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2015 NFL Draft: First-Round Mock Draft

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It's Draft Day, ladies and gentlemen! And with today being draft day, it marks the end of mock draft season. . .but don't worry, there will be 2016 Mock Drafts for your reading pleasure no later than Sunday afternoon, I'm sure.

Now, bless the folks whose job it is to make the mock drafts that we love (or loathe) so much. Personally, I have neither the time nor the inclination to do a mock every week. . .that's Mark's job, I think. But I didn't want to be completely left out so, in the style of Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, here is my one and only mock draft for the silly season leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft.

This is one of the more unpredictable drafts that I can think of in recent memory. After the first overall pick, nobody knows what's going to happen, and anybody that says they have a bead on anything that's going to go down is a liar. With that in mind, we're probably in for one of the more entertaining first rounds that we've seen in recent years

I'm not going to be projecting trades, so this entire thing will probably be worthless about half an hour into the proceedings. Despite that, here we go anyway.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - James Winston, QB, Florida State
This has been the pick since about mid-February, and there's no reason to think that it's going to change now. Lovie Smith and company are in the quarterback market, and with the top pick, they decided long ago that Winston was their guy. Is he? Well. . .let me just say I'm happy the Vikings don't have to draft a quarterback early this year. (Teddy RULZ!)
2. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Full disclosure. . .I think that Mariota is going to be the second player off the board. I do not think that the Titans will be making the pick (although they could go quarterback). I think someone trades up to this spot. Could be San Diego, could be Cleveland, could be a team we haven't even considered.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida
The Jaguars are really looking to upgrade their edge rushing presence, and there could be a run on them at some point before their second selection comes up, so they make a move to do that here. Fowler might be the most boom-or-bust prospect of the edge rushers, but I think that Gus Bradley and company could make this work for the Jags.
4. Oakland Raiders - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
The Raiders could go just about anywhere with this selection, so why not take the guy to continue helping them build the defense? Williams would team with last year's first round pick, Khalil Mack, to give the Raiders a very solid foundation on that side of the ball. Williams can play anywhere up front and be effective. Frankly, I think Williams is the best player in this draft class. The Raiders getting him at #4 would be a coup.
5. Washington Redskins - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
The Redskins are another team that could go in a lot of different directions, and could even be in the Mariota derby if they feel they want to move on from Robert Griffin III. But barring anything crazy, the Redskins could stand to upgrade on the offensive front, and in my opinion this pick is the most. . .Horatio Caine sunglasses. . .Scherff thing. Yeaaaaaaaah.
6. New York Jets - La'el Collins, OL, Louisiana State

If Mariota somehow falls here, the Jets will be running to the podium to make this pick. But, in this scenario, he doesn't, so the Jets make a move to upgrade the offensive line here. Collins could immediately slot in at right tackle and, eventually, take over for D'Brickshaw Ferguson on the left side. It's not a sexy pick, but it's one that the Jets should probably make.

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I'm aware of the situation that has recently arisen with Collins. Unfortunately, it came too late to make wholesale changes to this mock. Oops.

7. Chicago Bears - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
I said this when Shelton went to the Bears in our Community Mock Draft, but if the Bears are going to transition to a 3-4 under John Fox, they need someone to build around. Shelton is that piece as the prototypical 3-4 nose tackle. The transition is probably going to be a struggle for the Bears, but someone like Shelton gives them a good foundation to start from.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
The Falcons need to upgrade the pass rush, and Dupree is as good as anybody to do just that. He has a ton of athletic ability, and could immediately step in on the Atlanta defense and harass opposing quarterbacks, particularly on the fast track of the Georgia Dome (until the Falcons get their new place).
9. New York Giants - Vic Beasley, LB, Clemson
While they could use an offensive lineman, particularly on the interior, I don't think anyone in this scenario is worth #9 overall, so we have another team in the market for a pass rusher. The Giants used to be known for their pass rush, but that's tailed off over the past couple of seasons. Beasley would have an opportunity to change that for the better.
10. St. Louis Rams - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
One team that definitely does not need to draft defense this early is the Rams, who are loaded on the defensive front. This is another team that could move up for Marcus Mariota, but in the event that they don't, they need to give Nick Foles another target here. Cooper is the best wide receiver in this class and would add an interesting new dynamic to the Rams' offense.
11. Minnesota Vikings - Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
I understand that people are going to hate this pick, and that's fine. But there's a reason that he's projected to go at this spot. Frankly, I don't think the Vikings are going to be picking here, as I think a team in this scenario would be willing to move up for a receiver or another edge rusher. But, if this is the way the cards fall and the Vikings stay at #11, Waynes is the selection. He would slot in across from Xavier Rhodes and give the Vikings a pair of big, rangy corners that excel at man-to-man coverage, which is what Mike Zimmer is looking for.
12. Cleveland Browns - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Barring a move up for a quarterback, the Browns need to figure out what they're doing on offense. Josh Gordon seems determined to smoke and drink his way out of the league, and the rest of their receivers leave plenty to be desired. Enter Kevin White, who might have the best size/speed ratio of any receiver in this class. If he can translate his physical gifts to the NFL level, it would help (insert Browns quarterback here) significantly.
13. New Orleans Saints - Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
The Saints' secondary was a disaster last year, between injuries and ineffectiveness. We've been over all of the red flags that Peters has facing him ad nauseum but, you know, it's not like Sean Payton cares. Granted, if Peters has his head on straight, he's more than worthy of this pick, but there's a reason that teams are reportedly removing him from their draft boards completely.
14. Miami Dolphins - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Dolphins have done quite a bit to overhaul their wide receivers this offseason, with the signing of Greg Jennings and trading for Kenny Stills while trading away Mike Wallace. Still, they could stand to give Ryan Tannehill another big target, and Parker definitely fits the bill here. He can do everything you'd ask a wide receiver to do, and would be a great get for the Dolphins in this scenario.
15. San Francisco 49ers - Randy Gregory, LB, Nebraska
Speaking of teams in the middle of an overhaul, the Vikings' opening week opponents have lost a lot of players on the defensive side this offseason to retirement. They need to start rebuilding the front seven, and Gregory is the kind of player the Niners could stand to take a risk on. He's had his injury issues, as well as failing a drug test at the Scouting Combine, but could take some serious heat off of Aldon Smith and help a revamped Niners pass rush.
16. Houston Texans - Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
With long-time stalwart Andre Johnson moving on to Indianapolis this offseason, the Texans could use a new face to pair up with DeAndre Hopkins. Based on the numbers he put up at his Pro Day, someone is going to take Perriman much higher than he should probably go. In this scenario, the Texans are that team. They could go with an offensive lineman here, too, but we'll give them a receiver here.
17. San Diego Chargers - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Even with the running back position being devalued the way it has been, it seems strange for a player with Gurley's talent dropping this far. But with the loss of Ryan Mathews (for the five or six games a year he's actually healthy enough to play in), the Chargers could use an upgrade at the running back spot. If Gurley is back from his knee injury, this is an absolute steal for the Chargers, or any team that gets him after this point.
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Another player with a myriad of red flags, Green-Beckham is a freakish athlete. The Chiefs signed Jeremy Maclin to help their wide receiver corps this off-season, but a team like them is going to take the risk on Green-Beckham, who absolutely has the physical ability to be something special.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Having addressed the offense with the first of their two selections in Round One, the Browns turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball and their leaky run defense. Brown has played mainly defensive end in a 3-4 front at Texas, and could play that spot in the NFL or potentially move to the nose if Phil Taylor continues to struggle with injuries.
20. Philadelphia Eagles - Landon Collins, S, Alabama
I couldn't find an Oregon player to put in this spot, so we'll give Chip Kelly and company a player at a position they actually have a need at. The safety spot for the Eagles next to Malcolm Jenkins is a bit of a mess, and Collins could step in and fill the role immediately.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -  Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

The Bengals could use help at a couple of different spots. Phillips is a guy that could step into the Bengals' defensive line rotation right away, and eventually end up as the replacement for Domata Peko. Phillips is a big guy, tipping the scales at nearly 330 pounds, and he has first-round talent, though his injury issues may be enough to scare some teams away.

DISCLAIMER: I had Shane Ray in this spot before he decided to do something really stupid during the biggest week of his life.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
The biggest issue the Steelers face going into next season is the secondary, but the value doesn't match up here, in my opinion. Goldman would help them to solidify a front seven that had plenty of issues of their own last season.
23. Detroit Lions - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
It seems like the Lions have been looking for offensive linemen forever, and that appears to be their biggest need again. They seem to be happy with Riley Reiff at one tackle spot, but there are issues on the other side. Peat would immediately fix that by plugging into the right tackle spot to help protect Matthew Stafford.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
For Vikings fans, this is where the "Adrian Peterson watch" probably starts in earnest. But, if the Cardinals don't make a move here for Peterson, they could stay where they are and grab Gordon. He would make a fine complement to Andre Ellington and give the Cardinals something to hope for in the event they should ever have to start Ryan Lindley in a playoff game again.
25. Carolina Panthers - Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)
Another team that seems to have perpetual offensive line issues, the Panthers take another swing at the position here. Flowers isn't the most polished prospect on the offensive line in this draft, but he plays with an edge, and could find himself anchoring the unit (along with Ryan Kalil) sooner rather than later.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
The Ravens need someone to line up across from Jimmy Smith in the secondary, and of the remaining cornerbacks, Johnson seems to have the fewest issues. While he needs to add some weight, he has the height and the speed to make an impact right away.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
And this is where we, potentially, hit peak "Adrian Peterson watch," particularly if both Gurley and Gordon are off the board at this point. Failing that, though, the Cowboys need to continue to shore up the defensive side of the ball. Armstead has all the physical gifts to be an impact player, if the Cowboys coaches can get him to give max effort all the time.
28. Denver Broncos - Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
With the loss of Julius Thomas, the Broncos need someone to work the underneath stuff for Peyton Manning. Enter the best tight end in this year's draft, who might not know what to do with accurate passes after what he dealt with in the Gophers' offense over the past few years. But I'm sure he'll figure it out.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
The Colts need plenty of help on defense, and Thompson has the ability to do just that. Whether the Colts wanted to play him at linebacker or at safety (where he might project best), Thompson could step in and make an immediate impact. The Colts need help at running back, too. . .if they wanted to get crazy, Thompson could probably help them there, too.
30. Green Bay Packers - Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
The Packers spent a good chunk of last season playing Clay Matthews at inside linebacker. They probably don't want to do that again, and this pick gives them the luxury to not have to. Kendricks is the best inside linebacker in this class, and it really would help the Packers' greatest position of need.
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle Seahawks) - Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
The Saints traded away Kenny Stills this offseason, and Marques Colston isn't getting any younger, so they need someone that can work with Brandin Cooks. Strong has outstanding ball skills and would immediately give the Saints a field-stretching threat.
32. New England Patriots - Jalen Collins, CB, Louisiana State
Man, what do you get for the team that has everything? Well, for a team that lost Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, you should probably get them a cornerback. Yes, I've seen the reports of Collins failing "multiple" drug tests in college that have come out recently, but of one team has the caché to take a shot on a player like that, it's Bill Belichick and company.

Well, there it is. . .my one and only mock draft for this season. I'm guessing that, like just about every other mock, it isn't going to be terribly close, but at least I managed to get one out there.