Each NFL Draft we see plenty of grades on how well each team drafted and while those are fun to do its really hard to really evaluate how good each teams class is. A much easier way is to wait three to four years to see how each player has done leading into what could be their second contract. For the past eight years we’ve looked back three years at the previous draft to see how this class ended up being. Without further ado here is our 2015 NFL Draft Review.
2015 NFL Draft Review
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston QB Florida State
Coming out of college Winston was considered to be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and a potential franchise changer. After his first year it looked like Winston was moving that direction with a strong rookie year that earned him a Pro Bowl appearance. Since then Winston has had about the same stats, but his play has leveled off. Then when you add in his altercation with Marshon Lattimore and most recently the accusations by an Uber Driver and it seems as if Winston’s arrow is pointing down. There is still time for Winston to turn things around but you have to wonder if the Bucs are considering moving on from him.
2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
Mariota was thought to need some development but the Titans went with a run heavy “exotic smash mouth” offense allowed the Titans have some success with him as a rookie. Year two he looked to continue to improve but his season was derailed with a broken leg. While Mariota still has some developing to do he helped lead the Titans to the playoffs in year three. Mariota still hasn’t reached his potential, but with Matt LeFleur as his new offensive coordinator, we may finally see Mariota make that big jump.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler DE Florida
Fowler was widely considered the top pass rusher by many so it wasn’t a surprise for the Jaguars to take him here. An ACL injury during training camp cost Fowler his first season putting him further back in his development. Since coming back Fowler hasn’t been bad but certainly not lived up to his pre draft hype while Yannick Ngakoue has out performed him. Fowler has been a solid rotational pass rusher but the fact that Jacksonville didn’t pick up his 5th year option means that Fowler needs a breakout season or he’ll be on a new team in 2019.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper WR Alabama
The first two years of Cooper’s career he had more than lived up to the hype with back to back Pro Bowl appearances and over 1,000 yards in each season. But in year three Cooper took a huge step back struggling with drops and was a big reason why the Raiders offense struggled. Sure Cooper needs to fix his drop issues, but the Raiders still have faith in Cooper to be their top receiver and one of the ten best in the league.
5. Washington Redskins: Brandon Scherff OG Iowa
A college left tackle Scherff made a seamless transition inside to guard and has been a big part of the Redskins success on offense. After an up and down rookie year Scherff has been to back to back Pro Bowls and considered one of the best young guards in the NFL. Guards don’t go in the top 10 very often, let alone 5th overall but it would be hard to think the Redskins to be unhappy with what’s clearly the best lineman to come out of this draft.
6. New York Jets: Leonard Williams DE USC
Williams was largely considered the top prospect in the draft, so it was a shock to see him fall all the way to the Jets here at 6. And even after three years it continues to amaze us as Williams has lived up to the hype as a big presence to the Jets defensive line. Sure the stats aren’t the greatest with only 12 sacks over three years, but what Williams provides to the defense doesn’t always show up in the stat column.
7. Chicago Bears: Kevin White WR West Virginia
Injuries have completely derailed White’s career so far as he has only played in five career games and having to be put on injured reserved each season. In three years the Bears have yet to see the explosive playmaker they though they were getting when they drafted White. White will get one more year to prove that not only can he stay healthy but produce. This pick has been a failure, but it’s really hard to give White an F grade when injuries have been the issue.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley DE Clemson
With new head coach Dan Quinn taking over the Falcons took Beasley to be their Leo defensive end playing on the weakside. In 2016 Beasley lead the league with 15.5 sacks but has failed to get over 10 in either of the other two seasons. You’d like to see more consistency but Beasley has clearly been the top pass rusher out of this class.
9. New York Giants: Ereck Flowers OT Miami
Flowers was a flawed prospect from the start, so when the Giants took him within the Top 10 it was a shock to everybody. Flowers has struggled since day one being a revolving door at left tackle getting Eli Manning hit and causing problems in the run game. To top it all off Flowers quit on the team in the final week of last year choosing not to play the final game. With a new GM and Nate Solder manning the left tackle position, it’s only a matter of time before he’s gone. Why he isn’t already, who knows.
10. St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley RB Georgia
It was a bit of a shock that Gurley went this early after suffering a big knee injury during his final season at Georgia. However outside his second year where the team was so mismanaged Gurley has been one of the elite backs. With new head coach Sean McVay Gurley has even taken it to another level accumulating over 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns. Gurley’s stats may not be the same next year, but Gurley should only improve.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes CB Michigan State
Waynes was the protypical cornerback for Mike Zimmer’s defense, so there was no surprised he was their choice over a player Marcus Peters who was a bit smaller but also had some off the field baggage. It took Waynes a while to get going as he barely played as a rookie and it wasn’t till this past year that he was the starter the entire season. Waynes hasn’t lived up to being the 11th overall pick but has developed into a quality starter. But with Mike Hughes being selected in the first round this past year’s draft the pressure will be on for Waynes to fight to keep his starting outside corner position.
12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton DT Washington
Shelton was known for being an elite run defender who could stay on the field all game long. He had success for the Browns helping anchor an elite run defense. But Shelton was limited as a player and the Browns ended up trading him to the Patriots for their third round pick. Shelton fits what the Patriots want to have with big physical space eaters up front. However his $7 million per year contact doesn’t match his play and his 5th year option was declined. Shelton will be playing for the second contract whether it’s from the Patriots or another team.
13. New Orleans Saints: Andrus Peat OT Stanford
A bit of a head scratcher on draft night as Peat was considered one of the best tackles in the class but the Saints had Terron Armstead and Zach Streiff as their tackles. Instead the Saints viewed Peat as a guard where he has spent a majority of his career. While Peat is a solid starting guard who can play tackle if needed. Solid player, but may not be worth the 13th overall pick.
14. Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker WR Louisville
Parker was the darling of the National Draft Media getting some Alshon Jeffery comparisons before he was taken here for the Dolphins with the hope that he’d turn into the type of player Jeffery was with Adam Gase in Chicago. Instead Parker has really failed to reach his potential and seemed to always be listed on the potential breakout lists. Quarterback issues are a part of his struggles, but with Jarvis Landry gone they’ll need Parker to really step up this season.
15. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordan RB Wisconsin
Looking to make their offense more two dimensional the Chargers moved up to get Gordon as their feature back. And after a rookie year that saw him struggle Gordan has emerged as a quality starting running back earning a Pro Bowl invite in 2016 and rushing for over 1,000 yards this past season. What has also been a pleasant surprise is that Gordan has been more than capable out of the backfield catching 132 passes for over 1,000 yards in his career. A good pick for the Chargers here.
16. Houston Texans: Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
Since his arrival in Houston Johnson was a factor earning the third cornerback position behind starters Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph. However injuries have been an issue for Johnson who missed 14 games his last two seasons. When healthy Johnson is a quality cornerback, but you have to wonder if Houston would rather have Marcus Peters who went two picks later?
17. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead DE Oregon
For the 49ers 3-4 defense Armstead was a perfect match as he had the length to take on blocks and the athletic ability to also be a disrupter in the backfield. Armstead has been a mixed bag as he’s been a solid player for the 49ers but injuries have cut his last two seasons short. Playing in the 49ers new 4-3 defense Armstead is has still found some success but has two teammates in DeForest Buckner and Salomon Thomas who play a similar style. It was a bit surprising that the 49ers pick up his 5th year option but he’ll need to stay healthy and take the next step if he wants that second contract with the team.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Marcus Peters CB Washington
Attitude issues got Peters kicked off the Huskies team during his junior year and was a big reason why he fell out of the top 10 and all the way here. But Peters lived up to the hype going to back to back Pro Bowls and considered to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. His attitude issues crept back up in 2017 arguing with coaches and was traded to the Rams this summer. With his play in the first three games and a second and fourth round picks in return in the trade and it’s clear that the Chiefs got good value out of Peters.
19. Cleveland Browns: Cameron Erving C Florida State
Erving was a talented left tackle for the Seminoles but when moved inside to center he thrived and looked like the next good center prospect to come out. Instead Erving flopped in the NFL. The Browns initially tried him at guard and then eventually at center when Alex Mack left and he was awful at both. Cleveland cut ties and traded him to the Chiefs where he’s been a backup. A big disappointment since Erving was considered a pretty sure thing.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Nelson Agholor WR USC
Equipped with good speed and quickness Agholor seemed like the perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s spread attack that would get him into space. Instead Agholor played outside primarily and struggled. It wasn’t until Jordan Matthews was traded in the summer of 2017 and Agholor moved inside till he really started to reach his potential. After a 788 yard 8 touchdown season the Eagles picked up his 5th year options as he has grown into their #2 or #3 option behind Alshon Jeffery. And while taking a slot receiver with the 20th pick isn’t ideal it’s not hard to say that Agholor is one of the best receivers in this class.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M
An athletic freak Ogbeuhi was the third straight Aggie tackle to be taken in the first round. The thought was that Ogbuehi would sit behind Andrew Whitworth as a rookie and recover for an ACL injury an then eventually be their left tackle when Whitworth moved on. The problem was Ogbuehi struggled at tackle in college and that continued in the NFL where he was awful at both right and left tackle. So much that the Bengals traded for Cordy Glenn this past summer pushing Ogbuehi into a reserve role.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alvin Dupree OLB Kentucky
A freak of an athlete Alvin “Bud” Dupree was suppose to be the perfect fit for the Steelers new athletic 3-4 defense but instead has failed to make the big impact most were thinking. One thing that you can trace back was that depsite being a pass rusher in the Wildcats 3-4 defense Dupree didn’t show much pass rush ability and won on basically speed and athletic ability. His potential hasn’t translated yet in the NFL as he has only 14.5 sacks through three seasons. At the time this looked like a good value, but turned out to be a bit of a bust as the Steelers are still looking for pass rushing help.
23. Denver Broncos: Shane Ray DE Missouri
Ray was a luxury pick for the Broncos as they moved up to draft the Missouri pass rusher to be their third guy behind Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. Because of the depth at the position Ray was looked at to be a rotational pass rusher but he’s really failed to reach his expectations totaling only 13 career sacks and lately suffering a couple of injuries that have required him to get surgery. The writing is on the wall for Ray to step up in a big way as they declined his 5th year option and drafted Bradley Chubb. It’s put up or shut up time, but don’t be surprised if Shaq Barrett out performs him in camp that he is cut.
24. Arizona Cardinals: DJ Humphries OT Florida
Humphreis had all the physical talent in the world but was still a raw tackle coming to the NFL. To help out the Cardinals basically redshirted him his rookie year as he was inactive for every single game. Humphries started at right tackle his second year before moving to the left side in year three but struggled at both positions. Without an alternative the Cardinals are sticking with Humphries and hoping a new scheme and continued experience will help him in the right direction. What saves this pick from being worse is that Humphries is still starting and there really wasn’t another tackle that was taken after him that has been out performing him.
25. Carolina Panthers: Shaq Thompson LB Washington
Thompson was quite the enigma coming out of Washington as some analysts thought he was safety while others thought he’d stick at linebacker and even some felt he’d be a Pro Bowl running back. However Thompson being selected by the Panthers was the perfect scenario with all the success they’ve had with smaller linebackers. Thompson along with Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis give the Panthers three athletic linebackers and allow them to play with three stacked linebackers more than any other team. Thompson’s continued development also helps the Panthers as Thomas Davis faces a four game suspension to start the 2018 season and is nearing retirement.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Breshad Perriman WR Central Florida
It wasn’t till a 4.29 40 yard dash that everybody became familiar with Breshard Perriman and even saw him jump from unranked to 7th on Mel Kiper Jr’s Big Board. At 6’2 215lbs he was the perfect deep threat for Joe Flacco’s cannon of an arm. Instead Perriman missed his entire rookie season with a stress fracture and has struggled to get much footing after that accumulating only 576 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. On the surface it looked as if Perriman was over drafted solely on his timed speed, but his taped showed a better player. Sometimes things just don’t break right.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Byron Jones CB UConn
Known more for his athletic traits that including a NFL Combine record Broad Jump, Byron Jones seemed to be a wildcard heading into his rookie year. Instead Jones made a seamless transition to safety in the NFL and has been the Cowboys best defensive back. After having plenty of success as a match up weapon against tight ends Jones is moving outside to receiver and has been getting rave reviews from both OTA’s and Training Camp.
28. Detroit Lions: Laken Tomlinson G Duke
I never understood the fist round buzz as we had him a third round grade. But the Lions wanted to become a more physical running team and hoped that Tomlinson would win the left guard position. Tomlinson was a bust for the Lions as he wasn’t able to maintain his starting role and was traded to the 49ers after year two. Even with the 49ers Tomlinson has failed to make an impact causing for his 5th year option to be declined.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Phillip Dorsey WR Miami
At the time drafting Dorsey was adding to an already deep receiving core that including Andre Johnson, TY Hilton, and Donte Moncrief instead of addressing a weakness. Dorsett struggled his first two years with the Colts with only 753 yard receiving and 3 touchdowns. The only thing saving this pick from being an F is the fact that the Colts traded away Dorsett for Jacoby Brissett who looks to be a high end backup and an insurance policy if Andrew Luck gets hurt again.
30. Green Bay Packers: Damarious Randall S Arizona State
A college safety Randall was moved to corner with the Packers and quickly became the third corner before eventually taking over as a starter shortly into his rookie season. Despite starting a majority of his career Randall struggled causing the Packers to take Kevin King with the 33rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and then Randall was traded to the Browns for DeShone Kizer. With the Browns Randall is moving back to safety and his 5th year option has been picked up.
31. New Orleans Saints: Stephone Anthony LB Clemson
For a team needing linebacker help bad the Saints went after the versatile Anthony who was a run and hit linebacker who doubled as a good blitzer. Anthony was good as a rookie finishing with 112 tackles and made the PFWA All Rookie team. His second year was filled with inconsistency and injuries leading to a spot on the IR before he was traded in the offseason to the Dolphins for a 5th round pick. What started out so strong came to a big fizzle.
32. New England Patriots: Malcom Brown DT Texas
Brown has been an integral part of the Patriots defense as they like to have big bodied defensive tackles clogging up the middle. While Brown hasn’t put up huge stats he’s done well to eat up blocks and let the linebackers run free. All of this said the Patriots must not feel the value he brings and declined his 5th year option. Brown enters a make or break season for the Patriots.
Notable Other Players
2nd Round, Pick #33: Landon Collins, New York Giants
2nd Round, Pick #43: Benardrick McKinney, Houston Texans
2nd Round, Pick #45: Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings
2nd Round, Pick #58: Markus Golden, Arizona Cardinals
3rd Round, Pick #69: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
3rd Round, Pick #86: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
3rd Round, Pick #88: Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings
4th Round, Pick #104: Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5th Round, Pick #137: Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons
5th Round, Pick #146: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
5th Round, Pick #149: Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
UDFA: La’el Collins, Dallas Cowboys
UDFA: David Irving, Kansas City Chiefs
UDFA: Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
A big reason why the Vikings are a Super Bowl Contender can be traced to this draft hitting on their first three picks along with a steal in Stefon Diggs in the 5th. Sure Trae Waynes has his flaws but he’s still a solid starter which is better than being an all out bust. But in the second the Vikings have one of the most underrated linebackers in Eric Kendricks. But that’s all nothing compared to getting Danielle Hunter in the 3rd whose one of best pass rushers in the NFL. This isn’t a slam dunk class, but it’s the best.
Even days after the draft the Lions class wasn’t highly regarded. Laken Tomlinson was reach at the time and he didn’t make it three years with the Lions. The only remaining player that is still on the Lions roster is Ameer Abdullah and there is a great shot that gets cut after they drafted Kerryon Johnson. The good thing for the Lions is that despite this poor class the Lions are still a quality team that will be contending for the playoffs.