Published May 03, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - Here's an early look at how the AFC teams fared during the 2015 NFL Draft:
Buffalo Bills: Ronald Darby (CB, Florida State) Round 2 (50); John Miller (OG, Louisville) Round 3 (81); Karlos Williams (RB, Florida State) Round 5 (155); Tony Steward (OLB, Clemson) Round 6 (188); Nick O'Leary (TE, Florida State) Round 6 (194); Dezmin Lewis (WR, Central Arkansas) Round 7 (234)
The Bills didn't have a first-round pick after moving up to get Sammy Watkins last year. They started at No. 50 overall and went best player available, taking Darby despite already possessing two solid cornerbacks in Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore. Miller fits better as a need and is a strong, physical offensive lineman who can dominate in the phone booth.
Best Value: Williams had some off-field issues, but he is a punishing runner who fits Greg Roman's usual MO to have a one-cut, north-south runner, something LeSean McCoy really isn't.
Questionable Call: Steward really doesn't have an NFL trait to lean on in his skill set, so picking him in Round 6 was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Grade: There is only so much you can do when you don't have a first-round selection and Buffalo was at least able to come away with some possible contributors. C+
Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) Round 1 (14); Jordan Phillips (DT, Oklahoma) Round 2 (52); Jamil Douglas (OG, Arizona State) Round 4 (114); Bobby McCain (CB, Memphis) Round 5 (145); Jay Ajayi (RB, Boise State) Round 5 (149); Cedric Thompson (S, Minnesota) Round 5 (150); Tony Lippett (WR, Michigan State) Round 5 (156)
The recent Greg Jennings signing alleviated things a bit for the Dolphins at the wide receiver position, but it was hardly the answer to the team's need for a legitimate deep threat at the position. So, when Parker, who brings a big body to the table, as well as soft hands, very good body control and the leaping ability to high-point the football, was still on the board at No. 14 overall, Miami jumped. Phillips, meanwhile, should fit in nicely as a complement to stud Ndamukong Suh on the inside of the defensive line.
Best Value: Ajayi is a second-round talent who fell to the fifth due to concerns over a knee injury. If the Boise State product stays healthy, it's conceivable he will be a better back than starter Lamar Miller in short order.
Questionable Call: The Dolphins seemingly always need help on the offensive line, but fourth-round guard Jamil Douglas is a finesse player with little versatility, something a backup needs on the O-line.
Grade: A solid effort interrupted by one strange call dips the final grade down to a B.
New England Patriots: Malcom Brown (DT, Texas) Round 1 (32); Jordan Richards (S, Stanford) Round 2 (64); Geneo Grissom (DE, Oklahoma) Round 3 (97); Trey Flowers (DE, Arkansas) Round 4 (101); Tre Jackson (OG, Florida State) Round 4 (111); Shaq Mason (OC, Georgia Tech) Round 4 (131); Joe Cardona (LS, Navy) Round 5 (166); Matthew Wells (LB, Mississippi State) Round 6 (178); A.J. Derby (TE, Arkansas) Round 6 (202); Darryl Roberts (CB, Marshall) Round 7 (247); Xavier Dickson (DE, Alabama) Round 7 (253)
No, Brown is not going to end up as the best player the Patriots ever drafted, but he is a tremendous value at the final spot in the first round. Richards is a typical New England pick, a smart player who had a third- or fourth-round grade for most, while Grissom is a versatile edge player in the Jaime Collins mold.
Best Value: Jackson will hit the ground running in the NFL as a plus run blocker and fits a need on the interior of the Pats' offensive line.
Questionable Call: Wells can run and may be a fit on special teams, but he's way too slight to end up as an option at linebacker.
Grade: Just about everybody in a position of power in this league thinks they are the smartest guy in the room, but Bill Belichick and Co. generally prove it with results. As usual, they found some workable pieces despite starting dead last in the process. B
New York Jets: Leonard Williams (DL, USC) Round 1 (6); Devin Smith (WR, Ohio State) Round 2 (37); Lorenzo Mauldin (OLB, Louisville) Round 3 (82); Bryce Petty (QB, Baylor) Round 4 (103); Jarvis Harrison (OG, Texas A&M) Round 5 (152); Deon Simon (NT, Northwestern State) Round 7 (223)
It took first-year Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan all of 72 hours to outdo his predecessor, snaring an impressive haul which included the best pure football player in this draft at No. 6 overall (Williams) as well as a solid prospect at receiver (Smith) and competition for his underwhelming incumbent quarterback (Petty). Maccagnan then completed the process by firing much of John Idzik's staff, including director of pro personnel Brendan Prophett. It's a new day for the Jets and that's a very good thing.
Best Value: Art Briles' spread system did Petty no favors when projecting him to the pro level, but the former Baylor star has NFL size and arm strength. If he can develop from a one-read QB into a progression signal caller, New York could have its answer at the position.
Questionable Call: It's nitpicking, but Simon is already 24 and coming off a knee injury. There were certainly more viable prospects on the board, even in the seventh round.
Grade: This was a home run on paper for Maccagnan. A
Baltimore Ravens: Breshad Perriman (WR, Central Florida) Round 1 (26); Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota) Round 2 (55); Carl Davis (DT, Iowa) Round 3 (90); Za'Darius Smith (DE, Kentucky) Round 4 (122); Javorius Allen (RB, Southern California) Round 5 (125); Tray Walker (CB, Texas Southern) Round 4 (136); Nick Boyle (TE, Delaware) Round 5 (171); Robert Myers (OG, Tennessee State) Round 5 (176); Darren Waller (WR, Georgia Tech) Round 6 (204)
Ozzie Newsome has the big reputation for a reason and the Ravens' personnel chief came away with three real solid prospects in the prime rounds. Perriman is a jet with size and an NFL pedigree who will fit nicely as the replacement for Torrey Smith. Newsome knows a thing or two about tight ends and Williams was by far the best one in this draft, a Kyle Rudolph type with athleticism, big hands and a huge catching radius. Davis has all the physical traits you look for in a DT and some had him rated as a late first-round pick.
Best Value: New offensive coordinator Marc Trestman knows how to use versatile running backs (think Matt Forte) and Allen is a one-cut downhill runner with nice size and receiving ability.
Questionable Call: Walker has the length you look for in corners these days, but he's very raw with his technique and not very good in run support.
Summary: Newsome just replenished the Ravens with another solid draft class. There is a reason good organizations generally stay that way. B+
Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi (OT, Texas A&M) Round 1 (21); Jake Fisher (OT, Oregon) Round 2 (53); Tyler Croft (DE, Rutgers) Round 3 (85); Paul Dawson (MLB, TCU) Round 3 (99); Josh Shaw (CB, Southern California Round 4 (120); Marcus Hardison (DE, Arizona State) Round 4 (135); C.J. Uzomah (TE, Auburn) Round 5 (157); Derron Smith (S, Fresno State) Round 6 (197); Mario Alford (WR, West Virginia) Round 7 (238)
On the surface, the Bengals have two solid tackles in Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith, but both are on the wrong side of 30 and will be entering the final years of their contracts. So, Cincinnati went the proactive route, snaring Ogbuehi and Fisher in the first two rounds. Ogbuehi is talented, but a bit of a reach at No. 21 overall after tearing an ACL in Texas A&M's bowl game, while Fisher is a big-time athlete and made for zone-blocking schemes. Dawson, meanwhile, isn't a top-tier athlete, but he is an instinctive tackling machine who is the best middle linebacker in this draft.
Best Value: Dawson is this year's Chris Borland. He may not have all the physical traits you want, but he can flat-out play.
Questionable Call: Third-round tight end Kroft doesn't catch the football naturally, runs shaky routes and is still learning when it comes to his technique while blocking. He was a fifth- or sixth-round talent in my mind.
Summary: I'm not sure this class is going to help right way, but Cincy set itself up on the offensive line for the next decade or so and Dawson is can't- miss. B
Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton (NT, Washington) Round 1 (12); Cameron Erving (OL, Florida State) Round 1 (19); Nate Orchard (OLB, Utah) Round 2 (51); Duke Johnson (RB, Miami-Florida) Round 3 (77); Xavier Cooper (DT, Washington State) Round 3 (96); Ibraheim Campbell (S, Northwestern) Round 4 (115); Vince Mayle (WR, Washington State) Round 4 (123); Charles Gaines (CB, Louisville) Round 6 (189); Malcolm Johnson (TE, Mississippi State) Round 6 (195); Randall Telfer (TE, Southern California) Round 6 (198); Hayes Pullard (ILB, Southern California) Round 7 (219); Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB, Oregon) Round 7 (241)
Trading up for Marcus Mariota would have been far sexier, but Cleveland and Ray Farmer needed this draft, a soup-to-nuts, by-the-book effort that produced a host of really solid prospects starting with Shelton, a defensive interior stud who flashes amazing short-area quickness for a 345-pound man. Erving, meanwhile, is as versatile as it gets, capable of playing every spot on the offensive line except left tackle. Orchard isn't a wow-type athlete off the edge, but he's a sum-is-greater-than-the-parts player, while Johnson is a 5- foot-9, third-down scat back who is very explosive.
Best Value: He may never make it all the way back after a catastrophic knee injury, but taking a flyer on Ekpre-Olomu in the seventh round could pay major dividends. The Oregon product would have been in the discussion as a first- round pick, and although undersized at 5-foot-9, he had the best range and ball skills of any DB in the process.
Questionable Call: As an undersized interior player with great natural instincts, Cooper strikes me as a natural three-technique and I'm not sure he fits the 3-4.
Grade: After a disastrous first-round in the 2014 draft, Farmer found his sea legs by taking a breath and not worrying about splashiness. B+
Pittsburgh Steelers: Alvin Dupree (OLB, Kentucky) Round 1 (22); Senquez Golson (CB, Ole Miss) Round 2 (56); Sammie Coates (WR, Auburn) Round 3 (87); Doran Grant (CB, Ohio State) Round 4 (121); Jesse James (TE, Penn State) Round 5 (160); Leterrius Walton (DT, Central Michigan) Round 6 (199); Anthony Chickillo (DE, Miami-Florida) Round 6 (212), Gerod Holliman (S. Louisville) Round 7 (239)
Cornerback was by far the biggest need in the Steel City, but when potential top-10 edge defender Bud Dupree fell to No. 22, Pittsburgh went the prudent, best-player-available route. A monster-sized, pass rusher, Dupree needs to find some consistency to be a star. Corner was then addressed in Round 2 with Golson, an undersized Ole Miss product who can make plays on the football but probably can't hold up outside the numbers. Coates is a speed demon at wide receiver who can pop-the-top on any defense, but his hands are suspect.
Best Value: Grant isn't as good an athlete as Golson, but he is very smart and has greater potential as a starter because of his size.
Questionable Call: James is a big, old-school blocking tight end and those types of players just don't fit in today's pass-happy NFL.
Grade: The Steelers lucked out a bit when a potential star feel to them and were able to then address some needs later in the process. A solid, but not spectacular effort. B
Houston Texans: Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest) Round 1 (16); Benardrick McKinney (ILB, Mississippi State) Round 2 (43); Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona State) Round 3 (70); Keith Mumphrey (WR, Michigan State) Round 5 (175); Reshard Cliett (OLB, South Florida) Round 6 (211); Christian Covington (DT, Rice) Round 6 (216); Kenny Hilliard (RB, LSU) Round 7 (235)
Johnson has a slender frame, but is a well-rounded corner who can play inside or out and excel in either man or zone coverage. McKinney, meanwhile, is a king-sized thumper in the middle who projects as more of a two-down downhill player.
Best Value: A lot of people thought Houston might take Strong with the 16th overall pick as the replacement for Andre Johnson until a wrist injury cooled his stock. Getting him in the third round is the definition of value.
Questionable Call: Mumphrey is a big receiver who just doesn't have the athleticism to be a significant option at this level.
Grade: The top three picks make a lot of sense on paper and things kind of fell off from there. B
Indianapolis Colts: Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami-Florida) Round 1 (29); D'Joun Smith (CB, Florida Atlantic Round 3 (65); Henry Anderson (DE, Stanford) Round 3 (93); Clayton Geathers (S, Central Florida) Round 4 (109); David Parry (NT, Stanford) Round 5 (151); Josh Robinson (RB, Mississippi State) Round 6 (205); Amarlo Herrera (ILB, Georgia) Round 6 (207); Denzell Goode (OT, Mars Hill) Round 7 (255)
On one hand, it's best to subscribe to the theory that need is the worst talent evaluator in sports. On the other hand, if you look at the Colts and think about Andrew Luck throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and Vincent Brown, you have to wonder why he needs another receiver like Dorsett. That said, a threesome of Hilton, Johnson and Dorsett on the field at the same time could produce a greatest-show-on-turf feel. Indy went the logical route after Dorsett and amped up the defense with Smith, an undersized but very quick corner, and Anderson, a rangy, base defensive end who can set the edge.
Best Value: Parry, Anderson's teammate at Stanford, is a classic, short, stout nose tackle.
Questionable Call: Geathers is strictly a box safety who will get lost in the passing game.
Grade: The value was generally there for Ryan Grigson, but not necessarily the fit. Give it a B-.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler (OLB, Florida) Round 1 (3); T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama) Round 2 (36); A.J. Cann (OG, South Carolina) Round 3 (67); James Sample (S, Louisville) Round 4 (104); Rashad Greene (WR, Florida State) Round 5 (139); Michael Bennett (DT, Ohio State) Round 6 (180); Neal Sterling (WR, Monmouth) Round 7 (220); Ben Koyack (TE, Notre Dame) Round 7 (229)
Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley continued to upgrade their roster. Now it has to start showing on the field. On paper, Jacksonville improved on both sides of the ball with their first three picks. Fowler was the best edge defender in this draft, while Yeldon is a potential every down back and Cann should develop into a quality interior offensive lineman.
Best Value: Bennett may not have the first step NFL teams look for, but he was an awfully productive player at a big-time program and at the bare minimum projects as a valuable rotation player.
Questionable Call: Sample is a box safety for the cover-3, but he doesn't project as an NFL-level coverage option.
Grade: When you draft as high a the Jaguars do, you should succeed. B
Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) Round 1 (2); Dorial Green- Beckham (WR, Oklahoma) Round 2 (40); Jeremiah Poutasi (OT, Utah) Round 3 (66); Angelo Blackson (DT, Auburn) Round 4 (100); Jalston Fowler (FB, Alabama) Round 4 (108); David Cobb (RB, Minnesota) Round 4 (138); Deontrez Mount (OLB, Louisville) Round 6 (177); Andy Galik (OC, Boston College) Round 6 (208); Tre McBride (WR, William & Mary) Round 7 (245)
Few of us believed Ruston Webster and Ken Whisenhunt really wanted Mariota and the fit still seems strange, but a one-read, spread system college quarterback is now calling Nashville home under a traditional pro-style offensive coach. It's the very definition of pounding the square peg in the round hole from a football sense and the end game probably isn't going to look pretty for the Titans' brain-trust. DGB is another risk, but in a different sense. His physical gifts and receiving talent are off the charts, but he sat out last year after transferring from Missouri to Oklahoma and has significant off-the- field issues. Poutasi is at least a clean prospect who projects to the right side in the pros.
Best Value: Cobb doesn't have great speed, but he's a powerful, downhill runner who should be able to move the chains.
Questionable Call: The Titans were right to try to pry as much as humanly possible from Chip Kelly for Mariota, but in the end, they should have taken the best deal they could have gotten. Conspiracy theorists who believe Tennessee wanted Mariota as a face for the franchise in order to make a potential sale of the team more lucrative fail to understand losing takes the luster off any player, no matter how much hype they had coming into the league.
Grade: With Mariota and DGB at the top, this is the ultimate boom-or-bust draft. Webster and Whisenhunt, however, are unlikely to survive to see the eventual outcome. C
Denver Broncos: Shane Ray (DE/OLB, Missouri) Round 1 (23); Ty Sambrailo (OT, Colorado State) Round 2 (59); Jeff Heuerman (TE, Ohio State) Round 3 (92); Max Garcia (OC, Florida) Round 4 (133); Lorenzo Doss (CB, Tulane) Round 5 (164); Darius Kilgo (NT, Maryland) Round 6 (203); Trevor Siemian (QB, Northwestern) Round 7 (250); Taurean Nixon (DB, Tulane) Round 7 (251); Josh Furman (S, Oklahoma State) Round 7 (252)
Ray's poor decision making before the draft didn't dissuade John Elway from trading up to go get him and his ceiling as a player may not warrant that kind of trust. Sambrailo should fit in as a starter at right tackle relatively early and Heuerman fills a need, but he certainly can't bring the same kind of explosiveness Julius Thomas did.
Best Value: Garcia isn't a great athlete but, he's awfully versatile and should fit in as a valuable interior reserve.
Questionable Call: Elway and his staff were throwing darts in the seventh round, taking three prospects who didn't have draftable grades. It's great to take a chance here and there late on a certain player who may have one or two projectable traits, but failing to respect the value of these types of selections is a mistake.
Grade: It hasn't been a great offseason for the Broncos and that trend continued here. C+
Kansas City Chiefs: Marcus Peters (CB, Washington) Round 1 (18); Mitch Morse (OC, Missouri) Round 2 (49); Chris Conley (WR, Georgia) Round 3 (76); Steven Nelson (CB, Oregon State) Round 3 (98); Ramik Wilson (ILB, Georgia) Round 4 (118); D.J. Alexander (OLB, Oregon State) Round 5 (172); James O'Shaughnessy (TE, Illinois State) Round 5 (173); Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT, Southern Miss) Round 6 (217); Da'Ron Brown (WR, Northern Illinois) Round 7 (233)
Peters is yet another potential character issue who has a tremendous upside as a player. Morse is a smart prospect who was a tackle at Missouri. He has very short arms, though, so Kansas City projects him inside as the possible replacement for Rodney Hudson at center. Conley, meanwhile, is a triangle prospect at a need position.
Best Value: Nelson is short, but he's a battler known for his work ethic and non-stop motor at the corner position.
Questionable Call: Andy Reid knows offensive lineman, but there is way too much projecting going on with Morse for the 49th overall pick. You have to get a better bang for your buck there.
Grade: Peters has All-Pro-level talent, so if he can keep his nose clean, this will probably end up as a success for Kansas City, but there was far too much chance taking to be impressed this early. B-
Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama) Round 1 (4); Mario Edwards, Jr. (DL, Florida State) Round 2 (35); Clive Walford (TE, Miami-Florida) Round 3 (68); John Feliciano (OG, Miami-Florida) Round 4 (128); Ben Heeney (ILB, Kansas) Round 5 (140); Neiron Ball (OLB, Florida) Round 5 (161); Max Valles (OLB, Virginia) Round 6 (179); Anthony Morris (OL, Tennessee State) Round 7 (218); Andre Debose (WR, Florida) Round 7 (221); Dexter McDonald (CB, Kansas) Round 7 (242)
If Derek Carr is going to succeed, he'll need playmakers like Cooper and Warford around him. Cooper can play inside or out and hits the NFL as a plus- route runner, a rare thing with young receivers. Warford, meanwhile, is a seam threat as a tight end but needs to upgrade his blocking. Edwards impressed NFL scouts with his physical ability after losing about 40 pounds. The question is which Edwards shows up in Oakland?
Best Value: Heeney isn't a great athlete but he's very instinctive and projects well to special teams.
Questionable Call: Feliciano lacks technique, plays with poor leverage and often lunges. Most didn't rate him as a draftable commodity yet the Raiders took him in the fourth round.
Grade: Cooper has star written all over him and things started falling off from there. B-
San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) Round 1 (15); Denzel Perryman (ILB, Miami-Florida) Round 2 (48); Craig Mager (CB, Texas State) Round 3 (83); Kyle Emanuel (OLB, North Dakota State) Round 5 (153); Darius Philon (DT, Arkansas) Round 6 (192)
After it became clear the Chargers wouldn't be trading Philip Rivers, this draft became about replacing the departed Ryan Mathews in the backfield and San Diego was able to do it, moving up two slots to guarantee Wisconsin stud Gordon. Gordon isn't quite the prospect as a healthy Todd Gurley, but he has the vision, natural balance and strength to be a bell cow. San Diego also added an impact inside linebacker in the second with Miami's Perryman, who is short and not as fast as you would like but very instinctive.
Best Value: The Chargers need an impact edge defender and Emanuel dominated at the FCS level and has the kind of first step which could translate well to the NFL.
Questionable Call: Third-round cornerback Mager of Texas State is very raw and was a reach despite possessing some NFL qualities.
Grade: Chargers general manager Tom Telesco didn't have a ton of picks to work with but, he probably got two starters and a chance to hit on a late-round pick with Emanuel. B