2015 NFL Draft – Everything You want to Know

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Updated: April 29, 2015

By: Joe Marconato

 

 

10 Thoughts going into the Draft

1. As stated in my last article there is a lack of top end talent. Really I would say there are six can’t miss prospect. Ending with Kevin White. Beyond that even the top 15 have questions. If I have a top 5 pick I am not giving it up. The qb class is the perfect microcosm of this, after Winston and Mariota, there is a massive gap, and the same can be said for the entire draft after the top guys there is a massive gap. Questions remain for many prospects, can Brandon Scherff play tackle, is Gurley healthy can Mariota’s game transfer to the pros and the biggest one of them all can Famous Jameis be trusted to be the face of a franchise.

2. And on this point Jameis Winston. Anyone who follows the draft knows he is going number one. He has the talent to justify the pick. However, can he be trusted? In my opinion there are too many red flags for it to be simple. Where there is smoke there is fire. If not for these issues he would be my number one player. When looking at the bucs, I do not see a ton of veteran leadership and I see a coach that was ran out of town by a dramatic QB. It seems like gas on a fire, or it could be the pick to turn the franchise around

3. Jameis isn’t the only prospect with questionable decision making. The list is long this year, Marcus Peters, Dorial Green Beckham, Shane Ray; Randy Gregory the list goes on and on. When will these guys learn to stay out of trouble? It just seems to be inevitable that ultra talented players will blow it.
4. Positional Discrepancy: One very interesting observation that I have found, this draft is feast or famine, great RB’s WR’s Interior O linemen and Edge Rushers, but safety tackle and tight end yeesh. I would not want to reach on any of those positions.
5. Though I describe the gap above in the draft as substantial, it does not mean there is a lack of depth. There are a ton of second and third round prospects. The problem is those prospects also make up the bottom half of the first round.

6. The 2014 wide receiver class may be tested by the 2015 class, it’s really a pick your flavour scenario, any of the top 3 you cant go wrong. Cooper comes as the polished product with big play ability. Parker is not far off, with more length and Kevin White has the skill set that terrifies opponents but needs a bit more polish on his game. These top 3 are every bit as good as the top WR from last year. Which begs the questions, are we on the verge of a devaluation of the WR position. Much like RB it seems these talented players are coming from everywhere. With the league leaning towards heavy spread schemes, that focuses more on spreading the ball around, is the death of the highly drafted WR coming like it did with the RBs.

7. Has there ever been a worse offseason then the one the 49ers have run into, surprise retirements, players walking via free agency and probably the worst letting Jim Harbaugh walk away. 49ers brass better be right on Colin Kapernick or it could be a very long season. The dysfunction that once plagued the Raiders has seemed to cross the bridge. They could land Arik Armstead or have a shot at Parker; even then the outlook is grim for the 49ers.

8. I called this a while ago, Chip Kelly will go the way of Nick Saban, He has too much power. A better comparison may actually be Josh McDaniel’s, do you remember how talented that broncos team was Marshall, Cutler, Scheffler. McDaniel’s turned those players into Brandon Lloyd and Tim Tebow. He took a Ferrari and made it into a pinto. Now think about chip, he had Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Lesean Mccoy. I am very interested to see how this “open” offense looks without those spectacular playmakers. A classic mistake from a college coach, thinking his system is more valuable then the players. Philadelphia fans are some of most unforgiving, if they stumble out the gate, it would not be a surprise to me to see Chip run back to college.

9. Final thoughts on the 2014 draft class:
– Teddy Bridgewater’s hand size made a massive difference right?!?!?!?!?!?!?! QB evaluation is at an all time low in the NFL.
– The Raiders potentially turned their franchise around. Khalil Mack is going to be JJ Watt good. Different positions but the impact on the game will be similar. While i’m not 100% sold on Carr he does have tools to be the guys for a very long time. Gabe Jackson was a stud, Justin Ellis looks like a run stuffer that could start for a decade and TJ Carrie looks like the idea slot corner and a potential successor to Woodson. Great draft haul for a team that needed it as much as any.
– The 49ers appeared to have a great haul, until Chris Borland retired. Aaron Lynch looks like a steal and Carlos Hyde is the heir apparent to the legendary Frank Gore. Losing Borland is a devastating blow.
– I don’t like Blake Bortles, I wasn’t sold on him last year, he has a release you could time on a sundial. I am not confident he is the answer in Jacksonville
– Don’t Forget about Clowney, He was a prolific talent, one of the best in the last decade. As long as he gets healthy I still believe he could be one of the best players in the 2014 class.
– I know this has been stated again and again but last years WR class was truly special. Beckham JR has a chance to be an all time great.
– I massively underrated Anthony Barr, I thought he was just an athlete. He was a much better football player then I expected. The Vikings along with Raiders sit atop my board of best draft classes last year.
– The Browns are the worst ran franchise in the NFL. Think about this in the first round alone last year they had two picks, they took Gilbert and Manziel. Two guys who seem to have no interest in playing in the NFL. Well done Farmer, you could have had OBJ and Bridgewater.

10. With an eye to next year, a very interesting draft class is ahead of us, headlined by JJ Watt Junior Joey Bosa. Bosa is a beast, he would have been a top 5 pick this year if he were eligible. I am a huge Leonard Williams fan, I think he is going to be a great pro, but I think next year Bosa will be better. Staying with the highly interesting Ohio State Buckeyes, who starts at QB? Braxton Miller had a ton of hype coming into this season before his injury. Then JT Barrett took over (not draft eligible) and dominated. Then finally Cardale Jones stepped in and led Ohio State to a nation championship. There is no position battle more interesting then Ohio States QB. I personally believe Jones made a mistake not declaring. Was he ready? No, but his stock will never be higher then it was. However, I think Jones takes the starting job and ends up being a top 10 pick. Even with Jones playing as well as he did my opinion Christian Hackenberg is the guy, Bill O’Brien’s protégé had Andrew Luck hype, before he slumped in his sophomore year. If he bounces back he will be the number 1 QB. Connor Cooks name in mentioned as well, but I see him as more of an Andy Dalton type.

TOP 15

When reviewing draft prospects, I tend to lean toward the safety first mentality. High-risk players can be franchise changing, both positively and negatively. In saying that, if I were an NFL GM I would always take the good player over the good athlete. I want guys who can play, I don’t care about 40 times, I mean they have value but the actual play is much more important. With that in mind here are the 15 players I would feel most comfortable walking away from this draft with. I believe all of these players will have good to great NFL careers. Though a player like Bud Dupree or DJ Humphries may be top 15 on upside, I would feel much better drafting any of these players and building around them.

1. DT-Leonard Williams
2. WR-Amari Cooper
3. EDGE- Dante Fowler JR
4. WR-Devante Parker
5. Edge- Vic Beasley
6. WR-Kevin White
7. QB-Jameis Winston
8. RB-Todd Gurley
9. CB-Trae Waynes
10. QB-Marcus Mariota
11. OG-Brandon Scherff
12. OG-Cameron Irving
13. DE-Shane Ray
14. LB-Eric Kendricks
15. NT-Danny Shelton

Top 3 players at each position

QB-

1. Jamies Winston- the unquestioned number 1 QB. What’s left to be said? Limited by only himself.

2. Marcus Mariota- Fit is going to dictate his early success in the NFL. Not sure Wisenhunt is the best coach for him. A better fit with a creative offense. I doubt he makes it past 5

3. Bryce Petty- An Aaqil Kassamali favourite. Has good arm strength and all around athleticism. But never had a playbook and does not throw downfield. Project player that should not go before the 3rd round

RB-

1. Todd Gurley- if not for the injury he would be a top 10 pick. Best RB prospect since Trent Richardson. As blasphemous as that sounds.

2. Melvin Gordon- Explosive with great balance, will be solid pick late in the first.

3. Jay Ajayi- powerful back with good explosiveness. Beats Abdullah, Yeldon and Smith by a hair. All four grade out as second round picks

WR –

1. Amari Cooper- Polished wide receiver with elite talent. 85 catches is not out of the question in year one. Oakland would be crazy not to take him at four.

2. Devante Parker- Most people like White better, but Parker is more NFL ready and it’s easy to see his game translate to the pros. Lower ceiling then White but higher floor.

3. Kevin White- one year wonder with elite athletic ability, could be a spectacular pro, could be a massive bust. All three wide receivers have top 10 talent.

TE-

1. Maxx Williams- Not sure he will ever be an elite tight end. Seems to be just solid in a lot of areas. There are rumours of an attitude problem in College.

2. Clive Walford- The NFL can always use more University of Miami tight ends. An illustrious list. Walford could be the next great one. A really well rounded prospect.

3. Devin Funchess- is he a tight end or is he a Wide Receiver. Personally I would use him as a match up nightmare Tight End. He is merely an average WR prospect. Has the highest potential of this group, but is a negative as a blocker.

OT-

1. La’el Collins- a big powerful right tackle. Very good in the run game, not exceptional in the pass. Ultra aggressive, which is a good and a bad thing. Not a huge fan of any offensive tackles in this draft.

2. Andrus Peat –Looks the part and has the big upside, Very athletic but lacks the driving force behind his game. Complete opposite of Collins. True left tackle prospect

3. TJ Clemmings- Possibly the biggest upside of any o linemen in this draft. Another true left tackle prospect, ultra athletic but lacks experience. Should not start early in year one.

Interior OL-

1. Brandon Scherff- Could play tackle but I see him as a guard. Plug and play type player. A better prospect then Warmack or Cooper who were both top 10 picks

2. Cameron Erving- Center or Guard I love him at both positions. Elite athleticism and talent. Will go late first early second and will be an absolute steal.

3. Laken Tomlinson- A very good year for interior olinemen. Tomlinson reminds me a lot of Larry Warford. Will play in year one. Could sneak in at the end of round one.

DE/edge player-

1. Dante Fowler JR- All around beast, the difference between Beasley and Fowler is in the run. Fowlers game is very well rounded, not the prospect Mack was but similar skill set.

2. Vic Beasley- I was down on Beasley and upon reflection, I don’t know why. Love what I saw in the season, love the work out. Love the player. Top 10 pick. Could go as high as three.

3. Shane Ray- High effort pass rusher, plays with relentless violence. Not as talented as Gregory but I would feel better about taking Ray.

DT-

1. Leonard Williams- Some late momentum going against him, I don’t get it. By far my number one player. As elite of a prospect as there is in the NFL draft. Definition of a top 5 pick.

2. Danny Shelton- I have backed off my love of Shelton. He is an old school player. A two down player, but those two downs are very good.

3. Malcolm Brown- a penetrating 3 technique tackle in the body of a nose tackle. Would love to see more physicality to his game. Very good Athleticism for a man of his size.

ILB/Stand up LB-

1. Eric Kendricks- best cover linebacker to come out since Lavonte David. He has great instincts. A little undersized and can get lost in the wash. However, his instincts keep him out of that for the most part. A very good prospect that belongs in the first round.

2. Denzel Perryman- Hits as hard as any player in the draft, also has exceptional instincts and tackles well. Lacks in size. I tend to like linebackers who just make a ton of tackles; I don’t care how they do it as long as it’s within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. Perryman is the no nonsense type of linebacker I like.

3. Shaq Thompson- Shaq Thompson is the complete opposite of Perryman, An exceptional athlete. Could easily play safety. He is a run and chase linebacker. Run right at him though and he leaves some to be desired. I don’t dislike Thompson, but in my opinion he is not a first round pick like many say he is. I wouldn’t touch him till late 2 or early 3.

CB-

1. Trae Waynes- Prototypical press man corner, long and fast. Top 10 talent.

2. Marcus Peters- Another top 10 talent, who unfortunately could not keep it together at Washington. Major character concerns, but also major talent. Plays the ball in the air as well as a Wide Receiver.

3. Kevin Johnson – Off man corner, who is a little slight and does not bring much in the run game but that is not due to lack of effort. Very good in man to man coverage and has great athleticism. May never be elite but is a relatively safe pick.

S-

1. Landon Collins- Old School in the box safety. As I stated in my last article. In the right system he will be a pro bowler, but if he is forced to play in space, he will be exposed.

2. Eric Rowe- long lanky free safety prospect. Though played corner in university his skill set would seem to be a better fit in the middle of the field. Reminds me a lot of Malcolm Jenkins

3. Damarious Randall- A very good athlete, although a bit undersized. The kind of player all teams would love to have, sticks his nose on every play. Has the skill set of an in the box safety like Collins but lacks the size.

Mock Draft

1. Tampa Bay- QB Jameis Winston -Bucs get their man, this is a foregone conclusion. Has all the talent in the world, but I would not feel great about this pick if I was Lovie Smith

2. Tennessee- QB Marcus Mariota- As pretty much every writer has said, I don’t know for sure it’s the Titans taking him, but I am fairly confident he goes pick two. I really don’t think the gap between Mariota and Winston has anything to do with talent, its more NFL readiness. Mariota may need a bit more time.

3. Jacksonville- OLB/DE Dante Fowler JR- doesn’t it feel like the Jags have been looking for a pass rusher forever? Derek Harvey ring a bell? Same school, but nothing alike Fowler is a relentless beast.

4. Oakland- DT Leonard Williams- For the second year in a row, the raiders stay put and an elite prospect falls to them. The combo of Mack and Williams will be too tempting to pass on. The wide receiver class is very deep the raiders can afford to wait. They may still be two years away, but finally the Raiders are trending in the right direction

5. Washington- DE/OLB Vic Beasley- An electric pass rusher, the combo of him Kerrigan and Murphy give the Redskins a lot of defensive versatility.

6. New York Jets- WR Amari Cooper- The Jets get a reliable target for whoever their QB is. A strong candidate to trade up for Mariota, but if they stay put Cooper will be the guy

7. Chicago- WR Kevin White- The Bears need a replacement for Marshall. A combo of White and Jeffrey would be absolutely devastating. Although I have Parker higher, the consensus is White will be the higher pick.

8. Atlanta- DE/OLB- Alvin Dupree- The first big reach of the draft, I would much rather see Ray here, but due to his recent arrest and injury questions he slides. There was a reason no one had Dupree this high during the season, on tape he is not that good. Athletically he is an elite talent

9. New York Giants- OG Brandon Scherff- I am not an Eli Manning guy, but to give Odell Beckham Junior time to get open you need to keep Eli up right and lets face it, no matter how inaccurate Eli’s tosses are as long as Beckham catches them its counts as a completion.

10. St Louis- OT La’el Collins- The Rams continue to build in trenches, with Robinson and Collins as bookend tackles they should be able to bully there way to victories.

11. Minnesota-CB Trae Waynes- Xavier Rhodes has become a very good corner, Harrison Smith a good safety and now Trae Waynes . They have to slow Rogers down some how. It does seem futile though doesn’t it?

12. Cleveland- NT Danny Shelton- I really want to some how predict the browns blowing this pick. I thought about Breshad Perriman. But ill go Shelton, there run d was awful last year. Solid pick for the Browns, so I am probably wrong.

13. New Orleans- DE Shane Ray- The Saints steal Ray here. I think he could slide further then this. Ray will instantly make the Saints Defence much better. Put him opposite Cam Jordan they will get to the QB. I see Ray as double digit sack guy.

14. Miami-WR Devante Parker- a massive steal at this point. Remember mock drafts are not about what I think of the player but where I think they will go. Potential rookie of the year candidate.

15. San Francisco- DE- Arik Armstead- Heartbreak, Parker goes one pick earlier. The consolation prize is a run stuffing end. I am not a huge Armstead guy, in the game in which Oregon needed him most, he disappeared. He got bullied all over the field vs. Ohio State. But the upside is there.

16. Houston-WR-Breshad Perriman- 6’2 215, ran a 4.31!!!! Can’t catch the ball, I fondly remember an Oakland Raider prospect that had a very similar skill set. Heyward Bey didn’t work out, I hope for the Texans the hands are not that bad.

17. San Diego- RB Todd Gurley- Another team rumoured to be in the Mariota hunt. If they stay put they land one of the premiere talents in the draft. The knee is a question and he may have to start the year on the PUP, but he has all time great talent.

18. Kansas City-WR- Dorial Green Beckham- a big risk, very well could be the most talented player in the draft, but hasn’t played in over a season. The athletic ability is through the roof

19. Cleveland- WR- Nelson Agholor- A polished slot WR, who can play outside as well, makes the tough catches. Does a lot of things well but does not really stand out in any facet.

20. Philadelphia CB- Jalen Colins- What a mess their pass defense was, Dez Bryant absolutely abuses them, Colins has all the talent in the world but is very raw. At 6’2 200 lbs. he looks the part

21. Cincinnati DE- Randy Gregory- A steal for a team that needs a pass rusher. Long lanky pass rusher with a ton of a talent, but failed a drug test and had issues keeping weight on in college. Interesting prospect.

22. Pittsburgh-CB- Marcus Peters- Another great talent with questionable character. He was suspended from Washington this year. The talent is all there to be a shut down corner. Could be the best Corner in the class.

23. Detroit- OT- Andrus Peat- A very talented tackle, a little soft but the skill set is there to be a very good pro.

24. Arizona- RB Melvin Gordon- The combo or Gordon and Ellington will make Carson Palmers comeback much easier. Although I really like Ellington, he is not an every down back. Gordon is.

25. Carolina- OT DJ Humphries- The NFC south is so soft, the panthers are not a good team and it starts with Cam Newton. However they keep making the playoffs capitalizing on a soft schedule. This year they land Humphries, they got a gem in Benjamin last year, they hope to land a second gem this year.

26. Baltimore- WR Jalen Strong- I believe this would be a steal, Strong is my number four wide receiver. The Ravens consistently steal players add this one to the list.

27. Dallas- DT Eddie Goldman- Hard to figure out the Cowboys, they really shouldn’t be good. But add Goldman a great run stuffing tackle to a feisty defence that could get better. I want to hate the cowboys, because they are the cowboys but you cant help but like this team.

28. Denver- OG Cameron Erving- Great value for the Broncos. They land the 2nd best linemen in the draft, a player that I feel will become a dominant force. Leonard Williams vs. Cameron Irving will be epic.

29. Indianapolis- SS Landon Collins- Another steal, with Laron Landry suspension (is anyone surprised) the colts have a significant hole to fill. Collins not only fills that, he is a massive upgrade.

30. Green bay- ILB Eric Kendricks- Stud ILB who will allow Clay Matthews to move outside. Another year passes another year with Dom Capers running a bad d, highlighted with one of the most overrated players in the NFL Clay Matthews. As awesome as there offense is there d will continue to hold them back. Kendricks will help with this.

31. New Orleans- WR Phillip Dorsett- ohhh man, they may not be what they were, but the combo of Peyton and Brees may still have a little magic with Dorsett and Cooks. Two dynamite quick wide receivers.

32. New England- CB/S Byron Jones – an athletic freak, he has positional flexibility, who will provide the pats depth at several positions.

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