With the season over now for all but eight teams in the NFL, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2015 NFL Draft. Preparations can never come to soon, and the Senior Bowl will be here before we all know it. There are plenty of surprises when you get a group of people together for a mock draft, so the NFL Mocks staff thought they would take a stab at this year’s first round to try to add the element of surprise.
Trades were allowed, and only one happened (Browns moved up two spots to snag a receiver…) but that’s always on the table. Take a look as Erik Lambert, Joe Wedra, and Sayre Bedinger mock the 2015 NFL Draft.
Erik: Marcus Mariota may have that “system quarterback” stigma surrounding him but don’t let that fool you. This kid has the tools to succeed in any system if he puts in the work, which he would. He can run, jump and pass as well as anybody. That is what the Bucs need.
QB, Florida State
Sayre: I had a tough time making this mock pick, but Jameis Winston has so much talent and I’m not sold on the idea that the Titans are not going to try to upgrade the QB position this offseason where things currently stand with Zach Mettenberger. Winston is a nut-case off the field but he says all the right things and I think he could convince an NFL coaching staff and front office to buy in. We’ll see.
OT, Notre Dame
Joe: I have to admit, I love Stanley in the few games I’ve seen him play. I need to study a bit more, but I have a feeling he’s going to be the best OT option by the time Jacksonville is on the clock. Bottles is the future, but he’ll need help around him to be successful. This would be a good start.
Erik: I know a lot of my Raider associates won’t be happy with this pick but I have to go with the best player and Leonard Williams is that guy. Derek Carr does need receivers, but they are much easier to find in later rounds than difference-making defensive linemen.
Sayre: Gregory is simply the most talented player on the board at this point. With his combination of size, speed, and range. I don’t know if the pass rush is the area the Redskins will look to attack with their first first round draft pick since Robert Griffin III, but Gregory is a blue chip prospect who would provide a lot of playmaking ability.
Joe: Scherff can play both inside and outside at the next level, something that will be attractive to NFL teams in the scouting process. The Jets need a QB, but they need help building a successful unit first. Grabbing a tackle here would be wise.
Erik: A safety isn’t going to dictate how quickly this defense gets better. The Chicago Bears can cover up so many more of their deficiencies if they have a pass rush. Shane Ray is gifted in this department and can refuel their pipeline with much-needed youth.
Sayre: Atlanta has plenty of needs, but the defensive backfield has to be addressed. Right now, Collins is the unquestioned top safety in this year’s class, and he is a steal if he falls past the Bears at this point. This would be an easy pick in my opinion.
Joe: Thompson is one of the most underrated defensive prospects in this draft. He has the ability to do big things in the NFL. The Giants desperately need an every-down playmaker that can fly around on that defense.
Joe: The Browns grabbing Cooper this late in the first round is simply a steal. One has to believe that the Cleveland brass wouldn’t pass up on an opportunity like this. Cooper did absolutely insane things at Alabama, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be a dynamic playmaker in the NFL.
Matt Kalil was terrible in 2014, and hopefully he regains the form we saw in his rookie season where he appeared to be one of the best up and coming tackles in the league. The Vikings’ pass protection was terrible thanks large in part to Kalil, so they’ll need to look for upgrades this offseason. Peat is a player who is really on the rise and could provide a boost to the Vikings’ offensive line in their pursuit to protect Teddy Bridgewater.
Erik: I didn’t like the situation on the board so I elected to move back a few spots for a 2nd round pick. Then I decided to give that offensive line another upgrade. La’El Collins is not only powerful and nimble for his size, he’s also technically sound. Can start right away at tackle or guard.
Erik: This was an easy decision. The New Orleans Saints pass defense has been a mess all year and corner remains a primary culprit. Jalen Collins has great size and technique along with the athleticism required to function in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.
Dante Fowler Jr.
Sayre: Cameron Wake isn’t getting any younger, and Fowler Jr. is really a top level talent with speed, quickness, and the ability to finish around the quarterback. The Dolphins don’t seem to know really what exactly to do with Dion Jordan either, so maybe a fresh start with someone like Fowler would be a great pickup.
WR, West Virginia
Joe: Like the Browns taking Cooper, this one just made too much sense. The 49ers could go anywhere with their first-rounder, but taking a playmaker would be wise. White is an insane prospect that is going to rise after individual workouts.
Erik: Andre Johnson may or may not be gone in 2015 but either way the Houston Texans have to think about investing at wide receiver early. Getting DeVante Parker with his size-speed-hands combination would be a steal at #16.