NFL Mock Draft

NFL Mock Draft

Jack Parodi and Eric Ting, Staff Writers

#1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB Florida State

Ting: Both Tampa Bay General Manager Jason Licht and Head Coach Lovie Smith have given rave reviews on the Florida State quarterback. This pick is slowly becoming a lock, and it would really be a surprise if Winston’s name isn’t called at number one overall. Winston will be incredibly lucky to have Smith as his head coach, as Lovie will be both patient and supportive as Winston makes the jump from college to the pros.

#2 Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DL USC

Parodi: Leonard Williams is a proven talent at the defensive end position. He can play as a 3-4 defensive end and as a 4-3 tackle as well. With a depleted Titans defensive front, Williams provides a great balance of strength and quickness to anchor their defense for the future. With the right pieces around him, Williams is a great player to build around because of his pure talent and versatility.

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., Edge Rusher Florida

Ting: The Jaguars need edge rushers. Chris Clemons is 33 and free agent acquisition Jared Odrick is better suited as a defensive tackle. Fowler can thrive playing the hybrid linebacker/defensive end role made popular by Von Miller, Bruce Irvin and Anthony Barr. Head Coach Gus Bradley coached Irvin in Seattle, and will drool over the much better prospect in Fowler. Fowler is bigger, faster, and smarter than Irvin, and has experience not just rushing the passer but setting the edge against the run and dropping back into coverage as well.

#4 Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR Alabama

Parodi: In the last two offseasons, the Raiders have signed veteran wide receivers James Jones in 2014 and Michael Crabtree in 2015. Jones and Crabtree are both very productive receivers, but Jones is getting up there in age and for a franchise that needs to turn things around for the future like the Raiders do, getting a young stud at the receiver position is a must. Amari Cooper is the best receiver in the draft because of his lethal combination of size, strength, speed, smarts, and hands. He can do it all. Having Crabtree and Cooper head the receiving corps for years to come with Derek Carr at quarterback could make for a pretty scary Raider offense that Oakland fans haven’t seen in a long, long time. If they pick Cooper here, the future will be looking very bright.

#5 Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, Edge Rusher Clemson

Ting: Losing Brian Orakpo (who could never stay healthy anyway) leaves a gaping role in Washington’s pass rush. Ryan Kerrigan is a stud, but opposite him Trent Murphy didn’t live up to his second round draft status by registering just two and half sacks. There’s still time for Murphy to develop however, but adding Vic Beasley would give the Redskins an experienced athletic specimen opposite Kerrigan. Beasley blew up the combine, and has all the necessary physical traits to become one of the game’s most dominant pass rushers. His tape is inconsistent however, as his motor is not always where it should be and he beat opposing linemen mainly with his speed. Questions remain whether Beasley can blow past NFL offensive linemen the way he did in college, but he has the physical traits to adapt.

#6 New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon

Parodi: We all know who he is. Mariota is a beast; plain and simple. I don’t know what his best attribute is. Is it the fact that he never throws interceptions? Is it the fact that he can extend any play with his legs and ability to run? Is it the fact that he’s led Oregon to two Rose Bowl championships and two National Championship games and just flat out knows how to win? The answer is all of the above. The Jets would be getting the quarterback with the highest upside in the draft. Mariota would be a huge upgrade over Geno Smith who, lets face it, is garbage. The quarterback position is the most important one on the field, and New York would be getting an experienced winner who has the tools to be a Hall-of-Famer one day. If Mariota falls to 6 in the draft and the Jets don’t draft him, I’ll be absolutely shocked.

#7 Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR West Virginia

Ting: Brandon Marshall’s departure leaves the Bears’ receiving corps in a state of disarray, as the Bears currently have Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson opposite Pro-Bowler Alshon Jeffery. That group isn’t bad, but Jay Cutler needs all the help he can get. Kevin White is likely the best player available at this point, and new General Manager Ryan Pace has stated multiple times he plans to take the best prospect available regardless of position. White is a physical freak with 6’3 size and sub 4.4 speed. Although his route-running is inconsistent, that comes with time and is a high-upside pick for the talent-depleted Bears.

#8 Atlanta Falcons: Randy Gregory, Edge Rusher Nebraska

Parodi: The Falcons are in desperate need to build up a defense that can help their offense win them games. To be honest about it, the Atlanta defense is piss poor. While they are young, they need a ton of help, especially at the pass rushing position. Randy Gregory can provide a nice spark to a bad Falcons defensive line giving them a player with explosiveness, strength, and a variety of moves to get to the quarterback. This would be a great pick for the Falcons if Gregory is available at 8.

#9 New York Giants: Landon Collins, S Alabama

Ting: This is strictly a need pick for the Giants. Antrel Rolle, last year’s starting free safety has signed with the Chicago Bears and strong safety Stevie Brown is still a free agent and it remains unknown he will return to the team in 2015. Collins was amazing during his time with Nick Saban, but Alabama defensive backs such as Dee Milliner and Mark Barron haven’t exactly lived up to their high draft statuses. Each struggle defending more modern NFL passing offenses, and don’t always have the talent around them to hide their deficiencies. Collins poses similar questions, as he is more of an in-the-box strong safety and looks stiff in coverage at times. He is instinctive and tackles well and will fill a huge need for the Giants, but given the history of similar prospects and his limitations as a strong safety makes this pick a reach.

#10 St. Louis Rams: Trae Waynes, CB Michigan State

Parodi: The Rams showed flashes of brilliance last year and could be set to be an NFC West contender with Nick Foles at quarterback replacing the injury-prone Sam Bradford and his arsenal of backups that fill in whenever he’s hurt (which is basically all the time). The offense could put up some big numbers if Foles plays like he did in 2013-2014. One glaring weakness in this St. Louis team last season was the inconsistent play of their secondary. Janoris Jenkins is a lockdown corner, and pairing him with Trae Waynes, a quick (4.31 40 yard dash), smart corner out of Michigan State, could prove to be one of the best cornerback duos for years to come.

#11 Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker, WR Louisville

Ting: This is a dream come true for the Vikings. The Vikings finally get the number one playmaking receiver they’ve lacked since Sidney Rice’s stellar 2009 campaign, and second year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater gets his favorite collegiate target. Parker often gets lost in all the hype surrounding Amari Cooper and Kevin White, but some aspects of Parker’s game simply can’t be ignored. Most notably, he has the best hands in this year’s receiver class. Parker dropped just three passes in his four years in college, and has the height (6’3) to give him an insane catch radius. Parker also ran a 4.45 40 yard dash, and will be a huge steal for Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings at 11.

#12 Cleveland Browns: Shane Ray, Edge Rusher Missouri

Parodi: The Browns have been known as the garbage team in the NFL for a while now, but last season it seemed that the tides are turning. While they do have a larger need at wide receiver, Shane Ray is the best player available at this point in the draft. His insane senior season at Missouri gave him the SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He’s a strong, overpowering presence at the defensive end position and his game should translate well to the NFL. All he needs to work on is getting an array of pass rushing moves. If he can do that, watch out. With this pick, the Browns could have a scary three-headed dog of pass rushers with Shane Ray, Barkevious Mingo, and Paul Kruger.

#13 New Orleans Saints: Bud Dupree, Edge Rusher Kentucky

Ting: The Saints need young talent on defense. Their defense was horrific last year, and much of that comes from not having a consistent pass rush, as the Saints ranked 25th in sacks last season and couldn’t generate any pressure whatsoever without blitzing. Dupree is pure raw talent and a little unrefined right now, but has the physical attributes to become a dominant pass rusher. He has exceptional height (6’4) and speed (4.56 40) but could add some weight to his lean frame. Dupree also needs to develop a power element to his game and be more active with his hands. If Dupree refines his technique and adds a little more weight, he could become a major steal in this year’s draft.

#14 Miami Dolphins: Brandon Scherff, OT Iowa

Parodi: This is definitely a need pick for Miami here at 14. Scherff is a great offensive tackle and the best one in this draft. When you combine that with the weakness of the Dolphins offensive line, this makes it an obvious pick. There’s not much wrong with Scherff as a player, but he might be best suited at the right tackle or guard position because of his lack of quickness. Regardless, the Dolphins need a young, solid offensive lineman and Scherff is the best option to fill that role.

#15 San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DL Oregon

Ting: The 49ers lost both of last year’s starting defensive ends, as Ray McDonald left in free agency and Justin Smith retired, ending a remarkable 14 year run. Enter Arik Armstead, the 6’7”, 292 lb mammoth from Oregon. Armstead possesses a rare combination of length, power and speed. Although not the most productive at Oregon, Armstead may have the highest ceiling in this year’s draft. New Head Coach Jim Tomsula has experience developing young defensive linemen, and Armstead can become a star for the 49ers in the near future.

#16 Houston Texans: Breshad Perriman, WR UCF

Parodi: The Texans gave Andre Johnson a one-way ticket to Indianapolis this offseason, leaving the team with a very depleted receiving corps. DeAndre Hopkins is Houston’s number one coming into the season and to be honest, he’s just not good enough to be a future top receiver on a team. Breshad Perriman boasts great strength and blazing fast speed with a 6’2” frame. The only shot against him is that his route running isn’t as polished; but that will come with playing time in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being the most productive receiver in this 2015 draft class.

#17 San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB Georgia

Ting: One intriguing possibility that has been floated around in recent weeks is a rumor that the Chargers are preparing to trade quarterback Philip Rivers and this selection to the Tennessee Titans for the number two pick, and subsequently take Marcus Mariota. We do not project trades in our mock, so we’ll assume they stay put. The injury-prone Ryan Matthews has packed his bags for Philly, so the Chargers need to find another running back. Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead are nice compliments, but neither have the every-down back talent the Chargers need to take pressure off the aging Philip Rivers. Running back has been an undervalued position recently as no running backs were taken in the first rounds of the 2013 and 2014 Drafts. Gurley has the ability to change that however, and if it had not been for a torn ACL in November would be a surefire top-ten pick. Gurley has it all: size, speed, vision and brute strength. Gurley is the best running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson in 2007, and could become one of the best running backs in the NFL.

#18 Kansas City Chiefs: Jalen Strong, WR Arizona State

Parodi: The most pathetic statistic of last year: the Chiefs didn’t have a single touchdown from a receiver the entire 2014-2015 season. That being said, they added Jeremy Maclin this offseason but they need a big target and that’s what Jalen Strong will give them. He’s got strong hands and is a very polished route runner. Although I do believe that Dorial Green-Beckham is a better overall receiver, I don’t think the Chiefs would pick him because of his off-field issues. KC and their fans already experienced a distraction off the field with Dwayne Bowe and they’re just not ready to go back to another player like that. Jalen Strong would be a great pickup for a team with a receiving corps that lacks depth and talent like Kansas City’s.

#19 Cleveland Browns: La’el Collins, OT LSU

Ting: We had the Browns go defense at number 12, and here at 19 they’ll select an offensive player. Dorial Green-Beckham should be the number one player on their board, but after the recent struggles with Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel I’m sure they’ll steer clear of players with off the field issues. The depth of this year’s receiver class will allow the Browns to find a solid contributor on Day 2, so the Browns can again take the best player available. Although right tackle isn’t a huge need, the Browns could use an upgrade over Geoff Schwartz, who has been average in his career thus far. Collins has the potential to play multiple positions on the offensive line, and would help ensure that whoever is playing quarterback for the Browns in 2015 stays upright.

#20 Philadelphia Eagles: Danny Shelton, DT Washington

Parodi: The Eagles have a very good secondary and linebacking corps, but their one thing holding them back from having a very formidable defense is their defensive line. Bennie Logan has been unproductive at the defensive tackle position in his years in Philly and the Eagles are in desperate need of an upgrade. Danny Shelton is absolutely gibungous weighing in at a whopping 339 lbs. He’s a huge space-eater that’s just incredibly strong and dominates smaller offensive linemen. Surprisingly enough, Shelton is quite athletic for his size and has the ability to run down running backs from behind. This would be a great addition to the young Philadelphia defense.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals: Eli Harold, Edge Rusher Virginia

Ting: The Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush last year was beyond abysmal, as they ranked dead last in the NFL in sacks with 20. Carlos Dunlap couldn’t get it done all by himself, as Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt rotated opposite Dunlap combined for a pathetic two and a half sacks. Michael Johnson is back after a miserable year in Tampa Bay, but the Bengals still need help. Eli Harold can rush the passer from multiple positions, and could fit the hybrid OLB/DE pass rusher type mentioned earlier.

#22 Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB Washington

Parodi: The Steelers would consider themselves the luckiest team on the face of the earth if Peters drops down to 22. Not because Peters is a top-10 pick, but because of their desperate need of a solid cornerback who can play immediately. With the retirement of all-time greats Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu, the Steelers need to rebuild their secondary as soon as possible. With the only good safety in Landon Collins already being selected in our draft, the Steelers figure to go corner here. Peters has the potential to be great one day. He showed the most agility out of everybody in the entire draft with the best time by a cornerback with an 11.26 second 60 yard shuttle time and for a corner, that’s great news. Peters is also 6’0” tall and his combination of speed, size, and agility should give him the ability to cover any kind of receiver (except maybe Megatron; the dude isn’t human). Steelers fans, pray and hope that your team can select Marcus Peters in this year’s draft.

#23 Detroit Lions: Malcolm Brown, DT Texas

Ting: Losing Ndamukong Suh will have a massive ripple effect on this Lions’ defense. Not only does it leave a fat hole in the middle, but other players on the defensive line will be less productive since Suh will no longer command a double team every single play. The drop off in pass rush productivity will then move to the secondary, where people of the likes of Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis will be exposed as average to below average defensive backs that were disguised by a dominant pass rush. How to prevent this from happening? Do what worked the first time. The Lions also lost Nick Fairley, Suh’s partner in crime, but did bring in former Baltimore Raven Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. Selecting a player with the quickness and burst of Brown will complement Ngata nicely, who is more of a massive space-eater. The duo of Ngata and Brown won’t equate to Suh and Fairley, but will help prevent the defensive collapse I mentioned earlier.

#24 Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin

Parodi: In my opinion, the Cardinals are a couple pieces away from being serious contenders. They definitely don’t go defense since they had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season. Instead, they look at their weaknesses on offense. The biggest glaring hole is the inconsistent running back play. Andre Ellington has rushed for 652 and 660 yards in consecutive seasons; and that’s just not going to cut it. The guy is trash, honestly. Now to Melvin Gordon. The dude is an absolute freak of an athlete. He gets to his top speed incredibly quick, can juke out any defender at will, has great vision, and has the ability to be an every-down kind of back. If Arizona could get Gordon here, he would be an immediate impact player who could help bring this Cardinals team from a good team to a great team.

#25 Carolina Panthers: TJ Clemmings, OT Pittsburgh

Ting: Cam Newton took a beating last year, as Byron Bell struggled in his first year at left tackle. TJ Clemmings may need to begin his career at right tackle, but has what it takes to move to left tackle. Clemmings needs to add weight and take better angles in the run game, but his foot movement and patience in pass protection will translate well to the NFL. Although not the flashiest pick, it fills a huge need and has good value at 25.

#26 Baltimore Ravens: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR Oklahoma

Parodi: With the departure of Torrey Smith, the Ravens are in desperate need of another receiver to complement Steve Smith. Although Smith is aging, he’s still got a few productive years left in him as he showed last season; so that’s nothing to worry about. Dorial Green-Beckham has the highest ceiling out of any other receiver in this draft. He’s 6’5”, runs a 4.49 second 40 yard dash (and gets to that speed really quickly), is incredibly strong, has great hands, and is a top-tier route runner. If it weren’t for his dismissal from the University of Missouri the summer before his junior year, he would be a sure-fire top 3 pick. With John Harbaugh as the head coach, Baltimore has the type of coach that Green-Beckham can be disciplined by and will eventually make him great.

#27 Dallas Cowboys: Kevin Johnson, CB Wake Forest

Ting: With Gurley and Gordon off the board, there’s no running back worth being taken in the first round here. The Cowboys can easily pick up a high quality starter like Jay Ajayi, Duke Johnson or Tevin Coleman in rounds two or three. Their next biggest need is at cornerback. Morris Claiborne hasn’t lived up to his high draft bill in 2012, Brandon Carr is grossly overpaid and Orlando Scandrick and Sterling Moore are good slot corners, but not legitimate starters on the outside. Kevin Johnson is a smooth athlete, and looks fluid and comfortable in both man and zone coverage. Johnson didn’t face the best competition in college, but is a polished pro-ready prospect with a lot to offer from day one.

#28 Denver Broncos: Andrus Peat, OT Stanford

Parodi: The Broncos could use an upgrade at right tackle. O’Brien Schofield has had flashes of brilliance, but is just too consistently mediocre throughout his career. Andrus Peat out of Stanford is absolutely enormous, coming in at 6’7” and 313 pounds. He also moves fairly well for a guy his size. This is a big need pick for the Broncos as Peat can run block better than most and has the agility to pass block as well. If Peat falls down this far in the draft, the Broncos would be getting an absolute steal here at 28.

#29 Indianapolis Colts: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Edge Rusher UCLA

Ting: The Colts can’t rely on Robert Mathis to anchor they pass rush forever, so adding Odighizuwa provides a necessary injection of youth into their pass rush. Odighizuwa is versatile and experienced, and will thrive in the Colts’ 3-4 scheme. Running back may be an option here as well, but with Gurley and Gordon gone there isn’t another running back worthy of being drafted in the first round, and the position is deep enough to where they can get a solid option on day two.

#30 Green Bay Packers: Maxx Williams, TE Minnesota

Parodi: The Packers are absolutely raw, there’s no question about that. On the offensive side of the ball, they’re scary good. The only weak position on their entire offense and maybe the whole team is the tight end position. If I were a Green Bay fan, I would sure hope that Andrew Quarless isn’t the long term solution at tight end. That’s why they select Maxx Williams here. Williams is 6’4”, 249 lbs of pure athleticism. He runs a 4.7 second 40 yard dash and has some crazy hops. Not only is he a freak athlete, but he’s everything you could want in a tight end. Williams was one of the best run blockers for Minnesota last season and also led the team in receptions, yards per game, and touchdowns for the Golden Gophers. Adding another target like Maxx Williams to Aaron Rodgers’s arsenal could be the puzzle piece this team needs.

#31 New Orleans Saints: Byron Jones, CB UCONN

Ting: The Saints defense was a disaster last season, to the tune of second to last in yards allowed. Rob Ryan and Sean Payton should draft the best defensive player available, as the Saints defense needs help on all three levels. Jones put his name on the map with an impressive combine, and jumps off the page even more with detailed film study. Jones has length and anticipates routes well, traits teams drool over at the cornerback position. A shoulder injury sidelined Jones for much of the end of last season, but that shouldn’t stop him from being a day one starter in the NFL.

#32 New England Patriots: Jake Fisher, OT Oregon

Parodi: The 2015 Super Bowl Champion Patriots may have taken home the Lombardi Trophy last year, there is still room for improvement. One of those places is the offensive line. Sebastian Vollmer is inconsistent at right tackle and Ryan Wendell, the replacement for Logan Mankins, is a below-average guard. What the Patriots need is a versatile player who can play anywhere on the offensive line, and Jake Fisher out of Oregon gives them just that. He has played tackle for all of college, but has the run-blocking ability to step in at guard as well. This wouldn’t be a flashy pick, but it’d be a smart pick.