50 essential, eccentric facts about the 2015 NFL draft
So you think you know all there is to know about the NFL draft? Well, here's a chance to test that knowledge. As has become an annual tradition 'round these parts, we present 50 (rather random) facts about the upcoming draft.
1. The Buccaneers last made the draft's first-overall pick in 1987, selecting quarterback Vinny Testaverde. They selected at No. 1 overall three other times: 1976 as an expansion club (future Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon), 1977 (Ricky Bell) and 1986 (Bo Jackson). Tampa Bay failed to sign Jackson, so Oakland took him in the following year's draft.
3. Jameis Winston played baseball for Florida State in 2013 and '14, serving as a relief pitcher. His stats: a 2-2 record with 60 innings pitched, 52 strikeouts, a 0.92 WHIP, a 1.95 ERA and nine saves.
4. Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson endured a less successful baseball career. After being selected as an outfielder by the Red Sox in round 18 of the 2010 draft, Thompson spent part of one season playing in the Gulf Coast League. He finished 0-for-39 at the plate, including 37 strikeouts. He did manage to walk eight times.
6. Melvin Gordon broke the NCAA single-game rushing record this past November, rolling over Nebraska for 408 yards. One week later, Oklahoma's Samaje Perine surpassed him with a 427-yard outing against Kansas.
7. This year will mark the first time since 1964 that the draft is not held in New York City. Chicago, the 2015 host, also welcomed the event from 1962-64; it was held in Philadelphia from 1957-62.
8. Currently, neither the Bills nor Seahawks own a first-round pick. Buffalo last sat out the first round in 2005, when it selected wide receiver Roscoe Parrish at pick No. 55; Seattle has not had a round 1 pick since 2012.
9. Eastern Michigan cornerback Willie Creear broke the NFL record for best vertical jump at a combine, posting a ridiculous 47-inch mark during a regional combine in Denver on Feb. 21.
10. Florida State has never produced a No. 1 overall pick. Oregon had one player earn that honor: quarterback George Shaw, in 1955.
11. LSU produced the most 2014 draft picks (nine). Alabama and Notre Dame came in just behind with eight each, followed by Florida State (seven), then Ohio State and Stanford (six each).
12. East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leading pass-catcher. Hardy hauled in 121 passes in 2014, bumping his total over four years to 387.
13. How long will the wait be for the first kicker selected in this year's draft? Set the over/under at round 5. Last year, it took until round 7 before Washington and Detroit nabbed Zach Hocker and Nate Freese at picks Nos. 228 and 229, respectively. There was a fifth-round kicker in both 2013 (Randy Bullock) and 2012 (Caleb Sturgis), and a fourth-rounder (Alex Henery) in 2011.
14. Counting trades made prior to last year's draft weekend, like the Redskins-Rams blockbuster two years prior that had landed Robert Griffin III in D.C., a total of 34 deals were made involving 2014 draft spots.
15. Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quentin Rollins ranks eighth all-time in MAC basketball history for steals—he swiped the ball 214 times during his four-year career.
16. Oregon prospect Arik Armstead is the brother of Armond Armstead, who starred for the Toronto Argonauts in 2012 and signed with the Patriots in 2013. Armond was forced to retire in 2014 at the age of 23 due to medical issues related to a heart attack he suffered while at USC.
17. Massive Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff (6'4", 319 pounds) actually played quarterback for a spell in high school. He joked—sort of?—at the combine that his coaches would call quarterback sneaks in unusual situations, like on second-and-five, because no one could tackle him.
18. Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha, the nation's leader in sacks last season with 19.0, changed his name from Hau'oli Jamora just before he turned 21 years old.
19. The New York Giants currently hold the ninth pick in round 1. Should they keep it or trade up, it will mark their first top-10 selection in more than a decade. The last time they were on the clock that early: 2004, when they took Philip Rivers at No. 4 overall, then swung him to San Diego for Eli Manning.
20. Utah receiver Dres Anderson is the son of former NFL player Flipper Anderson, who played for the Rams, Colts, Broncos and Redskins. The elder Anderson still holds the league record for single-game receiving yards (336).
21. There will be 32 compensatory draft picks made this year, between rounds 3 and 7. The Chiefs, Broncos and Seahawks each were granted four additional selections via the compensatory process. New England owns the highest comp pick, at No. 97.
22. Suffice it to say, Stanford tackle Andrus Peat will hold bragging rights over his dad, Todd Peat, when it comes to draft position. Todd Peat was selected with the 285th pick (round 11) by the Cardinals in 1987. The draft was shortened to eight rounds in 1993, then to its current seven-round format the following year.
23. No team has used a pick in the supplemental draft since Cleveland spent a second-rounder on Josh Gordon in 2012. The last time a first-round selection was surrendered via the supplemental draft was in 1992, when the Giants took Dave Brown.
24. Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, a star of this year's Senior Bowl, was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States when he was 10. He did not begin playing football until his freshman year of high school. "He didn’t really even know how to put on equipment," his coach, Rich Rio, told SI of Tomlinson's initial lack of familiarity with football.
25. The most recent future Hall of Famer selected in the draft was Walter Jones, by the Seahawks in 1997. The 1998 class included several players who could wind up in Canton some day, like Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Randy Moss. No draftee since Jones has made it yet.
26. USC has generated the most draft picks all-time with 487, according to DraftHistory.com. Notre Dame (485), Ohio State (413), Oklahoma (367) and Nebraska (350) round out the top five.
27. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, a potential late-round pick, set the NCAA single-game passing mark on Oct. 4, 2014, against California. Halliday threw for 734 yards and six touchdowns on 49-of-70 passing ... and the Cougars still lost, 60-59.
28. The Cardinals hold the final pick in this year's draft (No. 256), so the four-year streak of Mr. Irrelevant being taken by an AFC South team will end. The Colts held that spot in 2012 (Chandler Harnish) and '13 (Justice Cunningham); the Texans closed the draft last year (Lonnie Ballentine) and in 2011 (Cheta Ozougwu).
29. The oldest player eligible for this year's draft is UMass tight end Jean Sifrin, who is 27 years of age. Emily Kaplan's recent piece for The MMQB on Sifrin's NFL hopes and winding journey to the pros can be found here.
30. UCF receiver Breshad Perriman has generated as much pre-draft buzz as anyone, but he'll have to stick in the league for a while to match his dad's career. Brett Perriman, a second-round pick in 1988, posted 91 career touchdowns and more than 6,500 receiving yards while playing for Detroit, New Orleans, Kansas City and Miami.
31. The 14 interceptions last season by Louisville safety Gerod Holliman matched the NCAA record, first set in 1968 by Washington's Al Worley.
32. Winston (2013) and Mariota (2014) each owns a Heisman Trophy. Eight of the previous 10 Heisman winners were selected in round 1 of the draft, including two (Cam Newton and Sam Bradford) with the top pick. The pair that did not reach the first round: Troy Smith (round 5 in 2007) and Jason White (undrafted in 2005).
33. There was a 199-pound difference between the heaviest player at this year's combine (Florida tackle Trenton Brown: 355 pounds) and the lightest (UAB wide receiver J.J. Nelson: 156).
34. The perceived drop in the draft value of running backs is a relatively new phenomenon. Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and David Wilson were the last three round 1 running backs, in 2012. But each draft from 1985 to 2012 featured a minimum of two first-round backs. Greg Bell (pick No. 26, to Buffalo) was the lone running back to go before round 2 of the 1984 draft.
35. The Titans own the No. 2 pick for just the second time in their history, dating back to when the franchise joined the league as the Houston Oilers in 1970. Tennessee's previous pick from that spot: Nebraska tackle Dean Steinkuhler (1984). He went on to play in 100 games for the franchise.
36. South Carolina tight end Rory Anderson is better known in most circles by his nickname "Busta", which he said his mom gave him when he was two because "she said I always used to get into a lot of things. ... I was always into stuff and would mess around with stuff when I was a kid."
37. While Hardy holds the NCAA career receptions record, Alabama's Amari Cooper actually led the FBS in catches last season with 124. West Virginia's Kevin White, like Cooper a possible top-10 pick, made 109 grabs to rank third.
38. Should cornerback Trae Waynes come off the board in round 1, as is the unanimous expectation, it would give Michigan State first-round picks in back-to-back years for the first time since Plaxico Burress and T.J. Duckett in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
39. There are 86 underclassmen entered in the 2015 draft. That's down from the record 102 players who left school early to declare for the 2014 draft.
40. Can UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley sneak into round 1? Each of the previous three Bruins quarterbacks drafted into the NFL have made it there: Cade McNown (pick No. 12, 1999), Tommy Maddox (No. 25, 1992) and Troy Aikman (No. 1, 1989).
41. Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers won the strength portion of this year's combine, tossing up 37 bench-press reps, one better than Missouri's Mitch Morse. He still was a long way from the 49 reps Oregon State product and current Redskins defensive end Stephen Paea notched in 2011.
42. The aforementioned J.J. Nelson (who posted a combine-best 4.26 40-yard dash) led the nation with 38.3 yards per kickoff return and four kick return touchdowns. He and college teammate Kennard Backman are attempting to become the last UAB players ever drafted in the NFL. The program that produced the likes of Roddy White and Joe Webb was shut down at the end of the 2014 season.
43. It has been three years since a quarterback was the No. 1 pick (Andrew Luck, 2012). That may not seem like a long stretch, but from 1998-2012, a quarterback was selected first 12 out of 15 possible times. The three exceptions in that span: Jake Long (2008), Mario Williams (2006) and Courtney Brown (2000).
44. Alphabetically, Ameer Abdullah is the first name on the list in this year's draft. Nine others would come before him on the list of all-time draftees, including 2014 selection Jared Abbrederis. Pete Abadie stands alone at the top.
45. There are several fullbacks hoping to hear their names called this year, led by the likes of Alabama's Jalston Fowler and Yale's Tyler Varga. The earliest a fullback has been picked since the turn of the millennium came when San Diego nabbed Jacob Hester at No. 69 overall in 2008. The last fullback taken in round 1? Florida State's William Floyd, by the 49ers in 1994.
46. While Melvin Gordon paced the nation in rushing yards last year, Boise State's Jay Ajayi bested him for the lead in rushing attempts, 347 to 343. Ajayi finished with 1,823 yards on those carries.
47. Cedric Ogbuehi is aiming to give Texas A&M a first-round offensive lineman for the third consecutive draft, following Jake Matthews (No. 6, 2014) and Luke Joeckel (No. 2, 2013). Before Joeckel kickstarted the recent run, though, the Aggies had produced just two round 1 linemen in their history: tackle Richmond Webb in 1990 and guard Mo Moorman in 1968.
48. The Rams hold the fewest non-compensatory picks in this year's draft, with five. St. Louis traded its fifth-rounder to Philadelphia in the recent Nick Foles-Sam Bradford deal (the two teams also swapped spots in round 4) and sent its sixth-rounder to Tampa Bay as part of a trade for Mark Barron.
49. The Eagles opened the draft's third day last year by making pick No. 101. Tennessee will kick off this year's third day one slot earlier at No. 100, due to how the compensatory draft picks were allocated. The Vikings get the same bump atop round 5 with the 137th pick, a slot that would've been No. 141 in 2014.
50. Roger Goodell was named as Paul Tagliabue's successor in the summer of 2006, and he took over as the draft's master of ceremonies for the 2007 event. The first pick ever announced by Goodell: JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders' choice at No. 1 overall that year.