At this point in the draft season, we’re starting to see a lot of familiar names in the first round. The same two quarterbacks. The same handful of offensive tackles and pass rushers. The same three or four cornerbacks or defensive tackles populate mock drafts around the Internet.
Update: Check out our NFL Draft 2015 preview.
This week's mock draft breaks down each player in the first round with a small scouting report. Some changes have been made since last week's mock draft to reflect the second wave of free agency. Notable changes this week include Chicago, Baltimore and Dallas, teams that could be targeting offensive skill players in the first round.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Scouting report: From a physical standpoint, Winston is exactly what you want in a quarterback. He possesses a strong arm, moves around well and is a big player who won't be easy to take down. Winston shows good toughness in the pocket and will go through his progressions when there is traffic surrounding him. Especially when he was working with receiver Rashad Greene, Winston showed good timing to release the ball before the receiver was out of his break. Can complete passes to all areas of the field with ease. Puts good touch on his short and intermediate throws and doesn’t put too much air on deep passes. On-field intelligence is without question. Off the field, teams will have to determine if he’s just immature or if the character issues are legit. Winston would sometimes put the ball in a bad spot relying on his ability and throw an interception. Winston’s biggest flaw is recognizing underneath coverage. They’ll sometimes move in front of his target to break up or intercept the pass. Will need to be cognizant of his release. Sometimes gets long in his delivery, but he attributed that to playing baseball. Had a tighter delivery in 2014.
2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Scouting report: Williams is the best player in the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s a brute up front and stout against the run. He gets out of his stance in a hurry and manages to stay low despite being nearly 6'5. Gets a good initial hit on a lineman to jolt them backward. Plays with good footwork and balance and is rarely put on the ground. Williams excelled in a variety of roles at USC, from playing five technique in a three-man front to a three technique in a four-man front. He can hold up outside because of his first step and surprising closing speed. Needs to continue refining his technique. Will play out of a four-point stance more frequently than most tackles. Will need to develop more counter moves going forward. Had some injury issues in college, including a torn labrum in 2013. Was slowed some in 2014 with a sprained ankle.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
Scouting report: Fowler could be the first pass rusher taken in the draft because he’s such a complete player. He has the athleticism to work as a linebacker and the strength to stay as an end. At Florida, Fowler was used in a variety of ways and was successful. He was even effective when lined up as a nose tackle. Uses a number of pass rush moves. Fowler has the classic speed and dip around edge, but also has an impressive rip move and he utilizes a spin move. His first step is just good enough and will get masked thanks to his strength and hand technique. Fowler doesn’t take wasted steps and that’s a boost to his instincts and recognition. Playing the run, Fowler has the power to shed blocks and the range to cover a lot of ground.
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4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Scouting report: Other than hands, arguably the most important trait for a wide receiver is how he runs routes and gets open. Cooper’s ability in those areas is what makes him the best wide receiver in the draft. Cooper has a good release off the line of scrimmage and knows how to set up defensive backs to get himself open on a variety of routes. Is a good technician with his route running as well. He’s consistent with his routes too. He seems to understand a full route tree. Cooper has good hands, but he doesn’t always see the ball into his hands. Needs to get better at consistently high-pointing the football. Doesn’t have elite size or speed, but he’s very good across the board.
5. Washington: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
Scouting report: Although Gregory was a defensive end at Nebraska, his best position in the NFL will be at outside linebacker. There, he’ll be able to take advantage of his ability to move around in space and his long arms to keep blockers out his frame. Rushing the passer, Gregory uses a good initial burst and has the agility and athleticism to slip around the corner. Even though he needs to get stronger, Gregory does display an effective bull rush. Gregory can close on the ball carrier in a violent hurry at times and does a nice job of breaking down in space to make the tackle. As a run defender, Gregory will get manhandled at times, which is a concern.
6. New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Scouting report: Lets put the impressive athletic traits aside for a moment. It can cloud your judgement of Mariota. As a passer, he excels when he can attack down the field. While he may not have a cannon of an arm, Mariota is as accurate of a downfield passer as there is in this year’s draft. Does he have the advantage of being in a system that leads to open targets? Yes. Should that be held against him? No. In 2014, Mariota looked much better throwing the ball into tight spots and putting his receivers in places where they can generate good yards after the catch. Mariota is a special project when you add the athletic ability onto those passing skills. In this year’s draft, Mariota is without peer athletically compared to other quarterbacks. He gets up to top gear in a hurry and can outrun defenders in the open field. He’s smart about it, too. He’ll slide or get out of bounds most times instead of taking a hit. In the NFL, Mariota will have to get comfortable taking more snaps from under center. He’ll also have to read defenses better. Oregon’s system often allowed him to make a single read. Considering how well Mariota keeps his eyes down field, there is reason to believe he can make that adjustment. The biggest knock on Mariota is his ball handling. He’s been prone to fumbles and it’s critical he fixes this flaw.
7. Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Scouting report: From purely a physical standpoint, White is an impressive and intimidating wide receiver. He’s a tall receiver and knows how to use his height to his advantage. He’s especially dangerous because he’s one of the fastest wide receivers in the draft this year. White may have only had one good season at West Virginia after transferring from a junior college, but he had 109 catches and 1,447 yards in 2014. Last season White showed off excellent hands and does a good job of reaching for the ball instead of letting it into his frame. White has a lot of value as a red zone threat. He times his jumps really well in the end zone and can bring down passes in difficult situations. Said at the NFL Scouting Combine that his blocking separates him from other receivers, and he’s right. Can push around corners and open up space wide in the running game. Needs to continue improving his route running technique.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
Scouting report: No defensive player in this year’s draft has first move quickness as good as Beasley. In fact, he might have the most impressive first move since Von Miller in 2011. Beasley combines that first step with some very good hands that allow him to shed blockers. He uses those things to make up for some strength issues. Beasley gets by thanks to his speed and a variety of pass rush moves, including a crafty inside move. But moving forward he needs to add more functional playing strength. That’s why it was so critical for him to weigh in at 246 pounds at the combine, after playing around 220 pounds as a senior.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Scouting report: Although Scherff may not have the elite foot quickness some like in an offensive tackle, he’s very good in every other area. He’s arguably the most powerful blocker in this year’s draft and has unbelievable upper body power. He likes to use it to push defensive players around. Because of that, his footwork can be inconsistent. That’s what gets Scherff in trouble. Speed rushers can give him trouble and Scherff will sometimes try and overcompensate for his footwork and get beaten on inside counter moves. But Scherff plays with a real toughness, especially as a run blocker. He’s surprisingly proficient blocking on the second level and will put defensive players into the ground.
10. St. Louis Rams: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Scouting report: Collins is a crusher of human beings. He moved from guard to tackle for LSU and excelled. His biggest asset is his run blocking. He can get his hands on a defender and drive them wherever he wants. He plays with a mean streak and is at his best when he can be physical while finishing off blocks. In pass protection he can handle himself fine against power rushers and is quick into his set. Collins’ issue is his handwork. He needs to get his hands up faster and positioned properly on the opponent.
11. Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Scouting report: Despite missing seven games last season following foot surgery in the summer, Parker still had 855 yards and five touchdowns on 43 receptions. Parker does all the crafty little things well. He uses his frame to get open and knows when he can push off a cornerback without getting called for a penalty. Parker routinely comes back to the ball when a play breaks down and gives the quarterback an opportunity. Does a nice job of finding an open spot against zone coverage. Is willing to go over the middle and is an asset on short drag routes. Really excels getting yards after the catch because he’s fast enough and hard to tackle. Goes up and gets the ball. Doesn’t have elite hands or playing speed, but that’s not necessarily a knock. Needs to improve considerably as a blocker in the run game.
12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Scouting report: For teams looking for a mammoth of a pure 3-4 nose tackle, Shelton is their guy. He has a lot of power up front and can handle double teams. Despite his size and girth, Shelton is light on his feet and has good stamina. He played in something like 90 percent of Washington’s defensive snaps last season and was effective. He finished last season with 93 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks, incredible numbers for an interior player. Shelton shows good closing speed in the short area. Has enough athleticism to be used as a five-technique in a three-man front. But it’s Shelton’s play against the run why he’s so highly regarded. He is stout on the line and hard to move off his point. He can hold his area against multiple blockers and in one-on-one plays he can collapse the pocket.
13. New Orleans Saints: Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
Scouting report: There is a term used for pass rushers: "converting speed to power." That’s what Dupree does well. He has a good first step, but it’s his ability to use his speed functionally that scores him high points in the scouting community. Dupree can be aggressive in his pursuit, so a play doesn’t necessarily have to be moving in his direction for him to make an impact. While he’s a little mechanical in his movements, he does have solid experience dropping back into coverage. He’ll probably never be a linebacker you want in man coverage, but he’s comfortable with it.
14. Miami Dolphins: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Scouting report: Waynes is coming out of a system at Michigan State that is becoming quite known for producing corners who excel in press man coverage. Waynes is no different. He’s at his best when he can jolt a receiver at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing on a route. Running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Waynes quieted questions about his straight line speed. He may be less than 190 pounds, but Waynes is strong enough to be physical with receivers and is a solid tackler. He’s a little linear in his movement, though, and will be best on a team that runs man coverage. With that said, he does show good instincts when lined up in zone. Will enter the NFL with excellent technique, so he should be able to make an impact early in his career. On trail, he’s shown the ability to stick with receivers and close the gap to make a play on the ball. Is more than willing against the run and sets the edge nicely.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
Scouting report: At 6'7, Armstead can be an intimidating force along the defensive line. When he’s playing hard, he has impressive power and can throw offensive linemen around with a single hand. What’s especially impressive about Armstead is how well he moves around for a player his size. In many ways he’s a lot like Calais Campbell of the Cardinals. He gets by with his strength, but has surprising quickness and speed. Moving forward, Armstead will have to be more consistent and not get caught taking plays off.
16. Houston Texans: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Scouting report: Once you get past his size – which is just average – it’s hard to find many flaws in Kendricks’ game. He’s an instinctive and productive middle linebacker who can effortlessly drop in coverage against tight ends and running backs. He’s quick to read running plays and closes in a hurry on the ball carrier. Kendricks could do with adding some strength to beat blockers when he’s working between the tackles against the run. But in the open field, he’s a reliable tackler and is solid at splitting gaps to get into the backfield.
17. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Scouting report: Gordon isn’t merely the product of a known system at Wisconsin. It helps, sure, but Gordon had an all-time great season in 2014 with 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground. Gordon possesses really good elusiveness in the open field and has a great burst to get up to top speed in a hurry. Gordon is at his best when he’s working to the outside relying on his speed. He has enough strength to make defenders miss on tackles in the open field. Gordon is undervalued in the passing game solely because Wisconsin doesn’t throw to their backs that often. Gordon’s biggest issues are running with strength between the tackles and ball security.
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18. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Scouting report: Peat fits the blueprint of what you want in a left tackle. He has impressive size and length and a good first step to beat defenders to the edge. Moves his feet well to mirror against speed rushers. He shows a good amount of upper body strength to control an opponent when he locks his arms out. What keeps Peat from being a lock top 10 pick is his susceptibility to inside moves. He’ll get off balance in run blocking and get knocked around a little bit. He’ll also struggle at times against power rushers who can knock him backward. Shows good awareness to pick up stunts.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo Bills): Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
Scouting report: First step, first step, first step. That is Ray’s game. Ray uses his incredibly quick feet to beat offensive tackles to the corner and has good strength to knock a blocker backward. Ray benefits from being in a system that drilled him in technique so he knows how to use his hands properly. As good as Ray’s first step is, he can struggle at times versus the run. When Ray gets stuffed on his first move, he has a hard time getting going again. That’s largely because his lack of length gets him locked up on blocks. In space, he’s a little stiff in his movement and will need to figure out coverage if he goes to a 3-4 team.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Scouting report: There is a strong argument to be made that Strong has the best hands of any wide receiver in this year’s draft. He attacks the ball in the air and routinely catches away from his frame. He showed several times he’s capable of making difficult one-handed catches. Tracks the ball nicely and knows how to adjust to a bad pass. Isn’t rated higher because he’s not the most sudden and quick receiver. His deep speed is good, but he has to build up to it. Won’t make a lot of defenders miss after the catch, but he’s strong enough to slip off of tackles. Needs to get better and more crisp in and out of his breaks. Works the middle of the field nicely. Has a good feel for his positioning when he’s working down the sideline and will go up after the ball. Does a nice job of recognizing coverages.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Scouting report: Defensive tackles who weigh 320 pounds shouldn’t be able to move around as well as Brown does. The junior moves around fluidly, which allows him to get into a gap, disengage from a blocker and be disruptive in the backfield. His combination of quickness and power allowed Texas to use him inside and outside. Brown even stood up at times. Typically plays with a high motor. Too often tries to rely on his quickness instead of strength to beat blockers. Also needs to learn to stay low out of his stance and not give up leverage.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Scouting report: Had he not been dismissed from Washington for a disagreement with coaches, people would talk about Peters as a top 10 pick. Peters is a speedy playmaker with size. He can find the ball in the air and is really good at disrupting passes (24 career pass breakups and 11 interceptions). Peters knows how to time his leaps properly and does a nice job of not letting wide receivers get easy ones. Has a lot of range when he’s playing off or in zone coverage. Other than the character questions, the knock on Peters is his tackling. Stronger ball carriers can push him aside and he’ll have to add strength as a pro.
23. Detroit Lions: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Scouting report: Goldman can be one of the most dominant players in this year’s draft, when he wants to be. The biggest issue for Goldman is his effort. He was active and aggressive against teams like Clemson and Louisville last season. In other games, he was non-existent. If Goldman plays up to his talent level, he’s a top 15 player. If not, you have to question his motor. When he’s playing hard, Goldman has an uncanny first step that allows him to get his hands on blockers. From there his power takes over and he can singlehandedly collapse the pocket. Is so athletic that Florida State could work him at end. As a pass rusher, Goldman needs to continue adding pass rush moves to his repertoire.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA
Scouting report: Compared to other top pass rushers in the draft this year, Odighizuwa plays with a lot of strength and he knows how to use it. He can hold the edge nicely against the run and gets good pad level to maintain leverage. Odighizuwa plays with a lot of intensity and has experience lining up as a hand-down end and as a linebacker. Played a lot of end in a three-man front, which is impressive considering his size. Has enough athleticism, though, to move out to linebacker. Odighizuwa has had some hip injuries, which will make some teams pause.
25. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Scouting report: Humphries was a little bit of a surprise entrant in the draft after serious knee injuries in 2013 and a high ankle sprain last season. He’s a natural athlete for the position and is really light on his feet. He gets into his set effortlessly and can work an angle to handle speed rushers working the outside corner. On run plays, Humphries can get out on the move and pick off defenders on the second level. Plays with a real mean streak. Humphries has some room to grow in regard to his technique. He doesn’t always maintain his balance while run blocking and could do more drive blocking. Had some effort issues at times.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
Scouting report: Smith is going to be a perfect fit on a team that likes to run a lot of deep posts and go routes. He excels in the long passing game because of his speed and ability to run past defensive backs. Teams often had to keep a safety over the top to account for Smith’s ability to make a play on the deep ball. Smith’s ability can get undersold because Ohio State ran the ball a lot and mostly used him on long passes. Didn’t face a lot of press coverage because teams respected his speed, so Smith will have to learn some technical things in that area of the game. Tracks the ball really well. Locates the ball on over the shoulder throws. Displays good body control to go up and make difficult catches. Will need to get better when working over the middle of the field.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Scouting report: Gurley is a powerful running back with a good amount of speed. What makes Gurley a special talent is his combination of those things and agility. That’s why the Marshawn Lynch comparisons pop up. He’s an intimidating runner who will bowl over defenders to get extra yards. Gurley’s routine runs are impressive. He’s the type of running back who can turn a 2-yard run into a 4-yard run solely by wiggling through a tackle and leaning forward as he goes down. There is some issue with Gurley's torn ACL and doubts whether or not he can start the season. But he's a special player, the type who looks like he could become one of the top running backs in the NFL.
28. Denver Broncos: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Scouting report: Clemmings found a home on the right side of Pittsburgh’s offensive line after moving there in 2012. Clemmings is a power blocker with better athleticism than you’d expect. Played basketball through his senior year in high school. Because he’s a little raw in his technique, Clemmings’ home should remain on the right side, and he showed as much during Senior Bowl practices. He just doesn’t have the consistent footwork yet, but he should get there. He can push defenders around at the point of attack and rarely got overpowered in college.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Scouting report: As a coverage safety, Collins isn’t simply Mark Barron 2.0. He can mirror tight ends in man coverage and is strong enough to stick with them when they get physical in their routes. He’ll struggle some against quicker slot wide receivers, though, and teams shouldn’t rely on him in that role. He’s much better when he can play deep coverage and react to the ball and break on it. While he’ll have to improve his instincts, Collins has the athleticism to cover for it for now. He will bite on the play action, though. Against the run, Collins is really good at flying up the field and making a tackle. He rarely misses taking down the ball carrier and has good technique on his tackles. Was utilized on Alabama’s coverage teams.
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30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Scouting report: As a player who started just 10 games in college, it’s hard to get a concrete feel on just how good Collins can be. Because of his inexperience, Collins is a little behind in regard to his technique (especially in press coverage) and instincts. With Collins, you’re taking a bet on his potential. He has size and speed and can run with just about any wide receiver he lines up against. He’s a solid tackler for the position and is good at breaking up passes (but doesn’t pick many off). Collins displays good awareness, especially when quarterbacks try and fool him on play action or double moves. Reads the run quickly and is willing to come down and mix it up.
31. New Orleans Saints (via Seattle Seahawks): Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia
Scouting report: The reason Harold grades out so highly is his level of athleticism for the position. He moves around in space really well and shows a good burst to close on the ball carrier. Harold also knows how to vary his playing speed to confuse blockers. Harold has one of the best get-offs of any defensive player in this year’s draft. Virginia liked to have Harold loop inside on a play to work an inside gap, and he really excelled doing it. Going forward, his best position is probably as an outside linebacker because he’ll get stuck on blocks too much. Blockers can either control Harold at the line of scrimmage or push him around. He should do much better working in space where he can take advantage of his athleticism.
32. New England Patriots: A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina
Scouting report: Cann is, almost without question, the best pure guard in this year’s draft. For an interior blocker, Cann is a nice combination of power and athleticism. He gets into his stance nice and low, which allows him to get underneath defensive players so he can drive them backward. Shows good leg drive and plays through the whistle. Once Cann gets his hands on a defender, he’s hard to shed. He routinely gets his hands on the inside of players and shows good technique. Where Cann can really improve is in pass blocking. He could come off the ball more aggressively instead of waiting for players to come to him. Does a nice job getting out on the second level on pass plays, however. Shows good instincts to pick up stunts and knows he can disengage from help blocks and pick up a free defender. Could also get some looks as a center, a position he played in high school.