The 2015 NN community mock draft continues along. We are closing in on the end of the first round. Today brings us the Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. All four are looking to add some depth to the trenches, with our community members going offensive line for the Panthers and Broncos, and defensive line for the Ravens and Cowboys.
Here are the first 24 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
7. Chicago Bears - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
8. Atlanta Falcons - Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
9. New York Giants - Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
10. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
11. Minnesota Vikings - Landon Collins, S, Alabama
12. Cleveland Browns - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
13. New Orleans Saints - Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
14. Miami Dolphins - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
15. San Francisco 49ers - La'el Collins, OG, LSU
16. Houston Texans - Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
17. San Diego Chargers - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
19. Cleveland Browns - Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
20. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
23. Detroit Lions - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
24. Arizona Cardinals - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
With the 25th pick of the NN community mock draft, IMissTheStick and the Carolina Panthers select...Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Alternates: 1. TJ Clemmings - OT, 2. Breshad Perriman - WR, 3. Kevin Johnson - CB
Carolina needs a serious upgrade on the offensive line. They can't continue to let Cam Newton take hits at the rate he has and run blocking needs to improve also. The Panthers signed Michael Oher, but that simply isn't enough. Peat has the potential to lock down the left tackle position in Carolina for a long time. He has all the physical tools you would want your left tackle to have and is good in both pass protection and the running game. One of the only real questions with Peat is his calm demeanor. Sometimes he will do just enough to win his one-on-one, when if he played with more fire he might dominate and create more big plays. If his coaches can get that out of him, Peat has the potential to be a Pro-Bowl caliber tackle.
TJ Clemmings might be slightly more athletic, but he is much more raw and will need longer to adjust to the NFL. I gave some thought to receiver, but a good compliment to Kelvin Benjamin can be found in round 2 or 3. Running back would have been very tempting if either Gurley or Gordon was still on the board. DE and CB also got a little consideration, but I didn't think the value was there.
With the 26th pick of the NN community mock draft, nic2116 and the Baltimore Ravens select...Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
I firmly believe in best player available (BPA) when it comes to draft strategy and that's what Goldman was. He also fills a need for a team moving on from Haloti Ngata (traded to Detroit) and his big money contract. Goldman can 2 gap in a 3-4 front with good power at the point of attack, he's also able to shed blockers well and stuff the run. Eddie could be an immediate starter/impact player in Baltimore with potential for long term success. Baltimore has tremendous edge rushers in Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs but a big part of their success starts up front. Without a good defensive line, rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley may not have been in the mix for defensive rookie of the year. I really like the idea of pairing Timmy Jernigan up with his former FSU teammate too.
The other positions of need are CB, WR and RB and in my opinion the depth at receiver at running back will allow for some better value later in the draft. Most "experts" are mocking Jalean Strong, WR, Arizona State to the Ravens in an effort to fill the void left by Torrey Smith and he was a strong candidate for the 26th pick but defense is Baltimore's bread and butter. If Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin or Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia were available I would have strongly considered them as a long term answer, but in the immediate future Justin Forsett should be able to pick up where he left off last year. Baltimore is traditionally a strong defensive team and prioritizes their draft picks as such. Corner back is a HUGE area of need and P.J. Williams ,CB, Florida State was a very strong consideration, I just don't feel he was anywhere near the 26th best player in this draft, so BPA won out.
With the 27th pick of the NN community mock draft, BryKno and the Dallas Cowboys select...Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
Alternates: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest; Carl Davis, DT, Iowa; Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
This came down to just two positions—defensive tackle and cornerback. I'm sure the Cowboys would love for a solid safety to fall to them, but that just doesn't seem to be in the cards at this point in time. So it's beef up front or coverage in the back to help the Cowboys find their "glory hole" once again.
Cornerback is tempting, as Brandon Carr is mind-boggingly overpaid for the poor production he provides; Pro Football Focus has him 90th out of 108 cornerbacks last season, and yet he's slated to count $12.7 million against the cap this year. A post June-1 cut would save the team $8 million, which could be useful if they want to stay in the Adrian Peterson sweepstakes. Kevin Johnson would be an upgrade across from Orlando Scandrick, and would allow Sterling Moore to thrive in a nickelback role.
Worst case scenario, however, the Cowboys could trot out Carr and his so-called production. Not so with Henry Melton, who has left town to re-join Lovie Smith, this time in Tampa Bay. The Cowboys are currently penciled in as starting some combination of Terrell McClain, Josh Brent and Tyrone Crawford at the two defensive tackle positions. That is, at best, average, and not a sufficient force on the interior.
Of the remaining defensive tackles, Mike Bennett from Ohio State fits that bill the best. He'll thrive in a rotation, which the Cowboys have the parts to use, that would allow his burst and pop to stay fresh for four quarters. He's one of the best three-techniques in the draft class this year, even if he's a bit undersized. With him and Greg Hardy on the team, the Cowboys should be set on the defensive line.
With the 28th pick of the NN community mock draft, Pot8tohd and the Denver Broncos select...D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Last year Denver tried to implant on the NFL they were not only a finesse team but a TOUGH team as well. But the lack of physical toughness was apparent in their losses throughout the year. They were manhandled by the Rams during the regular season and overpowered by the Colts in the playoffs. It was a revolving door most of the year along their offensive line. Insert DJ Humphries.
DJ Humphries is strong enough and quick enough to help in the zone blocking scheme used in Denver. He was undersized while at the UF but gained weight each year. Then when he showed up for the combine he was 15 pounds heavier than he had ever been. 15 pounds of muscle gained lets you know that he is working on his game to get it ready for the pro level. He was the 4th quickest OT which lets you know he has the speed to make it to the next level which is needed in a zone blocking running game. Ryan Clady had a bad year last year for someone who is the 3rd highest paid tackle in the league. If he doesn't improve he has a chance of becoming a cap casualty following this season. The only knock I can see on Humphries is the placement of his hands while blocking. He tends to do more of a "slapping" motion but I believe this is something that can be taught and learned rather quickly. For him to fall this far in the draft is absolutely stunning and the Broncos got very lucky that the BPA is also their largest need.
OT TJ Clemmings - Had him down as the next best offensive tackle after DJ Humphries
ILB Erik Kendricks- Had Erik as the top ILB in the draft but had the position as the 2nd on the team importance list. Will most likely look this direction in the 2nd or 3rd round.