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2015 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


Given the precision of top NFL quarterbacks, the ingenuity of play-designers and a renewed focus from league officials on curbing defensive holding, playing cornerback in the NFL is tough duty.

Recent top 12 selections Morris Claiborne (Dallas, No. 6 overall in 2012), D.J. Hayden (Oakland, No. 12 in 2013) and even rookie Justin Gilbert (Cleveland, No. 8 overall in 2014) have found this out the hard way, failing to impress.

DB-needy teams could find the 2015 NFL Draft to be a quick fix as Alabama safety Landon Collins and Washington cornerback Marcus Peters play with the instincts and physicality that could have the juniors racing to the top of their respective positions and potential top 12 overall picks.

Should the typical numbers of underclassmen make the jump, the 2015 draft should once again offer plenty of talent at defensive back. Pass rushers, quarterbacks and running backs are potential strengths of the class.

They lead the way in my latest first-round projection of the 2015 NFL Draft. *The selection order for this mock draft is based on the projected outcome of the 2014 NFL season by the NFLDraftScout.com staff. The Cleveland Browns own the rights to the Buffalo Bills??? selection due to the Sammy Watkins trade.

NFL Mock Draft - 9/30/2014
Round 1
1. Oakland Raiders

(0-4)
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M: If the Raiders "earn" another top five pick (it would be their fourth since 2007), GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen may be working elsewhere in 2015. That doesn't bode well for Derek Carr as new staffs generally like to pick their own quarterback. Carr has been a relative bright spot thus far, however, which could prompt the club to build around the young signal-caller rather than look to replace him. Ogbuehi isn't a mauler like last year's No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson, instead winning with a combination of length and athleticism that has drawn comparisons to Cowboys' star left tackle Tyron Smith.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars

(0-4)
Leonard Williams, DE, Southern California: The Jaguars have been outscored by an average of 23.5 points over the first four games of the season and while rookie Blake Bortles may add a spark, he isn't likely to spur a sudden winning streak in Jacksonville. Adding some teeth to Gus Bradley's defense will help. Williams is a difference-maker with the length, athleticism and toughness to make a difference immediately.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(1-3)
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Mike Glennon helped spark a stirring comeback to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Four but that won't keep general manager Jason Licht from nabbing the top quarterback available if Mariota is somehow still available. 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. St. Louis Rams

(1-2)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: The tragic re-tearing of the ACL for Sam Bradford could put the Rams in position to once-again search for a franchise signal-caller via the draft. To compete in the NFC West, the Rams must find a difference-maker at quarterback and Winston boasts intriguing size, arm talent and instincts for the position. He comes with character concerns that must be investigated before any team would consider him with an early selection but GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have been more willing than most to take chances on draft day.
5. Cleveland Browns

(1-2)
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: The Browns have two of the league's best with left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack but could use reinforcements at right tackle, where Mitchell Schwartz is coming off a disappointing second season. Scherff plays with the physicality and tenacity that is helping rookie Joel Bitonio impress already at right guard.
6. Washington Redskins

(1-3)
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: Another injury to Robert Griffin III is perhaps the worst possible reminder that Jay Gruden's attack calls for bigger, more physical lineman than Mike Shanahan preferred. Peat's length and athleticism could keep him at left tackle in the NFL, though with Trent Williams firmly established in that role for Washington, the 6-7, 312 pound junior would likely make the transition to the right side if drafted here.
7. NY Jets

(1-3)
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.
8. Kansas City Chiefs

(2-2)
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 quickly righted the ship since, however, intercepting three passes in his last two games.
9. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)

(1-2)
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: The Browns stubbornly refused to acknowledge the impending loss of Josh Gordon throughout the 2014 draft, leaving quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel lacking a playmakers at the receiver position. Like Gordon, Green-Beckham comes with character concerns that could push him down the board but he's a top 10 talent who is drawing comparisons to Cincinnati Bengals' star A.J. Green for his size, speed and ball skills.
10. Dallas Cowboys

(3-1)
Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: The Cowboys' defense is atrocious and upgrades are needed at virtually every position. Collins' athleticism, physicality and instincts is likely to make him the first defensive back selected in 2015.
11. Tennessee Titans

(1-3)
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.
12. NY Giants

(2-2)
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. GM Jerry Reese is as gutsy on draft-day as any of the league's decision-makers and may see Oakman as too special to ignore. 13
13. New Orleans Saints

(1-3)
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. The Saints appear to have a young star in Brandin Cooks but that won't stop Sean Payton from adding more weapons for Drew Brees.
14. Houston Texans

(3-1)
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.
15. Miami Dolphins

(2-2)
Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan: The Dolphins are making strides under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor but need to continue to support young quarterback Ryan Tannehill with mismatches. Funchess is one of the year's best in that department, using his rare combination of size (6-5, 235) and body control to make circus catches.
16. Minnesota Vikings

(2-2)
Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: 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. Drango, a collegiate tackle who projects to any of the four exterior spots, has the length, strength and tenacity to be successful early.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers

(2-2)
P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State: An aging defense needs reinforcements at virtually every level. Williams has the athleticism and instincts to boost Pittsburgh's downfield coverage, as well as the physicality for run support.
18. Atlanta Falcons

(2-2)
Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida: The Falcons have plenty of playmakers on offense but lack difference-makers on the other side, currently surrendering an NFL-worst 6.8 yards per snap entering Thursday's game with Tampa. Fowler lines up all over the Gators defense and is comfortable rushing (or dropping) from either the two or three point stance, versatility that defensive coordinator Mike Nolan would appreciate.
19. Chicago Bears

(2-2)
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.
20. San Francisco 49ers

(2-2)
Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford: 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. Jim Harbaugh would know Montgomery well and would likely value the 6-2, 215-pounder's ability to break tackles as a receiver and returner.
21. Baltimore Ravens

(3-1)
Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.): The Ravens are hopeful that Rick Wagner and Jah Reid will be able to replace Michael Oher at right tackle. If they aren't, the 6-5, 322-pound Flowers offers the length and feet to project nicely in this role.
22. Detroit Lions

(3-1)
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon: Ekpre-Olomu is a proven commodity who should compete for the top spot among cornerbacks in 2015. Concerns about his size (5-9, 195), however, could push him down the board far enough that a savvy team could get a steal.
23. Philadelphia Eagles

(3-1)
Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: Chip Kelly is best known for his dynamic offense but the defenses he built at Oregon were just as fast on the defensive side of the ball. Due to his experience in the Pac-12, Kelly might have a greater appreciation of Thompson's ability to make big plays rushing, dropping and playing the run. 24
24. Carolina Panthers

(2-2)
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn: Despite plenty of drops throughout his collegiate career, the Panthers gambled on Kelvin Benjamin in the first round last season because of his remarkable upside. GM Dave Gettleman could see a similar boom factor in Coates, whose size, athleticism and physicality is considered freakish by some talent evaluators. 25
25. Green Bay Packers

(2-2)
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 be a first-round pick, but he's not the dynamic pass rusher his NCAA-leading seven sacks might suggest.
26. Arizona Cardinals

(3-0)
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Even without Carson Palmer, the Cardinals could be well on their way towards making real noise in the NFC West. Few appreciate skill-position stars like Bruce Arians, who could use Gurley as an effective battering ram to complement air back Andre Ellington.
27. New England Patriots

(2-2)
Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon: The 6-7, 296-pound Armstead is fundamentally raw after spending time with Oregon's basketball team rather than focusing on football but possesses undeniable athleticism and may be just scratching the surface of his potential. Few reward upside along the front seven like Bill Belichick, who has gambled on Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins with recent high picks.
28. San Diego Chargers

(3-1)
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: Keenan Allen emerged as Philip Rivers' go-to target as a rookie and Antonio Gates added to his Hall of Fame credentials in a Week Two win against the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks but finding complementary playmakers should still be a priority. Strong is aptly named as the 6-4, 220-pounder uses his size and strength to win contested passes.
29. Indianapolis Colts

(2-2)
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.
30. Cincinnati Bengals

(3-0)
Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State: 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. At 6-5, 304 pounds and possessing vines for arms, Erving (a former defensive tackle) has the length and raw athleticism for trusted OL coach Paul Alexander to develop.
31. Denver Broncos

(2-1)
A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina: Peyton Manning very nearly drove Denver to an inspiring victory in Seattle in Week 3, but he did it with little help, as the Broncos rushed for just 40 yards against the Seahawks. Adding grit and physicality along the interior with Cann would help take some of the pressure off of Denver's passing attack.
32. Seattle Seahawks

(2-1)
La'el Collins, OT, LSU: Russell Okung is a Pro Bowl left tackle but he's also proven injury-prone and commands a large salary for a team that may be forced to make tough decisions to fit under the cap. The Seahawks aren't opposed to fixing holes up front via the draft, as 2014 second pick Justin Britt is proving. Collins has starred at left tackle for the Tigers but may project better inside at guard, where the Seahawks have another former first-round pick in James Carpenter entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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