This will be how this author covers the 2015 NFL draft this winter and spring. No full 32 pick long mock drafts, but a top 10 mock and keeping some of the prospects organized into categories so that readers can get a sense of how prospects are moving in the estimation of draftnicks, scouts and decision makers.
Top 10 Mock Draft:
1. Tampa Bay: Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon. This will be a fiasco, running/spread QB always seem to flame out in the NFL but at least it will be fun to look for non-Tampa fans. Don’t be shocked if the Eagles end up here using Nick Foles as bait.
2. Tennessee: Ereck Flowers, OT Miami. Michael Oher is done in the Music city, and Michael Roos is an UFA. They like Lewan, but feel that they need a bookend. Flowers is tough, mean, nasty and plays through pain. He’ll shoot up draft boards.
3. Jacksonville: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB Nebraska. The Jaguars need a LEO badly, Gregory would be perfect in this role.
4. Oakland: Andrus Peat, OL Stanford. Del Rio might take Leonard Williams, but even he knows that their offense needs reinforcement. Peat is a local kid and solidifies the line.
5. Washington: Leonard Williams, DL Southern Cal. It’s looking more and more than McCloughan is happy to run the Redskins into the ground in 2015 to get rid of Gruden and scout for the future. Williams’ versatility at DE or DT and in multiple schemes make him an ideal pick.
6. New York Jets: Jameis Winston, QB Florida State. No matter who’s the offensive coordinator, they need a new QB option. Winston could be great in the Big Apple, but he also could flame out.
7. Chicago: Danny Shelton, DT Washington. John Fox’s defense is all about the line. They will roll with Houston and Allen for another year, but they need a penetrating presence inside. Shelton had 9 sacks at DT.
8. Atlanta: Shane Ray, DE/OLB Missouri. The Falcons need a pass rusher in the worst way. If Dan Quinn is the head coach and is running the defense, then they need a LEO. Ray could be a good LEO.
9. New York Giants: Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB Florida. With or without Jason Pierre-Paul, they need a pass rusher. Fowler can play up and down the line and will give them that.
10. St. Louis: Amari Cooper, WR Alabama. Tavon Austin looks like a dynamic second banana, so they don’t have a reliable option for Bradford. Selecting Cooper means he doesn’t have any more excuses.
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of prospects for the 2015 NFL draft. This is more a look into the draft and which prospects are making a name for themselves organized into several categories. The names will move up and down the categories and perhaps even off the lists if the prospects sully their draft stock.
Blue Chip Prospects. There are as close to “can’t miss” as you get.
Leonard Williams, DL Southern Cal. He could be Richard Seymour in a 3 front defense or a lower rent Star Lotulelei in a 4 front.
Ereck Flowers, OT Miami. He should shoot up draft boards come March. He’s got all the tools and plays hurt.
Brandon Scherff, OL Iowa. Smart and tough but scouts are split on whether he can play LT in the NFL.
Shane Ray, DE/OLB Missouri. The next great DE prospect from Missouri. Ray probably is best as a LEO or 34 edge rusher.
Kevin White, WR WVU. White is above Cooper as a pro prospect. White’s size and ability to create separation will give him a chance as a star.
Randy Gregory, DE/OLB Nebraska. Physically a prototypical pass rusher. Mentally, he’s still learning the game. However, his technique from the start of 2014 to the end of the 2014 season developed rapidly.
Andrus Peat, OT Stanford. Scouts and GMs might push to move him to right tackle, but he has the footwork and quickness to stay on the left. At worst, you’re getting a high talent Phil Loadholt.
Green Chip Prospects. These are prospects who have roughly the same level of talent as the blue chip ones, but have a red flag or question mark about them.
Todd Gurley RB UGA. He has all the tools that you want in a RB, but that ACL tear will mean he may not be 100% until 2016.
Amari Cooper, WR Alabama. He was very productive in a pro style offense for Bama. Scouts have a legit question when talking about his lack of separation if the route doesn’t fool the DB.
Benardrick McKinney LB, Mississippi State. A three down LB who can play inside or out, he could be another Lance Briggs. Scouts are concerned about his pass rush skills.
Eric Kendricks, LB UCLA. With Chris Borland’s good season, everyone will ignore his height. Kendricks is a three down MLB/ILB but don’t expect much pass rush ability.
Shaq Thompson, LB Washington. He's very raw as a player but he's an amazing athlete who can play on sundays at RB or LB. Some team will find a role for him and let him grow into it.
Vic Beasley, OLB Clemson. The best natural pass rusher in the draft. He knows how to work a tackle up and down the field. However, he’s just too small(6-1 210 lbs) to thrive in the NFL.
DeVante Parker, WR Louisville. He missed about half of 2014 with a broken foot, but still was extremely productive. He could be the #1 WR in the draft, but teams think that he is lazy.
Arik Armstead, DL Oregon. He was expected to stay for 2015, but an amazing Rose Bowl performance encouraged him to declare. He’s a prototypical 5 tech defensive end and at 6-8 300 lbs, some defensive coordinators might be pushing their teams to take him high just on his potential.
Danny Shelton, DT Washington. He’s a great pass rusher at DT and penetrates well, but scouts are concerned that he can be trapped way too easily.
Red Chip Prospects. Talented prospects but with multiple red flags or serious questions about their ability to transition to the NFL.
Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon. Name which read-option QBs have thrived in the NFL. Mariota is no different than RG3 or Manziel.
Jameis Winston, QB Florida State. Some scouts compare him to Ben Roethlisberger. He has a similar skill set but Big Ben didn’t throw nearly as many INTs as Winston did in 2014. In fact, no top QB prospect has since Matt Ryan. It would be one thing if he did it in the SEC west, but so many of them were thrown against bad ACC defenses.
Landon Collins, S Alabama. Collins has a good skill set to be a Polamalu-type strong safety, but his coverage skills just aren’t NFL ready.
Cedric Ogbuehi, OL Texas A&M. Even before he blew out his knee in their bowl game, scouts were very concerned with his up and down play at OT.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon. Another player with a major knee injury late in the season. Some team will get good value late in the 2nd round.
Marcus Peters, DB Washington. He has undeniable ability on the field, but off of it he’s a jerk who’s not afraid to make enemies out of his coaches and teammates.
Sammie Coates, WR Auburn. In shorts, he’s an amazing prospect. He has size, speed, hands and looks the part. In pads and during games, he’s very inconsistent.
Duke Johnson, RB Miami. A great fit for any zone block scheme, but his size will worry people.
Solid First round prospects. These are guys who don’t have blue chip levels of talent, but are clearly talented enough to merit strong consideration in the top 25 picks.
Trae Waynes, CB Michigan State
Dante Fowler, Jr, DL Florida.
Markus Golden, DE/OLB Missouri.
La’El Collins, OL LSU
Jalen Mills, DB LSU
Mario Edwards Jr, DL FSU
Devin Funchess, TE Michigan
Melvin Gordon, Rb Wisconsin.
Jalen Strong, WR ASU
Cam Erving, OL FSU
Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB Louisville
25-60 prospects. Prospects with talent but you feel better about your favorite team drafting them in the second round.
Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB Kentucky.
Mike Davis, Rb South Carolina
Quinten Rollins, DB Miami(OH)
Donovan Smith, OL Penn State
Maxx Williams, TE Minnesota
Sean Mannion, QB Oregon State
Brett Hundley, QB UCLA
PJ Williams, CB FSU.
Malcolm Brown, DT Texas
Anthony Harris, S Virginia
PJ Williams, DB FSU
Gerod Holliman, DB Louisville
Cody Prewitt, DB Ole Miss
Owamgabe Odighizuwa, DE UCLA
Larry Warfords. Talented players who have dropped to the 3rd round for whatever reason(usually because they play a secondary position like Strong Safety or Offensive guard).
Ty Montgomery, WR Stanford
Josue Matias, OG Florida State
Reese Dismukes, OC Auburn.
Eddie Goldman, DL FSU
Tj Clemmings, OT Pittsburgh
Nate Orchard, DE Utah
AJ Cann, OG South Carolina
Danielle Hunter, DE LSu
Tyler Sambrailo, OL CSU
Ameer Abdullah, Rb Nebraska
Hauoli Kikaha, LB Washington
Ronald Darby, DB FSU
Denzel Perryman, LB Miami
Hroniss Grasu, OL Oregon
Jake Fisher, Ot Oregon
Nick O’Leary, TE/HBack FSU
Garrett Grayson, QB Colorado State
Stefon Diggs, WR/RB UMD
Corey Robinson, OT South Carolina
Jeremy Langford, RB Michigan State
Tyrus Thompson, OT Oklahoma
Daryl Williams, OT Oklahoma
D.J. Humphries, OT Florida
Rob Havenstein, OT Wisconsin
Clive Walford, TE Miami
Nick Martin, OC Notre Dame
David Andrews, OC Georgia
Jordan Phillips, DT Oklahoma
Alex Carter, CB Stanford
David Cobb, RB Minnesota
Lottery tickets. High talent but high risk if they’re still around here. They also could be a player with one good tool (like Martavis Bryant of Pittsburgh) that could get them playing time.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR Oklahoma
Michael Bennett, DL Ohio State
Trey Flowers, DE Arkansas
Tony Lippett, WR/CB Michigan State
Devin Smith, WR Ohio State
David Parry, DL Stanford
Mark Glowinski, OL WVU
Devin Gardner, WR Michigan
Amarlo Herrera, LB UGA
Blake Bell, TE Oklahoma
Tevin Coleman, Rb Indiana
DeForest Buckner, DL Oregon
TJ Yeldon, RB Alabama
Arie Kouandjio, OL Alabama
Rashad Greene, WR FSU
Bryce Petty, QB Baylor
Justin Hardy, WR ECU
Tre Flowers, DE Arkansas.
Tyler Lockett, WR Kansas State
Grady Jarrett, DT Clemson
Ramik Wilson, LB UGA
Geneo Grissom, OLB Oklahoma
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Auburn
Matt Jones, RB Florida
JT Surratt, DL South Carolina
Kevin White, CB TCU
Karlos Williams, RB FSU
Jay Ajayi, RB Boise State
Michael Dyer, RB Louisville
Tre Jackson, OG Florida State
Jarvis Harrison, OG Texas A&M
Max Garcia OL, Florida
Laken Tomlinson, OG Duke
Jalen Collins, CB LSU
Brison Williams, S, South Carolina
D'Joun Smith, CB Florida Atlantic