Last time I put my mock draft up against Mel Kiper's it was met with plenty of skepticism. In fact, one of my friends texted me to say he now thinks I'm "on more drugs than Kiper."
Update: Read our NFL Draft scouting reports 2015 for the top prospects.
I understand, it is a mock draft after all, and I'll be lucky if I get 10 of these right. Still, I try to see if you all, and my friends at least think I'm less crazy this week in the second installment of Me vs. Mel. And remember, you can check out Mel Kiper's full mock draft here.
1. Tampa Bay - Mel's pick: Jameis Winston, QB. My pick: Winston
It didn't take long, but I give in. I still don't think Winston will amount to much in the NFL, but the Buccaneers appear set on a QB, and set on it being Winston. This team has so many needs, though, that just one player won't turn Tampa Bay around. At this point, it looks like something dramatic would have to shift for the Bucs for them to not select Winston here.
2. Tennessee - Mel's pick: Leonard Williams, DE. My pick: Williams
I had the Titans taking Williams last week, and I'm sticking to that. So long as the Titans appear set on Zach Mettenberger leading the way (which would terrify me if I was a Titans fan), then they'll go defense. It does worry me a little that I've read, in multiple places, that some consider Williams the best player in the draft. Whenever language like that comes out this early, my mind instantly thinks of the many "best players," who mostly played defense, who ended up being terrible in the NFL.
3. Jacksonville - Mel's pick: Dante Fowler, LB. My pick: Brandon Scherff, OT
I'm sticking to Scherff here as well. This will depend a little on what Jacksonville does in free agency, though. There will be opportunities to go after offensive or defensive players in the trenches. Whichever way the Jaguars go in free agency, they'll probably go the opposite in the draft. I said it last time, and I'll say it again, they must protect Blake Bortles.
4. Oakland - Mel's pick: Kevin White, WR. My pick: Amari Cooper, WR
I know that White is rocketing up draft boards. I just asked myself one question: Would I rather have a healthy DeSean Jackson or a healthy Julio Jones? I know the Raiders are enamored by speed, but that didn't work out too well when they grabbed Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree. Same deal here, this time they get it right.
5. Washington - Mel's pick: Shane Ray, DE. My pick: Donte Fowler, LB
If Fowler is still here, how could the Redskins pass him up? The Redskins have a lot of needs across their roster, and Fowler could solve a handful of issues. Ina similar mold to Khalil Mack from last year's draft, Fowler could play a few different positions if needed to on defense. Fowler being here would be a gift for the Redskins.
6. New York Jets - Mel's pick: Marcus Mariota, QB. My pick: Trae Waynes, CB
I had the Jets taking White last time. However, now that they've gone and acquired Brandon Marshall, that won't be happening. The Jets (among other things) really lacked a quality corner last season. Yes, this pick could change if they can lure Darrelle Revis back, but for now the Jets need someone who can cover a receiver. Besides, I can't see them taking a QB with a high pick...again.
7. Chicago - Mel's pick: Randy Gregory, LB. My pick: Gregory
I'm inclined to agree with Kiper here. The Bears are switching to a 3-4 defense which they haven't run in, well, ever. Personnel could be an issue here, so expect the Bears to address that in the draft. Gregory would be a solid building block for a team which has somewhat lost its reputation as a tough defensive team.
8. Atlanta - Mel's pick: Vic Beasley, LB. My pick: Shane Ray, DE
I struggled with this one. I could completely envision the Falcons taking Beasley with this pick. I think if Ray is available, though, Dan Quinn, and those who make the decisions, need to consider him. Despite the team's struggles in recent years, the offense should still be fairly solid, it's the defense that needs a lot of work.
9. New York Giants - Mel's pick: Andrus Peat, OT. My pick: Vic Beasley, LB
I could see the Giants going with Peat here, I could. However, as I said last time, with Steve Spagnuolo returning to run the defense, the Giants will build a pass rush. Beasley fits the mold of the pass rusher the Giants like to utilize, and if he's here, they'll take him.
10. St. Louis - Mel's pick: Amari Cooper, WR. My pick: Marcus Mariota, QB
Let me say this first, if Mariota is hanging around by this pick, I think the Eagles will swoop in and get him. But I'm not projecting trades. If Mariota is available at 10, it's a no brainer for the Rams. They have clung to Sam Bradford, and his huge contract, for too long. It's time to go in a new direction, and Mariota is that direction.
11. Minnesota - Mel's pick: Trae Waynes, CB. My pick: Danny Shelton, DT
This may be a bit of a reach. Remember, though, when the Vikings had Pat and Kevin Williams on that defensive line? They have sorely missed having a player (let alone two) who had that kind of talent to plug up the middle. Shelton offers this and could give a somewhat (in my opinion) underrated Vikings defense a boost.
12. Cleveland - Mel's pick: Danny Shelton, DT. My pick: Kevin White, WR
Why yes, I do have White still available here at 12 for the Browns. They'll take him without a question. With Josh Gordon out, whoever plays QB for this team needs someone to throw to. White's speed would allow Cleveland to stretch the field a bit more, and open up more shorter throws and running lanes. But again, we still don't really know who the QB in Cleveland will be.
13. New Orleans - Mel's pick: Brandon Scherff, OT. My pick: Andrus Peat, OT
The Saints have oodles of defensive issues here. However, so long as Drew Brees is under center, the team will revolve around him, and rightfully so. To prevent defenders from revolving around Brees, the Saints could seek to bolster their offensive line. If Peat is here, they have to consider him. I could see the Saints going defense here too, though.
14. Miami - Mel's pick: DeVante Parker, WR. My pick: Parker
If the Dolphins trade or release Mike Wallace, which sounds likely, they will go after a receiver, because remember, Brian Hartline is already gone. Parker would be a great option for the Dolphins, and could even emerge as a better all around receiver than Wallace is/was for Ryan Tannehill.
15. San Francisco - Mel's pick: Arik Armstead, DE. My pick: Malcom Brown, DT
The 49ers need help in a few areas. The primary two being the front seven, and the receiving corps. With Cooper, White, and Parker all gone, there is no good value for the 49ers here at receiver. Brown should still be here at 15, and could provide a solid presence in the middle of the 49ers defense.
16. Houston - Mel's pick: La'El Collins, OT. My pick: Breshad Perriman, WR
I think this is a somewhat big reach for the Texans. Still, if/when Andre Johnson is released, the Texans badly need a receiver. For years the media has harped that Houston needed a compliment player to Johnson. Well, now the Texans will need a player who can replace Johnson. I'm not sure if Perriman can "replace" a future Hall of Famer, but at least it's a start.
17. San Diego - Mel's pick: Malcom Brown, DT. My pick: Arik Armstead, DE
Let's be clear. San Diego almost always goes defense in the first round, and this will be no different. If Armstead is here, I think he is the pick. I had Eddie Goldman here last time, and that's still an open. However, if a player like Armstead is here, the Chargers simply must go after him.
18. Kansas City - Mel's pick: Jaelen Strong, WR. My pick: Landon Collins, S
I'm sticking to my pick of Collins here. Yes, the Chiefs could use a competent WR, but they can either get one in free agency, or in the next few rounds. Eric Berry's health is still a big question mark, and that's a position on the field which the team needs to address. Collins will be here, and he should be the pick.
19. Cleveland - Mel's pick: Ereck Flowers, OT. My pick: Flowers
I had Flowers here last mock draft as well, and see no need to change the pick. Earlier I had the Browns taking a receiver so the rotating door at QB has someone to throw to. Now I have them taking a lineman so said QB might stand a chance in back of Joe Thomas and four other players. Flowers and Thomas would be great offensive line book ends.
20. Philadelphia - Mel's pick: Jalen Collins, CB. My pick: Marcus Peters, CB
I'm sticking to this one as well. It certainly seems like, unless they move up, the Eagles will go after defense. And there's good reason for that as the Eagles secondary isn't too great. Peters or Collins would be a good pick here for Philly. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw Melvin Gordon come off the board here.
21. Cincinnati - Mel's pick: Eli Harold, LB. My pick: Bud Dupree, LB
I think this could be a steal for the Bengals. I think it's a no brainer that they go after a pass rusher in the draft, and Dupree would just be a great option. While I said earlier that I think labeling players early is dangerous, I think Dupree is one of the better pass rushers in a draft filled with them.
22. Pittsburgh - Mel's pick: Landon Collins, S. My pick: Eddie Goldman, DT
Would the Steelers love to have Collins? Of course, I just don't think he's available. The Pittsburgh defense will take a step back this year, mainly because of the departure of Dick LeBeau. However, many of the keys pieces on the unit are nearing retirement and need to be replaced. Goldman would be a solid center piece for a new-age Steelers defense.
23. Detroit - Mel's pick: Eddie Goldman, DT. My pick: Jordan Phillips, DT
I give in. Last mock, I said that I felt the Lions would be able to keep Ndamukong Suh and wouldn't need to take a defensive tackle. Well, it's sounding more and more like Suh will be gone, and the Lions will need a replacement. If there is a player the Lions really covet, I wouldn't be surprised if they moved up to get someone like Malcom Brown. Otherwise, Phillips is a fine option here as well.
24. Arizona - Mel's pick: Melvin Gordon, RB. My pick: Eli Harold, LB
Despite what everyone (including myself) said about the Cardinals defense being so good last year, it really wasn't. In fact, the Cardinals defense ranked in the bottom 10 in the league. I can't see Arizona going anything other than defense in the first round. Harold is a player who is beginning to move up draft boards, so right now I'll slot him to Arizona.
25. Carolina - Mel's pick: D.J. Humphries, OT. My pick: Jalen Strong, WR
I know the Panthers could use offensive line help, so Kiper's pick makes perfect sense. However, the offense still only has one receiving weapon in Kelvin Benjamin. Adding Strong to the other side could give the Panthers an extremely potent passing attack, which alone could be good enough to win the division.
26. Baltimore - Mel's pick: Marcus Peters, CB. My pick: Jalen Collins, CB
Turns out, I'm just going to have these corners swapped in Mel's mock and my own. If a corner like either of these two are on the board, it makes sense for the Ravens to take one. The defense isn't what it used to be, and defense is at a premium in the AFC North. Adding a player like Collins to the secondary would help the Ravens greatly.
27. Dallas - Mel's pick: Kevin Johnson, CB. My pick: Denzel Perryman, LB
If DeMarco Murray ends up elsewhere, then Melvin Gordon could be the pick here. Until that happens, I'm going to say the Cowboys go defense. The Cowboys had a fair amount of injuries to their front seven last year. Adding Perryman could both add depth and a potential impact player to the unit.
28. Denver - Mel's pick: Cameron Irving, C. My pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT
The Broncos need to protect Peyton Manning. They simply must. Adding Clemmings will give the Broncos another body on their offensive line, and a solid one at that. Depending on how the beginning of free agency goes, though, this pick could most certainly change.
29. Indianapolis - Mel's pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT. My pick: La'El Collins
Boy would I be happy if this happened. The Colts could go many different directions here, almost any position other than QB, and it would make some sense. Protecting Andrew Luck, though, is priority number one. Adding a player of Collins' caliber to the right side of the offensive line would be key for the Colts. I'm not so sure Collins will be here at 29, but if he is, Ryan Grigson should waste no time pulling the trigger.
30. Green Bay - Mel's pick: Jordan Phillips, DT. My pick: Stephone Anthony, ILB
Assuming the Packers don't bring A.J. Hawk back at a reduced price (which is certainly possible) they will need a replacement at linebacker. Ted Thompson isn't afraid to move out of the first round, and that could be what he does here. Anthony might be a bit of a reach at 30, but in the early second round he wouldn't be. One way or another, I think the Packers go after him.
31. Seattle - Mel's pick: Breshad Perriman, WR. My pick: Devin Smith, WR
Last time I had Melvin Gordon going here to Seattle. However, that probably won't be the case since Marshawn Lynch is coming back to Seattle. In that case, the Seahawks look to bolster the weakest unit on their roster: receiver. Smith is a speedster, who would fit right in with the other pass catchers on the roster.
32. New England - Mel's pick: Carl Davis, DT. My pick: Davis
I'm going to agree on this one. With the news coming through that Vince Wilfork won't return, you can bet that New England will search for a replacement. Davis has the ability to fill that hole, although he probably won't be the same type of player Wilfork is. Still, he fills a need on a team that doesn't have many weak spots.
That raps up the second version of Me vs. Mel. Plenty of changes this time, and to be sure, there will be plenty of more changes to come! Check out the rest of Mel Kiper's mock draft and analysis over on ESPN (subscription required).