We’ve studied the draft bible, you all know it’s name by now, Nolan Nawrocki’s 2015 NFL Draft Preview. We’ve peeked at some other mock drafts, and listed to the the “experts” on ESPN and NFL Network. Then we looked at team needs and how prospects might fit them. Now, we will weight in with out own Mock draft. Thirty-two selections for thirty teams, as Seattle and Buffalo are without first round selections in 2015. Was it fun to do, surely. Are we crazy, definitely. But in this mid-off-season oasis we call the NFL Draft, we like to live it up over here.
Without further ado, the second annual Giants360 mock draft:
Pick 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Winston, Jameis, QB, Florida State
Analysis: Tampa Bay takes the only QB with franchise potential in this draft and hope off the field issues don’t bite them in the ass. Giving Winston a NFL home just 4 hours from his college friends is risky. It could pay big dividends, or be another in the long long line of Tampa Bay QB busts.
Pick 2: Tennessee Titans – Williams, Leonard DT/DE USC
Analysis: Despite making some noise about Marcus Mariota, the Titans biggest need is on defense, and the team believes that Zack Mettenberger can develop into a franchise quarterback. Barring a trade from a team interested in the aforementioned Mariota, the Titans jump on the draft’s best player.
Pick 3: Jacksonville Jaguars – Fowler, Dante, OLB/DE, Florida
Analysis: Fowler fits perfectly into the Jaguars scheme and also plugs a major hole at linebacker for the team. It’s one of those rare instances in the draft where value and need converge.
Pick 4: Oakland Raiders – White, Kevin, WR, West Virginia
Analysis: Everything about Kevin White screams Oakland Raiders. His size, his speed, his reputation for running poor routes and have difficulty gaining separation. He has game breaking potential and may develop into a perrenial all-pro. But, he could also fail to launch. See, a Raiders pick, through and through.
Pick 5: Washington Redskins – Ray, Shane, OLB/DE, Missouri
Analysis: Oft injured linebacker Brian Orakpo left in free agency, and the Redskins need to replace him. Ray is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end that will terrorize quarterbacks with his speed.
Pick 6: New York Jets – Mariota, Marcus, QB, Oregon
Analysis: The current Jets quarterbacks are Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Mariota is a boom or bust prospect who will need time to adjust to working from a huddle and pocket in the NFL. Fitzpatrick can hold down the fort while Mariota learns the ropes, and how to take a snap from center.
Pick 7: Chicago Bears Beasley, Vic, DE/OLB, Clemson
Analysis: John Fox has a well earned reputation as a defensive mastermind extending back 20 years to his time as Giants defensive coordiantor. While It will be tempting to take Amari Cooper here, Fox will push to take the best available defender. That’s Beasley.
Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons – Waynes,Trae, CB, Michigan State
Analysis: Dan Quinn came from Seattle where the legion of boom lead the Seahawks defense to back to back Super Bowls appearances. He will be seeking to duplicate that success in Atlanta and Waynes will be the first piece of the puzzle.
Pick 9: New York Giants – Scherff, Brandon, OT/OG, Iowa
Analysis: Jerry Reese is left with a choice between Amari Cooper and Brandon Sherff. While pairing Cooper with Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz could take the Giants offense to great heights. If Eli Manning is upright. Brandon Sherff will complete the offensive line, power the running game,and complete the offense. Easy choice.
Pick 10: St. Louis Rams – Gregory, Randy, DE, Nebraska
Analysis: Gregory’s positive marijuana test caused him to slide in the draft, but his talent won’t let him slide past Jeff Fisher. Despite having one of the top defensive lines in football, the Rams won’t pass up Gregory’s talent, and adding him will give St. Louis the best front seven in the NFL.
Pick 11: Minnesota Vikings – Collins, Landon, SS, Alabama
Analysis: The Vikings need help in the secondary, and take the top safety in the draft to add a building block to their defense. Having traded for Mike Wallace, the Vikings no longer have a strong need for a wide receiver and pass on Amari Cooper.
Pick 12: Cleveland Browns – Cooper, Amari, WR, Alabama
Analysis: Cooper’s surprising mini slide stops in Cleveland, where the Browns desperately need play makers. He is an immediate upgrade over free agent additions Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline.
Pick 13: New Orleans Saints – Dupree, Bud, OLB/DE, Kentucky
Analysis: The Saints off season plan is to decrease the number of points it takes to win games. In order to do that, they must stop their opponent from scoring points in bunches. Dupree gives them a edge rusher who fits Rob Ryan’s scheme. The first of many defensive picks on the weekend.
Pick 14: Miami Dolphins – Peat, Andrus, OT, Stanford
Analysis: In order for the Dolphins to compete in 2015, Ryan Tannehill need to be upright. Andrus Peat is the most viable left tackle prospect in the draft. The Dolphins add him and plug him into their lineup on opening day.
Pick 15: San Francisco Forty-Niners – Armstead, Arik, DE, Oregon
Analysis: The once top ranked 49ers defense has suffered from injuries, free agency, and retirements all hitting in a shortened window. They begin restocking their talent with the talented end from Oregon.
Pick 16: Houston Texans Parker, Devante, WR, Louisville
Analysis: Houston needs to replace Andre Johnson and give presumed starter Ryan Mallet another dependable target to go along with DeAndre Hopkins. Some draft analysts put Devante Parker up in the same stratosphere as Amari Cooper and Kevin White.
Pick 17: San Diego Chargers – Gurley, Todd, RB, Georgia
Analysis: Ryan Matthew left in free agency, leaving the Chargers with an injured running back corps made up of Donald Brown, Ronnie Brown, Danny Woodhead, and Brandon Oliver. Todd Gurley’s knee is fully recovered and he will immediately jump into a starting role with the Chargers.
Pick 18: Kansas City Chiefs – Flowers, Ereck, OT, Miami (FL)
Analysis: Offensive line is a big need in Kansas City in order to give Jamaal Charles room to operate. Eric Flowers is one of the better run blocking tackles in the draft, and will boost the Chiefs line immediately. Andy Reid won’t be able to resist him.
Pick 19: Cleveland Browns – Williams, Maxx, TE, Minnesota
Analysis: Cleveland adds another weapon with their second first round pick, grabbing the draft’s best tight end to replace the departed Jordan Cameron. Maxx Williams will pair up Amari Cooper to give the Browns a dual receiving threat comparable to any in the NFL. But who will throw them the ball?
Pick 20: Philadelphia Eagles – Peters, Marcus, CB, Washington
Analysis: Secondary was the Eagles biggest weakness in 2014, and Chip Kelly addresses it early, by grabbing one of the best press cornerbacks in the draft. He will team with free agent additions Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond to greatly improve the Philadelphia pass coverage this coming season.
Pick 21: Cincinnati Bengals – Brown, Malcolm, DT, Texas
Analysis: With the draft deep in wide receivers, the Bengals pluck the best run stuffer remaining on the board to fortify their defensive line in the ground and pound AFC North. Cincinnati like to keep their defense full of young talent capable and Brown has a lot of upside potential. He will be part of their line rotation immediately.
Pick 22: Pittsburgh Steelers – Collins, Jalen, CB, LSU
Analysis: Two stalwarts of the Steelers secondary retired this off season as both Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor called it a career. Pittsburgh starts the replacement process with LSU cornerback Jalen Collins. Look for them to add more defensive backs later in the draft.
Pick 23: Detroit Lions – Goldman, Eddie, DT, Florida State
Analysis: The Lions lost both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to free agency and replaced one of then by trading for former Raven Haloti Ngata. They draft the next placement in Florida State DT Eddie Goldman. Such is the way in the modern NFL – refresh the talent and preserve cap space.
Pick 24: Arizona Cardinals – Gordon, Melvin, RB, Wisconsin
Analysis: One of the weaknesses on a very strong Cardinals team is at running back, and the Cardinals fill that hold by drafting Melvin Gordon. He will provide the thunder to Andre Ellington’s lightning and provide balance to the Cardinals offense that must protect Carson Palmer’s weak knees.
Pick 25: Carolina Panthers – Collins, La’el, OT/OG, LSU
Analysis: If Carolina hopes to return to the playoffs for a third straight season, they must protect Cam Newton, and free agent Michael Oher, twice released, by Baltimore and Tennessee, isn’t the answer. LSU lineman La’el Collins can play tackle or guard and will beat out Oher for a starting job.
Pick 26: Baltimore Ravens – Strong, Jaelen, WR, Arizona State
Analysis: Baltimore lost Torrey Smith in free agency, and Steve Smith, Sr. is one year closer to being Steve Smith, Senior Citizen. The Ravens wide receiving unit gets a needed inlux of youth in the form of Jaelen Strong, who will push for playing time immediately.
Pick 27: Dallas Cowboys – Phillips, Jordan, DT, Oklahoma
Analysis: With both big running backs off the board, this decision is easy for Stephen Jones, the brains behind the Cowboys smarter drafting of late. They snag the best defender on the board to give Rod Marinelli a weapon to deploy while awaiting Godot, also known as DE Greg Hardy, who has been suspended for 10 games.
Pick 28: Denver Broncos – Erving, Cameron, C, Florida State
Analysis: One year removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the Broncos suffered a major loss along their offensive line when Orlando Frankin signed with division rival San Diego. They draft a reinforcement in the form of C/G Cameron Erving, one of the best interior linemen in the 2015 draft. Protecting Peyton is paramount.
Pick 29: Indianapolis Colts – McKinney, Benardrick, ILB, Mississippi State
Analysis: The Colts need to improve their defense, and McKinney, run stuffing middle linebacker will help them match up against the running game of the Patriots that gashed Indianapolis in their two meetings last season. This is the first of many defensive players drafted by the Colts this weekend.
Pick 30: Green Bay Packers – Shelton, Danny, NT/DT, Washington
Analysis: Green Bay re-signed B.J. Raji, but he is coming off a serious knee injury and they need to add depth to their defensive line. Shelton was through to be the best defensive lineman in the draft by some, but his motor is questionable, and he’s best suited to play in a 3-4 defense. He’s a big Boom-Bust prospect.
Pick 31: New Orleans Saints – Perryman, Denzel, ILB, Miami (FL)
Analysis: New Orleans continues beefing up their defense with the pick received from Seattle in the Jimmy Graham trade. Maxx Williams would have been a consideration here, but he’s already off the board. Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman will seize control of the middle of the Saints defense for the next decade.
Pick 32: New England Patriots – Harold, Eli, OLB/DE, Virginia
Analysis: Drafting late, Bill Belichick does what he always seems to, find the overlooked prospect. Eli Harold is an undersized, underrated pass rusher, who will fits well in New England’s scheme. He may take some time to develop, but he will provide push off the edge in the Patriots sub packages immediately and be looked at as a first round steal with this draft is reviewed in 5 years.
With the drop off in talent at pick 10 this year, and another coming in the mid 40’s in the second round, picking this mock draft was a challening, but entertaining proposition. If we correctly identified 24 of the 32 first rounders, and got 8 to the correct teams, we will consider it a successful endeavor. Especially if the Giants wind up finishing their offensive line with the talented offensive lineman from Iowa. We’d consider that grand slam, and judging from your reactions on Twitter, so would the majority of the Giants360 following on Twitter.
We will be posting our three favorite players in each round from our Draft Pick Six Series over the next four days to give you names to watch as the draft coverage unfolds. Giants360 will be tuned in for the entire draft, flipping between ESPN and NFL Network and live tweeting the entire event. We encourage you to come watch with us and read about the players drafted here.
Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.