NFL mock draft 2015
Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Leonard Williams and more NFL prospects are expected to be top picks in the 2015 NFL draft, which will be held April 30-May 2 in Chicago. But which teams will pick them? With the draft a few days away, newsday.com NFL draft analyst Nick Klopsis predicts the full first round in the fifth and final edition of his mock draft.
For a ranking of the top 100 NFL draft prospects, check out Newsday's Top 100 Big Board.
(Note: "Previous picks" denotes the team's picks in Newsday's mock draft 1.0 from Feb. 17, mock draft 2.0 from March 6, mock draft 3.0 from March 26 and mock draft 4.0 from April 16.)
1. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)
The Buccaneers have hosted both of the draft’s top QBs, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, for extensive visits within the last month. Though Mariota could still be an option, the signs point to Winston more recently. He’s considered more pro-ready and is tough to bring down in the pocket. As long as the Buccaneers have done their homework into Winston’s well-documented off-field issues, his name likely will be the first one called April 30 in Chicago.
Previous picks: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (1.0, 2.0), Winston (3.0, 4.0)
2. TENNESSEE TITANS: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon(Credit: AP / LM Otero)
It’s looking more and more likely that Oregon QB Marcus Mariota will go second overall. Whether or not it’s to the Titans, however, remains a mystery. For the purposes of this mock, let’s assume the Titans stand pat. Mariota isn’t the prototypical “big-armed” quarterback for Ken Whisenhunt, but Mariota can work from the pocket (translation: he only runs when the situation calls for it) and can throw the ball deep downfield.
Previous picks: Leonard Williams, DE, USC (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson(Credit: AP / John Raoux)
Gus Bradley’s defense is coming together nicely, but he still needs one important piece: a “LEO” (a specific kind of edge rusher, often found in Seahawks-based defensive fronts, whose sole job is to line up wide within the front seven and get into the backfield). Florida’s Dante Fowler may be considered the top edge rusher in the draft, but Clemson’s Vic Beasley is a better fit for that role. Beasley is on the smaller side at 6-3 and 246 pounds, but he has excellent athleticism and a good set of speed rush moves. His presence alone could make the Jaguars' defense a scary unit.
Previous picks: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska (1.0), Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida (2.0, 3.0), Beasley (4.0)
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia(Credit: Getty Images / Stacy Revere)
The Raiders have their franchise QB in Derek Carr, so it’s time to give him some new toys. This pick could come down to Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White. While Cooper is a smoother route-runner, White has a rare blend of size, speed and hands with the ability to go up and win 50-50 balls. He would give Carr a big target on the outside and in the red zone.
Previous picks: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (1.0), White (2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
5. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Leonard Williams, DE, USC(Credit: Getty Images / Harry How)
This would be a quintessential “best player available” pick. Washington needs an edge rusher to replace Brian Orakpo, but Leonard Williams may be too good to pass up should here. The USC product can line up inside or outside in Washington’s 3-4 defense, has good pass-rush moves and is strong against the run.
Previous picks: Landon Collins, SS, Alabama (1.0), Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson (2.0, 3.0), Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida (4.0)
6. JETS: Alvin 'Bud' Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky(Credit: AP / Wade Payne)
The Jets rebuilt their secondary in free agency with Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine. Couple that with their dominant defensive line, and they’re one edge rusher away from having a top-tier defense. That’s where Kentucky’s Alvin “Bud” Dupree could help. Dupree tested very well at the Combine and has a great combination of size and speed, though he is somewhat raw. If Marcus Mariota slid to this pick, the Jets would have to think long and hard about taking him.
Previous picks: Jameis Winston QB, Florida State (1.0, 2.0), Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (3.0, 4.0)
7. CHICAGO BEARS: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama(Credit: Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox)
The Bears were able to lure Pernell McPhee from the Ravens to be the edge rusher for their new 3-4 defense. As a result, they can afford to address other areas here. Marquess Wilson likely will fill Brandon Marshall’s role as one of the two outside receivers, but they could use another target to balance out the size of Wilson and Alshon Jeffrey. Alabama’s Amari Cooper is a very smooth route-runner with excellent hands and a well-rounded skill set. He could be a dynamic third option for Jay Cutler.
Previous picks: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington (1.0), Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska (2.0, 3.0), Cooper (4.0)
8. ATLANTA FALCONS: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida(Credit: Getty Images / Sam Greenwood)
The Falcons want to improve on a defense that had just 22 sacks in 2014, and though they signed several edge rushers in free agency, none truly are standout players. In this case, Florida’s Dante Fowler -- considered by many to be the top edge rusher in the draft -- falls to the eighth overall pick. The 6-3 Fowler clocked a 4.60 40 at the Combine and is versatile enough to line up at defensive end or drop back into coverage as a linebacker.
Previous picks:Fowler (1.0), Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky (2.0, 4.0), Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska (3.0),
9. GIANTS: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa(Credit: ??AP)
The Giants slapped the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul, so they have him for at least one more year (though the two sides still could hammer out a long-term deal). They also cut center J.D. Walton, which moves 2014 second-round pick Weston Richburg back to his natural position after playing guard last year. They’ll need to continue rebuilding the line, and Iowa’s Brandon Scherff fits what the Giants look for in a lineman. He’s a great run blocker with a strong punch. Most importantly, he’s versatile. He can play either tackle spot, or he can move inside to play guard.
Previous picks: Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky (1.0). Scherff (2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
10. ST. LOUIS RAMS: La’El Collins, OT, LSU(Credit: AP / Brynn Anderson)
The Rams need to rebuild their offensive line after cutting Jake Long and letting Joe Barksdale hit free agency. LSU’s La’El Collins could be the ideal replacement. He has great power and quickness and is fun to watch on tape. He could play tackle Week 1 or start his career inside at guard, similar to what the Rams did with No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson last year.
Previous picks: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa (1.0), La’El Collins (2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
11. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State(Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill)
The Vikings need a bona fide No. 2 cornerback to pair with Xavier Rhodes. Michigan State’s Trae Waynes may be a bit of a reach with the 11th overall pick, but the Vikings reportedly love him, and he has good size (6-foot, 186 pounds) and speed (4.31 seconds in the 40 at the Combine). He does get a little physical with his receiver at times, but that’s a coachable fix, and he has all of the other tools to be a good cover corner.
Previous picks: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville (1.0), Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (2.0), Waynes (3.0, 4.0)
12. CLEVELAND BROWNS: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville(Credit: Getty Images)
Even though the Browns signed Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, they still need a true No. 1 receiver for Johnny Manziel (or Josh McCown, or whoever else the Browns decide to put under center). Louisville’s DeVante Parker has an excellent mix of size (6-3, 209 pounds), speed (4.45 40 at the Combine), soft hands, catch radius and body control on tougher catches.
Previous picks: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (1.0), Parker (2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
13. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska(Credit: AP / Nati Harnik)
The Saints’ defense had 34 sacks in 2014, down from 49 in 2013, and is a big reason why the unit as a whole struggled last season. Nebraska’s Randy Gregory has several red flags, but could be an option for Atlanta. He failed a marijuana test at the Combine (though teams reportedly knew of his marijuana habits before that). Gregory’s also on the leaner side at 6-4 7/8 and 235 pounds, and he’s not as polished as the other top pass-rushers. Still, he’s very athletic and explosive, and with some coaching, he could be a dominant pass-rushing force.
Previous picks: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri (1.0, 2.0), Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky (3.0), Gregory (4.0)
14. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia(Credit: AP / John Bazemore)
Ryan Tannehill has some options in the passing game, and the Dolphins’ offensive line is trending in the right direction. They just need one more playmaker to solidify their offense. Georgia’s Todd Gurley arguably is the biggest playmaker in the draft, and now that his ACL passed the Combine re-check, expect him to go high. Gurley could be a long-term feature back with his excellent combination of speed, power and acceleration.
Previous picks: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Miami (1.0, 2.0, 3.0), Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (4.0)
15. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon(Credit: Getty Images / Jeff Gross)
Justin Smith may or may not retire before training camp, and even though the 49ers have some quality linemen in Tank Carradine, Glenn Dorsey and Darnell Dockett, they could use more depth in case Smith walks away. Oregon’s Arik Armstead is a 6-8, 290-pound lineman with upside. Armstead converts speed to power well, and like Smith, he can play inside or outside, but he’s still more of a projection at this stage than a finished product.
Previous picks: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State (1.0), Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (2.0), Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA (3.0), Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington (4.0)
16. HOUSTON TEXANS: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA(Credit: Getty Images / Justin Edmonds)
Brooks Reed is a Falcon, and Brian Cushing can’t seem to stay healthy. The Texans need an inside linebacker to pair with edge rushers Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. UCLA’s Eric Kendricks is an instinctive linebacker with a nose for the football and a good all-around skillset. He may be undersized at 6-foot and 232 pounds, but he could plug up the middle of the Texans’ linebacker corps and fit right in with an already talented front seven.
Previous picks: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (1.0, 2.0), Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (3.0), Kendricks (4.0)
17. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford(Credit: AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Even after signing Orlando Franklin, the Chargers may move 2013 first-round pick D.J. Fluker inside to guard next season, leaving a hole at right tackle in a division full of great edge rushers. San Diego could stay in-state and tab Stanford’s Andrus Peat is a better run blocker than pass protector at this stage, but with some coaching he could improve in that aspect. The Bengals could let him sit and learn more in his rookie year.
Previous picks: La’El Collins, OT, LSU (1.0), Peat, (2.0), Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (3.0, 4.0)
18. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF(Credit: AP / David J. Phillip)
No Chiefs wide receiver caught a touchdown in 2014. Kansas City signed Jeremy Maclin from Philadelphia, but they also cut Dwayne Bowe and still need more receiving talent. UCF’s Breshad Perriman has shot up draft boards because of his nice mix of size (6-2, 212 pounds), speed (he was clocked anywhere in the low-to-mid 4.2s in the 40 at his Pro Day) and pedigree (his dad Brett played 10 years in the NFL). He does have some issues with drops, but he has the upside to be a solid outside threat.
Previous picks: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma (1.0), Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State (2.0, 3.0), Perriman (4.0)
19. BROWNS (VIA BUFFALO BILLS): Danny Shelton, DT, Washington(Credit: AP / Brynn Anderson)
After an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, Washington DT Danny Shelton had a less-than-impressive Combine, which caused his stock to drop a bit. That may be enough for head coach Mike Pettine and the Browns, who gave up a league-worst 2,265 rushing yards in 2014, to take the space-eater with the second of their two first-round picks.
Previous picks: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State (1.0), Shelton (2.0, 3.0, 4.0)
20. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Byron Jones, CB, UConn(Credit: AP / Jessica Hill)
The Eagles signed Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond III to play cornerback, but they could use additional help in the secondary. They tend to value athletic, lengthy, versatile corners, and UConn’s Byron Jones -- another late riser -- checks off each of those boxes. Jones set a Combine record in the broad jump and clocked a reported 4.36 40 at his Pro Day. He’s more than just a workout warrior, though -- his tape is clean, and he was a team captain with the Huskies. The Eagles could slot him at safety in the short term or play him as the No. 2 cornerback and let Thurmond be the nickel.
Previous picks: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington (1.0, 2.0), Landon Collins, SS, Alabama (3.0), Jones (4.0)
21. CINCINNATI BENGALS: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.)(Credit: AP / Lynne Sladky)
Andrew Whitworth is 33, and he and Andre Smith are both entering contract years. The Bengals could look for a replacement for either one starting this year. Miami’s Ereck Flowers is a high-upside prospect with a massive frame at 6-6 and 329 pounds. The Bengals could let him sit and learn more in his rookie year.
Previous picks: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford (1.0, 3.0, 4.0), Flowers, (2.0)
22. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest(Credit: AP / Julio Cortez)
Ike Taylor’s retirement weakened an already depleted secondary, so the Steelers could infuse some youth into the unit early in the draft. Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson is a smooth cover corner with fluid hips, quick feet and excellent coverage skills. He could give the Steelers the true shutdown corner they’ve lacked for a while.
Previous picks: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson (1.0), Landon Collins (2.0), Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri (3.0), Landon Collins, SS, Alabama (4.0)
23. DETROIT LIONS: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin(Credit: AP / Julio Cortez)
The Lions have been open about their intention to draft a running back as a complement to Joique Bell. Todd Gurley is off the board by now, but Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon is an excellent consolation prize. Gordon has a great mix of speed, burst and power, though he did benefit from a good offensive line in college. He would allow the Lions to utilize Bell as a third-down receiving back.
Previous picks: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State (1.0), Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State (2.0, 3.0)
24. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri(Credit: AP / Brynn Anderson)
The Cardinals filled quite a few holes in free agency but still need a solid edge rusher. Missouri’s Shane Ray has an explosive first step, solid speed off the edge and a relentless motor to get to the quarterback. He could play defensive end or slide in at outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ defense. Ray was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession on Monday in Missouri, however, and it remains to be seen how much that will affect his draft stock.
Previous picks: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA (1.0, 2.0), Marcus Peters, CB, Washington (3.0), Ray (4.0)
25. CAROLINA PANTHERS: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington(Credit: AP / Rick Scuteri)
The Panthers have other glaring needs (namely offensive line and wide receiver), but they have shown a great deal of interest in Washington’s Shaq Thompson, having brought him in for a visit and workout. He is versatile enough to play linebacker or safety (and play both well). If the Panthers keep him at linebacker, they’d have a starting corps of Thompson, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis -- a scary sight for opposing running backs.
Previous picks: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh (1.0, 2.0), Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.) (3.0, 4.0)
26. BALTIMORE RAVENS: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC(Credit: AP / David J. Phillip)
Torrey Smith signed with the 49ers in free agency, leaving the Ravens with an aging Steve Smith and Marlon Brown as the projected starters at wideout. USC’s Nelson Agholor has shot up draft boards as of late, and for good reason -- his route-running has drawn comparisons to Reggie Wayne, and he has good hands. He’s a little on the smaller side at 198 pounds, but the Ravens could use his quickness in the slot or outside.
Previous picks: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan (1.0, 2.0), Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon (3.0, 4.0)
27. DALLAS COWBOYS: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State(Credit: AP / Frank Franklin II)
Both of the top running backs are gone by this point, but fear not, Cowboys fans: this running back class is so deep that great values can be found in the second or third round. Meanwhile, the Cowboys need to find a replacement for Henry Melton, and Florida State’s Eddie Goldman fits the bill. Goldman is a stout run-stuffing tackle who could help anchor the front seven and bolster the heart of the Cowboys’ defense.
Previous picks: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (1.0, 2.0), Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (3.0, 4.0)
28. DENVER BRONCOS: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas(Credit: AP / Eric Gay)
Terrance Knighton is now in Washington, so the Broncos need to find a new interior lineman to help clog up the inside lanes. Texas DT Malcom Brown (6-2, 320 pounds) is a strong run defender. He could play inside or outside in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.
Previous picks: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota (1.0, 2.0), Brown (3.0, 4.0)
29. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Landon Collins, S, Alabama(Credit: AP / Gerald Herbert)
Mike Adams had a strong season at free safety in 2014 for the Colts, but they still need to find a strong safety who can play up in run support when needed. Alabama safety Landon Collins fits that profile well. He’s a hard-hitting, aggressive tackler and thrives when lined up in the box. He could stand to improve in single-high, but he’d fit what the Colts are looking for.
Previous picks: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.) (1.0), Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State (2.0), T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh (3.0, 4.0)
30. GREEN BAY PACKERS: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington(Credit: AP / Elaine Thompson)
Tramon Williams signed with Cleveland and Davon House went to the Jaguars, leaving the Packers’ secondary dangerously thin. Lucky for them, they should have their pick of good cornerbacks here. Washington’s Marcus Peters is a very talented cover corner with good size (6-foot, 197 pounds) and ball skills. However, he reportedly clashed with coaches while at Washington, which eventually led to his dismissal from the program.
Previous picks: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas (1.0, 2.0), P.J Williams, CB, Florida State (3.0), Peters (4.0)
31. SAINTS (VIA SEAHAWKS): Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma(Credit: AP / Sue Ogrocki)
The Saints addressed their pass rush with their first first-round pick, so here they can address the offense and give Drew Brees some new toys (since they traded both Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills). Oklahoma wideout Dorial Green-Beckham is one of the draft’s bigger boom-or-bust prospects. He has ideal size (6-5, 237 pounds) and speed (4.49 40 at the Combine). However, he was kicked off Missouri’s team in 2014, was arrested twice for marijuana possession (he was charged in one case) and allegedly shoved a female student down a flight of stairs during an alleged burglary in 2013 (charges were never filed).
Previous picks: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota (3.0), Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest (4.0)
32. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State(Credit: Getty Images / Grant Halverson)
The Patriots traded Logan Mankins before the start of the 2014 season and went with a rotation of Dan Connolly (who is now a free agent), Josh Kline and Jordan Devey at left guard. They could solve that problem by taking Florida State’s Cameron Erving. Erving excelled at center in the second half of 2014 after struggling on the outside. He could slide in at guard next to Patriots center and former Seminoles teammate Bryan Stork.
Previous picks: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon (1.0, 2.0), Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan (3.0, 4.0)