After months of mock drafts we finally got to the real thing. I lost count of the number of mock drafts by all the NFL insiders after just a few weeks of their constant shuffling of their predictions. Now the 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone so teams have to live with the realities of the choices they made in their so called war rooms.
The draft ended up being exactly what it’s supposed to be, just plain fun. It is an event to give football fans a dose of hope as we all enter the summer months that hold very little positive football news. If your favorite NFL team or player is a top hit on Google News in the middle of May, then it is time to panic. Summer time football news usually means a freak injury, a team owner DUI, a stupid comment by one of your best players, or news of multiple murders if you were a fan Aaron Hernandez.
There is a ton of real information and conjecture we can glean from the 2015 NFL Draft. The draft is more than just a list of guys in order of their selection. Futures of teams were made and broken at least in part with the picks they started making on Thursday night. All the research in the world by scouts and higher ups in NFL organizations can get thrown out the window with one terrible decision by a player they trusted with a valuable draft pick or a freak injury.
Here are my top 10 takeaways from the 2015 draft.
- Gigantic trades in the NFL rarely go through, even with madman Chip Kelly involved. The Eagles didn’t turn into Oregon East by trading up to get Marcus Mariota, and Adrian Peterson is still a Viking for now. It’s fun to talk about blockbuster deals, especially around draft time, but the truth is they usually never come to fruition.
- Not having the two top picks at the actual venue was a bit odd. Their choice of party spots made it even more awkward. It appeared that Jameis Winston had his draft party at a funeral home and Mariota’s get together looked like it was staged in a high school cafeteria.
- John Elway means to have a dominant defense in Denver. Old #7 moved up in the draft to take Shane Ray which should help an already improved defense over the 2013 version. Ray had a slight misstep with his citation for marijuana possession just before the draft, but that is not a big deal. In about five years, most people won’t blink an eye at any silly criminal marijuana related headlines. Hopefully “criminal” and “marijuana” won’t be in the same sentence much longer.
- The NFL Draft just gets better with all the coverage. I know there is too much talk about what may or may not happen leading up to the actual event. Draft night is a different story. There are tons of facts about each player chosen along with great highlight reels of their college heroics.
- There were some sharply dressed folks at this year’s draft. The event is looking more and more like a red carpet Hollywood deal each year. It just adds one more element to the event to make it a must watch for football fans. Make no mistake, there were still a great number of fashion disasters. A few guys had hairdos too big to allow their fresh team cap to fit their domes, and of course Dante Fowler Jr. came straight from the prom to hear his name called as the third overall pick.
- The Raiders have to show me they are not the same old dumpster fire, but I do like the pick that gives them a deep threat with Amari Cooper out of Bama. David Carr is a promising young QB that could go next level with this guy stretching the field.
- NFL fans are the most fanatical of any sport in the USA. This is obvious. If anyone did have doubts about the level of interest in pro football, then the mobs of people outside the event should tell the tale. People who paid good money to see the Pacquiao Mayweather weigh-in think it was ridiculous to wait outside the NFL Draft just to be on the scene.
- Running backs are not as valuable as they once were back in the days of Walter Payton or Barry Sanders. That doesn’t mean there are not some special guys at that position who deserve to be top ten picks though. Todd Gurley is one of those guys. The Rams wasted no time as they got Gurley at number ten even though they have a very impressive young runner in Tre Mason already on the roster. Having two studs at running back is a good way to insure one is available if and when the other ends up hurt.
- Rookie quarterbacks do not get long to impress a team unless they are a first round pick. The Titans gave up on Zach Mettenberger as a starter after just one season. They decided they would put their offense in the hands of Marcus Mariota, another unproven rookie. With the new rookie pay scale, even first round picks don’t have a huge window to cement their spot on the roster.
- Talent and potential trump character. Many regular Joes couldn’t believe Tampa Bay would take a chance on Jameis Winston. “He’ll be in jail in two years” and “He is just a thug” are just a couple of the comments I heard about the former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.
Trust me, that isn’t the sentiment of 99% of Bucs fans. Their team needed a QB in a bad way and were going nowhere fast without one. It just so happened that their best hope at quarterback happened to have a ton of character questions. Tampa Bay was in need of a football player, not a goodwill ambassador. Every QB isn’t going to be squeaky clean like Russell Wilson or Peyton Manning. Sometimes the best choice on the field is a train wreck off the field. Tampa Bay was willing to roll the dice in the hopes that Winston will stay on track. And most of the other 31 NFL teams would have made the same pick had they been in the same position as the Bucs.