Winners, Losers and unanswered Questions from the 1st round of the 2015 NFL draft
The 1st Rd has come and gone and it’s left me with some opinions that I feel I need to get off my chest. So let’s look at the winners and losers of the 1st Rd. As I said these are just my opinions and some of them might be considered a tad controversial, so I’d love to know what you think. It’s also worth noting that I don’t really go into Winston and Mariota, as I feel there isn’t a great deal I can say that hasn’t been said a million times.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree had been shooting up mock drafts over the past couple of weeks, with some even having him in the top 5. The Steelers had a need at edge rusher and apparently were looking at trading up, but as luck would have it Dupree fell into their lap. Dupree is the 3rd straight line-backer drafted in the 1st round by Pittsburgh, with Ryan Shazier having a shortened season thanks to injury last year and the 2013 pick Jarvis Jones struggling to settle in. Dupree is an elite talent that could some much needed youth to the outside of the line.
San Francisco 49ers: It felt as though we always knew the Niners were going to draft Armstead, so in itself it’s a pretty ordinary pick. However managing to trade down and accumulate picks means they get their guy and pick up some draft currency. With Justin Smith hopefully holding off his retirement and the return of Navarro Bowman, the Niners front 7 could still be a force with Armstead now on this team.
New York Jets: I hoped they would go ballsy and pick up Todd Gurley, but when a talent like Leonard Williams falls into your lap you’ve got to take them. Look for New York to line-up in some crazy heavy fronts, with 6-7 big defensive backs on the field. There is a chance Todd Bowles has a better defence here, than he did in Arizona. With defence somewhat squared away look for the Jets to target a running back in the 2nd round.
Receivers: A crazy amount of receivers went off the board as teams try to find a gem like the Giants did with Odell Beckham Jr. No less than 6 receivers went in the 1st round last night making it a good year to be a top receiver. Whether any of them can live up to the crop that we had last year remains to be seen, but there are some interesting prospects that could go straight in as no. 1s.
Cleveland Browns: No trades in the end for Cleveland, but it feels as though the players they wanted fell into their lap. Danny Shelton (12th pick) was someone I liked going to the Bears, a solid nose that could be someone to build a defence around for years to come. You have to think he’ll be a solid hit for this team. Cameron Erving went at 19 and is a player that can start pretty much anywhere on the line, similar to Joel Bitonio who they picked up last year in the 2nd round. Neither of these are flashy picks, but with the trenches seemingly sorted, the Browns can focus their remaining 8 picks on receiver and corner, 2 drastic areas of need.
New York Giants I tend to admire teams that do their own thing not buckling under pressure to pick the player they would be expected to get. The Giants picking up Ereck Flowers makes their offensive line a pretty solid unit, which in turn makes their entire offence look incredibly dangerous. Whether you like their defence or not the Giants offence is set to put up some serious points.
Trades: So I suppose that makes us, the consumer, the loser. We were expecting blockbuster trades and we didn’t see them. Personally I’m glad that teams stuck to their guns and didn’t give into overwhelming pressure to make moves, regardless of my opinions on whether the Titans should have. There’s also the thought that maybe they priced themselves out of the market. The RG3 trade has a lot to answer for.
Zach Mettenberger and Mike Glennon: Whilst the war rooms for both the Titans and the Bucs were high fiving and feeling good about their picks, 2 players will have realised they’ve probably lost their jobs. What is particularly unfortunate with these 2 is that really they haven’t been given much of a chance to prove themselves and even worse have shown themselves to useful when they have played. Glennon has started 19 games and has a QBR of 83.7 , which puts him on the Dalton line. Zach Mettenberger played a total of 7 games, but only started and finished 5 of them. his QBR was 83.4, but heavily skewed by his first game, where he came in as a backup and had a rating of 10. The fact is in every game he started he ranked fairly highly, including a game where he had a rating of 110.2. It seems a shame that these guys might now be doomed to spend the season on the bench, when there’s a few teams out there that could actually utilise these guys.
Teams With Bad Offensive Lines: A pet peeve of mine is when teams ignore obvious needs to go after a flashy player. In this instance I’m looking at the Rams, Colts, Vikings and Panthers. All these teams have QBs that they desperately need to keep on their feet and has historically been an issue. Teddy Bridgewater was thrown around like a rag doll at times last year, Cam couldn’t get healthy, Andrew Luck managed to be productive simply because he’s Andrew Luck and the Rams have Greg Robinson and Roger Saffold, that’s about it. These teams won’t get better this year unless they address the line in the 2nd round.
Andre Johnson: Oh Andre Johnson… Johnson was told by Bill O’Brien and the Texans that he can only expect to catch 40 balls if he stays there, so naturally when he had the chance to join the Colts, with a QB that has the potential to be the best in the league, he jumped at the chance. Even behind T.Y Hilton, you would think he’ll catch more than that and even with a couple of top tight ends, like Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener oh and some budding talent in Donte Moncrief and also the pass catching back in Dan Herron, he still looked like he might have one of his better seasons. However the Colts drafting speedster, Phillip Dorsett, must have him wondering what his role on this team is. The Colts last year lined up with either 6 linemen or multiple tight end sets an awful lot last year, to counteract how bad the offensive line was (which hasn’t got better). This left them often only having 2 wide receivers on the field. So who will that be for this team? There is a good chance Johnson catches less than 40 balls and it breaks my heart a little.
Vic Fangio: Most people are pretty high on the Bears pick and to a certain extent I am, but I am very concerned about what the Bears have on defence. Let’s first look at a unit that has been consistently dreadful over the last couple of years. Then let’s see them change to a 3-4 defence, a scheme that is pretty alien to the Bears. Then let’s look at the pieces they have and it seems that a lot of them don’t really fit. The Bears need to pick up some defensive pieces in the rest of the draft or it could be another long season for a unit that the Bears have historically prided themselves on.
La’el Collins: Just sad more than anything. The truth is I know very little about the situation. What I do know is Collins had a 1st round grade that will be plummeting right now. Not good for someone who has potentially done nothing wrong. Whatever happens it’s a messy situation and someone is unfortunately dead.
Remains to be Seen
Shaq Thompson: I might be the biggest Shaq Thompson fan, earlier in the year I wrote an article on his best fit, which is essentially the way Woodson would line up for the Packers, as kind of a nickel line-backer, that takes some of the effectiveness away from no-huddle offences. No matter how much I rave about him though, he’s a luxury pick up and Carolina have other needs on the offence, not least the line. Carolina better be sure they’ve got a superstar, because they’ve wagered Cam Newton’s health against it.
Brandon Scherff: Not so much a question mark next to his name as I think he’ll probably be fairly effective, but this was a team that had a shot at getting a player with a ridiculous amount of potential that could solidify a defence in a division with 3 dominant offences. As I say I think Scherff will be fine, but I can’t help but feel they should have jumped at Leonard Williams.
That’s it for now, more draft talk tomorrow, enjoy the 2nd round!