2015 NFL DRAFT

2015 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com


Overreacting to the fool's gold of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine or the upcoming Pro Days is the single biggest reason why first rounds are historically littered with busts.

That's why you won't see many new faces in this week's mock draft. One notable change, however, comes with the jump to No. 2 overall by quarterback Marcus Mariota, who helped ease concerns about his ability to quickly acclimate to a pro-style offense with a sparkling throwing session in Indianapolis.

He is not the easy fit in Ken Whisenhunt's offense that Jameis Winston would be, but neither the Tennessee Titans' coach nor general manager Ruston Webster sounded convinced during the Combine media sessions that second-year pro Zach Mettenberger is the franchise's long-term answer at the position.

That means we could see quarterbacks go with the first two picks and another club forced to gamble soon thereafter -- just like what happened in 2012 when Indianapolis and Washington nabbed Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III at No. 1 and 2 and Miami and Cleveland gambled on Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, respectively.

NFL Mock Draft - 2/24/2015
Round 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(2-14)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: The release of Josh McCown appears to signal the Bucs are locking in on a quarterback with this pick and, at least on the field, Winston is clearly the most pro-ready passer in this class. Winston's off-field issues are a significant concern, of course, which is why his most important test at the Combine was his interviews with teams. Coach Lovie 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)
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Zach Mettenberger showed flashes as a rookie but given the opportunity to gush about their young quarterback at the Combine, coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Ruston Webster instead each sounded eager to take advantage of their early pick to improve the position. Given the tough adjustment Mariota will have to make in Whisenhunt's offense, this is unquestionably a roll of the dice. But if Tennessee is going to take a significant step forward in the AFC South, it must improve at quarterback and Mariota has the tools to become a star.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars

(3-13)
Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: The Jaguars' record isn't pretty, but coach Gus Bradley's infectious enthusiasm, a hard-hitting defense and talented young quarterback Blake Bortles have this franchise on the upswing. 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.
4. Oakland Raiders

(3-13)
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.
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)
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: The decision new GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles make regarding Percy Harvin could determine which strategy the Jets take with this pick. Should the Jets elect not to keep Harvin and his $10.5 million cap hit, adding a potential No. 1 target could give Geno Smith his best chance of success. Building up the pass rush, however, is also key. Fowler's versatility is his calling card. His unique combination of power, agility and tenacity earns him time at defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle for the Gators and that Swiss Army knife-like multiplicity could be very appealing to Bowles.
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)
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. Gregory's lanky 6-5, 235-pound frame looks better suited to playing a 3-4 rush linebacker role, but he's surprisingly physical at the point of attack and has the pass rush skills that new coach Dan Quinn can cultivate.
9. NY Giants

(6-10)
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: 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. 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 last season.
10. St. Louis Rams

(6-10)
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: At the Combine, coach Jeff Fisher sounded all-in with injury-prone veteran quarterback Sam Bradford to compete in the ultra-competitive NFC West, but improvements must be made to the offense. 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

(7-9)
La'el Collins, OT, LSU: The downfield passing and drive-blocking run game preferred by offensive coordinator Norv Turner put a lot of pressure on the offensive line last season. Collins starred at left tackle for LSU but projects best to guard, where he could prove a quick upgrade over current left guard Charlie Johnson. Collins' brute strength and tenacity make him one of the draft's elite run blockers.
12. Cleveland Browns

(7-9)
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: As the only team with two first-round picks, the Browns have a lot of flexibility but also plenty of needs, including potentially at quarterback. Chief among Cleveland's other concerns, of course, is at wide receiver. Parker is a remarkably fluid athlete with great size (6-3, 209) and speed.
13. New Orleans Saints

(7-9)
David Beasley, OG, Clemson: 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. At just 6-3, 246 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.
14. Miami Dolphins

(8-8)
Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: Jared Odrick is a free agent and there has been talk that the Dolphins might release veteran Randy Starks, who ranked worst among Miami's defensive linemen last year against the run. The 6-4, 320-pound Goldman is powerful and surprisingly quick, making him a good fit and potentially much cheaper option.
15. San Francisco 49ers

(8-8)
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: The 49ers aren't likely to suddenly become more aggressive on offense with defensive-minded head coach Jim Tomsula taking the reins. With Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati set to hit free agency and Anthony Davis struggling with injuries, the 49ers could once again re-invest along the offensive line, ignoring their needs for playmakers.
16. Houston Texans

(9-7)
Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: Since being selected in the second round two year ago, DJ Swearinger has delivered some impressive hits but his struggles in coverage leaves Houston vulnerable up the middle. Collins plays with a similar degree of physicality, but is more instinctive, fluid and a proven ballhawk.
17. San Diego Chargers

(9-7)
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: The Chargers re-signed left tackle King Dunlap to a four-year deal and GM Tom Telesco said that the current plan is to leave D.J. Fluker at right tackle. That might change if Clemmings is on the board. Clemmings is a former defensive end who has steadily improved at right tackle the past two years. He's raw but more athletic than Fluker, who many feel projects best inside at guard.
18. Kansas City Chiefs

(9-7)
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: Coach Andy Reid is notoriously hesitant to select receivers in the first round but given Kansas City's struggles in the passing game, he may not be able to ignore a second consecutive strong class at the position. 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.
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)
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: With Chip Kelly in complete control of the roster, the Eagles are one of the more unpredictable teams this year. Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez have fared reasonably well in Kelly's system but neither possesses the preferred athleticism. Hundley is a project in most schemes but perhaps not so much in Kelly's attack. The 6-3, 226-pounder has terrific speed, a big arm and a career 3-1 touchdown (75) to interception (25) ratio. The drop-off in talent after the top three quarterbacks is significant enough that it could push Hundley into the first round even though many clubs view him as a second-round value.
21. Cincinnati Bengals

(10-5-1)
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma: The Bengals have an established star in A.J. Green, but he, Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu will each be entering the final year of their respective contracts next season. The Bengals aren't likely to let Green walk but might want to add another playmaker to lessen the burden on him and Andy Dalton. Green-Beckham comes with plenty of off-field concerns, but coach Marvin Lewis has been known to gamble on red-flag cases before.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers

(11-5)
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: New defensive coordinator Keith Butler inherits a unit that finished 26th in the NFL against the pass, according to Pro Football Focus. 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, especially if a talent like Waynes is still available. 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 20.
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)
Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky: A stout front and aggressive blitzing from defensive coordinator Todd Bowles helped Arizona mask deficiencies among its edge rushers. 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.
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)
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Justin Forsett was a nice fill-in but he's hardly a franchise bell-cow. Ozzie Newsome knows a star when he sees one and Gurley is certainly that.
27. Dallas Cowboys

(12-4)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: The Cowboys are hopeful that 2014 second round selection Demarcus Lawrence winds up being a difference-maker at pass rusher, but reinforcements are needed. Odighizuwa lacks name recognition but the 6-3, 267-pound defender is powerful, active and instinctive.
28. Denver Broncos

(12-4)
Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota: Like the Cowboys, the Broncos could see the draft as a cheaper alternative than re-signing their own star. Julius Thomas is one of three Denver tight ends set for free agency. If Thomas is not resigned, Williams possesses the size, mobility and soft hands to star in coach Gary Kubiak's TE-friendly offense.
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)
Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington: 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 wasn't a one-game issue, as the Packers finished the regular season ranked 23rd in the league in run defense. Thompson would add speed and versatility to a defense lacking both.
31. Seattle Seahawks

(12-4)
Cameron Erving, C, Florida State: The two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks boast one of the league's best rosters, but free agency and injury concerns could make coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider even more difficult to predict this year than most - and that's saying something. The 6-5, 308-pound Erving switched from defensive tackle to left tackle to center while with the Seminoles, and has the length, athleticism and tenacity scouts like. The Seahawks could see the versatile athlete as a potential replacement for left guard James Carpenter, a pending free agent.
32. New England Patriots

(12-4)
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: The Patriots are flying high as Super Bowl champions but maintaining the championship roster will prove difficult, especially with star cornerback Darrelle Revis due a staggering $20 million in base salary and bonuses. Peters, who was kicked off the team at Washington, comes will all kinds of character red-flags but he is also the most physically talented corner in the draft.

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