5 Teams Looking to Improve in the 2015 NFL Draft
Tomorrow night, April 30th, is a major opportunity for teams of the National Football League to add some young talent to their roster for the upcoming season. There have been tons of rumors going around, such as who will draft who, who will get traded, and where will Marcus Mariota land. This guide will provide the top needs for a few teams, as well as who would be a good fit and their potential impact on the upcoming season.
The Cowboys have the 27th pick in the first round and there are multiple positions this team will need to address.
Running back: Murray is gone, and the team currently has Darren McFadden slated as the team’s starter. McFadden has durability issues and he is not a back that can be relied upon to stay healthy for an entire NFL season. Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon would be no doubters at the 27th pick if either were to fall that far. If the team doesn’t get a chance at one of those top two running backs, they could elect to take a cornerback in that 26th slot.
A rookie running back would really help the team’s offense, but a cornerback could help the secondary play at the level it played last year with a bunch of serviceable options. While a running back will be the flashy pick, a cornerback could end up being the smarter choice for a team looking to get to the next level.
The Houston Texans will be drafting out of the 16th slot and there are some holes that need to be filled in this year’s draft.
Wide receiver: Houston lost their veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson to the Colts and only managed to bring in Cecil Shorts during the offseason. DeAndre Hopkins is the top pass catcher in Houston, but he needs help. This draft has a lot of good wide receivers, such as Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Breshad Perriman and DeVante Parker to name a few. Look for Houston to grab one of those guys if they make it to the 16th spot. Quarterback is a huge problem in Houston, but they will likely elect to roll with Brian Hoyer for at least this season.
A wide receiver will a help an offense in need of a dynamic passing game, but Houston could elect to draft an inside linebacker, given the injury history of Brian Cushing. Don’t expect Houston to take a quarterback on Day 1, but drafting a wide receiver would be the smartest move for a team in need of some playmakers on the outside.
The Browns are currently slated to draft out of the 12th and 19th slots in the first round, but they may not be the case. There are rumors circulating that they have offered these two picks to Tennessee for the rights to the second overall pick, likely to draft Marcus Mariota.
Wide receiver: While the team does need a quarterback in case of a Johnny Football relapse, a wide receiver is a better pick at the moment. The team views Manziel as a guy they can build around, but he’s not going to do it with the receiving corps in Cleveland. The team is without Josh Gordon for this upcoming season, but the signings of Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline don’t equate to the impact of Gordon.
If the team were to keep both of their first round picks, they should take a wide receiver and a nose tackle with those two picks. Being in the AFC North, they are going to face tough running backs and a dominant young nose tackle would be instrumental to success for the team this season. While a wide receiver may sell more tickets with Johnny Football at the helm, a nose tackle would help improve their record for next season. Mariota would be a nice fit in Cleveland, but the Titans may elect to keep Mariota for themselves.
New England Patriots
The reigning Super Bowl champions will draft out of the 32nd slot and have quite a few options they can go with that pick.
Cornerback: Of all their needs, this one might be the biggest of them all. They lost both starters, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, from last year’s team and they played a huge role in their success. After playing with such dominant corners in 2014, the team might want to continue that trend moving forward, and drafting a young cornerback would be a step in the right direction.
If they don’t go with a cornerback, an offensive lineman would be the next logical selection. The team traded Logan Mankins and the O-line was in some shambles following that transaction. However, that problem can somewhat be negated by Tom Brady’s impeccable ability to get the ball out quickly and avoid being sacked. An offensive lineman isn’t the sexy selection, but it does go a long way in helping build your team for the future, just ask the Dallas Cowboys.
The Raiders believed they drafted their quarterback of the future last year in Derek Carr, and they will select fourth in this year’s draft.
Wide receiver: In a healthy wide receiver class, many teams find themselves in need of a young receiver to help their team’s offense, and the Oakland Raiders are one of them. It’s hard for a young quarterback to be successful when he is throwing to receivers like Andre Holmes, James Jones and Brice Butler. The team should have their choice between Kevin White and Amari Cooper, and either player should help this team improve in 2015.
The Oakland faithful will want to see a playmaking receiver be drafted, but don’t be surprised if Oakland goes with an outside linebacker out of that four hole. Kentucky product Bud Dupree could go in this slot as Oakland needs some help rushing the passer. They only registered 22 sacks last season, but Dupree would definitely help increase that total. Oakland is going to improve this season regardless of who they draft, but the fans will want the sexy selection in a young pass catcher.