Collage picture of top prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft.
By: Michael Eadeh
CLEVELAND – March 2, 2015 – Silly season, as expert columnists like to call it, has officially begun. With the NFL combine recently concluding, many prospects will now have to wait until the week of April 29th to have their dreams come true. This year’s NFL Draft, held in Chicago for the first time since 1964, is Christmas morning for many football fans. But what makes the NFL Draft so exciting? You’re reading one now– Mock Drafts. Here’s my version 1.0.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
Assuming he stays out of trouble within these next nine weeks, Jameis Winston is the pick. Jameis the football player is without a doubt worthy of the number one overall pick. The only question is, can the Bucs trust his character? ESPN’s Todd McShay ranks him his second best quarterback he has scouted in the past 10 years only being behind Andrew Luck. Winston only helped himself at the combine with not only his workouts showcasing his God given talents but also his interviews wowing NFL personnel with his knowledge for the game. Given that, the Bucs ought to trust him and hand him the keys to the franchise.
2. Tennessee Titans- DE/DT Leonard Williams, USC
Titans have holes everywhere and with Ken Whisenhunt professing his love for QB Zach Mettenberger it’s safe to say they won’t take a gamble on QB Marcus Mariota. Leonard Williams, who resembles his game after J.J. Watt, would immensely help the Titans 27th ranked defense.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars- OLB, Dante Fowler, Florida
With their 3rd straight year in the top 5 of the draft, the Jaguars possess a lack of “elite” players. They need to upgrade their offensive line to help protect last year’s first round pick Black Bortles but Dante Fowler is an elite player whom the Jags can’t pass up on. He’ll bolster their already decent pass rush and give their defense an identity that they’ve been lacking.
4. Oakland Raiders- WR Kevin White, West Virginia
With QB Derek Carr molding into a fine QB, he needs a go-to guy. Oakland’s wideouts gave Carr zero help last season. Kevin White comes in with size, speed, and swagger. With White wowing everyone at the combine, it’s fair to say he could be the first WR taken in this year’s draft.
5. Washington Redskins- OLB, Vic Beasley, Clemson
With Brian Orakpo set to leave in free agency, the Redskins need to find his replacement. Beasley who absolutely crushed the combine by showcasing his strength (35 bench reps), measurables (6’4 248lbs), and his speed (4.53 40yd dash). With that speed to power combination, the Redskins ought to be licking their chops.
6. New York Jets- WR, Amari Cooper, Alabama
Many have QB Marcus Mariota penciled in here. But I really don’t think new head coach Todd Bowles is a fan of drafting QB’s high. Geno Smith is still young and developing, and surrounding him with a one of the best wideouts in the nation would be essential for his development.
7. Chicago Bears- QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Boom. With the NFL Draft being held in Chicago, this simply bodes well. Many in Chicago already cannot stand Jay Cutler leading their team. Even new head coach John Fox wouldn’t commit to him as his starter. The Bears need a fresh new start at QB, and with an offense anchored by Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, this might be an ideal environment for Mariota.
8. Atlanta Falcons- OLB, Randy Gregory, Nebraska
With the defense lacking an identity and newly defensive minded head coach Dan Quinn leading the way, it’s fair to assume he’d like to bolster his front 7. Gregory plays with swagger and bit of an agitator that can get under opponent’s skin, which is exactly the type of player the Falcons desire.
9. New York Giants- DE, Shane Ray, Missouri
Jason Pierre-Paul may leave in free agency and with Shane Ray on board it’ll be foolish for the Giants to let him pass by. Ray led the SEC in sacks with 14.5. With incredible instincts, tackling, and speed, Ray will revive the Giants defense.
10. St. Louis Rams- OT, Brandon Scherff, Iowa
The Rams need to protect oft-injured QB Sam Bradford and with OT Jake Long often injured as well, it’ll make sense to take Scherff here. Scherff has experience at all postions on the offensive line. His versatility,and toughness will immensely upgrade the Rams offensive line.
11. Minnesota Vikings- WR, Devante Parker, Louisville
The Vikings have many holes but with a glaring need at wideout, look for the Vikings to pair Teddy Bridgewater with his former buddy/teammate, Devante Parker.
12. Cleveland Browns- DT, Danny Shelton, Washington
With Ahtyba Rubin most likely leaving in free agency, and Phil Taylor being often injured, look for the Browns to target Shelton here. The Browns ranked dead last at 32nd against the run last year and Shelton is a 6’2, 340lb run-stuffing mammoth. He’d be an ideal fit for the Browns in the physical AFC North.
13. New Orleans Saints- CB, Trae Waynes, Michigan St.
The Saints ranked 25th against the pass last season and need an upgrade at cornerback. With the draft’s best CB sitting there, it’ll be too tempting to pass him up.
14. Miami Dolphins- DT, Eddie Goldman, FSU
With Jared Odrick most likely leaving in free agency, the Dolphins need to get younger in the trenches. Goldman provides them with power, quickness, and well needed versatility.
15. San Francisco 49ers- DE, Arik Armstead, Oregon
Justin Smith is turning 36 in September which makes the defensive line a need here. With defensive-minded head coach Jim Tomsula now leading the team, look for the 49ers to bolster their defense with a freakish player like Armstead.
16. Houstan Texans- DT, Malcolm Brown, Texas
Texans need a QB but with none worthy here, they should choose to juice up their defense even more. Brown gives them an amazing combination of power, speed, and versatility. He also possesses outstanding football character, the type that Bill O’Brien highly covets.
17. San Diego Chargers- OT, La’el Collins, LSU
With Phillip Rivers getting sacked 37 times last season, it’s imperative for the Chargers to upgrade their offensive line. Collins is well versatile as he has experience at guard and tackle.
18. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
The Chiefs are in a dire need of a go-to wide receiver. Strong possesses a strong 6’3 215lb build, and tremendous ball skills that would give Alex Smith a great weapon to work with.
19. Cleveland Browns- OLB, Bud Dupree, Kentucky
With GM Ray Farmer consistently saying he doesn’t believe in drafting wide receivers high and the draft possessing a deep WR class, look for the Browns to continue bolstering their front 7 with Dupree. With Sheard possibly leaving in free agency, Mingo underachieving, and Kruger just being a solid pass rusher, the Browns desperately need a bona-fide pass rusher to solidify their emerging defense. Dupree possesses outstanding personal and football character, a trait coach Mike Pettine desperately covets. With his 6’4 270lb build and 4.53 forty yard dash, he’d be a terror off the edge in Mike Pettine’s 3-4 system.
20. Philadelphia Eagles- CB, Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
The Eagles could go various ways here but upgrading the cornerbacks is imperative for them. With Johnson, the Eagles get a natural, instinctive, ball hawking corner that would immensely improve their secondary.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- OLB, Eli Harold, Virgina
The Bengals need to upgrade their pass rush, and while Harold is still somewhat raw, he has gifted physical tools to develop into a really good pass rusher in the NFL.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers- S, Landon Collins, Alabama
This would be an dream scenario for the Steelers. With Troy Polamalu in the decline, the Steelers need an heir apparent to replace him. Collins has prototypical safety size, speed, and power that can anchor the Steelers defense for years to come.
23. Detroit Lions- OT, Ereck Flowers, Miami (Fla)
Although the Lions have many holes to address, Matthew Stafford was sacked 45 times last year which makes the offensive line a desperate need. Flowers gives them versatility at tackle and excels in pass protection, which is exactly what the Lions covet.
24. Arizona Cardinals- OLB, Shaq Thomspn, Washington
The Cardinals can go a number of ways here but I see them enhancing their pass rush since their in a division that has Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. Thompson has natural playmaking instincts, and is an excellent space player that covers sideline to sideline.
25. Carolina Panthers- OT, Andrus Peat, Stanford
When a mobile QB like Cam Newton is sacked 42 times in a season, then you know something is wrong. The Panthers desperately need offensive line help. Peat gives the Panthers long term stability at the position and would greatly upgrade their pass protection.
26. Baltimore Ravens- CB, Jalen Collins, LSU
The Ravens desperately need to improve their 23rd ranked secondary. With Collins, the Ravens get an excellent cover corner who also is tenacious when it comes to run support which is needed in the physical AFC North.
27. Dallas Cowboys- RB, Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
With the DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant contract situation being muddy at best, I’m assuming one of the players will elect to leave in free agency. Assuming Dez Bryant resigns, look for the Cowboys to target Gordon here. Gordon who runs similarly to Murray, gives the Cowboys a younger workhorse to work with.
28. Denver Broncos- C, Cameron Erving, Florida State
The Broncos have holes at tight end, and defensive tackle but none bigger then the hole at center. With Will Montgomery set to leave in free agency, the Broncos need a find a replacement, especially in Peyton Manning’s most likely final season. Erving is the draft’s best center and would anchor the Broncos line for years to come.
29. Indianapolis Colts- RB, Todd Gurley, Georgia
The Colts are a mess at running back and desperately need a one that can anchor the team. Boom Herron proved to be situational back, and Trent Richardson proved to be a bust. Gurley, who has top-ten talent gives them a dangerous playmaker that will aid the Andrew Luck led offense.
30. Green Bay Packers- TE, Maxx Williams, Minnesota
Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons especially if Randal Cobb leaves in free agency. Williams, the draft’s best tight end gives the Packers a dangerous weapon to work with.
31. Seattle Seahawks- WR, Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
The Seahawks desperately need a go-to receiver to pair with Russell Wilson. Green-Beckham has the upside to be an elite receiver assuming he stays out of a trouble. Surrounding him with a culture like the Seahawks would be an ideal pairing.
32. New England Patriots- OT, Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
The Super Bowl Champions have plenty of options to work with here but strengthening their offensive line would be ideal. Ogbuehi has experience at both tackle and guard. His versatility, and demeanor would be an excellent asset for the Patriots.
Michael Eadeh is a Cleveland Sports Huddle contributor and you can catch his work also at: