2015 NFL Draft: Best Picks of the 5th Round

After breaking down my top picks of the 2nd/3rd rounds and 4th round, it is now time for the 5th round. I use my pre-draft ranking of players on the 2015 Big Board to guide my evaluation of each pick.

To calculate the quality of a pick, I use what I call Value Score. It is calculated by dividing the draft slot for a player by where I had them ranked. If a player got drafted 100th overall and I had him ranked 50th on my board, then his Value Score would be two. The larger the Value Score, the more likely it is that I would have drafted the same player with that pick.

I was surprised at how much talent was still available in the 5th round this year. Out of the 40 players selected in the 5th round, many will become key contributors for their teams. Below are my favorite picks of the 5th round followed by a list of the 15 picks that earned the top value scores. 

My Favorites:

DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson - Atlanta Falcons

Draft Slot: 137

My Rank: 26

Value Score: 5.27

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Going into the draft I knew I was higher on Grady Jarrett than most. I anticipated him being one of my top value picks of the draft, but I never would have imagined that Grady Jarrett would still be on the board in the 5th round. His Value Score is far and away the highest of all prospects on my board this year (Henry Anderson finished 2nd at 3.72). 

Jarrett is undersized (6'1 - 305 lbs) for a defensive tackle, and this is the primary reason he fell to the 5th round. Recent history has shown that undersized defensive lineman can be extremely productive in the NFL. DTs Geno Atkins (Bengals), Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers), Aaron Donald (Rams), and Mike Daniels (Packers) are all on the small side for defensive lineman yet have proven to be very good players.

Jarrett is a more natural fit as a 4-3 DT, but Atlanta runs a 3-4 defense, so the scheme fit isn't perfect. As long as new Head Coach Dan Quinn can devise a way to get Jarrett on the field and in position to attack the backfield, the Falcons will be very happy with their decision to trade up for the former Clemson Tiger.

RB David Cobb, Minnesota - Tennessee Titans

Draft Slot: 138

My Rank: 72

Value Score: 1.92

David Cobb is a big (5'11 - 230 lbs), powerful runner who averaged over five yards per carry in both his junior and senior seasons at Minnesota. He is an impressive athlete for his size who can also contribute in the passing game. Cobb caught 34 passes for Minnesota, 12 more than Melvin Gordon caught in four years at Wisconsin. 

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If Cobb hadn't pulled his hamstring at the combine while running the 40 yard dash, he would have been drafted much earlier. Even with the hamstring tweak, he still performed exceptionally in both the broad and vertical jumps. 

I prefer Cobb's style of running to a home-run hitter who gets stuffed at the line regularly. Cobb falls forward after contact, and will keep your offense in 3rd and manageable if you give it to him on 1st and 2nd down. If Cobb can improve as a pass protector, he has a good shot at taking the starting job from Bishop Sankey at some point in the not so distant future.

S Adrian Amos, Penn State - Chicago Bears

Draft Slot: 142

My Rank: 67

Value Score: 2.12

Adrian Amos caught my eye early in the pre-draft process. He has an impressive frame for a safety at 6'0 - 220 lbs, and is a good athlete for his size. After doing some research, I found that College Football Focus reported Amos gave up the 4th lowest yards per coverage snap, the lowest opposing Quarterback Rating when targeted, and was the 8th most productive pass rusher among safeties in 2014. 

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Amos allowed opposing QBs a miniscule 13.0 passer rating when targeted in 2014 (the next lowest mark was 28.1). CFF also noted that Amos spent around 1/3 of his snaps in the slot. Amos can provide versatility in the back end and be an asset on all three downs. He can play as a safety on 1st and 2nd down, and play as a slot corner on 3rd down. The Bears desperately need help in the secondary. Amos should see the field in 2015. 

EDGE Shaq Riddick, West Virginia - Arizona Cardinals

Draft Slot: 158

My Rank: 94

Value Score: 1.68

Shaq Riddick has all of the physical tools to be a productive pass rusher at the next level. Riddick played at Gardner-Webb for two seasons before playing for West Virginia in 2014. Despite playing out of position as a 3-4 DE at WVU, Riddick still recorded 11 TFLs and seven sacks in 2014. His future is as a 3-4 OLB, and he has immense potential for a 5th round pick. 

Riddick was not invited to the combine, but put up eye-popping numbers at his pro day. To put them in perspective, Riddick's pro day results and Randy Gregory's combine results are listed below. For all timed events at Riddick's pro day I added .07 to the reported time, as hand times are on average around .07 seconds faster than electronic times. (WVU pro day numbers courtesy of 247sports.com)

Shaq RiddickRandy Gregory
Weight (lbs)244235
40 Yard Dash (sec)4.66 4.64
Vertical Jump (in)3636.5
Broad Jump (in)124125
20 Yard Shuttle (sec)4.354.16
3 Cone Drill (sec)6.746.79

Riddick needs to transition to a new position is still very raw with only one season of Power 5 football under his belt. He also needs to gain weight. These question marks are what allowed the Cardinals to get Riddick so late in the draft. Question marks aside, players with this level of potential are rarely available in the 5th round. The Cardinals nailed this pick. 

Top 15 Value Scores of the 5th Round:

1. DT Grady Jarrett (Falcons) - 5.27

2. S Adrian Amos (Bears) - 2.12

3. RB Jay Ajayi (Dolphins) - 1.99

4. DT Tyeler Davison (Saints) - 1.97

5. RB David Cobb (Titans) - 1.92

6. EDGE Shaq Riddick (Cardinals) - 1.68

7. LB Ben Heeney (Raiders) - 1.57

8. CB/WR Tony Lippett (Dolphins) - 1.53

9. WR Stefon Diggs (Vikings) - 1.46

10. WR Kenny Bell (Buccaneers) - 1.35

11. EDGE Kyle Emanuel (Chargers) - 1.29

12. WR Rashad Greene (Jaguars) - 1.23

13. TE MyCole Pruitt (Vikings) - 1.18

14. QB Brett Hundley (Packers) - 1.15

15. EDGE Davis Tull (Saints) - 1.08

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