Hello, everyone. As you may or may not remember, my highly esteemed colleague Harrison Peltz made the first ever Mock Draft on My Weekly Sports a couple of weeks ago.
This, however is Mock Draft 2.0 and a lot has changed. While I can’t say that this is all going to happen, I can’t say it won’t.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Winston has the anticipation and rhythm of a 10 year vet and a rifle of an arm. Having played in a pro style system, he’s the finished product and, believe it or not, Tampa Bay only sees itself a couple of pieces away. Furthermore, the kid has been compared to Peyton Manning for his football IQ. Clearly, this is not for his actual IQ. Manning was never caught stealing crab legs…
- Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Best D-Line prospect in the draft keeps the Titans, who want to see what they have in Zach Mettenberger, a formidable front seven that should look to give Andrew Luck a rough outing twice a year. That being said, Williams doesn’t keep this team out of the top 5 in next year’s draft.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida
Just a great scheme fit. Gus Bradley wants a stand-up, 3-4 edge rusher to set the tone on the defensive side of the ball and that’s exactly what he gets here in Fowler.
- Oakland Raiders: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
This isn’t because I have anything against Amari Cooper as much as it is just because I know it’s what Oakland will do. Kevin White is the next Larry Fitzgerald, and Al Davis would have loved that 4.3 speed.
- Washington Redskins: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
This is a team that thinks it’s safe at corner and just lost its best player in Brian Orakpo. Ray makes sense, as he can transition to OLB, just as Ryan Kerrigan did, and eat up blockers on the outside. Think of a thinner, weaker and more nimble Sheldon Richardson.
- New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Sorry, Geno, but Week 17 wasn’t enough to make up for two years of head scratching decisions. Fitzpatrick holds down the fort as a bridge quarterback, but I don’t have to tell you he’s not the long term answer. The Jets are now an ideal situation, with an ideal surrounding cast, for a QB to enter, and they can afford to give Mariota the time he needs.
- Chicago Bears: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
This guy’s an absolute freak talent who didn’t produce a ton in college. Enter John Fox, who was able to develop an extremely raw Von Miller, and the Bears finally (are trying to) have a somewhat formidable pass rush.
- Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, Clemson, OLB
This draft is absolutely loaded in the front seven, and the Dan Quinn era begins in Atlanta the way it should: working to fix that disgusting defense.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
Bringing back JPP leaves no reason for the Giants to go front seven here. Instead, they patch up a poor interior O-Line, and try to build the way they saw the Cowboys do it a year ago. Scherff’s the right pick.
- St. Louis Rams: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
And just like that, the Rams are doing jumping-jacks in joy. They scoop up the nation’s best receiver from a year ago, and give Nick Foles a weapon with fewer question marks than any in this draft. Not to mention, Cooper is everything Tavon Austin is not: a clean route-runner with strong hands, a big, physical style and, above all, consistent play. That should make Rams’ fans happy.
- Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Words can’t describe how tempted they’ll be to reach on Devante Parker, Teddy Bridgewater’s former roommate, but Waynes is the value pick here. He’s got great instinct and scheme versatility. That being said, these Vikings LOVE to move around on draft day: I see them trading back to snag either a second-tier corner or a receiver like Devante Parker or Dorial Green-Beckham– letting a defense hungry team like the Saints draft the corner prospect who reminds me, in style and in build, of Champ Bailey.
- Cleveland Browns:
Johnny ManzielAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Dwayne Bowe (supposedly) fills the need at receiver. The Browns already have a building defense and while they would love to line up Trae Waynes opposite Joe Haden, he’s already off the board here. That being said, I’m rolling with Andrus Peat, who has great feet and size to play on the right or left in the NFL. He plugs in as these Browns take another year to evaluate the Johnny Manziel show. If Mariota were here, they’d think long and hard, but he’s not, so they play it safe.
- New Orleans Saints: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from these Saints, it’s that they’re all about their defense right now. In Danny Shelton, they get a day one starter who was nothing short of dominant against the run in college. That means that he’s exactly what the Saints are looking for.
- Miami Dolphins: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
These Dolphins will forever be average, and, to continue that trend, the rarely-waning franchise takes Marcus Peters after Trae Waynes is taken three picks too early (read: they might trade up for Waynes: we know they don’t mind doing that). These ‘Fins already have an imposing defensive front, but they’ve needed a corner to pair with Brent Grimes ever since they shipped away Vontae Davis on Hard Knocks. Now if only they could figure out what to do with that Tannehill kid…
- San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
These 49ers are going to try and do everything they can to replace the dominant, run-stuffing defense that disappeared as quickly and shockingly as Jim Harbaugh. Armstead fills a need, and the ‘Niners still think of themselves as contenders too legitimate to try to make a splash by going reaching at receiver this early. They need receivers now that Crabtree is gone. They desperately need front-seven help, now that everyone is gone. Furthermore, Jim Tomsula was the DLine coach before he was the head coach. He gets his guy in his first draft calling the shots.
- Houston Texans: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Texans are looking to fill the gaping hole Andre Johnson has left in the hearts of their fans. I see them going out and getting the most underrated talent in a draft class of freakish receivers, standing 6’3” and having 4.45 speed. They’ll wait to worry about quarterback till next year, when Ryan Mallett shows us why New England drafted Jimmy Garoppolo.
- San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
This guy is an absolute monster in the mold of OJ Simpson and Adrian Peterson… on the field. While the ACL is a concern, Gurley is too talented and produced too much in college for the Chargers, having just lost the most mediocre running back in franchise history, to miss out on. This 6’1” sledge-hammer is a work horse who starts and makes big plays on Day 1.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
Remember what I said about the Dolphins being perennially mediocre? So are these Chiefs. They are the hardest team to figure out so far, because they really don’t have glaring needs, they just have so few x-factors to carry them deep into the playoffs. That being said, Landon Collins is a safe, pro-ready player who provides help in the back end which missed Eric Berry towards the end of last season.
- Cleveland Browns: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
This guy’s measurables are off the charts. Mike Pettine, still frustrated that he can’t turn this pick into Sam Bradford, gets insurance on the injury-prone, inconsistent, and, so far, disappointing Barkevious Mingo by landing a pass rusher with serious talent. It may not be the sexy pick, but these Browns really think they’re set at receiver, so let them think that. They’ll take Dupree here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Prediction: The Eagles won’t be drafting in this spot if this is the board they’re looking at. Given that we now know Chip Kelly doesn’t think that talent on offense is at all necessary, the Eagles will exit the first round with Jordan Matthews still atop their depth chart out wide. That being said, Kelly will use his first round pick on either Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, or Arik Armstead (because he went to Oregon). If he has to move in order to that, so be it. So no, they won’t be drafting Kevin Johnson, but odds are it’ll be someone on the back end.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Another perpetually mediocre franchise lands an unspectacular pick. If I’m the Bengals, I’m thinking wide receiver, but I’m not enticed enough by any of the options I don’t think will be there in round 2. Brown is insurance for Geno Atkins, and, if Atkins is healthy, he’s Robin on a top-5 D-Line.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
It’s a shame because Bud Dupree is the perfect scheme fit here, but he’s already off the board. Pittsburgh is pretty much set offensively, yet defensively they currently seem to lack that trademark Steeler grit. Enter Goldman.
- Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
With the feet to play almost any spot on the line, Flowers fits in as a do-it-all guy on a Lions O-Line that took major steps in 2014. He also helps solidify a run-game, led by Joique “My Name is Actually Joique” Bell, that I’m not totally sold on.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Either the Cardinals really think Carson Palmer’s there guy or they’re just planning on waiting till round 2, as they’re well out of reach to land either first round QB prospect. They lost gambler Antonio Cromartie this off-season, and replace him with yet another LSU alumnus to add to the secondary.
- Carolina Panthers: DJ Humphries, OT, Florida
I would love more than anything (that’s not true) to see these Panthers gamble on Dorial Green-Beckham here. He’s a homerun talent that could give Cam Newton a surrounding cast he’s never had before. That being said, Cam Newton has to be healthy, on-the-field, to throw to anyone and the Panthers’ line this year was hilarious. Humphries helps patch that up on the outside.
- Baltimore Ravens: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
A bevy of off the field issues won’t stop these Ravens from taking the most freakish wideout in this draft, who has drawn comparisons to Calvin Johnson in talent. Let’s not forget how close these Ravens came from knocking off the Pats a couple of months ago. They’re just an X-Factor away from winning that game. DGB is that X-Factor, and he has ten times the ceiling Torrey Smith ever had.
- Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
It’s out with the not-that-old and in with the new in Dallas. Jerry Jones gets himself a new workhorse who will most certainly have his work cut out for him. No pressure or anything Melvin Gordon, you’re only going to be expected to fill in for a running back who just broke franchise records and won offensive player of the year while completely transcending the style of the team with the nation’s most die-hard fan base. And they want to win the Super Bowl. And they want to do it…now. Expect the ball a lot, buddy.
- Denver Broncos: Maxx Williams, TE, Arizona State
Do these Broncos really have another title run in them? I personally don’t buy it, but I know that they do. That being said, Julius Thomas is out and I see no reason why they should be sold on Virgil Green (Virgil who? Exactly). Enter Williams, the most Gronk-esque prospect in the draft with big hands and the talent to flourish under the right scheme and tutelage. No one has ever provided as much of said tutelage as Peyton Manning. Nice pick.
- Indianapolis Colts: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Some people have La’el Collins going significantly earlier than this. I don’t buy it. The truth is that, even with Collins, LSU struggled tremendously in pass protection this past season. A close look at Collins shows that, while his size is tremendous, he is often beaten on the edge by faster pass rushers. He seldom blocked NFL size at LSU, and was still often beat. I believe that scouts will see this, he will slide, and he will fall into the Colts’ laps, and it will be a great pick. Why a great pick, you ask? While Collins can get beat on the edge in pass protection, this guy moves people in the running game. He can plug in and instantly boost the post T-Rich era of ground football in Indy.
- Green Bay Packers: Benardrick McKinney, MLB, ILB, Mississippi State
They would have loved to see Maxx Williams still here. It’s not worth it for them to reach on TE #2 of the draft, as he still may be there in round 2. That being said, this was a Super Bowl caliber team in 2014. Furthermore, they were able to retain all their studs in free agency this off-season, other than their middle linebacker, AJ Hawk. Insert Benardrick McKinney at middle linebacker, who’s talented and pro-ready enough to let Clay Matthews stay in his natural slot on the outside.
- New Orleans Saints: Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia
I’m not particularly high on Eli Harold, who doesn’t seem to have any wow factor in his game. His measurables don’t jump off the page and his game film is nothing to write home about. All the elite corners are off the board, however, and though the value pick here would be Jordan Phillip’s, the Saints already went DLine in this mock draft.
- New England Patriots: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
The Patriots, like the Saints, have missed out on the elite corners in this class by this point. That being said, why not add some weapons to a passing attack that missed out on Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin this off-season? In Jaelen Strong, the Pats find themselves a weapon in the short range game who is a boxer at the line of scrimmage, capable of beating almost any in press coverage. He reminds me of a young Anquan Boldin, and he’d be a great weapon for Brady & Co.