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The SportsTalk Shop: NFL Draft 2015 Preview

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NFL Draft week is finally here!

After months of speculation (and seeing the name “Marcus Mariota” trending more than just about any other athlete over the last several weeks), it is time for the NFL Draft.  Redskins and Eagles fans know this Thursday is a critical time for both franchises and this week’s draft could determine the future level of success of their favorite team.

I had a chance to speak with NFL Network Analyst and former Pro Offensive Lineman Brian Baldinger and “Footballstories” writers Al Thompson and Rock Hoffman about the latest developments and got their insights and predictions on this year’s draft and other football related topics (the entire “SportsTalk” show is available to watch on RCN On-Demand).

A few more insights ahead of Thursday’s draft:

    • Safety is an area of concern for both the Eagles and the Redskins.  I think there are a number of defensive backs who might be available that would help both teams:

Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Alex Carter, Stanford
Eric Rowe, Utah
Josh Shaw, USC
Quinten Rollins, Miami
Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Landon Collins, Alabama
Marcus Peters, Washington
Byron Jones, UConn
Damarious Randall, Arizona St.
Jalen Collins, LSU
Adrian Amos, Penn State

  • Since the first night of last year’s draft, I’ve continued to be very vocal with my displeasure of the Eagles’ selection of Marcus Smith as their number one pick.  I’m hoping I’m wrong and Smith can rebound, making some contributions this fall.  However, this year’s draft class features a number of impressive outside linebackers.  Don’t be surprised if Philadelphia is able to pick up a solid OLB in the middle rounds of the draft.  FYI:  here is a look at all the draft pick selections for both teams:

Eagles 2015 Draft Picks
1st Round  –  No. 20 Overall
2nd Round  –  No. 52 Overall
3rd Round  –  No. 84 Overall
4th Round  –  No. 113 Overall
5th Round  — No. 145 & No. 156 Overall
6th Round  –  No. 196 Overall
7th Round  –  No. 237 Overall

Redskins 2015 Draft Picks
1st Round  –  No. 5 Overall
2nd Round  –  No. 38 Overall
3rd Round  –  No. 69 Overall
4th Round  –  No. 105 Overall
5th Round  — No. 141 Overall
6th Round  –  No. 182 Overall
7th Round  –  No. 222 Overall

  • Thompson also shared an interesting story with us.  He got word that Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith is heading to Chicago—the site of this year’s draft.  Players normally only attend the NFL Selection Gala if they suspect they’ll be selected in the first round (it certainly doesn’t look good if you are there and you DON’T get picked in the first round.) However, in most publications, Smith is ranked no higher than 52nd overall, and much further down the list in most other mock draft lists.  Could Smith’s alleged trip to the Windy City be a tip that a “mystery team” is going to jump and take Smith earlier than expected…and would that team be in close proximately to Happy Valley?
  • Hoffman indicated that there could be a number of future, high-quality NFL players available later in this year’s draft, and the 5th and 6th round selections may be especially interesting to watch.  Both Thompson and Hoffman hinted that Delaware Valley College’s Rasheed Bailey has been receiving interest from a number of teams, and could be selected during the middle rounds of the draft.

The draft itself should be another fun event.  The NFL has molded this selection process into a gigantic party, with the anticipation starting shortly after the Super Bowl and building to this week.  It’s true that pro football teams don’t lose games in April or May, but they can certainly put future success on hold for years if things don’t go well this week in Chicago.