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2015 NFL Draft: USC DT, FSU's Winston Headline Top-50 Draft Board 1.0

The 2015 NFL Draft is still three months away, but with the all-star circuit in the rearview, the draft process is picking up steam. After countless hours of tape and in-person scouting, I put together my initial top-50 draft board for this year's class. This will fluctuate somewhat throughout the process with three more updates (one after the NFL Combine, another after Pro Days and a final update the week prior to the draft).

1. DT Leonard Williams, USC (6-4, 290, 4.88, JR)

Fast forward five years from now and if I had to guess the best NFL player from this draft class, it would be Williams with his combination of athleticism, power and versatility.

2. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State (6-4, 228, 4.83, rSO)

The maturity and off-field red flags are concerning, but Winston's on-field play is impressive with natural traits and abilities that you don't find often in 21-year old passers.

3. DE/OLB Dante Fowler, Florida (6-3, 266, 4.84, JR)

While he has some struggles against the run, Fowler has relentless energy and controlled explosion to disrupt the pocket and be a defensive difference-maker in a 3-4 scheme.

4. OG Brandon Scherff, Iowa (6-5, 315, 5.09, rSR)

A college left tackle, Scherff will be a tackle on some draft boards, but his best fit at the next level is inside at guard where he can dominate as a run blocker and pass protector.

5. WR Amari Cooper, Nebraska (6-1, 205, 4.56, JR)

While not in the same conversation as AJ Green and Julio Jones as a prospect, Cooper is very detailed and well-rounded, making it tough to poke holes in his game.

6. WR Kevin White, West Virginia (6-3, 211, 4.56, SR)

No prospect has had a bigger climb since the summer than White, who is terrific at locating, highpointing and making the tough catches look easy with powerful hands.

7. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6-4, 212, 4.52, rJR)

Isolating the traits, Mariota has the arm strength, athleticism and elite character for the NFL, but he's far from a can't-miss, taking a huge step from Oregon's offense to the pros.

8. DE/OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska (6-5, 255, 4.76, rJR)

Although functional strength and durability are question marks, Gregory is an above average athlete at the position with terrific change of direction skills and burst.

9. DT Danny Shelton, Washington (6-1, 343, 5.22, SR)

Shelton needs some technique work, but I've never scouted a nose tackle that makes more plays outside the hashes, along with his impressive blend of brute power and agility.

10. WR DeVante Parker, Louisville (6-2, 209, 4.57, SR)

An impressive size/speed/athleticism specimen, Parker missed most of the 2014 season with a foot injury, but he has all the makings of being a No. 1 at the next level.

11. RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (6-1, 232, 4.54, JR)

Although the ACL injury clouds his draft projection, Gurley's talent is still deserving of top-32 consideration and a team in the back-half of round one will likely get a steal.

12. DT Malcom Brown, Texas (6-3, 305, 5.24, JR)

A player who can realistically line up at any of the defensive line spots, Brown has a good mixture of quickness and power to win off the snap and penetrate the backfield.

13. OT Andrus Peat, Stanford (6-6, 312, 5.28, JR)

Peat has mechanical and balance inconsistencies, but the body control and natural gifts for the position don't come along often, projecting him as a starting left tackle.

14. OT T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh (6-5, 305, 4.78 rSR)

As a former defensive end, it's easy to spot Clemmings' unpolished footwork, but he has the upper body power and attitude to dominate defenders once he gets his hands on them.

15. CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State (6-1, 185, 4.53, rJR)

Despite a tendency to freelance, Waynes has the size, length and athleticism to thrive on the outside at the next level with the confidence and toughness to start from day one.

16. DE Shane Ray, Missouri (6-3, 245, 4.83, JR)

Ray is far from a flawless prospect and might only fit 4-3 defenses, but he has the best first step in this draft class with workable traits to develop.

17. OLB Shaq Thompson, Washington (6-2, 225, 4.64, JR)

The top traditional linebacker in the 2015 NFL Draft class, Thompson has impressive athletic traits with an accurate strike zone to wrap and finish.

18. SS Landon Collins, Alabama (6-0, 215, 4.53, JR)

Although his hiccups in coverage are tough to ignore, Collins is a heat-seeking missile with downhill closing burst, projecting as a rookie starter at strong safety.

19. DE/OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson (6-2, 235, 4.64, rSR)

An explosive edge rusher, Beasley has some tweener traits, but does a nice job converting speed to power and presents a tough match-up for blockers in space.

20. DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma (6-6, 338, 5.56, rJR)

Few humans on this planet have Phillips' combination of size, girth and athleticism to control the point of attack and chase down ballcarriers in pursuit.

21. DE/OLB Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (6-3, 252, 4.79, rSR)

A former tight end like Vic Beasley, Dupree launches off the line of scrimmage with athleticism to bend the edge and the physical ingredients to be an impact pass rusher.

22. TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota (6-4, 250, 4.85, rSO)

A prospect who flashes Jason Witten-like potential, Williams has natural body control with speed for the position to separate in coverage and create after the catch.

23. CB Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio) (5-11, 193, 4.46, rSR)

From basketball career to MAC Defensive Player of the Year at corner, Rollins is a natural in coverage with the physical skill-set and developing instincts to match up with NFL receivers.

24. OT La'el Collins, LSU (6-5, 315, 5.43, SR)

Although it doesn't always look pretty, Collins routinely gets the job done and sells out each snap, projecting at tackle for some teams and guard for others.

25. WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma (6-5, 225, 4.49, JR)

A top-five pick if not for the red flags, Green-Beckham has special qualities, but teams have a lot of homework to do on this physical specimen.

  1. CB Marcus Peters, Washington (5-11, 193, 4.52, rJR)
  2. OT Ereck Flowers, Miami (Fla.) (6-5, 315, 5.26, JR)
  3. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (6-1, 207, 4.54, rJR)
  4. DE/OLB Eli Harold, Virginia (6-4, 230, 4.73, JR)
  5. WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (6-4, 205, 4.55, rJR)
  6. DT Carl Davis, Iowa (6-5, 321, 5.12, rSR)
  7. DE Arik Armstead, Oregon (6-6, 292, 4.97, JR)
  8. DE Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA (6-3, 268, 4.78, rSR)
  9. RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State (5-11, 220, 4.54, rJR)
  10. RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana (6-0, 205, 4.62, JR)
  11. DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State (6-3, 303, 5.28, JR)
  12. CB Alex Carter, Stanford (6-0, 200, 4.51, JR)
  13. OLB Eric Kendricks, UCLA (6-0, 228, 4.67, rSR)
  14. OLB Paul Dawson, TCU (6-1, 230, 4.74, SR)
  15. CB P.J. Williams, Florida State (6-0, 190, 4.48 JR)
  16. ILB Denzel Perryman, Miami (Fla.) (5-11, 242, 4.65, SR)
  17. DE/OLB Hau'oli Kikaha, Washington (6-3, 260, 4.82, rSR)
  18. OC Cam Erving, Florida State (6-5, 320, 5.26, rSR)
  19. CB D'Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic (5-11, 175, 4.52, SR)
  20. OG A.J. Cann, South Carolina (6-3, 314, 5.08, rSR)
  21. DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State (6-3, 285, 5.02, SR)
  22. DE Preston Smith, Mississippi State (6-5, 255, 4.86, SR)
  23. OT Donovan Smith, Penn State (6-5, 322, 5.12, rJR)
  24. OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (6-5, 300, 5.15, rSR)
  25. CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (6-0, 175, 4.49, rSR)

Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) is the Senior Analyst for, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with For more of his draft coverage, click here.


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