Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State:
Tampa Bay has been a team in need of an identity for the past several years. This season Tampa had the raw talent at receiver with Mike Evans, Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and veteran receiver Vincent Jackson to turn some heads in the putrid NFC South. Instead Tampa failed to average 21 points per game or open up rushing lanes consistently.
With the lack of identity or direction evident in everything Tampa Bay tries to do the team needs a change. The combined 58% completion percentage and barely 1/1 Touchdown to interception ratio by the combined efforts of Quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon make this pick the easiest in the draft. Jameis Winston has done what he has needed to do so far this offseason by keeping his head down and nose clean. If he impresses with the interview process and continues to prove he can stay out of the spotlight he will most likely be drafted with the first pick.
Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon:
Tennessee is a team that needs talent everywhere on the field. Tennessee is 29th in points per game, 30th in total yards, 27th in rushing yards, 31st in points against, 30th in yards against, 17th in sacks, and last in rushing yards against. While Tennessee could use a quarterback. Tennessee has said it wants to develop Zach Mettenberger but I don't see it.
Marcus Mariota took home all of the gold, or bronze in this case, at the 2014 College Football Awards Ceremony winning the Walter Camp Player of The Year award, the Maxwell Award for the nation’s most outstanding player, and the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best Quarterback. Mariota is 6’4, 220 pounds, has accumulated 53 total touchdowns, a 68% Completion percentage through the 2014 regular season. Mariota also has a career 8.4 to 1 career Touchdown to interception ratio. As a quiet kid from Hawaii, Mariota is also a humble leader that will put on a strong face for Tennessee.
Previous Selection: Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle
Jacksonville needs talent everywhere defensively, and offensively. How long will 33 year old Chris Clemons be able to play at a high level? Another Defensive End and potential replacement for Clemmons is a must at this point.
Dante Fowler is a workhorse pass rusher who is extremely athletic, and disruptive. Fowler is a finesse pass rusher who often has to deal with double teams, uses his hands well, flows to the ball fluidly, and can line up all over the field in the Joker position. Adding Fowler to the young core of defenders the Jags have would create a strong defensive nuclea.
Previous Selection: Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver
Oakland Raiders:: Kevin White, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
The Raiders are devoid of talent both offensively and defensively. Oakland is ranked last in the NFL in Rushing yards per game, and total yards per game while being 26th in passing yards and 31st in points per game. Kevin White is a horrible reach as a Top 5 selection but the Raiders are enamored with his combination of size and athleticism. What showed well at the combine so he should be able to give Quarterback Derek Carr a play-maker to work with.
Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, Rush Linebacker, Clemson
The Washington Redskins are a team that has systematic issues starting from a meddling owner who knows little about football to their marketing practices which have been seen as counterproductive to campaign ads for an agenda. Despite that Washington is a talented team with a strong head coach that is constantly battling a terrible owner and a lack of identity due to a quarterback situation that is less than desirable. However due to military esq tactics by Head Coach Jay Gruden, it appears that Robert Griffen may be poised for his best season as a professional.
That being said, Washington just lost talented pass rusher Brian Orakpo in free agancy and needs a suibtable replacement. Beasley uses his hands better as a pass rusher allowing him to use the rip and spin moves more effectively, and that despite his size he also has surprising strength in his legs as he showed against Florida State.
New York Jets: Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of Southern California
The New York Jets are one of the teams in this year’s NFL Draft that lack talent everywhere. Quarterback is a disaster, receivers are underwhelming, pass rushers are docile, it’s a mess. The Jets need an infusion of talent, of energy.
The first thing new head coach Todd Bowles and General Manager Mike Maccagnan need to do is infuse the team with not only talent but a winning attitude on the field. Cornerbacks Derrell Revis, Buster Skrine, and Antonio Cormartie help on defense while Wide Receiver Brandon Marshal brings energy offensively. Leonard Williams is a strong, athletic, big body that gets a lot of penetration with both a bull rush and speed. Williams is also the best player at a position of need at this juncture.
Previous Selection: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon
Chicago Bears: Trae Waynes, Cornerback, Michigan State University:
The Chicago Bears are a mess defensively with a severe depletion of talent and identity. The bears are last in points allowed, 31st in passing yards against, and 29th in yards against. Rookie Cornerback Kyle Fuller is second on the team in tackles, first in forced fumbles, and first in interceptions, yet no other Corner has more than one interception.
Trae Waynes is excellent in man coverage and has the height -6’1- and athleticism to cover bigger receivers. Waynes is a finesse corner, using his superior athleticism to make plays on the ball.
Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, WHEEL/Defensive End, Missouri
Atlanta's pass rush was horrendous last year only garnering 22 Sacks all season. This being said, Shane Ray is a versatile, athletic, 245 pound linebacker/Defensive End that has been a disruptive force for Missouri for the past three years. Ray has recorded 14 sacks, 61 Tackles, -45 solo tackles- and has done this while dealing with constant double teams.
Previous Selection: Randy Gregory, Defensive End
New York Giants: Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama
The Giants seem to be looking for someone to pair with Odel Beckham Jr. as reports have "leaked" that they may be looking to acquire a Wide Receiver. Amari Cooper is the best offensive weapon in this draft. Amari Cooper is a Heisman Trophy finalist, the SEC Offensive Player of the year, and shattered Iron Bowl records with 13 catches and 224 yards. Cooper is a notoriously hard worker from the Southern Florida area that has churned out stars such as Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders; a diamond trove for football talent in the 1980’s. Cooper also amassed 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns as a Junior, and 29 touchdowns in his career.
St. Louis Rams: Brandon Scherff, Offensive Guard/Tackle, Louisville
The Rams are a team on the edge of a breakout season. Their defense is a piece or two away from becoming dominating and the offense is good enough to compete. Two areas of concern are Wide Receiver -Re-signed Kenny Britt- and Offensive Line -released Jake Long-. The Rams could due to upgrade both at left guard and right tackle; enter Brandon Scherff. Scherff doesn't have the foot speed to shuffle at left tackle without looking jumbled but is otherwise as technically sound as they come, he can play right tackle or inside at guard. I also believe that Roger Saffold can kick back out to tackle if necessary. Nick Foles would be grateful for the protection boost.
The Vikings are in need of some major reconstruction of their Wide Receiving core with Teddy Bridgewater going into his second season. The best option may be his favorite receiver in college. DeVante Parker is a strong route runner, has good size, good hands, and is exceedingly athletic. If not for a foot injury early in the season we would be looking at Parker much more highly than most do.
Previous Selection: Dante Fowler, Defensive End
Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Strong, Wide Receiver, Arizona State University:
The Browns have been left in a difficult position at...everywhere. The Browns let almost all of their free agents walk re-signing only two backup offensive linemen. Barkevious Mingo has been absent most of his career with only seven career sacks in two years, -two in 2014- while Jabaal Sheard has signed elsewhere, Johnny Manziel is rumored to miss the 2015 season due to alcohol abuse treatment, and the starting quarterback is currently either Josh McCown or embattled Thadeus Lewis.
That said, the Browns have made an effort to upgrade at receiver by signing Receiver Dwayne Bowe the Browns will need to address receiver again as they let Miles Austin walk. I’ve never seen Dwayne Bowe as a true number one guy, he drops far too many passes to be seen as a reliable go-to receiver. Jaelen Strong has the biggest body of any top receiver in this draft -6'3, 215 pounds- and immense athletic ability. Strong needs refinement on his route running and technique but with Andrew Hawkins and Bowe this could give the Browns the making of an impressive receiving core.
Previous Selection: DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver
New Orleans Saints: La'El Collins, Left Guard, Louisiana State University (LSU):
The Saints traded left guard Benn Grubbs to Kansas City for a low draft pick, leaving a sizable hole on the offensive line. La’El Collins found his niche at Left Guard at the Senior Bowl, having a very good week there at practice. Collins plays Left Tackle at LSU but has played Right Tackle, and at times at Guard. Collins can play four positions but hasn't excelled at either Tackle spots.
Previous Selection: P.J Williams, Cornerback
Miami Dolphins: Landon Collins, Safety, Alabama:
The resigning of Louis Delmas to a one year contract does nothing to make me feel better about the Dolphins' secondary. Landon Collins is an athletic, hard hitting Safety that needs refinement in his game. Collins is a star in the making, but must improve his tackling and the angles he takes while pursuing a play.
Previous Selection: La'El Collins, Left Guard
San Francisco 49ers: Danny Shelton, Nose Tackle, Washington:
The 49ers are in shambles after forcing coach Jim Harbaugh out. Division in the locker room seems to be something that was never an issue until Harbaugh left; now everyone is leaving. Mass retirement and players leaving in free agency after Harbaugh leaves can't be a coincidence as successful teams just don't fall apart for no reason.
The 49ers signed Darnell Dockett but he isn't a nose tackle and with other exits on defense, the group is in trouble. Danny Shelton is a 340 pound athlete who can stop the run, run well in pursuit, and rush the passer. Shelton is better than many players ahead of him and would be a Top 10 selection if he had any type of attitude or mean streak.
Houston Texans: Eric Kendricks, Inside Linebacker, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA):
Houston is in need of upgrades in the middle of their defensive front seven. Inside Linebacker Justin Tuggle is a placeholder who has amassed a putrid 38 tackles on the season.
Eric Kendricks combines many of the attributes needed to play linebacker in any scheme as he flows to the ball well, has good anticipation, and can play strong zone coverage. Houston needs better linebackers if it is to ever win another division crown.
San Diego Chargers: Andrus Peat, Left Tackle, Stanford:
San Diego has one of the best passing offenses in the NFL led by quarterback Philip Rivers. On the flip side the running game is a disaster with Donald Brown and Brandon Oliver averaging a paltry 3.08 yards per carry and Ryan Matthews has been useless again due to injuries. While competition at running back is an option Oliver is only 23 years old and has shown in flashes, and the Chargers offensive line has not run blocked well this season.
While I’m not sure what the Chargers’ plans are for DJ Fluker, I know that King Dunlap has never excelled in the NFL. Dunlap was an underwhelming disappointment in Philadelphia and hasn't lived up to expectations in San Diego. Dunlap is a serviceable player but can and should be upgraded. Andrus Peat is a very good offensive tackle who can excel both as a pass protector in San Diego's offense.
Kansas City Chiefs: Cameron Erving, Center, Florida State University:
Kansas City is ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards and while some of that has to go on the shoulders of Quarterback Alex Smith’s seven yards per attempt average the receivers were an abomination. Tight End Travis Kelce is the team’s leading receiver with 56 catches followed by recently released receiver Dwayne Bowe's 51.
Cam Erving is the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft logging extensive time at all five positions along the offensive line. Erving has good footwork, hands, and awareness for an offensive lineman but needs to stay lower so he doesn't get pushed back into the pocket. This is a situation where improving the passing game may come from upgrading from Rodney Hudson.
The Browns struck out in Free Agency. They lost out on their guys and their target replacements. This means the Draft is crucial to fill holes left by six key players exiting the team. One position the Browns tried to solve last year with their previous pieces was coverage linebacker in their set defense, a project that failed miserably. Coverage linebackers for the Browns plays almost as much as the pass rushing linebacker and is crucial to stopping third downs in that defense.
Shaq Thompson is a ball hawk and can fly to the ball as well if not better than anyone in this draft. He is strong in coverage and adept at closing down outside running lanes. Thompson gives little support as a pass rusher but his other abilities along with his size -6'0, 228- make him a massive upgrade at coverage linebacker where Jabaal Sheard roamed last season.
Previous Selection: Maxx Williams, Tight End
Philadelphia Eagles: Randy Gregory, Defensive End, Nebraska
Philadelphia is ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense. Randy Gregory has trouble getting off blocks from bigger blockers but is fast, uses the rip move well, and has a non-stop motor when pursuing a player. Against Rutgers Gregory was pancaked by two offensive players, sprang to his feet, and still made the tackle from behind, showing his amazing recovery to acceleration rate. Gregory falls due to character concerns, but in the end he may enter a better situation because of it.
Domata Peko is thirty years old and his best days are behind him. In 2014 he was decent against the run but a non-factor against the pass -1 Sack-. Malcom Brown has excellent knee bend, staying low and getting the most out of his lower body strength. He also has good lateral movement off the line and can clog running lanes well. If Brown can learn to use his hands more consistently and stay in shape he could develop into a strong pass rusher in the NFL.
Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J Clemmings, Left Tackle, Pittsburgh:
The woes of the Steelers' offensive line have been mounting for years, and they have slowly been trying to fix them. This year should be the year they go after a Left Tackle and hometown boy T.J Clemmings should be that Tackle. Like many offensive tackles this year Clemmings has difficulty with body control in space, but the athletic ability to get to the second level and dominate the three foot line.
Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle, Miami (Fla):
LeAdrian Waddle...enough said. Ereck Flowers is someone who can start at Right Tackle and due to experience at Left Tackle slide over after he fixes his technique issues. Baltimore could have a steal if Flowers can learn to stay on his feet.
Previous Selection: Andrus Peat, Offensive Tackle
Arizona Cardinals: Laken Tomlinson, Guard, Duke:
The Guard position is a huge liability for the Cardinals and they need an upgrade at both positions. One such upgrade was signing Mike Iupati from the 49ers Exodus squad. The other would be drafting Laken Tomlinson who has shown the ability to keep up with the best interior defensive linemen in the country this year. Tomlinson may also be the most intelligent offensive lineman in the draft, double majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology and Psychology at Duke.
The Carolina Panthers need to reignite their running game and there is nobody better than Melvin Gordon. Gordon has superstar potential and I have heard rumblings that a decade ago he would have been a Top 10 selection.
The Ravens need a major upgrade at Receiver after losing Torrey Smith to San Francisco. Dorial Green-Beckham has a huge body at 6'5, 236 pounds and is one of the more athletic receivers in this draft. Beckham is raw, and whomever drafts him will need to work with him to improve his route running and ability to get off the bump and run, but with Steve Smith as a mentor this should not be an issue. I know this is high, but I believe the Ravens have the coaching staff to make it work.
Losing DeMarco Murry was a huge blow in two ways, first the production he gave was excellent, the second was that they lost him to their arch rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. Todd Gurley has fallen off many radars because of his knee injury and how he has handled it. Several teams have given him a passing grade and others a failing grade in the injury department so I will give him a grade in the middle. With the offensive line Dallas has put together he should thrive and have a better chance to remain injury free.
Rahim Moore was a disappointment coming back from injury in 2014. Gerod Holliman has great ball skills, is strong, and pretty good in run support. Holliman is a smart player who thrives over the middle of the field, but can traverse the distance of the field without much effort.
Indianapolis Colts: Marcus Peters, Cornerback, Washington:
The Colts were abused by Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game and clearly need an upgrade. Marcus Peters is as physically talented as any other Corner in this draft but character concerns make him fall. I expect Chuck Pagano will be able to fix that.
Green Bay Packers: Bernardrick McKinney, Inside Linebacker, Mississippi State University:
A.J Hawk is now a Bengal and Brad Jones was also cut, creating a huge gap at Inside Linebacker. Bernardrick MicKinney is fast enough to go sideline to sideline and has plenty of room to grow in coverage, but he is a force against the run and an upgrade over the departed.
New Orleans Saints (f/Seattle): Rashad Greene, Wide Receiver, Florida State University:
When the Saints traded both Tight End Jimmy Graham and Receiver Kenny Stills they essentially traded away 148 catches for over 1,800 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Rashad Greene has shown great hands and body control this season and has a knack for getting open deep. Green's ability to catch the ball in tight spots and control his body in the air will make Drew Brees feel a little bit better about the rebuilding process in New Orleans.
New England Patriots: P.J Williams, Cornerback, Florida State University:
New England has always done a good job filling holes during the draft. This time it's the Defensive Backfield that needs upgraded and the most talented player to do it is P.J Williams. P.J Williams is excellent in press coverage and has the height (6’1) and length to cover bigger receivers.