The Philadelphia Eagles season is over, the new roles have been handed out, and before you know it, draft season will be upon us. Before that annual NFL holiday, there will be thousands of mock drafts that flood the internet. This, my friends, is the first of several that will be featured on BGN over the next few months.
Update: Check out our NFL Draft 2015 preview.
With the playoffs set to start this weekend, only 20 teams have set draft slots. That's why this mock draft will feature only the Top 20 picks based on the official 2015 NFL Draft order. Enjoy! [Ed. Note: We unfortunately won't be doing trades in mock drafts until later in the process.]
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
As much as it hurts Eagles fans, the Buccaneers would be ridiculous to pass on Mariota. He is the best quarterback in the class and may be the most logical pick for the team, despite the question marks surrounding the offensive coordinator spot. Mariota would likely start from the jump and easily best Josh McCown or Mike Glennon in a competition.
2. Tennessee Titans
Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC
Williams is the best defensive lineman in the draft by a mile and has positional versatility. He could play the five technique in the Titans 3-4 defense and also play three-technique when called upon. There are rumors that the Titans want to pass on a quarterback, so we will humor that smokescreen here for now. Williams would be absolutely nasty on a line with Jurrell Casey.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
The Jaguars need to improve at the LEO position, as Chris Clemons just isn't cutting it. Shane Ray is a wicked fast pass rusher who can get to the quarterback before the offensive tackle knows what hit him. Destined to be a 3-cone stud, Ray is ridiculously athletic and could be a plus performer during his rookie year.
4. Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Raiders seem to have a bright future with Derek Carr at quarterback but they really need to surround him with weapons. Cooper is the best receiver in the class and would be a dream come true for the young passer. The Alabama receiver is a massive upgrade over all of the Raiders receivers over the last decade. He has the ability to be turn into an A.J. Green or Julio Jones-like weapon.
5. Washington Redskins
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The Redskins seem to have opened up to the possibility of getting rid of Robert Griffin III and likely need his replacement. While his Rose Bowl performance was shockingly bad, Winston is still the second best quarterback in this year's class (if he declares). Winston is more of a pro-style passer than Griffin was coming out of college and is also a fellow Heisman winner. It would be interesting to see if Jay Gruden is able to develop him.
6. New York Jets
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
Despite his thin frame and lack of run-stuffing ability, Beasley would be an interesting defensive weapon for the man that takes over the coaching reigns with the Jets. He needs to add some weight, but his speed off of the line is ridiculous. The Jets barely missed out on Winston, but who is to say that's a bad thing.
7. Chicago Bears
Landon Collins, S, Alabama
While I believe this is a reach, the Bears need to do everything that they can to improve their defense that has been a total joke for the last two seasons. We're not sure who will take the gig in the Windy City, but no matter the coach, they will need way better safety play. Collins is a two-way defender from the ever-popular Alabama defense and is use to the spotlight. He is plug and play in my opinion.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
This is probably not going to make Falcons fans all that happy after they drafted Jake Matthews last season. I am a fan of giving teams young bookends (you'll notice a trend as you go along) and Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft. Matt Ryan has been sacked 75 times over the last two seasons and while Matthews' presence helped improve his protection immensely, the line could stand to improve. Not to mention, Sam Baker is coming off his second-straight torn patella tendon injury.
9. New York Giants
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
I am admittedly not as high on Gregory as most are, due to his lack of pass rushing moves and overall rawness (not in the good way). That said he is an absolute athletic freak with a 6-foot-6 frame and solid hands. One might say that Gregory is an adequate replacement for a possibly-departing Jason Pierre-Paul. In fact, they are pretty similar players.
10. St. Louis Rams
Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
The versatile linebacker would be an interesting addition to Gregg Williams' defense. He could take over at SAM linebacker for Jo-Lonn Dunbar and bring added speed to an already-dominant front seven. The lack of quarterback here hurts, but the Rams will likely settle for a passer in the second or third round.
11. Minnesota Vikings
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
After an impressive rookie year, it's time to get Teddy Bridgewater a new toy. Parker was his top target at Louisville, which will allow them to get things moving from the jump. Parker is an upgrade over the aging Greg Jennings and whatever Cordarelle Patterson is supposed to be in the Vikings offense. Norv Turner did wonders with Josh Gordon a few years ago and he could repeat that success with Parker.
12. Cleveland Browns
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
With reports out of Cleveland projecting a Josh Gordon departure in the near future, the Browns need to add some help for the guy playing quarterback next season and beyond. White could team up with Gordon to form a particularly terrific twosome or he can take the reigns as the No. 1 target on offense for the Browns. The Browns ranked 23rd in total offense this season and could use all the help they can get to improve the firepower.
13. New Orleans Saints
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Drew Brees was sacked 29 times this season, which was an improvement over last year's 37 takedowns. Still, this season's total was good enough for the second most of his career. Brees will be 36 this month and is coming off of a pretty rough season. In order to preserve the final years of his career, the Saints need to add more protection. Zach Strief is 31 and can be easily upgraded at right tackle. Peat adds a youthful bookend to tandem with Terron Armstead.
14. Miami Dolphins
Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida
The Dolphins will soon be able to rid themselves of the stink of Jeff Ireland's linebacker free agency class of 2013. Phillip Wheeler is as good as gone by all accounts and Dannell Ellerbe could easily be upgraded. Dante Fowler is a local player who has tremendous versatility. He will be able to take on SAM or WILL responsibilities and even put his hand down and rush when needed. While he is a bit of a tweener from a scheme fit standpoint, I am of the opinion that he could excel in a 4-3 system.
15. San Francisco 49ers
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
Long-time defensive end Justin Smith is reportedly considering retirement and the 49ers are dealing with the rehab of Glenn Dorsey, who was placed on injured reserve this season. Oakman is a massive lineman (6-8, 275) and would fit in nicely opposite Tank Carradine if the 49ers new coach decides to stick with the 3-4 defense. Oakman has a fitting name as he's as sturdy and big as a tree. [Ed. Note: I have seen the news that Oakman is going back to Baylor.] Let's update it.
UPDATED PICK: Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
16. Houston Texans
Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
While the Texans drafted Louis Nix in the third round last season and somehow revitalized Ryan Pickett, Houston could use an upgrade at nose tackle. Nix is coming off a year-long stint on injured reserve, so he's not a sure thing and Pickett is 35. Shelton is massive human being with unreal athleticism for his size. He is difficult to move and can take on several blockers to free up J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
17. San Diego Chargers
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Everyone's favorite blindside protector, King Dunlap, is set to hit the free agent market and as Phillip Rivers ages, it's important for him to be protected. Ogbuehi could team with 2013 first round pick D.J. Fluker to form a young pair of bookends for the aging passer. Ogbuehi would have been a high pick last season had he come out, but decided to add some more college experience in the SEC.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
The Chiefs notoriously failed to connect with a wide receiver in the end zone this season and Strong would be a solid solution to that problem. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Strong is a massive receiver with giant hands, who was easily the go-to guy in Tempe. The Philadelphia native is similar in build and game to that of Brandon Marshall. You may remember him from his ridiculous Hail Mary catch to beat USC this season.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo)
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
While running back hasn't been the most popular position in the first round over the last half-decade, Gordon offers a rare blend of speed and agility that will be hard for Ray Farmer to pass on. While Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell provided some punch last season, neither could hold down the starting job, not even with the release of Ben Tate. Gordon could serve as the starting back that Tate was supposed to be. His lateral quickness is special.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
The 6-foot-4, 249-pound run stopper fits the Chip Kelly mold. He's tall, long and stops running backs in their tracks. While he is not the best in coverage, he shows proficiency with blitzing and is a nasty hitter. If you want to watch some fun tape, check out McKinney against LSU this season. He anchored four-straight goal line stands and was everywhere. He is extremely athletic and that helps him significantly in the run game. While this may not be the ideal position for the Eagles in the first round, the board fell in a way that made the choices scarce without the ability to trade.