Here is my Post Super Bowl 2015 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by regular updates up until the NFL Draft on April 30th.
My mock draft has been linked by The Football Fan Spot, Sports Jabber, DC Pro Sports Report, Walter Football, FF Toolbox, hailRedskins.com, The Football Expert, Fantasy Football Help Desk, The Huddle Report, Niners Nation, EDS Football, NFL Mock Draft Central and NFL Pro Zach in their Mock Draft Databases.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State:
Should the Buccaneers play it safe with Marcus Mariota, or go with the more talented Jameis Winston?
Tampa Bay has their choice between the consensus top two quarterbacks in the draft. Coming from a pro-style offense and possessing the stronger arm, Jameis Winston has the edge between the sidelines. With higher character and better decision making on and off the field, Marcus Mariota has the edge between the ear holes. When in doubt, NFL GM's selecting at the top of the draft typically go with the stronger arm.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade with Tennessee) – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon:
Will the Titans trade out of the No. 2 spot?
There's no question that Chip Kelly would like to have a mobile quarterback like Marcus Mariota to run his full offensive system. Now that he has a greater say in the Eagles' personnel decisions, he has the power and the luxury to make a move and get his guy.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska:
Which top DE will the Jaguars select in the 1st Round?
With multiple teams vying for position to select one of the top two quarterbacks, things line up perfectly for the Jaguars to either trade out of the No. 3 spot for more picks, or select the best non-QB in this year's draft. Randy Gregory of Nebraska is the draft's best outside pass rusher, which gives him greater value to Jacksonville than Leonard Williams of USC, who while being the more complete player, is less of a playmaker.
4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:
Does anyone in the Raiders' front office even know when the draft is?
The Raiders began the slow process of trying to build a nucleus for the future through last year's draft, but still lack a competent GM to follow through with that plan. Not only was Amari Cooper college football's best receiver last season, but Derek Carr and the Raiders desperately need an elite go-to receiver. If Cooper even comes close to delivering on his promise to run a sub 4.4 forty yard dash at the Scouting Combine, he'll easily propel himself into the top five. The only question is whether Reggie McKenzie is smart enough to select him.
5. Washington Pigskins - Leonard Williams, DE, USC:
Which top pass rusher will fall to the Pigskins?
An ideal fit at the 5-technique in a 3-4 defense, Leonard Williams of USC would give the Pigskins a dual threat as a run stuffer as well as a pass rusher in the mold of J.J. Watt. And while this pick might seem like a no-brainer, Pigskin fans probably won't rest until the team officially passes on Bryce Petty.
6. New York Jets – Shane Ray, OLB/DE, Missouri:
Will the Jets draft a quarterback in the 1st Round?
While the Jets need to find a quarterback before the franchise goes anywhere in the future, the team could be on the outside of the QB lottery looking in at the 6th overall pick. That means the team will either have to decide whether to trade up in the first round, or do their due diligence on potential second round signal callers. Given the Jets' history in selecting QB's, a pass rusher Shane Ray of Missouri might be the safest option.
7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington:
How will the Bears stock their new 3-4 defense?
As the Bears transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they'll be looking to add a prototypical 3-4 nose tackle as an anchor. Weighing in at over 340 pounds, Danny Shelton of Washington looks absolutely awful to the eye, but is surprisingly agile as a pass rusher on tape in addition to being able to clog the run. The only question that remains is whether Shelton has the stamina to be a three down player and justify a team like the Bears using a top ten pick on him.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida:
Will the Falcons address their pass rush, or their secondary?
If there's a team with a bigger need at pass rusher than the Falcons heading into this season, it was the Falcons heading into last season. Atlanta is still in desperate need for a playmaker who can put some much needed heat on opposing quarterbacks while taking some off of their own secondary. New coach Dan Quinn is said to be a high on Dante Fowler, Jr. from their time together at Florida, and for good reason, considering Fowler’s ability to close on opposing passers.
9. New York Giants – Landon Collins, S, Alabama:
Will the Giants take an offensive lineman, or will they address their defense?
The Giants are in the market for help at offensive tackle, but with a weak draft class at that position, they may be better off addressing that need through free agency or in the 2nd round. Of their other options, Landon Collins of Alabama is more worthy of a top ten pick, and would give the G-men a serious presence at safety.
10. St. Louis Rams – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa:
Are the Rams looking for a quarterback?
With Sam Bradford's future in question, the Rams have big needs at both quarterback and on the interior of their offensive line. With the 10th pick, Brandon Scherff of Iowa could be a plug and play starter at either tackle or guard, which would give the team some versatility as last year's top pick Greg Robinson tries to find a home.
11. Minnesota Vikings – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:
Should the Vikings draft another WR?
While the Vikings have invested big money in free agent signee Greg Jennings and 1st round draft pick in Cordarrelle Patterson, neither has produced like a true No. 1 wide receiver. If Rick Spielman and the Vikings think that Teddy Bridgewater is their long term option at quarterback, the team almost has no choice but to give him the weapons he need while he is in his developmental stage.
12. Cleveland Browns – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State:
Should Cleveland address their offense or defense with their first pick?
Leave it to the Browns to find a potential steal in wide receiver Josh Gordon, who not only let the team down, but possibly took their franchise quarterback of the future down along with him. While Cleveland obviously has huge holes to fill at both quarterback and receiver, the team may be better served concentrating on shutting down the run on defense to compliment their run game on offense. Run stuffing defensive lineman Eddie Goldman of Florida State would be a step in the right direction.
13. New Orleans Saints - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson:
How should the Saints improve their defense?
Vic Beasley of Clemson is a bit undersized as pass rusher for a conventional 4-3 defensive, and is probably better suited to be a three down player in a 3-4 scheme if he can make the transition to dropping into coverage. Assuming he can do so, Beasley would be an ideal fit in New Orleans as Rob Ryan and the Saints continue to transition towards more of a hybrid/3-4 defense.
14. Miami Dolphins – Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington:
Where can the Dolphins best improve their defense?
Linebacker may not be a need if Dion Jordan is still in the Dolphins' plans, but at this point Miami seems to have given up on him, and rightfully so. Shaq Thompson may not have a true position entering the draft, having played defensive end, linebacker, safety and running back at the University of Washington, but he's a football player who projects as a much needed playmaker who can play in coverage in a division where the Dolphins will be facing Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots twice a year.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia:
Which WR will the 49'ers target?
Wide receiver and cornerback are the team's two biggest needs. Kevin White of West Virginia may be a bit raw when it comes to running routes, but he has the elite size, speed and ball skills to make him a much needed go-to receiver in the 49'ers offense.
16. Houston Texans - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State:
Which position on defense will the Texans need to address after free agency?
The Texans are facing potential losses through free agency at nearly every position on defense. Trae Waynes, who has press man skills coming out of and leading Michigan State's heralded "No Fly Zone" defense, would be a perfect addition to Houston’s secondary.
17. San Diego Chargers – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami:
How long should the Chargers wait to draft a running back?
The Chargers could use an upgrade on both their offensive and defensive lines, as well as at running back. When your quarterback is Phillip Rivers and he finished last season injured, offensive line gets first dibs. Ereck Flowers of Miami projects as a solid, if not elite tackle at the NFL level.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma:
Can the Chiefs finally find a true No. 1 WR?
If you're reading this, the Chiefs probably haven't had a reliable go-to wide receiver in your lifetime. While Dorial Green-Beckham may have some character concerns, Andy Reid and the Chiefs are one of the few teams that could provide him with a good environment as the talented young receiver tries to adapt to the league.
19. Cleveland Browns – Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan:
How will the Browns replace Josh Gordon?
If the Browns had any intention on relying on Josh Gordon for the upcoming season, those plans were wiped out when he was suspended for the 2015 season due to yet another NFL drug policy violation. Worse yet, up and coming young tight end Jordan Cameron seems intent on getting the hell out of town as quickly as possible. Devin Funchess of Michigan is probably more of a wide receiver than he is a tight end, but would give the Browns a much needed go-to receiver no matter what position they decide to use him at, and at tight end, he'd be a match-up nightmare.
20. Tennessee Titans (projected trade with Philadelphia) – Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky:
What position is the most important addition to Tennessee's 3-4 defense?
With Ken Whisenhunt bringing in Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau to put the finishing touches on the Titans 3-4 defense, it only makes sense to give him the tools he needs to make it work. Bud Dupree of Kentucky is the type of hybrid DE/OLB that LeBeau made so many stars out of during his long tenure with the Steelers.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon:
Should the Bengals target their offensive or defensive line in the first round?
The Bengals could use help with their pass rush, and a three down defensive end like Arik Armstead of Oregon who can hold the edge against the run in addition to getting to the passer would be an ideal fit. The only question about Armstead is whether he can actually get to the passer.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington:
Should the Steelers address their secondary, or their front seven first?
Despite some character concerns, Marcus Peters might be the most talented pure cornerback in the draft. And while the Steelers have a reputation for only drafting “character” players, that all seems to be B.S. in light of the team sticking with Ben Roethlisberger and Art Rooney’s statements in support of Roger Goodell during the Ray Rice scandal.
23. Detroit Lions - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas:
How will the Lions address their issues at DT?
Even if the Lions are able to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, they'll be hard pressed to sign fellow free agent defensive tackles Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley. Run stuffer Malcom Brown of Texas would be an ideal complement if he were to play next to Suh, and a decent starting point in the event that Suh leaves.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU:
Will CB be a need for the Cardinals?
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie seems destined to leave the Cardinals for more money in free agency. If that happens, Arizona could look to fill the hole his departure would create in their secondary with Jalen Collins, a LSU corner whom they could pair with fellow Tigers, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
25. Carolina Panthers - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford:
What is the Panthers' biggest need, WR, DE, or OT?
The Panthers did their best to tread water at left tackle last season after Jordan Gross retired. If Carolina can get their hands on a top LT like Andrus Peat at the 25th pick, they'd be more than happy. Another threat at wide receiver should also be a consideration, but that need could be addressed elsewhere, possibly through free agency.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota:
Will a TE be the best available player on Ozzie Newsome's board?
If it seems like the Ravens have been searching for a go to tight end since Shannon Sharpe left, it's because they have. Worse yet, Joe Flacco desperately needs that type of security blanket to help him evolve beyond being just an average quarterback. A big and athletic tight end like Maxx Williams of Minnesota would solve that problem, the only problem is GM Ozzie Newsome takes a "best player available" approach to the draft, Williams could be considered a reach by some at the No. 26 spot.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma:
Should the Cowboys draft a DT, an OLB, or a DE in the first round?
Dallas has needs across the board on defense, perhaps none more glaring than an interior run stopper. Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma is talented but raw, which could mean Rod Marinelli putting his reputation as a talent developer and “leader of men” on the line in the event the Cowboys select him.
Then again, if rumors of the rumored to be released Dez Bryant video are true, the Cowboy may have to go with a wide receiver and let Dez walk.
28. Denver Broncos - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt:
How will the Broncos get Peyton Manning a Super Bowl trophy?
If Peyton Manning is going to come back for one last run at a Super Bowl, the Broncos might as well go all in and make sure that he’s taken care of. Tackle T.J. Clemmings of Pittsburgh would give Manning and the Broncos some additional security when it comes to pass protection, as well as a much needed boost in their run game.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin:
Are the Colts ready to move on from Trent Richardson?
While they won’t publicly admit it, at least the Colts are no longer denying that their trade for Trent Richardson was a bust, and admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin was not only one of the best work-horse backs in college, but he would also give Andrew Luck and the Colts an explosive threat out of the backfield that would only further open up their offense.
30. Green Bay Packers - Benardrick McKinney, WR, Mississippi State:
How do the Packers improve their defense the quickest?
Things got so bad for the Packers on defense last year that the team had to move Clay Matthews from OLB to ILB on running downs. While Matthews did a fantastic job, he’s better suited, and probably happier, playing on the outside. Benardrick McKinney of Mississippi State is not only a beast inside, but many project him as an elite pass rusher as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, which means he could also give Green Bay some much needed juice on passing downs.
31. Seattle Seahawks - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State:
Is the Seahawks biggest need at WR or CB?
Despite making the Super Bowl, you could make the argument that Seattle’s starting wide receivers might not have even made the roster for many NFL teams. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Jaelen Strong of Arizona State would give Russell Wilson and the Seahawks a big target that they haven’t seen since Sidney Rice, not that Seattle fans ever saw much from him.
32. New England Patriots - Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn:
Would the Patriots actually use a first round pick on a WR?
The Patriots’ most pressing need, aside from a good PR man for Bill Belichick, is at wide receiver. While the Patriots have not looked to the first round of the draft for a WR since the Chad Jackson debacle, Sammie Coates has a deep ball skill set that reminds some of Randy Moss, which is exactly what Tom Brady and New England could use.