As underclassmen begin to declare and Senior Bowl invites are being accepted, the talk around the 2015 NFL Draft will continue to heat up. Is the 2015 quarterback class truly lacking a ‘franchise’ signal caller? Which teams are really desperate for a quarterback anyway? Let’s get to work…
“There’s really no franchise quarterback in this draft.” – Mel Kiper Jr.
This came out of left field from Kiper, who I am a huge fan of. He has Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Marcus Mariota number one overall on his board. If you are going to draft a player first overall, you are expecting them to be a cornerstone for your franchise for the next decade.At the same time, this quote may have been overanalyzed. It seems like Kiper was trying to say there is no ‘Andrew Luck’ type quarterback in this draft class – a bonafide, guaranteed star that can step in right away and succeed.
I’ve never been a fan of using Luck as a draft comparison. He is a once in a decade prospect (funny how the Colts stumbled on one twice in a row) and that would put unrealistic expectations on a kid set to enter the NFL.
As for my stance on this topic, I would disagree. From a talent standpoint, Florida State sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston has the makeup to succeed as an NFL signal caller. He has a big arm, solid 6’4 frame, pocket presence, and a high on-field IQ. If he did not have significant off-field issues, he would be a lock as a top two pick.
Both prospects seem to win in different areas. Cooper is a smooth route runner that never seems to lose any speed in stride, almost as if he is gliding.
The 6’3 White is a powerful, go up and get the ball type of wide out. He rarely wins with separation, but rather overpowers his coverage (similar to Bears’ wide out Alshon Jeffery).
I currently have Cooper ranked higher than White. It’s hard to not have faith in a guy who constantly separates, runs pro level routes, and displays excellent hands week in and week out for well over a year.
This is not to take away from White, who might be higher on some franchise’s boards because of the new NFL rules and his ability to excel in the red zone. He will be difficult to cover and should easily draw pass interference calls, as he physically dominates defensive backs. At the end of the day, I’m still taking Cooper every time.
New York Jets Target of the Week: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Dupree has been one of the best edge rushers in all of college football this season. He is explosive as a standup rusher and also holds his own from the three point stance.
Since arriving at Kentucky, he has added 15 pounds to get to the 265 mark. The biggest questions surrounding him are if he can add the mass to play defensive end in the NFL. This is where I differ from the common perception of Dupree: he should stay at 265 and play as a stand up edge rusher, a massive need for the Jets.
As seen above, Dupree gets a great jump off the snap standing up. He uses an inside swim move to instantly break free from the tackle. As the guard picks him up, he quickly disengages the help block with his hands to open a clear route to the quarterback.
These are the type of plays that will make Bud Dupree a top 15 pick come draft time, keep his name in mind.
Hidden Gem of the Week: Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
The 5’11, 175 pound Senior receiver out of Kansas State has flown under the radar due to the depth of the 2015 wide receiver class. Make no mistake, Lockett is not a premier number one type wide out, but he has game.
Lockett has topped the 80 reception, 1,200 receiving yard mark in both 2013 and 2014. Over that span he has caught 20 touchdowns and has taken 4 kicks back to the house in his career at K-State.
Due to his size, Lockett will most likely be a late day two, early day three pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. If he can gain 5-10 pounds and maintain the footwork he has in his routes, he has the skills to be a legitimate threat in the NFL. Teams will be searching for the next ‘John Brown’ type player after rounds 1 and 2, Lockett just might be that guy.
Follow Connor Rogers: @CRogers_NFL