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2015 NFL Draft Mock Draft: Giants Get Stronger In The Trenches

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A mock draft before free agency changes everything all over again.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It's that wonderful time between the Scouting Combine and free agency when draft boards are really starting to take shape, and team needs are just getting ready to dramatically shift.

This week it's my turn to mock a draft. I'm not going to be as ambitions as 'Invictus' was with last week's mock. No, I'm just going to do one round. So, with with that said, let's get to it.

  1. Tampa Bay (2-14) Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) - Personally, I prefer Marcus Mariota, but barring his red flags being too bright, I think Winston's infectious personality makes him the first overall pick.
  2. Tennessee (2-14) Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) - One way or the other, I think this is where Mariota goes. Either the Titans decide he is enough of an upgrade at quarterback to take him over Leonard Williams, or another team trades up for him.
  3. Jacksonville (3-13) Dante Fowler (EDGE, Florida) - The Jags could go with Leonard Williams here, and it would be an excellent pick. However, Fowler gives them the edge rush they lack, and can get the job done from a 2-point or 3-point stance.
  4. Oakland (3-13) Kevin White (WR, WVU) - I have all three top wideouts ranked equally, but I think White is the first one off the board, even if the ghost of Al Davis has to possess Reggie McKenzie to get the pick in.
  5. Washington (4-12) Leonard Williams (DL, USC) - Either one of the remaining edge rushers would fit well if Brian Orakpo leaves via free agency. However, I can't let Leonard Williams fall any further. Williams isn't nearly as explosive an athlete as J.J. Watt, but he could be a difference maker at 5-technique
  6. New York Jets (4-12) Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)  - The Jets miss out on upgrading their quarterback position here, and there aren't any good options for upgrading their secondary. So, they take the best player on the board to try to put Geno Smith in the best position to win that they can.
  7. Chicago (5-11) Randy Gregory (OLB, Nebraska) - This might be a bit on the nose, but with Vic Fangio coming along with John Fox, da Bears are getting a major defensive face-lift. Gregory reminds me of Aldon Smith, and should be a great addition to a transforming linebacker corps There's still a lot of work to do, but this is a decent start.
  8. Atlanta (6-10) Vic Beasley (EDGE, Clemson) - The Falcons hired Dan Quinn to renovate their defense. He's going to need some building blocks, and Beasley just put on a freakish performance at the combine. He's jumped Shane Ray because Ray didn't get a chance to put on his own show.
  9. New York Giants (6-10) Danny Shelton (DT, Washington) - At this point four of my top five targets were on the board. As a fan, this is almost a dream scenario, but trying to make the pick was almost painful. I have DeVante Parker, Shane Ray, Bud Dupree, and Shelton to choose from. I eliminated Ray first because I'm not sure how well his fit would be with Spags' defense. I like to think he would be used to his fullest potential. Next went Parker, simply because 'Invictus' picked Amari Cooper in his mock. That left me with Dupree and Shelton. Either one would be a fantastic piece for the defense. Dupree is an athletic freak who's upside rivals JPP or Jadeveon Clowney. I opted to go with Shelton because at this point the defensive tackle position is thinner than the defensive end position, and a strong rotation is absolutely vital. Add to that, he is a disruptive force in the middle who, along with Hankins, can burst pockets, disrupt plays behind the line of scrimmage, and be a major headache for any team that wants to run between the tackles. Finally, I decided on Shelton because of his attitude. His motor is simply unreal, and that exuberance extends off the field. At the combine he was celebrating and joking with players between drills. And after the on-field work was done, Shelton was the guy in the middle of the defensive line group selfie. He strikes me as a guy who can fire the defense up with his play and become a defense's heart.
  10. St. Louis (6-10) DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) - The Rams have been looking for their Number 1 wide receiver for a long time now. Parker is one of the top rated guys on my board, and I feel on the same level as Amari Cooper and Kevin White. Value meets need here.
  11. Minnesota (7-9) DJ Humphries (OT, Florida) - DJ Humphries is the first offensive lineman off the board. He showed up the combine almost 30 pounds heavier than the 285 he played at in college, and carried the weight well. His movement skills are top notch, and he plays with a big nasty streak.
  12. Cleveland (7-9) Malcom Brown (DT, Texas) - The Browns might have hoped that one of the elite receivers or Danny Shelton would drop to them, but that didn't happen here. Brown isn't a bad consolation prize. He has the size and athleticism to be disruptive all around their defensive line.
  13. New Orleans (7-9) Shane Ray (OLB, Missouri) - Pretty much all four teams in the NFC South could use defensive help, and the Saints are no different. Ray is a good fit for Rob Ryan's defense, and brings an explosive pass rush to a team sorely lacking one.
  14. Miami (8-8) Shaq Thompson (OLB, Washington) - Shaq is one of the most versatile players in the draft. He's a playmaker who can change the game as a linebacker or a safety. He instantly upgrades Miami's back seven.
  15. San Francisco (8-8) La'El Collins (OL, LSU) - The 9ers could lose Mike Iupati to free agency, but Collins brings a lot of the same power in the run game, while hopefully better pass protection. Collins would start immediately at left guard, and slide into one of the tackle positions in case of an emergency.
  16. Houston (9-7) Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Oklahoma) - This pick is a bit off the wall, but if the Texans believe in him, it could be a huge steal. The questions with DGB are all off the field, but with Andre Johnson and JJ Watt providing an example for him, this is could be a solid environment for him. A duo of Nuk Hopkins and DGB on the receiving end of Ryan Mallett's arm could be a beautiful nightmare to watch.
  17. San Diego (9-7) Jake Fisher (OT, Oregon) - The Chargers have to deal with a trio of dangerous pass rushing linebackers in the AFC West. Bringing in Fisher at his natural right tackle position allows DJ Fluker to move to guard, and upgrade the pass protection for Phillip Rivers.
  18. Kansas City (9-7) Brandon Scherff (OG, Iowa) - Andy Reid loves to draft for the trenches, and it just so happens that he has four free agents on his offensive line. Scherff is likely a guard, but he could play right tackle as well.
  19. Cleveland - from Buffalo (9-7) Benardrick McKinney (ILB, Miss St.) - The Browns need help all over their roster, but McKinney makes sense here and provides an instant upgrade to the middle of their defense. Value meets need.
  20. Philadelphia (10-6) Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan St.) - Waynes cemented his stock as the best corner in his class, and he happens to be a great athlete. He also happens to fill a glaring need on the Eagles' defense.
  21. Cincinnati* (10-5-1) Marcus Peters (CB) - Off field concerns aside, Peters might be the top cover corner in this draft, and the Bengals have dealt with potential off-field problems. If they are comfortable with his character, he is a tremendous upgrade over what they have on their roster now.
  22. Pittsburgh* (11-5) Alvin 'Bud' Dupree (EDGE, Kentucky) - I just can't let Dupree fall any further. It also happens that his brand of explosive athleticism would work well on a Pittsburgh team going through a defensive rebuild. It helps he's played both DE and OLB.
  23. Detroit* (11-5) Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford) - Riley Reiff is a decent left tackle, but Peat could be a great one. He has tremendous physical tools, but showed inconsistency on tape, which carried through to the combine. Taking Peat gives the Lions the option of either starting him at right tackle or moving Reiff for the injured LaAdrian Waddle.
  24. Arizona* (11-5) Arik Armstead (DL, Oregon) - The Cards just let parted ways with Darnell Docket, and they have to replace Jon Abraham as well. Armstead has the power and athleticism to be a dynamic 5-technique and keep the teeth in that defense.
  25. Carolina* (7-8-1) Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) - The Panthers just released DeAngelo Williams, and they're going to need somebody to pick up the production. Gordon is a do-it-all back who can run inside, outside, and catch the ball. He's a great compliment to Jonathan Stewart, Kelvin Benjamin, and Cam Newton
  26. Baltimore* (10-6) Eddie Goldman (DT, FSU) - The Ravens just released Chris Canty, and rumors swirl that they might have to part ways with Haloti Ngata. In that case, they need an infusion of talent on their defensive line, and Goldman is it. Big enough and athletic enough to play any defensive tackle position, he's a good fit for what they like to do in Baltimore.
  27. Dallas* (12-4) Landon Collins (S/OLB, Alabama) - The Cowboys' defense looked like it improved in 2014. But that really had more to do with DeMarco Murray keeping them on the bench. Collins is a big hitter in the box and competent enough in coverage. He can also take over for Bruce Carter if he leaves via free agency.
  28. Denver* (12-4) Michael Bennett (DT, Ohio St.) - Terrance Knighton might price himself out of Denver, so that makes this could fill a need. Also, with Wade Phillips bringing his 1-gap 3-4 defense, Bennett could be a terror.
  29. Indianapolis* (11-5) Jordan Phillips (DT, Oklahoma) - The Colts are still working on building their defense. Phillips is a ginormous human being, and brings power and physicality the Colts defense doesn't quite have at the moment.
  30. Green Bay* (12-4) Erik Kendricks (LB, UCLA) - Need meets value here as Kendricks steps in for the departing AJ Hawk. Kendricks is a whirlwind of a linebacker and can help to hold down the middle of the field while Clay Matthews creates havoc.
  31. Seattle* (12-4) Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona St.) - The Seahawks got better when they parted ways with Percy Harvin, however they still need weapons for Russell Wilson. Strong's tough play fits the Seattle mold well, and his blend of size, body control, and jumping ability make a dangerous target off play action.
  32. New England* (12-4) Devin Funchess (WR, Michigan) - Funchess didn't have a great showing at the combine, and teams will likely be wondering whether he is a tight end or a receiver. Fortunately, Bill Belichick has made a career making roles for players other teams don't know what to do with.
There you have it. Let me know what I should have done in the poll, and, of course, in the comments section.