By: Matt Van De Sompele, KCOU Sports
Let me start this column off by saying that I’m the type of guy that believes in watching NFL prospects play in the NFL before I grade a pick. You hear all the time about this “can’t miss” guy and he turns out to be a below average player and was merely just hyped up. Sure, sometimes a player’s just got it and he was worth all of the hype and I was wrong to even doubt him. So here’s my thoughts on three teams that CLEANED up during the draft and three teams that didn’t look so hot on draft day.
Minnesota Vikings: When you play in a brutal conference like the NFC North, the draft is almost as important as a regular season game. The Vikings selected CB Trae Waynes out of Michigan State and boy was this a solid pick. When you play 2 games against Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and, for what it’s worth, Jay Cutler, secondary play is beyond important. Waynes is a physical corner with great size and a great football mentality and should have no problem fitting in up north. Another pick that I thought was a brilliant move was the pickup of Notre Dame wide receiver Davaris Daniels. When he played, he was arguably the best wide receiver Notre Dame had since Jeff Samardzija. His hands and size are perfect; the only issue with him is that his off the field issues left a bad taste in scout’s mouths. With a wide receiving core that has constantly underachieved, this should help in the long run.
Dallas Cowboys: I hate Jerry Jones, hate everything about him. But I have to give credit where it is due. Last year, they selected Zack Martin out of Notre Dame and turned him into a force on the O-Line. Now they take a top 3 corner in Byron Jones in the 1st round and then land Randy Gregory in the 2nd round. With Dallas being plagued on defense last year, these two picks will be a massive help. Gregory has a questionable football IQ, but he has all the talent in the world to be a top 10 talent in the league. Dallas loves these types of players, high risk and high reward types of guys. That’s the way Jerry rolls and that’s what will make or break the Cowboys.
New York Jets: The Jets finally figured it out. They didn’t reach. They didn’t settle. They drafted the best player available in Leonard Williams. They drafted Devin Smith, one of the most underrated receivers in the entire draft. They drafted Bryce Petty in the fourth just in case Geno Smith couldn’t figure it out. They went in to this draft thinking they will take the best player available in each round and that’s exactly what they did. They added a new coach this year, they added some extra talent around Geno, and then they reinforced the best part of their defense with an incredible player in Leonard Williams.
St. Louis Rams: Why Todd Gurley? I don’t understand it. Last season Tre Mason killed teams on the ground without having a functioning O-Line. So instead of either giving Nick Folk a new weapon at wide receiver or protecting your new quarterback with an offensive lineman, you draft an already filled position. Gurley won’t even be ready for the season, at best case he will be ready by mid-season. When you are in the most physical division in the league you need to protect your quarterback and they didn’t do that when they picked Gurley.
Indianapolis Colts: The Patriots exposed the Colts secondary last January, and flat balls or not, they needed to take a safety. Demetrious Randall and Landon Collins were both still available so it wasn’t a matter of pick value. They also need help on their O-Line, and they pushed that back into later rounds. Phillip Dorsett is a very skilled player, don’t get me wrong, but you just signed Andre Johnson. A very talented receiver. The rest of the draft was fine for them, but they really butchered their first pick thus putting them in this column.
La’el Collins: LSU’s La’el Collins, once thought of as a likely first-round pick, was not selected at all during the 2015 NFL Draft. Collins is scheduled to meet with Baton Rouge police in connection with the shooting death of a 29-year-old pregnant woman. Collins’ lawyers had told clubs that Collins would refuse to sign with a team that drafted him outside the third round and that Collins would simply re-enter the draft in 2016. However, that is not an option according to NFL rules. Collin’s ego got in the way of him being an NFL player and that in itself makes him a loser on this list. I wish him the best in the future but he made a huge mistake by letting his hubris get in the way of the draft process.