2015 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions and Top Prospects on the Rise

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2015

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Alvin Dupree #2 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a sack during the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No matter where the players were projected a few months ago, everyone simply wants to be taken as high as possible in the NFL draft.  

The pre-draft process is a long one, as top prospects spend time competing in All-Star events, scouting combines, pro days and various other forms of evaluation. Of course, this is not to overlook what the players did during the year and on game film.

During these months, players will move up and down on teams' draft boards before the squads settle on their decisions for the start of the draft Thursday. Fortunately for a few players, they gained momentum at the right time and will be taken early in the first round.

Here is a complete look at a mock draft for the first 32 picks and a breakdown of the prospects peaking late.

2015 NFL Mock Draft 1st Round
PickTeamSelection
1Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2Tennessee TitansLeonard Williams, DL, USC
3Jacksonville JaguarsDante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida
4Oakland RaidersAmari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5Washington RedskinsVic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
6New York JetsMarcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
7Chicago BearsKevin White, WR, West Virginia
8Atlanta FalconsAlvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
9New York GiantsBrandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
10St. Louis RamsTrae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
11Minnesota VikingsDeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
12Cleveland BrownsDanny Shelton, DT, Washington
13New Orleans SaintsRandy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
14Miami DolphinsBreshad Perriman, WR, UCF
15San Francisco 49ersArik Armstead, DE, Oregon
16Houston TexansMarcus Peters, CB, Washington
17San Diego ChargersMelvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
18Kansas City ChiefsDorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
19Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
20Philadelphia EaglesLandon Collins, S, Alabama
21Cincinnati BengalsAndrus Peat, OT, Stanford
22Pittsburgh SteelersKevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
23Detroit LionsMalcom Brown, DT, Texas
24Arizona CardinalsShane Ray, OLB, Missouri
25Carolina PanthersLa'el Collins, OT, LSU
26Baltimore RavensDevin Smith, WR, Ohio State
27Dallas CowboysTodd Gurley, RB, Georgia
28Denver BroncosEreck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)
29Indianapolis ColtsD.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
30Green Bay PackersByron Jones, CB, UConn
31New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
32New England PatriotsJalen Collins, CB, LSU

Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

Oct 11, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks offensive lineman Chase Regian (71) and Kentucky Wildcats defensive end Alvin Dupree (2) during the game at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Louisiana-Monroe 48-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

In a draft full of talented pass-rushers, Bud Dupree has emerged as one of the best in the group thanks to his impressive athleticism. Although he is still very raw with his technique, he has some incredible explosiveness off the ball, which could allow him to eventually be a star on the defensive side of the ball.

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports notes how this has led to some rising stock:

Bleacher Report's Dan Pompei explains just what teams are looking at with Dupree:

Meanwhile, the Kentucky product might benefit from the misfortune of others. Potential top-10 pick Shane Ray was cited for marijuana use earlier in the week, and the timing could cause teams to pass on him early in the first round.

With just about every other player at the position also having questions about their play on the field, Dupree could be one of the top men off the board.

Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Breshad Perriman #11 of the UCF Knights completes a pass for 44 yards in the first quarter against the defense of Terrell Burt #13 of the Baylor Bears during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There seems to be a consensus about Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker being the top three receivers taken in some order. However, UCF star Breshad Perriman is quickly climbing draft boards and could be the fourth receiver selected.

The 6'2" speedster was a deep threat this past season for the Knights, averaging 20.9 yards per catch on 50 receptions.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network had high praise for the talented youngster:

On the other hand, not everyone is as convinced of the receiver's ability. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead compared him to a recent first-round draft bust at the position:

Few will deny Perriman being raw going into the draft, especially in his route-running ability. Still, the fact this can be learned means teams will be willing to take the chance on the potential.

Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon

Aug 30, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive lineman Arik Armstead (9) reacts after making a defensive play against South Dakota Coyotes at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

There are mixed opinions on Arik Armstead heading into the draft, especially considering his relative lack of production at Oregon.

One person who does have faith in the defensive lineman, though, is Armstead himself, who called himself the best in the draft at his position, via Stephen Czarda of Redskins.com:

I’m versatile player who’s done a lot of things at Oregon moving across the line. I have a unique skillset that with coaching can develop a lot more and turn myself into one of the best defensive linemen in the league. [...]

I feel I’m the best defensive lineman in this draft.

This confidence as well as their own scouting has led the San Francisco 49ers to heavily consider taking the versatile defender, according to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller:

With a team that desperately needs to upgrade its front seven after it being a strength for so many years, this could be one of the better fits in the first round.

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