Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 NFL MOCK DRAFT (PICKS 1-16)

By: Connor Glowacki

     The 2015 draft is less than a week away and it's an extremely important time for NFL prospects, organizations and fans all alike. But with there still being a few days to ponder and project, here is a look at CKG,From The Sidelines' one and only mock draft.
     Without accounting the potential for possible trades, this mock draft focuses on which prospect would be a necessary fit with their respective team and how teams could react once certain players, that they were previously coveting, are off the board.
     This mock draft will only focus on the 32 picks of the first round. So without further ado, let's begin with our first team on the clock: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!


1.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston


     Tampa Bay had the worst record in the NFL last season for a number of reasons. But it was their offense that struggled, in particular. They ranked just 25th in the league in passing last season, thanks to inconsistency from the quarterback position.
     Neither Josh McCown or Mike Glennon were able to put up any kind of impressive numbers that led to victories and it's clear that the Buccaneers need to find a legitimate long term solution for the position.
Photo courtesy of USA Today
     Florida State's Jameis Winston is, by all accounts, the top quarterback of this year's draft class. He finished his collegiate career with a 26-1 record as a starter and threw for almost 8,000 yards and 65 touchdowns.
     At 6'4" and 231 pounds, Winston is big enough and strong enough to make all the throws at the NFL level and be able to last throughout a grueling professional season.
     If it wasn't for the NUMEROUS off the field issues, there wouldn't be a conversation over who Tampa Bay should select with the first overall pick. It'll take a leap of faith from head coach Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers organization, but the potential upside could be something incredible.

2.) Tennessee Titans- USC Defensive End Leonard Williams

     This is where we could see teams trying to trade up for the Tennessee Titans' pick in order to draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Titans have expressed interest in Mariota, but the organization seems to be sticking with second year quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw for 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns, compared to seven interceptions last season with limited playing time.
     While the offense remains a concern for Tennessee, a larger concern would be with the defensive line, a unit that ranked 31st against the run in 2014.
     Defensive end Derrick Morgan was the only player able to generate more than six sacks for the Titans last season.
Photo courtesy of LA Times
     The most likely scenario will be Teneessee selecting USC defensive end Leonard Williams. In his last two seasons with the Trojans, Williams registered 154 tackles and 13 sacks. These numbers led him to being named an All-American and first team All-Pac-12 twice in 2013 and 2014. Compared to other prospects at this position, Williams appears to be the best option.

3.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Alabama Wide Receiver Amari Cooper

Photo courtesy of al.com
     The Jaguars actually had the third overall selection in the 2014 draft when they selected Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.
     Even though the passing game continued to struggle for Jacksonville in 2014, ranking 31st in the NFL, Bortles showed some potential in his rookie season. Bortles threw for almost 3,000 yards on 59 percent completed passes. However, he still threw 17 interceptions compared to just 11 touchdowns.
     Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper would instantly be the top receiving option and would vault ahead of receivers Marquise Lee, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson on the depth chart.
     Cooper dazzled in his junior season at Alabama and became the best collegiate wide receiver with over 1,700 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns, in the midst of double team coverages by opposing defenses.
     He is the best route runner out of any wide receiver prospect in this draft and is among one of the safer selections.

4.) Oakland Raiders- Iowa Offensive Tackle Brandon Scherff

     The Raiders have several options for the fourth overall pick. The offense struggled again, finishing just 26th in the NFL in passing and dead last in rushing.
     But second year quarterback Derek Carr looked confident in his rookie season, as he threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns compared to just 12 interceptions.
     It's possible that Oakland could take a wide receiver with this pick, but with the recent acquisition of Michael Crabtree in free agency, it appears that the Raiders will go in a different direction.
Photo courtesy of Big Ten Network
     After selecting linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round last year, Oakland would be wise to take the best offensive lineman available in Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff. He can play as a tackle or as a guard, showcasing his versatility and ability to be used in different situations.
     It might not be the flashiest pick, but it could be the pick that protects Carr and the Raiders in the long run.

5.) Washington Redskins- Oregon Defensive End/Defensive Tackle Arik Armstead

     There are many directions that the Redskins could take with this pick. Drafting West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White is a possibility, but it might not happen due to Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both coming back for 2015.
     They could also draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but it also looks like that they will keep their three current quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, on their roster.
     A big problem for Washington in 2014 was a lack of pass rush against opposing quarterbacks. Outside of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who generated 13.5 sacks, there weren't any players in the front seven who provided a threat.
     This will be the first time in three years that Washington will have a first round pick and Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead would be a smart selection.
Photo courtesy of oregonlive.com
     Armstead registered 37 tackles and 2.5 sacks for the Ducks last season and would fit very well as a defensive end in the Redskins 3-4 defense.
     Even though Washington added Stephen Paea and Terrence Knighton to the defensive line in free agency, Armstead might be the young prospect meant to anchor the defensive line for years to come.

6.) New York Jets- Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota

     New York ranked dead last in the NFL in passing last season and embattled quarterback Geno Smith appear to be rapidly falling out of positive grace with the Jets organization and with fans after throwing 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2014.
     With the additions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, running back Stevan Ridley and cornerback Darrelle Revis in free agency, it appears to be a wise time to take a potential franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota.
Photo courtesy of USA Today
     Mariota threw for an incredible 10,796 yards and 105 touchdowns during his career at Oregon while throwing just 14 interceptions. He also ran for 2,237 yards and 29 touchdowns.
     Mariota is the ultimate dual threat quarterback. However, he rarely took the ball from under center in college and there are serious questions about if his game can translate to the NFL.
     Mariota doesn't have to immediately start for the New York Jets. He might be able to wait on the sidelines for a year behind Smith. But with the improvements made on both sides of the ball in free agency, it's time for the Jets to go and get their franchise quarterback.

7.) Chicago Bears- West Virginia Wide Receiver Kevin White

     The Bears have many needs that need to filled after a tumultuous 5-11 season in 2014. Chicago brought in a new head coach in John Fox and quarterback Jay Cutler has been involved in endless trade rumors leading up to the draft.
     They ranked 27th in rushing last season, but will probably wait until later in the draft to get a running back. And even though the Bears defense ranked 30th against the pass, there aren't any secondary players projected to be taken in the top 10.
Photo courtesy of nfldraftfever.com
     West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White would be a suitable replacement for the recently departed Brandon Marshall and would pair up well with star wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey. White dominated his senior season at West Virginia by finishing with 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
     The main criticism against White is that there hasn't been a large enough body of work to draw upon in projecting his future performance.
     Before that senior season, White started nine games in his junior year and had 35 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns. Before that, he played for Lackawanna junior college for two seasons.
     However, he's taller than Amari Cooper and ran a faster 40 yard dash time at the combine. White has a higher ceiling and lots of untapped potential.

8.) Atlanta Falcons- Florida Defensive End/Linebacker Dante Fowler

     Atlanta struggled for the second consecutive season in 2014 and finished with a 6-10 record. The offense, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, was solid for the most part.
     They finished fifth in the NFL in passing and 24th in rushing. Atlanta can focus on drafting a running back in later rounds, but the defense is where they have to address in the first round.
     The unit finished just 21st against the run and were dead last against the pass. Florida defensive end Dante Fowler has been rising up draft boards recently and would be an immediate impact player for the Falcons.
     Fowler played three years at Florida and shined brightest last season when he recorded 60 tackles, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
     Before the season, he dropped 16 pounds, brining him down to 261. It made a big difference as he was named to the first team All-SEC team in 2014. Fowler has quick speed off of the initial jump and can play at different positions in different schemes. The 20 year old has the potential to be a starter for a long time in the NFL.

9.) New York Giants- Clemson Defensive End/Linebacker 
Vic Beasley

     The Giants actually weren't that bad offensively in 2014. Sure, quarterback Eli Manning did throw 14 interceptions and was sacked 28 times, but he also threw for 30 touchdowns and 4,410 yards on 63 percent completed passes.
     New York's passing offense was fifth in 2014 and even though the ruhsing attack was just 24th, running backs Andre Williams and Rashad Jenning performed well enough and are a solid duo.
Photo courtesy of the NFL.
     They still have very good defensive players, in defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and linebacker Jon Beason, but they're starting to get older and depth is always key at these positions. With Dante Fowler off the board, Clemson linebacker Vic Beasley would be a great addition with the ninth pick.
     In three years of starting at Clemson, Beasley obtained 32 sacks and broke the school record for most sacks by a defender. Beasley was a consensus All-American and the ACC defensive player of the year in 2014. He's slightly smaller than Fowler, at 246 pounds, but that might make him even quicker off the edge.

10.) St. Louis Rams- Miami (FL) Offensive Tackle Ereck Flowers

     The Rams will be one of the the up and coming teams to watch for this season and they have been very active in free agency. By trading quarterback Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Nick Foles, St. Louis has improved that position by finding someone younger and healthier.
Photo courtesy of
stateoftheu.com
     Their defense is one of the top units in the NFL and it makes it really likely that the Rams can make an addition to the offensive line to better protect Foles.
     Offensive tackle Jake Long left in free agency and offensive tackle Joe Barksdale might be following him out very soon. They still have Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold to lead the unit, but drafting Miami (FL) offensive tackle Ereck Flowers would address a need that will loom larger as the season quickly approaches.
     Flowers started three full seasons for the Hurricanes and at 6'6" and 324 pounds, he is a physical monster. With Brandon Scherff off the board, the Rams should use the tenth overall pick on Flowers.

11.) Minnesota Vikings- Kentucky Defensive End/Linebacker Alvin Dupree

     The Vikings surprised a lot of people last season. They finished with a better than expected 7-9 record and may have found a young franchise quarterback in second year pro Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater threw for almost 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns, compared to 12 interceptions.
     However,  Minnesota still needs to improve in several areas in order to become a serious playoff contender. The team ranked 14th in rushing last season between running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon, but if Adrian Peterson gets traded, the Vikings won't have a dynamic feature back that can scare defenses.
Photo courtesy of
steelersdepot.com
     Yet even with all of that, it looks more likely that Minnesota will take a defensive player in the first round. The Vikings defense was great against the pass after finishing seventh in the NFL, but ranked 15th against the run.
     Kentucky linebacker Alvin Dupree started all four seasons and recorded a whopping 247 tackles and 24.5 sacks. At 6'4" and 269 pounds, Dupree displayed his quickness off the edge and the ability to be able to break through blockers to get to opposing quarterbacks.
     In a division with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, the Vikings need as many top-quality pass rushers as they can get.

12.) Cleveland Browns- Louisville Wide Receiver DeVante Parker

     This is the first of two first round draft picks for the Cleveland Browns in 2015 and with wide receiver Josh Gordon being suspended once again for the 2015 season, the Browns desperately need to address their problems at the wide receiver position.
     Sure the passing offense ranked just 20th in the NFL in 2014, but consider that the wide receivers had to catch passes from the likes of Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw. Not exactly a top notch group.
Photo courtesy of the NFL
     Cleveland did pick up Dwanye Bowe and Brian Hartline in free agency, but Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker could be an absolute difference maker for this offense.
     Parker's stats last year weren't that impressive when he had just 885 receiving yards and five touchdowns, but those numbers were in only six games later in the season after he had missed the first seven games due to an injury.
     At 6'3" and 209 pounds, with a 40 yard dash time of 4.45 seconds, Parker has the combination of size and speed that is needed to fend off opposing cornerbacks. Parker could end up being an effective replacement for Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns as a whole.

13.) New Orleans Saints- Missouri Defensive End/Linebacker Shane Ray

     New Orleans' offense has never been the problem in recent years, it has always been the defensive side of the ball. The Saints ranked third in the NFL in passing and 13th in rushing in 2014. But the defense ranked just 25th against the pass and 29th against the run.
     In terms of pass rushers, only Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan (combining for 17.5 sacks) placed any fear into opposing defensive coordinators.
     Enter Missouri defensive end Shane Ray. He only played for two seasons at Missouri, but Ray quickly emerged as one of the top pass rushers in the SEC. 2014 was a big year that saw Ray acquire 65 tackles and 14.5 sacks, breaking the single season sack record at Missouri that was previously held by Michael Sam and Aldon Smith.
Photo courtesy of kansascity.com
     At 6'3" and 245 pounds, Ray is a physical beast that can fight through opposing offensive linemen. His stock has fallen due to a disappointing Pro Day, but Ray would be a great selection if he is available for the New Orleans Saints with the 13th pick.

14.) Miami Dolphins- Georgia Running Back Todd Gurley

     If wide receiver DeVonte Parker ends up being available for the Dolphins at the 14th pick, then you can easily expect the Doplhins to take him to fill their big need at wide receiver.
     Miami released Mike Wallace during free agency are now relying on a receiving corps of Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry and Jordan Cameron. All are solid players, but none of them are that consistent of a number one option that quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs during a close game late in the fourth quarter.
     The next available receivers are Arizona State's Jaelen Strong and Miami (FL)'s Philip Dorset. Both players are expected to sill hang around late in the first round and/or early in the second round, making it likely that the Dolphins can grab one of those players with their second round pick.
     Miami also made a massive free agent acquisition in the offseason in defensive tackle Ndamokong Suh. Add on Suh to an already improving Dolphins defense and the unit is looking impressive.
Photo courtesy of al.com
      I think the Dolphins will take a gamble on Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Miami did rank 12th in the NFL in rushing offense, but Gurley would be an exceptional talent that would make the offense even more dynamic.
     In limited game action last season, Gurley ran for 911 yards and nine touchdowns before seeing his season end abruptly due to a torn ACL.
     If it wasn't for the ACL injury, Gurley could've been a top five selection. But from all accounts from varying NFL insiders, Gurley's ACL has been checked out and everything looks good to go for the draft.

15.) San Francisco 49ers- LSU Cornerback Jalen Collins

     It has been a rough offseason for the 49ers. After a disappointing 8-8 season in 2014, head coach Jim Harbaugh left for the University of Michigan. But the flood gates quickly opened after that.
Photo courtesy of
Walterfootball.com
     Linebacker Patrick Willis retired, defensive lineman Justin Smith retired, and even second year linebacker Chris Borleand decided to retire.
     On top of that, running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, offensive lineman Mike Iupati, and cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver all left in free agency. All of a sudden, San Francisco has a lot of holes that they need to fill.
     The biggest area that needs to be filled is at the cornerback position. LSU cornerback Jalen Collins started just nine games in his one full season in 2014, but he played very well recording 33 tackles, nine pass breakups and an interception.
     While there isn't a large amount of experience to base how he'll do in the future, Collins' athleticism is off the charts and that could make him a big time difference maker for the 49ers.

16.) Houston Texans- Michigan State Cornerback Trae Waynes

     The Houston Texans made a serious run for a playoff spot in 2014 due to the major contributions from defensive end J.J. Watt, running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson.
     With Johnson departing in free agency, the Texans could select a wide receiver like Dorsett or Strong. If they still feel uneasy about Jadeaveon Clowney's health, the Texans could draft a standout defensive lineman.
     Or they could finally address their quarterback situation, a situation that had Houston ranked 24th in the NFL last season in passing.
Photo courtesy of CBSSports.com
     What looks most likely is for Houston to grab an impact player to add to their secondary, a unit that finished just 21st against the pass in 2014. If Collins is off the board, there is a good chance that they'll select Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.
     In his two years as a starter, Waynes hauled in 96 tackles, six interceptions and even a sack. With a 40 yard dash time of 4.31 seconds, Waynes' speed could allow him to have an immediate impact for the Texans.


And just like that, we have completed the first 16 picks of our 2015 first round mock draft.
Stay tuned because in a few days, we will finish the first round with picks 17 to 32.


Agree with any of our mock draft selections?

Disagree?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or sending me your comment on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.


3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Most of these picks are highly questionable but so is the NFL lol

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    1. CKG,FromTheSidelinesApril 27, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      You're absolutely right! The NFL Draft is a complete guessing game. And it takes years before we can even accurately judge all of the eventual draft picks.

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