The Big LeadThe Big Lead

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston First QB?

A 2015 NFL Mock Draft even though the actual draft is over five months away? But you don’t even know who is in the NFL playoffs. You don’t know who will declare. You don’t know who will get arrested/give up football/injured. Which is why this is just a guide, like the way-too-early Mock Draft in May was.

1. Oakland (0-9) – Leonard Williams, DT, USC. The Raiders like QB Derek Carr (but will new management?). Williams immediately helps a DL that is last in the NFL in sacks (8) and giving up 130 rushing yards a game.

2. Jacksonville (1-9) – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M. Operation protect Blake Bortles. He’s been sacked 23 times in eight games and has thrown an NFL-high 14 INTs.

3. Tampa Bay (1-8) – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Lovie Smith may want to rebuild the OL or get some help for his defense, but the QB situation has been atrocious. Let the record state I wouldn’t take Winston in the first round. How many off-field incidents between now and April?

4. New York Jets (2-8)  Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. I just hope Jim Harbaugh‘s making this selection. I want no part of Winston. No matter what Vick shows the rest of the way, a QB this early is needed, but Mariota’s the only guy I love this high.

5. Tennessee (2-7) – Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor. Titans could use help just about everywhere as the roster is bereft of talent. With Mariota and Winston off the board, I’m not sure there’s another QB to go this high. Oakman, who is 6-foot-8 and 290 pounds, is raw, but filled with upside.

6. Atlanta (3-6) – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska. The Falcons are 31st in the NFL with 11 sacks in nine games. Are Smith/Dimitroff making this pick? I doubt it. Did the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Gregory read his offseason clippings or has he been double-teammed more? He’s been less impactful this year, and only has one sack in the last four games.

7. Washington (3-6) – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa. OL? LB? Safety? Many positions in play for Jay Gruden’s struggling Redskins. I’d try to keep RGIII upright in hopes he regains his Rookie Magic.

8. Chicago (3-6) – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. Spend every draft pick on the horrible defense. Fine, maybe one on the OL. Ray is having one of those, “we need to scheme for this guy” type of seasons – 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks.

9. New York Giants (3-6) – Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington. Best pure athlete in the draft? He rushed for 174 yards two weeks ago. Teammate Hau’oli Kikaha leads the country in sacks and tackles for loss, but likely slides some due to two ACL injuries. Giants are dead last in the NFL against the run.

10. St. Louis (3-6) – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. Arguably the best CB in the draft, he just got dismissed from the Huskies. Can he stay in the 1st round? Rams questions: Who’s the QB? Does Sam Bradford return? Does Jeff Fisher return as coach? So many questions!

11. Carolina (3-6-1) – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. Not a major surprise that the Panthers took a large step back in 2014. Protecting Cam Newton tops the secondary as the team’s biggest need.

12. Houston (4-5) – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St. Texans could be in the market for OL too, and maybe even a QB if Ryan Mallett doesn’t look sharp. You know who looks like a Bill O’Brien guy? Connor Cook of Michigan State. Keep that name in mind.

13. Minnesota (4-5) –  Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi St. Mike Zimmer’s going to build a defense he had in Cincinnati. His DL is set. On offense, the OL needs some help.

14. Cleveland (via Buffalo 5-4) – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The Browns got this pick in the Sammy Watkins trade, which will look brilliant with every Buffalo loss. Cooper, only 6-foot-1, is re-writing the SEC record book. Cooper and Josh Gordon? Scary.

15. Cincinnati (5-3-1) – Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. Has Andy Dalton been that bad? The Bengals are in the playoffs now; I don’t think they’ll end there. Cook isn’t ready to start now, but the Bengals aren’t committed to Dalton for that long. But, Cook may stay in school

16. Pittsburgh (6-4) – Landon Collins, S, Alabama. I’m not as high on Collins as others, and the recent history of Alabama (and SEC) DBs struggling in the NFL is going to be a draft topic in early 2015. Gets tutored for a year by Troy Polamalu.

17. San Francisco (5-4) – Cameron Erving, OT, Florida St. Struggling a bit this year, like the entire FSU OL. Interesting offseason ahead for SF with many free agents possibly walking, and oh yeah, Jim Harbaugh almost certainly leaving.

18. San Diego (5-4) – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. Chargers’ RB Ryan Mathews has one more year left on his deal, and he’s been inconsistent throughout his career. Can you imagine this ball-control attack with Gurley?

19. Baltimore (6-4) – Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson. Pass-rushing specialist will probably have an absurd Combine, but all anyone will say is, can he drop into coverage in a 4-3 or is he only a 3-4 guy? Suggs turned 32; Dumervil turns 31 soon.

20. Dallas (7-3) – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma. Yes, I was wrong about Dallas. If the troubled WR comes out – big if – someone will take a chance on him in the first round, assuming he stays out of trouble. How about adding DGB while letting Dez Bryant walk in free agency? That’d be something. And yes, I have the Cowboys missing the playoffs.

21. Miami (5-3) – Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma. At 6-foot, 220-pounds, is he a tweener? Can he cover? Mel Kiper has compared him to Von Miller. What can’t he do? Yes, I have the Dolphins sneaking into the playoffs. Other needs: OL, DB.

22. New Orleans (4-5) – PJ Williams, CB, Florida State. Not having as good a year as 2013, but that applies to almost every FSU player. One wonders: Will the Saints ever solve their secondary woes?

23. Kansas City (6-3) – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. Modest junior year (35 catches, 507 yards) and he’s already more than doubled those this year (75 catches, 1,075 yards). He’s 6-foot-3, he’s been compared to Larry Fitzgerald.

24. Cleveland (6-3) – Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami. Is he a 1st round pick? He sure hits hard and can go sideline-to-sideline. Browns defense has been surprisingly woeful against the run (bottom five in yards-per-carry and yards per game allowed).

25. Seattle (6-3) – Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State. The Seahawks drafted a WR in the 2nd round last year (Paul Richardson) but still lack a No. 1. Strong, 6-foot-4, looks like a young Anquan Boldin. Will be a monster in the red zone. Spectacular hands.

26. Indianapolis (6-3) – Cody Prewitt, S, Mississippi. Too high? Having a great season, will be all-SEC and perhaps All-American again. In three years, I the 6-foot-2, 220-pound playmakers will be a better pro than Landon Collins.

27. Detroit (7-2) – Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State. Overshawdowed a bit by sophomore stud Joey Bosa, but I like Bennett as insurance in case they let Suh walk and Mosley can’t stay away from the buds.

28. Arizona (8-1) – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. Feels like a luxury pick for the Cardinals, who may be preparing for the end of Larry Fitzgerald, although rookie John Brown has been a great find. OL depth, maybe?

29. Philadelphia (7-2) – Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA. Not an overreaction to the Nick Foles injury, or to anything I saw from Mark Sanchez. I still believe Chip Kelly’s offense works best with a mobile QB. I like Hundley, but he’s still inconsistent and will need a “redshirt” 1st year.

30. Denver (7-2) – T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. The defense is vastly improved, though you wouldn’t know it from the beating they just took against New England. I keep thinking back to the Super Bowl, and protecting Peyton.

31. New England (7-2) – Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky. Wrote about him last month. Playing like an All-American (8.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks).

32. Green Bay (6-3) – La’el Collins, OT, LSU. Mauler. Could start as a rookie. Yes, today, I have the Packers winning the Super Bowl.