The big names are off the board in free agency, so now NFL teams can start narrowing down their draft needs.
Without any top quarterbacks on the open market, teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets could look to take either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. The 2015 NFL draft class is stacked with top-tier pass rushers, but one prospect could drop because of “character” issues.
The Patriots have plenty of needs after Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Shane Vereen left in free agency. Check out who they select in NESN.com’s second mock draft of the offseason:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State
The Buccaneers already met with Winston and have scheduled a visit with fellow top quarterback prospect Marcus Mariota. Winston is more pro-ready, and if the Bucs can get past his character issues, he could be the top pick in the draft.
2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, defensive end, USC
Williams has the size, athleticism and production to be a top defensive lineman in the NFL. He would fit well at five-technique defensive end in the Titans’ 3-4 scheme.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler, Jr., outside linebacker, Florida
Fowler has the size, experience and athleticism to play all over the Jaguars’ front seven. He could play strong-side linebacker in the Jaguars’ base defense and drop down to rush the passer on third down.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, wide receiver, Alabama
The Raiders failed to address their wide receiver need in free agency, and Cooper could be the perfect fit to play with quarterback Derek Carr, who thrives passing over the middle of the field.
5. Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, outside linebacker, Clemson
The Redskins lost the oft-injured Brian Orakpo in free agency, and Beasley could come in and play the same pass-rushing role in Washington’s 3-4 scheme.
6. New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Oregon
The Jets would look a lot more dangerous with a top-tier quarterback. Mariota is raw, but he has the potential to be special.
7. Chicago Bears: D.J. Humphries, offensive tackle, Florida
Humphries still is a bit under the radar, but scouts say the Florida product will be the first tackle off the board. The Bears desperately need offensive line help.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, pass rusher, Missouri
The Falcons’ defense won’t improve until they add more pass-rush help. Ray can either play strong-side linebacker or the LEO pass-rushing role in Dan Quinn’s defense.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, offensive lineman, Iowa
Scherff could wind up being the best offensive lineman in the 2015 draft. He would project at guard in the Giants’ offense.
10. St. Louis Rams: Kevin White, wide receiver, West Virginia
The Rams’ best wide receiver remains Kenny Britt. White has the size, speed and big-play ability to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
11. Minnesota Vikings: La’el Collins, offensive lineman, LSU
The Vikings cut their 2014 starting left guard, Charlie Johnson. Collins could come in and start from Day 1 at guard.
12. Cleveland Browns: DeVante Parker, wide receiver, Louisville
Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel are solid options, despite their size, but the Browns need a big outside receiver. Parker ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds.
13. New Orleans Saints: Danny Shelton, defensive tackle, Washington
The Saints play a hybrid front seven under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Shelton would fit at nose tackle in either alignment.
14. Miami Dolphins: Trae Waynes, cornerback, Michigan State
The Dolphins added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Jordan Cameron, but they still could use help in the backend of their defense. Waynes is projected to be the best cornerback in this draft class.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Peters, cornerback, Washington
Peters was dismissed from Washington’s program for fighting with the coaching staff. The 49ers need a cornerback who can play press-man after losing Chris Culliver in free agency.
16. Houston Texans: Malcom Brown, defensive tackle, Texas
The Texans need a prototypical nose tackle to play next to J.J. Watt in their 3-4 defense. Brown also showed potential as a pass rusher during his time with the Longhorns.
17. San Diego Chargers: Randy Gregory, outside linebacker, Nebraska
Gregory’s character issues could drop him in the draft, a scout indicated to NESN.com. He’s worth the risk here at No. 17 overall, where the Chargers need pass-rush help.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, offensive lineman, Stanford
Peat projects at either tackle or guard in the NFL. The Chiefs’ offensive line struggled in 2014, and they could use a versatile player like Peat to fill in the gaps.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills): Arik Armstead, defensive lineman, Oregon
The Browns desperately need help along their 3-4 defensive line. Armstead has the perfect size for a 5-technique defensive end.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaelen Strong, wide receiver, Arizona State
The Eagles’ best receiver is either Riley Cooper or Jordan Matthews, and that needs to change. At 6-foot-2, 217 pounds with 4.44-second 40-yard-dash speed, Strong has No. 1 receiver potential.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Bud Dupree, outside linebacker, Kentucky
The Bengals signed Michael Johnson, but they still could use help rushing the passer. Dupree could play linebacker in the Bengals’ base defense and drop down to rush the passer on third down.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Collins, safety, Alabama
The Steelers desperately need help in their secondary. Collins could replace the quickly aging Troy Polamalu.
23. Detroit Lions: Todd Gurley, running back, Georgia
The Lions cut Reggie Bush, leaving just Joique Bell, Theo Riddick and George Wynn at running back. Gurley is coming off a torn ACL, but he has huge upside as an every-down rusher.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Ereck Flowers, offensive lineman, Miami
The Cardinals added Mike Iupati in free agency, but they still could use help on their offensive line. Flowers can play tackle or guard.
25. Carolina Panthers: Owa Odighizuwa, defensive end, UCLA
Star defensive end Greg Hardy is highly unlikely to be back in Carolina, so the Panthers need another pass rusher to play opposite Charles Johnson. Odighizuwa isn’t Hardy, but he has similar versatility.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Dorial Green-Beckham, wide receiver, Oklahoma
The Ravens are the kind of team that can take on DGB’s character issues. There are few 6-foot-5, 237-pound receivers who can run a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and 6.89-second three-cone drill.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Eddie Goldman, defensive tackle, Florida State
The Cowboys could look to take Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon here, since they lost starter DeMarco Murray, but this class is stacked at that position. In Goldman, the Cowboys could help improve their run defense with a big stout nose tackle.
28. Denver Broncos: T.J. Clemmings, offensive lineman, Pittsburgh
The Broncos need a left guard and right tackle. If Clemmings doesn’t work out at tackle, he could move inside to guard.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Melvin Gordon, running back, Wisconsin
The Colts signed Frank Gore, but he’ll be 32 years old by the time the season begins. The Colts need a running back for the future.
30. Green Bay Packers: Benardrick McKinney, linebacker, Mississippi State
The Packers’ linebacker depth was so poor in 2014 that they moved star edge rusher Clay Matthews inside. McKinney is rising up draft boards.
31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle Seahawks): Shaq Thompson, linebacker, Washington
The Saints’ linebackers struggled in 2014, and Thompson would be a nice fit as a pass-coverage weak-side linebacker. He also can play safety or running back.
32. New England Patriots: Jordan Phillips, defensive tackle, Oklahoma
The Patriots have spent a lot of time studying top defensive tackle prospects at pro days, which makes sense after declining Vince Wilfork’s 2015 option. Even if Wilfork returns, the Patriots need youth up front. Phillips is 6-foot-5, 329 pounds and moves well in the middle of the defense.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
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