This is our seventh-annual backward mock draft. It's what it sounds like: What would the 2015 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Whom would the Patriots take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
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Back to 2015 Backward NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
Houston Texans: Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
The Texans did a good job of addressing many of their needs this offseason, so they have the luxury of taking the top player available. That would be Todd Gurley in my real 2015 NFL Mock Draft, and that's Alvin Dupree in this scenario. Houston is pleased with Jadeveon Clowney's recovery, but it wouldn't hurt to add another pass-rusher.
San Francisco 49ers: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Breshad Perriman is someone the 49ers could consider at No. 15 overall in the wake of his tremendous Pro Day. San Francisco desperately needs help at receiver, and Perriman could be a great speed complement to Anquan Boldin's presence as a possession target.
Miami Dolphins: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
The Dolphins, who would also be interested in a receiver, have to be annoyed that they just missed out on Breshad Perriman. They can't be too miffed though, as there are some other quality options. This includes Jalen Collins, who would step in right away as the starting cornerback across from Brent Grimes.
New Orleans Saints: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Eric Kendricks could go as high as No. 19 in the real 2015 NFL Draft, so he's definitely an acceptable option here. The Saints, who already upgraded one of the edge positions, can now turn to finding help in the interior, where the recently released Curtis Lofton struggled mightily last year.
Cleveland Browns: Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma
I have the Browns picking a nose tackle - albeit a better one - with their initial first-round pick in my real mock draft, so Jordan Phillips would make sense if the order were reversed. Cleveland desperately needs to fix its leaky run defense, and the massive Jordan Phillips would definitely help.
Minnesota Vikings: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
It's still unclear what will happen to Adrian Peterson, but Melvin Gordon provides way too much value to pass up at this juncture. Grabbing the next Jamaal Charles toward the end of the opening round would allow the Vikings to get rid of an athlete who doesn't want to play for them anymore.
St. Louis Rams: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
There's a chance the Rams could lose Joseph Barksdale this offseason, which would create a void at the right tackle position. I have them addressing this need in my real 2015 NFL Mock Draft, so I might as well have them pull the trigger on the same position in my backward mock.
New York Giants: D.J. Humphries, OT/G, Florida
Many mock drafts have the Giants taking an offensive tackle at No. 9. I don't think they'll go in that direction because there will be better players available (i.e. Amari Cooper). Having said that, picking 24th in a backward order changes a lot. In this scenario, D.J. Humphries provides great value at a position of need. New York has to make sure Eli Manning is well protected as the veteran quarterback enters his mid-30s.
Atlanta Falcons: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA
The Falcons go with an edge rusher in both the real and backward 2015 NFL Mock Drafts. This should come as no surprise, given that their pass rush was non-existent last year. That has to change, considering that they battle Drew Brees, Cam Newton and now Jameis Winston twice per year.
Chicago Bears: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Like the Falcons, the Bears are going after the same position. Receiver isn't as big of a need with Alshon Jeffery on the roster, but there's no doubt that if Jay Cutler actually cared, he would like it if his front office managed to replace Brandon Marshall.
New York Jets: Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia
Another team addressing the same position. How boring. This does make sense though, as the Jets don't have much in terms of a pass-rushing presence on the edge. Rex Ryan neglected the outside linebacker position when he was New York's coach, but the new regime probably won't disregard it.
Washington Redskins: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
The fifth pick in the draft is way too early to pick Landon Collins. No. 28, obviously, is not. I'm sure the Redskins would love it if they could drop down 15-20 spots and fill their greatest need with Collins, but that's not very realistic, especially given that Marcus Mariota is projected to go No. 2 overall.
Oakland Raiders: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
The Raiders jettisoned Antonio Smith after just one season, but they already needed help at the defensive tackle position. Eddie Goldman and Dan Williams would combine for a formidable duo on the defensive line.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Cameron Erving, OT/G/C, Florida State
The Jaguars couldn't block whatsoever this past season, so they came into the spring really needing to bolster their offensive line. They signed Jermey Parnell to be the new right tackle, but that wasn't nearly enough. The interior positions, particularly center, need to be addressed. Cameron Erving would be extremely valuable, given that he can play all three spots.
Tennessee Titans: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Some fantasy writers who masquerade as draft analysts scoffed at Tennessee's selection of Taylor Lewan last year, citing that the Michigan tackle didn't fill a need. Just one year later, both Michael Roos and Michael Oher are gone, and Lewan is now an invaluable building block of Tennessee's offensive line. The Titans even need a second tackle to play on the right side, and that's where Andrus Peat comes in.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
During the season, I reported that the Buccaneers were so desperate for a quarterback that they were willing to move up to No. 1 to get their man. That turned out to be irrelevant, as Tampa finished with the worst record. The poor Bucs can't get Jameis Winston in the backward mock; climbing from 32 into the top five would be too costly, as Lovie Smith would have to surrender his entire draft, as well as his first unborn grandchild.
It's a good thing this isn't the real order because the Buccaneers are getting the player I have mocked to them in the second round. Here's the analysis, and keep in mind that the mention of a franchise quarterback has to be disregarded:
The Buccaneers need help at left tackle, as Anthony Collins is gone after just one awful season. Teams usually grab an offensive weapon or a blocker after choosing a franchise quarterback, so that's what Tampa is doing here.
Good thing worst goes first. To see how that goes down, check out my real 2015 NFL Mock Draft.
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