NFL Picks & Draft Preview: Players to Spot as Quarterback, Running Back & Wide Receiver Prospects

Nikki Adams

Sunday, February 8, 2015 7:13 PM GMT

This NFL handicapper shares her top picks for the fast approaching NFL 2015 Draft, which occurs on April 30. Here's a rundown of the draft order for the QB position as well as RBs and WRs.

The selection order for Round One of the 2015 NFL Draft is reflected in Table 1. It's one of the most watched and debated players catwalk in all sport, every franchise examining and deliberating over the individual wares of each draft eligible player as they search for future stars and attempt to avoid potential duds.

The 2015 draft class is no exception, offering everything from standout to underwhelming prospects (on paper) and all that is in between. While competition is going to be stiff for all the top prospects, there will be those hoping to find that hidden gem, not unlike Tom Brady and Richard Sherman, both of whom were late draft picks (almost an afterthought) that blossomed into the game's best players today.

Place your NFL Futures picks for AFC Conference & NFC Conference now. 

Table 1: Round One Selection Order in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Pick Order

Team

2014 Season Record

1

TB Buccaneers

2-14

2

TEN Titans

2-14

3

JAX Jaguars

3-13

4

OAK Raiders

3-13

5

WAS Redskins

4-14

6

NY Jets

4-14

7

CHI Bears

5-11

8

ATL Falcons

6-10

9

NY Giants

6-10

10

STL Rams

6-10

11

MIN Vikings

7-9

12

CLE Browns

7-9

13

NO Saints

7-9

14

MIA Dolphins

8-8

15

SF 49ers

8-8

16

HOU Texans

9-7

17

SD Chargers

9-7

18

KC Chiefs

9-7

19

CLE Browns (from BUF Bills

7-9

20

PHI Eagles

10-6

21

CIN Bengals

10-5-1

22

PIT Steelers

11-5

23

DET Lions

11-5

24

ARI Cardinals

11-5

25

CAR Panthers

7-8-1

26

BAL Ravens

10-6

27

DAL Cowboys

12-4

28

DEN Broncos

12-4

29

IND Colts

11-5

30

GB Packers

12-4

31

SEA Seahawks

12-4

32

NE Patriots

12-4

 

The QB Prospects To Watch:
The quarterback position is one of the most important decisions a team can make in a sport that is, arguably, quarterback centric. There are several teams that have a distinct void in that position going into the 2015 NFL draft, whether as a starter or a viable backup. These include Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, St, Louis Rams, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills.

Top prospects that fit the bill are Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the top ranked quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL draft. However, with more teams gagging for a quarterback than there are top quarterback prospects, there are sure to be some dark horses in the mix that will emerge in the early rounds as choice NFL picks. Brett Hundley is one to spot along with the top ten QB prospects listed below. Naturally, the order in which the quarterbacks will be selected doesn't depend on their ranking.  It's a balancing act for teams, deciding which players are the best fit to their scheme, team culture and ethos.

Top Ten Quarterback Prospects (listed with Overall Draft Rank):

1. Jameis Winston, QB Florida State (Rank 2)

2. Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon (Rank 5)

3. Brett Hundley, QB UCLA (Rank 41)

4. Garrett Grayson, QB Colorado State (Rank 105)

5. Bryce Petty, QB Baylor (Rank 117)

6. Shane Carden, QB East Carolina (Rank 184)

7. Sean Mannion, QB Oregon State (Rank 205)

8. Blake Sims, QB Oregon State (Rank 216)

9. Connor Halliday *, QB Washington State (Rank 237)

10. Bryan Bennett, QB Southeastern Louisiana (Rank 278)

*Connor Halliday suffered an injury and dropped down the list as a result. Had he played a full season, his prospects could have been better. 

 

Short Analysis: Jamies Winston has shown worrying similarities to Johnny "Football" Manziel's, immaturity, insouciance and complete and utter lack of discipline and focus. So much so that they cast a shadow over his undeniable talent and quality. He's a risky bet for any team. Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley are safer bets of the top three prospects. Sean Mannion at 6' 6" and 229 pounds cuts an interesting figure in the mix, as does Garrett Grayson (6' 2", 220 pounds) and Bryce Petty (6' 3, 230 pounds), who has a track record at Baylor that is nothing to scoff at (61 TDs and just 10 INT in two seasons).

 

The Running Backs To Spot
The teams that could be in the hunt for a future running back star include the Jaguars, Rams, Vikings, Ravens and Patriots, to name a few. Some of the top running back prospects include the following :

 

Top Ten Running Backs (listed with Overall Draft Rank):

Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin (Rank 21)

Todd Gurley *, RB Georgia (Rank 22)

Ameer Abdullah, RB Nebraska (Rank 47)

Jay Ajayi, RB Boise State (Rank 52)

Duke Johnson, RB Miami (Fla.) (Rank 56)

Tevin Coleman *, RB Indiana (Rank 60)

T.J. Yeldon, RB Alabama (Rank 77)

Mike Davis, RB South Carolina (Rank 80)

David Cobb, RB Minnesota (Rank 88)

David Johnson, RB Northern Iowa (Rank  93)

* Gurley and Coleman on IR

 

Short Analysis: The 2015 class of running backs is quite attractive and deep in both quality and talent as evinced by the aforementioned top ten RBs all ranking within the overall top 100 ranking scheme. Gurley and Coleman are on the injury list so that could affect their NFL pick, while Ameer Abdullah at 5' 8" and both Duke Johnson and Mike Davis (5' 9") could be held back by their respective heights with certain teams.

 

Wide Receiver Prospects To Spot
The Teams that are in the market for a stud wide receiver include the Raiders, Browns, Texans, Chiefs, Broncos (Julius Thomas and Demariyus Thomas are in option years) and Patriots, to name a few.

 

Top Ten WRs (listed with Overall Draft Rank):

Amari Cooper, WR Alabama (Rank 4)

Kevin White, WR West Virginia (Rank 12)

DeVante Parker, WR Louisville (Rank 16)

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR Oklahoma (Rank 25)

Jaelen Strong, WR Arizona State (Rank 27)

Sammie Coates, WR Auburn (Rank 28)

Devin Funchess, WR Michigan (Rank 32)

Devin Smith, WR Ohio State (Rank 46)

Nelson Agholor, WR Southern Carolina (Rank 51)

Jamison Crowder, WR Duke (Rank 63)

 

Analysis: The Wide Receiver position is another deep category in the 2015 NFL Draft class with the top ten prospects all ranking inside the overall Top 65. Competition for the Top Five in this category is expected to be stiff with Cooper coming across as a rather polished prospect while White, Parker, Green-Beckham and Strong bring size (above 6' 3") and physical athleticism to the sought-after role.

That's a peek at just some of the prospects set to trade in  the 2015 NFL Draft. Next time, we'll look at the remaining positions, including Tight Ends, Offensive Tackles, Cornerbacks and more.