The NFL Combine just ended. Overreaction season has begun. Free agency starts March 9th, and a few weeks in we’ll have another mock draft. Here’s 2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (May 2014). This was 2015 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (November 2014). And this was Mock Draft 3.0, (January 8). Below is what I think will happen, NOT what I would do.
1 Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. No change.
2 Tennessee – Leonard Williams, DL, USC. Let’s see what happens in free agency, and wait on the Zach Mettenberger chatter, but the sense I get talking to teams around the league is someone will trade up for Marcus Mariota.
3 Jacksonville – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington. Gus Bradley bolsters his defensive line with the 340-pound space-eater from Washington. Jags have the most cap room to spend, and have lots of holes. Lots of defensive end options here, but it’s a deep position.
4 Oakland – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. The 4.35 40 was a surprise at the Combine. Had an NFC scout tell me he looked like a slightly smaller Julio Jones. “Freak” is being tossed around.
5 Washington – Dante Fowler, DE, Florida. No change. He ran a 4.65 40 while weighing 260 pounds. Yet only did 19 reps on the bench press.
6 New York Jets – Marcus Mariota, Oregon. For six weeks, this looked good, right? Especially when so many other mock drafts got on board. The problem? Sense I get right now is he’s unlikely to fall this far. Need some time to ponder whether the Jets should trade up for him.
7 Chicago – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri. John Fox is switching the Bears to a 3-4, but doesn’t have the personnel, so even if this isn’t the guy, you can be certain it’s an edge rusher.
8 Atlanta – Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. Have some cap room to spend in free agency. Were 30th in the NFL in sacks, and edge rushers Umenyiora and Biermann are free agents. Gregory checked in at only 235 pounds in Indianapolis following an illness.
9 New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa. This could change to defense depending on what happens in free agency, especially with Jason Pierre-Paul.
10 St. Louis – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma. Has the measureables of Megatron, and the Rams struck gold with another problem child (Janoris Jenkins). DGB kept his nose clean post-Missouri. Rams probably lose Britt in FA, and Givens/Quick are up next year.
11 Minnesota – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. Two starting OL at the end of the season are free agents, and neither is particularly good. Kalil had an awful 2nd half of the season, so here’s some insurance.
12 Cleveland – Devante Parker, WR, Louisville. Had a good combine, but the bigger issue is the Josh Gordon suspension. Browns will need at least one WR in free agency, they may take two in the draft.
13 New Orleans – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon. Saints desperately need to address being 25th in the NFL in sacks, and the 6-foot-7, 292 pound Armstead – though more project than polished – is a start.
14 Miami – Landon Collins, S, Alabama. Dolphins bolster an already-good defense with the best safety in the draft. Miami has four players at safety (Delmas, Wilson, Thomas, Kovacs) who are free agents.
15 San Francisco – Eddie Goldman, DT, FSU. The 49ers are a team in turmoil, and you might see massive changes in the trenches on both sides. Or, do they help their QB bounce back from a bad year with a receiver, especially if Amari Cooper is on the board?
16 Houston – La’El Collins, OT, LSU. If they don’t retain David Newton in free agency, offensive line should be the move. The defense needs major work, as well, though Clowney at 100% healthy would help everyone.
17 San Diego – Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson. Keep whiffing on edge rushers (Ingram and Attaochu have not done as well as expected), which is part of the reason San Diego was 29th in sacks. Beasley checked in at 6-foot-3, 246 pounds and lit up the bench press (35 reps at 225) in Indianapolis.
18 Kansas City – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama.
No change. Slides down from 12 through no fault of his own; other receivers are just bigger, faster and strong. I don’t project Cooper – while great at Alabama – to be in the mold of Watkins or Beckham.
19 Cleveland (via Buffalo) – Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas. Have many pivotal free agent decisions to make (including NT Rubin), so for now, this feels like a best defensive player on the board. No, I have no idea what the Browns are going to do at QB, especially if Brian Hoyer goes elsewhere. Sanchez & Pettine? LOL.
20 Philadelphia – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. Pointless to try and figure out what Chip Kelly will do; he’s the new Bill Belichick! But just like last year, narrowing down the position isn’t difficult. Waynes ran a 4.35 40 at the Combine.
21 Cincinnati – Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA. Bengals could lose three key contributors on defense, and went from 5th in sacks in 2012 to 32nd in sacks in 2014.
22 Pittsburgh – Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma. Desperately need help on defense, specifically the defensive line. Phillips is 6-foot-5, 330 pounds.
23 Detroit – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. It’ll be defense. Perhaps the defensive line, where they could lose three big contributors in free agency. With the right free agency and draft … Lions to the Super Bowl?
24 Arizona – Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, Kentucky. Should shift seamlessly to OLB in the pros. At 6-foot-4, 269 pounds, his 4.56 40 was blazing, and he can drop back into coverage. Athletic freak: 42-inch vertical, 11-foot-6 broad jump, but unlike most ‘freaks’ he actually produced: 23.5 sacks in three seasons.
25 Carolina – TJ Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. Nine weeks from the draft, offensive line here feels like a lock.
26 Baltimore – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. They’ll probably retain Forsett in free agency, and the defense has holes, but call me a late 1st round sucker for getting a stud QB some help with a stud RB.
27 Dallas – Eli Harold, DE, Virginia. Feels like OLB or DE, but keep an eye on Doug Free’s situation in free agency. Cowboys free agency will happen after Dez/DeMarco get sorted out.
28 Denver – Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State. Lots of needs. Made major push in free agency last year, but didn’t get back to the Super Bowl. Right now, it feels like a defensive lineman.
29 Indianapolis – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia. Fun month for their running backs: Ahmad Bradshaw popped on pot charge; the Colts are trying to dump Trent Richardson.
30 Green Bay – Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn. I don’t love him in the 1st round, but plenty of scouts I spoke with do. Packers could lose 2nd best WR (Cobb), and three CBs in free agency.
31 Seattle – Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State. Took Paul Richardson early last year, he didn’t do much, then tore an ACL. Chris Matthews didn’t have a catch all season, then was the go-to guy in the Super Bowl. There’s still a need there.
32 New England – Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington. One of the ‘losers’ at the Combine, which could be a blessing for someone in the 2nd round (Minnesota?). Of course, this means Bill Belichick will draft him, convince him to play a hybrid defender.
Fell out from the last mock draft:
Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi St.
Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State.
PJ Williams, CB, FSU
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Cameron Erving, OT, Florida St.
Hau’oli Kikaha, DE, Washington
New into the 1st round:
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA.
TJ Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin.
Eli Harold, DE, Virginia
Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn