- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
Two out of the past three years, the No. 1 player in this file, about 50 weeks removed from next year's NFL draft, went No. 1. But I certainly would never predict that will happen here.
So much will change, and what I'm doing here is just providing an early look at the way I have prospects lined up at this point. I expect the Big Board I release at the end of the summer to have many changes from this version as I spend more time on the 2015 class. There is a ton of projection here, with traits in some cases far outpacing production, and in others, where I think we could actually see notable shifts in things such as playing weight and even position. I have a long way to go until next spring, where I can give you 700 players across position groups.
A couple of parameters: This includes all players who could be eligible for the 2015 NFL draft based on time spent in college, which means juniors and redshirt sophomores qualify. I'm not going to provide a lot of scouting notes at this point with most of the evaluation work on this class still to come.
As a note: In two weeks, I'll release early rankings across every position group, around 200 players in total. That said, here's a way-too-early look at the top 25 draft prospects.
An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2014 season; two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore.
As remarkable as Winston's freshman campaign was -- massive individual totals, a BCS title, a Heisman Trophy -- he'll improve as a football player. He'll anticipate better, move with better precision in the pocket, and he'll do so while again being surrounded by a ton of talent. The question is whether he'll mature and find a way to move past what I personally consider major character concerns. He's a great football prospect, but he has a great deal of work to do to prove he's a player worthy of leading an NFL franchise. Maybe 2014 shouldn't be his final year in Tallahassee.
Recent No. 6 overall pick Jake Matthews stayed at Texas A&M for his senior season and made the move from right tackle to left tackle. The moved paid off. Now Ogbuehi will do the same and hopefully get a similar payoff next spring. He has great length and athleticism, and certainly could have factored into the first-round mix in 2014 had he entered the draft.