The Schein Nine  

 

2015 NFL Draft: Raiders, Browns highlight first-round takeaways

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I love the NFL draft.

And so do Ravens fans, who always know that Ozzie Newsome will make the ideal selection. And he did, yet again, with a speed-burning wideout to replace Torrey Smith in Breshad Perriman. This is the same way Cardinals fans are beginning to feel with the Bruce Arians/Steve Keim regime. Arizona grabbed another solid football player in offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

That's the thing about the draft -- it really shows an organization's true colors.

San Francisco has raised one eyebrow after another over the last few months, and they provided more head-scratching antics on Thursday night, trading down and selecting the raw Arik Armstead. And, of course, the folks across the Bay looked like geniuses.

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Wait, what?

Yeah, I'll say it -- the Raiders nailed it.

OK, so the draft does indeed provide us with genuine surprises, too -- like three of the first eight teams to pick simply dropping the ball.

Well, I guess that's what makes this such great theater.

Now, allow me to provide my biggest takeaways from this beautiful drama that is Round 1. Here are nine thoughts, formulated late Thursday night, from an overly caffeinated brain:

1) What a win for the Raiders!

Last week, I penned a "Schein Nine" on the ideal first-round marriages. My No. 1 pairing: Amari Cooper and the Raiders. And when the Jaguars picked Dante Fowler Jr. at No. 3, Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie didn't hesitate to get the pick called in and the card to the podium.

The Oakland Raiders made the perfect pick. Repeat after me: The Oakland Raiders made the perfect pick.

Yup, the Raiders were the big winners Thursday night.

Cooper is special. He's an instant-impact, do-it-all receiver. It was a glaring need for Oakland. Young quarterback Derek Carr gets to grow with a stud playmaker who starred at one of the nation's true college football powerhouses. Is it too early to choose Cooper for Offensive Rookie of the Year? This pick is that perfect.

Finally, Oakland has a true No. 1 receiver -- and legit hope.

2) The Redskins did what?

I like Brandon Scherff. I thought he would go to the Giants with the ninth overall pick. But Washington? At No. 5?? With Leonard Williams still on the board?!?!?

What is this, amateur hour?

I understand the value of a great offensive line. I raved about the Cowboys wisely plucking Zack Martin last May -- and then voted for him as Offensive Rookie of the Year in January.

But in no universe is Scherff the fifth-best player in the 2015 NFL Draft.

If the 'Skins truly craved him, they should've found a way to trade down. And if they couldn't ... pick a superior player!

The Redskins absolutely blew it. As a result ...

3) The Jets landed the best defensive player in the draft.

That's my take on Leonard Williams, a star defensive lineman from USC. In fact, Thursday morning on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Williams is the top player in the entire draft class!

I figured he'd go between pick Nos. 3 and 5, right after the two QBs came off the board. Never thought he'd be available for Gang Green.

Think about the Jets' defensive line right now, with Williams joining established stars Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Then factor in the revamped defensive backfield, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie coming back to New York. The Jets could have the best defense in the NFL this year under new head coach Todd Bowles.

Take a bow, Mike Maccagnan.

4) Atlanta whiffed with Vic Beasley.

When I talked to Atlanta coach Dan Quinn on SiriusXM this week, it was pretty clear he wanted to improve the defense and the run game. Personally, I thought he should've addressed the latter -- not the former -- at No. 8.

Vic Beasley struck me as a major stretch there. Yes, he put on a show at the "Underwear Olympics" (also known as the NFL Scouting Combine), but I thought he was a mid-first-round talent. While Quinn can coach him up, Todd Gurley should've been the pick. The Georgia running back would've been the perfect guy to complement Matt Ryan and keep the Falcons' defense fresh -- akin to what DeMarco Murray did for Dallas last year. Atlanta does not employ a legit starting NFL running back.

This was odd. And a blown opportunity.

5) And the Falcons' loss was the Rams' gain.

As I predicted, Gurley found his way into the top 12 of the NFL draft. Actually, top 10. And truthfully, with how talented this running back is, Jeff Fisher and Les Snead could get arrested for stealing.

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis told me on SiriusXM that Gurley is the best running back prospect to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson. NFL Films guru Greg Cosell told me he was the third-best prospect in the entire draft, if healthy. Well, the torn ACL from November checked out. I think he's going to be a star.

Sure, it's a passing league. But not every team employs Aaron Rodgers. And even he needs balance. You still need to run to win.

6) Titans win! Chip wins! Buccaneers ... lose.

The Titans selected Marcus Mariota at No. 2. I love the pick. Tampa should've picked him instead of an untrustworthy quarterback like Jameis Winston, who has major decision-making issues on and off the field. But the Bucs went Winston, as most predicted, and Tennessee went on the clock ...

As I mentioned in a column a few weeks back, one AFC general manager told me, "The Titans coaches are studying Mariota, hoping to fall in love because that's what the bosses want." Well, no matter how they all got here, it was the right move. Marcus Mariota is going to be a franchise quarterback.

And for all of the hubbub about Chip Kelly trying to get his man -- and he did indeed inquire about trading up with the Bucs and Titans -- the Eagles ended up staying at No. 20 and made a great pick with wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Kelly effectively replaces Jeremy Maclin while keeping star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who apparently was dangled in the trade-up offer.

The revamped Eagles are the best team in the NFC East. OK, I still don't love the quarterback room, but make no mistake: Chip knew what he was doing in acquiring DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell.

The Titans and Eagles are on the up and up.

Tampa Bay, on the other hand ... Good luck, Lovie Smith -- you're going to need it.

7) Does Shane Ray fit on Peyton Manning's Broncos?

I love hearing stories of how Manning demands accountability from his teammates. Which is why you can color me skeptical about the Broncos drafting the troubled -- albeit talented -- Shane Ray.

Whatever your opinion is on the legalization of marijuana, it's banned in the NFL. To get cited for weed possession the week of the draft shows an incredible lack of maturity and focus.

How does Peyton feel about acquiring a new first-round pick who might not get it?

8) Kevin White is all right -- but is Jay Cutler?

Defense is in John Fox's DNA, but Kevin White was just too special to pass up at No. 7. After the Brandon Marshall trade, receiver was most certainly an area of need. New Bears general manager Ryan Pace grabbed a dynamic weapon, much to the delight of the hometown Bears fans watching the draft in Chicago. It was a cool scene.

If Jay Cutler can't succeed with White, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and new offensive coordinator Adam Gase, then I truly believe his career as a starter is over. There are no more excuses.

9) Cleveland rocks!

The Browns didn't do anything wacky.

They didn't trade up. They didn't trade down. They didn't opt to go with 10 men on the field or announce they will start selling lemonade instead of playing fourth quarters of games.

Instead, Cleveland -- yes Cleveland -- got it right.

Danny Shelton is a perfect defensive tackle for Mike Pettine. Offensive lineman Cameron Erving won't have the sports world buzzing like Johnny Manziel did a year ago. Instead, he's the kind of draftee who just makes sense.

Under the radar and smart?

I'm guessing that's exactly how Pettine actually likes it.

What a concept!

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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