2015 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Destinations of Next Year's Top Talent

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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Destinations of Next Year's Top Talent
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Draft season is officially over, and we have to slog through the trivial details of next season's slate of games before getting to another draft. That doesn't mean we can't start the mocks for the coming year. 

Obviously, a lot will change between now and the 2015 draft. There will be players who sprint up draft boards with fine college seasons. There will also be players who plummet down boards with poor performances, injuries or off-the-field issues. 

Meanwhile, the needs of franchises will certainly change as the NFL season plays out.

As absurd as it is to predict the players who will go in the first round, trying to predict the draft order before teams even hit minicamp is more absurd. In my mock below, the focus is not much on the draft order, but the players who will be in the first round and what teams will be looking for. 

 

1. Tennessee Titans (mock trade with Browns): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

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With Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel or whoever lines up at quarterback for the Browns having no one to throw the ball to next season, I have the Browns owning the league's worst record. Of course, having just selected Manziel in the first round of this draft, the Browns won't be looking to take a quarterback with the top pick. That will open the door for a trade and a deal with the Titans, who just declined their fifth-year option on quarterback Jake Locker. 

Marcus Mariota has an exciting tool set and not the same kind of off-the-field issues as Jameis Winston. He will want to make it through the season showing consistency with accuracy, but Mariota has all the tools to be a star in the NFL. 

 

2. New York Jets (mock trade with Vikings): Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State 

The Vikings will be in a similar position to the Browns. They drafted quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at the end of Round 1 in this past draft and won't be looking to draft a quarterback next year. 

The chance to draft Heisman winner Jameis Winston will allow the Vikings to trade down. 

Michael Vick will be a disaster for the Jets, and if the franchise believed in quarterback Geno Smith, they wouldn't have brought in Vick. New York will be desperate for a quarterback. 

Winston has to make the off-the-field issues stop, and he would benefit from a quicker release, but he remains an elite quarterback prospect. 

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

After passing on elite defensive talent in this year's draft at No. 3 to grab quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jaguars will be on the lookout for a defensive playmaker in next year's draft. 

Randy Gregory is not a prospect on the level of Jadeveon Clowney, but he is close. He will be a force in the pass rush from the moment he steps onto an NFL field. 

  

4. Washington Redskins: Leonard Williams, DE, USC

Leonard Williams is a fantastic athlete with improving football skills. He will have the versatility to play anywhere along a defensive line and would be a worthy selection for the Redskins when they return to the first round. 

 

5. Houston Texans: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

The Houston Texans drafted Pitt quarterback Tom Savage in the fourth round of this past draft. Perhaps he develops enough to inspire confidence from the Texans. 

Still, if the Texans are in a position to grab a talent like Brett Hundley, it would be difficult to pass on. 

 

6. Oakland Raiders: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Andrus Peat is the latest in the long line of excellent tackle prospects from Stanford. The Raiders have been making over the offensive line and have plenty of talent, but unless Menelik Watson really impresses in his second season, the Raiders will be on the lookout for a left tackle. 

 

7. Cleveland Browns (mock trade with Titans): Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

The Cleveland Browns made the baffling decision to pass on all wide receivers in the 2014 draft despite Josh Gordon's looming suspension. Even with Gordon, this team still needed a solid No. 2 receiver.  

Amari Cooper is an explosive receiver who will be in a prime position to showcase his skills to a huge audience next season. 

 

8. Minnesota Vikings (mock trade with Jets): Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

I was surprised when Ifo Ekpre-Olomu decided to return to college. He is ready for the NFL and unless he takes a step back,  he will hear his name called early. 

Secondary figures to remain a weakness in Minnesota this season. 

 

9. Detroit Lions: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

The Lions did little to address a poor secondary in this draft. They will need to make that a priority.

P.J. Williams improved with each game last season to the point where he was named Defensive Player of the Game in the BCS title game. If he builds on that success, he will be a top-10 selection in next year's draft. 

 

10. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo Bills): Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

Vic Beasley is a great athlete with big-time potential as a pass-rusher.

Paul Kruger did not produce for the Browns as expected last season. Cleveland would get an upgrade with a cheaper player with this selection. 

 

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State

For some reason, the Chiefs decided not to draft a wide receiver this year despite the fact that running back Jamaal Charles led this team in receiving yards last season. 

Rashad Greene must continue to improve his receiving skills, but this explosive athlete is a big play waiting to happen. 

 

12. New York Giants: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

For the second consecutive season, the first round of the NFL draft didn't have a single running back taken. With a talented group of ball-carriers slotted for next year's class, that will change. 

Todd Gurley struggled with injuries last year, but he is a supremely talented back with the kind of size and speed it takes to get selected in the first round.  

The Giants must find consistency in the run game to help ease the load on Eli Manning. 

 

13. Atlanta Falcons: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

The Falcons spent their second-round pick on a defensive lineman in this draft: Ra'Shede Hageman. This team will still be looking to get stronger in the defensive trenches next year, and if a talent like Shilique Calhoun is available, it will be an easy decision. 

The reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year looks like a lock to go in the top half of next year's first round. 

 

14. Carolina Panthers: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

Brandon Scherff is a mauling offensive lineman with a nasty streak.

It was a surprise that the Panthers didn't take a tackle in this draft, but this run-first team would have a difficult time passing on Scherff next year. 

 

15. Dallas Cowboys: Mario Edwards, DE, Florida State

Mario Edwards has shown flashes of complete dominance. He will need to improve his consistency, but all the physical tools are in place. The Cowboys are still in need of depth on the defensive line.

 

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

Bryce Petty is a prolific college quarterback with good size at 6'3". He has solid arm talent and will go higher in the draft if he shows more accuracy down the field. 

The Buccaneers brought in veteran Josh McCown and have Mike Glennon entering his second season, but this franchise will be on the lookout for its quarterback of the future. 

 

17. Miami Dolphins: Tre Jackson, G, Florida State

The Dolphins went to work on reshaping their offensive line in this draft, but that group could still use more talent. Tre Jackson is a prototype at guard. 

 

18. San Diego Chargers: Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

The Chargers could use an influx of talent along the offensive line, and center Nick Hardwick is on the last year of his contract. 

Hroniss Grasu is set to be the top center in the draft, and a worthy and cheaper replacement for Hardwick

 

19. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State 

The Steelers will have to bolster an aging secondary. Ronald Darby is yet another Florida State player who emerged as a power this past season. 

 

20. St. Louis Rams: Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan

Devin Funchess is a good, all-around tight end. He is emerging as a force in the passing game after catching 748 yards worth of passes last year. With more targets, he will be a star. 

The Rams will look for offensive talent with an already exciting group of players on defense.  

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California

The Bengals must ensure their defensive line remains a strength. Leonard Williams is a strong defensive tackle with the ability to penetrate into the backfield. 

 

22. Baltimore Ravens: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Cedric Ogbuehi is not the tackle prospect that former teammate Jake Matthews is, but he is not far off. The Ravens have to continue to rebuild their offensive line.

 

23. Arizona Cardinals: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

If the Cardinals plan on counting on Carson Palmer past next season, they have to make sure their offensive line can provide great protection. 

Cameron Erving is yet another Florida State standout who will be back for this college season and then head to the draft as a prime prospect.

 

24. Chicago Bears: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The Bears wisely stocked up on defense in the recent draft but will still be on the lookout for young talent on that side of the ball.  

Landon Collins is an excellent prospect who has made great strides at Alabama. He appears to be yet another Nick Saban-coached player headed for the first round. 

 

25. New Orleans Saints: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Ohio State

The Saints have made great strides on defense and added talent this offseason. They still need strength in the front seven. Noah Spence would give New Orleans a big boost in their pass rush.

 

26. Indianapolis Colts: La’El Collins, OL, LSU 

One of the things that has been so impressive about the quick emergence of Andrew Luck is that he has suffered through some poor play along the offensive line. 

La'El Collins is on the edge of the line at LSU, but this massive and powerful prospect is best suited for guard in the NFL. 

 

27. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Shaw, CB, Southern California

The Eagles have a long way to go before their defense strikes fear in any opponent. The secondary has been the biggest culprit. 

Josh Shaw must work on his consistency, but he is an excellent athlete and natural cover man. 

 

28. Green Bay Packers: Doran Grant, CB, Ohio State

Corner is shaping up to be a deep position in the upcoming draft. The Packers have spent resources on defense this offseason but will be looking to bolster the secondary next season.

Doran Grant has solid size at 5'11" and 191 pounds, and has athleticism to stick to receivers.  

 

29. New England Patriots: Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina

Hey, look! Another running back in the first round! 

Mike Davis checks in at 5'9", 215 pounds. He has a solid burst and is very difficult to bring down.

With each passing year under Tom Brady's belt, the more the running game will need to be leaned on in New England. 

 

30. San Francisco 49ers: Tre Jackson, G, Florida State

The 49ers are coming off a masterful draft that will go a long way toward keeping this team a powerhouse. At the foundation of their current rise to prominence has been a powerful offensive line. 

Tre Jackson will fit right in with the 49ers and help ensure physical dominance in the offensive trenches. 

 

31. Denver Broncos: Ramik Wilson, MLB, Georgia

The Broncos are really hard to project. They will either be looking to continue their excellence after another strong season or blow it up and start over. 

Either way, landing a quality middle linebacker like Ramik Wilson would be a good move. Wilson has good size and athleticism. With a big season, he has a chance to go much higher than No. 31. 

 

32. Seattle Seahawks: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Eastern Illinois or Missouri 

One of the things about doing a mock draft a year ahead of time is that we don't even know where everyone will be playing college football next season. This is rare, but Dorial Green-Beckham is in a unique position. 

Green-Beckham is probably headed toward Eastern Illinois after being dismissed from Missouri, but the Tigers have yet to release him for transfer.

None of this changes the fact he is a dynamic receiver with off-the-field issues. Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks won't be scared off by this.  

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