2015 NFL Draft: Live First Round Reactions


What does the first round mean for the San Francisco 49ers?

* Picks that directly affect the Niners in 2015 will be marked with an asterix.

1st: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston (Florida State, QB)

I sit here writing the reaction for this pick approximately four hours before the draft even starts. What do I even add to what’s already been said? The interesting part begins at pick 2.

2nd: Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota (Oregon, QB)

Mariota already looked deflated following the announcement of Winston as 1st overall. Not sure if that says much at this point, but it’s something to chew over in terms of character. To be a great in this league you need to take a set back with a smile, as any 49ers fan realised with the era of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. I’m not sure a frown at a setback this early on is a great sign for long and prosperous career. That said, from his draft party he’s obviously a likeable guy, and it’s important to have a QB that you can trust.

On the whole this is a better deal for the Titans than it is for Mariota. He’s obviously a top talent, but the worry is that the Titans don’t have a team that can support a young QB talent, or at least not yet. This pick doesn’t put them in the realm of challenging Andrew Luck and the Colts, and they’re still very much in a race with the Jaguars to develop a young team from scratch.

For those of you interested in stats and records – this is the first time in history that two Heisman winners have been drafted 1st and 2nd in the same draft.

3rd: Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr. (Florida, DE)

The Jags stick with Florida as they did last year with Blake Bortles. If nothing else, they’re building a team that wants to be there. His post-pick interview reinforces my opinion on that, the guy seems extremely positive about being a Jaguar. Apparently he just thanked his dad for pushing him to do this too, so he’s certainly got the attitude of a champion. Again, this pick doesn’t do much to elevate the Jags above the Colts, but it’s something that could keep the Titans new QB at bay.

4th: Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper (Alabama, WR)

Fantastic pick for a team who has a young QB. This is a pairing that could go on to big things. He’s a fantastic route runner who runs after the catch, and above all else, he stayed at home for the draft. Why is that important? ‘Cause it means he knows what’s important – loyalty. That’s a rarity for WRs, unfortunately, in a league where they’re more of an expendable skill position than some others. He could have a huge future in Oakland (and/or Los Angeles).

5th: Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff (Iowa, OT)

Nice! Perhaps not the pick most people projected the Redskins to take, but it’s certainly the right pick. Robert Griffin III hasn’t had the best of times since his rookie season. QB is a position where confidence is king, and after a couple of bad seasons you can’t really blame a guy for taking a hit in that area. This draft pick reinstalls that confidence in the form of giving him a little more time in the pocket. He also looked pretty pleased to be drafted, so congratulations all round.

Trivia: Apparently he was a QB in high school, but was problematically bigger than his centre so never got the chance to stick out the position.

6th: New York Jets – Leonard Williams (USC, DE)

IF he’d played in Flordia, the Jags might have drafted him at number 3. This is a good pick for a team that already has a mean defensive core. The Jets needed somebody to put Tom Brady on the floor, and providing he stays healthy, Leonard Williams is the man to do that. Seems pretty relaxed on stage with the commissioner, which is a good trait for a young DE to have.

* 7th: Chicago Bears – Kevin White (West Virginia, WR)

Big surprise. He’s not Brandon Marshall, and they still have Jay Cutler at QB, but this pick has certainly made a splash. Listening to the crowd at the draft, they seem pretty happy, so I imagine this is something they believe is good. If they believe that, then who are we to disagree?

He’s only been trained to line up on the right, so in the match against the Niners which comes fairly late in his rookie season. Not late enough for him to be totally comfortable on the other side of the offense, however. If the Niners select a CB soon, this isn’t too much of a game changer.

* 8th: Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley (Clemson, OLB)

With Dan Quinn as HC, this is a big draft pick for the Falcons. Some say he’s overdrafted, but there’s no dispute over what Quinn can do with a defensive player that shows any shred of talent, and this guy shows more than that. He was a running back in high school, and unfortunately that position has been/will probably continue to be a strength for the 49ers. This could add a dimension of difficulty to the week 9 clash in Santa Clara.

* 9th: New York Giants – Ereck Flowers (Miamo, OT)

Probably overdrafted, but if the Giants want a shot at going anywhere near the team that won the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011, this is a pick they had to make. This doesn’t do a great deal to change the week 5 match between the Giants and the Niners, but he has a high ceiling. High ceilings take time to be reached though.

* 10th: St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley (Georgia, RB)

Bad news for the Niners. The Rams have been slowly building a good team for a while now, adding to that an unproven Nick Foles and now what is widely agreed to be the best RB prospect in the draft. This could spell bad news for the foreseeable future for San Francisco. IF he stays healthy, this is an elite, special running back, and this could prove to be the best pick of the draft. The Rams do however need to patch up the offensive line to get the best out of him.

He seems a really humble guy too, obviously knows the importance and the expectations of the league. Above all else he looks patient, which is possibly the key for this Rams team. He sounded close to tears in his interview, this guy WILL win big one day.

STOP THE PRESSES! The alternative uniform announcement was… underwhelming.

* 11th: Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes (Michigan State, CB)

Damn, there goes my pick for the Niners. In a team that regularly suits up against Megatron and Aaron Rodgers & Co., this is a hard start for Waynes. He was the second fastest player in the combine, so the guy definitely shows promise for the Vikings. Against the Niners? He’s said to be a liability in terms of tackling, so he shouldn’t present too much of a problem to players like Anquan Boldin.

* 12th: Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton (Washington, DT)

I hope this goes well, for the sake of the Browns and Shelton. This guy bleeds loyalty, he’s an academic ‘cause his mom told him to be and he’s turned up to the draft in traditional Samoan dress. If reports of Johnny Manziel losing the locker room is true, maybe this is the guy who can restore it for him. He’ll certainly prove a test for Colin Kaepernick fairly soon.

EDIT: He just sacked Roger Goodell. The guy’s focused!

13th: New Orleans Saints – Andrus Peat (Stanford, OT)

This is a tricky pick. He’ll most likely be a good, solid player for the Saints, and he’ll do well to protect Drew Brees. But this is the same team that has lost Jimmy Graham. This guy’s not a finished product and his position dictates that he won’t catch passes. Graham was a finished product and did catch passes, as well as protecting Brees. Admittedly this pick wasn’t part of the trade, but it’s hard to feel like, at least so far, they’ve weakened significantly.

14th: Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker (Louisville, WR)

The question here is why didn’t the Vikings reunite him with Teddy Bridgewater? It’s not as if the Vikings didn’t need a new WR, and DeVante Parker could’ve walked in as a starter. This flags up character issues. He certainly has the talent to make it in the NFL, but whether he wants to work for it will be seen. He’s said to be a natural, but that’s something that could prove to be his downfall.

15th: (Trade) San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin, RB)

This guy is being spoken of as the running back who’s finally going to fill the gap left by Tomlinson a few years back. But, there’s a problem. That problem being that a commercial aired for him before he got drafted. Sure, on it’s own that isn’t too big a deal. But the narrative of this commercial was his first round selection. Don’t believe the hype, junior.

16th: Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest, CB)

Possibly the most complete CB in the draft. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling but he does have a fairly high floor. The Texans have done well developing corners, this is a good pick. In fact, the Texans defense is starting to look pretty scary, this just relegated the Titans to another year or two away from contention.

* 17th: (Trade) San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead (Oregon, DE)

The first pick of the Tomsula era is one that Jim will know exactly what to do with. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s already played a match at the Levi’s Stadium with Oregon. He has flaws, people say he’s lazy. But he’s coming to a team with players like Darnell Dockett who will soon show him how to play like a 49er. If Jim Tomsula can get the most out of him, this is a big pick.

18th: Kansas City Chiefs – Marcus Peters (Washington, CB)

He’s failed drug tests, he’s been suspended, he’s been banned, he’s been kicked off teams. But the Chiefs have put their faith in him enough to draft him in the first round. That’s a big deal to someone with a less than smooth journey there, and it’s something that won’t be wasted on him.

19th: Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving (Florida State, C)

The Browns are really putting in work to protect Manziel. Where does he fit in, though? The Browns look to be banking on natural versatility with this pick. They really do not need him at C, even though this is undoubtedly his strongest position. A peculiar pick, but one they shows faith in the QB.

20th: Philadeliphia Eagles – Nelson Agholor (USC, WR)

Just looking at this guy’s draft party, I want him to succeed. Was his mom knitting!? He could be a big returner for the Eagles, but if we’ve learnt anything from Chip Kelly is he’ll do things his way, so who knows what’ll happen to him. This pick could either be really good, or really bad for the team.

21st: Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Ogbheui (Texas A&M, OT)

It’s hard to see this as the pick that’s going to push them towards that coveted play-off victory. But why didn’t The Browns take this guy!? Surely it’s better to reunite a true multi-positional lineman with his old QB than trying to convert a guy at your strongest position? Cleveland…

* 22nd: Pittsburgh Steelers – Bud Dupree (Kentucky, OLB)

The Steelers had a terrible season on defense by their own standards in 2014, and following two high profile retirements there was never any doubt they’d select a defender. That little doubt that I’d already written that sentence before the pick. In a team where there was no doubt about scoring, Bud Dupree is a nice solid pick, one that will certainly give Kapernick & Co something to think about in 2015.

23rd: (Trade) Denver Broncos – Shane Ray (Missouri, DE)

There’s a joke to be made about his recent charges preceding a draft pick from Denver, but that’s one for the rest of the internet to make. He looks very happy with this pick. And so he should be – he gets to go up against Peyton Manning in training. If Manning and John Elway think he’s good, he must be. Those guys know what a scary DE looks like, and Shane Ray comes into an organisation that seems tailor made to give him a big future. Another guy who’s had a fairly difficult journey to the draft who seems humbled that a team’s taken a punt on him. He can’t wait to play for the Broncos, and I can’t wait to see how that pans out.

* 24th: Arizona Cardinals – DJ Humphries (Florida, OT)

Fairly standard as draft picks go. The Cardinals next year will rely on positions other than this one more heavily. Larry Fitzgerald is aging, Carson Palmer is never guaranteed. They should have perhaps looked at a WR with this pick.

25th: Carolina Panthers – Shaq Thompson (Washington, OLB)

A linebacker who can play running back, but he’s no fridge.

* 26th: Baltimore Ravens – Brashad Perriman (UCF, WR)

He has issues, but the Ravens aren’t afraid of those. He’s likely going to provide a number of highlight reels in his rookie season, but whether he’ll turn out to be a great receiver, I’m not sold. He drops balls more than you’d want a first rounder to, and that might signal commitment issues. On the subject of highlight reels though – his circus catches will be a lot for the Niners to handle when it’s Joe Flacco firing the ball through the air.

27th: Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones (Connecticut, CB)

Apparently set a world record for something at the combine, I dunno. Cowboys stick with their policy of selecting the best on the board at their position. Solid choice, but also one that fails to make a splash.

28th: (Trade) Detroit Lions – Laken Tomlinson (Duke, G)

His glasses make him look kinda soft, but I’m sure he’s anything but on the field. He already has the key to consistency, and that’s a big step to being NFL ready. Doesn’t seem too big on talking, and that’s often a good sign for someone who’s made it this far.

29th: Indianapolis Colts – Philip Dorsett (Miami, WR)

Again, a guy with a nice, humble, draft party. I’m on his side. With Andrew Luck throwing passes to him, so is fate apparently. Interestingly, Jaelen Strong is still on the board. Perhaps the 49ers will take a punt there in the second round.

* 30th: Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall (Arizona State, S)

Things just got even more interesting for the curious case of Jaelen Strong. If the Niners do indeed get him in the second round, then he’ll be lining up against a former team mate in 2015. Whether that means much to the spell that Kaepernick seems to have cast over the Packers however, I’m not sure.

31st: New Orleans Saints – Stephone Anthony (Clemson, ILB)

To compensate for Jimmy Graham, the Saints really had to hit a homerun with this pick. This wasn’t that, but it’s still a decent, solid pick. He’s the undisputed leader of his Clemson team, and if he can step up and fill that role for the Saints, he carries a high ceiling.

32nd: New England Patriots – Malcolm Brown (Texas, DT)

And the 2015 NFL Draft first round ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. A natural fit for the guy he’ll be replacing, he even looks like Vince Wilfork.

So what does this all mean in The Bay? It means that, going into the second round, Jaelen Strong still sits on the board. That’s something that a 49ers team stacked with picks may pursue. Overall, there hasn’t been much of a power shift in terms of San Francisco’s immediate opponents, but Jim Tomsula has himself a new project. The first round has gone as well as could be expected for the Niners, all things considered.

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