The 2015 Niners Nation community mock draft continues as we move on to picks seven, eight and nine. After a suprirsing start that saw Marcus Mariota go No. 1 overall, things settled down to some extent with picks 4-6. I don't know that Jameis Winston slips to six, but he and Mariota seem likely to go in that first six picks.
Things settle down a little bit today with Winston coming off the board. The most logical of picks today is probably Kevin White to the Raiders. They desperately need receivers for Derek Carr, and White has emerged as a favorite of many. On to the picks!
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
2. Tennessee Titans - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB/DE, Florida
4. Oakland Raiders - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
5. Washington - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
6. New York Jets - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
With the seventh pick of the NN community mock draft, Harbaughlypse and the Chicago Bears select...Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The 2015 Chicago Bears are a great case study in the BPA draft strategy. While I won't digress into a lengthy BPA v. need argument - and it's a false dichotomy in my view - I will say that my approach was very simply to rank my top seven prospects and see who dropped to me. The Bears can use help at basically every position, so my goal was to add quality prospects, period. And in ranking prospects, I put a high premium on perceived safety.
Amari Cooper fit the bill in terms of both value and safety. He was my #1 WR and #5 prospect overall. In Cooper, I see a Greg Jennings or Roddy White type of receiver: he doesn't wow you with any one particular skill, but his overall game is nearly unassailable. I love his consistency and effort. He should catch a huge volume of balls working alongside Alshon Jeffrey and Martellus Bennett in Chicago. While Chicago has huge needs on the defensive side of the ball, I had to put my money where my mouth was and pick my highest rated guy.
Alternates considered: Danny Shelton, La'el Collins, Shane Ray
Danny Shelton was the player I initially penciled in as my pick. I love his potential as the anchor of a Vic Fangio-led 3-4 defense. He should eventually make everyone around him better. Shane Ray's athleticism and fire were very tempting as well, and he plays the second most important position in football, in my view. And Collins is my top-rated offensive lineman, and his presence on a shaky Bears line would help Jay Cutler stay vertical.
In the end, though, it was too hard to pass up Cooper. His combination of floor and upside make him the rare early first round WR about whom I would worry very little. For a team in transition, hitting on your first rounder is huge. And while the defense definitely needs reinforcements, adding another dynamic weapon in the NFC North can't be a bad thing.
With the eighth pick of the NN community mock draft, TDevil200 and the Atlanta Falcons select...Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
Alternates: Randy Gregory
Shane Ray is a prototype fit for Dan Quinn's aggressive 4-3 blitzing defense. In Seattle, obviously the core part of his defense was in the secondary, but it was the defensive front creating havoc for the passer that enabled the LOB to do their job. Shane Ray will most likely play the role of Cliff Avril, not Michael Bennet, who lines up on the strong side in Quinn's defense, because of his struggles against the run. However, like Avril, Ray is an extremely explosive pass rusher of the snap. He has a tremendous first step and unbelievable closing speed on quarterbacks. Ray is able to get to the edge on every play and has elite change of direction skills, but don't let that fool you to think he's a one-trick pony. Ray constantly showcases his fundamental and upper body strength by constantly by his ability to counter when engaged. Ray has heavy violent hands and he uses them to shred blocks from the offensive linemen.
Watching his film, his pass rushing moves consist of a very powerful swim move, a mean gut-line jab to disengage, and sometimes an out of the blue, neat spin move. Ray plays with ferocity and with desire. He has a high motor and whenever there's a chance, he goes in and lays wood on the passer. Ray is the type of player defensive coaches love and quarterbacks have nightmares about.
With the ninth pick of the NN community mock draft, Jimmy Baugh and the New York Giants select...Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Alternates: Brandon Scherff, OG/OT, Iowa, Danny Shelton, DT, Washington, Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon.
The Giants are thin on Defense and need some playmakers on their defensive line. From Strahan, to Umenyiora, to Pierre-Paul the Giants have always had a top tier outside pass rusher and when they were at their best they had 2. Steve Spagnuolo's best years as a defensive coordinator using this approach as a defensive coordinator is now back with the Giants. Randy Gregory's speed, size, and length could continue the streak of all pro defensive ends that the Giants have drafted. This is not an immediate area of need given the Giants have Pierre Paul for another year but it would put the Giants in a position to have one if not two solid outside pass rushers for the foreseeable future. Even though he is slightly thinner, Gregory looks eerily similar to Pierre Paul coming out of college. Give him one year to put on NFL muscle and you might not be able to tell the two apart.
You can't talk about Gregory without discussing his failure of the combine drug test. Whether it's just lucky, or a direct result of Tom Coughlin's no nonsense approach, he has kept the Giants out of serious off the field trouble making this is a good Organization for Gregory to be be under the watch of. Considering the previous picks and given the drop off at outside pass rusher after Gregory it's tough to pass on him at this point. He will have a year to acclimate himself to the NFL with Pierre-Paul drawing the attention of the Offensive line. Personally this pick feels like a win win for both sides and the Giants have proven they know what to do with a player with Gregory's skills and attributes.
The other players I considered at this pick didn't seem to solve the short and long term needs of the Giants as well as Gregory. The Giants need an offensive Gaurd but don't need the best one in the draft. The defensive tackles mentioned would be an outstanding pick but I didn't think their potential impact fell just short of Gregory's.