What are the 10 most compelling angles entering the 2015 NFL draft? FOX Sports Senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez breaks down the hottest storylines.
Who will be drafted at No. 1?
Tampa Bay hasn’t tipped its hand about which player it will select, but Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the strong favorite over Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. The Bucs, though, must first be absolutely certain that Winston’s off-field issues at FSU won’t repeat themselves at the pro level.
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What team 'controls' the draft?
Tennessee with the No. 2 pick. The Titans must choose between picking whichever quarterback Tampa Bay doesn’t (most likely Marcus Mariota), a standout at another position or trading down with a team that covets the spot. The decision will have a trickle-down effect on how the draft unfolds.
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Will the Minnesota Vikings trade Adrian Peterson?
If the star running back is going to get his wish of playing elsewhere, it likely will happen only this week, when the Vikings are in position to draft his replacement. Peterson is a great player but his contract situation, age (30) and Minnesota’s trade demands are likely to keep him from being dealt.
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Will the San Diego Chargers trade Philip Rivers?
There was media buzz in March that Rivers could be dealt to Tennessee so the Chargers could draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota at No. 2. That speculation has since died down. FOX Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that Rivers’ agent recently met with Chargers brass about a potential contract extension.
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Who will Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly trade next?
There’s a reason that Sam Bradford jerseys haven’t flooded the market in Philadelphia yet. Kelly radically overhauled his roster this offseason and may not be done making big moves — especially if he has the chance to reunite with his former Oregon quarterback in Marcus Mariota.
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Will the first-round drought for running backs finally end?
Yes, thanks to Todd Gurley, who is making a steady recovery from last November’s knee injury. The University of Georgia standout could become the first running back taken in the top 10 since Trent Richardson by Cleveland in 2012. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon is another strong first-round candidate.
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Whose off-field situations could cause a draft-day slide?
Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Missouri’s Shane Ray are two talented pass-rushers who've had marijuana-related incidents in 2015. Interested suitors also are monitoring Louisiana State tackle/guard La’el Collins, a potential top-10 pick who is being sought for questioning by Baton Rouge police in a murder investigation (though he’s currently not considered a suspect).
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How different will the draft presentation look on television?
Very since this is the first draft being held outside New York City in 50 years. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also won’t have anyone to hug early in Round 1 with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper declining invites to Chicago.
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What position will have the most selections in first round?
This is a stellar year for wide receivers like Amari Cooper (pictured), outside pass rushers, running backs and offensive tackles. Conversely, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the only quarterbacks likely to become first-round picks. Blue-chip prospects at safety and tight end also are sorely lacking.
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How about the draft process itself?
Trying to keep picks from leaking out before announced on television, the NFL has asked its broadcast partners not to report selections early on Twitter or other social media. The league also is attempting to speed up things by reducing the time allotted between compensatory and seventh-round picks from five minutes to four.