Updated March 17
1. Buccaneers – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State – Scouting Report
Winston is the more talented prospect than Mariota, and so far interview process seems to be going extremely well. The combine was a big step forward for him in solidifying his position at the top of this class and as long as pre-draft visits go well he should be the heavy favorite to go No. 1.
2. Titans – Leonard Williams – DE – USC – Scouting Report
The addition of Brian Orakpo lessens the need for a pass-rusher, which means this pick probably comes down to Mariota or Williams. Since Mariota isn’t an elite can’t-miss prospect, I believe Whisenhunt will push for the Titans to stick with Mettenberger for at least one more year.
3. Jaguars – Shane Ray – DE/LB – Missouri – Scouting Report
The Jaguars can’t afford to let this draft go by without adding an impact pass-rusher. Ray is an impressive athlete with some versatility which should intrigue the Jaguars. He should be used as a situational pass-rusher immediately, and could also be a candidate to play strong-side linebacker in Gus Bradley’s defense.
4. Raiders – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia – Scouting Report
White won the combine, so he’s locked in for the Raiders, right? Mark Davis has continued his father’s drafting tradition, so it’s safe to assume White and Amari Cooper are both high on their board. Despite the hint of sarcasm, it’s a fairly safe pick and fills a need.
5. Redskins – Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska – Scouting Report
If anyone wants to move up for Mariota, this is where it happens. The Redskins need to stockpile picks and don’t have anyone they obviously need to target here. With Brian Orakpo gone, the Redskins should target a pass-rusher here. Gregory is a little raw, but has as much potential as a pass-rusher as anyone in this class.
6. Jets – Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon – Scouting Report
This is the worst-case scenario for Mariota—and I’m not referring to him falling to No. 6, I’m referring to the team. He’ll struggle in New York if he’s thrown into the same dysfunctional situation that destroyed Geno Smith. If the Jets go this direction, hopefully they have a plan for 2015 that doesn’t involve Mariota being thrown into the fire.
7. Bears - Danny Shelton – DT – Washington – Scouting Report
The Bears are shifting to a 3-4 defense, but don’t have the personnel for it at this moment. This may be a reach for Shelton, who was a one-year wonder at Washington, but he’s arguably the top nose tackle in this class and would step into an immediate starting role for the Bears.
8. Falcons – Dante Fowler Jr. – DE/LB – Florida – Scouting Report
The Falcons have no one to build around on defense, so this should be a very defense-heavy draft for them. Fowler doesn’t really stand out in any one area, but he has the potential to be a solid three-down lineman and should start immediately in Atlanta.
9. Giants – Brandon Scherff – OL – Iowa – Scouting Report
The Giants interior offensive line was a trainwreck a season ago, and some reshuffling is likely in 2015. Scherff is a similar player to Justin Pugh, as either could play right tackle or shift inside to guard. The flexibility with both could be intriguing to the Giants as they try to upgrade Manning’s protection.
10. Rams – Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama – Scouting Report
If tough for me to drop Cooper to No. 10, but if he and White don’t come off the board within the first five picks I don’t see another obvious landing spot. The Rams would likely scoop up either prospect if they fell, and may even settle for Parker if both are gone.
11. Vikings – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State
The more I think about how Spielman and Zimmer will approach this draft, the more I can’t envision them passing on Waynes. They failed to address the cornerback position in last year’s draft and will likely spend a high pick on the position this time around. Waynes makes perfect sense here.
12. Browns – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville – Scouting Report
The Browns simply can’t afford to pass on Parker if he falls here. He has all the tools to fill the Josh Gordon role in their offense as a receiver who can stretch the field with speed but also compete for 50/50 balls. He plays like a lesser version of Randy Moss and should be an impact player immediately.
13. Saints – Vic Beasley – LB – Clemson – Scouting Report
Just plug in one of the top defenders here. Beasley may have some limitations against the run at the next level but he will be an instant-impact pass-rusher. A pass-rusher with his explosive ability has too much value, even as a situational player, to fall much further than this.
14. Dolphins – Jaelen Strong – WR – Arizona State – Scouting Report
The Dolphins are a tough team to predict due to limited options at their most glaring positions of need. If Trae Waynes is on the board, they’ll take him, but may not reach for another corner. With Strong and Stills on the outside and Landry in the slot, Tannehill would have some nice weapons.
15. 49ers – Andrus Peat – OL – Stanford – Scouting Report
The 49ers are set at tackle, but have a glaring hole at left guard due to the departure of Mike Iupati. There isn’t a true guard deserving of this selection, but a number of the tackles on the board have the tools to make the transition. Peat also gives them some insurance behind Anthony Davis who battled multiple injuries last year.
16. Texans – Bud Dupree – DE – Kentucky – Scouting Report
Whitney Mercilus is in the final year of his contract and has been a disappointment during his time in Houston. Dupree needs time to develop as a pass-rusher, but would be in an ideal situation in Houston where he, ideally, sits for a year behind Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney.