2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round 2
CHICAGO—Let’s be honest, Thursday night’s first-round festivities weren’t as entertaining as expected. Trades were held to a minimum (two) and the curveballs thrown just weren’t as dramatic as some in recent drafts. Maybe it was a byproduct of returning the draft to Chicago, where that solid Midwestern sensibility prevails, but the first round left us wanting more in terms of sizzle factor.
So here you go, more draft fodder, and an attempt to mock out Friday night’s second round, hours before it will go down. Look for the run on offensive linemen to continue, and some high-profile names like Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, Alabama’s Landon Collins and Baylor’s Bryce Petty to come off the board early on in the proceedings.
If you’re wondering—and even if you’re not—my final first-round mock was fairly respectable. I had eight direct hits of linking a team with the player it actually drafted (albeit with trade partners San Diego taking Melvin Gordon and San Francisco selecting Arik Armstead in different slots than their original positions), and 28 of the 32 names I put forth as first-rounders actually went in the round. If near misses count, and they don’t, I had seven other prospects just a single slot away from where they actually went. Something tells me I will not be boasting about my second-round mockage, but who really knows?
Right tackle has been an issue in Nashville, and to give Marcus Mariota the best possible chance to succeed as a rookie quarterback, you’ve got to protect him. Might as well add another ex-Duck and have Ken Whisenhunt channel his inner-Chip Kelly. (Or does Kelly try to trade up for Fisher? Oh, never mind). Either Fisher or Pitt offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings are there for the taking.
Much like Tennessee's situation, the Bucs would be wise to buttress the offensive line that will be asked to keep a highly-prized rookie passer upright. If anything, Tampa Bay's need at OL is even greater than the Titans'.
The top-rated cornerback remaining on the board gives Jay Gruden’s team some secondary strength, after Washington focused on its offensive line with the Brandon Scherff pick at No. 5. With no slam-dunk pass-rushing option (Virginia’s Eli Harold?) to pick from near the top of the second round, Collins represents solid value.
Harold’s not a finished product and may not provide instant impact, but the Bears need to find ways to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback, and Harold's athleticism and potential are worth investing in.
I’m not sure how the safety-poor Giants could pass on Collins, who suffered late-draft season slippage from his first-round expectation level but is still one of the elite players available in the secondary. Tom Coughlin nabs a player Alabama coach Nick Saban raves about.
After their somewhat surprising pick of running back Todd Gurley at No. 10 in the first round, the Rams are even more likely to address their offensive line needs in the second stanza. A run on offensive tackles has done them no favors, but Cann is the top remaining interior lineman and he’ll play right away in St. Louis. Sorry, Rams fans, but the quarterback pick is going to have to wait for now.
The Browns still need a receiving threat after addressing both lines in the first round. I don’t think the Browns, with their recent history, can roll the dice on a red-flagged talent such as Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, but the home-state star Smith would seem a solid double, rather than the potential swing-and-miss that DGB might represent.
The Vikings have a need at middle linebacker and Perryman should be an ideal fit, with UCLA inside linebacker Eric Kendricks representing another tempting option.
Another team, another need at middle/inside linebacker. The Dolphins miss out on Perryman and Kendricks, but land McKinney, a legit play-maker who solidifies a position of major need in Miami.
The middle of the Chargers' defensive front needs some beef, and Goldman and Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips should be available to choose from. Here, I lean toward the FSU product.
I could make a strong case for a receiver like Arizona State's Jaelen Strong (sorry), but the offensive line issues are even more pressing in Kansas City. So I’m giving the nod to the versatile Smith after the Chiefs surprised some by addressing the cornerback position with the Marcus Peters pick at No. 18 in the first round.