I will assume the role of general manager for all 32 NFL teams in this mock draft, my third one of 2015. My philosophy: teams should utilize the draft primarily to upgrade their talent, factoring in need only when it properly meets skill.
Expect the first round to have multiple trades, but I didn't factor any into this mock. Hope you enjoy and feel free to let me know your thoughts @realshaunking.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State) – There were recent reports stating that Tampa may be leaning toward selecting Marcus Mariota or trading this pick. Believe none of them. Winston is the best QB prospect to enter the NFL since Andrew Luck. Tampa has multiple holes on its roster but none bigger than at QB.
2. Tennessee Titans
The pick: Leonard Williams (DE, USC) – I expect the Chargers, Eagles, Browns and possibly the Rams to try and trade up to select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. In this instance, none of the offers satisfy the Titans' asking price. So they select the Trojans' defensive lineman. Williams is talented, versatile and, most important, the safe pick. His ability to play multiple spots along the line, and fit a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme has defensive coordinator Ray Horton all smiles.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama) – The top priority is to see Blake Bortles succeed. Cooper is a complete WR in his route running, speed, hands and production. Adding him to the Jags' offense makes Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee better. I was tempted to go pass rusher here but providing a young QB with an elite weapon won out.
4. Oakland Raiders
The pick: Kevin White (WR, West Virginia) – The phone is ringing off the hook as teams try and trade up to get Dante Fowler Jr. Alas, no trades in this mock draft. The temptation to go defense here is heavy, especially with defensive-minded Jack Del Rio shouting, "Dante, Dante, Dante!" I stick to my belief that in order for a young QB to succeed you have to surround him with pass protection and weapons. I'm nervous selecting White because his prime collegiate production was for only one year, but his potential and elite athleticism give him the nod over DeVante Parker.
5. Washington Redskins
The pick: Randy Gregory (OLB, Nebraska) – The Redskins have a gaping hole at edge rusher. From a pure talent standpoint, Gregory is the best available in this draft. Talent vs. off-field risk is a decision teams have to make often in the NFL. We are comfortable that Gregory's off-field issues are manageable moving forward.
6. New York Jets
The pick: Dante Fowler Jr. (DE, Florida) – New head coach Todd Bowles has to be excited to see Fowler Jr. fall to this spot. Shortly after this pick, he'll start drawing up ways for the talented and versatile Fowler to terrorize QBs this coming season. This was a no-brainer, a perfect mesh of skills, coach and scheme.
7. Chicago Bears
The pick: Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) – Jay Cutler is already on the roster, but Mariota is too good of a prospect to pass up. We'll do everything in our power to move Cutler on draft day or afterward, however we have no problem allowing Mariota to sit in 2015 if Cutler is still around. This situation can be similar to Green Bay's when it had Brett Farve but still selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round.
8. Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa) – We wanted Randy Gregory badly but he went No. 5. Thought long and hard about Vic Beasley but he feels like a reach here. This won't be a popular pick but it makes the Falcons better. Matt Ryan is an elite passer but the 31 sacks Atlanta gave up last year were too many. Play Scherff at left guard next to Jake Matthews.
9. New York Giants
The pick: Landon Collins (S, Alabama) – The safety situation is a mess. Collins is talented, tough and a winner. He impacts games in a myriad of ways, physical enough to be a box presence but also athletic enough to cover RBs and TEs in space. Some will feel this is a reach but getting a Pro Bowl-caliber starter at safety for seven to eight years is what the Giants need.
10. St. Louis Rams
The pick: Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford) – Gotta protect the QB, no matter who it is. Giving up 47 sacks last year was unacceptable. Peat has elite length and quickness, and at times is dominant on film. A lot like Greg Robinson, we understand there may be growing pains early, but the end reward of a Peat/Robinson tackle combo is too much to pass up.
11. Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest) – In what some will view as a shocker, we take K.J. over Trae Waynes. Our evaluations have Johnson graded out as the better player and prospect. He is a perfect fit for the Vikings' man-to-man based schemes under head coach Mike Zimmer.
12. Cleveland Browns
The pick: DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) – There's a need for an influx of pass-catching talent in Cleveland after losing Josh Gordon to suspension and Jordan Cameron to free agency. Parker could have easily gone in the top 10, so the Browns feel fortunate to grab him at No. 12.
13. New Orleans Saints
The pick: Shane Ray (DE, Missouri) – Believe your eyes. This is an elite pass rusher who plays with a non-stop motor. Sure, he doesn't check off all the measurable boxes, but my eyes tell me that won't matter.
14. Miami Dolphins
The pick: Eric Kendricks (ILB, UCLA) – Even after adding Ndamukong Suh in free agency, Miami's defensive front seven still needs a few pieces. Kendricks allows the Dolphins to play Koa Misi at his more natural OLB spot. There aren't any weaknesses in Kendricks' game; he can cover, blitz and tackle. His instincts are also off the charts.
15. San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State) – Waynes is an elite talent, one we didn't expect to still be available. There's a major hole at cornerback that Waynes fills perfectly. He brings length, athleticism and play-making ability to the table. We considered DE and MLB but the available players were rated lower than Waynes on our board.
16. Houston Texans
The pick: Breshad Perriman (WR, UCF) – After allowing Andre Johnson to leave, the Texans need to provide their QB with another option opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Perriman is a physical specimen, standing 6-feet-2, weighing 210 pounds while still running a sub 4.3-second, 40-yard dash. He drops some easy balls but he makes the difficult catches in the same games. We thinks it's a concentration issue that is easily fixable.
17. San Diego Chargers
The pick: Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia) – San Diego has sought a bell cow, elite running back ever since LaDainian Tomlinson left. I'm operating under the belief that the Chargers will get a long-term deal worked out with Philip Rivers. This selection will go a long way in helping provide the offensive balance needed for Rivers to continue flourishing.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Cameron Erving (C, Florida State) – Dominating in the trenches is a must for success. Although there are sexier selections available, Erving gives K.C. the best chance to show tangible improvement in 2015. His move from tackle to center was the best college football decision of 2014. As a center he is excellent as a run blocker and in pass protection.
19. Cleveland Browns
The pick: Danny Shelton (DT, Washington) – Big, massive run-stopper who also has enough athleticism to occasionally provide inside pass rush. Cleveland finished dead last defending the run in 2014. Shelton is talented and fills a major need.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Arik Armstead (DL, Oregon) – The major hole is at safety, but we don't have any ranked high enough to take with this selection. Although DE is not a glaring weakness, Armstead is our highest ranked player left (and he went to Oregon!). The combination of Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox and Armstead gives us an elite D-line rotation.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Bud Dupree (OLB, Kentucky) – Cincinnati ranked last in the league in sacks a season ago with 20. Even after re-signing Michael Johnson, pass rush is still its greatest need. The rotation at DE should enable the Bengals to use Dupree in specialty situations early as he learns the defense.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: Marcus Peters (CB, Washington) – He is the most talented corner in the draft, but because of off-field issues, his stock dropped. Believing the Steelers have the necessary environment to help him reach his full potential, Peters will start from Day 1 in Pittsburgh.
23. Detroit Lions
The pick: La'ell Collins (OT, LSU) – We love Collins' ability to dominate in the run and pass games. The plan: Initially play Collins inside at guard, with the long-term design of making him the starting right tackle.
24. Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson) – Beasley was a consistent nightmare for offenses during his Clemson career. He isn't necessarily a plug-and-play, three-down defensive end because of his size, but defensive coordinator James Bettcher is confident he can put Beasley in positions to succeed..
25. Carolina Panthers
The pick: Jake Fisher (OT, Oregon) – We need a guy to come in and play right away with a polished technique and nasty streak. This pick allows the Panthers to move Michael Oher to left tackle initially and play Fisher on the right side.
26. Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Nelson Agholor (WR, USC) – Outside of Steve Smith, the Ravens really have nothing at wideout. Agholor has grown on me throughout the draft process. His ability to create separation and be a returner on special teams are intriguing qualities.
27. Dallas Cowboys
The pick: P.J. Williams (CB, Florida State) – This was a close call between P.J. and Byron Jones. Williams got the nod because of his exposure and play versus big-time opposition edged Jones' elite athleticism. We could have easily gone pass rusher with this selection as well.
28. Denver Broncos
The pick: Malcom Brown (DT, Texas) – Our top needs are OL, DT and MLB. We decided to go with our highest rated player which was Brown. He showed vast improvement under Charlie Strong in Austin. We expect Brown to come in and improve Denver's run defense immediately as he develops into a more complete pass rusher.
29. Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami) – Andrew Luck has covered up how average the Colts' offensive line has played. We love Flowers' size and athleticism. He needs some technique work but he projects as an elite left tackle. He should start out on the right side of the line.
30. Green Bay Packers
The pick: Stephone Anthony (ILB, Clemson) – We need to shore up our ILB spot so Clay Matthews can play outside and rush the QB. We have Anthony as our top-ranked ILB and he will start from Day 1. He plays with great anticipation, instincts and is a sure-handed tackler.
31. New Orleans Saints
The pick: Byron Jones (CB, UConn) – He's a great kid who brings a lot of intangibles to the table as an elite athlete with good recognition skills. Jones has a chance to push Brandon Browner for the starting CB job opposite Keenan Lewis.
32. New England Patriots
The pick: Xavier Cooper (DT, Washington State) – Talent and depth is needed along the defensive line. We love Cooper's athleticism and he has the production to back it up. Cooper is a better pass rusher than Eddie Goldman and has a more consistent motor than Jordan Phillips. The Patriots should believe they landed a starter with this pick.