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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
 
2015 NFL Mock Draft
By Matt Horkman

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Mariota brings a rare combination of athleticism, poise and size to the quarterback position. He can beat you throwing the ball downfield or with his scrambling. While he lacks the experience that Jameis Winston has in a pro system, his decision-making on and off the field is better. He is the prospect Russell Wilson would’ve been in 2012 had he stood 6-foot-4 instead of 5-foot-11.

Alternative: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

2. Tennessee Titans -- Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
No recent quarterback prospect thrives under pressure as well as Winston does. He delivered on Saturdays, despite facing off-field scrutiny. When the Seminoles needed a big throw in the fourth quarter, he made it. A good arm plus experience in a pro system makes him an ideal franchise quarterback. Only his maturity can hold him back.

Alternative: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Leonard Williams, DT, USC
After going offense with their last two first-round picks, it’s time Jacksonville turns to the defensive side of the ball. Williams, the most complete defensive player in the draft, is equally as effective stopping the run as he is rushing the passer. He could be the talent Gus Bradley needs to produce a defense that meets his standards.

Alternative: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders -- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Raiders haven’t produced a 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss did it for them in 2005. Cooper could change that immediately. He’s the total package. He’ll turn a short pass into a 10-yard gain, move the sticks by working the middle of the field, or explode on a deep play.

Alternative: Leonard Williams, DT, USC

5. Washington -- Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Off the chart size, power and quickness makes Shelton one of the draft’s special talents. Washington’s current nose tackle, Barry Cofield, is a serviceable player, but a talent like Shelton could anchor their defense for a decade. You don’t want to be the team that passes on the next Haloti Ngata for a linebacker.

Alternative: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

6. N.Y. Jets -- Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
A polished left tackle prospect, the Jets could pencil Scherff in at right tackle before he succeeds D’Brickashaw Ferguson on the left side. He grades out well both as a pass and run blocker. He’s also assignment sound and seldom penalized. Trading down for UCLA’s Brett Hundley could also be an option.

Alternative: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

7. Chicago Bears -- Landon Collins, S, Alabama
No team needs safety help as much as the Bears do. They failed to address the position last off-season, and paid a deep price for it. Adding Collins gives them an athlete in the backend of their secondary, who is also an excellent tackler. Chicago is an excellent fit for the draft’s best defensive back.

Alternative: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

8. Atlanta Falcons -- Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
Conventional wisdom suggests the Falcons will sit back and draft the best defensive player available. There’s a good chance it’ll be a pass rushing outside linebacker. Gregory, a college defensive end, had 16.5 sacks over the last two seasons. If he demonstrates enough athletic prowess at the combine and his pro day, he’s an ideal candidate to standup and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. 

Alternative: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

9. N.Y. Giants -- Dante Fowler  Jr., DE, Florida
Even if the Giants re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, they could still use another pass rusher to upgrade a pass rush that wasn’t as good as their 2014 sack total (47) suggested. This draft could see several pass rushers go in the top half of round one, but many of them may not fit New York’s defensive scheme. Fowler is the exception.

Alternative: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

10. St. Louis Rams -- DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Whoever plays quarterback for St. Louis in 2015 needs more talent around them than what the Rams currently offer. Parker would be a fine addition. He’s a well-rounded receiver prospect who runs outstanding routes, and does a nice job of catching the ball with his hands. He’d step in as the Rams’ top target on day one.

Alternative:  Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

11. Minnesota Vikings -- Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Xavier Rhodes is developing into a fine cornerback, but you need at least two good ones to combat the talented receivers of the NFC North. Enter Waynes, who has the physicality to play on the outside. This would allow the Vikings to move Captain Munnerlyn inside, leaving Mike Zimmer just a safety away from solidifying his defensive backfield.

Alternative: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

12. Cleveland Browns -- Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri
A strong performance at the combine and Ray could easily sneak into the top 10. He’s a nightmare off the edge, posting 14 sacks en route to earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He’d be a welcomed addition opposite of Paul Kruger in Cleveland.

Alternative: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

13. New Orleans Saints -- P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
If Williams has the kind of combine I think he will, then he’ll be the first cornerback drafted in May’s draft. He’s best suited for man coverage, where he can rely on his physicality to harass receivers at the line of scrimmage. This makes him an ideal fit for Rob Ryan’s defense, which needs to find a cornerback to start opposite of Keenan Lewis.

Alternative: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

14. Miami Dolphins -- Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Struggling against the run was a major reason Miami failed to make the playoffs in 2014. Over their final six games, they allowed 165 yards per game on the ground. As a result, Miami may want fresh blood in the middle of their defense come 2015. Brown’s a solid run defender with tremendous size (6-foot-4, 320 pounds). He’s also a good pass rusher, registering six sacks in 2014.

Alternative: Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (FL)

15. San Francisco 49ers -- Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Michael Crabtree is a free agent and Anquan Boldin turns 35 in October, so receiver is a major priority for the 49ers. Strong is a big-bodied (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) receiver with excellent hands. In the past, I’ve compared him to Terrell Owens. Adding him to a nucleus that consists of Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde would give the 49ers their own version of the triplets to build their offense around post Jim Harbaugh. 

Alternative: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

16. Houston Texans -- Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No matter how good their defense is, the Texans know they aren’t making a playoff run without a franchise quarterback. Hundley throws bullets. His arm is as lively as any prospect in the draft. With outstanding athleticism and size, he could develop into a franchise quarterback under the right circumstances. Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans represent such circumstances.

Alternative: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

Brett Hundley

17. San Diego Chargers -- Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
The Chargers produced 26 sacks in 2014. That was fourth worst in the NFL. It’s unlikely they’ll retain Dwight Freeney, and Jarrett Johnson seems like a potential cap casualty. Adding a talent, even an undersized one, at outside linebacker is in the cards. Beasley, a highly active pass rusher, would give them a much-needed spark along their front seven.

Alternative: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

18. Kansas City Chiefs -- Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Eric Fisher’s move to the left side created a void on the right. Adding Peat gives the Chiefs plenty of options. They could move Fisher back to right tackle and develop Peat as their left tackle of the future. They could also plug Peat in at right tackle and keep Fisher on the left side. Whichever direction they go in, Peat fits Andy Reid’s philosophy of targeting big men with his first pick.

Alternative: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills) -- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
The NFL suspended receiver Josh Gordon for the entirety of the 2015 season, leaving the Browns with a major void at receiver. They could’ve drafted Sammy Watkins or Odell Beckham last year, but they traded down and targeted Justin Gilbert instead. With two first-round picks, they’ll have a second chance at adding a game-breaking receiver. They should not pass this opportunity up.

Alternative: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

20. Philadelphia Eagles -- Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (FL)
Injecting youth into the linebacker corps is a good possibility in Philadelphia. Perryman is a tough, hard-hitting linebacker capable of playing on the outside or inside. He’ll need a strong combine, however, to solidify his first-round status.

Alternative: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

21. Cincinnati Bengals -- T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth turns 34 in December, so the Bengals need to begin thinking about the future. Additionally, they have three unrestricted offensive lineman including two tackles. Clemmings is a developmental prospect. He has the measurables of a left tackle, but could conceivably play early on the right side.

Alternative: Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky

22. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Williams has a lot riding on this month’s combine. A strong performance and he’ll solidify his status as the draft’s No. 1 tight end. The Steelers may keep a close watch over him, as starting tight end Heath Miller turns 33 in October. Williams is already a good red zone threat. If he tests well in Indianapolis, he’ll have shown to have the athletic prowess to make an impact between the 20s. 

Alternative: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

23. Detroit Lions -- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Davis has put himself in round one consideration. He is a disruptor, using his hands well to disengage from blocks. If the Lions re-sign Ndamukong Suh, pairing him and Davis may make Detroit’s front four even more fearsome than it already is.

Alternative: La’el Collins, OT, LSU

24. Arizona Cardinals -- Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
With Larry Foote retiring and the availability of Daryl Washington unknown, an upgrade at inside linebacker seems inevitable for Arizona. Kendricks plays nasty. He was one of the most productive linebackers in college football the last two seasons, relying on his speed to coast sideline to sideline. It’s a strong draft for inside linebackers, and Kendricks might be the best of the bunch. 

Alternative: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

25. Carolina Panthers -- Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)
The Panthers had two major needs last off-season: left tackle and wide receiver. While they added Kelvin Benjamin and Blake Bell, they still need to continue to replenish both positions. Flowers looks the part of a left tackle on paper, standing 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds. He shows good athleticism in the run game, and does a nice job of leading pass rushers up field.

Alternative: Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke

26. Baltimore Ravens -- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Starting running back Justin Forsett turns 30 in October, so the Ravens might not be willing to commit big-time money to impending free agent. If he’s able to get his payday elsewhere, Baltimore will turn to other alternatives. Gordon should top their list. He’s patient, explosive and he has the lower body strength to run between the tackles. He is a good bet to end the two-year drought of no running backs taken in the first round.

Alternative: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

27. Dallas Cowboys -- Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
The Cowboys spent the last four years retooling their offensive line, using three first-round picks on offensive lineman during that span. They should take a similar approach in upgrading their defensive line. Dupree should test well at the combine, putting himself in round one consideration. He’s a prime target for Dallas, given Jerry Jones’ tendency to draft for flash.

Alternative: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State

28. Denver Broncos -- La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Collins had a good Senior Bowl, reinforcing his status as a late first or early second round choice. He was one of the few players in Mobile to hold his own against Danny Shelton in one on ones. The Broncos could kick him inside at guard or keep him at right tackle, allowing them to move Louis Vasquez back inside.

Alternative: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

29. Indianapolis Colts -- Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
The Colts are going to have to get through New England before they reach a Super Bowl anytime soon. To do that, they have to stop the run. The Pats have shredded them in their last three meetings for an average of 219 yards per game on the ground. Armstead struggles with consistency, but he’s a good run defender with terrific size. He’d definitely help Indy’s cause. 

Alternative: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

30. Green Bay Packers -- Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU
The Packers will look to improve their front seven this off-season, especially its interior. Dawson, who does a fine job of recognizing plays, could step in and start at inside linebacker immediately. He is a pin missile with great production, instincts, and toughness. He could ultimately be the first inside linebacker to come off the board.

Alternative: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State

31. Seattle Seahawks -- Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke
Crowder could play the role the Seahawks imagined for Percy Harvin. He works his best from the slot, demonstrating unique quickness in the open field. In addition, he has the toughness to work the middle of the field. Add in special teams contributions, and he could be an under the radar pick for offensive rookie of the year.

Alternative: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

32. New England Patriots -- Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
The Pats need to begin preparing for life without Vince Wilfork. The five-time all-pro nose tackle turns 34 in November, so landing his replacement in the draft would be a major get for Bill Belichick. Phillips could be the guy. He struggles with consistency, but he’s capable of dominating against the run when his effort is there.

Alternative: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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