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2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Pretenders and contenders are becoming clear one-third of the way through the 2014 NFL season.

While there have been plenty of surprises, the one prevailing constant is that teams are only as good as their quarterbacks.

Starting rookies Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders are a combined 0-11. Meanwhile, protected by impressive defenses, savvy veterans Tony Romo and Philip Rivers have the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers sitting atop their respective conferences with identical 5-1 starts, including wins over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

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 - 10/14/2014
Round 1
1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles has flashed the form of a future franchise quarterback but at 0-6 there are plenty of other holes to fix in Jacksonville. Adding a dominant defensive lineman to help fix Gus Bradley's defense would go a long way towards success. Williams, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2012 and nearly a consensus All-American a year ago, is once again dominating the completion. He's powerful, relentless and moves easily for a man of his 6-5, 290-pound frame.
2. Oakland Raiders

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M: Derek Carr is capturing the imagination of Raiders fans but for his big arm to translate into sustained success, he needs help. Protecting the investment with Ogbuehi, a future Pro Bowl left tackle, would be a nice start.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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.
4. NY Jets

Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: Gregory may line up as a traditional 4-3 defensive end for the Cornhuskers but he's also capable of rushing out of the two-point stance. Adding playmakers on offense would seem to be the logical route for the rocket-fuel-needy Jets, but as long as Rex Ryan is calling the shots, the focus will be on defense.
5. Washington Redskins

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.
6. St. Louis Rams

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Like the Jaguars and Raiders, the Rams are hoping that their young quarterback, Austin Davis, gives them a reason to consider any other position that quarterback with this pick. To compete in the league's toughest division, the Rams must find a difference-maker at quarterback and Winston boasts intriguing size, arm talent and instincts for the position. He comes with plenty of character concerns, of course, which could take the quarterback completely off some team's boards, regardless of his talent. GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have been more willing than most to take chances on draft day.
7. Tennessee Titans

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.
8. Minnesota Vikings

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.
9. Atlanta Falcons

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.
10. New Orleans Saints

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. Miami Dolphins

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Free agent addition Knowshon Moreno went on injured reserve and will be a free agent in March. Incumbent starter Lamar Miller is nice but not a transcendent talent like Gurley. 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.
12. Kansas City Chiefs

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.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers

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 (from Buffalo)

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.
15. Chicago Bears

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.
16. Houston Texans

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. NY Giants

Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: An inability to keep up with Philadelphia's backs and tight ends exposed a lack of ideal speed and awareness in coverage from New York's back seven. Adding a versatile playmaker like Thompson would help in this regard.
18. Carolina Panthers

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.
19. San Francisco 49ers

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.
20. Cleveland Browns

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 but hasn't been as dominant in 2014 as his hype suggests. Adding a potential top 10 talent with their second pick of the first round, however, is how franchises are turned around.
21. Seattle Seahawks

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.
22. New England Patriots

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State: 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. Sambrailo has the length and footwork to remain at tackle but his girth and aggression also project well inside.
23. Green Bay Packers

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.
24. Detroit Lions

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. Indianapolis Colts

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.
26. Baltimore Ravens

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: 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. GM Ozzie Newsome, a Alabama alum, might appreciate Cooper's play more than most.
27. Cincinnati Bengals

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.
28. Arizona Cardinals

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.
29. Philadelphia Eagles

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.
30. Denver Broncos

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. With an established left tackle already in place in Pro Bowler Ryan Clady, Collins would likely be asked to move to right tackle or guard if drafted by Denver.
31. Dallas Cowboys

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. San Diego Chargers

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.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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