Top five 2015 NFL Draft prospects by position

With coaches and scouts starting to project which players are the best fits for their squads, this is a look at the top five prospects at each position to give you a peek at some of the conversations that are taking place in draft rooms across the league.


  1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
  2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  3. Brett Hundley, UCLA
  4. Bryce Petty, Baylor
  5. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State

Winston's immaturity and character concerns overshadow a pro-ready game that could blossom in the right system. Mariota will need some time to transition to the pro game, but his leadership skills and athleticism will lead several coaches to fall in love with his potential. Hundley is a wild card based on his athleticism and playmaking skills. He needs to show better accuracy in workouts, but his résumé suggests he is a winner capable of leading a team as a starter.

Running Backs

  1. Todd Gurley, Georgia
  2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
  3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana
  4. Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.)
  5. Jay Ajayi, Boise State

Gordon is not only a home-run hitter with outstanding speed and quickness, but he is a dependable workhorse capable of shouldering a heavy workload as a feature back. Gurley's injury knocks him down the charts, yet he remains the most complete back in the class. Keep an eye on Johnson as a LeSean McCoy clone with spectacular running and receiving skills.

Wide receiver

  1. Amari Cooper, Alabama
  2. Kevin White, West Virginia
  3. DeVante Parker, Louisville
  4. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
  5. Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma

Cooper is a polished WR1 with all of the traits needed to anchor a passing game. Parker and White are big, athletic playmakers with the speed and quickness to thrive on the perimeter as split ends. Green-Beckham will need to address his character issues, but he remains an intriguing prospect with big-time potential.

Tight ends

  1. Maxx Williams, Minnesota
  2. Nick O'Leary, Florida State
  3. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
  4. Clive Walford, Miami (Fla.)
  5. Jesse James, Penn State

Williams is a big-bodied pass catcher with exceptional hands and ball skills. Walford has created some buzz after an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. He is the vertical stretch playmaker that most teams covet between the hashes. O'Leary lacks the prototypical physical traits to plays as a traditional tight end, but a creative offensive coordinator will make him feature playmaker as an H-Back.

Offensive tackles

  1. Brandon Scherff, Iowa
  2. Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
  3. La'el Collins, LSU
  4. Andrus Peat, Stanford
  5. T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh

The 2015 class lacks a franchise left tackle prospect, but there are several players capable of logging starts early in their respective career. Scherff is the latest in a long line of Hawkeyes that entered the league with impressive technical skills. Collins and Peat are solid edge blockers with the size and agility scouts covet in potential starters. Clemming could be the most athletic prospect of the group, but his inexperience could make him a risky proposition as a left tackle candidate.


  1. A.J. Cann, South Carolina
  2. Cameron Erving, Florida State
  3. Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
  4. Reese Dismukes, Auburn
  5. Josue Matias, Florida State

Cann is a standout interior blocker with the size, strength and power to control the point of attack. Erving made the move from left tackle to center in the middle of the season, yet looks like a seasoned vet at the position.

Defensive ends

  1. Leonard Williams, USC
  2. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
  3. Shane Ray, Missouri
  4. Dante Fowler, Florida
  5. Nate Orchard, Utah

Williams might rank as the No. 1 prospect on most draft boards around the NFL. He is a big, athletic defensive tackle with impressive physical tools and a still developing game. Gregory is a long, lean athletic edge defender with the potential to play with his hand in the dirt or as a stand-up player in a 3-4 scheme. Orchard isn't an impressive athlete, but he is a "gamer" with a knack for producing big plays off the edge.

Defensive tackles

  1. Danny Shelton, Washington
  2. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
  3. Malcom Brown, Texas
  4. Michael Bennett, Ohio State
  5. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma

Shelton is a big space-eater with size, strength and power to control the point of attack. Goldman is a talented interior defender capable of playing as a nose tackle or 3-technique in any scheme. Brown could rise up the charts when teams take a long, hard look at his play against the run.

Inside Linebackers

  1. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
  2. Denzel Perryman, Miami (Fla.)
  3. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
  4. Stephone Anthony, Clemson
  5. Ramik Wilson, Georgia

McKinney is a hard-hitting "Mike" linebacker with the physical skills and intangibles to develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber player early in his career. Perryman is a big hitter with outstanding instincts and awareness. He will provide a team with the menacing presence needed in the middle. Kendricks is flying under the radar, but coaches will fall in love with his instincts and playmaking skills when they dig into the tape.

Outside linebackers

  1. Vic Beasley, Clemson
  2. Shaq Thompson, Washington
  3. Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Kentucky
  4. Paul Dawson, TCU
  5. Hau'oli Kikaha, Washington

Beasley will be considered a hybrid rusher in most systems, but he is athletic enough to play as a "SAM" linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Thompson is an ultra-athletic defender ideally suited to play WILL in a four-man front. Teams using big nickel packages could view him as the ideal defender to occupy nickel back position. TCU's Dawson is a tackling machine with exceptional instincts, but a checkered character profile could diminish his chances of moving up the charts.


  1. Marcus Peters, Washington
  2. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
  3. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
  4. Jalen Collins, LSU
  5. P.J. Williams, Florida State

Peters is the most talented cover corner in the class, but character concerns could plummet his stock. Waynes and Johnson are long, rangy corners with versatile skills. Collins is generating a ton of buzz in scouting circles as an intriguing cover corner with tremendous upside.


  1. Landon Collins, Alabama
  2. Gerod Holliman, Louisville
  3. Derron Smith, Fresno State
  4. Damarious Randall, Arizona State
  5. Anthony Harris, Virginia

Collins is the most complete safety the draft has seen in years. He is a rock-solid box defender with the instincts, ball skills and cover ability to play tight ends and slot receivers in space. Holliman is one of the most polarizing prospects in the class. He is a legitimate ballhawk capable of producing game-changing turnovers, yet he is a marginal run defender with suspect tackling skills.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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