NFL

2015 NFL Draft: Day 1 Recap

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The first day of the 2015 NFL draft has come to a close and the day was full of intrigue, even if it didn’t start that way.

The Tampa Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars went the expected route as they chose Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Dante Fowler Jr. respectively.

Fowler stated that even though he thought he was going to go to Jacksonville at No. 3, he was still surprised to hear his name called.

“No, even if they would have taken me I would have been surprised,” Fowler said. “There were a lot of great guys and great players in that draft. For them to choose me and have confidence and faith in me to do what I’m supposed to do, I’m going to show what I can.”

Nevertheless, after the top three picks, things started to get interesting. The top storyline was that quite possibly the best player in the draft fell past the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins on his way to getting picked by the New York Jets at No. 6.

Leonard Williams gives the Jets one of, if not, the best defensive line in football as Williams will be playing alongside outstanding players such as Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison. Even though this wasn’t a need, this was the perfect example of trusting your board and taking the best player available.

Quite possibly the most flummoxing pick came shortly after as the New York Giants selected Ereck Flowers at No. 9 overall. Flowers is just 20 years old and has a lot of potential, but he hasn’t shown the traits of a first-round offensive tackle, let alone a top-10 pick. He doesn’t trust his core strength and he tends to grab and catch defenders instead throwing a powerful punch in pass protection. There is no way that Flowers thrive in pass protection this year and he will likely need a lot of help to survive there.

Another surprising pick was the St. Louis Rams selecting Todd Gurley No. 10 overall. Gurley is a fantastic pick, but the Rams had already spent considerable capital on running back by drafting Tre Mason last year. This pick looks like a luxury pick and the Rams have too many needs to be making luxury picks at this point.

The draft was really quiet from a trading standpoint until the San Diego Chargers got antsy and traded up with the San Francisco 49ers to select Melvin Gordon to fill the void left by Ryan Matthews.

Two of the biggest droppers on draft day were edge-rushers Alvin “Bud” Dupree and Shane Ray; however, they were selected at No. 21 and 22 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos (who traded up to select Ray) respectively.

One team that appeared to really maximize their value on draft day was the Arizona Cardinals as they selected Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. The Cardinals needed help on the offensive line and Humphries is one of the best tackle prospects in this draft. He has nimble feet, great lateral mobility and a strong punch, which indicate that he will hold up well on the edge. One problem Humphries had was that he had a tendency to underset, which allowed rushers to get to his edge, but that should be easily fixed offensive line coach Russ Grimm.

Another team who got a great value late in the first round was the Dallas Cowboys. They had two great options on the board when they were on the clock as they could have taken the talented edge-rusher, Randy Gregory, or the athletic cornerback, Byron Jones. They opted to go with the latter and upgrade their secondary. Jones appears to be a great fit in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme and he should be able to contribute immediately.

As they always seem to do, the New England Patriots got fantastic value late in the first round as they selected the extremely talented defensive tackle Malcom Brown. The Patriots improve their defensive line and give them another talented and versatile defender who works well with head coach Bill Belichick’s multiple-front defensive scheme.

Another big storyline coming out of the first round is that Nebraska’s Randy Gregory has yet to be selected. He was thought as a top-10 pick coming into the pre-draft process, but a positive test for marijuana and other off-field concerns have his stock in free fall.

Looking ahead to day two of the NFL draft, Gregory will be one of the biggest storylines as it is anyone’s guess as to where he will end up. Other storylines will be when the third quarterback comes off the board and who that quarterback will be as Garrett Grayson, Brent Hundley and Bryce Petty are all options to go early on day two.

Day two should be an exciting and fun filled affair. Because teams have a lot of time to plan between the first and second round, expect day two to be filled with trades and interesting picks throughout.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com