2015 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 – Round 2
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
39.) Chicago Bears – ILB Stephone Anthony, Clemson
The ILBs in Vic Fangio’s schemes with the Niners were athletic, versatile players who excelled in both run support and pass coverage. The Bears have no players capable of that currently on their roster except perhaps 2nd year LB Christian Jones. Former 2nd round pick Jon Bostic could flourish under Fangio’s tutelage, but that leaves the Bears with two “maybes” at ILB. I was tempted to take a pass rusher with this pick, but with a glut of potential OLBs and a shortage of ILBs, Anthony is the right choice. He has the speed and athleticism to be a sideline-to-sideline run stopper, the size to cover tight ends, and the instincts to be an effective blitzer when needed. Anthony has the potential to be a NaVarro Bowman type player for the Bears and could be a steal in the 2nd round.
40.) New York Giants – OLB Shaq Thompson, Washington
Like the Bears, the Giants used to be known for their bad-ass linebackers, but the last few years they have suffered from a lack of talent and athleticism. The Giants seemed to have found a late round gem in OLB Devon Kinnard in last year’s draft but they still need upgrades at the other two LB positions. Thompson is an elite athlete, who is a bit raw, but could develop into a dynamic run stopper who also excels in pass coverage. There is talk of moving Thompson to strong safety where he could help the Giants as well.
41.) St. Louis Rams – WR Sammie Coates, Auburn
The Rams have a bunch of small, quick receivers, but now have a QB that can throw deep (Foles) and Coates gives them a receiver who can get down field in a hurry. He’s raw and struggles with the route tree, but his size / speed combo is elite and Coates gives the Rams a weapon that can take the top off defenses and open things up underneath for their short wide receivers and Tre Mason.
42.) Atlanta Falcons – OLB Eli Harold, Virginia
Two OLBs in the first two rounds may seem like overkill, but the Falcons pass rush was atrocious last year and new HC Dan Quinn is a defensive guru. No matter how good of a coach Quinn is, they need talent to get to the QB and Harold has a first round grade in my book. He is a steal this late and gives the Falcons two explosive edge rushers to re-build their defense around.
43.) Cleveland Browns – TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
The Browns lost TE Jordan Cameron which leaves them with literally no receiving weapons at the tight end position. Williams isn’t as an explosive athlete as Cameron but he is a better blocker and has natural hands. He should be good for around 50 catches, 600 yards and 5-6 TDs a year. Solid pick for the Browns at a position of need.
44.) New Orleans Saints – ILB Denzel Perryman, Miami
The Saints cut long time MLB Curtis Lofton due to declining performance over the last few seasons and a big cap number. Perryman is a similar player who can shut down the run between the hashes and be an intimidating hitter inside.
45.) Minnesota Vikings – CB Jalen Collins, LSU
They have a couple decent sub package corners in Munnerlyn and Newman, but neither is a true #2 corner. Collins would give the Vikings two starting corners over 6 feet tall with the speed and agility of smaller players. With all the tall WRs in the NFC North having two quality corners with size is a huge advantage.
46.) San Francisco 49ers – G Laken Tomlinson, Duke
With the loss of Pro Bowl G Mike Iupati the Niners need depth at guard and Tomlinson has the potential to become a solid starter at the the position. He has all the power, smarts, and footwork to become a Pro Bowler like Iupati and has the awareness to start as a rookie. Tomlinson was the only interior lineman who could consistently block Danny Shelton at the Senior Bowl.
47.) Miami Dolphins – WR Devin Smith, Ohio St
The Dolphins traded deep threat Mike Wallace to the Vikings this offseason, but replace him here with a possible upgrade in Devin Smith. The WR group of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and Devin Smith could be surprisingly dangerous for the Dolphins this season. If QB Ryan Tannehill takes a step forward, the Dolphins offense could make a leap from average to dangerous.
48.) San Diego Chargers – C/OG Cameron Erving, Florida St
Long time Chargers center Nick Hardwick has announced his retirement leaving them without a competent replacement at the position. Erving has the athleticism to play almost anywhere on the O-line and could start at center as a rookie for the Bolts.
49.) Kansas City Chiefs – WR Nelson Agholor, USC
Might be the 2nd best route runner in the draft after Amari Cooper and may be more elusive after the catch. He doesn’t have the size or strength of Cooper, but has reliable hands, can run the full NFL route tree, and is polished enough to play as a rookie. Agholor could be a perfect fit for the Cheifs short passing game with the ability to turn Alex Smith’s short passes into big plays.
50.) Buffalo Bills – QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
The Bills don’t have a QB. There are multiple opinions on who is the 3rd best QB in the draft, but I think Petty is Rex Ryan’s guy. He has a strong arm, NFL athleticism, leadership skills, and the cockiness that I think Ryan considers an essential trait in QBs. Petty maybe a reach in round 2, but I don’t think the Bills will risk him not being available in round 3. The rest of the 23 starters on the Bills roster are pretty solid, they just need a QB.
51.) Houston Texans – C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
The Texans released veteran C Chris Myers due to salary cap issues and need a quality replacement. Luckily for them, they find one in Hroniss Grasu who is the best center in this class. He’s a team leader who can make adjustments at the line, excel as both a run and pass blocker, and has All-Pro potential.
52.) Philadelphia Eagles – DE/OLB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
The Eagles let OLB Trent Cole leave in free agency and need a replacement pass rusher off the edge. Kikaha is a tweener who might not be fluid enough to be a stand up OLB or big enough to be a 4-3 DE. What Kikaha can do is get to the QB, which is exactly what the Eagles need.
53.) Cincinnati Bengals – DE Nate Orchard, Utah
The Bengals D-line fell apart last year but the additions of Malcolm Brown and Orchard could fix things in a hurry. They brought back Michael Johnson, but he was so bad last year that I’m not sure how much the Bengals can expect from him. Orchard has a powerful punch, quick first step, and the non-stop motor needed to be an effective pass rusher in the NFL.
54.) Detroit Lions – OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
The Lions got a solid rookie reason out of undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle in 2013, but he was mediocre at best in 2014 and they could use a replacement. They are also facing a decision on LT Riley Reiff’s 5th year option at around $7M, so they could use another option at tackle. Ogbuehi is coming off an ACL injury but going into the 2014 season he was considered a lock to be a top 10 pick due to his exceptional footwork and is a steal this late in round 2. He could potentially help out at either tackle position or slide inside to guard.