NFL Mock Draft 1.0

March 31st, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Football, General, NFL.
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NFL Mock Draft

The first wave of insanity is in the books, as NFL Free Agency is well underway. With that said, we c!  The one time of year, where even the most ridiculous rumors, could seem plausible. As April draws closer, th th (2)e rumors will continue to fly like crazy. This years draft class isn’t necessarily the deepest, but it’s also far from the weakest. From offensive enigmas like Marcus Mariota, and Kevin White to defensive standouts such as Donte Fowler Jr, and Leonard Williams, this draft has its’ fair share of talent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers  possess the 1st overall pick, and have officially been on the clock since the closing seconds of week 17. The burning question among “experts” is who will be selected with the No.1 pick. For the first time in a handful of years, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut, locked in selection for 1st overall. That fact alone should provide some interesting drama leading up to 8:00 PM on April 30th. Now that we’ve summed up the situation here, let’s move on to the “meat and potatoes” if you will.  This is my post-NFL Free Agency mock draft. Without any further hesitation, let’s get down to business.

 

#1- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston (QB/Florida State)

There are a number of possible options here for Lovie Smith & Co, but I feel that the Bucs settle on selecting Winston, primarily due to their desperate need for a starting QB. Tampa Bay has gone through a carousel of QBs since Brad Johnson won the Lombardi Trophy back in 2002. QBs like Brian Griese, Josh Freeman, and Josh McCown have all led the Bucs to season after season of mediocrity. Winston has the athletic talent to instantly upgrade, but he also brings on his fair share of off-field baggage.  Tampa Bay’s willingness to accept that baggage, will play a major part in determining this selection.

#2- Cleveland Browns (via Tennessee Titans): Marcus Mariota (QB/Oregon)

The Browns pull of the first draft-day shocker, with this move.  In order to reach this spot, the Browns send the 12th and 19th overall picks in this years draft, a future second & third-round pick, troubled (yet talented) wide receiver Josh Gordon, and promising tailback Isaiah Crowell to the Titans. Cleveland made what many consider to be a mistake in last year’s draft, by selecting the flashy “Johnny Football”.  This time, the Browns front office ensures that they make the correct pick, and find themselves with a franchise quarterback.

#3- Jacksonville Jaguars- Dante Fowler (OLB/Florida)

Gus Bradley will look to address the Jags need for a pass rush early.  Coming from Seattle, Bradley knows that an elite pass rusher is an important part to any success that a defense has. This same notion leads him to select Fowler. The former Gator is known for his determination in finding his way to the quarterback, and Bradley will bet on that in hopes that Fowler becomes the defensive cornerstone in Jacksonville.

#4- Oakland Raiders- Kevin White (WR/West Virginia)

Oakland has found themselves a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, and a defensive cornerstone in Khalil Mack. In Kevin White, the Raiders will find themselves an elite WR with substantial size/speed, and excellent hands. The Black Hole has often been the subject of mockery when it comes to the draft, because of picks such as Jamarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bay.  However, Oakland makes the smart pick this time around, and reap the benefits.

#5- Washington Redskins- Brandon Scherff (OT/Iowa)

The Redskins have had a difficult time running their offense over the past few seasons. Difficulty running the ball, in addition to a lack of pass protection has plagued the ‘Skins for the longest time. With Trent Williams locked in as the franchise left tackle, Washington will look to shore up the right side of the offense with the big guy from Iowa.

#6- New York Jets- Melvin Gordon (RB/Wisconisn)

It never fails. Every year, there is a pick defined as a “stretch”.  Some work well, while some end in disaster. The Jets are this year’s choice for the “stretch” pick, as they make a major reach selecting Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin. New York is in dire need of a running back, and they have been ever since the loss of Curtis Martin. Chris Ivory is a solid back, but is not the game-changer that Gordon can be. The downhill runner broke out during his final two seasons in Madison, running for 4,196 yards and 41 scores over that time span. Gang Green will bank on the fact that Gordon carries over his momentum from college, and becomes a franchise running back.

#7- Chicago Bears- Amari Cooper (WR/Alabama)

Chicago would like to fill the void left by the Brandon Marshall trade, with a younger, cheaper Brandon Marshall. Well, look no further than Amari Cooper.  While Cooper may be slightly smaller than Marshall, he still provides the same spark that Marshall does. Cooper never takes a break on plays. He puts 110% into every play that he’s on the field for. Partnering Cooper with fellow SEC wideout Alshon Jeffery will give the Bears one of the most dangerous 1-2 punches in the NFL.

#8- Atlanta Falcons- Randy Gregory (OLB/Nebraska)

Gregory’s failed drug test will hurt his draft value, but his outstanding talent will keep him in as a top 10 pick. Atlanta needs a pass rush to suceed in the NFC South. With quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Drew Brees and the potential of Jameis Winston, the Falcons will quickly feel the pressure to go defense and keep those signal-callers in check.

#9- New York Giants- La’el Collins (OT/LSU)

Tom Coughlin has sat by and watched the Cowboys’ past couple of drafts. He’s seen how drafting offensive lineman has worked out for Dallas. With Eli Manning entering the twilight of his career, he’ll need some major protection to stay healthy. In addition, the Giants will have a three-headed backfield to create space for. This may not be a “sexy” pick, but it’s a smart pick.

#10- St Louis Rams- Vic Beasley (OLB/Clemson)

The Rams will make an already scary defense, even more terrifying. Beasley is known for getting to the quarterback, and leaving his mark on him. With quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Carson Palmer in the NFC West, the best way for St Louis to win is with a “defense-first” philosophy.

#11- Minnesota Vikings- Landon Collins (S/Alabama)

Minnesota will look to add to its’ young defense by adding another play-making safety.  Common sense may dictate that the Vikings should select an offensive lineman to protect Teddy Bridgewater, but I believe Mike Zimmer wouldn’t hesitate at the chance to sport a defensive backfield of Landon Collins and Harrison Smith.  That thought right there gives me chills.

#12- Tennessee Titans (via Cleveland)- Trae Waynes (CB/Michigan State)

In the first pick acquired from Cleveland, the Titans will address its’ most glaring need; cornerback. The former Spartan would immediately slide-in alongside Jason McCourty. Waynes would provide an immediate boost to the Titans’ secondary.  With his impressive showing at the NFL Combine, Waynes will go off of the board much earlier than expected.

#13- New Orleans Saints- Leonard Williams (DT/USC)

Williams will be the victim of the annual “free fall”.  Projected by many as a top-three pick, Williams will slide down the board through no fault of his own. As the previous picks show, the needs of some teams will often times outweigh the talent of players. Williams is an incredibly talented, athletic freak. The 6’5″, 305lb defensive stopgap impressed at USC, with his run stopping ability. He’ll provide an immediate upgrade over ex-Eagle Broderick Bunkley.

#14- Miami Dolphins- Marcus Peters (CB/Washington)

This kid is a straight-up baller. If not for his off-field issues, he’d be a locked in top-10…maybe even top 5 pick. However, his off-field issues will weigh heavily in some teams minds, leading to his slip down the draft board. Ultimately, the Dolphins come along and fill a need by selecting the best cornerback in the draft.

#15- San Francsico 49ers- Erik Kendricks (ILB/UCLA)

This pick is a no-brainer for the 49ers. Following the devastating departure of all-pro Patrick Willis, young phenom Chris Borland hung up his cleats at the prime age of 24 years old. Kendricks will fill a monstrous void left by these departures, as he is a three-down linebacker. The brother of current Eagle Mychael Kendricks is the type of player that can make plays from sideline-to-sideline.  He may not make the “flashy” play, but he makes his presence felt. Smart pickup for the Niners.

#16- Houston Texans- DaVante Parker (WR/Louisville)

With the recent departure of Andre Johnson, Houston now has a need at wide receiver.  It’s obvious that the Texans want to emphasize DeAndre Hopkins as the teams’ new #1 wideout, but all top receivers need a complementary piece. Parker would be just this to Hopkins.  Parker’s speed and athleticism will allow him to pull some of the attention away from Hopkins, giving both receivers the opportunity to have breakout seasons.

#17- San Diego Chargers- Todd Gurley (RB/Georgia)

The Chargers have dealt with life minus Ryan Matthews before.  But, they always knew that he’d wind up returning.  This time, life without Matthews is permanent. The former Charger tailback departed earlier this month for the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving a gaping hole in the backfield of San Diego.  The team made no effort to fill that need through free agency, leading people to assume that they’ll go running back in the draft. After striking out on Melvin Gordon, the Bolts strike it rich with Todd Gurley. The oft-injured running back will be coming off of his second knee reconstruction surgery, but has the talent to be a top tailback. With this pick, the Chargers make it clear that they are looking ahead to the future.

#18- Kansas City Chiefs- Cameron Erving (C/Florida State)

Is an explanation truly needed for this pick?  They lost Rodney Hudson via free agency  to a division rival, leaving a monumental gap in the middle of that offensive line. It’ll be tough to replace the production, and protection skills that Hudson brought to the table.  But, Erving is a sufficient replacement.

#19- Tennesee Titans (via Cleveland)- Shane Ray (DE/Missouri)

With their second-pick acquired from Cleveland, the Titans take the “best available player” approach, selecting Shane Ray.  Ray will add-on to an already formidable pass rush with Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Ray has the talent to be a top-10 pick, but a hamstring injury sidelined him at the combine, in turn causing his draft stock to slide.

#20- Philadelphia Eagles- Dorial Green-Beckham (WR/Oklahoma)

This offseason was one of major changes for Chip Kelly’s Eagles.  Departing on one flight, you have Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Cary Williams.  Incoming on another flight, you have DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Ryan Matthews and Sam Bradford. The missing ingredient in this all, you ask?  A replacement for Jeremy Maclin.  For the second consecutive offseason, Chip Kelly finds himself searching for another wide receiver to replace a 1000 yard ball catcher, that was just let go. With this in mind, I believe Green-Beckham is the best fit for Chip’s system.  Kelly’s made it clear that he looks for big, physical receivers.  The Birds got just in Jordan Matthews last year, and will look to compliment him with the likes of a Green-Beckham.  After all, let’s remember that Riley Cooper won’t be an Eagle forever.

#21- Cincinnati Bengals- Bud Dupree (OLB/Kentucky)

With the news of Terrance Newman’s departure, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bengals go secondary with this selection.  However, I feel that a pass rusher is their biggest need. The Bengals recorded 20.0 team sacks last season, yet not one single sack came from a linebacker. Not one. That has to change this season if Cincy wants to find themselves playing farther than usual into the winter. Dupree is a rather interesting option, though.  His on-field play is brilliant, but extremely inconsistent. He has a niche for getting to the QB, but has a difficult time with constant success in that regard. If he can find consistent success and realize his full potential by going pro, you’ll be hearing a lot more about Alvin “Bud” Dupree. 

#22- Pittsburgh Steelers- Danny Shelton (DT/Washington)

The Steelers front three needs a centerpiece.  Shelton has drawn comparisons to Vince Wilfork, the centerpiece of the Patriots defense over the past decade. While he has a long way to go in justifying those comparisons, Shelton certainly could live up to the hype. At 6’2″, 339lbs, Shelton has garnered a reputation as a dominant run-stopper, that can demonstrate a “bull-rush” when getting to the QB. His lone weakness is that he rarely incorporates any moves to his pass-rush, and is just a straight forward “bull-rusher”. 

#23- Detroit Lions- Eddie Goldman (DT/Florida State)

The Lions didn’t exactly have a “blueprint” offseason, if they were looking to improve their team.  Not only did they lose Nick Fairley and Reggie Bush.  But, they also lost one of the best defensive players in the game today in Ndamukong Suh. This is a necessary pick for Detroit, if they want to avoid missing the playoffs next season. Goldman is a dominant run stopper, but there are serious questions about his pass rushing ability.  If he can ever consistently find his way to the QB, he can be one of the elite DTs in the NFL

#24- Minnesota Vikings (via Arizona)-  Andrus Peat (OT/Stanford)

The Vikings acquire this pick, in a trade that sends superstar Adrian Peterson to the desert. With this selection, the Vikings will look to solidify their offensive line in an effort to upgrade their protection for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.  With Matt Kalil etched in on the left side, the Vikings make this pick to protect the Louisville products’ blind side. 

#25- Carolina Panthers- Erick Flowers (OT/Miami)

Carolina’s top priority this season should be protecting Cam Newton.  They witnessed first-hand last season, exactly what could happen if there’s a significant lack of protection for their franchise QB.  Over the past two seasons, Newton has been brought down a staggering 81 times.  81 times, man.  With Carolina’s defense taking a significant step back last season, it seems that the only way for the Panthers to find their way back to the playoffs, would be for Newton to lead the way.  For Newton to lead the way, he’ll need to remain upright.  This pick is a good start.

#26- Baltimore Ravens- Devin Smith (WR/Ohio State)

With the departure of Torrey Smith, the Baltimore Ravens are now left with not only no deep threat, but no true #1 receiver.  At Ohio State, Smith solidified himself as one of the premier deep threats in the Big Ten.  He helped lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship  back in January. His skill set is too talented for Ozzie Newsome to pass on.

#27- Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Collins (CB/LSU)

Morris Claiborne is extremely overrated, and Brandon Carr is highly overpaid. This pick is a selection of need for the Cowboys.  If they want to come close to even sniffing another Super Bowl, they’ll have to significantly upgrade their secondary.  In what will likely be a multi-draft project, Dallas takes a nice step forward by drafting Collins.

#28- Denver Broncos- D.J. Humphries (OT/Florida)

Denver’s offensive line is in flux.  With the departure of Orlando Franklin to the division rival Chargers, Peyton Manning’s protection is now in question. This 6’5″, 307lb behemoth is quick, has long arms, and is extremely talented.  The only factor preventing him from being drafted higher, is his lack of consistency. One minute he’s a dominant blocker, while the next minute he melts like mush.

#29- Indianapolis Colts- TJ Clemmings (OT/Pittsburgh)

Andrew Luck needs better pass protection, pretty straight forward.  Luck does a good job of avoiding sacks, but even the best quarterbacks won’t be able to overcome bad protection. Indianapolis reached the AFC Championship game last season, and fell short against the Patriots.  If they wish to advance past that point, upgrading the line is a necessity. Not only for Luck, but for the newly acquired Frank Gore.

#30- Green Bay Packers- Kevin Johnson (CB/Wake Forest)

With the recent departures of Tramon Williams and Davon House, one of the NFL’s most stabilized and talented secondaries took a hefty step back.  By keeping pretty much of the team’s homegrown talent, Ted Thompson has pretty much allowed Green Bay the luxury of re-loading their secondary through the draft. Johnson is viewed by many, as a top three corner in this draft class. The former Demon Deacon is quick off of the snap, consistent in his play, and very thorough in his tackling. The only knock on him, is his tendency to be over aggressive at times.

#31- New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)- Maxx Williams (TE/Minnesota)

The Saints made their second shocker of the offseason, by trading youngster Kenny Stills to Miami for Danell Ellerbe. That move leaves Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks to handle the workload of the pass attack. The selection of Maxx Williams will help take some of the pressure off of Colston and Cooks. Drawing comparisons to Cowboys TE Jason Witten, his big hands, and spring-loaded agility will make him an easy target for Drew Brees. Pairing him with Colston and Cooks could produce a tough to stop “three-headed monster” down in the Big Easy.

#32- New England Patriots- PJ Williams (CB/Florida State)

Perhaps the most obvious need in this draft belongs to the Patriots. Losing both Darelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason, the defending Super Bowl champs must now try to fill the void left behind. Williams has built a reputation in Tallahassee as being a reliable tackler. But, he’s also the type that will “lower the boom” when warranted. His quickness, and fluid hips provide him the explosiveness to keep up with the likes of DeSean Jackson and Brandin Cooks, although his occasional over-aggressivness can be considered his biggest weakness. Good, solid pick here by Bill Belichick and Co.

 

That wraps-up my mock draft.  I can ensure you all of one thing.  All of these players will be selected…..at some point in the draft.  Haha   Anyways, I’d love to hear your opinions on my thoughts.  So, as always feel free to reach out via social media.  You can find my Facebook and Twitter handles down below.  Thank you all for reading, and enjoy the draft!


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