National Football League Draft
National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston- QB Florida State

The common consensus is that the Bucs will be going QB in the draft this year, the question is, which one? Both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston have their upside, but Winston has one huge advantage, he is a local kid. If you were to make a venn diagram of people who are both Florida State fans, and Tampa Bay fans, there would be a huge space in the middle of people who support both teams. Not only that, but Winston is just a better fit for the system.

  1. Tennessee Titans- Leonard Williams- DT USC

Titans may very well consider Mariota here, but for now, I have them taking the big DT out of USC. Williams is a much safer pick than Mariota, and while going DT may not be as flashy as going QB, this is the right pick. Williams can do it all, he can rush the passer and stuff the run. He did have off season surgery on his shoulder, but it doesn’t seem to be anything major. Williams will step into the NFL and make an immediate impact.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Dante Fowler- DE/OLB Florida

Jaguars are the first team that we know will not take a QB. They are invested in Blake Bortles. They have the QB, they have some WR’s for him, and now they just need to give those guys time to develop. Meanwhile, they can add a very talented pass rusher in Fowler who has already drawn comparisons to Von Miller. The comparison does have merit. Like Miller, he is a tall, versatile pass rusher. Also like Miller, he is coming out of College in need of bulking up a bit, because as of now he does not have the strength to consistently shed blocks. Much like Miller, he should have an early impact in the NFL due to his length and athleticism.

  1. Oakland Raiders- Amari Cooper- WR Alabama

Every year people start over valuing players after the combine. Their short term memory eclipses their long term memory, and for a while they think combine numbers are the be all end all. After an impressive combine performance, Kevin White is at the top of the WR rankings. I am going to stick with Cooper though. There are still a couple months before the draft, plenty of time for people to remember that it was Cooper who was impressing people during the actual games. White is going to be a good WR, but Oakland would be smart to take Cooper instead, because he is just a little bit better.

  1. Washington- Randy Gregory- DE/OLB Nebraska

There is a high possibility Washington will trade back and someone who wants Mariota will move up to here. Maybe in a later mock draft i will play around with trades, but for now that is to tough to project. If Washington stays put, Gregory would be a fine pickup. Brian Orakpo is a free agent, and replacing him with a young pass rusher would be wise. If Gregory can just bulk up a little, Washington would have one of the better pass rushing duos in the league with him and Ryan Kerrigan.

  1. New York Jets- Marcus Mariota- QB Oregon

Some mock drafts have the Eagles moving up here and taking mariota. I just don’t think that is plausible though, the cost would just be too high. Mariota may be the perfect QB for the Jets. Off the field he is as mature as any NFL QB, and probably wouldn’t let the New york media get under his skin like prior Jets QB’s. On the field, he has the potential to be great. I see him as more of a Colin Kaepernick type QB, good, but inconsistent. I can’t see the jets passing on him though if he drops to here.

  1. Chicago Bears- Vic Beasley- OLB Clemson

Bears are shifting to a 3-4 defense, so they need to find the defenders that will fit into that system. Beasley is the perfect 3-4 pass rusher. He is explosive off the edge. He has both the freakish combine performance, and the game tape to back up his high grade. The bears could also go with NT Danny Shelton here, but Beasley is probably the bigger impact player that will start to rebuild the once great Bears defense.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- Bud Dupree-DE/OLB Kentucky

Yet another edge rusher off the board. This draft is deep with great pass rushers, and Dupree is no exception. Falcons are mostly set on offense except for RB, and no one will take a rb this high, and on defense, their biggest need by far is at pass rusher. no one on the Falcons had more than 5 sacks last year, which isn’t the formula for a winning defense. New coach Dan Quinn, formerly the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks, know the importance of pass rush, which has secretly been the biggest part of Seattle’s defense the last few years, Quinn should come in and try to build a great core of rushers like he had in Seattle, and Dupree will be a great first step.

  1. New York Giants- Brandon Scherff- OL Iowa

Many mock drafts have the Giants taking whichever WR Oakland doesn’t take. While that would be a sexy pick, it would also be a stupid one. The Giants don’t need a WR, they need help in the trenches. Their run game was non-existent last year, and it wasn’t just because they didn’t have a good running back. Their OL has been their achilles heel for a while now, and much like the Cowboys did, they need to keep addressing it in the draft until they have a good offensive line, or at least one that can hold its own. Schreff may have to move inside, but he will still be a much needed boost to the Giants run, and pass game.

  1. 10. St Louis Rams- Kevin White- WR West Virginia

Watch for the Rams to potentially move up and take one of the QB’s on draft day. If they cannot move up though, they would do well to finally draft a star wide receiver. They have left their QB’s without a legit number one target for too long. Even if they are going to move on from Sam Bradford, they owe it to the next QB to get the receiver Bradford never had. White is a game changer. He is a dynamic receiver, who can do some serious damage over the top. Cooper may be the better all around receiver in this class, but White is the player who will be making the big plays.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- Andrus Peat- OT Stanford

Davante Parker may be the pick many fans want, given that he has already played with QB Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, but Vikings can’t ignore the need of an offensive linemen. The only thing more important for the progression of a young qb than having a strong core of receivers is to keep him protected. Bridgewater was sacked 39 times in 13 games last year. Peat is going to be a stud offensive linemen once he gets his feet under him. He isn’t the most polished prospect, but with a little work he could be the anchor that Offensive linemen for a long time.

  1. Cleveland Browns- Davante Parker- WR Louisville

Things do not look good for Josh Gordon, who once again is facing a yearlong suspension after violating the substance abuse policy. This time he will not be getting off after 10 games. Best case scenario, he misses a year and has to apply for reinstatement, but he could miss even more time. With that said they need to find a replacement at WR. Parker is easily the third best wide receiver in this class. He isn’t a game breaking type of receiver like White his, but he has great ball skills and good size. He should give whomever the Browns have at QB a consistent target.

  1. New Orleans Saints- Shane Ray- DE/OLB Missouri

Rob Ryan’s defense needs a pass rusher, and ray may end up being one of the best in the draft. The great thing about the draft being so deep in pass rushers is that the Saints get a guy who could possibly go as high as the third pick. Ray may not have performed in the combine, but his game tape does all the talking for him.

  1. Miami Dolphins- Trae Waynes- CB Michigan State

Waynes was already considered the top CB in the draft, and his combine performance just made scouts even more confident. This may be one of the easiest picks in the draft. Dolphins need a corner, and the best one falls right into their laps. Waynes is going to at the least, be a solid NFL starter, but he could be so much more.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- Dorial Green-Beckham

Even if Michael Crabtree wasn’t a free agent, this would be a need. Kaepernick struggled mightily, but to be fair it’s partly because he lacks a consistent target. Green-Beckham has some character concerns, but his size and talent will concince a team to take a chance with him. He is 6 foot five, and flashes impressive speed. He is a huge risk, but a risk the 49ers may think is worth taking.

  1. Houston Texans- La’el Collins- OT LSU

Texans have a few needs in the draft, the most vital one is probably at QB. There is no QB worth taking here though, so they may as well bring in a new tackle to help protect whoever ends up at QB for them. Collins is a powerful blocker, and should help in both the run and pass game. They could also use a corner, but their need there is more a need for depth, and that can wait until a later round. They may as well take best player available, and Collins is argueably the best player they could use still on the board.

  1. San Diego Chargers- Danny Shelton- NT Washington

The Chargers would find a steal in Shelton if he falls to them. He has been graded as high as a top 5 player, but his role as a NT makes him less of a need for most teams. The Chargers on the other hand do need a NT. Shelton is not only big, but he is mobile. He was a little inconsistent in college, but that had a lot to do with possibly playing too many snaps, and being forced to work sideline to sideline. The Chargers could slide him into a role where all he needs to do is work downhill. When in that role in College he was dominate, and should do much of the same in the NFL.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- T.J. Clemmings- OT Pittsburgh

Pretty much every offensive position on the chiefs needs to be addressed, with the exception of running back. WR, QB, OL, all areas of needs. The biggest need is probably along the line. Clemmings is still learning his position, after switching sports from basketball, but he has all the tools to be a great blocker. If Andy Reid and the Chiefs coaching staff could teach him the skills of the position, he could end up being a pro-bowl-lineman.

  1. Cleveland Browns- Malcom Brown- DT Texas

The Browns ranked dead last against the run last year. This issue needs to be addressed. Brown is one of the better run stuffers in the draft. He has great size, and is versatile enough to play in many different formations. He will make it difficult for people to run down the middle on the Browns. Between this pick and taking Parker earlier the Browns should leave this draft in a good place. Some have suggested cashing in the picks to move up, but they are better off holding onto both picks and getting immediate contributors on both sides of the field.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- Landon Collins- S Alabama

The Eagles have been lacking an impact safety ever since they lost Brian Dawkins. They have gone through a multitude of different safeties, none of which, besides Malcom Jenkins, have been particularly good. That will change with Collins. Collins is decent in coverage, but what he would really bring the Eagles is a much needed aggressiveness to their secondary. Collins is high energy, and his style will probably remind some Eagles fans of Dawkins. He won’t be as good as Dawkins, but he will improve a brutal secondary that cost the eagles a playoff spot last year.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- Shaq Thompson- OLB Washington

Between injuries and lack of production, the Bengals linebackers had a tough season. Ray Maualuga and Vontaze Burifict both spent part of the season injured, and Maualuga is also a free agent. While the Bengals should be able to hold onto him, they still need to have more depth at linebacker, and Thompson should be able to do that, if not replace Maualuga altogether. Thompson has the looks of a solid NFL linebacker, and in college had a knack for creating turnovers. This pick might not be the most exciting move for the Bengals, but it would be a good one at least on paper. 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Marcus Peters- CB Washington

If players were judged only by their skill and play on the field, Peters would have been selected much higher. Unfortunately, for him, off the field issues are also a factor. To put it in simple terms, he didn’t get along with his coach at Washington, and was dismissed from the team. To his credit, he took full blame during the combine interviews, and indications are that he seemed to have really matured. Whether that is him putting on a mask to impress scouts, or if he has really turned his attitude around is the question. With his talent, it’s worth the risk. Steelers need help in the secondary, and if Peters can keep up his current attitude, he should be a good corner.

  1. Detroit Lions- Arik Armstead- DT Oregon

The Lions have a bunch of players on their line hitting free agency. They most likely will not be able to retain them all. Armstead is a bit of a project, but he could be a stud when all is said and done. Standing at 6’7” and weighing almost 300 pounds, he fits the mold of the gigantic Lions d linemen. He lacks the pass rushing techniques, but has all the skills and attributes necessary to be a monster. With a little work, he will fit right in on the Lions line.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- Eli Harold- OLB/DE Virginia

Lost in all the talk of how great this year’s crop of pass rushers is, is Eli Harold. Ina normal year he may be projected a little higher, but in this year’s deep class, he is the forgotten gem. The Cardinals won’t be complaining. Harold is a smaller version of the Lions Ezekiel Ansah. Much like Ansah, Harold has the athleticism and attributes to be a stud pass rusher, but lacks the direction and technique. The cardinals have a good defensive system though, and should be able coach Harold up.

  1. Carolina Panthers- D.J. Humphries- OT Florida

Panthers need to provide QB Cam Newton better protection. While Humphries has a lot of work to do as far as learning about hand placement and blocking techniques, he is physically very imposing. If the cliché of “he plays mean,” applies to anyone, it is to this guy. He will probably get into a little trouble for playing past the whistle, and for playing a little dirty, but it’s what you get when you get tough players like Humphries.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- Todd Gurley- RB Georgia

Ravens should go either RB or WR, because they are giving QB Joe Flacco no help. It makes no sense to sign a QB to a huge contract, and then never give him any weapons. Teams tend to avoid RB’s in the first round now a day, but that doesn’t mean a teams shouldn’t take the chance if they have a good option. Gurley has the makings of a very good NFL RB, and acquiring him would take the heat off Flacco.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- Eddie Goldman- DT Florida State

If the current rumors about there being a video of WR Dez Bryant doing something “5 times worse than what Ray Rice did,” the Cowboys may need to go WR here. As of now though, those rumors remain unsubstantial, so we will proceed assuming he will be on the team. Despite exceeding expectations last year, the Cowboys still need a lot of help on defense. He won’t be a pass rusher, but he will be a run stuffer. In a division with Lesean McCoy, and Alfred Morris, a run stuffer will be of great use.

  1. Denver Broncos- Benardrick McKinney- ILB Mississippi State

Broncos seem to be switching to a 3-4, and lack a true ILB. They are supremely talented on the outside, but need the imposing force on the inside to round out their line backing core. McKinney has the size, and athleticism to be a solid linebacker. He may never be a superstar, but in a linebacker group, that already has a few great players, they don’t need a superstar, they need a thumper down the middle. That is exactly what they will in McKinney.

  1. Indianapolis Colts- Melvin Gordon- RB Wisconsin

People say you don’t need a great running back into today’s league, but it seems to be what is holding the Colts back. Their offense should be great otherwise. They have one of the best young QB’s in Andrew Luck, a top 20 WR in TY Hilton, and two solid TE’s. Still, their offense was inconsistent throughout the season, and it is because opposing defenses weren’t scared at all of the run. That would probably change with Gordon in the backfield. Gordon will finally give the Colts a respectable option out of the backfield, and open up the field a little bit for Luck. They need to find some type of running back this offseason, because they can’t go into another year with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw.

  1. Green Bay Packer- Eric Kendricks- ILB UCLA

One of the Packers biggest needs is an ILB. It was their need last year, and couldn’t find their guy. It will be tough to go into another draft and not come out with their guy. The recent release of AJ Hawk makes this even more of a need. Kendricks is a true three down linebacker. He is dynamic against the run, and has the lateral speed to stop runs to the edge. He also has great instincts for the most part, but did occasionally over pursue a running back. He can also drop back in coverage and keep up with most receivers. He does lack the ideal strength to shed blocks, but his brother Mychal received the same critiques coming out of college, and has had a lot of success with the Eagles. Kendricks will give the Packers a huge boost against the run.

  1. Seattle Seahawks- Devin Smith- WR Ohio State

The Seahawks have a great defense, a franchise QB, and one of the best running backs in the league for now. What they do not have, is a true playmaker. Doug Baldwin is a good WR, but after him Russell Wilson doesn’t have many options. It showed this season, where is Lynch wasn’t running, the Seahawks offense wasn’t moving. With the future of Lynch up in the air, the Seahawks need to bolster their offense. Smith gives them a true down the field target. He was one of the better deep targets in the nation this past year.

  1. New England Patriots- Jalen Strong- WR Arizona State

The Patriots won the Super Bowl for a reason, of all the teams in the league, they have the least holes. One critique of the team could be the lack of targets for Tom Brady. They have Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman as main targets. Brandon Lafell is decent, but isn’t a consistent go-to-target. They are an injury to Gronk away from being a very weak core of receivers. Strong isn’t a world burner, but he is another solid option that will consistently be there for Brady should Gronk go down.