Draft Report Cards  

 

2015 NFL Draft grades: Steelers, Colts among underachievers

Print

Although it's too soon to completely rip any team's draft class, some hauls were less inspiring than others. In grading out the 2015 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks found that six teams deserved "C" marks for one reason or another. Here's what he had to say about these apparent underachievers:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: The Patriots aren't afraid to go against the grain on draft day. They utilize a smaller draft board and focus extensively on guys pegged to fill specific roles down the road. Consequently, New England traditionally selects a prospect or two who's severely underrated on media lists prior to the draft. All that said, first-rounder Malcom Brown certainly doesn't quality as an undervalued prospect, based on his outstanding combination of size, strength and tools. He will step into the void created by Vince Wilfork's departure and give the Pats a disruptive presence in the middle. On the other hand, the selections of Jordan Richards (Round 2) and Geneo Grissom (Round 3) represent reaches to the outside world, but each prospect could grow into a designated role in the Patriots' scheme. Trey Flowers and Tre' Jackson were tremendous value selections in Round 4. Expect both players to crack the rotation early. GRADE: C+

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: The Steelers skew toward the conservative side on draft day, valuing productive players with size and athleticism. This has been the formula for the team since the Chuck Noll era. Defensively, the Steelers plucked Alvin "Bud" Dupree to give the team a much-needed pass rusher with speed and quickness. He isn't a polished player, but has tremendous potential as a DPR (designated pass rusher). The Steelers also landed a pair of cover corners in Senquez Golson and Doran Grant. Golson is a bit of a question mark based on his diminutive physical dimensions -- in addition to potentially struggling against bigger-bodied receivers, he could have some trouble against the run. Receiver Sammie Coates is a "boom or bust" prospect with enticing physical tools who needs to develop better consistency as a pass catcher. GRADE: C+

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Though they rarely earn rave reviews for their draft-day selections, the Seahawks have put together one of the finest rosters in the NFL through exceptional player development and schematic matching. This pattern could certainly play out again, with defensive end Frank Clark (Round 2) and cornerback Tye Smith (Round 5) looking like ideal fits in Seattle's system. Third-round pick Tyler Lockett gives the Seahawks a legitimate slot receiver/return specialist with the speed, skills and explosiveness to create big plays between the hashes. The team added a couple of developmental offensive line prospects in the fourth round (Terry Poole and Mark Glowinski) to shore up the interior. GRADE: C+

BUFFALO BILLS: It's hard to kill the Bills for failing to knock it out of the park on draft day when their offseason acquisitions have put the team squarely in contention in the AFC East. Buffalo has assembled one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, with few glaring holes outside of the quarterback position. Thus, the team entered the draft looking for complementary players to augment the stars dotting the rosters on both sides of the ball. Ronald Darby appears to be a luxury pick based on the Bills' deep and talented secondary, but he could be insurance against Stephon Gilmore's potential departure at the end of his contract. Regardless, he gives the Bills a nickel corner to throw into the rotation on sub-packages. The selections of former Seminoles Karlos Williams and Nick O'Leary led to some quizzical looks in league circles, based on Buffalo's depth at running back and tight end, but it's never a bad thing to add competition to the bottom of the roster. Dezmin Lewis could be a diamond in the rough -- the 6-foot-4, 214-pound wideout's a small-school sleeper with big-time potential. GRADE: C

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Based on how the Colts' defense got pushed around by physical offenses at times in 2014, the team was expected to invest heavily in defenders with immediate-impact potential. Surprisingly, the team elected to select receiver Phillip Dorsett -- instead of a marquee defender -- in Round 1. While Dorsett certainly adds speed and explosiveness to the passing game as a WR3, he is a bit of a luxury item for a team that already has T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief in place. Cornerback D'Joun Smith, defensive end Henry Anderson and safety Clayton Geathers are expected to step into the rotation as young players. Although each is viewed as a developmental prospect, the Colts need their young players to make an impact right away. GRADE: C

CAROLINA PANTHERS: It takes three years to fully evaluate a draft class, but this Panthers haul certainly missed the mark when it came to filling the team's biggest needs. Carolina did not commit a high-value pick to a huge area of concern: offensive tackle. Moreover, the team opted to take a projection player in Round 1 instead of a proven commodity. Although Shaq Thompson is a dynamic defender with a strong nose for the ball, there are big-time concerns about his ability to ward off blockers and take down physical runners. Devin Funchess is certainly a talented pass catcher with extraordinary size and range, but he lacks the twitch and explosiveness to run past defenders on vertical routes. Questions about his overall consistency and separation skills make him a potential "boom or bust" selection. GRADE: C-

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL, DIVISION-BY-DIVISION DRAFT REPORT CARDS.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop