Hello, everyone. After getting some great feedback on my last mock draft, I’ve decided to update the board as teams are going through scheduled workouts and players are rising or choking at their pro-days.
I give you, The Mock Draft You’ve Got to Read 2.0
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
I am sticking with this pick, which is starting to seem like more and more of a no brainer. 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. However, this is not for his actual IQ (Manning was never caught stealing crab legs).
- Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
The 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 and I don’t love the pick, but it’s undoubtedly what they’re going to roll with. I don’t believe that what Ken Whisenhunt has been saying about Mariota is anything more than smoke screens to draw interest in the trade market. Whisenhunt wants a pro style, strong-armed gunslinger under center. He has more of that in Mettenberger than in Mariota.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida
Just a great scheme fit. Gus Bradley wants an animal to rush the passer and push runs off tackle to the middle of the field. He gets his guy here in the high-motored, extremely versatile Fowler. Not the sexy pick, but it’s the one that the Jags organization needs and wants.
- 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. Derek Carr gets his guy, and Oakland fans get the best receiver they’ve had since Randy Moss.
- Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
I had Shane Ray here last week before I grew disillusioned with the scheme fit. This is a team that thinks it’s safe at corner and just lost its best player in Brian Orakpo. Beasley is a refined edge rusher with experience playing in a 3-4 scheme very similar to what Washington runs. He is strong, agile and pro-ready. Don’t underestimate how tempted these ‘Skins are to grab Mariota.
- New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
And I’m starting to sour on this pick, but not enough to change it just yet.
As a Jets fan, no, I do not believe in Geno Smith. I also do not believe that Ryan Fitzpatrick is anything more than a mentor and a (like this ever works for anyone) bridge quarterback. Mariota makes so much sense here for an organization that seems to have plugged its most gaping holes by taking advantage of the NFL’s answer to March Madness. Most, however, is the key word here. You need a quarterback to win games. Insert Mariota.
- Chicago Bears: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
This guy is 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 have a somewhat formidable pass rush, or at least they are trying to.
That being said, Gregory didn’t do a whole lot in college. (Read: Gregory really might be a bust).
- Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
It cannot be understated how much the 4-3 defense relies on containments from its perimeter animals on all fours. Dan Quinn will be the first to tell you how much his Seahawks benefitted from having a strong run-stuffer, with the speed to get to the passer, too, like Michael Bennett in his scheme the last two years. Shane Ray has twice the ceiling and legitimately produced in college (unlike a certain prospect whose name rhymes with Shmandy Shmegory).
9: New York Giants: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Yeah, this is a big jump from the #29 slot that I had him at last time. However, the more I think about it, the more this pick makes sense. These Giants have invested big money into their run game these last couple of years, from spending top dollar on Rashad Jennings, to drafting Andre Williams, to signing and hyping the “under-used” Shane Vereen. They expect big production on the ground, and, while I’m not a huge fan of his footwork in pass-protection, Collins is an absolute beast and mover of men in the run game. He starts day one and helps out day one.
- St. Louis Rams: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Rams land the best value pick of the top ten in this draft. 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. While it would be very Jeff Fisher to go Randy Gregory here, Fish is too smart for that and recognizes the importance of having a wideout who can hold his own in a division that features both Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson.
- Minnesota Vikings: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
Last time I talked about how tempted the Vikes would be to take Parker over a blue-chip corner like Trae Waynes, and here I have them doing it. Parker is not only Teddy Bridgewater’s former roommate, but he’s the most underrated athlete in a class that’s absolutely loaded at wide receiver. With the ideal height (6’3”) and weight (210 lbs) to win boxing matches with corners on the outside, Parker finds himself in a good situation in Minnesota.
- Cleveland Browns:
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&MTrae Waynes, CB, MSU
Yay Browns! You guys finally did it! This is a great pick and I am pre-emptively proud of you. As the Browns wait to see what they have in Johnny (what’s his name again?), they land themselves the best corner in this draft and finally give their defense the identity it has been searching for: lock-down on the perimeter. Joe Haden and Trae Waynes team up from day one to lock up the receivers of the AFC North here, and though he doesn’t fill a huge need, Waynes adds big punch to this roster.
- 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 through-bread run-stuffer with as high a motor as any interior lineman in the draft. This guy is a real sleeper. I like him a lot more than Randy Gregory, who is already off this board.
- Miami Dolphins: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
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. They miss out however on Waynes, who is the only CB prospect in this entire draft with the potential to be a legitimate CB1 in my eyes. That being said, the secondary is a glaring weakness and reports say that the Fins are high on Peters. 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 reaching at receiver this early. They need receivers now, considering 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: Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
Patchwork, patchwork, patchwork! Even though the Texans would love to fill the gaping hole Andre Johnson left in the hearts of their fans, Parker, White, and Cooper are all already gone from this board. Mariota and Winston are, too. The success the Cowboys had after kicking rookie tackle-guard hybrid Zack Martin to the inside of the line cannot be underestimated in how it will persuade teams to reach on the most similar player to Martin in this year’s draft: Scherff. Unfortunately, these Texans will wait to worry about quarterback ‘till next year, after 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, who have 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 one.
- 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. They think Jeremy Maclin is their guy on the outside, so there is no need to burst their bubble untill next year’s draft.
- Cleveland Browns:
Tim Couch, QB, KentuckyAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
I had the Browns taking Peat up at #12 in my last mock draft, but the way the board plays out this time has him falling into their laps at #19. With Peat, the Browns finally have a starter opposite Joe Thomas who can consistently bring his A game and provide whatever kind of nurturing pocket the enigma of Johnny Football may need.
What, you think two Browns QB jokes in one mock draft is too harsh? Lighten up.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Still a precarious team for any mock-drafter due to the looming threat of a blockbuster trade and the unsolvable puzzle that is Chip Kelly, I’d like to think that the Eagles can stay put if this is how the board plays out. While this is a weak class at corner and Trae Waynes is the only blue-chip I see, Kevin Johnson isn’t far off. The Eagles need corner more than anything else right now, which is scary, given that Riley Cooper is their most consistent wideout under contract. But hey, apparently Chip Kelly doesn’t think that offensive talent is needed to win football games. Johnson is the pick.
- 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 that 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: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
Bud Dupree and the Steelers are a match made in heaven. This guy’s film calls to mind a thinner James Harrison, whothe Steelers faithful will take all day. Jarvis Jones has not gone according to plan, per say, and Dupree gives the team a safety blanket with rare speed and surprising flashes of skill in covering the flat at the most crucial spot in the 3-4 Defense they have coined these last few… decades.
- 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: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Let’s be real here: Adrian Peterson will not be a Cardinal this coming season. That being said, Andre Ellington, though I love his speed and catching skills, is an injury liability and is ideally suited for a role as just a phenomenal change of pace back: not your every down guy. Gordon compliments him nicely and Bruce Arians finally has himself a smash-mouth runner.
- 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 comical. 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: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
I had Melvin Gordon going here last week, but he’s gone by now on this board.
Eddie Goldman is a run stuffer with a high motor and the hands you look for to eat up blocks inside. He steps in on day one and contributes to a run defense that may have lost its edge this off-season.
- Denver Broncos: TJ Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Personally, I’d love to see Maxx Williams here, as I don’t love anyone these Broncos have on their roster at tight end.
Realistically, however, they didn’t spend money for a first rounder on a position that Peyton has proved over and over again that he can plug anyone into. Clemmings adds depth and pro-ready size to a right side of the line that struggled by the end of last season.
- Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Erving, C, Florida State
The third FSU player to go in the first round provides much needed help inside for a team desperate to find itself in the run game. Erving has played the pro-style game, but hasn’t exactly moved pro-caliber players in his time at FSU, or at least not effectively (he struggled tremendously against Arik Armstead in the playoffs). That being said, these Colts don’t have many holes to plug at this point, and Erving is the best player on the board that doesn’t play a position they’re totally set at. He starts day one and the coaching staff will have to see how much room he can open for Frank Gore.
- Green Bay Packers: Benardrick McKinney, MLB, ILB, Mississippi State
Maxx Williams is very tempting here, but, while the team is weak at TE, Aaron Rodgers has won with less. That being said, this was a Super Bowl caliber team in 2014 that was able to retain all of its studs in free agency this offseason, beside for 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: Maxx Williams, TE, Arizona State
Don’t worry, Saints fans, you only traded Jimmy Graham for… a tight end not as good as Jimmy Graham.
I’m only teasing; Williams is the one tight end with the potential to play at a pro-bowl level in this draft. While some have gone as far as to compare him to Gronk, I liken him more favorably to a quicker Austin Seferian-Jenkins. I know these Saints are all about ground and pound on offense now, but a little weapon in the vertical game never hurt anyone. Plus, Williams is a pretty solid blocker when he puts his head to it.
- 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 and capable of beating almost anyone in press coverage. He reminds me of a young Anquan Boldin, and he’d be a great weapon for Brady & Co.