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?
Round 1 (Pick 2)
My Pick: QB, Justin Fields, Ohio State
JD’s Pick: QB, Zach Wilson, BYU
I haven’t been shy when talking about which QB was my favorite out of the prospects remaining after Lawrence. I didn’t have one rated much higher than the other. What it ultimately boiled down to was what I thought these QBs could do for our offense. From the moment we were out of the running for Lawrence, I believed this to be Fields. His warrior mentality along with his athleticism will open up the playbook and allow us to add an extra wrinkle that defenses have to keep in mind. I might be a little more hesitant to do this with Wilson. These two and even Lance will be heavily measured next to each other for the years to come.
Round 1 (Pick 14)
My Pick: OL, Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
JD’s Pick: OL, Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
I salute Joe for pulling the trigger on this trade. The interior for our offensive line was mind numbingly mediocre last year. JD took great strides in improving the unit in 2020, but fell short of where we need it. We both identified this need and went for the best available offensive lineman in the draft. I say offensive lineman and not guard because that is what he is. He is not limited to just being a guard. I would trust him moving outside more than I would trust using our backup tackles. AVT fits our offensive scheme like a glove, and I am glad Douglas and I were on the same page here.
Round 2 (Pick 34)
My Pick: LB, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
JD’s Pick: WR, Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
I went into this pick with 3 names that I wanted here. I wanted JOK, Moore and Jenkins. Jenkins had some hip concerns that pushed him out of the 1st round. That along with the fact that so many offensive linemen left on the board led me to pass on Jenkins. Moore is an obvious fit for our offense. His ability to attack all levels of the field from a variety of positions makes him an obvious choice. JOK is another guy that fits our defense like a glove. JD has been looking for a coverage LBer since he tried to land Neal in free agency. The middle of our defense will be key to its success. More so than CB. With the depth at WR in the class and already on our team, I went with JOK. I knew I could land WR talent later. Both are bad men that would building blocks for years to come.
Round 4 (Pick 107)
My Pick: TE, Brevin Jordan, Miami
JD’s Pick: RB, Michael Carter, UNC
I had a 2nd round grade for both Carter and Jordan. With the way RBs were dropping, I knew there would be some premium RB talent in the later rounds. Carter is a beast, but considering we will be running a platoon of backs, I was willing to pass for now. TE is a position that is depleted. We have no idea what we are going to get from Herndon. Jordan didn’t test very well and dropped as a result. His play speaks for itself though. His ability as a move TE that can lineup all over the place could have been very valuable to a rookie QB.
Round 5 (Pick 146)
My Pick: IOL, Trey Smith, Tennessee
JD’s Pick: S/LB, Jamien Sherwood, Auburn
It’s well known that Trey Smith had blood clot issues. This scared a lot of teams off and caused Smith to drop. With that said, he tested incredibly well. He ranked 11th out of 1152 OGs from 1987 to 2021. His power is undeniable. His movements skills leave a lot to be desired. He might not have been the perfect fit, but as a RG he could clean up on the backside of wide zone, inside zone or duo. I can honestly say I didn’t watch any Jamien Sherwood before the draft. But have since watched a handful of games with him. He could end up being Saleh’s next great LBer. He isn’t there yet, but he has the football IQ and the fluidity.
Round 5 (Pick 154)
My Pick: WR, Cornell Powell, Clemson
JD’s Pick: S/CB, Michael Carter II, Duke
Carter is a developmental slot CB that is a great athlete and a lot of untapped potential. With how weak the CB position is for us, I can see why JD went after Carter. Since I passed on Moore, I had to find some WR help for Fields. Powell is another WR that fits our offense very well. He is very well rounded, and a bully after the catch. He does well in contested catches, and will fight tooth and nail for every yard.
Round 5 (Pick 175)
My Pick: CB, Tay Gowan, UCF
JD’s Pick: CB, Jason Pinnock, Pitt
Pinnock is another defensive back athlete with a lot of measurables that are coveted. Unlike Carter, Pinnock can play outside for us. I just chose to go a different route at the same position. Gowan decided to opt out of the 2020 season out of concern for his daughter’s health. In 2019 though, you could see the talent Gowan possessed. His stickiness in coverage was consistent and impressive. It will be fun seeing how these two guys develop over the years.
Round 6 (Pick 186)
My Pick: RB, Kylin Hill, Mississippi St
JD’s Pick: S/LB, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida St
This is JD’s 2nd attempt to fill the need for a WILL LBer. I already took the best one in the draft, so I am free to draft elsewhere. So many very good RBs were still around at this point. I had a 3rd round grade for Hill who opted out for the 2020 season. If you go back to his 2019 tape, you see the elusive playmaker that he can be. His cutback ability/vision would mesh perfectly with our outside zone concepts.
Round 6 (Pick 200)
My Pick: K, Jose Borregales, Miami
JD’s Pick: CB, Brandin Echols, Kentucky
I feel like every year we keep kicking the kicker can down the road. We haven’t had a solid multi year kicker since Folk. Since then we have either not retained talent or brought in a revolving door of mediocre kickers. I like that JD is willing to throw draft capital at needs, but, these aren’t exactly premium picks. Borregales could have nailed down our special teams.
Round 6 (Pick 207)
My Pick: WR, Tamorrion Terry, Florida St
JD’s Pick: IDL, Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas
I love the raw potential of Jonathan Marshall, but when you watched him this year, you can clearly see why he was just a sub package guy before. He just doesn’t have the stamina to keep his elite athleticism going for a whole game. Since I decided to go with JOK rather than Moore, I decided to take a page out of JD’s book and double up on the position turned down. With Powell we get the reliable slot menace that creates YAC. Now with Terry we get the explosive deep threat with size. Together they can do a lot of what Moore can and with size.
I think JD’s 1st 5 picks are outstanding. I can see his top 5 doing a little better than mine. Where I think I did better was on day 3. I think I got a little more in terms of quality players. Time will tell of course. I’ll revisit this in a few years and see where we are with our picks. How did you guys do? Did you make your picks right along with JD?