Posted Thursday, March 5, 2015.
I did this the past four years, and I thought it would be pretty fun to do it again. It's exactly what it sounds like - if free agency occurred in a draft format, who would be the top picks? I've excluded all the free agents who are either restricted or franchised.
Go here for my 2015 NFL Mock Draft
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Real 2015 NFL Mock Draft
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions. Age: 28.
The Buccaneers spent the third-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on Gerald McCoy. Ndamukong Suh went one selection earlier, and it's conceivable that the two could be paired this offseason. Tampa is in need of an upgrade at the defensive tackle position next to McCoy, and Suh is the best free agent available.
Tennessee Titans: Devin McCourty, S/CB, Patriots. Age: 28.
Like the Buccaneers, the Titans can't get their hands on a quarterback in the free agency mock draft. Luckily for them, this isn't real.
Nevertheless, Tennessee would love to land someone as talented as Devin McCourty. The Patriot free agent is the second-best player available after Ndamukong Suh. He can play either safety or corner, and the Titans need an upgrade at both spots.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys. Age: 27.
The plodding Toby Gerhart was a predictable bust in free agency. Denard Robinson stepped in and outperformed him, though Robinson couldn't stay healthy. The Jaguars could consider an upgrade at running back, and I think they'd most certainly grab DeMarco Murray in this scenario. Murray is the best offensive, non-franchised player in free agency, and he would really take loads of pressure off Blake Bortles.
Oakland Raiders: Randall Cobb, WR, Packers. Age: 25.
There are NFL Free Agent Rumors connecting Randall Cobb to the Raiders, so this selection makes a ton of sense. Derek Carr needs a No. 1 receiver to throw to, and while it's unclear how Cobb will perform without a stud quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, it's obvious that he would become the most talented wideout on Oakland's roster.
Washington Redskins: Brandon Flowers, CB, Chargers. Age: 29.
The Redskins would love to sign the best-available defensive back in real life, so here's the best-available defensive back in a fake free agency mock draft. Washington's secondary is a disgrace, so the front office needs to put full effort into fixing it this offseason.
New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, Bills. Age: 27.
The Jets seldom drafted edge rushers when Rex Ryan was running the show, but perhaps their philosophy will change now that the team has a new front office. New York needs to do something about its linebackers' inability to get to the quarterback.
Chicago Bears: Orlando Franklin, G/OT, Broncos. Age: 27.
Everyone focuses on Chicago's awful defense, and rightfully so, but the offensive line absolutely cannot be ignored. The blocking unit did a poor job for Jay Cutler last season. Perhaps Cutler will learn to care about football again if he has time in the pocket to find his monstrous receivers downfield.
Atlanta Falcons: Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos. Age: 27.
The top edge rushers aren't the best players available, so the Falcons can't address the position like I have them doing in my real 2015 NFL Mock Draft. The top free agency still on the board is Julius Thomas, and he fills another need. Matt Ryan missed Tony Gonzalez last year, so Thomas would provide the intermediate threat Ryan lacked in 2014.
New York Giants: Mike Iupati, G, 49ers. Age: 28.
The Giants desperately need to fix their offensive line. Eli Manning now has a top-notch weapon in Odell Beckham, who beats every single corner he goes up against. They already have a great connection, so imagine how much better it'll be if Manning gets more time in the pocket.
St. Louis Rams: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Raiders. Age: 26.
The Rams used last year's first-round pick on an offensive lineman, and they could go two in a row this April. Perhaps they'll look at someone like Stefen Wisniewski in free agency as well. St. Louis has a very weak spot at center, which Wisniewski, the top center on the market, can definitely fill.
Minnesota Vikings: Antonio Cromartie, CB, Cardinals. Age: 31.
The Vikings could use the No. 11 overall selection on Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes in the real NFL Draft. They need a starter across from Xavier Rhodes. Antonio Cromartie would fill that role in this scenario.
Cleveland Browns: Terrance Knighton, NT, Broncos. Age: 29.
The Browns were extremely weak against the run last year, especially late in the year when Bengals' running back Jeremy Hill looked like the second coming of Jim Brown against them. They need massive bodies up front who can actually be a force in the trenches. Terrance "Potroast" Knighton qualifies.
New Orleans Saints: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 28.
The Saints already needed help at outside linebacker before the off-the-field issues with Junior Galette surfaced. Their defense was putrid last year, and it needs help everywhere, especially the linebacking corps. The team barely has anyone to rush the quarterback right now.
Miami Dolphins: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles. Age: 27.
Mike Wallace has been a predictable bust in Miami, as he left a better situation in Pittsburgh for an inferior one with the Dolphins, solely for financial purposes. The same situation arises with Jeremy Maclin, but this is a draft instead of a free agent pool. Maclin would give Ryan Tannehill a superior receiving option, provided he can stay healthy two years in a row.
San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Graham, DE, Eagles. Age: 27.
Poor Brandon Graham wants to go to a team with a 4-3 defense, but he doesn't get a say in the matter in this NFL Free Agency Mock Draft. The 49ers have discussed bringing in edge rushers in free agency, so they would undoubtedly have interest in Graham, who was highly productive in 2014.
Houston Texans: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Packers. Age: 26.
The Texans have been interested in upgrading the right tackle position for a while now. I have them doing so in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft, but here's their chance to get a better blocker in this pseudo free agency.
Go to 2015 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 17-32
Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I've received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwith.
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