Now, by this time of the year, you have probably had your fill of all the Mock Drafts that you can handle. So, Hashtag Sports would like to give you a little treat. If you have listened to and of the live shows, this might be a bit of déjà vu for some of you, as it was for us. Instead of giving you the latest Mock Draft 1.0, 2.0 or whatever point 0 that is out there, we would like to have this as a time of reflection. Check out who the Hashtag Crew called out in their 32 Teams in 32 Days, and see how it will play out, starting with the Top-10 Picks.
2015 NFL Draft: Picks 11-20
2015 NFL Draft: Picks 21-32
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (posted 2/6/15)
The biggest question is not what position, but rather WHO the Bucs’ will draft. Jamesis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the top two quarterbacks in this draft. While many think the off-field issues with Winston will make Mariota a no-brainer for the #1 selection, nothing is ever certain on Draft Day. The rumors of Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles trading the farm for the #1 selection are running rampant, but the likelihood is slim at best. Also, with only two linebackers on the current roster, expect Tampa to address that with a player in the mold of Vic Beasley (OLB Clemson). He has the make-up Lovie Smith looks for in an outside linebacker and could be available at the end of first or start of the second round.
2. Tennessee Titans (posted 2/7/15)
Selecting a Quarterback with the 178th selection is not a place you typically troll for a franchise player however that is where Zach Mettenberger was taken. Character concerns were paramount in his slide down the draft board, coupled with what some would call a “Solar Eclipse Release”, which means it takes him about one to two years to release the football. While Mettenberger played adequately, he isn’t the horse you want to hitch your wagon to. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Tennessee trade this pick to Philadelphia if Marcus Mariota falls out of the top spot, as the Titans need for a Pass Rusher, Cornerback may trump the opportunity to add Mariota. The only player that carries any real trade value is Tight End Craig Stevens who only has 1 year remaining on his contract. He is viewed as an under-utilized assets lost in the quarterback shuffle. The depth at that position in this upcoming draft is a hurdle, as he would not be easily replaced.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (posted 2/8/15)
Holding the 3rd pick overall actually puts Jacksonville in a bit of a precarious situation. While they have several needs, the 3rd pick is a bit high for the areas of need. While taking a young Defensive End would make sense (last year, Clowney and Khalil Mack went 1st and 5th respectively), the glaring need at cornerback, linebacker, running back, tight end, and free safety all create a problem. While defensive end is the pick with the best value this high in the draft, this is not the area of highest need for Jacksonville. Drafting a running back, free safety or tight end will not happen this early. The offensive line will be in need of a right tackle this offseason, but again, this is something that a little age might help via the Free Agent market. If Jacksonville can slide down to the 11-15 spot, they would probably be able to acquire an additional 2nd or possibly two 3rd round selection that would help stock up their current shortcomings. Jacksonville may target UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks. He would fit the system well, won the Dick Butkus award this last season and had only 2 games where he did not tally double-digit tackles. He is projected to be able to play both inside and outside linebacker, a perfect fit for a team that is in need of both.
4. Oakland Raiders (posted 2/9/15)
The Raiders could go with either the offensive line, or a wide receiver with the 4th overall pick. If Amari Cooper is available, he should give the offense, and Derek Carr a nice new toy to play with, given what Musgrave has done with another Alabama product, Julio Jones. If the Raiders do decide to go with an offensive lineman, then Mike Tice will shoulder the responsibility to get them ready before week one, to both protect Carr, and give Murray some running lanes. Gabe Jackson was serviceable at guard last year, but the line does need some help.
5. Washington Redskins (posted 2/10/15)
Draft needs are-a-plenty. Holding the 5th overall selection, Washington’s true need of cornerback, strong and free safety along with guard cannot be addressed with this selection.
T Brandon Scherff (Iowa) could slide inside but that isn’t always the sure thing you want from the 5th selection.
It is possible they could take the best pass rusher available in DE Randy Gregory (Nebraska) or possibly OLB Dante Fowler (Florida). Those selections would improve a defense that is in need of revision but do not address the true areas of need.
SS Landon Collins (Alabama) would be in the starting lineup immediately if selected, which is unlikely as Washington could to slide down the draft board to acquire him as no team in the NFL would see him as a top-5 selection. FS Chris Hackett (TCU) may be available at the turn of the 3rd round. Washington may be forced to be aggressive with later selections due to the lack of deep secondary talent in this year’s draft. Washington should focus on drafting a cornerback in the second round.
CB Trae Waynes is on top of the list with plenty of options, including Quinten Rollins (Miami of Ohio), PJ Williams (FSU), possibly Marcus Peters (Washington).
6. New York Jets (posted 2/11/15)
Quarterback couldn’t be a higher priority, but with the 6th overall selection it would take a pretty unique situation for Tennessee to pass on one of the top two QBs and no other team trade up ahead of the Jets. Drafting a QB in the early 1st round is unlikely unless they can find a way to move up. Sacrificing future 1st round selections would not be in the team’s best interest given the layout of the roster. It is possible the Jets do not select a QB with the 6th overall selection and instead trade back into the late spot in the 1st round for Brett Hundley (UCLA). This would give them an option year after the standard 4 year rookie contract, which is something they didn’t do with Geno Smith who was a 2nd round pick. (Check out the Rookie Wage Scale for more details).
They are desperate for cornerbacks, which will be readily available in round 3. While everyone talks about tackle Brandon Scherff (Iowa), the best fit for New York would be La’el Collins (UCLA). While Collins is projected to move into guard because he isn’t seen as being able to handle NFL edge rushers at the tackle position, he plays with a nasty streak and is a dedicated worker who is noted as a “Finisher”. Of course projections are ultimately an educated guess. He would be better than any option they have at tackle not name D’Brickshaw Ferguson.
7. Chicago Bears (posted 2/12/15)
The Bears hold the 7th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and more than likely, they will target an offensive lineman, however, depending on how the Jay Cutler Saga plays out beforehand, will determine what the Bears eventually do. They might try to bolster their newly installed 3-4 defense with either Danny Shelton from Washington or Shane Ray from Missouri. Ray isn’t expected to still be on the board, and has played primarily in a 4-3 as a rush end, so the money is leaning toward Shelton to anchor the middle of the line, if a deal with Paea isn’t reached.
8. Atlanta Falcons (posted 2/13/15)
The Falcons desperately need someone on the edge that can get to the quarterback. This is evidence of the fact that they only had 22 sacks in 2014 (tied for 30th). If Tennessee passes on DE Leonard Williams (USC), Atlanta could package a second round selection to jump in front of Washington to select him. They would most likely not be able to trade with Oakland, as they will be set on drafting WR Amari Cooper (Alabama).
If they cannot move up to get Williams, DE Dante Fowler Jr (Florida) or DE Shane Ray (Missouri) would not be poor compensation prizes. Fowler Jr. is clearly the more desirable of the two.
TE Maxx Williams (Minnesota) would be a stretch at the top of the 2nd round but tight ends with athletic pass catching ability come at a premium in the NFL draft.
CB Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest) or another defensive back in the 3rd round makes sense for Atlanta. Selecting Gerod Holliman (Louisville) or Derron Smith (Fresno State) at safety might also happen, but a veteran fits best here. Quinn benefited greatly from having a hammer in Seattle’s Cam Chancellor and every team seems to be on the prowl for the next player like him. None of those appear in this draft.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller says RB Matt Jones (Florida) could be a last round fit. He is a big kid at 6’2 235 with two previous knee injuries, which will cause his free-fall into the later rounds of the draft.
9. New York Giants (posted 2/14/15)
The Giants are looking for that old-school mauler right tackle that they have been lacking. They are looking to move resident tackle Justin Pugh into the guard spot. At the number 9 selection in the draft, they will probably have a few options. Andrus Peat (Stanford) is 6’7” 316 lbs. While he shows the strength that you look for, he has some drawbacks. He is able to get to the second level well, show patience and a huge wingspan, all things that may offset the scouting reports that he has a bit of technical flaws to clean up.
T Rob Havenstein (Wisconsin) is a Day 3 project, may be where the team goes if they are unable to secure one of the two-three top tackles in the draft. Watch out, this kid could be a great value late in the draft.
Inside linebacker needs to be addressed but a few good options exist in free agency.
10. St. Louis Rams (posted 2/15/15)
The Rams need an offensive weapon. They have had a terrible run game the past two seasons and the lack a tall playmaker at wide receiver. While a slid in the quarterback position is conceivable (see players like Ryan Mallett), it is extremely unlikely that one of the top 2 players at that position will be available with the 10th pick. Expect St.Louis, who has plenty of tools on defense, to go with the best offensive player available. Will that be Kevin White (West Virginia), the tall and speedy receiver? Possibly, as Amari Copper (Alabama) will already be gone. The Rams could save some cap space and draft a tackle to slide into the guard position allowing them to free up some salary cap space releasing a veteran player. The 9 selections before the Rams pick will dictate what they can do and just how aggressive they will be.
2015 NFL Draft: Picks 11-20
2015 NFL Draft: Picks 21-32