Grading the First 5 Picks in the 2015 NFL Draft
The 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone so now it’s time to hand out the annual draft grades. The NFL Draft is something that is anticipated for months and in a flash of an eye it is over. That is the uniqueness of the draft, but also can send the diehard fans into a depression because now we must wait three months for more live meaningful NFL coverage.
Today we will take a look at the first five picks in this year’s NFL Draft. We will grade each pick on a scale of A to F. We will consider things like on the field play, off the field issues, college competition and college success as we project that forward to the NFL level.
First, we will start with the number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Draft grade: B- We give Winston a B for obvious reasons. The off the field issues have to be a concern. This doesn’t mean he can’t change his ways now that he is in a professional atmosphere, but he has to prove it first.
His own the field play is without question deserving of an A. He has all the skills you look for in a professional quarterback. He has great arm strength, accuracy and played in an NFL type system in college at Florida State.
The level of competition he played against in the ACC also concerns me, but not too much. Winston and Buccaneers get a B, but they certainly made the right choice.
Second, is the number two pick to the Tennessee Titans, Marcus Mariota.
Draft grade: B- We give the Titans a B for the selection of Mariota. His off the field concerns can be listed as none. He is humble, a great leader and will be a great ambassador for the Titans.
His spread style offense experience at Oregon will be a concern as he transfers to the NFL, but he has what it takes to get the job done by all accounts.
I love this pick of Mariota by the Titans and I feel they made the right choice by keeping the number two pick and not trading it away like so many rumors had them doing so leading up to the draft.
Third, is the number three selection of Dante Fowler to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Draft grade: B- We once again give the selection of Fowler a B grade. I feel he has all the physical qualities you look for in a future NFL star on the defensive side of the ball. He came from a great defensive system at Florida where he was coached by defensive guru Will Muschamp.
Muschamp was previously an assistant coach under Nick Saban at LSU, so you know Fowler has been well trained about the mindset and qualities it takes to play a good brand of defensive football.
Fowler is a great pick for the Jaguars and will now have to use his speed and athletic ability to rush the passer in the NFL.
Fourth, is the number four pick of Amari Cooper to the Oakland Raiders.
Draft grade: A- I give the selection of Cooper by the Raiders an A. I feel this was one of the best selections in the entire 2015 NFL Draft. I love the route running ability Cooper has and the best attribute I see from Cooper is his speed.
He has breakaway speed not only after the catch, but he runs his routes fast. He is decisive when he runs his routes and he hits another gear to gain huge “yards after catch.”
This pick was my favorite in the top five and I believe he will go on to be a pro bowler in the near future. If he can consistently get the ball in good positions from Raider quarterback Derek Carr, then his career will be elevated that much more.
Last but not least is the fifth pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Leonard Williams to the New York Jets.
Draft grade: B- Our final grade is for the Jets’ selection of Leonard Williams from Southern California. I believe he will be a decent pass rusher at the NFL level, but his biggest strength will be stopping the run off the edges.
Williams has good mobility and nice speed that will help him rush the passer when put in third and long situations. This pick will be one that may actually work out for the Jets and help get them back on the winning track in the very near future.