Winners from Day One
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Leonard Williams (Southern California) is selected as the number sixth overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
WINNER: New York Jets
The New York Jets drafted the best player in the draft, no questions asked. And even better, they got him out of the top-five.
As a USC fan, I’ve watched Leonard Willams grow during his time as a Trojan, and he was absolutely fantastic the past two years. He was labeled by many draft experts as the best overall player in the draft, and I completely agree.
Williams’ drop to the sixth pick was likely due to his labrum injuries the past two seasons, but Williams played through them and was still dominant.
The Jets now have the best defensive line in the NFL.
Next year, I guarantee that Tom Brady will be tasting the turf. A lot.
WINNER: Heisman Trophy winners
For the first time in NFL draft history, two Heisman Trophy winners got drafted with the first two picks in the draft: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.
Winston obviously has his share of ball protection issues and questionable decision making in the pocket, but he is still an extremely talented player who will be ready to compete for the starting quarterback job from day one in minicamp. He’ll be able to pair with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Doug Martin in Tampa Bay.
Mariota, the better athlete of the two quarterbacks, was taken second in the draft by the Tennessee Titans. He’ll be working with Ken Whisenhunt, who is well known for developing Ben Roethlisberger. If Whisenhunt can work that same magic with Mariota, who is faster and a better decision maker than Winston, Mariota could be one of the steals of the draft.
WINNER: Denver Broncos
I wrote an article earlier this week about Shane Ray’s draft stock dropping because of his citation for marijuana possession. I thought it was laughable for teams to pass on this guy.
And the Broncos capitalized and are going to take a risk on the ultra-talented pass rusher.
Ray will pair with Von Miller, another fearsome pass rusher to terrorize the AFC West and the NFL in general.
Maybe Peyton Manning has a shot at another Super Bowl after all…
WINNER: Carolina Panthers
A lot of people questioned whether Shaq Thompson was big enough to be a linebacker or fast enough to be a safety.
Whatever he ends up being, Thompson will be great. He’s a legend in the Sacramento area for his versatility and athleticism, and Ron Rivera should be able to find a role for the jack-of-all-trades player.
And maybe, just maybe, Thompson will be able to get some snaps at running back…
WINNER: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks pulled off the biggest trade of the offseason by trading away their first round pick and Max Unger for Jimmy Graham and a fourth rounder from the New Orleans Saints.
With the 31st pick in the draft, the Saints took inside linebacker Stephone Anthony, a projected second rounder by most accounts.
So the Seahawks essentially got one of the premier tight ends and a fourth round pick (basically a second rounder when John Schneider is running the show) in the game for a injury-prone, but talented center, and a second round caliber linebacker.
I’d say it’s a pretty good first day for the Seattle Seahawks.
Next: NFL Draft Day One Losers