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I feel a Draft coming on tonight
Locally, there are plenty of postseason Gamecock sports happening these days in the county and for our student-athletes playing in other cities.
On a national level, some rather sizable sporting events are on the radar too. On Saturday, the Kentucky Derby and prize fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are pretty big. The Atlanta Hawks will be on the court against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs Friday. Yep. Kinda important.
But when it comes to important, it is hard to trump football. The 2015 NFL Draft starts tonight at 8 with the first round. The second and third rounds are Friday and the fourth through seventh rounds are Saturday.
This year the draft will be in Chicago, not New York City, and the potential top two selections are not scheduled to be in attendance at the Auditorium Theatre.
Keeping with my own tradition, I provide you with a well-researched, thorough rundown of how the first round of the draft will play out this April 30 evening. Although this mock draft does not alter the actual order of the teams drafting, do not be surprised to have up to four trades in round one alone. Also note the multiple players’ arrests for marijuana.
Enjoy this draft composite and enjoy sports – no matter which ones they are or who is playing them.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State)
During his college days in Tallahassee, Winston made some mistakes off the field, but the Seminole was a total technician on the gridiron. Winston becomes the face of the Buccaneers.
2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon).
First things first, I am not sold on Mariota going this high in the draft and I do not believe the Titans are sold on him going at No. 2 either. With that typed, there are at least five teams who could trade up with Tennessee to select the Oregon signal caller. If none of those teams can work out a pick swap, the Titans may send in their card for big Mr. Leonard Williams.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr. (DE, Florida)
Speaking of Williams, it would seem right that the Jaguars choose the Southern California product here as Jacksonville focuses on defense, but with the Jaguars’ plans to make themselves into “Seattle East” they take Fowler to play the “Leo” position as a lineman/linebacker hybrid. WR Amari Cooper here wouldn’t surprise me either.
4. Oakland Raiders: Leonard Williams (DE, USC)
One of the top two wide receivers certainly has a case to be the name announced tonight at the No. 4 spot to help out QB Derek Carr. However, with a sure thing in Williams still on the board the decision becomes rather obvious.
5. Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley (OLB, Clemson)
Brian Orakpo is now in Tennessee so the Redskins have a chance to fill that void in the first round. Scouts saw Von Miller-caliber play from Beasley during his collegiate days.
6. New York Jets: Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
The best receiver in this draft. Cooper has the best hands and runs the best routes. Oh yeah, his former college football coach, who knows plenty about winning, said Cooper works as hard as anyone he has ever had. That’s good enough for me. Who is going to throw the ball to Cooper? Well …
7. Chicago Bears: Kevin White (WR, West Virginia)
With Brandon Marshall gone via a trade, Jay Cutler needs someone to catch the pigskin. If Williams had fallen to pick No. 7, he would be the choice and nose tackle Danny Shelton is too early here.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Bud Dupree (OLB, Kentucky)
OK. You can probably hear the rumblings. No, not the extra noise piped into the Georgia Dome. It’s the clamoring for UGA’s Todd Gurley. Atlanta fans, please remember that the Falcons defense is non-existent. This Bud’s for you.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa)
Scherff can play guard or tackle in the NFL and he can be a Pro Bowler at either position. Figure him to play guard with the Giants. At least one offensive lineman has been drafted in the top-10 since 2006.
10. St. Louis Rams: DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville)
Parker would be the top wide receiver on the Rams roster, if of course, Nick Foles can get him the ball. Offensive lineman also would be a valid option, but St. Louis cannot lock into one they truly adore.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State)
The Vikings still have a need at defensive back and drafting the top corner on their board definitely would aid in that dilemma. The signing of Terrance Newman does help with depth, but the Vikings need more.
12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton (NT, Washington)
This is the first of two first-round selections for Cleveland as long as the Browns have not already traded those picks to Tennessee for the right to draft Mariota. Let the questions about whether the Browns have given up on Johnny Manziel begin, er, continue.
13. New Orleans Saints: La’el Collins (OT, LSU)
With the safe pick edge rushers and Shelton gone, Saints go offensive line with a “hometown” selection.
14. Miami Dolphins: Breshad Perriman (WR, Central Florida)
Since the combine and his pro day, Perriman has shot up teams’ draft boards. He has an NFL body with excellent height/weight/speed combination at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.3 seconds. That’s elite status.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead (DT/DE, Oregon)
Let’s get this intangible out of the way first – Armstead is 6-foot-7 and he weighs 292 pounds. If you are an opposing quarterback, consider trying to pass over a lineman who reaches skyward to make himself 10 foot. The 49ers have personnel issues on the DL. This guy can ease the anguish.
16. Houston Texans: Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona State)
Strong ran a 4.44 forty-yard dash at the combine at 6-foot-2 and 217 pounds. A very confident man, Strong had 82 receptions for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Sun Devils in 2014.
17. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia)
I can remember when NFL teams would never select a running back in the first round. By the way, that was last year. The RB position had become virtually obsolete. Well, Gurley isn’t just a quality running back. He is a game-changer. If he had not gotten injured, Gurley would have been a legitimate top-10 pick and there’s a strong chance a team like the Jets, Falcons, Dolphins or Texans use up their time on the clock to ponder that very option.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford)
Peat is arguably the top offensive tackle in this draft class. Some scouts are not as high on Peat, but he should offer more stability to the Chiefs’ offensive line.
19. Cleveland Browns: Cameron Erving (C/OG, Florida State)
The Browns addressed their defensive line with their pick at No. 12 and with this selection they add depth on the offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz and Alex Mack are likely playing their final season in Cleveland this year.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Landon Collins (SS, Alabama)
The Alabama safety – the draft’s best at that position – is the choice. With Nate Allen departing in free agency, there’s a need Collins could fill immediately.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jake Fisher (OT, Oregon)
At the beginning of this week, I had the Bengals taking Missouri DE Shane Ray, a special talent who has scrutiny surrounding his foot injury that led to him dropping to this point. Then on Monday morning Ray is arrested for marijuana possession, causing a further drop. Cincinnati really likes Fisher, but he needs to refine is skills.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters (CB, Washington)
For his ability, Peters probably is the best cornerback in this draft, but his off-the-field and on the sidelines problems pushes him this deep into round one. Peters was kicked off the Huskies’ roster after he had a difference of opinion with the Washington coaching staff.
23. Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown (DT, Texas)
Ndamukong Suh is now with Miami. Haloti Ngata arrives, but is not the talent level of Suh, but few are. However, the thought of having Brown next to Ngata does get a foe antsy. Ngata is a physical presence and Brown is an aggressive force inside.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin)
And here we have the selection of the second high school player from Kenosha, Wis. Gordon and Trae Waynes played on the same prep squad and are best friends. Big town-wide party in Kenosha in 3 … 2 …1. And yes, this is two running backs selected in the first round.
25. Carolina Panthers: Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami)
The Panthers need help on the offensive line and at 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds Flowers’ size and aggression would be valued assets in pass protection and run game. He played both right and left tackle in college.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami)
Dorsett makes the sixth wide receiver taken on the first day of the draft. He has electrifying speed that was on display at his pro day when he ran a blistering 4.25 in the 40. Torrey Smith signed with the 49ers during the offseason.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest)
With this pick, the Cowboys would be selecting possibly the second best cornerback and best player available at a position of need at this point in the draft.
28. Denver Broncos: D.J. Humphries (OT, Florida)
Although Humphries’ feet and lower body are first-round quality, he needs to improve his technique. The Broncos have a history of having offensive lines that keep their QB upright and that will be imperative with Peyton Manning at the helm.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Eddie Goldman (DT, Florida State)
Goldman is the prototypical nose tackle and would be a solid fit for the Colts 3-4 defense that currently lacks talent at nose tackle.
30. Green Bay Packers: Stephone Anthony (ILB, Clemson)
At the combine, the 6-foot-3, 243-pounder ran 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash, better than 23 running backs. He led the Tigers in tackles with five quarterback hits and one interception.
31. New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory (DE/OLB, Nebraska)
Gregory showed up at the NFL combine quite light at 235 pounds to be a pass rushing specialist at the pro level. He could add more weight, but it was he tested positive for marijuana that sent his draft status spiraling from a possible top-10 selection.
32. New England Patriots: Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
Seeing Ray at this point in the draft seemed incredibly unlikely, but here he is. Do not be surprised if the Patriots trade out of this pick with a team who wants to get a certain player like Ray before Day Two of the draft. Byron Jones (CB from Connecticut) definitely also is an option at this spot for the Patriots with Darrelle Revis now with the New York Jets.
Enoch Autry is the managing editor for the Sylvania Telephone. He is a certified draftnik. He has the documentation to prove it.