For decades I have plotted out the annual NFL football draft. And each year I enjoy the challenge of uncovering what I find to be the most useful reference source. This year I have selected leading independent draft analyst Nolan Navwrocki’s NFL Draft 2015 Preview as my #1 reference source.
Thanks to Nolan, I have selected for the New England Patriots as Round #1 candidates CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest; OG La’el Collins, LSU; CB Senquez Golson, Mississippi; CB Doran Grant, Ohio State; and sleeper CB Byron Jones, Connecticut.
Among my Round #1 overall favorites are DT Leanord Williams, USC; OLB Dante Fowler, Florida; OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa; and OT Andrus Peat, Stanford.
What about consensus #1 pick QB Jameis Winston? Nolan writes that Winston has “frequently challenged the coaching staff openly on the sidelines and was kicked out of practice prior to the national championship game.” I would want no part of Winston, especially with Nolan contributing the following pleasantry: “Winston is still figuring out what it means to lead by example and has invited many questions about his personal character and integrity following multiple off-the-field discretions that resulted in team discipline.”
I would seek to trade Winston were I able to land Williams, Fowler, Scherff or Peat, plus high second and fourth round picks this year and next. At four this year, I would take a flyer on Oregon State QB Sean Mannion. Nolan writes on Mannion: ”Experienced four-year starter possessing prototype size in a pro-style offense where he consistently operated from underneath center.” And adds: “Excellent work habits and football character. Gym rat and film junkie. Takes the game very seriously. Very intelligent and football smart.” May Sean be there for the Pats at round four or, ideally, round five.
How about second-round favorites? Consider your team in the chips if any of these players are added: OG A.J. Cann, South Carolina; CB Charles Gaines, Louisville; OG Laken Tomlinson, Duke; OG Tre Jackson, Florida State; TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers; or CB Quinten Rollins, Miami-Ohio.
Finally, once Jameis Winston is cleared from your selections, who merits the #1 over-all pick? That would be DT Leonard Williams, USC, Nolan’s highest-graded player.