2015 NFL Mock Draft (v5.0) – Post-Combine Fallout (Kevin White On The Rise & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

This is our fifth stab at projecting the 2015 NFL Draft, but there’s a lot of time and likely going to be a lot of things between now and draft day.  That’s why we are going to be updating this every two weeks for now, with more frequent updates as the draft gets closer.

With that in mind, let’s take a look:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
It’s obvious that the current Tampa Bay leadership doesn’t feel like Mike Glennon is going to be their long-term solution at QB.  When you have a chance to address the spot you do, so look for them to either select Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston with the top pick.  At this point it looks like Winston could be the preferred pick (after Mariota’s performance in the National Championship Game, but don’t be surprised if they flip-flop with almost every mock until the draft.

2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon
It makes the most sense for the Titans to trade this pick to a QB needy franchise, but it’s too early to start projecting a deal like that.  Maybe they feel like Zach Mettenberger could be the answer, but given their inept offense this past season maybe they don’t.  The other real need is a lineman, but unless they feel strongly about one of the tackles it makes sense to address that spot in a later round.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Williams – DE – USC
The Jaguars need to improve their offensive line and the offensive tackle class has really thinned out thanks to Ronnie Stanley staying in school and Cedric Ogbuehi’s injury.  Last season the Jaguars drafted a franchise QB and also provided weapons around him.  However, they also need to add a young pass rusher and have a chance to land arguably the best prospect in the draft.  Look for them to address the offensive line in the second round (or maybe by trading back and accumulating other assets).

4. Oakland Raiders – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia
The Raiders could use a lot of different things, so they are yet another team where trading down could make the most sense.  They could target a young pass rusher who can complement Khalil Mack and help transform Oakland’s defense into one of the better units in the league or take one of the top two wide receivers on the board giving Derek Carr the top option they desperately need.  In this scenario it’s the latter that happens and with Kevin White reportedly making a statement at the Combine, he could easily become the first receiver selected.
Previous Pick – Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska

5. Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff – OT – Iowa
Washington could select one of the better pass rushers in the draft, but they also need to upgrade their offensive line.  They need to be able to protect Robert Griffin III, if they plan on keeping him at QB, or whoever it is that is taking snaps under center.  Given the Redskins’ history, would it really be a surprise if they bypassed a superior prospect?

6. New York Jets – Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama
The Jets desperately need a QB, but unless they trade up with Tennessee they are likely going to miss out on one in the first round.  Maybe it makes most sense for the Jets to trade down and amass picks under this circumstance, but time will tell if they go that route.  Instead they get a true #1 WR, and also would allow them to cut bait on the overpaid Percy Harvin.

7. Chicago Bears – Dante Fowler – DE – Florida
Chicago’s offense is fine, but for a team with a rich defensive history they desperately need an upgrade.  Look for them to go with one of the top defensive names on their board, regardless of the position.  They could go with the top safety available, in Landon Collins.  They also could try to plug the role of nose tackle, with Danny Shelton (though they do have some young options at the position they may try).  Instead look for them to take the top pass rusher left on the board.  With Fowler’s stock reportedly rising, he could easily be considered in that regard.
Previous Pick – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri

8. Atlanta Falcons – Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska
The Falcons are in desperate need of help with their pass rush, and they’re likely hoping that a Randy Gregory, Shane Ray or Dante Fowler falls to them at this spot.  In this scenario they get lucky and Gregory is still on the board.  It’s easy to think of scenarios where that doesn’t happen, though.
Previous Pick – Dante Fowler – DE – Florida

9. New York Giants – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri
Offensive line…  Offensive line…  Offensive line…  We all know that’s their need, it’s just a matter of who they feel is the best one available at this slot…  Or is it?  The Giants have never been shy about addressing their defensive line early on in the draft and they certainly could use some help rushing the quarterback (regardless of if Jason Pierre-Paul stays or leaves).  With one of the top pass rushers falling to New York (in part thanks to him not participating at the Combine), don’t be surprised to see them pounce.
Previous Pick – Danny Shelton – DT – Washington

10. St. Louis Rams – Andrus Peat – OT – Stanford
The Rams need a long-term QB, given the constant injuries to Sam Bradford, but this isn’t the spot for that.  They also could use another RB, but instead they will likely take the opportunity to improve the secondary with arguably the top option in the draft class.

11. Minnesota Vikings – Ereck Flowers – OT – Miami
You have to think that Minnesota wants to improve the protection for Teddy Bridgewater, or add a true top receiver given the constant disappointment from Corradelle Patterson.  If you don’t have time to throw the football it doesn’t matter who you have lining up on the outside, but if you don’t have a play maker it also doesn’t matter.  This one could easily go either way and the rest of the team’s offseason will help determine their strategy.
Previous Pick – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia

12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton – DT – Washington
Reports have Josh Gordon heading out of Cleveland (at least we know he’s already been suspended for the season), which means they need a WR.  Wide receiver is once again viewed as a deep position, though, so it makes sense for the Browns to wait on that.  Instead they get a gift with Shelton falling to them, given their desperate need for a run stuffer in the middle of their line.
Previous Pick – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville

13. New Orleans Saints – Vic Beasley – DE/OLB – Clemson
The Saints could go a lot of different ways with this pick, as the end of the Drew Brees era appears to be fast approaching.  Their biggest needs are on defense though, and it makes sense for the team to try and fill one of their numerous holes there.  The Saints need to generate more pressure on the quarterback, and with Beasley impressing at the Combine he could easily be a fit here.
Previous Pick – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State

14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville
Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace continue to struggle to get on the same page on deep passes, and given some issues with Wallace in general there’s a chance that the team cuts ties with their “top” receiver.  Regardless, it makes sense for the team to find a weapon that Tannehill can grow with, making the offense significantly more dynamic long-term.  At the same time they could also use help at the offensive line, helping give Tannehill and company more time to operate.
Previous Pick – Ereck Flowers – OT – Miami

15. San Francisco 49ers – La’el Collins – OT – LSU 
Michael Crabtree was a bitter disappointment and Anquan Boldin may not have many more seasons left.  They need to address the position and could take the top option on their board, though this is a team that is traditionally more conservative and has brought in a defensive minded coach.  Look for them to instead strengthen the offensive line, in an attempt to offer Colin Kaepernick more time (and addressing wide receiver later in the draft).
Previous Pick – Jaleen Strong – WR – Arizona State

16. Houston Texans – Landon Collins – S – Alabama
The Texans do have a potential need in their secondary, whether it be safety or cornerback.  While they’d love for Collins to slip to them, and under this scenario that’s exactly what happens.

17. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon – RB – Wisconsin
The Chargers have often been a team with questions at running back, whether it’s due to injury or just a crowded backfield.  Ryan Mathews is constantly banged up and is a free agent, so it’s easy to imagine the team moving on.  Branden Oliver made a splash, but he’s hardly the answer as an every down back.  It’s easy to imagine them making a play for the top running back available.

18. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaleen Strong – WR – Arizona State
We all know they have a desperate need for WR help and they simply can’t ignore it anymore.  It’s hard to imagine the team not addressing the position, and with Strong sliding down the board a little bit he makes sense to grab now.
Previous Pick – La’el Collins – OT – LSU 

19. Cleveland Browns – Alvin Dupree – DE – Kentucky
The Browns could use an upgrade on their offense, specifically at WR, but they also need help on the defensive line.  Having gotten a gift in the top defensive tackle falling to them earlier in the draft, with this pick they add a pass rusher and help to further help strengthen the line.
Previous Pick – Eddie Goldman – DT – Florida State

20. Philadelphia Eagles – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State
We all know it’s a position that needs to be addressed for Philadelphia so they will take the top one on their board.  Of course they also could pay a ransom to move up and try to get Mariota, but time will tell if they truly are that “desperate” to acquire him.
Previous Pick – P.J. Williams – CB – Florida State

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Arik Armstead – DE – Oregon
The Bengals desperately need to help a pass rush that posted a league worst 20 sacks in 2014.  Armstead should help fill the void, as the top defensive end left on the board.
Previous Pick – Alvin Dupree – DE – Kentucky

22. Pittsburgh Steelers – P.J. Williams – CB – Florida State
Pittsburgh’s defense is getting old and they simply need to improve at various positions.  You’d have to expect them to simply take the best defensive player on their draft board, regardless of what position he plays.
Previous Pick – Arik Armstead – DE – Oregon

23. Detroit Lions – Eddie Goldman – DT – Florida State
Both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are free agents, so the team will likely need to add at least one DT through the draft.  They’d love for one of the top two options to fall to them, and under this scenario they get lucky and that happens.
Previous Pick – Malcolm Brown – DT – Texas

24. Arizona Cardinals – Eli Harold – OLB – Virginia
The Cardinals need help at both DE and OLB, with Harold bringing the potential to bring some heat on the QB and filling a need.
Previous Pick – Vic Beasley – DE/OLB – Clemson

25. Carolina Panthers – T.J. Clemmings – OT – Pittsburgh
The Panthers allowed 42 sacks in ’14, tied for 12th most in the league.  It makes sense for the team to try to strengthen that spot if they can.

26. Baltimore Ravens – Dorial Green-Beckham – WR – Oklahoma 
They would be an ideal landing spot for Melvin Gordon, should he fall, but I don’t see them taking the gamble on Todd Gurley.  They also could use help on the DL, but there doesn’t appear to be an option that makes sense.  Instead they address a potential need at WR, with Torrey Smith potentially departing via free agency and the question as to how much Steve Smith has left (or the lack of explosiveness).  There’s no question that Green-Beckham could ultimately be the best receiver in this class, he just needs to overcome the off-the-field issues surrounding him.
Previous Pick – Maxx Williams – TE – Minnesota 

27. Dallas Cowboys – Markus Golden – DE – Missouri 
While the Cowboys defense hasn’t been bad this season, a lot of that has to do with the offense controlling the clock and limiting their exposure.  With a strong offense they should look to add to the defensive front to try generating more pressure on the QB.

28. Denver Broncos – Cameron Irving – OT – Florida State
It didn’t seem possible that the Broncos would have to address their offense, did it?  However that’s not unthinkable at this point.  Especially with Peyton Manning getting a year older, making sure they can protect him well will be of the utmost importance.  With the team clearly preparing for a bit of turnover, starting with the coaching staff, this is going to be an interesting pick.

29. Indianapolis Colts – Benardrick McKinney – ILB – Mississippi State
Inside linebacker is one of the Colts biggest needs and McKinney, who recently declared, could fill that void while also lining up at other spots as well.  There is no questioning the athleticism or size (6’4”, 249 lbs.) and he’s arguably the best player available at the position.

30. Green Bay Packers – Malcolm Brown – DT – Texas
You can argue if Denzel Perryman or McKinney are the top player at the position, but they both could squeak into the back of the first round given team needs.  Of course the Packers also have a need in the middle of their defensive line and could perceive Brown as a better prospect.
Previous Pick – Denzel Perryman – ILB – Miami

31. Seattle Seahawks – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington
There have been rumblings that the Seahawks will lose Byron Maxwell via free agency and Jeremy Lane could also miss the start of the season.  For a team built on defense, shoring up their secondary is going to be a must.
Previous Pick – Dorial Green-Beckham – WR – Oklahoma 

32. New England Patriots – Devin Smith – WR – Ohio State
The Patriots could use another wide receiver, as they could use a long-term fix (as well as a short-term upgrade as you have to wonder how many years Tom Brady has left).  Of course, if Darrelle Revis isn’t retained that could be a spot they target as well.

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Third Year Receiver: Could Kenny Stills Be A Breakout Candidate?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Prior to the 2014 season we had labeled Kenny Stills as a potential sleeper (click here for the article). While he didn’t fully breakout the way we had hoped, we may have been a year too early with the label. He will be entering his “magical” third season in the NFL, and while a lot can change between now and the start of the season he appears to be in line for a major role in the offense.

With injuries piling up, Stills came alive in the second half of the season:

  • First 8 games – 24 receptions, 373 yards, 1 TD
  • Final 8 games – 39 receptions, 558 yards, 2 TD

Overall he averaged 14.8 yards per catch, helping to dispel the notion that he is nothing but a boom or bust receiver. Coming out of college, that certainly wasn’t the scouting report. Walter Football said (click here for the full report): Read more

Is Virgil Green A Potential Breakout Candidate In 2015? You’d Better Believe So…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to Mike Klis of The Denver Post (click here for the article):

“The Broncos and their two-time Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas haven’t formally split, but they seem to be headed their separate ways.”

There is still time for the Broncos and Thomas to work out a deal, but with each passing day that seems to become less and less likely.  Where he lands and if he is simply a product of Peyton Manning is a story for another day, the question for today is if the Broncos already have an in-house replacement. Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Could Stevie Johnson Return To Fantasy Relevance?

by Ray Kuhn

It might seem like ancient history, but in the not so distant past Stevie Johnson was actually a pretty good wide receiver. At this point, in early February, it is hard to look at much in fantasy football with too much certainty. However that also doesn’t mean we won’t try, as it is never too early to lay the groundwork for 2015.

First, let me qualify the statement about Johnson being a pretty good receiver. The three year stretch spanning the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons were very kind to him, but at the same time it also seemed like he was overrated as his public persona out-shined what he actually produced on the field. Regardless of that, it is hard to ignore the numbers that he put up with, for the most part, a sub-par supporting cast.

  •   2010: 82 receptions/1,073 yards/10 TD
  •   2011: 76 receptions/1,004 yards/7 TD
  •   2012: 79 receptions/1,046 yards, 6 TD Read more

2015 NFL Mock Draft (v4.0) – Melvin Gordon Goes To SD & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

This is our fourth stab at projecting the 2015 NFL Draft, but there’s a lot of time and likely going to be a lot of things between now and draft day.  That’s why we are going to be updating this every two weeks for now, with more frequent updates as the draft gets closer.

With that in mind, let’s take a look:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
It’s obvious that the current Tampa Bay leadership doesn’t feel like Mike Glennon is going to be their long-term solution at QB.  When you have a chance to address the spot you do, so look for them to either select Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston with the top pick.  At this point it looks like Winston could be the preferred pick (after Mariota’s performance in the National Championship Game, but don’t be surprised if they flip-flop with almost every mock until the draft.

2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon
It makes the most sense for the Titans to trade this pick to a QB needy franchise, but it’s too early to start projecting a deal like that.  Maybe they feel like Zach Mettenberger could be the answer, but given their inept offense this past season maybe they don’t.  The other real need is a lineman, but unless they feel strongly about one of the tackles it makes sense to address that spot in a later round. Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Could The Steelers’ Martavis Bryant Develop Into A Must Own Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Selected in the fourth round it’s easy to suggest that there wasn’t much expected from the Steelers’ Martavis Bryant in his rookie campaign. However, once he arrived in game seven it’s hard to argue the impact he had.

Just look at the numbers over the final 10 weeks and the playoffs, compared to Markus Wheaton:

  • Bryant – 31 receptions (58 targets), 610 yards, 9 TD
  • Wheaton – 34 receptions (53 targets), 433 yards, 2 TD

Bryant was clearly gaining the trust of Ben Roethlisberger and he proved that he can be explosive. Of course that never really should have been a question. Prior to the draft NFL.com had this to say about him: Read more

Breaking Down The Backfield: Is There Any Value In D. Herron Or Any Other Current Colts’ RB?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s clear that the Colts’ acquisition of Trent Richardson has been an utter disaster, with him ultimately being inactive for playoff games.  Ahmad Bradshaw as proven how capable he is with the ball in his hands, but he simply can’t stay on the field and can’t be trusted.  It’s very likely that the team addresses the position in the offseason, but let’s take a look at the running backs currently on the roster to try and see if there are any potential value:

 

Daniel “Boom” Herron
He proved to be a player this season, both running and catching the football.  Just look at the numbers:

  • Rushing – 78 carries for 351 yards (4.5 yards/carry) and 1 TD
  • Receiving – 21 receptions (26 targets) for 173 yards Read more

Breakout or Bust: Could Devonta Freeman Emerge In His Sophomore Season?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The expectations had been that Devonta Freeman would emerge as the go to running back for the Atlanta Falcons in his rookie season, despite the depth that they had.

Steven Jackson?  He was a 31-year old on the downside of his career.

Jacquizz Rodgers?  He was a consistent disappointment, unable to prove he could regularly run the football effectively.

Antone Smith?  He wasn’t even expected to be a factor.

No it was supposed to be Freeman, a fourth round selection, who would jump up and grasp the opportunity despite his less than stellar college career (1,016 yards, 5.9 YPC and 14 TD at Florida State in 2013).  Many felt that he could quickly emerge, especially after scouting reports like this one from NFL.com prior to the draft: Read more

2015 NFL Mock Draft (v3.0) – Majors Changes In The Top 15 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Super Bowl is over, which means the NFL offseason is really about to get into full swing.  This is our third stab at projecting the 2015 NFL Draft, but there’s a lot of time and likely going to be a lot of things between now and draft day.  That’s why we are going to be updating this every two weeks for now, with more frequent updates as the draft gets closer.

With that in mind, let’s take a look:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
It’s obvious that the current Tampa Bay leadership doesn’t feel like Mike Glennon is going to be their long-term solution at QB.  When you have a chance to address the spot you do, so look for them to either select Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston with the top pick.  At this point it looks like Winston could be the preferred pick (after Mariota’s performance in the National Championship Game, but don’t be surprised if they flip-flop with almost every mock until the draft. Read more

Why Michael Floyd Should Still Be On Fantasy Radars Heading Into 2015

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Michael Floyd endured a miserable 2014 campaign…  That’s obviously not some earth shattering statement.  It was supposed to be his full breakout as he entrenched himself as one of the elite receivers in the league, but he instead managed 47 receptions for 841 yards and 6 TD.  Just how mediocre were those numbers?

  • Receptions – tied for 85th in the league
  • Receiving Yards – 41st in the league
  • Receiving TD – tied for 29th in the league

It would be easy to chalk his struggles up to the quarterback play, but that wouldn’t entirely be accurate.  With six games with Carson Palmer under center Floyd averaged 2.8 receptions (4.3 targets) and 43.3 yards per game.  Yes the Cardinals had significant QB issues, being forced to use Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley for extended periods of time, but it simply wasn’t the only issue. Read more