Now that the Senior Bowl and scouting combine are complete, it's time to get serious about the 2015 NFL draft. Teams now have game tape, measurements, medicals and in-person interviews to help adjust their draft boards.
NFL free agency begins on March 10 and that can alter draft boards heading into the last week of April. This mock draft is largely based on what I feel each teams' needs are pre-free agency. This mock doesn't include trades, but I expect a lot of movement come draft night.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
OL, pass rusher, QB
The pick: Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State) – The Bucs don't need to over-think this pick. They have a glaring need at QB and Winston is the top one available. He's the best football player in this draft.
2. Tennessee Titans
Needs: Pass rusher, CB, RB
The pick: Leonard Williams (DT, USC) – The Titans appear to believe they can win with Zach Mettenberger at QB. So the selection here is Williams, the safest pick in this draft. He can play multiple positions along the defensive line, is scheme versatile, plays with a tremendous motor and still has room to get better.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: CB, OT, RB
The pick: Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford) – It won't be a surpise to see the Jaguars move out of this spot as third is a little high for Peat, but Jacksonville finished first in the NFL in most sacks allowed in 2014 with 71. That's 13 more than Washington, the next worst team. To give Blake Bortles a chance to succeed, the Jags have to protect him. Pairing Peat with Luke Joeckel gives them two young tackles to build around.
[Related: Shutdown Corner's post-combine mock draft]
4. Oakland Raiders
Needs: CB, pass rusher, WR
The pick: Dante Fowler Jr. (DE, Florida) – Oakland had only 22 sacks last season, tied for second to last in the league. Fowler is the best among the defensive linemen after Williams. He can play multiple positions and plays in a violent manner. This is a deep wide receiver class, so the Raiders can add one in the later rounds who can help Derek Carr in his second season.
5. Washington Redskins
Needs: DB, OT, pass rusher
The pick: Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa) – This is another team I can see moving down from this spot. If the Redskins stay put, they'll be a lot like Jacksonville in needing to protect their young QB in order to fairly evaluate him. Scherff won't be a flashy pick but he is tough, strong and nasty. They can play him at either guard spot or opposite Trent Williams at right tackle. The Redskins gave up 58 sacks last season, second worst in the league last season.
6. New York Jets
Needs: CB, OT, WR
The pick: Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama) – Geno Smith has been inconsistent by all measures, but he has shown in spurts the tools needed to be a top-level NFL QB. Chan Gailey is a much better fit for Smith than Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator. Here, the Jets finally get their QB an elite option at WR.
7. Chicago Bears
DB, LB, pass rusher
The pick: Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) – Head coach John Fox wants to run the football and play great defense. Jay Cutler just doesn't fit that type of environment (or any other to be frank). The Bears have outstanding offensive skill-position personnel which will make Mariota's transition easier. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains get to mold Mariota into the Bears' franchise QB. (Sidenote: If Mariota falls to No. 7, expect Chip Kelly and the Eagles to be doing everything possible to move up and select him.)
8. Atlanta Falcons
Needs: DB, pass rusher, TE
The pick: Randy Gregory (OLB, Nebraska) – I wish Gregory was more consistently dominant at Nebraska, but he is too talented for a Falcons team in dire need of a pass rusher to pass up at this spot.
9. New York Giants
Needs: ILB, OL, pass rusher
The pick: Kevin White (WR, WVU) – Not a need for the G-men but White gives them protection in case Victor Cruz doesn't return to his old self after a knee injury. If Cruz is completely healed, White gives New York the most talented group of skill players in the NFC. Eli Manning is all smiles.
10. St. Louis Rams
Needs: CB, QB, OL
The pick: T.J. Clemmings (OT, Clemson) – Rams GM Les Snead showed that he believes in building from the inside out and doesn't mind drafting guys with high ceilings. Clemmings fits the bill, although some will consider this too high for him. He has the most upside of any o-lineman in the draft (he has played on the line for only two years). Think two years from now when Clemmings and Greg Robinson are fully matured …
11. Minnesota Vikings
Needs: CB, OT, WR
The pick: Devante Parker (WR, Louisville) – I said last year that Teddy Bridgewater was hands-down the best QB in the 2014 draft. He proved me right (skinny ankles and all). The Vikings add a dynamic weapon to a Bridgewater-led offense in Parker.
12. Cleveland Browns
Needs: DL, ILB, WR
The pick: Danny Shelton (DT, Washington) – Shelton is the best player available and he fills a need. After the major logo change (insert joke here) the Browns finally generate some good news.
13. New Orleans Saints
Needs: CB, Pass rusher, OL
The pick: Vic Beasley (OLB, Clemson) – His pass rushing production has always been there, but people wondered if he could duplicate it at 220-225 pounds. Beasley showed up at the combine at 245 and still tested off the charts. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gets another toy to try and fix the Saints' defense.
14. Miami Dolphins
Needs: DB, LB, OT
The pick: Landon Collins (S, Alabama) – Excellent value here for the Dolphins as Collins projects as a top-10 caliber player. Miami could also take an offensive lineman here but Collins offers more immediate impact.
15. San Fransico 49ers
Needs: DL, OL and WR
The pick: Breshad Perriman (WR, UCF) – He is not as well known as the top-three wide receivers in this draft but Perriman is just as talented. Niners could lose Michael Crabtree and possibly Stevie Johnson so this position becomes a need.
16. Houston Texans
Needs: OT, QB, WR
The pick: La'el Collins (OT, LSU) – Excellent run blocker can play right tackle if Derek Newton leaves via free agency or move inside to guard if the Texans keep Newton.
17. San Diego Chargers
Needs: CB, NT, OL
The pick: Malcom Brown (DT, Texas) – Brown is an all-around good interior lineman who is physical at the point of attack and can win one-on-one situations as a pass rusher. Brown can play multiple positions along the defensive front which will allow him to make an immediate impact.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: CB, OT, WR
The pick: Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona State) – It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the Chiefs need help at wideout. Do they go for the upside of Dorial Green-Beckham or the safer choice in Strong? They can't afford to miss with this pick because Alex Smith needs immediate help so they'll keep it safe with Strong.
19. Cleveland Browns
Needs: DL, ILB, WR
The pick: Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota) – I fully expect Jordan Cameron to leave in free agency, so TE becomes a major need for the Browns. Williams has rare open field quickness for a guy his size. Williams gives them a better chance to be successful, no matter who starts at QB in Week 1.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Needs: CB, OLB, S
The pick: Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State) – Bradley Fletcher was a major liability last season in the Eagles' secondary. Waynes is an immediate upgrade. Although he isnt as physical as I would like, he is an excellent cover corner.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Needs: CB, S, WR
The pick: Arik Armstead (DE, Oregon) – Armstead played the 5 technique the majority of his time at Oregon, but I think he can play end in a 4-3 in the NFL. Marvin Lewis gets another large, physically gifted but raw prospect to develop along the defensive line with Margus Hunt.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Needs: CB, DL, S
The pick: Marcus Peters (CB, Washington) – He is the best all-around cornerback in this class. If not for serious character concerns he would be a top-10 pick. Peters has all the natural ability in the world. The structure and environment in Pittsburgh allows head coach Mike Tomlin to make this selection.
23. Detroit Lions
Needs: CB, DL, WR
The pick: Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Missouri/Oklahoma) – Every year Calvin Johnson misses a few more games with injuries. Could he be breaking down? I expect Detroit to find a way to keep Ndamukong Suh from leaving in free agency so wide receiver becomes the pick here. DGB is super talented but, a lot like Marcus Peters, he has serious character concerns. Head coach Jim Caldwell not only led the Lions to the playoffs last season but he created a different environment in the Motor City that allows them to take the chance on DGB.
24. Arizona Cardinals
Needs: DL, ILB, OLB
The pick: Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) – Arizona is in good position to get the best available player here. An inside linebacker or even a cornerback wouldn't surprise me, but I'm mocking Gordon to them because Andre Ellington is better in a time-share situation and Gordon is an elite talent. He has great patience and the speed to accelerate through the hole once he sees it.
25. Carolina Panthers
Needs: WR, pass rusher, OT
The pick: Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami) – No matter how good of an athlete Cam Newton is, he still needs to be protected. Flowers is versatile, having played both right and left tackle for Miami. He isn't a finished product but his ceiling is high. He brings immediate toughness to the Panthers' offensive line.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Needs: OL, pass rusher, RB
The pick: Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia) – Justin Forsett filled in admirably for the departed Ray Rice but he isn't the long-term solution. When healthy, Gurley is a top-10 talent. Gurley won't be rushed into action in Baltimore but when he recovers from late-season ACL surgery, Joe Flacco will have a stud at running back.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Needs: CB, DL, TE
The pick: Eddie Goldman (DT, Florida State) – Goldman never lived up to his promise while at FSU, but the talent is there. Rod Marinelli is the best I've seen at getting defensive linemen to play to their potential. With a full offseason for end DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys' defensive front could be headed in the right direction.
28. Denver Broncos
Needs: DL, LB, TE
The pick: Carl Davis (DT, Iowa) – The Broncos could go in a bunch of different ways depending on how free agency turns out for them. Davis gives them something they have not really had, which is a penetrating interior defensive presence. His Senior Bowl performance made a big impression around the league.
29. Indianapolis Colts
Needs: ILB, OL, S
The pick: Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami) – Wide receiver is not even close to being a primary need for Indy, but how do you pass up pairing Dorsett with T.Y. Hilton? Add in the emerging Donte Moncrief and now Andrew Luck has three dynamic, athletic pass catchers to take over for Reggie Wayne (possible retirement) and Hakeem Nicks (failed experiment).
30. Green Bay Packers
Needs: DL, ILB, TE
The pick: Denzel Perryman (LB, Miami) – Perryman is my favorite player in the entire draft because of the way he flies around and hits people. He fills a need to get younger and more athletic at inside linebacker for the Packers, who released A.J. Hawk on Wednesday.
31. Seattle Seahawks
Needs: DL, OL, TE
The pick: Shane Ray (DE, Missouri) – As always, the Seahawks are in a position to go best available player. Some have Ray going much earlier but I think he is undersized (6-foot-1, 245) and not a fit for every system. Seattle is the perfect spot for Ray to play to his strengths while he continues to develop his all-around game.
32. New England Patriots
Needs: DL, RB, WR
The pick: Jalen Collins (CB, LSU) – The Patriots could easily go OL or pass catcher here, but in this mock the talented Collins falls to them. Bill Belichick could start grooming him to replace Brandon Browner, then ultimately Darrelle Revis.