NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Free Agency Edition

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  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State.The Bucs need to find their quarterback of the future, having released Josh McCown and with only Mike Glennon on the roster. Character concerns aside, Winston is the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft class. Winston impressed in team interviews according to scouts, and is looking like the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.
  2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. For awhile it seemed like the Titans were content to stick with 2nd-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger, but more and more it’s looking like the Titans might take a quarterback, or at the very least, Mariota won’t fall past the No. 2 pick as numerous teams are looking into trading up, including the Eagles, Chargers and Saints. After adding a few pieces on defense via free agency, the Titans select their quarterback in Mariota, who may face some growing pains, but absolutely lit up the stat sheet in college, throwing for over 4,000 yards and rushing for another 700 his junior year with the Ducks.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Williams, DT, USC. The Jaguars drafted on the offensive side of the ball the past two season and now Gus Bradley is looking to improve his defense. After signing Jared Odrick via free agency, the Jags continue to improve their front seven with the selection of Williams, arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft. Williams had 7.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss last season as he wreaked havoc all along opponent’s offensive lines.
  4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The Raiders need to give their quarterback Derek Carr weapons in order for him to succeed. In his Heisman-caliber season, Cooper had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns at Alabama. Cooper will give Carr an immediate threat in the passing game, something Oakland didn’t have last season.
  5. Washington Redskins: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida. Washington beefed up their front seven in free agency signing Stephen Paea, Terrence Knighton and Ricky Jean-Francois, but with the loss of Brian Orakpo to the Titans, the Redskins need to add a pass rusher. Fowler Jr. had 8.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Gators and would be a suitable replacement for Orakpo.
  6. New York Jets: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. With Mariota off the board, the Jets will have to look for a quarterback later in the draft. Instead they turn to their other needs, including a pass rusher. Gregory had 8.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Huskers, and would give an already formidable defense a force off the edge.
  7. Chicago Bears: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington. While a wide receiver could be in play here to replace Brandon Marshall, the Bears desperately need to improve their defense, which ranked among the worst in football, 30th against the pass and 17th against the run. Shelton had  9.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss his senior year at Washington and would fit nicely in the middle of the Bears defensive line.
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson. The Falcons defense was absolutely awful last season. Atlanta ranked 32nd against the pass and 21st against the run, and was tied for 30th in the NFL in sacks. Beasley recorded 31.0 tackles for a loss and 32.0 sacks in four years at Clemson and would give Dan Quinn a force off the edge; similar to players he coached with the Seahawks.
  9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa. After re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul and adding a few pieces on defense via free agency, New York will look to improve their offensive line with this pick. Scherff didn’t miss a game last season at Iowa, and while he does have some trouble with speed off the edge, he will shore up the Giants offensive line.
  10. St. Louis Rams: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. With Joe Barksdale headed to free agency and Jake Long cut, the Rams need help along their offensive line, which allowed the eighth most sacks in the NFL last season. Peat, compared to D’Brickshaw Ferguson by CBSSports’ Rob Rang, should fit right in and protect newly acquired quarterback Nick Foles.
  11. Minnesota Vikings: La’el Collins, OT, LSU. While Louisville wide receiver DaVante Parker would make a lot of sense here, the Vikings have other needs, including protecting their second year quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Last season, the Vikings were among the leagues worst in sacks allowed. To continue Bridgewater’s development, Minnesota needs to improve its offensive line. Scouts project Collins as a guard in the NFL and as one of the best run-blockers in the draft, he could fill in on the Vikings offense line right away.
  12. Cleveland Browns: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. While the signings of Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline do add to the Browns wide receivers, they still need tremendous improvement. White caught 109 passes for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year at West Virginia and would give the Browns and whomever they start at quarterback a No. 1 wideout on offense.
  13. New Orleans Saints: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. With two picks in the first round, one coming from the Seahawks in the Jimmy Graham trade, the Saints can afford to wait to take a playmaker to replace Graham and Kenny Stills. Here, they continue to revamp a defense, which ranked in the bottom 10 in both passing and rushing defense. Ray had 13.0 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss last season with the Tigers and would work right into New Orleans’ pass rush.
  14. Miami Dolphins: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. Having filled many of their needs via free agency with the acquisitions of Ndamukong Suh, Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron and the re-signing of Louis Delmas, the Dolphins can take the best player available or fill other smaller needs. While the Dolphins signed Brice McCain, another corner opposite Brett Grimes is needed as Cortland Finnegan was cut. Waynes’ fits perfectly as he was the Spartans’ top corner this past year and had 10 passes defended, three interceptions and 50 tackles.
  15. San Francisco 49ers: Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky. With the retirement of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and possibly Justin Smith, the 49ers have needs all across their front seven. Additionally, Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald have faced legal issues and the team can’t count on them, so they need to add depth along their defensive front. Dupree had 7.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss last season with the Wildcats and would be able to help fill the holes on the front seven.
  16. Houston Texans: DaVante Parker, WR, Louisville. Andre Johnson is gone, signed by the Colts in free agency, but the Texans were already looking for a replacement to play alongside DeAndre Hopkins. While the acquisition of Cecil Shorts III helps, they still need help. Parker had 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns with Louisville last season, giving free agent signee Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett two deep threats to work with.
  17. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. Had it not been for his ACL injury, Gurley would be the pick here, but instead, Gordon is the first running back off the board. Ryan Matthews is gone, having signed with the Eagles in free agency, and with only Brandon Oliver and Danny Woodhead on the depth chart, the Chargers need a running back. Gordon was a Heisman candidate last season after rushing for 2587 yards and 29 touchdowns with the Badgers last season and would give the Chargers a dynamic, No. 1 back.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. Having signed a receiver in free agency in Jeremy Maclin, the Chiefs can look to fill other needs with this pick. Kansas City was among the worst teams in sacks allowed last season, as Alex Smith was sacked 49 times. The Chiefs need to improve their offensive line and selecting Clemmings will give them a stout offensive tackle to protect Smith.
  19. Cleveland Browns: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas. After taking a wide receiver with their first pick, the Browns can focus on improving their league worst run defense. While the Browns did sign Randy Starks, they still need help along their defensive line. Brown had 13.0 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks last season as a junior with the Longhorns and will fill in along the middle of the Browns defensive line.
  20. Philadelphia Eagles: Landon Collins, SS, LSU. While Chip Kelly says he isn’t trying to trade up for Mariota, who knows what’ll happen between now and draft day. But the Eagles have other needs to fill, including continuing to improve their pass defense, which was the second worst in the NFL. The Eagles signed former Seahawks corners Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, but still need help at safety alongside Malcom Jenkins. Collins had 102 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, and three interceptions last season with Alabama and would shore up Philly’s secondary.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State. After signing DE Michael Johnson in free agency, the Bengals will continue to revamp their defensive line after finishing last in the NFL in sacks and ranking 20th against the pass. As Domata Peko was a major liability last season, the Bengals select his replacement in Goldman. Goldman had 4.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for a loss this past year at Florida State.
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. Not only is the Steelers secondary aging, but they also finished No. 27 in the NFL against the pass last season. Pittsburgh needs to find a replacement for Cortez Allen and finds one with the selection of Peters. While Peters was dismissed from the team this past season, he’s still a first-round talent, as he had five interceptions, 55 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss his junior season with the Huskies.
  23. Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.). Having traded for Haloti Ngata to remedy the losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, the Lions can look to fill other needs with this pick. Detroit allowed 45 sacks last season, No. 11 in the NFL, and needs to shore up their offensive line at the right tackle position. Flowers started for three years with the Hurricanes and would solidify the Lions offensive lines for years to come.
  24. Arizona Cardinals: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington. The Cardinals had trouble generating a consistent pass rush last season, finishing 24th in the NFL in sacks. And while they signed LaMarr Woodley in free agency, they’ll look to continue to improve the position in the draft. Thompson had 80 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack this past year, while also playing running back for a few games.
  25. Carolina Panthers: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon. The Panthers No. 1 priority this offseason is improving their offensive line, especially at the tackles, as last season Pro Football Focus rated Carolina’s offensive line as one of the worst in the NFL. After signing Michael Oher, the Panthers add another tackle in Fisher who’s been moving up draft boards as of late. Fisher started 13 games at left tackle last season and was named first team All-Pac 12.
  26. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest. While the Ravens have needs at both cornerback and wide receiver with the departure of Torrey Smith, the Ravens’ secondary was in shambles last year and their pass defense ranked No. 23 in the NFL. Johnson had one interception and six passes broken up his senior year with the Demon Deacons and would add much-needed depth to the Ravens secondary.
  27. Dallas Cowboys: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. Darren McFadden isn’t going to make up for the loss of the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray to the Eagles in free agency. The Cowboys need to find his replacement. Gurley was the best running back in college football before he tore his ACL rushing for 911 yards and 9 touchdowns in 6 games.
  28. Denver Broncos: Cameron Irving, OT, Florida State. The Broncos need to protect Peyton Manning, in what may be his last season, if they want to have any chance of making another Super Bowl run. Irving played both tackle and center in college for Florida State and could play just about anywhere along the Broncos offensive line.
  29. Indianapolis Colts: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA. Having signed a running back, Frank Gore, in free agency, the Colts will fill other needs through the draft, including a hole at inside linebacker. While the Colts signed ILB Nate Irving, it’s still a position of need as their linebackers were a huge weakness last season. Kendricks had 145 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 4.0 sacks and 3 interceptions last season with the Bruins and would help to fill a gaping hole in the Colts defense.
  30. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma. The Packers weakness last season was their run defense as they had the No. 23 run defense in the NFL. Both of the Packers’ defensive tackles, Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji, are free agents, so the Packers need to find a replacement. Phillips had 2.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Sooners and will help shore up the Packers run defense.
  31. New Orleans Saints (Via Seattle): Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota. Acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the Jimmy Graham trade, it only makes sense that the Saints use this pick on Graham’s replacement after improving their defense with their first selection. At 6’4” and 250 lbs., Williams has the size to be a dominant tight end in the NFL. Last season with the Golden Gophers, Williams caught 36 receptions for 569 yards and 8 touchdowns.
  32. New England Patriots A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina. Plain and simple, the Patriots need to protect Tom Brady. Pro Football Focus ranked the Patriots offensive line 23rd in the NFL last season and 31st against the pass, so the Patriots could use some improvement. Drafting Cann here will help shore up New England’s protection of their quarterback.
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