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NFL Draft: Pick-by-Pick Analysis

<p>The first round of the 2015 NFL Draft concluded Thursday night from Chicago, as teams began the three-day draft process by bolstering their rosters with the best rookie talent.</p>

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State)

Analysis: Tampa Bay has its quarterback. There was very, very little doubt Winston was going to go first overall as the most pro-ready quarterback to a franchise desperate for a signal caller. Obviously, the concerns about Winston off the field will persist, and it's yet to be seen if he can grow up. But from a football standpoint, the pick makes the most sense. He has arm strength, accuracy and always keeps his eyes downfield. All quarterbacks need time to develop into professionals (Winston in more ways than one), but he'll need the least amount of time to reach his full potential. Give him Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw to, and the Tampa offense could be dangerous in that NFC South.

2. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)

Analysis: Interesting. It appears Tennessee's asking price may have been too much for Philadelphia and San Diego, so the Titans made Mariota the second pick. Whether he actually plays for the team come Week 1 is still up in the air. If he does, he'll need this entire offseason to adapt to the NFL game. His style rivals Colin Kaepernick, but the arm strength isn't necessarily there. Still, Tennessee went with the clear second-best quarterback in this year's draft, and will hope he can improve an offense that has to compete with Indianapolis and Houston on a weekly basis. If Mariota can come into his own at the next level, he'll certainly be a serviceable player.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dante Fowler (DE, Florida)

Analysis: Jacksonville desperately needs a playmaker on the defensive side of the football after spending last offseason working on the offensive side of the ball. They think they have their man in Fowler, who dominated as a pass rusher at Florida down the road in Gainesville. Fowler will provide a bland Jaguars defense with explosiveness and tenacity, and is a perpetual threat to get to the opposing quarterback. The Jaguars needed Fowler.

4. Oakland Raiders - Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)

Analysis: Oakland could have gone one of two directions with the fourth pick. Instead of taking talented defensive lineman Leonard Williams, the Raiders went offense by selecting the most pro-ready receiver in Cooper. Derek Carr quarterbacked the Raiders last year in his rookie season, and Oakland clearly felt the need to provide their franchise man with weapons. Cooper is a fantastic vertical threat and has outstanding hands. He's a special route runner, and will immediately give Carr a No. 1 option. In the AFC West, where Oakland has to compete with offensive powerhouses in Denver and San Diego, the Raiders just got better offensively.

5. Washington Redskins - Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa)

Analysis: Scherff is the best offensive lineman and perhaps one of the safest picks in this draft. He's reliable on the offensive line and will easily insert right into Washington's starting rotation to protect oft-injured quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins have a lot of improving to do, and the Scherff pick makes the 'Skins better offensively in run and pass protection.

6. New York Jets - Leonard Williams (DE, USC)

Analysis: Williams is widely regarded as the best player in this draft with potential through the ceiling. That being said, he'll have to come in and compete with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson on the Jets' defensive line at the end positions. But teams should always take the best available talent, and at No. 6 it was certainly Williams. He'll find a place in New York and will be extremely effective no matter what. The Jets appear to be building a force in the front seven that just got exponentially better. It's just up to the Jets' coaching staff how it will use all of those talented players.

7. Chicago Bears - Kevin White (WR, West Virginia)

Analysis: After trading Brandon Marshall in the offseason, the Bears could have used another talented receiver to pair with Alshon Jeffery on the offense. White, who is a lot like Marshall in the size department, is freakishly athletic and has amazing skills. He'll immediately give Jay Cutler a vertical option opposite Jeffery. With Matt Forte, Jeffery, White and Martellus Bennett, the only real question offensively for the Bears will be whether Cutler can remain consistent enough to return the Bears to the postseason.

8. Atlanta Falcons - Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)

Analysis: The decision for the Falcons likely came down to Beasley and Alvin Dupree from Kentucky. Ultimately, the Falcons opted for Beasley, who is a situational pass rusher with unbelievable athletic ability and can get to the quarterback with relative ease. Atlanta needed some help in the pass rush department, and Beasley immediately makes the Falcons better. Questions about whether Beasley could keep his weight up surrounded him entering the draft process, but the former Clemson player is a workout machine.

9. New York Giants - Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami-Florida)

Analysis: Brandon Scherff had been mocked pretty heavily to the Giants prior to the draft, so Flowers makes sense for New York considering Scherff is already off the board. The Giants could have used some help in their secondary, but a shaky offensive line in 2014 also plagued the team. Flowers is a monster standing at 6-foot-6, and will continue to get better with more playing experience. He'll plug in right away and will provide Eli Manning with more pass protection.

10. St. Louis Rams - Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia)

Analysis: I love Todd Gurley. I think Gurley is one of the top-five players in this draft, even after his ACL injury last November. The Rams could have used an upgrade at running back because Tre Mason and Zac Stacy really aren't true No. 1 backs. Todd Gurley is. He's shifty, he can break the long run and he can lower his shoulder and deliver a punishing hit to defenders. He's the first running back taken in the first round since David Wilson went to the Giants with the final pick in 2012, and he absolutely should be there. He can be the next great running back in the NFL, and with a constantly improving offensive line and offense overall in St. Louis, he should be set up for some long-term success.

11. Minnesota Vikings - Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State)

Analysis: With some serious contenders in the NFC North, the Vikings needed to draft a stud cornerback opposite Xavier Rhodes. Waynes will be exceptionally successful in the NFL, and the Vikings will insert him into the starting lineup to try to cover players like Jordy Nelson, Alshon Jeffery and Calvin Johnson in that division. Waynes isn't the best tackler defensively, but he plays tight coverage and is always up for challenging the best receivers.

12. Cleveland Browns - Danny Shelton (DT, Washington)

Analysis: Danny Shelton is a monster, not just in size alone (340 pounds), but he's one heck of a player in the middle of the defense. Shelton is super athletic for a big man, and he's a stud stopping the run and on the bull rush. Cleveland was terrible against the run toward the end of last season, so Shelton will immediately make the Browns better in that regard. He also put up exceptional numbers in the pass rush for Washington this past season. Originally talked about as a top-five pick, Shelton will be a fast contributor for a lackluster Cleveland defense.

13. New Orleans Saints - Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford)

Analysis: Peat seems like a safe pick for New Orleans, which didn't need a top receiver (there are plenty still available). But with a player like Alvin Dupree still on the board, it seems a bit odd the Saints wouldn't want to upgrade their mediocre-at-best defense. Still, Peat will provide solid protection for the aging Drew Brees and the always inconsistent New Orleans run game. Stanford coach David Shaw says Peat is still growing as a player and will be exceptional at the next level. He's certainly set up to do so with the Saints.

14. Miami Dolphins - DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville)

Analysis: After losing Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline in the offseason (and gaining Greg Jennings - not an equal trade-off), the Dolphins definitely needed to add some depth at receiver. Parker was the best player available at the position, and came back strong for Louisville this past season after suffering a broken foot. He's a long receiver with reliable hands and an affinity for gaining yards after the catch. Ryan Tannehill will be thankful the Dolphins went ahead and picked up this talented pass catcher with extreme upside.

15. San Diego Chargers - Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin)

Analysis: Gordon has drawn tons of comparisons to Jamaal Charles from the Kansas City Chiefs. That's quite the praise, but he deserves it. Gordon led Division I in rushing this past season. He can use a myriad of moves and physical ability to get past defenders, and he turns on the burners in the open field. After losing Ryan Mathews in the offseason, the Chargers needed to bring in some new talent at the position. Gordon will be an exceptional talent at the NFL level.

16. Houston Texans - Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest)

Analysis: Johnson skyrocketed up draft boards after solid Combine and pro day workouts, and earned a mid-first-round pick because of those showings. He'll be a solid cover corner for the Texans, who have to match up with some serious quarterback and receiving talent in the AFC South. It's a bit curious Houston didn't go receiver, however, after losing Andre Johnson in the offseason.

17. San Francisco 49ers - Arik Armstead (DE, Oregon)

Analysis: Armstead is a huge human (6-foot-7), but is extremely raw as a player. The 49ers lost a ton defensively in the offseason, so they're trying to gain something back with this pick. Armstead could develop into something special on the defensive line, but he could also flounder if things don't go well. In all likelihood, he'll be a solid player who will bring a valuable pass rush component to San Francisco.

18. Kansas City Chiefs - Marcus Peters (CB, Washington)

Analysis: Very surprised the Chiefs didn't take Breshad Perriman, or any wide receiver really. This is a team that didn't complete one touchdown pass to a receiver last season, and with some big names still out there, that is the direction in which I thought they would go. But Peters had been talked about as the best cover corner in the draft, although he was thrown off the Washington team earlier in the season. Off-the-field concerns are very real for Peters, but he says he's grown up. If so, the Chiefs got a very talented corner who will only continue to get better.

19. Cleveland Browns - Cameron Erving (OL, Florida State)

Analysis: This is a smart pick for Cleveland, although I would have liked to see Bud Dupree go here (it's surprising he's still on the board). But the Browns need to fortify their offensive line for a run game that was shaky at best last season, and for (potentially) Josh McCown as the team's starter under center. Erving is a versatile lineman who can play guard or center, and is excellent in pass protection. The Browns have made two cerebral choices in this first round.

20. Philadelphia Eagles - Nelson Agholor (WR, USC)

Analysis: Smart pick for Chip Kelly and the Eagles here (and thank goodness it's not an Oregon player!). Agholor can light it up offensively by making highlight-reel plays, and he will give Sam Bradford an excellent weapon. After losing Jeremy Maclin in the offseason, the Eagles desperately needed to bring in another pass catcher. Agholor has tons of upside and will make plays all over the field for the Eagles as a rookie. It now looks like Philly is committed to making Bradford the man under center.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cedric Ogbuehi (OT, Texas A&M)

Analysis: Many thought Ogbuehi would slide into the second round after injuring his knee this past season, but prior to that he was talked about as a high first-round selection. The Bengals could always use more pass protection for Andy Dalton, and Ogbuehi should be able to take over the left tackle spot for the Bengals. He plays a bit too high occasionally, but he should be able to develop into a solid offensive lineman at the next level.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alvin Dupree (LB, Kentucky)

Analysis: It's about time "Bud" Dupree left the board. The Steelers need plenty of help on an aging defense, and Dupree gives them a fantastic pass- rush threat. He was originally thought to be a top-10 pick, so this is a value selection for Pittsburgh. Dupree can join Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones on a young and upcoming linebacker corps. Now the Steelers need to fix the secondary.

23. Denver Broncos - Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)

Analysis: Denver gets a fantastic defensive player who was linked with some off-the-field issues that could have led to a slide. Ray will be an exceptional pass rusher who can pair with DeMarcus Ware, who is 33 years old. Watch out for Denver's defense that was vastly improved last offseason, and is headed for that tag again with this selection.

24. Arizona Cardinals - D.J. Humphries (OL, Florida)

Analysis: Carson Palmer is 36. That should be all the justification needed for this pick. The Cardinals have to protect their fragile signal caller, and Humphries should slide right in to the team's offensive line as a starter. Humphries will make the run game better as well after Andre Ellington underwhelmed in his first season as the feature back in Arizona in 2014.

25. Carolina Panthers - Shaq Thompson (LB, Washington)

Analysis: I don't like this pick. Not only do I think Thompson is vastly overrated and undersized as a linebacker, I think there are two positions Carolina needed to upgrade instead. The Panthers could have used another wide receiver for Cam Newton, and they need more offensive line help. Thompson is a freak athlete who played linebacker and some running back in college, but at 6-1 and 228, he won't translate into the type of middle linebacker the Panthers may want. Maybe he'll transition to safety, but if that's the case, why not select Damarious Randall - a true safety? Thompson is a solid player, but doesn't belong in the first round, especially to Carolina.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Breshad Perriman (WR, UCF)

Analysis: The Ravens lost Torrey Smith in the offseason and have an aging Steve Smith as the other top receiver. Perriman makes a ton of sense here and brings plenty of upside to the Ravens. He's big and can absolutely fly. Combine that with excellent hands and a strong work ethic, and he'll give Joe Flacco a second vertical threat who should absolutely start opposite Smith. Perriman will emerge as one of the best receivers in this class if he continues to trend upward like he did at the Combine.

27. Dallas Cowboys - Byron Jones (CB, UConn)

Analysis: Talk about freak athleticism. Jones set the WORLD RECORD in the standing broad jump at the Combine by leaping 12 feet, 3 inches. His rise up the draft board was meteoric, and he'll provide the Cowboys with not just an unbelievable workout monster, but an ever-improving cover corner. The Cowboys wanted to focus on defense this draft, and they get off to a good start here.

28. Detroit Lions - Laken Tomlinson (OL, Duke)

Analysis: Tomlinson is an exceptionally smart player. He's also a very solid pick to a team that lost Reggie Bush in the offseason and needs to improve its offensive line. Tomlinson should be inserted into the starting lineup right away to make an impact, and to protect Matt Stafford, who was sacked 47 times in 2014, postseason included.

29. Indianapolis Colts - Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami-Florida)

Analysis: I get the desire to give Andrew Luck weapons to whom he can throw, but I think there are several positions that could have been upgraded with this pick other than wide receiver. Dorsett is a burner; he can absolutely fly in the open field. But with a shaky secondary and a need on the defensive line, the Colts could have gone several routes on defense with players like Landon Collins, Jalen Collins and Malcolm Brown still on the board. That said, the Colts have a dangerous receiving corps now.

30. Green Bay Packers - Damarious Randall (S, Arizona State)

Analysis: Randall rose up draft boards after exceptional workouts at his pro day and the Combine. His cover skills are phenomenal, and he can mix it up in the pass rush as well. He was a borderline first-round pick, but the Packers certainly upgraded their secondary with the selection. They took Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last year, and Randall this time around. With plenty of time for growth, Randall should be a very solid player at the NFL level.

31. New Orleans Saints - Stephone Anthony (LB, Clemson)

Analysis: Anthony is a second-round pick at best, so this selection doesn't make much sense. I think Randy Gregory, despite his question marks, would have been the better choice. The Saints may have liked Anthony, but probably could have selected him on Day 2. He could end up being a starter right away, though, because the Saints don't have many playmakers on defense.

32. New England Patriots - Malcom Brown (DL, Texas)

Analysis: Brown could have easily been a top 20 selection in this draft, so for him to fall to the Patriots (who let Vince Wilfork walk this offseason) is a blessing for Bill Belichick and the world champions. The Patriots typically like to let their prospects develop for a year or so before they're inserted into the lineup, but Brown may be a mainstay as a starter right away. New England lacked an interior pass rush this past season, and the surprisingly agile Brown can bull rush up the middle. It's a strong pick to end the first round.

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