1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Tampa Bay now has the number one pick, but I don’t think that will change who they pick. The Bucs have a lot they need to address, but number one on their list has to be a quarterback. It’s a toss up between Marucs Mariota and Jameis Winston for the best quarterback in the draft, the only difference between the two is off the field issues. If Winston can straighten out his off the field issues he will be a great QB for years to come. Tampa Bay needs to make a splash, as their starting to lose their fan base, and are ranked 28th in the NFL in attendance. Winston would give Tampa Bay fans something to watch and he could revitalize the organization.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Titans have done a poor job at drafting quality players in the first round, with maybe the exception of the last two drafts. Jake Locker was the most disappointing out of all of them, and is finishing out his final season in Tennessee. The Titans are going to draft a quarterback and there is no doubt in my mind they will go another route. LP Field was almost empty Sunday and it will continue to be that way until they can draft a quarterback that can win a game. Marcus Mariota could be that quarterback, he’s been great at Oregon and is on the verge of winning the Heisman.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Jacksonville has been awful this season and their offensive line has been worse. The Jaguars have given up 54 sacks this season, which is the most in the NFL, the Redskins have given up the second most at 46, which shows you how bad Jacksonville has been. Jacksonville drafted quarterback Blake Bortles first last year, but they still had one major problem who will protect him. Brandon Scherff is by far one of the best offensive lineman in the country.
4. New York Jets – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
The Jets offensive line, just like Jacksonville, has been awful this season. A New York quarterback has been sacked 41 times so far. The Jets need a quarterback, but I think they will give Geno Smith one more season under a new coach and give him some protection. Andrus Peat is the second best offensive lineman in the draft in my opinion.
5. Oakland Raiders – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
The Raiders need a lot of help, but I think their priority should be defense. Oakland is last in the NFL in sacks, and desperately need a pass rusher. Shane Ray is third in the FBS in sacks this season, while playing in the toughest conference in college football. Ray would make in instant impact for the Raiders and help a team that has struggled to get pressure on the quarterback. Ray still needs to add a few pounds, but I think he has the most upside in this year’s draft. I expect Oakland will take their time with this pick, especially with Houston having a tough time with Jadeveon Clowney. The Raiders aren’t looking to win next season, and I could see them trading this pick for more picks in the future.
6. Washington Redskins – Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
Washington needs offensive line help, secondary help, quarterback help, leadership help, and much more. With Peat and Scherff off the board, I think their most viable option would be to get the secondary help. Landon Collins is without a doubt the best defensive back in the draft. Collins would provide immediate support in one of the weakest secondaries in the league. The Redskins are tied for 29th in the league in interceptions and have allowed 28 touchdown passes, which is 30th in the league.
7. New York Giants – La’El Collins, OT, LSU
The Giants need offensive lineman more than anything, with injures to Geoff Schwartz and Will Beaty, and the uncertainty of both players future. Justin Pugh has also missed games this season for New York. La’El Collins has started 36 of the 37 games since his sophomore season. Collins played left guard his sophomore season and has played left tackle the past two seasons, so he’s a very versatile player. Collins is very durable and can play multiple positions, which is why I think he’s the best choice for the Giants.
8. Carolina Panthers – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Panthers have no offensive weapons, outside of Kelvin Benjamin and Cam Newton, and will certainly be looking for some skill players. Amari Cooper is the best wide receiver in college football, and I think Cooper will make the biggest impact out of all the players in this draft. Cooper is a shorter version of Julio Jones and A.J. Green, but I think Cooper ceiling is much higher than both of those players.
9. New Orleans Saints – Leonard Williams, DE, USC
The Saints defense has been awful this season, ranking 30th in scoring defense and 29th in rushing defense. Leonard Williams is the best run stopping defensive end available in this draft. Williams would make an instant impact for the Saints.
10. Chicago Bears – Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
The Bears have one of the worse linebacking corps in the league, and I can’t believe I’m saying that, after all this is the team that once had Brian Urlacher. Chicago will look for an upgrade, and the best linebacker in this year’s draft is Shaq Thompson. Thompson is a very versatile player, having played running back this season and being a safety out of high school. I still think Thompson needs to add 10 or 15 pounds, if he wants to play linebacker in the NFL.
11. Minnesota Vikings – P.J. Williams, DB, Florida State
The Vikings already have a great secondary, but they can add to it by selecting P.J. Williams, who can play either safety or corner. Minnesota already has two corners under contract through 2016, in Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn, which is why I think Williams would be a great pick. He can play safety for two years, and they can move him to corner if Rhodes or Munnerlyn don’t sign back.
12. St. Louis Rams – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Randy Gregory is too good to pass up at this point in the draft, and is a perfect fit for the Rams, with William Hayes contract ending after the 2015 season. Gregory already has the size to play in the NFL, and has the frame to add on another 15 to 20 pounds and maintain his speed.
13. Houston Texans – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Houston would love to get a wide receiver to complement Andre Johnson, but I think first they need to fix their issues in the secondary, which ranks at the bottom in the league. Trae Waynes is a big physical corner, that will make an instant impact wherever he ends up. The best attribute of Waynes might be his speed, which has been timed at 4.37 in the 40-yard dash.
14. Cleveland Browns – Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
The Browns rush defense has been abysmal this season, and cost them in a few games this season. Cleveland will look for a defensive end that can stop the run and get to the quarterback. Vic Beasley fits that criteria and would be a nice fit in Cleveland. I think Beasley needs to add a few pounds to play defensive end in the NFL.
15. Miami Dolphins – Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
Miami defense is allowing almost 124 yards a game, and they need help on that defensive line if they want to compete in the AFC East next year. Dante Fowler makes since for the Dolphins especially with Olivier Vernon contract ending after the 2015 season. Fowler had a great career at Florida and was a leader on that defense. He played in every game except for one in his three years at Florida.
16. Cleveland Browns – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
The Browns just got Josh Gordon back, but they still need another receiver and the Miles Austin experiment hasn’t worked out in the Browns favor. Kevin White is the best receiver available at this point in the draft, he’s a big physical receiver that knows how to find the end zone.
17. Kansas City Chiefs – Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
Kansas City has struggled to stop the run this season, and they are currently 31th in the league. Alvin Dupree surprised a lot of people including myself this season. Dupree dominated in the toughest conference in college football. He also has the size to play in the NFL from day one, standing at 6’4” and weighing 264 pounds.
18. San Francisco 49ers – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Michael Crabtree was the last receiver the 49ers took in the first round and we all know how that’s turned out, but DeVante Parker could be different. Parker has been dominant when he has played this season, with his best game coming against Florida State. He put up 214 yards on eight receptions against the Seminoles. Parker played in only five games this season, and almost matched his previous two seasons.
19. Baltimore Ravens – Ifo Ekpre-Olom, CB, Oregon
When you mention the Baltimore Ravens, you usually think defense, but lately they’ve struggled, giving up 292 yards passing a game. The Ravens need secondary help immediately and I almost positive they will draft a defensive player.
20. Dallas Cowboys – Markus Golden, DE, Missouri
The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing Thanksgiving loss to the Eagles and are probably starting to think they should improve their defense. Markus Golden is an explosive defensive end, that reminds me of DeMarcus Ware. Golden still has a lot to learn and that’s the biggest negative about drafting him, but I think his upside makes up for all of that.
21. Atlanta Falcons – Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
The Falcons defense has been awful this season, and their rushing defense has been at the bottom of the league most of this season. Shawn Oakman is a big physical defensive end, that can stop the run and get to the quarterback.
22. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
The Chargers have one of the worse rushing offenses in the league, and I believe they’re a good running back away from winning a Super Bowl. San Diego is lucky to have a lot of options this season, but Melvin Gordon is without a doubt the best running back available. Gordon has rushed for 2,336 yards this season, and he still has one game left this season. Gordon would instantly provide the Chargers with the balance on offense that they’ve been missing.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State
Like a lot of teams this season, the Steelers need help in the secondary and fortunately for them this class is loaded. Ronald Darby out of Florida State, is the best option for the Steelers at this point in the draft. Darby is a top corner and would make an instant impact for Pittsburgh. Darby 40-time is 4.37 and he was a track star in high school.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
The Colts secondary has been their Achilles heal this season, and they will look to find a corner that can play right away. Alex Carter is use to playing on a big time defense at Stanford, and could make an instant impact for Indianapolis.
25. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
The Bengals desperately need an upgrade on their defensive line and in particular defensive tackle. The best one available in this class is without a doubt Eddie Goldman, who would be a great replacement for Domata Peko, who has been awful this season. The 6’4″, 320 pound Goldman is having his best season yet at Florida State. He has been a dominant force that can clog up the middle like no other defensive tackle in college football.
26. Detroit Lions – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley will most likely test free agency after this season, which will leave the Lions without a defensive lineman. The Lions also need a running back, but unless they can get Suh or Fairley back, I think they should take the best available defensive tackle.
27. Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
The Eagles have been great this season, but their secondary has underachieved. Luckily for them, this is a great year to draft defense and there is a surplus of defensive backs. Wake Forest corner Kevin Johnson is one of the top corners in the county and would be a great pick for the Eagles. Johnson is also a tall corner, which is what Chip Kelly looks for in a corner.
28. Seattle Seahawks – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
With Marshawn Lynch future unknown, it makes since for Seattle to go ahead and draft a running back especially if Todd Gurley is available. Gurley will miss most of next season, after having season ending surgery, but he’s to talented to not take in the first round. Seattle may have to go a different route especially if they plan on cutting Lynch.
29. Green Bay Packers – Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
The Packers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL, but they could use another linebacker. Sam Barrington might not be the answer at middle linebacker ends after the 2016 season and Julius Peppers contract ends the same year. Green Bay would be smart to go ahead and let their next star linebacker gain experience and get him ready to start in 2017.
30. New England Patriots – Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
New England could use some more talent at the receiver position to take some of the pressure off of Rob Gronkowski. Luckily for the Patriots this class is loaded with talented recievers. Jaelen Strong is a big physical receiver that’s played his best games on the big stage.
31. Arizona Cardinals – T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
Arizona is averaging 75 yards per game, which is 31st in the league, the only team that has rushed the ball worse is the Oakland Raiders. T.J. Yeldon could be the next big time running back, and could provide Arizona with the balance they’ve been lacking this season. Yeldon rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two seasons, and he still has a chance to make it three straight seasons.
32. Denver Broncos – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)
The Broncos don’t have too many needs, but they’ve struggled to find consistency at right tackle position and could look to fill that need in this draft. Ereck Flowers is a top 15 talent, and with a little work could be a shut down lineman for years to come.
NFL Mock Draft 12/8/14
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State