LOS ANGELES, May 2, 2015 — While the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft was relatively quiet, the second night began with a bang.
The Tennessee Titans were on the clock. Although they had seven minutes to make a decision rather than 10, they really had 20 hours since the first round ended. The Titans immediately made a trade with the New York Giants. For the ability to move up seven spots from 40 to 33, the Giants gave the Titans their fourth and seventh round picks. The Giants selected safety Landon Collins.
There were 32 NFL legends, one from each team, on hand to announce each pick of the second round. Football royalty Willie Brown, Mel Blount, Jim Kelly and Chicago hometown hero Dick Butkus announced the selections to the packed crowd. Again, thousands of people watched from outside on a jumbotron in the brisk Windy City weather. Commissioner Roger Goodell was mercilessly booed again, but that did not stop drafted players from enthusiastically hugging him on their proud day.
A classy Willie Brown wished all the ladies a happy Mother’s Day, singling out his own mom and Carol Davis, wife of the late Raiders owner Al Davis. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie kept making sensible picks, using his second round selection on defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. Teaming him up with Khalil Mack and Justin Tuck makes for a solid pass rush under defensive-minded head coach Jack Del Rio.
Big news on the second night came from the player that began it all on the first night. Quarterback Jameis Winston was already making news, and this time in a good way. Only one day after being drafted, he had already agreed to a contract with the Buccaneers. There will be no messy holdout. This kid has been the subject of many question marks, but signing that quickly shows a commitment to getting on the field and playing football.
The annual search for the next Jewish role model seemed to be over when the Chicago Bears picked defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Despite being endorsed by Dick Butkus, Goldman is not Jewish. He is black, although, like Sammy Davis Jr., Goldman could always join the Hebrews if he chooses.
The top of the second round featured a run on Smiths, as offensive tackle Donovan went to the Buccaneers, wide receiver Devin to the Jets, and defensive end Preston to the Redskins. None of these players are related to former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
In other news, a man on Twitter named Amari Cooper with the Twitter handle @CocaineGod is not the Oakland Raiders new wide receiver. Without judging this other fellow, the Raiders can be relieved that their new potential star is not publicly confessing to illegal drug use before his first start.
With the first round being relatively quiet, the second round featured trades galore. In addition to the Titans and Giants, the Rams and Panthers swapped spots while the Texans and Browns played the 2015 version of the Dan Akyroyd and Eddie Murphy classic “Trading Places.” The Eagles switched picks with the Dolphins and the Ravens did likewise with the Cardinals. The Buccaneers moved up into the bottom of the second round by trading with the Colts, who dropped down to the third round.
As usual, football provided an oasis away from the pain of the rest of the world. May 1 is the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden and the birth of the short-lived Occupy Wall Street movement. Protests in Baltimore spread to various cities, and future Ravens Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis was playing a role in the healing.
Inside the Chicago auditorium, there was only cheering about football as people of all stripes were united. The closest anyone came to politics was when Congressman Jon Runyan announced the Eagles’ second round pick. Runyan played for the Eagles for eight of his 13 seasons. His 15-second press conference consisted of welcoming cornerback Eric Rowe to the Eagles.
Football also maintained its domination of sports, as hockey and basketball playoff games and regular season baseball all continued to not be football.
A very poignant moment occurred with the 50th pick, which was the 18th pick of the second round. The Buffalo Bills finally had their first pick, but it was not Rex Ryan coming to the stage. Beloved Bills quarterback Jim Kelly thanked the world for helping him beat cancer. The pick was defensive back Ronald Darby, but the moment was all about Jim Kelly. This was another example of football uniting people everywhere.
A less glorious announcement came when it was disclosed that Broncos’ first-round pick Shane Ray had already entered the NFL’s substance abuse program one day after being drafted.
In terms of shock value, La’el Collins kept making news for all the wrong reasons. The offensive lineman was being questioned by Louisiana police in regard to the murder of his pregnant girlfriend. It is important to note that at the time of the draft, Collins was not a suspect in her murder. Nevertheless, even being part of an investigation scared the daylights out of scouts. As the value of the former projected first-rounder plummeted, Collins announced that it was all or nothing on day two. If not drafted by the end of the third round, Collins said he would remove himself from consideration and reapply for the 2016 NFL Draft instead. If he is innocent, this could be a very smart move. His financial future will be largely shaped by his first contract. Collins was not drafted and followed through on his promise to exit the 2015 Draft.
Although Mother’s Day was approaching, it was fathers gaining plenty of attention. Before the end of the second round, five players drafted were the sons of former NFL players.
After the 32 selections of the third round, the Patriots, Chiefs and Bengals were each given one compensatory pick. All three teams opted for defense.
The most talked about third-round pick will be the Saints’ taking quarterback Garrett Grayson. Although Drew Brees is entrenched as the starter, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre both had to find new teams to finish their careers. Brees has obliterated passing records, but nothing lasts forever.
Every year a player gets drafted who is the only person in the history of civilization with that name. Recent years have seen a D’Brickashaw, a Lardarius and a Barkevious drafted. This year in the third round the Giants took defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Expect announcers to call him Double-O rather than make the effort to get his name right. Maybe they will call him Oxygen for O2. After O2 came G2 to the Saints and wide receiver C2 Chris Conley, who may be C3 since he plays for the Chiefs. Saints quarterback Garret Grayson was G2-1 since the Patriots selected G2-2, defensive end Geneo Grissom.
Two days and three rounds are in the books. Some people will treat Saturday as a day to focus on the Kentucky Derby, the NBA and NHL playoffs, baseball or the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. For leatherheads, Saturday is the third day of the 2015 NFL Draft, as rounds three through seven await.