Putting together an accurate mock draft the week of the NFL Draft is an impossibility. Doing it seven months in advance is a futile exercise. So what's the point of doing one this time of year?
Update: Check out our 2015 NFL Draft preview.
Much like your fantasy football draft, and the various mock fantasy drafts you may have participated in, they're fun. Sometimes it's just that easy. You can have some fun with this mock draft by saving it and sticking it in my face in the future (or by doing your own in the comments).
A mock draft this time of year is also used to gauge where a college player is right now. That last part is key. A lot of these players might not be first-round picks by the time the draft happens. Some might not go pro. But for now, these are many of the top NFL prospects at the start of the season. Follow along here throughout the year as we chronicle how many of these players rise and fall throughout the process.
As always, the least fun thing about doing a mock this early is the draft order. To pass the blame, the order was based on Super Bowl odds provided by Bovada.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
The Jaguars already have their quarterback of the future in Blake Bortles and, hopefully, their left tackle in Luke Joeckel. With those two spots set, you look at an impact player on defense. Oakman's upside is as massive as his listed 6'9 frame. He's a destructive pass rusher with the power to line up inside. While Oakman may be viewed as a project right now, his physical and athletic combination could vault him to the top of the draft by April.
2. Oakland Raiders: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Oakland is rolling with rookie Derek Carr, so let's assume he is the franchise signal caller. If that’s the case, taking the best left tackle prospect in college football would be a smart play.
3. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Jake Locker just didn't work out for the Titans (up to this point). Mariota has made strides at Oregon and still has room for improvement as a pocket passer. Don’t mistake Mariota as being a running quarterback, though. Unlike many college quarterbacks who can run, he actually goes through his progressions before pulling the ball down.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo Bills): Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
As we've seen the past few seasons, teams are less hesitant about using an early pick on a tackle who starts on the right side before eventually moving to the left. It would be a while until Scherff moved to Joe Thomas' spot on the left side, but he would be a big upgrade over Mitchell Schwartz on the right.
5. New York Jets: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
If the Jets find themselves in the top five of the draft, that likely means issues with Geno Smith outweigh passing on a quarterback like Winston. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is a sensation with a big arm. He’s not a perfect quarterback, but his potential is enormous.
6. Minnesota Vikings: Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Although Minnesota re-signed defensive end Everson Griffen and drafted Anthony Barr in the offseason, Gregory would add another wrinkle to the defense. He has the type of talent to go first overall in the draft.
7. Cleveland Browns: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Most would agree that the Browns need a receiver. The issue will be whether they use their own pick or the one they got from Buffalo for the Sammy Watkins trade. Funchess isn't as polished as other receivers in college football, but the converted tight end offers the biggest mismatch.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California
The thought of putting Williams next to a defensive tackle like Gerald McCoy is scary. Williams is another player with the potential to be the top pick in the draft, so if nothing else this could be a best-player-available selection.
10. St. Louis Rams: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Maybe this will be Petty. Maybe this will be UCLA’s Brett Hundley. Or Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton. Or some quarterback we’re not even thinking of who will become a hot prospect as the season progresses. The Rams just can’t rely on Sam Bradford anymore.
11. New York Giants: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Stevie Brown, slated to start at free safety for the Giants, missed all of last season and is on just a one-year contract. Collins has a chance to be the latest highly drafted Alabama safety following Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this year.
12. Miami Dolphins: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
If we’re going to have a running back taken in the first round of the draft anytime soon, it’s going to be Gurley. He’s a physical back with speed to take runs deep in the open field. Running back may be undervalued, but Gurley’s talent overrides that theory.
13. Houston Texans: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
The Texans may have used a fourth-round pick on Tom Savage and traded for Ryan Mallett, but their quarterback situation is murky. Hundley is a big-time talent, though he has flaws. It’s too early in the season to discount his developmental upside.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Even after taking Demarcus Lawrence this year, the Cowboys could continue bolstering their pass rush with Calhoun. A pure 4-3 end, Calhoun can get around the edge in a hurry and hold up against the run.
15. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
It’s pretty apparent that wide receiver is the biggest hole on the Chiefs roster. Strong is a talented, physical player with a penchant for making difficult catches.
16. Carolina Panthers: Mario Edwards Jr., DE, Florida State
If the Panthers can’t figure out a deal with Greg Hardy, or just decide to move on, adding a player like Edwards is a nice fallback. Edwards has the size of a defensive tackle, but the speed of an end. He’s a player whose draft stock could explode this season.
17. San Diego Chargers: Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson
It would be hard to pass up on a pass rusher like Beasley this deep into the first round. His attributes are comparable to Von Miller, and he would offer any team a pass rushing force straight away.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
A cornerback for the Steelers. How original, right? There would be few who argue against Ekpre-Olomu being the best cornerback in college football. He may only last this long because of height concerns.
19. Cincinnati Bengals: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
The Bengals didn’t draft a player to replace Michael Johnson and are relying on a a break out season from Margus Hunt and veteran Wallace Gilberry. While Hunt may indeed break out, Fowler would give them an additional pass rusher who should be able to play end and linebacker.
20. Baltimore Ravens: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Baltimore is rolling with Rick Wagner at right tackle this season. While there is a chance he develops into being a good player, there’s a reason he was available in the fifth round of the draft last year. Collins is a powerful blocker who projects better to the right side in the NFL.
21. Atlanta Falcons: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Two running backs in the first round? Believe it. Gordon is like a bigger version of Jamaal Charles. He can make people miss in the open field but has enough power to break tackles.
22. Arizona Cardinals: Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Ohio State
The Cardinals need young impact talent on the front seven of their defense. Spence with a athletic but undersized end for Ohio State. He could slot into John Abraham’s spot at outside linebacker.
23. Detroit Lions: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
LaAdrian Waddle wasn’t a slam drunk to start at right tackle for the Lions, so it shouldn’t be difficult to replace him. Flowers has the footwork of a left tackle, but he should be able to work into being on the right side just fine.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
This could be any number of offensive linemen. Erving has the highest potential to be a left tackle of any of those left, so he’s the choice. He could plug into the starting lineup immediately.
25. Chicago Bears: Alvin Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
If the Shea McClellin experiment flops, the Bears could be looking for another player to plug into strong-side linebacker. Dupree is a good enough athlete to move to linebacker and give the team a playmaker at the position.
26. Philadelphia Eagles: , DT/DE, Ohio State
The Eagles need more talent on the defensive line, and Bennett is the best one available. He mostly plays tackle for the Buckeyes but has been used effectively some on the outside.
27. New Orleans Saints: Benardrick McKinney, MLB, Mississippi State
David Hawthorne is a free agent after the season, and McKinney would give the Saints’ linebacker corps a boost. He’s a big linebacker at 6'5 and should be able to play inside and outside.
28. Green Bay Packers: Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor
Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga is a free agent after the season, and if the Packers decide to not spend the money to bring him back, Drango is a nice option. He’s similar in ways to Bulaga. He’s a big, physical blocker who can run and pass block equally well.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The 49ers will have to make a hard decision on Michael Crabtree at some point. Lets assume, to save money, San Francisco moves on from the 2009 first-round pick. Cooper is a good all-around wide out who drops few passes and has the speed to make a play after the catch.
30. New England Patriots: Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
A player as good as Davis would be too hard for the Patriots to pass up this late in the first round. With Vince Wilfork’s career winding down, Davis could be brought in to start straight away.
31. Seattle Seahawks: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
To save money, the Seahawks might not re-sign Cliff Avril after the season. While the team has talent up front, Odighizuwa is a nice fit and should develop into a good right end this season.
32. Denver Broncos: Josue Matias, G, Florida State
Left guard Orlando Franklin is a free agent after the season, and the Broncos may need to let him walk to afford re-signing skill position players like Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas in the offseason. Matias is a monstrous blocker at left guard, but can get out on the move.