2015 NFL Mock Draft - Collaboration (Beazley/Hanson)- Updated: Wednesday, April 22nd
The long wait until next week's 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago is nearly over.
Sean Beazley (@XtremeDynasty) and Kevin Hanson (@EDSFootball) have collaborated on this 2015 NFL Mock Draft. Sean has made all picks for the AFC teams; Kevin has 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
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
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