2015 NFL Mock Draft (v7.0) – Pass Rushers Going Early & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

This is our seventh 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 time will tell if that type of move comes to fruition.  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 – Dante Fowler – DE – Florida
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 to add a potentially premier prospect.  There have been mixed reports regarding Leonard Williams, who may slip a bit, and there’s no doubt that Fowler is going to go early.  Look for them to address the offensive line in the second round (or maybe by trading back and accumulating other assets).
Previous Pick – Leonard Williams – DE – USC 

4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama
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.
Previous Pick – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia

5. Washington Redskins – Leonard Williams – DE – USC
The Redskins need to improve their offensive line regardless of who is under center, but they also need help rushing the QB and could get one of the premier prospects in the draft.  Whether you believe that the Redskins will do the right thing or not, it’s hard to imagine them passing up the type of talent Williams brings with him.
Previous Pick – Brandon Scherff – OT – Iowa

6. New York Jets – Vic Beasley – DE/OLB – Clemson
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.  They’ve addressed some of their other gaping holes via free agency/trades, like remaking their secondary (Darrelle Revis & Antonio Cromartie) and trading for Brandon Marshall.  Instead they add a defensive weapon for their new head coach.
Previous Pick – Dante Fowler – DE – Florida

7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia
Chicago’s offense is fine (even after trading Brandon Marshall), but that doesn’t mean that they won’t look to add another weapon.  White’s stock rose after the combine with some feeling like he could become the first wide receiver off the board.  While that doesn’t happen in this scenario, he still goes in the Top 10.
Previous Pick – Danny Shelton – DT – Washington

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.

9. New York Giants – Alvin Dupree – DE – Kentucky
Offensive line…  Offensive line…  Offensive line…  We all know that’s one their need (as is safety), 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.  With one of the top pass rushers falling to New York, whether it be Randy Gregory, Shane Ray or Alvin Dupree, don’t be surprised to see them address the spot here.  That said, if Amari Cooper somehow falls, expect the Giants to pounce.
Previous Pick – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri

10. St. Louis Rams – Brandon Scherff – OT – Iowa
The Rams need a long-term QB, and maybe the acquisition of Nick Foles helps to solve that problem.  Assuming that they are comfortable with Foles, it makes sense for the team to strengthen the line in front of him.  There are a few options available here, so look for them to take the top name on their board.
Previous Pick – Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama

11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State
You have to think that Minnesota wants to improve the protection for Teddy Bridgewater, especially after adding Mike Wallace to provide him with a top weapon.  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.  At the same time corner back is an extremely big need, so it will come down to if the team grades someone like Ereck Flowers above Waynes.
Previous Pick – Ereck Flowers – OT – Miami

12. Cleveland Browns – Ereck Flowers – OT – Miami
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 (unless Amari Cooper falls a few more spots).  Instead they add an option to their offensive line to help protect whoever is under center.  At the same time, it’s extremely possible that the team packages it’s picks to move up so we’ll have to wait and see if they are even picking in this spot.
Previous Pick – Vic Beasley – DE/OLB – Clemson

13. New Orleans Saints – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri
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 and the team appears to be undergoing a significant transformation.  Gone is Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, among others, while the team has added Max Unger, Dannell Ellerbe, C.J. Spiller and more.  The biggest needs appear to be on defense, at least for now, and the team could add either a pass rusher or a safety.
Previous Pick – Landon Collins – S – Alabama

14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville
Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace continued to struggle to get on the same page on deep passes, which ultimately led to Wallace being traded and the team adding Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron.  That gives Tannehill a solid group of options, but adding a potential true #1 receiver should be on the agenda.  With Parker sitting on the board, it is hard to imagine the team letting him pass them even with the moves they made.

15. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead – DE – Oregon
What exactly can we expect from the 49ers, a team that has undergone a massive overhaul both on the coaching staff and on the roster.  They could probably still use a wide receiver, despite adding Torrey Smith, but that may not make the most sense.  They also need significant help on the defensive side, following the retirement of Justin Smith and the release of Ray McDonald as well as losing a pair of corner backs.
Previous Pick – Alvin Dupree – DE – Kentucky

16. Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson – DB – Wake Forrest
The Texans do have a potential need in their secondary, whether it be safety or cornerback.  Maybe they grab the top cornerback on their draft board, but they also cut ties with long time top receiver Andre Johnson and now have a gaping hole across from DeAndre Hopkins.  This pick could go a lot of different directions, including a trade out of the spot.
Previous Pick – Andrus Peat – OT – Stanford

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 bolted to Philadelphia, 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 – La’el Collins – OT – LSU
We all know they had a desperate need for WR help, though the addition of Jeremy Maclin helped to alleviate it.  That’s not to say that they couldn’t address the position again, because he’s hardly the perfect answer, though they no longer need to force the issue.  Instead they try to improve a leaky offensive line, something that they also desperately need to address.

19. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton – DT – Washington
The Browns could use an upgrade on their offense, specifically at WR, but they also need help on the defensive line.  With Shelton slipping, this is a no-brainer selection.
Previous Pick – Eddie Goldman – DT – Florida State

20. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaleen Strong – WR – Arizona State
The additions of Byron Maxwell and Walter Thrumond means that cornerback may longer be the top need for the Eagles to address.  They could look for a replacement for Jeremy Maclin, but they do have young receivers and that’s an area that can be addressed later on.  However, with some of the top WR slipping down the draft board Chip Kelly could pounce (or he could also trade the pick).
Previous Pick – Eli Harold – OLB – Virginia

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Andrus Peat – OT – Stanford
The Bengals desperately need to help a pass rush that posted a league worst 20 sacks in 2014.  They also need to add an offensive tackle, given the age of Andrew Whitworth and the uncertainty across from him.  With some offensive tackles slipping down the draft board the value is there for the Bengals to select one.
Previous Pick – Arik Armstead – DE – Oregon

22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Landon Collins – S – Alabama
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.  That said, with the top safety available and Troy Polamalu retiring, the team could target his heir apparent.
Previous Pick – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State

23. Detroit Lions – D.J. Humphries – OT – Florida
Both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley left via free agency, though the team did add Haloti Ngata to help as a stop gap.  They certainly will look to address the position in the draft, but with neither of the top options still on the board it may make more sense for the team to wait.  Also in need of help on the offensive line, don’t be surprised if they instead address that at this spot in the draft.
Previous Pick – T.J. Clemmings – OT – Pittsburgh

24. Arizona Cardinals – Byron Jones – CB – Connecticut
The Cardinals need help at various spots on their defense, but with Antonio Cromartie jetting back to New York and one of the top cornerbacks still on the board that likely makes the most sense.
Previous Pick – P.J. Williams – CB – Florida State

25. Carolina Panthers – Cameron Irving – OL – Florida State
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.
Previous Pick – D.J. Humphries – OT – Florida 

26. Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perriman – WR – Central Florida
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 departing via free agency and the question as to how much Steve Smith has left (or the lack of explosiveness).  This could be a spot for Dorial Green-Beckham, who could be the best receiver in the draft, but they instead take the “safer” route.
Previous Pick – Jaleen Strong – WR – Arizona State 

27. Dallas Cowboys – Eddie Goldman – DT – Florida State
While the Cowboys defense wasn’t 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.
Previous Pick – Malcolm Brown – DT – Texas

28. Denver Broncos – Malcolm Brown – DT – Texas
It didn’t seem possible that the Broncos would have to address their offense, did it?  While it likely wouldn’t be a skill position, they could look to strengthen their offensive line.  They also could look to replace Terrance Knighton, who left in the offseason.
Previous Pick – Maxx Williams – TE – Minnesota 

29. Indianapolis Colts – Eric Kendricks – ILB – UCLA
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.
Previous Pick – Benardrick McKinney – ILB – Mississippi State

30. Green Bay Packers – Jordan Phillips – DT – Oklahoma
The Packers biggest need may be at ILB, but they also need to find a long-term replacement for B.J. Raji.  It all depends if the team ranks Phillips above the likes of Bedardrick McKinney or Stephone Anthony at this spot.
Previous Pick – Eric Kendricks – ILB – UCLA

31. New Orleans Saints – Philip Dorsett – WR – Miami
The Saints obtained this pick from Seattle as part of the return for Jimmy Graham.  They addressed their need at safety earlier in the draft, so maybe they double dip in the secondary?  Maybe they look to replace Kenny Stills?  Maybe they look to get more pressure on the quarterback?  They really can take this pick in numerous directions.
Previous Pick – Markus Golden – DE – Missouri 

32. New England Patriots – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington
The Patriots could look to strengthen their offensive line, but after seeing their secondary get ravaged during free agency that’s clearly a desperate need.  Look for them to try and improve their at this point.

Make sure to check out all of our Early 2015 Fantasy Rankings:

2015 NFL Mock Draft (v6.0) – Post Free Agency Fallout (Amari Cooper Falling & More)

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