NFL Mock Draft 2015: Projections Based on Buzz Surrounding 1st-Round Prospects

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 27, 2015

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks scrambles in the first half against the Arizona Wildcats during the PAC-12 Championships at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It's been a wild offseason so far, and the outlook for the 2015 NFL draft has shifted tremendously as a result.

Things kicked off with top-tier veterans like Ndamukong Suh, Julius Thomas and DeMarco Murray signing lucrative contracts with new teams. We also saw a couple of blockbuster trades go down, as Jimmy Graham was sent to the Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles exchanged quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Nick Foles. On top of all that, Patrick Willis and others announced their early retirements.

That's only half of the story.

While the league was in flux with a bevy of player movement, draft prospects took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the scouting combine in an effort to improve their draft stocks in the eyes of attending NFL personnel. Some players came out ahead—others didn't. That was followed up by a slew of pro days, which are just now beginning to wind down.

With all of the aforementioned activities finally slowing down, we can begin to gather updated information on team needs and project prospects for all 32 of the draft's first-round selections. Here's a glance at how it could potentially shake out.

Updated 2015 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2Tennessee TitansLeonard Williams, DT, USC
3Jacksonville JaguarsDante Fowler, OLB, Florida
4Oakland RaidersKevin White, WR, West Virginia
5Washington RedskinsVic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
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 VikingsBud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
12Cleveland BrownsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
13New Orleans SaintsRandy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
14Miami DolphinsTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
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)T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
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 Selections Based on Recent Buzz

As the draft approaches, the rumor mill begins to spin at a rapid pace. At this time of year, information regarding a team's draft strategy or interest in a particular prospect is often leaked by inside sources. The hard part is deciphering what is real and what is simply a smokescreen.

While we keep an eye out for any new developments, here's a look at some selections based on news that has recently surfaced across the Web.

6. New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Recently, Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan alluded to selecting a quarterback at No. 5 overall if he is "the best available player," according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post. Well, with a team that needs a pass-rusher in the worst possible way, look for Clemson's Vic Beasley to top the team's draft board. That allows Marcus Mariota to slide to the quarterback-needy Jets at No. 6.

12. Cleveland Browns: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 29:  DeVante Parker #9 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Image
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

NFL Media's expert draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently told Bryan Fischer of NFL.com there is a "50-50" chance of DeVante Parker sliding to No. 12 overall. Due to the varying needs of teams ahead of Cleveland in this year's draft, the possibility of the Louisville pass-catcher wearing a Browns jersey in 2015 seems very plausible. A raw but highly talented player, Parker will bolster that offense immediately.

13. New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Defensive lineman Randy Gregory of Nebraska competes during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Following a couple of positive tests while at Nebraska, edge-rusher Randy Gregory tested hot for marijuana at the scouting combine, according to Kimberly Jones of NFL.com. Previously seen as a top-five pick, this will surely hurt the defender's stock. The Saints need a pass-rusher badly, and if they feel Gregory's issues lie behind him, selecting the talented prospect at No. 13 overall could be the steal of the draft.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

After losing Jeremy Maclin to the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, the Eagles have a big hole to fill at wide receiver opposite Jordan Matthews. Well, Jaelen Strong alluded to spending some time at the team's facilities recently with a picture on his Instagram account. A native of Philly, playing with the Eagles would not only fill a team need, but it will also be a homecoming for this talented receiver.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

With Murray departed to Philadelphia, the Cowboys brought in Darren McFadden to fill the void. Considering the ball-carrier's history, that's a risky move. Perhaps owner Jerry Jones thinks so as well, as he recently spoke about the possibility of drafting a running back, via DallasCowboys.com. Melvin Gordon is an NFL-ready player who can make an immediate impact in Dallas. If he's there at No. 27 overall, he may be too tough to pass up.


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