The NFL Draft is nearly upon us. Here is the 2015 NFL Draft Player Rankings, with analysis and breakdowns of each position. There is always a ton of talent in the NFL Draft, so let’s see where those players stack up against one another.

2015 NFL Draft Player Rankings

Quarterbacks

1. Marcus Mariota

2. Jameis Winston

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The list pretty much ends here. No one else on this list projects to be an NFL starter, despite what anonoymous may say. I prefer Mariota to Winston by a hair but see paths to failure for both of them. Mariota’s ability to limit turnovers projects well to the NFL and the same is not true of Winston.

2015 NFL Draft Player Rankings

3. Garret Grayson

4. Brett Hundley

5. Connor Halliday

6. Bryce Petty

7. Nick Marshall

8. Cody Fajardo

9. Blake Sims

10. Shane Carden

For all intents and purposes, you can forget these names. There has been some smoke that Garret Grayson and even Sean Mannion (blech) may rise into rounds 3 or 4 but the only one of these quarterbacks that I would want my team to take is Connor Halliday who was a very prolific passer at Washington State. As a whole, this is not a QB class to remember.    

 

Running Backs

1. Todd Gurley

2. Jay Ajayi

3. Duke Johnson

4. Melvin Gordon

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5. David Johnson

6. Jeremy Langford

7. Ameer Abdullah

8. Tevin Coleman

This is the break of the top tier. I’m not as big on Abdullah and Coleman as others but see the positives of their game. Gurley, Ajayi and Duke are NFL ready from day one both as runners and pass catchers.  There will probably be a period adjustment for the others but they will be drafted highly enough that they will be fantasy relevant right away.

2015 NFL Draft Player Rankings

9. Javorius Allen

10. Zach Zenner

11. TJ Yeldon

12. Mike Davis

13. David Cobb

14. Karlos Williams

Another break in tiers. Allen is a personal favorite of mine but I don’t have a good read on where he will drafted and don’t want to get too optimistic. Yeldon is a prime candidate to be over drafted by an inefficient NFL team and be fed a decent amount of minimally productive carries. Zenner is easily my favorite on this list and if he gets an early crack at starting, he is going to be a fantasy starter.

15. Malcolm Brown
16.Trey Williams
17. Thomas Rawls
18. Tyler Varga
19. John Crockett
20. Terrell Watson
21. Malcolm Agnew
22. Jahwan Edwards
23. BJ Catalon
24. Akeem Hunt
25. Mike Dyer
26. Marcus Murphy
27. Terris Jones-Grigsby
28. Dee Hart
29. Matt Jones
30. Joey Iosefa

The island of misfit toys. All of these RB’s have one big knock: either they were in a timeshare, ran slow at the combine, are too small or possessed awful agility scores. A few on this list who have elite level qualities in a few areas are Vargas, Edwards and Jones-Grigsby and they should be on your radar if they land in the right spot.

 

Wide Receivers

1. Amari Cooper

2. Dorial Green-Beckham

3. Kevin White

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We all got spoiled last year. Jordan Matthews, Odell Beckham and Mike Evans are going to be top 20 wide receivers in the NFL for quite some time. I don’t feel nearly as confident saying that about DGB or Kevin White. DGB is almost entirely a bet on athleticism and early promise (and hoping his scary behavior problems don’t come back) and Kevin White has literally only one year of production. Amari Cooper is a better receiving prospect than Sammy Watkins was last year, so he is certainly worth a first round pick. For fantasy, all 3 should land in situations that make them usable as rookies though I think there will be a big adjustment for DGB and White at first.

4. Jaelen Strong

5. Devante Parker

6. Devante Davis

7. Breshad Perriman

This second tier has another group of players who should go early enough in the draft that they are expected to be immediate contributors for their NFL teams. Strong has about as much variance person to person as you could imagine from a prospect who has been projected to go in the 1st round at certain points. Parker is considered in the first tier by most draft analysts and I don’t have an overt problem with that analysis but the combination of all factors (production, age, combine performance), I think he is a lot closer to 5th than 1st. A few eyebrows are probably raised at the ranking of Devante Davis, but I have to remain true to my model. His junior year dominance (when he had offensive continuity) combined with his massive size and excellent speed, he’s an elite player in this draft.

2015 NFL Draft Player Rankings

8. Nelson Agholor

9. Chris Conley

10. Phillip Dorsett

11. Tre McBride

12. Devin Funchess

13. Tyler Lockett

14. Stefon Diggs

15. Darren Waller

16. Tony Lippet

The “woulda, coulda, shoulda” tier. Agholor is too small, Conley destroyed the combine but had little to no production, Dorsett tells much the same story, McBride is a small school wonder which is certainly my type but NFL teams tend to shy away, Funchess is a weird hybrid of a bad WR and a good tight end, Lockett is a purple smurf, Diggs is a former elite prospect who played in a bad college offense and suffered brutal injury twice, Waller is an elite-level physical freak but has the same production problems as Conley and Lippett was considered so unimpressive by some on tape that he considered changing to cornerback. That about does that.

17. Deandre Smelter
18. Devin Smith
19. Justin Hardy
20. Titus Davis
21. Vince Mayle
22. Rashad Greene
23. Jamison Crowder
24. Ty Montgomery
25. Kenny Bell
26. Jake Kumerow
27. Deontay Greenberry
28. Antwan Goodley
29. JJ (Jarmarcus) Nelson
30. Kasen Williams

Another tier of players who all have significant warts. Devin Smith will be a useful NFL player and I think he has a role but he’s just not what everyone wants him to be. He had 3 or fewer catches in a majority of his college games and didn’t start rising up on boards until he flashed with Cardale Jones. Anytime someone rises that quickly from a few games, we have to ask some questions. The same goes for the rest of these players. They all have the potential to be useful but have serious obstacles to getting there.

31. Tella Luckett
32. Kaelin Clay
33. Da’Ron Brown
34. Matt Miller
35. Ezell Ruffin
36. Josh Harper
37. Bud Sasser
38. Dres Anderson
39. Davaris Daniels

If your team is relying on any of these guys, something has probably gone wrong along the way. They all had enough college production (Dres Anderson, Matt Miller and Tella Luckett in particular) to earn an NFL roster spot but they don’t warrant anything more than a flag for future interest.    

 

Tight Ends

1. Clive Walford

2. Maxx Williams

3. Nick O’Leary

4. Jesse James

5. Mycole Pruitt

6. Tyler Kroft

7. CJ Uzomah

8. Wes Saxton

9. Gerald Christian

10. Jeff Heuerman

 

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The best way I’ve seen this years tight end class described is “If your team needs a tight end this year, you’re out of luck.” Maxx Williams was supposed to be the best tight end in this class but had a terrible combine and pro day. Walford has the longest track record of production and as such I think he will be the quickest to fantasy relevance of the 2015 class. Kroft and James were both high pedigree players who weren’t very good in their final collegiate seasons and are worth monitoring to see if they begin to turn physical tools into production.