2015 NFL Draft: 50 Predictions with Under a Month to Go

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIApril 8, 2015

2015 NFL Draft: 50 Predictions with Under a Month to Go

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    Will Amari Cooper be the first wide receiver selected in the 2015 NFL draft? See one prediction for that question, and many more, in the following slides.
    Will Amari Cooper be the first wide receiver selected in the 2015 NFL draft? See one prediction for that question, and many more, in the following slides.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

    With just 22 days left until the opening of the 2015 NFL draft (April 30-May 2), draft prognosticators are starting to make their final predictions for how this year's picks will unfold.

    To some extent, trying to project what will happen in the draft is attempting to predict the unpredictable. Even the most well-connected NFL reporters and draft analysts typically have more picks incorrect than correct on their final mock drafts, which are often completed just hours or days before the actual event begins.

    Tasked with completing this same assignment for Bleacher Report last year, I ended up being correct on only 21 of my conjectures (not including my final prediction, which was spot-on in its expectation that many of my other predictions would be wrong).

    Nonetheless, it's fun to look ahead and consider what selections each team might make when the draft begins later this month. While it only takes one unexpected curveball on draft day to seismically shift the proceedings to follow, enough information is available at this point to make educated guesses on where players will be picked and what strategies teams will employ.

Roger Goodell Will Be Booed

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    If there is one draft prediction that can be considered a stone-cold lock, it's that the NFL commissioner will be greeted by a crowd of jeers as he takes the stage for his opening address before the start of the event.

    Fair or not, Goodell must deal with negative public perception. In a September 2014 Sports Illustrated poll of NFL fans, conducted in the wake of numerous domestic violence incidents in the league, just 28.5 percent of respondents felt Goodell should keep his job as commissioner, while 37.8 percent stated that he should be fired given how he handled those events (the other 33.6 percent responded as unsure).

    A constant target of criticism by fans, media and players alike, Goodell might be more disliked now than ever before after a scandal-filled year for the league. Even with the draft's move to Chicago, there's little doubt that hostility and disapproval will meet Goodell's presence on stage.

Jameis Winston Will Be the No. 1 Overall Pick

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    Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

    This isn't exactly a bold prediction, as you'll be hard-pressed to find any mock draft on the Internet at this point that doesn't project the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick.

    Although one can debate endlessly whether Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota should be the first quarterback selected in this year's draft, it is widely presumed that the Buccaneers have honed in on Winston as their top choice.

    Winston carries off-field baggage from his time at Florida State, but Tampa Bay does not seem to have any major concerns about his character. The Buccaneers' "private eyes have interviewed more than 75 people from Winston's past," according to The MMQB's Peter King, and team co-chairman Joel Glazer told the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud in late March that the team is "comfortable where Jameis is at" (h/t ESPN.com).

    If Winston can bounce back from a disappointing 2014 season, stay out of trouble off the field and play up to his potential, he has the talent to be an elite NFL quarterback—something the Buccaneers have never had in franchise history.

Marcus Mariota Will Be a Top-Six Pick

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    Ryan Kang/Associated Press

    It's possible that the first two picks in this year's draft could be quarterbacks. The Tennessee Titans do not have a proven starter at the position, so it would make sense for them to draft Oregon's Marcus Mariota as their signal-caller of the future with the second overall pick.

    On the other hand, the Titans could choose to roll with 2014 sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger—whose six starts as a rookie last season were promising—and go in another direction with the No. 2 pick.

    Some draft analysts have suggested that if that happens, Mariota could be in line for a significant slide down the board. That shouldn't be the case, however, as the quarterback-needy New York Jets should be prepared to snap him up in a heartbeat if he falls to their pick at No. 6 overall.

    Even if the Titans pass on Mariota, he might not make it to that pick. The Washington Redskins are rumored to have interest in drafting Mariota at No. 5 overall, as noted by ESPN.com's Jason Reid, while it's also possible that a team such as the Cleveland Browns or Philadelphia Eagles could make a big move up into the top five for a chance to draft one of the top two passers in the class.

    One way or another, Mariota's ultimate draft slot should fall between the second and sixth picks. The Titans and Redskins should both at least consider selecting him, and other teams might have reason to trade up, but the Jets—who will otherwise go into the 2015 season with either Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback—should draft him without hesitation if he drops out of the top five.

First Three Defenders Drafted: Williams, Fowler, Beasley

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    Leonard Williams could be the first defensive player drafted.
    Leonard Williams could be the first defensive player drafted.Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    In addition to Winston and Mariota, three other players who look like strong bets to be top-six picks are USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, Florida edge defender Dante Fowler Jr. and Clemson edge defender Vic Beasley.

    If the Titans decide not to draft Mariota at No. 2 overall, they will likely draft one of these three prospects to bolster their defense. The most likely pick for Tennessee would be Williams, who is a perfect fit to step in and play defensive end in the Titans' 3-4 front opposite fellow USC product Jurrell Casey.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars lack a premier outside pass-rusher, so they will likely use the No. 3 overall pick on Fowler or Beasley, though they could also consider Williams if he does not come off the board second.

    If Williams makes it out of the top three, he is a favorite to be the Oakland Raiders' pick at No. 4. According to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, the Raiders like Williams enough that they could potentially trade up to the No. 2 pick to ensure their chance to select him.

    If Mariota is still on the board at the No. 5 overall pick, the Redskins could take him or trade down, but if he is not, they will likely select whoever is left between Fowler and Beasley to add another pass-rusher at the outside linebacker position.

    The same could be said for the Jets at No. 6. They should take Mariota if he is still available, but if he is not, the top consolation prize would be drafting either Fowler or Beasley to fill their void of a premier pass-rushing outside linebacker, if either of them falls outside the top five.

    Williams, Fowler and Beasley are all top-five talents in this year's draft class, and it would be a surprise if any of them fall outside of the top six, but the Chicago Bears at No. 7 overall and Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 should be ready to pounce if any of those three players drop further than expected.

Amari Cooper Will Be the First Wide Receiver Drafted

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    After Kevin White ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, the West Virginia wide receiver started to be widely projected as the first wideout to come off the board. Coming off a breakout senior season, White has the size (6'3", 215 lbs) and speed that teams typically covet in a No. 1 wideout.

    Even so, the first wide receiver selected this year should be Alabama's Amari Cooper. While White might be slightly bigger and faster, Cooper's route-running skill and ability to extend plays in space make him a more complete player.

    As I discussed in a comparison of the draft's top three wide receivers in March, drafting White or even Louisville's DeVante Parker over Cooper would not necessarily be a mistake. Ultimately, the selection will come down to a matter of preference for the first team that decides to draft a pass-catcher.

    That said, Cooper's skill set should appeal to every team. The reigning Biletnikoff Award winner is ready to step in immediately and be a go-to target, much like 2014 top-12 picks Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr.

    Cooper would be a great choice at No. 4 overall for the Oakland Raiders, who have a desperate need to add weapons to their passing offense.

    Although none of the other teams in the top six have a major need at wide receiver, Cooper should still end up with one of them because of his talent. Additionally, the San Francisco 49ers are rumored to be interested in trading up from No. 15 for a chance to draft him, according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

    Cooper should come off the board no later than the seventh pick, where the Chicago Bears appear likely to draft a wide receiver to replace Brandon Marshall in their starting lineup.

Atlanta Falcons Will Draft a Pass-Rusher at No. 8

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    Alvin "Bud" Dupree could be the Atlanta Falcons' best choice at the No. 8 overall pick.
    Alvin "Bud" Dupree could be the Atlanta Falcons' best choice at the No. 8 overall pick.Wade Payne/Associated Press

    One prediction that just about every draft analyst agrees on is that the Atlanta Falcons should select a pass-rushing threat with the No. 8 overall pick. Even with the signings of Adrian Clayborn, O'Brien Schofield and Brooks Reed this offseason, the Falcons do not have a player on their roster who can consistently get after opposing quarterbacks.

    The dream scenario for the Falcons would be for either Beasley or Fowler to fall to No. 8, but that is unlikely. While either player would be an ideal fit, as each has the versatility to line up as either a defensive end or outside linebacker in new coach Dan Quinn's hybrid defense, Atlanta would likely to have to trade up to have a chance at selecting one of them.

    Instead, the Falcons appear likely to be making a decision between Kentucky's Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Nebraska's Randy Gregory and Missouri's Shane Ray.

    Gregory is probably the best fit for the Falcons of those three pass-rushers, but his recent admission to failing a drug test at the combine could give Atlanta pause. Ray has been frequently linked to the Falcons by DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline and others, but he is less explosive and more one-dimensional than the draft's other top pass-rushers.

    Dupree has been projected to the Falcons least frequently among the draft's top five pass-rushers, but he's actually the best fit among those who are likely to still be available. A remarkably explosive athlete with the size of a defensive end and experience playing linebacker, Dupree could be a valuable playmaker on the edge of the Atlanta defense.

New York Giants Will Draft Brandon Scherff at No. 9

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Another projection you will find in many mock drafts is that the New York Giants will select Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff with the No. 9 overall pick, and that's because it's a match that would make a great deal of sense.

    Giants general manager Jerry Reese is known for employing a "best player available" strategy, and the Giants have a need for more offensive line talent. Scherff is the best all-around offensive lineman in this year's draft class and is likely to be the best player available if he is still on the board at the ninth pick.

    Powerful and a fluid athlete, Scherff was a great left tackle at Iowa but projects best with a move inside to guard in the NFL. That's presumably where he would play for the Giants, as he could step in at left guard while 2014 second-round pick Weston Richburg moves to center.

    It's possible Scherff could come off the board earlier than the ninth pick—he would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins at No. 5 overall, and he could potentially be in play for the New York Jets at No. 6 or Chicago Bears at No. 7—but the Giants shouldn't pass up the chance to draft him if he's there.

Andrus Peat Will Be First Lineman Drafted to Play OT

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Brandon Scherff is viewed by many as a better fit to play guard than offensive tackle in the NFL, and the same can be said for LSU's La'el Collins, who is also widely considered to be a top-two offensive lineman in this year's draft class but might be best suited playing inside rather than outside.

    While Scherff and Collins are consensus first-round picks for most draft analysts, projections for Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat have been more widespread. But while Peat has been labeled by some evaluators as a potential bust, he may well fit the NFL's prototype for an offensive tackle better than any other prospect in this year's draft class.

    A second-team Associated Press All-American in 2014, Peat is an above-average athlete with the frame (6'7", 313 lbs) and length (34 " arms) that scouts love for a potential left tackle. He lacks the power to be a people-mover in the run game, but he typically wins his battles as a pass protector on the edge.

    After the NFL Scouting Combine, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle said Peat "locked up" a top-20 draft selection with his workout and interviews. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein took that a step further Tuesday, tweeting that he expects Peat to be a top-11 pick.

    The St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 10 overall pick, recently hosted Peat for a visit, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and could be targeting the Stanford product as a replacement for Joe Barksdale at right tackle. Another possible landing spot could be the Minnesota Vikings, who could draft Peat with the No. 11 pick to replace left tackle Matt Kalil after he had a disastrous 2014 season.

At Least One Top-10 Pick Will Be Traded

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    Titans general manager Ruston Webster could be among those working the phones on draft day.
    Titans general manager Ruston Webster could be among those working the phones on draft day.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Recent draft history suggests there will be at least one trade before the top 10 picks in the selection meeting are complete. At least one top-10 pick has been traded in six of the last seven drafts (the 2010 draft was the lone exception).

    As aforementioned, a trade could easily occur within the top five picks if the Tennessee Titans decide not to draft Marcus Mariota for themselves. The Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins are all likely to at least entertain offers for their selections, especially as long as Mariota is still on the board.

    Beyond Mariota, other players could entice teams to move up the board. As previously noted, the San Francisco 49ers could be looking to trade up for Amari Cooper. It's also possible a trade could happen within the top 10: One team that might have reason to move up a few spots is the Atlanta Falcons, if doing so would mean landing Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley or Leonard Williams.

    Yet for as much speculation surrounds the premier selections, the top-10 trades that happen on draft day are often deals that no one outside of league circles expected. So while a team trading up for Mariota or a swap within the top 10 might not come as a huge shock, one must also prepare for the unexpected, as a blockbuster deal could emerge from the unknown.

Danny Shelton Will Be One of Browns' First-Round Picks

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    For the third time in a four-year span, the Cleveland Browns hold two first-round picks. So far, it appears as though they are zeroing in on using one of those selections to upgrade their defensive line by drafting Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton.

    Widely projected to the Browns as either the No. 12 or No. 19 overall pick in mock drafts, Shelton would be a much-needed upgrade for the middle of Cleveland's defensive front. A massive man who was highly productive for the Huskies this past season, he could make an immediate impact for a run defense that finished dead last in rushing yards allowed for the 2014 season.

    Cleveland is the only team that has scheduled a visit with Shelton thus far, according to Adam Jude of The Seattle Times, and he would be a sensible pick for both value, as a projected mid-first-round pick, and fit, as he would become the anchor of the Browns' 3-4 defense.

    If the Browns are sold on Shelton as a player who can fix their run defense, they will want to draft him at No. 12. It is possible he could still be available at No. 19, but threats to draft him between those picks could include the New Orleans Saints (No. 13), San Francisco 49ers (No. 15) and San Diego Chargers (No. 17).

Eric Kendricks Will Be Drafted Between 13th and 18th Pick

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    The concept of supply and demand could be a boon to Eric Kendricks' draft stock. A glut of teams in the middle of the draft order need upgrades at the inside linebacker position, and Kendricks is the best inside linebacker in this year's draft.

    As I recently broke down in detail for Bleacher Report, that could put Kendricks on track to be a top-20 draft pick. Specifically, the sweet spot for him looks to be between the 13th and 18th overall selections, where five of six teams could potentially be in the market to draft a linebacker in Round 1.

    Kendricks is best suited to play as a 3-4 inside linebacker, which would be his position if either the New Orleans Saints (No. 13 overall selection), San Francisco 49ers (No. 15), Houston Texans (No. 16) or Kansas City Chiefs (No. 18) used their first pick to draft him. But he could also be a candidate to play middle or outside linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, who hold the draft's 14th pick.

    A sure tackler who can make plays all over the field against the run and in coverage, Kendricks stands out as the draft's most well-rounded off-ball linebacker. Teams with a need at the position could wait for a chance to draft a linebacker such as Clemson's Stephone Anthony, Miami's Denzel Perryman, TCU's Paul Dawson or Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney in Round 2—but there is no guarantee those linebackers will still be available.

    The Saints, who hold five picks in the top 100, will probably wait until a later pick to draft an inside linebacker. The Dolphins might be smarter to wait as well, as Kendricks lacks the size (6'0", 232 lbs) to be a true 4-3 middle linebacker. And while the 49ers have a need at the position following the retirements of Chris Borland and Patrick Willis, they will probably choose to start Michael Wilhoite and draft for depth later rather than use the 15th pick on Kendricks.

    For Houston or Kansas City, however, Kendricks looks like he will be one of the best selections available. Both teams have limited options at the position and might not have any other possible picks available who are better talents at positions of significant need.

Three Wide Receivers Will Be Drafted in Top 15 Picks

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    DeVante Parker should be a top-15 pick even if he is the third wide receiver drafted.
    DeVante Parker should be a top-15 pick even if he is the third wide receiver drafted.Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

    Even if I am wrong in my prediction that Amari Cooper will be the first wide receiver drafted, he shouldn't be left waiting long for his name to be called. It is likely that the draft's top three wideouts—Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker—will all be selected within the top 15.

    The Oakland Raiders (No. 4 overall pick), Chicago Bears (No. 7), St. Louis Rams (No. 10), Minnesota Vikings (No. 11), Cleveland Browns (No. 12), New Orleans Saints (No. 13), Miami Dolphins (No. 14) and San Francisco 49ers (No. 15) are all teams that could target wide receivers with their first-round picks.

    Cooper, White and Parker all possess the traits to be No. 1 wide receivers on NFL depth charts. While Cooper is the best route-runner of the trio, West Virginia's White (6'3", 215 lbs) and Louisville's Parker (6'3", 209 lbs) are both big targets who are sure-handed, have great speed for their size and regularly make challenging catches over coverage.

    If Cooper or White falls past the seventh pick, each will be in prime territory for a team that is looking to upgrade its receiving corps to potentially trade up for one of them. If not, it's hard to foresee the Vikings or Browns passing on either one of them, even though they may have their sights set on addressing other needs.

    Parker could easily be a top-11 pick—the Vikings, where he would be reunited with former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, are a popular mock draft match—but his floor should be the Dolphins, who need to add another playmaker at wide receiver after trading Mike Wallace and releasing Brian Hartline.

    Some draft prognosticators also expect a fourth wide receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham, to be a top-15 pick. We'll get to him later in the slideshow.

Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley Will Both End Round 1 RB Drought

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    Melvin Gordon is one of two running backs likely to be a first-round pick this year.
    Melvin Gordon is one of two running backs likely to be a first-round pick this year.Matthew Holst/Getty Images

    After a 49-year streak in which at least one running back was selected in the first round of every year's draft, no running backs have been chosen in the first round of the past two drafts.

    That drought should end in 2015, thanks to Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Georgia's Todd Gurley.

    It is true that the primary reason no running backs have been selected in the past two drafts is that the position has been devalued significantly in recent years. But the lack of a first-round pick at the position in 2014 and 2013 also resulted from there being no running back prospects in either class who were considered clear-cut top talents.

    The latter cannot be said for 2015. Gurley's draft stock has been damaged by a torn ACL suffered in November, but injury aside, he might be the most talented running back draft prospect since Adrian Peterson in 2007. Gordon, meanwhile, is a big and elusive back coming off a remarkable 2014 season in which he ran for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns.

    Unless another team trades up for a running back, the San Diego Chargers look like the best bet to break the drought with the No. 17 overall pick. Gurley is "gaining steam to be drafted by Chargers," according to U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee (via Pro Football Talk), while the team showed "a ton of interest" in Gordon at Wisconsin's pro day, according to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

    Other candidates to draft Gurley or Gordon in Round 1 include the Detroit Lions (No. 23 overall pick), Arizona Cardinals (No. 24) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 27). It's also likely that if either back falls close to the end of Round 1, a team could trade back into the first round to land one of the talented runners.

Brett Hundley Will Be a First-Round Pick

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The drop-off after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota to the rest of the quarterbacks in the 2015 draft class is massive. Among the rest, the only one who should even be considered as a potential franchise quarterback is UCLA's Brett Hundley—which is why he should end up being a first-round pick.

    Hundley stands out as the most polarizing quarterback prospect in this year's draft class. He has some significant flaws in his game—most notably his ability to deal with pressure—which have left many doubting his ability to have success as an NFL signal-caller.

    But Hundley also has the size (6'3", 226 lbs), arm strength and athleticism to be a great playmaker if he continues to develop and improve upon his weaknesses. There are more NFL teams with quarterback needs than there are viable starting options available, and that should entice at least one to take a chance on Hundley early.

    The favorite to draft him might be the Cleveland Browns with the No. 19 overall pick. They were reportedly willing to give up that pick in a trade offer for Sam Bradford, according to NFL Media's Charley Casserly, and it is apparent that they are no longer committed to 2014 first-round pick Johnny Manziel being their franchise quarterback. The Browns reportedly would have considered Hundley in the top 10 last year, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, so it stands to reason they could once again be considering drafting him.

    Other teams who could take a chance on Hundley include the Houston Texans, who hold the No. 16 overall pick and have no franchise quarterback, and the Philadelphia Eagles, who could still look for their quarterback of the future with the No. 20 overall pick despite acquiring Bradford, who only has one year left on his contract, from the Rams.

    With no guarantee that either Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler will still be on the roster in 2016, the Denver Broncos could be a dark horse to draft Hundley with the No. 28 overall pick. It would also make sense for a team such as the New York Jets or Chicago Bears, if they miss out on Marcus Mariota, to trade up into the late first round to secure Hundley.

Three Cornerbacks Will Be Drafted in Top 20 Picks

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    Marcus Peters is expected to be one of the first cornerbacks drafted this year.
    Marcus Peters is expected to be one of the first cornerbacks drafted this year.Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    One of the most interesting positions to monitor in this year's draft will be cornerback. While there are no surefire star prospects at the position, at least a half-dozen cornerbacks are garnering consideration as potential first-round picks.

    A draft board that gives equal stock to all positions should not rank three or more cornerbacks within its top 20. That said, cornerback has increasingly become valued as a primary position in recent drafts, which will likely push the top defensive back prospects up the board, as many teams have needs to upgrade their secondaries.

    The two cornerbacks who are widely projected to be top-20 picks are Michigan State's Trae Waynes and Washington's Marcus Peters. Teams that could be in the market to draft either one of them are the Minnesota Vikings (No. 11), Miami Dolphins (No. 14), San Francisco 49ers (No. 15), Houston Texans (No. 16) and Kansas City Chiefs (No. 18).

    As a result, it's likely that both of them will be off the board by the 18th pick, at the latest. If they come off the board early, that could propel other cornerbacks such as Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson or Florida State's Ronald Darby up in the draft order.

    Even if it doesn't, another strong candidate to draft a cornerback is the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 20 overall. Eagles coach Chip Kelly and three other team decision-makers were spotted at the pro day of Connecticut's Byron Jones, while the team has also been strongly linked to Utah's Eric Rowe, who worked out for the Eagles and will also take an official visit to Philadelphia, according to DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline.

    There's reason to question whether drafting a cornerback in Round 1 this year will net a player significantly better than a team could land at the position in Round 2. But if recent draft rumors are any indication, cornerbacks should start coming off the board quickly around the middle of the first round.

Shane Ray Will Drop Out of the Top 20

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    With five edge defenders all in the mix to potentially be top-10 picks, it's likely that at least one of them will end up sliding well below his widely projected value. The most likely candidate to drop down the board among the pass-rushers is Missouri's Shane Ray.

    He is another polarizing player among draftniks this year. While some see Ray as a player with star pass-rushing potential, others view him as a one-trick pony whose role on an NFL defense could be limited.

    While Ray is a good athlete, his pro-day numbers fell short of the measurables posted by Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler Jr., Alvin "Bud" Dupree and Randy Gregory at the combine and in their pro days. He has limited size and strength for a 4-3 defensive end and might lack the change-of-direction skills to convert to outside linebacker in a 3-4.

    Considering the attention he has received from teams with high picks leading up to the draft, this prediction could prove foolishly wrong. According to SB Nation's draft visit tracker, Ray has already had private workouts or visits with eight NFL teams, including four with top-eight picks (Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons).

    Should he fall past those four teams, though, the only other top-20 teams that are likely to be in the market for a first-round pass-rusher are the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers, and it is questionable whether he would even be the best pick for either of those teams.

    That makes it realistic that Ray could fall out of the top 20, though he probably won't last long at that point if he does. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who hold the No. 22 overall pick, had dinner with Ray before his pro day, according to DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline, and would likely be ready to snap him up if he falls. If not, he would be unlikely to get past the Arizona Cardinals, who draft at No. 24 overall.

Carolina Panthers Will Draft a Left Tackle at No. 25

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    Ereck Flowers could be the Carolina Panthers' next left tackle.
    Ereck Flowers could be the Carolina Panthers' next left tackle.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Although the Carolina Panthers have added multiple offensive tackles to their roster this offseason, they still have a major problem at the left tackle position. Michael Oher's inspirational story does not make him good enough to protect The Blind Side of an NFL offensive line, while the first three seasons of Jonathan Martin's NFL career have been disastrous.

    After suffering through a year of Byron Bell being tasked with replacing former franchise cornerstone Jordan Gross, the Panthers need to make a major investment at the left tackle position in this year's draft, and there should be options available at their first-round pick (No. 25 overall).

    The two most likely candidates for the Panthers' pick are Florida's D.J. Humphries and Miami's Ereck Flowers, who have both visited the team, according to SB Nation's draft visit tracker. Both Humphries and Flowers might need a year or two of seasoning to be effective NFL starters, but they have the upside to be star players if developed properly.

    Other left tackle candidates for the Panthers' consideration could include Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings and Oregon's Jake Fisher.

Denver Broncos Will Draft a Right Tackle at No. 28

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    Jake Fisher would be a smart first-round choice for the Denver Broncos.
    Jake Fisher would be a smart first-round choice for the Denver Broncos.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Denver Broncos had to move some parts around on their offensive line to get through this past season, and the losses of interior linemen Orlando Franklin and Will Montgomery this offseason have only made that unit worse. After moving Louis Vasquez to right tackle from guard midway through last year, the Broncos need to move Vasquez back inside and draft an upgrade to replace him at RT.

    Having lost a number of significant players to free agency this offseason, the Broncos have a number of needs they could address with their first-round pick, including tight end, defensive tackle, linebacker and free safety.

    Nonetheless, right tackle looms as their most important need, in the interest of keeping aging quarterback Peyton Manning healthy and the offense churning at a high level. It is also a position at which the Broncos' options to draft a potential starter could be limited after Round 1.

    The ideal fit for the Broncos, who will switch to a zone-blocking scheme under new head coach Gary Kubiak, at the No. 28 overall pick would be Oregon's Jake Fisher. He played in a zone-blocking scheme at Oregon and is perhaps the most athletic offensive tackle in this year's draft.

    Another strong candidate is T.J. Clemmings, who played right tackle at Pittsburgh and scheduled a visit with Denver, according to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez. And if LSU's La'el Collins falls to No. 28 overall, as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected in his most recent scouting notebook, he would be tough for the Broncos to pass up.

Eric Rowe Will Be a First-Round Pick

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Utah defensive back Eric Rowe is not universally regarded as a player who should be an early-round pick, but it's likely that his combination of measurables, skills and experience will push him into the draft's top 32 choices.

    Most media draft analysts will probably disagree with this prediction. While CBSSports.com and NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah do not have Rowe inside the top 50 of their most recent big boards as of Tuesday, ESPN's Scouts Inc. and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller do not even have Rowe inside their top 100.

    With that being said, Rowe has terrific measurables for a cornerback (6'1", 205 lbs, 4.45-second 40-yard dash) and better tape than he gets credit for.

    A physical defensive back who has shown that he can stay with receivers deep, Rowe fits the modern prototype for teams that are looking for bigger cornerbacks. But he could also be viewed as a candidate to play free safety, the position he played his first three years at Utah—and where there are slim pickings for teams looking to add a starter in this year's draft.

    As previously mentioned, Rowe could potentially come off the board as early as the 20th overall pick, as the Eagles appear to be highly interested in him. He has also had a private workout with the Detroit Lions, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and visited the Baltimore Ravens, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

    The Lions (No. 23 overall pick), Ravens (No. 26 overall pick), Indianapolis Colts (No. 29 overall pick), Green Bay Packers (No. 30 overall pick), New Orleans Saints (No. 31 overall pick) and New England Patriots (No. 32 overall pick) could all be candidates to draft Rowe late in Round 1. As DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline wrote, "Teams who like Rowe but select late in the rounds face a dilemma as most realize if they don't draft him with their initial selection he won't be on the board when they're called on the clock in Round 2."

Stephone Anthony Will Be a First-Round Pick

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    RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

    Following his outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, I wrote about Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony and how he could be a surprise first-round pick this year. That prediction still rings true, for while Anthony is no longer a sleeper after his impressive combine, he still is not widely projected as a Round 1 selection in mock drafts.

    Leaving Anthony out of first-round projections might well be justified. As overlooked as he was during the college football season, he could still considered a reach in Round 1, as he did not have elite production at Clemson, while his tape leaves question about his instincts.

    With that being said, Anthony is a middle linebacker who can both be a thumper between the hashes and use his athleticism to make plays all over the field. His combination of size, athletic ability and hard-hitting tackling is highly intriguing.

    Anthony deserves to be regarded as the second-best inside linebacker in this year's draft class. That makes him a strong candidate to go late in Round 1, especially if Eric Kendricks ends up in the top 20, because teams picking late in the order might not have much available in terms of inside linebacker talent if they wait until Round 2.

    The favorite to draft Anthony is the Green Bay Packers, who are reportedly "very high" on the linebacker, according to DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline, and hold the No. 30 overall pick. Other teams that need linebacker help and could consider him late in Round 1 include the Arizona Cardinals (No. 24) and New Orleans Saints (No. 31).

New Orleans Saints Will Double Up on Defense in Round 1

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    Just minutes before the opening of the NFL league year on March 10, the New Orleans Saints made one of the offseason's most stunning trades when they dealt tight end Jimmy Graham and their fourth-round pick (No. 112 overall) to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for center Max Unger and Seattle's first-round pick (No. 31 overall).

    As a result, New Orleans is one of two teams, along with the Cleveland Browns, that now hold two picks in this year's first round. It's likely the Saints will use those two picks to continue rebuilding a defense that ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed this past season.

    Top candidates for the Saints' original first-round pick (No. 13 overall) include Nebraska edge defender Randy Gregory, Kentucky edge defender Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Missouri edge defender Shane Ray and UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks. Players who could be in the mix at No. 31 include Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips, Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead, UCLA edge defender Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Clemson inside linebacker Stephone Anthony and Mississippi State inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

    Some have suggested that the Saints should use the 31st pick to draft a pass-catcher, such as Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams or Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith, considering they also traded wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Miami Dolphins for their third-round pick (No. 78 overall) and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

    That said, it's hard to fathom why the Saints would trade Graham and Stills in the first place if they were simply going to use those picks to draft other players at their positions. Following the Saints' trade of Stills, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported the Saints were accumulating picks in order to go "all-in to build a defense."

New England Patriots Will Draft a Nose Tackle with First Pick

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    Eddie Goldman could be the New England Patriots' answer for replacing Vince Wilfork.
    Eddie Goldman could be the New England Patriots' answer for replacing Vince Wilfork.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    With an unusually high number of needs going into the draft for a defending Super Bowl champion, the New England Patriots have several different directions in which they could go with their first-round pick. Cornerback, guard, wide receiver and linebacker are all positions the Patriots could look to address in the early rounds this year.

    The position the Patriots might be most inclined to draft in Round 1, however, is nose tackle. After letting longtime starter Vince Wilfork go to the Houston Texans this offseason, the Patriots—who have drafted five first-round defensive linemen in the Bill Belichick era—should look to draft his replacement with their first pick this year.

    The top two nose tackle options the Patriots could potentially land at the No. 32 overall pick are Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips and Florida State's Eddie Goldman. Both interior defensive linemen are massive men with the girth, strength and quickness to fill Wilfork's role in the middle of New England's hybrid defensive front.

    It would be no surprise if the Patriots, who have a history of trading down and out of the first round, end up doing so again this year if a team wants to move up for the final pick of Round 1. However, a great nose tackle is hard to find, and trading down could leave New England with limited options to replace Wilfork in 2015.

No Tight Ends Drafted in Round 1

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    Maxx Williams could be a first-round draft pick, but he is far from a sure bet.
    Maxx Williams could be a first-round draft pick, but he is far from a sure bet.Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    As I covered in a Bleacher Report article last month, Minnesota's Maxx Williams is the only tight end worthy of first-round consideration this year. A sure-handed receiver, Williams can catch anything in his radius and should be a dangerous target over the middle and in the red zone.

    With that being said, his measurables proved to be just average at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he weighed in at 6'4" and 249 pounds and ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash. He is a willing blocker with the potential to provide quality in that area, but he will need to work on that part of his game as well.

    It's possible Williams could come off the board as early as the top 20. The Houston Texans (No. 16 overall pick), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 18) and Cleveland Browns (No. 19) could be in the market for another pass-catching playmaker.

    WalterFootball.com's Tony Pauline has also reported that the Baltimore Ravens (No. 26), Denver Broncos (No. 28), Green Bay Packers (No. 30) and New Orleans Saints (No. 31) will all consider drafting Williams with their late first-round picks. All of those teams should be in the market for a tight end upgrade, but it's also likely there will be better options available at each of their picks.

    Ultimately, whether Williams goes in Round 1 will come down to how badly each of those teams feels it needs a tight end. He has the talent to justify a late first-round pick, but he is a fringe top-32 prospect who might not hold as much value as players who fall into the same draft range at other positions.

    While there are no other top talents in this year's tight end draft class beyond Williams, there are a number of players outside of Round 1, including Miami's Clive Walford, Rutgers' Tyler Kroft, Ohio State's Jeff Heuerman, Penn State's Jesse James and Notre Dame's Ben Koyack.

No Safeties Drafted in Round 1

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    Landon Collins is projected to be the first safety drafted this year, but he shouldn't be viewed as a first-round lock.
    Landon Collins is projected to be the first safety drafted this year, but he shouldn't be viewed as a first-round lock.Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

    A weak class of prospects among players who played the safety position in college football last year could leave the position unrepresented in the first round of this year's draft.

    The only safety who has been widely projected as a first-round pick is Alabama's Landon Collins. In some cases, he has been projected as early as the top 10 selections, but he has been overrated to an extent.

    While Collins has shown impressive playmaking skills and the ability to play both safety spots, he might not have the athletic fluidity or consistency in coverage to be trusted with deep responsibilities in the NFL. He is best suited to play as an in-the-box strong safety, a position at which his draft value is lower than that of a free safety who plays in center field.

    There are a number of spots late in the first round at which Collins being drafted would make plenty of sense. The Philadelphia Eagles (No. 20 overall selection), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 22), Carolina Panthers (No. 25), Dallas Cowboys (No. 27) and Indianapolis Colts (No. 29) could all be looking for an upgrade at the strong safety position.

    Teams that are looking for a free safety, however, might actually be best suited by looking at cornerback prospects who have experience at the position, like Utah's Eric Rowe and Connecticut's Byron Jones, rather than reaching to draft a player who lacks a top-32 skill set.

    Collins is very much on the fringe of a first-round selection, but no one should be shocked—despite some of the high projections he has had—if he ends up falling into the early picks of Round 2.

College with Most First-Round Picks: Washington

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    Shaq Thompson is one of multiple projected first-round picks from Washington's defense.
    Shaq Thompson is one of multiple projected first-round picks from Washington's defense.Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    As already mentioned in earlier slides, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton and cornerback Marcus Peters are both projected to be top-20 overall draft selections. They aren't the only players from the Huskies defense who have a shot at being first-round picks this year either.

    Another Washington player who is likely to come off the board in the draft's top 32 is Shaq Thompson. Perhaps the draft's most versatile prospect, Thompson can play both linebacker and safety, while he also has experience at running back and on special teams.

    Perceptions of Thompson as a draft prospect have fallen somewhat since he had an underwhelming performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, but his ability to make plays all over the field still makes him a strong candidate for a Round 1 selection. Best suited to play as a weak-side linebacker, Thompson's potential first-round fits include the Miami Dolphins (No. 14 overall selection), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 21), Dallas Cowboys (No. 27) and New Orleans Saints (No. 31).

    It is plausible, though probably unlikely at this point, that Washington could have four first-round picks. Edge defender Hau'oli Kikaha led the Football Bowl Subdivision in sacks this past season but projects to fall to Day 2 of the draft after failing to break 4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Washington's pro day, according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

    Skeptics of Washington's defensive prospects have been quick to point out that the Huskies ranked just 80th in total defense in the FBS last season.

    The unit's struggles as a whole, however, are not an accurate indicator of each player's talent. Peters played just eight games last season before being dismissed by the team, Thompson played more offense than defense in multiple contests, and both Shelton and Kikaha were first-team AP All-Americans.

    Another candidate to have three or more first-round picks is Florida State: Quarterback Jameis Winston, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, cornerback Ronald Darby, center Cameron Erving and even defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. are all first-round possibilities.

    Other teams with a shot at first-round trifectas include Oregon (quarterback Marcus Mariota, offensive tackle Jake Fisher, defensive end Arik Armstead) and UCLA (linebacker Eric Kendricks, quarterback Brett Hundley, edge defender Owamagbe Odighizuwa).

No Round 1 Picks from National Champion Buckeyes

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    Devin Smith could be a late first-round pick, but he is more likely to come off the board in Round 2.
    Devin Smith could be a late first-round pick, but he is more likely to come off the board in Round 2.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The last college football team to win a national championship yet have no first-round picks in the subsequent NFL draft was the 2002-03 Ohio State Buckeyes. History could be set to repeat itself 12 years later, as the Buckeyes won the inaugural College Football Playoff yet have no prospects in the 2015 draft who are first-round locks.

    Two players who could be Round 1 picks but are probably more likely to fall into Round 2 are defensive tackle Michael Bennett and wide receiver Devin Smith.

    Bennett is an explosive interior defensive lineman who can use his quickness and hands to penetrate backfields, but injuries have limited his opportunities to assert himself as a first-round talent in the months leading up to the draft.

    Smith is the best deep-threat wide receiver in the draft, but he has limitations in other areas of his game. He would make sense as a late first-round choice for the Baltimore Ravens (No. 26 overall selection), New Orleans Saints (No. 31) or New England Patriots (No. 32), but he would be more appropriately valued in Round 2.

    The reason why Ohio State does not have many projected high picks—and why it will almost certainly be ranked No. 1 in every preseason poll—is that it has a deep crop of underclassman talent returning. The Buckeyes' 2016 draft class could potentially include as many as six first-round picks.

    The 2015 draft, however, should be fairly quiet for the national champions. Ohio State has two more potential top-100 picks, cornerback Doran Grant and tight end Jeff Heuerman, but neither of them is expected to be taken higher than Round 3. No other Buckeyes are sure bets to be drafted.

Dorial Green-Beckham Will Not Be a First-Round Pick

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    No player's stock in the 2015 draft is tougher to predict than that of Dorial Green-Beckham. While the former Missouri wide receiver is one of the most gifted talents in the draft class, his off-field history could lead to a sharp fall down the draft board.

    Missouri dismissed Green-Beckham in April 2014 after he was investigated for an incident in which he allegedly pushed a woman "down at least four stairs," according to Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com. The woman and another roommate "told a detective they didn't want to press charges, and police closed the case Thursday without an arrest, citing reluctant witnesses fearing retaliation."

    While not actually being arrested helps Green-Beckham's case, it doesn't clear his name from the issue of domestic violence, an issue NFL teams should be looking to avoid more than ever after a number of high-profile scandals involving NFL players this past season. That incident was also not Green-Beckham's first instance of getting in trouble: As Aschoff noted, Green-Beckham was previously arrested on two separate occasions for marijuana possession.

    Combining an ugly rap sheet with the fact that he did not play a single snap of football in 2014 (he transferred to Oklahoma but was not eligible to play last season), Green-Beckham is the 2015 draft's ultimate case of risk vs. reward. Although the 6'5", 237-pound wide receiver has the size, athleticism and playmaking ability to be a star, he is both a raw talent and a player who could always be one mistake away from getting cut.

    It's easy for a media draft analyst to cite talent alone and project Green-Beckham as a top-15 pick. It could be much harder for an NFL team to subject itself to the negative publicity that could come with drafting DGB, along with the reality that he is more likely to get in trouble in the future than most other prospects.

    Much like Colt Lyerla in 2014 and Da'Rick Rogers in 2013, Green-Beckham's character concerns will likely keep him from being drafted as high as most draftniks expect. He is a higher-tier talent than Lyerla and Rogers, so he probably won't go undrafted like they did, but the prospect of DGB being a Round 1 selection is one that teams should be unwilling to take.

Tennessee Titans Will Draft a Right Tackle in Round 2

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    If T.J. Clemmings is not a first-round selection, he could be the first pick of Round 2.
    If T.J. Clemmings is not a first-round selection, he could be the first pick of Round 2.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Regardless of what they end up doing with the No. 2 overall pick, the Tennessee Titans should be in the market to draft a right tackle on Day 2, as they are in need of a replacement for Michael Oher after releasing him earlier this offseason.

    In order to get a player who can come in and start right away, the Titans will probably need to draft that right tackle with the first pick of the second round, No. 33 overall.

    Sitting in the prime spot of Round 2, the Titans will have a good shot at landing one of the offensive tackles projected to be a first-round pick, such as Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings, Oregon's Jake Fisher, Florida's D.J. Humphries or Miami's Ereck Flowers. Any one of those players would give the Titans a high-upside option to line up opposite second-year starting left tackle Taylor Lewan.

    The Titans may trade down to get better value, as multiple teams will likely make offers for the 33rd pick, but they could also use their second-round pick on a less heralded but still quality player with the skills needed to start at right tackle. Two players who would fit that bill and should not be disregarded as prospective second-rounders are Oklahoma's Daryl Williams and Wisconsin's Rob Havenstein.

    The Titans could eliminate their need at right tackle before the draft by signing Joe Barksdale, who is set to visit the team this week, according to The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt. If they do not sign Barksdale, adding a right tackle will need to be a draft priority outside of Round 1.

Josh Shaw Will Be a Second-Round Pick

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Despite being best known for jumping off a balcony and lying about it and then being suspended for most of USC's 2014 season as a result, Josh Shaw is still among the top cornerback prospects in the 2015 NFL draft.

    Coming off impressive showings at the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, Shaw has demonstrated a combination of size (6'0", 201 lbs), athleticism and physicality that fits the cornerback prototype for a press-man coverage scheme.

    Shaw has experience playing safety and could also be viewed as a candidate to transition to that position in the NFL. That versatility only helps solidify him as one of the better defensive backs available in the 2015 draft.

    While some teams will hold Shaw's embarrassing incident against him, most will likely recognize it as a mistake—one that hurt Shaw more than it hurt anyone else—and be willing to take a chance on him because of his physical tools and skill set.

    Shaw would be a good fit for the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom," and given their need for another cornerback to replace Byron Maxwell, he should come off the board no later than their second-round pick (No. 63 overall). Other potential Round 2 landing spots for Shaw could include the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 36), Minnesota Vikings (No. 45), San Francisco 49ers (No. 46), Houston Texans (No. 51), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 52), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 56), Carolina Panthers (No. 57) and Baltimore Ravens (No. 58).

Nelson Agholor Will Be Third Straight Round 2 USC WR

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Nelson Agholor's draft stock has predictably followed a similar pattern to that of his former teammates Robert Woods, the No. 41 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and Marqise Lee, the No. 39 overall pick in the 2014 draft. While all three former USC wide receivers went into their junior seasons hyped up as projected first-round picks, it's likely that Agholor—like Lee and Woods—will end up coming off the board in Round 2.

    The similarities between the three do not end with the school they played for. Like Woods and Lee, Agholor is a skilled route-runner and a shifty athlete, but he lacks the top-end physical attributes of the top prospects at the position.

    It could be argued that Agholor is a better prospect than either Woods or Lee was, as he did run a faster 40-yard-dash time than either of them (4.42 at this year's combine), is a skilled punt returner and does not come with the injury concerns that his predecessors had.

    Still, at least four receivers should go ahead of Agholor, including Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker and Arizona State's Jaelen Strong. Agholor is also competing for draft position with Ohio State's Devin Smith, Central Florida's Breshad Perriman, Auburn's Sammie Coates, Michigan's Devin Funchess, Dorial Green-Beckham and Kansas State's Tyler Lockett, among others.

    That will probably keep him out of Round 1, but teams that are looking for a sure-handed receiver who can play both outside and in the slot, and be a No. 2 or 3 receiver, should consider Agholor in Round 2. Potential fits include the St. Louis Rams (No. 41 overall), Cleveland Browns (No. 43), New Orleans Saints (No. 44), Miami Dolphins (No. 47), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 49), Houston Texans (No. 51), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 52), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 53), Baltimore Ravens (No. 58) and New England Patriots (No. 64).

Cameron Erving Will Be Round 2 Pick, First Center Drafted

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    Back in October, Cameron Erving was in the midst of an up-and-down season as Florida State's left tackle, and his stock as a projected early-round draft pick was starting to slip away. A move to center for the final five games of the season, however, re-established him as a top prospect—albeit at a new offensive line position.

    While Erving had some trouble consistently protecting the edge against outside pass-rushers at left tackle, his athleticism immediately translated well to the center position. He brought instant stability to the middle of the Seminoles offensive line while showing the ability to make strong downfield blocks and outside pull blocks.

    After his impressive five-game stretch, Erving now projects as the top center prospect in the draft class, ahead of players who have been at the position for years. His combination of size, athleticism and strength gives him the potential to continue developing and potentially emerge in time as one of the best centers in the NFL.

    Erving's versatility helps his draft stock too, and it's quite possible a team could move him back out to tackle or try him at guard. But his impressive stint at center makes it look as though that position is where he has the most upside and the greatest likelihood of long-term NFL success.

    There have been some first-round projections for Erving, but he's more likely to fit into the second round. Best fits for Erving—aka teams that could be looking for a new center—include the St. Louis Rams (No. 41 overall selection), San Diego Chargers (No. 48), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 49), Houston Texans (No. 51), Detroit Lions (No. 54), Denver Broncos (No. 59), Indianapolis Colts (No. 61) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 63).

Buffalo Bills Will Draft Defense in Round 2

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    Ohio State's Michael Bennett could be a fit for the Buffalo Bills' defensive line.
    Ohio State's Michael Bennett could be a fit for the Buffalo Bills' defensive line.Associated Press

    So far, the Buffalo Bills' offseason has literally been all about offense. They have acquired eight new players since February, and every one of those players lines up on the side that possesses the ball.

    That's not without reason—the Bills defense ranked fourth in the NFL in both yards allowed and points allowed this past season, while their offense ranked 26th in yards gained and 18th in points scored. It could also be said that the team should continue to focus on rebuilding its offense in the draft. A top guard prospect such as Duke's Laken Tomlinson or South Carolina's A.J. Cann would be a smart choice for the Bills at the No. 50 overall pick.

    That said, the Bills aren't going to ignore their defense altogether this offseason. So with no first-round pick, and only two total picks in the first four rounds, it's likely Buffalo will look to add more talent to its defense with its second-round pick. (For what it's worth, the New York Jets drafted a defensive player with their first pick in each of their final five drafts led by new Bills coach Rex Ryan.)

    By addressing most of their major offensive needs in free agency, the Bills have put themselves in position to draft the best defensive player available at the No. 50 overall pick.

    Their area of greatest need on their defense, though, is to add another interior defensive lineman as they switch back to a 3-4 scheme. Potential fits to play as a 3-4 defensive end include Ohio State's Michael Bennett, Iowa's Carl Davis and Arizona State's Marcus Hardison.

    Buffalo could also use the No. 50 overall pick to add another outside linebacker, such as Mississippi State's Preston Smith or Louisville's Lorenzo Mauldin, or take a chance on a safety such as Samford's Jaquiski Tartt or Virginia's Anthony Harris.

Five Quarterbacks Will Be Top-100 Picks

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    Baylor's Bryce Petty appears to be on track to be a second-day draft pick.
    Baylor's Bryce Petty appears to be on track to be a second-day draft pick.LM Otero/Associated Press

    In a quarterback draft class of normal depth, Baylor's Bryce Petty and Colorado State's Garrett Grayson would likely be fourth- or fifth-round draft picks. But in a draft class that includes no quarterbacks outside its top five who are even locks to be selected, demand for potential starters and capable backups at the position will likely elevate Petty and Grayson into Day 2 draft choices.

    Petty is a project who needs to improve his passing accuracy and learn how to run a pro-style offense, but he has the size (6'3", 230 lbs), arm strength and mobility to intrigue a team into drafting him as high as the second round. Potential landing spots for Petty include the Cleveland Browns (who have the No. 43 overall pick in Round 2), Buffalo Bills (No. 50) and Philadelphia Eagles (No. 52).

    Grayson is in many ways the opposite of Petty. While he does not have any spectacular physical tools and therefore has a low ceiling, he has experience running a pro-style offense and has demonstrated good accuracy throwing a variety of routes as an intermediate passer.

    The Bills and Browns are both interested in Grayson, according to Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver. Another potential landing spot could be the Denver Broncos, who hold the No. 59 overall pick in Round 2 and are "the team that seems to be highest" on Grayson, according to WalterFootball.com's Tony Pauline.

    Two additional dark-horse teams to pick Petty or Grayson could be the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers. The Rams have hosted both quarterbacks for visits, according to SB Nation's draft visit tracker, while the Chargers have scheduled a visit with Petty and have had a private workout with Grayson.

    With Winston and Mariota expected to come off the board within the draft's first hour and Hundley also likely to be drafted early, supply and demand should elevate the stock of both Petty and Grayson.

Cedric Ogbuehi Will Be a Day 2 Pick

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Going into the start of this past college football season, Cedric Ogbuehi was expected to be the third straight Texas A&M offensive lineman to turn a strong season at the left tackle position into a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

    Ogbuehi's senior year did not go according to plan. He failed to emerge as a dominant player, was moved back to right tackle for multiple games and suffered a torn ACL in the Liberty Bowl, which has kept him out of all predraft workouts and leaves his availability for the 2015 season in question.

    Even before Ogbuehi suffered his knee injury, his status as a first-round pick had come into question. While he has the length and athleticism that NFL scouts covet in an offensive tackle prospect, his technique needs work, while his game lacks a significant power element.

    NFL Media's Lance Zierlein, however, was adamant Tuesday that Ogbuehi will still be a first-round pick, even with his injury.

    "After speaking with multiple teams I have no doubt that Ced Ogbuehi's ACL tear will NOT keep him out of the first round," Zierlein tweeted.

    Zierlein is a well-connected draft analyst, so it should come as no surprise if he is ultimately right about Ogbuehi, but it still seems a bit hard to believe. While the vast majority of first-round picks nowadays are expected to come in and start right away for their teams, Ogbuehi is a project who might not even be healthy enough to take the field when the season begins.

    Ogbuehi projects best as a second- or third-round pick, where his athletic upside would make him worth taking a chance on and his risk would be more acceptable. Ideally, he will be a drafted by a team that is looking for a long-term upgrade rather than an immediate fix at offensive tackle; teams that project as good fits include the Philadelphia Eagles (who hold the No. 52 overall pick in Round 2), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 53) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 55).

Dallas Cowboys Will Draft a Running Back in Round 2

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    Indiana running back Tevin Coleman could be Dallas' replacement for DeMarco Murray.
    Indiana running back Tevin Coleman could be Dallas' replacement for DeMarco Murray.John Sommers/Associated Press

    The aforementioned Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley have both been popular first-round mock draft projections for the Dallas Cowboys, who need to replace DeMarco Murray, the NFL's leading rusher this past season, after losing him in free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles. If either one of those running backs is still available at the No. 27 overall selection, he would be hard for the Cowboys to pass up.

    But although the Cowboys would surely not be faulted for taking advantage of either Gordon or Gurley falling into their lap, their best bet might be to draft a defensive player in Round 1 and then look for value at the running back position in Round 2.

    The Cowboys should have a number of options available at the 27th pick to upgrade their defense, potentially including UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson and Alabama strong safety Landon Collins.

    Similarly, the Cowboys should have options available at No. 60 overall to find a running back who can be successful behind their outstanding offensive line.

    The ideal second-round running back for Dallas would be Indiana's Tevin Coleman, though the Cowboys might have to trade up to secure a chance to draft him. They have also visited with three other running backs—Boise State's Jay Ajayi, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and USC's Javorius "Buck" Allen—in addition to Gordon, Gurley and Coleman, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    If Coleman is off the board, either Ajayi or Yeldon would be a solid choice late in Round 2. Allen would more likely be an option in the fourth or fifth round, but it would be surprising if the Cowboys waited that long to draft a running back, where the best option currently on their roster is Darren McFadden.

A Veteran Player Will Be Traded for a Top-100 Pick During the Draft

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    Philadelphia Eagles coach and director of player personnel Chip Kelly will likely explore some unexpected trades during the NFL draft.
    Philadelphia Eagles coach and director of player personnel Chip Kelly will likely explore some unexpected trades during the NFL draft.Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Trades involving veteran players during the NFL draft are rare, and when they do happen, they typically either occur before the draft actually begins or only involve picks in the fourth round or later. 

    With that being said, trades involving notable and established NFL players have been happening at a much higher rate than usual so far this offseason. Jimmy Graham, Max Unger, Haloti Ngata, Brandon Marshall, Sam Bradford, Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Kiko Alonso, Mike Wallace, Kenny Stills, Dannell Ellerbe, Dashon Goldson and Ben Grubbs have been dealt since the start of the league year.

    Given this newfound trend of teams trading players to other clubs for their players or for draft picks, it would be fitting if another player of significance ends up being moved in exchange for a pick while a team is on the clock in the first, second or third round.

    There will almost certainly be trade rumors that emerge over the next few weeks as the draft nears, but it's just as likely that if a deal of this nature happens, it will involve a player who nobody expected to be on the move.

    Three of the most likely candidates to be involved in a shocking trade would be the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, as all three have taken on aggressive rebuilding approaches this offseason.

FBS Sack Leaders Hau'oli Kikaha, Nate Orchard Will Fall to Round 3

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    Despite a great 2014 season, Utah's Nate Orchard could fall to the draft's third round.
    Despite a great 2014 season, Utah's Nate Orchard could fall to the draft's third round.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Washington's Hau'oli Kikaha and Utah's Nate Orchard are both coming off breakout senior seasons. Kikaha led the FBS with 19 sacks, while Orchard finished in second with 18.5. Those numbers could make Kikaha and Orchard two of the most coveted pass-rushers in this year's draft; however, neither has the physical tools to project as star edge defenders in the NFL.

    Kikaha ran a 40-yard dash time of slower than 4.9 seconds while weighing in at 243 pounds at Washington's pro day, according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang. That makes him small for a 4-3 defensive end and slow for a 3-4 outside linebacker. 

    The same can be said for Orchard. He measured in at 6'3" and 250 pounds and ran a 4.80-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, giving him slightly better but still below-average measurables for an NFL edge defender.

    Because NFL evaluators tend to value physical traits over production, Kikaha and Orchard—whose parallels also include the fact that both changed their surnames in the midst of their collegiate careers (Kikaha was formerly Jamora, Orchard was formerly Fakahafua)—are more likely to be third-round picks than they are first-round selections.

    Based upon film study, it would appear that Kikaha—who has the superior hand skills of the two edge players—would have a more translatable game to the NFL. However, Kikaha's draft stock could be further damaged by his injury history, as he has torn the ACL in his left knee twice.

    Both guys will likely be projected as rotational edge players as either 4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers in the NFL. Potential third-round fits for either prospect could include the Tennessee Titans (No. 66 overall pick), Buffalo Bills (No. 81), San Diego Chargers (No. 83), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 87), Baltimore Ravens (No. 90), Indianapolis Colts (No. 93) or Green Bay Packers (No. 94).

P.J. Williams Will Fall to Round 3 (At Least)

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    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Less than one month before the NFL draft is a bad time to get in trouble, but that's exactly what happened to Florida State cornerback P.J. Williams, who was arrested Friday for driving under the influence in Tallahassee.

    According to Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel, Williams "refused a field sobriety test and told a police officer he played football for FSU before being arrested and charged with driving under the influence last week." Also according to Sonnone, the arresting officer noted in his incident report that "he detected a 'strong odor of alcohol' coming from the car and noted that Williams had red, watery eyes and slurred speech."

    As if a DUI less than four weeks before becoming a professional football player was not bad enough in itself, Williams was driving on a suspended license and has a history of vehicle-related incidents. According to a report last year by Mike McIntire and Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times, Williams was the driver in a Tallahassee hit-and-run in October 2014 but was not charged with a crime.

    Williams had been projected by some draft analysts as a potential first-round pick, but his stock had already been hurt by an up-and-down junior season and an underwhelming performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, where the 6'0", 197-pound cornerback ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash

    Now, NFL teams have serious reason to be skeptical of Williams' off-field decision-making, as one would expect him to have more incentive than ever to be on his best behavior with the draft just weeks away. His physicality and playmaking ability make him an intriguing prospect, but it would be a surprise if a team takes a chance on him above the third round following his latest incident. 

Jacksonville Jaguars Will Draft a RB in Round 3

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    Miami running back Duke Johnson would be a good addition to the Jacksonville backfield if he is still available early in Round 3.
    Miami running back Duke Johnson would be a good addition to the Jacksonville backfield if he is still available early in Round 3.Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    The Jacksonville Jaguars made a run at free agent DeMarco Murray before he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but the only veteran running back they ended up signing was Bernard Pierce, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens after an arrest for DUI.

    While Murray is a feature back, Pierce is a fringe roster player, so it's likely the Jaguars will look to add another ball-carrier with one of their early draft picks. While Denard Robinson had a promising second season after taking over as the Jaguars' starting running back, the team still has one of the least inspiring running back committees in the league. 

    If Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley were to fall to the No. 36 overall pick, the Jaguars should snap either one up without hesitation, but that is unlikely to happen. Drafting another running back such as Indiana's Tevin Coleman or Boise State's Jay Ajayi in Round 2 could be a possibility, but waiting until Round 3 would be a better move in regard to value.

    With no shortage of quality talent at the running back position in this year's draft, the Jaguars should have a number of options available at the No. 67 overall pick, potentially including Miami's Duke Johnson, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon or South Carolina's Mike Davis. Any one of those players could add a spark to the Jacksonville backfield and potentially emerge as the Jaguars' most dynamic running back in 2015.

Ali Marpet Will Be First Small-School Prospect Drafted

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    When draft analysts talk about small-school players as potential early- or middle-round draft picks, they are typically referring to prospects who played their college football at the Division I-Football Championship Subdivision level. The top small-school pick this year, however, might be one who hails from a Division III school.

    Ali Marpet is on track to be the first player drafted from Hobart College since 1948 (Bob Williamson, Lions), and the first Division III player to be a top-100 draft pick since 1990 (Chris Warren, Ferrum College, Seahawks).

    Despite playing his entire collegiate career against lower-level competition, Marpet was dominant against future NFL defensive linemen at this year's Senior Bowl. He then continued to bolster his draft stock at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he was the only offensive lineman to run a sub-five-second 40-yard dash (4.98 seconds, to be exact).

    While Marpet played left tackle for the Statesmen, he projects to move inside to guard in the NFL. While his length is shorter than ideal for an NFL offensive tackle, his foot skills and power should translate well to playing on the interior.

    It's evident that Marpet—10 NFL teams attended his pro day—is garnering real attention from the league. As a result, he will likely end up being drafted in the late second or early third round.

    Teams in need of interior line help that could turn to Marpet include the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 52), Indianapolis Colts (No. 61), Seattle Seahawks (No. 63), New England Patriots (No. 64), Washington Redskins (No. 69), St. Louis Rams (No. 72), Atlanta Falcons (No. 73) or New York Giants (No. 74).

Jaquiski Tartt Will Be First FCS Player Drafted

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    Ali Marpet's top competition to be the first small-school player drafted appears to be Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt, a three-time Associated Press FCS All-American (first team in 2012, second team in 2013 and 2014) who could be one of the top players selected from a weak class at his position.

    Highlighted by Bleacher Report's Matt Bowen as "The Best NFL Draft Sleeper No One is Talking About," Tartt is a 6'1", 221-pound hard-hitting safety with good athleticism for his size. He is a great fit to play in an enforcer role on the back end as an in-the-box strong safety.

    "I've watched the tape on Tartt," Bowen writes. "He can find the ball, takes solid angles in run support and isn't afraid to mix it up. He has the ability to roll down over tight ends, and I like him playing in the front at the strong safety position. That's where he will earn his money in the pros."

    Among prospects who played the position in 2014, Tartt could potentially end up being the second safety off the board after Landon Collins. 

    With limited experience in man coverage and against top competition but great physical attributes and big upside, Tartt projects as a likely third-round pick. Potential fits for him include the Washington Redskins (No. 69 overall selection), New York Giants (No. 74), Buffalo Bills (No. 81), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 84), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 87) or Indianapolis Colts (No. 93).

Xavier Williams Will Be First Combine Snub Drafted

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Among players who did not receive invites to the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Northern Iowa defensive tackle Xavier Williams was the snub who deserved one most. Despite not receiving a trip to Indianapolis, Williams should still garner consideration as a potential third- or fourth-round pick who can play multiple interior defensive line spots.

    Possessing a great combination of size, quickness and power, Williams was a dominant player at the Football Championship Subdivision level and carried that over to an outstanding week at the East-West Shrine Game, where he measured in at 6'2" and 325 pounds, according to Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko.

    Not getting invited to the combine is typically an indicator that a player is regarded as nothing more than a late-round pick, but Williams should be an exception to the rule. Perhaps a prospect who simply fell through the cracks because of his small-school background, he has the potential to make an immediate impact in an NFL defensive line rotation as either a nose tackle or penetrator.

    Williams will need some technical work as he makes the jump to the NFL from the FCS, and he might not be a natural fit for a 3-4 defense. His potential to be a disruptive player on the interior of an NFL defense is nonetheless high.

    Other non-combine invites will provide stiff competition for Williams to be the first of the outcasts drafted. One such guy is Texas Southern cornerback Tray Walker, who has visits with seven NFL teams, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    Either way, Williams deserves to be drafted. Teams that should consider him in the middle rounds for defensive line competition and depth include the Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos. 

Chris Bonner Will Be Sixth Quarterback off the Board

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    As mentioned earlier, no quarterbacks beyond the top five of Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson should be considered draft locks.

    The most popular choice to be the sixth quarterback is Oregon State's Sean Mannion, and that well could be the case. But if a team is looking for a sleeper prospect who just might have the tools to develop into a future NFL starter, it should take a long look at Colorado State-Pueblo signal-caller Chris Bonner.

    Bonner, who led the ThunderWolves to a Division II title this past season, is a rocket-armed quarterback who weighed in at 6'6" and 237 pounds at the Medal of Honor Bowl, according to Josh Buchanan of TonySoftli.com. While he was not invited to the combine, Bonner participated at the San Diego State and Colorado pro days, according to WalterFootball.com's Tony Pauline, and lured the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos to CSU-Pueblo's own pro day, according to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

    Having completed just 56 percent of his passes against Division II competition this past season, Bonner is a project who should be viewed as a developmental player and no more than a third-string quarterback at this point. His ceiling, however, appears to be the highest of any quarterback who is likely to still be available on Day 3 of the draft.

    That increases the likelihood that a team will take a late-round flier on Bonner in hopes that its coaches can develop into him an NFL-caliber quarterback.

Tyler Varga Will Be First Ivy League Player Drafted

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    Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

    As detailed in a Bleacher Report feature story I wrote last month, Tyler Varga is a pre-med student at Yale, one of the nation's most prestigious universities, who also has the skill set to be a valuable addition to an NFL roster. Coming off a breakout senior season and an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, Varga should be on track to be a solid Day 3 selection in this year's draft.

    Varga, who ran for 1,423 yards and 22 touchdowns in Yale's 10-game 2014 season, is a 5'11", 222-pound running back who is as well-built as you'd expect the son of two competitive bodybuilders to be. A solid pass-catcher out of the backfield who also showed some blocking ability at the Senior Bowl, he has the potential to contribute at both running back and fullback.

    Earlier this month, he ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash and vertically jumped 38.5 inches at his pro day, which was attended by 28 NFL teams, according to Greg Cameron of the Yale Daily News. While Varga's 40 time is pedestrian, the high attendance number is an indicator of how much buzz he has around the league. 

    Another Ivy League prospect in this year's draft, Harvard edge defender Zack Hodges, also participated in the Senior Bowl. An athletic outside pass-rusher, Hodges has higher upside than Varga.

    However, Hodges is undersized for an edge player at only 6'2" and 250 pounds, and he has been battling a knee injury through the predraft season. According to WalterFootball.com's Tony Pauline, "his interviews, dating back to the Senior Bowl, have not gone well and rubbed people the wrong way. A number of teams have removed Hodges from their board."

    That combination of factors makes it likely that Hodges will fall into the late rounds and probably below Varga, who projects as a fifth- or sixth-round draft pick.

Bobby McCain Will Be Mr. Irrelevant

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    My prediction for the 256th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, aka "Mr. Irrelevant," will probably prove to be irrelevant. The chances of anyone actually predicting that pick correctly, before the start of the draft without any inside knowledge on who it might be, are slim to none.

    Nonetheless, it's fun to take a guess as to who that selection might be, so my prediction is that Bobby McCain, a cornerback from Memphis, will be chosen by the Arizona Cardinals as the final pick of this year's draft.

    The Cardinals need to add depth at the cornerback position, which could have them looking to add another with the draft's final choice, and McCain sits on the fringe of being drafted. Ranked as the No. 269 overall prospect on Matt Miller's post-combine big board, McCain helped his chances of being selected at the East-West Shrine Game, where he reportedly met with the Cardinals, according to WalterFootball.com.

    McCain is an undersized cornerback at only 5'9" and 195 pounds, but he's outstandingly agile; his 3.82-second 20-yard shuttle was actually the fastest time run by all participants at the NFL Scouting Combine

    Well-suited to play in the slot and on special teams, McCain could end up being a steal if he makes it past the draft's first 255 picks. 

No Kickers or Punters Drafted

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    South Florida's Marvin Kloss is a likely undrafted free-agent pickup at kicker.
    South Florida's Marvin Kloss is a likely undrafted free-agent pickup at kicker.Associated Press

    The 2015 NFL draft looks as though it could be the first since 1998 to not include a single place-kicker and/or punter among its full allotment of draft picks.

    While a number of kicking specialists will get a chance to compete in NFL training camps this summer, no kickers or punters in this year's draft are worthy of more than an undrafted free-agent investment. 

    The most likely draft pick among kicking specialists this year is Louisiana-Monroe's Justin Manton, who handled both kicking and punting duties for the South team at this year's Senior Bowl. But even the fact alone that the Senior Bowl settled on using one player (and one who is not a standout prospect in either area) to handle both duties is an indictment of the lack of talent in this year's crop of special teams players.

    Other kickers who could garner draft consideration are South Florida's Marvin Kloss, Penn State's Sam Ficken, Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza, Concordia-St. Paul's Tom Obarski and Colorado State's Jared Roberts. Potential late-round picks at punter include Portland State's Kyle Loomis, Kansas' Trevor Pardula, Florida's Kyle Christy, Baylor's Spencer Roth, Michigan State's Mike Sadler and Clemson's Bradley Pinion.

    Truly, though, not one prospect in either of those groups stands out above the pack. Given that, teams should be content to wait to pick one of them up from the heap of undrafted free agents rather than invest a draft selection that could be used on a more valuable prospect.

Brandon Bridge Will Go Undrafted

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    Jay Sailors/Associated Press

    South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge might well have the strongest arm in this year's draft class, but his passing accuracy simply might be too far below NFL standards to be salvaged.

    At 6'4" and 229 pounds with nice athleticism for his size, Bridge is arguably the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft class. His ability to launch the ball downfield with distance and velocity could certainly be enticing to quarterback coaches who think they can harness his physical tools.

    Investing a draft pick in Bridge, however, would be like buying a lottery ticket. Having completed just 52.9 percent of his passes last season, he struggles with ball placement at all levels of the field, and that will only give him increased trouble as he makes the leap to the NFL from the Sun Belt Conference.

    If he becomes an undrafted free agent, Bridge will be snapped up quickly simply because of his high physical upside. Without significant development, however, his floor as a quarterback will be too low to even be a capable third-stringer for an NFL offense. Therefore, he should not be one of the draft's 256 picks. 

Frank Clark Will Go Undrafted

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Like Dorial Green-Beckham, Frank Clark has a history of off-field issues that could damage his draft stock severely. And while Clark has the potential to be a productive NFL edge defender if he can avoid further off-field trouble, he does not project to have enough talent to overcome his checkered past.

    Clark, previously a starting defensive end for Michigan, was dismissed by the team in November after an arrest for domestic violence. According to a police report as relayed by ESPN.com's Dan Murphy, "Clark's girlfriend said he punched her in the face after an altercation in the Maui Sands hotel in Sandusky, Ohio. The woman's brother, who was also in the room, said he saw Clark pick her up by the neck and slam her to the ground."

    Comments made by Clark during his media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine only made the prospect look worse. Rather than taking full responsibility for his actions, Clark described the event as "a confrontation … and the woman involved took it to another level that it shouldn't have been taken to," according to Grantland's Matt Taibbi

    The November arrest was not Clark's first brush with the law. In September 2012, he pleaded guilty to a felony count of second-degree home invasion after stealing a laptop from a university dormitory.

    On the field, Clark has shown the speed, strength and hand skills to be a disruptive player on the edge. A terrific athlete at 6'3" and 271 pounds, he has the potential to be a quality rotational player as a 4-3 defensive end.

    Drafting Clark, nonetheless, would force a team to overlook some massive red flags for a player who is a good, but not spectacular, talent. He should fall into the same category as Da'Rick Rogers and Colt Lyerla, players who could have been Day 2 draft picks based on their on-field skill sets but went undrafted because of their repeated mistakes off the field.

J.J. Nelson Will Go Undrafted

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    After a heartbreaking decision by the University of Alabama-Birmingham to disband its football program in December, there will be many people rooting for J.J. Nelson to be selected as the last NFL draft pick from the university.

    Nelson, who led the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 38.32-yard kickoff return average and four kickoff return touchdowns in 2014, bolstered his chances of being drafted by running a 4.28-second 40-yard dash—the fastest among all participants—at this year's NFL Scouting Combine. 

    The problem for Nelson, however, is that he is only 5'10" and 156 pounds.

    Nelson has the potential to be a dynamic kickoff returner, but he could be limited to that role in the NFL. Teams don't usually draft players to be kickoff returners only, and players who are unable to contribute in other areas often fail to make league rosters, even if they are great kickoff returners.

    Speed is highly valued by NFL teams, and that certainly gives Nelson a chance. He just might not bring enough to the field besides that speed to be one of the 256 players drafted this year.

Many Predictions Will Be Wrong (Again)

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    Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

    Yes, I'm ending this slideshow with the same prediction as last year.

    No matter how sure any insider, analyst or fan might feel about his or her projections for the NFL draft, the inevitable reality is that the draft will be full of curveballs that no one expects.

    While I have combined my own evaluations with information that others have reported to make my best guesses as to what could happen when the draft begins later this month, it is impossible to know what all 32 NFL teams are thinking and how their individual approaches to strategy and player value might differ from one another.

    Predicting how the draft will play out is fun—if you're an avid follower of the event, you should give it a try. But ultimately, any set of predictions that takes even a few leaps beyond conventional wisdom will be proved imperfect once the draft begins.

    All NFL Scouting Combine measurables courtesy of NFL.com.

    Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.