Here’s my 2015 NFL Mock Draft Breakdown, if you want to just see the draft in a list click here.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Mariota would be the safe pick for the Bucs, but I think they will take Winston. I think Winston is the only NFL ready quarterback in this draft based on the fact that he knows how to run the pro-style offense, but he will have to stay out of trouble if he wants to succeed at the next level.
2. Tennessee Titans, Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Titans desperately need a quarterback and Mariota is too good for them to pass up. Mariota has always played in the spread offense and one of his main weaknesses is pocket passing, so the Titans would have to change their offense to revolve around him or let Ken Whisenhunt work his magic and produce another great quarterback. I do think it will take some time for Mariota to start producing in the NFL, but he will be a great one once he learns how to play in the NFL.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars, Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Blake Bortles was sacked 55 times this season, and if the Jaguars want their 2014 first round pick to play for more than five years they will draft a offensive lineman. Scherff is a great run blocker, but struggles with pass block at times, which is something he will improve on with experience. Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft and would vastly improve the abysmal Jags line.
4. Oakland Raiders, Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Oakland has one of the worse receiving corps in the NFL and if Derek Carr is going to be successful he will need some weapons around him. Amari Cooper is the best receiver in college football and it isn’t even close. Cooper only weakness is that he will drop the occasional pass, but luckily that’s something he can improve on.
5. Washington Redskins, Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
The Redskins pass defense struggled this season, and with Stephen Bowen becoming a free agent after the 2015 season and Jason Hatcher getting up there in age, Washington will need to find a young versatile defensive end. The best pass rusher in this draft is Randy Gregory, who could come in and make an instant impact for Washington.
6. New York Jets, Leonard Williams, DE, USC
The Jets messed up by winning on Sunday and dropped down to the sixth pick, but fortunately for them this draft class is loaded. I have Leonard Williams dropping down to the sixth pick, which would be a steal for New York. Williams can play either defensive end or tackle and is a great pass rusher. I would have Williams going in the top three if the top four picks didn’t need offensive help now.
7. Chicago Bears, Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
Chicago’s defense has been one of the worse defenses in the NFL the last two seasons, finishing 30th in the league this season and veteran safety Ryan Mundy is a free agent after next season, so the Bears need to find his replacement soon. Landon Collins is the perfect fit for the Bears, he’s got the speed and athleticism to keep up with the fastest receivers in the NFL. Collins has issues with pass coverage, but that’s something that can be fixed with experience and coaching.
8. Atlanta Falcons, Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
The Falcons had the worst defense in the NFL this season and that’s been their Achilles heal the past two seasons. Atlanta would be stupid to take anything other than a defensive player, but we’re talking about the Falcons, so who knows what they will do. If their smart they take Shane Ray here, he’s a great pass rusher and has the speed to be great in the NFL, but he lacks the size and ability to stop running teams. Ray will need to bulk up if he wants to be successful at the next level.
9. New York Giants, Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
The Giants have a lot of options here, but I think they’ll take a offensive lineman at this spot. Left tackle William Beatty is under contract for three more seasons, but they could put Andrus Peat at right tackle until Beatty’s contract expires and move current right tackle Justin Pugh to guard. That would make their offensive line a lot better than it was this season and give Eli Manning some added protection.
10. St. Louis Rams, Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The Rams have serious issues on their offensive line, and Jake Long’s health is a concern and I doubt the Rams will sign him back after the 2017 season. This would be a great time for St. Louis to go ahead and find his replacement and there’s no better candidate than Ronnie Stanley, who had a breakout season this year for Notre Dame.
11. Minnesota Vikings, Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Minnesota’s offensive line struggled to protect the quarterback this season, allowing 51 sacks, so they should be on the lookout for an upgrade. Cedric Ogbuehi was once considered a top five pick, but he had a tough time with the transition to left tackle. Ogbuehi would be the perfect fit at right tackle, where he played most of his college career. Phillip Loadholt struggled with injuries and his contract ends following the 2017 season, which would be about the time I think it would take for Ogubehi to transition to the NFL level.
12. Cleveland Browns, DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Josh Gordon appears to be out in Cleveland and the Browns will need to find a replacement. DeVante Parker is the second best receiver in the draft, he’s got great hands, size, and is a great route runner. Parker doesn’t have breakaway speed and could add on a few pounds, but I think he’ll have an instant impact at the next level.
13. New Orleans Saints, Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
I don’t expect the Saints to sign cornerback Patrick Robinson back, and they desperately need an upgrade at the position. In my opinion Trae Waynes is the most complete corner in this draft, he still needs to add some weight to his 6’1″ frame, but that will come over time. Waynes is a great coverage corner and run stopper.
14. Miami Dolphins, Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Shaq Thompson is the most versatile player in the draft. He can play linebacker, safety, and he’s even played some running back this season. Thompson projects best at linebacker in the NFL, and the Dolphins could use another young linebacker with Dannell Ellerbe struggling with injuries.
15. San Francisco 49ers, Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
The 49ers will be looking for a defensive end, with Justin Smith getting up there in age and his contract expiring after the 2015 season. Vic Beasley is a great pass rusher, but will need to add some weight or be moved to linebacker when he arrives in the NFL.
16. Houston Texans, Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Houston might want to go ahead and look to the future with this pick. Both Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins are set to become free agents after the 2017 season, and I doubt that the Texans will be able to sign both players back. Kevin White is a tall physical receiver with speed, but he does lack the agility to get yards after the catch. I could see the Texans picking a corner if they let Kareem Jackson test free agency.
17. Kansas City Chiefs, La’El Collins, OT, LSU
Eric Fisher has two more years to prove himself, if he wants to remain the starting left tackle for the Chiefs and right tackle Jeff Allen will be a free agent following next season. So it would seem fitting for Kansas City to take an offensive lineman at this spot, and La’El Collins is the perfect fit. Collins can play both guard and tackle positions and has the ability to play right away.
18. San Diego Chargers, Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
San Diego has taken a defensive player in three of the last five drafts, and I expect that trend to continue. Eddie Goldman is the best true nose guard available in the draft. Just imagine a defense with Goldman clogging up the middle and Corey Liuget playing defensive end.
19. Cleveland Browns, Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
The Browns are going to need a linebacker soon, with Craig Robertson becoming a free agent. Benardrick McKinney could be the answer for Cleveland, he’s extremely fast for a guy his size and he’s also great at tackling in the open field.
20. Philadelphia Eagles, Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
We all know that Chip Kelly loves tall physical corners and that’s exactly what Alex Carter is. Carter is a pass interference threat, but good coaching will fix that issue. The Eagles desperately need some secondary help, as it was one of the worse in the NFL this season and played a huge role in them missing the playoffs.
21. Carolina Panthers, Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
With Greg Hardy becoming a free agent after this season, the Panthers will be on the hunt for a replacement, so why not grab one of the many talented defensive ends in this year’s draft. Dante Fowler is one of the best ends in the draft and the Panthers would be lucky if he dropped this low. You can expect to get consistent play from Fowler very quick off the edge and has a chance to get to the quarterback on every play.
22. Baltimore Ravens, Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
Chris Canty is set to become a free agent after next season, so the Ravens will need to add someone to take his place and Alvin Dupree may be that man. Dupree is a great pass rusher with an uncanny work ethic, I think he would fit right in with the Ravens D.
23. Cincinnati Bengals, Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
The Bengals love to draft corners in the draft, and have done so with their first pick in 2012 and 2014. Corner Terrance Newman is in the last year of his contract and the other starting corner Leon Hall will be a free agent after next season. Dre Kirkpatrick is starting to improve, but he will be a free agent after next season also. I see the Bengals giving it another try and drafting their third corner in four years. Peters is a tall and physical corner, but he may be a liability as he was dismissed from Washington in November.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, P.J. Williams, DB, Florida State
The Steelers could use some added secondary depth with William Gay becoming a free agent following next season and Troy Polamalu becoming one in 2017. P.J. Williams can play both safety and corner at the next level. Williams has the size and speed to make an instant impact at the next level.
25. Detroit Lions, Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas
Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are both set to become free agents after this season and I doubt the Lions will retain either one of them. Malcolm Brown would be the perfect replacement for Detroit, he’s a good pass rusher with speed and power.
26. Indianapolis Colts, T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
The Colts will need to replace Anthony Castonzo after next season, as he becomes a free agent. T.J. Clemmings would be the perfect pick for the Colts, he can play both guard and tackle. Joe Reitz is a free agent after this season, Clemmings could step in and play is spot, and take over Castonzo’s spot the following season.
27. Arizona Cardinals, Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Arizona needs a running back more than any other team in the NFL. The Cardinals finished 31st in the league in rushing offense, averaging almost 82 yards a game. There is a lot of talent in this draft at running back, but none more talented than Melvin Gordon. Gordon is an explosive runner with rare speed, who might remind some people of Jamaal Charles. Gordon will have to work on ball security and his pass blocking, but that will come with experience and coaching.
28. Dallas Cowboys, Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State
Morris Claiborne will become a free agent after next season and Orlando Scandrick will most likely test free agency the following season. Dallas will have a lot of options at this point in the draft, but I think they’ll continue the trend of drafting defensive players. Darby has speed and the athleticism to cover the fastest receivers.
29. Green Bay Packers, Eli Harold, LB, Virginia
Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk both become a free agents after next season, the Packers will be on the lookout for a good young linebacker. Eli Harold has played defensive end most of his college career, but I think that will come to an end unless he adds some weight. Harold has the speed and size to be a disruptive linebacker at the next level.
30. New England Patriots, Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
You can never have too many receivers for Tom Brady, and I think Jaelen Strong would instantly become a Brady favorite. Strong is a tall and physical receiver with speed that might garner comparisons to Marques Colton.
31. Denver Broncos, Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan
Julius Thomas is a free agent after this season, and the Broncos will be in the market for a tight end if they don’t sign him back. Devin Funchess can play both wide receiver and tight end, but I think he’ll project as a tight end at the next level. Funchess still needs to add some weight to be a true tight end. This would be great pick for Denver, even if Thomas was to sign back, they would still have a very talented receiver.
32. Seattle Seahawks, Arik Armstead, DE/DT, Oregon
The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL, so why not add on to it? Arik Armstead can play both end and tackle, and his size and athleticism alone is enough to make him a first round pick. This would definitely be a project for Seattle, but would be well worth the risk based on potential.