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2015 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


Quarterbacks may get all of the attention but if passers are king in today's NFL, pass rushers are on the verge of a hostile takeover.

Look no further than the Denver Broncos for evidence of this transformation. Peyton Manning is now the NFL's all-time passing touchdown leader, but if he is to win the championship he'd really like ??? his second Super Bowl ??? edge rushers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware will help him hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Every team in the NFL is looking for the next Manning. If they can't find him, however, difference-making defensive linemen are a terrific consolation prize. Defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Randy Gregory lead off a pass rusher-heavy first round as the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, respectively.

The following is my latest first round projection of the 2015 NFL Draft.

*The selection order for this mock draft is based on the current records of teams with point differential breaking all ties. The Cleveland Browns own the rights to the Buffalo Bills' selection due to the Sammy Watkins trade.

NFL Mock Draft - 10/23/2014
Round 1
1. Oakland Raiders

(0-6)
Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: As the only winless franchise in the NFL this season, the Raiders are projected to earn the No. 1 overall in 2015. Teams picking at the top will always look to available quarterbacks first, but rookie Derek Carr has been a relative bright spot for Oakland. Second on the priority list for teams in today's NFL are defensive linemen. The 6-5, 290-pound Williams is a physical mismatch too quick for interior linemen and too powerful for offensive tackles.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars

(1-6)
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: The Jaguars' record isn't pretty but head coach Gus Bradley's infectious enthusiasm, a hard-hitting defense and talented rookie quarterback Blake Bortles have this franchise on the upswing. Gregory is well-suited to starring in Bradley's hybrid 4-3 alignment at the LEO defensive end, as he's long (6-5, 255 pounds), explosive and passionate against both the run and pass.
3. NY Jets

(1-6)
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M: The Jets already boast a Pro Bowl left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson but that may not stop them from falling in love with Ogbuehi, a highly athletic 6-5, 300-pounder who has previously starred at left guard and right tackle. That versatility -- and the trade for Percy Harvin -- could help ignite the Jets' engines.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(1-5)
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: A spanking by Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens only served as more evidence that the Bucs need to find a franchise quarterback of their own. Mariota's production is certainly inflated by Oregon's scheme but he possesses the exciting traits, including the mobility, arm and composure to project as a franchise quarterback.
5. Tennessee Titans

(2-5)
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: The Titans didn't address their need for outside rushers to fit new defensive coordinator Ray Horton's scheme in the 2014 draft but could see the highly athletic Beasley as the perfect fit. Beasley possesses an explosive first step to create immediate stress on quarterbacks, as well as the acceleration to chase down ball-carriers from behind.
6. Minnesota Vikings

(2-5)
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: The Vikings are set at tackle with Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt but with the focus on deep drops and power running in Norv Turner's offense, strong play on the interior is also a priority. Scherff, a collegiate tackle with the strong hands and nasty disposition to project well inside too, would be a solid building block for a franchise looking to reinvent itself around Teddy Bridgewater.
7. Washington Redskins

(2-5)
Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: Washington hasn't boasted a truly fearsome safety since the late Sean Taylor was patrolling the deep middle. At 6-0, 215 pounds, Collins isn't huge, but he shows the exciting blend of explosiveness and ball skills that made Taylor a special player.
8. Atlanta Falcons

(2-5)
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: Oakman didn't start a single game last year for the Bears but registered 12.5 tackles for loss. Powerful and shockingly athletic given his massive (6-foot-8, 275 pounds) frame, Oakman possesses the kind of traits teams are willing to gamble on.
9. St. Louis Rams

(2-4)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Winston's off-field concerns are enough to push him down the board but there is no denying his talent. As he demonstrated yet again in a stirring comeback victory over Notre Dame, Winston wins with a combination of arm, mobility and instincts. Rams' GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have been more willing than most to take chances on draft day and they may see the gutty Austin Davis as the competitor to push Winston (or another rookie) to reach his full potential. Hard-luck former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford is a pending free agent who may need a change of scenery to revive his NFL career.
10. New Orleans Saints

(2-4)
Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida: Few appreciate versatility and passionate from pass-rushers more than the Ryan brothers and given New Orleans' shaky defense this season, adding weapons on this side of the ball will again be an offseason priority. Fowler lines up all over the Gators defense and is comfortable rushing (or dropping) from either the two or three point stance.
11. NY Giants

(3-4)
Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: The Giants have been gashed by the Eagles and Cowboys' athletic running backs the past two weeks, drawing unwanted attention to a slower-than-ideal back seven. Thompson is a 6-2, 225-pound former safety turned linebacker whose instincts and speed have helped him score four defensive touchdowns for the Huskies in 2014.
12. Chicago Bears

(3-4)
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State: Despite investments in free agency and the draft, the Bears' defense remains alarmingly toothless. Calhoun has the length and burst off the snap to warrant consideration earlier but doesn't yet possess ideal strength.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers

(4-3)
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: An aging defense needs reinforcements at virtually every level. Waynes possesses the length, athleticism and instincts to boost Pittsburgh's downfield coverage, as well as the physicality for run support.
14. Cleveland Browns

(3-3)
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: The Browns boast one of the league's best left tackles in Joe Thomas but could use reinforcements at right tackle, where Mitchell Schwartz is coming off a disappointing second season. Peat blessed with remarkable balance and agility for a man of his 6-7, 315 pound dimensions and his experience in the conservative Stanford offense could make him especially attractive to the run-heavy Browns.
15. Miami Dolphins

(3-3)
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: While Lamar Miller has played well since again being made the top back, GM Dennis Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin didn't show great faith in him when signing Knowshon Moreno prior to the season. Miller and Moreno are each capable NFL starters when healthy but neither possesses Gurley's talent. Whether he plays another snap again this season or not, Gurley's power, balance and surprising speed make him a virtual lock for the first round.
16. Houston Texans

(3-4)
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick can keep the Texans from finishing with the league's worst record but he's clearly not the long-term answer and there has been little indication to this point that fourth round pick Tom Savage is either. Scouts are intrigued by Cook's confidence, poise and strong arm and Bill O'Brien would know him well.
17. Seattle Seahawks

(3-3)
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: When the Seahawks struggle to move the ball consistently -- as they have in losses to San Diego and Dallas -- they've failed to run the ball often enough. If Seattle is intending on becoming more reliant on Russell Wilson and the passing attack, the team could utilize the hops and hands of the aptly-named 6-4, 205-pound Strong.
18. Kansas City Chiefs

(3-3)
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: The Chiefs are desperate for help at cornerback and Peters is a fluid athlete who possesses physicality, tenacity and ball-skills. Teams will want to do their homework on Peters, who was suspended in Week Three for a sideline tantrum in the previous game. Peters, however, has been impressive since.
19. Carolina Panthers

(3-3-1)
P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State: Carolina boasts a great deal of talent in their front seven but the secondary is a relative weakness. Williams has the athleticism and instincts to boost Carolina's coverage downfield, as well as the physicality for run support.
20. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)

(3-3)
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan: The surprising 3-2 Cleveland Browns are dominating opponents with their running game but could be even better with a full gauntlet of receivers. The club is hopeful that Josh Gordon will re-emerge as a superstar but can't rely on him. At 6-5, 235 pounds, Funchess is a huge target with soft hands and impressive body control.
21. San Francisco 49ers

(4-3)
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: Green-Beckham is a top 10 talent who is drawing comparisons to Cincinnati Bengals' star A.J. Green for his size, speed and ball-skills.The 49ers would be wise to continue adding to their receiving corps with Anquan Boldin aging and talented (but injury prone) Michael Crabtree entering the final year of his rookie contract. The 49ers have been more willing than most to take on players with some character red flags.
22. Cincinnati Bengals

(3-2-1)
Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Few teams reload along the line of scrimmage as consistently as the frugal Bengals and with starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth entering his ninth season and the clubs' backups (Marshall Newhouse, Will Svitek) entering the final year of their contracts, Cincinnati is likely to be on the lookout for potential replacements. Drango plays with the tenacity that OL coach Paul Alexander will appreciate.
23. New England Patriots

(5-2)
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Keeping Tom Brady happy should remain a top priority in New England as it a lack of protection and weapons -- and not poor play from the future Hall of Fame quarterback -- that has plagued the Patriots early this season. The agility and first-step acceleration that helped Cooper star as a true freshman is clearly back and he's dominating again, looking like an easy favorite thus far to be the first Biletnikoff Award winner in Alabama's history.
24. Detroit Lions

(5-2)
Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: With starters Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the final year of their respective contracts, the Lions will be scouting the defensive tackle class as closely as any team in the league and Goldman is generating plenty of buzz. The 6-4, 320-pound junior is a former top recruit who's enjoyed a breakout campaign back inside this season after starting at end last year for the champs.
25. Green Bay Packers

(5-2)
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: The loss of veteran nose guard B.J. Raji created a significant hole in the middle of the Packers' defense. Shelton is powerfully built at 6-2, 332 pounds and possesses the agility and tenacity to earn a first round selection, though he's not the dynamic pass rusher his numbers (seven sacks) suggest.
26. San Diego Chargers

(5-2)
Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State: Philip Rivers has been the catalyst for the Chargers' impressive play this season but a solid defense has also contributed. With the projected last pick of this mock draft, the Chargers add McKinney, a dynamic athlete with great size and versatility.
27. Indianapolis Colts

(5-2)
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: After investing their 2014 first-round pick on a trade for Trent Richardson, GM Ryan Grigson wouldn't dare do it again in 2015? Why not? Gordon, a junior, is a slasher with clear first round traits. If Richardson doesn't pan out in year two in Indianapolis, adding a weapon for Andrew Luck will be an obvious priority.
28. Baltimore Ravens

(5-2)
Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State: With back to back blowout wins, the 2014 Ravens are showing shades of the dominant form that helped them win the Super Bowl just two years ago. Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh understand the need to reload along the line of scrimmage. Sambrailo has the length and footwork to remain at tackle but his girth and aggression also project well inside.
29. Arizona Cardinals

(5-1)
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: Adding some speed on the outside would make Rod Marinelli's squad that much more formidable. They don't come much more explosive than Ray, currently the SEC's leading pass rusher with eight sacks.
30. Philadelphia Eagles

(5-1)
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon: Offense was, of course, Chip Kelly's calling card at Oregon but he recruited and helped to develop plenty of talent on defense, as well. No one in the NFL will know Ekpre-Olomu better -- and how his instincts and ball-skills help him compensate for marginal size.
31. Dallas Cowboys

(6-1)
Markus Golden, DE, Missouri: The big three of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant get plenty of press but the real reason for the Cowboys' improved play in 2014 has been impressive play along the offensive line and a hard-hitting, opportunistic defense. Golden isn't as flashy as his teammate, Ray, but he's bigger, stronger and more consistent.
32. Denver Broncos

(5-1)
La'el Collins, OT, LSU: The selection of Collins would not only help protect Peyton Manning, it would help generate some push in the running game, as the beefy left tackle is one of the country's better run-blockers. Right tackle has been an ongoing issue for the Broncos this season. Collins would provide an immediate improvement.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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