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:
Randy Gregory, DE Nebraska
Leonard Williams, DT USC
Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon
4. Browns (from BUF)
Brandon Scherff, OT Iowa
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon
Landon Collins, S Alabama
Jameis Winston, QB Florida State
Brett Hundley, QB UCLA
Vic Beasley, DE Clemson
Malcolm Brown, DT Texas
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT Texas A&M
Amari Cooper, WR Alabama
Shilique Calhoun, DE Michigan State
Kevin Hogan, QB Stanford
Noah Spence, DE Ohio State
Bryce Petty, QB Baylor
Cameron Erving, OT Florida State
Todd Gurley, RB Georgia
Cedric Reed, DE Texas
Ty Montgomery, WR Stanford
Andrus Peat, OT Stanford
Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland
La el Collins, OT LSU
P.J. Williams, CB Florida State
Markus Golden, DE Missouri
Hroniss Grasu, C Oregon
Kurtis Drummond, S Michigan State
Ellis McCarthy, NT UCLA
Mario Edwards, DE Florida State
Devin Funchess, TE Michigan
Denzel Perryman, LB Miami
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.