NFL Draft: 5 Winners, 5 Head Scratchers

While some teams seemingly made all the right moves, a few questionable calls from other teams stood out on draft weekend as well.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Below are my winners and head scratchers from last weekend's NFL Draft.  I use the term head scratchers because it's impossible to know at this point if there are any losers, but that doesn't mean that every pick made sense.

Winners:
Philadelphia Eagles: This year, the Eagles just plain got it right.  They addressed their horrid run defense early by trading up to get DT Fletcher Cox, then taking ILB Mychal Kendricks, and DE Vinny Curry in the second round.  3rd round pick Nick Foles, a QB from Arizona, will have the opportunity to sit a few years behind Michael Vick before possibly taking the reins.  After trading CB Asante Samuel, the Eagles filled that void by drafting Brandon Boykin and signing Cliff Harris as an undrafted free agent.  WR Marvin McNutt could develop into a solid #3-#4 receiver.  Offensive linemen Dennis Kelly, and Brandon Washington could both be contributors.  7th round RB Bryce Brown, and undrafted free-agent Chris Polk could both make the roster and at least one should be an impact backup.  This was a solid draft from top to bottom.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers didn't fill a big need at cornerback, but make this list because of how well each player they chose fits in their system.  Melvin Ingram was a steal at #18 and will give the Chargers a pass rushing force they haven't had since Shawn Merriman.  DT Kendall Reyes will move to DE in the 3-4 and should thrive.  Brandon Taylor is a great cover safety to solidify the secondary.  G Johnnie Troutman and C David Molk provide good depth on the offensive line.  RB Edwin Baker should be a good replacement for the recently departed Mike Tolbert.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers' first five picks are what gets them on this list.  G David DeCastro inexplicably fell to them at #24 overall, a pick that had this Steeler fan jumping with joy since I thought he should have been a top 15 pick.  OT Mike Adams is a first round talent with off the field issues that Pittsburgh Snagged in the second round.  Both of those players should become instant upgrades to a decimated offensive line.  ILB Sean Spence could develop into a solid inside or outside linebacker eventually.  Alameda Ta'Amu, a massive nose tackle, was a steal in the 4th round when I didn't think he'd be available past the 2nd.  RB Chris Rainey is a good change of pace runner who should make an instant impact as a kick returner.  The Steelers also signed the best punter in this draft class, Georgia's Drew Butler, as an undrafted free-agent.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After making a huge splash in free-agency, the Buccaneers glaring needs were few and far between.  But their first three picks are what got them on this list.  Alabama S Mark Barron will at worst be a 10 year starter.  Trading up to select RB Doug Martin gives them a perfect all around back to start immediately.  Lavonte David is the best 4-3 OLB and was a steal late in the 2nd round.

Indianapolis Colts: Yeah, yeah, Andrew Luck at #1, MOVING ON!!  The Colts had the biggest no brainer in recent draft history and decided to surround their new franchise QB with some serious weapons.  Taking a page from the Patriots two headed monster at tight end, Indianapolis took Luck's former teammate at Stanford, Coby Fleener in the 2nd round and Clemson's Dwayne Allen in the 3rd.  Fleener is more of the big play guy while Allen is a big-bodied do everything TE.  The colts then picked up two quick, though undersized, receivers in T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill.  DT Josh Chapman and OLB Tim Fugger should both be good fits in the new 3-4 system in Indy.

Head Scratchers:
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks filled a ton of needs, but what is Pete Carrol going to do when there's no more draft eligible players that he once recruited at USC?  DE Bruce Irvin, taken #15 overall, is a good pass rusher, and Seattle needed pass rushers, but at his size he'll need to move to linebacker and will have to learn how to play in space in coverage and not just speed rush at the quarterback.  Their first three picks would have all been available at least a round or two later than where Seattle took them. I'm starting to wonder if their decision makers are possessed by Al Davis.

Washington Redskins: Washington made this list because of two reasons.  3rd round pick Josh Leribeus, was a 4th-5th round talent.  And the selection of Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins in the 4th round is really confusing since the Redskins already drafted Robert Griffin III, and needed weapons on offense more than a backup quarterback.

New England Patriots: The Patriots did something they never do, they traded up.  New England always stock piles picks but this year they finally saw two players they wanted in the first round, DE Chandler Jones and ILB Donta Hightower, and moved up for both of them.  Before the Pats turned their remaining two picks into five, they took Illinois S Tavon Wilson midway through the 2nd round, which is what really got them on this list.  Wilson is a tweener athlete, which the Patriots like, but he could have been taken in at least the 5th round.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams filled a ton of needs as well, but seemed to just be the most unlucky team in the draft.  Jacksonville traded one spot ahead of the Rams and stole WR Justin Blackmon, and then after trading down the Rams lost out on WR Michael Floyd when the Arizona Cardinals took him one spot ahead of the Rams.  St. Louis made a potentially big mistake taking a running back with their third 2nd round pick instead of taking the best 4-3 OLB, Lavonte David, who would have filled a massive hole in their defense.

Chicago Bears: The bears started off the draft with Shea McClellin #19 overall.  I like McClellin, but as a 3-4 OLB.  In the Bears' 4-3 scheme, he's too big and slow to play OLB and might be a little small to play DE opposite Julius Peppers.  I thought OT Riley Reiff would have filled a bigger need to protect Jay Cutler.  Chicago did get a WR in Alshon Jeffery, and they addressed the secondary in the later rounds, but not taking any O-linemen is why I've got them on this list.  The Bears did sign Troy G James Brown, who I had as a 2nd-3rd rounder, as a free agent which means I already like their FA signings more than their draft class.

Photo Credit: AP


J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports