NFL Mock Draft 2015: 1st-Round Picks, Projections for Most Impactful Prospects

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 25, 2015

January 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) runs the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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
PickTeamSelection
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2Tennessee TitansLeonard Williams, DT, USC
3Jacksonville JaguarsDante Fowler, OLB, Florida
4Oakland RaidersKevin White, WR, West Virginia
5Washington RedskinsRandy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
6New York JetsMarcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
7Chicago BearsDanny Shelton, DT, Washington
8Atlanta FalconsShane Ray, DE, Missouri
9New York GiantsBrandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
10St. Louis RamsAmari Cooper, WR, Alabama
11Minnesota VikingsVic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
12Cleveland BrownsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
13New Orleans SaintsTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
14Miami DolphinsT.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
15San Francisco 49ersJalen Collins, CB, LSU
16Houston TexansLa'el Collins, OT, LSU
17San Diego ChargersMalcom Brown, DT, Texas
18Kansas City ChiefsLandon Collins, S, Alabama
19Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
20Philadelphia EaglesJaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
21Cincinnati BengalsJordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
22Pittsburgh SteelersMarcus Peters, CB, Washington
23Detroit LionsEddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
24Arizona CardinalsBenardrick McKinney, ILB, Miss St
25Carolina PanthersAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
26Baltimore RavensArik Armstead, DT, Oregon
27Dallas CowboysMelvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
28Denver BroncosMaxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
29Indianapolis ColtsTodd Gurley, RB, Georgia
30Green Bay PackersEric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
31New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
32New England PatriotsCameron 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

Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive linesman Brandon Scherff (68) blocks against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Amari Cooper #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Ph
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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.