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NFL mock draft: Winston projected to go No. 1 in 2015 draft

FSU+quarterback+Jameis+Winston+walks+off+the+field%2C+dejected+after+losing+the+Rose+Bowl+College+Football+Semifinal+game+to+Oregon+on+Thursday%2C+Jan.+1%2C+2015+in+Pasadena%2C+Calif.+Oregon+won+59-20.+%28Stephen+M.+Dowell%2FOrlando+Sentinel%2FTNS%29+
Stephen M. Dowell
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston walks off the field, dejected after losing the Rose Bowl College Football Semifinal game to Oregon on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 in Pasadena, Calif. Oregon won 59-20. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

It may be a different location than normal, but the NFL Draft is still a time of hope and optimism for NFL fans and executives alike. The 2015 NFL Draft will be held tonight at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and will be shown live on both ESPN and NFL Network.

With that being said, I’ll take a go at the first ever NFL mock draft for the Daily Wildcat.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select QB Jameis Winston (Florida State)

Trades barring, the Bucs taking Winston seems like a formality at this point. He’s the most NFL-ready QB in the class and plays a position Tampa Bay desperately needs an upgrade in.

2. Tennessee Titans select QB Marcus Mariota (Oregon)

Mariota is a familiar name to Arizona fans and someone who has torched the Wildcats a time or two. Questions surround his ability to run a pro-style offense, but one thing is clear: Mariota can play.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars select DE/OLB Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida)

The Jags have issues all over the field and could use an extra pass rusher, a running back and maybe even offensive line help. Fowler fills the need of pass rusher with his explosive athleticism.

4. Oakland Raiders select WR Amari Cooper (Alabama)

A lot of mock drafts have the Raiders taking DT Leonard Williams, but the Raiders are known to go against the grain. Cooper would give Oakland the No. 1 receiver it hasn’t had in around a decade.

5. Washington Redskins select DE/OLB Alvin Dupree (Kentucky)

Washington is in an interesting spot with Robert Griffin III and needs to hit on this pick. Dupree tore up pre-draft workouts and could replace the recently departed Brian Orakpo.

6. New York Jets select DE/OLB Vic Beasley (Clemson)

This is a bit unconventional, as most mock drafts have the Jets going offense here. Beasley fits a need and has the type of talent to make an early impact in the NFL.

7. Chicago Bears select WR Kevin White (West Virginia)

Chicago recently traded away Brandon Marshall in a salary dump and needs someone to line up opposite of Alshon Jeffrey. White has the speed, athleticism and size to form a deadly tandem with Jeffrey.

8. Atlanta Falcons select DE/OLB Shane Ray (Missouri)

Ray has been in the news for his arrest for marijuana possession and could easily fall further down the list. Atlanta needs edge rushers in the worst way, so getting Ray here should fit nicely.

9. New York Giants select DT Leonard Williams (USC)

This is quite a drop for the prospect whom many draft analysts list as the No. 1 guy available, but since I’m not mocking trades here, it’s not a surprise Williams falls. New York gets a steal at No. 9 in Williams.

10. St. Louis Rams select OT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)

St. Louis needs offensive line help in the worst way at right tackle, and it just so happens the highest-rated tackle in Scherff is available at 10.

11. Minnesota Vikings select CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State)

The Vikings just drafted Xavier Rhodes but could use another corner to line up on the other side. Waynes fits the mold of bigger CBs coveted in today’s NFL.

12. Cleveland Browns select NT Danny Shelton (Washington)

Cleveland absolutely whiffed with its two first-rounders last season, so the Browns can’t afford a mistake here. Shelton is the safe pick talentwise and fits a huge need at the same time.

13. New Orleans Saints select DE Randall Gregory (Nebraska)

Gregory failed a drug test at the combine and has since dropped down draft boards. However, his talent says top 10, and New Orleans could really use an infusion of talent on the defensive line.

14. Miami Dolphins select WR DeVante Parker (Louisville)

With the Mike Wallace experiment failing horribly, there is a need in Miami for a receiver, and reports have Miami in love with Parker. They get their man here.

15. San Francisco 49ers select CB Byron Jones (Connecticut)

This is a definite reach, but San Francisco simply has too big of a hole at corner. Jones should bring size and physicality to a 49er defense in need of secondary help.

16. Houston Texans select RB Todd Gurley (Georgia)

Gurley is the undisputed top RB in the draft, but I was hesitant to put him here since the Texans have Arian Foster. Houston’s needs of linebacker and corner can’t really be addressed here, so they go safe with Gurley.

17. San Diego Chargers select RB Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)

Back-to-back running back selections reverses the trend from the last few drafts, in which minimal backs went in the first round. Gordon has been compared to Jamaal Charles with his speed and agility.

18. Kansas City Chiefs select OT Andrus Peat (Stanford)

Peat played left tackle at Stanford but likely projects as more of a right tackle in the NFL. The Chiefs lost several starters along their line, so adding Peat will be welcomed.

19. Cleveland Browns select OT D.J. Humphries (Florida)

I was tempted to have Cleveland double up on defensive line here, but right tackle is an area of need. Humphries would be a perfect fit to protect whoever lines up under center for the Browns.

20. Philadelphia Eagles select WR Breshad Perriman (Central Florida)

Chip Kelly loves speed, and Perriman may be the speediest receiver in the entire draft class. Add in the loss of Jeremy Maclin, and this is a no brainer.

21. Cincinnati Bengals select WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma)

Off the field issues aside, Green-Beckham is an outstanding talent at wide receiver. His height and ability to go vertical would be a nice compliment to A.J. Green for QB Andy Dalton.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers select S Landon Collins (Alabama)

Pittsburgh recently lost stud safety Troy Polamalu to retirement and could pick up his replacement here. Collins is the best safety in the draft and was a top-10 selection at one point. Seems like a steal at 22.

23. Detroit Lions select OT Ereck Flowers (Miami)

Flowers may not be a sexy pick, but getting a massive guy like him on the offensive line would help offset the loss of Reggie Bush. This pick could also move Riley Reiff over to right tackle to bolster the line.

24. Arizona Cardinals select DE/DT Arik Armstead (Oregon)

Outside linebacker is a bigger need for Arizona, but getting Calais Campbell 2.0 in Armstead is a nice consolation prize. Armstead could give the Cardinals one of the tallest d-lines in football, with two guys at least 6-foot-7.

25. Carolina Panthers select OT La’el Collins (LSU)

Wide receiver is a bigger need for Carolina, but with the top-five receivers off the board, shoring up the offensive line makes sense. Collins brings versatility, as he could play either tackle or guard.

26. Baltimore Ravens select DE/DT Malcolm Brown (Texas)

Baltimore recently traded away stud Haloti Ngata, so getting more interior defensive lineman will surely be a priority. Brown has the versatility to play on several spots along the line and the speed to get off the line in a hurry.

27. Dallas Cowboys select CB Jalen Collins (LSU)

Collins becomes the second LSU player taken in the first round and shores up a position of need for the Cowboys. They can immediately slot him across Brandon Carr to see production.

28. Denver Broncos select C Cameron Erving (Florida State)

Protecting Peyton Manning is the top priority as the future hall of famer winds down his career. Erving is versatile enough to play inside or outside but seems destined to be a center or guard.

29 Indianapolis Colts select S Damarious Randall (ASU)

The Colts added several big names this offseason in Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Trent Cole and just need complimentary parts. Randall is jumping up mock drafts as of late and fits a need at safety.

30. Green Bay Packers select CB Marcus Peters (Washington)

Peters has top-10 talent, but off-the-field issues have dropped him to the late first-round or early second-round position. With a lot of veterans in the Green Bay locker room, Peters could be monitored and nurtured into one of the better corners in the league.

31. New Orleans Saints select WR Jaelen Strong (ASU)

Strong was once mentioned as a top-15 type player but has dropped down to the bottom of the first round. Regardless, New Orleans gives Drew Brees another target out wide in Strong.

32. New England Patriots select CB Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest)

The Patriots just lost Darrelle Revis to the Jets and could use more depth at the cornerback position. Johnson’s athleticism would certainly help offset the loss of Revis.

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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