Football Insiders NFL Mock Draft- Round 1


The Football Insiders team put our heads together and went pick for pick through the first and second rounds to come up with our mock draft.  Here are the picks from the first round and the explanations beneath them.

1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

Roundly considered the best QB prospect in this draft, although I disagree strongly, the Bucs seem set on giving the former FSU Seminole star the reins of the franchise and hope the lawsuits, now and in the future, don’t distract this charismatic player or drive too many fans away.

by Jeff Carlson

2) Tennessee Titans- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon-

I am not convinced Mariota will end up in Tennessee, but I am convinced he will go with the No. 2 overall pick. If the Titans are not sold on him as their QB of the future, the Chargers, Eagles, Browns, Jets, Redskins and Rams would be more than happy to take him off their hands. That being said, the more smoke Titans coaches and players blow about Zach Mettenberger, the more convinced I am they are taking Mariota.

by Mike Lombardo

3) Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Williams, DE, USC-

The Jaguars were excited to see the very best player in the draft available at No. 3.  Williams is an impact player who will immediately help a pretty good defensive line and add a shot in the arm to the Jacksonville pass rush.

by Charlie Bernstein

4) Oakland Raiders- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama-

With Derek Carr locked in at the quarterback position, the Raiders need to get him a viable No. 1 target. Cooper may not have the triangle numbers of Kevin White, but he’s the more polished receiver and his upside is severely underrated.

by Michael Schottey

5) Washington Redskins- Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson-

It’s a bit of a toss up between Beasley and Dante Fowler, Jr., but the Redskins select the player who has made the bigger impression since the season ended, at the Combine and in workouts.  Beasley comes as a ready-made replacement for Brian Orakpo and joins Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy as the pass rush element of a Washington defense bent on tormenting the offenses of their NFC East rivals for years to come.

by Devon Jeffreys

6) New York Jets – Brandon Scherff, OT/OG, Iowa-

With the draft’s top two quarterbacks off the board, the next best thing for the Jets to do is to help solidify their offensive line. While Geno Smith’s play left plenty to desire, the Jets didn’t help him up front. In 2014, New York led the league in sacks allowed with 47. Selecting Brandon Scherff is not only the smart decision, but its the right one. Scherff is listed at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds, and he played left tackle during his senior campaign, but with his brute strength he’s a guy that can play guard at the next level.

by Mark Gunnels

7) Chicago Bears- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia-

We don’t know how Ryan Pace will operate as a general manager in his first draft. With the event being held in Chicago, will the Bears make some dramatic move up or down to capture the attention of the hometown crowd?

If not, we like White at No. 7. The Bears are in need of a complement to Alshon Jeffrey now that Brandon Marshall is gone, and even though the defense has plenty of holes it makes sense to go after the best player left on the board right now — especially when he fills a key need.

by Alex Hickey

8) Atlanta Falcons- Randy Gregory, Edge, Nebraska-

The Atlanta Falcons had a putrid pass rush last year and they need an upgrade at the defensive end position in the worst way. Luckily, the most talented pass-rusher in the draft, Randy Gregory, falls the No. 8 pick. Gregory has some off-field and weight concerns but there is no denying the talent that he brings to the field. Gregory would step in day one and immediately be the best pass-rusher on the Falcons roster.

by John Owning

9) New York Giants- Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida-

It’s a shock to the Giants that Fowler is even available at this spot, and they jump at the chance to add the versatile edge rusher to a defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season.  In Fowler and franchise defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, new/old defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can mold his defense around a fearsome pass rush combo similar to the Strahan/Umenyiora duo that helped them win a Super Bowl under his watch in 2008.

by Devon Jeffreys

10) St. Louis Rams- Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford-

The Rams need offensive line help and it basically comes down to what their cup of tea is as there c are numerous offensive linemen they could select here. Peat is the most pro ready of the bunch and he could step in as a day one starter at left or right tackle.

by John Owning

11) Minnesota Vikings- Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State-

Waynes is a big, physical cornerback who is an ideal fit in Mike Zimmer’s aggressive defense. He would pair with 2013 first-round pick Xavier Rhodes to give Minnesota the elite cover men it needs to slow down Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery. It also helps that Waynes has outstanding discipline and technique, meaning he is ready to contribute immediately.

by Michael Lombardo

12) Cleveland Browns- Danny Shelton, DT, Washington-

The Browns finished 32nd against the run in 2014. Over the course of free agency they lost starting interior defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin to the Seattle Seahawks. They replaced Rubin with 11-year veteran Randy Starks (31 years old) as a quick fix.  Incumbent nose tackle Phil Taylor has missed 20 of the possible 64 games the team has played in since being drafted in the first-round (2011) out of Baylor. Taylor’s inability to stay healthy combined with any other true impact players along the line create the need for Cleveland to draft a player in the mold of Shelton. His senior season at Washington he dominated the Pac-12 with 89 tackles, 16.5 tackles-for-loss, and 9.5 sacks. At the 2015 Senior Bowl, Shelton flashed the necessary skills (power and quickness) amongst some of the top prospects in the nation.

by Bo Marchionte

13) New Orleans Saints- Shane Ray, Edge, Missouri-

Mizzou’s uniforms look similar to the Saints, so the team will hope a familiar look for the reigning SEC Defensive Player Of The Year will make this “tweener” sized player an impact on Ryan’s defensive front.

by Jeff Carlson

14) Miami Dolphins- Devante Parker, WR, Louisville-

The Dolphins have the closest thing to a franchise quarterback since Dan Marino and they need to surround Ryan Tannehill with some weapons.  Devante Parker would have been the top wide receiver off the board in most years and Miami is fortunate that this class is loaded at the position.  Parker will make an immediate impact as a big play threat on the next level.

by Charlie Bernstein

15) San Francisco 49ers- Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Edge, Kentucky-

At this point, the 49ers can’t be too immensely worried about “need” as they’ve been hemorrhaging talent (on both the coaching staff and the roster) this offseason. So, they grab the best available talent at a position they could certainly use. Dupree is a freak athlete at his size and could put a little oomph back in the pass rush that the Niners have certainly lost over the past few months.

by Michael Schottey

16) Houston Texans- La’el Collins, OT, LSU-

The Texans simply go with the best available player and that player is La’el Collins.  Despite a tough Senior Bowl, Collins has the size and athleticism to become an elite tackle and he should sure up the right side of the Houston line.

by Charlie Bernstein

17) San Diego Chargers- Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia-

There are still some concerns about Gurley’s surgically repaired knee, but at No. 17 his talent is too much to pass up. The Chargers lost a handful of quality veterans in free agency, but GM Tom Telesco signed a veteran replacement for each of them … with the exception of Ryan Mathews. Gurley fills that void in San Diego’s backfield while balancing an offense that relied far too much on the passing game last season.

by Michael Lombardo

18) Kansas City Chiefs- Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma-

If not for Green-Beckham’s off the field issues, this selection wouldn’t come as a surprise at all. Let’s not forget the 6-foot-5, 237 pound receiver was the top rated prospect out of high school in 2012. With his eye popping size, Green-Beckham also possess an impressive 40-time of 4.49. Although Kansas City signed Jeremy Maclin this off-season, with the loss of Dwayne Bowe, the rest of their receiving core leaves less to be desired. Also keep in mind, Green-Beckham is from Springfield, Mo., which is about 160 miles away from Kansas City.

by Mark Gunnels

19) Cleveland Browns- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin-

There is a point in every NFL Draft for every NFL team where the grade and potential of a player available on the draft board overrides an immediate need. That is the case with Cleveland investing the 19th overall pick on 2014 Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist (runner-up) Melvin Gordon. The Browns had two very solid rookie running backs last year with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. Both showed promise, but neither is on the same level or has the potential of a player like Gordon. Once Gordon locates the crease to daylight he’s gone. With a floundering passing game in Cleveland, the running game will take center stage and possibly give owner Jimmy Haslam the spark plug on offense he has been craving.

by Bo Marchionte

20) Philadelphia Eagles- Landon Collins, S, Alabama-

Many expect the Eagles to go receiver here to continue their offensive rebuild, and they very well may do that.  But with four of the top talents at the position off the board, I’ll go with the best player in the draft at a clear area of need:  strong safety.  Despite the addition of cornerback Byron Maxwell, the backend of Philadelphia’s defense remains a weakness because of their safety play.  Collins makes them better immediately.

by Devon Jeffreys

21) Cincinnati Bengals- Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon-

Armstead could do a little bit of everything in Cincinnati. In the base defense, he would be a run-stuffing end who would come in especially handy in the two games against Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers (games that could decide the AFC North title). In passing situations, he could slide inside next to Geno Atkins and give the Bengals a huge push up the middle. Either way, his power and upside are too much for the defensive-minded Marvin Lewis to resist at this point in the draft.

by Michael Lombardo

22) Pittsburgh Steelers- Jalen Collins, DB, LSU-

Pittsburgh replaces former Louisiana-Lafayette defensive back Ike Taylor, who retired after 12 seasons with the Steelers with another player who also played his collegiate football in the state of Louisiana. The LSU secondary is a small football factory to the NFL (2011-14). The list includes Patrick Peterson (first-round 2011), Morris Claiborne (first-round 2012), Brandon Taylor (third-round 2012), Eric Reid (first-round 2013), Tyrann Mathieu (third-round 2013) and Tharold Simon (fifth-round 2013). The Steelers like their defensive backs long and physical. Collins (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) passes the eyeball test and excels in man coverage and in run support.

by Bo Marchionte

23) Detroit Lions- Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas-

With Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley gone, they’re almost forced into this pick, but it’s a great problem to have. Brown has all of the talent of those guys (well, at least of Fairley) and none of the off-field concerns because he’s both a fantastic tackle and a model citizen. He’ll help keep the Lions defense strong.

by Michael Schottey

24) Arizona Cardinals- Cam Erving, C, Florida State-

The Cardinals need to be able to keep Carson Palmer upright so they could look offensive line here. The Cardinals ate especially weak in the interior; therefore Cam Erving would be a perfect fit. He is one of the smart and most versatile lineman in the draft. He will be an immediate impact starter for the Cardinals.

by John Owning

25) Carolina Panthers- T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh-

If you think the Panthers shored up their offensive tackle position by signing Michael Oher and Jonathan Martin, then I have some oceanfront property in Minnesota I’d love to sell you. Clemmings, a former defensive lineman, brings an attacking mentality as a run blocker and boasts elite agility as a pass protector. He reminds me of Damion McIntosh, another college defensive lineman who switched to the offensive line shortly before going pro back in 2000. McIntosh played 10 years in the league, a path Clemmings seems likely to follow.

by Michael Lombardo

26) Baltimore Ravens- Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF-

Last year, 11 of Joe Flacco’s career-high 27 touchdown passes were thrown to wide receiver Torrey Smith, who signed with the San Francisco 49ers after fulfilling his rookie contract in Baltimore. His departure opens the door for Perriman to step in opposite of veteran Steve Smith. At age 35, Steve Smith continues to beat father time like he does opposing defensive backs, but the Ravens are desperate to add a young and dynamic threat like Perriman before Smith wears down and calls it quits. He has NFL pedigree (father Brett Perriman played 10 years in NFL) and his protypical size and deceptive speed are two of the hallmarks of his game.

by Bo Marchionte

27) Dallas Cowboys- Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest-

The Cowboys have a lot of uncertainty in the secondary and Kevin Johnson would be an immediate upgrade over Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Johnson has the best movement skills out of any cornerback in the draft and he would fit in extremely well with Rod Marinelli’s scheme.

by John Owning

28) Denver Broncos- D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida-

One of the main objectives in the Mile High City is to protect 39-year-old Peyton Manning. In 2014, Manning looked uncomfortable in the pocket on way too many occasions, which is why I have the Broncos going offensive line here. Florida Gator product D.J. Humphries is one of the most athletic tackles in the draft. Humphries’athleticism would bode well in Denver’s zone-blocking scheme. He ran a 5.12 40-time at the combine.

by Mark Gunnels

29) Indianapolis Colts- Erik Kendricks, ILB, UCLA-

The Indianapolis Colts have needs all over their defense and Erik Kendricks is the best available defensive player on the board.  Indianapolis hasn’t had a true leader at inside linebacker since Mike Peterson and Kendricks will step in and start from Day 1.

by Charlie Bernstein

30) Green Bay Packers- Byron Jones, CB, UCONN-

Adding an inside linebacker is Green Bay’s greatest need, but with Kendricks coming off the board at 29 it is not a position they need to reach for — because they’ll also need some cornerbacks with Tramon Williams and Davon House leaving in free agency.  Jones is the best corner left on the board at this point and should be scooped up.

by Alex Hickey

31) New Orleans Saints- Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State-

As the Saints enter the twilight of quarterback Drew Brees’ career, they need to surround him with as many weapons as possible.  Jaelen Strong will win jump balls and be a legitimate deep threat to go along with possession receiver Marques Colston and slot machine Brandin Cooks.  Add in a strong running game with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller and the Saints could have the best offense in the NFC.

by Charlie Bernstein

32) New England Patriots- Nelson Agholor, WR, USC-

The Patriots have been able to win more consistently than any other team in the league with lesser talented and smaller names at some of the marquee positions.  As Tom Brady enters the sunset of his career, he could use some real talent to throw and using the 32nd pick on a quality receiving threat would fit nicely this year.  Agholor is a quality player, multi-talented athlete that can return kicks if needed.  He even played running back in high school, so don’t be surprised if Josh McDaniels finds a unique way to use this versatile guy.

by Jeff Carlson


To see the picks from Round 2, click here.

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