his stamina should translate well to an already solid Bengal defense.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan Wolverines: Heath Miller is about 50 years old it’s time to plan for the future. Funchess can be a special player in this offense, although his blocking will need some fine turning.
23. Detroit Lions – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington Huskies: Shelton’s stock is on the rise, and with both of the Lions’ DTs set to test the free agent market, he seems to be the best option. He has an edge to him which is a little troubling, but it’s not like he is a former Cornhusker. Shelton will use his quick hands to immediately create chaos up the middle.
24. Arizona Cardinals – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon Ducks: Armstead, a 6’8″ beast, will thrash many ball carriers in his path. We could honestly see him going higher if the need was greater. Forget Darnell Dockett and John Abraham, Armstead and 2014 draftee Kareem Martin are the brood to fear.
25. Carolina Panthers – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon Ducks: This is the right choice for this defense. Yes, Ekpre-Olomu is hurt, but the guy is a gamer. He is a ball-hawk and with some very vertical passing games within the division, he’ll be able to prove it.
26. Baltimore Ravens – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh Panthers: Last season, a few O-line upgrades helped B-More tremendously and the addition of Clemmings will solidify the position. Joe Flacco moved beyond his sub par 2013 and, with better protection, his peak might finally be realized.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State Bulldogs: McKinney seems a little a big for an ILB, but who are we to cast a mold? What he lacks in speed he makes up for with pure power. McKinney is not an MLB, he is an ILB, so Dallas will have to use a multi-scheme defensive attack to keep all LB parties involved.
28. Denver Broncos – Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA Bruins: Believe it! All good things must come to an end. Sorry Peyton Manning — your gold jacket awaits. Brock Osweiler will still get a chance but Hundley will push him. Hundley is a raw athlete, but his talent and mobility could electrify the Mile High city a la Tim Tebow. Hundley needs some fine tuning but, rest assured, John Elway will show him the way.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia Cavaliers: Harold has the great instincts that edge rushers need to stay productive. He is very good with his hands and he finds the seam in blocking schemes with great efficiency. Harold was a solid team player in college who always did his job and rarely overcommitted and left things vulnerable. The Colts need a player like this to beef up their front seven. He will not be an annual double-digit sack man, but he will force his position, which will help others have their way with opposing QBs.
30. Green Bay Packers – Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky Wildcats: Dupree is a calculated athlete with tremendous in-the-moment closing speed. His capabilities include QB spying and pass coverage, but he can also put his hand on the ground and give chase. Packer backers will respect Dupree’s selflessness and praise his very presence.
31. Seattle Seahawks – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma Sooners/Missouri Tigers: We do realize Seattle drafted two WRs last year, but if Green-Beckham is still on the board, it must snatch him. He is one of those receivers that will be a matchup problem instantly, and that will open up the entire offense. Unless you really think Chris Matthews is the solution.
32. New England Patriots – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas Longhorns: With Vince Wilfork getting long in the tooth, Brown seems like an ideal replacement. Brown will get the opportunity to learn from a master. His drive is a Bill Belichick trigger, and by that we mean irresistible. Brown should help 2014 draftee Dominique Easley be more effective and create yet another great young nucleus for the Pats.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below how you see the first round of the NFL Draft shaking out.
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