CHICAGO – With the 2015 NFL Draft officially in the books, many teams addressed key areas in adding quality pieces, while others either reached or made questionable picks.
With further ado, here are the INSCMagazine’s 2015 NFL Draft winners and losers.
Tennessee Titans: Besides landing perhaps the best quarterback prospect in the draft in Marcus Mariota, Tennessee took a big gamble on talented—yet troubled—former Missouri wide receiver in Dorial Green-Beckham. Combine that with a young nucleus of talent that includes Bishop Sankey, Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright, and you make have the makings of a dark horse. GRADE: A-
Atlanta Falcons: It looks like rookie head coach Dan Quinn has a Seattle-type of plan in drafting pass rusher Vic Beasley, cornerback Jalen Collins will help the Falcons pass defense in a division that features Drew Brees, Cam Newton and top overall pick Jameis Winston. The Falcons got two potential steals in the third round in running back Tevon Coleman and slot wideout Justin Hardy. The addition of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett adds some nice beef up front. GRADE: B+
Cleveland Browns: It wasn’t flashy or sexy as last year’s draft, but it looks like Cleveland came into the draft with a clear-cut plan to build from the inside out and fortify the lines.
The selections of Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton and Washington State defensive tackle Xavier Cooper will help fix the NFL’s worst defense against the run. The selection of former Florida State center Cameron Erving is due to his versatility, and as insurance for when either Alex Mack or Mitchell Schwartz leave in free agency.
While they passed on taking a QB, the selection of former Washington State wideout Vince Mayle could turn out to be a steal, along with former Oregon Duck All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who was a projected first-rounder before suffering a knee injury.
Cleveland also landed a real gem in former Miami (FL) running back in Duke Johnson, as he will contribute immediately as a third-down specialist and punt returner. GRADE: B+
Jacksonville Jaguars: The OTHER AFC South team that had a really good draft in the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed the successful Seattle blueprint of adding an edge rusher in Florida product Dante Fowler Jr. and weapons around second-year QB Blake Bortles in Florida State wideout Rashad Greene and Alabama tailback T.J. Yeldon: GRADE: B
New York Jets: After having one of the top overall prospects in the entire draft in USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams out of USC, Gang Green adding a needed vertical threat in former Ohio State wideout Devin Smith and a developmental quarterback in Baylor standout Bryce Petty. After making two draft-day trades for WR DeVier Posey and RB Zac Stacy, the Jets could be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC East. GRADE: B
Philadelphia Eagles: No Marcus Mariota, but Nelson Agolohor, Eric Rowe and Jordan Hicks? With all the pre-draft hype and rumors surrounding them offering players and picks for Mariota, to come away without the former Heisman Trophy winner is very disappointing. GRADE: C
St Louis Rams: It’s one thing to take a running back, freshly removing from ACL injury in Todd Gurley, but to take him at No.10, then deal one of your better runners in Zac Stacy is a real head-scratcher. St Louis also reached for former Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion in the third round, when he could have easily been had in either the fourth or fifth. Grade: C-
Carolina Panthers: While the selection of former Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson is a quality one, the pick of former Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess is a bit of a head-scratcher when the likes of Devin Smith were available in giving them more of a vertical downfield threat. Grade: C-
Dallas Cowboys: Kinda hard to not feel curious about why the Cowboys didn’t take a running back in the late rounds to replace DeMarco Murray. While I can understand their logic with both Gurley and Gordon off the board, but unless the injury-prone Darren McFadden has a proverbial metamorphis in 2015-16, Dallas will regret passing on the likes of Tevon Coleman and Duke Johnson.
Lastly, the selection of troubled–yet talented–edge rusher in Randy Gregory is a big gamble, considering the recent issues with Greg Hardy.: Grade: D