2015 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
Get ready for a couple months of over-analyzing mistakes by college athletes…
When you’re done checking out the player your team probably won’t draft on April 30th, go back and check out our final 2014 NFL Mock Draft for shits and gigs.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston QB Florida State
The Buccaneers clearly thought they would be able to compete in the NFC South last year with their aggressive approach to free agency, and that win-now mentality is why Jameis Winston is the top choice. He needs to fix the interception problem that he developed last year, but he won a national championship with Kelvin Benjamin and will have two wide receivers with a similar skill set in Tampa Bay.
The scrutiny that Winston has faced for his immaturity off the field has been enhanced as we adjust as a culture to social media and the enjoyment we get at others’ expense. With time, Winston will mature, as all 20-somethings do, and will be one of the top QBs in the league for the next decade.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Marcus Mariota will likely be picked at number two by a team not named the Titans. Some team will fall in love with Mariota and offer a deal similar to the Redskins-Rams trade for Robert Griffin III. The Chargers, Jets, Bears, Rams, Browns, and Eagles are all teams that have shown some interest in the Oregon product and could potentially seek out a deal for the 2nd overall pick.
The Titans have a lot of holes and a trade down would benefit them greatly, but for mock draft purposes he is slotted at the second pick because of the high value teams place on quarterbacks.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida
Gus Bradley is one of the up-and-coming head coaches in the NFL and should have this Jaguars defense playing at a high level in 2015. He’s missing a few more pieces but the local pass rushing product is a solid place to start. There is a position in his defense call “Leo” that doesn’t require great size and is responsible for providing a consistent pass rush and Fowler is well suited to be the Jaguars’ Leo.
The Jaguars showed last year that they will take the player they want, over the consensus best player available and this year will be no different when they pass on Leonard Williams.
4. Oakland Raiders – Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Leonard Williams, the local product and the top player on many teams’ draft boards, falls into the Raiders lap and their need for a wide receiver is put on the back burner while they select a perennial Pro Bowler to anchor their defense.
5. Washington Redskins – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
The Redskins announced that Brian Orakpo will not be returning in 2015. This leaves a huge hole at pass rusher that Ryan Kerrigan cannot fill by himself.
Shane Ray is a relentless pass rusher and the Redskins defense needs a player with a high motor. Ray may be better suited as a 4-3 DE, but he has enough athletic ability to play in space.
6. New York Jets – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
The Jets are starting fresh with new management and new coaches and will look to bring in a new wave of talent that fits what they want to do. Their defense is pretty stout and they’ve been looking for offensive playmakers for the better part of a decade. Regardless of who their quarterback is, he is going to need some weapons to throw to and Brandon Marshall is 31 years old.
While Amari Cooper is the more polished wide receiver, Kevin White has quickly run up draft boards and have become enamored with his speed. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker would be good veterans for Kevin White to learn from.
If by some chance Marcus Mariota falls to #6, the Jets would take him faster than Geno Smith can throw an interception.
7. Chicago Bears – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Speaking of Brandon Marshall, he is no longer a member of the Bears and Jay Cutler will need weapons to be successful. Alshon Jeffrey was a great compliment to Brandon Marshall, but he still needs to show that he can be a number one receiver.
Adding Amari Cooper would give Cutler a polished route runner who should produce quickly in the NFL.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson
The Falcons went from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back to a 4-3 defense with new HC Dan Quinn as a Gus Bradley clone; he runs the same defense and needs a Leo to make it work. Vic Beasley was one of the most productive players in college football and after showing up to the combine weighing in at over 240 lbs. instead of the rumored 220 he played at, he’s a lock to go in the top ten.