We are now less than a month away from the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. When we last performed an entire first round mock, free agency had yet to take place and teams had many more questions than answers. Now, save for smaller names, teams know what is left incomplete in their quest to round out a competitive roster. Now, the draft is the only weapon remaining to attack their deficiencies.
Here’s one of a million versions of how things could play out later this month.
|1||Tampa Bay||QB, Jameis Winston, Florida State|
|2||Tennessee||DL, Leonard Williams, USC|
|3||Jacksonville||Edge, Dante Fowler, Florida|
|4||Oakland||WR, Amari Cooper, Alabama|
|5||Washington||Edge, Vic Beasley, Clemson|
|6||NY Jets||QB, Marcus Mariota, Oregon|
|7||Chicago||Edge, Alvin, Dupree, Kentucky|
|8||Atlanta||Edge, Shane Ray, Missouri|
|9||NY Giants||S, Landon Collins, Alabama|
|10||St Louis||WR Kevin White, West Virginia|
|11||Minnesota||CB, Trae Waynes, Michigan St|
|12||Cleveland||DT, Danny Shelton, Louisville|
|13||New Orleans||OL, Brandon Scherff, Iowa|
|14||Miami||WR, Davante Parker, Louisville|
|15||San Francisco||LB, Eric Kendricks, UCLA|
|16||Houston||DT, Malcolm Brown, Texas|
|17||San Diego||RB, Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin|
|18||Kansas City||OT, La’el Collins, LSU|
|19||Cleveland||Edge, Randy Gregory, Nebraska|
|20||Philadelphia||CB, Marcus Peters, Washington|
|21||Cincinnati||DT, Eddie Goldman, Florida State|
|22||Pittsburgh||CB, P.J. Williams, Florida State|
|23||Detroit||Edge, Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA|
|24||Arizona||Edge, Eli Harold, Virginia|
|25||Carolina||WR, Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma|
|26||Baltimore||RB, Todd Gurley, Georgia|
|27||DALLAS||CB, Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest|
|28||Denver||OT, Andrus Peat, Stanford|
|29||Indianapolis||DT, Carl Davis, Iowa|
|30||Green Bay||TE, Devin Funchess, Michigan|
|31||New Orleans||QB, Bryce Petty, Baylor|
|32||New England||DE, Arik Armstead, Oregon|
A few notes, this exercise was slightly tainted. There was somewhat of a concerted effort to have reasonable selections take players that Dallas covets off the board. The targets of Todd Gurley, Owa Odiggy and Eric Kendricks are generally thought to be players that would help Dallas the most immediately. Their need atop the running back depth chart is well known, and even with the signing of Hardy, an additional edge rusher for the rotation is badly needed. The linebacker cupboard is depressingly bare. However, Dallas was still able to secure a cornerback with the pick, Kevin Johnson is one of the announced visitors to the Ranch. We all know, thanks to our 6 Draft Tendencies and Tells column (found here), how that plays a role in Dallas’ selections. Not everyone is equally as enamored with the skillset Johnson brings to the table, but in a quest for accuracy, he’s the pick at this time. We still rest with our core belief that Dallas will look to trade out of 27, but the way this draft played out, the only reasonable target would be Bryce Petty, as DRG was taken prior to 27. That scenario likely locks Dallas into 27 come late April. There are logical explanations for where these players went, of course. San Francisco lost both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland and would be the exact type of team in need of Kendrick’s abilities, especially in such a weak linebacker class. The Cardinals are always linked to the Peterson chase, so it would shock no one for them to select the best back prospect since. Detroit snagging Owa to pair opposite Ziggy Ansah is a win just off of enunciation exercises alone.
I'm hesitant to turn in a mock where so few offensive linemen are selected, but 2012 only had two go in the first round so that's a little soothing. The tackle prospects just don't jump out this year, especially when the best one (Scherff) is so often being moved to guards in projections.
In the draft, teams routinely give first-round grades to between 15-20 prospects a year. So a team picking in the last third of the round is likely getting a player that they have graded as a second-rounder. Many are citing this year as an 18-player first round, so to us, it makes sense for teams to pick “problem” prospects Marcus Peters and Randy Gregory right outside this threshold. Philly and Cleveland are certainly two teams we can see making those choices.
Along the way, there were certain marriages we liked the best. Alvin Dupree just seems like a Chicago-style of defender. The safety Collins to replace Antrelle Rolle in New York makes too much sense, as does Peters in Philadelphia to pair opposite Byron Maxwell. Cam Newton has no line, but adding DRG to Kelvin Benjamin? Disgusting. Aaron Rodgers gets another weapon in TE Funchess, and finally New Orleans gets their heir apparent to Drew Brees with Petty.
How and why is Dallas moving $12.8 mil of Romo's money to fit Hardy and McClain? Here are the details. ... What if a certain somebody in the Cowboys front office will keep dreaming The Improbable Dream of Adrian Peterson in silver-and-blue? ... Be sure to stay tuned to 105.3 The Fan for all your radio insights, where this morning Fish noted that the photographic evidence from Greg Hardy's fateful night in Carolina might negatively impact, in a large way, his availability to the Cowboys this year. ... Keep it right here at CowboysHQ for hard-hitting commentary and inside analysis, including Draft scoops and dollars-and-sense inside info -- including the fact, as first reported here, that if McClain were to stay in Dallas a vet's-mininum deal would be the foundation. And indeed, while ESPN is calling it a "$3-mil base,'' it is in fact a $750,000 base. So Fish doesn't really have to "eat all that crow''! ... Now that the Dez Walmart Unicorn has gone un-located, to the business of how Dallas can structure its "Cowboys For Life'' contract with the receiver. ... Was it an April Fool's joke? Nope. The Cowboys announced that they have signed Londoner Efe Obada, a defensive end with little experience but impressive measurables. “This is a dream,” Obada said, via NFLUK.com. “It’s amazing and life-changing. It’s a major turning point in my life and feels like a movie. This could be it — I can change my life. This is unreal — this doesn’t happen to people like me.''