The NFL Draft came and went, and all 15 of the NFL prospects STACK spoke to and documented leading up to the Combine ended up on an NFL team, either by being selected in the Draft or signed afterwards as free agents. As we move through rookie training camp, OTAs and official team training camps, let’s take a refresher course in where our 15 prospects landed.
Marcus Mariota – No. 2 Overall to the Tennessee Titans
After much speculation as to whether the Tennessee Titans would trade their no. 2 overall pick to another quarterback-hungry team, there was little drama when it came time to make a decision. The Titans stayed where they were and took former Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota to usher in a new era of football in the Volunteer State.
Mariota, who trained at Proactive San Diego ahead of the NFL Combine, worked on adding 10 pounds to his frame in preparation for the bigger hits he knows are coming when he steps behind center in the NFL.
“Working out at Proactive has been good, and it really provided me with a head start in terms of being ready for the NFL,” Mariota said. “Physically, they really helped me gain weight, and I’m looking forward to next season.”
Trae Waynes – No. 11 Overall to the Minnesota Vikings
We all knew Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes was one of the most coveted defensive backs in the 2015 NFL Draft, and the team that took him is going to need his shutdown abilities. It’s no secret that the division the Vikes play in is loaded with talented receivers, such as Jordy Nelson, Calvin Johnson and now Kevin White to team up with Alshon Jeffery. Waynes will be thrown into the fire in his first year in Minnesota, but he’s ready.
“I have goals to be a Pro Bowler and hopefully have a long, successful and healthy career,” Waynes said.
Danny Shelton – No. 12 Overall to the Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns had few answers to opposing teams’ run game last season. They hope plugging the middle with Danny Shelton’s 6-foot-2, 339-pound body will seal the running back-sized hole in their defensive front line. Shelton plans to come in to camp with his eyes and ears open to become the new, young face of the Cleveland Browns’ revamped defense.
“Honestly, I just want to be a role model—keep my life in order, keep it simple,” he said. “I want to be consistent with this positive energy, vibe and image, and hopefully the younger guys will follow.”
Melvin Gordon – No. 15 Overall to the San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Charger haven’t had a reliable running back since LaDainian Tomlinson. Their move up in the Draft to select Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon in the first round shows the team is committed to re-establishing the run. For his part, Gordon is ready to learn as much as he can about football, and for the Chargers to learn as much as they can about him.
“There’s a lot of football out there yet for me to learn,” Gordon said. “I want to at least go in there and show them what I know. They can learn about me. If they ask questions, I’ll be more than willing to answer them. I just want to go in there and just be Melvin Gordon and let them know who I really am.”
Cedric Ogbuehi – No. 21 Overall to the Cincinnati Bengals
After spending much of his time leading up to the NFL Draft rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered at Texas A&M, Ogbuehi was rewarded by being taken 21st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s still got to get himself fully healthy before he can solidify the Bengals offensive line, but the quiet kid from Allen, Texas is ready for the challenge.
“Just getting as healthy as soon as possible,” Ogbuehi said of his goals for this season. “I’ve seen a lot of my ex-teammates go there and succeed, so I’m just waiting for my turn.”
Shane Ray – No. 23 Overall to the Denver Broncos
Before the NFL Draft, Missouri Tigers linebacker Shane Ray made it known that he’d been watching tape of Denver Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller. Now, he’ll be teammates with the man he’s modeled his game after.
“Von Miller is a guy I watch a lot right now,” Ray said. “I want to embody the idea of being a defensive player that plays with a lot of energy, a lot of passion and aggression. That’s something I try to bring to the table every Saturday, no matter how I’m feeling. I think that makes me a little bit different.”
Shaq Thompson – No. 25 Overall to the Carolina Panthers
The man who played safety, running back and linebacker at the University of Washington was taken by the Carolina Panthers to play linebacker. Fortunately, this is exactly what Thompson trained for as he prepared for the NFL Combine and beyond.
“I watch all the running backs in the league that take all that pounding. I don’t know if my body can handle all that, I’m not that big as it is. So I’d rather give the blows than take ’em. It’s not good for career longevity,” Thompson said.
He’ll be joining one of the best at doling out hits when he lines up alongside Luke Kuechly this season.
Phillip Dorsett – No. 29 Overall to the Indianapolis Colts
With the addition of Phillip Dorsett, the Indianapolis Colts offense looks to be stacked like Pringles for 2015. Veteran Andre Johnson joins a receiving core that now features two of the fastest guys in the NFL in Dorsett and T.Y. Hilton, who will have cornerbacks scrambling all over the field.
It’s funny how things work out. Dorsett named Hilton as one of the guys he models his game after. He’ll have a chance to show how much he’s learned from Hilton up close and in person.
“Guys like T.Y. Hilton, you see in stature they are the same size as you and do the same things you do,” Dorsett said. “If I can become half of what they are, I’ll be successful.”
Devin Smith- No. 37 Overall to the New York Jets
The New York Jets selected one of the biggest keys to Ohio State’s national championship run in Devin Smith, adding another weapon for struggling quarterback Geno Smith on the outside. Smith, who hopes to become known as more than a deep threat during his time in New York, believes he’ll have no problem fitting into offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s offensive scheme.
“I think I can fit wherever they have a great quarterback that can throw the ball and a good group of receivers that can help me since I’m young,” Smith said.
Lorenzo Mauldin – No. 82 Overall to the New York Jets
Mauldin joins Devin Smith as one of the newest members of the New York Jets, and he joins a defense that is already packed with talent. From Sheldon Richardson to fellow draft pick Leonard Williams, the Jets’ defensive line should have no problem opening up holes for Mauldin to blitz the quarterback. Mauldin, who was never able to touch star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in practice at Louisville, is looking forward to letting his high motor go.
“I consider myself a player who goes 110 percent on every play,” Mauldin said. “I never wanted someone to come in and take my spot, so I always gave it my all. Even when I was exhausted, I was always high-spirited.”
Jake Ryan – No. 129 Overall to the Green Bay Packers
Looking to replace the departed A.J. Hawk, the Green Bay Packers nabbed former Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan, who will come into training camp competing for a linebacker spot aside Clay Matthews. It’s a quick turnaround for Ryan, who went from playing in the Senior Bowl to the NFL Combine and then the Draft, but he’s ready to shine under the bright lights of Lambeau Field.
“College went by fast. I had a great experience there, a great experience at Michigan,” Ryan said. “I don’t think [being drafted] has sunk in yet. It’s been a great ride, and I can’t wait until the next step.”
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – No. 241 Overall to the Cleveland Browns
Though he was considered one of the best cornerbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft, a late, severe knee injury caused Ekpre-Olomu to slide further than he would like. Fortunately, the Browns felt good enough about the former Oregon Duck to take him in the seventh round, giving him all the time he needs to rehab his knee and get back on the field to remind people of just how good he can be.
“It’s was a special moment, a special day to finally hear your name called and hear that you finally were wanted by some team that you dreamt your whole life to be on,” Ekpre-Olomu said.
Wide receivers George Farmer, Kesan Williams and Chris Harper all went undrafted, but have signed with the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, respectively.
Overall, not a bad showing for our 2015 Path to the Pros feature.