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'15 Reader Mock: At No. 1 overall, Tampa Bay selects …


JACKSONVILLE – Say this for mock drafters:

They're nothing if not creative.

So, given the task of making the No. 1 selection in the 2015 reader mock draft interesting, exciting and intriguing when the chances of doing that were slim, it shouldn't be surprising the readers actually had a measure of success.

All signs pointed in pretty much one direction for the selection …

A lot of mock drafts and tea leaves pointed that way, too …

Yet, despite all of that, there were more than a few readers who did what they could to kick off the fifth season of this reader mock in an unexpected direction. So, while it seemed possible that the mock could kick off in unanimous fashion, that absolutely wasn't the day's theme.

Was Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston eventually the selection? Of course, and because that was logical and inevitable, we'll write that without the accompanying spoiler alert.

"With the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Jameis Winston, quarterback out of FSU because duh," reader/mocker Jaguarrior wrote.

OK … duh … but where's the fun in duh?

Besides, there was support for another quarterback, too.

"This is a no brainer, the first pick will be JaMarcus Russell," reader/mocker S Vinson wrote.

OK, not that quarterback.

"At No. 1, Tampa will take Mariota!" reader/mocker Jonathan Russell wrote of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, adding that he went against popular wisdom with the selection not only because of Winston's off-field issues but because of Winston's interceptions.

"It all boils down to this: If Tampa thinks Mariota is 70 percent the QB Winston is then he is the better pick," Russell wrote. "I think he is 70 percent at least."

Images from Florida State's 2015 NFL Pro Day held at the Dunlap Training Facility in Tallahassee, Florida.

There were others who agreed the Buccaneers might favor Mariota, and there was even a thought that maybe, just maybe, Head Coach Lovie Smith's defensive background might cause a more unexpected direction.

"Just for the sake of argument... Lovie is a defensive coach who hasn't had a great defense for years," reader/mocker Emile Boghos wrote, adding, "Tampa Bay's needs are all over the board; MAYBE he makes a move for Leonard Williams... "

Boghos then added, "Nah. Jameis."

We'll get to that, but not without a nod to one of the more obscure selections in the five seasons of the reader mock.

"With the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select … Stan Winston, Creature creator from the 1980's and 90's," reader/mocker j32bass said.

Of course, the eventual No. 1 overall selection wasn't JaMarcus Russell, Mariota, Leonard Williams or Stan Winston. Rather, it was indeed Jameis Winston, the quarterback from Florida State. And reader/mocker Fred Barnes probably had it right when he wrote:

"Winston is a no-brainer."

Wrote reader/mocker John Mahan, "Jameis Winston is one of the only consensus picks in this draft. He's the most pro-ready QB and Tampa really needs a QB. Winston to the Bucs."

Reader/mocker Joe agreed and wrote, "In what universe is this pick not Jameis Winston?"

Not in this one, Joe, and reader/mocker Scott Ennis went a step further to speculate on Winston's possible draft-day plans.

"Winston hands down," Ennis wrote. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was watching the draft from in Tampa Bay."

While that's doubtful, what's not doubtful is that Winston is the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 reader mock, which means through one selection it looks like:

1.Tampa Bay | Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

That brings us to the Tennessee Titans at No. 2 overall. There's speculation about the Titans trading the selection, but that's not possible in this mock. There's also speculation about the Titans taking Mariota. We'll ignore all of that speculation and offer Williams as the selection, but we'll expect a whole lot of debate.

Have at it.

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