2015 NFL Draft Thoughts: Teams Who Had Great and Poor Drafts, Steals, & Hidden Gems

Movie Quote of the Day:

“A man makes his own way. No one gives it to you. You have to take it.”
– Frank Costello, The Departed (2006)

Like I said yesterday, the last three weeks for me have been crazy and they have prevented me from posting on this blog. Today, I want to discuss the 2015 NFL Draft. The post will include which teams that I thought had great and poor drafts. Also, who were the steals of the draft, and who I thought were hidden gems.

Teams Who Had Great Drafts:

Tennessee Titans
Draft Grade: A-
Notable Drafted Players: QB Marcus Mariota, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, and OT Jeremiah Poutasi

Tennessee did everything right with their first three picks of the draft. They drafted their quarterback, they got him some talent to throw to, and drafted a player to help protect their new quarterback investment.

Atlanta Falcons
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: OLB Vic Beasley, CB Jalen Collins, and RB Tevin Coleman

Atlanta really helped boost that defense with their first two picks. Beasley will apply pressure to the quarterback and Collins will be physical in coverage. They drafted Coleman to help take the pressure off Matt Ryan. This team has lacked a solid run game since Michael Turner, now they have Coleman and Devonta Freeman in that running back rotation.

Cleveland Browns
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: NT Danny Shelton, C Cam Erving, DE Nate Orchard, and RB Duke Johnson

Cleveland did a lot of good things with their draft. Shelton will help plug up holes in the run defense. Erving is a versatile offensive lineman that can play anywhere on the line. Orchard will help in the pass rush, and Johnson adds depth to a thin backfield. The only thing that prevented Cleveland from getting an A draft grade was I didn’t like that they waited until the fourth round to draft a wide receiver.

Other Teams Who Had Good Drafts:

Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: DE Dante Fowler Jr., RB TJ Yeldon, and OG AJ Cann

Oakland Raiders
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: WR Amari Cooper, DE Mario Edwards Jr., and TE Clive Walford

St. Louis Rams
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: RB Todd Gurley, OT Rob Havenstein, OT Jamon Brown, and QB Sean Mannion

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Draft Grade: B+
Notable Drafted Players: QB Jameis Winston, OT Donovan Smith, and OG Ali Marpet

Teams Who Had Poor Drafts:

Buffalo Bills
Draft Grade: D+
Notable Players Drafted: CB Ronald Darby and OG John Miller

Buffalo traded away their first round pick this year in order to draft Sammy Watkins last year. That’s probably what killed this draft. Anyway, Buffalo needed offense and their first pick was a cornerback. That’s just typical of a Rex Ryan coached team.

Chicago Bears
Draft Grade: C-
Notable Drafted Players: WR Kevin White, NT Eddie Goldman, and C Hroniss Grasu

Chicago drafted too much offense. I understand the Kevin White pick, but this team needs defense. Especially since they’re in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford. Goldman is great pick that will help with run defense.

Kansas City Chiefs
Draft Grade: C-
Notable Drafted Players: CB Marcus Peters, OG Mitch Morse, WR Chris Conley, and CB Steven Nelson

I didn’t like that Kansas City took a corner in the first round. Peters is a great player, but Kansas City needed wide receivers and offensive line. I don’t like that they waited until the third round to take a wide receiver. They passed on several quality players, and this is a team who didn’t have a single wide receiver catch a touchdown pass last season. I know they signed Jeremy Maclin, but he’s not a number one receiver.

Other Teams Who Had Poor Drafts:

Carolina Panthers
Draft Grade: C
Notable Drafted Players: OLB Shaq Thompson, WR Devin Funchess, and OT Daryl Williams

Indianapolis Colts
Draft Grade: C
Notable Players Drafted: WR Phillip Dorsett, CB D’Joun Smith, and DE Henry Anderson

Washington Redskins
Draft Grade: C
Notable Drafted Players: OT Brandon Scherff, DE Preston Smith, and RB Matt Jones

Randy Gregory

Defensive Steal of the Draft:
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Drafted by Dallas Cowboys (Round: 2 Pick: 60)

Gregory was a lock to be a top five pick in the draft until he failed his drug test at the combine which ended up killing his draft stock. I thought Gregory would fall out of the first round, but I didn’t think he’d be there when Dallas picked in the second round. He’s a solid pass rusher which is just what Dallas needed. In only two seasons at Nebraska, Gregory had 25.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. Gregory is the biggest steal of the draft.

Jaelen_Strong

Offensive Steal of the Draft:
WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
Drafted by Houston Texans (Round: 3 Pick: 70)

Strong was considered a first round prospect. However, the closer we got to the draft, the more Strong was falling down the draft board (for reasons I don’t know). I still thought he’d be a first round pick, but I was shocked he fell to the third round. In Strong’s two seasons at Arizona State he had 2,287 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns, also averaging 14.6 yards per reception. Houston needed a big body outside receiver now that Andre Johnson is gone and Strong is going to fill that role.

Hidden Gems of the Draft:

image

CB JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas
Drafted by Philadelphia Eagles (Round: 6 Pick: 191)

Shepherd is a former wide receiver turned cornerback. He shined in his senior year where he was a First-team All Big 12 for the 2014 season. He finished tied for fourth in the country in pass break ups with 15, recorded three interceptions, and made 30 tackles in 2014. He wasn’t one of the best corners in the draft class, but I think he can develop into a good cornerback in the NFL.

image

WR Jamison Crowder, Duke
Drafted by Washington Redskins (Round: 4 Pick: 105)

Crowder’s size is what I think hurt his draft stock. He’s only 5’8 and 185 pounds. In order to be a high draft pick with that kind of size you have to be extremely fast (look at Tavon Austin). Crowder only ran a 4.5 forty yard dash at the combine. However, stats don’t lie. Crowder tallied almost 3,500 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns during his last three seasons at Duke. Crowder also accounted for 681 punt return yards and four touchdowns in his last two seasons. Crowder got buried in a very deep wide receiver draft class, but I think Crowder was a solid pick by Washington. I’m not sure how good of a receiver Crowder will become in the NFL, but I think he’s going to be a great punt returner.

image

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
Drafted by Cleveland Browns (Round: 7 Pick: 241)

I have zero clue how Ekpre-Olomu dropped this far in the draft. He was considered to be one of the top corners in the draft during the 2014 offseason. He does lack size (only 5’9 192 pounds). He also had a bad knee injury that kept him out of the College Football Playoff. However, Ekpre-Olomu made 244 total tackles, had nine interceptions, and also had 31 pass break ups during his final three years at Oregon. If he’s healthy, he should be a solid player in the defensive backfield for Cleveland.

image

ILB Jake Ryan, Michigan
Drafted by Green Bay Packers (Round: 4 Pick: 129)

Ryan made the transition from outside linebacker to inside linebacker for the 2014 season. During 2014, Ryan had 112 total tackles and 14 tackles for loss. As a Green Bay fan, I had to watch his film when they drafted him. I was impressed with his film. He’s got a nose for the football and seems to always be around the ball to be in position to make tackles.

Jay_Ajayi

RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State
Drafted by Miami Dolphins (Round: 5 Pick: 149)

Ajayi is more of a steal than a hidden gem. He was supposed to be a second round pick, and I couldn’t believe when I saw his name still available in the fifth round when I watched the draft. Ajayi recorded almost 3,800 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons at Boise State. Not only that, but Ajayi averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Also, Ajayi had over 750 receiving yards and five touchdowns. It’s not like Ajayi lacks size either, he’s 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds. He’s the definition of a NFL running back. Ajayi isn’t a hidden gem, but he is by definition for being a fifth round pick. I believe that Ajayi wins the starting job in Miami and is a solid contributer to that offense.

All stats from the following websites:

cfbstats.com
sports-reference.com

Thanks for reading
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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