Draft 2015: AFC Draft Grades

Evan Silva
Rotoworld
Raymond Summerlin examines which 2015 rookies will have an impact in redraft formats
Raymond Summerlin examines which 2015 rookies will have an impact in redraft formats

Bang it here for my NFC Draft Grades.

Baltimore Ravens

26. Central Florida WR Breshad Perriman
55. Minnesota TE Maxx Williams
90. Iowa DT Carl Davis
122. Kentucky DE/LB Za'Darius Smith
125. USC RB Javorius Allen
136. Texas Southern CB Tray Walker
171. Delaware TE Nick Boyle
176. Tennessee State OG Robert Myers
204. Georgia Tech WR Darren Waller

Overview: Ozzie being Ozzie. This was a monster draft that not only addressed almost every Ravens need but maximized value. For my money, Perriman is a top-three receiver in this year's class and belonged in the mid-teens. Williams' Combine left something to be desired, but I thought he was a day-one player on college tape. Evaluators question Davis' "motor," but he offers dominant defensive line traits and will be a rotational piece in Baltimore. You could argue Baltimore got first-round talents with each of its first three picks. Smith is Courtney Upshaw 2.0. I thought Allen ran too soft when I watched him, but he is an excellent fit for Marc Trestman's pass-based offense as an able receiver who will pass block. Walker is a player I need to learn more about. Boyle, Myers, and Waller were worthy late-round fliers. I don't see any room to criticize this draft. Home-run trot, Ozzie Newsome.

Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

50. Florida State CB Ronald Darby
81. Louisville OG John Miller
155. Florida State RB Karlos Williams
188. Clemson LB Tony Steward
194. Florida State TE Nick O'Leary
234. Central Arkansas WR Dezmin Lewis

Overview: The Bills did not have a first-round pick after last year's Sammy Watkins trade. That deal doesn't look great for Buffalo after several 2014 rookie receivers outplayed Watkins. My guess is GM Doug Whaley had a borderline day-one grade on Darby and took a "stick-to-the-board" approach at No. 50, because corner wasn't a pressing pre-draft need. Guard (Miller) certainly was. Williams and Steward best project as special teamers, while O'Leary lacks the physical tools to become more than a lightly-used role player. Lewis was a seventh-round dart throw. The Bills weren't equipped to have a great draft from the start, but their class still underwhelmed. Miller is the only confident bet to be a year-one contributor. Only Miller and Darby can reasonably be expected to make impacts long term.

Grade: C-

Cincinnati Bengals

21. Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi
53. Oregon OT Jake Fisher
85. Rutgers TE Tyler Kroft
99. TCU LB Paul Dawson
120. USC CB Josh Shaw
135. Arizona State DT Marcus Hardison
157. Auburn TE C.J. Uzomah
197. Fresno State FS Derron Smith
238. West Virginia WR/KR Mario Alford

Overview: Sort of like the Vikings in the NFC, the Bengals tend to draft players who are well known and frequently discussed in the draft community. This often results in the Bengals receiving good post-draft "grades." Whether it's because they focus on big-school players or quietly pay attention to media draft coverage, I certainly fall victim to this possible inherent bias. Every player the Bengals selected has a recognizable name, and I watched the majority of them play before the draft. My sense is Cincinnati came away with a ton of good prospects. They addressed needs (tackle, linebacker, defensive line, tight end) and stockpiled players I believe can be good pros. My only quibble is with the Bengals not addressing edge-pass rusher and receiver. But I definitely gaze upon this haul favorably.

Grade: B

Cleveland Browns

12. Washington NT Danny Shelton
19. Florida State OL Cameron Erving
51. Utah OLB Nate Orchard
77. Miami RB Duke Johnson
96. Washington State DT Xavier Cooper
115. Northwestern S Ibraheim Campbell
123. Washington State WR Vince Mayle
189. Louisville CB Charles Gaines
195. Mississippi State TE Malcolm Johnson
198. USC TE Randall Telfer
219. USC ILB Hayes Pullard
241. Oregon DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Overview: This is another team that collected recognizable names, and with 12 draft picks obviously added a ton of sheer volume. Browns GM Ray Farmer showed commendable awareness of his own team's pre-draft limitations, attempting to add as many good football players as possible to a roster short on them. Shelton, Erving, and quite possibly Orchard and Johnson project as year-one contributors. The Browns were clearly high on Cooper, trading up for him at 96 and parting with fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-rounders in exchange. Ekpre-Olomu figures to redshirt as a rookie, but could become a starter or core sub-package defender by 2016. The Browns got better with this class, but that was expected considering how many draft picks they had. My skepticism arises from a lack of faith in Mayle, Gaines, Johnson, Telfer, and Pullard developing into useful players, in addition to critical weaknesses remaining at quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end (even after two were taken late).

Grade: C+

Denver Broncos

23. Missouri OLB Shane Ray
59. Colorado State T/G Ty Sambrailo
92. Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman
133. Florida C Max Garcia
164. Tulane CB Lorenzo Doss
203. Maryland NT Darius Kilgo
250. Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
251. Tulane CB Taurean Nixon
252. Oklahoma State SS Josh Furman

Overview: I've seen John Elway billed in some circles as a GM whose team perennially makes the playoffs "because he has Peyton Manning." First of all, Elway deserves applause -- not to be diminished -- for securing Peyton during 2012's league-wide bidding war. Second, Elway has done a masterful job of building one of the NFL's premier rosters, drafting as well as any general manager in football the past several seasons. His 2015 draft was pretty nuts and bolts. Elway went hard after Ray, parting with fifth-round picks in both 2015 and 2016 plus G/C Manuel Ramirez in exchange for a five-spot jump in round one. Sambrailo is a Week 1 starter, and Garcia has an outside shot to be one, as well. A pro-ready blocker and underrated athlete, Heuerman may quietly be Denver's tight end of the future. Kilgo is a worthwhile run-stopping prospect, and Doss profiles as a potential playmaking slot cornerback. My guess is Siemian, Nixon, and likely special teamer Furman won't amount to much. I think this was a solid if unspectacular draft that brought reasonably good value and knocked out a few needs.

Grade: B-

Houston Texans

16. Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson
43. Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney
70. Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong
175. Michigan State WR Keith Mumphery
211. South Florida OLB Reshard Cliett
216. Rice DT Christian Covington
235. LSU RB Kenny Hilliard

Overview: Although some of Houston's round-one alternatives may have offered more flash, Johnson is a high-floor prospect who addressed a need. The Texans entered the draft with next to nothing behind Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph, and the latter is 31 years old entering a contract year. The Texans got aggressive on day two, trading up for McKinney and Strong in deals that wound up essentially costing them fourth-, fifth-, and seventh-round picks in exchange for relatively small moves up the board. GM Rick Smith hit snooze thereafter; neither Mumphery, Cliett, nor Hilliard projects as a useful NFL player. I did think Covington was excellent value in round seven with a shot at becoming an impact sub-package rusher. I like the Johnson and Strong picks, and understand the Texans' pursuit of McKinney. Quarterback, tight end, and interior O-Line remain question marks in Houston.

Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts

29. Miami WR Phillip Dorsett
65. Florida Atlantic CB D'Joun Smith
93. Stanford DE Henry Anderson
109. Central Florida SS Clayton Geathers
151. Stanford NT David Parry
205. Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson
207. Georgia ILB Amarlo Herrera
255. Mars Hill T/G Denzell Goode

Overview: GM Ryan Grigson caught a ton of heat after day one for failing to address a need with the Dorsett pick. Grigson explained it was a by-the-board selection, as Indy assigned Dorsett by-far the highest grade of remaining players. The Colts attacked needs while still keeping in mind "value" the rest of the way, adding a potential future No. 2/slot corner in Smith, powerful five-technique end in Anderson, rotational run-stopping help in Parry, and a violent wrecking-ball runner in Robinson. There were teams that had better drafts this year, but I definitely disagree with the prevalent notion that Grigson did poorly.

Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars

3. Florida DE/LB Dante Fowler
36. Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon
67. South Carolina OG A.J. Cann
104. Louisville FS James Sample
139. Florida State WR Rashad Greene
180. Ohio State DT Michael Bennett
220. Monmouth WR/TE Neal Sterling
229. Notre Dame TE Ben Koyack

Overview: Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell crushed this draft, securing as many as four impact Opening Day starters (Fowler, Yeldon, Cann, Sample) before tabbing sure-handed slot receiver Greene in round five. Bennett may have been the best value pick of the entire draft. I saw him as a second-round possibility entering Friday. Even late rounders Sterling -- a potential mismatch creator -- and Koyack -- a player I believe could be a quality No. 2 tight end -- upgraded the back end of Jacksonville's roster. The Jaguars filled major needs at Leo outside rusher, feature back, and safety, while continuing to inject both lines with talent. This was my favorite 2015 class. On a weekly basis, this year's Jags are going to be a tough out with a nasty defense, playmakers in the passing game, and a formidable rushing attack.

Grade: A+




























































































































Kansas City Chiefs

18. Washington CB Marcus Peters
49. Missouri OL Mitch Morse
76. Georgia WR Chris Conley
98. Oregon State CB Steven Nelson
118. Georgia ILB Ramik Wilson
172. Oregon State LB D.J. Alexander
173. Illinois State TE James O'Shaughnessy
217. Southern Miss DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
233. Northern Illinois WR Da'Ron Brown

Overview: Included in Kansas City's "grade" is a pre-draft trade that netted LG Ben Grubbs at the cost of a fifth-round pick, which New Orleans turned into Fresno State NT Tyeler Davison. The Chiefs continued to prioritize front-five upgrades with zone-blocker Morse, who could easily start at center as a rookie. Peters' off-field concerns are well documented, but he is an ideal fit in Kansas City's press-coverage scheme and knocked out the team's No. 1 need. Vertical stretcher Conley's fit on the Chiefs is questionable considering Alex Smith's risk-averse tendencies, but was a value pick in round three. Nelson, Wilson, Alexander, and Nunez-Roches are physical role-player types. O'Shaughnessy is an underrated flex tight end prospect. This draft wasn't flashy, but I thought it was strong.

Grade: B-

Miami Dolphins

14. Louisville WR DeVante Parker
52. Oklahoma DT Jordan Phillips
114. Arizona State OG Jamil Douglas
145. Memphis CB Bobby McCain
149. Boise State RB Jay Ajayi
150. Minnesota S Cedric Thompson
156. Michigan State DB/WR Tony Lippett

Overview: Almost all of the players selected here -- particularly Phillips and Ajayi -- brought great value to Miami. I thought Phillips had a realistic shot to be taken on day one, and defensive tackle depth was a definite need behind Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell. I'm not quite as high on Parker as many are, and would've preferred Miami address its glaring cornerback need at No. 14 with either Kevin Johnson or Marcus Peters. I do believe Parker will be a good player, but envision him more as a rich man's Brandon LaFell than A.J. Green. Douglas has all the tools to become a starting left guard in the NFL and fits Miami's zone-run game. McCain is a feisty, playmaking slot corner. Thompson is a tools-based projection who will open his career on special teams, while Lippett is a receiver-to-cornerback project the Fins presumably hope can become their version of Richard Sherman. I thought this draft was solid, but was very surprised Miami didn't place a higher priority on its suspect secondary.

Grade: C+

New England Patriots

32. Texas DT Malcolm Brown
64. Stanford S Jordan Richards
97. Oklahoma DE/LB Geneo Grissom
101. Arkansas DE Trey Flowers
111. Florida State OG Tre' Jackson
131. Georgia Tech C Shaq Mason
166. Navy LS Joe Cardona
178. Mississippi State LB/S Matthew Wells
202. Arkansas TE AJ Derby
247. Marshall CB Darryl Roberts
253. Alabama LB Xzavier Dickson

Overview: In case you were wondering what New England netted from the day-three Brett Hundley trade, the Patriots turned that pick (147) into long snapper Cardona and long-shot Roberts. The defending Super Bowl champions made some goofy selections on guys with special teams ceilings, so I'll just focus on the positive first. Brown addressed a big need and has surprising versatility for a man his size. Jackson and Mason are butt kickers in the trenches and could have futures as interior-line starters. Derby drew very little pre-draft buzz, but was one of my favorite tight end prospects in a weak tight end draft. Watch Derby's game tape; he loves football and will play his rear end off. Flowers is a power end who I think could develop into an NFL regular. Richards, Wells, Grissom, Cardona, Roberts, and Dickson are the low-ceiling picks I didn't love. While I fully expect the Pats to be in the Lombardi hunt once again in 2015, my guess is it won't be because they tore up the 2015 draft.

Grade: C-

New York Jets

6. USC DE Leonard Williams
37. Ohio State WR Devin Smith
82. Louisville OLB Lorenzo Mauldin
103. Baylor QB Bryce Petty
152. Texas A&M OG Jarvis Harrison
223. Northwestern State DT Deon Simon

Overview: Deemed by many NFL personnel men the top player in the entire draft, Williams was an obvious round-one steal and gives the Jets options should they opt against paying DE Muhammad Wilkerson a mammoth contract. Rookie GM Mike Maccagnan pulled a beneficial day-two trade, sending No. 70 to the Texans in exchange for Nos. 82, 152, 229, and WR DeVier Posey, whom Maccagnan helped draft in Houston. Included in the Jets' "grade" is another trade that landed Zac Stacy in exchange for the No. 224 pick, which St. Louis turned into Baylor LB Bryce Hager. While the Williams pick was great, Smith is a suspect fit as a vertical stretcher in new OC Chan Gailey's dink-and-dunk offense. I wanted to see the Jets address their tailback and outside-rusher needs with better players than sub-par athlete Mauldin and Rams castoff Stacy. Petty makes sense as a developmental passer on Gailey's watch. Harrison is a talented enigma, while Simon is an old prospect who didn't dominate in the low-college ranks. I liked Maccagnan's work in free agency better than his first draft.

Grade: C-

Oakland Raiders

4. Alabama WR Amari Cooper
35. Florida State DL Mario Edwards
68. Miami TE Clive Walford
128. Miami OG Jon Feliciano
140. Kansas LB Ben Heeney
161. Florida LB Neiron Ball
179. Virginia LB/DE Max Valles
218. Tennessee State OT Anthony Morris
221. Florida WR Andre Debose
242. Kansas CB Dexter McDonald

Overview: I was very high on Oakland's 2014 draft. I don't think GM Reggie McKenzie did quite as well this year. Cooper was a no-brainer pick at No. 4, but Edwards was a college underachiever who didn't take care of the Raiders' edge-rusher need across from SLB Khalil Mack. Walford is a high-floor, low-ceiling in-line tight end. Feliciano is a thickly-built brawler who I don't see as more than a stopgap, short-term starter. Heeney and Ball are athletic 4-3 outside linebacker types who may max out on special teams. The seventh-rounders are likely throwaway picks. Valles may be the most intriguing prospect McKenzie drafted, offering a plus combo of college production and athleticism. McKenzie knocked it out of the park last April, but beyond the Cooper selection I don't think the Raiders got a lot better this year.

Grade: C

Pittsburgh Steelers

22. Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree
56. Ole Miss CB Senquez Golson
87. Auburn WR Sammie Coates
121. Ohio State CB Doran Grant
160. Penn State TE Jesse James
199. Central Michigan DE Leterrius Walton
212. Miami OLB Anthony Chickillo
239. Louisville S Gerod Holliman

Overview: The Steelers have had their fair share of rough drafts in the Kevin Colbert era. I'm concerned about this group. While Dupree had a great Combine and is reputedly "a great kid," he is a total project as a pass rusher and may not help much in year one. Golson is an on-ball playmaker, but gave up way too many touchdown passes last season and will be limited to slot corner in the NFL. Coates is essentially bereft of ball skills and was purely a luxury pick behind Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton. Grant isn't athletic enough to hold up at cornerback in the big leagues, while Holliman is a contact-averse matador who may not last the length of his rookie deal. James, Walton, and Chickillo were quality late-round stabs. The Steelers needed a lot more from this draft, particularly in terms of pass rush, safety help, and perimeter cornerback play. They also missed out on known-target Maxx Williams, who ended up with the division-rival Ravens. A disappointing haul.

Grade: D

San Diego Chargers

15. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
48. Miami ILB Denzel Perryman
83. Texas State CB Craig Mager
153. North Dakota State OLB Kyle Emanuel
192. Arkansas DT Darius Philon

Overview: GM Tom Telesco was aggressive about securing Gordon, parting with a 2015 fourth-rounder and 2016 fifth-rounder to jump just two spots in round one. "MG3" fills a huge hole in San Diego's offense, though I wish Telesco had done more to address an O-Line that still has at least one major weakness. Inside thumper Perryman was a crucial addition to a Chargers defense that couldn't stop the run last year. He'll make overpaid Donald Butler expendable sooner rather than later. Mager lacked pre-draft buzz, but offers requisite size, explosiveness, and tackling ability to develop into an NFL starter at cornerback or safety. 2014 Buck Buchanan Award winner Emanuel is a cross between Rob Ninkovich and Kroy Biermann as a high-motor defender with much better athletic ability than billed. Even on down to Philon -- a sub-rusher prospect with upside -- Telesco did well with all of his picks. I still wanted to see him grab at least one quality offensive lineman and an upgrade at nose tackle.

Grade: B-

Tennessee Titans

2. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
40. Missouri WR Dorial Green-Beckham
66. Utah OT Jeremiah Poutasi
100. Auburn DL Angelo Blackson
108. Alabama FB Jalston Fowler
138. Minnesota RB David Cobb
177. Louisville OLB Deiontrez Mount
208. Boston College C Andy Gallik
245. William & Mary WR Tre McBride

Overview: I've been very critical of Titans GM Ruston Webster's recent free agency and draft classes, and I believe rightfully so. Credit where it's due: Webster knocked this one out of the park. In addition to piling up value picks and addressing needs, Webster made a savvy day-two trade that turned No. 33 into Green-Beckham, Fowler, and McBride. Mariota could buy the front office at least two years, and gives Tennessee a legit shot at a franchise quarterback. DGB and McBride likely mean Justin Hunter's days in Nashville are numbered. The early/middle-round picks I really liked were Poutasi (likely early-career starter) and Cobb, a chain-moving sustainer back who should quickly upgrade on Shonn Greene and could emerge as the Titans' year-one lead runner, a role I'm skeptical Bishop Sankey is capable of filling. Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris was a big fan of Mount during the pre-draft phase, and NFL Films' Greg Cosell was high on Gallik. All in all, I think Webster added a bunch of good football players to a roster previously painfully short on good football players.

Grade: A























































































































Scroll to continue with content
Ad

What to Read Next