One of the interesting themes coming out of the 2015 NFL Draft is the widespread sense of uncertainty around many of these prospects.
The closest thing to a consensus can’t-miss player is ex-USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams. But there’s no Andrew Luck (a franchise-altering offensive player) or Jadeveon Clowney (a once-a-decade physical talent).
Marcus Mariota was considered the No. 1 prospect in the draft during the college football season, but now that his film has been picked apart experts are all over the map on him.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to take Jameis Winston No. 1 overall, but his off-field incidents make him a riskier prospect than he would have been otherwise.
The best running back in the draft, Todd Gurley, has a torn ACL and will likely miss the beginning of the season.
Wide receiver is perhaps the deepest position in the draft, but there’s no consensus on whether Kevin White or Amari Cooper should be the first WR off the board.
In his MMQB column on Monday, SI’s Peter King wrote that the feeling around the league is that there are nine “prime” players in the 2015 draft, and everything else is a total crapshoot. From King:
“After that, beauty starts to be in the eye of the beholder. I had one GM tell me: ‘The 17th pick on our board might be the 53rd pick on another team’s board — and that could be a team we really respect.'”
The nine players King refers to:
- Jameis Winston, quarterback
- Marcus Mariota, quarterback
- Leonard Williams, defensive tackle
- Kevin White, wide receiver
- Amari Cooper, wide receiver
- Dante Fowler, outside linebacker
- Vic Beasley, outside linebacker
- Brandon Scherff, offensive tackle
- Trae Waynes, cornerback
The research suggests that every NFL Draft is a crapshoot. But teams seem to be admitting it this year.
The result of all this uncertainty should be an unpredictable, entertaining draft night. We could see a team go rogue and pick a player early that wasn’t on anyone’s 1st-round radar, like the Seahawks did with Bruce Irvin in 2012. We could see more trades than usual, as teams that lack confidence in the players on the board move back to collect more draft value (something Bill Belichick has turned into an art). We could see a player who’s projected to be a top-15 pick tumble into the second round.
After those nine guys come off the board, anything goes.
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