Griddle Takes: Round 1 of the NFL Draft
Fresh off the griddle so you know they’re piping hot, vix and I have our takes on each pick in this draft.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
- vix: Winston regressed in his soph season. His flaws on tape (decision making, random mechanical lapses) didn’t get as much attention as his off-field concerns. I’d still take him top 5 because I grade him as a 1st round QB, but give me Mariota all day.
- nath: Obvious pick and the right one in my mind. Winston is an easier evaluation than Mariota, because of the offense he played in, but it’s also the reason it’s easy to see his very high football IQ and innate performance intelligence. Gotta start reading underneath coverages better and leaving the bonehead plays behind, but I feel confident he’ll be a “franchise QB.”
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
- vix: I’m a fan of Mettenberger and Mariota. They should start Mett in order to showcase him for teams in ’16, and cash him in for some picks. If Mariota reaches his ceiling, or comes remotely close, he’ll turn this franchise around.
- nath: I’m not as high on Mariota as vix is but I grade him highly enough that you can take him here. He’ll need work; I’m not sure what to make of him with Ken Whisenhunt. He’s not a typical Whisenhunt QB, but then, typical Whisenhunt QBs have mostly been crap.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE, Florida
- vix: How do you not select Leonard Williams? Fowler is capable of leaping off the screen on tape, but his lack of production at Florida is worrisome. Looks fantastic in that suit at least!
- nath: He’s a guy who jumps out at first on tape but then you realize he actually isn’t making many big plays. Worried that lack of production + relatively ordinary athleticism could add up to a bust.
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- vix: I would’ve loved to see Williams grow along with Mack. That defense starts looking scary. Except, no. Cooper isn’t as great as his production indicates. Doesn’t dazzle as much as he simply does his job. Unlikely to bust, in any event.
- nath: Should have taken Kevin White. Cooper is pretty maxed out, but I think White has room to improve into a true #1.
5. Washington Potatoes – Brandon Scherff, G, Iowa
- vix: He’s the best guard in the draft. Not tackle. An exceptional run blocker who mauls defenders. Footwork in pass protection is too shaky to play left tackle. He’ll help this line though.
- nath: Safe, solid, dull pick. I would have liked La’el Collins here, although his connection to a recently murdered woman, fairly or not (I lean “not”), has by all accounts made him completely undraftable. Leonard Williams probably a better pick, but damn, their line sucked, so I can’t complain.
6. New York Jets – Leonard Williams, DL, USC
- vix: I am sitting my quarterback when we play the Jets now. Wilkerson, Richardson, AND Williams? Holy hell. What a nightmare D-FENSE. Bowles worked without elite edge rushers at Arizona last year lest ye forgot.
- nath: Perfect situation for Williams; surrounded by two stud linemen, he can wreak the most havoc, and probably allay any concerns he doesn’t have the top-flight athleticism you want in the position.
7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
- vix: Best player available, and fills a giant need. Gotta love when that happens. White is my top receiver in this (really deep) class. His playmaking ability reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald.
- nath: Should have gone sooner. Great pick for this team. White/Jeffery is a terrifying combo.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
- vix: Easily the most outstanding pass rusher in the nation. Dan Quinn must be doing backflips. Beasley at LEO will be exciting.
- nath: Love the pick. Hate the team. Boo, screw you, Falcons.
9. New York Giants – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami-FL
- vix: My top left tackle prospect. His game against South Carolina was flawless. Sure, he needs to improve, and some other tapes aren’t so hot, but Flowers has the highest ceiling of any tackle in the draft. I like this pick.
- nath: Count me in the group that doubts Flowers– I don’t think he has the agility or footwork to be an NFL left tackle. He played most of the year with a knee brace, and his kick-step looks like the kick-step of a guy with a bum knee. Second time in three years Giants have chosen a non-LT OL in the first round– between you and me, I don’t think they’re very good at drafting.
10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- vix: The best running back since *checks calendar* Jim Brown, y’all. Don’t need no stinkin’ ACL to beast mode all over the NFC West. Right? But seriously, I’m totally on board with selecting Gurley in the top 10. He can be the best runner in the NFL from the first snap he takes.
- nath: Love Gurley’s talent, but why did a team with a perfectly good starting RB (Tre Mason) and so many other problems take him? Jeff Fisher seems to think the rules haven’t changed since 1978, and running 50 times a game + a defense that beats people up (literally) is enough to win games. Here’s to another 7-9 season.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
- vix: He’s my favorite corner by a comfortable margin. I hate the Vikings for being so good at drafting. Good luck covering Megatron though. Waynes is special.
- nath: Not as high as others on Waynes– DeVante Parker here would have been fantastic. Waynes is very fast but I’m not as sure about his ability to turn, and he played very grabby at MSU which he won’t be able to do in the pros.
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
- vix: Large and in charge. Beefs up run defense. Has some ability to pass rush, but not enough to be scary. I’m not sold that he’s an every down player. He was gassed after a few drills at the Senior Bowl.
- nath: Yeah, I just don’t believe two-down defensive tackles are as valuable in this day and age, but Shelton is, uh, fine, I guess. He moves fairly well for a dude his size, but the comparisons to Ngata or Poe are absurd.
13. New Orleans Saints – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
- vix: Best pass protector at left tackle. He doesn’t get much push in the run game. Must learn to play lower (he’s really, really tall). Saints know how to develop offensive lineman. Peat has plenty of room to improve.
- nath: Love it. Basically my BPA here (as it seems teams weren’t willing to touch Randy Gregory in round 1). Zach Strief is old and better suited to being a swing tackle. Peat will need some coaching but the Saints are great at coaching linemen– he’s the one guy in this draft I think can be a true blindside protector.
14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
- vix: In related news, Greg Jennings has been released by the Dolphins. Parker plays too soft for my liking. Jarvis Landry can school him in the art of badassery perhaps. This is my only concern, otherwise Parker is damn good. Compliments their receiving group well.
- nath: Love Parker when he’s healthy, love the A.J. Green comps (including the recurring foot problems). Miami had a collection of very good WR2s and 3s. Now they have a 1. Great pick for them.
15. San Diego Chargers (trade with San Francisco) – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
- vix: The Jamaal Charles comparison is dead on. San Diego needed a running back. Gordon is no Gurley, but he’s ridiculously good as well. Watch him break the single game record for rushing against Nebraska if you have time and haven’t seen it yet.
- nath: I think Gordon is overrated, but everyone knew San Diego was taking him. The only funny part is that they traded up for him.
16. Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
- vix: I’m a bit surprised to see Johnson picked this high, but the more I think about it the less I am. His tape is excellent, especially that closing speed. How is Dupree still available?
- nath: Seems fine. Solid. Not sexy. Teams liked him a lot– his film was supposed to be quite good but I never got to watch it. No complaints.
17. San Francisco (via San Diego) – Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
- vix: Raw is an understatement with Armstead. Needs a ton of work. He flashes brilliance here and there, with strong hands. I’ll be shocked if he’s ready to start immediately. Pure upside pick.
- nath: I thought it was funny how many places mocked Armstead to SF consistently, and how mad SF fans were about it. Well, congrats, you got a terribly raw athlete who may or may not develop.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- vix: Physical press corner with some off field issues. Should start right away. Chiefs continue to build on strength. Defense, defense, more defense. Alas, Alex Smith.
- nath: My #1 CB in this draft. Great pick for them. Peters / Gaines / Smith a pretty bad-ass CB trio. Never thought they’d make up for letting Flowers and Carr walk.
19. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving, C/G/T, Florida State
- vix: He’s playing guard with Alex Mack, that’s for sure. The Browns are building a wall around Johnny Manziel so he can escape it and get hit anyways. Brilliant.
- nath: So, we can all agree he’s moving to center in 2016, after a year of Alex Mack showing he never really recovered from his injury, right? Another fine pick– unspectacular but solid.
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
- vix: I would’ve taken Agholor ahead of Parker. Big fan. I believe he can be a true #1 receiver. Philly was looking weak at the position before today. No longer.
- nath: Like Agholor a lot. Definitely the best receiver available, and receiver is a huge need for Philadelphia. After all the hoopla about Whirlwind Chip and his Trade Tornados, they stay put and make a smart selection.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
- vix: I guess the Bengals aren’t worried about his ACL. Ogbuehi is a ridiculous athlete at tackle, but he isn’t a bully. He will look elite for most of the game and then get destroyed on several plays. Can protect speed better than power.
- nath: I like Ogbuehi enough that I think it’s a good pick. Likely at least one of Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith will be gone next year. Ogbuehi can recover and then step in as a starter.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alvin “Bud” Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky
- vix: Mistakes were made selecting Jarvis Jones. Dupree is much better. I’m angry that the Steelers got him one pick before my beloved Lions.
- nath: One of the best values so far, although I understand the concerns about “Athlete who can’t play football.” Still, from the team that picked Jarvis Jones and took Ryan Shazier over C.J. Mosley, this is a positive step.
23. Denver Broncos (trade with Detroit) – Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri
- vix: Explosive first step, nothing else. He’ll be less dominant in the NFL. Must add a ton of moves to his arsenal. Limited athleticism. Awful combine.
- nath: Let’s get the bright side out of the way: At least on this team Ray won’t have to be the best pass rusher, and he might be more effective as that third or fourth guy. You can probably infer that I don’t think a team should take a third or fourth guy in the first round, let alone trade up for him.
24. Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
- vix: Someone needs to explain the NFL’s love for Humphries. He was abused by none other than the aforementioned Shane Ray. I’m not seeing whatever is there with him.
- nath: I like a couple of guys better, but I think Humphries is athletic enough to justify the selection. Still growing– lots of room to improve.
25. Carolina Panthers – Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
- vix: My face is officially melted. Didn’t expect Shaq to go this high. Carolina is one of the few teams where I can see him shine. They can protect him with a strong defensive line (Shaq is undersized). He’ll be a special teams ace, and play next to one of the greats in Kuechly.
- nath: Wat. I heard the rumors, and it makes sense for a team that got so much out of Thomas Davis, but their offensive line is so dire I would have much preferred one of the remaining tackles (Clemmings or Fisher, most likely).
26. Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
- vix: Very raw route runner. Perriman is really strong and fast. Knew he would go around here, but not my favorite receiver on the board. His name is Devin Smith.
- nath: Looks like a receiver except for the route-running and catching part. Glad it’s not my team that has to worry about whether or not he can do that stuff. Vix is right; Smith would have been a killer fit here.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
- vix: I wasn’t sold on Jones as a first rounder until I saw his tape against Boise State. It’s an extremely strong game. Still want to see more of him. Worst case scenario: he can jump really far.
- nath: Good athlete, seems like a good player, not quite as high as I had him ranked, but I don’t hate the selection or anything.
28. Detroit Lions (via Denver) – Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke
- vix: Well, the Lions sure have a lot of beef inside with Warford, Swanson, and now Tomlinson. Hard to be excited by a Duke guard not named JJ Redick. Wait, Duke has a football team?
- nath: Not sure he stood out enough from the other guards to merit a first-rounder. Still seemed like a quality player; I hear mixed opinions on him, so I’m not as confident in my lower grade. Probably a good choice.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami-FL
- vix: Hey, this isn’t Devin Smith. I’m a fan of Dorsett too, but not this high. Not a massive blunder given he wouldn’t have been there with their next pick. A reach is still a reach.
- nath: I guess the thinking is “One T.Y. Hilton worked out great; why not two?” But this team already has Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, and Duron Carter. Did they really need a fifth receiver with their first-rounder?
30. Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
- vix: Laugh out loud. Sorry Packer fans, not sorry. Randall cannot cover, tackle, or, well, he’s just not very good. I’ll leave it at that.
- nath: LOL. I see some impressive statistics on Randall, but when I watch him, I see a guy who takes terrible angles and falls down a lot. Why do teams love him? Why did Green Bay take a bad player with their first-round pick at the same position they took a good player with their first-round pick last year?
31. New Orleans Saints – Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
- vix: Versatile linebacker that can play anywhere in a 4-3, or inside as he will with the Saints 3-4 hybrid. Sniffs out screens really well. Smart, tough player.
- nath: Big fan. Eric Kendricks was my #1 ILB, but his medical has teams scared, and Anthony was my #2. His athleticism shows on the field, and I think he’s a fast, instinctive playmaker. Not quite as high as I graded him but happy to have him on my team.
32. New England Patriots – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
- vix: He’s not a world beater, but Brown is a nice pick at this point. He can play either 5 tech or 3 tech, it fits with the Patriots defensive philosophy.
- nath: I literally have no opinion of Malcom Brown. My grade was a guess based on the opinions of others. But I ranked him 31 overall, and he went 32, so I probably guessed well.