Happy draft day, everyone! Let’s cut to the chase! One final mock…
– Writing is on the wall. This is a done deal. I wish we lived in a world where a high character kid like Mariota goes before an immature man child, but we don’t. Thus is life. I will say this though…Winston’s IQ in terms of football Xs and Os is off the charts. The only thing that could possibly keep Winston from being a quality starter next season is his maturity. Otherwise? He already has all the tools and on the field smarts to excel from day 1.
– Just when we thought the Titans had settled on taking Mariota, now we’re being told that it was a smokescreen and that they’re still looking to trade the pick…and that the Browns have actually offered picks #12 and #19 to move up for their new QB crush. And now the Bears are apparently even in play. So you know what? I’m done splitting hairs over who’s picking here or not. It’s going to be Mariota, regardless of the team choosing here.
If I had to guess, I think the Browns truly are infatuated with Mariota and will make the move here.
– Sticking to my guns here. There’s been a lot of talk of late featuring Dante Fowler and Amari Cooper…but the Jaguars tend to tighten up their lips about the player they truly love, and I think that’s what’s happening here with Leonard Williams. He’s so good that I think other teams are also keeping their mouths shut in hopes of him falling. Not going to happen.
– Do the Raiders need a WR? Absolutely. Amari Cooper would be a very, very wise pick to make here. But with new head coach Jack Del Rio brought in to improve their defense, and considering they selected Khalil Mack last year, it’s clear that this team’s identity is on defense moving forward here. Pairing Mack with Fowler on the edges would make this defense’s pass rush incredibly lethal. Sky’s the limit when you can get to the QB at will and force mistakes.
– Washington reportedly wants to move down—desperately. After the flop that was the RGIII deal and losing out on many picks over the years, they’d love to add additional ones back now to help make up for it.
Given how Cooper is a top talent in this draft yet somehow falls to #5 in my mock, I think they trade down to the highest bidder for Cooper. Teams will be calling for him. He’s that good. The way he effortlessly glides across the field is truly a sight to behold. If I could only predict one player out of this entire draft to succeed in the NFL…it’s this guy. He’s as close to, “can’t miss” as you could possibly get.
– New York is one of the teams I’m most excited for this upcoming season. Their additions this past season on defense, and even offense to some degree, have been marvelous. The primary thing their defense could really use is speed on the edge. That’s Beasley, in a nutshell. Some are concerned that he’s a one trick pony and that he gets pushed off the line far too easily…but you can’t teach that explosiveness off the snap. New head coach Todd Bowles should know how to maximize his athletic abilities.
– While the Bears need to work on adding players that fit into their new 3-4 defensive scheme, there seem to be too many dots connecting to Kevin White right now for this to be any other pick. Their record next season falls squarely on the shoulders of the offense…and to keep it firing on all cylinders, drafting a talent like White would help them fill in the need left by losing Brandon Marshall to NY.
– I don’t like how people assume Atlanta will either go for Gurley or a pass rusher here…and absolutely nothing else. If Kevin White were still available, he would’ve been the perfect fit in an offense that includes Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White. But since he’s gone, I’m going to take off my hipster hat go with the crowd by giving in to the pass rush discussion.
People question the competition Dupree went up against at a less prestigious school like Buffalo, especially since he didn’t do much when he did actually play against some of the bigger names in college football…but he brings quite the unique blend of strength and speed to the table. New head coach Dann Quinn would assuredly love to have a player like that to mold and fit into that stellar blueprint he brought over with him from Seattle.
– I love this pick for New York if it comes to fruition. 2nd year WR Odell Beckham Jr. already looks like one of the 3 best WRs in the NFL. Adding Parker to the mix can only help Beckham become even more lethal on the sidelines.
Yes, they do still have Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle…but Cruz was unfortunately inured late into the 2014 season and he could start this upcoming season on the PUP list. As for Randle? He’s shown flashes…but nothing more. Parker would hopefully make for a much more consistent red zone threat and display A.J. Green like prowess with his superior length.
– Jeff Fisher is a power run coach with an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. With all their free agent additions this offseason, the defense is looking like it could be top 3 overall in 2015. Now they need to turn their attention to their ailing offensive, and it begina with the offensive line. They recently cut ties with starting LT Jake Long, and their depth is pretty lacking. Adding Scherff not only provides them with stability in the run game, but imagine Scherff next to last year’s #2 overall pick, Greg Robinson, for the next 10+ years. Those two are going to throw bodies around in a fashion reminiscent of the video game, “NFL Blitz.”
– Mike Zimmer has a knack for working with troubled cornerbacks who have great talent. Take away Peters’ off field issues, and he’s the #1 CB in this draft—with a bullet. This is a quintessential Mike Zimmer/Rick Spielman pick. Fans are going to be up in arms, but Zimmer’s going to be able to talk everyone down off the ledge when he addresses how he can use Peters in his system. Much like last year when he had to convince fans Anthony Barr was the right pick. And surprise…he was.
In Zimmer we trust.
– Whether it’s Tennessee or Cleveland making the pick here…I like Gurley as the #12 overall pick. I think there’s a shot Minnesota could take him, but if not…Cleveland could certainly use Gurley, a top 5 talent in this draft, as trade bait. Or they could just keep the kid and watch him run wild. That works too…
– I’m having trouble placing Peat. Some teams love him as a top 10 pick, and others think he belongs in the late first round. I guess I tend to agree with the former. His technique has gone under fire…and some don’t think he’s fast/quick enough on his feet to pull off being a blue collar LT, but the key size and length are there. If nothing else, he should be a quality RT.
– Perriman has the speed and talent to be a top 10 pick. I mean 4.24 and 4.27 in the 40 yard dash at 6’2/6’3? That’s remarkable. And the Dolphins could use another player to stretch the field and help Ryan Tannehill get his vertical passing game going. The problem here though is drops. Drops drops drops. Perriman drops the easy to catch balls, and that’s a massive problem. As a Vikings fan who remembers the Troy Williamson days all too well…all I can do is hold my breath for the fans of whichever team he ends up on.
– After picks #1 and #2, Armstead to the 49ers seems to be the the most predicted guess out there among mock drafters. So nothing else to see here. Something about beating a dead fish with a horse or something. Moving on…
– After Winston and Mariota go back to back as the first and second picks in the draft, the big story of the night is going to be how far both Randy Gregory and Shane Ray fall after their off field troubles involving injury (Ray), questionable attitude (Gregory), and issues with marijuana. Ah yes…the unofficial juice of the NFL…
Many have Gregory dropping down pretty far. Some even have Gregory falling out of the first round completely. I don’t see it, though. The talent is there. You can’t teach what Gregory brings to the table. He’s long, lean, athletic frame is going to make some team looking to help the pass rush very happy. And on a team that also sports J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney? Holy cow. If they can find a way to bring it all together with these guys, that’d be a sight to behold.
– One of the harder picks to project. On talent and size alone, he’s a top 15 pick. The off the field issues though? That’s tough, especially when one of the whispers going around is that he pushed a woman down a flight of stairs. So the question is…does anyone really want to go anywhere near that? Teams appear to be interested, though. And we know for a fact that certain teams just don’t care about off the field issues. So here we are… *cricket*
– RB Melvin Gordon would be a very reasonable selection here…but San Diego’s run defense up the middle is so porous that I don’t think they let a massive NT like Danny Shelton slip past this spot.
– Now remember, I’m part of the club that thinks Cleveland will be trading this pick to Tennessee…but since we can’t be certain of that, I’m going to make a selection here that would make sense for both teams. It’s a bit of a darkhorse…but I like Jaelen Strong here. Both the Titans and Browns brought him in for a private workout, and I feel as if he’s one of the better WRs who’s been severely under the radar. Big, downfield target who can really soar up high to nab jump balls.
– Another receiver that’s really under the radar…at least by media standards. Watching the ball squeeze into Agholor’s hands with pure ease is like watching two magnets come together. Much like Amari Cooper, I think Agholor is one of the safer prospects in this draft and will do plenty of damage in Chip Kelly’s offense.
– There have been reports that the Bengals are looking for their LT/RT of the future. Current LT Andrew Whitworth even came out publicly to “dare” the Bengals to try drafting someone to replace him. So clearly there’s more than just smoke to this rumor.
We’ve heard names like D.J. Humphries and Jake Fisher thrown out there, but I’m completely buying into the Jake Fisher rumors here. There aren’t many quality, true blue LTs in this draft, but Fisher qualifies with his length, speed, and quickness. All 3 are vital to be a successful starting LT in the NFL.
– Jones had one of the most jaw drop worthy performances in combine history. His epic broad jump transcended far beyond NFL circles. And hey…he’s not too bad at football either.
The Steelers lost some of their secondary to old age, including future hall of famer Troy Polamalu. Time to rejuvenate the unit.
– This is what happens when you lose both of your star DTs…
– This would be a best case scenario for Arizona…and worst case for the team looking to trade Adrian Peterson. Unless, that is, this pick is being made for Minnesota…….
– The Panthers refused to fix their offensive line woes last offseason. Look for them not to make that same mistake twice. Protecting Cam Newton is priority A.
– This is either going to make or break my mock draft. Many have Waynes listed as a top 15 pick. I just don’t see it…not with those hips and lack of mobility. You can’t have a gator as a star CB. Still though…the talent and straight end speed are all there—in spades. Here’s hoping his hips loosen up with proper training.
– There’s bound to be a team willing to risk a pick on Shane Ray in the late 1st round. He could start the season on the PUP list…and he may be going through off field issues right now…but his relentlessness and motor are bar none. Some team is going to end up very happy taking a shot on this kid.
– New head coach, Gary Kubiak, builds his running game around a zone blocking scheme that requires athletic, quick moving tackles. D.J. Humphries not only qualifies, but some would even consider him to be a steal at the end of round 1 here. He also projects as a possible guard, and versatility along the O-Line is always a bonus.
– The only positions the Colts still haven’t addressed so far this offseason have been O-Line help/depth, namely at C and RT. So fancy that a guy like Erving, considered to be the top C in this draft and also an excellent OT if need be, falls right into their laps.
– Arguably the best coverage LB in the draft, Kendricks will help offset the “loss” of longtime GB linebacker A.J. Hawk. I think DT Jordan Phillips out of Oklahoma could also be a real possibility here.
– It’s becoming more and more evident that any team looking to draft QB Bryce Petty is going to have to do it near the top of round 2. But it looks like the Saints coukd do you one better and nab him in late round 1 instead to leapfrog teams like the Jets and Bills in round 2.
– The Patriots seem to always pounce on talented prospects who slip through the cracks, Ogbuehi qualifies. Earlier in the 2014 season and before his late season injury, Ogbuehi was once thought of as a consensus top 5 pick.
There you have it, folks! I leave you with cake!
After the draft tonight, I get to go see the premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. So I thought I’d celebrate with a theme here! Hope everyone has a great draft night!