With the NFL Draft now only one week away, it’s time to get in to the spirit of clairvoyance and prediction, with the Official Redskins Capital Connection Mock Draft!
This mock covers the first 38 picks, which sees us through to the Redskins second round pick. After the early 2nd round, teams really start diverging in their approach to their picks, and it becomes an absolute mess to try and predict what a team will do.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the selections I’ve made here? Well, don’t hesitate to let me know on Twitter @ChadwikoRCC!
|#1||QB Jameis Winston, Florida State|
Having been stuck in the NFC South with 3 teams with franchise QBs (Brees, Ryan, Newton), the Buccaneers surprise absolutely no one and select Jameis Winston at #1 overall.
Winston has the tools and the talent to be a day 1 starter on a team that badly needs a new identity. The Buccs will be hoping that a bit of Famous Jameis, alongside guys like Mike Evans, will help them once again be competitive in a division that has the potential to be wide open in the coming years.
|#2|| QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon|
TRADE The Chargers and the Titans make the much discussed trade, sending QB Phillip Rivers and a 2nd round pick to Tennessee in exchange for the #2 overall and a 3rd rounder. Some in the media are saying that there is buzz about a 3 way trade that would see Mariota going to Philadelphia, but I don't believe that to be likely.
Mariota stays on the Pacific coast and becomes the new face of the San Diego Chargers (at least until they become the Los Angeles Chargers).
|#3||DE Dante Fowler Jr, Florida|
The Jaguars are faced with a tough decision between Fowler and Leonard Williams, but in the end decide to go with the pure edge rusher.
Fowler is an athletic and agile defender who has absolutely zero character concerns, and who was a leader in the Florida locker room. Jacksonville will be hoping that Fowler is the kind of player that they can build their defense around for years to come.
|#4||DT Leonard Williams, USC|
Leonard Williams is rated by some as the best player in this entire draft class, so the Raiders will be thrilled to take him at #4.
Slotting in to a pass rush that already contains Khalil Mack and Justin Tuck, the Raiders should see an immediate impact from the addition of Leonard Williams.
|#5||WR Amari Cooper, Alabama|
In a recent interview with NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III said that General Manager Scot McCloughan told him that "I'm going to put the 10 best players around you to maximize your potential".
Enter Amari Cooper.
The 6'1, 210 lb prodigious wide out from Alabama would add an explosive weapon to the Redskins offense, and paired up with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jordan Reed, would give Griffin one of the most stacked receiving corps in the entire NFL.
Whilst I have no doubt that if there was an elite offensive lineman in this years rookie class McCloughan would have jumped at him at this pick, the fact is that Amari Cooper is by far the best player available on the board, and fits in with the apparent roster building strategy that McCloughan is working towards.
|#6||OLB/DE Vic Beasley, Clemson|
Rookie Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles is widely regarded as one of the best defensive minds in modern football. After having seen the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, Bowles has the luxury of taking what could end up being one of the best players in this entire draft class in Vic Beasley.
Revis and Cromartie won't be around forever, and the Jets defense will need an anchor when they are gone. Beasley can be that anchor. He is perhaps the most explosive edge rusher in this draft, and his speed and pass rush skills will help the Jets get in Tom Brady's face until he hangs up the boots.
|#7||WR Kevin White, West Virginia|
The loss of Brandon Marshall via a trade to the Jets, and the fact that the Bears are paying Cutler $15 million in 2015, means that Chicago will be thrilled that one of the top 2 wide outs in this years draft has fallen to them at 7.
Kevin White lit up the combine with his speed and agility, and he plays with a lot of size in a similar fashion to Brandon Marshall.
|#8||DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska|
Before testing positive to marijuana at the combine, Gregory was considered a top 10 talent. Some think his positive test will hurt his stock and see him drop significantly, but I believe new Atlanta Head Coach Dan Quinn will jump at the chance to draft such a talented pass rusher.
The positive test is obviously a concern, but Quinn and Falcons DC Richard Smith are the kind of no-nonsense leaders that Gregory will thrive under. This pick would be a steal for the Falcons.
|#9||OL La'el Collins, LSU|
The first offensive lineman off the board in the 2015 draft goes to the New York Giants.
The Giants badly need to upgrade a line that gave up a tonne of pressure in 2014 and saw QB Eli Manning hurried time and time again. When Eli is hurried, he makes mistakes resulting in turnovers.
The bad news for Redskins fans is that La'el Collins will be an excellent addition for Big Blue, and can plug in either at Right Guard or Right Tackle on day 1.
|#10||DE Shane Ray, Missouri|
TRADE The St Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers complete an inter-division draft day trade, with the Rams trading down to 15 and picking up a 3rd round pick in the process.
The 49ers, having watched Shane Ray fall, make the move to trade up and add yet another potential front seven monster to a team that has been known for their tenacious defenses in recent times.
|#11||CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State|
Trae Waynes blew the combine away with a blindingly fast 4.31 40 yard dash. Combine his speed with his 6'0 height, his long reach and his surprisingly good strength, Waynes is a great addition to the Vikings defense that is in a division filled with some of the best Quarterback play in the NFL.
|#12||WR DeVante Parker, Louisville|
The Browns would have preferred to take a receiver at 19 instead of 12, but with several teams equally in need of a WR picking between 12 and 19, they didn't have the luxury of waiting.
To several draft observers, DeVante Parker is one of the most underrated players on the board in 2015, and Browns fans should be thrilled to acquire him.
|#13||DT Danny Shelton, Washington|
The addition of Brandon Browner should hopefully shore up the Saints secondary that, frankly, under performed in 2014.
Regardless, it means that New Orleans can take a beast defensive tackle in Shelton, and put him next to another beast in Cameron Jordan.
|#14||RB Todd Gurley, Georgia|
What do you get when you combine the acquisitions of Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills and Todd Gurley in a single offseason?
You get a contract extension for Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey.
Todd Gurley has all the markings of being the next star running back of the NFL, as long as he can stay healthy. Adding a quality RB will also give the Dolphins something that they haven't had since Ryan Tannehill became their QB, which is a solid ground game that opposing defenses have to plan around.
|#15||OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa|
After trading down from #10 to #15, the Rams are fortunate enough to have a great prospect in Scherff fall in to their laps.
Nick Foles played behind a solid offensive line during his time with Philadelphia, and it was only after some of the starting Eagles OL started missing games due to injury and suspension that Foles started to look shaky. If Jeff Fisher wants to get the very best out of Foles, he needs to keep him upright and give him time in the pocket, and Scherff helps achieve that goal.
|#16||WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State|
The Texans have one of the best defenses in football and one of the worst offenses in football. That needs to change if Houston wants to start being successful any time soon.
Whilst some may view Jaelen Strong as a reach at #16, most scouts and draft analysts have Strong going in the first round, and when a team is in dire need of offensive weapons as badly as the Texans are, it doesn't matter if you take a guy 10 spots higher than he is being projected.
|#17||OL D.J Humphries, Florida|
With the Chargers second pick in the first round after trading up for Mariota, San Diego's next step is to protect him.
Of the available offensive lineman on the board here at #17, Humphries is the most athletic prospect, which is important considering Mariota has a tendency to keep plays alive with his legs, meaning that his blockers will need to play to the whistle and be willing to push blocks through to the second level.
|#18||CB Jalen Collins, LSU|
The second Collins from LSU goes in the first round, and ensures that there will be at least some people mixing Jalen and La'el up come draft day.
Jalen Collins will pair up with one of the more under rated Corners in the NFL in Sean Smith, and will give Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid some much needed depth and talent at the position.
|#19||DE Malcom Brown, Texas|
The Browns have the luxury here of taking the best player available, and Malcolm Brown is that player.
Brown was a first-team All-American for Texas last year, and scouts love his durability and power. He didn't miss a single game in 2013 or 2014, and Cleveland needs someone it can rely on.
|#20||CB Marcus Peters, Washington|
Philadelphia spent big money to add Byron Maxwell to their secondary, whilst also adding Walter Thurmond III and EJ Biggers for added depth.
Considering that the top three receivers on the Eagles roster at present are Riley cooper, Jordan Matthews, and Miles Austin, many are predicting that Chip Kelly will take a receiver with this pick.
That is certainly possible, however I believe the Eagles will look to add even more depth to their defense with this pick, and Marcus Peters is immensely talented.
|#21||WR Breshad Perriman, Central Florida|
A 6'2 tall and 210 lbs receiver who runs a 4.24 40? Perriman has the physical traits to come in to the league and be the next DeSean Jackson.
Considering the Bengals are paying QB Andy Dalton so much money, they need to get him someone besides AJ Green to throw to, and Perriman's ability to be a home run threat on every play will take the top off of defenses.
|#22||SS Landon Collins, Alabama|
The retirements of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor will mean that the Steelers need to find their replacements.
Landon Collins should thrive in Pittsburgh, provided that he isn't left isolated in one-on-one assignments in the redzone.
|#23||DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
It's hard to replace a player as talented as Ndamukong Suh, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.|
Phillips played a true nose tackle role at Oklahoma, and he can step right into the position left vacant by Suh.
|#24||RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin|
Star veteran Larry Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals, and it's time for the Cardinals to repay the faith and loyalty he has shown them by making sure he's not the only weapon on their offense.
In 2014, Arizona finished 11-5 in one of the toughest divisions in football, and did so without a consistent ground game. Melvin Gordon may just be the puzzle piece that Arizona needs to make the step to the next level.
|#25||OL Ereck Flowers, Miami|
Is there a QB who takes more hits than Cam Newton? Maybe if I checked the stats I'd know for sure, but I feel like the answer is probably 'no'.
Carolina can add Flowers at either LT or RT depending on where they feel he will fit best in 2015, and at either position he'll be an immediate upgrade.
|#26||WR Nelson Agholor, USC|
At some point, father time has to catch up to Steve Smith, and the Ravens front office knows it.
Agholor might be a slight reach here, but he is generating a lot of pre-draft buzz, and Baltimore badly needs to cover the loss of Torrey Smith.
|#27||DE Alvin 'Bud' Dupree, Kentucky|
Jerry Jones will head straight to the party bus after watching Bud Dupree slide all the way to 27.
Ever since losing DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys have lacked a big and nasty pass rusher who can consistently put pressure on opposing Quarterbacks. Dupree will change that.
Whilst his speed around the edge is what most people notice first about Dupree, his ability to also shed blocks and defend the run is top notch, and the Cowboys will be happy to send him after DeMarco Murray and Alfred Morris in 2015.
|#28||OL Andrus Peat, Stanford|
Denver lost not one but two 2014 starting offensive linemen in this free agency period, and if they want to capitalize on what will most likely be Peyton Mannings last season, they need to protect him.
Earlier in the offseason, Peat was considered a potential top 10 draft pick, but has seen his value drop after scouts spent more time evaluating him and saw issues in maintaining his blocks.
|#29||OL Jake Fisher, Oregon|
The Colts have had a good off season so far, but still haven't addressed their offensive line which lets QB Andrew Luck get hit far too often.
Jake Fisher has experience in protecting a QB who likes to escape the pocket to extend plays, and this is an area where Luck excels.
|#30||OLB Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA|
Clay Matthews moved from outside to inside linebacker last year, and all indications seem to suggest that he'll continue seeing snaps there in 2015.
Odighizuwa will need some development, but he has an NFL ready body and posted impressive times in both the 40 yard dash and 20 yard shuttle at the combine.
|#31||WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami|
Sean Payton is apparently on record expressing how highly he rates Dorsett, and after losing both Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham, QB Drew Brees needs someone to throw the ball to.
|#32||DT Arik Armstead, Oregon|
In a recent Redskins Capital Connection podcast, Emmanual Benton from ProPlayerInsiders had Armstead going as high as the mid 1st round, so the Patriots could be getting a steal here at #32.
Vince Wilfork leaves big shoes to fill, both figuratively and literally, but Armstead has the talent to improve the Pats front seven in 2015.
|#33||OL T.J Clemmings, Pittsburgh|
The Titans have a lot of holes to fill, but many will be masked by the addition of QB Phillip Rivers. For this plan to work, however, the Titans will need to keep Rivers on his feet.
Clemmings is raw, but displayed the attitude and physical traits required to succeed.
|#34||ILB Eric Kendricks, UCLA|
Often after teams draft a new QB in the 1st round, they like to give him either a weapon or some protection in the 2nd round. But the Buccaneers already have a lot of weapons on offense, and a decent enough offensive line that means they don't have to make a reach pick here.
Kendricks, the brother of Eagles Mychal, sliding out of the 1st round will be a shock to many, but the value at other positions is higher in comparison in the 2015 draft class.
|#35||WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma|
Some people are speculating that Green-Beckham will go in the first round, and there is certainly no denying that he is talented enough to warrant it.
However, there are huge off-field red flags, and given the current atmosphere in the NFL over the past 12 months, teams will be reluctant to spend a first round pick on him. Oakland will be willing to take the risk on him with a high 2nd rounder though.
|#36||WR Devin Smith, Ohio State|
Smith lead the Buckeyes in receiving yards in 2014, and with his top-flight speed, he will force defenses to keep a safety over the top, and provide QB Blake Bortles with a reliable down field target in 2015.
|#37||DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State|
Todd Bowles goes all in on defense with his first two picks as the new Jets coach.
Adding a quality DT in Goldman to play in between Sheldon Richardson and Muhammed Wilkerson should scare the crap out of opposing offensive lines for the foreseeable future.
|#38||LB/S Shaq Thompson, Washington|
New Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry gets to play with perhaps the most talented athlete and the most intriguing prospect in the draft with this selection.
Shaq Thompson could be used in a wide variety of ways, such is the nature of his versatility. He could be used as coverage ILB in nickel packages, assigned to cover either tight ends or receiving backs. He could also just as easily be transition to a full time safety.
In 2014, Thompson played snaps at running back, linebacker, and safety for the Washington Huskies, and impressed everyone by making athletic play after athletic play. The fact that so close to the NFL draft teams are still unsure what position suits him best is viewed by some as a weakness, but NFL coaches cherish flexibility, and I'm sure Joe Barry will find a way to get amazing production out of such a talented player.
Obviously this isn't why the Redskins would draft him, but if nothing else, he would instantly be the best player on the Redskins special teams unit in 2015.
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