May 1, 2015
2015 NFL Draft Day 2 Preview – Ten Observations:
1. Have we ever seen a more-linear draft? The 2015 NFL Draft featured only two trades in the first round, and none in the top 14 picks. It was essentially the Final Fantasy X of NFL Drafts. Not that it’s a bad thing; just like Final Fantasy X was a solid game, the 2015 NFL Draft still featured plenty of intrigue. Would the Titans trade the No. 2 pick? How far would Leonard Williams fall? Was Randy Gregory going to drop out of the first round? The draft, as always, was exciting. It wasn’t as nuts as it usually is, but I have no problem with that. But then again, there are those who hate Final Fantasy X because it didn’t give the players a chance to do anything they didn’t want to, and there will be some who believe the 2015 NFL Draft was a snooze-fest.
2. My friend Body Burner, an Eagles’ fan, texted me the following Friday morning: “I’m mad at you. Because the Eagles didn’t get Marcus Mariota.”
It just wasn’t meant to be. The Titans had coveted Mariota this entire time; that’s why neither Charlie nor I moved him out of the No. 2 pick in our mock drafts dating back to January. I saw some misinformed analysis from someone – I think it was Jason McIntyre – who said that the owner was calling all of the shots in Tennessee because neither the front office nor coaching staff wanted Mariota. I don’t know about Ken Whisenhunt, but I can tell you that the front office was fully behind the Mariota selection. He was their guy this entire time – even over Jameis Winston – hence the Sal Paolantonio report that the Titans wanted the “sun and the moon” for Mariota.
It truly was going to take a Herschel Walker-type trade to pry Mariota away from the Titans. Jay Glazer reported Friday morning that the Eagles offered the No. 20 pick, a 2016 first-rounder and a player to the Buccaneers for the top choice. If that’s the sort of deal Philadelphia presented to the Titans, I’m sure Tennessee’s front office scoffed at the proposal. The Eagles would’ve had to surrender a 2017 first-rounder on top of that for the Titans to even consider the offer.
3. As for the other quarterback, much is being made about the crab-legs photo that Winston posted after being chosen:
Even more was made about Winston deleting the picture Friday morning. The Buccaneers reportedly told Winston to get rid of it. An odd request, given that the picture already circulated the Internet and can be found via a simple Google search. It’s not like Winston had the power to hack the Internet and erase every single instance of that photo. So, why ask him to do it?
More importantly, why did Winston take that picture? I don’t have a big problem with it, but I just feel like it’s curious decision-making – something that has been Winston’s greatest concern throughout this entire process. He did this in jest, but he should’ve known that his team wouldn’t like it. I don’t know why he thought this was a good idea.
4. I thought the Cowboys would select Randy Gregory, but I can’t say I’m shocked that he fell out of the first round entirely. There are major concerns with him, way beyond just the positive marijuana test. Some teams don’t have him on their board because they’re worried that he’ll last in the league beyond five or so years.
Having said that, the talent is just too great for teams to pass on him in the second round. Look for a team just one or two pieces away from a Super Bowl pulling the trigger. Perhaps it’ll be Dallas after all at the end of the second frame. Other teams that make sense include the Seahawks, Colts, Ravens, Cardinals and Bengals.
5. Another troubled player, La’el Collins, fell out of the first round entirely. And from the sound of it, he’s going to drop much further. It’s a shame if he’s innocent in all of this, as the Chiefs and Browns were targeting him in the late teens. I would’ve been shocked had Collins dropped beyond the No. 19 pick if this incident never occurred.
Unfortunately, Collins, if innocent, was screwed over. I think the NFL should’ve allowed him to enter the Supplemental Draft. Sure, it would create a precedent, but that didn’t stop Roger Goodell from cavalierly suspending certain players from off-the-field transgressions. If Goodell had a soul, he would’ve accepted Collins’ request.
So, where will Collins go? I had him in the fourth round of my 2015 NFL Mock Draft. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went undrafted entirely. We’ve spoken to some teams that don’t have Collins on their board at all.
6. Back last May, I was already releasing my 2015 mock – you can already check out my 2016 NFL Mock Draft – and I had several commenters/e-mailers tell me tha there was no way in hell a running back was going to be picked in the first round. They were obviously unfamiliar with how talented Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon were. One team – not the Rams – saw Gurley as “the next Jim Brown.” Gordon, meanwhile, drew comparisons to Jamaal Charles. Call me crazy, but if you can get Brown at No. 10 and Charles at No. 15, you absolutely have to pull the trigger, regardless of whether the running back position is devalued or not.
If you’re still not convinced, the Rams tweeted out the following: “The Cardinals passed on Adrian Peterson for Levi Brown.”
That’s the correct way to think about this.
7. A third running back nearly was chosen in the first round, as T.J. Yeldon was in consideration for some teams. He’ll be selected early on Day 2. Charlie Campbell reported the following earlier this week:
“Sources told us that two teams that could be looking to land Yeldon early in the second round are the Jaguars and the Jets.”
I currently have Jacksonville selecting Yelon atop my 2015 NFL Mock Re-Draft. Meanwhile, Arizona and Detroit seem like great fits for Tevin Coleman, who could be the fourth running back off the board. Ameer Abdullah is also in the conversation.
8. A couple of funny pictures from last night:
This was Zac Stacy’s reaction to how poorly he played last year. No? He said this when his team selected Todd Gurley? Could’ve fooled me.
Stacy, by the way, is now demanding a trade. The Rams have reached out to an unnamed team and asked for a ham sandwich in return. The team rejected the proposal, as they were unwilling to part with the ham sandwich.
Ian Rapoport has been one of the least-accurate draft reporters over the years – though still better than Pro Football Talk – so it’s no surprise that the Saints didn’t pick Bryce Petty at No. 31, after all.
Having said that, perhaps New Orleans will take Petty in the second frame. If so, I fear for the safety of WhoDat’s no-no-special-place.
One more note on Petty: I was ready to hand out a Millen grade to any team that selected him in the first round. Unfortunately, no team did, leaving the first round completely Millen-less. Check out my NFL Draft Grades if you haven’t already.
9. One of the surprises in the first round was Andrus Peat to the Saints at No. 13. I just didn’t view the tackle position as that great of a need, but if the Saints wanted to address the position, they took a quality prospect to do it.
Here’s something worth noting on the Saints, which also applies to the Seahawks, Falcons, Steelers, Eagles and several other teams: During my research leading up to the draft, I noticed that New Orleans recently selected players ranked high on the SPARQ lists. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, SPARQ is a formula Nike created to measure athleticism. Teams like those I mentioned have begun drafting with the SPARQ formula in mind. New Orleans has done this as well. Peat was 14th on the SPARQ list for linemen, while Stephone Anthony was the No. 1 linebacker.
Here are some prominent Day 2 SPARQ players:
David Johnson – No. 2 RB
Jay Ajayi – No. 4 RB
Chris Conley – No. 1 WR
Sammie Coates – No. 2 WR
Tre McBride – No. 14 WR
Ty Montgomery – No. 15 WR
Maxx Williams – No. 6 TE
Clive Walford – No. 8 TE
Ali Marpet – No. 1 OL
Jake Fisher – No. 3 OL
Mitch Morse – No. 5 OL
Donovan Smith – No. 7 OL
Davis Tull – No. 2 DE/OLB
Owa Odighizuwa – No. 4 DE/OLB
Frank Clark – No. 5 DE/OLB
Preston Smith – No. 6 DE/OLB
Eli Harold – No. 7 DE/OLB
Grady Jarrett – No. 1 DT
Xavier Cooper – No. 2 DT
Henry Anderson – No. 3 DT
Carl Davis – No. 7 DT
Jordan Hicks – No. 2 LB
Ben Heeney – No. 4 LB
Kwon Alexander – No. 5 LB
Benardrick McKinney – No. 6 LB
Eric Rowe – No. 2 CB
Ronald Darby – No. 5 CB
Doran Grant – No. 9 CB
P.J. Williams – No. 11 CB
Alex Carter – No. 12 CB
Jalen Collins – No. 14 CB
Josh Shaw – No. 1 S
Adrian Amos – No. 2 S
Jaquiski Tartt – No. 4 S
10. For a fantasy football perspective, there were 10 players chosen in the first round. Here they are, ordered by dynasty value:
1. Todd Gurley, RB
2. Melvin Gordon, RB
3. Amari Cooper, WR
4. Kevin White, WR
5. Marcus Mariota, QB
6. Nelson Agholor, WR
7. Breshad Perriman, WR
8. DeVante Parker, WR
9. Phillip Dorsett, WR
10. Jameis Winston, QB
The top four are obvious. I have Mariota at No. 5 because of his rushing ability. He might have a chance to sneak into QB1 territory this year, as he’ll pick up a ton of yardage on the ground. Agholor, meanwhile, will have a high volume in Chip Kelly’s system.
Perriman and Parker were close, but I’m more confident in Joe Flacco’s ability to produce a stud fantasy wideout than Ryan Tannehill’s. Besides, Tannehill loves throwing to Jarvis Landry, so Parker will have to fight for targets. Dorsett will have even more of a challenge.
Winston is last. I’m not saying he’s going to be a bust, but he’s not a running quarterback, so all of his production will have to be based on his passing stats. Given the high amount of interceptions he throws, he may never develop into a fantasy QB1.
My top-25 available players for the second round (with links to their scouting reports):
- Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
- Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
- T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
- Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
- Landon Collins, S, Alabama
- Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
- Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
- Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State
- Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
- Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
- Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
- Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah
- Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia
- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
- Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami
- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA
- Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma
- Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
- Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
- Ali Marpet, C/OT/G, Hobart
- Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
You can see where I have these prospects in my 2015 NFL Mock Re-Draft. I’ll be updating that with some changes in a couple of hours.
National Media – Winners and Losers:
This is a new section I wanted to include in my Day 2 preview. I have thoughts about members of the ESPN and NFL Network broadcast from last night, and which ones were the “winners” and “losers.”
1. Louis Riddick, ESPN – The “Worldwide Leader” initially planned to have Ray Lewis sitting next to Chris Berman’s right. Lewis, of course, was in Baltimore, where he was teaching rioters how to get away with murder. I mean, trying to create peace. Yup.
Lewis has been a mess on ESPN. He looks terrible every time he talks about off-the-field issues, and his grammar is nearly as bad as Emmitt Smith’s was. Having him on the draft broadcast would’ve been disastrous.
Riddick, on the other hand, was very knowledgeable and well-spoken. It was a breath of fresh air from a network that continuously parades illiterate former players onto the set.
2. Britt McHenry and Jenny Dell – McHenry was bashed for her videotaped exchange with the towing company attendant, and I can’t understand why. People who work for towing companies are the scum of the Earth. I was glad that she wasn’t penalized too much, as she provided the ESPN draft telecast with energy, thanks to her perky attitude. I was slightly happier every time she was on TV. Jenny Dell, meanwhile, was the NFL Network’s version of “hot chick sideline reporter.” I think Dell wins that battle against McHenry, but it’s very, very close.
3. Hannah from DirecTV – Speaking of attractive women, I mentioned Hannah from DirecTV quite a bit in my Live NFL Draft Blog. She’s so hot in the commercials that I got distracted and forgot what I was doing every time she popped up on the TV. I’d say she’s one of the five hottest women I’ve ever seen, along with this girl I used to swim with, the current lifeguard at my gym pool, and two specific chicks in pornos.
1. Mel Kiper – Kiper had his usual vampiric haircut, but his analysis has dropped off in recent years. Kiper forgot to include Vic Beasley in a recent mock draft, and during the broadcast, he talked about how there were no offensive linemen worth taking when the Giants were on the board – despite actually mocking Ereck Flowers to New York in his final update!
Kiper was also constantly cut off from speaking throughout the evening. That was emblematic of how irrelevant he has become. All of us draft analysts owe Kiper big time for helping popularize the NFL Draft, but he’s nothing more than a fossilized relic now.
2. NFL Network Gold Carpet – What the hell was this all about? Who does the NFL Network think is watching the draft, 60-year-old women? No football fan cares about what sort of clothes and shoes prospects were wearing. If the NFL Draft happened to be a mass spectacle like the Super Bowl, I could understand it, but there’s no one watching it and thinking, OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE HE WAS WEARING THOSE SHOES WITH THAT JACKET OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!
3. Deion Sanders – Deion does some fun stuff, but he’s awful most of the time. He seldom takes his job seriously and is often unprepared for broadcasts. He’s also a terrible interviewer. Look at the four “questions” he asked Shane Ray:
1. “Give me the feeling…”
2. “You’re playing with Peyton Manning!”
3. “Did you get any advice from guys like Michael Sam who you played with a year ago?”
4. “You’re excited?”
What the hell is that? One, two and four are effectively the same “question,” and why is No. 3 relevant at all? Why would Ray seek out Sam’s advice? It’d be one thing if Sam made a team and played in the league, but Sam is currently out of the NFL. What’s Ray going to ask Sam, exactly?
2015 NFL Draft Mailbag:
Here are various 2015 NFL Draft-related questions I received on Facebook and my responses to them:
From Brennan S.
Who do the Dallas Cowboys draft in Rd 2 based on their first pick? Do you see us trading up or down?
–> I could see the Cowboys moving up. In fact, Jerry Jones said he thought about doing so to land Byron Jones. Dallas is going to look at the defensive line and running back positions. I could see Randy Gregory being the pick if he falls.
From Alex C
Where will Dorial Green Beckham end up and what round?
–> I think he goes in Round 2. I have the Rams taking him in my 2015 NFL Mock Re-Draft.
From Roger S.
In Dan Quinn’s defense, do you see Beasley rushing the passer as a defensive end like John Abraham, or an outside linebacker like Von Miller?
–> He’s going to play the LEO position, which is a hybrid defensive end-linebacker. This is an important position in Dan Quinn’s defense, and Vic Beasley fits perfectly into it.
From Jesse Fritsch
It’s kind of annoying that you run a football website and you still fail to grasp simple things. You were critical of the Chargers for trading when the teams in that area weren’t going to draft Melvin Gordon. How do you know that multiple teams weren’t trying to trade up in that area of the draft? Sure the Texans weren’t going to pick Gordon. But it’s highly possible a couple of other teams could have hopped in ahead of the Chargers, a team known to like Gordon. This is such a simple concept to understand. I just don’t understand how you can’t grasp it.
–> It’s kind of annoying that you e-mail me and fail to read what I wrote. There was no way the Texans were moving their pick because the player they coveted, Kevin Johnson, fell to their laps. If you think there was a bidding war for San Francisco’s pick for the right to jump Houston for Melvin Gordon, you are sadly mistaken.
From Dan B.
How long until Chip Kelly is out of Philly?
–> I’ll give it two years. Some major college program will come calling with a huge offer, and Kelly won’t be able to turn it down – especially after realizing that he doesn’t have what it takes to be an NFL general manager and coach.
From Riaz D.
Should it worry Cowboy fans that Byron Jones was projected a 7th rounder back in January? Players don’t get better in 3 months, regardless of what the Combine tells us
–> The media may have projected Jones as a seventh-rounder, but NFL personnel did not. Jones was pegged as a second-round prospect prior to his amazing Combine performance. If he was a reach, he was only a very slight one.
From Jarrod W.
Would you take any of the top remaining RBs in the top of the second or wait for value later?
–> There’s so much depth at the position that I would wait. That said, T.J. Yeldon will go early. Perhaps Tevin Coleman and Ameer Abdullah will as well.
From Mark H.
Is Dallas going to try and get Abdullah or Duke Johnson or try and trade for AP?
–> The Peterson trade isn’t happening. Both of those running backs make sense. I know the Cowboys like Jay Ajayi as well, but that was before the injury came to light.
From Travis A.
Will Miami target offense or defense after snagging Parker in Round 1? Do you think a RB is in play or were they just in love with Gurley?
–> I think they go linebacker in the second round. Running back is still in play, but other positions have priority. It was mostly Gurley love.
From Cory B.
With Tennessee going Mariota do you think they’ll target DGB or Jaelen Strong at No. 33? Tackle is probably a strong option as well but Mariota needs weapons and I’m still very iffy on Justin Hunter. I understand they need some CB depth but with the signing of Cox I think they can wait until round 3-4 do to so on that.
–> Jaelen Strong is in play at No. 33. They like Ronald Darby as well, so they could go in that direction. I’m not overly confident in that projection though because Tennessee has so many options it’s currently mulling at the moment.
From Dan T.
Will Philly trade up for Jake Fisher?
–> I could see it. They like him, and I’ll be mildly surprised if he makes it to their pick in the middle of the second round after there was buzz about him going in the first frame.
From Michael D.
Plenty of talent at positions of need for Oakland, who should they be targeting in Round 2, Gregory, Kendricks, Collins, or the other Collins?
–> Those all make sense, just as long as it’s not the third Collins. Eric Kendricks is my pick, but there are tons of options.
From Joey B.
Where does Atlanta go with their second pick? The offense could use a couple playmakers, but I think they need to go defense. My logic is they still have a top 10 offense at this point. That offense is 3 years removed from what should have been a super bowl appearance. While a new TE or RB may look good, that defense is so bad, they need. I’m an FSU homer, so I think they could use Goldman, Darby, or Williams. I also think LB is a huge need for them. Hell, even one of the Collins(Jalen and Landon) are good thoughts.
–> Check out the SPARQ list I posted above. The Falcons will take one of those players. I think it’s either Maxx Williams or Ali Marpet.
From Bruno B.
Is Andrew Luck destined to have the same course of Peyton Manning (tons of individual stats, no competitive defense)? Still cant believe they took a wideout.
–> The Phillip Dorsett pick was a surprise, but to be fair, the Colts added some defensive talent in free agency. Trent Cole and Kendall Langford were both solid acquisitions.
From Xavier P.
Would Randy Gregory be worth it for the Jets? They still need an edge rusher and if someone who was considered top 10 and probably is talent wise is still on the board should they pull the trigger or should they build up the offense with Jaelen Strong, Devin Smith, or TJ Yeldon?
–> Gregory is worth the risk in Round 2. He’s a top-five talent, but there are teams that believe he won’t be in the league in five years. Still, I’d take a gamble on him atop the second round.
From Collin D.
What do you think are the positions with the most depth after round one?
–> Running back, receiver, edge rusher are the top three.
From Phillip H.
Is KC going to throw the football in 2015?
–> Sure. They just won’t throw it into the end zone.
From Tim H.
Any chance Jalen Collins is still around when Eagles pick in Round 2?
–> Sure. But the question is: Will Chip Kelly draft him even though he didn’t play in the Pac-12?
How stupid are the Bills for drafting the RB they will in the 2nd round?
–> Pretty stupid. But not as stupid as they’ll be for drafting one of the lame quarterbacks.
From Joey Y.
Is your favorite part of the draft how the fans boo the hell out of Roger Goddell eveytime he walks up to the podium? Because it’s my favorite part.
–> Absolutely. Goodell is such a douche.
From Derek T.
Can you order Landon, Jalen, and La’el? First, in expected draft order, and second, by coolness of first name.
–> You have the expected order correct. In terms of coolness: La’el, Landon and Jalen. I’m a fan of the apostrophe in the first name. In fact, I’m thinking about legally changing my name to Walt’er.
From Matt W
How/Why did Goodell screw up Marcus ‘Super’ Marioto’s name as bad as he did?
–> Two possibilities: A) Roger Goodell has no soul and doesn’t care about pronouncing names correctly. B) He had the Mr. Roboto song stuck in his head. Domo arigato, Marcus Marioto.
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