Like many football fans, I am also taking a stab at creating my own mock draft. For years, my friends and I have created our own mock drafts with the winner winning garbage plates from the other participants. I like my picks this year so bring on the cheeseburger plate with mac and home fries with everything on top.
Without further adieu, my 2015 NFL mock draft:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Who they will select: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St.
Who they should select: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Analysis: I believe Winston was a strong college player who will have a mediocre career at best. While the Bucs need a quarterback, Winston isn’t the answer. I predict he will be a bust as the number one overall pick like Tim Couch or JaMarcus Russell. Keep in mind, Florida has many seafood restaurants. Just sayin’.
2. Tennessee Titans- Who they will select: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Who they should select: Mariota
Analysis: Whether the Titans keep the pick or trade it away, Mariota should be drafted in this slot. While he may have played in a spread offense at Oregon, he has a strong work ethic and demonstrated at the NFL Combine he can make a variety of throws needed to be a successful NFL quarterback.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Who they will select: Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida
Who they should select: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Analysis: Fowler would stay in the state of Florida with this pick and give the Jags a much needed pass rusher, but Cooper would be a great weapon and true number one receiver for young quarterback Blake Bortles.
4. Oakland Raiders- Who they will select: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Who they should select: Cooper
Analysis: Second-year quarterback Derek Carr is in need of weapons and the speed that Cooper brings would be a great way to stretch the field and open up the passing game. Cooper, James Jones, and the recently signed Michael Crabtree would combine with tight end Mychal Rivera and running back Latavius Murray to give the Raiders a formidable attack.
5. Washington Redskins- Who they will select: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Who they should select: Williams
Analysis: The Redskins get the top defensive player in the draft who is 6′ 5″ and is strong against the run and as a pass rusher. He will be needed in the Redskins’ defense in the new and improved NFC East.
6. New York Jets- Who they will select: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
Who they should select: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Analysis: Rookie head coach gets another strong defensive player to add to a much-improved defense. The temptation to draft Gurley will be there, but the Jets can target a back in the second or third round who can compete with incumbent starter Chris Ivory.
7. Chicago Bears- Who they will select: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Who they should select: White
Analysis: New coach John Fox traded away WR Brandon Marshall for a low round draft pick and must draft a receiver to line up opposite Alshon Jeffery. The current starter on the depth chart with Jeffery is Marquess Wilson? Who?
8. Atlanta Falcons- Who they will select: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Who they should select: Gurley
Analysis: The temptation to draft Gurley is too good to pass up as the Falcons keep him in the state of Georgia. While the Falcons could use a pass rusher in the form of a defensive end or outside linebacker, Gurley gives them another weapon who should open up the passing game even more for quarterback Matt Ryan as he throws to wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.
9. New York Giants- Who they will select: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Who they should select: Scherff
Analysis: The Giants have to do a better job of protecting quarterback Eli Manning and Scherff gives them the flexibility of playing tackle or guard much like Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys who made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Boring pick, but an area of neeed for the G-Men.
10. St. Louis Rams- Who they will select: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
Who they should select: Flowers
Analysis: The Rams could also go receiver here, but they went that direction with Tavon Austin two years ago and he has had a mediocre career at best. Flowers or another offensive tackle would give the Rams someone to protect new quarterback Nick Foles and improve the running game.
11. Minnesota Vikings- Who they will select: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
Who they should select: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
Analysis: Playing in the pass-happy NFC North makes secondary a priority. However, I am not sure which Mike Wallace will show up in Minnesota- the dangerous Wallace in Pittsburgh or the inconsistent and underachieving Wallace in Miami. To be safe, the Vikings should add another toy for second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
12. Cleveland Browns- Who they will select: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
Who they should select: Shelton
Analysis: The Browns have so many holes to fill, but head coach Mike Pettine is a defensive guy and his defense was terrible against the run last season. Shelton is a big dude who takes up a lot of space. There is a chance Shelton could be gone by this pick or that the Browns package their two first-round picks to the Titans for the right to draft Mariota. I think Tennessee needs a sweetener to the deal since they would only be getting picks 12 and 19.
13. New Orleans Saints- Who they will select: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Who they should select: Dupree or Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Analysis: Dupree or Gregory will give defensive coordinator Rob Ryan a pass rushing backer who fits in his 3-4 scheme. The Saints’ defense was absolutely pitiful last year, and I am surprised Ryan was retained.
14. Miami Dolphins- Who they will select: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Who they should select: Gregory
Analysis: The Dolphins just signed free agent Greg Jennings to replace the departed Mike Wallace or I would think receiver with this pick. If Gurley were to fall this far because of concerns with his knee, the Dolphins will snap him up. However, I believe the Dolphins will add another beast to their defense with the addition of Gregory who was considered a top five pick before a positive drug test for marijuana at the NFL Combine.
15. San Francisco 49ers- Who they will select: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Who they should select: Johnson or Arik Armstead, DE/DT, Oregon
Analysis: The Niners not only lost head coach Jim Harbaugh to college, but they lost Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Perrish Cox, and Chris Culliver plus abrupt retirements to Chris Borland, and Patrick Willis making a strong defense below average.
16. Houston Texans- Who they will select: Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
Who they should select: Perriman or Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Analysis: After losing the talented, but often injured Andre Johnson to the Indianapolis Colts, the Texans need another receiver to pair opposite starter Deandre Hopkins.
17. San Diego Chargers- Who they will select: D.J. Humphries, OT/G, Florida
Who they should select: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Analysis: The Chargers need to take pressure off quarterback Philip Rivers or whomever else may show up to quarterback the team via trade. Gordon is an explosive back who can take a pounding unlike Ryan Matthews who left for Philadelphia.
18. Kansas City Chiefs- Who they will select: La’el Collins, OT/G, LSU
Who they should select: Collins or Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Analysis: After signing Jeremy Maclin in the offseason, the Chiefs will need to do a better job of protecting quarterback Alex Smith if he is to get the ball downfield to Maclin who likes to stretch a defense.
19. Cleveland Browns- Who they will select: Dorial Green-Beckham
Who they should select: Green-Beckham or M. Gordon
Analysis: Free agent acquisition Brian Hartline is a possession receiver and fellow free agent Dwayne Bowe is a has-been. If the Browns are smart, they will draft big-play Green-Beckham to replace Josh Gordon who is suspended the entire 2015 season for his latest violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. There is a strong possibility Gordon may have played his last game in a Browns’ uniform so replacing him is a priority. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns drafted Melvin Gordon to make prevent defenses from stacking the box because they don’t respect the run attack.
20. Philadelphia Eagles- Who they will select: Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
Who they should select: Collins or Byron Jones, CB, UCONN
Analysis: Unless coach Chip Kelly pulls off a shocking trade that nets him Mariota, his former Oregon quarterback, the Eagles need to address their secondary with stud receivers in the division like DeSean Jackson of the Redskins, Dez Bryant of the Cowboys, and Odell Beckham, Jr. of the Giants. Collins would fill the void at strong safety or Jones would provide depth at corner and be groomed as a future starter at corner.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Who they will select: Arik Armstead, DE/DT, Oregon
Who they should select: Armstead or Peat
Analysis: Although a starter at offensive tackle is more of an issue after the upcoming season, Peat is an offensive tackle who comes from a strong football school in Stanford. However, Coach Marvin Lewis may not be able to pass up the talented Armstead as the Bengal totaled only 20 sacks last season which was the lowest in the league.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers- Who they will select: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
Who they should select: Ray or CB Byron Jones
Analysis: Ray was considered a top ten pick prior to his arrest for speeding earlier this week where he was cited for marijuana possession. He may be too talented for the Steelers to pass up. Jones would also fill an area of need as the Steelers’ secondary should have been nicknamed “toast” because they were burned deep all season.
23. Detroit Lions- Who they will select: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas
Who they should select: Brown or Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.
Analysis: The Lions lost defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but traded for Ravens’ defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Brown or Goldman would be a great fit for the Lions’ interior defensive line.
24.Arizona Cardinals- Who they will select: Byron Jones, CB, UCONN
Who they should select: Jones or M. Gordon
Analysis: The Jets lost cornerback Antonio Cromartie to the Jets so Jones could move into the starting lineup at corner opposite Patrick Peterson. However, head coach Bruce Arians is a former offensive coordinator who might salivate at the thought of drafting Melvin Gordon and pairing him with the injury-prone Andre Ellington.
25. Carolina Panthers- Who they will select: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Who they should select: Peat or M. Gordon
Analysis: The Panthers want to do a better job of protecting franchise quarterback Cam Newton and Peat would fit the bill. Again, if Gordon is around, he would be a great pick to replace the released Deangelo Williams in the Panthers’ rushing attack.
26.Baltimore Ravens- Who they will select: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
Who they should select: Dorsett or Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.
Analysis: Dorsett has been moving up draft boards these past few weeks based on his speed and would be a great replacement for Torrey Smith who is now a member of the Niners. He ran a 4.28 at Miami’s Pro Day and also ran track in college.
27. Dallas Cowboys- Who they will select: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Who they should select: Gordon, Goldman, or Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Analysis: While the Cowboys have openly said running back is not a priority in the first round this year, owner and general manager Jerry Jones may have a hard time passing up a breakaway back like Gordon. However, Goldman would be a huge upgrade at defensive tackle over Nick Hayden while Peters could challenge for a starting cornerback position. Will the Cowboys draft the best area of need or the sexy pick in Gordon? I guess it depends on if Stephen Jones jacks Jerry against the wall for a second consecutive season in the Cowboys’ War Room as was reported when Jerry almost drafted Johnny Manziel last year.
28. Denver Broncos- Who they will select: Cameron Erving, OT/G/C, Florida St.
Who they should select: Erving
Analysis: The Broncos had a hard time keeping quarterback Peyton Manning upright last year which led to Manning looking ordinary the second half of the season rather than as one of the greatest signal callers to ever play the game. Erving is a nice pick towards the end of the first round and is versatile enough to play all positions on the offensive line.
29. Indianapolis Colts- Who they will select: Eddie Goldman, DE/DT, Florida St.
Who they should select: Goldman or Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
Analysis: Goldman offers great quality towards the end of the first round. The Colts’ d-line was quite porous last year and Goldman would contribute immediately. At the same time, protecting franchise quarterback Andrew Luck should be a priority now and in the future. Fisher would provide depth this year and compete to start in year 2. He may not be great value here as some have him projected as a second round selection.
30. Green Bay Packers- Who they will select: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Who they should select: Peters, Jaelen Collins. CB, LSU, or Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Analysis: The Packers’ explosive offensive does not need to be touched so defense is the pick here. Both starting corners left via free agency as did middle linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones.
31. New Orleans Saints- Who they will select: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.
Who they should select: Strong, another receiver, or Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Analysis: Wide receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Jimmy Graham were both traded away during the offseason. Strong is rated as a late first to second round selection while Williams is the top-rated tight end in the draft. If the Saints don’t get Williams here, he should be gone by the time they pick in the second round.
32. New England Patriots- Who they will select: Erik Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Who they should select: Kendricks, Devin Smith, WR, Ohio St., or Jaelen Collins, CB, LSU
Analysis: While Smith or Collins fill areas of need, I can’t see Coach Bill Belichick passing up on the best interior linebacker in this year’s draft.
There you have it. If teams listen to me, they will strike gold with their selections. Enjoy the draft tonight and throughout the weekend.
And that’s as I see it!
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Cover photo courtesy of www.withthefirstpick.com
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Scott D. Mikulski