It’s easy to look back at drafts past and say “Damn! We could have gotten that Pro-Bowler, but instead we got this dope.” Until you go on the clock with the GM and make a decision, you don’t really know how hard it is to pick winners. I should also say, it’s very easy to just make picks and disregard the work that went into the trades to get those picks. All the credit in the world goes to Joe and his team to get those trades in. This experiment will center around the picks made. Going back about 6 or 7 years, I have been making my picks before our GM turns in their cards. I am sure a lot of you do the same. This is a fun long-term experiment. Make those picks, and then follow their progress 3 to 4 years down the line. You start to get a look at what a team drafted by you would actually look like. Did you guys make picks right alongside Joe Douglas? Let’s see how you guys did when you were on the clock. How were my picks compared to Joe’s?
My pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
JD’s pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
JD and I and just about everyone else know that we needed Oline help. We especially need a future LT. Where Joe and I diverge is how we chose to address that need. I went with the safer option, where Joe went with the godlike potential of Becton. With that potential comes a considerable amount of risk. Becton’s weight concerns me. If he can’t get it under control, it could lead to health issues and keep him off the field. He can have all the potential in the world, but if he doesn’t play, does it really count? Sometimes you need to swing for the fences. I will tip my cap to JD for doing what I was uncomfortable with.
My pick: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
JD’s pick: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
This was a no brainer pick. Trading back and still getting our guy is about as perfect as it gets. When Anderson packing his bags and leaving for Carolina, a planet sized void opened up on our offense. Throwing Perriman at it was not even close to enough. Mims could be the lightning rod player for us that we need. His Size/speed combo alone makes him someone defenses will have to plan for.
My pick: Jonah Jackson, IOL, OSU
JD’s pick: Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Helping Sam Darnold thrive was my number 1 priority this draft. This comes in the form of weapons and protection. I understand JD’s reasoning for going safety, and I love Ashtyn Davis. He has that combo of speed and physicality that breeds success in the secondary. It’s also writing on the wall that Maye will not be brought back in 2021. I think this could have been mitigated with stopgaps and until we could address the position properly. Jonah is a plug and play guard that is scheme fluid. Grabbing him would pretty much solidify Winters being cut and give us a dynamic foundational piece to our offensive line.
My pick: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi St
JD’s pick: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE/IDL, Florida
Besides supporting Sam and the offense, there is still a dearth of talent on defense that needs to be remedied. The common rule of thumb is to improve your team front to back. This would favor JD’s pick over mine. What I think sways things in my direction is that Dantzler probably has more long-term value. Dantzler might not have the speed teams covet, but he excels in many other arenas. Dantzler has made a home in the pads of receivers. He is optimized in press man defense. His technique and awareness are near elite. Dantzler has only given up 1 TD during his entire college career. That is extremely impressive, especially when you look at the SEC and the receivers he had to square off with. Dantzler has the tools to be a shutdown CB in the NFL. Zuniga’s ceiling is much lower.
My pick: Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona St
JD’s pick: Lamical Perine, RB, Florida
Once again, JD and I were generally on the same page. We saw the depth at RB lacking and wanted to spruce up the position for now and after Bell leaves. I am going to have to concede this round to Douglas. Eno might have a little more big play ability than Perine, but is at most a change of pace back. I don’t see him carrying a significant load. Perine is a tough back that also has some receiving skills to boot. His tough running style has a little more to work with.
My pick: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
JD’s pick: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
Trying to decipher who did better here gets very murky. We both took Hall, but JD took him later in the draft. JD will get the value points for that. Hall is the kind of player that usually falls to the Patriots. It always seemed to be that they were the only ones to see the value in injured players falling. Unlike years past, players with injuries fell even further. Unlike years past, players that were injured for the combine, never really got a 2nd chance to workout for teams. I believe that is why Hall fell as far as he did. By all accounts he has healed nicely, and just needs to get his injured ankle as strong as his other. I suspect he will be good to go by the start of the season. Hall fills the need for some much needed depth at the CB position. Unlike Dantzler, Hall is more of a zone coverage specialist. A little variety is good for a defense.
My pick: Hakeem Adeniji, OT/IOL, Kansas
JD’s pick: Cameron Clark, OT/IOL, Charlotte
Once again, JD and I were of the same mind need wise, but differed in prospect. Clark is a bully linemen. His strength is his best attribute. Adeniji wins with technique and mobility. We have two very different styles. Just like with Eno and Perine, this will be a fun group for me to keep an eye on of over the years.
My pick: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
JD’s pick: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Here I can compare the picks not named Bryce Hall. So let’s compare Tyler Johnson to James Morgan. Yes, we very much needed to add some depth behind Sam. I think the crazy stat was that we AVGed around 8 points a game without Sam. With that said, finding a good developmental arm to prop up Sam could have been acquired later, or even in free agency. Tyler Johnson on the other hand was arguably one of the best slot receivers in college this year. He doesn’t have the WOW speed, but he runs great routes and is a playmaker. He would have made some great depth behind Crowder who has a injury history.
My pick: Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon St
JD’s pick: Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M
I mostly think it is a waste of a pick to take punters and kickers. I feel like it is fairly easy to find one as an UDFA or even as a free agent. We could have brought back Edwards for pretty cheap. Hodgins on the other hand could make an immediate impact in red-zone situations. Once coach Jefferson can get him on the field, he can teach him to better deal with press coverage. As is, his route running is very polished, and he has some of the best hands in the draft.