It’s that time again. That time when we finally get to watch our favorite college studs move on to the NFL by getting drafted in the 2015 NFL draft. Whether your team has five picks or 15 picks, it’s always exciting to see who’s going to come into camp and who emerges in the pre-season as a potential contributor.
While everyone else is talking about Marcus Mariota, I’m more intrigued to see just how many trades will happen in this draft, as I feel there could be several moves made. Without further ado, I unleash my final first round mock draft of the season.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The Buccaneers are all but sold on Winston and they are in a position to win now with just above average QB play. Winston could have this team in the playoffs in 2015, and definitely in 2016 if he plays to his upside.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
I think the Titans take Mariota by default. I’m not sure if he stays with the team or if he gets dealt at some point in the first round, but with the love for Mariota, I think the Titans grab him and embrace him or continue to try to deal.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
A lot of people love the Jaguars receiving corps right now both with and without Justin Blackmon. But outside of Blackmon, there’s no true #1 receiver there. They have a lot of exceptional compliments who are 2-4 guys. If Blackmon gets back on the field, they may have the best duo in all of football. If he’s not, they’re still giving Blake Bortles a ton of help to get the ball down field, along with Julius Thomas.
4. Oakland Raiders – Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Williams is BPA and while they could justify Kevin White here, I think they’ll be perfectly fine with the best overall player in the entire 2015 NFL Draft.
5. Washington Redskins – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
The Redskins want RGIII to succeed for a number of reasons and to do that, he needs to have some weapons. They need help on both sides of the ball and while Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley fit well, I think they trade down with the Falcons at 8 and still get White.
6. New York Jets – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
I can see the Jets trading down here and still getting a quality tackle, but right here, Peat’s my guy. They’ll still get some time from Ferguson on the left side, but he’s going into his tenth season and Peat can help shore up the right side in the short term.
7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
With the Bears making the switch to a 34 defense, they need to make sure that they’re sound defensively in the trenches. Shelton is going to make an impact immediately wherever he goes, he’s that good.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Dante Fowler Jr, DE/OLB, Florida
The Falcons love Fowler and he’s perfect for what they need from an edge rusher. They trade up likely to #5 to get him, but I think they’ll find a way.
9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
I’m not super crazy about Scherff overall, but he’s versatile and can be plugged in right away. At some point Eli Manning will get time again to throw the football.
10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
I’m not crazy about RB’s in the first round after Trent Richardson busted. Richardson is still the best RB I’ve seen come out of college in a long time and Gurley isn’t far from his talent. Regardless, Zac Stacy and Tre Mason will suffice in St. Louis, but if they want to take their offense to the next level, they’ll get that run game established early and often.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Xavier Rhodes looks to be a promising #2 corner in the NFL at the very worst. But in this passing league, teams need two or three quality corners, or at least two corners and one great safety. Harrison Smith is a very talented FS and combine Waynes with Smith and Rhodes and suddenly this secondary may have a chance against Aaron Rodgers.
12. Cleveland Browns – Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe could be exceptional veteran mentors for the somewhat raw Perriman who found a way to average nearly 21 yards per catch with one of the worst quarterbacks in college football last year. Perriman is dangerous.
13. New Orleans Saints – Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Rob Ryan and Co. love what Beasley offers as a pure edge rusher and this pick makes a lot of sense as the Saints just can’t seem to get to the QB.
14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The loss of Brian Hartline hurts Ryan Tannehill, but adding Kenny Stills should alleviate that pain a bit. Tannehill had a coming out party in 2014 and if they want his success to continue, they’ll continue to add options. Jordan Cameron is a great addition, but he can’t be counted on to stay healthy. A healthy Jordan with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker could make for a deadly offense.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
There’s a lot of upside with this guy. He’s a talented player with a lot of size. Armstead is a bit raw for my liking, but he can learn a lot from the veterans currently on the DL in San Francisco.
16. Houston Texans – Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
The value here is just too good to pass up. The need for an edge rusher can be justified, although they’re obviously hopeful that JaDaveon Clowney comes back healthy and stronger than ever. A rotation of Clowney, Mercilus and Gregory could be nasty.
17. San Diego Chargers – Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
This kid is worthy of a first rounder, and is a perfect candidate to replace Philip Rivers with a year or two of sitting and learning under his belt. Hundley is an incredible talent that helps build for the future of the Chargers, whether they stay in SD or not.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fl.)
The Chiefs have guys that can run the ball in Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, but they lack overall depth and versatility on the OL. Flowers could solidify the right side of the line for quite some time and still has potential to help out on the left side if needed.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) – Alvin “Bud” Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
A bit raw, Dupree is still a high motor guy that can do a little bit of everything. Barkevious Mingo improved in 2014, but has shown no signs of being a dominant role player. Paul Kruger is great, but a rotation of quality pass rushers is needed nowadays. A RT or DL here could also be a smart decision.
I still think that the Eagles get their man in Mariota, but if they opt to stay where they are and keep quiet, Goldman fills a need and is a great fit for the Eagle defense here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Domata Peko is going into his 10th season and the Bengals couldn’t stop the run consistently in 2015. Brown is big and he can take up a lot of space on the inside.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Peters is a Top 15 talent at corner that could be drafted that highly without the off-field issues. While the Steelers are dealing with their own issues with Le’Veon Bell suspended for three games to start the season, the reward outweighs the risk.
23. Detroit Lions – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
The Lions couldn’t run the ball consistently in 2014 and a big reason is the atrocious run blocking on the offensive line. Plug Humphries in here and they’ll get immediate help on the right side.
24. Arizona Cardinals – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Sure the Cardinals could go RB here with Melvin Gordon. Or they could get a stud cornerback with great down field ability to cover while filling the RB need in a deep draft in the mid-rounds.
25. Carolina Panthers – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Clemmings is a bit more technically sound than D.J. Humphries and could start immediately. The offensive line needs to be addressed and soon. The addition of Charles Tillman allows them to wait on a corner until the second round, although Kevin Johnson is a candidate.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
This is a stretch for me because I do believe that Smith is very talented, but I also feel that Jaelen Strong is better overall. I still think that Smith fits the type of WR that Joe Flacco prefers a bit more being such a down field threat.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia
Harold is quite the talent and the Cowboys flirt with the hybrid defense at times which makes Harold a very sexy pick here. They could go with a corner like Jalen Collins or Byron Jones here as well.
28. Denver Broncos – Cameron Erving, OC, Florida State
Depth on the offensive line combined with a guy that will start from day one and is quite versatile? Sounds like a no brainer to me.
I’m not so sure that Collins slips this far, but the need for a safety isn’t that huge this year. Problem is that the class is a bit of a downer. Collins doesn’t get out of the first round likely.
30. Green Bay Packers – Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
A Donnie Edwards clone, Kendricks would give the Packers a lot of help that they want on the inside. While he’s a bit undersized in the 3-4, he can still cover in the open field and is a pure wrap up tackler.
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle) – La’el Collins, OT, LSU
The Saints need help on the right side of the line and Collins is versatile. No brainer if Collins somehow falls this far.
32. New England Patriots – Byron Jones, CB, UConn
The Patriots love their athletes with untapped potential. CB isn’t a huge need, but Jones is a hard player to pass up.