By Brendan Kincaid | firstname.lastname@example.org
With the NFL Draft only a month away, experts and fans alike are starting to become fascinated with who their teams may choose to become a part of their organization and future. These players will be the building blocks for the future success of the team. The NFL Draft changes lives and is a special event. Here is my full first round mock draft with a brief analysis for each team.
Note: I have been a die-hard NFL fan for my entire life and this is all of my own personal opinion. Teams and Media Outlets pay specialized people a lot of money for the information I am giving you for free.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston QB – Florida State
Last year the Bucs had Josh McCown at signal caller. He is now on the Browns and former 2nd round pick Mike Glennon seems to be an afterthought. The Bucs need a face of the franchise to build around and who better for the local fan base than Winston.
2. Tennessee Titans – Leonard Williams DT – USC
The Titans were the 31st rushing defense in the NFL last year allowing upwards of 137 yards per game. Their offense is sorely lacking as well, but in Williams they get arguably the best player in the draft that will be a cornerstone of their defensive line for the next decade. Williams has the potential to be an immediate impact player for the Titans.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler Jr. OLB – Florida
Desperately needing help on both sides of the football, the Jaguars will look to add an explosive game changing edge rusher to spark their defense. While the Jags were actually top 6 in the league last year in sacks, their 6 interceptions tied them for the fewest. Fowler will look to get to the opposing teams quarterback to force more errant throws.
4. Oakland Raiders – Kevin White WR – West Virginia
The Raiders recently drafted Derek Carr to be their future at quarterback. He needs a lot of help to develop into the franchise player he is expected to become. The Raiders were last in the NFL in yards per game and rushing yards per game. White will give Carr an extremely talented weapon downfield and open up the rushing attack.
5. Washington Redskins – D.J. Humphries OT – Florida
Some would consider this a bit of a reach, but with everything the Skins’ have invested in RG3, they have no choice but to protect him. Pairing Humphries with Trent Williams would give the Redskins two premier bookend tackles and then they can revamp the rest of the interior of the line. This pick will not be a fan favorite but is the best for the team.
6. New York Jets – Marcus Mariota QB – Oregon
It may seem premature to throw in the towel on Geno Smith. However, the Jets ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards last year. With new Head Coach Todd Bowles the Jets could be looking to add a new face of the franchise in Mariota. This would be a huge step forward for the Jets organization in its attempt to move on from the ‘Rex Ryan’ era.
7. Chicago Bears – Trae Waynes CB – Michigan State
Chicago allowed the third most passing yards in the league last year at around 265 per game. In Waynes they get the top defensive back in the draft that has the strength to fit their defensive system perfectly. New Head Coach John Fox is a defensive guru who will be quick to add a blue chip prospect to the aging duo of Tillman and Jennings.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley OLB – Clemson
New Head Coach Dan Quinn will ask management to replace linebacker Sean Weatherspoon who went to Arizona in free agency. They gift him Beasley, a freak athlete who shined at the combine, showing people he should be considered a top ten pick. The former ACC defensive player of the year will bring the same intensity to Atlanta.
9. New York Giants – Shane Ray DE – Missouri
2014 SEC defensive player of the year Shane Ray will bring another element to the Giants defensive line. On the opposite end of Pierre-Paul, New York will have bookend rushers to be feared throughout the league. The Giants desperately need his help to stop the run as they allowed 135 yards per game last year which put them at 30th in the league.
10. St. Louis Rams – Amari Cooper WR – Alabama
The Rams have been trying to find a top wide receiver since their Super Bowl championship star duo of Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt. In Cooper they get the most polished wide out in the draft coming from a school with a great pedigree for success at the next level. Pairing Cooper with Tavon Austin will give them a formidable receiving corps that will make defensives adjust to stopping them.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Randy Gregory OLB – Nebraska
Although the Vikings desperately need offensive help, they opt to further bolster their defense on the rise, led by safety Harrison Smith. Much like last year’s top pick Anthony Barr, Gregory slides a bit after being billed a top pick. Now, the Vikings have two bookend premier pass rushers with chips on their shoulders. This is exactly the pick they need to continue trying to stop the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton NT – Washington
Dead last in the NFL last year allowing over 140 rushing yards per game, the Mike Pettine led Cleveland Browns opt to take the best run clogging nose tackle in the draft. Shelton is a proven player who has been a leader, proving this by being the first Washington Huskie to be chosen as a first team Academic All-American since 1991.
13. New Orleans Saints – Brandon Scherff OG – Iowa
The Saints choose arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft to come protect Drew Brees. Scherff has the versatility to play anywhere on the line and won the Outland Trophy last year for college football’s best o-lineman. The Saints were 1st in the NFL in yards per game and will look to boost the 13th ranked rushing attack with this safe pick.
14. Miami Dolphins – Andrus Peat OT – Stanford
Peat comes into Miami to help the Dolphins continue to as one of the rising offenses in the NFL. Middle of the pack in terms of averages last year, Peat will try to push Miami to the next level. Already investing over 100 million on star defensive player Ndamukong Suh, the Phins’ now look to invest more in their franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Benardrick McKinney ILB – Mississippi St.
With All-Pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis announcing his retirement, who better to fill his shoes then a player from the rival of his alma mater. McKinney has the size to be the imposing force Willis was; he just needs to translate it to the NFL. The 49ers are still an elite defense but to remain one need to somehow replace one of the best players in the NFL during the last decade. Willis was named to 5 Pro Bowls in just 8 seasons.
16. Houston Texans – Devante Parker WR – Louisville
One of the best Texans to ever wear a uniform, Andre Johnson, is no longer with the team. This leaves rising star DeAndre Hopkins with no supporting cast. Add in Parker, a dynamic player who still hasn’t reached his potential due to injuries his senior season. Parker will bring the consistency to the rest of the corps that will allow Hopkins to thrive.
17. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon RB – Wisconsin
Since LaDanian Tomlinson has left the Chargers, San Diego has been lacking the elite running back consistently putting them among the top AFC teams. Bringing in Gordon will upgrade an underperforming running back group including Ryan Matthews that hasn’t had the impact Head Coach Mike McCoy was hoping for when he took the job.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Malcolm Brown DT – Texas
The Chiefs just franchised tagged outside linebacker Justin Houston, arguably the best defensive player in the entire NFL. Dontari Poe has been a mainstay on the defensive line but now they get another star in Brown, who will open up even more opportunities for Houston to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. With this pick the Chiefs are looking scary for offenses having to deal with their front 7 who will look to dominate games.
19. Cleveland Browns – Devin Smith WR – Ohio St.
The Browns take a weapon for Johnny Manziel with their 2nd first round pick. Devin Smith is about the opposite of a Josh Gordon type, more in the DeSean Jackson mold. However, Smith is a game changing player much like Gordon and Jackson. With the future of Gordon up in the air, the Browns desperately need to build around Manziel.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Landon Collins S – Alabama
The Eagles shore up their secondary with a pick of the best safety in the draft. Falling all the way to 20, the Eagles don’t have to move and get an immediate starter in Collins. Sliding alongside Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles look to have one of the better safety duos in the NFL. Giving up a near league worst 265 passing yards per game, Philadelphia needs to move up from their 31st ranking with this solid selection.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Bud Dupree OLB – Kentucky
The Bengals ranked in the bottom half of all team defensive statistics except for points allowed last season. Adding Dupree gives them a versatile edge rusher that can come in and disrupt the other team’s offense in timely situations. The Bengals continually seem to lose their best homegrown defensives players to free agency; this pick is replenishing the talent.
22. Pittsburg Steelers – Marcus Peters CB – Washington
Despite some character concerns, the Steelers take a chance on one of the most talented defensive backs available. They believe they can mold the pure talent of Peters into something great, with their stellar organization grooming the mental side of his game into the kind of player they build their organization around. In an aging secondary, Peters is welcome help that is more than needed for the future success of the Steelers.
23. Detroit Lions – Eddie Goldman DT – Florida State
Nowhere near to be considered an even replacement for the loss of Ndamukong Suh, Goldman starts the rebuilding process along the Lions defensive front. Now the Lions will rely more heavily on their offense to carry the load. The defensive rebuild will take time, but having a highly rated player like Goldman come in will ease the progression.
24. Arizona Cardinals – Jordan Phillips NT – Oklahoma
Much like the Lions, the Cardinals are trying to replace a depleted defensive line after the departure of Darnell Dockett to San Francisco. Philips is a massive physical specimen at 6’5, 330 lbs who will provide the Cards’ with a dominant player to build around. While replacing Dockett like Suh is impossible, Phillips will help ease the process.
25. Carolina Panthers – Todd Gurley RB – Georgia
Despite some injury concerns, Gurley is an elite prospect with game changing potential. He actually drops all the way to 25 because of his knee injury last year. The Panthers waste no time in upgrading their aging and depleted running back group in a player with a very high ceiling. This pick takes more pressure of star quarterback Cam Newton.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Arik Armstead DT – Oregon
Armstead comes from a great team in Oregon but lacked elite production while there. The Ravens will look to groom him for the future while continuing to rebuild their defense that still hasn’t been quite the same since the retirement of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Armstead is massive at 6’7, 300 lbs and should be an imposing force for Baltimore.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Jalen Collins CB – LSU
Dallas is uncertain that Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr are the two right cornerbacks to lead them to the Super Bowl. Getting Collins is a safe pick and insurance policy in case one of them gets hurt or just does not perform as expected. A project pick, Collins is exactly the type of prospect the Cowboys want with his athleticism and upside.
28. Denver Broncos – Denzel Perryman ILB – Miami
Perryman is just the type of player needed to bring the whole defense together. New Head Coach Gary Kubiak will bring in his ‘Brian Cushing’ type leader to instill the type of mentality he wants to bring to Denver. Perryman will give players like Von Miller more opportunities to make game changing plays while he clogs up the middle.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Jaelen Strong WR – Arizona State
A future Hall of Famer and lifetime Colt Reggie Wayne is no longer with the team. Rising star T.Y. Hilton is stepping into the role of top receiver, with Dante Moncrief in the slot. Strong adds a big receiver in the Wayne mold who may lack ideal speed and separation but will thrive in an Andrew Luck led offense that ranked 1st in overall passing yards last season and will look to build on the strength of their team.
30. Green Bay Packers – Eli Harold OLB – Virginia
Fitting perfectly in a 3-4 system as an edge rusher, Harold will help the Packers get to the passer and stop the run. The packers were 23rd in rushing yards allowed last season at 120 per game. Harold will add to an already talented linebacker core of Clay Mathews and Nick Perry to give the Packers a rotation that will help them last long into games and win.
31. Seattle Seahawks – Cameron Erving C – Florida State
A little known player who is a luxury pick for the Seahawks. They take a versatile lineman who can play any position on the offensive line. He is a perfect developmental pick that the Hawks’ can roll out in a few years after grooming him to be a potential all-pro down the line. He will have no pressure to start on a stacked Seahawks squad.
32. New England Patriots – Dorial Green-Beckham WR – Missouri
The Patriots take a massive role of the dice on a player with major character issues. If any team can convert a player to the ‘Patriot Way,’ it’s Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Green-Beckham is a freak athlete who could fit into the Patriots system sort of like Randy Moss did a few years ago when he broke the record for most receiving touchdowns in a season with 23 in 2007. Getting the player to reach his potential is the real challenge here.