Here is my 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 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:
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.
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.
As the Bears transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they'll be looking to add a nose tackle as an anchor against the run, as well as outside linebackers who can rush the passer. With a top ten pick Danny Shelton will be worth a look at nose tackle, but the better value is with an elite pass rusher like Shane Ray of Missouri, who projects as a prototype 3-4 outside linebacker.
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 – 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. Brandon Scherff should be no less than solid at left tackle coming out of an offensive line factory like Iowa, and possibly an elite talent if he’s moved inside to guard.
With Jake Long getting released and Joseph Barksdale hitting free agency, the Rams have a huge whole at tackle. Andrus Peat of Stanford has the versatility to anchor the right side, or even compete at left tackle in the event that Greg Robinson continues to struggle.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:
While Minnesota invested big in free agent Greg Jennings and used a first round draft pick on Cordarrelle Patterson, neither has produced like a true No. 1 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 a true go-to receiver before his development becomes stunted.
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington:
With a strong running game in place, a run stuffing defensive lineman Danny Shelton of Washington could help the Browns solidify their defense and play ball control football as they try to sort out the mess that their front office created at quarterback and receiver.
13. New Orleans Saints - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State:
Following the Jimmy Graham trade the Saints are in full blown rebuilding mode, and that project should start with their defense. After blowing the competition away at the Scouting Combine and leading Michigan State's vaunted "No Fly Zone" secondary, Trae Waynes is the clear-cut top cornerback in the draft, and would give the Saints a much needed playmaker in their secondary.
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.
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 – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami:
With Josh Gordon suspended, the Browns will need to re-stock their receiving corps. Phillip Dorsett of Miami is not only a speed wide receiver in the mold of Gordon, but he's a fantastic route runner as well.
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 pound, is strong enough to stuff the run but athletic enough to be a presence as a pass rusher.
Pittsburgh could use an outside linebacker now that Jason Worilds has retired. Alvin "Bud" Dupree of Kentucky fits the Steelers' mold of a tweener that they can make fit their system as a 3-4 pass rusher.
23. Detroit Lions - Todd 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 - Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State:
Carolina needs a speed receiver to play opposite Kelvin Benjamin. Not only can Devin Smith of Ohio State take the top off of opposing defenses, he's one of the more accomplished route runners in this year's draft class.
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 - Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA:
Dallas has needs across the board on defense, perhaps none more glaring than at pass rusher. 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.
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 Ereck Flowers of Miami would allow Louis Vasquez to slide back inside where he was a Pro Bowler at guard.
29. Indianapolis Colts - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh:
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 T.J. Clemmings of Pittsburgh 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 - Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma:
The Patriots’ most pressing need is at nose tackle now that Vince Wilfork has been released. Despite some back problems, Jordan Phillips has already drawn comparisons to Wilfork, and would be an ideal fit in New England.
33. Tennessee Titans - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest:
The Titans have addressed their outside linebackers in free agency. Kevin Johnson doesn't have the same hype as Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters having come out of Wake Forest, but the kid can play.
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 - Carl Davis, DT, Iowa:
The Raiders could use a strong defensive tackle to pair up alongside Khalil Mack and Justin Tuck. Inconsistent play may prevent Carl Davis of Iowa from being a first round pick, but he was dominant at the Senior Bowl.
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 - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU:
DeAngelo Hall is not only on the bad side of thirty, but he's also coming off of a serious Achilles injury. Jalen Collins is the new breed of big corners that can help the Redskins compete against big receivers like Dez Bryant in the NFC East.
39. Chicago Bears - Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn:
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 - Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan:
The Rams could use a big go-to receiver, and Denvin Funchess of Michigan is definitely big. His hands and speed are another issue, but that's why he should still be available into the second round.
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 - Clive Walford, TE, Miami:
After Jordan Cameron left Cleveland running, the Browns can replace him with Clive Walford of Miami, the best receiving tight end in the draft.
44. New Orleans Saints - Eli Harold, OLB/DE, Virginia:
The Saints need to improve their pass rush, and Eli Harold of Virginia is the type of 3-4 outside linebacker that Rob Ryan is looking for to bring the heat in his hybrid defense.
http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-Mario Edwards, DT, Florida State/fletcher-mackel-saints-mock-draft-version-20/31050322
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.
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 - Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington:
The Bengals were the least efficient team in the NFL last season when it came to sacks with only 20 on the season. Hau'oli Kikaha lead the nation last year at Washington with 19.
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 - Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah:
Lamar Woodley has nothing left in the tank, Alex Okafor is in trouble with the law, and Daryl Washington is in trouble with the Commissioner. Nate Orchard is a prototype 3-4 outside linebacker who showed well at the Senior Bowl.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers - Byron Jones, CB, UConn:
The Steelers need an infusion of younger talent on defense, starting at cornerback. Byron Jones of UConn got noticed at the Scouting Combine because of his off the chart measurables, but also showed up well on film despite limited playing time in college due to injuries.
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 - Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State:
The Ravens have had a salary cap purge along their once formidable defensive line. Preston Smith would give the team a young and athletic player to develop as their 5-technique.
59. Denver Broncos - A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina:
The Broncos need an interior offensive linemen like guard A.J. Cann of South Carolina 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 - Derron Smith, S, Fresno State:
The Colts could use an upgrade at corner over Greg Toler, who's athletic, but a bit too inconsistent to be trusted. Byron Jones of UConn got noticed for his freakish performance at the Scouting Combine, but is said to have shown up almost as well on tape despite limited playing time in college due to injuries.
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.