2015 SpreeGoogs NFL Mock Draft Part 2 (Picks 17-32)
If you missed yesterday’s Part 1, go back and get started.
If you’ve read Part 1, here’s Part 2:
17. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB (Georgia)
The second half starts with a bang! A running back. It finally happened.
The Chargers are going to be one of the teams that everyone predicts will move in this year’s draft. Most likely, the talking heads will want them to deal Philip Rivers for a pick or move up to grab Gurley around 10. But they don’t need to do that in my mock. They can just sit still and get Gurley at their actual draft position.
The funny thing about the Chargers is that in my mind, they have this stigma about being a good offense. One of the best offenses. Every year. And yet, when you look at their depth chart, there’s not actually a lot there at the “skill positions.” I’m not entirely sold on Gurley being that much better than Melvin Gordon, but the two of them both seem notably better than any other RBs. In this draft, and probably the real draft, Gurley will be the first one taken, but Gordon won’t be far behind.
Remember all that wide receiver depth in this year’s class? I talk about it just about every pick. And here it comes again: the Chargers need to add some young size to their receiving corps, and guess what? They can still get that later.
Part of me wants to see DGB team up with Philip Rivers for a bunch of deep jump balls. Most of me wants that actually. But it’s not about what I want, it’s about what San Diego wants and where the value is.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: D.J. Humphries, OT (Florida)
This is officially the point in my mock where things are going to start getting weird. Count the Vikings pick (#11) as the one where things get interesting and this pick as the one where I start predicting players who might not even go in the first round at all.
There is a big batch of offensive linemen that no one can seem to agree on (Humphries, T.J. Clemmings, Ereck Flowers, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher) waiting for the Chiefs. I’m not really sure what they’re looking for, but they have to know that there’s a good chance the whole pile is ready for them. KC will have a favorite here and I’m guessing it’s Humphries. Based on no information at all.
If the first 17 picks play out like they have here, I think there’s a really healthy chance that teams from the mid-20s are calling the Chiefs to jump up for Melvin Gordon. Arizona sounds right. Or Baltimore. Now that Gurley is gone, Gordon is the last of the elites backs, so his number is coming up soon.
If the Chiefs get gutsy, they can bank on one of the guys from that tier of OTs being there when they pick at 49 and take Marcus Peters before the cornerback run starts.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Cleveland) (from Buffalo): Melvin Gordon, RB (Wisconsin)
Like I said when they picked at 12, Jacksonville seems like the biggest winner of my mock draft. I don’t particularly like the Jaguars (who really has a strong opinion about the Jags?) but a Waynes/Gordon first round would certainly seem like a success. It kind of feels like I’m picking on the Browns a little to point out how they could get good players by not trading too much for a quarterback. Well, maybe I am.
It’s been trendy lately to not pick running backs in the first round, but look out, this year is going to bring it back! Part of me thinks that Gordon is going to be a more successful pro than Gurley, but I’m sure Jacksonville could screw him up.
Someone is going to have to run the ball to prevent Denard Robinson from breaking in half (it’s the only thing he can do) and Toby Gerhart isn’t the answer. Gordon can handle a lot of carries and should be a pretty nice upgrade to an offense that needs virtually everything.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Malcom Brown, DT (Texas)
I feel really sorry for whoever the Eagles actually pick here because I have a feeling ESPN has a big long segment about Marcus Mariota and how much the Eagles want him planned for this piece of airtime. We get it, Chip Kelly likes running quarterbacks, particularly the one from the team he coached at the collegiate level. But the cost of trading up to get him is really severe, He’s not the only coach who wants Mariota. Actually, I feel bad for this draft pick getting trampled by the Mariota rumors and … wait, just started my mock draft selection by doing just what I said shouldn’t happen.
The way I see things going, the Eagles are going to end up the their choice of early-second tier players at a ton of positions they need. DGB, Strong, Perriman, Smith, Agholor and Dorsett are all there if they want a receiver, Marcus Peters is there if they want to go corner and the could even pick Eddie Goldman if they want a different DT. As I’ve done throughout the draft, I’ll assume the selecting team picks from the shallowest position. There are a lot of good WRs and CBs left and really not that many good DTs. I’m not sure any of those good receivers of corners will be there when they pick again in the second round, but crazier things have happened.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Smith, WR (an Ohio State University)
I’m officially lost making this pick. I wanted it to be Eddie Goldman because I think he’s the best player left. I also wanted it to be Dorial Green-Beckham because I want all Missouri (ish) players to go as soon as possible. For this pick, I even cheated and texted my brother (an actual Bengals fan) for help. Without him, I would have gone OT (my default), but with his blessing, I’ll go WR. And a fast one.
There are plenty of similarly-graded WRs available at this point, the Bengals could go DBG or Beshad Perriman or Jaelen Strong, but they don’t. They go Smith. And he probably runs a fly route every play. Imagine how much AJ Green would love a field-stretcher like Smith. Maybe as much as Andy Dalton.
Wow there are a lot of good receivers left. Cornerbacks too. Speaking of that …
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB (Washington)
Have I really only drafted one cornerback this far? I guess I have. I’m ok with that. Waynes the best by a long way and then after that it gets a lot less consensus. For Pittsburgh, I’ll take a physical corner (in the mold of Ike Taylor) who has a lot of potential. It really seems weird to look at the Pittsburgh secondary depth right now. This is a team noted for their defense, particularly against the pass, and there’s really not a lot there.
Am I worried about the off-the-field problems if I’m the Steelers? Not really. Again, you win games with skills, not character.
And with Mike Tomlin on the sidelines, do we really think Peters can’t be controlled? He’s one of the most player-friendly coaches there is and I think it’s probably because he’s tough when he needs to be tough and fun when he needs to be fun. He’s the right type of coach for a guy with character concerns.
23. Detroit Lions: Eddie Goldman, DT (Florida State)
The wait is over I guess. Goldman has been the top-rated overall player which is weird to say because for the last few picks, I haven’t been 100% sure that any of my selections are locks to even go in the first round.
With a little bit of doubt starting to creep in regarding the post-Suh future of the Lions D-line, it makes sense to bring in a guy like Goldman, who played all of last season at DE and then all of this season at DT. You can put him anywhere on the line and get results. Most of the defensive line talent is hitting free agency after this season and nothing gives a team leverage like solid young talent. If Goldman pans out, they can build around him by resigning current players or picking up younger, cheaper talent next offseason.
I was tempted to go cornerback with this pick, but Goldman was just getting harder and harder to pass down the board.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Arik Armstead, DT (Oregon)
If one of the running backs is still here, this isn’t even a guess. But I think that’s highly unlikely. What is more likely? The Cardinals grabbing the best D-lineman left. Physically, Armstead is way taller than anyone else at the position and has a 34-inch vertical. Thirty-four inches! That’s better than Amari Cooper’s. He could be the Dikembe Mutombo of the defensive line.
I’d think there’s a decent chance the Cardinals are considering taking their choice of inside linebacker. Or any of the good remaining cornerbacks. There are pockets of positional runs just waiting to open up. The biggest, deepest one is at wide receiver.
Or, instead (since I’m doing the mocking here) we can go through a second run on offensive tackles.
25. Carolina Panthers: Jake Fisher, OT (Oregon)
Starting with Jake Fisher, the Usain Bolt of offensive tackles. It’s really important to keep that spectrum in mind. It makes sense that the fastest O-line 40 came from the one in charge of protecting uber-mobile Marcus Mariota. Guess what? The Panthers have a quarterback who runs a lot too!
At a certain point, it’s irresponsible to not mock more wide receivers in this draft. If the real picks go this way, teams from the bad teams start sending their second and third rounders to the good teams for a chance to draft DGB or Breshad Perriman or Jaelen Strong. Instead of bad teams getting more receivers, we’ll see the good teams getting better.
And how do they get better? The draft offensive line talent.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Breshad Perriman, WR (UCF)
If a running back were here, that might make sense, but instead, let’s get one of these receivers off the board. It’s a little bit of a tossup regarding the best one left, but I’ll give the Ravens Perriman, who is a pretty unreal combination of size and speed. He might not be able to catch the ball as well as the other two big names available (DGB and Strong), but who cares? Joe Flacco can throw the ball so hard you don’t even have to catch it. It’ll just stick in you.
There’s still plenty of cornerback talent left here too if the Ravens are feeling defensive (they should be). Or what a great time to trade down! It’s tough to predict trades down this late into a mock draft because I only control six more picks and six more teams, so a trade into the second round doesn’t mean much. If the Ravens wanted to make a trade back to the middle of the second round, they could probably hit the tail end of the upcoming WR and CB runs plus pick up another third or fourth rounder. Everybody wins.
Especially if Cleveland is that team (they’d trade 43 and 77 for 26) and we get to see them actually trade four of the top 77 picks for a Mariota-DGB connection that would be awesome in video games.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Byron Jones, CB (Connecticut)
Did you hear about this guy? He can jump really far. Like, world-record amount of jumping far, from a standstill. If he’s here and needs to be there but doesn’t have any room to run, he can make it as long as it’s less than 12 feet away.
But seriously, there are some super good corners left (Kevin Johnson and Jalen Collins come to mind (even though the triple-Collins projection would be pretty sweet)) and Dallas needs them. Their secondary overperformed last year and a good start to limiting the regression is to take a young corner with room to grow.
If all else fails, he can jump like a monster. Up. Out. Around. He can jump all of it. It’s impressive enough to sell tickets. Looking at just his drill numbers, it’s sort of astonishing that Jones isn’t going to be the top overall pick. He’s a superhuman at everything. Injury concerns are real, but get a load of this: NFL.com calls him “not a quick-twitch athlete.” That guy who just stood there and then a quick moment later had twitched his way 147 inches forward. He’s not a quick-twitch athlete. That guy who just broke a world record (not a combine record, a WORLD RECORD) in the standing broad jump. He’s not quick-twitch enough to make NFL.com’s list of athletes. Maybe next year.
28. Denver Broncos: T.J. Clemmings, OT (Pittsburgh)
It’s really hard to write anything special about the sixth offensive tackle in your mock draft. He’s big and strong. Big and strong like the first five guys, but maybe a little bit less so. This offense doesn’t need more firepower, it needs more protection. Insert Clemmings.
I thought about trying to just copy and paste a paragraph about one of the other OTs here to see if anyone would notice, but that’s stupid. I’ve run out of things to say about offensive tackles except that every team needs at least twice as many good ones as they think they do.
Most mock drafters want the Broncos to take a quarterback in one of these later rounds, which makes sense. A trade partner for the Broncos could move them out of the first round entirely and into the beginning of the next tier of OTs but that other pick might be Grayson in the third, which would be ideal.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Landon Collins, S (Alabama)
Hey look, a safety! The first and best one in this class (which is awfully weak at this position). In a mock draft, the player/need always fits. In this case, the Colts get the best player at a position of need at the very end of the first round. It’s a perfect fit, which is the problem with mock drafts, everyone is always a perfect fit.
In real life, the Colts (as well as the Packers and the Patriots) likely don’t care what position anyone plays, they’re just finding the players who have fallen too far. It might be a character concern like Shane Ray or Dorial Green-Beckham. It might be Ereck Flowers, the OT who belongs with the current tier of tackles coming off the board. It could be the other Collins (Jalen) or whoever, they’re just kind of playing draft center field and grabbing up whoever falls.
This is extremely difficult in a mock because everyone falls exactly as far as I think they should. If you’re going to assume the first 28 picks of this draft are correct, you might as well take that confidence into a gas station and buy some lottery tickets because your odds are way better at getting that right.
Having said all that, Collins would be good for Indy. They need a safety and he’s the best one.
30. Green Bay Packers: Kevin Johnson, CB (Wake Forest)
Two positions are appearing in this mock as getting underdrafted in the first round: wide receiver and cornerback. There’s a reason why though, they’re both pretty deep as far as guys who could go in the first two rounds and I’m predicting that teams will just wait until the second. It means that most of the best players at those positions will be good value picks at 30 for the Packers, so they grab a cornerback because the Packers don’t need another receiver at all.
Some people who know what they’re talking about project Johnson as the second best corner in this class. And he’s still there at 30! Go make it happen.
Before we move on, an interesting idea: What if one of the teams who needed a quarterback earlier and didn’t get one (Jets, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, even the Redskins) wants to jump the rest of them in the second round for a shot at Hundley or Petty? What if the Pack can turn this pick into a second and a fourth (or next year’s first) by moving by just a few spots backward. They might even be able to draft the same exact player at that pick, for cheaper, and get extra picks too!
It doesn’t have to be a quarterback, it could be a team chasing DGB or one of the linebackers. The end of the first round is great for teams trying to get in front of those hole-rich teams coming up at the beginning of the second.
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle): Phillip Dorsett, WR (Miami FL)
This is not the pick I want. This is the pick I think they will make. As I said earlier, the Saints need to make three of their first five picks on defense and what that really means is that both first rounders need to be defense and then one of the next three. They didn’t trade Jimmy Graham to make the offense smaller, they did it to make the defense better.
Sean Payton loves these speedy receivers and word has it that he’s super in love with Dorsett. And the idea of two burners (with last year’s first rounder Brandin Cooks) on the field at the same time is a little attractive. The idea of one of the league’s best passing team having unforgivable holes at linebacker and wasting first-round picks on receivers two years in a row is … the reason this team is still missing the playoffs.
In an ideal world, the Saints have their pick of linebacker here (even if they go OLB with the 13th pick). That means Eric Kendricks or Eli Harold or Paul Dawson or even Shaq Thompson. Two linebackers in the first round? That’s too many, right? Not in Rob Ryan’s system. Actually, not in any system that currently has no starting inside linebackers. Not when you only had one good linebacker to begin with (Lofton) and you cut him.
Anyone who tells you that the Saints need to draft Maxx Williams to be the new Jimmy Graham should be shot immediately. If you think that Drew Brees needs “targets” to be productive, you aren’t watching football. Besides, remember that commitment to the run game?
32. New England Patriots: Cameron Erving, ALL OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE (Florida State)
Erving might be the best player left. He probably isn’t. But he plays a ton of positions, which is something everyone knows the Patriots love. Originally, I had this pick as Shaq Thompson, the defensive version of Cameron Ervin, but changed it. Because the Patriots don’t need much and might value offensive line versatility more than defensive versatility.
Or, like the Packers did in an alternate universe, what if the Patriots trade out of the first round to a team trying to snag Flowers (or even Erving) before the Titans have a shot at him. Or someone gets antsy about a particular second-tier running back. The possibilities are endless.
That’s it for this year’s mock. Tune in tonight to see if I can beat last year’s crowd-sourced mock (4 correct picks).
For the record, here’s a final count of how many of each position were taken. It gets a little murky with the “edge rushers” and who I call a defensive end vs. a linebacker, but when it got tricky, I went with the official listings from NFL.com:
- Wide Receiver: 6
- Offensive Tackle: 5
- Defensive Tackle: 5
- Linebacker: 4
- Cornerback: 4
- Quarterback: 2
- Running Back: 2
- Defensive End: 1
- Guard: 1
- Center: 1
- Safety: 1
- Tight End: 0
- Special Teams: 0