This is C3’s pre-free agency Mock Draft with my picks (Mel Mayock) along with guest contributor, @SamSslater96. This Mock is a little different than the others you’ve seen. I’m picking and stating my reasoning for the first round. I give my reasoning and insights as to why a team will go after a certain player. The reasoning could be based on last year’s weaknesses as rated by our friends at ProFootballFocus.com. Or the reasoning could be the pending loss of a Free Agent. And BPA logic comes into play too. THEN (here’s the fun part) Smokewagon has inserted his picks along with his reasoning. We did our picks independently so this should be interesting.
If you don’t already, you should follow our guest, @SamSslater96 on Twitter, as he is one of the most insightful Panther fans, and we thank him for his joining us for this Mock.
We hope you enjoy and look for an updated Mock as we get past Free Agency. Hit me up on Twitter at @PanthersDrafter to give me your thoughts. You can tell me I’m great or that I suck. All comments appreciated.
The Giants suffered with run-blocking in 2014 and adding the 6’7/312 lb. Peat to the RT spot would significantly help while continuing to protect Eli Manning. Peat would go to RT and allow Pugh to kick inside to Guard where he’ll excel.
The Rams desperately need a WR that can make plays. Tavon Austin is not a #1 WR and Cooper would immediately change the dynamics of this Offense. Cooper is silky smooth, fast (4.41 40) and polished. This is the right pick for a team desperately needing some juice on the Offensive side of the ball.
The Vikings lack Offensive punch in a Division that has Megatron, Jordy Nelson and Alshon Jeffries. Ranking 20th in Offense, it makes sense to add this playmaker to Teddy Bridgewater’s arsonal. At 6’3/ 208 and a 4.45 40, I’m not sure they can pass him up.
The Browns ranked 9th in D last year but struggled rushing the Passer. Randy Gregory is a great value here at Pick #12 and the new Defensive Coordinator Jim O’Neil would be ecstatic
The Saints Defense was a mess in 2014 and they could use help everywhere. Their biggest need is in pass coverage, but Shane Ray is too good to pass on. They struggled getting pressure on opposing QBs last year and a boost there will also help their CBs. And with the rumors of Junior Galette being traded, they need someone that can rush the passer. Very good value pick.
The Dolphins have cut more WRs in the past week than inmates in prison and they were hoping Parker or Cooper would be here. But the fact is the Panthers were the only team to rate lower than the Dolphins in pass-protection and the big and nasty La’el Collins gets the nod.
New Head Coach Jim Tomsula is a Dline Coach at heart and though there are other tempting players available, Beasley is too good to pass on. The best way to beat Seattle is to get to the passer and keep Russell Wilson from getting comfortable.
Houston has some options here and they need Offensive help. But if you look at the Texans Defense, their identity is a dominant Defense and Malcom Brown will give them the best Front Four in the League. Plus they have seven defensive players up for Free Agency. Being a hometown kid only makes the selection that much easier.
The G-Men ddd excellent last year in selecting WR stud in Odell Beckham Jr, but at the same time their defense has been a shell of what it once was during those recent Super Bowl runs no to far long ago. They traded for Jon Beason to come in and be a leader on that side of the ball, but just like we saw in Carolina his body has given up on him and he is not the answer for the future. Eric Kendricks might very well be the best LB in this draft and could be the new face of that Giants defense that they are so very lacking now.
St. Louis has Greg Robinson going into his second year manning the LT spot. With RT Joseph Barksdale hitting free agency and former starting LT Jake Long needing a walker to go to the games St.Louis is stuck with only one quality OT on the offensive line. Peat is taken here to sure up the other bookend spot across from Robinson.
Minnesota’s GM Rick Spielman has a question he has to ask himself and that is do we give the floundering Matt Kalil the #4 overall pick just a couple of seasons ago a contract worthy of top 10 LT money? Taking Scherff here could allow Minnesota to move away from Kalil before having to dole money out to a player that has had a decline in play since his productive rookie season.
Cleveland could go in so many directions at this pick especially with “Twitter Ray” calling the shots. The logical pick here would be to get a fresh start at WR and finally close the book on the troubled Josh Gordon. Cooper would be a day one starter and with his smooth route-running and ability to gain separation would be whatever QB Cleveland trots out on the fields best friend.
The Saints will be looking for an upgrade to the defensive line especially after the Junior Galette fiasco during the offseason. The Saints stop unit took a nose dive off cliff compared to the top 5 unit that the team fielded the previous year. The quickest way to turn that unit around would be to add a premium talent at the NT position to solidify that defensive line and anchor Rob Ryan’s defense for years to come.
The Dolphins have parted ways with Brian Hartline this offseason and are in the midst of dealing with one of the most disgruntled WR’s in the league in Mike Wallace. A player Dennis Hickey inherited from the old GM Jeff Ireland. Hickey is currently trying to smooth the situation between Wallace and the organization but this might not play out well out all for both sides for Wallace’s contract would be a bear to take on by another team in a trade to make the WR happy. At least there is some consolidation in the fact drafting Parker would give Miami a nice young two WR tandem of Jarvis Landry and Parker to grow with their young QB in Ryan Tannehill no matter the outcome of the Wallace situation.
Many across the NFL have penciled a WR in this spot for San Fran, I on the other hand see with the career of Justin Smith coming to a close that the defensive front will be looking for a replacement of the future manning one of the 34 DE spots on the line. Let’s not be fooled into thinking San Fran will not rely on it’s defense even more next season with a new coaching staff in place with a rookie HC. This make it even more paramount to replace what Smith’s role was to the defense. This draft is deep at WR and San Fran can afford to wait another round to grab one. What they can’t afford is to pass up on a talent like Armstead who is just scratching the surface of the kind of defensive player he could become.
Houston could choose to go OL or RB at this point, but the team is letting go of their all-time leading receiver in Andre Johnson. Green Beckham is the most controversial player in this years draft with many questions to answer for his off the field problems, but the talent is undeniable. Houston is just the team that could handle this pick for the likes of leaders of a J.J. Watt in the locker room and in HC Bill O’Brien who has had to deal with things much harder (see PSU after Paterno/Sandusky) to help keep DGB on the straight and narrow.