2015 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


The boom or bust reputation of the 2015 NFL Draft only grew stronger with the admission by Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory of testing positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine.

There are players with character concerns in every draft, of course. What makes the class of 2015 unique is that the players with red flags happen to be some of the year's most gifted prospects. Gregory, arguably the most talented pass rusher in this class, joins Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Oklahoma wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Washington cornerback Marcus Peters as this year's most tantalizing gambles.

Armed with two first round picks, the New Orleans Saints could be in position to win big if willing to gamble on big-play additions to Rob Ryan's defense.

NFL Mock Draft - 3/29/2015
Round 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(2-14)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: All indications are that the Bucs plan to select Winston. From a purely football perspective, it is an excellent match as Winston possesses the awareness, accuracy and arm strength to take full advantage of Tampa Bay's massive pass-catchers. The question, of course, will be if Winston can overcome the immaturity that led to numerous off-field issues in college. Answering that question is precisely why the Bucs made the unusual move of inviting Winston in for an early three-day visit of the facilities.
2. Tennessee Titans

(2-14)
Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is in play here but unless the Titans feel certain that he can be a franchise quarterback, it is easy to envision GM Ruston Webster opting for the relative safety of Williams, the clear-cut top non-quarterback in the 2015 draft and a perfect fit at end in Ray Horton's defense. The 6-5, 302-pound Williams entered the 2014 season as my top-rated defensive prospect and did not to change that grade all year long. He is a physical mismatch too quick for interior linemen and too powerful for offensive tackles.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(3-13)
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: The Jaguars have spent their past five first round picks on offense with little to show for it - although QB Blake Bortles is still a young work in progress. Adding an edge rusher to defensive-minded head coach Gus Bradley's squad seems likely this year, however. Fowler isn't as explosive as some of the other edge rushers in this class but he is versatile, technically-sound and powerful, making him arguably the most pro-ready of the group and like last year's selection of UCF's Bortles, the former Gator would be a popular move with the fan base.
4. Oakland Raiders

(3-13)
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Derek Carr showed flashes as a rookie of being the young signal-caller capable of turning this franchise around. Adding another weapon for him would seem like a logical choice. Talent evaluators are split on Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White as the top receiver in the 2015 draft. Cooper (6-1, 211 pounds) is smaller than White (6-3, 215), but is more polished.
5. Washington Redskins

(4-12)
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: Jay Gruden's success as the play-caller in Cincinnati came with one of the league's biggest offensive lines. He inherited one of the smallest in Washington and there is no question that upgrading the talent there will be an offseason priority. Not everyone sees Scherff (or any offensive lineman this year) as a top 10 talent, but he plays with the grit and physicality Washington is lacking and would be an immediate upgrade at right tackle.
6. NY Jets

(4-12)
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: The trade for Brandon Marshall gives the Jets a legitimate No. 1 receiver but Geno Smith has yet to prove that he is a franchise quarterback. With nothing tying them to Smith, new GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles could see Mariota as the ideal quarterback to develop in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's scheme.
7. Chicago Bears

(5-11)
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: With the hiring of defensive-minded head coach John Fox (who in turn hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio), the Bears are looking for big improvements on that side of the ball. Fox and Fangio know better than most the value of dominant defensive linemen. The 6-2, 343-pound Shelton proved one of the elite prospects at the Senior Bowl. He's surprisingly quick and passionate in pursuit for a man of his size and eats up blocks, freeing up teammates to make big plays.
8. Atlanta Falcons

(6-10)
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. At just 6-3, 246 pounds, Beasley lacks the bulk most clubs prefer at defensive end and therefore is being projected to outside linebacker by many. New Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn helped the Seahawks win with similarly built defensive ends in Cliff Avril (6-3, 260) and Chris Clemons (6-3, 254) in the past and will likely push for a pass rusher with this pick.
9. NY Giants

(6-10)
Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: The three players who started at safety for the Giants last season are all no longer on the roster. New York could still elect to re-sign part-time starters Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps (who are still on the market), but at this point have only youngsters Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor. Collins is the consensus top safety in this class, offering instincts, closing speed and ballskills.
10. St. Louis Rams

(6-10)
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: The Rams might consider Mariota if he was here, but providing Nick Foles with a potential star receiver could be another way to spark St. Louis' disappointing passing attack. No player has boosted his stock more this season than White, who climbs the ladder to make contested catches look easy and answered any questions about his athleticism with a spectacular workout at the combine.
11. Minnesota Vikings

(7-9)
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: Reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his favorite target with the Cardinals just makes too much sense. Regardless of whether Adrian Peterson returns to the Vikings or not, offensive coordinator Norv Turner will continue to pound the football and take deep shots down the field in the passing attack. That fits the 6-3, 209-pound Parker (he of 4.40 speed) perfectly.
12. Cleveland Browns

(7-9)
La'el Collins, OT, LSU: The Browns feature one of the NFL's better offensive lines but right tackle is a relative weak spot. Collins starred on the left side at LSU but his power-based game projects better inside or at right tackle.
13. New Orleans Saints

(7-9)
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: Failing a drug test at the combine is the latest in a string of missteps from Gregory over the past year, which is why the clear-cut top 10 talent is likely to fall further than that on draft day. Pass rushers this gifted generally don't fall far, though. A creative defensive coordinator like Rob Ryan could take full advantage of the 6-5, 240-pound Gregory's rare athleticism.
14. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: In Jarvis Landry and recently acquired speedster Kenny Stills, the Dolphins have two legitimate weapons in the passing game. Neither, however, scares defenses the way that DGB would. How better to double-down on the monster deal given to defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh than to take a similar gamble on the offensive side of the ball with a potential game-changer like the 6-5, 237-pound DGB?
15. San Francisco 49ers

(8-8)
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: Patrick Willis and Chris Borland retiring has shifted the attention in San Francisco to inside linebacker, but the starting cornerback Chris Culliver to free agency is also a concern. Waynes, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated cornerback, has the length, athleticism and ballskills to step in and play immediately on a defense that remains one of the NFL's best.
16. Houston Texans

(9-7)
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: Should the Texans feel good about the recovery of last year's No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney from microfracture surgery, the team may elect to look elsewhere with this selection, as adding a pass catcher or defensive back would seem to make sense. A less-than-spectacular pro day has Ray's stock slipping and the Texans could see the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year as providing too much value at this point to pass up, especially given the loss of solid edge rusher Brooks Reed in free agency.
17. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: The Chargers seemed to pay extra attention to Gordon at his Pro Day and may see the Heisman Trophy finalist as the back best prepared to make an immediate impact in the NFL. Gordon's speed and underrated receiving skills could make him a perfect complement to an offense built around Philip Rivers.
18. Kansas City Chiefs

(9-7)
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU: The Chiefs have a legitimate standout corner in Sean Smith but could use reinforcements opposite him. Collins only started 10 games at LSU over his career but scouts love his upside.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)

(7-9)
Malcom Brown, DT, Texas: The Browns finished dead last in the NFL in run defense a year ago and have allowed more than 2,000 rushing yards in 14 of the past 16 seasons - a recipe for disaster in the black and blue AFC North. The 6-4, 320-pound Brown is a stout run defender who add bulk and strength to an otherwise undersized front.
20. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon: Chip Kelly loves his Ducks. If unable to swing a big move for Mariota or unwilling to gamble on the similar athletic Brett Hundley, Kelly and the Eagles may see Armstead as an ideal complement to Fletcher Cox and a developing Philadelphia defensive line.
21. Cincinnati Bengals

(10-5-1)
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: The Bengals have two solid tackles in Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith but each will be entering the final year of their contracts in 2015. The notoriously frugal Bengals may already be looking ahead to the future, especially if a talent like Peat falls into their lap.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers

(11-5)
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: New defensive coordinator Keith Butler inherits a unit that finished 27th in the NFL in pass coverage. None of the teams ranked worse made the playoffs. After heavy investments in the front seven over the past several years, the Steelers may turn to the secondary. Some believe that Johnson is the best cover corner in the draft.
23. Detroit Lions

(11-5)
Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.): Due to its extraordinary skill-position talent, Detroit has remained one of the league's most explosive offenses, but improvement at right tackle could take the club to new heights. Flowers remains a work in progress, relying too much on his brawn and aggression and losing his composure on occasion. At 6-6, 329 pounds, however, Flowers has bloomed into one of the country's most intriguing o-line prospects.
24. Arizona Cardinals

(11-5)
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Arizona's interest in DeMarco Murray and other running backs proves that coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim know full well that improving at this position is important. Should Arizona not significantly boost its talent in free agency, passing on a three-down back like Gurley seems unlikely - assuming that Arizona is comfortable with his recovery from a torn ACL.
25. Carolina Panthers

(7-8-1)
D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida: With the selection of Kelvin Benjamin and free agent addition of sure-handed veteran Jericho Cotchery last offseason, the Panthers addressed weapons for Cam Newton but failed to improve the offensive line protecting him. They won't make the same mistake this year. Humphries is a bit raw but is one of the few tackles in this class athletic enough to remain on the left side in the NFL.
26. Baltimore Ravens

(10-6)
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: Given the loss of Torrey Smith in free agency and the advancing age of Steve Smith, the Ravens will be in the market for receivers. Strong is aptly named, showing the physicality and body control to make acrobatic catches and he showed off his explosiveness with stellar marks in the 40-yard dash (4.44) and vertical jump (42 inches) at the Combine. He also comes with high marks for his work ethic and dependability.
27. Dallas Cowboys

(12-4)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: Given the loss of DeMarco Murray to the rival Eagles, it would be easy for Jerry Jones and Co. to roll the dice on a running back with this pick, but starting caliber backs will be available on Day Two. Another priority would be to build the defensive line. Odighizuwa's power and motor make him an ideal complement to Greg Hardy and last year's second round pick Demarcus Lawrence.
28. Denver Broncos

(12-4)
Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota: The loss of Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme in Gary Kubiak's TE-friendly offense significant, but the Broncos could see a cheap alternative via the draft in Williams. He possesses the size, mobility and soft hands to warrant early comparisons to Dallas Cowboys' All-Pro Jason Witten and complement free agent addition Owen Daniels.
29. Indianapolis Colts

(11-5)
Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky: The addition of front seven defenders Kendall Langford and Trent Cole certainly adds to the pass rush, but that may not be enough to stop GM Ryan Grigson from pulling the trigger should an athlete like Dupree fall into his lap. Dupree's length and agility make him tough for offensive linemen to handle; precisely why he left Kentucky as the SEC's active sacks leader.
30. Green Bay Packers

(12-4)
Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA: The Packers may have been a dropped onside kick from playing in the Super Bowl, but allowing 157 rushing yards to Marshawn Lynch in the NFC Championship didn't help. It also was not a one-game issue, as the Packers finished the regular season ranked 23rd in the league in run defense and have since released linebackers AJ Hawk and Brad Jones. Kendricks lacks the bulk of a traditional 3-4 inside linebacker but his instincts, speed and ball-skills could be the quick fix GM Ted Thompson is looking for.
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle)

(7-9)
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: With the need for another edge rusher satisfied with the No. 13 overall pick, the Saints can take advantage of this year's solid depth at cornerback here. Peters is a top 20 talent who comes with character concerns after getting kicked off of the UW roster in November. In terms of size (6-0, 197 pounds), speed (4.47) and competitiveness, though, he might just be the best corner in the draft.
32. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: The Patriots would love to see the broad-shouldered, run-stuffing Goldman still on the board at No. 32 given the need to find a replacement for Vince Wilfork at nose guard.

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