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NFL teams prepare for 2015 draft

Nader Hussein, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 18, 2015

“With the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to use those words when the 2015 NFL Draft begins in Chicago on Thursday, Apr. 30. This year’s draft marks the first time since 2006 that it will not be held at Radio City Music Hall and the first time in 50 years that the event will be held outside of New York City.

The NFL Draft is the event where NFL teams select college football players to play in the most elite American football league. Each of the 32 teams begins with seven picks, with the order being determined by the team’s performance in the previous season. The team that finishes with the worst record holds the first pick in the draft, with the reigning Super Bowl champions owning the final pick of each round. For non-playoff teams with identical records, the order of these teams cycle, with the tiebreaker being the difficulty of the teams’ schedule. For example, the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams all finished this season with a 6-10 record. Since the Falcons had a weaker schedule, they will pick first of the three in the first-round, followed by the Giants and the Rams. In the second round, Atlanta will pick last of the three, with the Giants picking first. Then, in the third-round, the Giants will pick last of the three with the Rams picking ahead of the other two.

Teams may trade their draft picks in exchange for players, draft picks, other considerations or any combination of the three. Most recently, the Seattle Seahawks traded offensive lineman Max Unger and their first-round pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for their fourth-round pick and tight end Jimmy Graham. Thus, teams may have multiple picks or no picks in any given round of the draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans both finished the 2014-15 season with 2-14 records and will alternate the first and second picks of each round, with the Buccaneers owning the first overall pick in the draft. They are expected by almost every NFL expert to take Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first pick of the draft. Winston won the 2013-14 Heisman Trophy and led the Florida State Seminoles in winning the 2014 BCS National Championship game.

There is less consensus about whom the Tennessee Titans will take with the second overall pick. Some expect them to select University of Southern California defensive lineman Leonard Williams, with others predicting that the Titans will select the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The Washington Redskins have the fifth overall pick in the draft and will alternate with the New York Jets between the fifth and sixth picks in each round. Since the Redskins have lost pro-bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to the Titans and released defensive linemen Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield, they are expected use their first pick to replace one of them, but there is no agreement on who they are expected to select. The most commonly seen names are Randy Gregory of Nebraska, Shane Ray of Missouri and Danny Shelton of Washington.

The NFL Draft is a spectacle and is seen by many as the best way to build a successful team. College players look to the future of where they will play, and NFL coaches and executives will see who they can pick up to build more successful franchises.

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