11 May 2015 NFL Draft Review – Top Draft Picks
2015 NFL Draft Review – Top Draft Picks
Written by David Eads
EVERYONE and their mom have a draft grades column or a draft day steals. I always have such a strong reaction to us laymen critiquing the pros. They have more tape, interviews, and mountains of other info that we couldn’t possibly get our hands on; they know more than we do. That said, I do think that it’s possible to have an opinion on teams’ drafts. In an effort to infuse more positivity into my life, I’ll stick here with just the picks I like. This is a combination of their fit with the team taking them, when they were taken compared to their talent, and overall, just how good I personally think they will be. I’m just doing through the fourth round as, honestly, it would take far more research than is worthwhile otherwise. Without further ado, my favorite picks of the 2015 draft.
Favorite Pick: Malcolm Brown DT, Texas, Pats, pick 32 (32 overall)
Honorable Mentions: Amari Cooper, Leonard Williams
It’s always a little harder to find great value in the first. Mostly, you’re hoping a guy just sorta gets lost in the shuffle because of not fitting with teams higher up or because of some character issue that freaks teams out. With Brown, it’s the former rather than the latter; Malcolm is married with 2 kids and has nothing indicating that he won’t be an ideal employee. At 6-2, 320, he’s a physical doppelganger for the dearly departed Vince Wilfork and he’ll play the same exact role in this Patriots defense. He produced as highly as you can expect from a nose tackle in college and pretty much everyone expects him to start day one and anchor that D for years to come.
Favorite Pick: Randy Gregory DE, Nebraska, Cowboys, 28(60)
Honorable Mentions: Landon Collins, TJ Yeldon, Eric Kendricks, Jake Fisher
Plenty will have their take on the Gregory (and Shane Ray) situations, so I’ll talk more about the other picks I like in this round. Even so, I was surprised Ray went so high, the Broncos even traded up for him. On the other hand, Gregory, who I think is a much better prospect and who’s weed issues I find easier to handle, dropped to the bottom of the second. He fits well with a Cowboys D that is not as good as it played last year and has needed a pass rusher since Demarcus Ware left town. Jake Fisher is the pick I want to focus on. Honestly, that’s probably my favorite pick but Gregory is just so talented. Fisher went to Cincinnati and was the seventh O-tackle taken (second by the Bengals), but I think he could end up being a long-term starter. The reason I like this pick so much despite the Bengals having two starting tackles and drafting one earlier is that it gives them leverage with their two, current, overrated, free-agent-to-be tackles as well as allowing for Jake and their other rookie tackle to learn on the bench for a year and provide serious depth – this is laying up with a 9-iron instead of trying to fade a fairway wood.
Favorite Pick: Tyler Lockett WR, Kansas St., Seahawks 5(69)
Honorable Mention: Jaelen Strong, Jeremiah Poutasi, Jeff Heuerman
Lockett is a stud, I’m just so confident. He broke every record K-State had for receiving – all set by his dad by the way – and yes, I realize the Big 12 has middle-school defenses, but it’s not like he’s had Stoops or Briles drawing up plays for him. Bill Snyder might be the most underrated coach in college, but he is not known for his revolutionary route schemes. This is mostly about fit though. The Seahawks have never had great playmakers. Golden Tate was good and very talented, but his explosion in Detroit, I think, just shows that the Seahawks are simply a short passing team. It works great for them; Russ is probably the best game manager QB since late 90’s Elway. Now, though, with the addition of Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks can use him for their seep stuff and to clear out the linebackers underneath on passing downs – here is where Lockett comes in. He’s quick and small (YAC machine); he does not drop passes and shows a very mature understanding of routes and body positioning. The slot receiver (and slot corner, for that matter) is fast becoming a legitimate role and with both Lockett and Graham, teams are going to have a really tough time stopping Seahawks intermediate routes.
Favorite Pick: TJ Clemmings OT, Pittsburgh, Vikings 11(110)
Honorable Mention: Jamison Crowder, Clayton Geathers
TJ Clemmings is really talented. There’s a chance he’s the best right tackle in the draft eventually. He’s an athletic specimen who only switched over to offense two years ago. He can road grade and just shove dudes out of the way. His footwork is raw and, therefore, he has issues in pass protection. If the Vikings let him develop and he works hard at the fine details of O-Line work, Minnesota found themselves a guy. Also, shout out to Jamison Crowder, he’s 5-9 if you like him but he is at or near the top of almost every scoring and receiving record in ACC history. He is easily the most prolific offensive player in Duke football’s recent history. Washington grabbed him here and I just have a hard time believing that he won’t figure out how to make a squad in the pros.