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|
|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.
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.