NFL Mock Draft 4.0

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  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. It’s not rocket science that the Buccaneers need a quarterback. Mike Glennon played decent in six games last season, but with a 10-6 touchdown to interception ratio, he hasn’t shown the potential to be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. Tampa Bay finds their man in Winston, the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft class.
  2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. It doesn’t seem like the Titans are going to stick with second-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger. With a Total QBR of just 30.1 in seven games last season Mettenberger doesn’t have the look of a franchise quarterback. Mariota on the other hand, lit it up for the Ducks, passing for 4454 yards and 42 touchdowns and rushing for another 770 yards and 15 touchdowns. While he’s not coming from the most pro-style offense, Mariota has all the physical tools to succeed as a quarterback in the NFL.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida. Having spent money in free agency on an offensive tackle, Jeremy Parnell, and defensive tackle, Jared Odrick, the Jaguars will look to add to their pass rush through the draft. Fowler Jr. had 8.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Gators and would give Gus Bradley and the Jacksonville defense a pass rushing threat off the edge.
  4. Oakland Raiders: Leonard Williams, DT, USC. While the Raiders are in desperate need of a receiver, sources, including Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, have reported that the Raiders are targeting Williams in the draft. Williams, along with last year’s first rounder, Khalil Mack, would give the Raiders a formidable one-two punch on defense. Williams had 7.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss last season as he wreaked havoc all along opponent’s offensive lines.
  5. Washington Redskins: Brandon Scherff, OT/OG, Iowa. While the Redskins need to replace Brian Orakpo, who signed with the Titans in free agency, Washington also needs to shore up their offensive line. The Redskins gave up the second-most sacks in the NFL last season, and protecting RGIII, or whomever is behind center, should be priority No. 1. Scherff is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in the draft and was consensus All-American last season, earning the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.
  6. New York Jets: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson. With Marcus Mariota off the board, the Jets turn elsewhere to fill a need. While the Jets were among the better defensive teams last season, they still don’t have a consistent force off the edge. Beasley had 12.0 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss last season with the Tigers and would wreak havoc off the edge against opposing offensive lines.
  7. Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. After trading away Brandon Marshall to the Jets, the Bears need to find his replacement, and it’s not Eddie Royal. At 6’3” 215 lbs, White compares to Marshall in terms of his size and would give quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears another threat in the passing game. White caught 109 passes for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year at West Virginia and with the Bears signing Pernell McPhee and Ray McDonald via free agency, they can turn their attention to wide receiver with this pick.
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. The Falcons desperately need a pass rusher after ranking 32nd against the pass and 21st against the run. While Ray has fallen a bit on draft boards due to injury concerns, he gets a bump from Randy Gregory, whose failed drug test at the combine will scare teams away. Ray had 13.0 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss last season with the Tigers and will improve a dismal pass rush in Atlanta.
  9. New York Giants: La’el Collins, OT/OG, LSU. The Giants need to upgrade their offensive line, especially the interior where John Jerry and J.D. Walton struggled in protection. Collins is a versatile lineman and one of the best-run blockers in the draft that could play both tackle and guard and would help to 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, at 6’7” and 313 lbs, should fit right in and protect newly acquired quarterback Nick Foles, giving the Rams two stout tackles in Peat and last year’s first round pick, Greg Robinson.
  11. Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. While the Vikings top need is improving their offensive line, selecting Ereck Flowers or T.J. Clemmings here would be a reach. Instead the Vikings select Waynes to fill a hole in their secondary. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was terrific, but the Vikings need to add someone alongside of him. Waynes had 10 passes defended, three interceptions and 50 tackles as the Spartans top corner last season.
  12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington. While the Browns have needs at wide receiver and defensive tackle, I think Ray Farmer prefers to wait on a wideout and instead beef up the Browns front seven. Cleveland had the worst run-defense in the NFL last season and while the addition of Randy Starks will help, more is needed. Shelton had 9.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss his senior year at Washington and would be a force in the middle of the Browns defensive line.
  13. New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska The Saints ranked near the bottom of the NFL against both the pass and the run on defense. Sean Payton and company have already begun to revamp Rob Ryan’s defense and continue to do so here adding an edge rusher in Gregory. While he did fail a drug test at the combine, Gregory’s too talented of a prospect to fall too far. He had 8.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Huskers, and would give the Saints an edge rusher to complement Junior Galette.
  14. Miami Dolphins: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The Dolphins jettisoned Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline and traded for Kenny Stills, changing up their wide receiving core, but Stills really isn’t a No. 1 wideout. Cooper, a Heisman-finalist, slips to the Dolphins at No. 14. Cooper had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns at Alabama as he absolutely torched the SEC. Cooper and Stills would give the Dolphins a dynamic, young receiving duo for Ryan Tannehill to target.
  15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DE/DT, Oregon. With Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and possibly Justin Smith all retiring, the 49ers are left with holes all across their front seven. Armstead fits the 3-4 DE role and could replace Smith should he retire and would otherwise still help the 49ers along their front seven. Armstead had 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss his junior year with the Ducks.
  16. Houston Texans: DaVante Parker, WR, Louisville. With Andre Johnson gone, having signed with the Colts in free agency, the Texans are looking for his replacement to play alongside DeAndre Hopkins. While the acquisition of Cecil Shorts III helps, he’s more of a slot receiver. Parker had 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns with Louisville last season, giving the future Texans quarterback two deep threats to work with.
  17. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. Ryan Matthews 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 rushed for 2587 yards and 29 touchdowns with the Badgers last season, on his way to winning the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best running back and a Heisman finalist.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. The Chiefs were 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. Clemmings has the athleticism and ability, according to scouts, to succeed at the next level.
  19. Cleveland Browns: Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky. I’m still not convinced Ray Farmer and the Browns will select a wide receiver in the first round, even though it’s definitely high, or at least should be, on their list. With OLB Jabaal Sheard leaving via free agency, the Browns are in need of another pass rusher, as former first round pick Barkevious Mingo hasn’t performed up to his expectations yet. Dupree had 7.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss his senior year with the Wildcats and would give the Browns another athletic force off the edge.
  20. Philadelphia Eagles: Landon Collins, SS, Alabama. The Eagles need to continue to improve their pass defense, which was the second worst in the NFL. After signing former Seahawks’ corners Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, the Eagles 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 woes.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas. A year removed from having one of the better pass rushes in the NFL, the Bengals pass rush dropped to among the worst in the NFL last season, finishing last in the league in sacks. The Bengals signed DE Michael Johnson via free agency and will look to continue to improve their defensive line through the draft, especially at the tackle position, where Domata Peko played poorly. Brown had 13.0 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks last season as a junior with the Longhorns.
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. The Steelers need help in their aging secondary. No team that made the playoffs had a secondary worse than the Steelers, whose pass defense ranked No. 27 in the NFL. Peters had five interceptions, 55 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss his junior season with the Huskies, and even with character concerns, is still a talent worthy of a first round selection.
  23. Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.). After allowing 45 sacks last season, 11th most in the NFL, Detroit needs to shore up their offensive line. Flowers started for three years with the Hurricanes and would solidify the Lions offensive line for years to come.
  24. Arizona Cardinals: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. Andre Ellington was bothered by injuries all year, so Arizona has been looking for another running back in free agency. After unsuccessful attempts to trade for Adrian Peterson and sign DeMarco Murray, the Cardinals turn to the draft, and possibly the best running back in the draft class, had it not been for an ACL injury. This past year for the Bulldogs, Gurley rushed for 911 yards and 9 touchdowns in 6 games before tearing his ACL.
  25. Carolina Panthers: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon. The Carolina Panthers need an offensive tackle. The Panthers need to improve their protection of quarterback Cam Newton, and have already done so through the signing of OT Michael Oher. But the Panthers need another tackle and add one here in Fisher. 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. The Ravens’ secondary was in shambles last year, especially when Jimmy Smith went down, and their pass defense suffered, ranking 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: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut. Cornerbacks, especially Jones have been shooting up draft boards lately, and with the Cowboys in need of a corner to play alongside Orlando Scandrick, they select Jones here. Jones had an excellent performance at the NFL combine and had 2 interceptions and 4 passes defended his senior year with the Huskies. He’d give the Cowboys an upgrade over Brandon Carr, Sterling Moore and Morris Claiborne.
  28. Denver Broncos: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida. Any chance at another Super Bowl run for the Broncos will be tied to Peyton Manning’s performance and health. The Broncos need to upgrade their offensive line at right tackle, a weakness last season, to give Manning another shot. Humphries is another prospect moving up draft boards who has the potential to be a solid tackle at the next level.
  29. Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Irving, C, Florida State. The Colts offensive line improved last season, from No. 25 in the NFL to No. 17 according to Pro Football Focus, but it still needs improvement, especially at center. Irving played both tackle and center in college for Florida State and could play just about anywhere along the Colts offensive line, giving them a versatile lineman for years to come.
  30. Green Bay Packers: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA. Last season, the Packers were forced to play Clay Matthews at inside linebacker. With A.J. Hawk cut, the position is still of desperate need so the Packers select Kendricks. Kendricks had 145 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 4.0 sacks and 3 interceptions last season with the Bruins and would help fill a gaping hole in the Packers defense.
  31. New Orleans Saints (Via Seattle): Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State. The Saints continue to revamp one of the league’s worst defenses, No. 29 against the run and No. 25 against the pass, with this selection. The Saints draft Brodrick Bunkley’s replacement in Goldman who had 4.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Seminoles. Minnesota TE Maxx Williams could also be an option here as a replacement for Jimmy Graham.
  32. New England Patriots: A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina. The Patriots No. 1 goal this offseason is 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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