Bucs takes Winston with first overall pick in NFL Draft
CHICAGO - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday at Auditorium Theater.
CHICAGO – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday at Auditorium Theater.
“It was very special,” Winston said of hearing his name called while surrounded by family and close friends in Alabama. “Like I said, I’ve got to be thankful, thankful for the (Buccaneers) for giving me this opportunity.”
Thick drama surrounded the second pick, with bountiful offers reportedly made to Tennessee. The Titans eschewed packages of picks and players from multiple teams, including Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles, to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Tennessee picks first in the second round today (No. 33 overall).
Drafting in the top 10 for the 14th time in the team’s 21-year history, the Jacksonville Jaguars used the third overall pick on Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who had 8.5 sacks in 2014.
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper was drafted fourth by the Oakland Raiders, leaving NFLDraftScout.com’s top-ranked defensive player, Southern California defensive tackle Leonard Williams, on the board for the Redskins. However, Washington passed on the player many rated as the best in the draft to select Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff.
Under first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was with the Houston Texans when defensive end J.J. Watt dropped to No. 11 in 2011, the New York Jets chose Williams sixth, adding a third first-round pick to their three-man defensive line.
The hometown Chicago Bears stirred the crowd by selecting West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White at No. 7. Louisville’s DeVante Parker was the third receiver drafted, going 14th to the Miami Dolphins.
The Atlanta Falcons – who had only 22 sacks in 2014 – welcomed physical freak Vic Beasley from Clemson eighth overall. Beasley led all linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds) and bench press (35 reps with 225 pounds) at the 2015 combine.
At No. 9, the New York Giants drafted Miami (Fla.) offensive tackle Ereck Flowers.
Georgia’s Todd Gurley (10th, St. Louis Rams) became the first running back selected in the first round in three years, an impressive feat considering he is five months removed from reconstructive knee surgery.
“The athletic ability, the strength, the explosion, the acceleration, the instincts that he has as a runner, and he’s also got great hands out of the backfield. He’s that complete back,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon went five spots later to the Chargers, who traded up with the San Francisco 49ers.
Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes (11th, Minnesota Vikings), Gordon’s best friend and high school teammate, stayed in the Midwest.
In one of the night’s lighter moments, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was lifted a foot off the stage when he was greeted at the podium by 339-pound Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton (12th, Cleveland Browns). Shelton can try the same with new teammate Cameron Erving (Florida State), who can play any spot on the offensive line. Erving was the Browns’ pick at No. 19.
Cornerbacks Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest (16th, Houston Texans) and Marcus Peters of Washington (18th, Kansas City Chiefs) came off the board with Oregon’s massive defensive tackle Arik Armstead (49ers, 17th) in between.
Turned away in his Mariota bid, Kelly and the Eagles finally made a pick at No. 20, wide receiver Nelson Agholor from Southern California.
Another injured former All-American, Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, went 21st to the Cincinnati Bengals. Ogbuehi tore knee ligaments in a bowl game practice in December.
Following Kentucky edge rusher Bud Dupree being announced by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 22, the second trade of the first round put Denver on the clock. At No. 23, the Broncos dealt with the Detroit Lions to pick up Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, who was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession earlier this week.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries with the 24th pick.
Shelton’s former Washington teammate, linebacker Shaq Thompson, was selected 25th by the Carolina Panthers.
UCF’s Breshad Perriman (Baltimore Ravens, 26th) and Miami (Fla.) speedster Phillip Dorsett (Indianapolis Colts, 29th) made it six wide receivers in the first round.
The Dallas Cowboys filled a need with cornerback Byron Jones from Connecticut at No. 27.
The Lions picked Duke guard Laken Tomlinson 28th.
At No. 30, the Green Bay Packers took a free safety for the second straight year, Arizona State’s Damarious Randle.
The Saints used the 31st pick, acquired in a March 10 trade with the Seattle Seahawks for tight end Jimmy Graham, on Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony. Earlier, the Saints landed mauling offensive tackle Andrus Peat from Stanford at No. 13.
The Patriots, who released mainstay Vince Wilfork in March, used their first-round pick on a defensive lineman for the third consecutive draft, adding Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
The past two Heisman Trophy winners, Winston and Mariota could face off in their first NFL game, Week 1 of the 2015 season at Tampa.
“Any time you get an opportunity to get a franchise quarterback, that we believe and are very confident is a franchise quarterback, it excites you,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht of Winston. “He’s a champion, he’s a leader, he’s a winner, he’s got tremendous football character and tremendous intelligence and work ethic.”