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Published: April 28, 2015 at 03:36 p.m.
Updated: April 28, 2015 at 03:58 p.m.

2015 All-Draft Team

With the 2015 NFL Draft just days away, the flood of mock drafts and rankings out there has reached critical mass. So for a moment, let's forget about who picks where and which team needs what and imagine what it would be like if we could build a team of all-stars from the NFL's latest crop of rising rookies. Here is my 2015 All-Draft Team:

25 Photos Total

  • Winston is a very smart football player who has experience working in a pro formation and taking snaps under center, and he's more ready than fellow top prospect Marcus Mariota to make an immediate impact in the NFL. That's not to say Mariota won't have a better career when it's all said and done; it's much too early to make that call. Winston did throw 18 interceptions last season, easily eclipsing the 10 he had in his Heisman Trophy-winning 2013 campaign, but he's still the most ready to be a factor in 2015. 25

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Quarterback: Jameis Winston, Florida State

    Winston is a very smart football player who has experience working in a pro formation and taking snaps under center, and he's more ready than fellow top prospect Marcus Mariota to make an immediate impact in the NFL. That's not to say Mariota won't have a better career when it's all said and done; it's much too early to make that call. Winston did throw 18 interceptions last season, easily eclipsing the 10 he had in his Heisman Trophy-winning 2013 campaign, but he's still the most ready to be a factor in 2015.

  • Gordon is not the fastest back, but he has the ability to get into the open field very quickly. He's also a lot bigger than people seem to think he is; though he checks in at 215 pounds, he seems to be perceived more like a 190-pound guy. Gordon's game has really improved, and he looks like he'll be something special. 24

    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Running back: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

    Gordon is not the fastest back, but he has the ability to get into the open field very quickly. He's also a lot bigger than people seem to think he is; though he checks in at 215 pounds, he seems to be perceived more like a 190-pound guy. Gordon's game has really improved, and he looks like he'll be something special.

  • Like Gordon, Gurley is a complete back -- someone who can play all three downs, protect the passer, catch the ball and make big plays. Gurley also has experience returning kickoffs. Yes, he is coming off a torn ACL, but that injury doesn't worry you like it might have 15 years ago. With modern medicine being what it is, some of these guys end up being stronger than they were before they were hurt. Plus, I know Gurley, and I know he'll work hard to rehab. 23

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Running back: Todd Gurley, Georgia

    Like Gordon, Gurley is a complete back -- someone who can play all three downs, protect the passer, catch the ball and make big plays. Gurley also has experience returning kickoffs. Yes, he is coming off a torn ACL, but that injury doesn't worry you like it might have 15 years ago. With modern medicine being what it is, some of these guys end up being stronger than they were before they were hurt. Plus, I know Gurley, and I know he'll work hard to rehab.

  • Cooper heads a group of rising rookie receivers that could be even more productive than last season's incredible crop of newbies. Cooper is a great route-runner who put up unbelievable numbers in college (124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season). He was also clutch, seemingly coming up huge whenever Alabama needed a big play. 22

    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Amari Cooper, Alabama

    Cooper heads a group of rising rookie receivers that could be even more productive than last season's incredible crop of newbies. Cooper is a great route-runner who put up unbelievable numbers in college (124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season). He was also clutch, seemingly coming up huge whenever Alabama needed a big play.

  • White dazzled in 2014, posting 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 scores -- and he's still just learning how to play the position, really, having arrived at West Virginia in 2013 after spending two seasons in junior college. While he's not as refined as Cooper, White offers plenty of promise. He reminds me of Buccaneers youngster Mike Evans, though White is probably a better route-runner. 21

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Kevin White, West Virginia

    White dazzled in 2014, posting 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 scores -- and he's still just learning how to play the position, really, having arrived at West Virginia in 2013 after spending two seasons in junior college. While he's not as refined as Cooper, White offers plenty of promise. He reminds me of Buccaneers youngster Mike Evans, though White is probably a better route-runner.

  • Williams -- who redshirted as a freshman -- is a two-year player who made a ton of clutch catches last season. His father, Brian, was a first-round pick by the New York Giants and played nine seasons at center. Given that he has relatively little experience, Williams has some upside. As a blocker, I don't think he'll drive anyone off the ball on fourth-and-goal, but at least he'll try. 20

    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Tight end: Maxx Williams, Minnesota

    Williams -- who redshirted as a freshman -- is a two-year player who made a ton of clutch catches last season. His father, Brian, was a first-round pick by the New York Giants and played nine seasons at center. Given that he has relatively little experience, Williams has some upside. As a blocker, I don't think he'll drive anyone off the ball on fourth-and-goal, but at least he'll try.

  • Scherff is probably the best run blocker of the offensive linemen included on this team. It's not reflected in the number of bench reps he had at the NFL Scouting Combine (23), but Scherff is just so naturally strong; once he locks on, it's hard for a defender to shake him. Iowa has as good a weight program as there is in the country, led by outstanding strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. 19

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Offensive lineman: Brandon Scherff, Iowa

    Scherff is probably the best run blocker of the offensive linemen included on this team. It's not reflected in the number of bench reps he had at the NFL Scouting Combine (23), but Scherff is just so naturally strong; once he locks on, it's hard for a defender to shake him. Iowa has as good a weight program as there is in the country, led by outstanding strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.

  • For a guy his size, Peat (6-foot-7, 313 pounds) has excellent, quick feet, which you need to be successful at left tackle. Between those feet and his 34 3/8-inch arms, Peat has two of the things you need to effectively stop opposing pass rushers. 18

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Offensive lineman: Andrus Peat, Stanford

    For a guy his size, Peat (6-foot-7, 313 pounds) has excellent, quick feet, which you need to be successful at left tackle. Between those feet and his 34 3/8-inch arms, Peat has two of the things you need to effectively stop opposing pass rushers.

  • Flowers started just two full seasons at Miami, but he has a lot of upside as an athletic prospect. He needs to get better in pass protection, but that's something I think he'll definitely be able to do, because he's so young. 17

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Offensive lineman: Ereck Flowers, Miami

    Flowers started just two full seasons at Miami, but he has a lot of upside as an athletic prospect. He needs to get better in pass protection, but that's something I think he'll definitely be able to do, because he's so young.

  • Collins is an excellent pass protector who has been extremely well-coached. He's strong and has long arms (33 1/4 inches) and big hands (10 3/8 inches). Though Collins and Scherff both started at tackle at the college level, they look like they'd be good guards in the NFL. 16

    David Quinn/Associated Press

    Offensive lineman: La'el Collins, LSU

    Collins is an excellent pass protector who has been extremely well-coached. He's strong and has long arms (33 1/4 inches) and big hands (10 3/8 inches). Though Collins and Scherff both started at tackle at the college level, they look like they'd be good guards in the NFL.

  • The former defensive tackle switched sides in 2012, thrived as a left tackle, then moved to center last season. Erving is a strong athlete who moves very well. He can protect against the bull rush, or he can get out, lead and make blocks downfield. 15

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Center: Cameron Erving, Florida State

    The former defensive tackle switched sides in 2012, thrived as a left tackle, then moved to center last season. Erving is a strong athlete who moves very well. He can protect against the bull rush, or he can get out, lead and make blocks downfield.

  • People often assume the best player in any draft is automatically a quarterback, but I don't think that's the case this year; in 2015, I think that designation goes to Williams. He's got everything going for him. Williams -- who finished 2014 with 80 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks -- is a competitive guy with an abundance of skill and strength. 14

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Defensive lineman: Leonard Williams, USC

    People often assume the best player in any draft is automatically a quarterback, but I don't think that's the case this year; in 2015, I think that designation goes to Williams. He's got everything going for him. Williams -- who finished 2014 with 80 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks -- is a competitive guy with an abundance of skill and strength.

  • Shelton might not register a great time in the 40-yard dash (5.64 seconds), but when he only has to travel 10 yards -- the range in which he'll be making most of his plays in the NFL -- watch out. Shelton is a wide-bodied guy who is very hard to block and should be great against the run. 13

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Danny Shelton, Washington

    Shelton might not register a great time in the 40-yard dash (5.64 seconds), but when he only has to travel 10 yards -- the range in which he'll be making most of his plays in the NFL -- watch out. Shelton is a wide-bodied guy who is very hard to block and should be great against the run.

  • Brown is a good athlete who lettered in track and basketball in high school. He has good speed -- 5.05 40 -- but one of the best things about him is his 1.69-second 10-yard split, which is very good for a 320-pounder. The fact that he's accomplished what he's accomplished while raising a young family -- he and his wife have two daughters -- makes his story that much more impressive. 12

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Malcom Brown, Texas

    Brown is a good athlete who lettered in track and basketball in high school. He has good speed -- 5.05 40 -- but one of the best things about him is his 1.69-second 10-yard split, which is very good for a 320-pounder. The fact that he's accomplished what he's accomplished while raising a young family -- he and his wife have two daughters -- makes his story that much more impressive.

  • Gregory had a down 2014, in which he dealt with injury issues, but that doesn't change the fact that he has a unique ability to rush the passer. He has a Dwight Freeney-like ceiling, although he'll have to develop his pass-rush techniques further if he wants to fulfill that potential. 11

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Randy Gregory, Nebraska

    Gregory had a down 2014, in which he dealt with injury issues, but that doesn't change the fact that he has a unique ability to rush the passer. He has a Dwight Freeney-like ceiling, although he'll have to develop his pass-rush techniques further if he wants to fulfill that potential.

  • Fowler has a great attitude for the game of football; he has that competitiveness that is paramount if you want to be a good linebacker in the NFL. And he plays that way whether he's going forward or dropping back. I rate him as the second-best player in this draft class. 10

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Dante Fowler Jr., Florida

    Fowler has a great attitude for the game of football; he has that competitiveness that is paramount if you want to be a good linebacker in the NFL. And he plays that way whether he's going forward or dropping back. I rate him as the second-best player in this draft class.

  • Kendricks, who is leaving UCLA with a ton of tackles (481) to his name, comes from a very athletic family; his father, Horace, led UCLA in rushing in 1970 and '71, and his brother, Mychal, plays linebacker for the Eagles. Eric Kendricks is very instinctive, which is crucial at the linebacker position. He also has the competitiveness needed to go along with that instinctiveness. 9

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Eric Kendricks, UCLA

    Kendricks, who is leaving UCLA with a ton of tackles (481) to his name, comes from a very athletic family; his father, Horace, led UCLA in rushing in 1970 and '71, and his brother, Mychal, plays linebacker for the Eagles. Eric Kendricks is very instinctive, which is crucial at the linebacker position. He also has the competitiveness needed to go along with that instinctiveness.

  • Beasley is a tremendous athlete who recorded both the fastest 40 time (4.53) and most bench reps (35) among the linebackers at the combine. He can rush, he can drop and his competitiveness is off the charts. 8

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Vic Beasley, Clemson

    Beasley is a tremendous athlete who recorded both the fastest 40 time (4.53) and most bench reps (35) among the linebackers at the combine. He can rush, he can drop and his competitiveness is off the charts.

  • Peters doesn't have the speed of Trae Waynes or Kevin Johnson, but he's fast enough to make plays, and he boasts great ball skills and the toughness to be a tackler. One scout I trust and have a lot of faith in told me Peters is the best corner prospect he's seen on the West Coast in 14 years working that area. 7

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Defensive back: Marcus Peters, Washington

    Peters doesn't have the speed of Trae Waynes or Kevin Johnson, but he's fast enough to make plays, and he boasts great ball skills and the toughness to be a tackler. One scout I trust and have a lot of faith in told me Peters is the best corner prospect he's seen on the West Coast in 14 years working that area.

  • At one time a slightly built guy, Johnson increased his weight to 188 -- and he still runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He also had great numbers in the vertical jump (41.5 inches), broad jump (10-10), three-cone drill (6.79 seconds) and the short shuttle (3.89 seconds). 6

    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Defensive back: Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

    At one time a slightly built guy, Johnson increased his weight to 188 -- and he still runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He also had great numbers in the vertical jump (41.5 inches), broad jump (10-10), three-cone drill (6.79 seconds) and the short shuttle (3.89 seconds).

  • They do such a good job coaching defensive backs at Michigan State, and Waynes is the latest product of that program. He's a 4.3 guy who is very well-coached and athletic -- and he's a better player than former Spartans defensive back Darqueze Dennard, who went 24th overall to the Bengals last year. 5

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Defensive back: Trae Waynes, Michigan State

    They do such a good job coaching defensive backs at Michigan State, and Waynes is the latest product of that program. He's a 4.3 guy who is very well-coached and athletic -- and he's a better player than former Spartans defensive back Darqueze Dennard, who went 24th overall to the Bengals last year.

  • The only true safety in the bunch, Collins is good against both the run and the pass. He's coming out of a great program at Alabama and has good speed (4.53 40) and athleticism for his position. 4

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    Defensive back: Landon Collins, Alabama

    The only true safety in the bunch, Collins is good against both the run and the pass. He's coming out of a great program at Alabama and has good speed (4.53 40) and athleticism for his position.

  • Lambo is the kicker with the best chance to get drafted. The former soccer player, who spent some time on the national U-17 soccer team, was picked in the first round of the Major League Soccer draft in 2008, though he never played in the league. He hit on 21 of 25 field-goal attempts during his Aggies tenure. 3

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Kicker: Josh Lambo, Texas A&M

    Lambo is the kicker with the best chance to get drafted. The former soccer player, who spent some time on the national U-17 soccer team, was picked in the first round of the Major League Soccer draft in 2008, though he never played in the league. He hit on 21 of 25 field-goal attempts during his Aggies tenure.

  • Johnson has as strong a leg as anybody I've seen in a long time, and it has allowed him to succeed as both a punter and a placekicker. In theory, whoever picks up Johnson will be getting a two-for-one player. I think somebody will take a chance on him in the fourth round, as he has the leg strength to be a factor in 2015. 2

    Courtesy of Texas State Athletics

    Punter: Will Johnson, Texas State

    Johnson has as strong a leg as anybody I've seen in a long time, and it has allowed him to succeed as both a punter and a placekicker. In theory, whoever picks up Johnson will be getting a two-for-one player. I think somebody will take a chance on him in the fourth round, as he has the leg strength to be a factor in 2015.

  • Crowder doesn't run very fast, but boy does he have kick-return skills. The relatively small (5-foot-8) player was an excellent high school basketball player. Crowder returned kickoffs as a freshman at Duke, going on to finish his career there with averages of 21.4 yards per kickoff return and 13.2 yards per punt return. 1

    Hal Yeager/Associated Press

    Returner: Jamison Crowder, Duke

    Crowder doesn't run very fast, but boy does he have kick-return skills. The relatively small (5-foot-8) player was an excellent high school basketball player. Crowder returned kickoffs as a freshman at Duke, going on to finish his career there with averages of 21.4 yards per kickoff return and 13.2 yards per punt return.