How Good Will 2015 Draft Class Be?


Last year's draft class was historic.

Not only did the Ravens strike big with picks that made an immediate impact, including with C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan, but the entire league found difference makers.

How will the 2015 class compare?

Scouts, coaches and draft analysts have spent the last week in Indianapolis interviewing and analyzing more than 300 of the top college prospects in the country. The week at the NFL's National Scouting Combine augments the year of film study on the prospects, giving teams a clearer picture of what their draft boards will look like in April.

After seeing the 2015 class up close, the Ravens have a good feel for what the group has to offer.

"The numbers indicate that this is going to be a good draft," Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "We're optimistic it's going to be good. We think it's a fertile draft. It just depends on how guys perform here and over the next couple of months."

Living up to last year's draft will be a difficult task, as the 2014 class was largely considered one of the best in recent memory. That class had more underclassmen than any previous year, and the rookie class made an immediate impact across the league.

Last year's draft was historically deep at wide receiver – 12 receivers were selected in the first two rounds – and matching that kind of success will be tough.

"I think it's stacking up favorably," Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said. "Last year's wide receiver class was unique. It was unique in terms of numbers and in terms of impact players. You really felt that at this time of the year last year.

"I think this group is coming together. Again, I am not sure it will have quite the impact of last year's class but in all honesty not many will going forward, because that was a special group of players."

Team executives and draft pundits have repeatedly discussed the quality of the receiver groups the last few years, as college offenses have shifted to pass-heavy attacks that make wideouts more equipped to make the leap to the NFL.

"It's a function of the college game," Carolina General Manager Dave Gettleman said. "And it's pretty darn deep, the wide receiver group. All shapes and sizes, whatever you're looking for you should be able to find and you're going to get value."

In addition to the strength at wide receiver, this class is considered strong at running back, offensive tackle and defensive line. The weaker areas of the class are tight end and safety.

"The tackle group is deep. And what's nice about the tackle group is it appears right now that there's depth throughout," Gettleman said. "The running backs, it's a quality group. Like the tackles and wide receivers, depth throughout. And there's a real interesting crop of defensive linemen."

The combine marks the unofficial beginning of the lengthy pre-draft coverage that will dominate the NFL storylines over the next two months. In an era of around-the-clock NFL news, there is an appetite for instant analysis and projections.

NFL executives often say that it truly takes about three years to determine the true quality of a class, and Green Bay's long-time General Manager Ted Thompson summed up his thoughts by laughing off any declarations this far in advance.  

"I think it's way too early to tell," he said. 

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