2015 NFL Draft is in the books.
The first thing I am going to let you know is I don’t do “Draft Grades.” I’m not a teacher, and this was not a test. With that, what you will find here is my opinion/analysis of what teams I thought did the best addressing their needs and who didn’t.
That’s it. Pretty simple.
New York Jets
Since day one I pegged Leonard Williams as the best overall player in the draft. Having the opportunity to watch him frequently living in Southern California might have clouded my Southeastern roots, but what I see in Williams is a player capable of starting anywhere day one.
The Jets could have gone any number of ways with their pick, but taking Williams should provide Jets and their fans that new General Manager Mike Macagnan isn’t messing around with this turnaround of a, traditionally, inept operation. Count me as a fan of what they did taking Williams, former Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith, and former Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.
Geno Smith now has the offensive weapons and defense to succeed as a franchise quarterback. I don’t see him as a franchise quarterback, but now he has no excuses for any lack of success.
New York Giants
Staying in New York, I commented on Draft day that the Giants taking Ereck Flowers at Guard was a “Super Bowl” move. When they moved up to take former Alabama Crimson Tide Strong Safety Landon Collins it reaffirmed what I was already thinking.
The Giants are thinking playoffs and beyond.
Last year’s draft brought them Odell Beckham, Jr., Andre Williams, and Devon Kennard. This year by adding Collins and Flowers, the Giants are attempting to get back to what got them to two Super Bowls. I really liked the 33rd pick Landon Collins; who is great against the run and plays well in coverage.
Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli, and new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn deserve a lot of credit for what they were able to accomplish this draft.
The footprint of both Pioli and Quinn could be seen in the first and second round as they took former Clemson linebacker Vic Beasley with the 8th pick and followed that up with former LSU cornerback Jalen Collins. Quinn and Pioli like big physical linebackers and strong, lanky corners. In Beasely, the Falcons could have their best pass-rusher since Jessie Tuggle
(Note: interestingly enough the Falcons also drafted Grady Jarrett from Clemson in the fifth round of this years draft. Jarrett is the son of, you guessed it, Jessie Tuggle.)
Dimitroff and Shanahan got to have some fun, too. They selected former Indiana University running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman, who stands 5’11” and weighs 206 lbs., could be in the mix right away for a starting position at running back if he can beat out last year’s fourth round pick Devonta Freeman.
These moves, coupled with what the Falcons already had before Quinn arrived, should see a much improved (and different) Falcons team in 2015.
Other Picks I liked:
Bud Dupree (Kentucky), Linebacker, Steelers, 22nd overall– This is a classic Pittsburgh pick, right? I can already see seven to ten Pro Bowls, four to five all-pro selections, and another Super Bowl. Everything about this pick is great. Including the man himself.
Byron Jones (UConn), Cornerback, Cowboys, 27th overall– That sound you hear is the Cowboys throwing Morris Claiborne is going away party. While many people expected the Cowboys to give up picks and move up for a running back, they proved to everyone they were serious about being comfortable with their current situation in the backfield and drafted Jones. He’s an intelligent corner with great instincts and should be garnering “Best Young Corner In The Game” chatter by week six or seven.
Maxx Williams (Minnesota), Tight End, Ravens, 55th overall– Want a fantasy sleeper at the Tight End position? Try Maxx Williams in a Marc Trestman run offense. (For further proof of the potential see 2013-2014 seasons of Bennett, Martellus)
Garrett Grayson (Colorado State), Quarterback, Saints, 75th overall– I wrote at length how high I was on Grayson before the draft. Now he’ll be sitting behind Drew Brees and learning a Sean Payton offense. I couldn’t think of a better landing spot for the 23-year old Grayson and his development.
David Cobb (Minnesota), Running Back, Titans, 138th overall– This guy is a real runner. I don’t know how to explain that other than I think the Titans have found their starting running back for the foreseeable future.
Part 2 (Picks and Classes I Didn’t Like) HERE