There is a lot of hype going into the 2015 NFL Draft. It seems like there is much more hype this year than previous years.
Does the draft stock warrant the hype?
The hype comes from the fact that more people watched college football this year because of the excitement of the new playoff system.
Lets take an objective look at the draft starting with offense:
At the quarterback position, the big names are Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Both of these guys will probably go in the first round. The quarterbacks are similar, as they both possess dual threat capabilities and hail from universities that are ranked in the top five. The prospects from previous years who would compare to Mariota and Winston based on these two credentials are: Johnny Manziel, Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Vince Young, Terrelle Pryor, Tim Tebow, and Tyrod Taylor. None of these guys really panned out except for maybe Newton.
Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are also dual threat signal callers, but don’t come from major top five universities. Peyton Manning came from a top five school, but everyone knows about his running ability. History tells us, at the quarterback position it is better to be a pocket passer from a smaller university who is tested by other colleges every week. Garrett Grayson of Colorado State could be one of the best quarterbacks in the draft, and teams could pick him up in the third or fourth round.
The running back position seems to be a fairly strong class, or is it? Melvin Gordon rushed for a crap ton of yards, but he did it in a system (Wisconsin) where everyone in the backfield does that. He also did it in a weak conference. No Wisconsin running back in the past 30 years has been a star in the NFL. Todd Gurley could be a star, but he has injury questions. Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, and T.J. Yeldon will probably be the better running backs in the draft, and teams can wait until the second or third round to get these guys.
The wide receiver position’s draft stock is legit. Amari Cooper and Kevin White are the real deal. One might even throw DeVante Parker into the mix. Jaelen Strong and Dorial Green-Beckham are proving they have what it takes to hear their names called in the first round also.
When looking at the tight end position there does not seem to be any Jimmy Grahams here. Maxx Williams will probably go in the first round, but he is nothing to go “ooh and ahh” over.
There is nothing on the offensive line that really stands out. The center and guard positions are weak. There are about four to five guys at tackle that would fit the bill for a team who is desperate as Brandon Scherff and La’el Collins will probably hear their names called in the top ten.
Yes, the entire defense lumped together. The reason is is because outside of the unblockable Leonard Williams and a couple good outside linebackers (Dante Fowler Jr. and Vic Beasley), there is really not much to wow over.
The fact is, while this draft is deep, it is not spectacular.
The best option for teams outside of a top five pick should be to trade down. General managers should be looking to turn their first and second round picks into multiple third, fourth and fifth rounders. The key to this draft is not about how many picks teams have in the first round. The key is to draft as many players as possible.