The Gridiron Gentlemen 2015 NFL Draft Awards
It’s time to hand out some paper plates for the 2015 Gridiron Gentlemen Draft Awards or as we call it, the ‘we got the End of Season paper plate awards in a buy one get one free from Wilkos’ promotion. So yes it’s time to hand out some of the coveted Gentlemen’s paper plates. The crowd are in, so let’s get this started!
The “Uh-Oh that Division Just Got Better” Award
The NFC West
There was a reasonably short list for this one. I liked what the NFC South did, but the Panthers pretty much ruined it (more on them later), I liked the NFC East, but the Cowboys refusal to draft a running back makes me think twice here. The AFC North were in the running, but the Browns aversion to wide receivers in the earlier rounds has me scared. In the end I looked at a division that has previously been dominant, but has lost a lot of key pieces. I feel that all the teams in this division did a great job of replenishing needs or in the case of the Rams developing an identity that makes them genuine challengers in a strong division. The Cards and Niners took hard hits over free agency, but managed to make some moves to reload (pun definitely intended there Niners fans) and hopefully stay relevant. My one concern was that everyone seemed to give the Seahawks a standing ovation for making moves that other teams would have got crushed for.
The Gordon Gekko Market Traders Award
San Francisco 49ers
It feels like every year they turn a handful of picks into a vast selection of new players, truly treating picks like currency. The Niners took no time to make a move in this draft, switching places with the Chargers so they could pick Melvin Gordon. The Niners then made the same pick they were always going to make, but with an additional 4th rd. pick this year and a 6th next year. The Niners continued through the later rounds and ended up with a total of 10 picks, along with a couple extra for next year. Greed is certainly good for San Francisco.
The Ending of Lost Award for an Anti-climactic Moment
The Entire 1st Round
Anyone that just looks at the text in bold here won’t really get that whilst I do believe the 1st round was anti-climactic, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. The problem really comes down to what our expectation levels were and why they were as high as they were. Put simply we all bought into the hype. We all believed that Rivers would be a Titan or that Chip would bet the house to bring in his beloved QB. Instead the Titans did what they’ve always done which is avoid controversy. Now if you ask me I’d have bitten Chip Kelly’s hand off to do the rumoured trade. Rolled with Mettenberger for a year, given him a chance to prove himself which I believe he’s earned and if it all backfires pick up a QB next year. But the truth is none of us know what’s coming round the corner next year. The QB situation has been nothing short of a drought since Andrew Luck, so what’s to say that there’s a better player than Mettenberger on the market. Also there comes to a point where as the Titans front office you realise that you might want a player that actually sells jerseys. Who else is on that team that can sell jerseys like Mariota will? The Titans will be a team we all watch, whether they’re a train wreck or a surprise success. Maybe if Mariota succeeds in Tennessee, Ruston Webster and Ken Whisenhunt, might be allowed back next year. Jay Ajayi’s drop to the 5th round was in the running for this award too, after a month of non-stop hype on both sides of the pond, but the big story was that nothing really unexpected happened in a first round that had endless potential for trades.
The RG3 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion
Dante Fowler, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
There is very little I can say except for, look at the shoes. The Shoes have become something of an obsession to me and I’m now wondering if people would question my plan to take out a £7000 loan to improve my “shoe game” at work. Seriously Google them, they are unreal.
The Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper Award
Nate Boyer, LS , Seattle Seahawks
He may not have got drafted, but the 5’11, 34 year old long snapper became a nice story throughout the draft. Nate had been a Green Beret and a relief worker before deciding to go to college at the University of Texas to fulfil his dream of playing American Football, despite having never played. Eventually he took on the role of long snapper, which he excelled at and soon after the draft was offered a chance to compete for a spot on the Seattle Seahawks roster. I’m not one to get involved in stories like this, but the fact is he came across as a pretty genuine guy that has put nothing but the most into everything he’s done, so I’m genuinely happy for him. It’s also nice that something that initially started as a joke section, is something I get to take a little seriously.
The Trapping Your Thumb in a Car Door “That’s Going to Hurt Award”.
Carl Davis DE/DT, Baltimore Ravens
Davis was a player that I was aware of, but had in all honestly I never thought to look up any footage. From what I understood, when he played well, he was on fire but seemed to lack motivation. It was also said that despite his size, he’s not a 3-4 nose, more of a defensive end and can struggle with bigger interior linemen. Anyway yesterday thanks to trending on the twitters, I took some time out to look at what he could do and wow. He’s 320 pounds of pure arms and muscle that busts open back fields and hits like a freight train. If the Ravens can get the most out of him expect a lot of scared looking QBs in the AFC North.
The Oceans 11 Steal of the Draft Award
Grady Jarrett, NT, Atlanta Falcons
Grady Jarrett was a player I fully expected to see off the board in the 2nd/3rd round in a league that seemed to be crying out for bigger inside tackles. But for some reason he dropped all the way to the 5th, leaving the Falcons with a great opportunity to add him to a roster that already contained fellow Clemson star Vic Beasley. The Falcons defence has crazy depth to it now, something it has been lacking for a long time.
The Ikea Instructions “Head-scratcher” Award
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts
I have had several arguments about this one… The Colts in my opinion are an average team that is brought into relevance by their QB who could be the best in the league (not saying he is over-protective Packers fans, I’m saying could), every year they make the playoffs because they’re good enough to win a bad division. Now they’ve spent a fortune bringing in players that are ready to make that one final push to the Super bowl. Just they need to address the O-line and bring in players that can stop the run. With the 1st pick they could have snagged a number of players that instantly make the team better in areas they desperately need to get better, Jake Fisher is the player that springs to mind or Eddie Goldman on defence. Instead they add a wide receiver that will create more questions than answers. The Colts in the end didn’t select an offensive lineman till the 7th round. This means they have to continue with having multiple tight end sets or having 6 linemen on the field, limiting them to fewer receivers, which means that something has to give. They can’t give regular reps to Hilton, Dorsett, Johnson and Moncrief, if they have to load the box to make up for poor line play. The main issue I have with this is that Andre Johnson has never been in an ideal situation. He was told by the Texans that he shouldn’t be expected to catch more than 40 balls this year, so he took his talents to the Colts and Andrew Luck. Now he’s competing with 3 other wide outs and a pair of dynamic tight ends for catches. There is a chance he catches less than 40 balls for the Colts. Andre Johnson loses and by not addressing an area of need, giving the Colts more of a chance to bring dynamic playmakers on the field, they lose. My final word on this is, I like Dorsett. I think he’s a burner, but with the right pieces I think this team could have been a Super bowl contender.
The Oakland Raiders ‘Ignoring All Your Needs’ Award
There were a few contenders for this. Cleveland we’re nearly winners thanks to once again simply refusing to pick a receiver despite having the worst group in the NFL, but I liked the players they picked up. The Vikings were up there with their refusal to address the O-line until they had a lucky escape picking up a steal in T.J Clemmings and because they addressed some other serious needs. Also the Cowboys constant belief that they didn’t need a running back had me shaking my head a lot, but I gave them a pass simply because there is a chance that Randle could run for 1500 yards behind that O-line. In the end I settled on the Panthers, who did draft a much needed offensive lineman in the 4th, but ignored something that is a priority for a team that had both Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton suffering from injuries that could have seriously held them back throughout the season. I’m saying this as potentially Shaq Thompson’s biggest fan, that was the wrong choice in round 1. This team could be pretty darn good, simply by adding some power on the line. Instead we’re destined for another injury riddled season for their elite running back and dynamic QB. This team ran on the spot.
The Harlem Globetrotters Award for Showing Off
Green Bay Packers
This was a tossup between the Bengals for adding so many young linemen or the Packers for adding a backup QB. In the end I went with Green Bay’s addition of a not-at-all needed back up QB in Brett Hundley. We get it Green Bay, you’re perfect (let’s put the bitter Bears fan back in the box).
The Tom Brady “Do You Know He Went In the 6th Round?” Award for Drafting Excellence
I’m going to build this up a bit… Despite spitting venom over a lot of the team’s actions in the draft, there were a few teams that I thought handled themselves excellently. The Falcons I already mentioned with the addition of some key defensive pieces and can look to be challengers in the NFC South. That being said I think the way the Buccaneers picked the star QB, then went about upgrading the offensive line is commendable and even the Saints converted a ridiculous amount of draft picks into some much needed depth. The Steelers had a great draft too, with players that fill needs seemingly dropping into their arms, which in the end is one of the reasons they didn’t win the award. The Bears surprised me. When they drafted Kevin White early it felt like they were ignoring a drastic need on defence but the addition of Eddie Goldman completely changed my opinion, along with the addition of Hroniss Grasu, a solid player that can come in and start alongside old teammate Kyle Long. The Jets came very close to winning it. They filled a few needs with some decent picks and brought in a future challenger at QB with Bryce Petty. In the end though 1 team shone for me and that was…
The New York Giants
Probably going to get a bit of heat for this, but hear me out. The only position they didn’t improve really was line-backer, an area that has been long neglected by big blue. with the 1st 3 picks they struck gold in areas that have a need or areas where they’ve lost players over the off-season. The addition of Flowers on offence is the final piece needed on a near perfect offence. Moving up to pick up Landon Collins was a smart move and they’ve now got their big nasty safety. Then managing to pick up Owamagbe Odighizuwa in the 3rd is an absolute steal. The Giants can walk away from this draft believing that they might very well have the best team in the NFC East and maybe one of the best offences in the league.
More on the draft and beyond on this week’s podcast. As always hit us up with your opinions of everything we do, including this post!