I received many e-mails and tweets about my 2015 NFL Mock Draft and the upcoming NFL Draft in general. To share the answers to the questions publicly, I decided to start up a mailbag column. Pass along your NFL draft questions and comments. I'll put together a mailbag periodically that answers questions/comments sent via email email@example.com or on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Feb. 19, 2015
From Adam Cooper, Warren, Michigan
"Could Cleveland package Manziel and their 1st rounders for the number 2 pick?"
Interesting question. I think the Titans would be interested in the picks as a starter, but I know they have no interest in Manziel. To make the deal, the Browns would have to throw in more picks. It would probably have to equal or surpass the total of two first-rounders and a second-rounder that the Rams got in the Robert Griffin III trade.
From Ian, Freehold, New Jersey
"First off, I want to say I am a big fan of the site. Now down to brass tax. I recently heard that if Mariota falls to the Jets at 6, that the Eagles would be willing to trade up to the spot. The compensations was stated to be Nick Foles, this year's and next years 1st and 2nd round draft picks.As a Jets fan, i would absolutely accept this trade.
What I would like to know is what are the chances Mariota falls to 6? Do you like this proposed trade? What are the chances this trade happens and if not what would be a more likely and fair trade compensation??"
I'm with you 100 percent, Ian. That would be a great deal for the Jets to land a starting quarterback who has proven success in the NFL and four premium draft picks. I think the Eagles would be paying a huge price, but if the Jets could get that, it would be phenomenal for New York to rebuild its roster. I think the Eagles giving up Foles, pick No. 20, this year's second, and next year's first or second would still be worth it for the Jets.
I think Mariota may not go in the top two in the 2015 NFL Draft, but I don't think he'll slide out of the top 10 like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Geno Smith. I think there is maybe a 50/50 chance he's there for the Jets. Obviously, it all depends on the Titans.
From the forums, RoflDogs
Ed. Note: Four-Part Question
"Who's someone under the radar right now that will go in the 1st round in April?
Best CB in the draft at the moment?
Who is the player with the highest upside in the draft?
Who are the Ravens keying in on right now?
What's going to happen with this deep RB class in terms of supply/demand?"
Ok, well, I'll have to number out your answers below.
I think Ereck Flowers will go higher than many expect right now. Other than Flowers, I would say that I could see Eli Harold and Ronald Darby being first-rounders, but I'm not getting the impression that is a consensus thought.
Right now, I would say Trae Waynes is the best corner in the 2015 NFL Draft.
I've heard the Ravens are aggressively scouting wide receivers and running backs. I think Marc Trestman could have a big influence on the Baltimore's draft.
Great question about the running backs. I think you're going to see this being the year that running backs make a comeback. I think Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley will go in the top 25 of the 2015 NFL Draft. I wouldn't be surprised if Jay Ajayi ends up getting Thursday night talk, but doesn't last long on Friday if he gets there. I think Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson and Tevin Coleman also could all go in the top 64. Teams want the best talent for their pick and these running backs are going to be good values.
From T.A., Mobile, Alabama
"Howdy, Charlie, still enjoying the insight & the news. Keep up the great work. I'm curious about Gurley. In '13 he missed 3 games due to an ankle injury, and in '14 he busts up his knee. [We also learn due to his replacement - Chubbs - that the GA offensive line must be doing SOMETHING right.] And yet he's still a first round pick? I'm wondering about a comparison with Marcus Lattimore, the previous great SEC rusher who dealt with serious injury. Given that Lattimore was two inches shorter and ten pounds lighter than Gurley, there are clearly differences. But why think Gurley goes in round 1 when Lattimore had to wait until Round 4 (I think)?"
Thanks for the email and the kind words T.A. There are some significant differences between Todd Gurley and Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore tore his ACL as a sophomore before his massive knee injury as a junior. As players, Lattimore was a good runner, while Gurley is great. Gurley is also bigger and faster. The way he can break off long runs with his speed, convert short-yardage situations, and return kicks for scores is extremely rare. Thus, Gurley also has better tape. ACL injuries aren't being viewed as a huge problem. Dominique Easley was a first-rounder last year for example, but Lattimore had multiple and a variety tears of knee ligaments. His injury was much worse unfortunately.
From twitter @chshaw99, realsportsfan
"I would be fine with 49ers drafting a stud wide receiver or Melvin Gordon. There's a good chance he's available and the best player available?"
It is a good point that Gordon could be there and the best player available. However, I don't see San Francisco taking Gordon after drafting Carlos Hyde a year ago. I think Hyde is the 49ers' future franchise back. I know some teams had a first-round grade on Hyde in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I would expect him to become a a good back for the San Francisco.
From the forums, Xmadraven
"Which sucky QB prospect will get overhyped and become the next brady quinn?"
I would say Brett Hundley from UCLA and Bryce Petty from Baylor are the top candidates to be overhyped and drafted way higher than where they should go.
From the forums, Terps
"Why was Deontay Greenberry not invited to the combine? Where do you rank him among WR prospects?"
I rank Greenberry as a third-day pick. I asked around to sources why he didn't get a Combine invitation. This is a direct quote from what a GM texted in response, "because he sucks." A little harsh, but there you have it.
From Kenneth O'Brien, New York, New York
"First off, I just want to say that I really enjoy your mock drafts, I look forward to them every week, keep up the good work! Hypothetically speaking, if Tampa got cold feet and opted to draft Mariota over Winston 1st overall, do you see Jameis falling to the Jets at 6? Do you think they'd take him, or has Woody Johnson had enough of the backpage drama surrounding his team for one lifetime? It does seem like he wants to take a more low-key approach this time around."
Thanks for reading my mocks and the kind words!
If the Bucs pass on Winston, I think the Titans would take him with the second pick. If Tennessee also passes on him, I don't think the Jets would let him go. Winston is a franchise quarterback, and I don't see New York passing on that caliber of quarterback prospect. I do agree that Johnson probably would like to have less drama than what would accompany Winston landing in Gotham, but I think he's too talented for the Jets to pass on him. New York is desperate for a franchise quarterback, plus beggars can't be choosers. If the Jets land Winston at No. 6, it would be like they won the power ball.
From James Hughes, Greenville, South Carolina
"I have been following your site (virtually daily) for a couple of years now. One thing I noticed is that you often have the Panthers drafting for need. However, Gettleman has been incredibly insistent about drafting the Best Player Available. His track record backs that up. Last year, despite needing a LT he didn't draft one in any of the rounds because they didn't grade highly enough. Do you think he will finally reach on a player this year?"
I do think that Gettleman drafts for need. In 2013, the Panthers had nothing at DT when they took Lotulelei. Last year, Carolina lost Steve Smith, Ted Ginn, and Brandon LaFell in free agency, so wide receiver was a huge need. I think Gettleman will draft for need again with left tackle, safety or wide receiver being the positions in play. Fortunately for the Panthers, Gettleman has drafted for need but hasn't reached on an inferior talent. I think that could play out again this year.
From Lady Gaga, North Carolina
"Charlie, as a Panthers fan, I have seen every tackle in the draft mocked to the Panthers in the first round. While I agree that the need for a left tackle is paramount, reading through the scouting reports on the tackles both on WalterFootball.com and on other sites gives the impression that they are all boom or bust prospects for varying reasons, thus explaining why each might be available at the 25th pick despite their upside. None of us want another Jeff Otah. Which ones are actually good fits to be the the Panthers left tackle of the future and which should they avoid drafting?"
Didn't realize you were a football fan, Gaga. I think it really depends on what kind of line the Panthers want to have and what they want their run scheme to be. From the way it looks with Gettlemen, he prefers bigger and more physical blockers. He doesn't seem inclined to the smaller, quicker linemen who would be zone blockers.
Andrus Peat and Ereck Flowers would be good fits for the Panthers in the 2015 NFL Draft, but I doubt either will get there. Brandon Scherff has the power, but he looks more like a guard in the NFL. I think La'el Collins could develop into that kind of blocker because he has size to him and flashes heavy hands. However, Collins needs some work. Picking in the 20s, Collins could be the best fit for Carolina to fill its tackle need. T.J. Clemmings would be another option, but I haven't heard from teams that he's grading out in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I think the Panthers should avoid him in the first, but if they trade down, he could be an option.
From the forums, Alastair
"After the Seahawks re-sign Wilson and Wagner (possibly even Marshawn) is there any way they'll have cap space left for free agency? I'm assuming Maxwell is going somewhere else, but right now IIRC they're sitting on about $23M of cap space."
Roughly, my guess would be the Seahawks would have some money to do one significant signing. Not a massive deal, but a decent starting caliber player, and a few minor deals. However, Seattle also has to budget for signing draft picks.
From the forums, vikingsteve26
"I'd like if you could find out if Minnesota likes what they have at WR right now. It's a big position of interest among the fans of the Vikings this offseason (for better and for worse) and I'd really like to know if Minnesota actually sees WR as a true position of need.
Along with that, I'd like to know what Minnesota feels their greatest need is heading into the draft. I figure that's pretty hard to squeeze out of your sources with the team (if you have any with them) but if you could get some kind of picture that'd be great."
I've heard from league sources that the Vikings definitely want to address the receiver position and they do view it as a position of need, but I haven't gotten that direct statement from a source in Minnesota. I spoke with some of the organization's staffers at the all-star games, but they were pretty coy.
With Cordarrelle Patterson struggling in his second year in the NFL, it's obvious the Vikings need long-term help at wide receiver. I think that th 2015 NFL Draft could really play out well for Minnesota. Teddy Bridgewater has a lot of familiarity with two of the top receivers in Amari Cooper and DeVante Parker. Bridgewater was a high school teammate of Cooper and Parker was Bridgewater's No. 1 receiver at Louisville. Both wideouts, as well as Kevin White, are expected to be in the Vikings' pool for their first pick. Sources at other teams that I know have friends in the Minnesota front office told me that wide receiver and corner are what they're hearing.
From the forums, Todd Marinovich's Trip
first of all thanks for all the great work you are doing for Walterfootball.com. Believe it or not, out of all the talking heads and people commenting draft you are my absolute favorite.
My question is about Vikings and Spielman's body of work. Apart from horrible reach for Ponder, Spielman has been pretty good recognizing talent and mixing BPA approach with needs. However this year there are serious shortage of talent in some of the positions of need. Vikings need MLB, SS and CB across from Rhodes. There's very little suitable talent in their first pick and in second round the best players are probably gone. In fact, I don't see single MLB who would suit Vikings in this draft. Do you think Vikings will stay true to their strategy and concentrate on offensive side of the ball with their needs in OL, WR and possibly RB and just wait for better draft for positions of need? Or do you think they will be reaching for positions of need? Personally I think they will go with former as true aim for Vikings is to be competitive when they move to new building."
Thanks, TMT! I really appreciate that!
I agree that aside from Ponder, Spielman's drafting in the first round has been respectable. I believe the Vikings will stay true to the strategy and concentrate on the offensive side of the ball. I think a receiver in the first round makes sense, and Minnesota should be in a position to land either Amari Cooper or Kevin White; DeVante Parker wouldn't be a bad Plan C. On Day 2, I think the Vikings could get a good running back in the second round. Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi or Duke Johnson would be nice fits for Minnesota.
Defensively, I agree that the 2015 NFL Draft doesn't really fit the Vikings' needs that well. I think Denzel Perryman could be nice fit at middle linebacker, but he would be a reach at No. 11. If the Vikings trade down, Perryman could be worth considering, or if they trade up from their second-round pick. There could be some safeties in the mid-rounds who are good picks. Louisville's James Sample and Samford's Jacquiski Tartt are two strong safeties who Minnesota could maybe get in the third or fourth round who would help. In free agency, I think the Vikings might be able to get some quality veteran additions on the offensive line and at cornerback.
I think in the first two rounds going wide receiver and running back to grow around Teddy Bridgewater is the best plan for Minnesota.
From the forums, Monk3PO
"Are the Alabama players being overrated because they're Alabama? Cooper seems good but Kevin White is better than him. He is a dominant college player but doesn't have a skill to rely on as a pro. Collins about the same level as Ha-Ha last year, so why is he being projected as a top ten pick on some sites? Yeldon couldn't even get carries in college so why is he a second rounder?"
That is an interesting call Monk. I've heard from NFL teams that they view the Alabama defensive backs as being overrated because they've been coached personally by Nick Saban, as he handles the defensive backs, but none of them have been as good as advertised. Perhaps HaHa Clinton-Dix will change that, and Kareem Jackson has developed into a quality starter. When you consider what's happened with Mark Barron and Dee Milliner, among others, I think the Crimson Tide defensive backs have been overrated to a degree.
As for this year's group, Amari Cooper is getting graded high by teams, and he's viewed as having No. 1 potential with his ability to separate. I think Landon Collins has been overhyped. Teams view him as a strong safety, plus he can struggle in coverage, so I wouldn't be surprised if he falls lower than expected.
Yeldon split carries at Alabama because that is what the program has done up for years with various combinations of backs including Glenn Coffee, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyon Drake. Saban sells running back recruits on a platoon to keep them fresh and attempt to avoid injury. I think Yeldon is a quality runner and deserves to be a second-day pick.
Of this year's crop, I think Collins would be the player who is being overrated. Conversely, I think Arie Kouandjio is being underrated. I know teams that have graded him as the best guard in the 2015 NFL Draft.
From the forums, GongKong
"Which lower round QB projects into the NFL as a starter. Forget 6' 4" 240 lbs BS. Can he throw. Can he read defenses. Can he actually play QB?"
The only quarterback I would consider who fits the description is Garrett Grayson, but he could go on Day 2. Grayson can make all the throws and did show the ability to read defenses. He needs development and should sit on the bench awhile. It would really benefit him to go the Aaron Rodgers route, and because of that he might slip to the mid-rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft. Other than Grayson, I can't think of another quarterback who would fit that criteria Gong.
From the forums, Steelers_Pens_Fan
"Anyways, outside of Danny Shelton, who has crazy hype right now, who are some other good NT prospects, and which rounds will they go? Is the classic space-hogging NT still in demand, as defenses adjust to the passing game?
Will there be a run on CBs early in this draft, or will the deep class keep that from happening until later?
Is there anyone the Steelers are targeting, or at least paying more attention towards? I know Colbert commented on the deep pass rushing class, but that's all I've heard.?"
There are a few good nose tackle prospects. Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips also could end up being a first-round pick as he is massive and quick. Florida State nose tackle Eddie Goldman could be a first- or second-round pick. Another nose tackle to consider would be UCLA's Ellis McCarthy. He's probably a third-rounder, but could slip into Day 3.
I don't think there will be a cornerback run this year in the top 25. I think the corners won't start going off the board until midway through the first round.
I haven't heard any one player the Steelers are targeting yet. I've just heard that they're serious about mixing in 4-3 sets during 2015. Even though the 2015 NFL Draft is less than 10 weeks away, it is a bit early for the teams picking late in the first to really be zeroing in on a player or two.