Here is my Post Super Bowl 2015 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by regular updates up until the NFL Draft on April 30th.
This is not a mock draft where I substitute my judgement for that of the teams. Instead, I research the opinions of those who most closely know teams, NFL scouts, insiders and beat writers from all of the NFL cities, and try to make the most educated prediction as to which way each team will go in the draft.
My mock draft has been linked by The Football Fan Spot, Sports Jabber, DC Pro Sports Report, Walter Football, FF Toolbox, hailRedskins.com, The Football Expert, Fantasy Football Help Desk, The Huddle Report, Niners Nation, EDS Football, NFL Mock Draft Central and NFL Pro Zach in their Mock Draft Databases, so check out all of their fantastic draft related materials and content.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State:
Tampa Bay has their choice of the top two quarterbacks in the draft. Coming from a pro-style offense and possessing the stronger arm, Jameis Winston has the edge between the sidelines. With higher character and better decision making on and off the field, Marcus Mariota has the edge between the ear holes. When in doubt, NFL GM's typically go with the stronger arm.
2. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Williams, DE, USC:
With Ken Whisenhunt bringing in Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau to put the finishing touches on the Titans 3-4 defense, it only makes sense to give him all the tools he needs to make it work. Leonard Williams of USC would be the prototype 5-technique DE that the Titans could build the rest of their defense around.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska:
With multiple teams vying for position to select one of the top two quarterbacks, things could line up perfectly for the Jaguars to either trade out of the No. 3 spot for more picks. If they stay put, Randy Gregory of Nebraska is the elite outside rusher that the Jaguars are looking for.
4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:
The Raiders began the slow process of trying to build a nucleus for the future through last year's draft, but still lack a competent GM to follow through with that plan. If Cooper even comes close to delivering on his promise to run a sub 4.4 forty yard dash at the Scouting Combine, he'll easily propel himself into the top five. The only question is whether Reggie McKenzie is smart enough to select him.
5. Washington Pigskins - Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri:
Washington could use a pass rush specialist to replace Brian Orakpo. Assuming that the Redskins don't trade up to select Bryce Petty of Baylor, Shane Ray of Missouri would be an ideal fit at outside linebacker in their modified 3-4 scheme.
6. New York Jets – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon:
While the Jets need to find a quarterback before the franchise goes anywhere in the future, the team could be on the outside of the QB lottery looking in at the 6th overall pick. If Marcus Mariota of Oregon is still available at the No. 6 spot, the Jets should jump all over him.
7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington:
As the Bears transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they'll be looking to add a prototypical nose tackle as an anchor. Weighing in at over 340 pounds, Danny Shelton of Washington looks absolutely awful to the eye, but is surprisingly agile as a pass rusher in addition to being able to clog the run. The only question that remains is whether Shelton has the stamina to be a three down player to justify a team like the Bears using a top ten pick on him.
8.Atlanta Falcons - Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida:
Atlanta is in desperate need of a pass rusher who can put some much needed heat on opposing quarterbacks and take some pressure of their secondary. New coach Dan Quinn is said to be a high on Dante Fowler, Jr. from their time together at Florida, and for good reason, considering Fowler’s ability to close on opposing passers.
9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa:
The Giants are in the market for help at offensive tackle, and could wind up with their pick of the litter. Unfortunately, there are not any elite prospects at that position in this year's draft class, although Brandon Scherff should be no less than solid coming out of an offensive line factory like Iowa.
10. St. Louis Rams – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh:
With Sam Bradford's future in question, the Rams have big needs at both quarterback and on the interior of their offensive line. With the 10th pick, T.J. Clemmings of Iowa could be a plug and play starter at either right or left tackle, which would give the team some versatility as last year's top pick Greg Robinson tries to find a forever home, possibly at guard.
11. Minnesota Vikings – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:
While the Vikings have invested big in free agent Greg Jennings and 1st round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson, neither has produced like a true No. 1 wide receiver. If Rick Spielman and the Vikings think that Teddy Bridgewater is their long term option at quarterback, the team almost has no choice but to give him the weapons he needs before his development becomes stunted.
12. Cleveland Browns – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State:
Another year, another front office gaffe by the Browns. Considering that Josh Gordon is suspended, Jordan Cameron is packing his bags to get out of town, 'Johnny Football' is in rehab, and Brian Hoyer is feeling disrespected, Cleveland's offensive passing game is in limbo. With a strong running game in place, a run stuffing defensive lineman Eddie Goldman of Florida State could help the Browns solidify their defense and play ball control football.
13. New Orleans Saints - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson:
Vic Beasley of Clemson is a bit undersized as pass rusher, and is probably better suited for a 3-4 scheme if he can make the transition to dropping into coverage. Beasley could be an ideal fit in New Orleans as Rob Ryan and the Saints continue to transition towards more of a hybrid 3-4 defense, which would allow him to utilize his athleticism as more than just a situational pass rusher.
14. Miami Dolphins – Landon Collins, S, Alabama:
The Dolphins will have to decide how to best improve their defense with the No. 14 pick in the draft. If Landon Collins of Alabama is still on the board, he would probably provide Miami with the best value, and could pair with Reshad Jones at safety and replace Louis Delmas.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia:
Wide receiver and cornerback are the team's two biggest needs. Kevin White of West Virginia may be a bit raw when it comes to running routes, but he has the elite size, speed and ball skills to make him a much needed big play receiver in the 49'ers offense.
16. Houston Texans - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State:
The Texans are facing potential losses through free agency at nearly every position group on defense. Trae Waynes, who has excellent press man skills coming out of Michigan State's heralded "No Fly Zone" defense, would be a perfect addition to Houston’s secondary.
17. San Diego Chargers – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami:
The Chargers could use an upgrade on both their offensive and defensive lines, as well as at running back. When your quarterback is Phillip Rivers and he finished last season injured, offensive line gets first dibs. Ereck Flowers of Miami projects as a solid left tackle at the NFL level.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma:
If you're reading this, Kansas City probably hasn't had a reliable go-to wide receiver in your lifetime. While Dorial Green-Beckham may have some character concerns, Andy Reid and the Chiefs are one of the teams that could provide him with a good environment as the talented young receiver tries to adapt to the league.
19. Cleveland Browns – Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan:
With Josh Gordon suspended and Jordan Cameron hellbent on getting out of Cleveland, the Browns will need to re-stock their receiving corps. Devin Funchess of Michigan is probably more of a wide receiver than he is a tight end, but would give the Browns a big, go-to receiver to help stretch the field no matter what position they decide to use him at.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington:
Chip Kelly would love to trade up and land a mobile quarterback like Marcus Mariota to run his offense like he did at Oregon, but the price to move up from the No. 20 pick may prove to be too steep. If the Eagles are forced to stay at No. 20, cornerback may be the best use of that pick in terms of value and need, especially if Marcus Peters of Washington checks out after the Eagles do their due diligence.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon:
The Bengals could use help with their pass rush, and a three down defensive end like Arik Armstead of Oregon who can hold the edge in addition to getting to the passer would be an ideal fit. The only concern about Armstead is whether he can actually get to the passer, or if he's just physically imposing on paper.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky:
Pittsburgh wrote the book on developing players like Bud Dupree of Kentucky, undersized defensive ends who they've successfully converted to outside linebackers in their 3-4 scheme. With Jason Worilds' future as a Steeler in question as he hits the free agent market, Dupree would provide the team with an ideal replacement, whether it's to groom, or to learn on the spot.
23. Detroit Lions - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas:
Even if the Lions are able to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, they'll still be hard pressed to sign fellow free agent defensive tackles Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley due to financial constraints. Run stuffer Malcom Brown of Texas would be an ideal complement if he were to play next to Suh, and a decent starting point in the event that he leaves for more money someplace else.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami:
Middle linebackers have been devalued in the draft in recent years, especially those who lack nick cover skills. Denzel Perryman of Miami may be the best true MLB in this year’s draft, and should be athletic enough to play all three downs on defense for the Cardinals almost immediately.
25. Carolina Panthers - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford:
Carolina did their best to tread water at left tackle last season after Jordan Gross retired. If the Panthers can get their hands on a top LT like Andrus Peat at the 25th pick, they'd be more than happy.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota:
If it seems like the Ravens have been searching for a go to tight end since Shannon Sharpe left, it's because they have. A big and athletic tight end like Maxx Williams of Minnesota would solve that problem if GM Ozzie Newsome views him as the "best player available," which could be a stretch.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma:
Dallas has needs across the board on defense, but perhaps none more glaring than an interior run stopper. Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma is talented but raw, which could mean Rod Marinelli putting his much publicized reputation as a talent developer and “leader of men” on the line...Just don't ask Detroit and Chicago fans how things went during his tenures in those cities.
28. Denver Broncos - Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington:
Shaq Thompson is a football player without a true position, having played safety, linebacker, defensive end and even running back at Washington. The Broncos could use Shaq Thompson to fit any one of their needs on defense, ideally as an athletic force at inside linebacker.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin:
While they won’t publicly admit it, at least the Colts are no longer denying that their trade for Trent Richardson was a bust, and admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin was not only one of the best work-horse backs in college, but he would also give Andrew Luck and the Colts an explosive threat out of the backfield that would only further open up their offense.
30. Green Bay Packers - Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State:
Things got so bad for the Packers on defense last year that the team had to move Clay Matthews from OLB to ILB on running downs, and while he did a fantastic job, he’s better suited and happier, playing on the outside. Benardrick McKinney of Mississippi State is not only a beast inside, but many project him as an elite pass rusher as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, which has also been an area of concern for Green Bay.
31. Seattle Seahawks - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State:
Despite making the Super Bowl, you could make the argument that Seattle’s starting wide receivers might not have even made the roster for many NFL teams. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Jaelen Strong of Arizona State would give Russell Wilson and the Seahawks the big target that they haven’t seen since Sidney Rice or Mike Williams, not that Seattle fans ever saw much from either one of them.
32. New England Patriots - Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn:
The Patriots’ most pressing need, aside from a good PR man for Bill Belichick, is at wide receiver. While the Patriots have not looked to the first round of the draft for a WR since the Chad Jackson debacle, Sammie Coates has a deep ball skill set that reminds some of Randy Moss, which is exactly what Tom Brady and New England could use.
33. Tennessee Titans - Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami:
The Titans will need to decide whether or not Zach Mettenberger is their quarterback of the future, and from what I'm hearing, their front office is willing to give him that chance. While the Titans have a nice collection of solid receivers, a burner like Phillip Dorsett of Miami who is known for running solid routes could be a game changer.
34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Donovan Smith, T, Penn State:
In addition to quarterback, the area where Tampa Bay could most stand to upgrade is their offensive line. Donovan Smith of Penn State may be a bit of a reach at the top of the second round, but no other tackle on the board projects better on the left side than he does, which is the Buccaneers’ biggest concern.
35. Oakland Raiders - Carl Davis, DT, Iowa:
The Raiders could use a strong defensive tackle to pair up along side Khalil Mack and Justin Tuck.
36. Jacksonville Jaguars - Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville:
Jacksonville could use a “LEO” in their system, or an outside linebacker in their hybrid defense like Lorenzo Maudlin, who has the skill-set to position himself on the line of scrimmage and blitz out of a two point stance, or drop into coverage and disrupt passing lanes.
37. New York Jets - P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State:
Depending upon what transpires in free agency, the Jets could still be looking to upgrade at cornerback. P.J. Williams of Florida State has above average size and the skills to excel in man coverage, which means that he could be a steal in the second round.
38. Washington Pigskins - A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina:
The Redskins need help on the interior of their offensive line, and A.J. Cann of South Carolina is the class of the draft.
39. Chicago Bears - Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington:
As the Bears transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they will be looking for some outside linebackers who can rush the passer. Hau'oli Kikaha of Washington might not be the most athletic linebacker in this year’s class, but his production,19 sacks in a top conference, speaks for itself.
40. New York Giants - Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA:
Eric Kendricks of UCLA is a middle linebacker who plays downhill, and would give the Giants a much needed upgrade in athleticism at linebacker.
41. St. Louis Rams - Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina:
The Rams are still looking for a true No. 1 wide receiver, and Justin Hardy set the FBS reception record at East Carolina. While Hardy may be a bit undersized, he was one of the standout performers at the Senior Bowl, making him an intriguing second round option.
42. Atlanta Falcons - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest:
The Falcons’ defensive troubles in 2014 could be traced to both their pass rush and their secondary. While the lack of a dominant pass rush was Atlanta’s primary problem, their secondary is also in need of a serious upgrade, and Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest would infuse some talent.
43. Cleveland Browns - Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State:
Ultimately, the Browns needs to do something about their receiving corps. Local product Devin Smith of Ohio State would give Cleveland a much needed deep threat.
44. New Orleans Saints - Cameron Erving, C, Florida State:
The Saints could use some help on the interior of their offensive line. Cameron Erving of Florida State, a former defensive tackle who was successfully converted to left tackle and then to center, would give New Orleans some much needed bulk and flexibility along their line.
45. Minnesota Vikings - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia:
Even if Adrian Peterson is given the green light to play again for the Vikings, he's about at the end of his lifespan for a NFL running back. While Todd Gurley of Georgia is coming off a significant ACL injury, a year to recover while sitting behind Peterson might be the ideal situation for everyone involved.
46. San Francisco 49'ers - Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor:
At 6-foot-7 (or by some accounts 6-foot-9) and 280 pounds, Shawn Oakman of Baylor is a beast of a man. The thought of him lining up in a J.J. Watt type of role opposite Justin Smith and as Ray McDonald’s replacement, at least on passing downs, is downright frightening.
47. Miami Dolphins - Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU:
The Dolphins could use a playmaker at linebacker, and Paul Dawson was all over the field for one of the nation's best defenses at TCU. Better yet, a true inside linebacker like Dawson would allow Koa Misi to move back outside linebacker, a position where he's better suited to shine rather than just tread water.
48. San Diego Chargers - Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana:
With the Ryan Mathews experiment in San Diego ending in nothing but tears and pulled hamstrings, it’s time for everyone to move on. While Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin was one of the most productive running backs in the history of college football, Tevin Coleman of Indiana might have been the better back/NFL prospect in the Big Ten last season.
Cedric Ogbuehi has the athleticism to play left tackle once he receives some coaching in the NFL, but is probably better suited to play on the right side initially. In either event, Ogbuehi should be of interest to the Chiefs if he’s still available in the second round.
50. Buffalo Bills - Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor:
With E.J. Manuel as the lone holdout at quarterback for Buffalo after Kyle Orton’s retirement, Rex Ryan is currently in no better position as coach of the Bills than he was with the Jets. While Bryce Petty is a bit raw and will need to adjust to playing under center and in a pro-style offense, he his great touch on his deep balls and can make all of the throws that an NFL QB needs to make.
51. Houston Texans - Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA:
While Brett Hundley is athletic and has a strong arm, there are still some serious questions about his accuracy. Despite those concerns, he’d still probably be the immediate front-runner for the Texans’ quarterback job.
52. Philadelphia Eagles - Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah:
Nate Orchard is a high motor pass rusher much in the mold of Brandon Graham, and would be a much cheaper option than Graham for the Eagles, who is likely to get big money someplace else in free agency.
53. Cincinnati Bengals - La'El Collins, T/G, LSU:
At 6-foot-7, La'El Collins of LSU is a bit reminiscent of Cincinnati's current left tackle, Andrew Whitworth. With many projecting Collins to have the ability to move inside to guard if needed, those comparisons would not be limited to just his size.
54. Detroit Lions - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon:
The Lions’ secondary made tremendous strides last year under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin without making any significant personnel changes at corner. While veteran Rashaen Mathis held his own, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Oregon, a pre-season All-American before suffering a serious knee injury heading into the college football playoff, could be the Lions' long term solution.
55. Arizona Cardinals - Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn:
With Arizona needing help on the interior of their offensive line, Reese Dismukes of Auburn would be able to come in and immediately compete to be a starter at either center or right guard for the Cardinals.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU:
The Steelers could use an upgrade at cornerback, and Jalen Collins of LSU would be able to come in and play after some big time competition in college.
57. Carolina Panthers - Marcus Golden, DE/OLB, Missouri:
With the Panthers expected to let Greg Hardy walk in free agency, the team will be in the market for a replacement, either via the draft or free agency. While a bit undersized, Markus Golden of Missouri is a high motor player who can set the edge as well as rush the passer.
58. Baltimore Ravens - Kevin White, CB, TCU:
The Ravens need some depth at cornerback with Jimmy Smith trying to return from the dreaded Lisfrank sprain. Kevin White turned heads at the Senior Bowl with his man coverage skills, and with comparisons to former teammate Jason Verrett, he should at the very least develop into a solid nickel back.
59. Denver Broncos - Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State:
The Broncos could use an offensive linemenlik road-grading guard Tre' Jackson of Florida State to bolster their running game in what could be Peyton Manning's last hurrah.
60. Dallas Cowboys - Eli Harold, DE, Virginia:
After bulking up at defensive tackle, the Cowboys could add a much needed spark to their pass rush at defensive end with Eli Harold, who's draft status may have been hampered by how he was used at Virginia.
61. Indianapolis Colts - Derron Smith, S, Fresno State:
The Colts could use an upgrade at safety over LaRon Landry, who was been more bulk than production for most of his time in Indy. Derron Smith of Fresno State is more versatile in terms of coverage skills, which is exactly what most NFL teams are looking for these days from their starting safeties.
62. Green Bay Packers - Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke:
With Randall Cobb set to test the market in free agency, the Packers may find themselves unable to afford his services. An ideal replacement through the draft would be Jamison Crowder, a dynamic slot receiver from Duke with elite hands and breaks, as well as top flight return skills.
63. Seattle Seahawks - Jacoby Glenn, CB, Central Florida:
It looks unlikely that the Seahawks will be able to re-sign cornerback Byron Maxwell due to financial constraints. At 6-foot-1 186 pounds, Jacoby Glenn of Central Florida is a big corner who would be a perfect fit in Seattle’s defensive system, especially once he gains some weight at the next level.
64. New England Patriots - Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke:
Not only would Laken Tomlinson of Duke fill a need at guard for New England, but he'd be a classic Patriots second day pick. While he's not a high profile player, Tomlinson is a road grader in the running game who's equally adept in pass protection, meaning that he has the skill set to ultimately develop into a Pro Bowl type player.