Carolina Panthers

2015 NFL Draft: The Observer’s Top 100:

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams of USC might be the most complete player in the 2015 NFL draft, and he is ranked No. 1 by The Observer.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams of USC might be the most complete player in the 2015 NFL draft, and he is ranked No. 1 by The Observer. Getty Images

The Observer’s annual list of the top 100 players available in the 2015 NFL draft:

1. Leonard Williams, DL, Southern California: Possibly the best, most complete player in the draft, Williams can play any position along the defensive line and could be a Pro Bowler in Year One.

2. Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: An athletic freak with violent hands, Fowler will be the first linebacker off the board with his 6-foot-3, 261-pound frame.

3. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: The top quarterback in the class, Winston needs to recognize underneath coverages better, but his pre-snap reads make him the top choice for the Buccaneers.

4. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: A can’t-miss prospect with 109 catches for 1,447 receiving yards last year, White runs a 4.35 40 and has great size at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.

5. Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: He played defensive end for the Tigers, so there’s no tape at outside linebacker. But he’s shown the kind of range and athletic ability in the pre-draft process to play OLB.

6. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: A proven leader who makes good decisions, Mariota is close to can’t miss. He should be a franchise leader for years to come.

7. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: He was the most electrifying player in college football before he tore his ACL. But he’s only 20 years old and he’ll be able to bounce back from that and contribute to a team in 2015.

8. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Cooper is athletic and lean at 6-foot-1 and was the best offensive player in the SEC last season. His 124 receptions in 2014 led all receivers in FBS.

9. Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa: Scherff is the best offensive linemen this year, and like Zack Martin last year, this college offensive tackle will play guard in the NFL.

10. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: Shelton had five fumble recoveries and 11 tackles for a loss last season. he bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times at the combine two months ago.

11. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford: Peat’s large lower body will help him be a great anchor on the outside of an offensive line for years to come. He has a good punch and could be taught better technique.

12. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: Waynes is a great man-to-man defender and that was bolstered by his 4.31 40 at the combine. He’s likely the first defensive back off the board.

13. La’el Collins, OT, LSU: Like Scherff, Collins could move inside, but he’s a starting right tackle Week 1 as it stands now. He’s not a suspect, but police want to speak to him in connection with a murder investigation.

14. Randy Gregory, OLB/DE, Nebraska: One of the draft’s biggest mysteries, Gregory can’t seem to keep on weight and has a failed drug test on his record. But he can produce on a football field.

15. Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky: The Kentucky pass rusher racked up 23 1/2 sacks in his career for the Wildcats, and he’s one of the most agile linebackers in this year’s class.

16. Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon: Tall and long, Armstead could easily go top-15 based just on his size. But his 5.10-second 40-yard dash isn’t the best for a guy who will be an edge rusher.

17. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Averaged 7 yards per carry last year and was one of the nation’s top runners. He only caught 19 passes, though, and teams have watched carefully to see if he can catch out of the backfield.

18. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: He missed the first half of the season with a foot injury and then had 855 receiving yards in the final six games, in which he looked like one of the best receivers in the country.

19. Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: Johnson is the best cover cornerback in this year’s draft. He has great hips and good recognition, but he needs to add strength to tackle in the open field.

20. Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas: Brown had 6 1/2 sacks and 71 tackles last season for Texas and could be a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense.

21. Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami: A player with a mean streak, Flowers is 6-foot-6 and weighs 329 pounds and shouldn’t have a problem at tackle his rookie season.

22. D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida: He never played above 285 in college, but he’s at 307 pounds now and that’s enough to make him effective in the NFL at tackle.

23. Shaq Thompson, S/OLB, Washington: Thompson wants to be an outside linebacker in the NFL, but a team could view him as a future Kam Chancellor and move him to strong safety and let him dominate.

24. Landon Collins, SS, Alabama: A unanimous first-team All-America selection, Collins is the only true safety worth taking in the first round. He had 103 tackles for the Crimson Tide last season.

25. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA: The Butkus Award winner, Kendricks had 10-plus tackles in 11 games last season and can swarm to the ball either at inside or outside linebacker.

26. Cam Erving, OL, Florida State: He could have been one of the draft’s top tackles if he didn’t convert to center for FSU. He can play anywhere along the line.

27. Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson: A ball of muscle at 6-foot-1 and 304 pounds who impressed many at his pro day. Jarrett could easily be taken on the first night of the draft.

28. Owa Odighizuwu, DE, UCLA: Looks the part at 6-foot-3 and 267 pounds, but his history of hip injuries could scare teams.

29. Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida: He’s 6-foot-2 and raw, but man can he fly. He ran a 4.24 40 at his pro day, and his potential makes him a first rounder automatically.

30. Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: Ray comes from a recent string of very good edge rushers from Missouri, but he was busted with marijuana this week and could fall into the second or third round.

31. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M: He tore his ACL in a bowl game but feels he’ll be full-go for training camp. An athletic tackle with long arms, Ogbuehi could go to a team that can wait for him to be fully healthy.

32. Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia: A strong player who can rush the passer with his hand in the dirt or standing up, Harold is well-liked by teams for his versatility even though his big plays come and go.

33. Nelson Agholor, WR, Southern California: Led the Trojans in catches and receiving yards but can’t blow the top off a defense.

34. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU: Reportedly failed multiple drug tests at LSU and that could drop him deeper into the second round.

35. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State: A great run stuffer who will have to work on his pass rush if he wants to be an every-down defensive tackle.

36. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri: There may be no player more athletically gifted in this draft than DGB. But with drugs and a domestic violence report against him, he’s not in the first round.

37. Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami: He impressed a number of teams with a strong pro day performance earlier this month, and the 5-foot-11 linebacker could go in the first round.

38. Byron Jones, DB, Connecticut: Shattered the combine record for long jump at 147 inches but still needs to learn technique.

39. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State: There are concerns about a wrist injury but Strong showed at ASU that he can go up and get the ball.

40. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington: Peters would have likely been the first corner taken this year had he not gotten suspended from, and eventually kicked off, Washington’s team.

41. Damarious Randall, FS, Arizona State: A standout in a weak safety class, Randall ran a 4.46 40 at the combine.

42. Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State: Easily could get into the first round because of a lack of true 4-3 defensive ends.

43. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami: Ran a 4.27 40 at his pro day, which showed he has the speed to stretch NFL defenses.

44. Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke: A hard-working, smart player, Tomlinson will be a second rounder easily.

45. Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota: If he goes first round, it’s only because a team in desperate need of a tight end takes the best one available.

46. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: His initial burst is unmatched in this year’s class. He’ll contribute on special teams, too.

47. Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon: Protected Mariota’s blind side last year but will likely be on the right in the pros.

48. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: Struggled at the Senior Bowl and now has a stress fracture in his foot.

49. Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: Averaged 28.2 yards per catch last season but may not be more than a speedster.

50. Ronald Darby, CB, FSU: A vertical of 41 1/2 inches shows he can contest balls at their highest point.

51. Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State: A hulking player at 6-foot-6 and 338 pounds who quietly had a great pre-draft season.

52. Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson: The Anson County native was one of the most consistent players for a stout Clemson defense last year.

53. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami: A better 40 time at his pro day lifted Johnson into the top-four backs this year.

54. Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio): A former basketball player turned cornerback, Rollins has shown he has great potential.

55. Mario Edwards Jr., DL, FSU: Edwards is the son of a former NFLer, and the big fella can play left defensive end or add weight and slide inside.

56. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana: Rushed for 2,036 yards in his breakout 2014 season.

57. Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville: A first-team All-ACC selection with a great motor.

58. Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State: The only player in FBS history with 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a single season.

59. Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford: Had 8 1/2 sacks last year as a 4-3 defensive end for the Cardinal.

60. Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State: He has the height (6-foot-4) of an inside linebacker but the long arms (33) inches of an outside backer.

61. Clive Walford, TE, Miami: Shares a hometown with Kelvin Benjamin.

62. Eric Rowe, CB, Utah: A top performer at the combine in nearly every drill, Rowe may be more than a workout warrior.

63. Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: A run stuffer who usually drew double teams in college.

64. Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU: Thirteen tackles for loss last season and clocked a 4.57 40.

65. Ali Marpet, OG, Hobart: One of the draft’s quiet risers, he’ll be the first player picked who you’ve never heard of.

66. P.J. Williams, CB, FSU: A recent DUI charge that was dismissed may have teams thinking twice this close to the draft.

67. Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State: Good burst but may not be an every-down tackle.

68. Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan: No one knows what position he actually is, but he can catch a ball.

69. Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State: Fought press coverage for two years and won. He’ll also contribute to punt return teams.

70. Jordan Phillips, OT, Oklahoma: A former top high school prospect who only started 17 games for the Sooners.

71. Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU: Character concerns drop this first-round talent way down the board.

72. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State: After Mariota, this class is bad. Mannion suffered behind a poor offensive line last year.

73. D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic: Unsure if his stellar play last year was a product of poor opponents.

74. Nate Orchard, DE, Utah: Was tied for the best mark in the country in sacks with 18 1/2 last year.

75. Rashad Greene, WR, FSU: Being the school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards means something.

76. A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina: A four-year starter for Steve Spurrier with the Gamecocks.

77. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: Will probably be the third QB taken only because he has the prototypical body.

78. Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn: A familiar name but has great trouble hauling in the deep ball, which should be his specialty.

79. David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa: Three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons and a 4.50 40 time.

80. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon: A true center with 52 collegiate starts under his belt.

81. Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas: True 4-3 defensive end with ideal height (6-foot-2) and weight (266).

82. Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary: Shifty receiver who has turned heads this pre-draft season.

83. Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State: At 6-foot-6 he has 33-inch arms that will keep him at tackle.

84. USC CB Josh Shaw, CB, USC: Repairing his image after a bizarre lie had him off the Trojans’ squad.

85. Justin Hardy, WR, ECU: The all-time leader in receptions at the FBS level, Hardy wants to prove he’s more than a system receiver.

86. Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State: The top offensive player in the Mountain West last season.

87. Doran Grant, CB, Ohio State: First-team All-Big 10 with a 4.44 40.

88. Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington: A first-team All-American with a torn ACL in his past.

89. Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke: Speedster who has to work on his hands on punt returns.

90. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: Underwhelmed in big games during his final season with the Bruins.

91. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama: A good college rusher who needs more strength.

92. Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma: Started every game at right tackle for the Sooners.

93. Davis Tull, OLB, Chattanooga: Had the fastest 10-yard split of any linebacker at 1.52 seconds.

94. David Cobb, RB, Minnesota: Part of a crop of backs who have good value in the third and fourth rounds.

95. Mitch Morse, OG, Missouri: One of the draft’s strongest players with 36 reps on bench press.

96. Adrian Amos, S, Penn State: Allowed 3.9 yards per target last season.

97. Marcus Hardison, DT, Arizona State: Still trying to figure out the tackle position from defensive end.

98. Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss: His 5-foot-9 stature hurts him in the league.

99. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland: A tough guy who played through suffering a lacerated kidney.

100. Kwon Alexander, OLB, LSU: Yet another fast LSU defensive player leaving the school early.

  Comments