May 1, 2015

2015 NFL Draft: Round 1 Grades + 20 Best Available

#16, Byron Jones, CB, Conneticut

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
(Friday, May 1, 2015)

Just before Day 2 kicks off, here are my grades of each pick in the first round which analysis and reasoning for each grades. Also listed below are my top 20 prospects left on the board.

You can view my 2015 NFL Prospect Rankings here, and My Updated 2015 NFL Draft Big Board here. Want a preview of the 2016 NFL Draft? You can view my 2016 NFL Draft Positional Rankings here.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston**, QB, Florida State
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 231 lbs. | Class: Sophomore (RS)

Analysis: I've said all along that if I were the Bucs, I would take Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick. But, the Bucs selecting Jameis Winston was a great and obvious pick. Winston is the type of prospect that can elevate this team and make them much better in the long run. If he stays out of trouble off the field, he has the type of talent to be one of the top 5 or so quarterbacks in the game.

Reach/Value: -4

Grade: A

2. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota*, QB, Oregon
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 222 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: Living in Nashville, Tennessee, the Titans drafting Marcus Mariota was a huge deal for the city. Fans finally feel like their team has a true face of the franchise. Mariota, in my opinion, is the best quarterback in this class. Don't buy into the hype of him being a system quarterback. His skillset translates well to the next level.

*It is worthy to note that the Titans reportedly turned down a trade from the Eagles that would have netted them two first round picks, a third, DT Fletcher Cox, CB Brandon Boykin, LB Mychal Kendricks, and QB Sam Bradford according to Ian Rapoport. If this is true, could the Titans regret declining this trade? Only time will tell.

Reach/Value: -2

Grade: A

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dante Fowler Jr.*, EDGE, Florida
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 261 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: This pick wasn't very surprising. Fowler Jr. is my number two edge rusher in this class, and from a fit point of view, Fowler Jr. is a great fit for Gus Bradley's defense. He has the prototypical size, length, and athleticism to play the LEO position, but his versatility is what makes him an intriguing prospect.

My question is, will they regret passing on Leonard Williams, or some of the players from the "elite" tier? I listed Fowler as my #12 overall prospect, so this is a slight reach, but I don't have a problem with it. I believe they made a smart pick, as they played it safe, filled a need, and got themselves a heck of a player.

Reach/Value: -9

Grade: B

4. Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper*, WR, Alabama
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 211 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Despite the fact that Amari Cooper graded out as my #4 receiver, he was a top 10 prospect for me, and filled a major need for the Raiders. The best way to help a young quarterback is to give him more to work with in the passing game. Cooper is in the mold of a Reggie Wayne, so his skillset is easily transferable to the NFL. I honestly didn't think they would pass on Leonard Williams, but, you can't blame Oakland from taking arguably the safest player in the draft. The future looks bright.

Reach/Value: -6

Grade: A-

5. Washington Redskins
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 319 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: I was stunned when the Redskins passed on Leonard Williams for an overrated guard with the 5th overall pick. I know the Redskins bolstered their defensive line, but even if they passed on Williams, they had another good option in Vic Beasley.

I like Brandon Scherff. I think he can stick at tackle, but could potentially be an all-pro guard. It's not a terrible pick at all. I just think they could have gotten better value by trading back a few spots and taking an offensive lineman. But, I have to praise the Redskins for playing it safe, while adding much needed help to an incumbent offensive line.

Reach/Value: -13

Grade: B-

6. New York Jets
Leonard Williams*, DL, Southern California
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 302 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The rich got richer on defense. When the best player in the draft falls into your lap, I can't knock you for taking him. The only question I have is, where will he play? Is Muhammad Wilkerson on the trade block? After all, his long term future with the Jets is in question.

Williams is the most versatile prospect in this draft in my opinion, but 3-4 nose tackle? Not sure. The Jets will figure out a way to make him fit. Being compared to guys like Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, and Richard Seymour, you find a way to get him on the field.

Reach/Value: +5

Grade: A-

7. Chicago Bears
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 215 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Although the Bears had needs on defense, trading Brandon Marshall opened the door for another receiver to be in the mix, so it's no surprise that they took one in the first round. Kevin White easily could have been the first receiver drafted, and his skill set makes him a future stud in the mold of a Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones type of player. He'll pair well with Alshon Jeffery.

Reach/Value: -1

Grade: A

8. Atlanta Falcons
Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 246 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: I can't knock the Falcons for passing on Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon III. After all, pass rusher was a bigger need, and the more premium position, while this class is loaded with backfield talent. Atlanta nabbed the best pass rusher in the draft. He's a slightly smaller DeMarcus Ware in my opinion, and it wouldn't surprise me if Atlanta snagged another pass rusher early in round two.

Reach/Value: +1

Grade: A

9. New York Giants
Ereck Flowers*, OT, Miami
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 329 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Head scratching. I didn't think drafting any offensive tackle in the top 10 was good value, but taking a second round guy in the top 10 is just bad. Flowers is a big tackle with great length who moves well for his size. I like his skill set, but he needs a lot of work. Honestly, I didn't even see tackle as a huge need for them, though I realized they needed to add another body up front early on.

In the past, I would have probably given a D or an F for a full round reach, but gambling on upside could end up paying off. We'll see how it plays out here, but this was the biggest top 10 reach.

Reach/Value: -40

Grade: C-

10. Saint Louis Rams
Todd Gurley*, RB, Georgia
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 222 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Was running back a huge need for the Rams? Not necessarily. But, I can't help but praise the Rams for taking the best player available, upgrading the running back spot in a big way. Health concerns aside, this is a top 5 talent. With Tre Mason in the backfield, Gurley won't have to rush back to the field, which is a win-win for both parties.

The Rams need offensive line help, but the value wasn't there in the top 10. DeVante Parker would have made a ton of sense, but Gurley is a rare talent who could remind Rams fans of one Steven Jackson.

Reach/Value: +8

Grade: A+

11. Minnesota Vikings
Trae Waynes*, CB, Michigan State
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 186 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: I'm sure DeVante Parker tempted them, but I can't blame the Vikings for adding another piece to their defense. They drafted the best corner in the draft in Trae Waynes to pair him with one of the league's best young corners Xavier Rhodes. I thought it was a little early to take him, but I expected them to.

Reach/Value: -11

Grade: B

12. Cleveland Browns
Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 339 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Browns actually made a good pick? Nope. They made a great pick. Shelton is a borderline top 5 player in this class, and fills a major need in the middle of the defensive line. They struggled against the run this past season, so a big bodied guy who can get up field like Shelton makes a ton of sense. Need + Value.

Reach/Value: +6

Grade: A+

13. New Orleans Saints
Andrus Peat*, OT, Stanford
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 313 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Eh. This isn't a bad pick, but I'm not a huge fan of it. Based on value, it was a bit of a reach. Based on need? I don't see Peat as a guard. I don't see him playing immediately, so this could be a pick that pans out in the long run. It's just tough to gauge what the Saints are trying to do.

Reach/Value: -10

Grade: C+

14. Miami Dolphins
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 209 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Obviously a great pick for the Dolphins. DeVante Parker has a skill set comparable to A.J. Green, and if he becomes anything close to that, this will look like a steal in hindsight. Nothing but praise for the Dolphins for getting this pick right.

Reach/Value: +5

Grade: A

15. San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon III*, RB, Wisconsin
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 215 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)
(via San Francisco)

Analysis: The only issue I have here is that the Chargers moved up two spots to jump in front of the Texans to take their running back. Maybe they were convinced Houston was going to grab him. If that's the case, I can't blame them for making the move. MG3 isn't Todd Gurley, but he's an elite running back in his own right. I believe he'll prove to be an upgrade over the departed Ryan Mathews.

Reach/Value: +4

Grade: A-

16. Houston Texans
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 188 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Good, solid pick for the Texans. I viewed Johnson as more of a late first round prospect, but I believe he's the best pure cover corner in the draft, and will prove to be a great addition to the secondary, and a future replacement for Johnathan Joseph.

Reach/Value: -13

Grade: B

17. San Francisco 49ers
Arik Armstead*, DE, Oregon
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 292 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via San Francisco)

Analysis: The 49ers moved back two spots, acquired a few extra picks, and still got their guy. You have to love it. This may actually be the best fit for Arik Armstead, a polarizing player with a ton of upside. A classic risk/reward pick, but the reward could outweigh the risk.

Reach/Value: -14

Grade: B

18. Kansas City Chiefs
Marcus Peters*, CB, Washington
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 197 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: I felt like the Chiefs should have addressed the offensive line here, but I understand that there weren't any prospects worth banging the table for. I didn't think cornerback was a pressing need, but Marcus Peters is a top 20 talent who could develop into a true shut down corner. I had him a little further down my board, but he's a great fit for the Chiefs.

Reach/Value: -16

Grade: B-

19. Cleveland Browns
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 313 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)
(via Buffalo)

Analysis: Cameron Erving is a solid player, though I felt he was a bit of a reach in the middle of round one. His best position looks to be center, but he can potentially play guard as well, and has experience playing tackle. Not a bad pick for the Browns, but I do question where they're going to play him.

Reach/Value: -16

Grade: B-

20. Philadelphia Eagles
Nelson Agholor*, WR, Southern California
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 194 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: I really love Nelson Agholor... in the second round. I know he's a great fit, but I just didn't see enough on tape to grade him as a first rounder. I felt like there was a little better value at other positions of need.

Reach/Value: -25

Grade: C

21. Cincinnati Bengals
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 306 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Unfortunately, I was only able to construct a top 75 big board this season, and Cedric Ogbuehi didn't make the cut. I didn't see a first or second round guy on tape this season. He's got a pretty good skillset, and won't have to play right away, but this was a really bad reach in my opinion.

Reach/Value: N/A

Grade: D+

22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Alvin Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 269 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: I can't blame them for taking Dupree over Ray and Gregory at all. He's a bit raw as a pass rusher right now, but the talent is there, and he's projects very well as a stand up outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4 scheme. He fills a major need.

Reach/Value: -3

Grade: A-

23. Denver Broncos
Shane Ray*, EDGE, Missouri
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 245 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)
(via Detroit)

Analysis: Many people in the draft community don't love Shane Ray, but I think he's going to be a terror off the edge with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. I don't blame Denver for moving up and getting a guy I graded as a top 15 player.

Reach/Value: +9

Grade: A

24. Arizona Cardinals
D.J. Humphries*, OT, Florida
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 307 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Great pick for the Cardinals. They surprised me to be honest. I thought they were satisfied with Bobby Massie at right tackle, but they decided to upgrade at that position, and improve their offensive line overall. Can Humphries play and excel on the right side though?

Reach/Value: +5

Grade: A

25. Carolina Panthers
Shaq Thompson*, OLB, Washington
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 228 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: In terms of value, this was a solid pick. Shaq Thompson projects as a very solid weakside linebacker, and will team up with Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis to form an impressive linebacker unit. The problem I have is, when will they address the offensive line? They had their pick of some pretty good tackles and passed. Will that come back to haunt them?

Reach/Value: -1

Grade: B

26. Baltimore Ravens
Breshad Perriman*, WR, Central Florida
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 212 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: A head-scratcher by the most unlikely team. Breshad Perriman isn't that good. He can't catch, isn't very polished, and wasn't that productive in college. He has upside, however, and is an ideal fit as a deep threat to replace Torrey Smith. Unfortunately, they didn't maximize value.

Reach/Value: N/A

Grade: D

27. Dallas Cowboys
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 199 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: As a Cowboys fan, I was VERY disappointed with this pick. The board fell perfectly, and players like Randy Gregory, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Eric Kendricks, and Malcolm Brown were all on the board.

I wasn't a fan of Byron Jones either. I have to admit, I only watched a small sample size of Jones before the draft, and didn't come away that impressed (didn't crack my top 75), but I thought he had Day 2 ability and upside.

I decided to watch all three of his games on DraftBreakdown, and came away very impressed. I am concerned about the level of competition and potential durability concerns, but there were many positives.

The Cowboys are getting a corner with ideal size, length, speed, and world class athleticism who can press, turn and run, and even come up in run support. He has excellent closing speed and ball skills, arguably the two most important qualities a defensive back can have. On top of that, his versatility helps justify the first round selection. He can press, play man, excel in off coverage, but where I really think he'll shine is in zone coverage. And his ability to play safety gives Dallas flexibility in the secondary.

It's obvious that Stephen Jones is calling the shots. Hopefully the Cowboys can hit on their Day 2 picks by getting good value and filling some major needs.

Reach/Value: N/A

Grade: B+

28. Detroit Lions
Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 323 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)
(via Detroit)

Analysis: I viewed Laken Tomlinson as a solid Day Two prospect. Late second, early third round to be exact. I loved the fact that the Lions were able to trade back, acquire extra picks and guard Manny Ramirez from Denver, but they still reached for Tomlinson. The good news is that he'll be a plug-and-play starter at left guard.

Reach/Value: -39

Grade: C-

29. Indianapolis Colts
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 184 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Luxury pick for the Colts. How scary is this passing attack going to be now? Dorsett has a similar skillset to T.Y. Hilton, and with Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and the young tight ends in the mix, Andrew Luck is going to light up the league. They obviously had bigger needs and may have been able to get a similar player in round two, but I can't knock them for this pick.

Reach/Value: -9

Grade: B

30. Green Bay Packers
Damarious Randall, FS, Arizona State
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 198 lbs. | Class: Senior (RS)

Analysis: Apparently the Packers see Randall as a cornerback for them. It makes sense with Clinton-Dix and Burnett at safety, but I had a 5th round grade on Randall, making this the biggest reach of round one by far. It was a small sample size, but on tape I saw a guy who was soft, took poor angles, couldn't tackle, and was not as good in coverage as I thought he'd be. Terrible pick for a team that usually drafts well.

Reach/Value: NR

Grade: F

31. New Orleans Saints
Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 243 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via Seattle)

Analysis: Beside the fact that I think Eric Kendricks is head and shoulders above Anthony, I really liked Anthony as an early second round pick. Not really a bad pick by the Saints, but it makes no sense for them to keep passing on edge rushers in my opinion. Though this class is full of them, they didn't get the best value with their first round picks.

Reach/Value: -9

Grade: B-

32. New England Patriots
Malcolm Brown*, DT, Texas
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 319 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Solid pick for the Patriots. They filled a need and got good value at the end of the first round. Brown is a guy who can give New England some solid pass rushing from the interior, but he can also hold his own against the run.

Reach/Value: +2

Grade: A-

Best Available Prospects After Round One:

Analysis: The first round wasn't filled with many surprises, and it isn't surprising that some of these players listed below were passed on. Whether they had off the field issues, character concerns, or injury problems, there's still plenty of talent to be had on Day 2. Here are some of the best players left.

1. Dorial Green-Beckham*, (6-5, 237 lbs.), WR, Oklahoma

Analysis: Various off the field issues are why he dropped, but DGB is easily a top 5-10 talent in this class. I don't expect him to be on the board long by the time the second round kicks off.

Big Board Rank: 3 | Position Rank: 1 | NFL Comparison: Calvin Johnson

2. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, (6-4, 267 lbs.), EDGE, UCLA

Analysis: The reason why I believe "Diggy" is still on the board is because of long term concerns about his hips. Otherwise, this is a top 15 talent, and my #3 edge rusher behind Vic Beasley and Dante Fowler Jr. He projects best as a 4-3 defensive end.

Big Board Rank: 13 | Position Rank: 3 | NFL Comparison: James Harrison

3. Randy Gregory*, (6-5, 235 lbs.), EDGE, Nebraska

Analysis: Another top 15 talent that fell due to off the field concerns, Randy Gregory has the highest ceiling of any edge rusher in the draft. Those issues may keep him on the board longer than he expected.

Big Board Rank: 15 | Position Rank: 5 | NFL Comparison: Aldon Smith

4. La'el Collins, (6-5, 305 lbs.), OG, Louisiana State

Analysis: Because police want to ask him questions regarding the murder of his ex-girlfriend, this once first round lock could go undrafted. If Collins turns out to be an innocent man, he'll have been costed millions for nothing. He's the best offensive lineman in the draft in my opinion.

Big Board Rank: 16 | Position Rank: 1 | NFL Comparison: Anthony Davis

5. Eric Kendricks, (6-0, 232 lbs.), LB, UCLA

Analysis: Kendricks is the best non-pass rushing linebacker in the draft, and it isn't even close. He should've been a first round pick, so someone is going to get a steal in the second round.

Big Board Rank: 17 | Position Rank: 1 | NFL Comparison: Sean Lee

6. Carl Davis, (6-5, 320 lbs.), DT, Iowa

Analysis: His pass rushing upside isn't extremely high, but Davis is a big bodied interior defensive lineman who can get up field and dominate blockers with pure strength. He's the best nose tackle left on the board.

Big Board Rank: 20 | Position Rank: 3 | NFL Comparison: Marcell Dareus

7. Landon Collins, (6-0, 228 lbs.), SS, Alabama

Analysis: I'm not surprised Collins wasn't drafted in the first round, but he should not last that long in the second round as the top overall safety prospect in the draft.

Big Board Rank: 21 | Position Rank: 1 | NFL Comparison: Kam Chancellor

8. T.J. Clemmings, (6-5, 309 lbs.), OT, Pittsburgh

Analysis: Clemmings seemed to have hurt his stock a bit at the Senior Bowl, but it's still a bit surprising that he fell out of round one. His skillset should allow him to play on the left side, and he has experience starting at right tackle.

Big Board Rank: 23 | Position Rank: 3 | NFL Comparison: Tyron Smith

9. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, (5-9, 192 lbs.), FS, Oregon

Analysis: IEO came into the season as a first round prospect, lost some steam, then went down for the season. He likely won't be drafted today, but someone will be getting a steal on Day 3.

Big Board Rank: 27 | Position Rank: 1 | NFL Comparison: Alterraun Verner

10. Jake Fisher, (6-6, 306 lbs.), OT, Oregon

Analysis: There will be a run on tackles early in round two, and I expect Fisher, who is one of the most natural left tackle prospects in this class, to come off the board very, very early.

Big Board Rank: 28 | Position Rank: 4 | NFL Comparison: Jordan Gross

11. Maxx Williams**, TE, Minnesota (6-4, 250 lbs.)

12. Preston Smith, EDGE, Mississippi State (6-5, 271 lbs.)

13. Tevin Coleman*, RB, Indiana (5-11, 206 lbs.)

14. Maxx Williams**, TE, Minnesota (6-4, 250 lbs.)

15. Eddie Goldman*, DT, Florida State (6-4, 336 lbs.)

16. Jaelen Strong*, WR, Arizona State (6-2, 217 lbs.)

17. Eli Harold*, EDGE, Virginia (6-3, 247 lbs.)

18. Nate Orchard, EDGE, Utah (6-3, 250 lbs.)

19. Mike Davis*, RB, South Carolina (5-9, 217 lbs.)

20. Duke Johnson*, RB, Miami (5-9, 207 lbs.)