first_imgThe 2015 NFL Draft starts just one week from tomorrow, and per usual, publications around the country are doing their best to attempt to forecast exactly what’s going to happen in the first round. We’re no different. While most people believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be selecting former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, there isn’t much of a consensus on what’ll happen next. Here’s how we see it all going down. Presenting College Spun’s 2015 NFL Mock Draft for the first round.1. Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida StatetampaTampa Bay is in dire need of a quarterback, and unless the Bucs are scared off by Winston’s off-the-field issues, it’s hard to see them passing on the former Florida State quarterback, who won the 2013 Heisman Trophy and lost just one game in his college career. Is there a chance that Tampa Bay takes Oregon signal-caller Marcus Mariota instead? Sure, but it’d be a surprise. Winston is the pick, and the Bucs are going to have to hope that he’s matured greatly in the past year.2. Tennessee – Marcus Mariota, QB, OregontitansTennessee is doing all it can to make it seem like it isn’t sold on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but in the end, we can’t see the Titans, who currently employ Zach Mettenberger as their starter, passing. Mariota has been labeled as a “system quarterback” by a number of scouts, but even so, he’s still perceived as the second-best signal-caller in the class. Could Tennessee take him and then trade him before the season starts? Maybe, but we think he’ll be taken in the 2-slot regardless.3. Jacksonville – Dante Fowler Jr., LB, FloridajacksonvilleLet’s face it – Jacksonville has a lot of needs. The Jags could go with defensive end Leonard Williams out of USC, but we think they’ll go with more of hybrid pass rusher – Dante Fowler Jr. The Florida linebacker may not have seen many wins during his collegiate years, but he’s an absolute monster for quarterbacks to deal with. Jacksonville wouldn’t do poorly to take a player who fits in multiple slots.4. Oakland – Kevin White, WR, West VirginiaoaklandIf the Raiders are going to be committed to second-year quarterback Derek Carr, who struggled completing the deep ball last season, they’re going to need to get him some weapons. West Virginia’s Kevin White, who blazed the 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine with a 4.35-second time, is regarded as the wideout with the most upside. Oakland could also take Amari Cooper out of Alabama, who is regarded as the better all-around receiver at the moment. It’s probably a toss-up, but we’ll assume that White gets the nod.5. Washington – Amari Cooper, WR, AlabamaredskinsThe Redskins were woeful on offense in 2014, and it wasn’t just quarterback play that was the problem. Washington, which needs to start piling up playmakers if it wants to compete in the NFC East, is likely to take either White or Cooper – whichever player is left on the board. There’s a chance they call an audible and take Clemson linebacker Vic Beasley, but they wouldn’t exactly be filling a need.6. New York Jets – Vic Beasley, LB, ClemsonjetsWe think Beasley goes at No. 6 to the Jets, who need to improve their pass rushing in 2015. Beasley, who had an incredible NFL Combine performance, is one of the true freak athletes in the draft class, despite being a bit undersized for his position. Fans may be a bit upset if the Jets don’t choose to improve their offense with their first pick, but if the top two quarterbacks and the top two wide receivers are gone by the time they’re up, it’s likely they don’t.7. Chicago – Leonard Williams, DE, USCchicagoLeonard Williams is a beast, and there’s a decent chance he isn’t available at No. 7 – especially if the Titans decide they’ll pass on Mariota. But if he does make it this far down the list, it’s hard to see the Bears passing on him. Somehow, Chicago, long known for its defense, gave up the second-highest number of points in the entire NFL last season. If they have a sure-fire way to improve their pass rushing, they’ll do so.8. Atlanta – Shane Ray, DE, MissouriatlantaThe Falcons need help rushing the quarterback, so they’ll have a number of options. Assuming both Beasley and Williams are gone, the next-best bets appear to be Missouri’s Shane Ray and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory. Ray, the SEC defensive player of the year, has a knack for getting to signal-callers. We think the Falcons will take the former Tiger, but we wouldn’t be surprised either way.9. New York Giants – Ereck Flowers, OL, MiamigiantsThe Giants need help in the trenches, and Iowa’ s Brandon Scherff is a popular pick in mock drafts for Big Blue. Scherff might be the most “plug-and-play” pick the Giants could make here, but we feel GM Jerry Reese will roll the dice slightly on Flowers, who isn’t  as ready as Scherff but possesses tremendous upside. Flowers projects as a potential long-term starter at either tackle spot. He may need some seasoning but could eventually start at right tackle, sliding Justin Pugh inside, or replace Will Beatty as Eli Manning’s blindside protector.10. St. Louis – Brandon Scherff, OL, IowaramsEven with taking Greg Robinson as the No. 2 pick in last year’s NFL Draft, the Rams still need plenty of help along the offensive line. Enter Scherff, who could line up at right tackle but probably best fits as a mauler inside at guard. He’s tough, physical and durable, and should be able to help the team from Day 1. The Rams have a new QB in Nick Foles, and they need to protect him, so Scherff is the best option here, though true tackle prospects such as Andrus Peat and La’el Collins could be enticing. 11. Minnesota – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan StateminnesotaDevante Parker will be tempting here, considering he played with Viking QB Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville and Minnesota badly needs threats in the passing game. But ultimately, we see the Vikings grabbing the fast-rising Waynes. The Michigan State product is a potential lockdown corner and the top prospect at his position. He and Xavier Rhodes will form a worthy 1-2 punch at cornerback for what should be a very formidable defensive unit under head coach Mike Zimmer. 12. Cleveland – Devante Parker, WR, LouisvilleclevelandWhoever starts for Cleveland at quarterback this season, they’ll certainly welcome Parker to the fold with open arms. A four-year producer for Louisville, Parker may not last until pick No. 12, and the Browns will jump at him if he does. At 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, he provides impressive length and size at the position, and possesses terrific hands. The main cause for concern with Parker is that he missed the first seven games of his senior season with a foot injury.13. New Orleans – Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska new orleansBehavioral concerns and a failed drug test at the NFL Combine have Gregory free-falling on draft boards. There are reports he could slip all the way out of the first round, but we’re not buying that. There is still a tremendous amount of raw talent and freakish athleticism here, and Gregory could wind up being the best pass rusher in this draft class. He’s a good fit for the Saints, who are in the process of a major off-season roster overhaul and need help at a critical position. 14. Miami – La’el Collins, OL, LSUmiamiThe Dolphins need to shore up their pass protection, which makes Collins a logical fit here. He’s a violent, aggressive player, which sometimes hurts him, but also makes him a coveted prospect. Collins brings experience against premium collegiate competition as well. He’s probably a better fit at guard, but could play tackle if needed. If the Fish go with their best offensive line option here, it will be Collins, though if they elect to go with a true tackle they will likely look elsewhere. 15. San Francisco – Danny Shelton, DT, Washingtonsan franThe 49ers need an infusion of defensive talent after the retirements of defensive end Justin Smith and linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. Shelton is a pure run-stuffing interior lineman, with good athleticism to boot. His presence up front should take some heat off a San Fran linebacking corps that needs upgrading and will likely be addressed on Day Two of the draft. Oregon’s Arik Armstead could also be an option here, but we feel Shelton is the PAC-12 pick.16. Houston – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCFhoustonHouston badly needs another playmaker at wide receiver to replace Andre Johnson and pair up with DeAndre Hopkins. Perriman is a big (6-foot-2, 212-pound) target and a bona fide deep threat with blazing speed (4.24 and 4.27 40-yard dashes at the NFL Combine). The son of former NFL wide receiver Brett Perriman, he’s skyrocketing up draft boards. He needs to refine his route-running but Bill O’Brien and company will ensure he’s selected in the top half of the first round. 17. San Diego – Melvin Gordon, RB, WisconsinchargersWorking under the assumption that the Chargers hold on to quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego can use an infusion of talent at the skill positions to bolster what was a very strong team in 2014. Gordon gives San Diego a very strong replacement for oft-injured former Charger Ryan Mathews, who only played in all 16 games once in his career before bolting to Philadelphia in the off-season. Gordon, on the other hand, was the model of consistency in Madison. After a solid junior season in which he ran 1,609 yards and 12 touchdown, in 2014 Gordon exploded for an otherworldly 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns. Some may be worried about Gordon’s long-term prospects because of his high carry numbers in college, but he is good enough to make an impact as a rookie, and if Rivers isn’t traded, a move like this can help take the Chargers’ offense to the next level immediately.18. Kansas City – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahomakansas cityTechnically, Green-Beckham was most recently an Oklahoma wide receiver, but the last time he was a relevant star on the field, he was suiting up for Mizzou. Kansas City’s receiving corps was historically ineffective in 2014, failing to catch a touchdown as a group. Green-Beckham has significant off-field issues to overcome, but he was one of the most talented receivers in college football when on the field. In 2013, DGB caught 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns for Missouri. This is an extremely receiver-heavy draft, so the Chiefs may go after a safer pick like Jaelen Strong, but if they want upside and the local draw, the St. Louis native Green-Beckham may be the choice here.19. Cleveland – Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford clevelandCleveland’s recent draft history has been ugly, especially when it comes to the first round. With two first rounders in 2012, the team took Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, neither of whom is still with the franchise. Both have been disappointing pros. Last season, the Browns once again had two first-rounders, and while it is unfair to judge that draft just a year later, Justin Gilbert hasn’t lit the world on fire in his first year as a pro, and Johnny Manziel…well, you know. The Browns have secured two first rounders once again, and with their first pick, we have them taking Louisville star receiver Devante Parker to help out whichever quarterback wins the job. With this second pick, we like Cleveland to bolster its offensive line with one of the last first-round caliber tackles left on the board, Stanford’s Andrus Peat. Peat comes from solid football stock—his father was a six year NFL player—and played at a Stanford program that has been effective in developing talent on the line. Cleveland is due for a few of these top picks to work out, and Peat seems like a good bet. 20. Philadelphia – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut eaglesNo player in this draft helped himself more at the NFL Draft Combine than UConn’s Byron Jones, who blew up the internet with his world record 12-foot-3 broad jump, and didn’t hurt matters with a 4.43 40-yard dash and 44.5-inch vertical. Philadelphia has needs throughout the secondary, and Jones has experience playing both corner and safety, as well as the athleticism to fill in wherever needed. Football Outsiders ranked Philly’s 2014 pass defense 18th in the NFL, and it continues to be a major need. If Chip Kelly continues to favor Pac-12 players, he could also take a chance on Washington cornerback Marcus Peters here. 21. Cincinnati – Landon Collins, S, Alabama cincinnatiLandon Collins is almost universally regarded as the top safety available in this draft, and while it may not be the most glaring immediate need for the Bengals, it may be hard to pass up a top-line safety at No. 21. Bengals starter George Iloka’s contract runs up in 2016, while Reggie Nelson is getting a bit long in the tooth, and will also be up for a new deal after this coming season. Collins can come in and add to the secondary right away, and slide in as a starter for 2016, if he doesn’t win a job outright as a rookie.22. Pittsburgh – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest steelersWake Forest was pretty dreadful overall in Dave Clawson’s first season, but the Demon Deacons’ secondary was a major strength, in large part due to Kevin Johnson. The team ranked 12th in passing defense last year, nationally. Johnson is widely considered a first rounder, and more importantly, the Steelers seem like big fans. According to CBS, of the 23 NFL scouts at Wake Forest’s Pro Day, four were from the Steelers, including defensive backs coach Carnell Lake. Assuming he is still on the board at 22, it seems like he is a good bet to join the Steel Curtain. 23. Detroit – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia detroitHow do you make an offense with Calvin Johnson even more frightening? Stick a guy like Todd Gurley in the backfield. With Reggie Bush out in San Francisco, there is a hole at running back in Detroit, especially with Joique Bell coming off knee and Achilles’ surgeries. Gurley also has injury concerns, but there is a chance he is ready for the beginning of the season. This would definitely be a big swing from the Lions, who can also use help along both lines, especially after losing Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins, but if Gurley bounces back and realizes his potential, few teams would have that kind of talent at the skill positions. 24. Arizona – Cameron Erving, C, Florida State arizonaThe Cardinals parted ways with starting center Lyle Sendlein last month, leaving a hole in the middle of their offensive line heading into the draft. Erving had a very interesting career at Florida State, starting at defensive tackle, where he was relatively productive early in his career, before moving to left tackle, where he became an All-American. During this past season, Erving moved inside, and is currently projecting as a center at the next level. While he can probably use some polish, most players would not be able to move across the line and play so effectively. Not only did Erving make that move, but he then moved positions and learned the offensive line’s most cerebral position on the fly. Add in solid athleticism, and Erving could be a player that goes here and fills the starting spot for Arizona immediately. 25. Carolina – Cedric Ogbeuhi, OT, Texas A&M carolinaOgbeuhi’s stock has dropped a bit due to his ACL tear, but he’s still a very-talented offensive tackle who is worthy of going in the first round. He’s big and athletic. Carolina’s offensive line was one of the league’s worst in 2014, with quarterback Cam Newton rarely possessing the time he needed to make good throws. So it makes sense for the Panthers to look for an offensive lineman with this pick. Ogbeuhi is a good fit and could potentially start right away. 26. Baltimore – Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State baltimoreMost believe Baltimore could look for a wide receiver with their first pick, and, thankfully for the Ravens, wideout is one of the deepest positions in the draft. Strong, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound wide receiver, is one of the most talented prospects in the draft. He possesses elite speed – 4.44 40 time – and strong leaping ability – 42-inch vertical jump and 123-inch broad jump. Strong shined with the Sun Devils this past season, catching 82 passes for more than 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’ll be a strong fit for Joe Flacco’s vertical passing ability in Baltimore. 27. Dallas – Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA dallasThe Cowboys could go in a couple different directions with their first-round selection; running back and cornerback are also positions of need for Jerry Jones’ franchise. But with the draft’s top two running backs – Gurley and Gordon – already off the board, we have them going with a pass rusher here. Odighizuwa is one of the most physically gifted players in the class. He possesses a ridiculous frame, good speed and excellent strength. With Greg Hardy suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season, it makes sense for Dallas to look for a replacement. And Odighizuwa is a very good one. 28. Denver – Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon denverPeyton Manning’s time with the Broncos is closing, fast. So they need to bolster the unit that is in charge of keeping him healthy: the offensive line. Fisher, a 6-foot-6, 306-pound offensive tackle, was one of college football’s best offensive linemen in 2014. He was so good, in fact, that many people dismissed the Ducks’ lone regular season loss because it occurred with him off the field. Fisher is polished and possesses strong fundamentals; he should be able to step in right away and start. Going from protecting a Heisman winner in Marcus Mariota to a future NFL Hall of Famer in Manning should be pretty cool. 29. Indianapolis – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State indyMost draft analysts seem to believe the Colts will go in one of two directions with their first pick: offensive line or defensive line. We’re predicting them to do the latter. Goldman, a big, physically enforcing defensive tackle out of Florida State, could step in and play the nose tackle position in Indianapolis’ 3-4 scheme. With the Seminoles in 2014, he was a third-team All-American and a first-team All-ACC performer. He’s probably below average in terms of his pass-rushing ability, but his run defense and line clogging physique make him a formidable fit for the Colts. 30. Green Bay – Jalen Collins, CB, LSU green bayThe Packers’ secondary has been incredibly inconsistent in recent seasons, so going with a defensive back here makes sense. Collins, a 6-foot-1, 203-pound cornerback out of Baton Rouge, La., is one of the draft’s most talented secondary players. With the Tigers, he had 10 passes defensed and allowed only 35 percent of the balls thrown at him to get completed. His size is exactly what you’re looking for in an elite defensive back, too. Green Bay’s defensive coaches like defensive backs that can play multiple positions and at 6-foot-1, Collins seems to possess that ability. 31. New Orleans – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami new orleansWith the loss of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, and the regressing of Marques Colston, the Saints need to find another weapon for Drew Brees. Dorsett, who was originally believed to be a third-or-fourth round selection, is rising up the draft boards in rapid fashion. Dorsett, a burner out of Miami, would be a great fit for Brees’ vertical passing game. His speed – runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash – is among the best in the class. Most analysts seem to think he’s a lock to go in the top 40 and we don’t see him slipping past the Saints, who need a pass catcher. 32. New England – Marcus Peters, DB, Washington new englandDarrelle Revis is gone, so the Patriots could use another secondary player. Some believe FSU DT Goldman is their top choice, but with him off the board, we have them going with the talented-but-troubled Peters, a 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback out of the Huskies’ program. He’s had some issues, as he was dismissed from the Washington program last November. But his talent is first-round worthy and Belichick has been known to take on a chance on players in the past. New England seems to possess the infrastructure needed to allow someone like him to grow and thrive.last_img

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