Tamp Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, FSU
Winston is the best QB prospect in this draft and the Bucs need a franchise QB, so this isn’t a hard one to match up.
Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Many have the #2 QB in this draft – Marcus Mariota – going in this spot, however, I don’t see logic behind the Titans coming out and endorsing Zach Mettenberger then taking a QB.
The Titans defense has been horrible for a while so they could certainly use a blue chip player like Williams added to it.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr, EDGE, Florida
There are a ton of top pass rushers in this draft, half of the top 8 could very well be EDGE players, so the Jags have a lot of options here. I believe Fowler is the 2nd best defensive player in the draft, so he would be a good choice here.
Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
I had Kevin White in this spot in my previous mock, but it recently came out that Cooper actually ran the same 40-time as White at the combine.
A major reason I initially pegged White ahead of Cooper is because he ran faster, while also being bigger than Cooper. If both are just as fast, it’s really a toss-up as both have great tape. Cooper is a better route runner and White has the size advantage, so it’s really going to be up to the team’s preference.
The Raiders definitely could use a top WR for their young QB Derek Carr, and Cooper has true #1 potential.
*TRADE* Cleveland Browns: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
I’m going to mock a trade at the top for Mariota because I have a feeling it’s bound to happen. I don’t believe the Jets for a second when they say they aren’t interested in Mariota. I personally don’t think he makes it past #6.
This trade would make sense; if the Browns were willing to trade a 1st round pick for Sam Bradford, it obviously means they aren’t happy with the position. Now if they like Mariota they could just keep him, but another scenario, if they really like Bradford, would be to trade the rights to Mariota for Bradford and the Eagles’ first two picks, or 1st this year and next.
Washington gets pick #43 to move down 7 spots; with their current roster I’m sure they would take the opportunity to add two potential starters to their team opposed to one.
New York Jets: Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
Beasley was certainly this combine’s workout warrior.
He showed incredible strength with 35 reps @ 225 and amazing speed running a 4.53 40 at 6’3 246lbs, BOTH tops among all DL/LBs!
Good tape is always great to have but a lot of the time it’s combine studs that tend to get taken high. The Jets are stacking up on defense and adding a stud pass rusher would make them scary.
Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, WVU
After White ran a 4.35 40 at 6’3 215lbs at the combine he quickly shot up draft boards. Playing across from the 6’3 216lb Alshon Jeffery would give Chicago a ridiculous duo that would be difficult to cover.
Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri
The Falcons signed a couple of pass rushers in free agency but they need all the help they can get after last season. Here they’re in position to take 2 of the top 4 in Ray or Randy Gregory. With Gregory failing a drug test at the combine, along with showing up at a thin 235lbs, he’s falling down draft boards. Ray gives new head coach, Dan Quinn, a new, explosive edge rusher.
New York Giants: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
The Giants only have 2 back up safeties on their current roster; they can re-sign Stevie Brown but that still leaves a hole on the strong side. Collins is the lone safety with a 1st round grade in this draft class, which could lead to him going quickly. Collins would be a big help in run support and help stop New York from getting burned so often.
St. Louis Rams: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
The Rams need a lot of help on their offensive line. They released LT Jake Long and C Scott Wells this offseason so they basically just have T Greg Robinson (last year’s #2 overall pick) and T/G Rodger Saffold.
They just signed last year’s back up C Tim Barnes to a one year deal so I’m guessing he’s the favorite for that position, and I’m sure they’re hoping to re-sign RT Joe Barksdale, but that would still leave a big hole at G. In this situation, with the top ranked OL Scherff available, I can’t see them going any other way.
Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
Waynes is the top rated corner is this draft and backed it up with a stellar combine performance. Xavier Rhodes has been a great CB for the Vikings but they could use a starter across from him. Rhodes and Waynes would make a great young duo for Minnesota.
*TRADE* Washington Redskins: Randy Gregory, EDGE, Nebraska
Gregory is one of the best pure pass rushers in this draft. I discussed earlier why he might drop, but based on how talented he is, and the need for pass rushers around the league, he shouldn’t fall out of the top half of the 1st round.
Washington drafted Trent Murphy in the 2nd round last year but he seems to be more of a role player than a replacement for Brian Orakpo. Gregory, along with Ryan Kerrigan, could give Washington a young pass rushing duo.
New Orleans Saints: La’el Collins, OL, LSU
The Saints signed both Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller to 4 year deals this offseason and look interested in making an effort to run the ball more. Collins is a college tackle that has been consistently making his way up draft boards and has a lot of NFL people talking. Many think he has Pro Bowl potential inside.
After trading away Ben Grubbs this offseason, it’s a hole that needs filling and Collins would be a great fit.
Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Dolphins shipped out Mike Wallace and lost Brian Hartline this offseason, they did trade for Kenny Stills though, and last year’s rookie Jarvis Landry was great in the slot. They lack a true #1 though. Parker would provide Miami with a big and athletic target for Ryan Tannehill.
San Francisco 49ers: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
A lot of people see Shelton going much higher than this, but in every draft nose tackles seem to drop. The 49ers, once an extremely deep team on defense, now find themselves with several holes. Shelton would be a great value here and provide them with a true stud nose tackle.
Houston Texans: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
The Texans need a franchise QB and a replacement for Andre Johnson, but by this time the top two QBs are long gone and so are the top 3 WRs. They could also really use a new ILB, but there aren’t any in this draft with a mid first round grade, in my opinion.
At 6’7 292lbs, Armstead is a long, athletic DT with a lot of upside. If he can tap into his potential playing beside Vince Wilfork and J.J. Watt, it would give Houston a scary front.
San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
I see this pick more and more in mock drafts and I just don’t agree with it – the Chargers need a lot of help on defense, but San Diego’s GM Tom Telesco came out a few days ago saying his team didn’t “need” to add a RB.
I’ve learned to believe the opposite of what teams say before the draft usually, and his comments seem to me like someone hoping a player drops.
Gurley is a top 15 talent that will only fall due to an ACL tear in November, but if his knee checks out, he could provide a huge upgrade from Branden Oliver and Donald Brown.
Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
The Chiefs took Eric Fisher with the #1 pick in 2013, but he hasn’t nearly played up to expectations. At the same time, KC needs to upgrade the RT position. Peat could provide competition for Fisher and also fill the hole on the right side.
Cleveland Browns (from BUF): Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
The Browns have a horrible defensive line. Luckily – with two first round picks – they could address their QB situation and also land a top DT. Brown is a big boy who could play nose or end in their 3-4.
Philadelphia Eagles: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
With Jeremy Maclin heading to Kansas City, Chip Kelly needs another WR. Green-Beckham is a top talent who will fall in the draft due to character concerns. He was dismissed from the Missouri football program after being suspended twice, so the concerns aren’t without merit, but he’s massive at 6’5 237lbs and yet still runs fast posting a 4.49 40 at the combine.
He has special potential, but could also be Josh Gordon.
Cincinnati Bengals: Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky
The Bengals had the least sacks in the NFL this past season, so their need for a pass rusher is evident. Dupree is a physical freak that’s big enough to play DE in a 4-3, still raw, but with some coaching, he could become a force.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Peters is a prospect with a ton of talent but – like Green-Beckham – also with big character concerns that could go anywhere from top 10 to out of the first round. Some even see Peters as the top corner in the draft, so he would be a nice value for the Steelers, who currently have only one serviceable starter: William Gay.
Detroit Lions: D. J. Humphries, OL, Florida
Humphries is a great LT prospect whose biggest concern has been his lean frame, playing at only 285lbs last season. However, Humphries showed up to the combine (amazingly) at 307lbs, so that should definitely entice a lot of OL needy teams.
The Lions need to provide better protection for Matthew Stafford, and many analysts believe Humphries is the best pass blocker in this draft and can start at LT day 1. This could allow Detroit to move Riley Reiff to the right side or shuffle some other personnel around, and provide a big upgrade to that unit.
Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
This pick would make a lot of sense to me with the departure of Antonio Cromartie. The need is obvious. Collins is a raw prospect but who better to learn from than one of the best corners in the league and LSU alum, Patrick Peterson? Collins is a big, long, athletic corner that – with coaching and development – could become a star.
Carolina Panthers: T.J. Clemmings, OL, Pittsburgh
This pick HAS to be for the offensive line for the Panthers; they have the worst unit in the NFL. Luckily, this is a very deep draft for top caliber tackles. Clemmings is a very athletic tackle that has a lot of scouts talking. He needs some development but could give Carolina their LT of the future.
Baltimore Ravens: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.
It seems every year the Ravens stand pat and take the best player available. If they do that again, I could definitely see this pick being Melvin Gordon. Even though Baltimore just signed Justin Forsett to a 3 year deal, he’s going to be 30 and they don’t really have anyone behind him.
I’m going to mock Strong in this position, however, because with the departure of Torrey Smith, the Ravens can’t rely solely on 35-year-old Steve Smith. Whether it’s the 1st round or not, Baltimore definitely needs to draft a wide out early, Strong would be a good value in this position and provide Joe Flacco a much-needed big bodied weapon.
Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
I’m sure everyone knows the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray to the Eagles this offseason. It would be Dallas’ best-case scenario for one of the top 2 backs to fall to #27.
Gordon would be an ideal replacement for Murray as he’s a talented workhorse that can handle a load. If the Ravens were to select Gordon – like I discussed for their pick at #26 – it would definitely make this choice tougher.
In this hypothetical situation, there would be two really good 1 techniques available in Eddie Goldman and Jordan Phillips, however, I know Dallas doesn’t believe in taking that position high. There’s also a couple of good LBs in Denzel Perryman and Eric Kendricks.
A choice that would make a lot of sense though, is CB Kevin Johnson, with the position being what it is right now.
Denver Broncos: Ereck Flowers, OL, Miami
As Peyton Manning enters his final years, the Broncos need to get him the best protection they can. Flowers would be an immediate upgrade at RT, not only providing protection for Manning, but he’s an absolute bruiser in the run game. Would be a big help in bolstering Denver’s run offense, which they seemed to rely on more and more last season.
Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Erving, OL, FSU
Here the Colts land the best center prospect in the draft and get Andrew Luck the protection he needs inside. This draft’s class of offensive linemen is much like last year’s class of cornerbacks: there’s a bunch of guys at the top and it’s going to be tough to peg which order they go.
Green Bay Packers: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
The Packers lost CBs Tramon Williams and Davon House this offseason, Kevin Johnson is a seasoned corner that could come in and help Green Bay day 1.
New Orleans Saints (from SEA): Eli Harold, EDGE, Virginia
The Saints have re-tooled their defense this offseason but are still in need of another pass rusher across from Junior Galette. Harold is an edge setter that would be a nice value here and a great fit for New Orleans’ 3-4.
New England Patriots: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.
The Patriots lost a huge body in Vince Wilfork this offseason. Here they can replace it with another. Mammoth at 6’4 336lbs, Goldman could provide the Pats with a true NT. Some like last year’s 1st round selection Dominique Easley as the favorite for that position, but he’d be very undersized at 6’2 290lbs to play the 0.