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2015 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


Quarterback-needy teams picking early in the 2015 NFL Draft including Tampa Bay, Tennessee and the New York Jets are already hard at work trying to determine if Marcus Mariota and/or Jameis Winston can be their long-term answer at the position

Before the executives for these clubs can imagine Super Bowl glory, however, they'll need to develop division winners. Given the Pro Bowl passers in the NFC South, Tampa Bay can't afford to miss out on its opportunity to land a franchise quarterback of its own - as risky as the pick might be.

Much will change between now and April 30. For now, here is how I see the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft shaking out.

*The selection order for this mock draft is based on current win/loss records, playoff seedings and using Strength of Schedule as the tie-breaker. The Cleveland Browns own the rights to the Buffalo Bills' selection due to the Sammy Watkins trade.

NFL Mock Draft - 1/26/2015
Round 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(2-14)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Winston's off-field issues are a significant concern but allowing the local product to slip through the Bucs' grasp might be even more frightening to head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht. Smith might be precisely the steady hand that Winston needs to take full advantage of his undeniable talent. It is not difficult to imagine Tampa's offense making a huge improvement in 2015 with the strong-armed and accurate Winston firing passes to huge targets Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
2. Tennessee Titans

(2-14)
Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: After losing their final 10 games of the 2014 season, the Titans need help all over the field. Gambling on a rookie quarterback when Zach Mettenberger showed flashes as a rookie might not make as much sense as landing a building block for defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The 6-5, 290-pound Williams has been my personal top-rated player since October. He is a physical mismatch too quick for interior linemen and too powerful for offensive tackles.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(3-13)
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, 242 pounds), explosive and passionate against both the run and pass.
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 be a logical choice, with Cooper ranking as one of the easier projections to the NFL due to his sharp route-running, soft hands and terrific acceleration.
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: Mariota's upside is undeniable, but some worry that he may be a year away from running a traditional NFL offense. New GM Mike Maccagnan may consider adding to the position should Mariota still be on the board. Mariota faces legitimate questions about how he will fare against tighter windows in the NFL, but he shows good awareness in the pocket, a live arm and, of course, great mobility.
7. Chicago Bears

(5-11)
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: For all of the concerns about Chicago's inconsistent offense, the defense remains alarmingly toothless. Given the quarterbacks in the NFC North, that's a recipe for disaster. Like Julius Peppers before him, Jared Allen proved a shadow of his former self after signing with the Bears for big money. Fowler's versatility is his calling card. The 6-3, 260-pounder's unique combination of power, agility and tenacity earns him time at defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle for the Gators.
8. Atlanta Falcons

(6-10)
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. Adding a dynamic edge rusher like Ray to complement the greater size Atlanta added to its defense in the offseason could pay immediate dividends. Playing behind 2014 second-round pick Kony Ealy and Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam, Ealy did not emerge as a starter for the Tigers until the 2014 season, but he may possess the most explosive first step in the country. He led the SEC with 14.5 sacks this season.
9. NY Giants

(6-10)
Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: There is plenty of blame to go around in Gotham as the Giants struggled in 2014 despite an overhaul of the roster last offseason. GM Jerry Reese has won before gambling on the upside of talented pass rushers and given the exciting talent at the position this year he could roll the dice again, especially if free agent Jason Pierre-Paul leaves. Adding an intimidating presence for the secondary, however, should also be a priority.
10. St. Louis Rams

(6-10)
La'el Collins, OT, LSU: The Rams boast one of the league's fastest defenses, but one-dimensional teams won't be successful in the highly competitive NFC West. With a steep drop-off at quarterback following Mariota and Winston, the Rams might be best served again rolling the dice with Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill in 2015. Massive LT Greg Robinson showed flashes of why the Rams invested the No. 2 overall selection in him in 2014 and the Rams will have veteran Jake Long returning from injury in 2015. The interior, however, was a mess for St. Louis. Collins starred at left tackle for LSU but projects best to guard. His brute strength and tenacity make him one of the draft's elite run blockers.
11. Minnesota Vikings

(7-9)
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: The Vikings have yet to see much return on their 2013 first-round investment of Cordarrelle Patterson - at least offensively - and head coach Mike Zimmer isn't the type to wait around. No player has boosted his stock more this season than White, a 6-3, 209-pounder who climbs the ladder to make contested catches look easy.
12. Cleveland Browns

(7-9)
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: As the only team with two first-round picks, the Browns have a lot of flexibility, including potentially making a good offensive line one of the league's elite. A star left tackle for the Cardinal, Peat is blessed with remarkable balance and agility for a man of his 6-7, 315-pound dimensions. He would provide an upgrade over Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle and could be groomed to eventually take over for perennial Pro Bowler Joe Thomas.
13. New Orleans Saints

(7-9)
Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky: With Junior Galette (10 sacks) and Cameron Jordan (7.5) recording more than half of the team's 34 sacks in 2014, the Saints are among the more predictable defenses in the league. That's counter to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's philosophies. Dupree, who led all SEC defensive linemen with 74 tackles in 2014 and is the conference's reigning career sack leader with 24.5, is long, instinctive and closes in a flash.
14. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: The Dolphins allowed an average of 121.1 yards per game on the ground in 2014. Thompson starred at safety, linebacker and running back for the Huskies but projects best as a hybrid defender in the NFL. He is instinctive, athletic and a reliable open-field tackler whose game is well-suited to today's wide-open NFL.
15. San Francisco 49ers

(8-8)
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: Blame Colin Kaepernick all you would like for the 49ers' offensive struggles, but his job isn't made easier with a lack of playmakers among his receiving corps. Green-Beckham is a top 10 talent who is drawing comparisons to Cincinnati Bengals star A.J. Green for his size, speed and ballskills, but he comes with significant off-field concerns. GM Trent Baalke has been more willing than most to gamble on talented players with character red flags.
16. Houston Texans

(9-7)
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: The Texans' investment in Jadeveon Clowney did not pay off in 2014, but don't be surprised when his critics quiet down once he and JJ Watt get an opportunity to play together next season. Adding a powerful - and passionate - interior presence like Shelton could help turn Houston's potential into production.
17. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.): Philip Rivers can still be dynamic when protected. San Diego tackles King Dunlap and DJ Fluker are a lot like their quarterback - big and talented but relatively slow-footed and there has been talk that Fluker will be moved inside to guard in 2015. Flowers remains a work in progress, relying too much on his brawn and aggression and losing his composure on occasion. At 6-5, 322 pounds, however, Flowers has bloomed into one of the country's most intriguing o-line prospects.
18. Kansas City Chiefs

(9-7)
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: Despite a receiving corps that did not catch a touchdown in 2014, the Chiefs were competitive weekly. Providing more weapons on the perimeter would seem to be a priority for Kansas City in the offseason, however, especially given that this year's crop seems very strong yet again. Dwayne Bowe is a reliable route-runner and pass-catcher but he doesn't strike fear into the hearts of defenders. Parker is a remarkably fluid athlete who, at 6-3, 209 pounds, reportedly has been clocked in the 4.4s.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)

(7-9)
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan: The Browns' defense and running game were good enough to make them competitive, but the lack of a top-flight receiver limits the team's upside. With yet another failed drug test, Josh Gordon is facing a year-long suspension and his future in Cleveland is very much in doubt. The 6-5, 235-pound Funchess would add another dimension to Cleveland's offense.
20. Philadelphia Eagles

(10-6)
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: With Chip Kelly left in full control of the roster, he could rely on his familiarity with the Pac-12. Peters, who was kicked off the team at Washington, comes will all kinds of character red-flags but he's also the most talented corner in the draft.
21. Cincinnati Bengals

(10-5-1)
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: Few teams reload along the line of scrimmage as consistently as the frugal Bengals and with starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth in his ninth season and the club's primary backup (Marshall Newhouse) entering the final year of his deal, Cincinnati is likely to be on the lookout for potential replacements. Clemmings is a former defensive end who has steadily improved at right tackle the past two years. Paul Alexander, Cincinnati's offensive line coach, is considered one of the best in the business and may be able to help Clemmings maximize his exciting potential.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers

(11-5)
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: The secondary has arguably been the Steelers' biggest weakness all season. Waynes possesses terrific length (6-1, 183 pounds), fluidity and ball-skills.
23. Detroit Lions

(11-5)
Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: The Lions led the NFL in run defense but with starting DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley set to hit free agency, Detroit will be scouting the defensive tackle class as closely as any team in the league. The 6-4, 320-pound Goldman is powerful and surprisingly quick, making him a good fit and potentially much cheaper option in Detroit.
24. Arizona Cardinals

(11-5)
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: A stout front and aggressive blitzing from defensive coordinator Todd Bowles helped Arizona mask deficiencies among its edge rushers. At just 6-2, 235 pounds, Beasley doesn't possess the length and strength teams prefer on the perimeter but his explosiveness off the corner could make him an immediate impact performer.
25. Carolina Panthers

(7-8-1)
Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State: 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. The 6-5, 308-pound Erving has switched from defensive tackle to left tackle to center while with the Seminoles, boasting the length, aggression and quick feet to help immediately.
26. Baltimore Ravens

(10-6)
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: At 35, Steve Smith is a short-term fix, and Torrey Smith is a pending free agent. The aptly-named Strong has the size, power and body control to win contested passes, traits that project well with the strong-armed Joe Flacco delivering passes.
27. Dallas Cowboys

(12-4)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: Rookie Demarcus Lawrence provided flashes of the pass rush ability that earned his high second-round selection a year ago but Dallas needs more. At 6-3, 266 pounds, Odighizuwa is stout enough to handle run containment duties while also providing the burst and bend off the edge to improve the pass rush.
28. Denver Broncos

(12-4)
Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma: John Elway and Co. clearly took a Super Bowl-or-bust approach to the 2014 season. Rather than blow up the roster with John Fox leaving, Elway and new head coach Gary Kubiak would be wise to patch some of the few holes that left Peyton Manning and the Broncos vulnerable, including at right tackle. Long, strong and athletic, Williams is viewed as a potential plug-and-play option.
29. Indianapolis Colts

(11-5)
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: The 45-7 thumping by New England in the AFC Championship Game exposed Indianapolis' need for more playmakers to support Andrew Luck. The trade for Trent Richardson did not pay off and while the Colts have since received solid play from Dan Herron (among others), the opportunity to add a special runner like Gordon would have to be intriguing. The Heisman finalist, who rushed for a staggering 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014, is an electric runner with breakaway speed.
30. Green Bay Packers

(12-4)
Malcom Brown, DT, Texas: 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 Game didn't help. It also wasn't a one game issue, as the Packers finished the regular season ranked 23rd in the league in run defense. The 6-4, 320-pound Brown is a stout run defender who adds bulk and strength to an otherwise undersized front.
31. Seattle Seahawks

(12-4)
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn: With the recovery of a serious knee injury expected to sideline Paul Richardson into next season, the Seahawks could once again be looking for pass catching help. Pete Carroll and John Schneider like to draft athletes with unique qualities and they don't come much more gifted than the 6-2, 213-pound Coates, whose electric speed and long arms made him a star during Senior Bowl practices.
32. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma: NG Vince Wilfork has been a warrior for the Patriots but he is nearing the end. At 6-6, 334 pounds, Phillips possesses unbelievable athleticism and the power to handle playing inside or as the five-technique. If the junior can prove his health at the Combine - he missed much of the 2013 season with a back injury that required surgery - Phillips will shoot up draft boards.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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