If Next Year's NFL Draft Started Tomorrow...
Right now, five teams currently own a 2-11 record and are competing, not only for their futures, but also for the right to draft first in the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s a reward they are not proud of, but there is something to be said for rebuilding with the first pick, overall.
If the Draft was held, here are how I see the first 15 picks to pan out.
1.Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon
The Buccaneers will be caught in a quandary of sorts since they must decide between the Heisman Trophy winner from 2014 and the Heisman Trophy winner from 2013. Lovie Smith takes the player who shows more leadership qualities.
2. Tennessee Titans: Jameis Winston, Quarterback, FSU
He is too good to pass up. Forget the off-field issues. The Titans will have the combination of Ben Roethlisberger and John Elway. Zach Mettenberger had a nice rookie run, but Winston is the man who can make the Titans a winner again.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, Defensive End, Nebraska
I think this happens, but I do not like it. The Jaguars need help on the offensive line, at linebacker and at running back. But the defensive line that is nine deep may not be intact next season. Gregory is an aggressive pass rusher who can play the LEO role.
4. New York Jets: Shane Ray, Linebacker/Defensive End, Missouri
The Jets miss out on a quarterback (Jay Cutler), but come up with a solid pass rusher and someone who can play with their hand down or standing up. Ray could be a boom or bust prospect and the players are not sure who will coach them in 2015.
5. Oakland Raiders: Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle, USC
The Raiders play waiting game and come away with a beast in the middle of their defense. Williams is so agile, he can move over to end and play in third down situations. This is the same situation as in New York. Who will coach this team in 2015 is unknown.
6. Washington Redskins: Andrus Peat, Offensive Lineman, Stanford
The Redskins are the train wreck you just watch. What will happen next? Look for the ‘Skins to keep RGIII, then concentrate on protecting him from the pass rush. Peat is mammoth and has quick feet. He is the best tackle in this draft.
7. New York Giants: Shawn Oakman, Defensive End, Baylor
When you have the side and pass rush potential that Oakman has, you are going to get a long hard look. The Giants would love to add a younger pass rusher to the rotation. Great size with long arms to reach for the quarterback. Looks like a defensive star for both teams in New York.
8. Carolina Panthers: Brandon Scherff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
Of all the teams in the top 15, the Panthers might be the one who moves up or down the fastest. Maybe the take a shot at trying to draft Cooper. Maybe they trade down and hope Melvin Gordon is available. Carolina has many holes to fill. The offensive line needs the most help and Scherff is a biggun to help.
9. New Orleans Saints: Dante Fowler, Jr., Defensive End, Florida
At the end of the day, the New Orleans Saints are a mess. The defense needs more speed and youth. Fowler can play edge rusher or possible play on the outside as a linebacker in some schemes. He may be the best edge rusher in this draft. This will be a steal.
10. Chicago Bears: Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle, FSU
We all know the Bears will draft for defense. The question is where to start. Goldman is a space eater and a good fit with Chicago. I think Goldman has the ability to move to outside in particular passing situations. His size is something the Bears need.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Teddy Bridgewater gets another speedy weapon to play with on offense. The Rams, one pick after Minnesota, has to be kicking themselves for not trading up. Cooper is far and away the best play maker in this draft and will also help in the return game. Jeff Fisher strikes again.
12. St. Louis Rams: Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
The Rams still need help on the offensive line and at wide receiver. Stanley will prove to be a solid linemen who can play on both sides. The Rams also opt for Devante Parker to help with speed on the outside.
13. Houston Texans: Landon Collins, Defensive Back, Alabama
The Texans were much improved this season. Collins joins a young and fast secondary and a defense that still gets after it. Collins is the best defensive back in this draft and he lands in the best possible place to team with DJ Swearinger,
14. Cleveland Browns: Devante Parker, Wide Receiver, Louisville
In five years’ time, Parker will become the best receiver in this draft class. Solid route running skills and a 6-foot-3 frame. The Browns still need serious receiving weapons.
15. Miami Dolphins: Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin
Maybe the most obvious choice in the entire Draft. The Dolphins need help on the offensive line as well, but running back is still a huge issue down in south Florida. Gordon is the logical choice.