NFL Mock Draft 2015: 1st-Round Projections with Trades for Top Prospects

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIApril 14, 2015

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Mike Groll/Associated Press

The 2015 NFL draft is just over two weeks away, and as the first round inches closer, its outlook becomes murkier.

Why is that? Smokescreens.

At this time of year, teams begin intentionally "leaking" information regarding their draft plans. Most of the time, the divulged information is mostly false, as its only intention is to throw off other teams. A recent example is from Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com, who relayed comments from Ron Jaworski surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' intentions to select Marcus Mariota instead of Jameis Winston at No. 1 overall.

Could there be truth in the information given to Jaworski by unnamed sources? Possibly. But chances are the Buccaneers will still go with Winston—the guy they've been targeting all along—with the draft's first selection.

Opinions may differ on this matter, but that's what makes the draft so intriguing in the first place. That said, here's a look at how the first round is likely to shake out with projected trades included.

Updated 2015 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round with Trades
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2Tennessee TitansLeonard Williams, DT, USC
3Jacksonville JaguarsDante Fowler, OLB, Florida
4St. Louis Rams (via Oakland)Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
5Cleveland Browns (via Washington)Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
6New York JetsVic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
7Chicago BearsDanny Shelton, DT, Washington
8Atlanta FalconsShane Ray, DE, Missouri
9New York GiantsBrandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
10Oakland Raiders (via St. Louis)Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
11Minnesota VikingsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
12Washington Redskins (via Cleveland)Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
13New Orleans SaintsBud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
14Miami DolphinsTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
15San Francisco 49ersArik Armstead, DT, Oregon
16Houston TexansLa'el Collins, OT, LSU
17San Diego ChargersMalcom Brown, DT, Texas
18Kansas City ChiefsLandon Collins, S, Alabama
19Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
20Philadelphia EaglesJaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
21Cincinnati BengalsJordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
22Pittsburgh SteelersJalen Collins, CB, LSU
23Dallas Cowboys (via Detroit)Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
24Arizona CardinalsDenzel Perryman, ILB, Miami
25Carolina PanthersAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
26Baltimore RavensMarcus Peters, CB, Washington
27Detroit Lions (via Dallas)Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.
28Denver BroncosD.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
29Indianapolis ColtsTodd Gurley, RB, Georgia
30Green Bay PackersByron Jones, CB, Connecticut
31New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
32New England PatriotsCameron Erving, C, Florida State
*highlighted picks are projected trades

Analyzing 1st-Round Trades

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Trades are a big part of draft day each and every year. In 2014, there was a total of five trades that took place within the first 32 selections, and considering the multitude of teams that may be aiming for the same prospects in this year's draft, we should be expecting more of the same.

So, here's a look at some insight regarding the trade scenarios listed in the above mock draft.

Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams Swap Picks

LM Otero/Associated Press

The Raiders have been one team rumored to trade back in the draft. They feel they can still grab a quality wide receiver while compiling draft picks in the process. In this scenario, they do exactly that, moving back to No. 10 overall and accumulating extra draft picks in a trade with the Rams.

Oakland still lands Kevin White of West Virginia here. At 6'3" and 215 pounds with a great amount of athleticism, White is a game-altering wide receiver who has the ability to instantly become a No. 1 target for Derek Carr.

The Rams traded Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Nick Foles earlier this offseason. Foles may not be the long-term starter in Jeff Fisher's mind, but he'd be an excellent quick fix for the time being. That said, St. Louis moves up to draft Mariota at No. 4 overall. The team gets its quarterback of the future and has the ability to allow him to develop before sending him into action.

Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns Swap Picks

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Browns may be the draft's most unpredictable team since they have tons of trade ammunition and several glaring needs to fill. In this scenario, Cleveland trades up to No. 5 overall to land Alabama's Amari Cooper. The team needs a true No. 1 pass-catcher, and Cooper fits the bill perfectly.

At 6'1" and 211 pounds, Cooper isn't the biggest receiver out there, but he's extremely polished and experienced. His ability to run crisp routes and get separation will be a tremendous asset to a team that desperately needs one of its quarterbacks to step up in a hurry.

Washington moves back to No. 12 overall and still lands Nebraska's Randy Gregory. The outside linebacker was a popular pick for the Redskins at No. 5 before he tested positive for marijuana at the combine. Now that he's fallen down draft boards, the team can trade back, collect extra picks and still nab the replacement for Brian Orakpo.

Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions Swap Picks

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys lost running back DeMarco Murray to the Eagles in free agency. The team did acquire Darren McFadden as a replacement, but due to the former Raider's injury history and lack of overall production, it's easy to think Dallas will still be aiming for a long-term replacement via the draft.

The 6'1", 215-pound Melvin Gordon would be an ideal fit for the Cowboys. He's a north-south runner with good vision, speed and toughness—much like Murray. Adding him to the backfield and utilizing McFadden as a third-down back would be the best-case scenario for a Cowboys offense that was phenomenal a season ago.

Detroit moves back to No. 27 overall, accumulates picks and still gets Florida State's Eddie Goldman—a player it would have selected at No. 23. At 6'4" and 336 pounds with a great deal of power on the interior of the defensive line, he'll help lessen the blow of losing both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency this offseason.


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