2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

With Jameis Winston appearing to be a virtual lock to go No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay, much of the pre-draft focus has been on the choice facing the Tennessee Titans between Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

An equally fascinating choice is facing the two teams picking next, however, as the Jaguars and Raiders appear set to take their pick from talented pass rusher and pass-catcher classes, respectively.

Raw athleticism or pro-readiness? That is the philosophical dilemma facing general managers David Caldwell (Jaguars) and Reggie McKenzie (Raiders).

NFL Mock Draft - 3/23/2015
Round 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

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

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

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: 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. 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. Bigger and more explosive than Cooper, White is a favorite of scouts.
5. Washington Redskins

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

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

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

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

Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: 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. Gregory's lanky 6-5, 235-pound frame looks better suited to playing a 3-4 rush linebacker role, but he's athletic enough to handle adding mass without losing quickness and is physical enough to remain on the line of scrimmage.
10. St. Louis Rams

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Nick Foles demonstrated the accuracy necessary to be successful in the NFL, but he was also surrounded by talent in Philadelphia. Cooper would be an absolute steal at this point in the draft. He ranks as one of the easier projections to the NFL due to his sharp route-running, soft hands and terrific acceleration.
11. Minnesota Vikings

Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: Reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his playmaking receiver DeVante Parker is awfully intriguing but so is adding a heat-seeking missile like Collins to pair with Harrison Smith in the secondary. Given the passing attacks in the NFC North and head coach Mike Zimmer's defensive background, Collins makes a lot of sense.
12. Cleveland Browns

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

Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: The fire sale in New Orleans that has seen standouts Jimmy Graham, Ben Grubbs and Kenny Stills traded away is reportedly due in part to concerns about the defense. With the top pass rushers off the board, New Orleans attempts to fix the secondary first. Waynes has the length, athleticism and ballskills teams are looking for, though his slim frame (6-0, 186) is a concern that could keep him out of the top 15.
14. Miami Dolphins

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: The addition of DT Ndamukong Suh likely switches Miami's focus in the draft to nabbing a playmaker for Ryan Tannehill. At 6-3, 209 pounds, the silky-smooth Parker has the size, as well as the fluidity and hang-time to win contested passes to emerge as a big-play threat opposite steady Jarvis Landry.
15. San Francisco 49ers

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: The addition of Torrey Smith gives San Francisco the vertical threat to complement Colin Kaepernick's big arm, but the 49ers still lack a true No. 1 target. DGB comes with plenty of off-field concerns but his talent is undeniable. GM Trent Baalke has been willing to roll the dice before and may be feeling the pressure to hit a home run via the draft.
16. Houston Texans

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State: Because of the rare depth at pass rusher in this draft, the Saints could elect to gamble that a pro-ready edge rusher like Smith will still be available with their second pick of the opening round. Smith isn't as explosive off the edge as some of the others, but his length and physicality fit in with the parameters that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has looked for in the past.
32. New England Patriots

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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