2015 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: February 26, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
My friends over at DraftKings (similar name but very different than what I do) have some great fantasy sports games for real cash that give you a chance to put your skills to the test in a really fun way. I strongly recommend that you try it out: no bait and switch, no nonsense, just the chance to play a game with some nice guaranteed money included. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
2015 NFL Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St. (6'4" 235) ~
After a strong performance at the NFL Combine, both in drills and in facing questions from the media, Winston appears to be the strong favorite at this point to be the first player selected.
2. Tennessee Titans - Leonard Williams, DL, USC (6'5" 300) ~
The Titans face a major decision on Zach Mettenberger -- is he strong enough of a prospect to keep at quarterback, bypassing Winston and/or Mariota depending on what Tampa Bay does at the top? Mariota would be entering a system far different than he ran at Oregon, while Winston would face perpetual concern/scrutiny regarding his off-the-field behavior -- though that will happen wherever he goes.
Tennessee had a tough transition to a 3-4 base defense last year, and they could sure use a player with Leonard Williams' ability to help solidify things, particularly against the run.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida (6'2" 260) ~
While I still think that wide receiver could and should be considered here, I've read enough from evaluators to make this projection at the DE/OLB (aka EDGE) position. Trading down is in play, of course, particularly with the possibility of Marcus Mariota being on the board. But there are multiple elite talents at that position to choose from, and you could potentially swap Fowler out with Missouri's Shane Ray or Nebraska's Randy Gregory.
4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (6'1" 200) ~
This would fill a major need for the Raiders, who desperately need to add some receiving threats for QB Derek Carr. Kevin White could also be in the running here. GM Reggie McKenzie, it could be argued, is on the hot seat, which is unfortunate since he inherited the mess that Hue Jackson left behind with that horrible Carson Palmer trade, which put an already weak team in a huge hole. But this could be if for McKenzie if advancements aren't shown this season.
5. Washington Redskins - Landon Collins, SS, Alabama (6'0" 215) ~
There are plenty of ways that Washington could go here, but their new modified 3-4 scheme, from everything I've read, is predicated from having a top-level safety. Collins is the best prospect at that position by a mile.
6. New York Jets - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (6'4" 215) ~
The Jets desperately need a top-flight quarterback. Could Mariota prove to be the man under center to finally lead the Jets back into contention?
7. Chicago Bears - Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska (6'6" 245) ~
If Collins is off the board, it wouldn't be a bad consolation for the Bears to be able to choose between Randy Gregory and Shane Ray at this spot.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri (6'2" 240) ~
Another team making major changes this off-season is Atlanta, which desperately needs to add a top-level pass rusher (or two) between now and the start of next season. Ray would be just the latest elite defensive line talent to come from Mizzou, which has been recruiting strong D-line talent for some time now.
9. New York Giants - Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa (6'5" 320)
Scherff isn't a pure blind side offensive tackle prospect, but he is versatile and possesses tremendous potential at the position. Defensive end is a need, even if Jason Pierre-Paul gets franchised, but if Gregory and Ray go in the two picks above, going with Scherff could be their best move here.
10. St. Louis Rams - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (6'3" 210)
White could go in the top five of this draft, and in many ways he would represent great value for the Rams here -- at a need position, no less. His great NFL Combine performance has moved him neck-and-neck with Amari Cooper in the battle to be the first wide receiver drafted in 2015.
11. Minnesota Vikings - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington (6'2" 330)
Defensive linemen with an ability to pressure the quarterback are in very high demand in the NFL. Barring a major free agent move like signing Ndamukong Suh, adding Shelton here would be a sensible move for the Vikings.
12. Cleveland Browns - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville (6'3" 210)
Wide receiver is a massive need for the Browns, especially since it doesn't appear that Josh Gordon will be returning to the team. Parker is a solid talent with great size who wouldn't be a stretch by any means at this spot.
13. New Orleans Saints - Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson (6'2" 235)
The Saints could really use a boost at the 3-4 OLB position. Opinions vary considerably on Beasley, but I'm bullish on his chances at becoming a star in the NFL. The guy is a talented pass rusher, and his great NFL Combine performance could boost him potentially into the top 10.
14. Miami Dolphins - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St. (6'1" 185) ~
Waynes had a strong NFL Combine (notice a pattern here?) and he would be a good fit relative to Miami's needs. You could also see Washington's Marcus Peters go here, though his falling out with the Huskies coaching staff last fall could be the tiebreaker needed for Waynes to get the nod here.
15. San Francisco 49ers - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (6'5" 225) ~
DGB proved in Indianapolis that he's as physically gifted and talented as ever. His time at Missouri didn't turn out well, but he did some character rehab at Oklahoma (even though he never played a down for the team) and he has freakish talent that could rocket him up the board.
16. Houston Texans - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford (6'6" 315) ~
It remains to be seen what approach the Texans will take at quarterback this fall, but drafting Peat here would give whichever QB is under center a protection boost.
17. San Diego Chargers - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington (6'0" 200) ~
This move would make considerable sense if pending unrestricted free agent Brandon Flowers (playing on a one-year "prove it" deal) leaves southern California for a better offer elsewhere.
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St. (6'4" 210) ~
It was great fun last fall to watch those late-night (Eastern Time) ASU games with Strong tearing things up on the field. Wide receiver is a big need for Kansas City, who struggled with its passing game last fall and needs some explosive talent to help spark its offense.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo) - Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon (6'2" 295) ~
There are so many options for the Browns in this draft, but Armstead is a solid player who would fill the 3-4 defensive end position well for Cleveland.
20. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU (6'1" 205) ~
A player on the rise, Collins doesn't have a large volume of game film for evaluators to examine. But he has the physical skill and potential to do some special things for Philly at a major need spot for the team.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky (6'4" 265)
I saw Dupree play in person last fall against Mississippi State in Lexington and left with a very positive impression of him. Cincinnati stands to benefit from the strong talent pool at DE/OLB in this draft class, and I could see Dupree fitting in very well with the Bengals' system.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Cody Prewitt, FS, Ole Miss (6'2" 215)
This is a stretch of a project, I know, but at this point in the draft team evaluations tend to begin diverging considerably. I'm bullish on Prewitt though, and he's a solid talent who would definitely fill a massive need spot for the Steelers.
23. Detroit Lions - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St. (6'3" 320) ~
All indications out of Detroit are that Ndamukong Suh will be allowed to hit the open market when free agency begins. This may be an overly hopeful projection for the Lions, with Goldman having the potential to go much higher. We'll see.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio St. (6'2" 290)
Bennett would be interesting to see fit into a 3-4 scheme, but there is no doubting his ability to fill space and, in particular, to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
25. Carolina Panthers - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (6'6" 325) ~
The abrupt retirement of offensive tackle Jordan Gross in the 2014 off-season dealt a serious blow to Carolina's offensive line. A towering force like Flowers could help improve things in that department.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan (6'5" 230) ~
This projection is done with the anticipation that Owen Daniels will leave in free agency. Dennis Pitta remains, but question marks linger about his health.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest (6'0" 175)
Defensive backs are a big need for Dallas, and Johnson would seem like a very viable possibility for the Cowboys if he's on the board at this spot.
28. Denver Broncos - Cameron Erving, C, Florida St. (6'5" 300)
Perhaps it's a stretch, though Erving is generally considered to be the top center prospect in the draft. Denver faces some major personnel choices that will likely impact what they do here.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (5'11" 235)
This would fill a huge need for the Colts, and the sudden drop by Mississippi St. ILB Benardrick McKinney might open the door for Perryman to move into a late first round slot.
30. Green Bay Packers - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota (6'4" 250)
If Green Bay opts to go with an offensive player and not address front seven defensive needs in this spot, this could be an entirely plausible direction for the team to take.
31. Seattle Seahawks - La'El Collins, OL, LSU (6'5" 315) ~
Collins is a tweener prospect, and there is quite a disparity among evaluators about how he stacks up with other top-level offensive line talent. But one of the underplayed storylines of last season was Seattle succeeding in spite of weaknesses with its interior offensive line, and Collins would help to bolster the Seahawks in that area.
32. New England Patriots - Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State (6'0" 190)
There is no predicting what the Patriots will do, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them trade down from this spot. They've developed a long-term approach that has been next to impossible for other teams to emulate, which in a league that specializes in copycat moves is impressive.
~ indicates player with NCAA eligibility for 2015 who gave it up to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft