The early version of the 2015 NFL mock draft enters the home stretch, starting with the early playoff participants.
#21 – St. Louis Rams – Dante Fowler – DE – Florida
Jeff Fisher is all about stockpiling his front seven, especially the pass rushers. Chris Long is approaching 30 and becoming very expensive. Best to add cheap, young talent as early as possible. Dante Fowler is big for a defensive end at 270 lbs but the tape shows that the Florida product is very quick with a broadening arsenal of pass rush moves.
#22 – Indianapolis Colts – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State
Cornerback remains a sore spot for the Indianapolis Colts even after this past off-season. Greg Toler and Vontae Davis are anything but solutions, which is why the team will look to the position early in this 2015 NFL mock draft. Trae Waynes was the wing man of 2014 first round pick Darqueze Dennard and is a big, athletic cover man in his own right. A good fit for the Colts’ scheme.
#23 – Miami Dolphins – Melvin Gordon III – RB – Wisconsin
Knowshon Moreno is looking like a bust already and despite a solid camp Lamar Miller has not yet proven he can handle starter-level carriers as a running back. Look for the Miami Dolphins to correct that lingering issue by picking up Wisconsin workhorse Melvin Gordon III. Not only is he big at 6’1″ but he has the speed to reach the edge and then get downfield fast. As old school as it gets.
#24 – Philadelphia Eagles – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington
He has size. He has speed and he has ball skills. For Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, Washington cornerback Marcus Peters hits the trifecta of what he likes in his players. The Huskies cover man is well-equipped to play against NFL receivers and would add more playmaking to a rather limited secondary.
#25 – Chicago Bears – Kurtis Drummond – FS – Michigan State
Shuffling safeties has become an annual occurrence for the Chicago Bears over the past decade and its getting old for the fans. The team has gone too long without a serious talent at the position. Getting MSU standout Kurtis Drummond would make everybody happy. Not only does he have the requisite size and speed of a free safety, his instinct and versatility to play coverage and the run were a key factor in why the Spartans fielded the best defense in 2013.
#26 – Denver Broncos – Stephone Anthony – ILB – Clemson
There really aren’t many holes on the Denver Broncos roster but one area that could become bothersome is middle linebacker. Current starter Nate Irving has never started a full season as a pro. His backup Lamin Barrow is a rookie 5th round pick, far from a guarantee. So it wouldn’t surprise at all if the Broncos attacked that area early. Clemson senior Stephone Antony would make a ton of sense. Not only is he physical and instinctive around the line of scrimmage, he’s also experienced. A possible plug-and-play talent.