Draft King Analysis|
April 30, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Running Commentary on the 2015 NFL Draft
Lou (4:20 p.m. EDT): Round one of the 2015 Draft begins in a few hours, but already there's a tinge of regret for me. At one point yesterday I had removed LSU OL La'el Collins out of my first-round mock. The reason: his 29-year-old pregnant ex-girlfriend was shot and killed earlier this week, and Collins actually left Chicago to go to Louisiana to answer police questions.
Despite this, the prevailing thought was that, since Collins isn't named as a suspect, it shouldn't impact his draft stock. But earlier this afternoon, Jay Glazer reported this:
Agent for LSU's La'el Collins trying to pull him from this draft allowing him time to clear his name then enter Supplemental Draft.
That would be an unprecedented move, and who knows how it will play out, but in short I wouldn't count on the Colts using the Best Player Available mindset when their pick comes up at #29. Alas.
If you're so inclined, check out my past NFL Draft running commentaries and/or live event experiences:
2012 (live event)
With the Bucs holding their plans close to the vest (even though everyone has known for some time that it will be Jameis Winston, barring a colossal surprise) and the Titans listening to would-be trade partners likely until they are actually on the clock, the leaks you sometimes get on the day of the draft aren't happening. Not yet, anyway.
Lou (4:59 p.m. EDT): For all the talk of the Eagles maneuvering to get Mariota, keep in mind this very valuable information from Gil Brandt from last month:
Chip Kelly has been highly unpredictable, but I suspect the chatter of the Eagles looking to make a move involves a different player. We shall see.
Lou (5:02 p.m. EDT): I had a column a few days ago that I ended up scrapping since it kept becoming outdated as I tried to write it. But it included a Draft King throwback I haven't had on here in some time: a reader note.
Lou: I concur that running back is not a top need spot for the Lions, and they would be better off in my estimation by not drafting Georgia RB Todd Gurley in round one. There are a number of quality offensive linemen who will be on the board when Detroit's pick comes up at #23. Or, alternately, they could go with a defensive player like Washington CB Marcus Peters there. Detroit will have some interesting options if they keep the pick.
Lou (5:14 p.m. EDT): So much for La'el Collins making a late exit from the draft. Adam Schefter reports that the NFL has turned down Collins' request to be allowed to move to the supplemental draft. He has first-round talent and it would shock me to see him go outright undrafted, though his situation is clearly a difficult one.
Lou (6:05 p.m. EDT): Rick Stroud reports
that the tentative plan for the Tampa Bay Bucs is to formally introduce its number one pick (Winston) at One Buc Place on Friday at 4 p.m. Some of my Florida State friends in Tampa might be interested in checking that out.
Lou (6:18 p.m. EDT): When did the NFL Draft turn into a fashion show? Only joking -- it's actually pretty cool to see the draft prospects and their families as they arrive.
And, hey, there's Ohio State WR Devin Smith right now on the NFL Network. He didn't crack my final mock, but he's one of those players (like Vic Beasley and Bud Dupree and Benardrick McKinney) who I personally like better than how many rate him.
If there was anything questionable about Smith, I suspect I would have heard the whispers living here in Columbus for the past 11 months. That hasn't happened. He should be a good pro.
Lou (6:24 p.m. EDT): This made me laugh:
Lou (7:20 p.m. EDT): The rumor mill on Twitter is at full tilt, as you might imagine it would be less than an hour out from the start of the draft. Commissioner Goodell is on ESPN right now talking with Chris Berman. The vibe in having the event from Chicago is great, and that's no surprise since Chicago is a great city. I'm not sure it would work this well elsewhere though, and the event loses a slight bit of prestige moving away from Radio City Music Hall. I saw that in person in 2012 -- it's a unique, fun environment in NYC.
Lou (7:27 p.m. EDT): The chatter about Marcus Mariota possibly going to the Eagles is picking up. We'll see. ESPN's Bob Holtzman just reported live from Nashville that Philly and Chicago are two teams making a late push. He said the Bears want Jay Cutler to be part of the trade but the Titans have no interest in him. Ouch.
Lou (8:04 p.m. EDT): Wow, indeed.
Lou (8:05 p.m. EDT): Commissioner Goodell just said, "It's time to have some fun." Showtime.
Lou (8:12 p.m. EDT): No surprise at #1 with the Buccaneers drafting Florida State QB Jameis Winston. He's going to be expected to produce right away in Tampa Bay.
Lou (8:31 p.m. EDT): Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (not to be confused with Marcus Marrioto) went to the Titans at #2, though there is talk that he still could potentially be traded. Philadelphia apparently went insane trying to get him. I like Donte Fowler, Jr. going to Jacksonville at #3. He fills a huge need and should be a great fit with the Jaguars.
Lou (8:36 p.m. EDT): So much for Leonard Williams going to Oakland, as the Raiders went with Alabama WR Amari Cooper. He fills a huge need and proved last year that, even when defenses keyed on him and outright gameplanned on how to stop him, he could still get open and produce.
Lou (8:39 p.m. EDT): The slide continues for Williams, with the Redskins opting to stay at #5 and draft Brandon Scherff. Versatile talent, should give Washington a major upgrade to its offensive line. Somewhat surprising that the Redskins didn't trade back, though apparently there were more teams wanting to trade down than trade up in the early going.
Lou (8:49 p.m. EDT): With the Jets landing Williams at #6, their already strong front seven is now going to be even better. I wonder if Vic Beasley will fall to Atlanta at #8? Adam Schefter's segment just now on ESPN hinted that they would be taking a DE/OLB with that pick.
Lou (8:57 p.m. EDT): My pick for the Bears hit with the team drafting White at #7. Such a talented wideout at West Virginia. Will help to fill the Brandon Marshall void. Beasley to Atlanta here makes all kinds of sense.
Lou (9:01 p.m. EDT): And it's Beasley to Atlanta at #8. Filled an obvious need for the Falcons, who didn't have to trade up to get him. I've been a big fan of Beasley for a long time and expect him to be a great 3-4 OLB in Atlanta.
Lou (9:06 p.m. EDT): So much for the whispers of Stanford OT Andrus Peat going to the Giants here at #9, as instead they opt for Miami OT Ereck Flowers. There wasn't much separation among the mid-high offensive line prospects, so this isn't necessarily the stretch that some might believe it to be.
Lou (9:16 p.m. EDT): The big surprise pick by the Rams that was teased by Adam Schefter ended up being Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Makes sense. St. Louis hasn't had an elite RB since Steven Jackson in his prime.
Lou (9:20 p.m. EDT): Hit another one with Minnesota drafting Michigan State CB Trae Waynes. He was seen as the top cornerback prospect by most evaluators, or top two or three at least, and I'm intrigued by what he can do across from CB Xavier Rhodes.
Lou (9:30 p.m. EDT): Cleveland landed a solid defensive lineman in Washington's Danny Shelton at #12, slight bargain pick there relative to some projections. His handshake/hug with Commissioner Goodell nearly ended with the commish taking a New Japan Pro Wrestling strong style suplex. Almost.
It's interesting that, a dozen picks into the draft, there hasn't been a single trade. That was unexpected. It's also not likely to last.
Lou (9:45 p.m. EDT): One pick after Andrus Peat went to New Orleans at #13, it's Miami filling a major WR need with Louisville WR DeVante Parker at #14. And now finally there's a trade with San Diego leapfrogging Houston to move to #15.
Lou (9:57 p.m. EDT): Somewhat surprising that San Diego traded up two spots to land Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon at #15, though they definitely needed a top running back. Houston at #16 taking Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson makes sense, filling a need with a player some considered the top cornerback in the draft.
Lou (11:18 p.m. EDT): One computer crash later, let's go.
Arik Armstead to the 49ers at #17 I like, and at one point I had them matched up at #15. 49ers need all kinds of help so trading down helps them and likely still gives them the guy they wanted at #15.
Kansas City I had heard whispered late might not be taking a wide receiver, and that proved to be true as they took my favorite cornerback in this draft, Washington's Marcus Peters. It's unfair when his story is told and it's not mentioned that his old coach skipped town and his conflict was with newcomers. The guy is super-talented and he will be an excellent addition to the Chiefs.
At #19, Cleveland went with Florida State OL Cameron Irving, who I suspect they will have play guard. I had projected him to the Texans to fill a need at center, but he should be able to fit multiple roles for the Browns. Sensible pick.
USC WR Nelson Agholor going to Philadelphia at #20 ended what was a rumor-saturated day for the Eagles with the player I suspect they've wanted there all along. They clearly pressed hard to try to get Mariota, but when that didn't work it appears they perhaps went back to their standby plan.
At #21, Cincinnati went with Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi, which was a surprise for a guy who suffered a torn ACL just three months ago. The improvements in ACL surgery and rehab made over the past few decades is nothing short of remarkable. When Terry Allen returned from ACL tears in both knees to play again in 1994, it was revolutionary.
Ogbuehi was a prized prospect before he got hurt, and the Bengals obviously held him in high regard.
Pittsburgh at #22 landing Kentucky DE/OLB Bud Dupree was a strong pick for a guy who had a late surge that had me thinking he could be in play as a top-10 pick. Denver traded up to #23 to get Missouri DE/OLB Shane Ray, which led to an explosion of unfunny pot jokes on Twitter with Ray having been arrested earlier this week in Missouri on a marijuana possession charge, something which isn't a crime on the state level in Colorado.
Arizona landing Florida OT D.J. Humphries at #24 was a good value pick and will help the Cardinals at a key spot. My buddy Adam Kelley is a big-time Carolina Panthers fan, and he was very happy that his team picked Washington S/OLB Shaq Thompson at #25. Shaq is a high-talent guy with talents that are difficult to quantify in traditional ways since he has so much versatility.
UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman was a perfect fit at #26 for Baltimore and a player I would have mocked there had I not projected him going earlier. Has that ultra-rare speed that should be a great fit with the Ravens. Dallas going with Connecticut CB Byron Jones at #27 makes sense for a secondary that really needs a boost.
Offensive line was a need for Detroit, who traded back before drafting Duke OG Laken Tomlinson at #28. He fits a need there. Indianapolis going with Miami WR Phillip Dorsett at #29 is sensible but also shows just how deep this draft goes at wide receiver -- not to mention overall demand at the position.
Lou (11:26 p.m. EDT): New Orleans landing Clemson ILB Stephone Anthony at #31 surprised me. Great talent, don't get me wrong, but I didn't think he would be the first inside linebacker selected in this draft.
Lou (11:33 p.m. EDT): And, finally, New England, the most unpredictable of them all. Naturally, they just relax at this spot and have Texas DT Malcom Brown fall right into their grasp, filling a need with the departure by Vince Wilfork in free agency. It was a very Patriots type way to end night one.
For a first round that teased all kinds of surprises and trades, this draft went remarkably close to expected form. Notable undrafted players include Nebraska DE/OLB Randy Gregory, Alabama S Landon Collins, Ohio State WR Devin Smith snd UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks.