Best Pick For Every Team In The 2015 NFL Draft
In this article Football Nation MVP writers Dave Holcomb and Brendan Cassidy team up to examine each team’s best pick in this year’s NFL draft. However, it is important to consider “best pick” doesn’t necessarily mean the “best player” in their draft class. We are looking for the best value in regards to where these players were taken.
Dallas Cowboys: Randy Gregory Round 2, Pick 28 (60th Overall) OLB
Going into the draft Gregory was regarded by many as a sure-fire top ten pick and one of the top pass rushers in this year’s draft. After a failed marijuana test and missing a few meeting with team officials, Gregory’s draft sock plunged. Regardless, of his off the issues, investing a late second round pick in a talent like Gregory is well worth the risk.
Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Rowe Round 2, Pick 15 (47th Overall) FS/CB
Rowe is an extremely versatile player who can play at either free safety or corner at the next level. This was a great combination of value and need for the Eagles who are in need of a major overall in their secondary after having one of the worst units in 2014. Rowe will make an impact as a rookie and should help turn the unit around in 2015.
Washington Redskins: Arie Kouandijo Round 4, Pick 13 (112th Overall) OG
He is a monster of a lineman who is well fourth the fourth round price tag. Kouandijo has the potential to be a very solid guard in this league for many years to come and could develop into one of the best in the league.
New York Giants: Owamagbe Odighizuwa Round 3, Pick 10 (74th Overall) DE
Odighizuwa is an absolute physical specimen who can be a valuable weapon in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. He never quits on a play and should see time in Spanuolo’s ACE package as a rookie and could be the heir apparent to Jason Pierre-Paul if he leaves next year in free agency.
Minnesota Vikings: T.J. Clemmings Round 4, Pick 11 (110th Overall) OT
Before a fracture in his foot was discovered, Clemmings was looked at as a possible top 15 pick. Due to those injury concerns he slid all the way down to the fourth round. He is extremely versatile and can play at either guard or tackle for the Vikings. One of the biggest steals of the draft.
Chicago Bears: Adrian Amos Round 5, Pick 6 (142nd Overall) FS
The Bears get outstanding value here as Amos was projected by many draft pundits to go as early as the second round. He could make an impact immediately as a rookie and could be a game changer with his athleticism and big play making ability.
Green Bay Packers: Quinten Rollins Round 2, Pick 30 (62nd Overall) CB
The Packers continued the overall of their secondary by nabbing the extremely talented Rollins at the end of the second round. While Rollins is raw having played only one year of college football experience, his elite athleticism makes up for it. He was named MAC Defensive Player Of The Year his only year in college football. Rollins may need a little bit of time to adjust to the NFL rigors, but he has the potential to be a star in the league.
Detroit Lions: Gabe Wright Round 4, Pick 14 (114TH Overall) DT
After losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency, defensive tackle was a huge need for the Lions. While some may question waiting until the fourth round to address the need, Gabe Wright was great value and should fit in very well with their defensive scheme. Look for him to get reps along Haloti Ngata as a rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ali Marpet Round 2, Pick 29 (61st Overall) C
Marpet is a mammoth of a prospect that has the making of an elite interior lineman. Had he not played for a division three college, he could have been a first round pick. Marpet dominated the competition at the Senior Bowl and should be a staple on the Buccaneer’s line for years to come.
Carolina Panthers: Daryl Williams Round 4, Pick 3 (102nd Overall) OG
While the Panthers had one of the more disappointing drafts, Williams was their best selection. He fills a major need and should help protect franchise quarterback Cam Newton who was pressured relentlessly throughout 2014.
Atlanta Falcons: Grady Jarrett Round 5, Pick 1 (137th Overall) NT
Jarrett was one of the biggest steals in the draft with many draft pundits projecting him to go as early as the second round. He is a solid fit for Dan Quinn’s defense and should fill in nicely as a 1-gap penetrator in a Falcons defense that is in need of an overhaul.
New Orleans Saints: P.J. Williams Round 3, Pick 14 (78th Overall) CB
While the Saints signed Brandon Browner during free agency, their secondary still needs some work. Williams is a borderline first round talent who fell due to character concerns. He should make an immediate impact as a rookie most likely as a nickel corner.
St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley Round 1, Pick 10 (10th Overall) RB
The Rams were another team who in our opinion had a lackluster draft. While Gurley may have been a bit of a reach at tenth overall especially due to his injury concerns, his talent is undeniable. If he heals properly from his torn ACL we could be looking at a superstar in the making. He is considered the best running back draft prospect since Adrian Peterson in 2007.
San Francisco 49ers: Eli Harold Round 3, Pick 15 (79th Overall) OLB
Harold was the best value pick of the draft for the 49ers. Many viewed him as a possible late first round selection. He fits well into their defensive scheme and could be a much needed pass rusher for a defense that was decimated during the offseason.
Arizona Cardinals: David Johnson Round 3, Pick 22 (86th Overall) RB
While Andre Ellington is extremely talented, he has had injury issues and could use a back to share carries with. David Johnson is a big bruising running back that should be the perfect compliment for Ellington. Grabbing him at the end of the third was great value.
Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Lockett Round 3, Pick 5 (69th Overall) WR
While people knack Lockett for his size, he is an absolute playmaker. He should make an immediate impact for the Seahawks both on offense and as a punt and kick returner. This could go down as one of the biggest steals of the draft.
New York Jets: Leonard Williams Round 1, Pick 6 (6th Overall) DE
Not much to say about his pick other then when you get the best player in the draft sixth overall you are doing something right. Williams is probably the safest prospect and has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro for the next decade plus. His addition could put the Jets defense over the top in 2015.
Miami Dolphins: Jay Ajayi Round 5, Pick 13 (149th Overall) RB
Going into the draft Ajayi was looked at as a second to third round pick and one of the top running backs available. After concerns about an injured knee surfaced, his stock plummeted allowing the Dolphins to grab him in the middle of the fifth round. He is extremely talented and should be a great compliment in the backfield to Lamar Miller and a possible replacement if Miller leaves in free agency after this season.
Buffalo Bills: Nick O’Leary Round 6, Pick 18 (194th Overall) TE
O’leary is a reliable pass catcher who could become a steady target in the coming years. He should make the team out of training camp and see some action in two tight end sets as a rookie. Look for him to develop and improve greatly over the next few years as he gets adjusted to the NFL. Well worth the sixth round price tag.
New England Patriots: Malcolm Brown Round 1, Pick 32 (32nd Overall) DT
Brown was one of the top defensive tackles in the draft and considered a possible top 15 pick. He should be able to start immediately for the Patriots and fills a huge need for a team that just let longtime defensive tackle Vince Wilfork leave during free agency. The Brown selection was easily one of the best picks of the first round.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Doran Grant Round 4, Pick 22 (121st Overall) CB
Steelers fans were up in arms about taking 5-foot-9 corner Senquez Golson because of his size, but once Pittsburgh selected Grant from Ohio State, it made much more sense. The Steelers are aware that one pick isn’t going to immediately fix the bad secondary it had last season, so stocking the position with several selections was a wise move.
Golson will likely play inside due to his size, and Grant, standing at 5-foot-10, could replace Ike Taylor on the outside. Both players react quickly in coverage and can make big plays.
Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton Round 1, Pick 12 (12th Overall) NT
Cleveland went flashy with first-round picks Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel last season, so they were wise to draft “trench” players with their first three selections this season. Shelton is quick despite being 332 pounds and will be an immediate run stopper. Cleveland was ranked 32nd versus the run in 2014, so this helps greatly improve the weakest link of their defense.
Cincinatti Bengals: Paul Dawson Round 3, Pick 35 (99th Overall) ILB
Dawson could end up being one of the biggest steals of the 2015 draft due to the fact the Bengals were able to get him in the third round with their compensatory pick. Coming into the draft, many experts thought he could go at the end of the first or beginning of the second round.
Dawson is as good as any inside linebacker from this draft class, but his character has been questioned at times. But with Cincinnati grabbing him late in the third round, the risk is well worth the price tag.
Baltimore Ravens: Maxx Williams Round 2, Pick 23 (55th Overall) TE
The rumor was the division rival Pittsburgh was very interested in the Minnesota tight end Max Williams, so Baltimore traded up three selections to move one spot ahead of the Steelers. Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert has since said they didn’t plan to draft Williams, but that must be taken with a grain of salt.
With this pick, the Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco another big target in the passing game. Williams will replace tight end Owen Daniels, who left via free agency. And if Baltimore did indeed “steal” Williams from Pittsburgh, then the pick is even better.
Indianapolis Colts: Henry Anderson Round 3, Pick 29 (93rd Overall) DE
The Colts bolstered their defensive line with Anderson in the third round, which was a great value pick. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he would definitely become a starter in this league. It’s pretty hard to find such a sure thing in the third round of the draft.
Houston Texans: Jaelen Strong Round 3, Pick 6 (70th Overall) WR
Strong had the potential to go in the first round, so it was a big surprise when Houston was able to nap him in the third round. He fills a need with receiver Andre Johnson leaving via free agency. Strong should play opposite DeAndre Hopkins for years to come.
Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J Yeldon Round 2, Pick 2 (34th Overall) RB
Jacksonville elected to pass on defensive end Leonard Williams to pick outside linebacker Dante Fowler, and although Fowler can still be a stud in the NFL, he tore his ACL in practice last week and will not play at all in 2015. Due to Fowler’s unfortunate injury, we went with Yeldon for this list. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs more help with weapons on offense. Yeldon is a big upgrade over Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson.
Tennessee Titans: David Cobb Round 5, Pick 2 (138th Overall) RB
By no means have the Titans given up on second-year back Bishop Sankey, but Cobb was a great value pick in the fifth round is a better fit in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
Cobb is a north and south runner, who could contribute right away. With the Titans taking quarterback Marcus Mariota and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham with their first two picks, Cobb might be the final piece of Tennessee’s own “triplets.”
Denver Broncos: Max Garcia Round 4, Pick 34 (133rd Overall) C
Garcia has tremendous flexibility as he played center, guard and tackle at Florida. Denver wants to run the ball more in 2015 and a good, healthy offensive line is essential to that plan. Garcia gives them quality depth at every single spot on the offensive line.
San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon Round 1, Pick 15 (15th Overall) RB
San Diego has continued to let offensive talent walk away. This offseason 35-year-old Antonio Gates and 33-year-old Philip Rivers, who was rumored to be heading out of town, were the only weapons left on the offensive side of the ball. Gordon gives the Chargers an immediate threat out of the backfield. He is the most talented back in San Diego since LaDainain Tomlinson.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Conley Round 3, Pick 12 (76th Overall) WR
Conley was one of the fastest receivers available in the draft as well as one of the smartest. Kansas City needs more weapons outside to help quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs vertical passing game. Kansas City also signed receiver Jeremy Maclin in the offseason, so at the very least, the Chiefs should get some receiving touchdowns to wide receivers.
Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper Round 1, Pick 4 (4th Overall) WR
Although Kevin White received quite a bit of attention, Cooper was still the clear-cut best wide receiver in this class. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr showed promise during his rookie season, throwing for 21 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions despite passing to no-name receivers. Carr to Cooper could be a lethal combination for years to come.