The season hasn't even started yet and we are already thinking about 2015 .This is the most Houdini-like prognisticative effort in the world. Predicting not only a draft but a draft order a year away.My guess right now is it's a Saint vs Broncos Superbowl . We also predict Oakland, Carolina, Jacksonville, and Tennessee will be in the hunt for the #1 pick.
1.OAK-MARCUS MARIOTA-QB-OREGON-My guess is GM Reggie McKenzie gets fired despite an excellent draft. They spent too much money and overpaid for too many way past their prime players. They probably should give Derek Carr at least 1 more year at QB to see if he's the guy , but new GM's and coaches are famous for wanting their own guy. So I'm gonna say they trade Carr unless he lights it up late in the season, and take the best QB in the draft. Right now I think that's Mariota. .He is an elite athlete for the position, but his spread/shotgun offense delays his pro skill set from developing quicker.
2.JAX-RANDY GREGORY-DE/OLB-NEBRASKA-While they drafted pretty well for the long term this year , their choices didn't exactly scream win now. A project QB in the first round and a injured CB in the 4th makes this season ,less likely to end well. With those 2 red-shirting ,and the underwhelming Chad Henne manning the ship for at least half the season, this year looks like a lost cause already.already. Gregory is a long armed athlete who would have been a first rounder in 2014's deep draft based on talent alone. The extra year to improve his pass rush moves could make him an elite player.
3.TENN-BRETT HUNDLEY-QB-UCLA-Despite his obvious talent Zach Mettenburgers knee/back an inability to avoid off the field troubles made him free fall to the 6th round. With so little an investment in him a new top QB can easily come in to replace Jake Locker if he fails again. While Hundley is very talented he doesn't have the upside of some of these other QB's. He does however have the personality and accountability makeup of a guy you want to lead your franchise. Ken Whisenhunt is more likely to take a guy like Hundley than a more talented but troubled Jameis Winston. I think the extra year in school will really help him improve his deep accuracy and speed up his clock reading defenses.This team has almost everything and good QB play should make them a contender quickly.
4.CAR-CEDRICK OGBUEHI-OT-TEXAS A&M-Jordan Gross retiring seems to have caught the Panthers by surprise, and they didn't do much to remedy it in the draft. Their plan to move Byron Bell to the left side smacks of desperation to me. Even a physical specimen like Newton can only take so many hits and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets hurt. At least they made a concerted effort to get him a better(and more reliable and supportive) receiving core. Cedrick is an elite athlete for an O-lineman in the Tyron Smith mold who looks more like a big TE than anything else.
5.PITT-LEONARD WILLIAMS-DT/DE-USC-Williams is the perfect 3-4 end. Tall. long arms, strong, quick. You name it he's got it. He can rush the passer well enough to be a 3 technique when they go to nickle, play as 4-3 base end, or hold the point as 5 technique and still give you a pass rush. I would say he is one the most gifted players overall eligible for the 2015 draft.
7.ATL-DANTE FOWLER-DE/OLB-FLORIDA-Despite it being the second largest need on their team the Falcons waited until the 4th round to draft an edge rusher. A guy with his talent and motor is a safe bet to make a big jump in production this year. With just a little tweaking and improvement in technique he could blow up this season.
8.MIA-JAMEIS WINSTON-QB-FSU-I think Ryan Tannehill can still be a franchise QB but I think he goes when Philbin gets fired and the new guy wants his own QB. If Winston can stay out of trouble he can be a great pro QB. If they don'y go offensive QB a defensive QB like Ramik Wilson is a possibility. If he was clean off the field and sped up his delivery some I believe Winston would be the slam dunk #1 overall pick.
9.KC- SEAN MANNION-QB-ORE.ST- I doubt The Chiefs front office began last off season by saying " Hey, why don't we lose our 3 best O-Lineman in free agency and then just up and cut our 28 year old former pro bowl corner back after OTA's! ". That's what happened though. Flowers didn't have his best season, but he finished strong. When they were seeking to trade him before the draft we knew something was up. Anyway I think there is more we don't know about this. It can't be just his height, although I guess saving 5 million off the cap helps plenty when you feel a guy no longer fits your scheme. I feel that a tough schedule and all these changes mean a down season for the Chiefs and a possibly an even bigger change because of it. Either Alex Smith takes less money or Andy Reid will replace him. Undersized & smart 5th rounder Aaron Murray looks more like a great long term backup to me, but in this west coast offense he does have a chance to succeed. Although Mannion plays in a pro style offense and has the NFL arm and body type Reid would prefer for the ,long haul.
10.WASH-VICTOR BEASLEY-OLB/DE-CLEMSON-If Brian Orapko can stay healthy all year the skins probably pay him , but I doubt he does. Beasley was a likely first round pick this year who returned to school. His best fit is a 3-4 OLB even if he puts on another 20 pounds this year as ;long as he still has that elite first step and get off. If RG3 returns to form this offense is dangerous, but I'll believe in this defense only after I see them produce.
11.DALL-MARIO EDWARDS-DE-FLA.ST-Even if Demarcus Lawrence works out at one end spot the front four pass rush is the key to this defense, and Dallas seems to be counting on depth instead of proven high end talent to get to the QB this season. Aging/injured Anthony Spencer probably can't be counted on long term, and Henry Melton is also coming off a torn ACL. Edwards was the only player I saw give #2 overall pick Greg Robinson trouble in the run game this year. He is a physical specimen who's prodigious strength could make him very versatile., but he needs to be on the field for more snaps and show a larger variety of pass rush moves. .He has the talent and frame to play inside or outside.This team can go 5-11 or 11-5 depending on Romo's(back disc surgery!) health alone.. Romo's over/under is 10 games to me ,and I'm betting the under right now. If Brandon Weedens the replacement QB(thanks to Orton's no-show this off-season) I expect a lot of losses.Losing Sean :Lee for the year doesn't help either.That means that the 3 best players on last years BAD defense are no longer on the field for Dallas. Even without Lee if Romo is healthy for 16 games I think they win the division this year, but I just doubt his body can hold up for the whole season.
12.TB-CAMERON ERVING-OT-FLA.ST--Maybe Anthony Collins will surprise me and be a franchise left tackle, but I doubt it.Erving can cruise on down from Florida state and man the blindside for a decade or so. It might take awhile for Lovie Smith to get the players he needs to run the Tampa 2 properly, but finding out if Mike Glennon is the long term answer would be the best thing for the long term health of the franchise.
13.CLEV-(buff)-AMARI COOPER-WR-ALA-Even if Josh Gordon comes back his actions have shown that smoking weed is more important to him than football. Anything he gives me would just be a bonus. Personally I think they should draft 2 receivers in the first 3 rounds just to be safe.Miles Austin is a hamstring pull away from the sideline and Andrew Hawkins is an undersized slot guy. Maybe they will play Justin Gilbert on offense this season.
14,.DET-IFO EKPRE OLUMNU-CB-OREGON-The Lions have finally admitted the Chris Houston big money contract was a moistake and moved on another corner is needed.The lions keep drafting corners in the 2nd round and later. This time they make sure and get an elite talent by drafting one first. If is a fierce guy with elite coverage skills who plays a lot bigger than he is.
15.HOU-BRANDON SCHERFF-OT-IOWA- Tom Savage? meh. Ryan Fitzpatrick? Nope. Coach O'brien decides to go with a known commodity by signing free agent Ryan Mallet. However Mallett is a statue in the pocket. Maybe watching Brady move around in it has helped him some, but he will never be elusive or mobile.. The weakest link on the Texans on O-line right now is right tackle, and the mauling Scherff can help fix that.
16.SD-PJ WILLIAMS-CB-FLA-ST--After drafting Jason Verret in 2014 the chargers now have a chance to have 2 really good players (Eric Weddle is the other) in the secondary. Even if somebody else steps up here at least one more corner is needed in today's pass happy NFL.Adding Williams to Weddle, Verret, and a improving Marcus Gilchrist can make what was once a weakness into a strength.
16.NYJ-TODD GURLEY-RB-GEORGIA-Remember when the ground and pound jets were making the AFC championship despite a crappy QB? A bruising running game was the key just as much as the defense. Gurley reminded me of Eric Dickerson pre-knee-injury. If he is %100 this year , and returns completely to form, look out!
17.CLEV-TRE JACKSON-G-FLA.ST-Keep bolstering that interior line so Manziel has a pocket to step up into. Jackson is the mean , mauling , ruin blocker this O-line lacks. In fact newly drafted Joel Bittonio probably plays with more of an edge than any player the browns previously had on the O-line, Throwing a big nasty guy like Jackson into the mix could help change the demeanor of the offense.
18.CHI-CODY PREWITT-S-O.MISS--Potentially the Bears and the Cowboys both desperately needed safeties this year. Both teams had their pick of the litter and both teams passed. Other(some might might say smarter) teams snatched up all 4 universally high rated safeties in the 1rst round. They did draft the versatile Kyle Fuller with their 1rst pick, and he is big, smart, and physical enough to play safety if necessary. Although that's not Fullers best position and Peanut Tillman is 33 and coming off a serious injury. They also drafted Brock Vereen in round 4, but even if he works out thats just one safety spot filled. Prewitt led the SEC ion picks last year and the bears secondary prides themselves on taking away the ball.
20.MINN-RAMIK WILSON-ILB-GEORGIA-A 3 down middle linebacker with a high football IQ is the missing component to this defense. Wilson is an elite athlete with sideline-to-sideline speed. The football IQ is good but not elite yet. If he can improve in this area and continue to improve in coverage he should be the top MLB in this draft.
21.AZ-MELVIN GORDON-RB-WISCONSIN-A every down back that can take a full load of carries that I doubt Andre Ellington can. Gordon can take it the house and is a surprisingly physical runner for his build. His ridiculous yards per carry last season when everyone knew he was getting the ball shows just how good he is.He hasn't shown much as a receiver or in pass pro yet, but I imagine he could do some serious damage if he caught the ball in an open space,
22.BALT-DEVONTE FIELDS-DE/OLB-TCU-Edge rusher is still the one position the Ravens haven't drafted well in recent years. Fields burst onto the scene as a disruptive freshman in 2012 and looked like a future star. After a injury ruined 2013 we expect him to return to form this year and be a force off the edge for the horn frogs.
23.PHIL-SHAWN OAKMAN-DE/DT-BAYLOR-Chip Kelly likes tall guys with long arms on defense. That is Oakman to a tee. Think somewhere between Calais Campbell/Michael Johnson and you are on the the right track.He has the perfect frame for a NFL 5 technique.
24.STL-NELSON AGHOLOR-WR-USC- In back to back years the rams have used 2 high picks on receivers. A 2nd and 4th in 2012 and a 1rst and a third in 2013. While all are still young none of them look like a #1 receiver to me , although Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey do look like long term contributors .In 2013 they just ignored the position in the draft. Here is to hoping Nelson is the guy.
25.NE-DEVIN FUNCHESS-TE-MICHIGAN-The entire offense the Patriots want to run is predicated on 2 tight end sets . Right now even if Gronk is completely healthy for the season he is called on to block a lot , because he is far better than any other blocking TE the pats have. They shocked us all and didn't draft any in 2013. Doubt that happens this time around.
26.INDY-ANDRUS PEAT-OT-STANFOIRD-I have never thought Anthony Costanzo was meant to be a left tackle. After all the hits he took last year I bet Andrew Luck agrees,.The interior O-line is a bigger worry right now, but I wouldn't pay Costanzo left tackle money on a long term deal unless he improves a lot this season. Peat is the most talented of all the vaunted Stanford lineman to come along since the Harbaugh power offense was installed.
27.GB-HRONISS GRASU-C-OREGON-Maybe Corey Linsley works out but he seems more like a smart interior line backup to me..Grasu is an elite talent that moves like a tight end on the inside but has the frame to fill out more and add strength.
28.SEA-JARVIS HARRISON-G-TEXAS A&M-They over-drafted Justin Britt this year but did little else to help the O-line. Even if he works out well Russell Wilson better keep his cardio up. Harrison has been an overlooked stud on the interior of a O-Line that keeps producing top NFL offensive tackles.
29.CINC-JAELEN STRONG WR-AZ.ST-- The Bengals need a wide receiver who can draw double teams away from AJ Green ,l and who has the ability to win jump balls on the outside . Strong has a similiar build to AJ Green but plays with a little more physicality.
30.49ers-ERIC STRIKER-OLB/DE-OKLAHOMA-Aldon Smith is not someone I would want to count on long term after his litany of off the field problems has come to light. . After watching Striker against Alabama in their bowl game last year I am betting rushing the passer will be more of a full time job this season.Striker's speed of the edge is elite and if he can bulk up a bit and keep that burst he could be a great NFL pass rusher.
31.DENV-DENZEL PERYMAN-LB-MIA-Lamin Barrow may play alright as an outside LB but I think he currently lacks the football IQ and instincts to succeed inside, Wilson has the talent and football IQ to QB their defense.He is a stout guy with a penchant for big plays but this season he needs to be more consistent down by down to make the jump into the 1rst round.
32.NO-LA'EL COLLINS-T/G-LSU- The departure of often injured 1rst round bust Charles Brown after he finally stayed pretty healthy is a blessing in disguise. He didn't play that well anyway and he probably would have just gotten hurt if they paid him anyway.This gives ultra talented .small school stud Terron Armstead a shot to be the guy. to man Drew Bree's blindside. Collins is a very talented local boy who could backup both tackle and guard positions until a spot opens up. At this point on the draft best player available is a key phrase. He can play left tackle if Armstead can't do it,, fill in for the injured , or take over for one of the stud guards if one of their contracts becomes a burden.