What a draft! I am shattered after those three days. Let’s start by having a look at the players I drafted and my thoughts on them:
RD1 PK15 / LB Zaven Collins – IRL RD1 PK16 Arizona Cardinals
My no.1 option at LB because he is just a physical beast and I like having a lot of different tools in the proverbial toolbelt. fact is that there are very few LBs with his size, athleticism, IQ and leadership combo. I love the fact that he can plug holes in the middle, rush the passer and drop back into coverage, all at a very good level. What also excites me is that he will be lining up alongside Isaiah Collins in real life, who is extremely similar to my guy Jeremy Chinn – ofcourse he is also gonna be on a team with my guy Budda Baker too. If they use him correcly he could be exciting.
RD1 PK26 / LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – IRL RD2 PK52 Cleveland Browns
Let me start by saying that his drop to the 2nd round absolutely shocked me and once again highlights the league’s focus on size. This guy is a physical playmaker mith burst, both as a blitzer and in coverage and also has a knack for stripping the ball. He is going to be a hybrid LB/S for me (as in the league), where others see concern of how he will fit, I see the positional flexibility necessary in a modern game where offensive coordinator have so much movement to create mismatches, but how are you going to do that to a guy who has no problems against RBs, TEs or slot receivers? I am excited to see him with the Browns who are quietly putting together an exciting D.
RD2 PK43 / OT Samuel Cosmi – IRL RD2 PK51 Washington Football Team
Not the most crazy “big guy”, but he has extremely high level athleticism and experience at both tackle spots. Nonetheless he will have to iron out some kinks in his technique if he wants to be a starting LT at the next level. He might end up being my starting RT this season and depending on his performance move to the left next year.
RD2 PK46 / OT Dillon Radunz – IRL RD2 PK53 Tennessee Titans
Having selected Cosmi I was ready to move onto drafting a corner, but Radunz was still on the board. Similar to Cosmi he has an outstanding athletic profile and brings a bit of nasty to the table as well. The main concern with him is filling out his frame, which is very slight for the position. He gives me a great group of young tackles though with Cosmi and Peart. I also believe that IRL he is in a great position to be learning from an experienced, quality Tackle in Taylor Lewan, who had a very similar frame and explosive athleticism coming in.
RD2 PK60 / Trade up with the Saints / DE Carlos Basham Jr – IRL RD2 PK61 Buffalo Bills
My comp for him and the main reason I moved up to get him is that I see a bit of Michael Bennett in him. If he can get close to how dominant Bennett could be then I’m very excited. I also love that he is a guy who can play the outside but move inside on certain situations too and hold up there. I like the Bills and I’m excited to see him team up with my other guy Epanesa there.
RD3 PK65 / OG Quinn Meinerz – IRL RD3 PK98 Denver Broncos
Easily one of the funnest players I drafted, loved his explosiveness and dominance at the Senior Bowl for a small school guy. I think he will get to the league and just go to work on guys. He has explosive athleticism mixed with a very good frame. Love him in interviews too, just all round fun. At the Broncos he will team up with my guy Dalton Risner, another guy with a fantastic personality.
RD3 PK69 / CB Benjamin St-Juste – IRL RD3 PK74 Washington Football Team
He is rare in that he has a fantastic wingspan and knows how to use it to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and on top of that he is a fantastic tackler. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed the Seahawks didn’t take him because he would be perfect. I also have to highlight that he completed his degree and a masters – intelligence is a great tool. At Washington he will join one of my other CBs Jimmy Moreland.
RD4 PK118 / S ArDarius Washington – IRL UDFA Baltimore Ravens
His slide out of the draft is a mystery to me. I know why it happened (size, dude is smaller than the honeybadger) but the is so instinctive had high IQ, that I feel he is still going to make a team very happy. That he walks into an extremely good team like the ravens with an exciting secondary should help a lot.
RD5 PK156 / CB Tay Gowan – IRL RD6 PK223 Arizona Cardinals
Natural athlete from a smaller school, I just really liked what I saw on tape from him especially how he lays out at the catch point and gets those PBUs, I think that is really big. I thought he was going to go earlier so when he was still available in the 5th I had to go for it.
RD6 PK195 / WR/RB Demetric Felton – IRL RD6 PK221 Cleveland Browns
One of those players I mentioned with Zaven Collins who is a tool I don’t have: WR/RB combo who can be a 3rd down back, can split into the slot, has tremendous shiftiness, a great wingspan and great hands. He is going to be a weapon if utilies correctly. I hope the browns can do that.
RD7 PK241 / WR TJ Vasher – IRL UDFA Dallas Cowboys
He has some serious concerns with regards to being to skinny and not getting those contested catches, the main reason I drafted him was his ridiculous frame. If he fills out with muscle and cleans up his receptions he could be special. I am basically hoping for a jump with some serious NFL coaching.
RB Jaret Patterson – IRL Washington Football Team
Compact “bowling ball” who I was very happy went undrafted. Its just going to fuel a guy who has a high work ethic and is out to prove doubters wrong before he went undrafted. Just a shifty guy who breaks tackles and has an extra gear in the open field.
WR Cade Johnson – IRL Seattle Seahawks
Really like what I saw from him at the Senior Bowl, where I thought he dominated. Him still being available as an UDFA is great.
LB Justin Hilliard – IRL San Francisco 49ers
Injuries are the biggest concern with him and ultimately why he probably dropped out of the draft, add to that, that he is a bit undersized and it’s not a great combo. HOWEVER, when he does play he can perform at a very high level and play beyond his size.
DE Charles Snowden – IRL Chicago Bears
Another project who I just really like because he is very tall and has very long arms. You can teach a person a lot but not such an athletic profile.
LB Paddy Fischer – IRL Carolina Panthers
For prototypical Inside linebackers, the biggest thing (besides the intelligence) is a big wingspan and change of direction. Fisher brings all that and above 90th percentile height for the position to be able to spy on the QB. He doesn’t have much in the way of coverage ability or athleticism, which will make it interesting to see if he can cut it in the NFL.
On the one hand I could barely be happier with my picks, hitting on almost every 1a option I wanted, but at the same time I have a bit of a bitter aftertaste because I could have probably done it all and kept Bobby Wagner. Perhaps if I had landed LB Jamin Davis in the first round it would have been different, but the slide from JOK into the 2nd round meant that I could have got him there without trading B-Wagz. No trade would have also had an impact on the Basham pick, because I used the second pick I got for Wagner to trade up and get Basham. On the other hand the Basham pick was more a novelty because he was still available than a need.
Regardless, my top positions I wanted to adress before the draft were OT, LB and CB. Including UDFAs I got 2 second round OTs, 1 3rd round CB who could have gone in the 2nd, 1 fifth round CB who could have gone in the 3rd, 2 1st round LBs and 2 free agents. I feel like none of them were a reach, quite the opposite I thought some of those picks were excellent value (regardless of where they ended up getting drafted).
On top of that I got 2 really fun players in Basham and Meinerz, as well as some potential playmakers on offense Day 3. I am extremely surprised Washington dropped out of the draft, but I believe that it is not the last we have heard of him. I am also happy with my other UDFA pickups.
I find it really hard to give myself grades, especially high ones, but I hit everything I wanted to and that without having a lot of preparation and without the usual combine. The only slight downer is that I had to trade a legend to achieve it, but I have to stick to the reason why I did that: I believe in my LB class and I do not believe that Wagner has been the playmaker he once was in recent years.