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|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State|
|2||Tennessee Titans||Leonard Williams, DL, USC|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida|
|4||Oakland Raiders||Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama|
|5||Washington Redskins||Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson|
|6||New York Jets||Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon|
|7||Chicago Bears||Kevin White, WR, West Virginia|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky|
|9||New York Giants||Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa|
|10||St. Louis Rams||Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville|
|12||Cleveland Browns||Danny Shelton, DT, Washington|
|13||New Orleans Saints||Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska|
|14||Miami Dolphins||Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon|
|16||Houston Texans||Marcus Peters, CB, Washington|
|17||San Diego Chargers||Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin|
|18||Kansas City Chiefs||Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma|
|19||Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)||Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State|
|20||Philadelphia Eagles||Landon Collins, S, Alabama|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford|
|22||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest|
|23||Detroit Lions||Malcom Brown, DT, Texas|
|24||Arizona Cardinals||Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri|
|25||Carolina Panthers||La'el Collins, OT, LSU|
|26||Baltimore Ravens||Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State|
|27||Dallas Cowboys||Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia|
|28||Denver Broncos||Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)|
|29||Indianapolis Colts||D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida|
|30||Green Bay Packers||Byron Jones, CB, UConn|
|31||New Orleans Saints (via Seattle)||Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota|
|32||New England Patriots||Jalen Collins, CB, LSU|
Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
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
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
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:
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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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