Winners, Losers and Many Unanswered Questions from Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft
Day 2 saw me turn change my opinions on a few teams that I had jumped down the throat of yesterday. Unfortunately there was also a number of moves that made me continue to scratch my head.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: On day 1 it was impossible to give the Bucs credit for making the no.1 pick, they found their guy and they drafted him, it’s that simple. In day 2 though they shone, by adding Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet they’ve started to surround their shiny new QB talent and addressed the biggest need which was on the offensive line. Whilst I think they got better, I think they’re 2 offensive tackles away from having a decent line and as Lovie Smith should have learnt with J’Marcus Webb, it’s pretty tough to find a starter at these positions in the later rounds.
Dallas Cowboys: I’ll probably take some stick for this considering they still didn’t draft a running back and they drafted yet another offensive lineman. But the reason I put them in with the winners, is that this is the exact right team to draft Randy Gregory. Dallas over the previous few years has dealt with their fair share of players with “character issues”. It’s easy to forget that some of Dez Bryant’s more prominent traits regularly used to find their way off field, until the Cowboys surrounded him with people that would simply not let him destruct. Rolando McClain struggled to make an impact on both the Ravens and the Raiders, but after being put on the Cowboys roster they managed to get the most out of him, turning him into an integral piece of a defence, helping the Cowboys make the play offs, a unit that many thought could be the worst of all time. Admittedly McClain is not without his issues, but the Cowboys are perfectly set up to deal with players with character flaws. Randy Gregory could very well become an all-time great if the Cowboys can do to him what they’ve done to so many others and keep him on the straight and narrow. Now go get Jay Ajayi in the 4th.
Chicago Bears: Come back to me Bears all is forgiven. My initial issue with the Bears is whether they needed a wide receiver in the 1st rd., which I think was something of a luxury pick. But taking Eddie Goldman to play DT/NT in the early 2nd and Hroniss Grasu, who now gets to line-up next to his old team mate Kyle Long. I like all these moves and it makes me think that maybe drafting Kevin White over Danny Shelton might have been the right move…maybe.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints were my choice for “wow that teams in really bad shape”, award. There is no denying that the moves in free agency were mostly down to getting under the salary cap, although the loss of Jimmy Graham seems to be more and more about future cap hits. So as a result of a number of trades the Saints managed to accumulate a decent amount of draft picks, which I believe they have used very well to address some needs. Andrus Peat tells me that the focus on getting the team young is a priority, with him potentially taking over from Strief and helping improve their run game, which is looking more and more like a focus. But after this I think they truly show that they are trying to future proof this team. The QB pick up is an interesting one. Grayson needs some work, but he could be potentially a replacement for Drew Brees in the future. The best part about it is that they have time to see what they’ve got there. For me the defensive pickups made me believe that the Saints do actually know what they’re doing. New Orleans picked up Stephone Anthony at the end of the 1st, Hau’oli Kikaha in the 2nd and got an absolute steal with P.J Williams in the 3rd, who will probably get most of his work in sub packages. The more I look at this team, the more I think they might have done enough to win a bad division.
Kansas City Chiefs: It’s not been a flashy draft for the Chiefs but they have ticked off a number of needs. Picking up Peters and Nelson at corner is a tad risky, Peters comes with some baggage and Nelson’s kind of short, but they have at least addressed the position in a division filled with half decent QB’s. I also think that both these players hit the jackpot. The amount of QB pressure the Chiefs manage to get is staggering, which could see this pair capitalising on forced errors. Coming into the draft I thought the biggest need this team had was at center, which they addressed by picking up Mitch Morse. Morse is a versatile lineman that can play at all 5 positions, but I would imagine we’ll see him dig in his heals at center. The Chiefs don’t need top receiver play to win games, but it’s an area that needed addressing, which they did with Chris Conley. The Chiefs receiver corps is looking miles better than last year’s group, who might as well have not been on the field. Before I wrap this up though the trait that seemed to resonate with me from a couple of these players is intelligence. It got mentioned a couple of times with Mitch Morse and Chris Conley and is a good trait to have in an offence that does things in a very particular way. Mitch Morse in particular should do very well at center.
New York Giants: What a great draft for this team. I liked the Flowers pick up in the 1st rd. I loved the team moving up to pick up and Landon Collins and was blown away by getting an absolute steal in the 3rd with Owamagbe Odighizuwa. With Flowers alone the Giants put the final piece into an exceptionally potent offence. Then with picks 2 and 3 they filled gaps they had lost in free agency on defence. This team could be very good.
St Louis Rams: I was down on the Rams pick in the 1st, despite Gurley’s immense talent. But picking up linemen with their 2nd and 3rd picks goes a long way to getting me back on board. With 2 picks the Rams offensive line could improve immensely. I’m now on board with the Gurley signing. The addition of Sean Mannion is an interesting one. My explanation for the addition of another QB is simply that the Rams have had their fingers burnt a number of times thanks to QB injury, so I’d imagine they want a decent backup that could challenge Foles for the starting job in the future.
Cleveland Browns: Cleveland have made 5 picks and not one of them is a receiver, in a wide receiver heavy draft. Their no. 1 priority should have been to add a difference making field stretcher, but they haven’t. I like all of Cleveland’s picks but not addressing an obvious need is inexcusable. They didn’t do it last year and they haven’t done it this year.
Jay Ajayi: A lot of hype in this country about Ajayi for obvious reasons. I don’t think many people saw him dropping this far and really it’s a real shame he has. On the plus side a team that still needs a decent running back can get one in the later rounds today. Dallas would be an excellent fit and round off an exceptional draft for them.
Carolina Panthers & Minnesota Vikings: Was I the only person that saw the QBs of these franchises, hit the ground an awful lot? Cam wasn’t healthy for an entire season and Teddy barely had any time to make plays. Both teams will now have to rely on late round picks, if they are to improve at all. As good a draft as I think both teams have had I find the lack of an offensive lineman being drafted between the 2 of them mind boggling.
Tennessee Titans: My questions on this team have moved away from the picks themselves and are now wondering what the dynamic will be. Mariota is a skilled player, but not a shouter, he even comes across as shy. So the Titans then went out and took a risk on an immensely talented receiver with serious off the field issues, in Dorial Green- Beckham. If everything goes well for this team, they could be excellent (on offence at least), if it goes badly they could be a train wreck that we’ll be talking about for years to come.
So after 3 rounds here’s where were I think we’re at. See you tomorrow for my draft wrap up!