It's time for Round 3 of Me vs. Mel. It's been over a month since Mel Kiper unveiled his third mock draft. Since then, the whirlwind of free agency has come and gone. With that, you can imagine this mock will have a slightly different look to it.
After my last mock, I received no texts saying that I was sharing drugs with Kiper, so I suppose that means my friends thought it was better. Maybe not. As always, you can check out Kiper's full Mock Draft over at ESPN (subscription required).
Let's get right to it.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mel's pick: Jameis Winston, QB. My pick: Winston
Last time, I gave in and slotted Winston to the Bucs. I still think there is an outside chance that Marcus Mariota is the pick here. However, it seems like Tampa is set on Winston. The only way it doesn't happen is if Winston somehow gets into trouble before the draft.
2. Tennessee Titans - Mel's pick: Marcus Mariota, QB. My pick: Leonard Williams, DT
Kiper seems sure that someone will take Mariota here. I'm not so sure. I don't think the Titans take him (I just can't see it), despite the rumors coming out of Tennessee this week. And I don't think they trade the pick, since I would imagine they look for a haul similar to what St. Louis got in 2012. Williams could be the best player in the draft, and the Titans need to keep pace with the rest of the AFC South. Besides, if they pass on Williams, Jacksonville would take him next, and that could be a PR disaster for Tennessee.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mel's pick: Leonard Williams, DT. My pick: Dante Fowler, DE
This week, Fowler said he would be shocked if Jacksonville doesn't take him. Of course, that means they probably won't, but I'll slot him here anyway. I'm not so sure about Fowler, since top 5 linebackers don't always pan out. I still think Jacksonville needs O-Line help, and a trade back is certainly possible here.
4. Oakland Raiders - Mel's pick: Amari Cooper, WR. My pick: Cooper
I've had Cooper here from the beginning and I'm keeping it that way. This is such an obvious Raiders pick. Of course, Michael Crabtree was an obvious Raider pick when they selected Darrius Heyward-Bey instead. Oops. Still, Cooper has to be the pick to give Derrick Carr a legitimate receiver.
5. Washington Redskins - Mel's pick: Dante Fowler, DE. My pick: Vic Beasley, OLB
If Randy Gregory didn't have some off-field problems, I think he's the pick here. But he does, so he isn't. I think Kiper is right in that if Fowler falls here, Washington takes him. I just don't think he'll get here. Beasley has rocketed up draft boards recently, and could go here. Also, don't believe that nonsense that Washington could take Mariota. They won't.
6. New York Jets - Mel's pick: Brandon Scherff, OT. My pick: Kevin White, WR
I originally had White here, switched to Mariota last week, and now I'm switching back. Make no mistake, the Eagles could swoop in and trade for this spot. If they do, Mariota is the pick. If the Jets stay put, I think it's White. White gives Geno Smith a trio of options with Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and himself. If Smith can't succeed with them, he can be replaced next season.
7. Chicago Bears - Mel's pick: Kevin White, WR. My pick: Randy Gregory, DE
I am really unsure about this pick. I tried to think "What would John Fox do?" when doing this. Gregory is not a Fox pick, but I tabbed him anyway. The Bears are quickly dropping into the depths of the NFC North, and in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Teddy Bridgewater, defense is at a premium. Gregory may have some issues, but he has talent.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Mel's pick: Vic Beasley, OLB. My pick: Shane Ray, DE
Is there any doubt that Dan Quinn will opt for defense? The offense (at least the passing game) should take care of itself, but the defense needs help. Last mock, I had Ray going here, and I'm sticking with it for now.
9. New York Giants - Mel's pick: Shane Ray, DE. My pick: Brandon Scherff, OT
There were a lot of things wrong with the Giants last year. One of those things was the offensive line, which basically got Eli Manning killed. I still think Jacksonville should take Scherff, and he would be a great pick here for the Giants. No brainer if he's available.
10. St. Louis - Mel's pick: Breshad Perriman, WR. My pick: Perriman, WR
I actually agree with Kiper here. Now that the Rams have a QB they actually want, they need to give him weapons. Tavon Austin hasn't quite panned out, and the Rams need someone opposite him anyway. Perriman is a big, fast WR who could be this year' Odell Beckham.
11. Minnesota Vikings - Mel's pick: Trae Waynes, CB. My pick: DeVante Parker, WR
This is almost too obvious. Taking Bridgewater's college receiver makes so much sense for the Vikings. Pair him with Mike Wallace and suddenly the Vikings have a pretty good receiving corps. Also, I expect the Vikings to move Cordarrelle Patterson at some point during the draft.
12. Cleveland Browns - Mel's pick: DeVante Parker, WR. My pick: Marcus Mariota, QB
I'm pretty sure you will all jump on this pick in the comments, but hear me out. It sounds like the Browns are done (already) with Johnny Manziel. We know they wanted Sam Bradford, but couldn't pry him away from the Rams. We all speculate that the Eagles want to deal Bradford to the Browns to get Mariota. Picking Mariota here would give Cleveland just a bit more leverage to get something out of Philadelphia. That, or they simply trade the pick, and Mariota is taken here anyway. Regardless, if he is here at 12, Mariota will be taken here.
13. New Orleans Saints - Mel's pick: Randy Gregory, DE. My pick: Trae Waynes, CB
The Saints offense may need some help now that Jimmy Graham is gone. However, the defense needs more help. In a passing league, you need to at least contain the pass, and the Saints haven't really had a legitimate corner in quite some time. If Waynes is here, he's the pick.
14. Miami Dolphins - Mel's pick: Danny Shelton, DT. My pick: Jaelen Strong, WR
I think this is a bit of a reach, but the Dolphins badly need a receiver. Without looking, I honestly don't know who they have. Sure in the coming days they may sign Greg Jennings or Wes Welker, but is that really the answer? No. The Dolphins may trade down, but they'll tab a WR in the first round. Oh, and they won't invest a high pick (and more money) in another DT. Nope.
15. San Francisco 49ers - Mel's pick: Arik Armstead, DE. My pick: Danny Shelton, DT
The 49ers badly need help, in pretty much all areas. The defense is aging, and the offense is...well it's interesting. Shelton could at least provide an anchor to an age depleted unit. Kiper could be right in Armstead, but if Shelton is on the board, I would take him first.
16. Houston Texans - Mel's pick: Bud Dupree, OLB. My pick: Dorial Green-Beckham
The Texans desperately need a WR. Andre Johnson was the only threat they had, and now he is out of the picture. Set aside the fact that Houston doesn't have a QB either, they need someone who can make plays on offense. Arian Foster can't do it all.
17. San Diego Chargers - Mel's pick: Malcolm Brown, DT. My pick: Bud Dupree, OLB
The Chargers almost always draft defense, and this will be no different. With Dwight Freeney no longer an option, the Chargers need someone who can rush the passer. I really like Dupree, and think that he could be one of the top players in this draft. He's a great pick here for the Chargers, as they may be poised to finally reclaim the AFC West this year.
18. Kansas City Chiefs - Mel's pick: Jaelen Strong, WR. My pick: Landon Collins, S
Yes, WR is a need, but I'm not sure any value is to be had at this point in my mock. The Chiefs rely on their defense to keep them in games, and without Eric Berry there is a huge hole at safety. I was hoping to find a scenario where Collins slides to the Colts, but I don't think he makes it past the Chiefs.
19. Cleveland Browns - Mel's pick: Todd Gurley, RB. My pick: Andrus Peat, OT
I still think that in a few short years Joe Thomas will not be a Brown, just a gut feeling. The Browns need to at least find someone else who can block for whoever is playing QB. Peat is a guy I had in my top 15 last time, and Kiper had in his top 10. Bolstering the O-Line is always a good idea. Plus, I don't think Cleveland will be burning a first round pick on a running back again anytime soon.
20. Philadelphia Eagles - Mel's pick: Landon Collins, S. My pick: Arik Armstead, DT
I really think the Eagles go defense here (if they keep this pick). I would love to have them pick a corner or safety, but there's just no one out there that would be a good pick at 20. Besides, I think we all know they'll move around in the draft, so I doubt they're picking at 20 anyway.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Mel's pick: Devin Funchess, WR. My pick: Ereck Flowers, OT
Could the Bengals use another WR to go with A.J. Green? Certainly. However, the Bengals offense line was dreadful last season. Combine that with the fact that Andy Dalton isn't terribly mobile, you have a problem. They need to protect Dalton, and Flowers is the best bet at this point in the draft to do that.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mel's pick: Kevin Johnson, CB. My pick: Malcolm Brown, DT
Much like the 49ers defense, the Steelers defense is getting old. I think Pittsburgh would like a linebacker here, but most of the good pass rushers are gone. Getting an anchor on the defensive line never hurt anyway, and Brown should be able to fill that role extremely well.
23. Detroit Lions - Mel's pick: La'El Collins, OT. My pick: Kevin Johnson, CB
I've seen some mocks that have the Lions going after a DT, but I don't think they will. Much like the Bears, the Lions need to prepare for playing against top level QBs (did I just accidentally classify Jay Cutler as a top QB?) most of the season. I still think Johnson is a bit of a reach here, but it's a pick that makes sense for Detroit.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Mel's pick: Melvin Gordon, RB. My pick: Eli Harold, OLB
Again, I just can't envision the Cardinals taking a running back right away. Especially because I think they will make a play for Adrian Peterson. As I said last time, the Cardinals need help on defense, and Harold could provide that. After the combine, Harold's stock seems to have dipped a bit, but I think he's still a lower first round pick.
25. Carolina Panthers - Mel's pick: D.J. Humphries, OT. My pick: Humphries
Sometimes it's a good idea to go with the flow. Almost every mock I've seen projects Humphries to the Panthers. While nothing in the draft is a sure thing, it sounds like Carolina jumps after O-Line help here. I'll agree with Kiper (and most mock drafters) and take Humphries here.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Mel's pick: Marcus Peters, CB. My pick: Peters
This is such a Ravens pick. Peters is a solid corner late in the first round. This is basically how the Ravens have built their secondary. This makes way too much sense.
27. Dallas Cowboys - Mel's pick: Byron Jones, CB. My pick: Todd Gurley, RB
I can't believe I'm slotting a running back in the first round, yet here we are. Dallas lost DeMarco Murray in free agency and need a long term replacement. I'm a big Gurley fan (that sounds really weird out loud) and I think he could be an immediate contributor in Dallas. If Jerry Jones thought about Manziel last year, he has to be thinking about Gurley this year.
28. Denver Broncos - Mel's pick: Cameron Erving, C. My pick: Byron Jones, CB
I'm basing this off of two things. The recent allegations against Aqib Talib could, at least, be a potential distraction to the team. I also don't think you give Peyton Manning a new center in his last year. The Broncos secondary was torched by Andrew Luck, and an upgrade is always a good thing in the secondary.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Mel's pick: Andrus Peat, OT. My pick: Jordan Phillips, DT
I thought about sticking with Collins to the Colts at this pick. However, after free agency, I think the Colts will stick to the unit they have on the line. Safety is obviously a need, but there is no value here. The Colts did nothing to improve an already weak run defense, however. Phillips may be a bit of a stretch here, and I could see Ryan Grigson dropping back in the draft. But, assuming they stay put, I'll give the nod to Phillips.
30. Green Bay Packers - Mel's pick: Jalen Collins, CB. My pick: Collins
I still think the Packers could go linebacker here. However, after losing Tramon Williams in free agency the Packers find themselves down a quality corner. Collins would be a good value pick here, and is probably the top player on the board at this point. The Packers defense dropped the ball (well OK technically the special teams did) in the playoffs and the unit could use some fresh blood.
31. New Orleans Saints - Mel's pick: Nelson Agholor, WR. Devin Funchess, WR
Really, Funchess is more of a tight end who will be used as a receiver. In other words, he's cut from the same cloth as Jimmy Graham. I fully expect the Saints to try and replace Graham in the draft, so the pick here is probably Funchess or Maxx Williams.
32. New England Patriots - Mel's pick: Eddie Goldman, DT. My pick: Ronald Darby, CB
I was so close to tabbing Melvin Gordon as the pick here. However, with the loss of Darrelle Revis, the Patriots need to retool their secondary. Darby could be had in the later rounds, I think, but it makes the most sense for New England to grab him here.
Well, that's it for another Me vs. Mel. There should only be one more edition of this before the draft, unless Kiper starts pumping out mock drafts a la Todd McShay.