2015 Post-Free Agency Mock Draft: Leonard Williams Slips To Nine
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1 Jameis Winston - QB Florida State
The Buccaneers have multiple holes on defense and their offensive line, with guys like Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler being possible selections here, but they do not seem to be happy with Mike Glennon at helm, so quarterback still makes the most sense. While they are far from becoming a playoff contender, they would likely rather take the pro-ready Jameis Winston as opposed to the raw Marcus Mariota. Both players are risks but Winston is less of a risk in terms of on-field play.
2 Amari Cooper - WR Alabama
One could argue that the Titans are worse off than the Buccaneers, with very few starting-quality players on both sides of the ball, though they have a plethora of young, promising players. The Titans are expected to give Zach Mettenberger another year to prove that he can be their guy, so there is a big chance that they pick up Amari Cooper, who would be able to step in right away as their go-to guy. With Justin Hunter failing to develop, the Titans lack a reliable receiver outside of the 5-foot-10 Kendall Wright. Leonard Williams is a possibility, but they have an adequate line rotation, while they resigned edge rusher Derrick Morgan and former-Redskin Brian Orakpo, so they will likely pass up on guys like Dante Fowler and Randy Gregory.
3 Dante Fowler - OLB Florida
The Jaguars have a nice duo of interior linemen in Sen'Derrick Marks and newly-signed Jared Odrick but they must now go outside. They cut Red Bryant and Chris Clemons struggled for much of the year. With only part-time player Ryan Davis to turn to, Dante Fowler would make a lot of sense for them. He is raw but he is has the size and all the physical traits to be great.
4 Kevin White - WR West Virginia
This is almost a no-brainer for the Raiders, as Kevin White has the size, the speed, and the catching ability to be not only a playmaker but their number one receiver. With last year's second-round pick Derek Carr showing some promise, they must get him some receivers. Rod Streater and James Jones can be productive, but neither has the athleticism to break free from tight coverage.
5 Trae Waynes - CB Michigan State
The Redskins' offense looks good on paper, especially if Robert Griffin can return to his rookie form, but their defense has plenty of holes. They did a good job in free agency, signing three quality starters, but they still need an inside linebacker and just about every position in the secondary. Trae Waynes, who's combine performance may have risen his draft stock into top-ten consideration, looks to be the best option here. Waynes should be able to step in right away and start opposite of Chris Culliver and has the potential to develop into a shutdown corner. Many have the Redskins picking up a pass rusher in their mock drafts, but with Ryan Kerrigan coming off of his best season and Trent Murphy impressed at times in his rookie year. Depth is an issue at the position, but it is unlikely that they address that need in the first round.
New York Jets
6 Vic Beasley - OLB Clemson
The Jets are known for sporting great defenses and will this year after the signings of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Buster Skrine, but they still lack a premier edge rusher. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson have both proved that they are capable of not only eating up blocks but getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, however, the guys behind them have failed to take advantage of that. Unilke Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples, Vic Beasley has a prototypical build and amazing athleticism, so he would provide an upgrade. While he is raw, much like the aforementioned Dante Fowler, he has the explosiveness and rush ability to immediately contribute on passing downs, like Aldon Smith did in his first year with the 49ers.
7 Danny Shelton - NT Washington
The Bears filled some needs in free agency, picking up a capable edge rusher in Pernell McPhee and a productive slot pass catcher in Eddie Royal, but they still have a few gaping holes in their team. With Brandon Marshall out the door, they lack a quality receiver opposite of Alshon Jeffery, while they do not have a player on their roster capable of playing a 3-4 nose tackle--the interior guys they currently have, Jeremiah Ratliff, Will Sutton, and Ego Ferguson, are all too small for the position--and their secondary is among the league's least talented, even if Kyle Fuller lives up to his first-round pedigree. Danny Shelton is among the best and arguably the safest of the available prospects, so it the most likely selection for the Bears.
8 Shane Ray - DE Missouri
Many see defensive end as the Falcons' biggest need, with the signings of Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield not changing much, but it would be hard for them to pass on a player of Leonard Williams' caliber. They have a need inside too, but an edge rush would do more for them, so given the opportunity, they would likely pass on Williams and select the pure pass rushing end, Shane Ray.
New York Giants
9 Leonard Williams - DE USC
Leonard Williams looks to be the highest-ranked player on most boards, and is coming within the top three in most mock drafts, but if the Titans pass on him, his stock may spiral downward. The Jaguars and Jets do not have a need at the position, while the other teams simply have bigger holes elsewhere. For the Giants however, for Williams to fall to them would be a blessing, as they have a talented defense with a few holes. They have a strong need at safety, after losing their two previous starters, but it would be too early to draft Landon Collins, the only starting-caliber safety in this draft, but it still works in their favor to instead put Williams next to their much-coveted run stopper, Johnathan Hankins. With those two in the middle, Jason Pierre-Paul set to return, and Robert Ayers looking ready for a bigger role, this could be a front that challenges the likes of St. Louis.
St. Louis Rams
10 La'el Collins - OT LSU
Speaking of St. Louis, they have their defensive front set, but lack talent on their offensive side. Greg Robinson can improve at left tackle while Rodger Saffold is an adequate guard, but just about every other spot is a hole. La'el Collins, who projects as a right tackle but could also move inside, would improve their line no matter which position he ends up playing.
11 Brandon Scherff - OG Iowa
A defensive-centric team, the Vikings have a lot to fix on their offense, with halfback, receiver, and guard coming to mind first. They may select Teddy Bridgewater's former teammate, DeVante Parker, or even one of the top two backs, but both positions are deep in this draft. Brandon Scherff played tackle in college but he is expected to move inside and is now the consensus best interior lineman. Scherff should be able to start from the get-go, which will fortify a line that can become one of the best in the league.
12 Malcom Brown - DT Texas
The Browns made some moves in free agency, picking up a solid corner in Tramon Williams and two former Dolphins, Brian Hartline and Randy Starks, but they need someone to start opposite of Starks to completely refurbish the wretched run defense they had last year. One of the fastest risers in the draft, Malcom Brown can play multiple positions along the line. He is very explosive for his size and has the potential to become a disruptive force at the next level.
New Orleans Saints
13 Randy Gregory - OLB Nebraska
The Saints have become significantly weaker in the past few years, and one thing they have always been missing is an edge rusher opposite of Junior Galette. Randy Gregory was once thought of as a possible top-five pick, but his weight has created concerns for many teams. He is also raw, but with Galette and Cameron Jordan, he should be able to win with that raw talent as he develops into more of a technician.
14 DeVante Parker - WR Louisville
The Dolphins made a ton of moves at receiver, cutting Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, trading away Mike Wallace, and trading for Kenny Stills, but even with the emergence of Jarvis Landry, this is a position of need. Neither Stills nor Landry have the size to make clutch, contested catches, so DeVante Parker would be a perfect fit for them. The 6-foot-3 wideout has adequate speed, sporting a 4.45 40, and has the potential to be a number one receiver.
San Francisco 49ers
15 Marcus Peters - CB Washington
With their 2015 starters, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox, gone, there is no question that the 49ers have a need at corner, the question is who. Marcus Peters, Jalen Collins, and Kevin Johnson all make sense at this point, with Peters being the most talented, Collins the biggest, and Johnson the safest. In the end, Peters should be the 49ers' decision, as they should able to put his character issues to rest and he has the most potential of the listed corners.
16 Arik Armstead - DT Oregon
The Texans have the league's best defensive end in J.J. Watt, but they do not have a quality player opposite of him. Arik Armstead, arguably the draft's most potent prospect, may not be able to step in right away, but he has what it takes to be a dominant player at the position in the near future. If he is given the time to develop, the Texans could possess the league's best defensive duo.
San Diego Chargers
17 Bud Dupree - OLB Kentucky
They have some issues with their offensive line, but the ones on defense are much more apparent. The biggest problem for them is that Melvin Ingram has been a bust, leaving them without a capable edge rusher. Bud Dupree is considered the workout warrior at the combine and rightfully so, he is a freak of nature. Dupree though, seldom won with technique in college, as his athleticism alone was enough to generate pressure. While he is super athletic, that will not work as well in the NFL, so he will have to learn the nuances of the position. That is a doable task for Dupree, and his athleticism should give him some leeway early in his career.
Kansas City Chiefs
18 Andrus Peat - OT Stanford
With the depature of Rodney Hudson, they now have the league's worst offensive line. Andrus Peat, who has the ability to play on both the left and right side, should be able to step in right away for them. They should give their 2013 first-round pick, Eric Fisher some more time to develop, so Peat would likely move to the right side for them. However, if Fisher does not fare well in his third year, Peat could capabably move over and replace him. Peat does not come without flaws, as he has notably troubles with technique, but he has the size, strength, quickness, and enough intangibles to be a dependable lineman in the NFL.
19 Dorial Green-Beckham - WR Oklahoma
The Browns want to truly know if Johnny Manziel can be their guy, and it will be tough for them to do that if he does not have good targets. Brian Hartline can be a solid number two, while Andrew Hawkins is among the league's best slot receivers, but they do not have a guy on their roster that can be a number one. Dorial Green-Beckham, while raw, can be that guy. He may not be able to step in right away, with some troubles in route running, but he has all the physical tools and reliable hands. If he is truly done with his troubled past, then this could prove to be the steal of the draft.
20 Landon Collins - SS Alabama
The Eagles have obtained a lot of talent through free agency and some crazy trades, but they still have some issues on defense. Landon Collins, the only starting-quality safety in this class, may be overdrafted due to his status, but if things play out this way, then he will fall right in the waiting hands of Philadelphia. They deeply need a strong safety, so they may actually trade up if they are to secure Collins, but it is fully possible for them to get him with the 20th pick.
21 Jordan Phillips - NT Oklahoma
The Bengals brought back Michael Johnson to wreck havoc opposite of Carlos Dunlap, while Geno Atkins proved early in his career that he can be a force to be reckoned with, but they need a consistent contributor to play beside them. Jordan Phillips, at 329 pounds, should be able to instantly step in as a run stopper, and is more athletic with more pass rush potential than the Bengals' current tackle Domata Peko.
22 Jalen Collins - CB LSU
While edge rusher is a need, the hole they have at corner is much bigger. The guys currently on their roster struggled, most notably Cortez Allen, who was expected to take the next step this year. Jalen Collins, at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, has the size that the Steelers look for and also possesses the athleticism to stay with NFL-caliber receivers. The problem with Collins is that he is a bit of a one-year wonder, so he may need some time to develop.
23 Kevin Johnson - CB Wake Forest
The Lions have replaced one of their jettisoned tackles through a trade with the Ravens and they should be able to find an adequate starter later in the draft, which will allow them to focus on another area of concern. Darius Slay stepped up big time last year, living up to his second-round pedigree, but beyond him, there is not much at the cornerback position. Kevin Johnson may be a bit thin, measuring in below 190 pounds, but he has good length at 6-foot and displayed excellent coverage skills last year. Johnson is the next safest pick at corner behind Trae Waynes and should be able to start as a rookie.
24 Eli Harold - OLB Virginia
The Cardinals' defense is abundant with talent, but they lack a threatening presence on the edge. LaMarr Woodley does not look poised for a rebound year, so they will likely take an outside linebacker early. Eli Harold possesses the explosiveness teams covet in edge rushers, though he is on the weaker side. Regardless, he has enough burst to be a pro-caliber outside linebacker.
25 D.J. Humphries - OT Florida
The Panthers' offensive line is not too much better than the Chiefs, with only Ryan Kalil looking like a true starter, so look for the Panthers to draft some linemen early, possibly one with each of their first two picks. Of the ones that will be available here, D.J. Humphries is the only one that can play on the left side. He is very raw, but he has natural athleticism and should be able to quickly improve his craft.
26 P.J. Williams - CB Florida State
Jimmy Smith is good when healthy, while Lardarius Webb, despite the down year, is a solid nickel corner, but they have nothing beyond that at the position. P.J. Williams, at 6-foot and 194 pounds, has the size and physicality to play outside and should be able to start right away. He was a little to physical in college, but that can easily be fixed up with coaching.
27 Todd Gurley - RB
After failing to re-sign DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys are left with an untested bunch in Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. With him defecting to the Eagles, one must wonder if the Cowboys had a plan to draft a running back early all along, or just having it as a backup plan. Todd Gurley is seen as the most talented back in the draft, but whether or not he can fully recover from his knee injury is in question. If is able to fully recover, he can have Murray-like years for a long time behind the Cowboys' young and talented line.
Buffalo Bills (Projected Trade with the Denver Broncos)
28 Marcus Mariota - QB Oregon
The Bills have a competent team, but lack a future under center. With a new staff in town, a change at quarterback looks inevitable. Rex Ryan likes athletic quarterbacks, so the ultra-talented Marcus Mariota likely fits the bill for him. The main knock on the Oregon product is that he did not play in a pro system, but he will not have to step in right away; Matt Cassel is expected to work as a makeshift starter, with Tyrod Taylor being another option. The Bills have a championship-caliber defense along with plenty of talent on offense, so when Mariota does get the green light to start, he will not face the immense pressure that guys that get selected by talent-dearth teams have to face, with Blake Bortles and Derek Carr quickly coming to mind.
29 Bernardrick McKinney - ILB Mississippi St.
The Colts have one of the most porous offensive lines, but their run defense was even worse. With many players in their front seven in the latter half of their playing careers, the Colts need some young, potent talent. Bernardrick McKinney can not only provide that, but he can make an immediate impact against the run. The one knock on the 6-foot-4 linebacker's play is his struggles in coverage, which he can get better at with the speed he has for a bigger guy.
Green Bay Packers
30 Eric Kendricks - ILB UCLA
Much like the Colts, the Packers struggled mightily against the run, with needs at both nose tackle and inside linebacker. Clay Matthews performed admirably after moving in, but he is still a better player on the edge. Eric Kendricks is considered a safe pick due to his outstanding instincts and he should be able to start right away, allowing Matthews to move back outside.
New Orleans Saints
31 Jaelen Strong - WR Arizona State
The Saints may not have the best cornerback corps, inside linebackers, or interior linemen, but with Marques Colston aging and no other receiver able to step up in his place on the outside, the Saints will have to go wideout here. They could get a guy like Breshad Perriman, who offers a rare blend of size and speed, but Jaelen Strong would be the more secure pick. Strong, at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, has excellent size and is able to make the contested catch. His pre-combine knock was his speed, but he recorded a 4.44 40, proving that it is adequate. He should be able to start opposite of Colston and then eventually replace him in the lineup.
New England Patriots
32 Eddie Goldman - DT Florida State
Vince Wilfork has defected to the Texans, so the Patriots will look to the draft to replace the dependable lineman. Eddie Goldman, at 336 pounds, has similar size to Wilfork, and can play a nose tackle role. He lacks a pass rushing prowess, but has decent burst which shows that he may be able to develop that part of his craft.