2015 NFL Mock Draft: Complete 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2015

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 29:  Kevin White #11 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts to a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second quarterof the 56th annual Autozone Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on December 29, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As the Super Bowl rapidly approaches, it is important to note that the next Tom Brady or Richard Sherman could be waiting in the wings in this year’s draft class.

After all, the fastest way to rebuild a team is through the draft, and this year’s group of prospects offers a number of intriguing potential selections. Here is a mock draft for the entire first round, as well as a closer look at some of the most interesting picks.

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersMarcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
2Tennessee TitansJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
3Jacksonville JaguarsRandy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
4Oakland RaidersAmari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5WashingtonLeonard Williams, DT, USC
6New York JetsBrandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
7Chicago BearsLandon Collins, SS, Alabama
8Atlanta FalconsShane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
9New York GiantsDante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida
10St. Louis RamsAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
11Minnesota VikingsLa'el Collins, OT, LSU
12Cleveland BrownsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
13New Orleans SaintsShaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
14Miami DolphinsT.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
15San Francisco 49ersDanny Shelton, DT, Washington
16Houston TexansJaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
17San Diego ChargersEddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
18Kansas City ChiefsKevin White, WR, West Virginia
19Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
20Philadelphia EaglesTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
21Cincinnati BengalsAlvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky
22Pittsburgh SteelersP.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
23Detroit LionsMichael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
24Arizona CardinalsBenardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
25Carolina PanthersVic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
26Baltimore RavensMelvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
27Dallas CowboysMarcus Peters, CB, Washington
28Denver BroncosDorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
29Indianapolis ColtsTodd Gurley, RB, Georgia
30Green Bay PackersMalcom Brown, DT, Texas
31New England PatriotsDevin Smith, WR, Ohio State
32Seattle SeahawksDevin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan

Intriguing First-Round Selections

No. 7 Chicago Bears: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The Chicago Bears were a punch line on the defensive side of the football this season and finished 30th in the league against the pass. Few teams, if any, need a safety more than this Bears squad that relied on the oft-injured (and inconsistently effective) Chris Conte as a critical part of their leaky secondary.

Eddie Brown of the U-T San Diego offered a glowing review of Alabama’s Landon Collins, who could help solidify Chicago’s pass defense immediately: “Collins' versatility and Alabama pedigree sets him apart from all other defensive back prospects in this draft class.”

If a scout was to compile a list of ideal safety attributes, Collins would fit the bill in a number of areas. He is a physical force who comes up and makes plays in the running game and is not afraid to levy a hit on wide receivers crossing the middle. He is also quick in the open field and can cover plenty of space from sideline to sideline.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Landon Collins #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide recovers a ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Gra
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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The Bears were also abysmal against the run and finished 27th in the league in that category, so having Collins in the back end of the defense would be critical there as well. 

The bottom line is that the Bears need plenty of help on the defensive side, and landing someone like Collins who can cover up multiple areas of weakness would be a great place to start the overhaul.

No. 18 Kansas City Chiefs: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

The Kansas City Chiefs got a grand total of zero touchdown catches from wide receivers this season, and there is a desperate need for playmakers at the position.

Enter West Virginia’s Kevin White. 

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller certainly painted an enticing picture regarding White’s game:

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. also offered up a quote on White that should catch the attention of NFL scouts and teams, via Geoff Coyle of West Virginia Illustrated

He's got the size and the ability to high-point the ball and go get it. He had a few drops this year, but a lot of balls were thrown his way, so I think he's the third best receiver in this draft behind Amari Cooper from Alabama, behind DeVante Parker from Louisville.

Statistically, White led the Big 12 with 109 catches and hauled in 10 touchdown passes on the season. He also surpassed the 100-yard mark in nine different games on his way to 1,447 receiving yards, which was sixth in the nation.

White torched Alabama for 143 receiving yards and a touchdown, Maryland for 216 receiving yards and a touchdown, and Oklahoma for 173 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

The Chiefs need playmakers at wide receiver arguably more than any other team in the country, and White brings the desired combination of speed, physicality, size (6’3”) and the ability to grab the ball in jump-ball scenarios in the red zone. This is a natural match, which doesn't always happen in the draft.

No. 31 New England Patriots: Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Devin Smith #9 of the Ohio State Buckeyes completes a reception against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy R
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Devin Smith’s draft stock has skyrocketed since September after his Ohio State squad won the national championship and he emerged as one of the best deep threats in the entire country.

Smith shined the brightest in some of the Buckeyes’ biggest games and tallied 137 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. He also scored a critical touchdown in the second half against mighty Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Statistically, Smith averaged 28.2 yards per catch this season and 37.9 yards per touchdown reception throughout his career. He also scored 30 touchdowns in his time at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes finished a perfect 22-0 when he did catch a touchdown.

Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch noted that Smith’s versatility will also be key at the next level:

As great as the New England Patriots are, there is no real game-breaking deep threat on the roster. In fact, the best deep passes New England connects on are with tight end Rob Gronkowski up the seam rather than on the outside with a receiver. 

Smith has the talent to change that.

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