The 2015 NFL draft is full of uncertain prospects. Some experts suggest this is a draft class ripe with defensive line talent, and while that may be true, the lack of deep talent at any other position is more likely the cause. Much of the ‘top tier’ talent slid fittingly into mock drafts, however, the projected slot is all but justified.
As the draft quickly approaches, much attention is likely to be directed towards the Philadelphia Eagles and their potential quest to reunite coach Chip Kelly with his former quarterback at the University of Oregon, Marcus Mariota.
The trade for Sam Bradford and a first-round draft choice (from St. Louis, in which the Eagles shoved quasi-starter Nick Foles into the pot) was an underrated move for two reasons:
First and foremost, it unites one of the most prolific offenses in NCAA history in Bradford, and running back Demarco Murray during their time at Oklahoma. Secondly, Kelly has set a trap. Much like a dead hand player picking up blinds on the poker table, Kelly has assembled a reasonable chip stack to begin to play small ball. As much as the media may suggest, the Eagles are ready to shove all in to get Mariota by trading up in the draft. In fact, this first round is a crap shoot.
There are few players that organizations view as low risk assets, two of them being the overlooked Amari Cooper from Alabama and Todd Gurley from Georgia. For reasons undenounced to the world, Cooper will likely slide to a team with a subpar record and will benefit greatly from his NFL ready routes and breaks. Taking the NFL in its current state, an established receiver in the SEC with a first-year quarterback and first-year offensive coordinator is as low risk as a pick can be.
On the other hand, Todd Gurley is considered high risk due to his season-ending ACL tear midway through the Bulldogs’ season. When looking at the potential first-round selections, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team takes Gurley late in the first-round with the justification of a high reward. The shelf life on a running back is as short as any item at whole foods, and with that in mind, rather than selecting a ‘potential face of the franchise’ (a concept that needs to be dumped immediately), a wise team would take a mediocre risk on a four-year starting running back that will ensure the pick holds value.
Instead of looking for a leader and potential star, more teams need to add value to their pick. Every year, there are at least ten teams that suit up with two or three total duds on their roster (and salary cap hits) because they had a ‘high ceiling’. In the train wreck that is the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, if you’re not screamingly desperate at a position, go get some value.