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April 29, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft (Final): Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota go 1-2

With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Chicago, this will be the final update of my 2015 NFL Mock Draft and I've projected all seven rounds.

In addition, we've taken a way-too-early look ahead to next year's draft with our 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

With that said, here is my projection for the 2015 NFL Draft:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

When the Bucs released Josh McCown earlier this offseason, they gave us clear indication that this pick will be a quarterback. Some may debate whether it should be Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota, the two previous Heisman Trophy recipients, but Winston has been the odds-on favorite for months and I still expect him to be the selection here.

Although Winston's increase in interceptions were an issue last year, he has the strong arm, accuracy, football intelligence and on-the-field leadership skills to develop into a franchise-changing quarterback. NFL Network's Steve Mariucci referred to Winston "the most astute X's and O's guy that he's ever put on the board."

With Winston, of course, the biggest concern relates to off-the-field issues -- and those concerns are amplified given the nature of the position and this draft slot. Assuming the Bucs feel comfortable with Winston as the face of their franchise, he is the selection here.

2. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Here's the full list: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. What do these elite quarterbacks have in common? They are the eight quarterbacks that led their teams to division titles last year. It's nearly impossible to win a division with an unsettled or sub-par quarterback situation.

Do the Titans believe in Zach Mettenberger enough to bypass Mariota here? The Tennessean's David Climer wrote that Mettenberger will be the team's quarterback in 2015 and NFL Films' Greg Cosell recently said that he preferred Mettenberger over both Winston and Mariota.

Whether or not the Titans believe Mettenberger can develop into the type of quarterback that can lead the Titans to a division title, it's clear that the team needs better play from whomever is under center. If the Titans are unable to find a suitable trade partner to move down, I ultimately think that they go with Mariota here. That said, a number of teams, most notably Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Diego or St. Louis, could be highly interested in trading up with the Titans.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Mariota threw for 10,796 yards, rushed for 2,237 yards and accounted for 136 touchdowns -- 105 passing, 29 rushing and two receiving -- with only 14 interceptions. There will naturally be some questions about how well and quickly Mariota will transition from Oregon's spread offense to a pro-style system, but Mariota possesses good size, a strong arm to stretch the field and difference-making athleticism for the position in addition to impeccable character off the field.

[Related: Winston and Mariota could potentially face each other as the Bucs host the Titans in Week 1. View full 2015 NFL schedule.]

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Leonard Williams, DL, USC

There has been some speculation about the Jaguars using this pick on Amari Cooper. To me, that appears to be a smokescreen. With the position as deep as it is, the Jags could get a talented wide receiver with their (early) second- or third-round picks to give Blake Bortles another weapon if they choose.

Recently, Florida's Dante Fowler said that he would be "shocked" if the Jags didn't select him. While I wouldn't be "shocked" if they don't select him, the decision for David Caldwell and Gus Bradley will likely come down to Fowler or Williams if Winston and Mariota are the first two prospects off the board on Thursday.

The top overall prospect on my 2015 NFL Draft Big Board, Williams is a scheme-diverse defensive lineman that has the ability to win in a variety of ways at multiple spots along the defensive line. As an example, half of his seven sacks this season came from lining up on the edge and the other half came from lining up as a defensive tackle. His ability and versatility has generated some comparisons to J.J. Watt and Richard Seymour and the sky is the limit for this 20-year-old defensive lineman.

4. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

The Raiders have found their quarterback of the future with Derek Carr, last year's second-round pick, but one of their focal points in the draft should be to improve the weapons around Carr. As much as the Raiders front office attempted to bolster their group of pass catchers in free agency, it was a big swing and miss for Oakland's front office.

Fortunately for the Raiders, they will have their choice of two elite wide receiver prospects in Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White based on how the top-three picks in this mock have played out. It's likely a win-win choice as I expect both prospects to have enormously successful careers. As Sean Beazley noted in our collaborative mock draft earlier this month, the Raiders have had their fair share of misses on high first-round picks and may prioritize the higher level of safety of Cooper over the potential upside of White.

As Alabama's first Biletnikoff winner in school history, Cooper finished with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, all of which ranked first or second in the nation this season. The most pro-ready receiver in this draft class, Cooper is a great route-runner with no glaring weaknesses in his game.

5. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida

General manager Scot McCloughan has indicated his willingness to trade down to acquire more picks in the draft and he may find a willing trade partner with the Falcons. Not only do the Falcons need to bolster their pass rush -- only the Bengals had fewer sacks last season, but new head coach Dan Quinn coached Dante Fowler for two seasons at Florida before joining the Seahawks staff in 2013.

Given their leaky pass protection -- only the Jags allowed more sacks last season -- offensive line could be a possibility here for Washington. While it's certainly a need, it's questionable whether any of the offensive line prospects are worth a top-five selection unlike in my way-too-early 2016 NFL Mock Draft. If there are no offensive linemen selected in the top five, it will be only the second time in the past 10 drafts that has occurred.

If they keep this pick, Fowler is the obvious choice. Although Ryan Kerrigan had a career-high 13.5 sacks last season, 2015 will be a contract year for him. In addition, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo signed with the Titans this offseason. A versatile player with a non-stop motor, Fowler led Florida in tackles for loss (15.0), sacks (8.5) and QB hurries (17) last season.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

The return of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie as well as the addition of Buster Skrine means that the Jets defensive line and secondary are the strengths of the defense. Starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace, who turns 35 this season, will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season so adding his long-term replacement would make sense.

There were some concerns about Beasley's weight, but he was a rocked-up 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds at the combine without losing a step (4.53 forty) and posting 35 reps at 225 pounds. Not just a workout warrior, Beasley has been one of the nation's most productive pass rushers with a total of 25.0 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss in 26 games over the past two seasons combined.

7. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

Earlier this offseason, the Bears traded away Brandon Marshall to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Battling injuries, Marshall struggled with a 61/721/8 line, which ended his streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. While Alshon Jeffery unquestionably becomes the team's No. 1 wide receiver, he's due to become an unrestricted free agent next spring.

Adding the top-ranked wide receiver in my 2015 prospect rankings would make sense even though the Bears could look to go defense here. White has the size (6-3, 215), hands and run-after-catch ability to be a difference maker and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has compared White to Julio Jones. One concern that some had about White prior to the combine was his long speed, but he has eased all concerns after running a blazing 4.35 forty at the combine.

[Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Results.]

8. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History): Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Quinn comes to the Falcons after spending the last two seasons in Seattle where their formula for success has been their suffocating defense and punishing rushing attack with Marshawn Lynch. With Steven Jackson released and Jacquizz Rodgers signing with the Bears in free agency, Devonta Freeman currently sits atop the Falcons' depth chart at running back.

Gurley has the potential to be a special player and recent buzz has suggested he won't make it outside of the top-10 picks in the draft even though he is coming off the injury. Drawing comparisons to Marshawn Lynch, Gurley is a physical and powerful runner with good vision and speed.

9. New York Giants (Draft History): Brandon Scherff, G/T, Iowa

It's a copy-cat league and the Giants could find themselves copying the success that the Cowboys had last season with the selection of Zack Martin, a college left tackle that moved inside to become an All-Pro guard as a rookie. NFL Network's Mike Mayock made the direct comparison: "When I look at Brandon Scherff, I see a similar example (to current Dallas Cowboys G Zack Martin...). I see a bigger kid with longer arms. That lends you to believe that he could play outside more easily. Again, I believe he can play outside. However, I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he's an All-Pro guard. But that doesn't mean he can't play tackle in the NFL."

Only the Cardinals (3.3) and Chargers (3.4) averaged fewer yards per carry than the Giants (3.6) and the Giants run-blocking graded out as 26th of 32 by PFF last season. Of 78 qualified guards graded by PFF last season, Weston Richburg and John Jerry graded out as 62nd and 66th, respectively.

10. St. Louis Rams (Draft History): Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Even after selecting Greg Robinson with the second overall pick last year, offensive line remains one of the team's units in needs of upgrades and reinforcements. The Rams ranked in the bottom 10 in both run blocking (-55.1) and pass blocking (-27.5) grades from PFF last season. Better as a run blocker than he is a pass protector currently, Peat has the length and foot quickness to could allow him to develop into a starting left tackle in the NFL some day.

11. Minnesota Vikings (Draft History): Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Perhaps the Vikings consider reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his collegiate teammate DeVante Parker, but I think the team would be fine with Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace as the team's top-two wideouts going into the season with Cordarrelle Patterson as the wild card. Given the depth of wide receiver in this year's draft class, the Vikings could address the position in a later round, if desired.

Waynes, my top-ranked cornerback in this year's draft class, boosted his stock at the combine by running a 4.31 40-yard dash and putting up 19 reps at 225 pounds and has the length that teams covet at the position. If he's still on the board here, Waynes paired with Xavier Rhodes would give the Vikings one of the better young cornerback duos in the league. With at least six games against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler (for now) as well as several top-flight wide receivers in the division, a strong secondary is a virtual necessity for the Vikings to climb their way to the top of the division.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

The Browns ranked last in the league in rushing defense (141.6 yards per game) last season and allowed 4.5 yards per carry, only three teams allowed more. Adding reinforcements along the defensive line to help shore up their run defense would make sense. With surprising quickness for someone his size (6-2, 339), Shelton barely come off the field and posted 9.0 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 93 tackles despite facing constant double teams last season for the Huskies.

13. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE, Kentucky

The Saints have made some shocking moves this offseason as they try to revamp their roster and salary cap. Last season, their defense was atrocious -- second-most yards allowed, fifth-most points allowed and bad against both the run (29th) and pass (25th). I'd expect them to use one, if not both, first-round pick(s) on that side of the ball.

New Orleans needs to put more pressure on the quarterback as they ranked in the bottom eight in sacks (34). A former tight end, Dupree is a freak athlete (4.56 forty, 42-inch vertical, 11-6 broad jump) at his size (6-foot-4, 269). Over the past three seasons, Dupree has a total of 21.0 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

14. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

With strong options for a slot receiver (Jarvis Landry) and vertical receiver (Kenny Stills), the addition of Parker would give the team's receiving corps a true No. 1 wideout. Sidelined for the first seven games of 2014 with a broken foot, the 6-foot-3 Parker finished with a 43/855/5 line in just six games. NFL.com's Jeremiah compared Parker to Keenan Allen saying Parker is "smooth, physical" and "has outstanding instincts/ball skills."

15. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

It's been a tumultuous offseason in San Francisco! The surprising retirement of linebacker Patrick Willis was followed by an even more surprising retirement of his 24-year-old (and expected) replacement Chris Borland. Plus, NaVorro Bowman is coming off a significant knee injury that kept him out all of last season. I think they will address the inside linebacker position in the draft, but that's unlikely to happen with the 15th overall pick.

The 49ers have added Darnell Dockett via a two-year deal, but he turns 34 in May and Justin Smith may retire this offseason. Described by an NFL general manager as "a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak," Armstead was a two-sport athlete (football and basketball) at Oregon and possesses excellent footwork and agility.

16. Houston Texans (Draft History): Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

In previous updates, I've had the Texans grab one of the edge rushers -- Shane Ray or Randy Gregory -- that should fall out of the top 10. If they don't go that route, Johnson would make sense. With Andrew Luck in the division for the next decade or so, the Texans can't have too many pass-rushers or cornerbacks. Houston re-signed Kareem Jackson this offseason, but Jonathan Joseph will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Johnson has excellent length, athleticism and cover skills and some believe he could turn out to be the best cornerback of the draft class.

17. San Diego Chargers (Draft History): Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Drawing some comparisons to Jamaal Charles, the 2014 Doak Walker recipient led college football with 2,587 rushing yards and 29 rushing touchdowns this season while averaging 7.8 yards per carry over his collegiate career. MG3 would fill the void of Ryan Mathews, who signed with the Eagles in free agency.

18. Kansas City Chiefs (Draft History): Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

The Chiefs picked up the fifth-year option on nose tackle Dontari Poe, but their starting defensive ends -- Jaye Howard and Mike Devito -- are all scheduled to become free agents after the 2015 season. Brown has excellent quickness for a man his size (6-2, 319) and has the versatility to play multiple spots along the defensive line.

19. Cleveland Browns -- via Buffalo (Draft History): Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)

A massive offensive tackle prospect (6-foot-6, 329 pounds with 34 1/2-inch arms), Flowers led all combine participants with 37 bench press reps at 225. While Flowers has started the past two seasons at left tackle for the 'Canes, he also has some starting experience at right tackle as well. Flowers would give the Browns an upgrade over current right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (Draft History): Nelson Agholor, WR, USC

Trying to predict what Chip Kelly will do is a foolish endeavor and he's certainly shown he is not afraid of taking risks and making bold moves. If Kelly doesn't pull off a draft-day trade to move up for Marcus Mariota, I expect him to go defensive back or wide receiver here.

With the free-agent loss of Jeremy Maclin, Agholor has the ability to play inside or outside, has good speed (4.4 range) and is an excellent route-runner. He had 104 receptions for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for the Trojans.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): La'el Collins, G/T, LSU

Cincinnati's starting left tackle (Andrew Whitworth), right tackle (Andre Smith) and right guard (Kevin Zeitler) are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents after the 2015 season. Playing left tackle at LSU and while he could play tackle at the next level, Collins may be better at guard where he also gained some experience early in his collegiate career.

[Per reports, Collins is not a suspect, but authorities want to meet with him as part of their investigation into the shooting death of Collins' ex-girlfriend.]

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (Draft History): Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

Struggling to slow down the pass, Pittsburgh allowed 253.1 passing yards per game (sixth-worst in the NFL) and 30 passing touchdowns (tied for fourth most) this season. Ike Taylor has retired although he was a free agent (and awful) anyways, and William Gay is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

Dismissed from the Huskies' football program, Peters has some character concerns that could lead to a tumble further than this on draft day. Based on his on-field talent, however, Peters could turn out to be the best cornerback from this year's draft class. That said, Peters has seemed to say and do all of the right things off the field and mended fences enough with Washington's coaching staff that he worked out with the Huskies at the school's Pro Day.

23. Detroit Lions (Draft History): D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida

Ultimately, I expect the Lions to go with the best-available (offensive or defensive) line prospect in Round 1 and to address both needs in the early rounds of the draft. The team picked up Riley Reiff's fifth-year option last week and general manager Martin Mayhew said he'd be "very comfortable" if Reiff stayed at left tackle. That said, Humphries has the potential to become the best left tackle prospect in this year's draft class and that would allow the Lions to move Reiff either to the right side or inside.

24. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

Gregory has the athleticism and length to potentially develop into an elite pass-rusher at the next level. Gregory's failed drug test at the combine (and two confirmed failed tests in 2014 at Nebraska), however, means that he is likely to slide a bit (or a lot) on draft day. Not only does it show incredibly poor judgment on Gregory's part, but he already enters the league in phase 1 of the substance-abuse policy. The Cardinals have shown a willingness to take a chance on guys with character red flags, e.g., Tyrann Mathieu, and this is a gamble that could end up paying off handsomely for the Cardinals, who ranked 24th in the league in sacks last season.

25. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Left tackle Byron Bell graded out as the league's worst pass-blocking offensive tackle last season by PFF, but he won't be back with the Panthers anyways. Although the Panthers filled a big void by selecting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first round of last year's draft, it was a bit of a surprise that they did not address the retirement of Jordan Gross as well. I'd expect that to change this year.

There are some question marks with Ogbuehi, who struggled initially with the transition to left tackle and tore his ACL in the team's bowl game. That said, he had started to play better down the stretch and has starting experience at left tackle, right tackle and guard. When healthy, Ogbuehi, who expects to be ready for training camp, possesses excellent foot quickness and he has vines for arms (nearly 36 inches).

26. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF

Steve Smith will turn 36 years old this offseason and Torrey Smith signed a free-agent deal with the 49ers. Generating plenty of buzz over the past month or so, Perriman is the son of former NFL receiver Brett Perriman, who once had a 1,400-yard season with the Detroit Lions, and could easily be off the board in the top-20 picks. Bigger than his father at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, Breshad ran a pair of blazing 40-yard dashes (sub-4.3) at UCF's Pro Day. Coming off a career-best 50/1,044/9 season, Perriman has averaged more than 20.0 Y/R over each of the past two seasons, but he has had some issues with drops.

27. Dallas Cowboys (Draft History): Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut

The offense in general, and ball-control running game in particular, has helped mask some of the deficiencies of the Cowboys defense. Although the Cowboys ranked middle of the road in terms of points and yards allowed, only five teams allowed more yards per play than the Cowboys (5.8). Starting cornerback Brandon Carr is vastly overpaid and former first-round pick Morris Claiborne has been a disappointment, when healthy.

Perhaps no prospect helped his draft stock more at the combine than Jones, who showcased his explosiveness with a 44.5-inch vertical jump and combine-record 12-foot-3 broad jump. Not only does Jones have excellent size for a cornerback, but he has starting experience at safety as well.

28. Denver Broncos (Draft History): Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State

Transitioning from left tackle to center during the season last year, Erving has the versatility to play multiple (all) spots along the offensive line. Not only did Denver's offensive line struggle last season, but they lost Orlando Franklin to the Chargers in free agency as well. It's possible that the Broncos will invest multiple early-round picks on the offensive line.

29. Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The Colts released strong safety LaRon Landry in February, but he received a 10-game suspension in March anyways. While they re-signed free safety Mike Adams, who graded out as the seventh-best safety (of 87) by PFF, he turned 34 years old last month. They also signed Dwight Lowery in free agency. That said, Collins is the top safety in this year's draft class.

30. Green Bay Packers (Draft History): Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

The Packers have released inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones and used Clay Matthews inside more often than they would like last season, which makes Kendricks a good fit here. Brother of Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, he was the recipient of the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and leaves UCLA as the school's all-time leader in tackles.

31. New Orleans Saints -- via Seattle (Draft History): Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

Perhaps the Saints won't double-dip on pass-rushers here, but there is certainly plenty of value from an on-field standpoint if Ray is still on the board at No. 31. Not only are there concerns about Ray's foot/toe, and some teams believe he needs surgery, but Ray was cited for marijuana possession only days before the draft, which counts against him in the league's substance-abuse program and highlights questionable judgment on his part. Last year's SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Ray had 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season.

32. New England Patriots (Draft History): Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

I debated LSU cornerback Jalen Collins here, my pick in the last version of this mock, and Goldman. Either way, the Patriots have big holes to fill with the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Vince Wilfork. While Collins has the height, weight and speed that makes him an ideal cornerback, he started just 10 games at LSU and has had multiple failed drug tests there. Although he doesn't provide much of a pass rush, Goldman (6-4, 336) is a run-stuffer in the middle of the line that can give the Patriots a long-term solution at nose tackle.

-> Continue to Round 2
-> Continue to Round 3
-> Continue to Round 4
-> Continue to Round 5
-> Continue to Round 6
-> Continue to Round 7

-> For more mocks, check out our 2015 NFL Mock Draft Database or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft for an early look ahead.

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or NBA Mock Draft Database

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 26, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round New York Jets Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Jets:

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

The Jets' defensive line was the team's strength last season and their secondary was significantly upgraded in free agency with the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie as well as the addition of Buster Skrine. Starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace, who turns 35 this season, will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season.

There were some concerns about Beasley's weight, but he was a rocked-up 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds at the combine without losing a step (4.53 forty) and posting 35 reps at 225 pounds. Not just a workout warrior, Beasley has been one of the nation's most productive pass rushers with a total of 25.0 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss in 26 games over the past two seasons combined.

37. New York Jets: Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State

Both Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley will be free agents after the 2015 season so adding a potential three-down back like Ajayi would make sense here. Not only is he a downhill runner with excellent size (6-0, 221), but Ajayi is an excellent receiver out of the backfield that had 50 receptions for 536 yards last season as well.

70. New York Jets: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

Since 2000, there have been more than two quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds in 13 of the 15 drafts during that span. The two exceptions were 2000 -- Chad Pennington -- and 2013 -- E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith. Based on this mock, it would be the third time in 16 drafts with only two signal-callers selected in Rounds 1 and 2.

Perhaps he goes earlier than this, but there is certainly a significant dropoff in quarterback prospects beyond Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Hundley has intriguing physical tools, but he has lacked pocket awareness. With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Smith on the roster, Hundley wouldn't need to start as a rookie, which will give him some additional time to develop.

104. New York Jets: Donovan Smith, G/T, Penn State

Smith started 31 games at left tackle for the Nittany Lions although he will likely move to the right side or inside to guard at the next level. Jets right tackle Breno Giacomini earned negative grades overall (-6.5) and in both pass blocking (-1.4) and run blocking (-2.8) from PFF last year.

223. New York Jets: Xavier Williams, DL, Northern Iowa

Williams had 93 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks last season and would add some depth at the five-technique behind Muhammed Wilkerson, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason, and Sheldon Richardson.

More seven-round mock drafts for AFC East teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Buffalo Bills Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Bills:

50. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina

Ourlads.com's depth charts project Chris Williams, who graded out 73rd out of 81 qualified guards in 2013 (via PFF), and Richie Incognito, who was out of the league last season, as the Bills' starting guards. (Williams played only three games last season before landing on IR.) Cann was a four-year starter at South Carolina and is my top-ranked guard prospect in this year's draft class.

81. Buffalo Bills: Jacoby Glenn, CB, UCF

Starting cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin will be unrestricted free agents after the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively. In addition, Nickell Robey, who played 665 snaps in 2014, will be a restricted free agent next offseason as well. Glenn was a second-team AP All-American last year and the six-foot corner finished with seven interceptions.

155. Buffalo Bills: Max Garcia, C, Florida

Bills starting center Eric Wood is coming off a disappointing season and graded out as the 25th center in PFF's 2014 rankings. Garcia started at center for the Gators last season after starting at both left tackle and left guard in 2013.

188. Buffalo Bills -- via Minnesota: Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard

The Ivy League's Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, Hodges had 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss over the past three seasons combined.

194. Buffalo Bills: Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland

Although he's not the biggest receiver (6-0, 195) and hasn't necessarily lived up to expectations as a five-star recruit out of high school, Diggs has good speed and is a dangerous playmaker with the ball in his hands.

234. Buffalo Bills: Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada

Along with the quarterback he replaced, Colin Kaepernick, Fajardo is one of two quarterbacks in college football to have amassed at least 9,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards. That said, he threw a career-high 11 interceptions in 2014 as his completion percentage dropped from 68 to 59 percent.

More seven-round mock drafts for AFC East teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round New England Patriots Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Patriots:

32. New England Patriots (Draft History): Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

The Patriots lost starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in free agency and added Bradley Fletcher. Fortunately, they were able to re-sign safety Devin McCourty, but adding cornerback reinforcements should be one of their priorities in the draft. Although Collins has limited starting experience in Baton Rouge, he possesses all of the physical traits that teams want in cornerbacks.

64. New England Patriots: Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke

Dan Connolly, who started 10 games last season, is an unsigned free agent and starting right guard Ryan Wendell will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season. Given Tom Brady's struggles facing interior pressure and having to face Buffalo's Marcell Dareus or Miami's Ndamukong Suh (at least) four times per year, I expect the Patriots to use multiple selections on interior offensive linemen in the draft.

If Tomlinson is still on the board at the end of Round 2, he would represent a tremendous value here. A first-team AP All-American guard, Tomlinson had a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl and is my second-ranked guard prospect in this year's draft class.

96. New England Patriots: Henry Anderson, DL, Stanford

Anderson (6-6, 294) led Stanford in both tackles for loss (15) and sacks (8.5) last season and he'd provide Bill Belichick with the versatility to play the five-technique in three-man fronts as well as the three-technique.

97. New England Patriots: David Cobb, RB, Minnesota

A big (5-11, 229) and powerful runner, Cobb set the single-season rushing record (1,626 yards) for the Gophers last season. The Patriots lost Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in free agency and LeGarrette Blount, who will be suspended for the season opener, will be a free agent in 2016.

101. New England Patriots -- via Tampa Bay: Josue Matias, G, Florida State

Especially with the free-agent addition of Suh in Miami, the Patriots will face three of the league's best defensive lines in six divisional games this season. As noted earlier, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Patriots used multiple selections on interior offensive linemen.

131. New England Patriots: Justin Cox, CB, Mississippi State

Cox could drop further in the draft due to off-the-field concerns -- arrested in November on burglary and domestic-violence charges. On the field, Cox has experience at both cornerback and safety, good size (6-1, 191) and outstanding speed (4.36 forty).

208. New England Patriots: Darius Philon, DT, Arkansas

It's certainly possible that Philon is long gone by this point, but if he's not, he'd be a tremendous bargain for the Patriots in Round 6.

231. Detroit Lions -- via Baltimore/Miami: Anthony Jefferson, S, UCLA

One of the positives with Jefferson is his versatility as he has playing experience at both safety and cornerback and, of course, Bill Belichick has an affinity for players with versatility.

253. New England Patriots: Donald Celiscar, CB, Western Michigan

A member of All-Underrated Team by NFL.com's Charles Davis, Celiscar had four interceptions and was tied for second in the nation in pass breakups (17) last season.

More seven-round mock drafts for AFC East teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Cowboys:

27. Dallas Cowboys (Draft History): Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut

The offense in general, and ball-control running game in particular, has helped mask some of the deficiencies of the Cowboys defense. Although the Cowboys ranked middle of the road in terms of points and yards allowed, only five teams allowed more yards per play than the Cowboys (5.8). Starting cornerback Brandon Carr is vastly overpaid and former first-round pick Morris Claiborne has been a disappointment, when healthy.

Perhaps no prospect helped his draft stock more at the combine than Jones, who showcased his explosiveness with a 44.5-inch vertical jump and combine-record 12-foot-3 broad jump. Not only does Jones have excellent size for a cornerback, but he has starting experience at safety as well.

60. Dallas Cowboys: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

Even though the team signed Darren McFadden in free agency, it's unlikely that the team's leading rusher is currently on the roster. Per NFL Network's Bucky Brooks, Yeldon is one of the most "undervalued" running backs in this draft class based on what several scouts and directors have told him and that "multiple evaluators" compared Yeldon's playing style to Le'Veon Bell. In addition, Greg Cosell recently said on the Ross Tucker podcast that he preferred Yeldon to Melvin Gordon.

91. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State

Cooper possesses outstanding foot quickness for his size and his 4.86 40-yard dash was one of the best among defensive tackles at the NFL Scouting Combine. While he led Washington State in both sacks (five) and tackles for loss (9.5) last season, Cooper is better suited for a 4-3 scheme as a three-technique than the 3-4 scheme that the Cougars utilize.

127. Dallas Cowboys: Ben Heeney, ILB, Kansas

The Cowboys linebacker corps could, I emphasize, could be in good shape if, a big if, Sean Lee can stay healthy and Rolando McClain can build upon his surprising 2014 season after being out of the league. That said, the team should add linebacker depth and Heeney posted a team-high 127 tackles last season and had 12.0 tackles for loss, which ranked second on the team.

163. Dallas Cowboys: Corey Crawford, DE, Clemson

Signed to a one-year deal tied to how often he plays, Greg Hardy was recently suspended 10 games by the NFL so it's possible that the Cowboys only get six games out of Hardy. Regardless, the Cowboys, who ranked 28th in the NFL in sacks (28.0), will add to their defensive end rotation at some point in the draft.

236. Dallas Cowboys -- via San Diego: James O'Shaughnessy, TE, Illinois State

If you haven't heard of the small-school O'Shaughnessy, he's certainly one of the sleepers at the position in this year's draft class. Although he had just 29 receptions last season, nine of those receptions from the athletic tight end went for touchdowns including two of them in the FCS title game against North Dakota State.

243. Dallas Cowboys -- via Baltimore: Darryl Roberts, CB, Marshall

The six-foot corner ran two sub-4.4 40-yard dashes at Marshall's Pro Day and posted a 39-inch vertical with 23 bench press reps as well.

More seven-round mock drafts for NFC East teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Cleveland Browns Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Browns:

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Once again, the Browns will go into the season with a looming full-year suspension for Josh Gordon. Although last year's ban was eventually cut to 10 games, that won't happen this year. The Browns have added Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, but this position group is still a major weakness without Gordon. Plus the team lost tight end Jordan Cameron in free agency as well.

While quarterback remains an unsettled position, Parker would give the Browns -- and whomever is under center -- a true No. 1 wideout. Sidelined for the first seven games of 2014 with a broken foot, the 6-foot-3 Parker finished with a 43/855/5 line in just six games. NFL.com's Jeremiah compared Parker to Keenan Allen saying Parker is "smooth, physical" and "has outstanding instincts/ball skills."

19. Cleveland Browns -- via Buffalo: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Better as a run blocker than he is a pass protector currently, Peat has the length and foot quickness to develop into a starting left tackle in the NFL some day. For now, however, he would be an upgrade over Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.

43. Cleveland Browns: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

The Browns ranked last in the league in rushing defense (141.6 yards per game) last season and allowed 4.5 yards per carry, only three teams allowed more. Adding reinforcements along the defensive line to help shore up their run defense would make sense. Athletic for his size (6-5, 329), Phillips has lacked consistency throughout his collegiate career, but he could be a bargain for the Browns if he realizes his potential.

77. Cleveland Browns: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

Of all the teams rumored to be interested in trading up for Mariota, the Browns may make the most sense. Not only do they have a pair of first-rounders, but new quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell tutored Mariota in the offseason and ran his pro day at Oregon. And despite selecting Johnny Manziel in the first round of last year's draft, the position remains unsettled. Like with the Rams, I'd expect the Browns to add a quarterback at some point even if they don't trade up for Mariota.

111. Cleveland Browns: Senquez Golson, CB, Mississippi

Although he was the shortest defensive back prospect invited to the Combine at just 5'8 5/8", Golson has excellent ball skills and finished second in the country with 10 interceptions last season.

115. Cleveland Browns -- via Buffalo: MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois

After it had appeared that Jordan Cameron would re-sign with the Browns, he parted for South Florida and the Browns later signed the athletic Rob Housler, who was a misfit in Bruce Arians offense. Housler is a plus athlete and so is Pruitt, who ran a 4.58 forty with a 38-inch vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine.

147. Cleveland Browns: Alani Fua, OLB, BYU

Fua is a fluid linebacker in space and coverage and finished among the top linebackers in agility drills at the combine -- third in 3-cone drill (6.83), fourth in 20-yard shuttle (4.15) and 60-yard shuttle (11.54).

189. Cleveland Browns: Tayo Fabuluje, G, TCU

It's been a challenging journey for Fabuluje, who did not play football in 2013, but the massive lineman (6-6, 353) started for TCU at left tackle in 2012 and 2014, but he'll likely move inside at the next level.

202. Cleveland Browns -- via Baltimore: Erick Dargan, S, Oregon

Dargan led the Ducks in tackles (95) last season and had a total of 13 interceptions (including a Pac 12-high seven picks in 2014) over his collegiate career.

229. Cleveland Browns: Thomas Rawls, RB, Central Michigan

Rawls has some character concerns -- charged with three felonies for stealing a woman's purse at a casino -- but Rawls is a powerful runner that gained 1,103 yards on 210 carries in nine games last season. The Browns have shown the willingness to take a chance on a running back with character concerns (Isaiah Crowell) last year although he ended up going undrafted.

More seven-round mock drafts for AFC North teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Carolina Panthers Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Panthers:

25. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Left tackle Byron Bell graded out as the league's worst pass-blocking offensive tackle last season by PFF, but he won't be back with the Panthers anyways. Although the Panthers filled a big void by selecting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first round of last year's draft, it was a bit of a surprise that they did not address the retirement of Jordan Gross as well. I'd expect that to change this year.

There are some question marks with Ogbuehi, who struggled initially with the transition to left tackle and tore his ACL in the team's bowl game. That said, he had started to play better down the stretch and has starting experience at left tackle, right tackle and guard. When healthy, Ogbuehi, who expects to be ready for training camp, possesses excellent foot quickness and he has vines for arms (nearly 36 inches).

57. Carolina Panthers: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (FL)

While rookie Kelvin Benjamin exceeded the 1,000-yard mark as a rookie, the Panthers could use an upgrade over any of the team's other receivers, which include Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn, Jarrett Boykin, etc. With blazing speed, Dorsett has the ability to take the top off of defenses and averaged more than 20 Y/R in each of the past two seasons including 24.2 Y/R last season although he is more than just a vertical receiver. If he lasts until the end of the second round, the Panthers should turn their card in as quickly as a Dorsett 40-yard dash (4.33).

89. Carolina Panthers: David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa

With DeAngelo Williams now in Pittsburgh, Johnson adds depth behind Jonathan Stewart. Stewart ran the ball extremely well down the stretch as the team's featured back, but he has lacked durability with 20 missed games over the past three seasons.

A big back (6-1, 224) and excellent receiver out of the backfield, Johnson isn't very elusive but he has decent speed and is a powerful runner. Johnson rushed for 1,625 yards, finished second on the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (536) and scored 21 total touchdowns in 2014. Against the Iowa Hawkeyes last year, Johnson had five receptions for 203 yards and a touchdown.

124. Carolina Panthers: Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky

From a production standpoint on the field, the Panthers once had one of the league's most-talented defensive end duos in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. With Hardy disciplined almost all of last season from his domestic-abuse case (and no longer in Carolina), the Panthers will look to add to their defensive end rotation at some point in the draft as they saw their sack production drop from a league-best 60.0 in 2013 to 40.0 last season.

161. Carolina Panthers: Austin Shepherd, OT, Alabama

Shepherd started the past two seasons at right tackle for the Crimson Tide and the Panthers enter the 2015 season with Michael Oher projected as the starter. Oher was released by the Titans this offseason after signing a four-year free-agent deal in 2014.

169. Carolina Panthers: Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State

Drummond started 34 consecutive games to close his career with the Spartans and finished his career with 12 interceptions.

174. Carolina Panthers: Jamil Douglas, G, Arizona State

Douglas switched from left guard to left tackle last season and earned All-Pac 12 first-team honors, but he'll likely play left guard in the NFL. Carolina's Amini Silatolu graded out as PFF's 50th-ranked guard of 78 last season.

201. Carolina Panthers: Justin Coleman, CB, Tennessee

Coleman has the ability to play outside or cover the slot receiver and led the Vols with four interceptions last season.

237. Carolina Panthers -- via Philadelphia: Adam Shead, G, Oklahoma

The Panthers have 10 picks in this year's draft and I'm not sure if they would use four of them on the offensive line, but they clearly need to improve the play of the unit.

242. Carolina Panthers: Julian Wilson, CB, Oklahoma

Two of the team's top corners -- Josh Norman and Charles Tillman -- will be free agents after the end of the 2015 season.

More seven-round mock drafts for NFC South teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 25, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Miami Dolphins Mock Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, I have posted a full seven-round 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

While you can view the mock by round, I realize many folks scan the mock looking to see who's slotted to their favorite teams. To make things easier, I will post my seven-round mock in franchise view as well.

Here are the picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the Dolphins:

14. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Lamar Miller had a breakout year as he rushed for a career-high 1,099 yards, 10th-most in the NFL, and eight touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. In addition, he added 38 receptions for 275 yards and a score. That said, the Dolphins seemed reluctant to feed Miller the ball as he had just 216 carries all season and exceeded 15 carries in only three games.

Gurley has the potential to be a special player and he may not last until this spot even though he is coming off the injury. Drawing comparisons to Marshawn Lynch, Gurley is a physical and powerful runner with good vision and speed.

47. Miami Dolphins: Quinten Rollins, DB, Miami (OH)

After spending four years on the basketball team as the team's starting point guard, Rollins played only one year of college football, but he was selected as the MAC Defensive Player of the Year with seven interceptions. After a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl, Rollins also intercepted a pass during the game as well and he has the potential to sneak into the first round.

The Dolphins released Cortland Finnegan this offseason, but he was a relative disappointment opposite stud corner Brent Grimes. Rollins may move to free safety at the next level, but free safety Louis Delmas will be a free agent after the 2015 season as well.

114. Miami Dolphins: Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas

The Dolphins traded Mike Wallace, traded for Kenny Stills and signed Greg Jennings to a two-year free-agent deal to join Jarvis Landry on the team's receiving corps. Adding a bigger receiver like Lewis (6-4, 214) would help round out the receiving corps.

149. Miami Dolphins -- via Minnesota: Lynden Trail, DE, Norfolk State

The Dolphins have one of the league's better pairs of starting 4-3 defensive ends in Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon; Trail adds some depth to the rotation.

150. Miami Dolphins: Ramik Wilson, LB, Georgia

Chris McCain is projected as the team's starter at SAM linebacker and played only 46 snaps last season as an undrafted rookie free agent. A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Wilson would fit best in Miami's 4-3 scheme at SAM to either provide depth or possibly start.

191. Miami Dolphins: Jake Ryan, OLB, Michigan

Starting 41 games for the Wolverines and voted the team's 2014 MVP, Ryan adds more depth to the Dolphins linebacking corps. Ryan led Michigan with 112 tackles, which included 14.0 tackles for loss, last season.

More seven-round mock drafts for AFC East teams:

-> View all picks in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft or our NFL Mock Draft Database

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 24, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota go 1-2

With Round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 30th in Chicago, the countdown is down to days instead of weeks. This update of my 2015 NFL Mock Draft includes all seven rounds and I'll make at least one final update prior to the actual draft.

[Follow @EDSFootball for updates.]

In addition, we've taken a way-too-early look ahead to next year's draft with our 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

With that said, here is my projection for the 2015 NFL Draft:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

When the Bucs released Josh McCown earlier this offseason, they gave us clear indication that this pick will be a quarterback. Some may debate whether it should be Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota, the two previous Heisman Trophy recipients, but Winston has been the odds-on favorite for months and I still expect him to be the selection here.

[Related: Sportsbook.ag has set the odds for Winston being selected first overall at -700. In other words, you'd have to wager $7 to win $1.]

Although Winston's increase in interceptions were an issue last year, he has the strong arm, accuracy, football intelligence and on-the-field leadership skills to develop into a franchise-changing quarterback. NFL Network's Steve Mariucci referred to Winston "the most astute X's and O's guy that he's ever put on the board."

With Winston, of course, the biggest concern relates to off-the-field issues -- and those concerns are amplified given the nature of the position and this draft slot. Assuming the Bucs feel comfortable with Winston as the face of their franchise, he is the selection here.

2. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Do the Titans believe in Zach Mettenberger enough to bypass Mariota here? The Tennessean's David Climer wrote that Mettenberger will be the team's quarterback in 2015 and that the Titans view Mettenberger as a "poor team’s" Tom Brady. Meanwhile, NFL Films' Greg Cosell recently said that he preferred Mettenberger over both Winston and Mariota.

For now, I will continue to slot Mariota here with Titans keeping this pick, but a number of teams, most notably Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Diego or St. Louis, could be highly interested in trading up with the Titans.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Mariota threw for 10,796 yards, rushed for 2,237 yards and accounted for 136 touchdowns -- 105 passing, 29 rushing and two receiving -- with only 14 interceptions. There will naturally be some questions about how well and quickly Mariota will transition from Oregon's spread offense to a pro-style system, but Mariota possesses good size, a strong arm to stretch the field and difference-making athleticism for the position in addition to impeccable character off the field.

[Related: Winston and Mariota could potentially face each other as the Bucs host the Titans in Week 1. View full 2015 NFL schedule.]

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Leonard Williams, DL, USC

Recently, Florida's Dante Fowler said that he would be "shocked" if the Jags didn't select him. In a scenario where the top-two picks are quarterbacks and Williams is still available, however, I think the Jags go with Williams. The top overall prospect on my 2015 NFL Draft Big Board, Williams is a scheme-diverse defensive lineman that has the ability to win in a variety of ways at multiple spots along the defensive line. As an example, half of his seven sacks this season came from lining up on the edge and the other half came from lining up as a defensive tackle. His ability and versatility has generated some comparisons to J.J. Watt and Richard Seymour and the sky is the limit for this 20-year-old defensive lineman.

4. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

The Raiders have found their quarterback of the future with Derek Carr, last year's second-round pick, but one of their focal points in the draft should be to improve the weapons around Carr. As much as the Raiders front office attempted to bolster their group of pass catchers in free agency, it was a big swing and miss for Oakland's front office.

Fortunately for the Raiders, they will have their choice of two elite wide receiver prospects in Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White based on how the top-three picks in this mock have played out. It's likely a win-win choice as I expect both prospects to have enormously successful careers. As Sean Beazley noted in our collaborative mock draft, the Raiders have had their fair share of misses on high first-round picks and may prioritize the higher level of safety of Cooper over the potential upside of White.

As Alabama's first Biletnikoff winner in school history, Cooper finished with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, all of which ranked first or second in the nation this season. Cooper is a great route-runner and the most pro-ready receiver in this draft class.

5. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida

Given their leaky pass protection -- only the Jags allowed more sacks last season -- offensive line could be a possibility here. Well, it's certainly a need, but it's questionable whether any of the offensive line prospects are worth a top-five selection unlike in my way-too-early 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

Although Ryan Kerrigan had a career-high 13.5 sacks last season, 2015 will be a contract year for him. In addition, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo signed with the Titans this offseason. A versatile player with a non-stop motor, Fowler led Florida in tackles for loss (15.0), sacks (8.5) and QB hurries (17) last season.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

The Jets' defensive line was the team's strength last season and their secondary was significantly upgraded in free agency with the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie as well as the addition of Buster Skrine. Starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace, who turns 35 this season, will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season.

There were some concerns about Beasley's weight, but he was a rocked-up 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds at the combine without losing a step (4.53 forty) and posting 35 reps at 225 pounds. Not just a workout warrior, Beasley has been one of the nation's most productive pass rushers with a total of 25.0 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss in 26 games over the past two seasons combined.

7. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

In my last update, I had the Bears going with a wide receiver here, but given the depth of the position, there is a great chance to add a first-round talent with their second-round pick (No. 39 overall). As the Bears transition to a 3-4 scheme under Vic Fangio, they get their Day 1 starting nose tackle in Shelton. With surprising quickness for someone his size (6-2, 339), Shelton barely come off the field and posted 9.0 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 93 tackles despite facing constant double teams last season for the Huskies.

8. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History): Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE, Kentucky

The Falcons really struggled to get to the quarterback over the past couple of seasons. Only the Bengals (20) generated fewer sacks last season than the Falcons (22), who had the third-fewest in 2013 as well. The Falcons have added some pass-rushers -- Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed and O'Brien Schofield -- in free agency, but none of those guys are elite pass-rushers. In other words, their signings this offseason should not rule out adding someone like Dupree.

Especially with the concerns -- Shane Ray's foot injury and Randy Gregory's failed drug test(s) -- of the other top pass-rushers still on the board, Dupree could move ahead of them come next Thursday. A former tight end, Dupree is a freak athlete (4.56 forty, 42-inch vertical, 11-6 broad jump) at his size (6-foot-4, 269). Over the past three seasons, Dupree has a total of 21.0 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

9. New York Giants (Draft History): Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

In my previous update, I had the G-Men adding Iowa's Brandon Scherff and I think that would be the debate here. That said, Jerry Reese strongly believes in going with the best player available and White could be the BPA on his board as he is on mine.

The Giants hit a home run with Odell Beckham Jr. last season and the addition of White opposite him and Victor Cruz in the slot would give the Giants one of the league's best trios of wide receivers. Rueben Randle is due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016.

The top-ranked wide receiver in my 2015 prospect rankings, White has the size (6-3, 215), hands and run-after-catch ability to be a difference maker and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has compared White to Julio Jones. One concern that some had about White prior to the combine was his long speed, but he has eased all concerns after running a blazing 4.35 forty at the combine.

[Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Results.]

10. St. Louis Rams (Draft History): Brandon Scherff, G/T, Iowa

Even after selecting Greg Robinson with the second overall pick last year, offensive line remains one of the team's units in needs of upgrades and reinforcements. The Rams ranked in the bottom 10 in both run blocking (-55.1) and pass blocking (-27.5) grades from PFF last season. As have many others, NFL Network's Mike Mayock compared Scherff to Zack Martin, a college left tackle that moved inside to become an All-Pro guard as a rookie. Mayock said of Scherff: "I see a similar example (to current Dallas Cowboys G Zack Martin...). I see a bigger kid with longer arms. That lends you to believe that he could play outside more easily. Again, I believe he can play outside. However, I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he's an All-Pro guard. But that doesn't mean he can't play tackle in the NFL."

11. Minnesota Vikings (Draft History): Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Perhaps the Vikings consider reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his collegiate teammate DeVante Parker, but I think the team would be fine with Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace as the team's top-two wideouts going into the season with Cordarrelle Patterson as the wild card. Given the depth of wide receiver in this year's draft class, the Vikings could address the position in a later round, if desired.

Waynes, my top-ranked cornerback in this year's draft class, boosted his stock at the combine by running a 4.31 40-yard dash and putting up 19 reps at 225 pounds and has the length that teams covet at the position. If he's still on the board here, Waynes paired with Xavier Rhodes would give the Vikings one of the better young cornerback duos in the league. With at least six games against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler (for now) as well as several top-flight wide receivers in the division, a strong secondary is a virtual necessity for the Vikings to climb their way to the top of the division.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Once again, the Browns will go into the season with a looming full-year suspension for Josh Gordon. Although last year's ban was eventually cut to 10 games, that won't happen this year. The Browns have added Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, but this position group is still a major weakness without Gordon. Plus the team lost tight end Jordan Cameron in free agency as well.

While quarterback remains an unsettled position, Parker would give the Browns -- and whomever is under center -- a true No. 1 wideout. Sidelined for the first seven games of 2014 with a broken foot, the 6-foot-3 Parker finished with a 43/855/5 line in just six games. NFL.com's Jeremiah compared Parker to Keenan Allen saying Parker is "smooth, physical" and "has outstanding instincts/ball skills."

13. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

The Saints have made some shocking moves this offseason as they try to revamp their roster and salary cap. Last season, their defense was atrocious -- second-most yards allowed, fifth-most points allowed and bad against both the run (29th) and pass (25th). I'd expect them to use one, if not both, first-round pick(s) on that side of the ball. In addition, New Orleans needs to put more pressure on the quarterback as they ranked in the bottom eight in sacks (34) last season.

Gregory has the athleticism and length to potentially develop into an elite pass-rusher at the next level. Gregory's failed drug test at the combine (and two confirmed failed tests in 2014 at Nebraska), however, means that he is likely to slide a bit (or a lot) on draft day. Not only does it show incredibly poor judgment on Gregory's part, but he already enters the league in phase 1 of the substance-abuse policy.

14. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Lamar Miller had a breakout year as he rushed for a career-high 1,099 yards, 10th-most in the NFL, and eight touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. In addition, he added 38 receptions for 275 yards and a score. That said, the Dolphins seemed reluctant to feed Miller the ball as he had just 216 carries all season and exceeded 15 carries in only three games.

Gurley has the potential to be a special player and he may not last until this spot even though he is coming off the injury. Drawing comparisons to Marshawn Lynch, Gurley is a physical and powerful runner with good vision and speed.

15. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

What an offseason it has been in San Francisco! The surprising retirement of linebacker Patrick Willis was followed by an even more surprising retirement of his 24-year-old (expected) replacement Chris Borland. Plus, NaVorro Bowman is coming off a significant knee injury that kept him out all of last season. I think they will address the inside linebacker position in the draft, but that's unlikely to be with the 15th overall pick.

The 49ers have added Darnell Dockett via a two-year deal, but he turns 34 in May and Justin Smith may retire this offseason. Described by an NFL general manager as "a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak," Armstead was a two-sport athlete (football and basketball) at Oregon and possesses excellent footwork and agility.

16. Houston Texans (Draft History): Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

Thursday morning, there were reports from NFL.com's Lance Zierlein that Ray's foot injury initially sustained during the school's bowl game would require surgery and he'd miss five months. Ray says that a foot specialist told him he won't need surgery. Either way, it's possible that Ray slips to No. 16 (or even further) due to the injury.

The Texans ranked in the bottom half of the league in sacks (38) last season. Of course, last year's top-overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, missed almost all of last season. With 20.5 sacks for J.J. Watt, however, that means the rest of the team combined for only 17.5 sacks. Perhaps Houston would shy away as Clowney battled injuries last year, but Ray would ultimately form a dynamic trio with Watt and Clowney. Last year's SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Ray had 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season.

-> Continue to picks 17-32
-> Continue to Round 2
-> Continue to Round 3
-> Continue to Round 4
-> Continue to Round 5
-> Continue to Round 6
-> Continue to Round 7

-> For more mocks, check out our 2015 NFL Mock Draft Database or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft for an early look ahead.

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 23, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Wondering which players have the easiest — or most difficult — strength of schedule for the upcoming fantasy football season?

Now that the 2015 NFL regular-season schedule has been announced, we have updated our fantasy football strength of schedules for the 2015 season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Most Favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 7.97
2. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz): 7.94
3. Green Bay Packers (Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless): 7.92
4. New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright): 7.90
5. St. Louis Rams (Jared Cook): 7.89

Least Favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

T27. Dallas Cowboys (Jason Witten): 7.11
T27. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 7.11
29. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 7.07
30. Cincinnati Bengals (Tyler Eifert): 7.03
31. Arizona Cardinals (John Carlson): 6.97
32. Tennessee Titans (Delanie Walker): 6.95

Note: The points shown are an average of the average weekly fantasy points allowed in 2014 by each team's opponents through Week 16 this year.

Full Fantasy Strength of Schedules:

2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Wondering which players have the easiest — or most difficult — strength of schedule for the upcoming fantasy football season?

Now that the 2015 NFL regular-season schedule has been announced, we have updated our fantasy football strength of schedules for the 2015 season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Most Favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson): 23.76
T2. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones and Roddy White): 23.49
T2. Washington Redskins (DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon): 23.49
4. New Orleans Saints (Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston): 23.47
5. Carolina Panthers (Kelvin Benjamin): 23.32

Least Favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Denver Broncos (Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders): 21.42
29. Cleveland Browns (Dwayne Bowe and Andrew Hawkins): 21.41
30. Baltimore Ravens (Steve Smith): 21.38
31. Green Bay Packers (Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb): 21.11
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant): 20.84

Note: The points shown are an average of the average weekly fantasy points allowed in 2014 by each team's opponents through Week 16 this year.

Full Fantasy Strength of Schedules:

2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Wondering which players have the easiest — or most difficult — strength of schedule for the upcoming fantasy football season?

Now that the 2015 NFL regular-season schedule has been announced, we have updated our fantasy football strength of schedules for the 2015 season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Most Favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin and Charles Sims): 19.99
2. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 19.94
3. Houston Texans (Arian Foster): 19.73
4. Tennessee Titans (Bishop Sankey): 19.46
5. Atlanta Falcons (Devonta Freeman): 19.36

Least Favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Green Bay Packers (Eddie Lacy): 17.20
29. Cleveland Browns (Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West): 17.15
30. Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch): 17.12
31. St. Louis Rams (Tre Mason): 16.83
32. Cincinnati Bengals (Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard): 16.78

Note: The points shown are an average of the average weekly fantasy points allowed in 2014 by each team's opponents through Week 16 this year.

Full Fantasy Strength of Schedules:

2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS)

Wondering which players have the easiest — or most difficult — strength of schedule for the upcoming fantasy football season?

Now that the 2015 NFL regular-season schedule has been announced, we have updated our fantasy football strength of schedules for the 2015 season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Most Favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Glennon): 17.20
2. Washington Redskins (Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy): 16.85
3. New York Giants (Eli Manning): 16.76
4. Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton): 16.75
5. Philadelphia Eagles (Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez): 16.74

Least Favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. St. Louis Rams (Nick Foles): 15.61
29. San Francisco 49ers (Colin Kaepernick): 15.50
30. Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco): 15.46
31. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 15.34
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger): 15.21

Note: The points shown are the average of the average weekly fantasy points allowed in 2014 by each team's opponents through Week 16 this year.

Full Fantasy Strength of Schedules:

2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 22, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Collaborative Mock

The long wait until next week's 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago is nearly over.

Sean Beazley (@XtremeDynasty) and yours truly (@EDSFootball) have collaborated on this 2015 NFL Mock Draft. Sean has made all picks for the AFC teams; I picked for all NFC teams.

With that said, here is our 2015 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

KH: Without a doubt, the biggest concerns about Winston stem from his past off-the-field issues, which have been well-documented, and the club's ability to trust him going forward as the face of their franchise. On Monday, Bucs general manager Jason Licht said that "[i]f we had to pick today, we would feel very comfortable making the pick."

Provided they are "comfortable" with Winston off the field, he makes the most sense for them on the field. There are concerns on the field as well as Winston's interception rate jumped considerably -- one per 25.94 pass attempts in 2014 compared to one per 38.4 in 2013. As he continues to work on tightening up his elongated throwing motion, Winston has the strong arm, accuracy, football intelligence and on-the-field leadership skills that could allow him to develop into a franchise-changing quarterback.

2. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Leonard Williams, DL, USC

SB: The NFL Draft clearly starts at No. 2, as most people think Winston is a lock to go No. 1. The Titans have a ton of holes on both sides of the ball. The Philip Rivers rumors in my opinion are ridiculous. Rivers is a 33-year-old QB who has back concerns, and no mobility. He is a top-12 QB in the NFL, which is something the Titans haven't had since Steve McNair, but by the time the Titans are seriously ready to contend, Rivers will be well past his prime. At that point of his career, he would be no better than Kerry Collins or Matt Hasselbeck was to them. I would be 100% shocked if the Titans made that speculated trade.

I do think that these rumors are to try and jolt up the price for the No. 2 pick. The Titans are not going to get an RG3 type of trade offer for Marcus Mariota, but they could get two first-rounders to move down a few spots if someone is really in love with Mariota. I believe the Titans saw enough in Zach Mettenberger, mainly the Pittsburgh game where they believe he could be the future QB of this team. Drafting Mariota would be a mistake. I do believe they do their best to trade down since the top of the draft is full of their top need, and that is playmakers on the D-Line. Since I am not projecting trades, I will take the best overall player in the draft in Leonard Williams. Williams fits in perfectly with the Titans 3-4 defense.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida

SB: I think Fowler is the one pick outside of Winston that I am most confident about. The Jaguars are in desperate need of an edge rusher. He is one of those hybrid type players who would be great in either a 4-3 as a DE or a 3-4 as a pass-rushing LB. The Jaguars were actually near the top of the NFL in sacks last year, but if you look at the team's sack leaders (Sen'Derrick Marks, Chris Clemons and Ryan Davis), they lack that elite talent. Fowler should provide a huge boost to their pass rush.

4. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

SB: Some have West Virginia's Kevin White as the best WR in this years draft class, and his combine numbers were certainly impressive, but there is a big difference between the combine and actual game footage. Cooper played in the best conference in college football, and was a game changer on offense. The Raiders have swung and miss on a lot of early draft picks, so I feel they go with the safer of the two, although White projects to have a higher ceiling. Adding a playmaker for second-year QB Derek Carr is an absolute must.

5. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

KH: Sean and I did not project trades into this mock, but there is at least a 50-percent chance that the Titans move their pick and Mariota doesn't get past the second overall pick. If he does, the Jaguars and Raiders could be in play as potential trade partners as both teams selected starting quarterbacks early in last year's draft with Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, respectively. Ultimately, if Mariota is on the board with Washington on the clock, I'd expect them to trade away this selection as much as I'd expect them to select Mariota. If they don't trade the pick in this scenario, however, let the drama begin continue ...

While the owner and head coach may differ on the state of the team's quarterback situation, it's clear that Jay Gruden views it as being unsettled as both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy started games in addition to RG3 last season. There will naturally be some questions about how well and quickly he will transition from Oregon's spread offense to a pro-style system, but Mariota possesses good size, a strong arm to stretch the field and difference-making athleticism for the position in addition to impeccable intangibles. Over the course of his collegiate career, Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy recipient, threw for 10,796 yards, rushed for 2,237 yards and accounted for 136 touchdowns -- 105 passing, 29 rushing and two receiving -- with only 14 interceptions.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

SB: The Jets are absolutely stunned with the pick right in front of them, as I think they thought they had Mariota in the bag, or a potential blockbuster to move down in the draft. Either way, OLB Beasley is a nice consolation. Adding quality pass-rushing linebackers to a 3-4 defense is almost a must in my book. Beasley provides them size, strength, and speed off the edge.

7. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

KH: Earlier this offseason, the Bears traded away Brandon Marshall to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Battling injuries, Marshall struggled with a 61/721/8 line, which ended his streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. While Alshon Jeffery unquestionably becomes the team's No. 1 wide receiver, he's due to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Certainly the Bears could go defense here, but adding the top-ranked wide receiver in my 2015 prospect rankings would help to fill Marshall's void. White has the size (6-3, 215), hands and run-after-catch ability to be a difference maker and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has compared White to Julio Jones. One concern that some had about White prior to the combine was his long speed, but he has eased all concerns after running a blazing 4.35 forty at the combine.

[Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Results.]

8. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History): Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

KH: The Falcons really struggled to get to the quarterback over the past couple of seasons. Only the Bengals (20) generated fewer sacks last season than the Falcons (22), who had the third-fewest in 2013 as well. The Falcons have added some pass-rushers -- Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed and O'Brien Schofield -- in free agency, but none of those guys are elite pass-rushers. In other words, their signings this offseason should not rule out adding someone like Ray, who has an explosive first step and was last year's SEC Defensive Player of the Year with 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season.

9. New York Giants (Draft History): Brandon Scherff, G/T, Iowa

KH: It's a copy-cat league and the Giants could find themselves copying the success that the Cowboys had last season with the selection of Zack Martin, a college left tackle that moved inside to become an All-Pro guard as a rookie. NFL Network's Mike Mayock made the direct comparison: "When I look at Brandon Scherff, I see a similar example (to current Dallas Cowboys G Zack Martin...). I see a bigger kid with longer arms. That lends you to believe that he could play outside more easily. Again, I believe he can play outside. However, I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he's an All-Pro guard. But that doesn't mean he can't play tackle in the NFL."

Only the Cardinals (3.3) and Chargers (3.4) averaged fewer yards per carry than the Giants (3.6) and the Giants run-blocking graded out as 26th of 32 by PFF last season. Of 78 qualified guards graded by PFF last season, Weston Richburg and John Jerry graded out as 62nd and 66th, respectively.

10. St. Louis Rams (Draft History): Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

KH: Two of the team's top three cornerbacks -- Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson -- are due to become unrestricted free agents next offseason. Waynes, my top-ranked cornerback in this year's draft class, has the speed (4.31 40-yard dash), strength (19 reps at 225 pounds) and has the length (more than 6-foot) that teams covet at the position.

11. Minnesota Vikings (Draft History): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

KH: Adding more weapons for second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater makes sense. And the rapport that these former teammates already have could help to accelerate Parker's adjustment to the NFL game. Sidelined for the first seven games of 2014 with a broken foot, the 6-foot-3 Parker finished with a 43/855/5 line in just six games. NFL.com's Jeremiah compared Parker to Keenan Allen saying Parker is "smooth, physical" and "has outstanding instincts/ball skills."

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

SB: The Browns were dead last against the run last year, so naturally adding one of the best plugs up front should do wonders for this defense. Shelton should be able to step in and contribute Week 1. I think WR is another option, but once again my target (Parker) was taking right before my pick.

13. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE, Kentucky

KH: The Saints have made some shocking moves this offseason as they try to revamp their roster and salary cap. Last season, their defense was atrocious -- second-most yards allowed, fifth-most points allowed and bad against both the run (29th) and pass (25th). I'd expect them to use one, if not both, first-round pick(s) on that side of the ball.

New Orleans needs to put more pressure on the quarterback as they ranked in the bottom eight in sacks (34). A former tight end, Dupree is a freak athlete (4.56 forty, 42-inch vertical, 11-6 broad jump) at his size (6-foot-4, 269). Over the past three seasons, Dupree has a total of 21.0 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

14. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

SB: Peters has some character concerns, but the Dolphins just took on Ndamukong Suh, who is always in trouble on the field. Brent Grimes is a top-10 corner in this league, but adding another quality CB in my opinion is a smart move for the Dolphins. With two potential shutdown corners and a ferocious front line, the Dolphins could turn into legit contenders in the AFC if their offense can figure it out this year.

15. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

KH: Two of the biggest offseason surprises this year were the retirement of Patrick Willis and his expected replacement, Chris Borland. While their retirements combined with the devastating injury that forced NaVorro Bowman to miss all of last season means that the 49ers will need to address the position rather early, there isn't an inside linebacker that I'd draft at No. 15. (As I projected in my seven-round 2015 NFL mock draft, however, I expect the Niners to draft an ILB in Round 2.)

The 49ers have added Darnell Dockett via a two-year deal, but he turns 34 in May and Justin Smith may retire this offseason. Described by an NFL general manager as "a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak," Armstead was a two-sport athlete (football and basketball) at Oregon and possesses excellent footwork and agility.

16. Houston Texans (Draft History): Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

SB: This is more of a BPA pick in my opinion. Gregory has had some off-the-field issues as well, mainly a couple of failed drug tests, but talent wise he is one of the best edge rushers in the draft. In pre-combine mock drafts, Gregory was projected as high as No. 2 to Tennesssee. Imagine the possibilities for the Texans on defense with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Gregory. As a fan of one of their division rivals, it scares me.

[Editor's note: As a Titans' fan, perhaps you should have selected Mariota at No. 2 ... at least, he has a better chance to run away from that trio.]

-> Continue to picks 17-32

-> View Kevin's 2015 NFL Mock Draft

-> For more mocks, check out our 2015 NFL Mock Draft Database or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft for an early look ahead.

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 10, 2015

2015 NFL Mock Draft: April 10th Update

With only three weeks to go until the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago, I will continue to make (at least) weekly updates to my 2015 NFL Mock Draft and I have added Round 6 to this update.

[Follow @EDSFootball for updates.]

With that said, here is my projection for the 2015 NFL Draft:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

With the Buccaneers releasing Josh McCown earlier this offseason, the Bucs gave us clear indication that this pick will be a quarterback. There may be some debate whether it should be Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota, the two previous Heisman Trophy recipients, but there were reports prior to the combine that Bucs coach Lovie Smith prefers Winston over Mariota.

Although the increase in interceptions were an issue last year, Winston has the strong arm, accuracy, football intelligence and on-the-field leadership skills to develop into a franchise-changing quarterback. NFL Network's Steve Mariucci referred to Winston "the most astute X's and O's guy that he's ever put on the board."

Of course, the biggest concern with Winston is the off-the-field issues -- and those concerns are amplified given the nature of the position and this draft slot. Even with the team working out both players on back-to-back days this week, it appears that Winston is the clear favorite here, however, provided Tampa feels comfortable with him as the face of their franchise.

2. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Do the Titans believe in Zach Mettenberger enough to bypass Mariota here? There have been reports out of Nashville that they do, but general manager Ruston Webster said at the combine that they "like Zach," but are "[n]ot committing to anything now." Recently, one general manager told CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora: "He's going second overall. I don't know to which team, but he's going second overall."

For now, I will slot Mariota here with Titans keeping this pick. A number of teams, most notably Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Diego or St. Louis, could be highly interested in trading up with the Titans.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Mariota threw for 10,796 yards, rushed for 2,237 yards and accounted for 136 touchdowns -- 105 passing, 29 rushing and two receiving -- with only 14 interceptions. There will naturally be some questions about how well and quickly Mariota will transition from Oregon's spread offense to a pro-style system, but Mariota possesses good size, a strong arm to stretch the field and difference-making athleticism for the position in addition to impeccable intangibles.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Leonard Williams, DL, USC

Recently, Florida's Dante Fowler said that he would be "shocked" if the Jags didn't select him. In a scenario where the top-two picks are quarterbacks and Williams is still available, however, I think the Jags go with Williams. The top overall prospect on my 2015 NFL Draft Big Board, Williams is a scheme-diverse defensive lineman that has the ability to win in a variety of ways at multiple spots along the defensive line. As an example, half of his seven sacks this season came from lining up on the edge and the other half came from lining up as a defensive tackle. His ability and versatility has generated some comparisons to J.J. Watt and Richard Seymour and the sky is the limit for this 20-year-old defensive lineman.

4. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

The Raiders have found their quarterback of the future with Derek Carr, last year's second-round pick, but one of their focal points in the draft should be to improve the weapons around Carr. As much as the Raiders front office attempted to bolster their group of pass catchers in free agency, it was a big swing and miss for Oakland's front office.

Adding the top-ranked wide receiver in my 2015 prospect rankings would make sense. White has the size (6-3, 215), hands and run-after-catch ability to be a difference maker and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has compared White to Julio Jones. One concern that some had about White prior to the combine was his long speed, but he has eased all concerns after running a blazing 4.35 forty at the combine.

[Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Results.]

5. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida

Given their leaky pass protection -- only the Jags allowed more sacks last season -- offensive line could be a possibility here. Well, it's certainly a need, but it's questionable whether any of the offensive line prospects are worth a top-five selection unlike in my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

Although Ryan Kerrigan had a career-high 13.5 sacks last season, 2015 will be a contract year for him. In addition, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo signed with the Titans this offseason. A versatile player with a non-stop motor, Fowler led Florida in tackles for loss (15.0), sacks (8.5) and QB hurries (17) last season.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

The Jets' defensive line is the team's strength and their secondary was significantly upgraded in free agency with the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and the addition of Buster Skrine. With both starting outside linebackers (Calvin Pace, who turns 35 this year, and Quinton Coples) due to become free agents after the 2015 season, the Jets should look to add pass-rush depth now.

There were some concerns about Beasley's weight, but he was a rocked-up 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds at the combine without losing a step (4.53 forty) and posting 35 reps at 225 pounds. Not just a workout warrior, Beasley has been one of the nation's most productive pass rushers with a total of 25.0 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss in 26 games over the past two seasons combined.

7. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Earlier this offseason, the Bears traded away Brandon Marshall to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Battling injuries, Marshall struggled with a 61/721/8 line, which ended his streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. While Alshon Jeffery unquestionably becomes the team's No. 1 wide receiver, he's due to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

As Alabama's first Biletnikoff winner in school history, Cooper finished with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, all of which ranked first or second in the nation this season. While he may not have as much upside as WVU's White, Cooper is a great route-runner and the most pro-ready receiver in this draft class.

8. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History): Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

The Falcons really struggled to get to the quarterback over the past couple of seasons. Only the Bengals (20) generated fewer sacks last season than the Falcons (22), who had the third-fewest in 2013 as well. The Falcons have added some pass-rushers -- Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed and O'Brien Schofield -- in free agency, but none of those guys are elite pass-rushers. In other words, their signings this offseason should not rule out adding someone like Ray, who has an explosive first step and was last year's SEC Defensive Player of the Year with 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season.

9. New York Giants (Draft History): Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa

It's a copy-cat league and the Giants could find themselves copying the success that the Cowboys had last season with the selection of Zack Martin, a college left tackle that moved inside to become an All-Pro guard as a rookie. NFL Network's Mike Mayock made the direct comparison: "When I look at Brandon Scherff, I see a similar example (to current Dallas Cowboys G Zack Martin...). I see a bigger kid with longer arms. That lends you to believe that he could play outside more easily. Again, I believe he can play outside. However, I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he's an All-Pro guard. But that doesn't mean he can't play tackle in the NFL."

Only the Cardinals (3.3) and Chargers (3.4) averaged fewer yards per carry than the Giants (3.6) and the Giants run-blocking graded out as 26th of 32 by PFF last season. Of 78 qualified guards graded by PFF last season, Weston Richburg and John Jerry graded out as 62nd and 66th, respectively.

10. St. Louis Rams (Draft History): Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Even after selecting Greg Robinson with the second overall pick last year, offensive line remains one of the team's units in needs of upgrades and reinforcements. The Rams ranked in the bottom 10 in both run blocking (-55.1) and pass blocking (-27.5) grades from PFF last season. Better as a run blocker than he is a pass protector currently, Peat has the length and foot quickness to develop into a starting left tackle in the NFL some day. With Robinson and Peat, the Rams would have their bookend tackles for the next decade.

11. Minnesota Vikings (Draft History): Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Perhaps the Vikings consider reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his collegiate teammate DeVante Parker, but I think the team would be fine with Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace as the team's top-two wideouts going into the season with Cordarrelle Patterson as the wild card. Given the depth of wide receiver in this year's draft class, the Vikings could address the position in a later round, if desired.

Waynes, my top-ranked cornerback in this year's draft class, boosted his stock at the combine by running a 4.31 40-yard dash and putting up 19 reps at 225 pounds and has the length that teams covet at the position. If he's still on the board here, Waynes paired with Xavier Rhodes would give the Vikings one of the better young cornerback duos in the league. With at least six games against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler (for now) as well as several top-flight wide receivers in the division, a strong secondary is a virtual necessity for the Vikings to climb their way to the top of the division.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

The Browns ranked last in the league in rushing defense (141.6 yards per game) last season and allowed 4.5 yards per carry, only three teams allowed more. Adding reinforcements along the defensive line to help shore up their run defense would make sense.

With surprising quickness for someone his size (6-2, 339), Shelton barely come off the field and posted 9.0 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 93 tackles despite facing constant double teams last season for the Huskies.

13. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE, Kentucky

The Saints have made some shocking moves this offseason as they try to revamp their roster and salary cap. Last season, their defense was atrocious -- second-most yards allowed, fifth-most points allowed and bad against both the run (29th) and pass (25th). I'd expect them to use one, if not both, first-round pick(s) on that side of the ball.

New Orleans needs to put more pressure on the quarterback as they ranked in the bottom eight in sacks (34). A former tight end, Dupree is a freak athlete (4.56 forty, 42-inch vertical, 11-6 broad jump) at his size (6-foot-4, 269). Over the past three seasons, Dupree has a total of 21.0 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

14. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

With strong options for a slot receiver (Jarvis Landry) and vertical receiver (Kenny Stills), the addition of Parker would give the team's receiving corps a true No. 1 wideout. Sidelined for the first seven games of 2014 with a broken foot, the 6-foot-3 Parker finished with a 43/855/5 line in just six games. NFL.com's Jeremiah compared Parker to Keenan Allen saying Parker is "smooth, physical" and "has outstanding instincts/ball skills."

15. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

What an offseason it has been in San Francisco! The surprising retirement of linebacker Patrick Willis was followed by an even more surprising retirement of his 24-year-old (expected) replacement Chris Borland. Plus, NaVorro Bowman is coming off a significant knee injury that kept him out all of last season. I think they will address the inside linebacker position in the draft, but not with the 15th overall pick.

The 49ers have added Darnell Dockett via a two-year deal, but he turns 34 in May and Justin Smith may retire this offseason. Described by an NFL general manager as "a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak," Armstead was a two-sport athlete (football and basketball) at Oregon and possesses excellent footwork and agility.

16. Houston Texans (Draft History): Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

Gregory has the athleticism and length to potentially develop into an elite pass-rusher at the next level. Gregory's failed drug test at the combine (and two confirmed failed tests in 2014 at Nebraska), however, means that he is likely to slide a bit (or a lot) on draft day. Not only does it show incredibly poor judgment on Gregory's part, but he already enters the league in phase 1 of the substance-abuse policy.

The Texans ranked in the bottom half of the league in sacks (38) last season. Of course, last year's top-overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, missed almost all of last season. With 20.5 sacks for J.J. Watt, however, that means the rest of the team combined for only 17.5 sacks.

-> Continue to picks 17-32
-> Continue to Round 2
-> Continue to Round 3
-> Continue to Round 4
-> Continue to Round 5
-> Continue to Round 6

-> For more mocks, check out our 2015 NFL Mock Draft Database or our 2016 NFL Mock Draft for an early look ahead.

-> Also, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.


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April 09, 2015

Le'Veon Bell suspended for first three games of season

Earlier this offseason, there was a report that Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell could be suspended for "up to four games" for his DUI and marijuana arrest last August.

While the punishment was slightly less harsh, Bell will be suspended for three games and fined another game check, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Bell will appeal the ruling, but fantasy owners should prepare to be without their bellcow back for the first three weeks of the season.

The do-it-all back finished last season with 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns last season. Bell's yards-per-carry average increased by more than a yard to 4.7 YPC in 2014.

Once the team released LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended for the season opener as well, Bell finished as a top-two fantasy running back in four consecutive weeks.

The Steelers signed DeAngelo Williams in the offseason and he'll be a useful fantasy running back for at least the first three games of the season.

For Bell, the top-ranked player in my early 2015 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet, I'd still draft him in the first round, but I'll bump him down to the middle of the first from the top spot.

Once he returns from suspension, I'd still expect him to lead all running backs in fantasy points from Weeks 4 to 17.


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April 08, 2015

Stevan Ridley, Jets agree to one-year deal

The New York Jets and ex-Patriots running back Stevan Ridley have agreed to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Playing only six games last season before tearing his ACL, Ridley rushed 94 times for 340 yards and two touchdowns and he averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry last season.

Although he has had some issues with ball security, Ridley rushed for 1,263 yards, fourth-most in Patriots franchise history, and 12 touchdowns two seasons ago.

Ridley joins Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell in the Jets backfield. Ivory is the 25th-ranked running back in my pre-draft 2015 fantasy football running back rankings.

The Jets ranked third in the NFL in rushing offense last season with 142.5 yards per game behind only the Seahawks (172.6/G) and Cowboys (147.1/G).


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April 02, 2015

Initial 2015 Fantasy Football Top-150 Cheat Sheet

Last week, we posted our initial (and way-too-early) 2015 fantasy football rankings (by position).

This morning, we posted our initial top 150 fantasy football cheat sheet.

Here are our my overall 2015 fantasy football rankings for 2015:

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bell's production spiked across the board -- 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns -- in his second season as he was named to the 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team. Bell finished second to only DeMarco Murray in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage (2,215) and the two backs were tied for the most games with at least 100 YFS (13).

Whether the Steelers have the lead (and want to use the clock) or trail and need to throw, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. If there is one concern heading into 2015, however, it's the 15 months of probation Bell received from his August arrest for DUI and marijuana. There have been reports that Bell could face a league-imposed suspension of "up to four games."

Provided Bell is suspended for only two games or less, I'd keep him at the top spot. If he is suspended for four games, however, I'd bump him down a few spots. Stay tuned ...

2. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

While it was a relatively disappointing season for Charles, selected first or second in most leagues last season, he still finished as the seventh-highest scoring fantasy running back in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns.

Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was the reduction in his workload. After 320 touches in 2012, Charles had 329 touches in Andy Reid's first season as head coach in 2013. Last year, however, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

3. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Starting slowly and worrying those that did not heed the general advice of Aaron Rodgers ("R-E-L-A-X"), Lacy carries plenty of positive momentum into Year 3. Lacy faced three elite rush defenses (SEA, NYJ and DET) in the first three weeks of the season, but only Murray and Bell scored more fantasy points than he did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over the final 13 games of the season, Lacy averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns.

The benefit of playing with the league's best quarterback means that defenses are less likely to stack the box to slow down Lacy. After averaging 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

4. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Over the past 12 months, there was plenty of speculation about Lynch's status for the 2015 season, but the Seahawks and Lynch have agreed to a new deal. Playing four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in all four seasons. During that four-year span, no running back has more rushing yards (5,357) or rushing touchdowns (48) and no player has more total touchdowns (56).

Beast Mode has shown no signs of slowing down, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turns 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. In fact, Lynch has compressed cartilage in his back that at least was part of his consideration on a potential retirement. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

5. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

The good news first -- McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards, third-most in the NFL behind Murray and Bell, and he was one of only two backs to get 300-plus carries. That said, McCoy barely finished as a top-12 fantasy running back as he scored only 0.5 fantasy points more than Washington's Alfred Morris (RB13). In addition, McCoy averaged nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013 while also seeing his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively.

When it comes to the offensive skill positions, the Bills have revamped themselves by trading for McCoy while also signing wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Charles Clay. The addition of Harvin and Clay to a group of pass-catchers that already includes second-year receiver Sammy Watkins should help keep opposing defenses from stacking the box, but Rex Ryan won't move away from his preferred ground-and-pound approach, especially given the limitations at quarterback.

6. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more than him -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- and he broke the record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish with around 70 catches. While Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has at least 929 rushing yards in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015.

7. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

When it comes to fantasy tight ends, Gronkowski is in a tier all by himself. Rested in Week 17, Gronkowski was named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year as he posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Gronk scored 184.4 fantasy points, 30.3 points more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. In other words, Gronk had 19.66 percent more than the guy that had the second-most.

While he had some huge games, he was consistent on a weekly basis. Gronk finished as a top-five fantasy scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games. (The two exceptions were TE25 in Week 2, only nine months post-ACL tear, and TE13 in Week 16.)

8. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

In 16 games this season, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) That's a surprise given that no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in all 33 games.

One of the sayings that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer pick among wide receivers.

9. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

Despite his slow start, Thomas finished the season strong. Going over 100 yards in 10 of his final 13 games, Thomas finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns.

With the Broncos using their franchise tag on Thomas (in hopes of finalizing a long-term deal prior to the July 15th deadline) and Peyton Manning returning for at least one more season, another year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns is a strong possibility.

10. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Even though he was targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Even with the team's new-found commitment to the ground game (although DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles in free agency), Dez has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

Like Thomas, the Cowboys used their franchise tag on Bryant. Compared to Thomas and the Broncos, however, the Cowboys and Bryant appear less likely to find common ground on a long-term deal prior to the July 15th cutoff.

11. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

Quick question: What team led the NFL in rushing attempts? (Perhaps the placement of this question gave the answer away, but you'd be correct if you said the Houston Texans.)

With Foster, who turns 29 in August, it boils down to his health. Although Foster missed three games in 2014, he averaged 95.8 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry, both of which were four-year highs, and he scored double-digit touchdowns (13). Foster had at least 23 touches in 10 of his 13 games last season.

Finishing as a top-five fantasy scorer at running back last season, Foster finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 10 of 13 weeks last season including a nine-game streak from Weeks 5 to 16 (he missed two games and Houston had their bye during that stretch, though).

12. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any receiver to take over a given game, he has battled some injuries over the past couple of seasons and missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014. Johnson also appeared in a few games as a decoy, which is even worse for fantasy owners than missed games. Megatron has five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and he has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span.

- View Full Top 150 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet

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