2015 NFL Draft: 2-Round Mock Draft Update
With only a week to go until the 2015 NFL draft, it is time for one final two-round update. At this point in the process, the misinformation is everywhere, so being able to sift through the smokescreens and stick with the plan is important.
In this mock, we'll pair up teams with the top talent on the board at a position of need.
Changes at this point are subtler.
Understanding that this is a predictive tool and not a direct reflection of positional rankings, moving one player ahead of another is not about thinking they are better prospect. It is just assuming that a particular player will be drafted first.
So, having said all that, let’s take a look at this final two-round update. Oh, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: Jameis Winston, QB, FSU
Regardless of how you feel about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, it feels like a foregone conclusion that he will be the pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1 overall.
No one could fault the Buccaneers for this choice, as their quarterback situation is woeful.
That’s not to say that Winston is a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. While he does have a nice package of skills, he is still a work in progress. And no matter what he does on the field, Tampa Bay must be comfortable with him in terms of the off-field stuff if it is going to spend the top pick on him.
2. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Surprisingly, the view that Tennessee will select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota isn’t more prevalent. It seems that mocking USC star defensive end Leonard Williams at second overall is the near-consensus.
Is any team picking No. 2 really one defensive end away from turning the tide?
If Tennessee can’t find a way to make a big trade, the smart pick here is to just draft Mariota.
Yes, Williams is a tremendous football player, but when we talk about Super Bowl champions, it is never a case of that 5-technique making all the difference. The best 5-technique in the game, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, is powerless to fix his team’s terrible quarterback play.
Should the Titans draft Mariota, he would come with a "handle with caution" label. Tennessee offensive coordinator Jason Michael would have to be all in on putting an offense on the field that maximizes the skills of Mariota.
If you try to force him into a traditional NFL offense, he will struggle.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: Vic Beasley, LB, Clemson
If the Jaguars are set on improving their pass rush, adding Clemson defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley is the way to go. He is a beast coming off the edge and can use his combination of explosion and incredible balance to really turn the corner in a hurry.
If the Jaguars aren’t sold on Beasley, Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. could be the pick here as well.
Both provide excellent athletic packages. However, in terms of experience and college production, Beasley trumps Fowler on all fronts. Beasley is a beast and has the look of a truly elite pass-rusher at the NFL level.
4. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
If your team has multiple needs, it is often best to simply draft the highest-rated player on your board and plug them into the lineup. For the Oakland Raiders, there are multiple directions they could go in with this pick.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Oakland to draft its top wide receiver here to give quarterback Derek Carr another weapon.
Along the same lines, with the talent among the pass-rushing specialists in this draft, adding a player to lineup opposite linebacker Khalil Mack makes sense as well. However, for this exercise, the pick is USC defensive end Leonard Williams.
The former USC star is a safe pick with a high ceiling and almost no risk of disappointing in the league. Picking Williams may not translate to wins, but he will make that defense more competitive.
5. Washington Redskins
The Pick: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida
The Washington Redskins have an excellent pass-rushing outside linebacker on the roster in Ryan Kerrigan. He is relentless in his pursuit and quite disruptive. So it stands to reason that if you add a player opposite him who can do similar things, it makes the entire defense better.
Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. has perhaps the best combination of size and athleticism of any player in this draft.
At 261 pounds, Fowler has the power to set the edge against the run. With his exceptional length (6'3" with 33 ¾-inch arm length) and dynamic first step, his potential to be a pure pass-rusher is high, albeit untapped.
6. New York Jets
The Pick: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
With no quarterback left on the board, the New York Jets turn their attention to bolstering the weapons around the ones they do have.
The Jets already made a huge move by bringing in wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall is a huge target (6'4", 230 lbs) and plays a very physical game. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a guy on the current roster who can be the lightning to Marshall’s thunder.
That’s where Alabama’s Amari Cooper comes in. He gets the edge over West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White here because Cooper’s style pairs well with Marshall's without being redundant.
In addition, his more complex route tree would give the Jets much more versatility on offense.
7. Chicago Bears
The Pick: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
To contrast the previous pick by the Jets, the Chicago Bears are in the market for a wide receiver because the aforementioned Marshall is now in New York. However, with Cooper gone, the Bears will try to replace Marshall by adding West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (6'3", 215 lbs).
White is an interesting prospect and a player who seems to be gaining a ton of momentum in the media as the draft approaches.
I'm not convinced he’s worth a pick this high, but for Chicago, he would definitely fill a need.
8. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: Randy Gregory, DE/LB, Nebraska
It appears that one of the worst-kept secrets in the entire draft is that the Atlanta Falcons are keying on a pass-rushing specialist of some sort early in this draft.
This draft has them in all shapes and sizes, and at this point, the Falcons have a few different directions they can go in.
This time around, the Falcons select Nebraska DE/LB Randy Gregory. Gregory is a tremendous athlete with a really diverse game. With his length (6'5" with 34-inch arm length) and explosion, he is comfortable in space and can close in a hurry. However, the reason for drafting Gregory is his ability to get to the quarterback as a defensive end or linebacker.
9. New York Giants
The Pick: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
A pick doesn’t have to be exciting in order to be effective. Whereas the picks leading up to this one have been kind of flashy, the New York Giants opt for a conservative but effective choice.
Building a dominant offensive line never goes out of style.
Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff is easily the best offensive line prospect in this draft. His resume is unmatched among the rest of this class and he is as starter-ready as any prospect at the position. The Giants can start Scherff at guard or tackle and expect him to play at a very high level.
10. St. Louis Rams
The Pick: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Looking over the roster of the St. Louis Rams, there are several spots where depth can be addressed, but no glaring weaknesses. That makes this a prime spot for a trade down.
The strength of this draft class is its depth, and that means the player who comes off the board here isn’t that much more talented than the players well below them.
If the Rams do sit tight, adding Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes makes a lot of sense here. His length (6'0" with 31-inch arm length) and press-man skills would pair nicely with Janoris Jenkins on the other side. It would also allow E.J. Gaines to slide inside at a slot cornerback, which suits him much better.
11. Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
In previous mock drafts, I have put Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker in this spot.
In this one, I'll jump to defense and add a physical cornerback. Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson is another one of those fast-rising prospects who finds himself climbing draft boards.
He would pair nicely with Xavier Rhodes and give the Vikings a pair of cornerbacks who can dominate the boundaries with their physicality.
12. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
At this point, all bets are off with what the Cleveland Browns are going to do with this pick. This team has more holes than a leaky tugboat, so one would hope it opts for the player who can help the Browns win early.
That’s why the Browns snatch up Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker.
If you really study Parker’s game closely, it is hard to see a huge divide between him and Cooper, and both are more complete football players than White. It’s tough to say who will be throwing to Parker in 2015, but in terms of an overall weapon in the passing game, he is hard to beat.
13. New Orleans Saints
The Pick: Shane Ray, LB, Missouri
If this is how the actual first round of the draft unfolds, fans of the New Orleans Saints would have to be pretty excited. This is a defense that could greatly benefit from an improved pass rush.
There have been many resources poured into the secondary, but without pressure on the quarterback, it just doesn’t matter.
If concerns over Missouri DE/LB Shane Ray’s triangle numbers are enough to keep him available this long, then the Saints are the winners. Ray takes a lot of heat for some poor drills run on a bad toe, but the film shows he is a relentless pass-rusher who can torment anyone with the football.
14. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
Now, I am OK putting Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman here based on projections that his speed (4.24- and 4.27-second times in the 40-yard dash) and athleticism have put him in the first round. Three of CBSSports.com's four mock drafts feature Perriman in the first round.
I am also OK putting him here based on the need the Miami Dolphins have for a speed guy up outside to complement Greg Jennings and Jarvis Landry.
However, for all of Perriman’s speed, his game is still far from complete. He can check off the boxes for measurables, but this is a clear situation where projections trump my personal positional rankings.
15. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
The San Francisco 49ers defense has reached a tipping point. As it enters the season, it will be without linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland (both retired). In addition, the 49ers could be without defensive end Justin Smith, who is contemplating retirement.
This means there is no time to waste when it comes to reloading on talent.
And what better for a new group of linebackers than a mass of humanity (6'2", 339 lbs) at nose tackle to keep them clean?
Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton could be exactly what this team needs for the healing to begin. Shelton would offer the 49ers some versatility along the defensive line in terms of moving a guy like Ian Williams to defensive end.
16. Houston Texans
The Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
The departure of wide receiver Andre Johnson has left a void the Houston Texans haven’t had to deal with since he was drafted in the first round in 2003.
Now the Texans return to the first round in 2015 to try to find his replacement.
However, which wide receiver should they pick? There are several guys rated pretty closely at this point. Which one would pair up best with the speedy DeAndre Hopkins?
Put me down for Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham. Of the next few wide receivers available, he is the most physically imposing (6'5", 237 lbs) and the one who will command the most attention down the field. Green-Beckham’s presence would open up the underneath areas for Hopkins and command double-teams.
17. San Diego Chargers
The Pick: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Now that running back Ryan Mathews has headed east to the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Diego Chargers can experience a fresh start at the running back position. With no one on the roster to inspire confidence, this new chapter will almost certainly begin at the draft.
According to CBSSports.com, there are two running backs who have garnered first-round attention. Unfortunately for the Chargers, only one is a viable target.
Even if you believe Georgia running back Todd Gurley is a better player, questions surrounding his availability for the 2015 season (recovering from a torn ACL) mean the Chargers have to look to Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
Gordon is the epitome of an NFL running back. Lean (6'1", 215 lbs) and fast with exceptional vision and burst. Gordon is patient in the hole, but once he gets to the second level, his speed (4.52-second 40-yard dash) allows him to simply run away from defenders.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
With all the finger-pointing that took place in Kansas City about what was wrong with the offense, there wasn’t nearly enough attention on how poorly the offensive line played.
The Chiefs' line was picked clean and underperformed all year in 2014.
That’s why the smart pick here is LSU tackle La’el Collins. With the former LSU star, Kansas City would have a guy who can come in and start at guard immediately while he adds polish to his game. Once Collins learns how to translate his power and athleticism into technique, he will make for an exceptional all-around right tackle.
19. Cleveland (from Buffalo Bills)
The Pick: Eddie Goldman, DT, FSU
As the Cleveland Browns go back on the clock, they turn their attention to the defensive side of the football. The Browns need help along the defensive line at both end and nose tackle, as they are struggling to keep their linebackers clean.
If the Browns can steal Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman this late, it would make for a very productive and efficient first day.
Goldman is a massive dancing bear at 6'4", 336 pounds. He possesses a nice mix of power and athletic ability that would find a home inside or outside in Cleveland's 3-4 defense.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Assuming the Philadelphia Eagles don’t pull off the trade of the century to get Mariota, they are probably stuck here adding a playmaker to their defense.
Yes, getting Mariota would be huge for this franchise, but it would also be so expensive.
Instead, the Eagles add hard-hitting Alabama safety Landon Collins. Adding him to that secondary means Brandon Boykin stays at cornerback. Collins would represent a fantastic eventual replacement for safety Earl Wolff.
Collins gets downhill in a hurry and finishes plays with authority. He has limited range now but seems very coachable and will improve over the deep middle.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
For the Cincinnati Bengals, the reality is that sooner rather than later, they are going to have to either pay tackle Andre Smith or let him walk. Spotrac indicates he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2016.
It’s tough to see Cincinnati throwing a lot of money at Smith, so it is time to get his replacement on the roster.
Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat is one of the most underrated linemen in this draft. He flashes both power and technique, and is a sneaky athlete in a gigantic body (6'7", 313 lbs). Yes, he needs to be more consistent, but you don’t put together the resume that Peat did at Stanford if you can’t play.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: Bud Dupree, DE/LB, Kentucky
If the first round actually plays out like this, it will truly be the best-case scenario for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is a team in desperate need of a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree has all the makings of a great one. He’s powerful at the point of attack and a frightening athlete at 6'4", 269 pounds.
With a year on this team with linebacker James Harrison to mentor him and defensive assistant Joey Porter to coach him up, Dupree could become downright elite. He's bigger, stronger and much faster than former first-round pick Jarvis Jones. Dupree ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash compared to Jones' 4.92 (Georgia pro day).
In addition, the former is much more effective as a traditional pass-rusher.
23. Detroit Lions
The Pick: Eric Rowe, CB, Utah
With the Detroit Lions on the clock, there are a couple of ways this pick can go.
Detroit would benefit from help on the offensive line, but this group of prospects is more about potential than instant production. The Lions also need a defensive tackle, but there just isn’t value here.
Instead, the Lions draft the Swiss Army knife of defensive backs in this draft in Utah’s Eric Rowe. He would give Detroit the flexibility to add either a starting cornerback or safety, both of which are spots they need to bolster.
24. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
The Arizona Cardinals have gone to great lengths to make this offense more physical, adding beef along the offensive line to strengthen a struggling run game.
So if you are going to build a power-rushing game, why not add the top power back in the draft?
Arizona snatches up Georgia’s Todd Gurley here to be the hammer of this offense. Gurley might not be ready for the start of the season, but with fellow running back Andre Ellington in the fold, there’s no real rush to get him up to speed.
Once Gurley is healthy, the two backs would be able to just batter defenses and then run right by them.
25. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
When you have a franchise quarterback like Cam Newton under center, you need to do all you can to help him. In 2014, Newton was plagued by mediocre offensive line play.
In 2015, they attempt to right that ship by adding the athletic D.J. Humphries from Florida to plug in at left tackle.
Humphries is an amazingly athletic tackle prospect with some really great film from 2014. He has lapses, but in terms of risk vs. reward, his ceiling is incredibly high. His ability to set up quickly and close off the outside is rare—even in this class.
26. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
After letting Torrey Smith sign with the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens have a definite need at wide receiver.
Even if Marlon Brown has a breakout season, 35-year-old Steve Smith can’t play forever. That’s why adding Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong makes so much sense. Strong is a powerful, physical wide receiver with natural hands and exceptional body control.
27. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
I’m sure the Dallas Cowboys hoped defensive end Greg Hardy would face a minimal suspension when they signed him. However, the NFL has handed him a 10-game suspension.
This means defensive end is back to being the top priority for this team. There are several very good edge-rushers left, but UCLA product Owamagbe Odighizuwa is the best value at this point in the round. He is a stout defensive end who can overpower tight ends and running backs, and win with a nice bull rush against offensive tackles.
28. Denver Broncos
The Pick: Cameron Erving, C, FSU
One of the most astonishing transformations in college football last year was how Florida State's Cameron Erving went from being an average offensive tackle to a downright elite center.
In fact, he’s so good that endorsing him as a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos is easy. Erving would be a plug-and-play option for the next decade as the leader of the offensive line.
29. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
As much as the Indianapolis Colts would really like to add a pass-rushing specialist, the value just isn’t there at this point.
So instead the Colts look to offense and add a player who can help get the run game in gear. That player is Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers. It’s hard to say which Flowers the Colts would get, but if you bank on it being the good one, this pick is a steal.
30. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Right now, the Green Bay Packers have starting defensive ends named Josh Boyd and Mike Daniels. Before you run to Wikipedia for more info, don’t bother. Both are pretty average players as 5-techniques.
University of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown is a great pass-rushing tackle who could slide outside and come off the edge at 6'2", 319 pounds.
31. New Orleans (from Seattle Seahawks)
The Pick: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
After losing both tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Kenny Stills, the New Orleans Saints must inject some talent back into this offense.
Since 31-year-old wide receiver Marques Colston can’t play forever, the future is Brandin Cooks. So why not add a talent like USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor to line up across from him? Agholor is one of those sneaky guys who will end up in the first round and surprise everyone.
Agholor does everything well and can work in a pro-style offense with complex route concepts immediately.
32. New England Patriots
The Pick: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
If there is any team in the NFL that can get the most out of Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead, it's New England.
No player passes the eyeball test like Armstead, but when you put on a game, what shows up on screen is often underwhelming. There’s no doubt Armstead is big (6'7", 292 lbs) and strong, but without a real burst and poor hand usage, it’s clear he’s more of a project than his measurables might lead one to believe.
Nevertheless, in New England, he can work as a 5-technique defensive end in their base sets and then slide inside when things get a bit more creative.
Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
The Titans scoop up one of the most productive and disruptive players in all of college football.
Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
The Buccaneers need an edge-rusher, and Smith is grossly underrated.
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
The Raiders bring in a huge target in Funchess for quarterback Derek Carr.
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt
Jacksonville gets excellent value with the athletic and talented Clemmings.
New York Jets
Eli Harold, LB, Virginia
For all the talent on the Jets defense, pass-rushing outside linebacker is one spot that can use an upgrade. Harold offers a solid pass-rushing threat on the outside.
Marcus Peters, CB ,Washington
There’s no way the talented Peters should fall this far, but for this exercise, the Redskins get perhaps the best value of the draft.
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Last season, the Bears drafted a cornerback in the first round. This year, they get him a running mate in the second.
New York Giants
Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
The Giants love linebackers who can move, and Dawson seems to always be near the football.
Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
You can never have enough weapons on offense, so St. Louis picks a player with so much untapped potential in Williams.
Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
With how poorly the Falcons' offensive line played in 2014, bringing in Fisher to play opposite Jake Matthews makes all kinds of sense.
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Here’s to hoping that this quarterback selection for the Browns works out better than their last one.
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
He may not be ready this season, but the Texas A&M star is the answer at right tackle for this team down the road.
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
The Vikings get a deep threat for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the talented and athletic Coates.
Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
San Francisco has multiple holes at linebacker, and Thompson is the type of talent who can play all over the field.
Byron Jones, CB, UConn
Miami fills a void on defense with the uber-athletic Jones.
Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
Considering where this pick happens, the Chargers might have gotten the best value in the round.
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
If quarterback Alex Smith can get the ball deep, Smith will be there waiting for it.
Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami
If the Bills want to add a physical presence in the middle of that defense, Perryman is the enforcer they need.
P.J. Williams, CB, FSU
The Texans move to the defensive side of the football and add a playmaker in Williams.
A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina
Not exactly an exciting pick, but Cann will help the Eagles from the very first snap.
Ronald Darby, CB, FSU
Cincinnati gets a running mate for last year’s first-round cornerback, Darqueze Dennard.
Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
The Lions get a nice replacement for Nick Fairley with the powerful Davis.
Hau’oli Kikaha, LB, Washington
Arizona gets an incredibly prolific outside linebacker prospect in Kikaha.
Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
Carter excels in zone and off-man coverage, which makes him a great fit for the Steelers.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
After letting DeAngelo Williams leave, the Panthers draft a running back to replace him.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
The Ravens have some interesting running backs, but none who can carry the load like Johnson.
Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
Offensive line in the first and defensive line in the second with the talented yet inconsistent Bennett.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Adbullah is a great fit for the Cowboys with his ability to cut and get up the field.
Danielle Hunter, LB, LSU
With the Colts' linebacker situation, drafting Hunter and letting him sit and learn for a year makes a ton of sense.
Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
Cornerback isn’t a top need, but the athletic Rollins is too good to pass up here.
Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
The Seahawks love multiple fronts, and a 329-pound man who can move like Phillips (5.17-second 40-yard dash) would be an excellent fit.
Rashad Greene, WR, FSU
Tom Brady needs a reliable target who can get chunks of yards, and Greene is terribly underrated.