Which States Produced the Most 2015 NFL Draft Picks?

2015 NFL Draft

There’s a long-held belief that there are three states in America that are in a special class of their own when it comes to producing great football players: California, Florida and Texas.

Judging by the 2015 NFL draft, however, it looks like “the big three” may have to soon be changed to the big four, since the state of Georgia proved it deserves the same heavyweight status as California, Florida and Texas with a huge showing in this year’s draft.

31 of the players selected in the 2015 draft are natives of the Peach State. Only Florida—which led the way with 38 total players selected, including three of the top six picks (Dante Fowler Jr., Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams)—had more players selected. That means Georgia eclipsed two of the big three states: Texas and California, which had 27 draftees and 26 draftees respectively.

In recent years, recruiting experts have pointed to Georgia as the most talent-stocked state outside of the big three. This year’s showing in the NFL draft should only help boost the state’s reputation as a prospect-producing powerhouse and further the argument that the state belongs on the same esteemed tier as California, Florida and Texas.

Overall, 37 different states had a player selected in the 256-player 2015 NFL draft class, as well as two different foreign countries: Canada and Germany.

*Note: The data collected for this study was based off of where a player played his high school football, instead of his actual birthplace. For example, Chicago Bears WR Kevin White was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, but he played his high school football in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, so he counts for Pennsylvania.

Here’s a look at how the states stacked up in the 2015 draft.

2015 NFL Draft: Final 2-Round Mock Draft

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“This is the most unpredictable NFL draft in years” is the cliché phrase that gets trotted out during the lead up to every NFL draft.

The 2015 NFL draft certainly lives up to that billing, though.

For months, the sense was that Jameis Winston would go No. 1 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But after that, there was a great deal of uncertainty swirling around every other top pick, especially surrounding the draft’s other top quarterback prospect: Marcus Mariota.

Luckily, the finish line is now in sight, as the 2015 NFL draft will begin tonight live from Chicago. The speculation will soon come to an end and reality will take hold. Still, until Roger Goodell steps out onto the stage and puts the Bucs on the clock, the possibilities and scenarios remain infinite.

Who knows, maybe the Titans, Eagles and Browns could orchestrate some remarkably intricate three-team trade that nets Philadelphia the No. 2 overall pick, Cleveland Sam Bradford and the Titans Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox and a plethora of picks.

Maybe the Jaguars shock the world by going against the grain with the No. 3 pick yet again and take Todd Gurley or Vic Beasley.

Maybe the Falcons make a bold move by trading up for Dante Fowler Jr.

Maybe a team like the Browns or the Saints puts together both of its first-round picks in a trade package to make a big move up the board and shake up the top 10.

Or…

It could all go pretty much according to plan: The Bucs take Winston, the Titans take Mariota, and then the three best non-quarterback prospects: Dante Fowler Jr., Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams—will round out the top five in some fashion. 

Soon enough the speculation will end, but for now, all we can do is predict and project, which is exactly what I did in my final two-round mock draft.

Though I believe there will be a good number of trades on the first night of the draft, and potentially even a few shakeups in the top 10, I opted against trying to project trades for the final mock, and instead opted to just go straight down the board and match players with teams based on a combination of value, need and overall team-prospect fit.

Here’s a look at the final predictions and projections for the first two rounds of the 2015 NFL draft.

2015 NFL Draft: Post-Combine Big Board and Prospect Rankings

2015 NFL Draft

The NFL Combine may be over and done with, but the buzz that many of the event’s top performers were able to generate is still dominating the headlines.

Top prospects such as West Virginia WR Kevin White, Michigan State CB Trae Waynes and Clemson edge rusher Vic Beasley all proved to be elite athletes, while other less heralded prospects such as UConn CB Byron Jones, Hobart OL Ali Marpet and Texas LB Jordan Hicks all gave a big boost to their stock with tremendous showings in workouts as well.

With the Combine now in the rear view mirror and the NFL free agency period right around the corner, draft weekend continues to inch ever closer. It’s now time to to delve deep and figure out which players truly have what it takes to become impact players at the next level.

So how does the stock of the top prospects stand at this point in the process?

With just a little over two months to go before draft weekend, here’s a look at the updated Top 100 big board along with positional prospect rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft class,

2015 NFL Draft: Official List of Underclassmen Declarations

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36 of a record 96 early underclassmen declarations went undrafted in last May’s 2014 NFL draft. That’s likely a big reason why the number of underclassmen declarations for the 2015 draft dropped significantly, as more players have begun to understand the risks of leaving school early.

Today, the NFL officially released the list of the 74 underclassmen prospects who made the decision to forego another year playing in the collegiate ranks in order to chase their dreams of playing in the pros.

It’s a group that’s headlined by the top two quarterbacks in the 2015 class: Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. At this point in the process, the two heralded signal-callers look to be the top two contenders for the No. 1 overall pick. However, there are still plenty of other star underclassmen who will likely hear their name called in the top half of the first round as well.

Missouri’s Shane Ray, Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. lead a strong group of explosive edge-rushers, while Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon are the top prospects of what is shaping up to be the best and deepest running back group we’ve seen emerge from the collegiate ranks in at least a decade.

Though the number of underclassmen declarations may have gone down from 2014, early entrants will likely still dominate the first three rounds of the 2015 draft, just as they did last year.

Here’s a look at the official list of all 74 underclassmen who made the decision to declare early.

Brandon Bridge Makes the Camellia Bowl Worth Watching

2015 NFL Draft, College Football

Every year, the pre-New Year’s Day college football bowl schedule is usually chock full of games that don’t arouse much excitement on a national scale. When there’s 39 bowl pairings to fill, there’s going to be a number of mediocre squads that are needed to fill up those spots.

With new bowl sponsors like Zaxby’s, Bitcoin, Duck Commander, Foster Farms and Popeyes now entering the fray, there are no shortage of contenders for the title of goofiest bowl name of the 2014 season. Still, you won’t find a bowl name this year that sounds less appealing to the average football fan than the Camellia Bowl.

Named after Alabama’s state flower—the inaugural Camellia Bowl is a game that fits into that “meh” category of bowls, pitting two average “space-filler” teams against each other.The game, which will take place tonight in Montgomery, Alabama, features a 6-6 South Alabama squad out of the Sun Belt battling a 7-6 Bowling Green team out of the MAC.

The very necessity for existence of the so-called “made-for-television bowl” is up for debate, so it’s no wonder that the matchup between two also-ran teams from non-power conferences has generated relatively no buzz.

Since ESPN has opted to televise it in prime time, though, it will end up being the proverbial “Saturday night background game” that will be on at bars and parties, but relatively few patrons will be paying much attention to it.

Still, if you’re looking for a reason to actually give a game—which on paper looks to be just another frivolous bowl between two uninteresting teams—at least a semblance of your attention tonight, then look no further than Brandon Bridge: South Alabama’s super-sized, strong-armed senior signal-caller.

Bridge has managed to fly under the radar throughout his final collegiate campaign, due in large part to his rather pedestrian statistics (52 percent completion percentage, 17 total touchdowns and 1,648 passing yards). However, he’s undoubtedly a must-watch player whose skills demand attention, and now, he finally has the stage to show off his eye-catching ability to a national prime time audience.

The erratic, yet highly athletic 6’5’’, 235-pound dual-threat playmaker is one of the most unique quarterbacks in the collegiate ranks. The Canadian native, who hails from Mississauga, Ontario, started his career at Alcorn State before transferring to South Alabama.

Once he was given the keys to the Jaguars offense at the start of the 2013 season, he quickly blossomed into a player that piqued the interest of NFL scouts.

Though still noticeably raw at this stage in his development, Bridge is the prototypical “project quarterback” who possesses rare physical gifts.

In a recent article written by Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, an AFC North scout had this to say about the intriguing QB.

“He’s as raw as he is talented. The ball shoots off his hand and he has some traits you cannot teach. I’m just not sure how naturally the game comes to him. How much better can he get? What is his football ceiling? I’m not sure. But he could end up being a bargain for a team that brings him along at his pace.”

Back in October, The Draft Insider’s Tony Pauline spoke to a league insider who said Bridge was “building a real buzz inside war rooms” while another source compared him to Colin Kaepernick.

His tremendous arm strength, coupled with his rare blend of size and athleticism makes him a quarterback that plenty of NFL offensive assistants would love to invest in and try to develop for the future.

After being overlooked, Bridge seems to be the type of prospect who is seemingly ready to rise to the forefront during the postseason phase of the evaluation process.The senior class of quarterbacks for the 2015 NFL draft lacks a true standout prospect, and it’s a group that’s already been widely panned and labeled as a weak crop. That’s good news for a player like Bridge, who will have the opportunity to set himself apart from a ho-hum field in the coming months.

He’ll have an opportunity to wow scouts at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl next month, and it’s likely that an invitation to the NFL Combine will be forthcoming.

Before that, though, Bridge will have one last chance to strut his stuff in a South Alabama uniform tonight against the Falcons.

It’s been a long journey for the Canadian native to get to the state of Alabama, so it’s only fitting that he’ll end his collegiate career in the state’s capital, guiding the Jaguars in their first ever bowl game.

Like Bridge, the first ever Camellia Bowl may be unheralded. But the game’s must-watch featured playmaker has the skills to put on a special show that should be worth watching tonight.

2015 NFL Draft: Updated Mock Draft and Prospect Rankings

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Now that both the college football and NFL regular seasons are in the wind down phase, it’s time to take a good, hard look at the 2015 NFL draft class.

Since a record number of underclassmen entered the 2014 NFL draft—including many of the sport’s biggest names—there was plenty of room for new stars to be born this season. Over the last three months, many players have seized the opportunity and emerged as coveted commodities in the scouting community.

Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, Missouri DE Shane Ray and West Virginia WR Kevin White are just a few of the burgeoning breakout stars who have boosted their stock immensely and pushed their names up draft boards.

Unlike the lead up to the 2014 draft, when Jadeveon Clowney went wire to wire as the consensus favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, this time around, there’s a lot more mystery surrounding the top of the 2015 draft. Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston may be the most gifted overall talent in the collegiate ranks, but Winston has gained plenty of detractors and critics for his questionable off-the-field behavior.

Winston is without a doubt the most polarizing figure in college football, but he’s one of just many prospects in the 2015 class who will be worth closely monitoring in the months leading up to draft weekend.

A lot will surely change between now and April 30th, but for now, here’s a look at the latest first-round predictions, projections and complete prospect rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft.