Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Post Free Agency NFL Mock Draft





Here is my Post Free Agency 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 ReportWalter Football, FF Toolbox, hailRedskins.com, The Football ExpertFantasy Football Help Desk, The Huddle Report, Niners Nation, EDS Football, NFL Mock Draft Central and NFL Pro Zach in their Mock Draft Databases.

1st Round

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. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Williams, DE, USC:

Will the Titans trade out of the No. 2 spot?

The Titans could be at a position of strength at the No. 2 spot with teams looking to trade up for Marcus Mariota. As for now, Mariota's suitors are still speculative, and Tennessee could use a versatile defensive end like Leonard Williams to anchor their 3-4 defense.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr.: 

Which top DE will the Jaguars select in the 1st Round?

The Jaguars should have their pick of speed rushers in the draft. The question is whether they will go for a true 4-3 defensive end like Dante Fowler, Jr. of Florida, or one of the smaller but speedier pass rushers who may be better suited to play outside linebacker. While the Jaguars could use both a defensive end and an outside linebacker for their "LEO" position, Fowler is the best fit for their scheme.

4. Oakland Raiders - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: 

Who will emerge as the top wide receiver in the draft? 

Derek Carr and the Raiders desperately need a go-to receiver. Kevin White demonstrated elite size, speed and ball skills at West Virginia, and may have confirmed his status as the top wide receiver in the draft with a strong performance at the Scouting Combine. 

5. Washington Pigskins - Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska:

Which pass rusher will fall to the Pigskins?

While it may seem like Brian Orakpo was never really ever in Washington to begin with, the team still has a need to fill at pass rusher. Randy Gregory of may be the cream of the crop when it comes to 3-4 outside linebackers.

6. New York Jets – 
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: 

Will the Jets draft a quarterback in the 1st Round?

It doesn't matter how much money the Jets spend on their defense, if they can't find a franchise quarterback they'll continue to be one of the NFL's worse teams. Unfortunately, the team could be on the outside of this year's QB lottery looking in at the 6th overall pick if Marcus Mariota generates enough buzz to make him a trade target. If Mariota is available with the No. 6 pick, the Jets should run to the podium. 

7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: 

How will the Bears stock their new 3-4 defense?

The Bears could look to a wide receiver on offense to replace Brandon Marshall, but the more pressing need is on defense as they transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Danny Shelton would be an intriguing pick at nose tackle to anchor their defense, and despite his size at 340 pounds, Shelton is extremely agile with surprising stamina.

8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: 

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, and in turn, take some off of their own secondary. Vic Beasley is a bit undersized to play defensive end in a 3-4 system, but is athletic enough to play outside linebacker and then move to the edge on passing downs, much like how new coach Dan Quinn used Bruce Irvin in Seattle

9. New York Giants – D.J. Humphries, LT, Florida:

Will the Giants take an offensive lineman, or will they address their defense?

The Giants are in the market for help at left tackle, which would have a positive domino effect on the rest of their offensive line. In a weak class, D.J. Humphrhies of Florida may not only be the best, but possibly the only true left tackle prospect in this year's draft.

10. St. Louis Rams – 
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: 

Can the Rams afford to pass on an offensive lineman?

The Rams have big needs at guard, center and tackle on 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 forever home.

11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State:

Should the Vikings draft another WR?

With the Vikings allegedly resolving their issues at wide receiver with the Mike Wallace trade, the team can look to address other needs in the draft. After leading Michigan State's vaunted "No Fly Zone" secondary and proving himself as the draft's clear cut top cover corner at the Scouting Combine, if Trae Waynes falls outside of the top ten, he'd both fill a need and represent solid value for the Vikings.

12. Cleveland Browns – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:

How will the Browns replace Josh Gordon?

Depending on how the draft shakes out, it's very possible that an elite wide receiver like Amari Cooper or Kevin White could fall to Cleveland at the No. 12 spot. I don't care how many Brian Hartlines and Dwayne Bowes the Brown's might sign, they still have a huge need for a game changer at receiver. Amari Cooper would certainly satisfy that need. 

13. New Orleans Saints - Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri:

How should the Saints improve their defense?

Shane Ray of Missouri 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, Ray would be an ideal fit in New Orleans, as Rob Ryan and the Saints continue to transition towards more of a hybrid defense.

14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Where do the Dolphins go after overpaying for Ndamukong Suh?

Now that Miami has over paid for Ndamukong Suh, they need to see if Ryan Tannehill is capable of leading a winning team or if they need find a quarterback capable of taking them to the next level. In order to make that evaluation, the Dolphins need to give him a dependable receiver, and Devante Parker of Louisville is at least in the discussion as being the best in this year's draft class.
 
15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon: 

How will the 49'ers replenish their defense?

The free agent signing of Darnell Dockett should replace the loss of defensive end Ray McDonald, but the retirement of Justin Smith still leaves a huge hole on the other side of the 49'ers once dominant defensive line. An athletic end like Arik Armstead of Oregon who can play the 5-technique would help San Francisco start to re-load.

16. Houston Texans Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: 

Do the Texans need another receiver?

The Texans will need to find a replacement for Andre Johnson to play opposite DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver. Jaelen Strong of Arizona State has the size, strength and speed that will remind many Texans fans of Johnson before he lost a step and turned into a de facto tight end. Free agent signee Cecil Shorts will be a nice addition as a compliment, but not as Johnson's replacement. 

17. San Diego Chargers – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford:

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. Andrus Peat of Stanford projects as a solid, if not elite tackle at the NFL level. At the very worst case scenario he has the bulk to play on the right side, or possibly even move inside to guard. With the draft deep in running backs, the Chargers should still be able to find an elite talent in the second round.

18. Kansas City Chiefs – Landon Collins, S, Alabama: 

Do the Chiefs need to look for a replacement for Eric Berry?

With Eric Berry's career in question, the Chiefs need to add another presence in the back end of their defense. While Landon Collins may lack Berry's ball skills, he's a big time hitter who can help out against the run. Better yet, he'd be an ideal compliment to Berry in the event that everyone is hoping for, his health improving to the point that would allow him to return. 

19. Cleveland Browns – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas:

What is the Browns' biggest need on defense?

With a strong running game in place, a run stuffing defensive lineman like Malcom Brown of Texas could help the Browns solidify their defense and play ball control football as they try to sort out the mess that their front office created at quarterback and receiver.

20. Philadelphia Eagles – 
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri:

What position does Philadelphia need to address first after the great roster purge of 2015?

Chip Kelly has created more holes in the Eagles roster than they can possibly address in the draft or what left remains on the free agent market. Perhaps the most glaring need is at wide receiver, where only Riley Cooper and his
 
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State:

How can the Bengals bring their defense to the next level?

The Bengals would like to improve at defensive tackle, and a run stuffer like Eddie Goldman of Florida State would give the Bengals some great rotational depth along with Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. Athletic upgrades at outside linebacker and safety could also be considered, but would represent better values in the second round.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky:  

What should the Steelers address first, their secondary, or their front seven?

Pittsburgh could use an outside linebacker now that Jason Worilds has retired. Alvin "Bud" Dupree of Kentucky fits the Steelers' mold of a 'tweener that they can make fit their system as a 3-4 pass rusher.

23. Detroit Lions - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin:

Will the Lions address their issues at DT?

Despite a huge need at defensive tackle even after trading for Haloti Ngata to replace Ndamukong Suh, Lions' GM Martin Mayhew will still take a best player available approach to the draft. Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin would not only give the Lions some sizzle to replace Reggie Bush, but he's strong enough between the tackles to be an every down back, allowing the fumble prone Joique Bell to become more of a role player.

24. Arizona Cardinals Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia:

How should the Cardinals proceed after big losses in free agency?

Despite huge free agent losses at cornerback, defensive end, and defensive tackle, the Cardinals can probably improve their team the quickest by addressing another area, running back. By bringing in a big back like Todd Gurley of Georgia and allowing Andre Ellington to be more of a big play threat, Arizona would take some pressure off of Carson Palmer, who needs to be more of a game manager than a playmaker at quarterback.

25. Carolina Panthers T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt:

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 tackle like T.J. Clemmings of Pittsburgh with the 25th pick, they'd be more than happy. Another threat at wide receiver should also be a consideration, but that need could be also be addressed via free agency or in the second round.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State:

Will need and Ozzie Newsome's best player available strategy meet?

Ozzie Newsome may need to consider his BPA philosophy after free agency and salary cap cuts ripped their receiving corps and defensive line. Fortunately, this year's draft is extremely deep at wide receiver, giving the Ravens a value pick at a position of need with deep threat Devin Smith of Ohio State.

27. Dallas Cowboys - Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA:

Should the Cowboys draft a DT or a DE in the first round?

Dallas has needs across the board on defense, perhaps none more glaring than at pass rusher. Owamagbe Odighizuwa of UCLA is an elite 4-3 defensive end who could be a late riser into the first round after injuries forced him to sit out the 2013 season and kept him from getting much preseason hype.

28. Denver Broncos - La'el Collins, T, LSU:

How will the Broncos get Peyton Manning a final 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 La'El Collins of LSU would give Manning and the Broncos some additional security when it comes to pass protection and in the running game at right tackle, allowing Pro Bowl guard Louis Vazquez to move back inside.

29. Indianapolis Colts - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami::

Should Indianapolis address their offensive line or their defense in the first round?

The Colts have been the early winners in free agency, having addressed many of their most important needs even before the draft. That should allow them to work on upgrading their starters, and Erek Flowers of Pittsburgh would be an immediate upgrade over Gosder Cherilus at right tackle.

30. Green Bay Packers Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma:

How do the Packers improve their defense the quickest?

Green Bay will need to look hard and often at inside linebackers in the draft, but value wise, the first round isn't the time or the place. The Packers should be able to find better value with a run stuffer like Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma with the 30th pick, and then address their need at inside linebacker a bit later in the draft.

31. New Orleans Saints, Marcus Peters, CB, Washington:

Can the Saints afford to use a high draft pick on a receiver?

The Saints trade of Jimmy Graham was all about freeing up salary cap space and improving their defense. An elite, albeit troubled corner like Marcus Peters of Washington would infuse some much needed talent on the outside of the Saints' secondary. 

32. New England Patriots - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

Where do the Patriots have the biggest need, cornerback, defensive tackle, or guard?

Despite a hole at guard all last season after the Logan Mankins trade, the Patriots still managed to win the Super Bowl. Accordingly, the Patriots would be better served trying to replace Vince Wilfork or their devastating losses at cornerback in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Jalen Collins of LSU as a big and talented corner who could at least replace Browner.

3 comments:

  1. No tweeners for the Steelers#1, if there is not a pure rush lb for us to select, then we should go db or ol.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know if there such a thing as a pure pass rush LB anymore. Dupree is one of the few pass rushers in this year's draft that was actually asked to drop into coverage in college, but is a little large for your prototype 3-4 OLB. Shane Ray, Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory, etc. all have the ideal size to play OLB in a 3-4 scheme, but were almost used exclusively as hands down DE's in college who never dropped into coverage. If you run a 3-4 scheme and you want a rush OLB, you're almost going to have to convert a 'tweener. Have faith, Pittsburgh wrote the book on it!

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