2015 NFL Draft: First Round Draft Grades

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- QB Jameis Winston, Florida State

This was the obvious pick that everybody saw coming. I like Jameis, he’s a winner on the field but I’m apprehensive about his maturity level and his commitment to put in the hours to live up to being the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Good pick, but not without questions.

Grade: B

2. Tennessee Titans- QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon 

The big question here is if they are picking Mariota for themselves or if they are going to trade it later (they later said they will not trade Mariota). Overall, this feels like a reach. Mariota is a huge character guy and has all the intangibles but the concern lies in wondering if he can run an NFL system which will demand that he make much more complex reads than he had to in college.

Grade: C

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Dante Fowler Jr, Florida

This draft went perfectly for the Jags, who got their QB last year in Blake Bortles. Having the pick of any defender in the draft, the Jags took a bit of a surprise here with Fowler Jr. I like Fowler Jr, I’m just not sure he’s the best defensive player in the draft.

Grade: B-

4. Oakland Raiders- WR Amari Cooper, Alabama 

Oakland had been heavily rumored to go WR here but with Leonard Williams left on the board would he be too enticing? The Raiders were dead set on a WR. I like Cooper over Kevin White so good pick in that regard as they walked away with the best receiver in the draft and someone that can give them help immediately.

Grade: B+

5. Washington Redskins- OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa

DT is not necessarily a need but I’m surprised they passed up Williams. Wow. They went for offensive line help and Scherff is the best lineman in the draft.

Grade: B-

6. New York Jets- DT Leonard Williams, USC

With Mariota off the board there were some options here including Kevin White, Leonard Williams and Vic Beasley. With DT not being a need here, the Jets went ahead and picked Williams as he fell to them. Can’t blame them for passing up what many think is the #1 guy in draft.

Grade: A

7. Chicago Bears- WR Kevin White, West Virginia

Vic Beasley and Kevin White were both available here for the Bears and both are at positions of need. This is a good pick in terms of need although I do believe it’s high for White.

Grade: C+

8. Atlanta Falcons- DE Vic Beasley, Clemson

Vic Beasley fell right to the Falcons. With the need to get an edge rusher, Beasley was simply a no-brainer here.

Grade: B+

9. New York Giants- OT Ereck Flowers, Miami (FL)

With Scherff gone, the big question here wass if the Giants would still go OL. Good pick here in terms of need but it’s definitely a reach.

Grade: C+

10. St. Louis Rams- RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

With the way the draft had gone, I was looking for the Rams to take Trae Waynes or a WR here. Nope, they grabbed a surprise here with Todd Gurley. Despite an ACL injury, Gurley is an absolute game-breaker. Great pick here as Gurley is a value based on his talent level here.

Grade: A

11. Minnesota Vikings- CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State

With Trae Waynes is still out there would they grab him or would they go offensive line? They went Waynes which makes a lot of sense here.

Grade: B+

12. Cleveland Browns- NT Danny Shelton, Washington

The Browns had their pick of second-tier DTs here or would they go WR? I mocked Danny Shelton in this spot last week and that’s where they go.

Grade: B

13. New Orleans Saints- OT Andrus Peat, Stanford

The Saints were in a good spot here with plenty of edge rushers here including Bud Dupree, who I mocked to them last week. Sean Payton talked all about how much help they need on defense and then he goes out and grabs an offensive lineman and a reach at that.

Grade: C-

14. Miami Dolphins- WR Devante Parker, Louisville

The Dolphins likely would have loved Gurley here. Would they go for Melvin Gordon? Despite just picking up a WR in free agency, they grab another one here.

Grade: B-

15. San Diego Chargers (trade w/San Francisco)- Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

The Chargers jumped up two spots to grab this player. Melvin Gordon? Yep. This makes sense as Gordon is clearly the second best running back in the draft.

Grade: B

16. Houston Texans- CB, Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

Lots of options here for the Texans, especially at corner. I had them going Marcus Peters here but with off-the-field concerns the Texans play it safe with Johnson

Grade: B

17. San Francisco 49ers (trade w/San Diego)- DE Arik Armstead

Based on what was available, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them go Bud Dupree or even Randy Gregory here. Interesting pick. Definitely feels like a reach which is why they traded down for it.

Grade: C

18. Kansas City Chiefs- CB Marcus Peters, Washington

I had them taking an offensive tackle that is already off the board. They take a bit of a risk here with Peters. He has very high potential if he can keep his head on straight. This is a boom or bust pick.

Grade: C+ 

19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills)- G/C Cameron Erving, Florida State

They already picked up Danny Shelton. They have a pretty wide variety of wide receivers if they choose to go that way here. Interesting pick here. Erving is very versatile but feels like a reach.

Grade: B-

20. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Nelson Agholor, USC

Definitely a reach but a good fit for what Chip Kelly is looking to do in Philly.

Grade: C+

21. Cincinnati Bengals- OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M

The Bengals have some possibilities here at WR and OT. Ogbuehi tore his ACL late in the season so there is a bit of a risk here. Most had him rated lower than this pick.

Grade: C+

22. Pittsburgh Steelers- LB Bud Dupree, Kentucky

Great value pick here as some had him going as high as the Top 10. Dupree is a physical speciman but it didn’t always translate to the field. At #22 this is a great pick for the Steelers.

Grade: A

23. Denver Broncos (trade with Detroit)- DE Shane Ray, Missouri

Denver traded up to this spot from #28. They have a big need along the offensive line but instead went for a pass rusher. Well, before this past week this would have been a home run. Now? It’s a big question mark but if he can stay off the week this could be a great pick.

Grade: B-

24. Arizona Cardinals- OT DJ Humphries, Florida

A lot of people had Humphries rated higher than some of the tackles that have already gone off the board. Good pick here.

Grade: B

25. Carolina Panthers- LB/DB Shaq Thompson, Washington

The Panthers can’t be happy with how many offensive lineman have been picked so far. Before this week, La’el Collins might have been a fit here. This wasn’t a need for the Panthers so they likely took the highest player on their board here with the offensive linemen flying off the board early.

Grade: C

26. Baltimore Ravens- WR Breshad Perriman, UCF

This is a pick of need and Perriman has a huge upside. He’s still raw but he could be a really good one for the Ravens.

Grade: B

27. Dallas Cowboys- CB Byron Jones, UConn

I nailed this one in my last mock. Jones is a workout warrior but will it translate onto the field?

Grade: B-

28. Detroit Lions (trade with Denver)- G Laken Tomlinson, Duke

The Lions had a need and they went with it despite most having Tomlinson as a second or third round pick. The good news here for the Lions is that they traded down for this pick and picked up other assets which bumps up the grade in my book.

Grade: B

29. Indianapolis Colts- WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami (FL)

The Colts went with a burner here in Dorsett. I don’t know that they needed a WR here but he should be a good fit for their offense.

Grade: B- 

30. Green Bay Packers- DB Damarious Randall, Arizona State

I thought they would go for an ILB here. Instead they go Randall who is a Safety that many think will be a CB in the NFL. Most had him going in the second round.

Grade: C+

31. New Orleans Saints (from Seattle Seahawks)- ILB Stephone Anthony

The Saints went with an offensive lineman with their first pick. They need defense. Randy Gregory was still available if they want to take a risk here or would Sean Payton take another offensive player? They went with Anthony here with Eric Kendricks still on the board.

Grade: C+

32. New England Patriots- DT Malcolm Brown, Texas

Great value here at the bottom of the first round with Brown.

Grade: A-

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section, This Given Sunday and Crossover Chronicles