The biggest event of the offseason is finally upon us as teams prepare for the 2015 NFL draft.
Whether your favorite team won a Super Bowl last season or finished dead last in the standings, everyone wants to use the draft to get better for next year and beyond. Of course, some organizations have proved to be more successful at this than others.
We won't know how each pick turns out for some time, but there will at least be hope for the future for all 32 franchises. With this in mind, you have to make sure to tune in right from the start.
What: 2015 NFL draft, Round 1
Where: Auditorium Theatre, Chicago
When: Thursday, April 30
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN, NFL Network
There are no certainties heading into the 2015 draft, although there seems to be a general consensus that Florida State signal-caller Jameis Winston will be the first overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many consider the former Heisman Trophy winner as the best quarterback in the class, and he would fill a need for the franchise.
ESPN Radio's R.J. Bell noted Winston is the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1:
On the other hand, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman discussed the fact that not everyone is certain about this pick:
Even if the Buccaneers do decide to draft a quarterback, there is always the possibility that Oregon's Marcus Mariota ends up as the top pick. This would be the situation if NFL Network's Mike Mayock had his choice, per CBS Sports' Jim Rome:
Either way, it seems like a virtual certainty these two talented passers will be off the board early Thursday.
For teams not looking for a quarterback, there are plenty of other quality players available. One strength of this class is along the defensive line and edge-rushers.
Leonard Williams is one of the top overall players in the class as a versatile defensive lineman who can end up either inside or outside at the next level. The USC star is an excellent run-stopper and should continue to do damage in the NFL.
Big-time pass-rushers such as Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley and Bud Dupree could also hear their names called early on in the first round as teams try to combat pass-heavy offenses.
Another position that features plenty of depth is wide receiver, with Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White each trying to be the first player off the board at the position. Additionally, players like Louisville's DeVante Parker and UCF's Breshad Perriman are likely to be taken relatively quickly.
It won't be easy for the players in this class to match their predecessors between Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and others, but there is a lot of talent available throughout the first round.
Despite all of this information, the draft always features plenty of surprises—both with players expected to go early before sliding as well as early picks who weren't on the national radar. This year won't be any different as teams do whatever they can to improve.
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