Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft - Post Free Agency 2.0

Here is my second Post Free Agency 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 ReportWalter Football, FF Toolbox,, The Football ExpertFantasy 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.

1st Round

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State:

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, especially considering Winston's showing from a leadership standpoint at the Scouting Combine.;

2. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Williams, DE, USC:

With Ken Whisenhunt bringing in Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau to help 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 defensive end that the Titans can build around.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars  Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida: 

The Jaguars could use a defensive end or an outside linebacker to play the "LEO" position in their 4-3 scheme. With a deep class of 3-4 outside linebackers, Dante Fowler, Jr. of Florida is one of the few true 4-3 defensive ends that will be available at the top of the draft, and represents the better value at No. 3 for Jacksonville.

4. Oakland Raiders - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: 

The Raiders still have all kinds of needs, but giving Derek Carr a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver has to be at the top of the list. Kevin White of West Virginia not only demonstrated elite hands and ball skills on the field, but his measurables from the Scouting Combine were off the chart.  

5. Washington Pigskins - Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska:

Washington could use a pass rush specialist to replace Brian Orakpo. Randy Gregory of Nebraska would be an ideal fit at outside linebacker in their modified 3-4 scheme.;

6. Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade with New York Jets) – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: 

It's no secret that Eagles' coach Chip Kelly covets his former quarterback at Oregon, Marcus Mariota. Now that Kelly has the final say in Philadelphia's personnel decisions, there's more and more of a likelihood that he'll make it happen, even after the Sam Bradford deal.;

7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: 

The Bears could look to a wide receiver on offense to replace Brandon Marshall, but the more pressing need is on defense as they transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Danny Shelton would be an intriguing pick at nose tackle to anchor their defense, as despite his size at 340 pounds, Shelton is extremely agile with surprising stamina.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson:

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. Vic Beasley is an intriguing talent who has the speed to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 system, but could slide to defensive end in passing situations, much like how new coach Dan Quinn utilized Bruce Irvin in Seattle.;

9. New York Giants – Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

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. The Giants could also use some some help restoring their once fierce pass rush, and Marcus Ray of Missouri would allow Cullen Jenkins to slide inside to his more natural position at defensive tackle, especially in passing situations. 

10. St. Louis Rams – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: 

With Jake Long getting released and Joseph Barksdale hitting free agency, the Rams have a huge whole at tackle. Brandon Scherff of Iowa has the versatility to anchor the right side, play guard, or even compete at left tackle in the event that Greg Robinson continues to struggle.

11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: 

With the Vikings allegedly resolving their issues at wide receiver with the Mike Wallace trade, the team can look to address other needs in the draft. After leading Michigan State's vaunted "No Fly Zone" secondary and proving himself as the draft's clear cut top cover corner at the Scouting Combine, if Trae Waynes would represent solid value for the Vikings if he falls outside of the top ten picks.

12. Cleveland Browns – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: 

Depending on how the draft shakes out, it's very possible that an elite wide receiver like Amari Cooper or Kevin White could fall to Cleveland at the No. 12 spot. I don't care how many Brian Hartlines and Dwayne Bowes the Brown's might sign, they still have a huge need for a game changer at receiver, and Amari Cooper would certainly satisfy that need.

13. New Orleans Saints - Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky:

Despite playing both defensive end and outside linebacker at Kentucky, Alvin "Bud" Dupree is probably better suited to be a three down player in a 3-4 scheme. That would make Dupree an ideal fit in New Orleans as Rob Ryan and the Saints transition from a 3-4 to more of a hybrid defense.

14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Now that Miami has over paid for Ndamukong Suh, they need to see if Ryan Tannehill is capable of leading a winning team or if they need find a quarterback capable of taking them to the next level. In order to make that evaluation, the Dolphins need to give him a dependable receiver, and Devante Parker of Louisville is at least in the discussion as being the best in this year's draft class.

15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon: 

The free agent signing of Darnell Dockett should replace the loss of defensive end Ray McDonald, but the retirement of Justin Smith still leaves a huge hole on the other side of the 49'ers once dominant defensive line. An athletic end like Arik Armstead of Oregon who can play the 5-technique would help San Francisco re-load.

16. Houston Texans Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State:

The Texans will need to find a replacement for Andre Johnson to play opposite DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver. Jaelen Strong of Arizona State has the size, strength and speed that will remind many Texans fans of Johnson before he lost a step and turned into a de facto tight end.

17. San Diego Chargers – D.J. Humphries, LT, Florida:

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. D.J. Humphries of Florida projects as the best blind side protector in this year's crop of tackles.;

18. Kansas City Chiefs – Landon Collins, S, Alabama: 

With Eric Berry's career in question, the Chiefs need to add another presence in the back end of their defense. While Landon Collins may lack Berry's ball skills, he's a big time hitter who can help out against the run. 

19. Cleveland Browns – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: 

The Browns have a lot of needs, and the right side of their offensive line is one of them. While a run stuffing defensive tackle would be a nice addition, the value is better going with an offensive tackle like T.J. Clemmings, who has the athleticism to ultimately switch over to the left side.

20. New York Jets (projected trade with Philadelphia Eagles) – 
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: 

If the Jets can trade back with a team like the Eagles and get some additional picks, they'd be wise to do so, as they probably can't afford to take another gamble on an unpolished quarterback prospect like Marcus Mariota. Running back Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin would give the Jets the sizzle out of the backfield that they were hoping to get out of Chris Johnson last year.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Malcom Brown, DE/DT, Texas:

Cincinnati is looking for help a nose tackle to play alongside Geno Atkins. Malcom Brown of Texas is a rare talent, who at 320 pounds, is strong enough to stuff the run but athletic enough to be a presence as a pass rusher. 

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU:

Pittsburgh needs a3-4 defensive end, but all of the first round prospects could be off the board. In that case, the Steelers would be wise to address their secondary, and Jalen Collins of LSU has the character that the Rooney family is looking for, at least compared to Marcus Peters.

23. Detroit LionsTodd Gurley, RB, Georgia:

Despite a huge need at defensive tackle even after trading for Haloti Ngata to replace Ndamukong Suh, Lions' GM Martin Mayhew will still take a best player available approach. If his injured knee checks out before the draft, running back Todd Gurley of Georgia is an elite talent who would help the Lions get the tough yardage and diversify their offense.

24. Arizona Cardinals - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington:

The Cardinals' defense has taken some huge hits during the offseason with key losses at defensive end, nose tackle and cornerback. Despite some character concerns, Marcus Peters of Washington is an elite talent at corner who would help lock down the Cardinals' secondary along with Patrick Peterson.

25. Carolina Panthers Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA:

Carolina lost an elite pass rusher in Greg Hardy last season, who they're yet to replace. Owamagbe Odighizuwa of UCLA is an elite 4-3 defensive end who could be a late riser into the first round after injuries forced him to sit out the 2013 season and kept him from getting much preseason hype.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri:

Another GM who always takes a “best player available approach” to the draft is Ozzie Newsome. A wide receiver to replace Torrey Smith is obviously a need, and if Dorial Green-Beckham slides to the later part of the first round due to off the field issues that kept him from playing in 2014, he's still a top fifteen pick from a pure talent standpoint.;

27. Dallas Cowboys Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma:

Not only did the Greg Hardy signing fill a huge need, but it allowed the Cowboys to be more flexible in the draft. Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma is the inside run stuffer that could help take their defense to the next level.;

28. Denver Broncos Andrus Peat, T, Stanford:

As Peyton Manning comes back for one last run at the Super Bowl, the Broncos need to turn their attention to keeping him protected. A big tackle like Andrus Peat of Stanford would allow Louis Vasquez to slide back inside where he was a Pro Bowler at guard.

29. Indianapolis Colts - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami:

The Colts have been the early winners in free agency, having addressed many of their most important needs even before the draft. That should allow them to work on upgrading their starters, and Ereck Flowers of Miami would be an immediate upgrade over Gosder Cherilus at right tackle.

30. Green Bay Packers Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State:

Green Bay will need to look hard and often at inside linebackers in the draft, but value wise, the first round isn't the time or the place. The Packers should be able to find better value with a run stuffer like Eddie Goldman of Florida State with the 30th pick, and then address their need at inside linebacker a bit later in the draft.

31. New Orleans Saints Shaq Thompson, S/LB/RB, Washington:

Whether he's used at safety or linebacker, Rob Ryan and the Saints could use an athletic playmaker like Shaq Thompson of Washington on their defense.

32. New England Patriots - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest:

The Patriots have needs at defensive tackle and wide receiver, but perhaps none more glaring than at cornerback, where they lost two starters from their Super Bowl team. Kevin Johnson may not be a big name pick coming from a weak program like Wake Forrest, but the dude can play.

2nd Round

33. Tennessee Titans - Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn: 

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 Sammie Coates of Auburn could be a game changer.

34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - La'El Collins, T/G, LSU:

In addition to quarterback, the area where Tampa Bay could most stand to upgrade is on their offensive line. La'El Collins of LSU ultimately projects as a starter at tackle on the left side, which is the Buccaneers’ biggest concern, but also has the bulk to slide inside to guard if needed in the interim.

35. Oakland Raiders - A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina:

With another strong run blocking guard, the Raiders could make themselves competitive as a conservative run first team, which is really their only option until Derek Carr develops.

36. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State:

After striking out on non-traditional tailbacks like Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson, perhaps the best way for the Jaguars to immediately improve is by drafting a true bell cow running back. Jay Ajayi of Boise State should be able to move the chains a little more consistently, rendering the others to more specific roles as back-ups.

37. New York Jets - Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor:

Let's face it, neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Geno Smith is the future of the Jets' franchise. Bryce Petty may need a little time to adjust to a pro style system, but he’s accurate and can make all the throws that an NFL quarterback needs to make.

38. Washington Pigskins - Byron Jones, CB, UConn:

DeAngelo Hall is not only on the bad side of thirty, but he's also coming off of a serious Achilles injury. Byron Jones of Uconn not only turned heads with his staggering numbers at the Scouting Combine, but he showed up well on film despite limited playing time due to injury.

39. Chicago Bears - Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State:

By trading Brandon Marshall for a late round draft pick, the Bears created a need at wide receiver. Sammie Coates of Auburn would give Chicago another big receiver to play opposite of Alshon Jeffery, and by all accounts is a highly respected teammate.;

40. New York Giants - Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami:

While Denzel Perryman of Miami may see himself fall into the second round because he doesn't project as a three-down player, he would still give the Giants a much needed upgrade in athleticism at linebacker.

41. St. Louis Rams - Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami:

The Rams could use a go-to receiver, and Phillip Dorsett of Miami is definitely big play threat who's also well versed as a route runner.

42. Atlanta Falcons - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota:

Matt Ryan lost a key target when Tony Gonzalez retired, and Levine Toilolo hasn't even come close to replacing him. Maxx Williams of Minnesota is big, athletic, and much like Gonzalez, is a complete package at tight end.

43. Cleveland Browns - Carl Davis, DT, Iowa:

The Browns could use a run stuffer on their defensive line to help compliment their running game and play more ball control football.

44. New Orleans Saints - Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan:

If the Saints are going to stick with Drew Brees at quarterback, which is not necessarily a given at this point, they'll need to give him at least one weapon this offseason to replace Jimmy Graham and/or Kenny Stills. Devin Funchess would give them a poor man's version of Graham as a hybrid tight end.

45. Minnesota Vikings - Duke Johnson, RB, Miami:

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. Whether he's an immediate starter, or an understudy for a year or so, Duke Johnson of Miami would give the Vikings a talented successor.

46. San Francisco 49'ers - Nelson Agholor, WR, USC:

Torrey Smith was a decent free agent signee for the 49'ers at wide receiver, but he's is not somebody you can solely rely upon as a go-to guy. Nelson Agholor would give San Francisco another explosive option who can get some separation from opposing defenders, and hopefully and jump start their passing game.

47. Miami Dolphins - P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State:

Despite signing Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins still have weaknesses at nearly level of their defense. Cornerback P.J. Williams of Florida State has much desired man-to-man coverage skills, which are often tough to find in the second round, and the ideal size at 6'0 that the Dolphins need. 

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 the Chargers 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 most talented back in the Big Ten last season.

49. Kansas City Chiefs - Cameron Erving, C, Florida State

After losing starting center Rodney Hudson to the Raiders in free agency, the Chiefs could look to the draft to fill that hole. Cameron Erving of Florida State is the highest rated center in this year's draft.

50. Buffalo Bills - Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA:

With E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel currently the only options at quarterback for the Bills, Rex Ryan is in no better position as coach in Buffalo than he was with the Jets. While Cassel might be able to buy the team a year or two, the Bills desperately need to find a quarterback to develop as a long term starter.

51. Houston Texans - Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA:

Eric Kendricks of UCLA is an athletic three down linebacker out of UCLA, and would represent a substantial upgrade over Justin Tuggle and Akeem Dent for the Texans at inside linebacker.

52. Philadelphia Eagles - Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida:

After Chip Kelley's great roster purge of 2015, the Eagles don't have any viable receivers on their roster. Breshad Perriman is a bit raw when it comes to his route running coming out of a smaller program like Central Florida, but he has the skills to develop into a true No. 1 wide receiver.

53. Cincinnati Bengals - Derron Smith, S, Fresno State: 

The Bengals are loaded at corner, but could stand to add some athleticism at safety, if not to replace Reggie Nelson, but to spell him on passing downs.

54. Detroit Lions - Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State:

Knowing that they would likely lose Ndamukong Suh to free agency, the Lions have expressed an interest in Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett, who would pair nicely as an athletic compliment next to Haloti Ngata.

55. Arizona Cardinals - Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State:

The Cardinals will need a 5-technique defensive end to replace Darnell Dockett. Like Dockett, Preston Smith of Mississippi State has the bulk and the athleticism to be a disruptive force as a pass rusher from that position.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eli Harold, OLB/DE, Virginia:

After the free agency and the sudden retirement of Jason Worilds, the Steelers are desperately thin at what may be the most important position on their defense, outside linebacker. Eli Harold of Virginia is a classic 'tweener' who fits as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme.;

57. Carolina Panthers - Cedric Ogbuehi, T, Texas A&M:

The Panthers signed Michael Oher as a stopgap measure to protect Cam Newton's blind side, but he isn't a long term answer at left tackle. Cedric Ogbuehi of Texas A&M could be an immediate starter on the right side, but ultimately projects as a left tackle in the NFL if he's given a sufficient time to develop.

58. Baltimore Ravens - Clive Walford, TE, Miami:

Baltimore needs to rebuild their receiving corps as well as their defensive line. Their defensive line has just a little bit more coming back to work with, and Joe Flacco would benefit from finally having a reliable tight end in the passing game like Clive Walford of Florida, the best receiving tight end in the draft.

59. Denver Broncos - Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State:

The Broncos need an interior offensive linemen like guard Tre' Jackson of Florida State to replace Orlando Franklin in what could be Peyton Manning's last hurrah.

60. Dallas Cowboys - Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska:

The Cowboys would be wise to let Demarco Murray leave in free agency, as he never proved himself as an elite back until Dallas upgraded their offensive line. Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska would not only give the Cowboys a big play threat out of the backfield, but he should be able to come close to matching Murray's performance at a much cheaper price.

61. Indianapolis Colts - Damarious Randall, S, Florida State:

After parting ways with LaRon Landry, who was more bulk than bite, the Colts are in desperate need of an upgrade at safety. Damarious Randall of Arizona State is one of the few impact players at safety in this year's draft, and free agency has few options left.

62. Green Bay Packers - Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State:

The Packers need to get more athletic at middle linebacker, and while he might play a bit too undisciplined to be drafted higher than the second round, Benardrick McKinney of Mississippi State would fit that bill.

63. Seattle Seahawks - Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn:

After trading All Pro center Max Unger for Jimmy Graham and losing James Carpenter to free agency, the Seahawks need to rebuild the interior of their offensive line. Reese Dismukes of Auburn would give them a starting caliber center to at least ease the loss of Unger.

64. New England Patriots - Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke: 

Laken Tomlinson of Duke would fill a huge need at guard for New England. A road grader in the running game who's equally adept in pass protection, Tomlinson has the skill-set to ultimately develop into a Pro Bowl type of player.

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