Friday, October 9, 2015

2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

1. (1) New England Patriots (3-0)
2. (2) Green Bay Packers (4-0)
3. (4) Cincinnati Bengals (4-0)
4. (3) Arizona Cardinals (3-1)
5. (5) Denver Broncos (4-0)
6. (9) Atlanta Falcons (4-0)
7. (11) New York Jets (3-1)
8. (7) Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
9. (14) New York Giants (2-2)
10. (10) Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
11. (8) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)
12. (12) Carolina Panthers (4-0)
13. (6) Buffalo Bills (2-2)
14. (13) Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
15. (22) St. Louis Rams (2-2)
16. (15) Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
17. (16) San Diego Chargers (2-2)
18. (18) Baltimore Ravens (1-3)
19. (19) Washington Redskins (2-2)
20. (20) Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
21. (17) Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
22. (23) Tennessee Titans (1-2)
23. (25) New Orleans Saints (1-3)
24. (27) Cleveland Browns (1-3)
25. (21) Oakland Raiders (2-2)
26. (28) Detroit Lions (0-4)
27. (26) Miami Dolphins (1-3)
28. (24) Houston Texans (1-3)
29. (31) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
30. (29) San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
31. (30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
32. (32) Chicago Bears (1-3)
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2016 NFL Mock Draft: v 2.0

Draft order based on my current NFL Power Rankings.


1. Chicago Bears (1-3)
DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Jr, Ole' Miss
6'4, 296 lbs
Hometown: Loganville, GA
2015 Stats: 16 tackles, 0.5 sacks

Chicago could take a quarterback here, but I do not think John Fox will want to spend what might be his last head coach opportunity on grooming a rookie. The Bears defense has given up the most points in the NFL. While his stats may not pop out at you, Robert Nkemdiche has gotten the JaDeveon Clowney treatment with constant double teams and schemes to run away from him. Nkemdiche is the former top recruit in the country who has the skills to be a Suh-like pass rushing interior presence. He has the size to hold up as a 3-4 end in Chicago's scheme, without sacrificing his play making ability. The best talent/scheme fit combination available.


2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
DE Joey Bosa, Jr, Ohio State
6'7, 275 lbs
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
2015 Stats: 19 tackles, 0.5 sacks

Jameis Winston will be good one day, but his growing pains mean it will be another long year in Tampa Bay. Not only that, but the defense just is not very talented. After devoting the majority of draft picks the last couple of years to the offense, best defender should be the way to go. Joey Bosa definitely qualifies as "best player available". In two years at Columbus, all Bosa has done is rack up 21 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss. If eligible for the 2015 draft, there is a great chance that Bosa would have been the Jaguars selection at #3 overall. The Buccaneers have not had a legit pass rushing end since Simeon Rice.


3. San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, Jr, Oklahoma State
6'4, 275 lbs
Hometown: Vandalia, OH
2015 Stats: 24 tackles, 6 sacks

The story has been the failures of Colin Kaepernick, but the defense in San Francisco has not been much better.  Retirements and defections have destroyed this roster. The 49ers had to let go of Aldon Smith, but have missed him terribly. Emmanuel Ogbah is having a fantastic career. He was one of the best sack artists in college football in 2014, and has picked up where he left off with 6 sacks after four games. He is strong and versatile, and could be an Smith-like pass rusher for the 49ers.


4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
OT Ronnie Stanley, Sr, Notre Dame
6'6, 315 lbs
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Luke Joeckel has been a massive disappointment on the left side for Jacksonville. If the Jaguars expect Blake Bortles to realize his potential, they must protect him. Ronnie Stanley could have gone in the top half of the first round in 2015, but chose to return to South Bend to hone his game. Stanley only allowed one sack last year and has the look of a franchise bookend.


5. Houston Texans (1-3)
QB Jared Goff, Jr, California
6'4, 205 lbs
Hometown: Novato, CA
2015 Stats: 125-178, 1630 yards, 15 TD, 4 INT

The Texans have an abysmal quarterback situation and need to find a long term answer, or they will waste the primes of several great young players. Jared Goff is the only quarterback I would currently consider in the top ten. It is no secret that Cal's offense inflates passing numbers, but Goff has great size and a cannon arm. He is putting up huge numbers as a junior. The question will be if Goff can transition from the spread to an NFL offense, a problem that has plagued many youngsters, but not all.


6. Miami Dolphins (1-3)
CB Tre'Davious White, Jr, LSU
5'11, 191 lbs
Hometown: Shreveport, LA
2015 Stats: 17 tackles

It was a couple years too late, but Stephen Ross finally canned the overmatched Joe Philbin. The front office is equally to blame, as they have spent money very unwisely, and have holes all over the place. Tre'Davious White might have been LSU's best defensive back as a sophomore. White is a dynamo in press defense, and has the speed to stay step to step with receivers deep. Though not a household name like Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves, White may be the best cover corner in the country. LSU cornerbacks tend to rise during the pre draft process, and White might be the best Tiger corner since Patrick Peterson (hopefully more Peterson than Morris Claiborne). The Dolphins have nothing in the secondary other than Brent Grimes and Reshad Davis.


7. Detroit Lions (0-4)
CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Jr, Florida State
6'1, 202 lbs
Hometown: Smyrna, TN
2015 Stats: 14 tackles

The Lions have historically drafted the best player available, and it just so happens that secondary is a huge weak spot. Going into the 2014 season Ronald Darby and PJ Williams were thought of as potential first round picks, but the sophomore Ramsey quickly rose to the top of the heap. He is a big time play maker who has Pro Bowl potential at either safety or cornerback, two monster needs on the Detroit depth chart.


8. Oakland Raiders (2-2)
OT Laremy Tunsil, Jr, Ole' Miss
6'5, 305 lbs
Hometown: Lake City, FL

Teams are always on the lookout for franchise tackles, and the Raiders are no exception. Laremy Tunsil was a former top recruit who has lived up to the billing during his time at Ole' Miss. His biggest question mark is health, after suffering a broken leg during the Rebels bowl game. He is also currently being held out of the Rebels starting lineup with some off the field eligibility issues. It will be interested how that affects his draft status, especially if he is forced to miss the entire year. When he is on the field, scouts love his aggressiveness and nasty streak and he excels as a run blocker. The Raiders perhaps landed the best players from the last two drafts, and Tunsil has the raw talent to make it three in a row.


9. Cleveland Browns (1-3)
OLB Leonard Floyd, Jr, Georgia
6'4, 230 lbs
Hometown: Eastman, GA
2015 Stats: 27 tackles, 2 sacks

The Browns need a quarterback but I can't see swinging for the average Connor Cook as an upgrade at this point. There are a ton of holes the team needs to fill elsewhere. Leonard Floyd was perhaps the best Georgia defender as a redshirt sophomore, and he is off to a great start as a junior in 2015. He is tall and a bit lanky, but a good pass rusher who can drop back into coverage as well. The talent is there to be a top 10 pick if he can become more consistent. Barkevious Mingo is a former top 10 pick who has managed 7 career sacks. He would fit best as a rotational piece.


10. New Orleans Saints (1-3)
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Jr, Florida
5'11, 199 lbs
Hometown: Tampa, FL
2014 Stats: 17 tackles, 3 INT

It is no secret what the Saints need. Talent on the defensive back seven. Vernon Hargreaves might be the most talented defensive back in football. What he lacks in size he makes up for in recognition and technique. He already has three interceptions on the season and looks destined to be a first round pick. The scuttlebutt is scouts think he is vastly overrated, but we shall see. He is a big time playmaker, but is not as polished as Tre'Davious White or Jalen Ramsey.


11. Tennessee Titans (1-2)
DE DeForest Buckner, Sr, Oregon
6'7, 290 lbs
Hometown: Waianae, HI
2014 Stats: 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks

The Titans have been more competitive than most thought, but still lack the talent to be a true playoff contender. DeForest Buckner is a mountain of a man who has rare ability for a 3-4 end. He is a tackling machine and can get to the quarterback as well. His athleticism is not off the charts, but he has playmaking potential. If it wasn't for Buckner disrupting the Utah offense a couple weeks ago, Oregon might have lost by 100 points. Tennessee is still transitioning to the 3-4, and Buckner would be a huge upgrade over the average defensive lineman currently starting.


12.  Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
OG/OT Germaine Ifedi, Jr, Texas A&M
6'5, 325 lbs
Hometown: Houston, TX

A few years ago the Eagles may have had the best offensive line in football. Now it is an extreme weak spot, especially the interior. The Aggies have had three first round tackles the past three years and will hope to extend that streak to four. Germaine Ifedi takes over the left side for the departed Cedric Ogbuehi. He is extremely talented, but still raw. Scouts love his ability to play all over the offensive line, and every year we see lineman rise during the draft. He would hope to fill one of the troublesome guard spots in Philadelphia.


13. Washington Redskins (2-2)
DE Shawn Oakman, Sr, Baylor
6'8, 280 lbs
Hometown: Lansdowne, PA
2015 stats: 14 tackles, 2 sacks

A quarterback would be a logical choice here, but I think Jay Gruden is going to have to ride with Kirk Cousins for as long as he is employed by Washington, which might not be much longer. Also, I just do not like Connor Cook or any other prospects at this point, so the Skins go a different direction. Shawn Oakman is still more athlete than football player, but he is one of the most physically dominating athletes in college football. He would be a great fit as a penetrating 3-4 end, and could become a complete football player if he can improve his run defense.


14. Baltimore Ravens
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Jr, Ohio State
6'1, 225 lbs
2015 Stats: 100 rushes, 729 yards, 8 TD

Baltimore needs offense, offense, offense. I had Tyler Boyd here for the Ravens last week, but I think it would be a massive reach to take him here. He reminds me more of a Jarvis Landry slot receiver type. Very valuable, but not traditionally a top 15 pick. Ezekiel Elliott has the look of a foundation back. The Buckeyes finally let him loose for 23 carries against Indiana, and he responded with 274 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last year Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon were high picks. This year, it should be Elliott. Next year you have Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb. Running backs are back.


15. San Diego Chargers (2-2)
CB Zack Sanchez, Jr, Oklahoma
5'11, 175 lbs
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
2015 Stats: 22 tackles, 1 INT, 0.5 sacks

Like offensive lineman, defensive backs often are drafted high due to demand. Brandon Flowers has really fallen apart in recent seasons, and the Chargers have nothing other than Jason Verrett. The Sooners have been down by their standards the past couple of seasons, but Zack Sanchez is one of the best defenders in the country. He is undersized but has a lot of experience and is a very solid tackler. His toughness will be a very welcome addition in San Diego.


16. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
OT Taylor Decker, Sr, Ohio State
6'8, 315 lbs
Hometown: Vandalia, OH

The Vikings have a nice set of skill players, but the offensive line is a complete mess. Taylor Decker stands a tall 6'8 and brings a load of experience into his senior season for the Buckeyes. The Ohio State offense is really struggling so far this year, but Decker has done his job keeping Cardale Jones upright. This is tremendous value for Minnesota here.


17. St. Louis Rams (2-2)
OG/OT Jack Conklin, Jr, Michigan State
6'6,  325 lbs
Hometown: Plainwell, MI

The Rams have two very impressive early wins over the AFC West power houses. Todd Gurley had his coming out party and the sky is the limit for him, but it would be wise for St. Louis to continue buildint it's offensive line. Jack Conklin brings over 2 years of starting experience at tackle protecting Connor Cook. He is very technically sound, but might kick inside in the NFL. Conklin recently suffered a knee injury. It is not expected to be season ending, but if it lingers it might cause his stock to slip. This has been a terrible year for injuries to top prospects.


18. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
DT Kenny Clark, Jr, UCLA
6'3, 310 lbs
Hometown: San Bernandino, CA
2015 Stats: 28 tackles

The Chiefs have had a brutal early season schedule, but things should clear up soon. Like I always say, Andy Reid drafts offensive and defensive lineman in the first round. Kenny Clark is not much of a pass rusher, but will be able to occupy blockers and help against the run at end in Kansas City's defense. He is perhaps the most stout run defender in this class, and will do a great job of setting up Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.


19. Buffalo Bills (2-2)
MLB Jaylon Smith, Jr, Notre Dame
6'3, 235 lbs
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
2015 Stats: 38 tackles, 1 sack

The Bills have one of the top rosters in the league, but could use more thump out of their defensive back seven. Jaylon Smith, a top ten talent, would be quite a steal here. Smith is a do-it-all linebacker for the Fighting Irish, and I love his potential as a future NFL middle linebacker. He has drawn comparisons to Patrick Willis and could be the leader of very good Buffalo defense.


20. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
OG/C Max Tuerk, Sr, USC
6'6, 285 lbs
Hometown: Trabuco Canyon, CA

Offensive line has been a serious issue for the Seahawks this season. Interior lineman are being drafted higher than ever. Max Tuerk has a few years of experience blocking for a couple of NFL quarterbacks and running backs. He is tall and lanky, but a solid technician and has experience at every offensive line position. He would help replace Max Unger at guard for Seattle.


21. Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
DT Adolphus Washington, Sr, Ohio State
6'4, 290 lbs
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
2015 Stats: 28 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

The Colts roster is somewhat of a mess, even though they will still win one of the worst divisions in NFL history. They could use talent at every position except quarterback and wide receiver. Adolphus Washington was overshadowed by bigger names like Michael Bennett last year, but was easily the most consistent player. He is off to a fantastic start in 2015, with 28 tackles to his credit after five games. Washington would be a very solid defensive end in Indy's 3-4 scheme.


22. Carolina Panthers (4-0)
OG/OT Vadal Alexander, Sr, LSU
6'6, 329 lbs
Hometown: Buford, GA

It is no secret that the Panthers need offensive line help. Vadal Alexander has a ton of experience and was kicked outside to tackle in an effort to improve his NFL Draft prospects. Leonard Fournette is currently tearing up the college football landscape, and Alexander is a huge reason why. He could hold his own at either guard or right tackle in the pros, and his mauling run blocking style would be a good fit for Cam Newton and the running game.


23. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)
S Jeremy Cash, Sr, Duke
6'2, 210 lbs
Hometown: Miami, FL
2015 Stats: 42 tackles, 1.5 sacks

Like they have in previous seasons, Pittsburgh needs to draft all defense all the way. Jeremy Cash was a former Miami recruit who ended up at Duke, and he could be the team's second first round pick in two years. He is as physical as a linebacker, racking up tackles and even getting to the quarterback with regularity. He needs to improve his coverage, but as far as an in the box safety, there is no one better in this class. His physicality would be a welcome site for the Steel Curtain.


24. New York Giants
OG Cody Whitehair, Sr, Kansas State
6'4, 305 lbs
Hometown: Abilene, KS

I cannot stress this enough. Offensive lineman get picked high these days. Cody Whitehair is more of a late second round talent, but demand could easily push him into the late first round. He is not a sexy pick, but similar to Kevin Frederick and Laken Tomlinson the past few years, should step right in and hold down a starting guard spot for the next decade. The Giants offensive line is still a mess, and GM Jerry Reese will likely continue to devote high picks to fix the unit.


25. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
OLB/S Su'a Cravens, Jr, USC
6'1, 225 lbs
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
2015 Stats: 27 tackles, 1 INT, 2 sacks

Cowboys fans feel they have one of the most talented, young defenses in the league. That is true for the defensive line, but this unit still needs more depth. Su'a Cravens is a tremendously productive defender without a true NFL position. Like Shaq Thompson a year ago, he will be drafted in the late first or early second and the defensive coordinator will figure out how to use him later. He would be a great fit at weak side linebacker in Dallas.


26. New York Jets (3-1)
OLG Jordan Jenkins, Sr, Georgia
6'3, 253 lbs
Hometown: Hamilton, GA
2015 Stats: 29 tackles, 3 sacks

The Chargers have spent plenty of high picks on pass rushers, but the next Shawne Merriman has not walked through that door. The Georgia Bulldogs are a 3-4 defense factory, and that is no different this year. Leonard Floyd steals all the headlines but senior Jordan Jenkins is off to a fantastic start. He racked up 3 sacks his first two games before taking most of the next two games off due to blowouts. Scouts worry his lack of athleticism could turn him into another Jarvis Jones, but he is worth taking at this juncture.


27. Atlanta Falcons (4-0)
S Jayron Kearse, Jr, Clemson
6'4, 210 lbs
Hometown: Fort Myers, FL
2015 Stats: 17 tackles, 1 INT

Jayron Kearse, the nephew of former Florida great Jevon, shares his athleticism. He is a tall, strong, hard hitter who has become the leader of Clemson's defense. Only a junior, he still needs to improve his consistency, but has all of the traits to be a first round pick at safety. Dan Quinn had a tall, powerful safety in Seattle by the name of Kam Chancellor, and Kears shares quite a few similar traits.


28. Denver Broncos (4-0)
DT A'Shawn Robinson, Jr, Alabama
6'4, 312 lbs
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
2015 Stats: 14 tackles

The Broncos are Super Bowl or bust until Peyton Manning retires, opting in recent seasons to draft for depth along the defense. A'Shawn Robinson had 5 sacks as a freshman before transitioning into more of a run stopper as a sophomore. Robinson is very strong, and has the speed to track down ball carriers. He might not ever get to the quarterback with regularity, but should really help plug the interior of Seattle's defensive line.

29. Arizona Cardinals (3-1)
QB Christian Hackenberg, Jr, Penn State
6'4, 228 lbs
Hometown: Palmyra, VA
2015 Stats: 66-125, 824 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT

The Cardinals are one of the deepest and best teams in the league, and Bruce Arians is crazy enough to take a swing at Christian Hackenberg here. Hackenberg has the size and talent to be an effective NFL starter, but his last two seasons at Happy Valley have been a mess. Whether he has regressed without Bill O'Brien or a porous offense has crushed his confidence, Hackenberg needs to fix quite a bit. Arians is a quarterback duo and could jump at the opportunity to develop Hackenberg as Carson Palmer's eventual replacement.


30. Buffalo Bills (2-1)
OLB Myles Jack, Jr, UCLA
6'1, 232 lbs
2014 Stats: 15 tackles, 1 INT

The Bengals have taken chances on injured players before. This is the perfect spot for a team to go after Myles Jack. One of the most dynamic talents in football, his season was unfortunately cut short by a serious injury. At his best, he is an attacking, complete outside linebacker, able to get to the quarterback or drop into coverage. He should make a complete recovery, and still could still be a late first round pick. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Vontaze Burfict may never play again, and Jack would be a sound replacement.

31. Green Bay Packers (4-0)
DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun, Sr, Michigan State
6'5, 250 lbs
Hometown: Middletown, NJ
2015 Stats: 20 tackles, 4.5 sacks

As with past years, the Packers offense is rolling and the defense is just there for the ride. GM Ted Thompson will keep on hoping to hit picks on the defensive side of the ball. Shilique Calhoun has been a very productive pass rusher for the Spartans for a few years. There are concerns about his true NFL position, but 3-4 defenses can never have enough pass rushers.

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