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Welcome back. It’s been a while.

The 2015 college football season is here, and the NFL season is waiting around the corner—like an old friend at the bar with your favorite drink in hand. Football is back, which means it’s time for long sleeves, warm chili, Octoberfest beers and NFL draft talk. 

Every Friday from now until the NFL draft on April April 28, 2016, this will be your one-stop-shop for all the important news, notes, rumors and analysis surrounding the draft. Here you’ll find rankings, mock drafts, player evaluation notes and tips on which games to watch so you can be up to date on the best prospects in the land.

If you’re new here, hopefully you come back every Friday. If you’re coming back for year two of the Scouting Notebook, it’s good to see you again.  

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Pack your bags, double-check your directions and get ready for one hell of a road trip. That's what every regional scout in America is doing as college football gets underway, and at Bleacher Report, the work is the same. 

With the 2015 season right around the corner, the job of NFL and media scouting departments is to identify those players worth looking at this year. NFL teams and their staffs of 10 scouts are attacking a list of over 500 players from over 100 schools that need to be looked at this fall. When you're a one-man show, the work is a little different but nonetheless challenging, as you try to get together a list of who needs to be watched.

Thus the Watch List is born.

This preseason Watch List isn't a set of rankings—these players aren't yet ranked, which is why they're listed alphabetically. The rankings will come soon enough. This is more of a resource for you—the fan—to use each Saturday as you're watching college football. 

The players listed here are thought, at this time, to be the best of the best. That doesn't mean they're the only players who will be drafted, as part of the fun is finding that Ali Marpet at Hobart when you're out on the road. That said, if a player isn't on the radar before the year, it's a tough road to get noticed. You need a big year statistically, or you must be the type of player opposing coaches will rave about to scouts when they come in with a bag of doughnuts and a carton of coffee each week.

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AP Images

One year ago at this time we were talking about Marcus Mariota (my preseason No. 1 overall player), the question mark of Jameis Winston's off-field issues and the huge potential of Brett Hundley at UCLA. We knew that Mariota and Winston were special, but a post-draft 2015 big board was missing names like Kevin White (WR, West Virginia), Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota), Ereck Flowers (T, Miami), Bud Dupree (EDGE, Kentucky) and Marcus Peters (CB, Washington).

A big board this early isn't about accuracy or where players will be drafted; it's about how good they are right now and how high their potential is. For example, Hundley last year showed high potential but regressed in his final season before becoming a fifth-round pick. But this board can be your summer watch list and a basic guide for where players are ranked heading into the season.

A lot can change. A lot will change. But that's just football.

Ready for 2016? You should be. Early indications are this will be a loaded class.

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Darron Cummings/Associated Press

It's never too early for a mock draft. Even if we just closed the book on the 2015 NFL draft, every team in the league has already assigned scouts to start work on the upcoming draft class, and at Bleacher Report, it's the same.

A wildly early mock draft isn't meant to be an accurate picture of how the draft will go, but more of a watchlist for which players are currently considered the most promising and a look at areas where teams could use help. With that said, I'm using the 2015 draft order as a guide, and many juniors listed here may not enter the draft.

Who comes off the board first in 2016? Find out inside.

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B/R via AP Images, Getty Images

The 2015 NFL draft class will be remembered, and judged, on the careers of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Already, folks want to compare this class to the Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf group—or Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III—but the 2015 draft is about more than just the quarterbacks. 

This is the year of the edge-rusher, and with six players at the position holding a first-round grade, that label is warranted. But how about the wide receivers? Five prospects there could see the first round. The same goes for the cornerback class, where five more players have a first-round grade. And we can't forget the running backs. Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are set to break the trend of waiting to select a ball-carrier until Day 2. 

All in all, the 2015 draft class is a good one. It's not great—not like 2014—but when comparing it to 2013, 2012 and 2011, the talent level is solid. If the two superstar prospects at quarterback play more like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers and less like Leaf, this group could be remembered for quite some time.

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David J. Phillip/AP Images

If the draft season is like a football game, well, we're in the two-minute drill. 

Just three days from now we'll be getting started on Day 1 of the 2015 NFL draft. The long wait is over. Soon we'll know the landing spots for Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, and we'll be ready to do post-draft grades and start talking about 2016. But for now, let's focus on the 2015 draft for one more week. 

 

— In case you missed it, I reported Monday that multiple NFL teams want to draft Dorial Green-Beckham in the first round, but ownership has squashed those plans. In fact, one high-level source of a top-15 team told me this weekend they were flat-out told "no" by ownership about drafting Green-Beckham in the first round.

— The Oakland Raiders are a wild card in the first round, and sources with the team tell me coaches in Oakland have fallen in love with Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. If he's on the board with pick No. 4, he could be a surprise option over USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

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AP Images

By the time you read this article, there will be just 12 days separating us from the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. All of your hopes and dreams for that final piece in a Super Bowl puzzle or that one player who can start a rebuild and change a franchise will come down to the decision of a general manager or head coach (or a homeless guy if you're a Browns fan).

Where is each team leaning as we enter the final days? We'll get into that and look at an updated Big Board with final grades.

 

— Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Jameis Winston has been sued over a December 2012 sexual assault allegation. How will this affect his stock two weeks before the draft? I reached out to six scouts and general managers and asked them, "Would you draft Jameis at No. 1?" Each of them replied with affirmatives. This lawsuit, stemming from the original allegation that Winston has been cleared of twice, is not new information. 

— Expect to hear that the Cleveland Browns haven't worked out quarterback Marcus Mariota, even though myself and others have reported their interest in the former Oregon quarterback. But here's something to remember: The Browns hired Mariota's pre-combine quarterback coach Kevin O'Connell for the same job. They don't need a private workout or visit when they have intimate knowledge of his abilities. 

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Associated Press

Three weeks are all that separate us from the 2015 NFL draft, and as April 30 gets closer, the first round starts to come into better focus. However, no draft in recent memory has been as unclear leading up to the first day.

Who will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft? Right now, no one knows, but it's the move that will dictate the rest of the first round. With draft boards largely set and private visits closing up, here's an update on all things NFL draft.

 

— The Philadelphia Eagles are a mystery now that Chip Kelly runs the draft room, but team sources tell me they love USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

— Two linebackers in this draft class are getting looks at fullback: Houston Bates (Louisiana Tech) and Jeff Luc (Cincinnati). Bruce Miller of the San Francisco 49ers made a similar move coming out of college.

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There are just 27 days separating us from the 2015 NFL draft, which means the silly season is about to heat up. Smokescreens, misdirection and flat-out lies will be coming out of NFL front offices, but hidden in there is truth, too. What are team sources saying? That's covered in a "What I'm Hearing" mock draft. 

Ready for news, notes, rumors and more? It's all covered here.

 

— High-level sources with the San Francisco 49ers have told me the team is "in love" with wide receiver Amari Cooper from Alabama and will inquire as to trading up to draft him should he slip past the Oakland Raiders at No. 4 overall.

— Four well-placed sources believe the No. 2 pick will be Marcus Mariota—what's up for debate is who will hold the pick. According to these same sources, the Titans will be shopping the pick.

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Associated Press

We are 33 days away from the 2015 NFL draft, and that means it's getting serious in the world of scouting and team building.

Pro days, private workouts and final grades are being assigned to players across the NFL—and at Bleacher Report we're doing the same thing. As part of an upcoming NFL Draft 400 series—scouting, grading and ranking the top 400 players in the class—notes are changing daily. The repercussion of that is a lot of movement up and down the board as the draft nears.

Who is moving up, who is moving down and how does the top 50 look today? Find out below.

 

— Nebraska edge-rusher Randy Gregory admitted to a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. How does that affect his draft stock? On my board, it won't move Gregory from his spot at No. 7 overall, and one college scouting director I reached out to said it won't change him on his board either. "Everyone already knew this was an issue," he told me. There were rumors dating back to August about Gregory and marijuana, so teams were prepared for this news to break.