2015 NFL Mock Draft: Latest 1st-Round Projections Following Free-Agency Frenzy

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 17, 2015

Oregon's Marcus Mariota works out for NFL football scouts during Pro Day at the University of Oregon, Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

The 2015 NFL draft is still some time away but after the most eventful first wave of free agency—with special thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles—many rosters look considerably different.

It's also a bit easier to gauge what positions teams ought to prioritize in the first round come April 30. There are still several big names on the open market, but the impact some stars' signings have had have provided new fuel after a period of beaten-to-death draft angles.

Check out the latest first-round projections, along with analysis on several of the marquee picks that were influenced by what's happened at the dawn of the league year.

Note: Information on free-agent signings courtesy of NFL.com's tracker.

2015 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
No. Pick Team Selection
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2 Tennessee Titans Leonard Williams, DL, USC
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida
4 Oakland Raiders Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
5 Washington Redskins Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
6 New York Jets Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
7 Chicago Bears Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
8 Atlanta Falcons Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
9 New York Giants Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
10 St. Louis Rams La'el Collins, OT, LSU
11 Minnesota Vikings DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
12 Cleveland Browns Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
13 New Orleans Saints Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
14 Miami Dolphins Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
15 San Francisco 49ers Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
16 Houston Texans Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
17 San Diego Chargers Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
18 Kansas City Chiefs Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
19 Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo) Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan
20 Philadelphia Eagles Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
21 Cincinnati Bengals Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
22 Pittsburgh Steelers Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
23 Detroit Lions Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
24 Arizona Cardinals Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
25 Carolina Panthers Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
26 Baltimore Ravens Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
27 Dallas Cowboys Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
28 Denver Broncos Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
29 Indianapolis Colts Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
30 Green Bay Packers Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
31 New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
32 New England Patriots Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Picks are personal opinion

2015 NFL Draft Analysis

This mock scenario is bound to generate controversy, what with Marcus Mariota falling all the way to 12th overall and being chosen as the latest Cleveland Browns quarterback experiment.

Based on what's happened in free agency, it's actually quite feasible. The New York Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick and should have an interesting competition between him and incumbent Geno Smith, who improved at the end of 2014, for the starting job.

New York made an interesting trade to acquire Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, which mitigates the need to take a playmaker. It can instead nab one of the premier pass-rushers near the top to add to a revamped secondary featuring Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine and Antonio Cromartie.

This leads the Bears to add another receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery in Alabama's Amari Cooper, who's neck and neck with Kevin White to be the first wideout off the board.

None of the other teams near the top have a dire need under center, as Tennessee opts to stick with Zach Mettenberger to see what they have in him. The St. Louis Rams would've been another candidate to take Mariota, but now they have a healthy, young, franchise-caliber passer in Nick Foles after their huge trade with Philadelphia.

And this is without taking into account Mariota's pro day, which NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah felt wasn't all that great, via his colleague Ian Rapoport:

NFL Network's Charlie Casserly didn't give Mariota a ringing endorsement either—certainly not that of a top-10 draft pick—via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly:

Although the Browns did sign Thaddeus Lewis and Josh McCown to add to a depth chart that features Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw, that's hardly a situation Cleveland fans can get excited about.

An improved 40-yard dash at his Michigan pro day makes Devin Funchess an ideal first-round option for the Browns. They need a big pass-catcher, and Funchess has played both wide receiver and tight end in college.

Funchess would either be a big target on the outside or perhaps replace Jordan Cameron at tight end, since Cameron took his talents to Miami as LeBron James once did to break Cleveland sports fans' hearts.

Now the Browns aren't the only team to have two first-round picks. New Orleans picked up Seattle's as part of an exchange for superstar TE Jimmy Graham.

After adding athletic freak pass-rusher Alvin Dupree with the 13th pick, the Saints give QB Drew Brees a weapon to make up for the departures of Graham and Kenny Stills in Dorial Green-Beckham.

Character concerns follow Green-Beckham into the draft, but he's arguably the most gifted wideout in this class. New Orleans has a winning culture thanks to the presence of a supreme field general in Brees who can get the most out of Green-Beckham, and quickly.

As for the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, they have some work to do in the secondary now that Brandon Browner is with the Saints and Revis has returned to the Jets. They therefore tab Connecticut's Byron Jones as a new starter at the end of the first round.

Jones was the one who took the NFL Scouting Combine by storm with a world-record broad jump and the best vertical leap of any defensive back.

However, Jones is far from just a workout warrior. He played two years at safety, was a four-year starter and captain for the Huskies and has the intangibles and versatility that head coach Bill Belichick covets for his "Patriot Way" philosophy.

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