2015 NFL Mock Draft: Top 20

By Shawn Spencer

2015 NFL Mock Draft

2015 NFL Draft Winston Mariota
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With the regular season finished, the first 20 picks of the 2015 NFL Draft are set. For the teams not playing in January, the scouting process has already become a top priority. Free agents and draft entrants will be analyzed and teams will look to find the players who can make an impact. Here's an early look at how the first 20 picks may go.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Williams (DL-USC)

Leonard Williams USC
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1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Williams (DL-USC)

Leonard Williams USC
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The last time Tampa Bay had the first pick in the draft, the team selected Miami QB Vinny Testaverde. While another Sunshine State QB will certainly be considered with this pick, the Bucs go defense. Head coach Lovie Smith is a defensive-minded coach, and he wants to assemble a defense similar to the one he had in Chicago. Williams can play all over the line and will contribute right away. This may not be the popular pick, but it's the best pick.

2. Tennessee Titans: Jameis Winston (QB-Florida State)

Jameis Winston Florida State
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2. Tennessee Titans: Jameis Winston (QB-Florida State)

Jameis Winston Florida State
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Winston to the Titans will be a common theme in mock drafts leading up to the draft. But with Marcus Mariota still on the board in this scenario, does Winston still get the call? Ken Whisenhunt has drafted three quarterbacks in his seven years as a head coach. All three (John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Zach Mettenberger) were known for their size and strong arms coming out of college. Those are two traits in which Winston has the upper hand.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory (DE-Nebraska)

Randy Gregory Nebraska
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3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory (DE-Nebraska)

Randy Gregory Nebraska
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Last year, the Jaguars went the free-agent route to improve the defense while building the offense through the draft. This time around, the team needs to add youth on the defensive side. Randy Gregory has only played two years of major college football, but his impact has caught the attention of NFL teams. His explosiveness and ability to create pressure on the QB will remind head coach Gus Bradley of his time coaching the defense in Seattle.

4. Oakland Raiders: La'el Collins (OT-LSU)

La'el Collins LSU
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4. Oakland Raiders: La'el Collins (OT-LSU)

La'el Collins LSU
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Although Collins is not the best OT on my board, the Raiders draft the LSU left tackle at No. 4. Collins is one of the better pass blockers in this draft, which is why he gets the call over Iowa's Brandon Scherff. Current starters Donald Penn and Khalif Barnes are not long-term solutions, and after botching Jared Veldheer's impending free agency last season, the Raiders must find a franchise left tackle to protect Derek Carr.

5. Washington Redskins: Brandon Scherff (OT-Iowa)

Brandon Scherff Iowa
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5. Washington Redskins: Brandon Scherff (OT-Iowa)

Brandon Scherff Iowa
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Robert Griffin III may be as nervous as anyone in the NFL when the Redskins are on the clock. However, with Marcus Mariota still on the board, Washington decides to protect RG3 rather than replace him. Scherff is an excellent run blocker and has improved this season in the passing game. With Trent Williams entrenched as the left tackle and 2014 rookie Morgan Moses expected to start at RT, Scherff can slide into his ideal spot at guard.

6. New York Jets: Marcus Mariota (QB-Oregon)

Marcus Mariota Oregon
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6. New York Jets: Marcus Mariota (QB-Oregon)

Marcus Mariota Oregon
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How great would the buildup to this pick be if the draft was still in New York? Jets fans would be ready to erupt either in joy or anger as the new general manager decides whether or not to draft the Heisman winner. Whoever the new GM and head coach are, they will want to tie their fates to a QB of their choosing. For a team that doesn't have the talent to overcome mistakes and turnovers, Mariota is the way to go.

7. Chicago Bears: Shane Ray (DE-Missouri)

Shane Ray Missouri
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7. Chicago Bears: Shane Ray (DE-Missouri)

Shane Ray Missouri
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Just like the draft, we move on from New York to Chicago. The hometown fans will be disappointed that the top two quarterbacks are off the board, but the Bears have several holes to fill. The mindset has to be to take the best player available. Ray is an excellent pass rusher and will provide much-needed youth to the Bears defense. With Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the division, the Bears can't have enough pass rushers.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley (OLB-Clemson)

Vic Beasley Clemson
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8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley (OLB-Clemson)

Vic Beasley Clemson
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Only the Bengals had fewer sacks in 2014 than the Falcons. The team desperately needs to create more pressure on the QB, and Vic Beasley is the player who can accomplish that. With Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu starting the season finale, LB is the No. 1 position of need in Atlanta. Beasley played DE at Clemson, but he's an ideal 3-4 OLB. We don't know if the next head coach will stay in the 3-4, but for now, Beasley is the pick.

9. New York Giants: DeVante Parker (WR-Louisville)

DeVante Parker Louisville
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9. New York Giants: DeVante Parker (WR-Louisville)

DeVante Parker Louisville
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As long as Eli Manning is the QB, the Giants are in win-now mode. The defense and offensive line could use an upgrade, but at this point in the draft, a WR would make the biggest impact. The Giants already have Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Rueben Randle at the position, but Randle is the only one over 6-feet tall. Parker is 6-foot-3 and has a huge catch radius. With Randle hitting free agency after next year, Manning needs another big WR.

10. St. Louis Rams: Amari Cooper (WR-Alabama)

Amari Cooper Alabama
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10. St. Louis Rams: Amari Cooper (WR-Alabama)

Amari Cooper Alabama
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No matter who the QB is in St. Louis, the Rams need playmakers on the outside. Only Kenny Britt, who is now a free agent, caught more than 31 passes at the WR position. Amari Cooper would start from Day 1 and can provide the home run threat the Rams thought Tavon Austin was going to provide. Drops and the ability to create separation are two concerns I have with Cooper, but he's better than what the team has now.

11. Minnesota Vikings: Alvin Dupree (DE-Kentucky)

Alvin Dupree Kentucky
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11. Minnesota Vikings: Alvin Dupree (DE-Kentucky)

Alvin Dupree Kentucky
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Originally, I had Baylor DE Shawn Oakman at this spot, but he announced that he will be returning to school next season. The next best option is Alvin "Bud" Dupree. He isn't widely considered a top-15 pick, but the more I watch him, the higher he rises. DE Everson Griffen excelled in his first year as a starter, however, Brian Robison struggled at the other DE spot. His 24 tackles and 4.5 sacks were career lows since becoming a starter in 2011.

12. Cleveland Browns: T.J. Clemmings (OT-Pittsburgh)

T.J. Clemmings Pittsburgh
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12. Cleveland Browns: T.J. Clemmings (OT-Pittsburgh)

T.J. Clemmings Pittsburgh
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With the first of two Round 1 picks, the Browns add depth to the offensive line. T.J. Clemmings is a developmental project with a ceiling as high as any OT in this draft. Prior to last season, Clemmings played defense at Pittsburgh. After moving to right tackle, he has shown flashes of brilliance. Clemmings is a big reason why Pittsburgh has a great run game. With Cleveland's QB situation up in the air, having a run game to rely on is a must.

13. New Orleans Saints: Dante Fowler, Jr. (DE-Florida)

Dante Fowler Jr. Florida
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13. New Orleans Saints: Dante Fowler, Jr. (DE-Florida)

Dante Fowler Jr. Florida
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The Saints go with the best player available at No. 13. Fowler can line up anywhere on the front seven and gives defensive coordinator Rob Ryan even more ways to be creative. Even though former Florida coach Will Muschamp has struggled to develop prospects, Fowler has been the exception. He has a great motor and always seems to be around the play. He would be an early favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

14. Miami Dolphins: Landon Collins (S-Alabama)

Landon Collins Alabama
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14. Miami Dolphins: Landon Collins (S-Alabama)

Landon Collins Alabama
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Even with the notion that Alabama prospects are damaged goods by the time they enter the NFL, Landon Collins is too valuable to pass up at this point. Miami needs to upgrade the secondary, and Collins ranks higher than any CB on the board. He's a leader on the back end of the Alabama defense and plays his best when the team needs him the most. For the Dolphins, he'll be needed most in the two games against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

15. San Francisco 49ers: Trae Waynes (CB-Michigan State)

Trae Waynes Michigan State
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15. San Francisco 49ers: Trae Waynes (CB-Michigan State)

Trae Waynes Michigan State
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With Jim Harbaugh out, this pick could go in any number of directions. The most obvious need is CB. The two best corners this season for the 49ers were Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver. Both are free agents. Waynes is a great cover corner and has been left on an island for the majority of his last two seasons at Michigan State. He's also solid against the run. He's a better prospect than former teammate Darqueze Dennard who was picked 24th in 2014.

16. Houston Texans: Shaq Thompson (OLB-Washington)

Shaq Thompson Washington
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16. Houston Texans: Shaq Thompson (OLB-Washington)

Shaq Thompson Washington
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Shaq Thompson provides the versatility the Texans need as the team builds a top defense. Jadeveon Clowney needs to stay healthy, but a combination of Clowney, Watt and Thompson would create fear in opposing offenses. Thompson has played some RB at Washington, but his versatility is at the linebacker and safety positions. He's a turnover machine and will cause problems for the young quarterbacks in the AFC South.

17. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaelen Strong (WR-Arizona State)

Jaelen Strong Arizona State
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17. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaelen Strong (WR-Arizona State)

Jaelen Strong Arizona State
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Now is the time for Andy Reid to spend a high draft pick on a WR. The Chiefs finished the 2014 season without a single touchdown reception by a wideout. Dwayne Bowe, Jason Avant and Donnie Avery are all past their primes. The Chiefs need to get younger and more explosive at the position. Jaelen Strong is the one WR left on the board who can take over a game. He's a physical mismatch and does an excellent job of high-pointing the ball.

18. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley (RB-Georgia)

Todd Gurley Georgia
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18. San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley (RB-Georgia)

Todd Gurley Georgia
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Don't believe for a second that Todd Gurley is going to fall out of the first round. Even with the hype surrounding Melvin Gordon, Gurley is by far the best back. An injury that isn't expected to linger into the 2015 regular season won't cause Gurley's stock to plummet. He's the best RB to enter the draft in a long time and will be a steal for San Diego. Philip Rivers needs skill players around him and he gets one of the best in Gurley.

19. Cleveland Browns: Benardrick McKinney (ILB-Mississippi State)

Benardrick McKinney Mississippi State
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19. Cleveland Browns: Benardrick McKinney (ILB-Mississippi State)

Benardrick McKinney Mississippi State
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With the pick acquired from Buffalo in the Sammy Watkins trade, Cleveland selects ILB Benardrick McKinney. The team needs help at WR, but this is a very deep WR class and there will be plenty of options left on Days 2 and 3. McKinney is the leader of the Mississippi State defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country earlier in the season. He's one to keep an eye on in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech's triple-option offense.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: P.J. Williams (CB-Florida State)

P.J. Williams Florida State
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20. Philadelphia Eagles: P.J. Williams (CB-Florida State)

P.J. Williams Florida State
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I was tempted to put dismissed Washington CB Marcus Peters in this spot since he's the No. 2 CB on my board. However, coming out of high school, Peters was recruited by just about every Pac-12 school except the Chip Kelly led Oregon Ducks. P.J. Williams has some off-the-field concerns as well, but the Eagles need to come away with a top CB. Williams has great instincts and plays physical against the pass as well as the run.

Shawn Spencer is an NFL Draft writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Spencer_NFL, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Related: 2015 NFL Draft Postseason Prospect Rankings: Offense

2015 NFL Draft Postseason Prospect Rankings: Defense

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