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Round 1 Final Grades: 2015 NFL Draft


Now that I’ve had a chance to recover from giving my instant reactions to each individual pick throughout the first round of the NFL Draft last night,  I am ready to hand out some more grades. After studying the picks, I wanted to see how my grading differentiated from the ones initially handed out. Plus, if you are anything like me, you’d prefer to see all the grades in one place instead of having to read 32 individual articles…I understand.

So here you go, my morning-after grades for the first round of the NFL Draft:

Pick Team Selection Grade Analysis
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston (QB) B+ The Bucs desperately needed someone to man the canons down in Tampa and Winston was the more NFL-ready. He fits their system so it's tough to fault them.
2 Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota (QB) A- Love this pick for the Titans if for no other reason than selfishly wanting to see Mariota be mentored by Ken Whisenhunt. Mariota is a smart leader who will learn quickly.
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Dante Fowler Jr. (DE) A Gus Bradley is known for his defensive mind and the selection of Fowler will help the Jaguars coach to draft up some rather enjoyable schemes to watch in 2015.
4 Oakland Raiders Amari Cooper (WR) B This is a tough one to grade – Cooper is a great talent but I felt Oakland had other needs. I have to admit I'm scared at just how predictable of an Al Davis pick this way.
5 Washington Redskins Brandon Scherff (OL) A+ Great value pick and incredibly solid talent. Scherff instantly brings much-needed protection to the Redskins offensive line in an attempt to keep RGIII alive in 2015.
6 New York Jets Leonard Williams (DL) A While the Raiders were making very Raiders-esque picks the Jets were smartly continuing their defensive build for Todd Bowles. Williams will be a star on that defensive line.
7 Chicago Bears Kevin White (WR) B I get the need here after losing Brandon Marshall this offseason and White is a nice compliment to Alshon Jeffrey. But that defense was so bad last year it gives me pause for concern.
8 Atlanta Falcons Vic Beasley (DE/OLB) A- The Falcons had a big need on the defensive line and grabbing one of the most explosive edge rushers in the draft is a smart move. Beasley's ability to drop into coverage will be fun to watch with new head coach Dan Quinn.
9 New York Giants Ereck Flowers (OT) B+ The Giants absolutely had to find a way to better protect Eli Manning next season and the selection of Flowers immediately addresses that major need.
10 St. Louis Rams Todd Gurley (RB) B The first true shocker of the night. Gurley will provide much-needed protection for new signal caller Nick Foles. When healthy Gurley can change the outcome of games.
11 Minnesota Vikings Trae Waynes (CB) A+ Hands down my favorite pick in the first round. Waynes is a steal at 11 as he was the best cover corner available. Mike Zimmer will have a field day with this stud and Xavier Rhodes.
12 Cleveland Browns Danny Shelton (DT) A Well done Cleveland! After some atrocious drafting during the first round in recent years the Browns' front office thought rationally and starting building from the lines out. Smart move.
13 New Orleans Saints Andrus Peat (OT) B- I really wanted to see the Saints take a chance with a play-maker here. Yet I can't argue with the desire to keep Drew Brees healthy. Not a sexy pick by any means but it fits a need.
14 Miami Dolphins DeVante Parker (WR) B+ They had to replace the departed Mike Wallace on the outside and Parker is a great (and much cheaper) way to do so. Parker's great hand and top-end speed will be much welcomed by Ryan Tannehill.
15 San Diego Chargers Melvin Gordon (RB) A- I get this pick for the Chargers. They desperately needed to get protection for Philip Rivers through the run game and Gordon has the potential to be a home run. He isn't Gurley but he's not far behind.
16 Houston Texans Kevin Johnson (CB) C Why not pick Marcus Peters instead? It's hard to be mad about selecting Johnson but Peters seemed the better option to slot behind Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson in the secondary. But you can't have too many corners when you face Andrew Luck twice a year.
17 San Francisco 49ers Arik Armstead (DE) B As safe as a pick as it comes for the first round this year. Armstead has a lot of growth to do but he fits a need with the loss of Patrick Willis and the aging of defensive end Justin Smith.
18 Kansas City Chiefs Marcus Peters (CB) A- I was rather surprised that Peter fell into the lap of the Chiefs. I was also surprised that they didn't go for a receiver. But I like Peters so much he easily made this grade an A.
19 Cleveland Browns Cameron Erving (OL) A Quite a few analysts questioned this pick. Yes the Browns needed a receiver badly but kudos for not reaching to get one. Johnny Manziel might not be able to see over Erving but he'll much more time to run around now. Solid pick.
20 Philadelphia Eagles Nelson Agholor (WR) B+ He's really DeSean Jackson with even better hands. This is a safe pick that also fits a need for the Eagles. Good job to Chip Kelly for doing something sane for once this offseason!
21 Cincinnati Bengals Cedric Ogbuehi (OT) C- I gave this pick a C+ last night and dropped it even more after additional consideration. Ogbuehi was a great talent before his injury and could still become a solid lineman in the Bengals future. But with the struggles to get to the quarterback last season and Bud Dupree/Malcom Brown still available I was left scratching my head a bit.
22 Pittsburgh Steelers Bud Dupree (DE) D+ Yes I know I just got done praising Dupree – and he is a huge talent. But for crying out loud Pittsburgh you have no secondary! It won't matter if Dupree can reach the quarterback while three receivers are running free down the middle of the field. Big miss on a desperate need for the Steel Curtain. I was iffy on this pick last night and woke up hating it this morning.
23 Denver Broncos Shane Ray (DE) B I like the shrewdness of John Elway snatching up this pick as the Baltimore Ravens were waiting in the wings. Ray will be a nice replacement for DeMarcus Ware in the next year or two and could be Denver's new Elvis Dumervil.
24 Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries (OT) B+ I really like Arizona's commitment to improving their offensive line this offseason after this pick and adding Mike Iupati. With the brittle Carson Palmer slinging the ball around like he did in his younger years the need is greater now than ever to keep him upright.
25 Carolina Panthers Shaq Thompson (S/LB) D+ To be frank I just don't understand this pick. Thompson had no business going this high. The guy never truly settled on one position full-time in college and was often always a step slow on defense. It's a real head-scratcher.
26 Baltimore Ravens Breshad Perriman (WR) B+ With Torrey Smith now playing in San Francisco this selection was a necessity. Perriman has the speed to blow the top off any defense – something that will work well with Joe Flacco's booming arm. He will also be lucky enough to learn from the great Steve Smith.
27 Dallas Cowboys Byron Jones (CB) A Another great selection in early rounds for the Cowboys. Jones immediately puts the pressure on Brandon Carr and (possible busy) Maurice Claiborne. In a division featuring Eli Manning and now Sam Bradford Dallas knew there would be a great deal of passing coming their way. Jones is a great way to address that situation head on.
28 Detroit Lions Laken Tomlinson (OG) A- Not only did I like this pick but I loved the route the Lions took to get here – trading down with the Broncos and grabbing OL Manny Ramirez (as well as additional picks). Essentially with one pick the Lions were able to drastically improve their offensive line. Matthew Stafford has to be one happy man now.
29 Indianapolis Colts Philip Dorsett (WR) B+ Last night I was a bit unsure about this pick mainly due to the many defensive needs of the Colts. This morning I got to thinking about the fact that if Andrew Luck puts up 40+ points per week who cares about their defense. Dorsett and T.Y. Hilton catching passing from Luck will be fun to watch – not to mention the holes that opens up for Frank Gore.
30 Green Bay Packers Damarious Randall (S) B After selecting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round last season the Packers went right back to the secondary. And can you blame them? Randall is a hard hitter who should fit in nicely alongside Dix.
31 New Orleans Saints Stephone Anthony (LB) C This one caught many of us off-guard as the first round came to a close. While very few had Anthony going in the first round defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will likely rely on Anthony's rushing ability in some creative blitz packages.
32 New England Patriots Malcom Brown (DT) A After losing Vince Wilfork the Patriots needed to bolster the interior of their defensive line. Brown is a perfect fit the New England. I didn't expect to see Brown fall this far so you have to assume the Patriots are rather pleased with such an outcome.

Be sure to check back here on Sports Grumble as we continue breaking down each round of the NFL Draft this weekend. You can also join the conversation with us over on Twitter as well (@SportsGrumble).

 

Cover Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Grant E. Doepel

Grant E. Doepel

Founder at Sports Grumble
Editor in Chief and co-founder of Riverfront City Sports and Sports Grumble, Doepel is a Cincinnati native who lives and breathes Queen City sports. A University of the Cumberlands graduate with degrees in Journalism and Communication Arts, Doepel still resides in the Greater Cincinnati area to provide easy access to the riverfront stadiums.
Grant E. Doepel

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