2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round One

The Draft moves to Chicago this year for the NFL, but a change in venue won't have any effect on the drama that comes with the selection process. Based off of needs and free agent moves, we make educated guesses as to what teams may be thinking in the first round. This will be the only mock draft because it's pointless to do it more than once, although some may disagree. Ok, let's draft!

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

There have been reports stating the Bucs may be willing to trade the top pick, but regardless of Winston' issues in college, he is a top prospect and it would be a mistake for a franchise in desperate need of a quarterback to pass on the best one. Winston has some growing up to do and he isn't perfect, but he's a gamer who steps up in big situations and he played in a pro-style offense, which will speed up his adjustment to the NFL.

2. Tennessee Titans- Marcus Mariota, QB, University of Oregon

The Titans are in the same position as the Bucs- they need a quarterback. Mariota is rated number one by many former GM’s and draftniks, so it isn’t like they are getting a consolation prize. Mariota has a long way to go coming from the spread; he needs major improvement on his reads and he needs to become a pocket passer so he doesn’t get killed. The Titans just hope they aren’t drafting a second Jake Locker.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Williams, DE, University of Southern California

The Jags are going to get plenty of calls for this pick, but if they are truly trying to rebuild and become a legit contender, they have to draft Williams if he’s available. Williams is the best overall player in this draft and will be ready to start from day one. Jacksonville- do the smart thing, draft the sure thing.

4. Oakland Raiders- Amari Cooper, WR, University of Alabama

It’s a tossup for the top overall receiver spot with West Virginia prospect Kevin White being 1b to Amari Cooper. The Raiders go with Cooper simply because he is a year younger and there could be more upside, but they couldn’t go wrong either way. Derek Carr needs more weapons and Cooper will fill that need nicely.

5. Washington Redskins- Dante Fowler, OLB, University of Florida

Brian Orakpo left in free agency and the Redskins need to fill that enormous hole; enter Dante Fowler of the Florida Gators. Fowler brings a strong combination of skills, providing a good pass rush and also showing stoutness vs. the run. Fowler also plays with effort and has a great motor, a quality that coaches are always looking for.

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

The Jets completely revamped their secondary in free agency and their front seven was already strong. The Jets need to add some weapons on offense if they truly want to hang with New England. Kevin White of West Virginia would give the Jets a deep threat, something they have lacked. Although White never played with Geno Smith at WVU, he’d still end up becoming Smith’s favorite target if he ends up in green and white.

7. Chicago Bears- Danny Shelton, NT, University of Washington

The Bears are switching to a 3-4 defense under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and new head coach John Fox, and they’re in dire need of a nose tackle that can tie up multiple blockers, two-gap and disrupt in passing situations. Danny Shelton of the Washington Huskies fits that description, and the Bears would be foolish to pass on the Pac-12 star. Shelton will start from day one and could be the best nose tackle in the league over the next three years.

8. Atlanta Falcons- Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State University

The Falcons defense was poor in 2014, and the secondary was one of the main reasons. Trae Waynes would give the Falcons a big, fast, and physical corner that excels in man-to-man coverage, something all coaches covet. Waynes could be a player that draws interest from other teams, so watch for a possible trade at this spot too. Waynes is the top cornerback available in this draft.

9. New York Giants- Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson University

The Giants have always won with a strong pass rush, but the G-Men are getting long in the tooth in the front seven, and it’s time to add some new blood. Vic Beasley of Clemson will bring the type of pass rushing ability the Giants need and Tom Coughlin and Coach Spags will unleash him on the NFC East next year.

10. St. Louis Rams- DeVante Parker, WR, University of Louisville

The Rams have a strong defense, but they need some weapons for newly acquired quarterback Nick Foles. Devante Parker of the Louisville Cardinals would be an excellent compliment to Tavon Austin and would give the Rams the explosiveness they need to score points against teams like the Seahawks. Parker’ size and body control give him an opportunity to contribute immediately in the NFL, and the Rams need that to get to the playoffs.

11. Minnesota Vikings- Todd Gurley, RB, University of Georgia

Why would the Vikings take Gurley when they already have Peterson? Well, its simple- Peterson will be traded during the draft. With Peterson headed elsewhere, Gurley would fill his role and although he isn’t the runner Peterson is, he is a strong receiver out of the backfield, which should help out Teddy Bridgewater as he continues to develop. Gurley was once considered a late first round prospect due to his knee injury, but his rehab is going well, he’s impressed in meetings, and his stock is back up.

12. Cleveland Browns- Brandon Scherff, RT, University of Iowa

The Browns simply can’t pass up a talent like Scherff, especially with the 12th pick. Scherff would team with Joe Thomas to form one of the best bookends at o-tackle in the league. It all starts up front, and if any quarterback is going to succeed in Cleveland, protection will be the key.

13. New Orleans Saints- Malcolm Brown, DT, University of Texas

The Saints need to reinforce their defense and Rob Ryan needs more depth up front, specifically at nose tackle. Malcolm Brown will provide the size and talent that any 3-4 team needs from the nose tackle position. The Saints do have Broderick Bunkley playing at the nose, but Brown is too good to pass on.

14. Miami Dolphins- Marcus Peters, CB, University of Washington

The Dolphins are strong up front but they still need major help in their secondary. Washington cornerback Marcus Peters is the type of talent the Dolphins need to be able to solidify the back end. Peters had some issues with coaches while in college and needs to control himself if he wants to stay in the NFL.

15. San Francisco 49ers- Eric Kendricks, MLB, UCLA

Losing Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement has put the 49ers in a precarious position when it comes to inside linebacker. The best way to replace these two is through the draft, and Eric Kendricks of UCLA would be the choice. Some say this pick as a reach, but the 49ers know linebackers and make a solid pick in Kendricks.

16. Houston Texans- Ereck Flowers, RT, University of Miami

Houston needs help up front and Ereck Flowers is the type of player who can start from day one. Although there are some tempting defensive players available, the Texans clearly need to upgrade on offense to have any shot at competing for the division or a wild card spot.

17. San Diego Chargers- Randy Gregory, OLB, University of Nebraska

The Chargers need an influx of young talent, and Gregory is exactly the type of player they need. Gregory needs to add some weight, but the physical ability is all there. His decision making off the field must improve too. Failing a drug test when you know it’s coming shows lack of self control; NFL GM’s hate that.

18. Kansas City Chiefs- Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, University of Kentucky

The Chiefs may be heading into the season with Justin Houston holding out, and their defensive ends are not a strength as it is, so Dupree makes a lot of sense with this pick. Dupree has been pegged as a top 15 pick, so the Chiefs nabbing him at 18 is a coup for a team that has been a little snake bitten over the last year.

19. Cleveland Browns(via BUF)- Brashad Perriman, WR, University of Central Florida

The Browns were able to sign Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline in free agency, but they still need to add some young talent at a spot that took a big hit with the loss of Josh Gordon. Perriman will bring the athleticism needed to make plays in a division that isn’t getting any easier.

20. Philadelphia Eagles- Arik Armstead, DE, University of Oregon

The Eagles have had an interesting offseason, making all types of huge moves that changed the face of the offense. Now it is time to add some young talent to the defense, and Armstead is a known commodity for Chip Kelly. Philadelphia gets a player who could be the top defensive end of the draft; he’s not a tweener like Dion Jordan.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- T.J. Clemmings, LT, University of Pittsburgh

The Bengals are going to have to replace Andrew Whitworth sooner than later, so it makes sense to draft the best left tackle still available, Clemmings will allow the Bengals to have consistency within their offense when he eventually does win the job. The Bengals have not been very good at maintaining a position after a personnel swap; good teams do it all the time.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers- Shane Ray, DE/OLB, University of Missouri

Ray has been a bit of a question mark due to a toe injury, but from a talent perspective, Ray is one of the best players in the draft. Pittsburgh needs help on defense if they’re going to take the next step after going 11-5, and Ray will provide a huge spark, assuming he’s healthy.

23. Detroit Lions- Cameron Erving, Florida State University

The Lions don’t have a left guard on their roster, so they plan to address this position in the draft. Erving is the best interior lineman available in the entire draft, and the Lions pounce on him. Detroit also likes Eddie Goldman, but they choose to protect their top asset in Stafford. Erving can also play center.

24. Arizona Cardinals- Melvin Gordon, RB, University of Wisconsin

The Cardinals want to have balance on offense, but if Ellington goes down, there isn’t much behind him in the running game. The Cardinals find their second guy with Melvin Gordon, the talented back out of Wisconsin. Gordon and Ellington are both small for NFL standards, but they could be a deadly combo if they stay healthy.

25. Carolina Panthers- Landon Collins, SS, University of Alabama

The Panthers currently feature Roman Harper and Robert Lester at strong safety, so it’s safe to say that position is wide open. Harper was good, but he’s getting up there and his days are numbered. Collins is the best strong safety in the draft and is great value at 25.

26. Baltimore Ravens- Jaelen Strong, Arizona State University

Typically the Ravens would go defense at this spot, especially with the departure of Haloti Ngata, but the receiving core has been gutted with the losses of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Strong has a chance to be special, and Joe Flacco needs weapons or the Ravens won’t be going far in 2015.

27. Dallas Cowboys- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA

This pick will be headed to Minnesota if the Peterson trade transpires, but if the Cowboys keep the pick, this is a strong pick for a team still trying to add talent to their defense. Odighizuwa is a complete player, excelling against the run and providing a strong pass rush.

28. Denver Broncos- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State University

The Broncos lost Terrance Knighton in free agency and they need to shore up that position before they do anything else. Eddie Goldman will tie up blockers and also has potential to be a strong interior pass rusher. The Broncos can’t always fill holes in free agency; Elway needs to draft well too.

29. Indianapolis Colts- Jordan Phillips, DT, University of Oklahoma

This is the pick the Colts SHOULD make, considering how they have been gouged by New England during the regular season and playoffs, but I’m not sold they will go defense because they seem to like the flashy guy over the true need. We’ll see if Grigson goes the smart route.

30. Green Bay Packers- Jalen Collins, CB, Louisiana State University

The Packers are in need of secondary help and Collins is just the guy they could use. Collins is a good athlete with strong instincts, and the fact that he battled for playing time will make him hungry. Players that had to battle for positions in college typically have a different attitude, and Collins skills combined with this strong attitude will help him in his career.

31. New Orleans Saints(via SEA)- Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest University

The Saints had an off year in ’14, and they are trying to build their team in a more balanced way. When they won the Super Bowl in ’09, the Saints offense was great, but the defense made a ton of big plays. Rob Ryan’ crew wants to get back to making those plays again and giving the offense shorter fields.

32. New England Patriots- Shaq Thompson, OLB, University of Washington

Bill Belichick is rumored to be very interested in the five-star athlete out of Washington, and if he’s available at 32, expect the Patriots to select him. One of the knocks on Thompson is the question on where he will play, but with Belichick’ flexibility and defensive creativity, he and Matt Patricia will find a way to take advantage of Thompson’ rare skill set.

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