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NFL Mock Draft 1

  • 1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

It is obvious that the Buccaneers need a quarterback, and they will most likely draft one at this spot. Winston, although having previous off the field issues, shows to be less of a risk than Mariota, and with the number one overall pick you cannot afford many risks. Winston is a proven quarterback, and reminds me some of Ben Roethlisberger in that they are both hard to bring down and find ways to win games, even if just by a slight margin. Winston will be walking into a good situation, he will have a talented young receiver (Mike Evans) to build chemistry with, as well as a young tight end in Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a situation mimicking the one he had when he won a Championship at Florida State with Kelvin Benjamin and Nick O’Leary.

  • 2) Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DL, USC

 

The Titans announced that they wish to stick with Zach Mettenberger at quarterback this upcoming season, which I happen to agree with, which leaves them in a good position to grab possibly the best player in the draft in Leonard Williams. Williams plays very similarly to current Tennessee defensive lineman, Jurrell Casey who also happened to play at USC. Both players are versatile between spots on the defensive line, and are always a threat to get after the quarterback no matter where they are slotted along the trenches. With Mariota being out of the mix here, I think that Williams is the best bet and the safest player to get at number two.

Photo via: http://panicbutton.sportsblog.com
Photo via: http://panicbutton.sportsblog.com
  • 3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

 

Jacksonville has missed in recent drafts, dating all the way back to Blaine Gabbert, but with the talent on the board here it will be hard for them to screw up. Gregory has been a top five prospect since the beginning of the season, and he has done nothing but prove the fact that he deserves this pick throughout the collegiate season. He recorded seven sacks in nine games, but did get bullied some by much larger offensive lineman, specifically in the Michigan State game. Gregory needs to add strength to compete at a high level in this league, but that will come quickly with an NFL program. The Jaguars get an extremely talented defensive player here.

  • 4) Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

 

Oakland hit a home run in the draft for the first time in a long while with Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, and they can do it again this year with Amari Cooper. Cooper was by far the most valuable wide receiver last season in college football, and was responsible for the majority of Alabama’s receiving yardage. Cooper will give the developing Carr a reliable target and a go to receiver that he didn’t have in his rookie season. Amari Cooper is also a very safe pick here, as there are no critics of his talent that I have ever heard of. Oakland better not repeat their Darius Heyward-Bey mistake this year and miss out on a talent like Cooper.

  • 5) Washington Redskins: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

 

Ray was one of the most productive pass rushers in the nation last season, and I believe that his skills will translate to the NFL nicely. Last season he was the third leading pass rusher in the NCAA, with 14.5 sacks in a 14 game span. The only reason I don’t have him higher is some little red flags about his character, as he was ejected last season from the SEC Championship for an unnecessary and violent hit against Alabama quarterback, Blake Sims. With the NFL being the way it is now in making sure character comes before play, little red flags mean more than ever when it comes to drafting a player. However despite this I see Ray as a top five, maybe even top three pick come draft day.

  • 6) New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

 

The former Heisman winner may wind up landing as a Jet come draft day. The Jets are in desperate need of a quarterback, considering the only records they are breaking are for all time worst quarterback averages. I don’t see any scenario where they would pass on Mariota here, QB is by far their biggest need, and the only other player left worthy of this selection is Danny Shelton but defensive line is the strongest point on this team. If Mariota slips to the Jets I don’t see any argument that could convince me that they shouldn’t take him, the past two drafts there have not been any quarterbacks worthy of a first pick (EJ Manuel was picked but he didn’t deserve it), so the Jets can’t pass on a time when there is one worthy.

  • 7) Chicago Bears: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

The Bears have neglected their offensive line for years now, and despite all the talent they have on their roster, they will continue to be a middle of the pack team at best with no o-line. Peat will be the starter from day one in Chicago, and will be an immediate upgrade for a team that started two undrafted rookies at both RT and LT for much of last season. Peat is statured in an enormous frame, and has the ability to bully defensive linemen. He works well in both the pass and rush game, and has the potential to excel in this league.

  • 8) Atlanta Falcons: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida

The Falcons need a pass rusher, period. Fowler could be the guy they have been looking for. Fowler was the heart of the Gator defense last season, and could prove to be the future star on an extremely thin Atlanta roster. Atlanta would love for one of the top three pass rushers in this class, and so trading up may be an option for them here, as Fowler joins Vic Beasley for the next tier of pass rushers available. Fowler doesn’t have quite the experience that Beasley has, however he is overflowing with potential and if the Falcons can unlock his potential then they have the next defensive star in this league.

  • 9) New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa

The Giants were thrilled with their OBJ selection last season, but now it’s time to focus less on play makers and more on the guys up front. The Giants are lucky that Scherff falls here; he is one of the top offensive linemen in the draft, however falls because teams view him more as a guard than a tackle. But whether he is a guard or tackle, the Giants are in desperate need of offensive linemen wherever they can grab them. Scherff will be able to be moved back and forth between guard and tackle at the Giants discretion, much like Greg Robinson last season for the Rams. Personally Scherff is worthy of a top 5 pick, however I believe he will slide and if the Giants grab him then they will be lucking out.

  • 10) St. Louis Rams: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri

Possibly my favorite player in the draft from an on-field play point of view and not personality, is Dorial Green-Beckham. He measured extremely well at the combine, recording almost exactly the same height and weight as Calvin Johnson. He has extremely good hands, and uses his size to make acrobatic catches over opposing corners, and has the speed to break away when he gets the chance. The only reason I don’t have him even higher is because of the fairly large red flag he carries with him. He was kicked out of Missouri, then he transferred to Oklahoma, however he never played a snap there. These misconduct issues weigh is draft stock down quite a bit, however if the Rams draft him he could wind up anywhere from Calvin Johnson to Josh Gordon, I say it is worth the risk.

Photo via: www.nepatriotsdraft.com
Photo via: http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com
  • 11) Minnesota Vikings: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville

This is the point where you are going to see a good number of receivers fly off of the draft boards on draft night. Going third in another stacked year at the wide receiver position comes Devante Parker. Parker was a star at Louisville, mainly known for his tremendous all around play with a solid combination of size, speed, and hands. Minnesota could use a young talent at receiver to come in and help out their youngster at quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Parker happened to be Bridgewater’s favorite target when he was at Louisville, and bringing the two back together would create chemistry on the field and companionship in the locker room. Parker, although not the best receiver in the draft, may just be the best option for the Vikings.

  • 12) Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

Cleveland gets one of the steals of the draft here with Danny Shelton. Shelton is worthy of a top ten pick, possibly even top five depending on who lands where, however I have him landing at twelve to the Browns. Shelton is not only tremendous at clogging up an offensive line to allow pass rushers to get through, but he is a pass rusher himself. He was second in sacks on a Huskie defense that ranked second in the nation in the number of sacks recorded, Shelton had nine, a number that is quite a feat for a nose tackle. With an injury to Phil Taylor last season the Browns were mixing and matching different defensive fronts, but with Shelton coming in and adding depth and youth it should solve Cleveland’s struggles, and honestly give them one of the best pass rushes in the nation.

  • 13) New Orleans Saints: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

This draft is not as deep as others when it comes to secondary strength; however Marcus Peters is one of the few to look out for. Peters is in contention with Trae Waynes for the top corner in the draft, however I feel like Peters is the better prospect of the two. Last season despite an incredibly talented roster, the Saints didn’t do anything to impress, in fact they were the biggest let down in the entire NFL last season. A large part of their lack of success can be attributed to their lack of a consistent secondary. With Peters in they could have just the talent they need to be the team everyone thought they were going to be.

  • 14) Miami Dolphins: La’el Collins, OL, LSU

La’el Collins was an excellent player at LSU, and should make a great addition to a weak Dolphins’ offensive line. Collins would fill the biggest need for the Dolphins at guard, a position that has never been repaired since the bullying incident two seasons ago. He has the ability to be switched around the offensive line however which would help considering the injury prone Brandon Albert on one side of the line. He is the best guard available for a while, so I say despite being a slight reach the Dolphins should pull the trigger on Collins.

  • 15) San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

Armstead is the best pure 3-4 defensive end in this draft, and with Justin Smith in talks of retirement, and Ray McDonald gone the Niners need massive help along their line. Armstead proved to be quite a weapon this season for the Ducks, and made his name known by everyone in the College Football Playoffs. He reminds me of Chandler Jones with his tall frame, and ability to stop the run as well as being a threat in the pass rush. The 49ers have been known for drafting talented players the past few seasons; let’s see if they can continue the streak with Arik Armstead.

  • 16) Houston Texans: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

With Andre Johnson aging the Texans are going to soon need a replacement for the veteran talent, and Kevin White could be that guy. He was a big play maker last season at West Virginia, and was extremely productive, as he was the sixth leading receiver in the NCAA. He has decent size, as well as speed and moves that allow him to get to the next level after the catch. He also has decent size for a player with his skill set, as well as favorable hands that gives him a nice balance that teams look for in the draft.

  • 17) San Diego Chargers: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

If you were a Chargers fan this past season then it must have been painful watching this secondary. No team suffered more injuries to their cover guys than the Chargers, despite adding Brandon Flowers in the offseason and Jason Verrett in the draft last year they still need help. Waynes is one of the top two corners in the draft, and despite inconsistencies last season he has the potential to make an impact on this team. He did well in the combine, running the fastest 40 time out of all the corners. He is decent in one on one coverage, and works well in run support. Adding depth to this Chargers’ secondary should be one of the top priorities for the San Diego front office.

Photo via: www.steelersdepot.com
Photo via: http://www.steelersdepot.com
  • 18) Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan

The Chiefs lack a few things on their team; two of them are size and talented receivers. Funchess will be the cure for both of those needs for a team that didn’t have a single touchdown by a receiver made all season. Funchess is a massive target, and a big time redzone threat. Standing at 6’4’’, and 235 it is almost unfair to much smaller defensive backs. I like the fit of Kevin White better in Kansas City, however I don’t see him falling this far, and Funchess is about the best second place you could get in this situation so I don’t see them trading up. Last season the Packers had no interceptions by a safety and drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix changed that, let’s see if Funchess can change the Chiefs impressive streak of no WR touchdowns.

  • 19) Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

With wide outs going off the board left and right I don’t think Cleveland can afford to continue to sit back and watch as their biggest need continues to not be filled. Strong is a bit of a reach here, but he is a talented receiver, well deserving of a first round pick, and his last name is Strong, what’s not to like? He may have the best hands out of anyone in the draft, as well as a large frame for quarterbacks to target. He is phenomenal at catching through contact, and although he isn’t the fastest guy around he does everything else well.

  • 20) Philadelphia Eagles: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Many have given up on Ekpre-Olomu for reasons I cannot explain, however I still see him as a tremendous talent, and an Oregon tie to Chip Kelly. He would have been the top corner taken in the draft if he had not had an injury that kept him out of the rest of his time at Oregon. He is one of the best shut down corners in the nation, and has tremendous coverage ability. Kevin Johnson out of Wake Forest is another option here, but I believe that the Oregon tie will bring Ekpre-Olomu to Philadelphia to join the man who recruited him.

  • 21) Cincinnati Bengals: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

I have Landon Collins sliding to the Bengals here for several reasons, despite being by far the best safety in this class. I have had a problem with many of the Alabama secondary players for a few years now, however I make an exception for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last season. However since 2010, Kareem Jackson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Dee Milliner have all been top 20 picks but have had little success, which suggests something about the program as a whole. Collins may break that spell, but also with the decrease in need for safety in this day and age, Collins will fall… which actually works out quite well for the Bengals.

  • 22) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

The Steelers defense isn’t what it was a few seasons ago, and with their best corner Ike Taylor aging and injured, it is time to add some support to a weak secondary. Johnson can be the solution to this by adding youth and an excellent cover man to the weak Steelers secondary. This man was a stud at Wake Forest; I bet that is a phrase you have never heard applied to football before, but it is true. He is six foot, which is on the taller side for a cornerback, which is something teams have started to look for and like. Johnson should be a nice addition to this Steelers defense.

  • 23) Detroit Lions: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

I have been very impressed with LSU players in the NFL the past few seasons, and I think that Collins could add to that list. With many people saying Ndamukong Suh is leaving Detroit it has left many with the thought that they are going to draft a defensive tackle, however I disagree. CJ Mosely was tremendous for them this past season, and Nick Fairley is a highly touted defensive tackle as well, and with a good linebacking core and safety duo, the only thing the Lions need to have to complete their defense is at cornerback. Collins was very impressive at LSU last season, and while standing at 6’1’’ he can matchup against the taller receivers in the NFL. He is a lock down corner, although not much of a playmaker on defense. The Lions should go with Collins here, however if they want to replace Suh, then Eddie Goldman and Malcom Brown are options here as well.

  • 24) Arizona Cardinals: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

There is no glaring need on this roster right now except tight end. I cannot remember the last time that the Cardinals had a tight end to brag about, but Maxx Williams may be able to change that. He was the top target at Minnesota last season, and in addition to his skills as a receiver he also does a fine job in the blocking department as well. I would say the Cardinals maybe take a look at one of the top running backs here, however I am a big fan of Andre Ellington and could argue to draft Maxx Williams any day of the week. With the Cardinals in no immediate need for any certain position in particular, Maxx Williams will be a great pick and serve a need they have seemed to have neglected for several seasons now.

  • 25) Carolina Panthers: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fl.)

Wow, the Panthers offensive line is bad, and I mean horrendous. It is honestly a miracle that they were able to make it to the playoffs and that Cam Newton stayed as healthy as he did, even if it wasn’t that healthy. Ereck Flowers would automatically become the best tackle on the team just by the Panthers drafting him. He has size and tenacity that reminds me some of Orlando Pace; I realize that is a generous comparison, and I am not saying he will play anywhere near the ability of Pace but he sure is tough to handle if you are a defensive lineman. He has a great work ethic, and anchored an offensive line that was responsible for a lot of the yards created by star running back Duke Johnson. Flowers would be a great addition to the Panthers offensive line, however so would Ron Rivera at this point.

  • 26) Baltimore Ravens: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

The Ravens would love, love, love, to get their hands on Arik Armstead, however in the likely event in which that does not happen, I have them settling for the first running back taken in my mock draft in Melvin Gordon. Gordon tore it up at Wisconsin last season, blowing everyone’s mind and crushing records left and right. There is no doubt that his stats prove him to be worthy of a top pick, my only concern is whether it was truly him or his offensive line doing the majority of the work. When you look at some of his runs, he has an opening in the line the size of an SUV, this is one problem I had with former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, and so far that has seemed to be true. However Gordon is a much more talented back than Ball was, and I am sure that he will find success in the NFL, I just don’t know if he will ever be the elite back some are making him out to be.

Photo via: info.videoforlearn.com
Photo via: info.videoforlearn.com
  • 27) Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

Phillips is either going to be a star or a bust, I don’t feel like there is going to be much in between for him. To start with Phillips, he is massive; in a 6’5’’, 330 lb. frame he is a hard man to stop in the trenches. In terms of potential he is a ten, however here is where he starts to fall. He has been questioned for both a lack of effort, as well as his stamina. He is inconsistent, and although great at causing disruption, rarely gets to the quarterback himself. Knowing the Cowboys however, they are willing to draft guys and sign guys with these types of personalities, and if they get him right then this could end up being the pick GMs look back on and ask themselves, “What did we miss?”.

  • 28) Denver Broncos: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State

It is hard to say really what the Broncos NEED, they have a lot of flexibility and although their offensive line is not weak per say, I still want as much depth as possible when talking about protecting Peyton Manning. I like Erving here because he is the first player off the board who can be slotted at center. Erving is a versatile player, he can play either the center or guard position, which is helpful depending on performance and health of the linemen around him. He is slightly on the raw side talent wise, however the Broncos are one of the best teams at getting the best out of their players and if they can get him to be who he has the potential to be then he could be a starter for a long time in Denver.

  • 29) Indianapolis Colts: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

Christmas could come early for Colts’ fans this year in the form of a veteran pass rusher, who could have an enormous impact on the Colts from day one. I am going to make a bold statement here, but I believe that Beasley could win the Rookie of the Year with the Colts; he is a perfect fit, and could be the heir to Robert Mathis. The Colts have not had a pass rushing threat opposite to Mathis since Dwight Freeny’s departure; Beasley could finally fill in that area of need for the Colts. Beasley is the most experienced defensive player in this draft and also put up outstanding numbers throughout all four years at Clemson (33 sacks and over 50 tackles for loss). However he will be purely used in the pass rush, as he lacks in coverage. The only reason Beasley is not a top five pick is because of the tonnage of talent at the OLB and DE position in this draft class. Much like the Packers (who I will mention next pick) the Colts could be almost a lock for the Super Bowl if they could find a defense to help back up Andrew Luck, and Vic Beasley could be their guy.

  • 30) Green Bay Packers: Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (Fl.)

Green Bay didn’t not make it to the Super Bowl because they had a weak link on offense, in fact the only reason they aren’t one of the best teams of all time right now is because their defense is that bad. Perryman was the leader of a middle-of-the-pack Hurricane defense last season, and could be the future leader of the Packers’ defense. The thing I love most about Perryman is his refusal to quit; he finishes through his tackles, he is easy to coach, and an instinct about the game that intrigues me. In the past two years, inside line backers have fallen in the drafts due to teams not seeing as much value as they did before, however I would like to counter this argument to say that they have had the biggest immediate impact the past few seasons as rookies than any other position in the game. Luke Kuechly, CJ Mosely, Chris Borland, Manti Te’o, all players that were drafted in drafts where this position was criticized, Perryman can add to this list to prove that the inside linebacker position is worth drafting higher.

  • 31) Seattle Seahawks: Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State

Devin Smith is the type of guy I see Seattle drafting at receiver. Like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, Smith is not extraordinary at any one area of the game, however it is hard to find something he doesn’t do well. He is a very balanced receiver, and can make the plays you need him to make. I watched him quite a bit at Ohio State and I can tell you this, Smith won’t be the best receiver out of this draft but he won’t disappoint and should be a safe pick as well as a decent player for a while to come.

  • 32) New England Patriots: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

The Patriots look solid all around the boards, so they have the ability to make a bit of a reach for Coates here in the first round. Coates was one of my favorite players to watch last season, as he just made big play after big play for the Auburn Tigers. I could potentially see him going higher if a team like the Browns or Chiefs wanted him, both teams in desperate need of receivers and have the ability to trade down a few spots to get a guy like Coates. Coates is incredibly unique in the fact that he has burners like a small receiver, however is extremely muscular and hard to bring down, somewhat like a Justin Blackmon type. He has made some quite impressive catches in his time at Auburn as well, however he can be quiet at times, as well as drop some passes from time to time. Overall I love Coates and believe he is a first round pick, and make a good fit on the reigning Super Bowl champs.

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