2015 NFL Mock Draft
First Round Draft Projections
March 17, 2015
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) (Team needs: OT, Pass Rusher, QB) - QB Jameis Winston, Florida State (6-4, 231 lbs)
Winston came into the combine with question marks about his shoulder and his character. Apparently he walked away leaving teams satisfied with both. The Florida State prospect was obviously the best QB on the field and evaluators seemed to love his confidence and even somewhat cocky demeanor. At this point I have little doubt that Tampa will pull the trigger on Winston, but have to wonder if the immature and entitled college student may become unbearable once he becomes a multi-millionaire.
2. Tennessee Titans (2-14) (Team needs: QB, Pass Rusher, CB) - DL Leonard Williams, USC (6-5, 302 lbs)
The Titans say they are happy with the progress of Zach Mettenberger, but that may be a smokescreen. Either way, with Winston off the board, I donít think they can pass on the super-talented Leonard Williams. Some scouts have gone so far as to compare the USC prospect to J.J. Watt. There is no denying his blue chip ability to get to the QB and stuff the run. Best player in the draft, hands down.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) (Team needs: OT, CB, RB) - DE/OLB Dante Fowler Jr., Florida (6-3, 261 lbs)
Jacksonville could go in several directions, which is always a sign that a team may be willing to trade down. After loading up on offense last year and if they stay at #3, I look for them to take the best defensive player still on the board. Fowler is an impact player that will start immediately. He fits into what the Jaguars are trying to do and is definitely a Gus Bradley kind of player. If Jacksonville trades down, look for them to grab CB Trae Waynes.
4. Oakland Raiders (3-13) (Team needs: Pass Rusher, CB, WR) - WR Kevin White, West Virginia (6-3, 215 lbs)
I want to go with Amari Cooper with this pick, but I think the ghost of Al Davis will demand that the Raiders draft the 6'3" wide receiver with blazing 4.35 speed. To be fair, White caught virtually everything thrown at him at the combine and has the confidence that you want to see in a wide receiver. Size, speed and good hands? This prospect might actually pan out.
5. Washington Redskins (4-12) (Team needs: Pass Rusher, DB, OT) - OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson (6-3, 246 lbs)
Explosive, powerful linebacker. Made a believer out of everyone at the combine. Sure-fire first day starter with great instincts and proper football intelligence. Slight technique problem with lowering his pads when he sets his anchor. Washington needs playmakers in their front seven and Beasley is the best defensive player in this draft after Leonard Williams.
6. New York Jets (4-12) (Team needs: QB, CB, OT) - QB
Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6-4, 222 lbs)
If the Titans don't pull the trigger on Mariota, look for the Jets to nab the high effort player based on his intelligence and blue chip athleticism. The Oregon prospect is a player that you want to like based on his character and off-field demeanor, however, there are legitimate concerns about the simplified offense that he played out of in college.
7. Chicago Bears (5-11) (Team needs: Pass Rusher, LB, DB) - NT Danny Shelton, Washington (6-2, 339 lbs)
The Bears are bringing in Vic Fangio as a defensive coordinator and he knows that it all starts up front. Wide-bodied behemoth with solid anchor and natural core strength. Shelton may not rack up big numbers, but he will demand the double team that will allow linebackers to cause havoc. The Bears also need a receiver that can stretch the field but this draft is deep at the WR position.
8. Atlanta Falcons 6-10 (Team needs: Pass Rusher, LB, DB) - DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska (6-5, 235 lbs)
May be projected as a 3-4 OLB for most teams. The Falcons have hired Dan Quinn to turn things around in Atlanta, and Gregory is an elite pass rusher. He possesses good hand technique and is much more physical than one would think when looking at his long frame. I look for Gregory to eventually play at around 255 lbs without giving up much agility and speed.
9. New York Giants (6-10) (Team needs: Pass Rusher, OL, ILB) - DE/LB Shane Ray, Missouri (6-3, 245 lbs)
Teams are going to fall in love with Ray based on athleticism alone. Freaky fast (4.44 forty). His technique is still a work in progress and he is going to have to learn how to sift through the garbage and disengage from blockers. Will need to work on his arsenal. Good instincts would make one believe that he has the capability to be an exciting player. There is a chance that the Giants go with an offensive lineman here if they are enamored enough with any of the prospects.
10. St. Louis Rams (6-10) (Team needs: QB, CB, RB) - WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (6-1, 211 lbs)
Best route-running WR in this draft. Not only does Cooper make circus-like catches but he is a great blocker. Could use a team that demands discipline and consistency and Jeff Fisher is the kind of coach who can get the best out of him.
11. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) (Team needs: OT, RB, CB) - OT La'el Collins, LSU (6-4, 305 lbs)
The Vikings need to upgrade in the middle of their offensive line and Collins is versatile enough to play all along the front. Any deficiencies he has on the outside would be a non-factor if moved to OG with the Vikes. Aggressive mauler with a good base. Brandon Scherff is the higher-rated LT prospect but I think Collins versatility better fits Minnesotaís needs. Outside chance that they go with WR DeVante Parker and reunite him with Bridgewater.
12. Cleveland Browns (7-9) (Team needs: WR, ILB, DL) - WR DeVante Parker, Louisville (6-3, 209 lbs)
Cleveland has to go WR with the first of their two first round picks unless DT Danny Shelton is still on the board. I think the Browns won't be able to pass on the 6'3" Parker, especially after his impressive combine. Parker was a touchdown machine in college and the Browns desperately need this kind of playmaker if they are going to be competitive in the AFC North.
13. New Orleans Saints (7-9) (Team needs: CB, Pass Rusher, QB) - CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State (6-0, 186 lbs)
The Saints just locked up Mark Ingram to shore up their RB corps, so I think that they look on the other side of the ball and take the best CB in this draft. Diagnoses plays well and breaks quickly to support the run or cover WRs. Sometimes takes chances and will need to learn to cover without getting his hands all over the man he is covering.
14. Miami Dolphins (8-8) (Team needs: LB, CB, OT) - OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa (6-5, 319 lbs)
After scoring big in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, Miami now takes the top-ranked OT in the draft. Scherff is a tactician with good upper body strength. Shows good lateral movement but possibly needs to add some sand to his pants to anchor better in the pros. Great initial punch and a willing run blocker.
15. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) (Team needs: QB, OL, DL) - OT Andrus Peat, Stanford (6-7, 313 lbs)
If Peat had a nasty disposition he would be the highest-rated lineman in this draft. Good build, strength and length. Very quick and mirrors effectively. As with many taller linemen, Peat does have some problems with leverage, and will too often bend at the waist.
16. Houston Texans (9-7) (Team needs: QB, WR, OT) - WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (6-2, 217 lbs)
With The loss of Johnson, the Texans retool with the physical and athletic Jaelen Strong. Great hands and good body control. The only knock on Strong before the draft was that some evaluators thought that he was quick but lacked top end speed. His 4.44 forty time at the combine has put those issues to rest.
17. San Diego Chargers (9-7) (Team needs: CB, NT, OL) - OT T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh (6-5, 309 lbs)
Natural left tackle prospect with good kick-slide and light feet. Clemmings might have the highest ceiling of all the O-line prospects in this year's draft. He does have some problems with bull rushers that have a variety of moves but his technique is so solid that I expect he will grow into the position as an elite NFL LT.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) (Team needs: WR, OT, CB) - WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma (6-5, 237 lbs)
Green-Beckham will be ranked all over the draft boards. He has speed, size, and ability but there are some lingering and serious doubts about his maturity and work ethic. Some team will pull the trigger on his outstanding physical attributes but he carries the boom-or-bust label more than any other player in this draft.
19. Cleveland Browns (9-7) - trade from Buffalo (Team needs: WR, ILB, DL) - DT Malcom Brown, Texas (6-2, 319 lbs)
The Browns use their second pick in the first round to fortify their defensive front. Brown is versatile enough to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 front. He has good core strength, strong hands, and a great motor. Mature player that coaches wonít have to worry about off the field.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) (Team needs: CB, S, OLB) - SS Landon Collins, Alabama (6-0, 228 lbs)
Great run support safety with great feet and instincts. Sometimes bites on pump fakes or misdirection. Will need to learn position responsibility but has pretty good read and react skills. Coverage skills are above average but too often bobbles and drops the easy interception.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) (Team needs: CB, S, PK) - CB Marcus Peters, Washington (6-0, 197 lbs)
Incredibly gifted cornerback who excels in coverage and run support. Very aggressive and physical. You can bet that the Bengals will have a long sit down with Peters in regards to his past, and will no doubt explain to him that he will be on a very short leash.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) (Team needs: CB, S, DL) - CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (6-0, 188 lbs)
Johnson has the coverage skills of Marcus Peters but not the physicality. He is aggressive and willing but his light frame prevents him from being the intimidator that Peters is. Best back pedal of any prospect I saw at the combine and perfect transition with fluid hips and good footwork.
23. Detroit Lions (11-5) (Team needs: CB, PK, DL) - DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State (6-4, 336 lbs)
With the loss of Suh, the Lions may be looking to retool on the defensive line. Goldman played all along the trenches in college but his build and power will make him formidable wherever the Lions put him. Another player with a high ceiling.
24. Arizona Cardinals (11-5) (Team needs: DL, OLB, ILB) - OLB/DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (6-4, 269 lbs)
High effort player with position versatility. Racked up 247 tackles, four forced fumbles, five passes defensed and 23.5 sacks in college. Shows strong field awareness, quick recognition, and decent coverage ability when asked. Still has a few areas that he can work on in regards to technique, but can terrorize from the OLB or DE position.
25. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) (Team needs: Pass Rusher, OT, CB) - OT Ereck Flowers, Miami (6-6, 329 lbs)
Flowers is an absolute steal at this point. Don't be surprised to see him go earlier to a team that needs an offensive lineman who can play anywhere. Exceptionally strong prospect who could excel at either the RT or OG position. Struggles against quicker DEs so his natural position may be on the inside.
26. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) (Team needs: WR, Pass Rusher, RB, OL) - CB P.J. Williams, Florida State (6-0, 194 lbs)
Williams looked a bit stiff at the combine with a little hitch in his backpedal, however, his game tape doesn't show too much evidence of it. Very aggressive and physical cornerback who is probably more suited to zone than man coverage. Sure tackler and sifts through traffic very well.
27. Dallas Cowboys (12-4) (Team needs: CB, DL, TE, RB) - RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (6-1, 215 lbs)
The departure of Demarco Murray leaves the Cowboys with a need at RB. Dallas might try and nap a free agent, but in reality, none of them are as talented as Melvin Gordon. Elite agility and can turn on the afterburners at a moment's norice.
28. Denver Broncos (12-4) (Team needs: DL, LB, WR, TE) - TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota (6-4, 249 lbs)
Denver has three TEs entering free agency. Williams has soft hands and though not a burner, he knows how to separate from defenders. Flashes the ability to be an elite blocker but is still inconsistent at this point. Cerebral and will learn the playbook early, and it doesn't hurt that he could have Manning throwing to him.
29. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) (Team needs: OL, ILB, S) - RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (6-1, 222 lbs)
There are rumors that the Colts have been looking at RBs in free agency, but now that they've missed out on Murray, their best option is to draft the talented Georgia running back prospect at the end of the first round. Gurley comes with a bit of a medical red flag, otherwise he would be the first RB drafted this year.
30. Green Bay Packers (12-4) (Team needs: ILB, DL, TE) - OLB Shaq Thompson, Washington (6-0, 228 lbs)
Thompson is one of my favorite players in this draft. Though pegged as an OLB, I think he plays inside for the Packers. Versatile player who also excels on offense as a ball carrier. The field awareness and vison that makes him a good runner would work to his advantage in the middle of the defense and in sorting through the trash.
31. Seattle Seahawks (12-4) (Team needs: TE, OL, WR) - WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (6-1, 212 lbs)
Coates is my sleeper pick to sneak into the first round. The combination of his freakish speed and elite leaping ability make him very attractive to a team that needs to stretch the field. Coates is a willing blocker and has the strength to take on CBs who try and jam him at the line.
32. New England Patriots (12-4) (Team needs: WR, DL, RB) - OC Cameron Erving, Florida State (6-5, 313 lbs)
Erving can play anywhere along the front of the offensive line and I think the Pats move him to OG in their system. There is a chance that one of the QB-hungry teams will try and trade up to grab Brett Hundley. The Patriots are always willing to stack up draft picks.
For any questions/suggestions you may have regarding this mock, please feel free to contact our resident draftnik LLT directly via Twitter at @PBiggerstaff