The NFL will descend on Chicago in less than four weeks for the annual draft.
This mock draft is not meant for accuracy; rather it is intended to find the best immediate impact for the team and fits the skillset of each player.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
Tampa Bay has a lot of directions they could go in this draft based on needs at pass rush and linebacker corp. But Winston provides a potential franchise quarterback. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was in the top three of passing attempts the past two seasons in Atlanta. Tampa Bay already has the skill positions with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to help Winston excel.
2. Tennessee Titans: OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa
Tennessee is also another team that could use help on defense and has needs on defensive line and inside linebacker position. Scherff provides an immediate starter on an offensive line that struggled at left guard and right tackle. Zach Mettenberger could succeed but needs more time in the pocket.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Kevin White, West Virginia
The Jaguars went into halftime with a 12-10 lead at Baltimore in Week 15, but that advantage could have easily been 35-10 if the team had a feature wide receiver and explosive back to take advantage of some red zone opportunities. White provides an immediate feature receiver that would concern defenses, and a running back could be found in the later rounds. Quarterback Blake Bortles deserves all the pieces needed to succeed and offensive players that will grow up in the system with him. Gus Bradley is reaching a crucial year in Jacksonville and teams can’t win if it doesn’t score.
4. Oakland Raiders: WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
Oakland needs help in its pass rush opposite linebacker Khalil Mack and offensive firepower to help quarterback Derek Carr, and Cooper would provide the Raiders offense a necessary jolt. The former Crimson Tide player is a smooth route runner and reliable receiver. He would provide the Raiders an immediate weapon the roster sorely lacks.
5. Washington: DE/LB Dante Fowler, Florida
Washington could use help along the offensive line, but their most glaring need on tape is speed on the edge. Fowler is arguably the most explosive pass rusher on tape. He will need to work at getting himself under control once he comes around the corner but the speed is undeniable.
6. New York Jets: DE/LB Vic Beasley, Clemson
Beasley gives coach Todd Bowles additional speed on the edge for his pressure defense. As for offense, quarterback is a long-term need, but the Jets can take the time to evaluate what they have with Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. It also helps knowing offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has built successful offenses in the past with quarterbacks Kordell Stewart, Tyler Thigpen and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
7. Chicago Bears: NT Danny Shelton, Washington
Coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio have come to the rescue of the 30th ranked defense in the NFL. The Bears can throw a dart on the defensive draft board and not go wrong. Shelton provides the Bears a stout centerpiece to begin the rebuild in Chicago.
8. Atlanta Falcons: DE/OLB Shane Ray, Missouri
Coach Dan Quinn goes from coordinating the first ranked defense to overseeing the 32nd, and needs pass rushers to change that ranking. General manager Thomas Dimitroff has gone to the well twice with first-round Missouri defenders in William Moore and Sean Weatherspoon, and Ray makes three. The former Tiger would provide the Falcons a versatile pass rusher who can get up field quickly, run a twist or work inside as a three tech on passing downs.
9. New York Giants: DT Leonard Williams, USC
New York was able to win two championships because of a lethal pass rush, but the Giants have struggled to reclaim that glory because they didn’t replenish the pass rush while at their peak before injuries caught up. Williams is at his best when he is able to attack up field. The former Trojan is an aggressive pass rusher who was asked to read and react on his college tape, and the Giants are a perfect fit for his skillset.
10. Saint Louis Rams: QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
The Nick Foles for Sam Bradford trade felt like a stopgap for a bigger plan in St. Louis. Mariota will need time to develop and Foles would provide that opportunity. The Rams were given a rude awakening when Bradford and Shaun Hill both sustained injuries dropping them to Austin Davis. Coach Jeff Fisher still has a ways to go to close the gap before his team can surpass the Cardinals or Seahawks.
11. Minnesota Vikings: CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Coach Mike Zimmer needs to add more pieces to his secondary before he can topple the Lions or Packers. Waynes would provide him with a physical corner with good recovery speed and smooth hips for rotating.
12. Cleveland Browns: DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
Phillips is a disruptive force at the line of scrimmage, capable of bull rushing his way in the backfield and at 6-5, 329-pounds has a very quick swim move for his size. The Browns were ranked 32nd against the run, and could utilize Phillips disruptive skillset.
13. New Orleans Saints: OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska
The Saints need to find a pass rush for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and Gregory will likely drop out of the top 10 based on a failed drug test at the Combine. New Orleans can be the benefactors of this misfortune provided the team isn’t scared off by Gregory’s character issues. The former Cornhusker is arguably one of the more polished pass rushers from a technique perspective and bends very well around the corner.
14. Miami Dolphins: CB Marcus Peters, Washington
Miami lacks attitude and a physical presence in the secondary with the retirement of cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Peters has good size at 6-0, 197-pounds, and provides a physical presence at the position and will disrupt the timing of routes. A potential downside is the former Huskie lets his emotions get the best of him on the field and his technique suffers because of it.
15. San Francisco 49ers: DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State
San Francisco is a defense in flux, and the defensive line will need a remake to reach a familiar form to fans. Goldman is a very strong presence at the line of scrimmage and sheds blocks well. His bull rushing ability can make for an uncomfortable pocket.
16. Houston Texans: CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Houston could use help in the secondary and Johnson provides that with a good job rotating his hips and running with receivers. He has good recovery speed and is aggressive in run support. The former Demon Deacon is very conscious of where the ball is and finding a way to break up the pass just in time.
17. San Diego Chargers: RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
San Diego has missed a reliable run presence since the loss of Darren Sproles. The Chargers have made the necessary moves to protect quarterback Philip Rivers, and Gurley is the next step in extending Rivers playing career. The former Bulldog is coming off a torn ACL, but is arguably the best running back coming out of this draft class. Gurley is a unique blend of speed and power; he can rise up into a defender and burst around them with his speed. His ability to identify for the cutbacks is second to none. The Chargers need a presence like his on the football field.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
Kansas City struggled in run support giving up an average of 4.7 yards per carry in the final eight games. The loss of Derrick Johnson to a ruptured Achilles showed during this stretch and Kendricks would provide the Chiefs with a similar skillset at the position. The former Bruin is an aggressive run stuffer, diagnosis plays well and comfortable in both styles of coverage.
19. Cleveland Browns: WR DeVante Parker, Louisville
Cleveland needs to continually add more pieces at the wide receiver position and Parker would provide a reliable possession receiver. He will need help in continuing his development as a route runner and beating the press, but the potential is there.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Jalen Collins, LSU
At 6-1, 203-pounds, Collins provides a unique combination of size and speed – unofficial 4.48 40-yard dash time at the Combine. The former Tiger has the instinct teams look for in a cornerback and looks comfortable in both press and zone coverage. The Eagles need a corner like Collins on their roster. Coach Chip Kelly needs to focus on rebuilding his defense after seeing the unit finish 31st in 2014 and 32nd in 2013 against the pass, as well as giving up the most explosive passing plays in the NFL at 134 during that span. Kelly and his staff will only win playoff games if they limit the explosion of others.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: SS Landon Collins, Alabama
Cincinnati needs to add a physical presence at the safety position and Collins would provide the Bengals an aggressive, physical tackler that fits the division. The former Crimson Tide shines when he is allowed to attack instead of react.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Bud Dupree, Kentucky
Pittsburgh’s style of defense has Bud Dupree written all over it. Dupree is a powerful outside linebacker who will set a solid edge and has a lot of untapped potential in his game. He has explosive ability to get upfield and change directions to chase down the ball carrier. The Kentucky alumnus is at his best when he is allowed to attack instead of react.
23. Detroit Lions: DT Malcom Brown, Texas
Detroit needs help on the interior of the defensive line with the free-agent losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The Lions added Haloti Ngata, but still need another presence to overhaul the interior pass rush. Brown will provide the roster a quick 3-technique player with an explosive first step and can shoot the gap very quickly. He would be a disruptive force along with Ngata.
24. Arizona Cardinals: OT Ereck Flowers, Miami
Arizona is rebuilding the offensive line in coach Bruce Arians image and Flowers would provide the Cardinals a long-term candidate at left tackle. The former Hurricane is a physical presence at 6-6, 329-pounds and a mauler in the run game. He has a great deal of technique work ahead of him and needs to go into a system that won’t force him into compromising situations. The Cardinals could plug him in at right tackle and let him develop until he is ready for the job at left tackle.
25. Carolina Panthers: OT T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
The Panthers passing offense is limiting how far this team can go in the playoffs. Carolina made some additions at the receiver position to help Cam Newton, but needs more help along the offensive line. Clemmings would provide an athletic offensive tackle that has quick feet and a good kick step. His pass protection is not collectively in sync yet, but once he is able to get his hands, punch and steps together, he will reach his full potential.
26. Baltimore Ravens: TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
Baltimore struggled without a solid receiving option at tight end, and Dennis Pitta has had a great deal of injury issues lately. Williams provides the Ravens an explosive tight end for Joe Flacco. The former Gopher will get tremendous yards after the catch because of his speed, evidenced by a 4.78 40-yard dash time recorded at the Combine. He is a mismatch for linebackers and safeties.
27. Dallas Cowboys: DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
Dallas needs to find additional help in the secondary and pass rush to push further in the playoffs. Odighizuwa would provide the Cowboys a power pass rusher that can convert power into speed with his rushes. He is relentless on his rushes and does not stop until the whistle is blown. The former Bruin has a violent punch to go with his rushes. He will need time to develop additional pass-rush moves, but the necessities are there to be consistently effective.
28. Denver Broncos: RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Gordon would provide an immediate impact to the offense and help down the crucial stretches, his immediate skill set fits this zone system. The former Badger has impressive balance and body control despite the hits he sustains on a given play. Still, coach Gary Kubiak is inheriting an offensive line that lacks some athletic ability in zone blocking. The Broncos could also look for a right tackle at this position.
29. Indianapolis Colts: LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
The Colts need to continually add physical presences to defense and offensive line. McKinney would give them a versatile linebacker that could be used as an edge rusher or a run support inside linebacker. He will struggle in zone coverage, but will be a physical presence against the run.
30. Green Bay Packers: CB Byron Jones, UConn
Green Bay needs additional help on the defensive side of the ball and Jones would provide the Packers an instinctive corner that anticipates routes very well. The former Huskie could be an interesting player at the free safety position in a pinch.
31. New Orleans Saints: WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami
New Orleans needs to restock speed at the receiver position, and Dorsett would provide an immediate impact in the vertical ability of the offense.
32. New England Patriots: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
Quarterback Tom Brady is nearing the end of his career and will need help during the back nine of his career. Conversely, Green-Beckham will need a strong locker room to help him acclimate to the life of a professional athlete, and Brady and New England provide that. Green-Beckham would also be allowed the time to develop his route tree and have his athletic ability properly used early on in his career.