The Super Bowl has come and gone. For those of you looking for something, anything, on the NFL calendar to look forward to the rookie combine is later this month and the Veteran combine is in March. I can’t wait for both. With so many contracts and coaching positions still to be resolved at least we have a concrete understanding of where teams will be drafting now that the Super Bowl is over. This years college draft class will not participate in any more competitive football games until they are a part of the NFL. Which team they will play for is yet to be seen. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still on the clock.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : 2-14 (.486 strength of schedule) The general consensus here is that Tampa needs a QB. If you watched any of the Senior Bowl games that are meant to be feature games for players coming into the NFL I didn’t see one quarterback that impressed me. I stand by my original pick of the Bucs shoring up their offensive line.
Pick: Brandon Scherff OT (Iowa). Schreff to me is still the best tackle in the draft. He showed excellent movement and strength in his final games against elite talent. The combine may shuffle the deck a little, but to me he is a top 10 draft pick.
2. Tennessee Titans : 2-14 (.506 strength of schedule) Another team that has rumours swirling about a quarterback. Another team that I feel has better players on their roster than what is available through the draft. This team needs someone to help a quarterback, not another punching bag for defensive linemen on the opposing team.
Pick: Amari Cooper WR (Alabama). Cooper was great in the first championship in NCAA history that was in a playoff format. His combine numbers will go a long way of shoring him up as a top five pick.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars : 3-13 (.514 strength of schedule) 2014 record: 3-13 (.514) The Jaguars don’t need a top three pick, they need three picks in the first round. If anyone is willing to trade up to get this pick they should trade it away without thinking about it. If not, than I like them to go with a pass rusher.
Pick: Shawn Oakman DE (Baylor). At 6’ 8” and 275lbs Oakman is more than large enough to play anywhere you’d like him to defensive line. His combine numbers are likely going to cement him as a top 10 pick, but the worry here is his numbers in college were amazing because he was throwing guys around like rag dolls. It’s not so easy in the NFL.
4. Oakland Raiders : 3-13 (.570 strength of schedule) Jack Del Rio has since taking over the coaching duties in Oakland, and may be able to bring a few big name free agents with him from Denver. With that said Rio is a defensive guy, so I see that side of the ball being addressed.
Pick: Leonard Williams DE/DT (USC). Williams would be a fantastic addition to the Raiders as an end in a 4 – 3 scheme. Williams and the Raiders rookie from last year Khalil Mack would combine for a lethal pass rush if they could pull it off, and that would help cover up some deficiencies on the back end.
5. Washington Redskins: 4-12 (.496 strength of schedule) I like what I wrote as an intro in Mock Draft version 1 so much I’m not going to change it. The Skins have a myriad of needs as well, and even more question marks. I am pretty sure “the Riddler” had a conversation with Dan Snyder and said, “What is covered in question marks and annoys people? The answer should be me, but your roster is stealing my look. Fix it or I’ll file another class action law suit.” I see the team looking at a corner, as they have to try to keep the passing attacks of their division rivals in check.
Pick: Kevin Johnson CB (Wake Forest). Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is the other corner everyone is talking about as a top pick, but he’s on the smaller side. Kevin has the size and skills to play press coverage against larger receivers, and the Redskins will need that against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
6. New York Jets: 4-12 (.543 strength of schedule) New coach in the mix, no philosophy in the team, and this gets really tricky. Do you take a year and try and assess exactly what you have in your staff? Or do you go for broke right out of the gate?
Pick: Cedric Ogbuehi OT (Texas A&M). So that is a no, you go with the safe pick and build from the ground up. Ogbuehi started off his collegiate career as a guard and was shifted to the tackle position as a senior. Given how banged up the line has been his versatility and athleticism would make him tough to pass up on. His real strength is as a pass blocker, and it would be nice to see someone behind center for the Jets have more than two seconds to throw a pass.
7. Chicago Bears: 5-11 (.529 strength of schedule) John Fox is the new many in Chi-town. Jay Cutler is a long way from Peyton Manning, but he isn’t as costly either. Fox has a lot of money to bring in some of his guys from Denver, but the Defense in Chicago still needs a lot of work.
Pick: Landon Collins S (Alabama). Detroit and Green Bay love to pass the ball. The league is going more pass oriented. A player with good range like Collins is the way to go.
8. Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 (.482 strength of schedule) Dan Quinn is coming from the Legion of Boom in Seattle to the random grouping of guys that play of the Falcons. He will likely build from the line back.
Pick: Alvin Dupree DE (Kentucky). Dupree is a good mix of size, speed and strength. He should be able to play every down from the start of the season and will add some pressure off the edge.
9. New York Giants: 6-10 (.512 strength of schedule) If you had to single out one area of need for the Giants it has to be the offensive line. Every other position of need from last season can be attributed to injuries forcing the team to go deep into their depth chart.
Pick: La’el Collins OT (LSU). Collins might be better suited to play guard in the NFL, but the team may decide to move him around as he is a versatile athlete that gives the team some options in how to best utilize his strengths. That versatility is what makes him the choice here.
10. St. Louis Rams: 6-10 (.531 strength of schedule) Jeff Fisher has a tough decision here. Is Sam Bradford the quarterback for this team going forward?
Pick: Marcus Mariota QB (Oregon). So the answer to the above question is a “no”. Bradford has missed too much time and the team needs to look in a different direction. Having the top QB prospect fall to you at 10 is a gift, but it also says something about how weak the QB draft class is.
11. Minnesota Vikings: 7-9 (.475 strength of schedule) Is Adrian Peterson going to be a Viking next year? My head tells me no, but my gut tells me yes. Even if he does leave I think the team looks to bolster their secondary with this pick.
Pick: Trae Waynes CB (Michigan State). Waynes is a respectable 6’ 1”, which is what you need to help play against some of these larger receivers features on the Lions and the Packers.
12. Cleveland Browns: 7-9 (.479 strength of schedule) The Browns actually have two first round picks this year. The QB situation in Cleveland muddier than the underside of a Ford in Alabama after a good rain. Still I think the team needs help elsewhere.
Pick: Randy Gregory DE (Nebraska). Gregory will need to put on some weight, unless his combine numbers show him as a potential switch to an OLB. He is so fundamentally sound though that no matter what he’s a player you want on your team.
13. New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (.486 strength of schedule) It’s so hard to gauge what the Saints truly need. The one clear thing is that they do need help.
Pick: Shane Ray DE (Missouri). Ray is a pass rusher, and that is all there is to it. The Saints will decide if he can be an every-down player at either the DE or OLB position, or if he will have to be situation for a while.
14. Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (.512 strength of schedule) The Dolphins were so much better than expected it’s hard to pick apart where the flaws were. The defense looked good, maybe all the quarterback needs is some more time.
Pick: Andrus Peat OT (Stanford). Peat is a mountain, almost exactly how you’d like to build an NFL tackle. His length is going to help him hold off pass rushers and his size will allow him to move people in the run game. He should be a gamer from week one. A really good combine might have him going before 14.
15. San Francisco 49ers: 8-8 (.527 strength of schedule) Who is going to walk up to the podium as the new head coach of the 49ers? What will they do to bolster this team that had such high expectations from a season ago?
Pick: DeVante Parker WR (Louisville). Parker is a big bodied wide receiver and the 49ers will need that with many of their better receivers likely leaving via free agency.
16. Houston Texans: 9-7 (.447 strength of schedule) Anyone remember when the Texans were a near statistical impossibility to make the playoffs? This team needs a QB in the worst way.
Pick: Sean Mannion QB (Oregon State). Except for his height Mannion is the proto-typical QB. I like him more than Jameis Winston as he brings no character issues with him and is likely more ready to take on a pocket passing game.
* A coin flip will determine picks No. 17 and 18.
*17t. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7 (.512 strength of schedule) The Chiefs need offensive help, and particularly a wide receiver. A receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs has not caught a touchdown since 2013. If that’s not a cry for help I don’t know what is.
*17t. San Diego Chargers: 9-7 (.512 strength of schedule) This team appears to be bipolar during the 2014 season. Destroying playoff teams and then being clobbered by the more remedial talents in the league. Some run stopping in the middle would be helpful.
Pick: Danny Shelton DT (Washington). At 6’ 2”, 332 lbs he’s the definition of run stopping. He should command a secondary lineman to help in move him, and that will free up plays for the linebackers.
19. Buffalo Bills : 9-7 (.516 strength of schedule) pick traded to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are back and they really need some help for whoever is throwing the ball this year.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6 (.490 strength of schedule) Philly doesn’t really need anything, or anyone. The team wasn’t far off from making the playoffs. If anything Chip Kelly is going to be looking for a player that fits his system more than a player he needs.
Pick: Shaq Thompson OLB (Washington). Shaq is one of the highest rated linebackers in the draft. While slightly undersized he has top gear speed that fits the Chip Kelly style of fast attacking defenders.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-5-1 (.498 strength of schedule) By loosing in the first round the team has moved up the draft board a few spots. They still need to do something to help Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham WR (Oklahoma). I am pretty sure there are two really good receivers in the league with last names of Green and Beckham, so can you combine them? Dorial is a massive body (6’ 5”) and would be a massive target.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (.451 strength of schedule) The offense looked great last year, but it was the defense that was suspect. Expect Tomlin to address that in a big way.
Pick: Shilique Calhoun DE (Michigan State). Shilique is a younger James Harrison. He should be able to take over the OLB position in the 3 – 4 with no gap in any way.
23. Detroit Lions: 11-5 (.471 strength of schedule) Ndamukong Suh is likely gone, and Fairley is a free agent too. I feel like another DT to fill the gap (and that’s a big gap) left by Suh is likely the goal in the second round.
24. Arizona Cardinals: 11-5 (.523 strength of schedule) The Cardinals need help keeping their quarterbacks healthy, but at this point in the draft I feel like they are picking the best player left as per their draft board, rather than looking at a position of need.
Pick: Eddie Goldman DT (Florida State). The Cardinals will try to mimic the Seattle Seahawks, but bring more ferocity at you up the middle. I’d hate to play in the NFC West.
25. Carolina Panthers: 7-8-1 (.490 strength of schedule) They didn’t deserve to make the playoffs, or win a playoff game, and their punishment for that is the 25th pick for a team that needs a ton of help.
Pick: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB (Oregon). Ifo is one of those super speed guys. There is a real chance he could contribute on special teams if he can’t break in as a starter right away.
26. Baltimore Ravens: 10-6 (.475 strength of schedule) This team will be even better next year, and that is saying something after a rebound performance in 2014. They build through fundamental picks, and the offensive line is as fundamental as it gets.
Pick: T.J. Clemmings OT (Florida State). Clemmings is leaner than most tackles, and could use some beefing up. He’s too strong and too fast to not be a wonderful addition, particularly to teams that like to run screens.
27. Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (.445 strength of schedule) There could be a lot of players leaving Dallas as the team did really well, and players will be looking to cash in on that.
Pick: Dante Fowler Jr. OLB (Florida). Dante is a pass rusher with some heft to him. The team switches personnel enough that the fact that he doesn’t fit well into either the OLB or DE role doesn’t really matter. The team would want him to play as a DE more than they would need him as an OLB.
28. Denver Broncos: 12-4 (.521 strength of schedule) Who is going to coach this team next year? How many of the big name free agents will come back to Denver? How many can they afford? Lots of questions for the Broncos entering 2015.
Pick: Vic Beasley OLB (Clemson). Beasley is a fast player that has good strength for his size. He’s a little undersized, but he’s too good an athlete to pass up in this spot. As DeMarcus Ware gets older Beasley could become a more featured attacker.
29. Indianapolis Colts: 11-5 (.479 strength of schedule) This team needs defensive help the way I need fashion advice; badly.
Pick: Benardrick McKinney ILB (Mississippi State). McKinney struggles in identifying plays and relies on his athletic talents more often than his smarts. The team could us a lot of smarts and ability, but you take what you can get at 29.
30. Green Bay Packers: 12-4 (.482 strength of schedule) Speaking of a team that needs fashion advice, I mean defensive help. Actually they really need both, those throwback uniforms make me want to vomit. Actually vomit would be a better color scheme than navy blue and brown.
Pick: Michael Bennett DT (Ohio State). Bennett is going to beat you off the snap with speed, not strength. He’d win most matchups on the interior so long as he’s not doubled. If he is doubled than other guys can make the play.
31. Seattle Seahawks: 12-4 (.525 strength of schedule) The team is keeping most of their key guys on defense, so long as the Russell Wilson contract doesn’t cripple them then the team will look to add some weapons for him to throw too. That just leaves the offensive line to work on.
Pick: Ronnie Stanley OT (Notre Dame). Stanley is a junior, which is why he’s a bit of a project. His size, speed and strength would have had him in the top 10 in next years draft, but he’s decided to get into the game early. There are still some technique concerns, but really you could play him at right tackle or sub him in for a year until you coach him up.
32. New England Patriots: 12-4 (.514 strength of schedule) I really think this pick is going to be taken from the Patriots thanks to Deflate-Gate. Until that happens.
Pick: Jameis Winston QB (Florida State). Tom Brady is near the end of his career, and Winston is a project. Let him learn and sit on the bench for a year or two and then he’s perfect to go when Brady does call it quits.