2015 NFL Draft: A look at the Top 32

Posted by Brad On November – 5 – 2014

"Marcus Mariota"

For all intents and purposes, these rankings serve as our first ‘real’ insight into how the 2015 NFL Draft class will eventually pan out. While these are certain to change – as we are just getting into the real evaluations – I feel fairly comfortable saying there won’t be too drastic of changes forthcoming. Particularly at the top of these rankings with Marcus Mariota, Leonard Williams, and Amari Cooper I’m comfortable saying we aren’t likely to alter the top three much – if at all. 

One quick note, I haven’t rated any third-year sophomores although guys like Gerod Holliman, Germain Ifedi, Ronnie Stanley, and Jordan Phillips could make serious cases to be included on this list. I’ll hold off on any sophomores until official announcements have been made.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

This No. 1 ranking reflects how worried I am about Mariota’s level of ‘Alpha Male’. What a joke. I can’t give any credence to this statement. Mariota’s skill set is through the roof, and not just his off-the-charts athleticism. Mariota is the clear cut No. 1 for me and I think teams will be looking to jump up to get a player with his upside at the most important position in sports.

2. Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC

I’m not sure that I love the top of this draft but these first two guys are guys that are worthy top draft picks. Williams could easily surface as a top overall pick given his versatility and skill level. I’ve seen nothing thus far that gives me an ounce of doubt that he can dominate the line of scrimmage at the next level, making him a top five lock in my book.

3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Any doubts I had about Cooper with his injuries are long forgotten. His play this season is making me go back to my feelings about after a dominate freshman season. He’s the real deal and I wouldn’t argue against him being taken one overall in this draft.

4. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

Watching the development of Randy Gregory has been scary. I don’t think he’s maxed out in the least in terms of his potential which should have him in the conversation as the first overall pick.

5. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

I think Marcus Peters is the best corner in the 2015 draft class…and it’s not close. Off the field issues aside, he’s worth a look very early in the draft with his combination of size, athleticism, and ball skills.

6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

The autograph signing fiasco should positively impact Gurley as it alleviates some of the season’s wear and tear. I’m sure there’s some NFL decision makers that are crossing their fingers that he is held out the entire year. It doesn’t look like that will happen but a shortened season may be a good thing for Gurley.

7. Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

Shane Ray has gotten after this season. I loved what I saw of him off his 2013 tape but I’ve been blown away with his work thus far in 2014. With elite first step quickness, Ray is going to give teams fits from day as a pass rusher.

8. Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

I’m not sure there’s a player I’m more intrigued by than Shaq Thompson in this draft class. In today’s NFL, he’s almost a must-have type player as he can make plays behind the LOS and has safety coverage skills.

9. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

Oakman is a really tough grade because so much of it is based on potential and physical gifts. He may be one of the most physically gifted players that I’ve seen but his play doesn’t always reflect it. He’s the definition of a ‘flash’ player. Some team will take him high, and I don’t blame them in the least.

10. Landon Collins, S, Alabama

In a strong class, there’s no way Collins breaks the top 10. While, I think he’s a very solid safety, I don’t see the polish to be considered this high in the draft. For me, he’s a mid to late 1.

11. Vic Beasley, OLB, ClemsonNCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse

Teams that liked Barkevious Mingo are probably going to feel the same way about Beasley. Both have elite speed and athleticism off the edge. Neither are ever going to make a living taking on and shedding blocks in the run game.

12. La’el Collins, OT, LSU

I’ve purposefully been cautious on Collins. Everything about his build screamed guard to me and I wanted to see how he held up against speed rushers before declaring him among the top tackles in this class. Well, after this season, I think he’s proven the skeptics (me included) wrong. I’m not sure he’s ever an elite LT but I think his versatility and day one readiness in the run game supports this high of a ranking.

13. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

I’ve held off on DeVante Parker due to the injury but I’ve seen enough between his junior tape and the FSU game to say he’s a top 15 guy for me. Fresh off lighting up the FSU secondary, a handful of which came against PJ Williams, Parker has shown he’s capable of being a big time target at the next level.

14. Jameis Winston, QB, FSU

Oh Jameis. I don’t know what to think other than this could be the most polarizing player that I’ve ever graded. I could make a case for him being taken atop this draft, I could make a case that he’s a mid-round risk. On the field, there are times I think this kid is really special, there are others I see a bit of a bust factor. Off the field, he’d scare me far away if I’m looking for the face of my franchise.

15. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.

I’ll be watching Trae Waynes carefully over the next several games as his biggest tests are coming up on MSU schedule. I was impressed with him last season and he was solid this spring but I haven’t seen him really tested yet this year. He has the length and speed NFL teams covet and could be someone to watch if he opts to leave school early.

16. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Ogbuehi has struggled a bit at LT and thus far, I haven’t been impressed with his effort. It seems to me that as the season has wore on and the Aggies lost a couple of games, the effort hasn’t been there with Ogbuehi. Outside of effort concerns, I haven’t seen the consistent technique to suggest he’s worthy of being a top 10 tackle in this draft class. I’ve seen three games and in all three I would have graded teammate Germain Ifedi higher.

17. Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan

18. Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami

19. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

20. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky

21. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

22. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

23. Eddie Goldman, DT, FSU

"Jaelen Strong"24. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi St.

25. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

26. Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida

27. Jeremy Cash, S, Duke

28. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

29. AJ Cann, OG, South Carolina

30. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

31. Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss

32. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.

Just missed the cut:

TJ Clemmings, OT, Pitt

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan St.

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado St.

Lorenzo Doss, CB, Tulane

Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

Hauoli Kikaha, DE, Washington

Nelson Agholor, WR, USC

Lorenzo Mauldin, DE, Louisville

P.J. Williams, CB, Florida St.

Alex Carter, CB, Stanford


  • Braeden

    Interesting rankings overall. I haven’t seen DeVante Parker or Marcus Peters that highly ranked before, and I haven’t watched tape on either of them (yet). I have seen a little of Parker from watching Teddy Bridgewater last year, but not enough to make a fair judgment on him yet, so I can’t argue against those rankings until I see them for myself. I’m a big Vic Beasley fan. I think he’s a stud and a playmaker defensively. He’s small for an end but I think he would be a great fit as a Von Miller-esque 4-3 rush linebacker or a 3-4 linebacker. He’s not an end, and he never will be an end. What he is, however, is a disruptive pass rusher who will give QBs fits as he progresses as an NFL player. I’m not a Jameis Winston fan. Some team will take him in the top 15, for sure, but it wouldn’t be my team if I was the one calling the shots. I have Gurley 2nd on my board, after Leonard Williams and before Marcus Mariota. To me, he is that good. Mariota will get drafted first because of positional value, but Gurley is the best offensive prospect in the draft right now, in my opinion. I like the running back class this year as a whole, and I think there are 3 first round caliber guys in it this year in Gurley, Gordon, and Yeldon. I also really like the tackles this year. Ogbuehi is the headliner for me, despite his struggles, but there is a lot of talent in that group.

    for comparison’s sake, I’ll throw my top 32 here for you.

    1- Leonard Williams
    2- Todd Gurley
    3- Marcus Mariota
    4- Amari Cooper
    5- Randy Gregory
    6- Shane Ray
    7- Vic Beasley
    8- Cedric Ogbuehi
    9- Landon Collins
    10- Shawn Oakman
    11- Shaq Thompson
    12- Trae Waynes
    13- La’el Collins
    14- Melvin Gordon
    15- Jameis Winston (reluctantly)
    16- Andrus Peat
    17- Dante Fowler
    18- Shilique Calhoun
    19- Brandon Scherff
    20- Connor Cook
    21- Kevin White
    22- Marcus Peters (Haven’t watched tape but this is around where he’s projected by most people so this is where he’ll start)
    23- Denzel Perryman
    24- PJ Williams
    25- Sammie Coates
    26- Devin Funchess
    27- Bud Dupree
    28- Jaelen Strong
    29- Danny Shelton
    30- TJ Yeldon
    31- Eric Kendricks
    32- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

    • will0

      Winston may be immature and make bad decisions, however, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is the best QB in college football!!

      • Braeden

        I would disagree with that. Marcus Mariota is he clear cut number 1 QB for me.

        • will50

          I would agree to disagree, Mariota may be the best athlete playing QB, but he is not necessarily the clear cut #1. that would be only the case if you are judging totality, character and everything else, maybe, but based purely on football acumen, Winston is the best QB in college FB. I didn’t say the best athlete or player, but QB! If Winston was White, I would wager more whites such as yourself wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Winston! but since he is a black QB, we always have to fight off the stigmatism of being inferior intellectually and therein is where the problems lies! I am not saying that you are a bigot or racist, but that most whites have negative view of blacks when it comes to intelligence and that is a tough stigma to overcome even though it has been proven over and over again that simply isn’t the case! just saying!!

          • Braeden

            First of all, I never said I was white, though that isn’t wrong. Skin color has nothing to do with my choice. I am friends with many people of all different races, ethnicities and creeds and I judge people not by skin color, but by the totality of their integrity and their actions. I have friends who are of color who I think are incredibly smart people, and I know people who are white who I think are imbeciles. Look at Neil DeGrasse Tyson, he’s black and I’d never venture to question his intelligence. Skin color means absolutely nothing to me. If it did, wouldn’t I have to be touting Connor Cook as the top QB, since Mariota isn’t white either? My reasoning for saying Mariota is the best QB is simply because he produces and performs better, as evidence by this year, he has better physical tools, and has shown better football IQ this season while Winston has been plague by poor decision making this year and struggled with his accuracy in some games. While numbers aren’t everything, they do mean something, so I venture to have you compare these statlines and tell me who you would rather have of these two players:

            Player A: 254/372, 68.3% completion, 10.17 YPA, 3783 yds, 38 TDs, 2 INTs, Passer Rating 186.3

            Player B: 255/392, 65.1% completion, 8.29 YPA, 3250 yds, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, Passer Rating 143.7

            Player A has clearly performed better and been the better QB this year, and taking away the names there isn’t even a discussion. Player A is Marcus Mariota obviously. Not to mention Mariota played a much more difficult schedule this year, playing the PAC 12, clearly a tougher conference than the ACC right now, and playing MSU out of conference. Winston has struggled against inferior competition and only been able to squeak wins out by small margins week-to-week, whereas Mariota is dominating superior competition week-to-week but statistically and on the scoreboard. These numbers don’t even account for Mariota’s superior running ability and athleticism, which is still a big part of the equation when evaluating a prospect. Also, I’ve watched several games of both of them since they have become starters, and Mariota has gotten better every year, whereas Winston has regressed since last year. I can justifiably and comfortably say that Marcus Mariota is clearly a notch or two above Jameis Winston as a prospect, focusing on on-the-field production, level of competition, and physical tools alone.

            Then when you add in that Jameis is a knucklehead who makes poor choices on and off the field and displays poor character and inability to handle success while Marcus Mariota has been a model of good behavior and been lauded by experts and coaches alike for his character, integrity, and decision making, this just puts the icing on the cake and makes it even easier to make this decision.

  • Leslie Hoerwinkle

    Funchess’s stock has probably gone down since he’s become old stone hands.

  • Ennui Kidd

    Jalen Strong to the Cardinals!

  • juju

    fUSC SUX

    • will50

      don’t know who you are talking about…fUSC, who or what is that!!

  • will_50

    While he may have issues off the field, on the field, there is no better pro ready QB than Winston, not even Mariota. Mariota is a great athlete, but in my mind, he is a lot like RG3, great college player with huge upside, but tends to run a bit to much and is likely to subject himself to injury just as RG3 did in the NFL. Yes, if you are looking for an angel as the top QB in the draft, but if you are looking for a true drop QB with huge upside, no one tops Jameis Winston and most NFL pundits in their heart of hearts knows this, including you my friend

    • rob

      I agree to disagree. MM has always had the ability to run the ball much like other college programs. The Oregon offensive line this year has been riddled with injury and lack of experience (3 redshirt freshman vs Michigan State) with that said he has almost single handedly led the team to an impressive 11-1 record and has never once in his years at Oregon lost composure on or off the field. He is a perfect fit for a franchise QB with an up and coming team. He has a big arm and can call plays better than most. Give MM a healthy O-Line and he would run circles around Winston in my opinion.

      • will50

        rob, I too agree to disagree…while Winston is no angel, he is most certainly the most NFL ready QB in college FB! Mariota is a lot like RG3, a guy who is a super talent, but with the spread, he tends to run the ball a bit much and will have a shortened NFL Career. Winston, has been playing all season long with a ton of pressure on him for issues off the field. Sure its his fault, however, that still doesn’t take away the fact that he has been playing with more pressure on him than any player in the country, yet he still shows tremendous leadership and ability to perform under pressure to give his team a chance to win a game at any give time, no matter what the score…now, Winston is the best QB, not necessarily the best player or athlete, but definitely the best QB in college football!

  • citizen x

    Mariota will be a Tampa Bay Buc