Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL DRAFT:
OUR FIRST-ROUND ANALYSES
AS MANY TEAMS DON’T, IN FACT,
“GET THEIR MAN”…
PLUS HAWKS-NETS SQUARE OFF
IN TONIGHT’S GAME 6
AS NBA PLAYOFFS OPENING-ROUND CONTINUES
Okay, so Round I of this year’s 2015 NFL Draft has been put to bed – and we’ll weigh in with some keen Jim Sez analyses for all 32 opening-round selections in just a second but first this observation …
What the folks on ESPN and the NFL Network didn’t tell you about Round I of this 2015 NFL Draft is that many of the teams selecting in the top half of the draft “settled” for their picks as the real underlying theme was that teams kept having the players they desired get scooped up before they could ever get to ‘em … we’ll be all too glad to put out these occasions along the way as we review the opening round of the draft:
- TAMPA BAY – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State – Actually got a laugh from that Winston “Instagram” in which he showed the evening’s meal of crab legs (hope the Bucs found it funny!) but the real bottom line here is 2013 Heisman Trophy winner will be a star on this next level with pro arm, pro body and one of these days a pro head on his shoulders too.
- TENNESSEE – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – Simply can’t criticize the selection because a) he probably will beat out Zach Mettenberger and be the franchise’s “face” for years to come or b) he’ll bring in a major haul from Philadelphia if/when the highly-anticipated deal between the Titans and Eagles ever does come down the pike. Again, that potential deal’s not dead yet!
- JACKSONVILLE – Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida – The draft’s top defensive player has never-ending motor and could get in the grill of both Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck and Mr. Mariota for years to come. Our Jim Sez Mock Draft had Atlanta trading into this third spot and snagging Fowler but insiders say the Jaguars had Fowler graded too high to pass up here.
- OAKLAND – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama – All the conventional wisdom/analyses that y’all heard on Draft Night was that now QB Derek Carr has a prime downfield target but we say “typical Raiders” who should have opted for DL Leonard Williams and made their front seven one of the best in all the NFL.
- WASHINGTON – Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa – No doubt about it the ‘Skins stunned NFC East rival NY Giants by making this selection (although ESPN analyst Jon Gruden appeared to know which way his brother/Washington coach Jay was going) and so this pick gets the ball rollin’ with teams that greatly upset the best-laid plans of other NFL franchises on this night. P.S., ‘Skins had Scherff rated higher than OLB Vic Beasley, so that was why offense won out over defense here.
- NEW YORK JETS – Leonard Williams, DT, USC – The player most “experts” considered the top overall talent dropped into the Jets’ laps here and so how could new GM Mike Maccagnan and Company not bite? This doesn’t necessarily mean that gang green will be shipping off disgruntled DT Muhammad Wilkerson. Hey, we say great draft choice here and if Wilkerson stays than J-E-T-S have an “A” defense what with CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie back in town.
- CHICAGO – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia – The draft’s host city went wild when the Bears nabbed this long-ball threat but we would have opted for defensive help and we’re slightly surprised that new coach (and defensive whiz) John Fox didn’t get a pass rusher here.
- ATLANTA – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson – Trust us that the Falcons wanted Fowler a lot more than anyone else in this draft but unable to package the right combo of players/picks made ‘em “settle” here for a guy that doesn’t always go 100 percent full tilt.
- NEW YORK GIANTS – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami – Don’t buy any of the propaganda the Jints are slinging today as they were floored when Scherff was drafted (and especially by a division foe) and almost didn’t know what to do here and so GM Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin simply went “next” with list of O-lineman and snatched a guy most folks had rated as a pick #20-to-#25 type.
- ST. LOUIS – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia – You heard all the mumbo-jumbo about how Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher wants to run the ball but what happens if this former Dawgs star needs another year to rehab knee injury? It’s easy to say the Rams will be patient and wait another year but can this franchise crippled the past two seasons by injuries to then-QB Sam Bradford afford to be patient with another offensive playmaker?
- MINNESOTA – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State – We were waiting for the Vikes to be aggressive and trade up but it never did happen and so best guess here is simply to agree with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and claim it appears Minny won’t be shipping out RB Adrian Peterson after all.
- CLEVELAND – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington – Yes, we know ESPN’s Chris Berman went absolutely over-the-top ga-ga over this Samoan but fact of matter is Browns needed to get one offensive and one defensive playmaker (see WR and CB) with these two first-round picks and instead settled for a couple of interior linemen on both sides of the ball … why? Maybe one reason is ‘cause Brownies wanted Waynes and so it became their turn to get knocked over by a team drafting right in front of ‘em on this night.
- NEW ORLEANS – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford – The Saints, like the Browns, had a pair of first-rounders and knew they had to get some blocking help for QB Drew Brees but they know this 6-foot-7 stud needs more seasoning. Again, here’s a team that likely had designs on someone else (CB Waynes or even RB Gurley) and so had to go to Plan B and “force a smile” for their fans.
- MIAMI – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville – Not going to knock this pick because this kid’s a great competitor but word is GM Mike Tannenbaum burnt up the phone lines trying to get into the top five and struck out … gotta believe WR Cooper was his intended target.
- SAN DIEGO – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – Three cheers as our Mock Draft had Chargers snagging this 2,500-plus yard back although we didn’t know they’d have to move up two picks to get ‘em (apparently Houston had eyes on him at #16). Now, our word of advice to the Bolts and QB Philip Rivers is to make sure Gordon gets the ball 25 times a game by hook or by crook!
- HOUSTON – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest – We like his athleticism but ESPN Gruden had plenty of tape showing he doesn’t tackle (and doesn’t like to tackle) and so that could be a problem. Again, Texans really wanted Gordon but got sabotaged by Chargers’ trade with San Fran at #15 pick.
- SAN FRANCISCO – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon – This shows you that new Niners’ head coach Jim Tomsula had more than just a little influence on this pick. The 49ers were wise to snap up a couple of lower-round draft picks to move down two spots and get quality D-lineman with high ceiling.
- KANSAS CITY – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington – No doubt the Chiefs had their hearts set on LSU tackle La’el Collins until his name came up in Baton Rouge murder case and so KC instead turned to a different guy that raised “red flags” after getting kicked off college teams a year ago. Now “Father Flanagan” head coach Andy Reid will try to work magic with another toughie.
- CLEVELAND – Cameron Erving, C/G, Florida State – Not an area of “need” for the Browns who liked CB Johnson for this spot but he leaped up the board a handful of spots … gotta say that we think the Shelton/Erving picks weren’t great for a team that needed much more.
- PHILADELPHIA – Nelson Agholor, WR, USC – Once Chip Kelly and the Eagles were unable to pull off the Mariota deal (at least for now) they decided that a home-run hitter was a top priority and we like this former Pac-12 star a lot (had ‘em going to Indianapolis at #29 and the Colts were said to be “hot” for him).
- CINCINNATI – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M – The aforementioned Mr. Gruden of ESPN made a great point here saying it’s hard to judge his body of work considering Aggies’ spread offense often meant Ogbuehi rarely went into a stance and simply body-guarded his quarterbacks. Plus ACL injury likely means kid sits on shelf for a while … couldn’t you have used a WR?
- PITTSBURGH – Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky – Everyone on TV was singing his praises but we didn’t consider him a real impact player in SEC last year, did you? The Steelers shocked us by not re-stocking wounded secondary that’s had a couple of retirements this off-season.
- DENVER – Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri – Here’s yet another classic case of some team snatching away another team’s draft hopes as Broncos moved up from pick #28 in deal with Detroit and sucked the life from Arizona (see next pick). Ray’s marijuana woes should be considered “minor” and we applaud this act of aggression by a Broncos team that needed to do something meaningful after one-and-done playoff last year.
- ARIZONA – D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida – The Cardinals don’t mind bulking up a below-average O-line but Ray was the “apple of their eye” and maybe NFC West team should have gone up a few picks to ensure the selection. Tsk, tsk.
- CAROLINA – Shaq Thompson, OLB/S, Washington – One New York City radio host said he was the most “underrated” player in this draft but Panthers had ‘em locked onto their radar screen and probably will put him as a rover/safety hovering behind LB Luke Kuechley.
- BALTIMORE – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF – Let’s face it, the Ravens had to get a pass-catcher after Torrey Smith joined fellow WR Anquan Boldin in San Francisco.
- DALLAS – Byron Jones, CB, UConn – No need to go O-line again, so the Cowboys checked their defense “needs” list and hit a home run here with kid who has smarts and will stay disciplined when covering downfield.
- DETROIT – Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke – Remember the Lions traded down a few spots with Denver and did what they needed to do and that’s plug one of the holes along D-line. Nice job, Motowners.
- INDIANAPOLIS – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami – The Colts wanted Agholor and never/ever thought he would go as high as #20 but this speed demon kept rising on draft boards and will be Pro Bowl player within a couple of years with QB Luck chuckin’ it his direction.
- GREEN BAY – Demarious Randall, FS, Arizona State – The Packers are pretty deep but choosing to “fill out” the secondary wasn’t at the top of the list; should have gone with Minnesota TE Maxx Williams or maybe even a defensive lineman here.
- NEW ORLEANS – Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson – Sorry to repeat ourselves but just like Browns’ dual choices of Shelton/Erving, we’re not wowed by these tag-team choices in Round I by the Saints as OT Peat and second-round talent Anthony just not good enough in our books. Yes, the Saints would have been better served by dealing the 13th and 31st picks for a top six or seven choice. Agree?
- NEW ENGLAND – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas – Exactly who are we to argue if the Patriots feel this guy’s the next Vince Wilfork?
And now hear this …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been bashing the books right from the start of this year’s NBA Playoffs and nothing’s gonna change here as we’ve entered Round II.
We’ll continue to rock-n-roll our way through the NBA post-season – and so just go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and be sure that we’ll send you straight into the winner’s circle.
Plus, there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring!
THE NBA PLAYOFFS
Here’s the one-and-only game on this Friday night NBA Playoff menu.
#1 ATLANTA at #8 BROOKLYN – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN; Hawks lead series 3-2
The East’s top-seeded Atlanta Hawks can sit there and tell you that they’ve never “underestimated” the Brooklyn Nets – but, in reality, Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer and Company never thought they’d be in such a tug-of-war with the conference’s eighth-seeded squad.
Atlanta goes for the closeout game this evening in Brooklyn and keep in mind there’s still some “walking wounded” guys on the Hawks’ side as F Al Horford (20 points and 15 rebounds in that 107-97 win/cover in Game 5) continues to play with two fingers taped together on his right/shooting hand after he dislocated his pinky finger back in Game 1 and then there’s energetic G Jeff Teague who twisted his right ankle this past Wednesday night but soldiered through to finish with 20 points and 8 assists and keep in mind this dude’s shooting 69 percent in the fourth quarter of this series.
If the Nets wish to extend this best-of-seven to a Sunday showdown for all the proverbial marbles, then G Deron Williams (35 points in a 120-115 overtime win in Game 4) must “show up” and Lionel Hollins’ crew simply cannot dig itself such a huge first-quarter hole – every game in this series the Nets are playing from behind!
Here’s the first five games of this Hawks-Nets series in chart form (note home teams are in CAPS):
|4-27||BROOKLYN||+ 5.5||Atlanta (ot)||120-115|
NOTE: More NFL Draft goodies plus NBA Playoffs and MLB too in the next edition of Jim Sez.