2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
I kicked off draft season here at BGO with my first Bears mock draft this week. For those of you who care about other teams besides our beloved Bears I will be mocking the entire first three rounds over the next couple days. Eventually I will expand the mock to all seven rounds like last year, but I am going to wait until the compensatory picks are announced since they will impact which players are available in the later rounds.
For accuracy purposes I have taken an average of the players draft slots on multiple mock drafts¹ to get an idea which players are going to be available in certain rounds. There are surprise picks every year and I’m pretty sure the first round has never been mocked with 100% success. Even the most knowledgable of draftniks aren’t going to get the majority of picks right, but for credibility purposes I got 13 picks right in my final mock last season which was my second best first round ever. If you have any issues with my picks this year or notice any mistakes, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
2015 NFL Mock Draft:
1.) Tampa Bay Bucs – QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6’4 | 215 | 4.52)
Tampa needs an upgrade at QB and this pick should come down to Mariota or Winston. While Winston may be more NFL ready right now, his off-field red flags will be enough of a concern for the ultra conservative Lovie Smith and the Bucs to lean towards Mariota. Before his sub-par national championship game, Mariota was considered a lock for the first overall pick and once teams evaluate his tape he should recapture the top slot in the draft. His overall body of work is more impressive than Winston’s and he has all the physical traits to be a top-tier NFL QB.
2.) Tennessee Titans – QB Jameis Winston, Florida St (6’4 | 235 | 4.86)
You can’t win without a QB. That thinking will ultimately push the Titans towards drafting Winston with the 2nd pick. He has all the on-field skills you look for in a QB. Unless some new off-field info comes out or he completely bombs his interview, the Titans will roll the dice with the talented QB at #2. If Winston’s off-field issues are too risky for the Titans, look for them to trade down.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars – DT/DE Leonard Williams, USC (6’5 | 298 | 4.82)
Williams in the #1 ranked player on my draft board and the Jags should be stoked about getting him with the 3rd pick. He’s a beast who can dominate when he wants to. If Gus Bradley can keep him motivated, the Jags defense could take a significant leap next year.
4.) Oakland Raiders – WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (6’1 | 210 | 4.52)
The Raiders have a lot of needs, but none more glaring then wide receiver. Their WR combo of James Jones and Andre Holmes may have been the worst in the league. Cooper is the clear #1 WR in this draft and would give young QB David Carr a reliable go-to option to spur his development.
5.) Washington Redskins – DE/OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska (6’6 | 245 | 4.76)
The Skins are another team with a number of holes to fill in the draft, but I can’t see them passing up a pass rusher with Gregory’s immense ceiling. He disappeared at times last year, but his highlight reel shows what he can do when motivated. Gregory should be able to step in at OLB right away and be an effective pass rusher.
6.) New York Jets – OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa (6’5 | 320 | 493)
If Cooper or either of the two top QBs fall they won’t get past the Jets here, but if not they need to do something to improve an offense that finished 28th in points per game. Scherff would be an upgrade at right tackle over Breno Giacomini or he can move inside to guard in the short-term and fill an immediate need then take over for either Ferguson or Giacomini outside in a season or two.
7.) Chicago Bears – DE/OLB Shane Ray, Missouri (6’3 | 245 | 4.54)
In new DC Vic Fangio’s first year with the 49ers they used the 7th overall pick to select an explosive pass rusher from Missouri, Aldon Smith. With it looking more likely that the Bears are switching to the hybrid 3-4 that Fangio installed in San Fran, a dangerous pass rusher to play the Aldon Smith roll makes a lot of sense here. Ray is an athletic freak with a non-stop motor off the edge.
8.) Atlanta Falcons – DE/OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson (6’2 | 235 | 458)
I could easily see the 7th & 8th picks being swapped as both teams have similar needs on defense and it will just come down to a matter of preference for the Bears. Atlanta switched to a 3-4 last year and struggled to generate any pass rush whatsoever. Beasley is one of the safest bets in the draft with an average of 13.5 sacks over the last two seasons and will give the Falcons a dynamic edge rusher that they just don’t have right now.
9.) New York Giants – DE Dante Fowler, Florida (6’2 | 261 | 4.78)
JPP is a free agent and they can’t keep waiting for Mathias Kiwanuka to contribute. Regardless of whether they re-sign Pierre-Paul, they need help on the edge and Fowler has the size, strength, and enough speed to be a dangerous pass rusher.
10.) St Louis Rams – OT Andrus Peat, Stanford (6’7 | 312 | 5.28)
With a defense that looked dominant at times during the 2nd half of the season, the Rams need to fill a few offensive holes this offseason. The offensive line should be priority one as they struggled to protect their QB and open holes in the run game. A combination of Peat on the left and last year’s #2 overall pick Greg Robinson on the right could be downright scary in a year or two.