NFL Mock Draft 2015: Projections for Top Prospects in Anticipated 1st Round

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2015

Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman (11)  during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Baylor, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

With most of the 2015 NFL draft prospects having solidified their stock at this point, all 32 franchises are hard at work as they attempt to position themselves to select players who could change their fortunes moving forward.

This year's draft class looks to have plenty of talent, and it even seems to boast several players who look like surefire stars at the next level. There are also quite a few players who could potentially reach that status based on their physical tools alone, but they are prime examples of why the draft is a crapshoot.

Along with a full first-round mock draft, here is a closer look at some high-ceiling prospects who will likely have observers buzzing when they come off the board.

2015 First-Round NFL Mock Draft
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2Tennessee TitansMarcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
3Jacksonville JaguarsBrandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
4Oakland RaidersAmari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5Washington RedskinsLeonard Williams, DL, USC
6New York JetsRandy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
7Chicago BearsKevin White, WR, West Virginia
8Atlanta FalconsShane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
9New York GiantsLandon Collins, S, Alabama
10St. Louis RamsTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
11Minnesota VikingsAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
12Cleveland BrownsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
13New Orleans SaintsVic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
14Miami DolphinsBenardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
15San Francisco 49ersDanny Shelton, DL, Washington
16Houston TexansDante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida
17San Diego ChargersCameron Erving, OL, Florida State
18Kansas City ChiefsBreshad Perriman, WR, UCF
19Cleveland Browns (from BUF)Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
20Philadelphia EaglesMarcus Peters, CB, Washington
21Cincinnati BengalsOwa Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
22Pittsburgh SteelersKevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
23Detroit LionsEddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
24Arizona CardinalsEli Harold, OLB, Virginia
25Carolina PanthersLa'el Collins, OT, LSU
26Baltimore RavensMelvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
27Dallas CowboysShaq Thompson, LB/S, Washington
28Denver BroncosMalcom Brown, DT, Texas
29Indianapolis ColtsArik Armstead, DE, Oregon
30Green Bay PackersDenzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (Fla.)
31New Orleans Saints (from SEA)Devin Funchess, TE/WR, Michigan
32New England PatriotsDorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Mock Draft

Most Intriguing First-Round Athletes

Breshad Perriman

One of the fastest-rising prospects in the 2015 draft class is undoubtedly Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman. He has good size at 6'3" and is coming off a 1,000-yard season, but the biggest hook when it comes to Perriman is his blazing speed.

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According to Art Stapleton of The Record, Perriman ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.27 seconds at UCF's pro day:

Art Stapleton @art_stapleton

Giants had a private workout with WR Breshad Perriman, per @ProFootballTalk. If you recall, Perriman ran a 4.27 at his Pro Day last week.

That took Perriman from being a likely second-round prospect to a potential first-round selection. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was so impressed that he vaulted Perriman into the top 10 of his rankings, per ESPN College Football:

ESPN CollegeFootball @ESPNCFB

Breshad Perriman of Central Florida dazzled at his recent pro day & moved into Mel's top 10 » http://t.co/vBVNbZxWb9 http://t.co/QkrjjEtuxA

Perriman has all the physical tools teams look for in a top-flight receiver, but he has yet to put it all together from an on-field perspective. Provided he is coached up well, though, there is reason to believe that Perriman could become a star.

One team to watch is the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 18, as they are coming off a season in which not one wide receiver caught a touchdown. They have tried to remedy that by bringing in Jeremy Maclin, and adding Perriman to the mix would be a step in the right direction as well.

It is entirely possible that Perriman could be a flash in the pan, but for the Chiefs, it is likely worth it to gamble on a player with such a strong skill set.

Shaq Thompson

Most prospects have a defined position and role in mind ahead of the NFL draft, but that isn't necessarily the case when it comes to Washington's Shaq Thompson. The versatile athlete played both linebacker and running back for the Huskies, and he seems to be stuck in between linebacker and safety with the draft approaching.

Thompson is an explosive player who made plenty of big plays in college, but his size could be a hindrance. At the same time, he could be a useful weapon due to his ability to move all over the field and contribute in different areas.

As pointed out by Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, Thompson is a jack-of-all-trades and master of none who is able to play a number of different roles:

Eliot Shorr-Parks @EliotShorrParks

My biggest concern w/Shaq Thompson is that he seems to be good at alot, not great at anything. But I think u can get WRs/OG later in draft

Despite the obvious skepticism regarding Thompson's NFL prospects, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller believes he could become an elite linebacker in the same mold as San Francisco 49ers star NaVorro Bowman:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

I compared Shaq Thompson to NaVorro Bowman...could be a rare athlete in coverage + range. Only question is instincts from LB.

A team that simply needs a playmaker on its defense could very well target Thompson in the first round, and the Dallas Cowboys look like a prime candidate at No. 27.

Not only could they use some help at outside linebacker, but they also have some question marks at safety. If Thompson can contribute at both of those positions depending on the defensive sets, then he will be invaluable.

Thompson is far from a sure thing, but he could provide an extremely high reward if his ability translates to the NFL level.

Dorial Green-Beckham

Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has long been tabbed as a future superstar, and while he was unable to reach those heights during his collegiate career, he will have a chance to realize his promise in the NFL.

DGB was dismissed from Missouri's football team last year due to off-field issues, which meant he had to sit out the entire 2014 season. Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma during that time, and he believes that helped him grow as a person, according to Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World:

I've never missed a season in my entire life, even growing up. I just felt like it was a big deal to me. I felt like I regretted all the mistakes that I've had, but I know I've become a better person by being here, being around all these guys. They took me in and let me know they have my back, and I know they made me a better person.

If Green-Beckham is truly reformed and his problems are a thing of the past, then that makes him an even more attractive prospect. He doesn't come without other concerns, though, as ESPN's Louis Riddick doesn't believe he is a complete receiver yet:

Louis Riddick @LRiddickESPN

WR Dorial Green-Beckham risk profile not just off field behavior. Basically ran 3 routes at Mizzou, & didn't run one of them (slant) well.

Riddick may have a point, but DGB can get by on his skill alone while he improves his route running and other aspects of his game.

One team that can afford to be patient is the New England Patriots. They won the Super Bowl without a true outside threat at wide receiver, but their offense could be even more dangerous with a guy like DGB in the fold.

New England has the luxury of developing Green-Beckham and bringing him along slowly, so nabbing him with the No. 32 pick if he is still available could be a major steal.

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