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|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State|
|2||Tennessee Titans||Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa|
|4||Oakland Raiders||Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama|
|5||Washington Redskins||Leonard Williams, DL, USC|
|6||New York Jets||Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska|
|7||Chicago Bears||Kevin White, WR, West Virginia|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri|
|9||New York Giants||Landon Collins, S, Alabama|
|10||St. Louis Rams||Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford|
|12||Cleveland Browns||DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson|
|14||Miami Dolphins||Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||Danny Shelton, DL, Washington|
|16||Houston Texans||Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida|
|17||San Diego Chargers||Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF|
|19||Cleveland Browns (from BUF)||Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky|
|20||Philadelphia Eagles||Marcus Peters, CB, Washington|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||Owa Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA|
|22||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest|
|23||Detroit Lions||Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State|
|24||Arizona Cardinals||Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia|
|25||Carolina Panthers||La'el Collins, OT, LSU|
|26||Baltimore Ravens||Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin|
|27||Dallas Cowboys||Shaq Thompson, LB/S, Washington|
|28||Denver Broncos||Malcom Brown, DT, Texas|
|29||Indianapolis Colts||Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon|
|30||Green Bay Packers||Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (Fla.)|
|31||New Orleans Saints (from SEA)||Devin Funchess, TE/WR, Michigan|
|32||New England Patriots||Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma|
Most Intriguing First-Round Athletes
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.
According to Art Stapleton of The Record, Perriman ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.27 seconds at UCF's pro day:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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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