My take on several draft picks that were particularly astute as well as those that were head scratchers.
Michael Bennett Ohio St. – DL – Selected 180th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gus Bradley and company continue to transform the Jaguars’ roster by stock piling young talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Perhaps an injury scare and schematic restrictions depressed Bennett’s value but he is an outstanding pass rusher from the interior of the defensive line and a natural 3-technique. You can’t have enough pass rushers and Bennett is a terrific addition to the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation. The production at Ohio St. matches his talent, Bennett should have been a Day 2 pick in my opinion.
Charles Gaines Louisville – DB – Selected 189th overall by the Cleveland Browns. Gaines is a talented and confident cover corner that excels in defending short to intermediate pass routes. He can be a bit over-aggressive and susceptible to double moves ashe lacks the top end speed to cover deep consistently but he is a gamer with excellent ball skills and should be very effective as a nickel corner working in the slot. I think he could really excel in a Cover 2 scheme on the outside but his willingness in run support is a question mark. Gaines was suspended a couple of times during his career at Louisville and off field concerns and the lack of prototypical measurables depressed his value but as I have stated before you need at least three quality corners in today’s NFL and with Gaines’ natural ability and competitiveness he can complement Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert immediately.
Derron Smith Fresno St. – DB – Selected 197th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals did a remarkable job of adding eventual replacements to current starters with expiring contracts. Josh Shaw in Round 4 and Derron Smith in Round 6 are both expected to contribute on special teams and sub-packages right away and compete for a starting safety position in 2016. Smith is considered undersized for the position at 5’10 but he was a standout on an awful Fresno St. defense. A four-year starter with exceptional ball skills, that is routinely around the football as evidenced by racking up 93 tackles from his safety position in 2014. Smith tried to do too much to compensate for a poor defense and blew some assignments during his senior year. This lack of discipline and underwhelming combine numbers led to a drop in his stock but the Bengals may have struck gold as Smith was considered to be a Day 2 talent by CPGM.
Josh Robinson – Mississippi St. – RB – Selected 205th overall by the Indianapolis Colts. The player I’m okay with, but the team not so much. The Colts did far too little to sure up their run defense and it couldn’t have hurt to add some young talent with space-eating size to combat the opposition’s rushing attack. Robinson is limited athletically but he has a low center of gravity and the ability to gain yards after contact. Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer much from a special teams perspective and will likely fall behind Frank Gore and Daniel “Boom” Herron on the depth chart which may result in a number of deactivations come game day. The Colts are poised to make a Super Bowl run and it is unlikely that Robinson will contribute to that goal in 2015.