We love getting guest contributions on the front page here at Vikings Territory and today is no exception. Richard Comben (Aussie61 to those of you who know who is who in the comments section around here) is the latest reader to submit a mock draft for all of us to enjoy.
Richard said something when he emailed this to me that I thought was particularly of interest. “One thing that I have learned is that these mock drafts are more difficult than can be imagined when you start putting things on paper!” he wrote to me.
I thought that was a really good point to bring up, because mock drafts are one of the easiest things on the internet to criticize or dismiss, but the truth is that they aren’t easy to produce. Those guys that do this on a weekly basis (or daily basis, as is the case with some writers) deserve credit for what they do.
Anyways, leave Richard some love in the comments section, he did a nice job.
2015 NFL MOCK DRAFT – Submitted by Richard Comben
1. Tampa Bay // Dante Fowler, EDGE – Florida
Jameis Winston is the popular pick, but he’s not mine. I worry about his interception rate and off-field issues. Lovie Smith won’t miss the chance to boost his ailing defense, and Fowler can help right away.
2. Tennesee // Leonard Williams, DL – USC
The Titans are struggling on both sides of the ball, but offensive help is available later in the draft. Williams will add a piece that the Titans can build around up front.
3. Jacksonville // Brandon Scherff, OL – Iowa
The Jags had the worst ranked offence last year. After investing a first round pick in Blake Bortles they need to give him a chance to make plays. Some talent was added during free agency and fixing the OL has to be high on the agenda.
4. Oakland // Shane Ray, EDGE – Missouri
WR is a need, but with the depth of this receiver class I believe Reggie McKenzie can hold off. Adding Shane Ray as a compliment to Khalil Mack would be a tantalizing proposition that could push this defense onward and upwards.
5. Washington // Jameis Winston,QB – Florida State
Jay Gruden was exceedingly exasperated at times last year with RGIII, to the point that he called him out in the media. I have no doubt that Gruden wants to choose his own guy at QB, and Winston could well be that guy. The sticking point will be convincing Daniel Snyder.
6. NY Jets // Marcus Mariota, QB – Oregon
The jets QB situation was a mess under Rex Ryan. The new coaching staff has to make priority number one sorting out that mess. That should mean clearing the decks and starting fresh, although it would be wise to sit Mariota for his rookie season and let him find his feet.
7. Chicago // Randy Gregory, EDGE – Nebraska
Randy Gregory was, at one time, touted as a possible number one pick, until he failed his combine drug test. The Bears need a talent like Gregory to build for the future, so they will overlook his smoking habits and bank on his talent.
8. Atlanta // Vic Beasley, EDGE – Clemson
The Falcons had the 8th ranked offense last year, and the 30th ranked defense. This pick should be a no-brainer.
9. NY Giants // Andrus Peat, OT – Stanford
Eli Manning needs to see his offensive line get an overhaul. Andrus Peat will be a good starting point. Typically the Giants like to take linemen early in the draft and I see no reason why they won’t again.
10. St Louis // Amari Cooper, WR – Alabama
Rams fans may be getting tired of early round receiver picks, but Cooper is a talent too good to pass on. Jeff Fisher has to get his offense going, Nick Foles will help only if he has reliable targets in the passing game.
11. Minnesota // Marcus Peters, CB – Washington
Trae Waynes has been a popular pick with draftniks. I think the Vikings may well take a CB, but it won’t be Waynes. To me,he just doesn’t fit what Zimmer asks of his corners, having come from a zone-heavy scheme at Michigan State. I rate Marcus Peters as a better talent, and a better fit schematically, with what Zimmer expects of his corners. Peters slid down draft boards because of perceived “red flags” after being kicked out of Washington. This issue seems more like a personality clash between Peters and the new coaching staff that came in to Washington. Peters strikes me as a winner and I think Zim will love him.
12. Cleveland // Kevin White, WR – West Virginia
The Browns need to start to get things right with their draft strategy. Taking Kevin White here can give them a big bodied guy who can stretch the field and be a red zone target for whoever is under center.
13. New Orleans // Bud Dupree, EDGE – Kentucky
It’s difficult to know what the Saints are thinking with their approach to the offseason so far. You would imagine a team that had the 32nd ranked defense would relish a guy like Dupree. He can help from Day One and be the building block they need for their front seven. Somehow, though, I get the feeling that New Orleans will do something dumb here and overdraft a TE.
14. Miami // DeVante Parker, WR – Loiusville
Miami saw Mike Wallace as an underachieveing malcontent with a big salary, so they shipped him out. Parker needs to refine his route running, but with his size and good hands he can contribute early and may develop into the #1 receiver the Dolphins desperately need.
15. San Francisco // Jaelen Strong, WR – Arizona State
There are a few different ways the 49ers can go here, but in my opinion WR is the most glaring hole. Jaelen Strong is an athletic receiving talent who should fit well with Colin Kaepernick and provide an immediate boost to the passing game.
16. Houston // Rashad Greene, WR – Florida State
The Houston Texans have become somewhat of an enigma for their fans. While they possess a feared pass rush and had the #1 ranked defense last year, they continue to struggle to put offensive points on the board. Rashad Greene might not be the sexy pick here, but he is the right one. A good route runner with lateral quickness and agility, Greene has slipped under the radar because of his size. He’s a small poppy in a field of giants, but is a definite first round talent.
17. San Diego // La’el Collins, OT – LSU
The Chargers have a need at RB, but with such a deep class it can wait. Collins is a versatile player who can be an upgrade to the offensive line right away. Edge rusher is also a possibility here, but with the top prospects gone, Collins is my guy.
18. Kansas City // TJ Clemmings, OT – Pittsburgh
I agonized over this pick.While there is a clear need for receiver help, with the addition of Jeremy Maclin, Kansas should be able to wait and address that need later. T.J. Clemmings is still raw, but with the right coaching this mauler could be a big asset to any running game. Many analysts say he has the talent to be as good as Jason Peters, but I wouldn’t go that far just yet.
19. Cleveland – from Buffalo // Arik Armstead, DL – Oregon
Armstead is a versatile lineman who can play a number of different roles. He would be a big asset to a Browns defense that is starting to slide.
20. Philadelphia // Landon Collins, SS – Alabama
The Eagles have a big need at safety, and if they want to address it, now is the time. The safety class is one of the weakest groups in this class, and Collins won’t be on the board the next time Chip Kelly makes a selection. Collins is a sure tackler and big hitter who will help solidify the secondary.
21. Cincinnati // Danny Shelton, DL – Washington
Marvin Lewis has Michael Johnson back. Adding Danny Shelton can help to push the Bengals defense back up the rankings. The defense could only manage 20 sacks last year and, at times, their run defense was shredded. These problems need to be solved if the Bengals want to be a playoff contender again.
22. Pittsburgh // Trae Waynes, CB – Michigan State
Waynes may not fall this far, but with a deep corner class this is where he lands. I still have Waynes ranked as the second CB behind Marcus Peters. Waynes has risen up draft boards after the combine, but I’m not a big fan of moving guys around based on the combine numbers or pro days.
23. Detroit // Malcolm Brown, DT – Texas
Detroit could use some help at CB and WR, but with the depth of those positions now is a good time to strengthen the DL. After losing Suh and Fairley in free agency, and adding Haloti Ngata, there is still a hole to fill. Malcolm Brown can learn from one of the best in the business and be a solid anchor for years to come.
24. Arizona // Melvin Gordon, RB – Wisconsin
The Cardinals need a much more dynamic run game if they are to be a serious championship contender. Melvin Gordon can give them that. He is a potential franchise back who could reach the heights of Jamaal Charles. Before that happens, he needs to learn better ball security and improve his blocking, both things that are coachable.
25. Carolina // DJ Humphries, OT – Florida
The Panthers seem content that Cam Newton is their QB for the future, so they need to start protecting him. The OL was a train wreck for much of 2014, and Dave Gettleman needs to fix it for his team to succeed.
26. Baltimore // PJ Williams, CB – Florida State
The Ravens could go WR here, but Williams is the better value. A versatile corner who can move inside and play safety, Williams’ physical style will have a lot of appeal to Baltimore.
27. Dallas // Todd Gurley, RB – Georgia
After letting DeMarco Murray walk, Dallas has a big time need here. Gurley is a big, physical back who can break through and cause havoc on the second level. Jerry won’t be able to resist.
28. Denver // Ereck Flowers, OT – Miami
The Broncos still think they have a shot at winning a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, so they better find a way to stop pass rushers. Flowers can play right tackle or guard.
29. Indianapolis // Jordan Phillips, DL – Oklahoma
I considered RB here, but Phillips is a better value selection. The Colts need to do a better job stopping the run and Phillips can do just that. He also has the ability to get pressure up the middle to disrupt the passing game.
30. Green Bay // Eric Kendricks, ILB – UCLA
The Packers had Clay Matthews playing inside at times last year. They need him outside, so expect ILB to be high on the priority list. Eric Kendricks can fill the need here.
31. New Orleans – from Seattle // Maxx Williams, TE – Minnesota
After trading Jimmy Graham, the Saints need to use the pick they received for him to draft a replacement. The TE class isn’t strong this year, but Williams has the talent to grow into a quality NFL starter. He is clearly the best in the class and the Saints need to grab him now.
32. New England // Kevin Johnson, CB – Wake Forest
Despite being the reigning champions, the Patriots still have holes to fill. Kevin Johnson represents good value here and can help a secondary that struggled at times last year.