The later rounds of the NFL draft proved to be pretty exciting as this year’s talent pool offered some great players to be selected all the way into the 2nd round. A few teams finished this weekend with an overall phenomenal draft, while others may have not.
Starting with the teams that seemed to have a lackluster draft, the Miami Dolphins come to mind. Aside from their stretch picks in the 1st and 2nd round, the Dolphins failed to reel in any premier talent at their most pressing positions. To help out their receiving corps, they brought in Jarvis Landry from LSU and later Matt Hazel from Coastal Carolina in the 6th round. Hazel is a very good receiver with spectacular hands and may be the Phins diamond in the rough pick of the entire draft. However, if he ends up being their best draft pick this year then the Dolphins did not do their homework. Overall draft grade C-, at best.
The Browns started off the draft red hot, bringing in some big name talent at some very high positional needs in the first round. However, later into the draft the team did not bring in any new talent at WR. This is the first thing that an incoming QB such as Johnny Manziel could use as a rookie, a fellow first year man that can develop in the offense together with Johnny Football. With Josh Gordon’s pending suspension, this position is cloudy for the team. That being said, The Browns did draft another great corner in round 4 with Pierre Desir. A small school kid that dominated bigger school talent.
Jacksonville had themselves a great draft, not only going and getting their big name QB. The Jags went back to back with highly talented WR’s in the next rounds, and also brought in some foundational pieces to their OL and defense in the later rounds. Drafting Brandon Linder in Rd. 3 brings in a real tough and durable OG that will plug in right away, and center Luke Bowanko from Virginia can have a fighting chance to make the lineup as well. Fourth round pick Aaron Colvin adds well needed depth at corner, and following pick Telvin Smith from Florida State adds a very athletic linebacker to stand with Paul Posluszny.
The Bills may have gotten the most underrated corner in this years draft in the 4th round in Ross Cockrell from Duke. He has everything that scouts look for in a corner, with size strength and spend. Cockrell held seventh overall pick Mike Evans to one of his worst games of the year with four catches and no touchdowns. The Bills intense focus on OL and linebackers in the late rounds of the draft are very impressive, as the Bills front office remained dedicated in filling a big void in their team through the late rounds of the draft.
Of course a draft weekend recap would not be complete without a mention of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Yes, they did it very well yet again. Jimmy Garrappolo in the 2nd round was a great pick, and will probably replace Tom Brady in four years. Running Back James White was a great pick in the fourth round, adding a guy that can do anything out of the backfield and has great vision. The Pats envisioned strengthening their OL in the mid rounds of the draft, and Bryan Stork from Florida State was a good example of this. Cameron Fleming also adds an OL that “doesn’t get beat” and fits the Patriots mold as a player completely coming from Stanford. Kudos again Bill.