Redrafting the 2015 NFL Draft

I hinted at the 2015 NFL Draft being a bit disappointing in last weeks’ article, but let me clarify: while the offensive players are lacking overall, the defensive players really save this draft class. The edge rushers in particular are pretty outstanding, there is a good group of running backs, and a couple really good offensive linemen.

On the other hand, offensive skill players and defensive backs are in short supply. This draft might be most remembered for Jameis Winston going first overall, mainly due to Winston’s 30 interception season in 2019. It’s just not a very heavy draft at the top, but there is some really great value in the teens in this redraft.

1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Danielle Hunter, EDGE, LSU

(Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State)

Jameis Winston had one of the most interesting seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, and not in a good way. He had big flashes of great play throughout his 5 years in Tampa, and then threw for the most yards in the NFL in 2019, but also throwing 30 interceptions. Danielle Hunter surprisingly became the best player in this draft class, going from a third round pick to one of the best sack artists in the league over the past few seasons.

2) Tennessee Titans – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

(Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon)

Another quarterback who didn’t work out, Mariota never showed many flashes of great play like Winston did. Tennessee got a new quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and the offense instantly improved. With not any great quarterbacks coming from this draft class, the Titans can go in a different direction to improving their offense. Amari Cooper has been great since he entered the league, although the Raiders inexplicably traded him away, much to the Cowboys’ delight.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

(Dante Fowler, DE, Florida)

Like I said before, Jameis Winston flashed greatness while throwing for the most yards in the league in 2019. The Jaguars were operating with Blake Bortles under center, something I don’t think they would want to repeat. Dante Fowler was also a bust for them until he went on to the Rams and resparked his career. Winston on another team could maybe fully unlock his potential, and I doubt he could be worse than Bortles.

4) Oakland Raiders – Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland

(Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama)

The Raiders missed out on Cooper in this redraft, but I have no idea if they would pay him if they could do things over again. Instead, the land another receiver in this draft class who was traded away from the team that drafted him. Diggs was another huge surprise for the Vikings (who really had an incredible draft class in 2015). Diggs could’ve provided just as much for the Raiders as Cooper did.

5) Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff, G, Iowa

(Brandon Scherff, G, Iowa)

No need to mess with this great pick. It wasn’t the most beloved selection at the time, but Brandon Scherff turned out to be one of the best offensive linemen in the league. While the Redskins haven’t had a lot going for them the past few years, Scherff definitely has been a bright spot.

6) New York Jets – Frank Clark, DE, Michigan

(Leonard Williams, DL, USC)

Leonard Williams was great for the Jets, but they traded him away last season and they’ve also been lacking good edge rushers for as long as I can remember. Frank Clark had his share of off-field issues, which led to his trade away from Seattle, but there is no denying that he’s a great edge rusher.

7) Chicago Bears – Trey Flowers, EDGE, Arkansas

(Kevin White, WR, West Virginia)

The Bears missed badly on Kevin White. He was great in college and the pre-draft process, but small injury concerns in college led to massive injury issues in the NFL. White just couldn’t stay healthy and ended up doing pretty much nothing in the league. Without another receiver to be drafted at this value, the Bear need to change their attention to another position of need. The edge rusher position in Chicago was quite poor before Khalil Mack came to town in 2018.

8) Atlanta Falcons – Leonard Williams, DL, USC

(Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson)

Vic Beasley had one incredible year for Atlanta, before falling off a steep cliff and barely performing at all. The Falcons also got Grady Jarrett out of this draft, so Leonard Williams can fill that hole too. As i stated above, Leonard Williams has been great since entering the league, and seeing how Jarrett excelled in Atlanta, Williams could probably flourish even better than his time in New York.

9) New York Giants – Trent Brown, OT, Florida

(Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami)

The Giants desperately needed an offensive tackle, but they badly missed on Ereck Flowers. Instead they could’ve gone with Trent Brown, who took a while to come around, but is now one of the best offensive tackles in the league. It took a trade to the Patriots for Brown to break out, but hopefully the Giants could’ve gotten that out of him earlier.

10) St. Louis Rams – La’el Collins, G, LSU

(Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia)

There is no denying that Todd Gurley became one of the best running backs in the league and got paid like one. However, Gurley started experiencing injury problems around the playoffs in 2018, didn’t seem to be much better during the 2019 season, and then was released during the 2020 offseason. Instead, La’el Collins became one of the best interior offensive linemen after falling completely out of the draft due to reports surfacing just before the draft that he was being questioned in a murder investigation. Collins is living up to his original draft billing of a first round draft pick.

11) Minnesota Vikings – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

(Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State)

The Vikings really needed a cornerback, but they missed badly on Trae Waynes (one of their few misses in this draft, but ironically their first pick). Marcus Peters might be the flashiest cornerback in the league with the most interceptions since he entered the NFL. He struggles with consistency though, as he also gives up a lot of catches, yards, and touchdowns. He’s bounced around the league a little, starting with a trade for the Chiefs to the Rams, although that was due to off-field character concerns. Peters is now in Baltimore and his inconsistencies seem to be thinning out.

12) Cleveland Browns – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

(Danny Shelton, DT, Washington)

The Browns missed badly with their two first round picks in this draft, so giving them a player with as much upside as Todd Gurley has, has to be the plan in this redraft. Maybe if Gurley neded up in Cleveland he wouldn’t have faced the injury issues that have plagued him for over a year now.

13) New Orleans Saints – Byron Jones, CB, UConn

(Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford)

The Saints got a really good player in Andrus Peat. but they had to move him inside to guard and while he’s one of the best guards in the league, the Saints needed a cornerback more than a guard. Byron Jones turned out to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league, however. The Dolphins just gave Jones a huge contract in free agency that was well-deserved.

14) Miami Dolphins – Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford

(DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville)

Before Dolphins fans get mad at me, it took Parker four decent seasons before having a phenomenal season in 2019. For all we know, Parker can go back to those decent seasons for the rest of his career. On the other hand, Miami has had one of the worst offensive lines over this decade and really could’ve used Peat’s talents.

15) San Francisco 49ers – Landon Collins, S, Alabama

(Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin)

This is the first draft-day trade-ups in 2015, with the Chargers moving up to take Melvin Gordon (more on that in a moment). The 49ers wound up with Arik Armstead at 17, and even though he’s still on the board (and some good edge rushers), I went with landon Collins instead. I know the 49ers built the NFC Championship team with a huge focus on first round defensive line picks, Collins is a much better player than any defensive linemen or edge rushers on the board. Imagine Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and DeForest Buckner with Collins in the secondary behind them.

16) Houston Texans – David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa

(Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest)

The Texans had just lost Mar Miller in free agency and they apparently coveted Todd Gurley. They just traded for David Johnson, but had to trade away DeAndre Hopkins to get it done. Wouldn’t things be much better in Houston if they had selected David Johnson in this spot and still had both him and DeAndre Hopkins?

17) San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

(Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon)

Another running back controversy from this draft class, Melvin Gordon was great for the Chargers before demanding a lot of money from them in a contract extension. That process did not work out for Gordon, and he’s now in Denver on a much smaller contract. When Gordon was asked if he would hold out again, Gordon said he would’ve taken the initial contract that the Chargers offered him.

18) Kansas City Chiefs – Za’Darius Smith, EDGE, Kentucky

(Marcus Peters, CB, Washington)

The Chiefs miss out on Peters in this redraft, but honestly I’m not sure they would take him again if given the opportunity. Instead, they can bulk up on the edge rusher position with Za’Darius Smith. Tamba Hali was at the end of his career, Justin Houston didn’t last much longer after this draft in Kansas City, and Dee Ford was traded away last year. But just imagine Ford and Smith coming off the edge for the Cheifs, even if for just a few seasons.

19) Cleveland Browns – Shaq Mason, OL, Georgia Tech

(Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State)

Like I mentioned above, the Browns missed pretty badly with their two first round picks in this draft. They did the right thing with addressing the offensive line, but Cameron Erving was not the guy. The Patriots landed a great player with Shaq Mason, who has now developed into one of the best guards in the NFL.

20) Philadelphia Eagles – Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State

(Nelson Agholor, WR, USC)

Another team that addressed the right position but came up woefully short on talent, the Eagles with Nelson Agholor. He didn’t become a guy to be made fun of on local news stations without some pretty bad play on the field. Meanwhile, Lockett has become one of the most consistent receivers in NFL history. His connection with Russell Wilson has become a thing of legend, and I’m sure the city of Philadelphia would appreciate Lockett establishing that relationship with Carson Wentz.

21) Cincinnati Bengals – Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson

(Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas)

I don’t blame the Bengals for drafting an offensive lineman, they just picked the wrong guy. I don’t have any offensive linemen ranked highly enough at this point in this redraft to put one of them here, so I have to go in a different direction. Looking at the other side of the ball, the Bengals have struggled on the defensive line, outside of Geno Atkins. And just imagine Atkins and Grady Jarrett lined up next to each other.

22) Pittsburgh Steelers – Preston Smith, EDGE, Mississippi State

(Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky)

I almost went with Bud Dupree here again, but it took him several seasons before he reallhy broke out. It worries me a little that maybe he really needs someone like T.J. Watt on the other side of the line to free him up, something that I don’t think Preston Smith needs. He’s now paired up with Za’Darius SMith, but he excelled in Washington on his own.

23) Detroit Lions – Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

(Shane Ray, EDGE, Colorado)

This was just the second and last draft-day trade in 2015, with the Broncos trading up for Shane Ray to pair with Von Miller. The Lions ended up at 28th overall and selected a guard in Laken Tomlinson. Once again, I don’t have any offensive linemen of value here, so we’ll flip the ball again and look at the defense. The Lions haven’t had a strong defensive line in recent memory, but Eddie Goldman has turned out to be one of the most underrated interior defensive linemen in the league.

24) Arizona Cardinals – Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

(D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida)

D.J. Humphries has been above average for the Cardinals, but they recently gave him a huge contract which might have been a bit rich. Instead, the Cardinals could’ve addressed another position of need at linebacker. Eric Kendricks was another big hit for the Vikings in this draft, and the Cardinals have really lacked good play at linebacker.

25) Carolina Panthers – Anthony Harris, S, Virginia

(Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington)

Shaq Thompson was a good pick for the Panthers, and as a bonus, he could play both linebacker and safety. Instead, the Panthers could’ve drafted a true safety in Anthony Harris ( who, shockingly, was drafted by the Vikings). The Panthers’ safety situation was bad in 2015, and somehow it’s only gotten worse. Harris definitely would’ve changed that.

26) Baltimore Ravens – Kwon Alexander, LB, LSU

(Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF)

The Ravens were still trying to replace Ray Lewis, which is obviously next to impossible. However, a combination of C.J. Mosley and Kwon Alexander probably could’ve been even better. Instead, the Ravens made arguably the worst selection in this draft (after Kevin White to the Bears). Breshad Perriman did virtually nothing in Baltimore and is now just kind of bouncing around the league hoping to stick somewhere.

27) Dallas Cowboys – Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon

(Byron Jones, CB, UConn)

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Byron Jones is already off the board in this redraft. Arik Armstead has been in a very tough rotation in San Francisco with some unbelievable talent, but maybe he could’ve really shined somewhere that didn’t place him in the shadows as much. He’ll certainly get that opportunity this year with DeForest Buckner shipped out of town.

28) Denver Broncos – Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky

(Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke)

This is the second half of the trade with the Detroit Lions. The Broncos thought they were getting the second coming of Demarcus Ware with Shane Ray, which obviously didn’t happen. They still needed an edge rusher opposite of Von Miller, though, and Bud Dupree is an excellent choice. He’s a great number two across from T.J. Watt, so I’m sure he’d replicate that success in Denver.

29) Indianapolis Colts – Mitch Morse, G, Missouri

(Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami)

The Colts thought they were getting T.Y. Hilton 2.0 in Phillip Dorsett, and you don’t need to know much about football to know how that turned out. Instead, the Colts can address their offensive line, something they ignored until Andrew Luck started piling up injuries that led to his early retirement. If you’ve been following my previous redrafts, you’ll notice that I often send and offensive lineman the Colts’ way.

30) Green Bay Packers – Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson

(Damarious Randall, CB, Arizona State)

I mentioned previously that Vic Beasley had one great season and then did nothing after that. Well, I have a hope that a different city and team could’ve grabbed that great season out of him and grown off of it. Meanwhile, Damarious Randall was a decent cornerback who turned out ot be a much better safety once traded to Cleveland. The Packers didn’t need a safety at the time, but they did need another edge rusher.

31) New Orleans Saints – Bernardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

(Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson)

The Stephone Anthony selection is one of the more interesting selections in this draft class. He was great in college at Clemson and just as good his rookie season, almost winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. And then the injuries started piling up for Anthony. He’s now bouncing around the league and can’t see the field. Bernardrick McKinney turned out to be a great player in Houston and remains one of their best defensive players.

32) New England Patriots – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

(Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas)

The Patriots generally struggle with first round picks (while nailing later round selections), and Malcolm Brown is no exception. The Patriots still had a good receiving corps in 2015, but it quickly washed away within a few seasons. Even though it took Parker four seasons to burst onto the scene, I think the Patriots would be okay if he hadn’t shown anything before this past season.

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