Updated: March 16th
|1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston (QB Florida State)|
Let me start by saying this; if anyone thinks that Jameis Winston has cemented himself as the number one overall pick already I'll direct you to the immortal words of Jim Mora. There is still a long time between now and April 30th, meaning the Winston/Mariota debate is far from over. My gut still tells me that Winston, a guy who has been consistently irresponsible, a guy who has thrown 28 interceptions in two seasons, a guy who may have a throwing shoulder injury, and a guy who may or may not still pursue professional baseball is not number one overall caliber. All that being said, I do see why some believe in Winston, but maybe more importantly I've come to appreciate the 'knucklehead factor' and realize that teams like the Bucs aren't always going to conform to what I believe to be common sense.
|2) Tennessee Titans - Leonard Williams (DT/DE U.S.C)|
|Zach Mettenberger or Jameis Winston? Zach Mettenberger or Marcus Mariota? Those are really the only two questions that matter for the Titans this off season; they'll have the opportunity to draft at least one of the two high-profile quarterbacks but would they truly be better off than with what they already have? I don't think anybody has ever doubted Mettenberger's talent and with a year of experience under his belt Ken Whisenhunt might just be content to see his development through and instead decide to fix the Titans 31st ranked run defense. Leonard Williams is regarded by many as the top overall talent in this draft and fits perfectly at defensive end in the 3-4 defense Dick LeBeau will be running.|
|3) Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler (DE Florida)|
Gus Bradley's Jags gave up over 25 points per game last year; though they have some promising pieces in place, they lack a foundation stone that they can truly build around. There are a lot of good pass rushers in the 2015 NFL Draft, but it is my belief that Dante Fowler will be the first one off the board on April 30th and a future All-Pro at the next level. If you wish to start from physical traits he's the prototype at 6'3" and 275. He produced in a big way for Florida this past year, proving to be NFL-ready in terms of technique. Then there's his work ethic and maturity which has been lauded. Fowler checks every box and stands to be a dominant force at the next level.
|4) Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper (WR Alabama)|
|After his stellar NFL Combine performance many mock draft's now have Kevin White in this slot. It's easy to see the logic there and I understand why people prefer White, but I still give Cooper the slight edge. Cooper and White are neck and neck, very comparable prospects, the only difference in favor of Cooper for me is the level of competition he produced against in college. Believe it or not the Oakland Raiders have more than a couple pieces in place and could potentially be trending upward for the first time in a while. Giving Derek Carr a running mate and a proven game-changer in Amari Cooper would give add a dangerous feel to this offense.|
|5) Washington Redskins - Vic Beasley (OLB Clemson)|
With the Redskins signing Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea it has pushed out the need for a defensive lineman like Danny Shelton as we had previously been projecting. Currently all signs point to Washington adding a pass rusher, as it will present them with the best player available and will also fill a need with Brian Orakpo departing. Clemson's Vic Beasley is the perfect speed rusher to pair with strongside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. With the 'Skins added beef up front Beasley should be able to take advantage of one-on-ones and use his speed to wreak havoc on the edge. However, keep an eye for the Skins trading down if a team like Cleveland wants to move ahead of the Jets for Mariota.
|6) New York Jets - Marcus Mariota (QB Oregon)|
This has to be the dream scenario for New York Jets fans. Yes the Jets could certainly use an edge rusher, but you have a better chance of landing one of those in the second round than a franchise quarterback. There aren't any viable upgrades available via free agency and it's extremely hard to see a completely new regime sticking with Geno Smith for another season. Marcus Mariota is not Andrew Luck, but he's a much more talented passer than people give him credit for. We shouldn't assume Mariota can't be a pocket passer just because he hasn't been asked to do it before. With his talent, work ethic and IQ he has more than enough in him to be a star.
|7) Chicago Bears - Danny Shelton (DT Washington)|
New staff, new scheme and a complete overhaul of personnel; the Bears are in total rebuild mode on the defensive side of the ball. Every effective rebuild starts with a strong defensive line and if Washington's Danny Shelton is available at seven, Chicago would jump at the chance to add a cornerstone. The 335 pound Shelton was one of the most productive defensive players in all of college football last year and followed that up with an Aaron Donald esque show at the Senior Bowl. Shelton shows amazing quickness and hand use for a guy his size and I was recently blown away by a stat showing that Shelton played the second most snaps of any defensive tackle in the country. In Vic Fangio's new 3-4 scheme Shelton has the ability to play nose tackle or fill a Haloti Ngata type role at the five tech.
|8) Atlanta Falcons - Randy Gregory (DE/OLB Nebraska)|
Atlanta ranked second to last in the NFL in sacks last year, and as a group their pass rushing unit has been one of the worst in football for a couple years now. Whatever scheme the Falcons decide to run next year, adding some edge rushers to get after the quarterback is a must. Right now concerns about Randy Gregory's weight and also his knee have him "falling" out of the top five, but he'd present an outstanding value for the Falcons with the eighth pick. Gregory is still a rare elite talent, but when you're comparing him with similarly elite talents like Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley those minor issues might cause him go just a little bit lower than originally projected.
|9) New York Giants - Landon Collins (Safety Alabama)|
It wasn't a great year for the Giants defensively, giving up 25 points per game, and on top of that Antrel Rolle signed with Chicago while Stevie Brown and Quentin Demps currently remained unsigned. With Rolle gone and Brown and Demps playing nothing better than average football, new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo could look to bring a new leader on the back end. Landon Collins is a polarizing safety prospect among draft analysts this year but at the very least he's reliable. Collins is an extremely heady football player who's always in the right place at the right time. Some nagging injuries held him back from showing his full potential last year, but as long as he's healthy I'm convinced he'll be a top notch safety at the next level.
|10) St Louis Rams - Kevin White (WR West Virginia)|
With the Rams recent resigning of Kenny Britt I was tempted to have them pass on a receiver, but Kevin White or Amari Cooper would simply be too good to pass up at ten. With the tenth pick the Rams seem to be sitting in a comfortable position. They'll either be able to draft their QB of the future if Winston or Mariota falls to them, or they'll take one of the two dominant wide receivers in this year's draft. Honestly it wouldn't be a bad idea to move up five spots and trade up for one of the quarterbacks, but if they don't, Kevin White or Amari Cooper would be a big boost to whichever other quarterback they decide to go with next year. The Rams have a few solid receivers but no true number one like White who just followed up his breakout season with a tremendous performance at the NFL Combine.
|11) Minnesota Vikings - Shane Ray (DE Missouri)|
I know you haven't seen this in many mock drafts, but what besides Everson Griffen would preclude the Vikings from taking a pass rusher? 32 Year old Brian Robison? Scott Crichton? If an edge rusher like Shane Ray happened to be the top guy on the Vikings draft board, he should be the pick. Shane Ray and his lightning quick first step would make for a dynamic duo with breakout star Everson Griffen and give the Vikings one of the best pair of young pass rushers in the league. If Minnesota keeps improving at this pace, they have a chance to make some serious noise in the NFC next year!
|12) Cleveland Browns - Alvin "Bud" Dupree (OLB Kentucky)|
It wasn't long ago that the Browns were one of the up-and-coming teams in the league; but boy did that positive vibe take a quick 180! Now with needs at quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, offensive tackle, tight end and pass rusher; who knows what the Browns are going to do in the draft. We've had them taking wide receiver DeVante Parker for a long time, and while that could still happen I think Alvin "Bud" Dupree has passed him up in terms of value. Edge rushers are a lot harder to find than wide receivers and Dupree just keeps on looking better than better. After a breakout senior season at Kentucky, Dupree followed it up with an impressive Combine performance and is only adding to the depth of this year's pass rushing class.
|13) New Orleans Saints - Trae Waynes (CB Michigan State)|
|What the Saints need most is a pass rusher. They needed one last year and with Junior Gallette's off-field troubles they could quickly become in desperate need of one. However, the best pass rusher in our current mock draft scenario is Eli Harold and he just doesn't stack up with the draft's top cornerback Trae Waynes. Veterans Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner make for decent stopgaps at the cornerback position, but long-term this has to be an area of concern for the team. The fans and media always want to hear about team needs, but overall this is about taking the best player available and the quite simply the Saints can't afford to pass on a potential shutdown cornerback in Waynes at 13.|
|14) Miami Dolphins - La'el Collins (OT L.S.U)|
Miami has done a fine job this off season helping out Ryan Tannehill by adding Jordan Cameron and Kenny Stills and at the same time eliminating a headache in Mike Wallace. Tannehill should have enough weapons now to be successful, but the offensive line still has some holes to be patched. Mike Pouncey will move back to center this year leaving two voids at guard, franchise left tackle Brandon Albert saw his season ended by a serious knee injury and last year's first rounder Ja'Wuan James had an awful rookie campaign which saw him lead the league in QB hurries allowed. LSU's La'el Collins would come in as a fix-it man with the ability to play either guard or tackle spot. He'd make an immediate impact as a mauling run-blocker at guard before eventually taking over one of the tackle spots.
|15) San Francisco 49ers - Malcom Brown (DT/DE Texas)|
|It's been a rough off season for GM Trent Baalke who forced out his entire coaching staff and now has seen his talent and leadership erode on both side of the ball through free agency and retirement. What was a short time ago one of the deepest rosters in football now has questions marks all over the field. Longhorn defensive lineman Malcom Brown would be a great way to start their semi-rebuild on defense as his versatility and explosiveness could help them mitigate the impending loss of defensive end Justin Smith. At six-foot-two and 320 pounds Brown has the size and power to occupy two gaps, but also has the quickness and athleticism to shed blocks and knife into the backfield.|
|16) Houston Texans - DeVante Parker (WR Louisville)|
For the first time ..... ever, the Houston Texans are in need of a number one wide receiver. There's nothing wrong with Deandre Hopkins but I'm not quite sure he's a true number one, and even if he is the Texans need to add more than just Cecil Shorts to this thin position group. Taking advantage of a deep crop of receivers the Texans could get excellent value by drafting a potential number one receiver in DeVante Parker with the 16th pick. Possessing the size, speed and ball skills to be dominant receiver outside the numbers Parker could alongside Hopkins could a dynamic duo out wide, which could prove to be especially important considering the uncertainty of their quarterback position.
If you have a disagreement with our Mock Draft or just want to talk about it e-mail us anytime at NolanVasan@NFLDraftGeek.com or join the Forums to comment. Or even better, Create your Own Mock Draft here!