The first round of the 2015 NFL Draft is in the books, and it certainly was an eventful night. The night opened with the drafting of a pair of Heisman winners, but it was really the Wide Receiver show Thursday night -- as 6 deep threats were taken in the first 32 picks. Since Rounds 2 and 3 are just hours away, let's get to it.
Here is your first round breakdown:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St.
With the Seminoles campus just 275 miles away from Raymond James Stadium, there really was no way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not take Jameis Winston. It was obvious they were going to take a quarterback with the top selection, but they could not pass up on the 2014 Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston. If Mariota becomes a pro-bowler in the sport, they can live with it, but if they passed on the hometown Winston and he became a top quarterback, there is no way they could live that down with their fan base. He knows how to win from behind and will now join a team that lost many close games in the final drive. With targets such as Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, he should have some fun this season throwing to that duo.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
There is already dissention on the Titans roster from this move. Zach Mettenberger’s agent made it publicly known that if the team drafted Mariota, his client would want to be traded out of town. Mettenberger, a 6th round pick in last years draft, started six games last year, throwing for 1,412 yards with a 59.8 completion percentage. He also went 0-6 as a starter. With Jake Locker retiring, the need for another quarterback needed to be met in the draft, so why not take the reigning Heisman Trophy winner? Mariota can throw and he can run. He won’t have a lot of time to do either with this offensive line, so he will need to learn how to get rid of the ball quick.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Donte Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida
The Jaguars needed help all over. They need new players on their offensive line and in their secondary, but I personally felt the biggest need was in the backfield. Denard Robinson is a nice back, but he isn’t a number one running back. They did pick up Bernard Pierce in the off-season, so perhaps they are comfortable with these two carrying the ball. Fowler is a monster, and playing with Paul Posluszny in the 4-3, he is going to give offensive coordinators headaches this season. Fowler had 8.5 sacks last year to go along with 15.5 tackles for loss.
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Raiders are always the most fun to follow on draft day, but this year they took the obvious choice and leaving the ridicule out of their selection. Needing a wide receiver anyways, Amari Cooper was the best player on the board, and possibly the best in the draft. Quarterback Derek Carr got a big present Thursday, getting a smart, studious football player who runs excellent routes and has solid hands. He joins James Jones, Michael Crabtree and Andre Holmes to give Carr no reason to not put up points in the air.
5. Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
The Redskins drafting in the first round? Does that mean they are finally out of the RGIII draft shadow? Well, with the injury prone quarterback still taking snaps, Redskins management has no choice but to protect him, so they went with a 2014 AP All-American and Outland Trophy winner (nation’s top interior lineman). Washington gave up the second most sacks in the league last year, so this position really was important for this team to address. I’m just not sure if they needed to do it here, and if Scherff was worth a fifth overall pick.
6. New York Jets – Leonard Williams, DE, USC
The Jets still need a quarterback, same song and dance. Instead, they decided to go with Leonard Williams to add to already impressive defense. Williams, the best defensive player in the draft, wasn’t expected to be here at the 6th pick, so you can imagine the Jet’s mouths were watering when they saw the Redskins pass on him. A 6’4”, 302lb edge rusher who had 48 tackles and 7 sacks for USC last year, Williams was certainly the best player available. With the top two quarterbacks already gone, this was really a solid no-brainer pick.
7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
No player looked more disappointed in the team that drafted him than Kevin White. The Bears will send White out across from Alshon Jeffrey to make a pretty dynamic duo, however they still have Jay Cutler throwing the ball, which is likely the reason for White’s reaction. The Bears should have drafted a defensive player in this position, perhaps Shane Rey or Vic Beasley. White should be a good professional player, but so wasn’t Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall and the team still only won 5 games with them hauling in passes.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
This is one of the best picks in the draft so far. The Falcons had the least amount of sacks in the league last season and they immediately fill that need with Vic Beasley. The franchise made no secrets that they needed a pass rusher, so when the 246-pound edge monster was available, it must have taken them all of five seconds to give the commissioner their pick. He had 13 sacks to lead the ACC. There wasn’t an offensive lineman who could block him in college, and with his frame and speed, there might not be many at the next level that can either.
9. New York Giants – Eric Flowers, OG, Miami
37 bench press reps will immediately gain attention from NFL teams, and that is exactly what Flowers did. The 6’6”, 329-pound lineman was a 2nd-team All ACC player who fills a need the Giants have. It was either a lineman or a pass rusher for the G-Men and with Williams and Beasley already gone, they went with a pro-ready lineman.
10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Uh, what? Don’t the Rams still have Trey Mason, Benjamin Cunningham and Zac Stacy? I know Todd Gurley is a major talent, but the Rams have other needs. They could have gone with a lineman, or had their choice of corners or safeties. All that needs to be said about this pick came from this tweet sent out @ZSTACY_ (Zac Stacy): Yikes.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
This probably should have been St. Louis’ pick (still scratching my head, as is Stacy), but the Vikings get a steal with Waynes. Minnesota had a major void in the secondary and what they got in this 3rd-team AP All-American is one of the best young press corners. Going up against Calvin Johnson and Jordy Nelson twice a year in their division, they need a strong corner to step up on the line and cause some chaos. Waynes will do that with confidence. He had 46 tackles and 3 interceptions. He is so fast that receivers in college rarely got past him in coverage.
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
The Browns could have used a wide receiver or linebacker, but instead went with nose tackle Danny Shelton. He could step right in and start on a unit that is the NFL’s reigning 32nd-ranked run defense. With a big frame, 6’2”, 339-pounds, this interior defender should clog up the middle consistently. What happens outside of the holes he covers is still an issue.
13. New Orleans Saints – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
There is a reason why quarterback Drew Brees is in all of these commercials taking Nyquil to fall asleep at night. Constantly under pressure and never able to take the time to survey the field, Brees should take a sigh of relief and sleep easy tonight. The run game was miserable last year, and so was the team. The Saints go as their offense goes, and Andrus Peat will help them take the next step in a bad division. A 6’7” 313-pounder tackle that has played against some of the best pass rushers in collegiate football, Peat should step right in and give the line help.
14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Ryan Tannehill was sacked more than any other quarterback in the league last year. The team desperately needed offensive line and linebacker help, but instead they went with big receiver DeVante Parker to play alongside Kenny Stills. He averaged almost 18 yards per catch in college and with 6’3” height, he will have advantage on jump balls over anyone covering him. I still think they should have gone lineman here however.
15. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
The Chargers wanted Gordon so badly, they traded into this spot with the San Francisco 49ers to get him. With Danny Woodhead often injured and Brandon Oliver an iffy risk as a full-time starter, the Chargers took the best available running back. Gordon put up crazy numbers last year in Division-1 and should get some touches right away. The offensive line held up last season for Oliver to have good running games, but now they improve the ball carrier, which should help the offense.
16. Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
The Texans have always valued defense in the draft and they followed their trend this year. With JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jadeveon Clowney on the line attacking the quarterback, Houston needed to bring in a pass defender for their secondary. They got a solid one in Johnson. He ran a 4.52 40-yard dash but is a fifth-year senior, so he is joining the league three years later than most. He is good in coverage but sometimes not aggressive enough on the line. That will change with this team.
17. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
This is the pick they got from San Diego who they traded down two spots with. After an 8-8 campaign, they need help everywhere so it’s hard to pick where they should start. They could use a solid quarterback to put pressure on Colin Kapernick, and also need help on both sides of the line. They decided to go with the 6’7”, 292-pound defensive lineman who had 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks for Oregon last season. He isn’t the best available, which it seemed like the 49ers would have gone with to fill their many holes.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Remember the Chiefs offense last year? It was Jamaal Charles and Kniles Davis with a little of Alex Smith handing the ball off. The wide receivers were just decoys, as proven by the zero touchdowns. With Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker off the board, it was time to switch directions to a secondary pick for a team who could use some strength in the defensive backfield. He had some off field issues at Washington that kept him from playing in college, but if there is any coach who can keep him level headed, it’s Andy Reid. During the last two seasons, he only allowed 38% of the passes his way in the Pac-12. The Chiefs need someone who can force turnovers, and they got that with this pick.
19. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving, C, Florida St.
The Browns got this pick from the Buffalo Bills last year, which was used to take Sammy Watkins. It’s believed that Erving will play either Right Guard or Left Tackle in the pros after snapping the ball to Jameis Winston in college. This was a head scratching pick seeing that the Browns already have Alex Mack, which means Erving will play a different position than what he is use to. Seems like a risk to make on a rookie. With the top wide receivers off the board, I still think they should have gone linebacker or defensive lineman.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
The Eagles went offense this year and selected Nelson Agholor to replace Jeremy Maclin. In three years as the head coach, Chip Kelly has now selected 8 players from his old conference, the Pac-12. Agholor fills a need in the offense as he caught 179 yards for 2,571 yards and 20 scores in two years. He will see a lot of passes in this offense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
The Bengals could use a cornerback or a safety. They really need whatever will get them past Wild Card Weekend, which might not be possible to address in the draft, rather on the sidelines, but regardless, they decide to select an offensive tackle in Cedric Ogbuehi. Only five months removed from an ACL tear, this may be a pick for the future. With Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith returning to the line, Ogbuehi will be able to take his time learning the offense and making sure he is healthy enough to step into a professional game.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
The Steelers got younger on defense by selecting Bud Dupree, a 270-pound linebacker who played four years of SEC football. While they should have addressed their secondary, now that Trop Polamalu and Ike Taylor have retired, I do see how Dupree was hard to pass up. The common word used to describe this linebacker is, “freakish,” due to his massive size, solid strength and fast feet. He should get snaps immediately and be a factor in the defensive planning.
23. Denver Broncos – Shane Rey, DE, Missouri
The Broncos traded up to get their defensive end. Rey fell to the 23rd pick because of his recent marijuana troubles, so in a weird coincidence, he is brought into a state that legalizes the plant. Rey finished his career with 19 sacks and is coming off a season as the SEC defensive player of the year. He will team up with Von Miller to form a very athletic pair of pass rushers.
24. Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
The Cardinals need help on defense. They could have addressed that on the line or in a linebacker, but instead they went with an offensive tackle. He played in 29 career games in the SEC but is coming off a MCL sprain. That always makes for a head-scratching pick in the first round. His main job next year will be to make sure Carson Palmer stays upright.
25. Carolina Panthers – Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
Carolina desperately needed a pass rusher this off-season and what they got in Thompson is a hybrid player who can perform as a safety or a linebacker. The Panthers were the only team who worked out Thompson, so that makes me wonder if they could have got him in the next round. Current Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is recovering from three torn ACLs so Thompson fills an immediate need.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
Perriman joins a lineup that features Steve Smith Jr. and Marlon Brown as current starters, with back ups Michael Campanaro and Kamar Aiken who less than stellar. With all of the money they have invested in quarterback Joe Flacco, they need to keep him happy. The best way to make your signal caller smile is to overload him with weapons to pass to.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
The Cowboys always love a flashy story. Byron Jones blew everyone away at the NFL Scouting Combine with a record setting broad jump of 12’3” and a vertical leap of 44.5 inches. He also ran a 4.36 40-yard dash. A freakishly athletic and fast athlete, he could join the secondary at either position, as he played both at UConn.
28. Detroit Lions – Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke
One of the best interviews after his selection, Tomlinson left everyone in awe with his humility and pure happiness for being drafted. An offensive lineman who plans on being a doctor when his football career is over, Tomlinson can move the biggest of pass rushers back across the line of scrimmage. He did not allow a single sack in the past two seasons.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
Do they love Andrew Luck in Indy or what? With weapons such as T.Y Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Vincent Brown, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Daniel Herron and the recent additions of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, Luck has more targets than ever before. They don’t want to just outscore opponents, but sprint by them on the scoreboard. With 4.33 speed, Dorsett has the ability to get past the cornerbacks in a flash.
30. Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall, S, Arizona St.
A versatile defender who can play in the nickel or cover in the slot, Randall joins a solid secondary in Green Bay. He is the best cover safety in this draft and can fill in at the corner position if needed. He was a 1st-team All-Pac-12 this season with 106 tackles.
31. New Orleans Saints – Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
With their second selection in the first round, the Saints use the pick they got in exchange for Jimmy Graham to select linebacker Stephone Anthony. A 6’3”, 243-point linebacker, Anthony led the Clemson Tigers with 90 tackles. Not bad for a guy playing alongside Vic Beasley.
32. New England Patriots – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
What do you do when Vince Wilfork is no longer with the franchise? You draft his replacement. Brown is a 6’2”, 319-pound interior defensive-lineman with fast hands and solid moves. He was expected to be drafted well before the final pick of the first round, but the Patriots stayed put and got their man in the final pick of the round. In the past three seasons, his sack totals have risen from 0 to 2 to 6. 5, showing improvement every year. He led the Longhorns in sacks, tackles and tackles for loss. You can imagine Bill Belichick’s smile when the Colts passed on Brown, who they should have taken, and left him here for New England.
Follow Pat on Twitter @_PatSullivan_
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