The NFL Draft is at hand and begins this Thursday evening. So before you head out to the Age of Ultron premiere, be sure to waste far too much time watching a bunch of people on ESPN run their mouths for 3 straight hours while you listen for one name. I, for one, can’t wait. In a world that has been completely saturated with Mock Drafts, we here at Braves General Store sought to bring you something new. We had plans of doing a draft where Kyle and I traded picks so as to eliminate any sort of bias we may have to try and fix it the way we wanted it. Well, it turned out to be such a great idea that Kiper and McShay totally stole it.
So, as with many things, I have had to resort to making my own (ACCURATE) mock draft for your viewing pleasure. Each pick will be followed by a GIF representing a small sample size of greatness.
1. Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Let’s not get fancy here, Jameis Winston, while possessing character concerns (really big ones that I believe will eventually ruin him), is the best player at the position. He threw a lot of interceptions, which is alarming, but that can be overcome with a good coach. Who knows if Tampa Bay can provide that for him? Jameis also has tremendous bust potential and knowing the Bucs past, he probably will end up being one. This kid can play if he doesn’t get in his own way.
2. Tennessee – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Titans have an incredibly tough choice to make. I’m willing to bet teams have been and will be calling with offers for this pick. They would be wise to listen. Mariota is an incredible player, one that I believe will be better than Winston, but they have far too many holes to fill on defense and on the O-Line to justify staying here. However, if they don’t like the offers, they should not pass on Mariota at two. He will fix their QB problems and possibly allow them to get by with a bad O-Line for a year until they can fix their issues there.
3. Jacksonville – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Jaguars also have a tough choice to make. They have a porous offensive line that allowed far too many sacks last year, but pulling the trigger on an offensive linemen this early would probably be a reach. I would not rule it out, though. If they don’t take Amari, Dante Fowler is the like pick here; however, Blackmon has left a huge hole on the roster, with no dynamic internal options. Bortles needs help and Amari is one of the best players in this draft. I think the Jaguars go with best player available here, and it happens to be at a position of need.
4. Oakland – Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Oakland has an absolute no-brainer in this situation. Williams is the best at a sexy position in the NFL. They filled their need at linebacker last year with Mack and they’ll fill their need on the end with Williams. This pick just fell into their laps. Unfortunately, his career will be ruined as Oakland destroys talent.
5. Washington – Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida
It seems Dante Fowler is, indeed, the best edge rusher in the draft. Drafting him this low is a treat for a team who will miss Brian Orakpo dearly. Drafting Fowler in this spot helps them move on quickly. There is almost no chance of Fowler falling past Washington.
6. New York Jets – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
The consensus seems to be that Scherff is the OT prospect to have in this draft, but with rumors that the Jets have a draft crush on Peat, I think they bite on him. I believe Scherff to be a more finished product, but Peat has the ability to play right away and his raw measurables and talent could see him develop into the best player in this draft. Yea, I said it. Offensive line FTW. (Disclaimer: I know almost nothing about being a good lineman.)
7. Chicago – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
The Bears biggest need, without a doubt, is wide receiver. It would be great for them if Amari was in play at this spot, but I highly doubt that will happen. They also have a need at defensive tackle, but drafting one in this spot would be a bit of a reach. Kevin White is going to light up the fantasy world one day, but probably after Jay Cutler is no longer his QB.
8. Atlanta – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
This is homerism at its finest, but I predicted we would draft him in one of my posts during the regular season and I’m sticking with it. He was a beast at Clemson, and fits exactly what the Falcons need most: a presence on the edge. He can get to the quarterback and that is the Falcons’ most dire need. He blew up the combine and added weight. He has an answer for all of the critics so far. I think the Falcons would be dumb to pass on him as he will play well in Quinn’s defense at LEO and will help put people in the seats being a hometown boy. I WANT HIM SO BAD. This city needs a new Heyward. (Editor’s
Note Opinion: Give me anyone but Beasley. I hate how little leverage he gets with his lower body. Shane Ray, Defensive End, Missouri.)
9. New York Giants – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Another team with a need on the offensive line, and Scherff falling to them here means they have to take him. Landon Collins is certainly in play here, but he is less of a sure thing than Scherff. While he will struggle in pass protection in the beginning, he will likely grow out of that with NFL coaching. He can come in and start right away so there really isn’t a hard choice for the Giants here.
10. St. Louis – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
The Rams are picking in a horrible spot as a lot of the positions they need have already seen the top players get drafted. The Rams need help all over the offensive line, and drafting Flowers gives them flexibility as he can learn guard as he develops. This allows them to stick him where they need him as he grows. Flowers struggles a bit in pass protection as he can be stiff and limited in his mobility at times, but the Rams get a good player with a bit of a reach at pick 10.
11. Minnesota – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
It seems like the Vikings have a lot of needs, but the most pressing is likely cornerback, as they don’t have much of an answer opposite Xavier Rhodes. They could use some help at guard but there aren’t any superb choices at this spot. Waynes is the best corner in a relatively weak class and is fast enough to hang around at the NFL level. Minnesota gets good value with Waynes here.
12. Cleveland – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Josh Gordon not being able to get his personal life together leaves a void at the position for the Browns. Parker is very underrated relative to the other two wide-outs drafted in front of him but he has the potential to be better than both. The Browns could luck into an excellent pick if they decide to go WR at twelve. The Browns are always an adventure during the draft (and any other time, including always), so be sure to buckle up and enjoy the ride.
13. New Orleans – Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
The Saints have no issue bringing in someone with character concerns as their coaching staff is full of similar people. Randy Gregory should probably go much higher than this but will get passed on because of his failed combine test. The Saints’ defense is, and has mostly always been, pretty terrible. They rarely focus on defense in the draft, but that will change this year as they get a tremendous talent at a position of need in an attempt to compete with Drew Brees at the helm one last time.
14. Miami – Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Miami needs to find a starter at linebacker and Kendricks is a quality player that can play from day one. A lot of his negatives are nitpicking. He has a high football IQ and is the type that can be the quarterback of the defense. He will quickly become a leader in the NFL. Gurley is apparently on their list, but Lamar Miller is on the roster and I think they would be sacrificing far too much to grab Gurley, especially given other needs on the roster.
15. San Francisco – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
Perriman is the wide receiver everyone is talking about and for good reason. He has speed, size, and a lot of upside. There really aren’t a lot of negatives other than his drops. True, we’ve seen players get drafted early who drop the ball (looking at you, Stephen Hill). But given his physical tools, Perriman could be the gem of this draft. Picks 14 and 15 are basically interchangeable as they are both positions these teams need.
16. Houston – Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Houston would love to get a WR or ILB here as they probably need those more. What they need most is a QB, but that is going to be hard to come by in this draft. Plus they have past, present and future GOAT, RYAN MALLETT (stylized all-caps, MALLETT’s choice, not mine). They will go with best player available here as they need safety help and Collins provides more value than a reach at WR or ILB.
17. San Diego – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Ryan Matthews’ exit leaves a black hole at running back on this roster. I think pretty much every team has considered drafting Gurley at this point, but San Diego pulls the trigger. Gurley is absolutely unreal, if a bit fragile. He will shore up their running back position, and help hide the fact that they still need O-line help.
18. Kansas City – Cameron Erving, C, Florida State
The Chiefs need another receiver as they were absolutely miserable on the outside last year. They began to solve that problem by releasing the artist formerly known as Dwayne Bowe and signing former Eagle Jeremy Maclin, but the theoretical run on receivers early has left them with few value options here. I think they solve this later in the draft. They have a need at center as well, and Cameron Erving is the best prospect at the position. I think they get tremendous value with him in this slot. Almost a steal.
19. Cleveland – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
It’s round 1 and we already have our third spelling of the name Eric. I think Armstead is ridiculously underrated as a prospect and might be more talented than Ray or Gregory. However, he is more of a 3-4 DE so teams looking for edge guys will likely pass on him. Cleveland runs the 3-4 so I think this is a great fit. However, this all becomes useless when Cleveland trades both of its picks and Johnny Manziel to Tampa Bay for Jameis.
20. Philadelphia, Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Philly really needs a deep threat at wide out, but they won’t find it in this scenario. However, if any of the above WRs fall to them in this spot, look for them to prioritize there. Johnson fills a need for depth at corner as has a chance to compete for a starting gig right away. However, this is more about looking towards the future as he learns to be competitive at the NFL level. The options here for Philly really make me think they are doing everything they can to get to No. 2.
21. Cincinnati – Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
The Bengals, much like the Falcons, had a terrible pass rush last year. They managed an NFL-worst 20 sacks. That is not a recipe for success. Getting Michael Johnson back should help a lot, but Dupree in this spot can be seen as a huge gift. Many project him to go Top 5. Dupree to the Bengals makes a lot of sense.
22. Pittsburgh – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
Pittsburgh needs massive help at corner and outside linebacker with everyone seemingly over 35 at this point. They need some youth on the defensive side of the ball and the cornerback options are not good here. Shane Ray is a playmaker but he has an issue with drugs, apparently. I really don’t think the Steelers care that much. I could be very wrong though.
23. Detroit – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
This pick makes too much sense. Suh is gone, and Detroit needs to fill a need quickly. Brown is a run-stopper and is very good at it. If Gurley is in play here, they might think about it, but Brown is who I would stick with.
24. Arizona – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
This seems like an obvious choice at this point. The Cardinals will take either Gurley or Gordon with this pick. The running backs in Arizona are largely unreliable and can’t stay healthy. This pick allows Arizona to not have to feature Ellington and gives them a great tandem. Adding a feature back also relieves pressure on whoever is under center, whether it’s one of the mediocre options, or a ready-out-of-camp Carson Palmer, post-knee surgery.
25. Carolina – La’el Collins, OT, LSU
It makes me laugh so much that Carolina has this low of a pick because they have SO MANY NEEDS. Phillip Dorsett will be in play here as well. It’s too bad they can’t have both because it will take that and more for Gettleman and Rivera to field a true contender. Collins is wrapped up in a legal investigation right now, but that shouldn’t matter–it seems he is just clearing his name. He had tons of success in the SEC so he should transition well. Great pick here for Carolina.
26. Baltimore – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
They really need a deep threat and Dorsett might actually be able to provide that for them. He’s small, but he blows up plays with the ol’ YAC. He’s quick and small and T.Y. Hilton-like. I think he might be just what the doctor ordered.
27. Dallas – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Slim pickin’s for the Cowboys here. I can see them trading out of this spot because there’s just not much left at their positions of need. Goldman helps their run defense, but is a pretty boring pick.
28. Denver – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Denver needs a lot of help up front to keep Peyton upright with needs at guard and tackle after the departures of Orlando Franklin and Will Montgomery. Humphries can come in and start immediately. He has a high ceiling but relies on his scrappiness and tenacity rather than technique. If he can figure the technical side out, he’ll be an immediate upgrade for the Broncos.
29. Indianapolis – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
The Colts have a hairy situation brewing at the tackle position with one entering his free agent walk year and another a possible cap victim. I think they draft for the future here giving Ogbuehi a year to get ready to be the permanent starter.
30. Green Bay – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Byron Jones is, apparently, the type of guy you root for. Everything I’ve heard about him is that he has high character and is an incredible teammate. Therefore, he’s probably a bit overrated as he kind of sucks in man coverage. I think he can improve there and will be picked in the first round.
31. New Orleans – Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills are gone, leaving the Saints with a deficit in pass catchers. Jimmy Graham is irreplaceable, but Williams is a good alternate. Needs to improve his route-running, but he will be a good tight end in the NFL and is worthy of a first round selection.
32. New England – Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
New England loses two starting corners this off-season, which is tough on anyone. They find an unpolished player in Collins but one who can evolve into a star in this league. Collins being available here is huge for New England.
Well, there you have it. This is what I can absolutely guarantee will happen tomorrow. That is, until a trade blows the whole thing up.
Mock drafts are difficult and evaluating players is even harder so I am very glad I am not the one making these decisions. I hope your team gets a player you can get excited about because, ya know, offensive linemen are boring.