After three days, 256 picks, and roughly 35 locations where the pickers were announced, the 2015 NFL Draft was in the books. They say you need three years to properly evaluate a draft, so let's try to improperly evaluate it below.
Here were some of the big winners from the week:
The anonymity of the Titans has been a long-running joke on the Around The NFL Podcast. For the past two years, this has been an organization devoid of any semblance of drawing power. Within the first 24 hours of the draft, they picked up a potential franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota and an intriguing red-zone monster in Dorial Green-Beckham. We noted Friday night that they now boast an under-25 offensive nucleus of Mariota, wide-receiver trio Green-Beckham, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, running back Bishop Sankey, guard Chance Warmack, left tackle Taylor Lewan and third-round right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi. I didn't quite believe in Sankey, who struggled between the tackles and couldn't make plays as a rookie. I feel much better about the position after the Titans added Minnesota's David Cobb, one of NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's favorite mid-round running backs. This team might actually be fun to watch in 2015.-- Chris Wesseling
Dante Fowler was the cleanest, safest pass rusher in the class. It's exactly what Jacksonville needed. T.J. Yeldon gives the team a big back to give the ball to plenty. General manager David Caldwell then found some great Day 3 values with Louisville safety James Sample, Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene, and Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett.
It's Year 3 for Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley. It's go time, and Bradley finally has enough weapons on both sides of the ball to implement his vision. *-- Gregg Rosenthal *
New York Jets
A lot of teams insist they take the best player available, but we know that's not always the case. The Jets stayed true to that axiom on Thursday, scooping up Leonard Williams when the stud defensive tackle surprisingly fell to the sixth pick. If Williams is the real deal, New York could have one of the NFL's best defenses. In Round 2, the Jets drafted playmaking wideout Devin Smith, who NFL Media's Mike Mayock says tracks a deep ball better than any prospect he's seen in years. We even like the Bryce Petty pick in Round 4 -- as long as they resist the temptation to rush the raw QB into meaningful action. Those same disgruntled fans who put up the "Fire John Idzik" billboards last winter should erect new ones thanking Mike Maccagnan for an offseason of smart decision-making.* -- Dan Hanzus *
It wasn't super flashy, but the Bengals did an outstanding job of shoring up their offensive line with Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (at No. 21 overall) and fellow tackle out of Oregon, Jake Fisher (at No. 53). Ogbuehi has drawn comparisons to Eugene Monroe while Fisher gives the Bengals an athletic blocker. Both have a shot to start right away.
I came into this draft pounding my fist, saying that general manager Ozzie Newsome would not draft for need (tight end, wide receiver). They end up grabbing Breshad Perriman -- one of the top receivers available who can instantly take the top off opposing defenses. They follow that up with a trade up for Maxx Williams -- the best tight end in the draft and round their need-based picks out with Nick Boyle -- a tight end out of Delaware who turned some heads at January's Senior Bowl. It's not mind-blowing, but it's solid. Newsome didn't risk the farm for any of his picks and ends up putting himself in a position to potentially avoid a rebuilding year in Baltimore. -- Conor Orr
Ryan Pace knocked his first draft as general manager out of the park. Receiver Kevin White immediately replaces Brandon Marshall and gives the Bears a tall, speedy wideout to pair with Alshon Jeffery for years to come. White has stardom written all over him. Grabbing nose tackle Eddie Goldman in the second round fills a huge need as the Bears move to a 3-4. Tailback Jeremy Langford could extend the string John Fox and Adam Gase have had with uncovering productive runners late in the draft. -- Kevin Patra
It wasn't flashy, but we liked the Browns' commitment to building up their lines on both side of the ball. Danny Shelton was one of our favorite values in the draft and should instantly improve Cleveland's run defense. Cameron Erving adds versatility to a great offensive line. Running back Duke Johnson adds explosiveness to the backfield, and defensive end Nate Orchard adds more toughness to the mix. The Browns still need a quarterback and they didn't find a receiver until Round 4 (Vince Mayle), but they are headed in the right direction. *-- Gregg Rosenthal *
Let's be honest: Did general manager Dave Gettleman take Shaq Thompson without having any idea on how to use him? Whether or not he ends up being a linebacker or a safety, he was one of the premium athletes in this years draft. He'll be fine. They also added one of my favorite receivers coming out this year, Devin Funchess, and now Cam Newton has three mammoth targets to work with in Funchess, Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen. This will not only help them extend running plays, but will also give Newton more receivers who suit his personal playing style. -- Conor Orr
Jerry Jones wasn't bluffing. The Dallas Cowboys owner said running back wasn't a priority and that held true. Twenty-two running backs were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, but not one by the Cowboys. Dallas clearly believes anyone can run behind its line. Darren McFadden ran for less than 3.5 yards per carry each of the past three seasons, but will likely get the first shot at the starting gig. Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle also get a boost in the battle for carries. One of them will need to step up behind that road grading offensive line or the Cowboys offense will fall off after a renaissance 2014 season. -- Kevin Patra
Large scale NFL Drafts
We loved Chicago's performance on Draft Day, and the city did just as well with the first ever "Draft Town" setup. It's hard to imagine the NFL ever going back to "just" an indoor event. New York might not see the draft return for a while. * -- Gregg Rosenthal *