Monday, February 9, 2015

Pre-Combine Mock Draft

College and pro football are now over, but this is one of my favorite times of the year. I will sorely miss being able to spend Saturday and Sunday doing nothing but watching games, but the NFL Draft is one of the most intriguing events in football. It is the culmination of years of hard work by college athletes and a year of dismal performances by professional teams. Justin and I will likely be posting a few more mocks before the actual draft and are going to get started now. Things will change a bit when the Combine results are cemented, but you can start to make some good selections based on team needs and how guys performed during the season. The Combine rarely keeps a player's draft status static. More often than not, they will either rise or fall based on how they perform. But until then, here is our preliminary mock draft. As was the case last year, this is more of what we believe each team should do based on needs and who is available rather than a prediction of what they will do.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
JR: Jameis Winston, QB- The Bucs are going for their quarterback of the future and definitely the best quarterback in this draft.

DR: Jameis Winston, QB- The Bucs don't have a franchise quarterback and are in desperate need of one. Winston is the best in the class and could win eight games in his first year.

2. Tennessee Titans
JR: Leonard Williams, DE- The Titans get the best player in this draft who will be a staple for the Tennessee front.

DR: Shane Ray, OLB- Williams is a popular choice here, but I think the Titans' defensive line is set. They sorely need a linebacker who can rush the passer in their new 3-4 defense. 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
JR: Randy Gregory, OLB- Jacksonville has lacked a true playmaking pass rusher for over a decade.  Gus Bradley will find a way to use Gregory in his Leo role and maximize his explosive first step.

DR: Leonard Williams, DE- The Jaguars had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL last year, and that was even before Sen'Derrick Marks tore his ACL. 

4. Oakland Raiders
JR: Amari Cooper, WR- Derek Carr needs a true number one to grow with.  James Jones can only do so much.

DR: Amari Cooper, WR- A true game changing receiver is exactly what a young quarterback like Derek Carr needs to improve in his second year under center.

5. Washington Redskins
JR: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB- When Orakpo leaves via free agency, Washington will need a pass rusher who can actually stay healthy and be productive.

DR: Landon Collins, S- The Redskins secondary is an absolute abomination. Washington lands the safety they have been craving for since the tragic death of Sean Taylor.

6. New York Jets
JR: Marcus Mariota, QB- New Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has experience running the spread offense which can make Mariota’s transition to the NFL easier.  I pray they would sit this kid for 10 games.

DR: Randy Gregory, OLB- I'm not ready to mock a quarterback to this train wreck yet. But here is a guy who can get after the quarterback from the linebacker spot, something the Jets have been lacking.

7. Chicago Bears
JR: Ereck Flowers, OT- Jay Cutler got sacked quite often.  Maybe if he stays upright, he will actually enjoy playing in the NFL.

DR: Trae Waynes, CB- Why bother protecting Jay Cutler when he doesn't give a shit about the team anyway? The Bears would be better served continuing to upgrade their porous secondary.

8. Atlanta Falcons
JR: Shane Ray, OLB- Every year Atlanta needs to address the pass rushing position and every year they decide that Kroy Biermann is enough.  Time to change that with Biermann being a free agent.

DR: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB- Atlanta had a terrible pass rush that cost them a lot last year. Here is a player who can rush the passer with his hand in the dirt or standing up in Atlanta's hybrid defense.

9. New York Giants
JR: Brandon Scherff, OL- Taking a page out of their NFC East rival’s playbook, the G Men go for a versatile offensive lineman that can maul defenders at the line.

DR: Andrus Peat, OT- Same idea as Justin, but I simply think that Peat is a better player and has more blindside potential than Scherff. An elite offensive tackle will be needed to protect Eli in the twilight of his career.

10. St. Louis Rams
JR: Devante Parker, WR- Finally, whoever is lining up at quarterback for the Rams will have a true number one receiver.

DR: Marcus Mariota, QB- I think that this is the perfect situation for Mariota to be drafted into. He can sit, learn, and work on his mechanics while Sam Bradford finishes out the final year of his contract.

11. Minnesota Vikings
JR: Danny Shelton, DT- The Vikings miss the days of the two Williams’ brothers clogging up the middle and being the best at stopping the run.  They allowed over 100 yards rushing in all but three games this season, including over a 150 yards in five games.

DR: Devante Parker, WR- Greg Jennings is aging and Cordarelle Patterson has drawn the ire of his coaches. Why not give Bridgewater his favorite 6'3 target from Louisville?

12. Cleveland Browns
JR: Kevin White, WR- With the bone-headedness of Josh Gordon and him potentially never playing again in the NFL, it looks as though the Browns will have to look elsewhere for some playmakers.

DR: Danny Shelton, NT- The Browns were the worst at defending the run last year, giving up close to 150 yards a game. Shelton can clog lanes and get after the quarterback with his massive frame and relentless motor.

13. New Orleans Saints
JR: Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB- Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan were decent but not spectacular at getting to the quarterback.  They need a pure pass rushing playmaker to wreak havoc off the edge.

DR: Vic Beasley, OLB- Again, same idea as Justin but a different player. Beasley is a tremendous pass rusher who would fit well into Rob Ryan's blitz heavy defense.

14. Miami Dolphins
JR: Devin Smith, WR- Mike Williams seems like he is on his way out of Miami so it’s time to give Ryan Tannehill a true deep threat to match with his giant arm.

DR: Kevin White, WR- White is a more versatile receiver who can work all aspects of the field. That is needed as Miami currently has no one capable of being a true number one receiver on their roster.

15. San Francisco 49ers
JR: Maxx Williams, TE- The tight end from Minnesota is a fast riser.  Michael Crabtree may be leaving in free agency and Williams can be that big target that Vernon Davis clearly isn't anymore.

DR: Sammie Coates, WR- Crabtree is a bum who likely won't be on the team in 2015 while Anquan Boldin is fast approaching the end. Coates has the size and speed to be a dangerous playmaker if he can improve his concentration for the NFL.

16. Houston Texans
JR: Denzel Perryman, ILB- JJ Watt would love another addition to his defense and one in a player that hits like a Mack Truck such as Perryman.

DR: Shaq Thompson, LB- I think the Texans will value the versatility and big play abilities of Thompson. He can play inside, outside, rush the passer, play safety, and can even be plugged in at running back if Arian Foster gets hurt...again.

17. San Diego Chargers
JR: Andrus Peat, OT- Pass protection was an issue for the Bolts this past year and if you take Peat and stick him at right tackle while kicking D.J. Fluker to guard, you can kill two birds with one stone.

DR: Melvin Gordon, RB- One of the best backs to enter the game since Adrian Peterson, Gordon would take a lot of pressure off of Rivers and could have a massive rookie season. Ryan Mathews cannot be trusted to stay healthy and has been unspectacular when he is.

18. Kansas City Chiefs
JR: Landon Collins, S- Such a sad story about Eric Berry.  A phenomenal player and his career could be cut way too short, so it looks as though the Chiefs will have to replace him.

DR: Jaelen Strong, WR- I'm sure you've heard, but not a single receiver caught a touchdown for the Chiefs last year. Strong is at best a solid number one and at worst a stellar number two receiver who provides a huge body in the redzone.

19. Cleveland Browns
JR: La’El Collins, OL- Adding a mauler like Collins would help the Browns all along the offensive line.

DR: Brandon Scherff, OL- The Browns suffered mightily when center Alex Mack went down, but there were problems at guard and right tackle. Scherff could play either of those and be a terrific run blocker for Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. 

20. Philadelphia Eagles
JR: Trae Waynes, CB- I live in the Northeast and constantly hear Eagles fans complain about how terrible their secondary was and how Cary Williams is the worst corner in the league.  So maybe this will fix that.

DR: Marcus Peters, CB- Peters has good size, is physical, and excelled at man coverage at the University of Washington. But he comes with some baggage after getting kicked off the team this past season.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
JR: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR- We saw how Andy Dalton got shut down once A.J. Green is covered or is not playing.  Adding an unbelievable talent like Green-Beckham would do wonders for this offense.

DR: Mario Edwards, DE- It was clear that the Bengals really missed losing Michael Johnson in free agency as they struggled to get after the quarterback. Edwards would be a great upgrade at the end spot who also has the athleticism to stand up and rush.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers
JR: Vic Beasley, OLB- James Harrison and Jason Worilds could easily leave through free agency (or if Harrison retires) so adding a pass rusher who had 44.5 tackles for loss and 25 sacks the past two seasons would be a huge upgrade.

DR: Eddie Goldman, DL- Goldman would be an interesting fit as he could play several spots along the defensive line. However, his presence would instantly boost an aging pass rush unit.

23. Detroit Lions
JR: Malcom Brown, DT- Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley could both be gone next year so adding to what was a position of strength is a must.

DR: Jalen Collins, CB- The secondary has been a weakness for years for the Lions. Collins could soon develop into a true shut down corner across from Darius Slay.

24. Arizona Cardinals
JR: Jaelen Strong, WR- Larry Fitzgerald is such a polarizing figure in Arizona and if the Cardinals decide to move on from him, and even if they don’t, they need to look forward to the future.  Michael Floyd is a good number two and Strong is right in Arizona’s backyard.

DR: Denzel Perryman, ILB- The Cardinals have suffered some serious attrition at the linebacking corps. With defensive coordinator Todd Bowles leaving, Perryman could help ensure that the defense keeps running smoothly next year.

25. Carolina Panthers
JR: T.J. Clemmings, OT- Opponents sacked Panthers quarterbacks 42 times this past season.  Keeping Cam Newton upright and healthy is a must for this franchise.

DR: Ereck Flowers, OT- Cam is built like a tank, but there are only so many shots he can take before he regresses. Flowers has the potential to be his blindside protector for the rest of his career.

26. Baltimore Ravens
JR: Phillip Dorsett, WR- Even if Torrey Smith doesn’t leave, Joe Flacco needs more targets.  Steve Smith, who will be 36 at the start of next year, started off strong this year but tapered off towards the end.

DR: Todd Gurley, RB- Gurley is simply too talented to fall to the second round despite his injury. The team doesn't have that many needs, so they can allow him to recover while Forsett handles the load for the season.

27. Dallas Cowboys
JR: Shaq Thompson, LB- A true playmaker that has the ability to play both sides of the ball but is probably best suited for outside linebacker.

DR: Michael Bennett, DT- The Cowboys' defensive line started off the year strong but tapered off towards the end. Bennett isn't great at stopping the run, but he has explosiveness to get to the quarterback.

28. Denver Broncos
JR: Eddie Goldman, DL- If Terrance Knighton does not come back, this Broncos defense will need another big body to clog up the middle.

DR: Maxx Williams, TE- It seems likely that Julius Thomas isn't going to be retained for next year. Peyton loves his tight ends, so why not give him one who can do it all?

29. Indianapolis Colts
JR: Melvin Gordon, RB- As a Jaguars fan, this scares me to death.  The thought of Andrew Luck and Gordon teaming up with T.Y. Hilton on the outside would be a deadly trio.

DR: La'el Collins, OL- Andrew Luck is constantly under siege from pretty much every spot expect for left tackle. Collins could be plugged in at guard to provide better protection and get good movement in the run game.

30. Green Bay Packers
JR: Arik Armstead, DE- A long and built defensive end that can add to the talent on this Packers defense.  And oh yeah, getting trained up by Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews isn’t a half bad gig.

DR: Benardrick McKinley, ILB- Clay Matthews was forced to play inside due to injury, but an upgrade was needed anyway. McKinley is a very intriguing combination of size and speed that can do pretty much anything that is asked of him.

31. Seattle Seahawks
JR: Devin Funchess, WR- Time for Russell Wilson to have a big bodied endzone threat. 

DR: Devon Smith, WR- The Seahawks have some good receivers who can work well underneath, but none are a true deep threat. Smith averaged close to forty yards per reception during the Buckeyes championship run.

32. New England Patriots
JR: Marcus Peters, CB- While Peters comes with some baggage, Bill Belicheck is not afraid to turn a players life around.  Darrelle Revis will probably be cut after being owed over $25 million dollars with a $12.5 million roster bonus.

DR: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR- I have no idea how the Patriots won with Edelman and Amendola. Green-Beckham comes with a lot of baggage, but his potential is so limitless that it could honestly be the key to New England repeating next year.

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