The first five picks in the First round of the 2015 NFL Draft were obvious, but made sense.
Here’s the breakdown of the five top picks in the First Round:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: The Buccaneers finished at the bottom of the NFC South (2-14) and lost every home game last season. They averaged 17 points a game, which shows there is some life there. However, Josh McGown in his first season with the Bucs only had a 56 % QB rating. This isn’t too far away from his career average, which barely breaks 60 percent. Adding Winston to the Bucs provides not only the flair needed to the fan base to return, but a solid QB in the pocket. Winston left Florida State only losing in the College Football Playoffs. He’s had seven games come close, yet still prevailed. He’ll join Running back Bobby Rainey, who was asked to re-sign this week. Rainey had roughly 400 yards on season.
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Brining Mariota on board may have been the sexiest decision the Tennessee Titans have done in a long, long time. Mariota brings a running offense that mirrors the style of Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. According to various reports, he will start Day 1 of the NFL Preseason forward. Mariota will be the sixth Quarterback to done a Titans uniform, and possibly one of the cleanest. Titan QBs of the past brought several personal problems to the table, from Vince Young to the late Steve McNair.
Jake Locker was benched in October of last season for quarterback Zach Mettenberger. This year he retired, with no desire to play. While many have considered the Titans a graveyard so to speak for Quarterbacks, if they can manage to sign Hakeem Nicks, which is expected to happen, there could be a spark there worth watching. Nicks finished last season with roughly 400 yards in receiving yards. This is a far cry from his true talent. While with the New York Giants, Nicks averaged 600 yards a season for five seasons, breaking the 1,000 – yard mark in 2010 and 2011.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida: Picking an Outside Line Backer was a surprise Thursday night, especially when the Jaguars have been an afterthought in the NFL for the past three seasons. One would think an offensive pick would have been the way to go up front. However, reports suggest that need will be addressed in the Second round of the Draft. General Manager Dave Caldwell has expressed he wants to build a team around quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles finished the 2014 season with 2,908 yards passing and a 69.8 QB Rating. The Jaguars had no top 10 or 20 finishers in defense. Fowler had 8.5 sacks and led in tackles for the Gators. He rushed the QB 17 times, and has had at least one tackle for loss in all but one game last season. The addition of Fowler could open up more offensive opportunities.
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Cooper cannot save the Raiders, but he can make their games a lot more interesting. Reports suggest the team may look for additions to the defense in the Second round. However, the pickup of Amari Cooper is big for a team fighting in the much improved NFC West. Cooper averaged 700 yards during his time with Alabama, breaking 1,000 yards in 2012 and last season. Adding Cooper also gives QB Derek Carr more options. Carr finished last season with 3,270 yards passing and a 76.6 QB Rating. The Raiders have picked up some much needed help to add to their growing arsenal.
5. Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff, OG: The Redskins have had their share of Coaches and Quarterbacks, but rarely does anyone hear about improvements to the offensive line. Scherff is not the answer, but a step in the right direction. Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III has been sacked 30 times each season since his start in 2012. Improvements in the O-Line has been a long, dreary battle cry for every Redskins fan. The reason is because many feel that if RG3 has someone up front that can give him the time to think rather than run, he may become the pocket passer everyone wants to see. This would also reduce the risk of any further injuries.
Ricky Allen is our new resident NFL commentator and a former Sports Writer for websites such as Rant Sports and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @UltimateRedskin.