In keeping with this year’s theme I will not be overloading you with analysis of all 256 draft picks or even little short blurbs on all 32 first round picks. Instead we will try to take a slightly more in depth look at the picks of the six teams being covered this year. With that said there are 5 picks in the first round that will be examined.
#4. With the #4 overall pick in the 2015 draft the Oakland Raiders selected Alabama junior WR Amari Cooper. Cooper had 228 receptions for 3,462 yards a 15.1 average and 31 touchdowns in his 3 seasons with the Crimson Tide. That the Raiders need a big time receiver for Derek Carr one who can be more reliable than Michael Crabtree and Andre Holmes. His 2014 splits show a receiver who disappears as the game progresses. 49 receptions in the first quarter 36 receptions in the second quarter and 25 receptions in the 3rd quarter and 14 receptions in the 4th quarter. They also show a receiver that caught 43.5% of his passes on first down. At the same time his 3rd quarter yards per catch average is a full 5 yards better than his second quarter average. Cooper will be excellent for Derek Carr on 1st and 2nd downs to get drives going while allowing Crabtree to become a more situational receiver which will probably benefit both Crabtree and Carr Grade: A-
#6. With the #6 overall pick in the 2015 draft the New York Jets selected USC junior DT Leonard Williams. Williams had 217 tackles, 35.5 tackles for a loss, and 20 sacks. 217 tackles for a defensive lineman in 3 seasons is quite impressive it’s almost J.J. Wattesque. His tackles for loss have gone down each season and he averaged 6.66 sacks over the last 3 seasons which is expected from a defensive tackle. Combined with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison, Williams should make the Jets front 4 one of the most formidable in the NFL. Added to the fact that Wilkerson may be leaving via free agency next season, Williams will make a great replacement. The truth is that while the Jets did not need help on the defensive line they had the #6 overall ranked defense despite their terrible secondary, a guy that appears to put up J.J. Wattesque numbers is too good to pass up. Grade: B+
#8. With the #8 overall pick in the 2015 draft the Atlanta Falcons Clemson senior DE Vic Beasley. Beasley is a bit undersized at 235lbs to be a defensive end in the NFL. However in Dan Quinn’s 3-4 scheme he’ll make the switch to outside linebacker where he can be a very dangerous edge rusher. Beasley had 33 career sacks at Clemson 52.5 of his 68 tackles were for a loss that is 77.2% of his tackles. The Falcons desperately need a pass rusher off the edge like Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller or DeMarco Ware, Beasley gives the Falcons a team that couldn’t stop a pass thrown at the broadside of a barn and couldn’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks some much needed help on the edge. Grade: A
#14. With the 14th overall selection in the 2015 draft the Miami Dolphins selected Louisville senior WR DeVante Parker. Parker had 1456 receptions for 2,775 yards a 17.7 average per reception and 33 touchdowns in 4 seasons with Louisville. The Dolphins traded Mike Wallace and let Brian Hartline walk to Cleveland. To say that they needed a big time replacement is an understatement. Parker’s 2014 splits show a wide receiver who kind of disappears in the 4th quarter with only 5 receptions in the 4th quarter. His targets throughout the first three quarters were roughly consistent. Parker caught 44.1% of his passes on first down. On the other his splits show a receiver who seems to disappear on the road 27.9% of his passes were caught on the road. Ryan Tannehill needs a reliable consistent target Parker looks like he can be that guy as long as he shows up during away games. Grade: A-
#28. The Lions originally were to pick at #23 in this round however in a trade with the Denver Broncos the Lions moved down to #28 Denver’s original picking position, they received as well Denver’s 2015 and 2016 5th round pick and C/G Manny Ramirez and with the #28 pick in the 2015 draft the Detroit Lions select Duke senior G Laken Tomlinson. At first I was not very happy with this pick as I felt that the departure of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley left a hole at the DT position that trading for Haloti Ngata hadn’t exactly plugged up. After some further thought I realized that the Lions had done an excellent job with this pick. Long time center Dominic Raiola retired and Rob Sims at LG was letting anyone and everyone through to Matt Stafford. The Lions current starting C is 2nd year man Travis Swanson, now if either Tomlinson or Swanson isn’t ready with the trade C/G Manny Ramirez can plug either hole and Manny Ramirez at LG is infinitely better than Rob Sims staying there for another season. Grade: A
#32. With the 32nd pick in the 2015 draft and the final pick in the first round the New England Patriots selected Texas junior DT Malcolm Brown. With Vince Wilfork signing with the Houston Texans and with Sealver Siligia as the Patriots only true DT, the Patriots wanted to fill a hole here. In his 3 seasons at Texas Brown compiled 73 tackles 25 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. His tackle numbers are what you expect from a defensive lineman 34.2% of his tackles netted lost yardage, I expect that Brown will have an immediate impact in the middle for these New England Patriots. Truthfully I would have preferred that the Lions make this pick than the one they made, at the same time for the Patriots this wasn’t a real need. Grade: B