Draft 2015: NFC Draft Grades
From Evan Silva, Rotoworld
~The 2015 NFL draft concluded Saturday evening. Rotoworld blurbed every single selection, picks one (Jameis Winston) through 256 (Gerald Christian). You can use our search engine in the top right-hand corner of this page to access our in-depth rookie writeups.
After a grueling three days of “work,” we’ll put the finishing touches on our intensive draft coverage with post-draft grades.
But let’s be clear: We don’t believe in assessing draft hauls immediately after the three-day event. This is strictly for your pleasure. If you’re reading this intro, you’re interested. And we want to appeal to you. Don’t take these grades too seriously. We’ll know a lot more about this draft around 2018.
Here are the NFC Draft Grades:
7. West Virginia WR Kevin White
39. Florida State NT Eddie Goldman
71. Oregon C Hroniss Grasu
106. Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
142. Penn State S Adrian Amos
183. TCU OG Tayo Fabuluje
Overview: The Bears’ roster is reeling so much from the failed Phil Emery era that they just needed to prioritize adding good football players. Rookie GM Ryan Pace entered Thursday with too many needs to worry about drafting positions. He needs contributors. And I think he came away with a lot of them. White is a monster on the perimeter who can win over the top and turn short catches into long gains. Goldman lacks flash, but is willing to do the dirty work inside and will bolster Chicago’s mediocre run defense. I think Grasu provided excellent value in round three and believe he will be a long-term fixture at center. Langford lacks starting-caliber running ability, but should be a useful NFL role player, particularly in the passing game. Amos is exceptionally versatile and could be a starting safety in time. Fabuluje is a dart throw with some upside. Did the Bears fail to address a number of needs? Yes. But I never expected them to solve all of their problems with only six picks. This was a rock-solid first draft for Pace.
28. Duke OG Laken Tomlinson
54. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
80. Stanford CB Alex Carter
113. Auburn DT Gabe Wright
168. Rutgers FB Mike Burton
200. Texas CB Quandre Diggs
240. South Carolina OT Corey Robinson
Overview: GM Martin Mayhew began his draft by acquiring two fifth-round picks and useful reserve G/C Manuel Ramirez from the Broncos at the cost of dropping just five spots in round one. The Lions were surprisingly hot after CB/S tweener Carter on day two, sending the 143rd pick to division-rival Minnesota in exchange for just an eight-spot move up the board. Early on day three, the Lions gave up a 2016 third-round pick for No. 113. Tomlinson may not have offered ideal “value” at No. 28, but is a pro-ready mauler with underrated pass-blocking ability. Abdullah will run circles around Joique Bell in Lions camp and spark Detroit’s previously plodding run game. Carter, Wright, and Burton are players I wasn’t especially high on during the pre-draft phase. I do think Robinson was an excellent flier. Although this wasn’t my favorite draft from top to bottom, Mayhew attacked multiple needs and made his team better.
Green Bay Packers
30. Arizona State DB Damarious Randall
62. Miami (OH) DB Quinten Rollins
94. Stanford WR/KR Ty Montgomery
129. Michigan ILB Jake Ryan
147. UCLA QB Brett Hundley
206. Oklahoma FB Aaron Ripkowski
210. Louisiana-Lafayette DT Christian Ringo
213. UAB TE Kennard Backman
Overview: I’m used to giving Ted Thompson high “grades.” I think I’ve done it every year. This draft seemed a little more needs-focused than usual, which is a fine approach in general but may have left some “value” on the board. Thompson clearly entered Thursday worried about his secondary. (I do love Randall as a playmaking ballhawk and Rollins as a versatile defensive chess piece.) Montgomery is essentially a poor man’s Cordarrelle Patterson, while Ripkowski and Backman will likely amount to throwaway picks. Thompson made an intriguing move in round five, jumping 19 spots to acquire Hundley at the mere cost of a late seventh-round pick. I thought he got the better of that deal with New England. Ringo and Ryan were good day-three selections. I don’t think this was a bad draft, but I also don’t believe it was a tide tilter in the NFC. I’ve come to expect a little more from Thompson over the years.
11. Michigan State CB Trae Waynes
45. UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks
88. LSU DE Danielle Hunter
110. Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings
143. Southern Illinois TE MyCole Pruitt
146. Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
186. Oklahoma OT Tyrus Thompson
193. Louisville DE B.J. Dubose
228. Alabama G/T Austin Shepherd
232. Newberry OLB Edmond Robinson
Overview: Fact is, I’ve “heard” of all of these prospects and seen a bunch of them play. This is usually how Rick Spielman’s drafts go. More so than most GMs, Spielman tends to select players who’ve often been discussed inside the draft community. That isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but Minnesota often gets positive “draft grades” as a result. When I look at this draft, I certainly lean toward believing Spielman did well. Waynes and Kendricks hit major needs and project as Opening Day starters. Hunter is a high-ceiling developmental pick. Clemmings has an outside chance to supplant struggling LT Matt Kalil in time, assuming his foot checks out. Pruitt is a highly athletic H-back type, while Diggs combines impact kickoff-return skills with slot receiver potential. Thompson is a boom-or-bust prospect, albeit with plenty of upside. Dubose, Shepherd, and Robinson all profile positively as role players. My belief is the Vikings emerged with at least two and as many as five year-one contributors, and as a significantly better team.