Next year: An early look at 2015 NFL Draft

Next year: An early look at 2015 NFL Draft

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) throws a pass against the Michigan State Spartans in the 100th Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


by Brent Sobleski / USA Today Sports

Posted on May 11, 2014 at 5:26 PM

It’s never too early for a mock draft.

With the 2014 NFL draft ending a day ago, it’s already time to look ahead to next year’s class.

At the top of the draft class, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston will compete throughout the season to be the highest rated quarterback in the upcoming draft. Either of them would have been the highest-selected quarterback in the 2014 draft. Yet, neither was chosen first overall in our initial mock.

The primary reason is due to slotting.

Mariota does get the nod over Winston as the top quarterback prospect due to the off-the-field concerns currently swirling around the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Instead of the quarterbacks, a pair of defensive linemen come off the board first.

The Jaguars selected UCF’s Blake Bortles with the third overall pick during the recent draft. In 2015, they could land a difference-maker on the defensive side of the football. Nebraska’s Randy Gregory led the Big Ten Conference in sacks as a sophomore with 10.5. Gregory isn’t on the same level as Jadeveon Clowney, but he’s a 6-6, 245-pound defensive end with tremendous first-step quickness and length.

The Raiders, meanwhile, continue to fortify their defense after recently selecting Buffalo’s Khalil Mack fifth overall. Williams is a rugged interior defender that has played at a high level since his true freshman campaign. At 6-5 and 290 pounds, Williams has the ability to start at defensive tackle for 3-4 defensive end depending on the Raiders’ preference to potentially utilize multiple fronts.

Now, on to our first 2015 NFL mock draft:

1. Jaguars

Randy Gregory, DE Nebraska

2. Raiders

Leonard Williams, DT USC

3. Titans

Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon

4. Browns (from BUF)

Brandon Scherff, OT Iowa

5. Vikings

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon

6. Redskins

Landon Collins, S Alabama

7. Buccaneers

Jameis Winston, QB Florida State

8. Rams

Brett Hundley, QB UCLA

9. Jets

Vic Beasley, DE Clemson

10. Dolphins

Malcolm Brown, DT Texas

11. Lions

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT Texas A&M

12. Browns

Amari Cooper, WR Alabama

13, Giants

Shilique Calhoun, DE Michigan State

14. Texans

Kevin Hogan, QB Stanford

15. Cowboys

Noah Spence, DE Ohio State

16. Bengals

Bryce Petty, QB Baylor

17. Ravens

Cameron Erving, OT Florida State

18. Falcons

Todd Gurley, RB Georgia

19. Cardinals

Cedric Reed, DE Texas

20. Chargers

Ty Montgomery, WR Stanford

21. Steelers

Andrus Peat, OT Stanford

22. Chiefs

Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland

23. Panthers

La’el Collins, OT LSU

24. Eagles

P.J. Williams, CB Florida State

25. Saints

Markus Golden, DE Missouri

26. Colts

Hroniss Grasu, C Oregon

27. Bears

Kurtis Drummond, S Michigan State

28. Packers

Ellis McCarthy, NT UCLA

29. 49ers

Mario Edwards, DE Florida State

30. Patriots

Devin Funchess, TE Michigan

31. Broncos

Denzel Perryman, LB Miami

32. Seahawks

Tre’ Jackson, OG Florida State

*Draft order was determined by each team’s odds to make the Super Bowl during the 2014 season, according to the online sportsbook Bovada.