The 2015 NFL draft is officially in the books. In what was an awesome three-day event put on by the city of Chicago, 32 NFL teams were looking to get better in 2015 and down the road.
Some accomplished this goal, while others struggled to do much throughout the seven rounds. From the Atlanta Falcons to Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles, here are your winners and losers of the 2015 NFL draft.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff absolutely aced this draft. From nabbing the draft’s best pure pass rusher in the first round to adding a potential long-term running back in the third round, Atlanta was able to find a happy medium between value and need.
Former Clemson edge rusher Vic Beasley is the perfect fit for a team that needed to add a premier pass-rush option on defense. Considered a top-10 pick since prior to the 2013 season, Beasley’s on-field prowess cannot really be questioned. The All-American tallied 25 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons at Clemson.
Former Indiana running back Tevin Coleman in the third round was an absolute steal. At 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, he’s a compact runner who lowers the boom against opposing defenders. A three-down running back if there ever was one, it’s possible that Coleman will start out of the gate.
Atlanta was also able to address a need opposite Desmond Trufant at cornerback by selecting former LSU standout Jalen Collins in the second round. Collins was considered a first-round prospect prior to recent reports of multiple failed drug tests in college.
Overall, the Falcons were able to address some key needs for new head coach Dan Quinn, who now has some nice toys to play with on defense.
Loser: Brett Hundley
In retrospect, this UCLA product probably should have returned to college for the 2015 season. Seen by some as the third-best quarterback in the draft, Hundley fell all the way to the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round. While that might be a solid long-term fit for Hundley, especially working under Aaron Rodgers, he has no real future as a starter in Green Bay. The early part of Hundley’s career will be all about progressing as a quarterback and displaying his talents in preseason games.
It’s not an ideal short-term situation for the talented signal caller. He would have had a much stronger possibility of playing early in his career if he were drafted by any of the 31 other teams.
Winner: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota
Not only were these two players picked one and two respectively, their new teams made sure that they got a ton of help as the draft progressed.
For Mariota, it started with the ultra-talented Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round. The wide receiver was clearly a top-10 talent, but multiple off-field issues caused him to fall out of the first day. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, Green-Beckham is going to be an awesome target for the reigning Heisman winner. If he gets his house on order off the field, there’s no reason to believe that DGB won’t be a true No. 1 receiver. He also joins an uber-talented wide receiver group that already includes Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Hakeem Nicks.
Then in Round 5, the Titans were able to pick up one of the most underrated players in the draft in the form running back David Cobb from Minnesota. At 5-foot-11 and 229, Cobb packs a physical punch in the offensive backfield. NFL.com compared Cobb to Stevan Ridley, but his upside is a poor man’s version of Marshawn Lynch. Cobb will now team up with Bishop Sankey to form a solid 1-2 punch at running back.
Tampa Bay may have avoided skill positions for the most part, but it did rebuild a struggling offensive line in front of Winston. General manager Jason Licht and company picked up two potential Day 1 starters here. Former Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith will likely move over to the right side as a rookie. Despite showing some raw tendencies,the reports on Smith are solid:
Smith was a surprise entry into this draft since he had another year of eligibility at Penn State. Some thought he’d take advantage of that,” NFL Media’s Mike Mayock said during the draft. “But he came out and dominated at the Senior Bowl. He has long arms. He was a left tackle at Penn State, but he’s a prototype right tackle. He’ll be a starting right tackle and this guy can play.
Then in Round 3, the Buccaneers got a gem in the form of small-school product Ali Marpet from Hobart. While most fans haven’t heard of this dude, he sure can play football.
Ali Marpet’s Hobart game tape is like watching LeBron in high school.
There are going to be some initial struggles here, but the Buccaneers set Winston up big time down the road. It’s this type of forward-thinking mentality that’s going to be huge for the squad moving forward.