NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
It is so close! In just two days Roger Goodell will walk out on to that stage in Chicago to a mixture of cheers and boos to officially open the 2015 NFL draft and put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the clock. Here is how I think Friday night might go down.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston, QB: I think it is pretty clear who TB is planning on taking. Enough has been said and written about this pick that nothing I say will be ground breaking.
2. San Diego Chargers- Marcus Mariota, QB: There has been a lot of buzz about this potential trade, so I will run with it. Tennessee gets Rivers and San Diego’s second round pick.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars-Dante Fowler, Edge: Jags need desperate help from a pass rusher. They have enough interior guys that they can pass on Leonard Williams
4. Oakland Raiders-Leonard Williams, DT: Raiders add another stud defensive player to line up next to Mack. WR is an option, but in a deep draft, they can afford to wait
5. Atlanta Falcons-Vic Beasley, Edge: Falcons fear they could miss out on the pass rushers if they stay at 8. Beasley fits in well with Quinn’s defensive scheme.
6. New York Jets-Bud Dupree, Edge: It hurts me to put Dupree here, but he gives the Jets some much needed pass rush help
7. Chicago Bears-Kevin White, WR: Bears get their choice of the WR’s and go with White who should fill the void that was left when Marshall was traded.
8. Washington Redskins- La’el Collins, OT: A shocker that Collins is the first O-lineman off the board, but he can step in and play RT day 1.
9. New York Giants- Andrus Peat, OT: While not a sexy pick, they Giants need some help to stabilize that offensive line.
10. St. Louis Rams- Brandon Scherff, OG: The Rams continue the run on offensive lineman. With good QB play, the Rams could be dangerous.
11. Minnesota Vikings- Amari Cooper, WR: The Vikings give their young QB a great weapon.
12. Cleveland Browns- DeVante Parker, WR: The Brown’s needed to add talent at the position with Gordon gone
13. New Orleans Saints- Randy Gregory, Edge: Gregory makes a personal phone call to Shane Ray to take the heat off his off field issues. Saints need pass rush help desperately.
14. Miami Dolphins- Todd Gurley, RB: Dolphins have been very active in free agency, leaving them few holes. Gurley takes some pressure off their QB and makes them more balance on offense.
15. San Francisco 49rs- Arik Armstead, DE: Justin Smith may retire and Armstead is built in the same mold. He is raw, but the physical traits are intriguing
16. Houston Texans- Breshard Perriman, WR: Texans need to help their QB, whoever that will be and they need to replace Andre Johnson
17. San Diego Chargers- Melvin Gordon, RB: Getting a young QB and RB in the same draft worked pretty well all those years back, why not do it again.
18. Kansas City Chiefs- Cameron Erving, OL: Chiefs lost Hudson if FA and Erving is the best of the class. He also has flexibility to play the other 4 spots if need be.
19. Cleveland Browns- Danny Shelton, DT: Shelton fills a huge need and is a perfect fit for the Browns defense
20. Philadelphia Eagles- Trae Waynes, CB: Waynes has size and speed which Chip Kelly will love in his defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Shane Ray, Edge: Bengals have a history of taking troubled players with talent.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers- Marcus Peters, CB: Steelers get, well…..a steal
23. Detroit Lions- Malcom Brown, DT: Brown plays a similar style to Suh and should plug in day 1
24. Arizona Cardinals- Byron Jones, CB: The Cardinals add another physical freak to an already scary secondary
25. Carolina Panthers- Ereck Flowers, OT: They have avoided getting help along the offensive line for long enough
26. Baltimore Ravens- Devin Smith, WR: Smith plays right into Flacco’s strength and could be a big play threat from day 1.
27. Dallas Cowboys- Kevin Johnson, CB: yet another corner is off the board. Johnson is a great fit for the scheme and is insurance if Scandrick holds out
28. Denver Broncos- Maxx Williams, TE: They lost Thomas in FA. Williams could thrive in the Broncos system
29. Indianapolis Colts- Landon Collins, SS: The Colts could use a physical presence in that secondary that can come help against the run
30. Green Bay Packers- Jalen Collins, CB: Packers lost 2 key players from the secondary and need help. Collins is raw but has huge upside
31. New Orleans Saints- Devin Funchess, WR/TE: They traded away their best offensive weapon, but Funchess could come in and play a similar role
32. New England Patriots- The Board has been decimated at CB and WR. I cannot see BB wanting to take the 5th best corner or 6th wide receiver, although Agholor is still on the board and could be an option.
If this is how things played out, I would think the Patriots would be looking to trade out of this pick. If they get stuck here, the names I am considering are: Shaq Thompson, A.J. Cann, T.J. Clemmings, Owamagbe Odighizuwa(didn’t even have to look up how to spell it) Jordan Phillips, Nelson Agholor and Jake Fisher. My heart says take “diggy” but my head says take Shaq Thompson
Patriots 7 round mock:
#32-Shaq Thompson, LB/S: I think that Thompson could come in and be a swiss army knife on defense. He can play in multiple positions in all situations. I think BB would love to have a guy he could be this creative with while adding depth at linebacker and safety.
#64-Quinten Rollins, CB: Rollins is raw and may not be able to start right away, but he has a ton of potential and could develop into a special player.
#96-Ali Marpet, G: I know most think he will be gone by here, but I think in reality teams will be wary of taking this guy much higher than this. Although the physical and athletic traits are there, he will need time to adjust to the strength and speed of the NFL. Remember back to Eric Fisher, the #1 overall pick by the Chiefs. His story and Marpet’s are very similar except Marpet is making a much bigger jump than Fisher. Fisher has struggled so far and I think Marpet could do the same. If we don’t take a guard until this point, I think Dan Connelly should be resigned.
#97-Marcus Hardison, DT: Hardison is bigger defensive tackle that has great pass rush ability. He needs to get stronger against the run, but paring him with Easley could make for a very scary defensive front.
#101-Ty Sambrailo, OL: I think it is in the realm of possibility that the Patriots double dip at the offensive lineman position again this year. Sambrailo has a similar body type to Vollmer and Soldier and has potential to play tackle in the NFL with some development. He has the versatility to play guard as well.
#131-Mike Davis, RB: The Patriots looked long and hard at the smaller, stockier runningbacks in this class. Last year, Davis looked like he was on his way to being a high draft pick, but he wasn’t as consistent this year as last. Some have questioned his work ethic while others speculated he took the Clowney route and was playing to not get hurt. If this is true and he can return to his 2013 form, this will be a steal. He is a tough runner with really good hands out of the backfield. He can play on all 3 downs and be a threat when plays to his potential.
#177-DeAndre Smelter, WR: Smelter is a big target with good hands and great body control. He has big play ability, great hands, and wins contested catches consistently. He is coming off a major injury and played in a run first offense in college, so his stock is up in the air. He needs technique work on his route running. He can be a real asset as a run blocker downfield.
#219-Garry Peters, CB: The Patriots double dip again, this time at corner. Peters is a physical corner who loves to hit. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and has good movement skills to turn and run with receivers. He doesn’t have elite speed and he is a bit grabby, but he is a competitor who puts in the work and might surprise as a late round pick.
#253-Deion Barnes, Edge: Barnes has been somewhat of a disappointment after putting up big numbers as a freshman at Penn State. He has good size and fluid movement, but he is undisciplined in his technique and needs time in an NFL strength and conditioning program. He could develop into a pass rusher and has the athleticism and movement skills to play some OLB in a 3-4 as well.