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2015 NFL Mock Draft: First Round Projections

Next week I'll be putting out my first 7 round mock draft for the New York Jets. This week I'm taking a different approach, completing a full first round mock draft, something I don't do very often.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For the first mock draft, I'm not going to include any potential trades as the options are limitless.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston - QB - Florida State

Scouting Report

Winston really impressed me at the combine in every aspect. I thought he ran well, he measured well, he threw well and more importantly, he handled himself very well in front of the media. I do still have some concerns about his decision making but Tampa Bay have a good foundation of talent on the offensive side of the football, they just need a leader. Winston wants to be in the Super Bowl in year one, and while I don't think he'll get that opportunity that quickly, he has every chance of becoming a very good player. With this selection, Tampa Bay gets an identity, it gets a winning attitude and gets direction. It makes too much sense for them not to select him.

2. Tennessee Titans - Leonard Williams - DE - USC

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

Are the Titans committed to Zach Mettenberger? I think he showed enough to warrant them sticking with him for the 2015 NFL season. With questions about the quality of quarterbacks available in this draft, I think the Titans address a glaring weakness in their team, the pass rush. For my money, Leonard Williams is the best player in the draft, he is a disrupter, plain and simple. Some are projecting him inside, personally I'd put him at the defensive end position and let him terrorize tackles. Tennessee were middle of the pack in terms of sacks last year, but they can do more to make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable, Williams will do just that.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Shane Ray - DE/OLB - Missouri

Scouting Report

Now this was a difficult selection to make because Jacksonville were not terrible rushing the passer last year. They finished the season with 45 sacks, good for joint 6th in the league. Ideally I think Jacksonville would want to select Leonard Williams and if the Titans go another direction, I think they would run to the podium to select the USC prospect. However Shane Ray is a pass rusher first and foremost and may be the most dangerous pure pass rusher in this draft, I'm not sure where Jacksonville would play Ray, but you can always make room for a guy like that on your team.

4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper - WR - Alabama

Scouting Report

Last year Oakland committed it's immediate future to QB Derek Carr, however they didn't give him a lot to work with. James Jones was a good addition but he needs someone opposite him. Amari Cooper can be a #1 receiver in this league. He showed he has plenty of speed, his hands are good and his route running is at the elite level. You want to give a young QB a young receiver he can grow with. Cooper is that player and it instantly improves the Oakland Raiders. If they don't select a receiver, they'll take the next best pass rusher.

5. Washington Redskins - Brandon Scherff - OT - Iowa

Scouting Report

Washington's offensive line last year was just horrible, the only unit that was worse than the Redskins was the Jaguars. They allowed 58 sacks on the year and the QB's were under constant pressure. Washington could fall for one of the CB's here and they could be tempted by Randy Gregory to improve their offense, but I'm mocking the best tackle to them because they could really use it. I think Scherff projects as a very good left tackle and an elite right tackle, so Washington will need to decide where to play him but they instantly upgrade their offensive line with a prospect who can come in and play immediately.

6. New York Jets - Kevin White, WR - West Virginia

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

This may surprise a few people, but the feeling I get is the Jets will bypass a Quarterback right here. I think there is a good chance we trade down, or take a pass rusher. However I think with Percy gone (he will be cut) , our mission to find a true #1 receiver will lead us to Kevin White who reminds me a little of Kelvin Benjamin with a little Mike Evans mixed in as well. He can come in and start opposite Decker immediately, he helps our current QB who will be given another year to establish himself and he instantly improves this football team. It was a hard decision to pass on Mariota, but I'm going to go with Kevin White in this scenario.

7. Chicago Bears - Marcus Peters, CB - Washington

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

This was an easy selection for me. I thought about Randy Gregory, I thought about Danny Shelton but when I think of the 2014 Chicago Bears, I think about how easy it was to move the ball on them. Marcus Peters was dismissed from the Washington program, so you need to do your homework but he would instantly improve a very poor secondary. He has excellent instincts, play-making ability and he plays with a physical nature that Bears fans will absolutely love. I was tempted to put Waynes in here as I really like his potential, but Marcus Peters is probably the best corner in the league.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

The Falcons are losing a couple of veterans to free agency this year and they desperately need to upgrade their pass rush. Dan Quinn loves defensive lineman and Arik has shown himself to be an athletic disrupter with a good motor and excellent instincts. I thought about putting Gregory here, I thought about putting Dante Fowler Jr here, but in the end the 6'7, 285lb Armstead made the most sense to me. Dan Quinn can use him to mould his team and I think it's a good fit for both player and team.

9. New York Giants - Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

JPP will be back, whether he's tagged or a long term deal can be reached. However they could still use an explosive pass rusher as a compliment. Gregory is a fine athlete who I thought disappointed at the combine. However years of tape tell you he's going to be a very good player. He will hold up just find against the run and he shows a fluidity to drop into coverage if needed. However a player who can set the edge but more importantly get into the backfield with ease is always going to be attractive to any team. The Giants could go offensive tackle if they fall for someone like Peat or Collins, but I'm putting Gregory here.


USA Today Images - Kevin Jairaj - 2014 Jan 03

10. St Louis Rams - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Scouting Report

If we don't select Mariota at #6, I fully expect the Eagles to make a move up to get him. However in this mock, he's falling to #10 and the St Louis Rams. St Louis invested heavily in Sam Bradford, however he has disappointed due to injury problems, he has a massive cap charge that has to be addressed. The Rams have put together a very good defense and now they have to address the offense. Rumors suggest that the Rams like Mariota and his performance at the combine and in team interviews won't do anything to put them off.

11. Minnesota Vikings - Devante Parker, WR, Louisville

Scouting Report - Coming Soon.

When thinking about the Vikings passing game, I relate it to the Jets. They were within the bottom 3rd of the league in every category, although QB Teddy Bridgewater. showed some really positive growth signs, they need to surround him with some talent. Cordarelle Patterson hasn't quite become the player we thought he would, Greg Jennings will be 32 when the season ticks off and much like Oakland, they need a young receiver to grow with their QB. They could go with an offensive tackle and if they are done with AP, running back wouldn't be out of the question but I really like Parker at this spot.

12. Cleveland Browns - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Scouting Report

The Browns need an upgrade at receiver, especially with the trouble surrounding Gordon. However right here with Cooper, Parker and White off the board, I'm focusing on protecting my QB, whether that's Manziel or someone else, upgrading the offensive line is a need for the Browns, especially on the right side. Peat is one of my favourite prospects in the entire draft. I like his technique, athleticism and strength combination and I think a lot of people are sleeping on just how good Peat can be. He has good size, and impressed me with both his pass and run blocking at the college level, I think he can develop this and translate it to the NFL.

13. New Orleans Saints - Dante Fowler Jr,  Florida

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I half considered putting Waynes here because the Saints need some help in the secondary, but in the end I decided on Rob Ryan wanting a versatile pass rusher. I've been extremely impressed with Fowler every single time I see the tape. He has active hands, He plays on either side of the line, rushes the passer well, sets the edge well, tackles well and can drop into coverage. There isn't a great deal not to like about him, and maybe he doesn't have the ceiling of someone like Ray or Gregory but his floor is a lot higher in my opinion. This is a relatively safe selection in my eyes and New Orleans gets a good player who can come in and play immediately.

14. Miami Dolphins - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Scouting Report

I thought about putting someone like Collins or Ogbuehi here, maybe even someone like Vic Beasley. However in the end I thought it was wise to pair the top corner with a team in need of secondary help. Brent Grimes is over 30, Cortland Finnegan is over 30 and Jamar Taylor their 2nd round cornerback selection from 2013 hasn't quite hit the heights we thought he might. They need some energy, they need some youth and they need some physicality in the secondary and Waynes brings all of the above in abundance. Michigan State always has good coaching on the defensive side of the ball and they play a lot of man press coverage, he could come in and start immediately.

15. San Francisco 49'ers - La'el Collins, OT, LSU

Scouting Report - Coming Soon.

It's surprising to me that the 49'ers crumbled like they did, but with so many problems between coaching and the front office, that's going to have an impact. I don't see a lot of glaring needs when I look over their roster, although help on the offensive line is definitely something they consider, especially if they lose a few key free agents. If the 49'ers lose Lupati, then Collins is a ready made replacement. He is dominant in the run game and can play at either guard position or at right tackle, this will allow them to pound the rock and not take a step back if the price for Lupati is just too high.

16. Houston Texans - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

The Houston Texans need help on the offensive side of the football, that much is fact. They won't find their QB at the end of the first round and I can't see them reaching for someone like Hundley. However what they can do is get the base in place for when they do eventually find their quarterback. There is a lot to like about Flowers, including his intangibles and size. He plays the game with a raw physicality that fans will love, he's not the most established pass protector in football, but he could be. With experience on both sides of the line, he could come in immediately and start, becoming a keystone for their future offensive philosophy.

17. San Diego Chargers - Danny Shelton, NT, Washington

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I was struggling with a place for Shelton, he could be the best player in this draft when looking back 5 years from now. However San Diego is the perfect fit, they need some power and presence in the middle of the defensive line. Shelton is over 340lb's of pure power and strength, he plays with great technique, a balanced base, and for a man his size, he shows remarkable quickness. He is an occupier in the middle and he'll eat up guards and tackles for breakfast. It makes a lot of sense to mock Shelton to the Chargers here, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

18. Kansas City Chiefs - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma

Scouting Report

Is there a team in the league that needs to take a risk on a receiver more than the Chiefs? None of their receivers caught a touchdown in 2014, which is a horrible record to have. It doesn't help when you have Alex Smith throwing the football, as a game manager, forcing the ball to the outside isn't easy, but still. Dorial Green-Beckham comes with considerable risk but his ceiling is absolutely massive. He is a monster of a receiver with good size, great hands and good speed. These players don't often come around and like with Blackmon, Bryant and Gordon, he comes with risk. However if I'm Kansas City, I'd jump on the value to be had here.

19. Cleveland Browns - Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

Scouting Report

I fully expect the Browns to address the wide receiver in this draft, however with most of the top guys off the board, the value can be had in the 2nd round. So I'm going to mock them the best inside linebacker in the draft. When you put the size of McKinney with the pure speed and nose for the ball he possesses, you have a player you want on your team. The Browns have a lot of talent invested in the secondary and although they could do with some help on the defensive line, I think having someone like McKinney will make the most difference to this team. He's a physical player inside that will bring the power.

20. Philadelphia Eagles - Landon Collins, S, Alabama

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I fully expect the Eagles to move up. However if they just can't pull it off, then drafting the best safety in the class makes a lot of sense. They need help throughout the secondary but the value at #20 isn't with the cornerbacks with Peters and Waynes off the board. He is a fantastic safety against the run and with Nate Allen about to his FA, it might be a good idea to bring on a hybrid safety. Collins is at his best playing up in the box, but he has the range to cover when asked to play deep. He has good instincts and makes plays on the ball without sacrificing the possibility of a big play.  I really like Collins.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

Scouting Report

If either Waynes, Peters or Collins were on the board, I'd be mocking them to the Bengals. However they're not, so I'm putting the next best thing in, a disruptive pass rusher who knows how to get to the Quarterback. I was concerned about Beasley and his size, but he came to the combine in great shape and 10lb's heavier than expected. He ran well, he looked comfortable in drills and he looked strong. People are wary of slim Clemson pass rushers, but I think Beasley has a great oppurtunity to make the jump to the next level and have success. He may not be an immediate impact player, but over the long haul, he has a chance.


USA Today Images - Brett Davis 2014

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

It would be much easier to mock a corner or safety here, but the value just isn't there. The next corner on my board is Jalen Collins, and the next safety is Derron Smith, but personally I don't see either of them as top 25 prospects in this draft. As a result I'm going with my #2 defensive tackle, Eddie Goldman. The Steelers weren't quite as stout up front as they have been and that put pressure on a weak secondary. Having a big body like Goldman who is a run stuffing specialist will only make this team stronger. I think this makes a lot of sense.

23. Detroit Lions - Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

It's surprising how many teams need corner help in a year where the top end talent at the position isn't very good at all. Will Suh be back in Detroit? my personal feeling is he will. I loved the improvement that Brown showed under new Texas coach Charlie Strong and he is so versatile he can play pretty much everywhere along the defensive line. Whether that be as a NT, DT or DE. Detroit have a lot of talent on that defense, but talent costs money and a lot of those players are hitting free agency. Pick up Brown and plug him in to play immediately and you maintain your position as a dominant run stopping defense.

24. Arizona Cardinals - Owamaybe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I can't help but feel sorry for Arizona, they are one healthy quarterback away from competing in the play-offs, however once they got down to their 3rd string guy, it was a matter of when rather than if they would get eliminated. They need help inside at linebacker, but I don't see the value taking Perryman here, and they need help at wide receiver but again, I don't see the value. However I'm going with a player who I think a lot of people are sleeping on, He can play as a 4-3 defensive end, but he has the talent to play 3-4 as well. He has the instincts and the motor to make him a dangerous player at the next level, add in some technique and you're looking good.

25. Carolina Panthers - T.J Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

It's very hard to keep Cam Newton healthy if you can't keep him on his feet. Whenever I watched Carolina, Newton was running for his life on a consistent basis. If you want to get the most from partnerships like Newton to Benjamin, you need to give him time to throw. I think it makes sense to plug in the best tackle to the Panthers and T.J is just that. A very good player with a high ceiling, he has the size and power to play RT immediately, but his feet are coming along to the point where he could move over to LT after a year or two. #ProtectCam

26. Baltimore Ravens - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

Scouting Report

Steve Smith can't play forever and if you have Joe Flacco, you may as well give him some weapons to use. I really like Jaelen Strong as a prospect and Baltimore need to upgrade their receiver position if they hope to compete with teams like the New England patriots. Strong is as his name suggests a strong man who knows how to use his body from his days as a basketball player. He catches the ball well and plays with a physicality. He is still a little raw, but so was Kelvin Benjamin and I've learnt my lesson from that situation.

27. Dallas Cowboys - Melvin Gordon, RB, WIsconsin

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I think the Cowboys will go all out to keep Bryant and as a result Murray will slip away. Murray has a lot of tread on the tires after carrying the ball so much last year and it may be a good idea for the Cowboys to reload at the position. They have the best offensive line in football, so you don't need a top running back to gain yards, but having one sure will help. Melvin Gordon is a terrific athlete, a better runner and one hell of a prospect. The RB position has become devalued recently, but Gordon offers great value at a position where you don't appreciate if you have a good one but you sure do notice if you haven't.

28. Denver Broncos - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

I really wanted to plug in an offensive lineman here as I think Denver will lose one or more to free agency. However in the end I went with tight end because Julius Thomas is a free agent and he's going to attract a lot of attention. With Denver needing to pay the other Thomas, Julius may be on his way. If that is the case, they can plug in Maxx Williams with Peyton Manning and won't miss too much of a beat. He's long armed and physical with an ability to snag the ball out of the air. Peyton would love him, if he doesn't retire obviously.

29. Indianapolis Colts, Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

The Indianapolis Colts have some weaknesses and a ton of strengths, but to get to that next level they need to give their franchise QB some more time to throw and open up some lanes. I'm sure they'd love an offensive tackle or guard to come straight in and improve that line. Williams brings a very physical presence to the table and he'll compete with anyone and everyone. He's not the most athletic and it may be a good idea to kick him inside to guard, but he is a mauler of a player and will give absolutely everything on 100% of the snaps.

30. Green Bay Packers - Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan

Scouting report - Coming Soon

I haven't been a big fan of Funchess because I felt he was a hybrid without a position. Not quick enough or explosive to play wide receiver and not strong enough to play tight end. However the Packers may lose some of their strength in their receiving core and they really could do with adding a tight end. This makes sense on a lot of levels and people rate Funchess higher than I do. He struggled at the combine and looked a little sluggish throughout, however on his day he can be a defensive backs nightmare. When you have Aaron Rodgers throwing to you, you just need to be around the right area to make a difference.

31. Seattle Sehawks, Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Scouting Report - Coming Soon

It still shocks me that the Seahawks lost that Superbowl. They are in large part a team without many weaknesses. It's a case of taking a player with a high ceiling here and if you had to improve one area of Seattle it may well be the offensive line. Although I don't like the power and base strength of Ogbuehi, he comes from a quick tempo program where you need excellent athleticism and a good motor, he has that in abundance and he has excellent feet. His ceiling is extremely high and Seattle have the coaches to get the best out of him. Had Maxx Willaims been available, I probably would have slided him in here.

32. New England Patriots, Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

Scouting Report

Finally we come to New England. If Revis leaves then they may look to the CB position but a team with Tom Brady can always do with quick, athletic wide receivers. Sammie Coates did what we thought he was going to do, he turned up the combine and performed to an exceptionally high standard. Excellent acceleration with good speed, size and strength, he's excellent when asked to go vertical, but he's even better cutting in across the middle of the field. This selection would make New England better and that's the name of the game in round one.