Welcome to the annual Russell Street Report Writers’ Mock Draft!
For this year’s mock draft, we assigned each division to a different RSR writer, so that each writer was picking for four teams. Unlike the real NFL Draft, trades were NOT allowed in our mock draft.
The breakdown of who picked for each division is as follows (number of picks in 1st round in parentheses):
North: Tyler Lombardi (5)
South: Jai Ashford (4)
East: Kyle Casey (3)
West: Kyle Rate (4)
North: Mike Fast (4)
South: Adam Bonaccorsi (5)
East: Andrew Kordula (4)
West: Brian Bower (3)
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Tampa Bay needs a quarterback. Although Jameis Winston does have some off-the-field concerns, I believe the Buccaneers are willing to look past his issues and go all in for the potential franchise quarterback. He could single-handedly put a spark into Tampa Bay’s anemic offense.
2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
The Titans play in a division where, to get to the top, Andrew Luck must be knocked on his bottom. Williams is big (6’6″, 302lbs), strong, athletic, high-motored, and versatile (enough to play inside or outside). With their offseason additions of Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, the Titans could envision themselves with a monstrous defensive front seven.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Kevin White has the potential to be an indefensible game changer. Teaming him with wide receivers Marquis Lee and Allen Robinson would give the Jags the best young receiving core in the game. The last thing that Coach Gus Bradley wants is to have his offense ranked dead last for a second year in a row. Kevin White would help to change that.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
With the dominant Kahlil Mack already in tow, Oakland’s top need is to get Derek Carr some weapons to see if he can be the quarterback that they believe he is. The Raiders feel justified selecting Cooper who is an incredibly productive and polished receiver with all-pro potential.
5. Washington Redskins: Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida
Washington has two glaring needs after losing Orakpo: someone who can protect the quarterback and someone who can get to the quarterback. Pairing Fowler with Ryan Kerrigan could create one of the most formidable pass rushes in the league. I could also see the Skins trading down here, as this is a deep draft for pass rushers.
6. New York Jets: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
With its two top targets off the board (Cooper and Fowler), New York’s ideal scenario is to trade down. But staying put, the Jets get a potent edge rusher in Vic Beasley to complement an improved secondary.
7. Chicago Bears: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Trae Waynes fits in Chicago because of his confidence, experience, toughness, and elite speed. He also fits because Charles Tillman hasn’t been able to stay healthy (10 games played since 2013), so Chicago would be well served to look for his replacement in this draft. Pair Waynes with Baltimore native Kyle Fuller, and all of a sudden, the Bears could have a top-tier tandem of cornerbacks again.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri**
A team can never have enough pass rushers, and new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn will add to his growing group with the selection of defensive end Shane Ray. Ray has a knack for getting into the backfield, totaling 14.5 sacks and 22 tackles for losses in his 2014 season at Missouri. He plugs a major hole in Atlanta’s defense.
**Editor’s note: Draft occurred before Ray’s possession charge.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
This pick would fill an immediate need along the offensive line for New York, especially since Brandon Scherff can play several positions across the line. New York’s offensive line needs to keep Eli Manning upright and improve its run blocking, as the G-men ranked 23rd in rushing last season. Drafting a mobile, powerhouse, 6’5″, 320-pounder should do the trick.
10. St. Louis Rams: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Considered the second best offensive tackle in the 2015 class, La’el Collins would provide stability at the position for years to come. Given the lack of depth on the Rams offensive line, Collins could be a starter from day one.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
One of Minnesota’s main struggles in 2014 was against the run, as they gave up an average of 121.4 yards per game (25th). Danny Shelton is a player who can help remedy that problem. He has tremendous strength (34 reps), abnormal agility, and a high level of potential.
12. Cleveland Browns: Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Browns resist the temptation of drafting Marcus Mariota and opt to select DeVante Parker to stabilize their receiving core. Parker possesses good route-running skills with an underrated ability to gain extra yardage after the catch. He excels at beating press coverage with quick feet. At 6’3″, 210 pounds, Parker can go up and make catches even when he doesn’t appear to be open.
13. New Orleans Saints: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
The Saints have a glaring need for a pass rusher, and land stud defensive end Bud Dupree with this pick. Dupree is a big-bodied (6’ 4”, 269), high-motor quarterback nightmare who relies heavily on his pure athleticism and speed to make his presence felt in the backfield. His technique still needs some refinement, but that can be taught over time.
14. Miami Dolphins: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Peters is a dream scenario for a team that could use another solid cornerback opposite Brent Grimes. He has off-field issues, but Peters boasts a rare blend of size, instincts, physicality and athleticism that is too good to pass up.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
The shocking retirement of Chris Borland and the loss of Patrick Willis makes inside linebacker a glaring position of need and one that Eric Kendricks fits appropriately. The Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy winner brings with him quick feet, amazing flexibility, and balance, excelling as a pass rusher.
16. Houston Texans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Texans have spent their existence without a franchise quarterback. There’s no way that they see Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer as their quarterback of the future. Marcus Mariota is simply too full of potential to pass up at No. 16.
17. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
With Ryan Mathews going cross country to play for the Eagles, San Diego desperately needs a workhorse back. Though Todd Gurley brings with him some injury concerns, he’s as tough as they come and possesses an elite blend of size, power, and speed. He’s more than worthy of being the first running back taken in the first round in three years.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
The loss of All-Pro Eric Berry’s services left a massive hole in the Kansas City secondary last year, as their defense generated a league-low 13 takeaways. At 6’0″, 228 pounds, Collins is a physical prospect who thrives in the box, but can also track the ball and has solid range which will only improve as he develops his instincts against the pass.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo): Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
With the Browns’ 2013 6th overall pick Barkevious Mingo not living up to the hype, an edge rusher has become a need for Cleveland. Despite his hip concerns, Owamagbe Odighizuwa is more well-rounded than Randy Gregory (Nebraska), who continues to fall in our draft. While Odighizuwa doesn’t have the pass-rushing talent that Gregory possesses, Odighizuwa excels in run support, which bodes well for the Browns considering the division in which they play.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
After losing DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in consecutive offseasons, Chip Kelly tries to fill the void with Jaelen Strong as the 20th overall pick. While not the quickest wide out in the draft, his size (6’2″, 217 pounds) and strength more than make up for his deficiencies. The combination of Strong and Jordan Matthews could be a real challenge for opposing defenses for years to come.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
The Bengals and Andy Dalton seem like they could use another offensive weapon, and they get just that by drafting Breshad Perriman. He has great straight-line speed (4.22 40 at his pro day), and is a smooth route runner. At 6’2″ 212 lbs, Perriman also uses his body well to box out defenders for jump balls.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
James Harrison isn’t exactly in his prime, so Pittsburgh takes this opportunity to select a top 10 pass-rushing talent in Randy Gregory. This former Cornhusker may have the best pure pass-rushing ability of any edge rusher in the draft. The Steelers understand Gregory’s off-field risk, but still think he’s worthy of their first round selection.
23. Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
With this pick, Detroit should look at selecting 6-foot-6, 329-pound Ereck Flowers from “the U.” Flowers can handle a bull rush, a speed rush, and stunts fairly seamlessly. He knows his assignment and looks to erase his defender and finish each block that he makes.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
The running back situation in Arizona is a tricky one, and head coach Bruce Arians wants his system running back for 2015. Gordon (6’1”, 215 pounds) fits that mold. His speed, natural balance after contact, and ability to maintain momentum will bode well against the NFC West’s physical defenses.
25. Carolina Panthers: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
While the Panthers’ offensive line showed some improvement towards the end of last season, it could still use an upgrade at the tackle position, and Andrus Peat could provide just that. His technique against speed rushers still needs some developing, but the 6’ 7”, 313 pound Peat is a dominant force who should keep Cam Newton’s pocket (and jersey) clean for years to come.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
After not getting the offers that they were looking for to trade back, the Ravens go cornerback with the 26th pick and get Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson. His best assets are his fluid hips and back-pedaling ability. The area of his game that needs the most work is his discipline, but the Ravens feel confident enough that they can coach through those problems and get a mid-1st round talent (in an area of need no less) with the 26th pick.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
If Malcom Brown slips this far, the Cowboys will be ecstatic that they could land a top 20 talent at pick No. 27. Dallas drastically needs to upgrade defensively, and the best pass defense is a good pass rush. Pair Brown (6’2″, 319 pounds) with the newly acquired Greg Hardy, and you have the potential for a very solid defensive front.
28. Denver Broncos: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
The Broncos will seriously consider trading back roughly 4-10 spots to snag TE Maxx Williams to help replace touchdown-monster Julius Thomas. Instead, Denver does its best to prolong Peyton’s health by selecting the athletic T.J. Clemmings who offers 35-inch arms, quick feet, and positional flexibility to help offset the departure of Orlando Franklin.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU
The Colts can’t undercut their offense by letting teams keep grinding away, running roughshod on their defense (177 yards and 3 rushing TDs allowed to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game). Chuck Pagano’s team needs some toughness and range in the middle. Paul Dawson is rugged, instinctive, plays sideline to sideline, and is a plug & play man in the middle.
30. Green Bay Packers: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
Shaq Thompson is a dynamic ball hawk with sparkling intangibles who is also a serious threat on special teams. The two drawbacks I see are 1) He could put on more bulk as he gets jolted at the line of scrimmage too often, and 2) He doesn’t project to have a defined position at the next level. That said, Dom Capers is among the best there is at maximizing defensive talent.
31. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
The Saints double down on defense in the 1st round with the selection of cornerback Jalen Collins. Collins brings good size (6’ 1”, 203 pounds), solid speed (4.48 40yd dash), and tremendous athleticism to a secondary that ranked 31st in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s still a bit raw in his technique and only started 10 games at LSU, but his upside is far too high for the Saints to pass up.
32. New England Patriots: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State**
P.J. Williams is a developmental press corner and impressive athlete who will help aid the losses of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.
Editor’s note: Draft occurred before Williams was even charged with a DUI. The charges have since been dropped.
And there you have it! Our mock draft is finished. Here’s how the picks broke down by conference:
(9) Pac-12, (8) SEC, (7) ACC, (4) Big Ten, (3) Big-12, (1) AAC.
And here are the colleges with multiple players selected:
Washington (3), Alabama (2), FSU (2), LSU (2), UCLA (2)
How do you think we did? Let us know in the comments!