Every NFL team would love to draft a player who can provide an immediate impact; however, it doesn't always work out that way.
As we know, certainly players are deemed more "NFL ready" than others due to their experience, pace of development or simply a change to more of a pro-style scheme. The need to learn for a year or two before finding the starting lineup isn't a bad thing—look at Aaron Rodgers as a prime example—but contending teams may place higher regard on prospects who can contribute right away.
Still, plenty of factors that NFL franchises can't control—selection order, depth at a position, draft-day trades and more—shape the outlook of the draft and ultimately determine which player, whether they are NFL ready or not, remains atop each respective team's big board once it's on the clock.
While we anxiously await the impending draft to commence on April 30, let's take an updated look at how the first round is likely to shake out and highlight a handful of prospects who come with the "NFL-ready" label.
|Updated 2015 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State|
|2||Tennessee Titans||Leonard Williams, DT, USC|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida|
|4||Oakland Raiders||Kevin White, WR, West Virginia|
|5||Washington Redskins||Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska|
|6||New York Jets||Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon|
|7||Chicago Bears||Danny Shelton, DT, Washington|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Shane Ray, DE, Missouri|
|9||New York Giants||Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa|
|10||St. Louis Rams||Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson|
|12||Cleveland Browns||DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State|
|14||Miami Dolphins||T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||Jalen Collins, CB, LSU|
|16||Houston Texans||La'el Collins, OT, LSU|
|17||San Diego Chargers||Malcom Brown, DT, Texas|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||Landon Collins, S, Alabama|
|19||Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)||Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky|
|20||Philadelphia Eagles||Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma|
|22||Pittsburgh Steelers||Marcus Peters, CB, Washington|
|23||Detroit Lions||Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State|
|24||Arizona Cardinals||Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Miss St|
|25||Carolina Panthers||Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford|
|26||Baltimore Ravens||Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon|
|27||Dallas Cowboys||Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin|
|28||Denver Broncos||Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota|
|29||Indianapolis Colts||Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia|
|30||Green Bay Packers||Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA|
|31||New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)||Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma|
|32||New England Patriots||Cameron Erving, C, Florida State|
Analyzing NFL-Ready Prospects
Keep in mind, some players who are thought to need additional development before gracing a starting lineup could surprise us and find their way onto the gridiron much earlier than anticipated. However, from the information we've gathered to this point, there are prospects who appear more capable of stepping in right away (and producing) than others.
Here's a look at some examples and where they may call home in the NFL.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
At 6'4" and 231 pounds, Jameis Winston has NFL size, but that's not the only thing that will make him an immediate contributor. Along with his big arm, Winston anticipates his throws well and can hit receivers in tight windows. He has the ability to progress through his reads while maintaining good pocket awareness and comes from Florida State's pro-style offense.
2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Leonard Williams' versatility is what makes him an NFL-ready prospect. At 6'5" and 302 pounds, he possesses a great blend of size, length, power and speed that will allow him to flourish in several positions along the defensive line. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, on the inside as a gap-stuffer or on the outside as an edge-rusher.
9. New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
Moving from offensive tackle to guard puts the 6'5", 319-pound Brandon Scherff in this list of NFL-ready players. As a tackle, his inconsistency in pass protection may have held him out of a starting lineup. However, since he won't be exposed on the edge as a guard, he's an immediate plug-and-play prospect who can utilize his raw power to become extremely dominant in the running game.
10. St. Louis Rams: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
At 6'1" and 211 pounds, Amari Cooper isn't the biggest or fastest wide receiver in this year's draft class, but he is the most polished. Cooper is a complete receiver who boasts good speed, runs precise routes and has very soft hands. He catches everything thrown in his direction, and his ability to create separation will allow him to win downfield and become a favorite target of his new quarterback.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Running back may be the easiest position for college players making the transition to the pros, and the 6'1", 215-pound Melvin Gordon has all of the tools to produce as a three-down back. A very solid open-field runner with a good mix of power, speed and vision, Gordon will flourish immediately as a ball-carrier, and given the solid receiving skills he showed during offseason workouts, he'll help in that area as well.
All prospect measurements courtesy of NFL.com's combine tracker.