2015 NFL Draft Winners and Losers

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  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers got extremely lucky to end up with the first overall pick when a franchise QB who is actually ready to play in the NFL happened to be available.  No one knows if Winston will mature and become a great professional, but as of now you have to believe he has a chance with a team that is ready to build around him.  The Bucs already happened to have weapons in the fold so it was important to protect their investment and they did so with their next two picks.  Donovan Smith may have been a reach, but the Bucs need a massive upgrade to the O-Line and Smith could be a nice RT in the league.  Marpet was the darling of the combine as he competed along side big school lineman and more than held his own.  There were rumors that he could find his way up into the high second round, but fell to the Bucs in the third.  All in all I like what the Bucs did, especially grabbing Kwon Alexander in the 4th round.  I would have rather seen the Bucs take a slot receiver in this draft then take Bell in the 5th.  Overall it was a very nice draft for the Bucs.
  2. Tennessee Titans – The Titans had a bit of a disjointed draft.  They held all the power in the draft as they held the two spot where Mariota was inevitably going to be available after Winston went.  With all the talk of trades nothing materialized and the Titans decided to take Mariota as their franchise QB.  The Titans have so many holes on their team that taking a QB whose game doesn’t necessarily translate to the pro game very easily is a tough sell.  In the second they traded down with the Giants and ended up taking Dorial Green-Beckham.  The Titans have spent some high draft picks the last few years on wide receivers, Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright, and spent some money in the off-season on Harry Douglas to come in as their slot receiver.  If this was a team that I trusted to develop DGB I would be excited about the pick, but I have no confidence in them to be able to get the best out of him.  Cobb, Poutasi, and Fowler can remake the Titans running game, which is something I like.  Cobb and Sankey could be a nice timeshare, especially with Mariota running some Zone-Read.  Tre McBride in the 7th was a steal, but who knows if he’ll even get a chance.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars had an amazing draft.  That’s right the Jaguars!  From rounds one through six the Jaguars did an amazing job.  Dante Fowler Jr. is going to be a very good player from day one in the NFL.  A ton of teams would have loved if he slid in the draft.  Yeldon in the second isn’t my favorite pick, but I understand why they needed to take a back with his type of upside.  Cann is better than what they have now.  Sample was a steal in the fourth round, especially if you really watched how he played at Louisville.  Greene was one of my favorite players picked in the 5th round, but it wasn’t an ideal spot for him with Allen Robinson and Marquis Lee already there.  Bennett dropping to the sixth is beyond nuts for me, because it is too hard to find interior pass rushers in this league and Bennett does that pretty well.
  4. Oakland Raiders – I had an inkling that the Raiders were going to help Derek Carr with this draft and they almost did exactly what I thought they might.  I figured they would go with Amari Cooper in the 1st and I hoped they would go with Maxx Williams in the 2nd, but they decided to go with Clive Walford in the 3rd instead.  I liked the value, but the DE they took in the second, Mario Edwards Jr., was a bit of a reach for me.  If he can be more consistent and show the quick first step he shows from time to time he could be good.  Everywhere else was kind of blah for me.  Some guys that could play, but it seemed like a lot of projection.
  5. Washington Redskins – I really liked the first two picks the Redskins made.  They broke my Giants fan heart by taking Scherff with their first round pick and then took another potential Giants target when they took Preston Smith in the second.  Matt Jones is a big back with some lateral quickness and I liked him as a value in the 4th, but in the 3rd I thought the Redskins could have continued to build their O-Line.  Instead they waited and took Kouandjio in the fourth which made a lot of sense.  I liked Spaight in the 5th a lot.  Overall this was a solid haul for the Redskins.
  6. New York Jets – The Jets had the chance to win the draft after landing , arguably the best player, Leonard Williams with the 6th overall pick.  The Jets followed that up by taking one of my favorite players, Devin Smith, to be the speed receiver to open up Brandon Marshall,  Eric Decker and the running game.  After that the Jets were okay, but not flashy as they needed to address the QB position with Bryce Petty in the fourth.  Smith and Williams are a heck of a haul all by themselves, if they get anything else, production wise, out of the rest of the draft it will be one of their all-time best.
  7. Chicago Bears – The Bears needed to address the defensive side of the ball this draft, but Kevin White being available at seven was too good to pass up.  Eddie Goldman was a nice pick in the second, but they needed to double up in the third and instead went with a Center.  Normally I’m all about taking quality O-Line in the meat of the draft, but there were too many good players still available to not address the secondary or D-Line again.  Langford could end up being a nice pick in the fourth, but again I thought there were defenders available.  We’ll see if it matters as their first two picks could end up being really good.
  8. Atalanta Falcons – I really liked what the Falcons did in the 2015 draft.  Vic Beasley is a beast and immediately upgrades the Falcons non-existent pass rush.  As you look at the rest of the draft you have to ask yourself when’s the last time a team got five solid starters/contributors in one draft.  Jalen Collins in the second was a really nice value.  Tevin Coleman immediately upgrades his fantasy stock ending up in Atlanta with Kyle Shanahan.  Justin hardy can start out in the slot and eventually replace Roddy White down the road.  Grady Jarrett brings excellent pass rush skills to the middle of the Falcons D.  Jake Rodgers is a nice grab in the seventh as a guy that could develop into a RT in the future.
  9. New York Giants – The Giants needed to address the O-Line in this draft and they seemed to like Flowers from Miami more than most as he became their pick as soon as Scherff went to the Redskins at 5.  Flowers will immediately upgrade the overall run blocking of the Giants O-Line and could make the Giants better at two positions by forcing Justin Pugh in to Left Guard.  The Giants traded up to grab Landon Collins at the top of the second and really only had to give up a fourth to do it.  Collins was the best Safety on the team the minute he was picked.  Owa Odighizuwa was a guy that I really thought fit what the Giants look for when trying to upgrade the DE behind JPP.  After the third the Giants once again started making some weird picks.  Mykkele Thompson was even more surprised to be drafted than Jay Bromley was last season.  Thompson has some Special Teams ability, but there were safeties available that looked a lot better on tape. (Derron Smith of Fresno State being example number one)  Geremy Davis is a nice pick as a wide receiver who can come in and be a gunner and special teams ace while learning how to run routes better.  Big and fast he has some upside.  Hart could develop into a future starting Guard, but we shall see.
  10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley could be the best skill position player to come from this draft.  I don’t love the fit with the Rams, but it doesn’t really matter when it comes to Gurley.  They tried to remake their O-Line with some fancy trade downs, but in reality it seems like they let a lot of talent slide by in this draft.  When you look at their draft as a whole it doen’t look very good.  If Gurley ends up being an all-time great no one will remember.
  11. Minnesota Vikings – I really like how the Vikings have been going about building their team.  I love this draft for them.  They took the top corner, arguably the top middle linebacker, a DE who at times looked like a 1st round pick, TJ Clemmings who has all the tools to be one of the top four lineman in the entire draft, and with their last pick they got my favorite small school defensive flyer with Edmond Robinson from Newberry.  Zimmer has done a tremendous job and could be building the real Green Bay rival in Minny.
  12. Cleveland Browns – I don’t get why the Browns hate me.  Seriously, they don’t draft a wide receiver AGAIN and take Duke Johnson so he can be in a timeshare with two other quality backs. GAG, from a fantasy football perspective.  From an overall football perspective the Browns draft was pretty good.  Shelton, Orchard and Erving could all be big time contributors for a team that needs to continue to make strides.  With their seventh round pick they took a flyer on Ifo Ekpre-Olomu who could be a player for them in 2016 after he tore his knee up late in the 2015 season.
  13. New Orleans Saints – The Saints had a really nice start to the draft as they took a nice OT prospect in Andrus Peat and then solidified their defense with a stud MLB and one of the best pass rushers in the draft.  In the 3rd they took a QB who could be the heir apparent to Drew Brees and grabbed a corner that fell down some draft boards for getting pulled over for a possible DUI after the combine.  I was very surprised that they didn’t look at the tight end or wide receiver position.  Overall it was a solid draft.  If Kikaha can stay healthy the Saints could have really helped their D.
  14. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins got a great value with DeVante Parker with the 14th pick.  After that they took some nice values with Jordan Phillips and Jay Ajayi in the 2nd and 5th respectively.  I’m very interested in Tony Lippett converting to a full time cornerback with the Dolphins.  Even if it takes some time for him to really make the conversion he could be a great special teams player while he learns the nuances of the position.
  15. San Diego Chargers – The Rams really forced the Chargers hand when it came to trading up for Melvin Gordon.  Gordon was a perfect fit for the offense that desperately needs a difference maker in the backfield.  The 49ers knew that their target was a scheme specific fit so they were able to trade down and still get the guy they wanted.  I like the aggressiveness of the Chargers in this instance.  After the top eight or so players it all became a bit bunched so getting a player that really solves a need was huge.  Denzel Perryman in the 2nd was a nice addition as he was potentially looked at as a late 1st rounder as the draft process went on.  The rest of the draft will be a wait and see, but if Gordon hits then the draft was a success.
  16. Houston Texans – The Texans needed to help their secondary this off-season and Kevin Johnson, who they grabbed in the 1st round, will be a nice addition.  In the second round they got a huge MLB in Benardrick McKinney, who was once rated as a top 10 draft prospect before the 2014 season.  He has a chance to be good, but he looked like he will need some coaching after seeing him struggle with pass coverage drills at the combine.  in the third and fourth round they doubled up on Wide Receivers after letting Andre Johnson walk and then trading away Devier Posey.  The value on Jaelen Strong was really nice considering some, including me, saw him going in the late first to early second round.  His lack of separation skills ultimately doomed his draft stock, but his leaping ability and size should make him a decent wide receiver 2/3 for Texans.  A good landing spot for him after he fell in the draft.  Kenny Hilliard in the seventh is like another Alfred Blue pick that we will have to monitor with Arian Foster always on the verge of injury.
  17. San Francisco 49ers – The more you look at the 49ers draft the more you like it for their specific team.  The players weren’t fits on most teams, but to the 49ers they were perfect.  The only pick I didn’t love was the 2nd round pick of Jaquiski Tartt out of Samford.  I thought that he would go in the late third to early fourth range and I liked a few other safeties more.  I’m not a fan of Blake Bell, but if they use him strictly as a pass catcher he could be useful.  Eli Harold was a nice pick and so was taking Smelter, as a redshirt, and Davis in the fourth.  I really wanted Davis to land in Dallas, but you have to keep your eye on him if you’re a Carlos Hyde owner in dynasty.  Trent Brown is extremely interesting as a developmental project.  He’s 6’8″+ and 355 lbs.  Just massive, but needs a ton of work.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs draft hinges on if Marcus Peters can come into the league and be professional.  He was right there with Waynes for being the top CB in the class, but where he would go was all up to how well he interviewed with teams after being kicked off of his college team at the University of Washington.  I absolutely hate that Chris Conley landed with the Chiefs in the third round from a fantasy perspective, but for them he was a steal.  Steve Nelson was an interesting pick in the third as well as they obviously wanted to address their slot corner position.  The rest of the draft saw depth picks and also a new Center in the second.  If Morse makes the transition to Center easily than he will be a solid pick.
  19. Buffalo Bills – The Bills traded up last year to grab Sammy Watkins so they didn’t have a 1st round pick.  With what little draft stock they had they made some very team specific picks that could prove out well.  Darby fits Rex Ryan well as he can man up cover as well as most of the corners in the draft.  In the third they went with a Guard that I have seen play a lot at Louisville and think he could be a nice addition to their O-Line that desperately needs help in the middle.  Everywhere else were special teamers and role players like the pass catching, but dreadfully slow, Nick O’Leary.  I was wondering where he would land because his lack of speed makes him a liability on kick coverage teams.
  20. Philadelphia Eagles –  The Eagles fooled us all.  Everyone thought they would be wheeling and dealing from the outset of the draft, but they sat still at number 20 and took a perfect fit for their offense and their team in Nelson Agholor.  It’s crazy to think they replaced Jeremy Maclin‘s pass catching ability and semi-replaced DeSean Jackson‘s electric kick return ability with one player.  The landing spot immediately moved him up my rookie rankings.  Hopefully Chip can stay around a while to make this a magical landing spot fantasy wise.  The rest of the draft was really nice as well.  They grabbed Eric Rowe in the second, which was a steal as most saw him coming off the board at the very top of the second round. In the 3rd they got another talented linebacker to add depth and improve their team overall.  They also traded away their fourth for a 3rd rounder next year from the Dolphins.  3rds are nice to have in your back pocket as draft day trade currency.  In the 6th I thought they got two corners that were a bit lesser known, but could be nice pick ups for their pressure speed defense.  I like their size a lot.  This was a really solid draft by Chip Kelly and company, but I was very surprised they didn’t address an aging offensive line.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals made Andrew Whitworth mad with their first two picks in the draft, but they made Andy Dalton really happy as they took two of the top 6 Tackles available in the draft with their picks.  Cedric Ogbuehi was a top 3 prospect when the 2013 season came to a close and he was a sold top ten prospect until he tore his ACL in the 2014 season.  With Cincy having two good tackles in place it gives him a chance to make a full recovery and then play Left Tackle in this league for a long time.  (Not saying 10 years like some of the talking heads) Jake Fisher was talked about as a perfect fit for a lot of teams at the bottom of the first and who knows if Denver didn’t trade up to land Shane Ray, he may have gone there.  They then stacked up the value and team fit throughout the rest of their draft.  Getting Paul Dawson at the end of the third was such a perfect fit for both player and team, that you didn’t think it could happen.  I liked Derron Smith a lot as a value in the 6th as well.  If Tyler Croft can play right away this draft was a home run.
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers – I expected the Steelers to take a corner in the first round, but once Peters and Johnson went in the teens the Steelers were in the perfect position to take Bud Dupree from Kentucky to be their big time pass rusher.  I really liked the value with taking Dupree there and especially with the scheme fit.  I liked the corners they got in the second and fourth rounds and the safety they added in the seventh could be a nice gamble.  Jesse James going to the Steelers in the 5th is a really nice landing spot for him as he can learn a ton from Heath Miller and of course fill his shoes one day.  If they hit on Sammi Coates this draft goes from good to wholly cow.  We won’t know that for a while so for now they did well.
  23. Denver Broncos – The Broncos traded up and took Shane Ray.  Ray was viewed as a top 8 pick for the entire draft process until he hurt his toe and then got busted for possession of marijuana.   He will fit in nicely with the Denver D and should take over for DeMarcus Ware down the road.  The rest of the draft saw the Broncos try to sure up the RT position as well as Center and I think they did a pretty good job.  I would have liked if Tre McBride or Rashad Greene landed in Denver late, but you can’t get everything you want.
  24. Arizona Cardinals – I really liked the 1st round pick of DJ Humphries who would have been an ideal fit for the Carolina Panthers one pick later.  I really didn’t like the pick of Marcus Golden in the second round.  I was not high on him through the draft process and thought he was a bit of a reach.  The rest of the draft was okay, but not great in terms of value and seeing real contributors early.
  25. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers needed to address the linebacker position in this draft, but taking Shaq Thompson in the first was a bit of a surprise.  Especially with some quality tackles still on the board.  Shaq Thompson was all over draft boards in the lead up to the draft and was even picked to the Giants at the 9 spot in a mock draft that Arif Hassan and I did on the podcast.  Obviously that spot was a little high after he ran a slower than expected 40 and struggled a bit in linebacker drills.  After Thompson I really liked what the Panthers did as they got a lot of team specific fit players.  Funchess and his huge wing span fit perfectly with Cam Newton.  Daryl Williams as a Right Tackle is a nice fit. David Mayo and Cameron Artis-Payne are players that I expect to contribute right away, especially on special teams.  Overall it was a good draft and could be a really good one if Shaq Thompson develops into a play-maker at the next level.
  26. Baltimore Ravens – Is there anyone better at working the draft than the Ravens?  They replaced Torrey Smith with a top tier speed receiver in Breshad Perriman.  They replaced Dennis Pitta with Maxx Williams in the 2nd round by jumping over their rivals, the Steelers, to secure his pass catching services.  I like everything they did after those two picks as well.  Getting Carl Davis in the third was a steal.  Nabbing Buck Allen to learn from Justin Forsett really upped Allen’s stock in dynasty rankings.  Even their late picks have a ton of upside if they can develop them to what their team needs are.  Great draft once again by the Ravens.
  27. Dallas Cowboys – We know Byron Jones won the combine, but can he win the Cowboys some games.  I like the fit with the Cowboys and you have to like them addressing the defense in this draft.  Taking Gregory in the second is a lottery ticket.  If they can get him to focus on being a professional and all that comes with that then he can really help them.  if he washes out of the league after multiple suspensions then it was only a late second round pick and not the top 10 in the first that he looked like he could and should be.  Chaz Green solves the swing tackle spot and Damien Wilson and Ryan Russell will really help this defense.  Overall you have to say Jerry did a great job this year.
  28. Detroit Lions – I really like that they traded back to take Tomlinson.  It’s not always easy to find a trade partner, especially when you really want to take a player that would be a reach.  In the second round they grabbed Amir Abdullah who is the perfect compliment to Joique Bell.  The landing spot for Abdullah really ups his dynasty rookie stock for me.  The third and fourth rounds were solid, but in the fifth I thought they should have gone with a double up at corner instead of grabbing a full back.  I would have liked if they grabbed a LB at some point, but that’s a bit of nit-picking.
  29. Indianapolis Colts – Phillip Dorsett going to Indy was a huge surprise.  It obviously ups his dynasty rookie ranking, but as far a good pick for a real NFL team on the verge of competing for a title, I’m not sure.  His speed is tremendous, but the Colts needed to get more physical and I’m not sure they came out of this draft upping their physicality enough.  Dorsett will be great for us, and Andrew Luck in fantasy football but he probably wasn’t the right pick.  Josh Robinson landed in a nice spot, but in the 6th round who knows what they really think of him long term.  remember this is the same GM that thought Trent Richardson was worthy of trading a 1st rounder for.
  30. Green Bay Packers – I thought Malcolm Brown was signed sealed and delivered to the Packers after he fell in the draft, but they decided to go with a nice FS prospect instead.  Jeff Janis truthers had to be upset with the pick of Ty Montgomery in the 3rd. (I know I was)  Overall it was a nice draft, but I was surprised they didn’t grab a tackle in a draft that had a lot of quality tackle prospects.  Jake Ryan can play and Brett Hundley was once thought of as a 1st rounder before he took a beating this year at UCLA.  If Hundley can develop as a back up to Aaron Rodgers than the Packers got a nice future trade piece.
  31. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks didn’t have a pick until the second round after trading for Jimmy Graham.  When they did pick in the second round they really showed themselves as a team desperate to get the Lombardi trophy back by taking Frank Clark who was not even on most team’s draft boards after he was arrested for domestic abuse. I can’t believe that they didn’t interview one witness who was there the night Clark allegedly (only because it was reduced to a misdemeanor) slammed his girlfriend’s head against a wall.  They even had the nerve to say he never hit her even though every witness including a child who ran out of the room screaming because he thought Clark was going to kill his sister said he did. (I have heard most of this situation before, but OTL on ESPN had an in-depth piece on it today)  I guess the Seahawks needed it on YouTube in order for them to pass on the last pass rusher left in the draft.  With that pick not withstanding you know the Seahawks draft well so I’m sure they came out okay, but I tuned out after Clark.  Tyler Lockett makes Doug Baldwin expendable to me.
  32. New England Patriots – I love the Patriots draft.  I really like that they took Malcolm Brown at the end of the 1st instead of trading out of the first and after that they picked really good football players.  Jordan Richards is a good football player, is he a second round talent?, I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter because the Pats think he is.  Their fourth round was fantastic as they got Trey Flowers, Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason.  Love the physicality of Mason and Jackson.  Any fringe players on the Patriots have to be concerned as it looks like they grabbed a lot of guys who will contribute and play special teams, heck they drafted a long snapper in the fifth round.