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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Landing Places for Sleeper Prospects and Biggest Names

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2014

Dec 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) at media day for the 2015 Rose Bowl at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The end of the 2014 NFL regular season has many football fans distraught, but for those who support a team that missed the postseason altogether, the attention and excitement have shifted to the 2015 draft.

Here are the latest 32 first-round picks predicted in the latest mock draft.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

The No. 1 overall pick is the perfect storm. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers desperately need a quarterback, and Oregon Ducks star and defending Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota has the playmaking ability to warrant the top selection in the draft.

2. Tennessee Titans: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

The Tennessee Titans have several needs, but the franchise must have rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines at the top of its priority list. The best offensive tackle on the board this year is Iowa’s Brandon Scherff.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

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The Jacksonville Jaguars should also look to add the best player available in the trenches. With Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory declaring for the draft, per NFL insider Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com's Mike Huguenin), the franchise should have a defensive game-changer.

4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr's performance is exactly what the Oakland Raiders needed, but the team must add a talented wide receiver to utilize his ability. If Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper slips to No. 4 overall, Oakland will have its man.

5. Washington Redskins: Leonard Williams, DL, USC

Many questions must be answered about quarterback Robert Griffin III's long-term future, but the Washington Redskins should be looking to draft the best player available at a position of need. USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams will be perfect.

6. New York Jets: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

The New York Jets fired both head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik Monday, and the new regime will likely want to move away from current starting quarterback Geno Smith. With former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State an option, the franchise should take the educated risk.

7. Chicago Bears: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri

One of the Chicago Bears' biggest issues this season was the inability to get a consistent pass rush. With a new coaching staff taking over, drafting an outside linebacker like Missouri’s Shane Ray would be a smart, fundamental addition.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

The Atlanta Falcons offense may have dropped the ball in Week 17, but the defense let the franchise down most this season. Without a consistent pass rush, Atlanta’s secondary was picked apart. Washington outside linebacker Shaq Thompson has the potential to be a star at the next level.

9. New York Giants: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

Adding a hard-hitting safety to the back end of the New York Giants secondary would be a major upgrade for a team that was beat deep down the middle this season.

10. St. Louis Rams: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Sam Bradford's injury history has raised questions about what the St. Louis Rams will do at quarterback, but head coach Jeff Fisher will draft the best player available. At No. 10 overall, that should be Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

While there were questions initially, the Minnesota Vikings may have found their quarterback of the future in rookie Teddy Bridgewater. If the franchise feels he is the long-term answer, surrounding him with an offensive tackle like Stanford’s Andrus Peat is the right course of action.

12. Cleveland Browns: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

With wide receiver Josh Gordon's future up in the air after a tumultuous season off the field, the Cleveland Browns must add depth and talent at the position. Cleveland should consider Louisville’s DeVante Parker.

Nov 1, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14)   before the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

13. New Orleans Saints: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

There is no doubt that the New Orleans Saints' biggest area of need is at cornerback, and one of the best prospects at the position is Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. This is the type of game-changing selection that could return New Orleans back to the postseason in 2015.

14. Miami Dolphins: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

The Miami Dolphins are a few pieces away from being a legitimate threat in the AFC. One piece the team needs is a viable middle linebacker for the future. An option to consider in the first round would be Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney.

15. San Francisco 49ers: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

Adding depth along the defensive line is a serious need. Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman would be a welcomed addition to the team.

16. Houston Texans: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Regardless of who is under center for the Houston Texans, protecting the quarterback must be a top priority. With the long-term future in mind, Houston should select Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.

17*. Kansas City Chiefs: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (will be determined by coin flip)

The Kansas City Chiefs went the whole season without a touchdown from a wide receiver. While the offensive game plan and the quarterback are a big reason for that, Kansas City needs to add depth and talent at the position.

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 11:  Vic Beasley #3 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after blocking a pass attempt against the Louisville Cardinals during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
Tyler Smith/Getty Images

18*. San Diego Chargers: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson (will be determined by coin flip)

The San Diego Chargers were on the cusp of making the postseason once again but came up just short. The team already has several talented players in the defensive front seven, but the team needs another explosive pass-rusher.

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills): Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

The Cleveland Browns need to figure out answers at quarterback. If Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel aren’t the solution, the franchise should take a risk and draft UCLA star Brett Hundley.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

The Philadelphia Eagles were devastated by opposing passing attacks throughout the season and need a viable cornerback to step right in and make a difference. With Florida State’s P.J. Williams playing in the biggest situations, his ability to transition to the NFL should be smooth.

21. Carolina Panthers: Danny Shelton, DL, Washington

Another team that must get better on both the offensive and defensive lines is the Carolina Panthers. There will be several viable options, but Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton has the tenacity head coach Ron Rivera loves from his players.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

The decision to cut former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was the right move by the franchise, but it left a void. Veteran Justin Forsett played well as the starter, but Baltimore should be strongly considering Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon as a first-round option.

23. Cincinnati Bengals: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida

Getting better in the trenches should be a major focus for the Cincinnati Bengals. If the team doesn’t find an offensive lineman that fits its mold, Florida defensive end Dante Fowler would be a welcomed addition to the defensive line.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

Despite some off-field issues, the Pittsburgh Steelers should take an educated risk on former Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. With a strong group of leaders on the roster, Peters would thrive in the Pittsburgh power structure.

25. Detroit Lions: Alex Carter, CB, Stanford

One of the Detroit Lions' biggest problems over the years has been a lack of depth and talent at cornerback. Addressing the issues in free agency hasn’t worked, so adding a talented player like cornerback Alex Carter of Stanford in the first round is worth the risk.

26. Indianapolis Colts: A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina

Protecting Andrew Luck needs to be the Indianapolis Colts’ top priority this offseason. Adding a guard like South Carolina's A.J. Cann would not only help keep the quarterback healthy, but it would also open holes for the rushing attack as well.

27. Arizona Cardinals: Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Most fans will expect the Arizona Cardinals to move up for a quarterback due to all of the injuries at the position this season, but head coach Bruce Arians understands how to win in the NFL. Adding a pass-rush specialist like Kentucky’s Alvin Dupree will be a big help on defense.

Al Goldis/Associated Press

28. Dallas Cowboys: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

The loss of DeMarcus Ware in the offseason left a void on the edge that the Dallas Cowboys have not filled yet. One possible option via the draft would be Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun.

29. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (FL)

During the season, the Green Bay Packers moved pass-rush specialist Clay Matthews to inside linebacker due to injuries. While he thrived at the position, he is more effective on the outside, and the franchise must find a middle linebacker as soon as possible. Miami’s Denzel Perryman is an ideal solution.

30. New England Patriots: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma

Any off-field issues that Oklahoma wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham dealt with during his time in college would be handled appropriately by the New England Patriots. With a strong and organized support system in the franchise, Brady would get the receiver of the future the franchise has missed.

31. Denver Broncos: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

Adding depth at the defensive tackle positions will be the key for the Denver Broncos this offseason. If the team doesn’t feel the free-agent market will yield a viable player, the franchise should select Florida State’s Eddie Goldman.

32. Seattle Seahawks: Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan

There aren’t too many areas of desperate need for the Seattle Seahawks, but the trade of Percy Harvin earlier this season has left a void at wide receiver. Michigan’s Devin Funchess can play both tight end and wide receiver, and that versatility will make him a weapon in the Seattle offense.

*Stats via NFL.com.