“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.
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.