Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Grading each team’s 2015 draft
Here’s the Sun Sentinel’s evaluation of how all 32 teams did selecting talent in the 2015 NFL draft:
Dolphins: B The Dolphins picked up three of the draft’s top 75 prospects in WR DeVante Parker, DT Jordan Phillips and RB Jay Ajayi, who was available in the fifth round because of concerns about his surgically repaired knee. If Jamil Douglas becomes a solid starting guard the draft class is headed in the right direction. Bills: C-minus The Bills didn’t have a first-round pick because of last year’s trade which produced Sammy Watkins, but that’s not why the rest of the draft class was underwhelming. Outside of Louisville OG John Miller it is hard to envision any of Buffalo’s picks starting as rookies. Patriots: A-minus The Patriots had 11 draft picks and used many of them to land possible starters. New England’s first six selections — DT Malcom Brown, SS Jordan Richards, DE’s Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers, and O-linemen Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason — could all become immediate contributors. Jets: A The Jets landed the top ranked player in the draft in USC D-lineman Leonard Williams, and will add him to a line that’s already dominant. Ohio State WR Devin Smith is one of this draft’s most dangerous deep threats, so he should stretch the field for whoever ends up playing quarterback for the Jets.
Ravens: B-plus The Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman in the first round hoping he could replace Torrey Smith as the team’s primary deep threat, and Maxx Williams was the draft’s top rated TE. Iowa DT Carl Davis, USC RB Buck Allen and Tennessee State OG Robert Myers are three late-round gems. Bengals: A-plus The Bengals have quietly put together some of the NFL’s better drafts this decade, and 2015 is no exception since offensive linemen Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, TE Tyler Kroft, LBer Paul Dawson and CB Josh Shaw could all become starters in a year or two. Browns: A-plus The Browns drafted more players (12) than any other team, and nine of them could become immediate contributors. There might be four rookie starters in this draft class, and selecting injured Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in the seventh-round was a brilliant move because he can spend his rookie season on IR rehabbing. Steelers: B-minus Half of Pittsburgh’s eight draft picks are boom or bust type prospects. Pass rusher Bud Dupree, WR Sammie Coates, CB Doran Grant, DE Anthony Chickillo and FS Gerod Holliman are all talented athletes, but they each need a ton of coaching to maximize their potential.
Texans: C-plus Houston’s first three picks — CB Kevin Johnson, LB Benardrick McKinney and WR Jaelen Strong — are all potential studs. But the rest of the Texans draft class was fairly disappointing, which is a bit surprising. Colts: C-plus Phillip Dorsett was often compared to TY Hilton in the draft process, and now they are teammates. FAU CB D’Joun Smith has plenty of upside, and Josh Robin- son might be a good compliment for Frank Gore. But the Colts needed a better safety than UCF’s Clayton Geathers, who was selected in the fourth round. Jaguars: A The Jaguars made smart, sound draft decisions with their eight selections. Jacksonville added the best pass rusher in Dante Fowler Jr., and then potentially beefed up the running game by selecting T.J. Yeldon and signing OG A.J. Cann. Titans: D-plus The Titans took too major gambles with the team’s first two picks selecting Marcus Mariota and Dorial Green-Beckham. Both players could become stars, or they could become cancerous elements that kill a regime’s tenure. Tailback David Cobb and C Andy Gallick could be late-round gems.
Broncos: D-plus Putting Shane Ray, who is in the NFL’s drug testing program following a recent citation for possession, in a city where marijuana is legal could be a colossal mistake. Even worse, the Broncos took all eight of their rookies a round or two too early. Chiefs: B Marcus Peters is this draft’s biggest risk-reward player, and OG Mitch Morse, WR Chris Conley and CB Steen Nelson are all solid prospects with a ton of upside. They’ll need to contribute as rookies for the Chiefs to get back to the playoffs. Raiders: A All five of Oakland’s early picks —WR Amari Cooper, DE Mario Edwards Jr., TE Clive Walford, OG Jon Feliciano and LB Ben Heeney — should start at least a couple games as rookies. Chargers: C-plus Tailback Melvin Gordon and ILB Denzel Perryman should become immediate starters, and might be transformative players. But San Diego’s draft class only featured five selections, and the remaining three have journeymen written on them.
Cowboys: C It’s criminal that the Cowboys didn’t select a tailback in the deepest running back class in the last decade. But Dallas got elite pass rusher Randy Gregory at a good price (a second-round pick). Giants: C Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins should become immediate starters, but the rest of this draft class looks like filler, especially Mykkele Thompson, Geremy Davis and Bobby Hart, the day three picks. Eagles: B-minus Chip Kelly added one good offensive player — WR Nelson Agholor — who fits his offense perfectly, and then spent the rest of the draft adding pieces to his lackluster defense. Redskins: A-minus The Redskins didn’t have a sexy draft, but they added plenty of big bodies — Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, Arie Kouandjio, Austin Reiter — that should help the Redskins in the trenches.
Bears: A Five of the Bears draftees — WR Kevin White, NT Eddie Goldman, C Hroniss Grasu, RB Jeremy Langford, FS Adrian Amos — are solid prospects who could easily become the best players at their positions in four years. Lions: D-plus Where are the value picks? The Lions first three selections — OG Laken Tomlinson, RB Ameer Abdullah, CB Alex Carter — were each drafted a round earlier than they should be. Packers: B Green Bay added a coverage FS (Damarious Randall), a CB project (Quinten Rollins), and a QB (Brett Hundley) that all need a season or two of development. But the Packers are a patient organization. Vikings: A The Vikings had 10 draft picks and ended up with seven prospects that should become immediate contributors, if not starters. WR Stefon Diggs might be the best in the batch.
Falcons: A-minus The Falcons first five draft picks — Vic Beasley, Jalen Collins, Tevin Cole- man, Justin Hardy and Grady Jarrett — all have the potential to change the game in a positive way. Panthers: C-plus Carolina’s first two selections — LB Shaq Thompson, WR Devin Funchess — are viewed as some of the draft’s most overhyped prospects. And where’s the O-line help for Cam Newton? Saints: B There are mixed opinions about whether Andrus Peat and Stephone Anthony are worthy of being selected in the first-round, but the Saints drafted two gems (Hau’oli Kikaha and P.J. Williams) later on. Buccaneers: A-minus Tampa Bay’s first five picks — Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander and Kenny Bell — are among the draft’s toughest players at their positions.
Cardinals: C The Cardinals desperately needed to jump start the running game, but didn’t take a tailback till the third round, selecting David Johnson. Arizona’s draft strategy was flawed from the beginning. Rams: B-minus The Rams drafted with the future in mind, selecting Todd Gurley in the first round, and fortifying their offensive line with four newcomers who should push to start in a year or two. 49ers: D The 49ers desperately needed an inside linebacker, and didn’t take one. And plenty of the players San Francisco did select need some polishing because of how raw they are. Seahawks: C—minus It’s bad enough Seattle didn’t have a first-round pick because of the trade to get TE Jimmy Graham, but the Seahawks also made a risky second-round pick (Michigan DE Frank Clark).