NFL Mock Draft 6.0: The Final Mock

NFL Communications
NFL Communications
Tomorrow, Commissioner Roger Goodell will walk up the podium at the Roosevelt Theatre in Chicago and open up the 2015 NFL Draft. The Tampa Buccaneers will be on the clock, commencing the draft, and 72 hours and 256 picks later, the draft will finish. Here are my final predictions for the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. The Buccaneers need a quarterback. Mike Glennon hasn’t shown the potential to be franchise quarterback and Josh McCown was cut. Winston is the most pro-ready, and arguably the best quarterback in this draft class. Character concerns aside, he’d solidify the Buccaneers at the quarterback position for years to come.
  2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. Mariota isn’t falling past this pick, either the Titans will take him, or one of the Chargers, Eagles, Rams, Bears or Browns will trade up for him. With a Total QBR of just 30.1 in seven games last season Titans QB Zach Mettenberger doesn’t have the look of a franchise quarterback. While he’d take some time to adjust to the NFL, there’s no doubt that Mariota has the physical tools to succeed at the quarterback position on the Titans or another team.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida. The Jaguars had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season allowing over 300 yards of offense per game. After adding DT Jared Odrick via free agency, the Jaguars will look to improve their pass rush through the draft. Fowler Jr. had 8.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for a loss last season and would give Gus Bradley a threat off the edge, similar to what he had as defensive coordinator in Seattle.
  4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The Raiders desperately need a wide receiver and Michael Crabtree isn’t going to solve their issues at the position. Oakland needs to draft weapons for second-year quarterback Derek Carr to throw to. Cooper had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns at Alabama as he absolutely torched SEC defenses on his way to a Heisman candidacy.
  5. Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson. Losing Brian Orakpo to the Titans in free agency opens up a hole in the Redskins pass rush next season. Washington needs to find a replacement and Beasley, who has drawn comparisons to Von Miller, had 12.0 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss with the Tigers last year. Beasley could fill the void off the edge left by Orakpo.
  6. New York Jets: Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky. With both quarterbacks off the board, the Jets will have to wait till the later rounds to find a signal caller and instead look to find a pass rusher. Dupree had 7.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss with the Wildcats and would give the Jets a high-upside edge rusher to replace the aging Calvin Pace.
  7. Chicago Bears: Leonard Williams, DT, USC. After losing DT Stephen Paea to free agency, the Bears need a lot of help up front after finishing No. 32 against the pass and No. 17 against the run. While a wide receiver could be a possibility here, the top defensive player in the draft is just too good to pass up. Williams had 7.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss last season and would fill in the middle of Vic Fangio’s defense.
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska.  The Falcons need to improve their pass rush in the worst way, after finishing No. 32 against the pass last season. While Gregory did fail a drug test at the NFL Combine, he’s too talented of a prospect to fall too far. Gregory had 8.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Huskers and would give Dan Quinn a presence of the edge on defense.
  9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OT/OG, Iowa. The Giants need to protect Eli Manning and drafting the best offensive lineman in the draft would certainly do the trick. Scherff is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in the draft earned the Outland Trophy last season, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.
  10. St. Louis Rams: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. Brian Quick and Kenny Britt headline a very weak Rams wide receiver depth chart. Neither is a No. 1 wideout and as such the Rams need another weapon in the passing game for newly acquired QB Nick Foles. White caught 109 passes for 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year at West Virginia and at 6’3” 215 lbs would give the Rams a No. 1 receiver.
  11. Minnesota Vikings: La’el Collins, OT/OG, LSU. As tempting as teaming up Louisville WR DaVante Parker and Teddy Bridgewater would be, after allowing 51 sacks last season, No. 27 in the NFL, the Vikings need to shore up the offensive line to protect Bridgewater. Collins is a versatile lineman and that could play both tackle and guard and could help to shore up the Vikings weaknesses along their offensive line.
  12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington. The Browns had the worst run-defense in the NFL last season and even with the addition of Randy Starks, more help is needed. Shelton had 9.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss his senior year at Washington and would fill in the middle of Cleveland’s defensive line. Ray Farmer can afford to wait on a receiver in a deep class, and take a lineman here.
  13. New Orleans Saints: Arik Armstead, DT/DE, Oregon. After the Saints’ defense ranked No. 25 in the NFL against the pass and No. 29 against the run, New Orleans has revamped their defense this offseason and will continue to do so here. Armstead had 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss last year and is an athletic lineman who could play tackle or end in the Saints 3-4 scheme.
  14. Miami Dolphins: DaVante Parker, WR, Louisville. The Dolphins shuffled their receiving core this offseason trading Mike Wallace, cutting Brain Hartline and trading for Kenny Stills, but they could still use more help for Ryan Tannehill. Parker had 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns with Louisville last season and could be their Dolphins No. 1 wide receiver.
  15. San Francisco 49ers: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. After losing both Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver to free agency this offseason, the 49ers need to add to their secondary. Waynes had 10 passes defended, three interceptions and 50 tackles last season with the Spartans Waynes would give San Francisco an excellent man-to-man corner to replace their losses in free agency.
  16. Houston Texans: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida. Andre Johnson signed with the Colts in free agency, leaving the Texans to look for his replacement to play alongside DeAndre Hopkins. While drops plagued Perriman at UCF, he still caught 50 receptions for 1,044 yards and 9 touchdowns this past year. With Hopkins and Perriman, the Texas would have two big receivers that would give any defense trouble.
  17. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. The Chargers need a running back, with only Brandon Oliver and Danny Woodhead atop their depth chart. Todd Gurley was medically cleared to play earlier this week and could possibly be ready for week one. Hampered by injuries, Gurley rushed for 911 yards and 9 touchdowns in 6 games before tearing his ACL last year and would immediately be the Chargers No. 1 back.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. The Chiefs allowed 49 sacks last season, seventh worst in the NFL. Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher has struggled and Kansas City could use another lineman to give Alex Smith more time in the pocket. Peat, at 6’7” and 313 lbs., would give the Chiefs the protection at either tackle that Smith needs.
  19. Cleveland Browns: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.). Mitchell Schwartz hasn’t lived up to his second round draft status and as a free agent after this season; the Browns could use an upgrade at the tackle position. Flowers started for three years with the Hurricanes, would give the Browns a tackle with great potential. Flowers and Joe Thomas could bookend an impressive offensive line for years to come.
  20. Philadelphia Eagles: Landon Collins, S, Alabama. With the worst secondary in the NFL last season, the Eagles entered the offseason with the goal of adding defensive backs. Corners Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond were added via free agency and they’ll look to add another via the draft. Collins had 102 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, and three interceptions last season with Alabama and would help shore up Philly’s secondary woes.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. 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. While Ray was recently cited for possession of marijuana, he’s still a first round talent and would be a steal for the Bengals if he falls this far. Ray had 13.0 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss last season as an absolutely force off the edge for the Tigers.
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. With an aging secondary, poor play from Cortez Allen and Troy Polamalu’s retirement, the Steelers will look to upgrade a pass defense that ranked No. 27 in the NFL. Peters had five interceptions, 55 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss his junior season and while he does have character concerns; he’s still a first-round talent.
  23. Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas. The Lions lost Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh and C.J. Mosley all via free agency and while they traded for Haloti Ngata, he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. The Lions need to fill the holes left by Fairley and Suh along their defensive line and drafting Brown would do the trick. Brown had 13.0 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks last season as a junior with the Longhorns.
  24. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. With injuries to Andre Ellington, the Cardinals rushing game ranked No. 31 in the NFL, averaging 81.8 yards per game. The Cardinals tried unsuccessfully to trade for Adrian Peterson and sign DeMarco Murray, so instead the Cardinals turn to the draft and select Gordon. Gordon rushed for 2587 yards and 29 touchdowns with the Badgers on his way to a Heisman candidacy.
  25. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida. The Panthers priority this offseason is improving an offensive line that had trouble protecting Cam Newton all of last year. Carolina badly needs an upgrade at the tackle position. While Humphries is a bit raw, he has the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL.
  26. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest. The Ravens had the No. 23 pass defense in the NFL last year, in part because their secondary was a mess, especially after Jimmy Smith went down with an injury. Johnson had one interception and six passes broken up his senior year with the Demon Deacons and would give the Ravens much-needed depth in their secondary.
  27. Dallas Cowboys: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut. With the Cowboys in need of a corner to play alongside Orlando Scandrick, they select Jones here. Jones had an excellent performance at the combine and had 2 interceptions and 4 passes defended his senior year with the Huskies. He’d give the Cowboys an upgrade over in their secondary.
  28. Denver Broncos: Cameron Erving, C, Florida State. Any chance at another Super Bowl run for the Broncos is tied to Peyton Manning’s health and Denver need to upgrade their offensive line to better protect Manning. 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: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. The Colts’ offensive line is in need of an upgrade as tackle Gosder Cherilus and center Jonotthan Harrison both struggled last season. Clemmings, a former defensive end, has great upside as he’s only been playing the position for about two years.
  30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU. After losing both Davon House and Tramon Williams in free agency, the Packers are thin at cornerback and could use some help via the draft. At 6’1” and 203 lbs, Collins is a bigger corner with the physical ability to succeed in the NFL. Collins had 9 passes defended and one interception last year and while he failed multiple drug tests in college, he’s still a talented corner, too talented to fall out of the first round.
  31. New Orleans Saints (Via Seattle): Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State. After trading away two of Drew Brees’ top weapons in Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints need to add a receiver in the draft. Strong caught 82 passes for 1162 yards and 10 touchdowns last year at Arizona State and would give Brees a downfield threat to replace Stills.
  32. New England Patriots: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State. With Vince Wilfork gone, the Patriots need help along their defensive line. Goldman had 4.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for a loss last season with the Seminoles and would be a suitable replacement to fill the 300+ lbs. void left by Wilfork.
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