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2015 NFL Draft Re-grade: NFC North

by Joshua Doering

Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football. 

For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis. 

These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.  

Up next in the 2015 NFL Draft re-grade is the NFC North.

*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.

Chicago Bears

Picks: WR Kevin White (7th overall), DT Eddie Goldman (39), C Hroniss Grasu (71), RB Jeremy Langford (106), DB Adrian Amos (142), OT Tayo Fabuluje (183)

Best pick: Adrian Amos

Amos has appeared in at least 13 games and recorded 65 or more tackles all five of his seasons in the NFL. Last year marked the third time in Amos’ career he played in all 16 games and the second time he played every defensive snap. After four seasons in Chicago, the former Penn State Nittany Lion inked a four-year, $37 million deal with the Packers last offseason. Amos set a new career-high with 84 tackles and picked off two passes in 2019. 

Worst pick: Kevin White

Every first round pick in this draft class except White has played in at least 43 games. All but four of them have made at least 50 appearances. That’s including White, who played in 14 games. He was hampered by injuries his entire four-year career and didn’t see the field as a rookie due to a stress fracture in his shin. Who knows what White could’ve done if he’d stayed healthy, but he was without a doubt the single worst selection of the 2015 draft. 

Grade: C

Goldman and Amos’ 135 starts keep this grade at a C, but just barely. The other four players have 23 starts combined. Langford is now in the Canadian Football League and Fabuluje didn’t make it past 2015. And don’t forget about White. Chicago did find two extremely reliable players, which means the draft wasn’t a complete disaster even if the first round pick was. 

Detroit Lions

Picks: OG Laken Tomlinson (28), RB Ameer Abdullah (54), DB Alex Carter (80), DT Gabe Wright (113), FB Michael Burton (168), DB Quandre Diggs (200), OT Corey Robinson (240)

Best pick: Quandre Diggs

Diggs started all 16 contests for the first time in 2018 and returned the first pass of Sam Darnold’s career for a touchdown. He was traded to the Seahawks midway through the 2019 season and was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl. In the last three seasons, Diggs has started 37 games, played in 42 and picked off nine passes. The former Texas Longhorn has played in at least 10 games all five years he’s been a pro. 

Worst pick: Alex Carter

The Lions gave up a fifth round pick to swap third-rounders with the Vikings and moved up eight spots to select Carter. Carter appeared in one game for the team before being signed to its practice squad in 2016. He bounced from practice squad to practice squad before getting promoted to Washington’s active roster on Dec. 27, 2018. The one game Carter played for Washington was the second of his career. Minnesota used the pick it got from Detroit on Danielle Hunter, who will be discussed a little bit later. 

Grade: C+

No one made it to the end of their rookie contract with the Lions except for Diggs. Tomlinson was sent to San Francisco for a fifth round pick. Abdullah, Carter, Wright and Burton were all waived. Robinson got traded to Carolina for a conditional seventh-rounder. Tomlinson and Diggs have 45+ starts, but nobody else has more than 22. Tomlinson, Abdullah, Burton and Diggs have reached the 50-game mark. It’s not a particularly bad class, though Detroit’s willingness to give up on this group so quickly can’t be ignored.  

Green Bay Packers

Picks: DB Damarious Randall (30), DB Quinten Rollins (62), WR/RB Ty Montgomery (94), LB Jake Ryan (129), QB Brett Hundley (147), FB Aaron Ripkowski (206), DE Christian Ringo (210), TE Kennard Backman (213)

Best pick: Damarious Randall 

Randall’s 56 starts are more than double the amount anyone else in the group has (Ryan is second with 27). Since entering the NFL, Randall is tied for ninth in interceptions with 14 and is one of five players to pick off at least 14 passes and amass 290 or more tackles. He has started a minimum of nine games in each of his five seasons. That’s what you call a successful pick at the end of the first round. 

Worst pick: Quinten Rollins

Rollins was actually a basketball player in college and only played one year of football. He was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year in that one season and did enough to convince the Packers to take him in the second round. Rollins was with Green Bay for three seasons, making 13 starts and appearing in 33 games. He suffered a hamstring injury during the 2018 preseason that led ultimately to his release. Rollins was in camp with the 49ers in 2019 but did not make the team. 

Grade: B

The first four picks have all played in at least two full seasons worth of games and the next selection was Hundley, who is still employed as a backup quarterback. Montgomery is 18 receiving yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and receiving. Ryan registered 213 tackles from 2015 to 2017. Green Bay just made a bunch of decent picks, which results in a decent grade.  

Minnesota Vikings

Picks: CB Trae Waynes (11), LB Erin Kendricks (45), DE Danielle Hunter (88), OT T.J. Clemmings (110), TE MyCole Pruitt (143), WR Stefon Diggs (146), OT Tyrus Thompson (185), DE B.J. Dubose (193), OT Austin Shepherd (228), LB Edmond Robinson (232)

Best pick: Danielle Hunter

Simply put, Hunter is the best pass rusher in the 2015 draft class. He has 11.5 more sacks and 20 more tackles for loss than any other player. Hunter’s 54.5 sacks are the sixth-highest total in the NFL since 2015 and his 67 tackles for loss rank eighth. The two-time Pro Bowler also has played every game the last four seasons, recording at least 12.5 sacks three times in that span. As good as Kendricks and Diggs are, Hunter’s been even better.  

Worst pick: T.J. Clemmings

Injuries forced Clemmings into a starting role right away, and he made 30 starts in his first two seasons. Since then, he’s appeared in a total of 10 games. Minnesota waived him before the 2017 season and Clemmings has repeated the same process three years in a row: join a new team and land on injured reserve before the midway point of the season. It must be acknowledged he’s nowhere near the worst pick in an average draft. 

Grade: A

Waynes has started 44 games the past three seasons and has played in 74 contests. Kendricks was a First Team All-Pro in 2019 and recorded over 100 tackles for the fourth straight season. Diggs is averaging 925 receiving yards and six touchdowns a year. Minnesota’s first six picks have all played in over 40 games. This group falls a bit shy of meeting the standard for an A+, but it’s definitely worthy of an A. 

Click here to see the entire draft grades series.

Photo by Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

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