Welcome to another edition of our 2015 NFL mock draft. We also have many feature stories on quite a few of the prospects, so click on on the name where highlighted for more details and information on that specific player.
And our 2016 NFL mock draft.
1. Tampa, Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Looked pro ready last year, but was best served by coming back to lead the quack attack for another year. Can Mariota pull a Cam Newton? By becoming the Heisman Trophy winner and then become the #1 overall NFL draft pick? Mariota certainly has all the measurables, numbers, tools and statistics to accomplish both.
2. Tennessee, Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Jameis Winston is probably the most scrutinized college football player in the history of the sport. (Tim Tebow was probably more blanketed in terms of coverage, but because he’s a perfect little angel, he didn’t face the scrutiny)
There’s a reason Winston was talked about so much and it goes beyond the fact that he’s been a boon to ESPN’s Nielsen numbers. Winston has probably more character red flags than any top tier, blue chip prospect in NFL Draft in recent memory.
Of course, a lot of that is due to the media age we live in.
There have been plenty of similarly elite athletes who made numerous mistakes off the field like Winston has, but they played and lived in an era where privacy still existed. Jameis Winston does not.
“You have to do some work on him from an intangibles, from an off the field standpoint,” said ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr on conference call this week.
“If Winston checks out between now and April, and you can reconcile all that, and it’s all behind him and he’s matured and it’s not gong to happen again, then he’s goes #1, and Mariota would go second, sixth, somewhere in the top ten, maybe Chip Kelly and Philadelphia try to trade up to get him,” he continued.
Go here for more on Winston
3. Jacksonville, Leonard Williams, DE/DT, USC
The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has a big-time skill set. Amazing penetration ability and quickness off the snap. Along with Randy Gregory from Nebraska, one of the the best defensive prospects in this draft. Not quite this draft’s Jadeveon Clowney, but close. It wouldn’t be a 2015 NFL mock draft if we didn’t load it up with defensive tackle prospects. Williams has officially declared.
Go here for the USC cheerleader photo gallery
4. Oakland, Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Bo Pelini on Gregory: He has great instincts. He has great get-off, a guy who can really rush the passer. I think he’s only scratched the surface of what he’s going to be down the line.
As he continues to grow, he has really good length and athleticism. Very good instincts for the game, good feel for not only in the passing game but in the running game and how kind of the game should be played.
I think the sky’s the limit for him for him down the road. I think he’s still young.
Go here for more on Gregory
5. Washington, Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
Washington has so many issues, I don’t where to start. They’ll probably go best player available. Ray is being talked about as a top five overall prospect.
6. New York Jets, Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Maybe the most perfect fit of team needs. The Jets don’t have anybody in the top 40 in the NFL in receiving right now. Cooper is your prototypical sized receiver an in the top 5 on everybody’s big board.
“He’s an outstanding player for a big guy, has good body twitch, change of direction, really good hands, and competes hard on every snap whether he’s blocking or running routes. And sometimes guys like him don’t always do that, so that’s a credit to him and his work ethic,” said Will Muschamp, former coach of the Florida Gators.
7. Chicago, Landon Collins, S, Alabama
If there’s one thing the Bears lack, it’s leadership. Look at their highest-paid-player-in-the-NFL-QB who shows zero emotion, and zero leadership skills. He just does not care. Collins could be the leader on the other side of the ball. Leader of the Crimson Tide defense that ranks 2nd nationally in scoring defense (14.5) and 6th nationally and 1st in the SEC in total defense (290.5) Possesses the rare combination of instincts and athleticism as the signal caller in the Crimson Tide’s secondary that ranks 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense.
The Bears have a ton of problems: their Coach is in over his head, their quarterback literally does not care and their defense is a hot mess. The NFL Draft can only do so much. Safety is probably the biggest position of need, so let’s start there. Safeties didn’t use to go this high in the draft, but it’s such a passing league now that defensive back is a top priority.
Here’s much more on Collins, and why this pick makes sense
8. Atlanta, Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida
Falcons really need a pass rusher, I think that’s what they’ll focus on first this April. Kiper agrees:
“Pass rusher, is at the top of the list and they’re one of those teams that need that. It’s going to fall pretty well for them, Fowler, from Florida is one of those guys who I think will still be there. It would present good value for them”
9. New York Giants Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
“He’s not just a weight room freak,” Iowa Hawkeyes tailback Weisman said of senior UI OT Brandon Scherff.
“He’s a football freak.”
Brandon Scherff is called a freak because he can do this, which is insane. Yes, he power cleaned 443 pounds three times. FOOTBALL! STRENGTH!!!! RAR RAR RAR!!!!!!!!!
Go here for more on Brandon Scherff including our exclusive podcast with him
10. St. Louis, Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
Another guy that could have come out last year and been a first rounder. He could fit in well to what the Rams are trying to build. No one sets the edge faster or better than Beasley. Vic is no doubt the best edge rusher in this draft class.
11. Minnesota, Cedric Ogbuehi, OT Texas A&M
And with this pick, Chris Berman will make another one of his Legos “this is like adding the blocks to your fort” analogy. Ogbuchi is a game-changer of a pro prospect, despite the bad season he’s had. 2014 has not gone all that well for him, but I don’t think it will hurt his stock so much in the end. He’ll represent at the combine. He truly is someone you can build a franchise around. Ogbuchi is yet another high level draft pick to come out of Texas A&M (or “Texas A and Them” as @PretendLouHoltz calls them) in the past couple years.
The Vikings top three needs are OT, DL and LB.
12. Cleveland, Danny Shelton, DL, Washington
The Browns have plenty of team needs; most of which are DL, ILB and WR.
13. New Orleans, Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
The Saints defense had made some strides in the past couple years, but they still have miles to go. They should go defensive BPA: best player available.
14. Miami, Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Another member of the “no fly zone,” (the original no fly zone, the Arizona Cardinals took the name from the MSU Spartans) will join Darquezze Denard by becoming a first draft pick.
15. San Francisco, Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Niners biggest need is wide receiver, and White should be the best one on the board when they’re on the clock.
16. Houston, La’El Collins, OT/G, LSU
Maybe Bill O’Brien will force his GM to trade up to get the QB he wants? That would make the Texans 2015 NFL mock draft a lot more exciting than this mock selection. B.O.B. is truly the “quarterback whisperer” in the NFL, not Marc Trestman. Maybe O’Brien will wait until next year and take his former QB at Penn State Christian Hackenberg instead?
La’El Collins can play many positions, but he needs to work on his technique. For the NFL, he’s better suited at guard or right tackle. He provided a ton of leadership for Les Miles’ program in Baton Rouge during his career, and he will no doubt ace the intangibles test during the NFL Draft evaluation process.
“For me, it’s time to take that next step, gotta go on my own road now and I’m looking forward to it,” said Collins following his final game, a loss to LSU in the Music City Bowl.
Now the question remains, will his fellow LSU OL Vadal Alexander come out early join him in the same draft class?
It wouldn’t be a 2015 NFL mock draft if we didn’t load it up with offensive tackle prospects.
17. San Diego, Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Chargers top three needs are CB, OL and NT.
18. Kansas City, DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Chiefs have a big need at the receiver position and Parker is one of the best in this class. As you’ve heard, Chiefs wide receivers just don’t catch touchdown passes.
19. Cleveland from Buffalo, Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Hoyer might have had more staying power if he had a better OL to work with. Or maybe this will be Johnny Manziel’s team now? It will be a very, very interesting offseason in Cleveland. Whoever is QB1, he needs better blocking for certain. Supposedly the Browns want a better option than Mitchell Schwartz. The idea is to then move him inside, so you’d be improving the line in two positions by making just one acquistion.
It’s just a question of when the Browns go OT – at #12 or at #19?
20. Philadelphia, Markus Golden, DE/OLB, Missouri
Because this 2015 NFL mock draft doesn’t have enough linemen in it. You can never have enough linemen in a NFL mock draft.
21. Cincinnati, Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford
It seems like almost every single year I mock a DB to the Bengals. Every year they appear to have pass defense issues. Therefore, the 2015 NFL mock draft won’t be nay different than past years. Safety is a need, and I’m going with a mid-major school pick here. There’s at least one in the first round every year.
22. Pittsburgh, Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State
It’s amazing that FSU wins so ugly and lets opponents pass on them as much as they do, when you consider all the future NFL players in their secondary.
23. Detroit, Mario Edwards, DE/DT, Florida State
Detroit could use some more depth on their defensive line, especially if Ndamukong Suh walks in free agency. A guy who can possibly play two positions would be an ideal fit; especially at a position this late in the 2015 NFL mock draft.
24. Arizona, Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Arizona needs depth at the linebacker position. One of the most fun components of making a 2015 NFL mock draft is trying to figure out what happens when you get way down here in “best player available” mode
25. Carolina, Devin Funchess, TE/WR, Michigan
“I told him you’re just one of the hardest receivers I’ve ever had to cover. He’s just got those long strides, and he can stop on a dime, one of the best players I ever went against,” said Michigan Linebacker Jake Ryan, who goes against him everyday in practice.
“When you got somebody who’s 6-6, 6-5 and run the 40 in 4.3, and he’s 235, what more can you ask for from a player? You can’t ask for more than that,” said Michigan DL Frank Clark. Funchess says the 4.3 40-yard-dash he ran was in the spring.
Go here for more on Funchess
26. Baltimore, Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Ravens will likely continue their youth movement on defense; and go defensive best player available.
27. Dallas, Arik Armstead, DE/DT, Oregon
Armstead played on the Oregon basketball team the year they won the Pac 12 Tournament, and went to the NCAA Regionals, so you know that he has great height, length and jumping ability,
“At 6-8, 290, he’s the most physically imposing defender that they have,” said Davis.
“He’s a defensive end in the 3-4, it’s not necessarily a big run production type of position, what we does for them is exactly what they ask, he’s a wonderful player and has a really bright future ahead of him.”
DL is one of the Brownies major needs this offseason. It wouldn’t be a 2015 NFL mock draft if we didn’t load it up with defensive tackle prospects.
Go here for more on Armstead
Go here for the Oregon cheerleaders videos
Go here for the Oregon cheerleader Rose Bowl videos
28. Denver, Cameron Erving, OT/G/C, Florida State
Broncos have some offensive line issues to resolve; getting a guy who’s versatile and can play multiple positions would be in their best interests. Big changes are coming to Denver this offseason. John Fox and his entire staff being removed from power is just the first step.
29. Indianapolis, Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
Andrew Luck has spent way too much time on his back and running for his life this season. I’ve got to think the Indy goes pass protection first in the draft, based on one of their many team needs. It wouldn’t be a 2015 NFL mock draft if we didn’t load it up with offensive tackle prospects.
30. Green Bay, Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma
The 2015 NFL mock draft will be like every other year when it comes to mocking the Packers selection: very unpredictable and mysterious. Ted Thompson is truly a “value GM.” However, defense needs to be priority, most likely on the DL.
(Note: the order of the next two picks will be determined on Super Bowl Sunday)
31. New England, Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
If they don’t re-sign Stevan Ridley, then running back becomes a concern. Gurley’s s got a lot to prove now at the combine since he decided to come out. Overlook the b.s. the NCAA imposed on him and Georgia, it’s not relevant. His health is. Gurley is one of the great enigmas of a 2015 NFL mock draft.
Go here for more on Gurley
32. Seattle Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks are parting ways; that’s the conventional wisdom. The Hawks will need to find his replacement and the draft could be the place to do it. Seattle could likely end up drafting a lot higher up than previously thought. This draft class is a great one for running backs, and Todd Gurley might not be in play now. With the torn ACL, Gurley could be best served returning to Georgia for his senior season.
This makes a lot of sense as Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider has gone to the Wisconsin well a few times. He drafted his franchise quarterback Russell Wilson out of Madison, and his offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell played his college football for the Badgers as well. (h/t @RobbVogel, Sports Director at NBC 15 Madison) Then given the way the Seahawks season is going, and where they’ll likely be end up selecting in April’s draft, it makes for the perfect mock draft projection.
Overall, this is the mock draft selection that I am most confident in. Today, on the Heisman Trophy conference call with the media, I asked Gordon about NFL teams he likes, watches, admires, looks up to you. He mentioned the Seahawks; and he mentioned them first.
“I like the way Seattle plays, I love Russell, I like the way New York plays, there a lot of teams that run the ball well and I like their systems,” Gordon said.
Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital, eBay, Google News and CBS Interactive. You can read Banks’ feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye newspaper and listen to him on KOZN 1620 The Zone. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks