Thursday, April 30, 2015

Derek's Final Mock Draft

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State Seminoles

This is the easiest selection to make, and it isn't even close. The Bucs have no one on their roster who is capable of being a franchise quarterback, and it is borderline impossible to win in the NFL without one. Jameis is considered to be the best quarterback prospect to come out in the last ten years behind only Andrew Luck. He wouldn't have the best line or a great running game to help him out, but he would be throwing to three receivers who all stand at around 6'5. With how dysfunctional the NFC South is, Jameis could turn the Bucs into an instant contender in the division. This is a no-brainer. The Bucs should have him signed to a contract even before the draft in all honesty.

Tennessee Titans
Dante Fowler Jr., Outside Linebacker/Defensive End, Florida Gators

I'm not doing trades for this mock because I hate using the trade value chart created two decades ago, but I do believe that someone is going to move up to this spot to overdraft Mariota. But if the Titans do somehow end up picking second overall, their best bet would be to take an edge rusher to bolster the defense. The Titans didn't have any pass rusher who recorded double digit sacks last year, and it really affected the defense as a whole. Fowler played standing up and with his hand in the dirt while at Florida and was moved around very frequently. He has the versatility that teams covet and has a high end motor that wears down an offensive line. Fowler makes too much sense for the Titans and should be an obvious pick for them if they don't feel they are getting a good trade deal to move down.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama Crimson Tide

I have gone back and forth a lot with Cooper or Leonard Williams here, but I think that Cooper makes a lot more sense. Gus Bradley is a defensive guy and got some solid production out of completely unheralded guys last season. But one thing that this team is really missing is a true number one receiver. They have two good receivers in Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson, but neither of them can break a game open quite like Cooper can. He is being compared to Jerry Rice for his superb route running ability and run after the catch ability. He could stand to improve his hands on some of the more routine passes, but Cooper regularly wins the contested passes and has great body control. Someone with his skill set could drastically help Blake Bortles take the next step in his sophomore year.

Oakland Raiders
Leonard Williams, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle, USC Trojans

This is realistically as far as I can drop Williams, or as far as I can see him dropping in the actual draft. The fact of the matter is that he is immensely talented and can play almost any position along the defensive line. Again, versatility on defense is becoming so coveted because it allows coordinators to disguise what they're doing and create confusion. Williams has great speed, power, and leverage. He can beat offensive tackles or guards with his unique combination and skill set. There is a large contingent of scouts out there who believe that Williams is a better prospect at his position than Jameis at quarterback. Let that sink in when you remember that Jameis is only a fraction behind Andrew Luck as a prospect. Pairing Williams with Khalil Mack on the other of the defense would form a lethal pass rushing combination for years to come.

Washington Redskins
Randy Gregory, Outside Linebacker, Nebraska Cornhuskers

I honestly don't believe in dropping guys that far due to character concerns. I know that the threat of a year long suspension (hi Dion Jordan) can be enough to turn a team off, but Gregory has a ton of potential and has only been busted one time with pot. If he failed multiple drug tests then I could see it. But Washington is desperate for pass rushers after losing Brian Orakpo in free agency and Gregory could come in and make an impact from day one. His slender frame should fill out in an NFL weight room, but playing the outside linebacker position in Washington's 3-4 defense would be a perfect scenario for him. It would allow him to use his natural speed and explosiveness to get to the quarterback rather than have to fight through the line. Gregory was viewed as a prospect worthy of a top three selection before being picked apart and before the failed drug test, but if Washington snags him at five they should be very happy with the results.

New York Jets
Kevin White, Wide Receiver, West Virginia Mountaineers

The Jets have a real mess on offense, and while it starts at quarterback, you can't completely blame Geno Smith considering the weapons that he has around him. Their best receiver is Brandon Marshall, who looks to be following in the same footsteps of Santonio Holmes in getting one last contract before retirement. Outside of that, the Jets have no fire power at wide receiver and could really stand to use multiple picks at that position. Kevin White could come in and make an instant impact to really improve this offense. He has fantastic speed and size and is able to win a lot of jump balls which is always a plus when Geno is your quarterback. His route running needs some work, but I could see him having a 1000 yard season as a rookie and be the most dynamic playmaker for the Jets.

Chicago Bears
Vic Beasley, Outside Linebacker, Clemson Tigers

Even though the Bears are transitioning to a 3-4 defense under Vic Fangio and John Fox, they really don't have great personnel to make it competent in year one. The main area where they are really lacking is at outside linebacker, who is responsible for blitzing and applying pressure to the quarterback. Over the past two seasons, there really hasn't been anyone better than Beasley at doing just that. His sack total and tackles for loss really does speak for itself when you evaluate his talent. There are certainly some areas for improvement in his game, especially against the run, but there is little doubt that his potential to be a pass rush specialist is through the roof. Beasley could realistically notch double digit sacks in his first year if utilized properly. 

Atlanta Falcons
Shane Ray, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Missouri Tigers

Ray will likely fall into the 20s in the actual draft because he is a fucking moron and got busted with pot THREE DAYS before the draft, but he has a lot of talent despite the recent knit-pickings into his game. But the Falcons had one of the worst pass rushes last season and Ray would likely be a starter from the first preseason game if he is taken by the Falcons who run a hybrid defense. His first step explosiveness is absolutely lethal and gives him an advantage on a lot of tackles. He doesn't have quite the strength or pass rush repertoire that some of the other guys ahead of him have, but there is no doubt he has all the physical tools and high energy motor to become a very good player. Those two will come with experience. 

New York Giants
Brandon Scherff, Offensive Lineman, Iowa Hawkeyes

I have yet to see a mock this late in the process with the Giants taking anyone else other than Scherff, and it really makes a lot of sense why. The Giants have had a pretty awful line for the past few years, and Eli does not have the mobility in the pocket to make things happen on the run. I have my doubts about Scherff being able to play left tackle, but I don't doubt his ability to be a dominant guard which is what the Giants need on the left side. They have always been a better club when they can run first and have Eli complement the passing game, and this would put them right back into that mold. Scherff would also allow Eli more time to stand tall in the pocket and deliver to one of the most dangerous receivers in the game. This would be a home run pick for my boys in blue.

St. Louis Rams
Devante Parker, Wide Receiver, Louisville Cardinals

Good Lord, how long has it been since the Rams had a true number one receiver? Ten years? They have some great pieces in place with Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, but Parker has proven over the last two years that he can execute a pro style offense at a very high level. He has a very good combination of height and speed which makes him difficult to defend at all levels of the defense when combined with his hands. The Rams have a couple of other areas where they need to improve their talent, but wide receiver looks to be the most pressing. Who knows how Nick Foles will actually pan out, but why not give him some weapons and see what he can do. Parker would at least be a great receiver for the next franchise quarterback the Rams take.

Minnesota Vikings
Trae Waynes, Cornerback, Michigan State Spartans

If one of the top three receivers is available for the Vikings to take, they might have a hard time passing them up. But in this scenario, Waynes makes a ton of sense. The Vikings have a very talented receiver in Xavier Rhodes, but Mike Zimmer likes to have two corners who can hold their own in man to man. Waynes played that almost exclusively while playing for the Spartans, so he would be able to fill both a need and provide great value. He is very experienced and has great physical potential. Waynes would be able to contribute from day one.

Cleveland Browns
Danny Shelton, Nose Tackle, Washington Huskies

Shelton to the Browns could be a match made in heaven. The Browns were the worst team against the run last season, and a huge reason why was injuries along their defensive line. The line was unable to close down running lanes, and backs often were able to get six or seven yards before even being hit. With injuries and losses in free agency, the Browns desperately need what Shelton can provide. He has a massive frame and can clog up running lanes with ease. More impressively, he made quite a few plays on the quarterback last year. He has tremendous athleticism for a man his size. With how Cleveland struggled to generate sacks and stop the runs, Shelton seems like a very obvious pick here.

New Orleans Saints
Marcus Peters, Cornerback, Washington Huskies

My guess is that Peters won't go this high due to a series of incidents at Washington that lead to him getting kicked off the team. But despite these transgressions, there is little doubt that Peters is an immensely talented corner who could see playing time early for the Saints. The Saints have a couple of needs on defense after taking a huge step back last season, and corner is one of their biggest concerns. They could also use a blitzing linebacker, but there really isn't anyone of good value at this point in this mock. Peters has shown the natural ability to play man to man coverage very efficiently. Taking him would go a long way towards shoring up a secondary that was frequently torched last year. 

Miami Dolphins
La'el Collins, Offensive Tackle, LSU Tigers

It seems like every year for the past several years, the Dolphins get an offensive lineman mocked to them. This year is no different as they still continued to struggle to protect Ryan Tannehill. Collins has some good versatility to be able to play multiple spots along the line. He played left tackle almost exclusively at LSU, but his skill set projects better as a guard or even a right tackle at the next level. Taking Collins would allow the Dolphins to play around with combinations and see which one works better to provide better protection. Collins should be a pretty easy pick for the Dolphins.

San Francisco 49ers
Eric Kendricks, Inside Linebacker, UCLA Bruins

Inside linebackers don't typically go this high, but the Niners are the exception. With the retirement of Chris Borland and Patrick Willis this offseason, the Niners are remarkably thin at the position. They could easily take a cornerback or receiver here to replace Crabtree, but I honestly can't even tell you who will be starting inside for them next year. Kendricks makes a ton of sense as he is arguably the best inside linebacker in the class and does everything well. He plays the pass well and can be tough against the run. Best of all, he generated a lot of turnovers while playing for the Bruins. I can see the Niners trying to trade down, but desperation might force their hand.

Houston Texans
Jaelen Strong, Wide Receiver, Arizona State Sun Devils

Losing Andre Johnson is going to hurt the Texans more than people realize, even if he didn't have his most productive season last year. I am not saying that Strong is going to come in and blow the doors off of the league, but he would be a great addition to an offense that is still trying to find its identity. Strong has very good hands and can destroy corners with his size and physicality. The combination of Deandre Hopkins and Strong would be a potent tandem for whoever wins that starting job in Houston this year.

San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin Badgers

The Chargers have quite a few needs, but something has to be done with their running back corps. They lost Ryan Mathews to the Eagles, but he was not very good and could never stay healthy anyway. Gordon would be getting fifteen to twenty carries a game from the first week. He has a tremendous blend of size, speed, and elite acceleration. Philip Rivers is a great quarterback, and it really is amazing to look at what he accomplished last year with no running game. He might not have a ton of success because their line is very bleh, but he could take a lot of pressure off of Rivers and close the gap with the Broncos in the AFC West.

Kansas City Chiefs
Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver, Missouri Tigers/Oklahoma Sooners

If he hadn't been kicked off of the team, there is a great chance that DGB would go in the top ten of the draft and would be in the mix for first receiver off of the board. There is a good amount of work that still needs to be done to his game, but he has all of the physical tools and a catch radius that rivals Calvin Johnson. He is a bit sloppy with his routes and surprisingly gets pushed around a bit by more physical corners, but his potential is through the roof. He can out muscle corners for position and is so dangerous after the catch. With how poorly the Chiefs' receivers were last year, this is a very easy pick.

Cleveland Browns
Bud Dupree, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Kentucky Wildcats

The Browns really need help at receiver, but unfortunately there aren't any worth taking here in this mock. However, this selection would help them continue to build on a defense that started very well last year before imploding. One of their weakest positions is at outside linebacker where they have suffered a lot of attrition through free agency. Dupree should be able to come in and be a part of the rotation from the get go. With him and Mingo on the other side, the Browns would finally have a good pass rushing tandem.

Philadelphia Eagles
Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon Ducks

It is beginning to sound like the Eagles are going to mortgage their future to jump up and take Mariota, but here that isn't the case. I have a ton of reservations about him as an NFL quarterback, but if anyone can maximize his potential it is Chip Kelly. He would structure the offense to fit Mariota's strengths and be able to utilize his athleticism. If they do move up in the draft, Eagles fans better hope that he doesn't completely deplete their future picks. They only need to look fifty miles down south to see how that turned out.

Cincinnati Bengals
Mario Edwards, Defensive End, Florida State Seminoles

Along with the Falcons, the Bengals had one of the absolute worst pass rushes last year. They desperately need to get a couple of players this draft to be able to get after Big Ben and Flacco, two of the toughest quarterbacks to actually bring down. Edwards is incredibly versatile as he played tackle, end, and even stood up to rush the quarterback. That kind of versatility is coveted and would help the Bengals out instantly.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Landon Collins, Safety, Alabama Crimson Tide

The Steelers finally faced the music and saw Troy Polumalu retire this offseason and will need to find a replacement. Collins falling to them offers the perfect chance for them to find a safety who can patrol center field and make plays in the box for a decade. He is incredibly physical and rarely misses a tackle. This makes him more suited to play strong safety, but I think that he can work on his game and be a real do it all kind of player. He made a ton of plays throughout his career at Alabama that changed momentum or put games away. He is too good for the Steelers to pass up at this point.

Detroit Lions
Malcom Brown, Defensive Tackle, Texas Longhorns

The Lions got absolutely mauled this offseason with attrition along the defensive line and need to replenish. Brown might not be as good as Fairly or Suh, but he would be a great piece to start the rebuilding process. He is a big bodied guy who clogs lanes and forces the running backs to adjust and stall behind the line. Brown actually is a pretty good pass rusher as well. He has shown the ability to outmuscle his man and shoot the gap. Again, this seems like a very obvious pick if he is available at this juncture.

Arizona Cardinals
Denzel Perryman, Inside Linebacker, Miami Hurricanes

Like the Lions, the Cardinals saw a lot attrition in their front seven and are going to need to spend multiple picks this draft to restock. Perryman is the perfect fit to come in and take command of the defense. I think that he would actually be a better fit in the Cardinals' 3-4 defense anchoring one of the middle spots. They are going to need physical linebackers to be able to counter the offenses of San Francisco and Seattle.

Carolina Panthers
Andrus Peat, Offensive Tackle, Stanford Cardinal

It is almost like the Panthers are trying to get Cam killed. They still could not protect him last year and it cost them dearly in some games. Peat has the potential to be a franchise left tackle in the NFL which is exactly what the Panthers need. Considering they just signed Michael Oher, Peat might start off as a right tackle while working on his game. No matter where he starts, he will instantly upgrade the line.

Baltimore Ravens
Todd Gurley, Running Back, Georgia Bulldogs

The Ravens really lost their offensive identity last year with no run game to speak of. Ray Rice was rightfully let go and Bernard Pierce was also released after being arrested. Gurley could make the Ravens a run first team again with his incredible skill set. There is talk that he will go a lot higher, but it is a scary proposition considering that he is only five months removed from an ACL tear. This would be the perfect spot for him to land.

Dallas Cowboys
Kevin Johnson, Cornerback, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Boys don't have a lot of areas of needs, but cornerback is one of them. Mo Claiborne has been dreadful over the last couple of seasons and they need some shut down corners to be able to contend with the other top teams in the NFC.

Denver Broncos
DJ Humphries, Offensive Tackle, Florida Gators

We all know that the Broncos offense runs through Peyton, so keeping him upright is paramount. There has been a lot of buzz building about Humphries since the season ended, and it looks like he has the makings of a franchise left tackle. At this juncture, this pick would fit both a need and provide solid value.

Indianapolis Colts
Arik Armstead, Defensive End, Oregon Ducks

Both offensive and defensive lines need improvement for the Colts, but there really isn't an offensive lineman that they could justify taking here. Armstead is more of an athlete than a football player right now, but he has shown the ability to dominate tackles and guards while he played at Oregon. He would be a huge asset for the Colts if he can live up to his athletic potential.

Green Bay Packers
Benardrick McKinney, Inside Linebacker, Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Packers were in need of improvement at the inside spot even before AJ Hawk was released from the team. McKinney has the ability to be a part of the rotation early in the season. He needs to improve his ability against the run and develop tackling consistency, but his ability to defend the pass in space will be invaluable.

New Orleans Saints
Philip Dorsett, Wide Receiver, Miami Hurricanes

Suddenly, the Saints once feared offense seems to lack any teeth. They no longer have Jimmy Graham and traded away deep threat Kenny Stills for some picks from the Dolphins. Dorsett has tremendous speed and has better hands and route running abilities than he is given credit for. His skill set translates very well for Sean Payton's offense.

New England Patriots
Jalen Collins, Cornerback, LSU Tigers

Who the hell knows what the Patriots will actually do when their name is called, but I think Collins makes a lot of sense at this juncture. He is a tremendous athlete who has shown the ability to shut down receivers. His technique isn't completely refined, but he has a good base and would be worth the risk at this point.

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