4 Winners: New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams
New York Jets
What to do you do when you have a dominating defensive line? The Jets draft what some consider the best defensive player in the draft in DT Leonard Williams. The Jets are building one of the best defensive units because of their strong D-line. Williams brings exceptional power and athleticism. He should end his career with several Pro Bowl selections and should follow in the same footsteps as Kevin Williams or teammate Sheldon Richardson. The Jets were also able to add weapons for quarterback Geno Smith when Ohio State wide out Devin Smith came off the board. Smith’s ability to track the deep ball while it is in the air is outstanding. He has a 4.4 forty time so he will be able to take the top off the defense. The addition of Smith can help relieve the pressure on Eric Decker. The Jets have to hope Decker’s production can increase and meet the monetary value on his contract. As long as the Jets are able to keep quarterback Bryce Petty on the bench for the near future, he will be able to develop and be a success for being drafted in the fourth round.
The Bengals saw a crucial need for lineman and were able to address this with two athletic tackles. First is tackle Cedric Oghuehi from Texas A&M who was selected 21st overall. Fellow tackle Jake Fisher will be able to use his exceptional quickness to keep faster edge rushers from hurrying Andy Dalton. Speaking of Andy Dalton, he now has the protect and he has the offensive pieces to finally break out. If he can’t this season, Dalton will prove he is unable to lead a team deep in the playoffs. My favorite pick for the Bengals was Paul Dawson. This headache of a player causes the brain to hurt of his opponents with crushing hits and his coaches for constantly showing up late for meeting or busses. The last name to remember is Jermaine Gresham’s replacement at tight end. TE Tyler Kroft has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce because of the way he attacks the ball in the air.
General manager Ryan Pace fell in love with Kevin White because of his size and speed. White is great at high pointing the ball which makes him a valuable option in the red zone across from Alshon Jeffery. While he lacks the polish that Amari Cooper has, White has exceptional speed that he showed while running a 4.35 forty at the combine. The Bears were also able to solidify a strong defensive tackle in the second round by selecting NT Eddie Goldman. This was a massive need for the Bears because they have not been able to stop the run up the middle. A common concern surrounding the Bears is the need for a replacement for Matt Forte. When the Bears selected Jeremy Langford from Indiana they knew they solidified a backup running back for 2015. Langford is similar to Forte with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
St. Louis Rams
While I may be one of the few with the Rams as major winners in the draft I stand strongly by this opinion. The Rams were able to walk away from the draft with a smile because they selected their number one prospect in running back Todd Gurley. The Georgia back gives the Rams something Jeff Fisher has been searching for since he arrived in 2012. He is elusive and powerful with every step he takes. The only problem is he can only step with one foot right now because he tore his ACL on November 15th. The stat that stands out most when looking over Gurley’s numbers from Georgia is that he averaged 7.4 yards per carry. Having Gurley as the featured back helps newly acquired Nick Foles by allowing the offense to be run heavy while Foles becomes comfortable with the offense. Furthermore, to ensure the running game will be dominant, Fisher found himself a major mauler in offensive tackle Rob Havenstein from Wisconsin. Havenstein stands in at 6’7″ 320 pounds. Although the main reason I love the pick is because he can dominate in the running game, he also posses the leadership the offensive line will need because they have such little game experience. The Rams addressed the offensive line with 4 selections out of 9. Jeff Fisher took a gamble by selecting quarterback Sean Mannion with the 89th pick overall. The signal caller from Oregon State wowed scouts during the workouts before the draft. Several scouts said he threw better than Marcus Mariota when they made their way through Oregon. While I am not in any way saying Mannion is better than Mariota but he has gained confidence late in his career. He will have time to develop behind Foles. The Rams must rely on their coaching to help ensure the offensive line can create a pocket for Foles on a consistent basis.