compiled by Andrew Potter
For this special NFL draft edition of Audibles, as with our regular Audibles feature, the FO staff sends around e-mail comments about the draft. We share information, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed as we watch. We then compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.
While these e-mails are written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of the draft. That means we aren't going to discuss every pick, or every talking point. We watch the draft as fans as well as analysts, so the discussion may be colored by our rooting interests and aspects of the draft may not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all.
A couple of new names in Audibles this time around. First, Nathan Forster, who many of you know as the creator of the SackSEER and Playmaker Score systems. Second, Sterling Xie, who has written in the past for Brian Burke's Advanced Football Analytics website and will be covering Detroit and Minnesota in Football Outsiders Almanac 2015.
2015 NFL Draft First Round
Scott Kacsmar: Audibles picks up where it left off: the Seahawks are passing... on the first round of the draft. But it's easy to like a 29-year-old Jimmy Graham over what's going to be available at 31. Still a bit surprised that trade happened, but I probably hold unrealistic expectations for Luke Willson.
Tom Gower: Hanging out in the media workroom, where I have a lovely view of chalkboard and will be watching the draft on one of the televisions located behind me and to my side. This must be my penance for getting to sit on the 50-yard line at Edward Jones Dome in my first Real Media Member experience. To the extent there's a vibe here, it's media people liked the Radio City Music Hall setup much better.
The draft still starts at No. 2. My take 35 minutes before the draft starts remains the same it's been: the Titans aren't going to get enough in a trade to get them to move and will stay put. In that case, I believe they'll take Marcus Mariota.
Cian Fahey: Daniel Jeremiah isn't on the main desk for NFL Network. This is disappointing.
Cian Fahey: It'd be easy to think the Buccaneers are a good landing spot for a rookie quarterback because of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, but their offensive line may be the worst in the NFL. Expectations for Jameis Winston as a starter should be very low.
Andrew Healy: And the Buccaneers aren’t allowed to have a great quarterback.
Tom Gower: Will No. 34 for the Bucs be as easy as "best offensive lineman available"? I'm kind of thinking it should be.
Rivers McCown: I go back-and-forth on Winston. On one hand, I think people are overrating his "NFL readiness" because of the West Coast scheme. On the other, if he came out after his freshman year he would've been a surefire No. 1.
I interviewed quarterback coach Will Hewlett for the podcast I host with Danny Tuccitto and he was pretty adamant that Winston was a much better prospect than I thought, though.
Andrew Healy: OK, Winston is in. Now don’t wait, Tennessee. Just run Mariota’s name up there.
If the Titans use Zach Mettenberger as a reason not to take him, that is crazy. Mettenberger didn’t exactly show signs in his very small sample last year.
Ditto for Jets and Geno Smith.
Rivers McCown: If Zach Mettenberger is allowed to ask for a trade -- and Chris Mortensen says he will if the Titans pick Mariota -- then I think the door is open for pretty much anyone on an NFL roster to do that.
Aaron Schatz: I either really hope that Winston can outperform his poor QBASE projection or I hope that QBASE is completely accurate, depending on what he did to that woman at Florida State.
Andrew Healy: Could not agree more with that.
Cian Fahey: I hadn't really put a huge amount of thought into the Titans taking Mariota because I didn't expect them to do it. They may still trade him later but the best move for them would be to keep him.
My greatest concern is that Whisenhunt looks at him as this running quarterback, a Colin Kaepernick comparable, when that really isn't what his skill set represents. He's a proper pocket passer who should be able to translate to the NFL game despite not being reunited with Chip Kelly.
Andrew Healy: Just keep thinking of Rex Ryan pumping his fist at the end of that Titans-Jets game. That game set football back a decade or two. The Jets may not be allowed to have a great quarterback anymore, either.
Rivers McCown: Assuming the trade offer reports were inflated (which I think is a fair assumption), I think it's the smart move.
Scott Kacsmar: Well that's a boring way to start things. Two of the most quarterback-needy teams in the NFL (for quite some time even) grab the top two quarterbacks in this draft. Historically, I don't think we've ever seen that work out for both teams, but hopefully one of them is legit. I just think Winston is a better fit for Whisenhunt's offense and Mariota might be better off with Tampa Bay's impressive receiving corps. Then again, it's still a Lovie Smith team, so offensively challenged is kind of expected. It's a shame these guys weren't going to better situations. Guess Chip Kelly couldn't sweeten the deal enough for Tennessee.
Aaron Schatz: So, Cian, it sounds like you are not in agreement with the conventional wisdom that Mariota is a poor fit for Whisenhunt's scheme?
Cian Fahey: Has that become conventional wisdom? I've thought Mariota opinion has largely been split.
I think the scheme issues are overblown. He reads progressions, mitigates pressure in the pocket and throws receivers open. There are minor adjustments to make but aren't there always?
Sterling Xie: I wonder how much Tennessee's ownership situation will play a factor in Mariota's time there. There's reports out there that the Adams family might sell after CEO Tommy Smith stepped down. If new ownership overhauls the coaching staff, whatever Whisenhunt does with Mariota this year might just be a total waste. For Mariota's sake, I kinda hope the rumors about Jimmy Haslam buying the team aren't true.
Rivers McCown: Yeah those are long in the past, Sterling. Debunked weeks ago.
I don't think we should read too much into it as a coach/general manager job-saving pick. It's not like they just drafted Bryce Petty or some total reach.
Tom Gower: Ruston Webster was pretty clear the press conference ownership had not said anything about the pick, though the Titan really do need to clear up their ownership/management structure to meet the NFL's approval.
The Titans don't do subtle. It was pretty clear after the pre-draft press conference Tuesday they were taking Mariota without an incredibly overwhelming trade off. The reports of what the Eagles were offering didn't pass that filter for Webster, and I didn't expect them to. Should they have? That's a different question, and depends on how much of an upgrade you think Mariota is and how far you think the talent in the draft falls out. The Titans had 16-17 players with first round grades, and you have to assume any future first-round pick is in the 20s.
Aaron Schatz: The Jaguars take Dante Fowler No. 3. I'm not happy.
Cian Fahey: Vic Beasley should have gone third in my opinion, but I'm a big fan of Fowler too so I don't hate that pick.
Nathan Forster: Just for giggles, I re-ran Fowler's numbers assuming he was as productive from a sack perspective as Beasley. He's still way overdrafted according to SackSEER. The big problem with his projection was his low passes defensed and a combine that was pretty poor except for the 40-yard dash.
For the reasons Aaron mentioned, this was actually one of the more interesting teams in the first round for me. There were some rumors that the Jaguars were interested in Amari Cooper, which sort of setup a scouting versus analytics smackdown.
I wonder a bit if Fowler's status as an "elite prospect" was due in part to his amazing three sack bowl game. It's a little reminiscent of Robert Ayers, who was a rather meh prospect until he blew up the Senior Bowl. There seems to be a clear bias towards players who end with a bang.
Obviously, SackSEER is far from infallible, but a little disappointing that the Jags wouldn’t go with the analytics guy (Beasley) if they were going pass rusher. And Bortles didn’t project well, either.
Cian Fahey: Amari Cooper will be a good NFL wide receiver, but I think that's a bad pick. I suspect he'll be somewhere on the level of Jeremy Maclin as a player, which isn't a huge impact piece. Getting more talented defensive pieces who were still on the board would have made more sense to me.
Ben Muth: Good heavens, I completely forgot the Raiders hired Jack Del Rio. What a depressing franchise they've become. I can't think of franchise cornerstones I'd be less excited for than Jack Del Rio and Derek Carr.
Rivers McCown: Jimmy Haslam?
Nathan Forster: Okay, this is the second year in a row that the Raiders used their highest pick on the player who was on top of one of my spreadsheets. I suppose Khalil Mack worked well for them so why not follow him up with Cooper?
Cian Fahey: Scherff is really good. Washington desperately needs defensive players, but taking high quality offensive linemen is never a bad thing.
Tom Gower: There was an insane rumor about somebody else buying the Titans and doing a 1031-like exchange to get the Browns while Haslam got the Titans. It was a useful credibility test, as in any reporter who repeated it was willing to report anything somebody else told him and should be judged accordingly.
Aaron Schatz: The problem with Scherff is -- isn't the story on him that he can't play left tackle in the NFL, and may not be able to play right tackle? Value-wise, does it make sense to take a guard or even a right tackle at No. 5? I can't believe that nobody was willing to deal into that No. 5 slot to get Kevin White or Leonard Williams.
Ben Muth: Wow, I like Scherff but I never imagined he'd be a top 5 pick. I think he'll be solid starter at guard or tackle but I don't see him as a great tackle (he really is kind of a lumberer in pass pro). And if he moves to guard there's a big difference between being a dominant run blocker against 240 pound college defensive ends and a dominant run blocker against NFL 3-techniques He has a habit of leaning on guys at times in the running game and that won't get it done in the NFL, needs to keep his feet active. If he plays inside and is just an okay run blocker you just spent a top 5 pick on a slightly above average guard.
Cian Fahey: Leonard Williams falling is causing some people on my twitter timeline to lose their minds a little bit. I think it makes sense. He just lacks that explosiveness as a pass rusher that is so important in today's game.
Vince Verhei: NFL Network reports that the Saints are trying to trade up for Vic Beasley. Because of course they are.
Andrew Healy: Wow. The Jags already committed the first big mistake from the Urkel preview today. That would be No. 2. Didn’t expect many of them to actually happen.
Sterling Xie: Rex Ryan would approve.
Rivers McCown: Might be another datapoint in the "copycat" league out-thinking itself, since this worked out so well for Zack Martin and Dallas.
Aaron Schatz: The Jets take Leonard Williams, deciding to screw need and depth chart and going with best player available. They finally have a pick the Jets fans can cheer instead of boo, and they do it the year the draft isn't in New York!
Nathan Forster: I think the Jets selecting Leonard Williams is smart. If you don't have a quarterback, the next best thing is to try to build the equivalent of the "Tecmo Super Bowl When I Correctly Guess Your Play" defense.
Cian Fahey: I love Kevin White as a prospect, but I don't get this move for the Bears. Your defense is atrocious and White isn't going to be an improvement over what you had last year, Brandon Marshall. Bears feel like they're inevitably going to rebuild after this season, this move feels more like a team that thinks it's ready to compete.
Interestingly, I compared White to Alshon Jeffery coming out because of how he will be able to be effective early in his career. His presence is going to put a lot of pressure on Jeffery to be more versatile than he has been to this point in his career.
Cian Fahey: Don't forget Damon Harrison.
Aaron Schatz: Big Snacks! I still love Big Snacks! There has to still be a place for Big Snacks.
Ben Muth: Yeah, him too. Gonna be a lot of ability in that meeting room.
Tom Gower: A minor curve ball with Williams falling to where he did, but none of the single teams that passed on him was a surprise. I want something weird and crazy to happen, and Scherff going to Washington because they considered it a position of extreme need isn't enough in my book.
Sterling Xie: I'm sure there will be Wilkerson trade talk after LW, but unless the Jets are getting a ticket to a potential franchise quarterback, he's gotta be more valuable just sticking around right? Wonder what kind of draft pick haul he would command.
Cian Fahey: So glad Vic Beasley didn't fall behind Alvin Dupree. He's going to be a great player for Atlanta.
Tom Gower: I was really hoping the report that the Falcons would take Shane Ray at 8, notwithstanding foot injury, lousy workout numbers, or recent arrest, would come true. Instead, no, teams keep doing sensible things.
Scott Kacsmar: Wide receivers work best as one of the final pieces to a team that's built to compete. That's why I fully supported the Julio Jones trade. While i don't knock the Cooper and White picks here, both of those teams have lousy defenses. Those wideouts won't change anything in 2015. Even with a good amount of weapons last year, Chicago routinely failed to score many points until garbage time. Oakland's passing game was horrific for most of the year, and I flat out don't buy that Cooper will make Carr a lot better. I just don't believe the game works that way. I definitely believe a bad quarterback will waste a good receiver. Teams that draft a wide receiver in the top five never seem to find a quarterback worthwhile to match. Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald is really the gold standard there, and Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson and Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson are right up there.
Ben Muth: I should mention if the Brandon Scherff pick leads to me never having to watch Tyler Polumbus "block" again, it will become my favorite pick of the draft.
Aaron Schatz: Apparently Polumbus was already cut. Hoorah!
Cian Fahey: Ereck Flowers feels like the Andre Williams pick last year. The Giants front office seemingly lives in a different decade of football.
Ben Muth: I really like the Flowers and Anthony Davis comp I just heard. He has all the physical tools you would want, and he played a lot of football despite only being in school for three years (I really like three-and-out offensive line prospects because so many of the guys they're compared to a five-year guys). So I get the pick. That being said, his pass pro is a complete mess. His footwork is all over the place (clicks his heels way too often) and his punch is non existent. Plus he ducks his head and catches on speed to bull rushes. Davis turned into a good player, but benefited from some great coaching that turned a bunch of guys into real good players.
Vince Verhei: Rams take Gurley. I think me, Ben, and any three readers might be starting linemen in St. Louis this fall.
Rivers McCown: The awesome thing about the Rams is that they continue to take luxury picks despite the fact that they have real, glaring holes.
Cian Fahey: Gurley and Tre Mason may quickly become the best 1-2 RB punch in the NFL. They're just going to have to overcome some incredible OL deficiencies. He's my top rated player in the draft. A simply astounding talent.
Tom Gower: Okay, Flowers was the kind of pick I was waiting for. For a top ten pick, he's really undeveloped as a pass blocker as Ben detailed much better than I could have.
Taking Todd Gurley just goes to reinforce that Jeff Fisher's idea of what football should be was developed in the USC era of Student Body Right with Marcus Allen setting records for carries in a season by a back and reinforced by the Walter Payton and Defense Chicago Bears. I've said before that his version of the ideal football team, if it's not either of those, is the 1973 Miami Dolphins, throwing 11 passes a game in the postseason en route to a Super Bowl. Don't get me wrong, Gurley's a really good back when healthy. It's just how much does a really good back get you, with that kind of offensive line (I really don't get why the NFL doesn't like Peat, unless he secretly hates football), and I hate his injury history.
Ben Muth: I don't know, I can see Greg Robinson taking a leap to solid next year and Rodger Saffold is pretty good. Joe Barksdale is fine if they can re-sign him at a reasonable price. Center and right guard are issues. Okay, big issues.
Aaron Schatz: I'm with Tom. Even if Gurley is as good as Cian thinks, in today's NFL, what does that get you? Is that worth taking this high in the draft? Especially considering what has happened with the last few running backs we all thought were this good? Remember, almost everyone thought Trent Richardson was the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. Let's not play pretend with 20-20 hindsight and say that wasn't the case. And even if it's not fair for every running back taken in the top 10 to have the Richardson albatross around his neck, what about Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, C.J. Spiller...
Cian Fahey: I'm not a Trae Waynes fan at all, but I wasn't an Anthony Barr fan at all last year either. The problem with these guys is Mike Zimmer is a great defensive coach, and he has done especially well with cornerbacks, so he'll probably get the most out of Waynes.
Last six running backs drafted in the top 20: Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews, Knowshon Moreno, Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden. Only Stewart remains with his draft team. Health is certainly a factor, and not a positive for Gurley, but that list is still depressing. A team like St. Louis just doesn't have the line to dominate teams and really focus on the run in a way like the 2012 Vikings did. Even that was a marginal, one-year playoff team.
I think Kiper had the 49ers going with Gurley in his mock despite the Carlos Hyde pick last year. Right division, wrong team.
Now compare that to Mike Zimmer's defense adding Trae Waynes, considered the top cornerback in the draft, to pair with Xavier Rhodes and that's a strategy worth praising. One guy's not enough anymore, especially when you play in a division with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
Aaron Schatz: Seriously, last year the Vikings' starting cornerbacks were Xavier Rhodes and a moldy tuna sandwich.
Tom Gower: Cian, what didn't you like about Waynes? I thought he was the best corner in the draft and fits an area of big need I kept emphasizing in our ESPN pieces.
Cian Fahey: I think most Americans call it instincts, but I call it the balance between aggressive and cautious coverage. Waynes looked too out of control and unaware when I watched him. Primarily just an athlete who jumped off the page because of his athleticism rather than his coverage ability. Of course, with Zimmer, that might be something that can be instilled in him.
Should note, my Waynes criticisms are largely similar to what my Barr criticisms were.
Scott Kacsmar: Slightly amusing moment: Mike Mayock getting into advanced draft metrics right after using total yards allowed to rank Cleveland's run defense.
Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure if "the measureables over time" qualifies as "advanced draft metrics." People assume that since combine results are numbers, all us stats-y people must be obsessed with them. But as we all keep saying, most of the drills don't tell you much at most positions.
Tom Gower: The Saints have gotten away with mediocre tackle play for so many years that they were the one team I thought could go offensive line I didn't see taking Peat. I guess he plays right tackle and Terron Armstead on the left side. Ben, do you think he could play inside at all?
Cian Fahey: I would guess that either Zach Strief or Armstead would move inside with Peat starting in their spot.
Ben Muth: I'm biased, but I love the Peat pick. Good feet in pass pro, does a nice job of locking guys out and using his length. Also was the best run blocker on a team that ran a ton of power and forced him to block a lot of defensive tackles. Coach Shaw mentioned the terminology of New Orleans has a lot of similarities with Stanford's and I've heard the same thing (former teammate that played center was in Saints camp and said like 80 percent of the calls were the same) so you'd think the transition would be smooth which is important when the Saints are trying to win now. Before the draft I thought he had a chance to be a rich man's Jermon Bushrod so the Saints seem like a great fit.
All that being said, he struggles pass blocking guys lined up very wide outside (blitzers and wide 9s). He just doesn't trust his set which is weird because it's a good set. He gets tentative. The other issue when things go bad on him early in a game, he has a hard time bringing himself out of it. He didn't have a lot of bad games in school but when he did, problems started early and he would have trouble adjusting. But he's really young (another 3 and out guy) and is already way further along in his development from a technique standpoint than 95% of college offensive linemen and is toolsy for the position.
And no Tom, I think you put him at left tackle on day 1 and ride him there.
Cian Fahey: Devante Parker is kind of like Amari Cooper to me. He should be a good, but not great NFL player. I really dislike the fit for the Dolphins, they desperately need a guard and defensive pieces in multiple spots. A trade down would have been ideal but even picking a different player at a more valuable spot would have made better sense.
Sterling Xie: La'el Collins seems like someone who would've made sense there before everything that happened to him the past couple days. Then again maybe NO would've taken Collins instead of Peat.
Vince Verhei: Dolphins were very quietly the No. 2 rushing offense by DVOA last year. Now they have Ryan Tannehill throwing to Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry, and Parker, and they added the league's best defensive tackle in free agency. This team is getting more intriguing than they have been in a long, long time.
Oh, and Jordan Cameron. Forgot about him.
Andrew Healy: The Dolphins going wide receiver is another of my "mistakes" coming true, although I realize I may be in the minority on that. I would have waited until a later round to get depth there and used the first pick to go cornerback. They really need help there with Brent Grimes getting older.
Aaron Schatz: 49ers pick up a fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick (in 2016) to go down two spots from 15 to 17. They win the draft.
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Andrew Healy: And the Chargers lose it. Trade up to get a first round running back. Ay de mi.
Cian Fahey: Melvin Gordon will be a good NFL player, but he's not the transcendent talent that Gurley is and he hasn't landed in a great situation. Picking him top 15 in this draft seems crazy when the running back depth may be greater than the depth at any other position.
Aaron Schatz: Trading up into the top 15 to take a running back has always worked for the Chargers. That's why Ryan Mathews is one of the most beloved stars in Chargers history. Or not.
Scott Kacsmar: Underrated injury last year: Danny Woodhead. So good as a receiver in 2013, Philip Rivers really missed having him out there. I'd gladly utilize Woodhead, Branden Oliver and a second or third-round rookie back over Gordon at 15. Still need help on the offensive line.
Cian Fahey: Kevin Johnson is the best cornerback in the draft. Lightning, precise feet who understands how to use his length. Plays aggressively, just needs to improve locating the football when working the sideline. A top five player overall for me. Texans get great value there.
Tom Gower: I think Cian and I are some of the few people who actually liked Arik Armstead. I'm not sure he's much more than a 5-technique and he has to do a better job of playing low, but he's at the minimum a Planet Theory guy.
Cian Fahey: It's a safe bet to think that Armstead will literally eat an offensive lineman before his hall of fame career ends.
Ben Muth: Count me as one of the guys out on Armstead.
Cian Fahey: #StanfordHomer
Ben Muth: Ha, I'm usually an entire PAC-12 homer when it comes to prospects. But Armstead just doesn't do it for me. Looks like Tarzan plays like Jane all-star IMO (cliche hot takes are the best hot takes).
Cian Fahey: Goes both ways.
Rob Weintraub: Here's the part where I curse the Bills again for dealing a first-rounder for Sammy Watkins to the damn Browns.
Cian Fahey: Nelson Agholor is an outstanding prospect who offers the Eagles the speed they're lacking. His versatility to line up inside or outside and win in different ways (route running/YAC/Catch point) is very, very appealing.
Scott Kacsmar: Cleveland's offensive-line spending is like paying four security guards $100,000 to escort Pauly Shore and Andy Dick around town. What's the point?
Ben Muth: I liked Fleming and thought he had really good hands in pass pro from what I saw. I didn't realize teams were looking at him at center, not really built like one but neither was Max Unger and I've loved him when he's healthy (which isn't often, maybe cause he's not built like a center). He looks light in the trunk to play inside. Do the Browns run a lot of outside zone? Because he could be a real interesting center in that type of systems cause he might have the ability to reach a 2I without guard help which is huge if you can do that.
I like the Agholor pick. Was a really good college player.
Sterling Xie: Cleveland did run zone last year with Kyle Shanahan, but I don't know anything about this Joe DeFilippo guy. He was Oakland's quarterback coach last year.
Rob Weintraub: I look forward to mispronouncing Cedric Ogbuehi's name for years to come...
Ben Muth: I think Ogbuehi is interesting. He was a little soft at times in pass pro at A&M in the games I watched and needs to get strong. He gets pushed around too much. But he's got some smooth looking feet and keeps them active.
Cian Fahey: Well, there's always this:
The Steelers have forgotten how to draft outside linebackers since James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were in their primes. The Dupree pick doesn't excite me at all. He's a combine freak whose tape was essentially just him bursting off the line of scrimmage and going nowhere from there.
Andrew Healy: Dupree seems like a great value at No. 22. Maybe a return to the Steelers getting good linebackers after the miss with Jarvis Jones (who SackSEER rated lowly, I think).
Tom Gower: Shane Ray to Denver? Easiest joke of the night, and a pick I don't really understand in terms of value or fit.
Vince Verhei: Well, I guess after he got busted for weed, Shane Ray was destined to go to Denver or Seattle.
Scott Kacsmar: No team spends more resources on linebackers than the Steelers and the results have just been dreadful after that first draft for Mike Tomlin (2007). Plenty of fits available in the secondary, but they went with the next need at seemingly the only position Kevin Colbert cares about anymore in the first round.
Nathan Forster: It's interesting that you mention Jarvis Jones, Andrew, because my first thought was that the Dupree pick is such a complete reversal from the thinking that lead to selecting Jones, almost to the extent that its arguably an over correction. Jones had oodles and oodles of production, but tested so poorly. Dupree is the exact opposite--he has so much athleticism but not a lot of production. If Mike Tomlin could fuse the two together he would have the perfect edge rusher prospect.
Cian Fahey: Trading up for Shane Ray is crazy. Peyton Manning has finished the past two seasons with injuries and their offensive line has glaring holes in it.
Rob Weintraub: Bengals always feel they can get their lineman stronger--tougher to teach feet. As for Ray, he gets to go to a state where weed is legal--winner!
Aaron Schatz: Well, then, by all means, trade away one of your starting offensive linemen!
Aaron Schatz: Three of those five guys were taken by the Broncos.
Scott Kacsmar: If you're talking better fit and short windows, Broncos should have just traded that 28th pick to get Jimmy Graham. Yeah, DeMarcus Ware is the oldest contributor on defense and Ray is more for the future, but I didn't think Elway would make as many long-term moves as he has with Manning's time running out. I don't get this trade.
Rivers McCown: The Broncos have $7 million in cap space and a whole draft to sign, still, though.
Andrew Healy: One more thought on Dupree. Last early LB to post crazy combine numbers for a losing college team and maybe limited production because he dropped into coverage a fair bit: Jamie Collins.
Those kind of analogies are definitely not always a good idea, but food for thought.
Tom Gower: No, I've heard the Jamie Collins comp elsewhere. If Dupree can't actually rush the passer, he has the potential to be Collins-like.
Cian Fahey: Problem with the idea of Dupree being the next Collins is that the Steelers already have three of those types of LBs: Timmons, Shazier and Spence.
D.J. Humphries feels like a great pick for the Cardinals. Steve Keim seems to constantly just make prudent moves.
Ben Muth: Except the last time he took an offensive lineman in the first round. I am undecided on the D.J. Humphries pick. I'm going to watch some more of him tomorrow. Really was hoping for someone that could rush the passer though.
Aaron Schatz: I've got to think Shaq Thompson starts out as more of a safety for the Panthers. They use three linebackers less than almost any team in the league, especially in passing situations. It's not like they take Thomas Davis or Luke Kuechly off the field.
Cian Fahey: I have no idea what the Panthers are doing to be honest.
Sterling Xie: Maybe Shaq's playing running back after all...
Ben Muth: Something to be said for taking what may be the best athlete on the board. I think Shaq turns into a player at whatever the Panthers end up doing with him.
Rivers McCown: I like to wait on these things before I get too angry, but if the Panthers don't leave the first few rounds with a tackle then I echo Cian. Nobody wants to see Michael Oher start games in 2015.
Vince Verhei: As our former colleagues Bill Barnwell and Doug Farrar noted, Thompson will eventually take over for Thomas Davis -- which means we all just watched Davis announce his own replacement.
Nathan Forster: Perriman seems like a great pick for Baltimore. He's a big, fast receiver that can get downfield to take advantage of Joe Flacco's big arm.
Cian Fahey: Byron Jones became a star after his combine play, I had very limited tape of his to watch but what I saw was bad. This is what I wrote at the time: Not impressive. Rigid upper body, slow change of direction. Linear cornerback who will need to win at the line of scrimmage to be effective.
With Owamagbe Odiginizuwa, Eric Kendricks and Randy Gregory on the board amongst others, I really dislike this pick.
Rivers McCown: Jones definitely strikes me as a developmental pick at a position where he'll be thrown into the fire right away, which strikes me as perhaps not the best idea.
Tom Gower: Gregory made too much sense, and everybody expected them to be the team that stopped his fall. I guess not.
I didn't get the Saints potentially taking Philip Dorsett. I don't get the Colts taking Dorsett maybe even more, considering they have their own undersized deep threat.
Rivers McCown: The end of this first round has been ... wildly confusing.
Cian Fahey: I guess the Colts just feel like they needed a little bit more speed at receiver to prevent the Patriots from rushing for 4,000 yards in two games again.
Ben Muth: Colts pick is baffling considering the current roster, but if this leads to them just throwing deep 20 times a game it should at least be fun to watch.
Mike Kurtz: Or the Trent Richardson experience has so thoroughly soured them on the concept of a running back that they're never going to bother fielding one.
Scott Kacsmar: At best, the Colts have cloned T.Y. Hilton at the cost of not adding a building block on defense. It's almost like Ryan Grigson is incapable of studying college defenders, so every premium draft pick goes to offense and he'll just build the defense with the leftovers of other teams. Yeah, I'd nominate this for the worst pick of the night.
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Vince Verhei: On the plus side, Andrew Luck is going to redefine fantasy football.
Andrew Healy: Man, how awesome is Laken Tomlinson? Just caught the tail end of his comments about the health care system in Jamaica. Super cool.
Cian Fahey: I can comfortably say that 95 percent of that draft didn't go the way I expected it to. Lots didn't make any sense and the absence of trades was bizarre.
Aaron Schatz: After some weird Twitter reports that Patriots were both trading down (from Shalize Manza Young) and up (from Jason LaCanfora), the Patriots take Texas DT Malcom Brown 32nd. At one point they had a 3-4 defense where all three linemen were first-round picks: Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, and Ty Warren. Now they can line up a 4-3 where three of the four linemen are first-round picks: Chandler Jones, Dominique Easley, and Brown. Belichick likes defensive linemen high in the draft.
Andrew Healy: Seems like the Colts could have taken Brown. So unusual to have the Patriots just do what seems like the most logical thing. Ten years ago, they took Logan Mankins with the last pick of the first round, who was projected as a third-rounder by many.
Anyway, hard not to like the Brown pick. And they wasted no time getting it up there. Maybe the fastest trip to the podium.
Aaron Schatz: Would love another report from Tom about what it was like to be there. Were you guys able to interview players? Did you talk to anyone? Or just sit in a back room with the media and watch like you were watching at home?
Tom Gower: I've been in and out of the interview room tonight, since it's right next to the media workroom. I haven't made it to all the interviews, but I've been to a few. My favorite may have been one of the last, with D.J. Humphries. Asked about the NFL draft advisory council's recommendation he return to school, he kind of chuckled and mentioned there weren't many 300-pounders who moved like he did. He was also not surprised he was selected where he was. Players are aware of Planet Theory too, it seems.
For the most part, watching the draft from the media workroom was a lot like watching the draft on television except you're sitting with a bunch of media members, some of whom knew a fair amount about the prospects and some of whom didn't seem to know that much.
For the early picks, the interview room was pretty crowded and what reporters with a local interest there was (reports from people had significantly fewer East Coast reporters in particular here than there regularly were at Radio City Music Hall) plus the mainstays, or at least the ones who spent a lot more time there than I did, asked most of the questions. The place opened up more by the picks later in the round like D.J. Humphries and Cedric Ogbuehi, each of whom I could easily have asked a question if I'd had a question I wanted them to answer.
Vince Verhei: I don't spend a lot of time watching college football or scouting college guys, so for me that was a pretty blah first round. Nobody slid 20 picks later than expected, there were hardly any trades, Al Davis wasn't around to do anything insane. Just, Team A takes Player B, over and over again.
Really, the most exciting thing tonight was the 49ers unveiling their new Pee Wee League alternate uniforms.
Aaron Schatz: I always say -- except for the positions where we have projection systems, I don't pretend to know much about these players. I'm not a scout. I have to trust the general opinion of scouts. But I do know the value of certain positions in the NFL. I know where talent is rare and where it is common and easy to find. And I know the value of trading down and adding more lottery tickets to try to find good players. And when you put that all together, I'll just say it again: the Chargers are the big losers tonight. Big, big losers.