Predicting The Top-5 Picks In The 2015 NFL Draft
The 2015 NFL Draft is finally here but there is still plenty of uncertainty about how the first round will play out with plenty of rumors about teams looking to trade up and trade down. In fact, if you listen to the rumors you might believe it’s actually more likely a team trades its pick for another or multiple picks rather than stay put where they are. While it’s impossible to predict which trades will happen and which trades will not what we can do is grade the talent at the top of the list and design a mock draft based on the needs of the teams currently locked in to the top spots. Here is a look at how we think picks 1-5 will play out if all five teams keep their picks.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, Florida State - QB
It’s hard to remember if Winston was ever not the top-ranked player on the board according to NFL scouts and experts and while there has been plenty of talk about potential character issues and problems with his maturity level the reality is that he has all of the tools to be a franchise quarterback for years to come. Winston is big, strong, mobile and perhaps most importantly he is regarded as one of the smartest quarterbacks to come out of college in recent years in terms of his overall understanding of the game. Despite all of the chatter it would be a major shock if the Buccaneers didn’t take Winston as the No. 1 pick.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, Oregon - QB
This is the pick that has been talked about the most in terms of trade potential with rumors rampant that the Titans trade this pick to the San Diego Chargers for Phillip Rivers. While a potential trade would seem to complicate this pick on the surface the reality is that if the Chargers or any other team move up to No. 2 it’s because they desperately want to draft Mariota. The Titans don’t have a franchise quarterback on their roster and they might regret it if they pass on taking Mariota themselves with this pick.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Williams, USC – DE
The Jaguars nabbed their franchise quarterback a year ago so they have to be thrilled about the fact that arguably the top prospect in this year’s NFL Draft will be waiting for them to select him at No. 3. Williams is the most dominant defensive player available and while Jacksonville might have needs elsewhere they simply can’t afford to pass on a potential game changer that can play at an elite level from the outset in the defensive end from USC.
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, Alabama – WR
This is a very deep wide receiver class and the Raiders could be tempted to trade down in order to add to their picks and take a receiver later on in the first round but the odds are still that they stick with this pick and take the consensus No. 1 receiver in Cooper. A true No. 1 with excellent speed, size and smarts, Cooper will be the elite playmaker that is paired with sophomore quarterback Derek Carr as they attempt to build a more complete offense in Oakland.
5. Washington Redskins – Dante Fowler Jr., Florida – DE
If there is one team in the top-5 that would really benefit from trading down it would be Washington at No. 5 where the top two quarterbacks, top defensive player and top offensive playmaker will be off the board. The Redskins have plenty of needs but if they stick with their pick the emphasis will likely be on the defensive side of the football with an edge rusher that can do everything at a high level from the end position. The trade that sent multiple picks to the St. Louis Rams for Robert Griffin III still haunts this team and if they can find a way to get some extra picks back there is a good chance they will do it.