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Randy Gregory leads biggest sliders in 2015 NFL Draft

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CHICAGO -- The NFL draft hype machine doesn't take a day off all spring, and expectations for which players will be picked early in the draft aren't always on target. Here are eight of the biggest sliders from the 2015 draft, not including the notables who weren't drafted at all.


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LB Randy Gregory, Nebraska

Nobody's fall in the draft drew more attention than Gregory's, and no fall played out on a bigger stage, because he was in Chicago for the draft and turned the proverbial lights out in the green room. The Dallas Cowboys picked up a top-10 talent with the No. 60 overall pick, thanks to concerns about his failed marijuana test at the Scouting Combine and maturity issues that included scheduled meetings with NFL clubs for which Gregory was either tardy or missed altogether. Gregory expressed shock that he didn't get picked in the first round, even though he was aware a slip was coming. Sometimes, sliding prospects become steals -- a focused Gregory would be just that.

2015 NFL DRAFT

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OL T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh

Medical concerns tumbled Clemmings from a first-round projection to the fourth round, where the Minnesota Vikings took him off the hook with the No. 110 overall pick. Along with concerns about a stress fracture in his foot, Clemmings' fall might also have had something to do with his lack of polish and experience as a former defensive lineman.

WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

The former Arizona State star who made one of the most impressive touchdown catches of the 2014 college football season was thought to be a threat to be a first-round pick. Instead, the Houston Texans got him in the third round with the No. 70 overall choice. Strong is no Andre Johnson, but he'll fit nicely with a club that needed a boost at the position. There were too many quality wide receivers in this draft for there not to be a big fall for one of them. It was bound to happen to someone -- Strong drew the short straw.

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

It was well-established -- even by his own college coach -- that the former UCLA star wasn't a ready-made NFL quarterback who could start as a rookie. But as a fringe Heisman Trophy candidate who was a staple mention on the second tier of quarterback prospects along with Bryce Petty, Sean Mannion and Garrett Grayson, few could have expected Hundley to fall to Round 5. The beneficiaries: The Green Bay Packers, with the 147th overall pick.


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CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

One of the top cornerbacks in the Pac-12 saw his draft stock slide from potential first-round status last fall, to a complete unkown after his tore knee ligaments in December, to the seventh round on Saturday. The Cleveland Browns took the chance, at No. 241 overall.

DL Grady Jarrett, Clemson

Jarrett wasn't projected to go in the first round like Clemmings, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better fifth-round value than what the Atlanta Falcons got in the former Clemson star. Disappointing 2014 Falcons rookie Ra'Shede Hageman lacked quickness and struggled to shed blocks -- two traits Jarrett will bring in spades. His absence from the draft's day-two roll call was a league-wide miss.

CB P.J. Williams, Florida State

Some draft pundits put Williams in the same sentence with the very best corners in the draft, and the former Seminole has the size and aggressiveness NFL clubs covet at the position. Less than a month before the draft, however, Williams incurred a DUI charge. Authorities opted not to pursue the case, but you can bet the red flag from the initial charge still flew for NFL scouts. Williams went 78th overall (third round) to the New Orleans Saints.


» SEC leads all conferences with most players drafted in 2015


DL Michael Bennett, Ohio State

Remember when Ohio State's defensive line was renowned as other-worldly last year, led by Bennett and sophomore Joey Bosa? Something obviously went awry with Bennett's evaluation, because he fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 180th overall pick in Round 6.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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