Predicting the First 10 Picks of the 2015 NFL Draft with Logical and Absurd Reasoning
Predicting the NFL Draft is essentially an impossible task. There are always surprise trades, crazy stretches, superb values and simply picks that just make no sense.
So, while this is very likely an inaccurate projection, it is very realistic. Read on, and you’ll see what I’m getting at.
#1 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Jameis Winston (Florida State) – Okay, I’m not going to lie – having Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw to is a pretty sweet deal. Yeah, he played in a pro system at Florida State. Sure, he has some athleticism. However, his decision making on and off the field is terrible. The talent he had at Florida State was absurdly superior to his foes, he was given an outstanding OL his first year as a starter and he was extremely inconsistent under pressure last year for a reason. You think that Tampa OL is going to protect him in 2015? If we rank in terms of highest to lowest for his 2015 campaign with touchdowns, interceptions and lawsuits he encounters, I’ll go with interceptions, lawsuits and touchdowns.
#2 – Cleveland Browns (via Tennessee) – QB Marcus Mariota (Oregon) – Predicting Draft Day trades are a waste of time, but there are two things we know – 1. The Browns always trade in the first round 2. The Browns offered both their first-round picks to the Titans to move up to No. 2 with the intention of snagging Mariota. Because I believe the Tennessee front office recognizes just how bad their roster is and will give Ken Whisenhunt the proper time to build his team (like NFL front offices should), it makes perfect sense to trade back. Meanwhile, the Browns front office continues to be a mess, and while this trade makes no sense to me from the Browns perspective, it’s clearly obvious they want to do this. So, let me get this straight. It’s clear that QBs coming out of college who play in no huddle systems, are given the permission to do pretty much everything at the line of scrimmage and are almost always in shotgun, have a significantly stronger learning curve. People say the NFL is a copycat league. It actually just copycats college football. Almost anything you see in the NFL started in college first. So, why would you take someone with outstanding talent and make him go through a learning process when coaches are fired in less than three years (one year if you’re the Browns, just ask Rob Chudzinski)? Heck, you drafted Johnny Manziel and expected him to succeed under center immediately when you had no OL after Alex Mack went down. You took a great talent, but someone who has arm strength as a weakness, and played him under center and would throw 5-yard out routes against tight coverages in the freezing cold and heavy winds in Cleveland. There is no surprise whatsoever that this was the result. Unless the Browns are dedicated to changing their offense and let Mariota be Mariota (like good coaching staffs do), this is going to end in another Browns disaster.
#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Leonard Williams (USC) – Very quietly, the Jaguars are putting together a young talented roster. Unfortunately for them, OL is their biggest need and it looks like there aren’t any worthy of a top-three pick this year. Jacksonville tries to trade back but with both QBs gone, they can’t do it. So, they go a different route. This is a defense that actually ranked sixth with 45 sacks last season. If they get Williams to play opposite of Chris Clemons, the Jags pass rush will be one of the nastiest in the NFL.
#4 Oakland Raiders – WR Amari Cooper (Alabama) – I am a firm believer that Kevin White is the better WR. I don’t get why Cooper’s drop issues aren’t a bigger topic. Yes, the talent is there and has had big games. But, if you notice his 11.4% drop rate, that’s very high for someone projected to go this high. It’s almost as high as Kelvin Benjamin. Furthermore, if you watched Alabama games, several of his drops were flat out atrocious (we are talking about 2nd down and 15, he runs a 7 yard crossing route over the middle against a soft zone and just flat out lets it go off his finger tips). It’s almost as high as Kelvin Benjamin. Now, obviously Benjamin had a solid rookie season, but he still had several terrible drops and Benjamin was on a team with no other legit WR. I’m not saying Cooper is the next Mike Williams, but often times when speed is your best asset coming out of college, that doesn’t translate well to the NFL. You need the whole package for the speed to prevail. I simply don’t see that. Oh, so why is Oakland taking them here? Cause, it’s the Raiders.
#5 Washington Redskins – OLB Dante Fowler Jr (Florida) – With all the holes on defense and Fowler projected to go as high as third, this one is kind of a no-brainer. He should play opposite of Ryan Kerrigan with Brian Orakpo gone. The timing is perfect and even Washington can’t screw this up.
#6 NY Jets – OT Andrus Peat (Stanford) – With all the Jets fans screaming that they need a WR to go next to Brandon Marshall (because they think Eric Decker should be a No. 3 WR) and Kevin White sitting there for the taking, the Jets front office recognizes how pathetic their OL is and believe that’s more important, which is correct. Luckily for Peat, the draft is in Chicago this year, so the boos won’t be as evident this year. Nevertheless, after some more INTs, Marshall tantrums and Not Top 10 Plays on SportsCenter, the Jets still stink for another year.
#7 Chicago Bears – CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State) – Okay, now the boos are going to be crazy. The Bears just lost Marshall, so most fans are seeing a steal in White to play opposite of Brandon Marshall. But John Fox sees that glaring fact that the Bears were 29th in pass defense last year and has to deal with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford twice a year. He goes with the best CB in the draft in Waynes.
#8 Atlanta Falcons – OLB Bud Dupree (Kentucky) – As much as Atlanta would love White, if there’s one team not named Tampa Bay you know what side of the ball they are going to draft, it’s Atlanta and defense. They need massive help at linebacker and with Fowler gone, which is expected, they get the next guy in line in Dupree.
#9 NY Giants – OG Brandon Scherff (Iowa) – Someone needs to keep Eli Manning upright so he can hit Odell Beckham Jr and Victor Cruz. If the Giants actually got White, that would be the best receiving corp in the NFL and it’s not even close. But, Tom Coughlin and the front office know Manning needs better protection, and the Giants need to get the running game back on track. Scherff played left tackle at Iowa (a converted QB from high school), but he’ll move to guard in the NFL, and he’s better suited there too. Scherff is accustomed to changing OL positions at Iowa too, and his size and strength will fit in well for New York.
#10 St. Louis Rams – WR Kevin White (West Virginia) – The Rams have every expectation to take an OL, but with White on the board, they take him. His size, hands, explosiveness, consistency are just off the charts. The Rams have been lacking a go-to WR, and he can open things up for many other guys on the offense. St. Louis will need to address OL to some degree, but if they can keep Nick Foles upright, this new QB/WR combo will be more deadly than expected. In fact, this pick propels the Rams to the playoffs in 2015.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz