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NFL Mock Draft: Giants keep CB streak alive

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Offensive line is the popular choice for mock drafts when it comes to the New York Giants, which makes sense. But if Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes is still available with the No. 9 overall pick, not only might he be the best player available, but it also fills a need.

Current starting corners Prince Amukamara (missed half of last season due to injury) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie both have durability concerns and are far from safe bets to stay healthy for all 16 games in 2015. Waynes also gives New York a long-term answer at the position with Amukamara set to hit free agency after this year. At least one cornerback has been drafted top 10 each of the past five years and Waynes to the Giants would keep the streak alive.

First Round Mock Draft:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Nothing has changed at the top. The Buccaneers have a need at quarterback and Winston is believed to be their target with the No. 1 overall pick.

2. Tennessee Titans (2-14) Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California: It won’t take long to find the wildcard of the first round as the Titans could go in a number of directions here, including trading back with a team needing a quarterback. Mariota is also in the conversation for Tennessee, but Williams is the current favorite to be the pick at No. 2.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: Pass rusher makes the most sense for Jacksonville with this pick. The question is, which rusher best fits Gus Bradley’s scheme? The answer might be Beasley, who has the athleticism to run circles around offensive tackles when given space.

4. Oakland Raiders (3-13) Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: The Raiders failed to land a marquee free agent and it looks more and more likely that this pick will be a pass-catcher to help second-year starting quarterback Derek Carr. Bigger question might be, which receiver does Reggie McKenzie like the most?

5. Washington Redskins (4-12) Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: With Brian Orakpo in Tennessee, the Redskins have an opportunity to replace him in the first round. Fowler still has room to grow, but his relentless energy will keep NFL blockers on their heels.

6. NY Jets (4-12) Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: The wild card of the 2015 NFL Draft: who will draft Mariota? He could easily be gone in the top five, but if still on the board for the Jets at No. 6, it makes a lot of sense for New York to pull the trigger and land the Jets’ quarterback of the future.

7. Chicago Bears (5-11) Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: This pick has to be defense, right? After the Brandon Marshall trade, wide receiver is now a possibility and with White still on the board, it’s a match that makes sense.

8. Atlanta Falcons (6-10) Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: The Falcons have been active adding front-seven defenders via free agency, but that won’t stop Atlanta from targeting a “Leo” pass rusher at this pick. Ray is far from a flawless prospect, but he might have the best first-step quickness in this draft class.

9. NY Giants (6-10) Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: The Giants have a chance to draft the top offensive lineman in this class, but if Waynes is still on the board, they’ll have a shot at the top cornerback as well. Prince Amukamara, who is a free agent after the 2015 season, has averaged less than nine starts through his first four NFL seasons.

10. St. Louis Rams (6-10) Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: The Rams invested in a top 10 offensive lineman last year (Greg Robinson) and it makes sense to do so again this year, especially if Scherff is available.

11. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: Minnesota added Mike Wallace to the wide receiver depth chart, but the Vikings are still in search of a No. 1 caliber pass catcher. Parker has the talent to fill that need.

12. Cleveland Browns (7-9) Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: Cleveland needs to revamp the front-seven in order to stop the run and a good place to start is at nose tackle. Shelton won’t have the same type of production in the NFL like he did at Washington, but he should be a long-term anchor for a three-man front.

13. New Orleans Saints (7-9) Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon: The Saints have Cam Jordan under contract for the 2015 season, but might not be able to retain him long-term. Although raw, Armstead is one of the most impressive talents in this class with Calais Campbell potential.

14. Miami Dolphins (8-8) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: The Dolphins could go in several directions with this pick, including the top talent on the board, which will likely be Gurley. If the trainers and doctors give the front office two thumbs up, this becomes a much easier selection to project.

15. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska: With his issues going well beyond one failed drug test, Gregory could easily fall on draft day. The 49ers have shown in the past that they aren’t shy about taking chances on talented players who might have a few issues.

16. Houston Texans (9-7) Malcom Brown, DT, Texas: With no quarterback worth this pick the Texans go best available, which might be Brown, who can offer depth anywhere on the defensive line.

17. San Diego Chargers (9-7) Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: San Diego has been doing its homework on several of the top running backs in this draft class, including Gordon. He might be the early favorite for offensive rookie of the year if he lands with the Chargers.

18. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: With Sean Smith and Jamell Fleming both entering contract years, the cornerback position is one direction the Chiefs could go with this pick and Johnson fits the mold of what Kansas City looks for in the position.

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) (7-9) La’el Collins, OT, LSU: The Browns need to add depth on the offensive line and Collins would give the team a long-term option at right tackle to replace Mitchell Schwartz, who is likely playing his final season in Cleveland this year.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut: Connecting the pro day dots, Chip Kelly has paid close attention to big, athletic defensive back prospects this spring. Eric Rowe is in the conversation, but Jones is the better fit and should surprise no one if he’s drafted this high.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Fla.): Entering the final year of his contract, Andrew Whitworth turns 34 years old this season and even if he does fit into the Bengals’ long-term plans, it might be at left guard. Flowers would bring an edge to the Bengals front.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky: With Jason Worilds retiring and Jarvis Jones not living up to his first round draft slot, pass rusher is a strong possibility here. Dupree isn’t yet the sum of his parts, but the natural traits are more promising than what Jarvis Jones has to offer.

23. Detroit Lions (11-5) Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: The Lions have a few stopgap options at right tackle, but Peat is arguably the top offensive tackle in this draft class. Stability (Peat) is better than serviceable (current right tackle situation).

24. Arizona Cardinals (11-5) Cameron Erving, C, Florida State: The Cardinals released incumbent starting center Lyle Sendlein last month and Erving is a plug-and-play option in the first round.

25. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida: The Panthers need help on the offensive line, specifically at left tackle, making Humphries a possibility here. A Charlotte native, he is still very unpolished, but his feet and lower body are first-round quality.

26. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF: It’s a fair bet that the Ravens will pick a receiver at some point, and Perriman has as much potential as any pass-catcher in this draft class.

27. Dallas Cowboys (12-4) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: Brandon Carr has disappointed and Morris Claiborne has been the one blemish on an otherwise flawless first-round resume for the Cowboys the past five years, making cornerback a need in this year’s draft. Peters has his baggage, but the reward outweighs the risk at this point.

28. Denver Broncos (12-4) T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: The Broncos’ offensive line is going through changes this off-season and with right tackle Chris Clark better suited as a back-up, Clemmings would be a logical addition in Denver to help keep Peyton Manning healthy.

29. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: Veteran safety Mike Adams had a better than expected 2014 season and recently re-signed with the Colts, but he is 34 and Indianapolis has little depth behind him.

30. Green Bay Packers (12-4) Eric Rowe, CB, Utah: With Tramon Williams and Davon House leaving via free agency, the Packers have unproven depth behind Casey Hayward and Sam Shields. Rowe is a good-sized athlete who impressed in 2014, moving from safety to cornerback.

31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle) (7-9) Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: The Saints are expected to draft defense heavy and Odighizuwa would be a good fit as a versatile rusher in coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme.

32. New England Patriots (12-4) Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State: After losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason, the Super Bowl champs are expected to address the cornerback position in the 2015 NFL Draft. Darby lacks ideal size and ballskills, but he can cover like a blanket with impressive athleticism.

–Dane Brugler is an analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.


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