Another year, and another live mock draft on SBNation. This annual tradition started over on Mocking the Draft, but has been rotating to different host blogs every year since changes were made to the MTD format. This year's host, for the second year in a row was Tennessee Titans blog, Music City Miracles. The draft was held over two days and went the full 7 rounds with UDFAs named following the final pick.
There was also a pre-draft trade negotiation window which allowed teams to get trade guidelines established. I received a tip that the Saints were looking to trade up from the GM of the Jaguars who was trying to set up a complicated, 3 team trade. I went to the Saints directly, and they were willing to either trade #31 and several picks including a future 3rd, or #13 and their 2nd and 3rd round picks. The latter deal was more appealing, and I wasn't planning on dropping to the bottom of the 1st. The deal was dependent on their player being available, but it seemed like a done deal. Having 5 picks in the first 3 rounds was the best case scenario.
The draft started and the players went as expected with Jameis Winston first, then Marcus Mariota to the Titans. The Jaguars took Vic Beasley, which could be a slight surprise, but not unexpected. Then the Raiders were up, and there was a trade...with the Saints. Wait what? The Saints had backed out of their deal, and offered the same set of picks to the Raiders, fearing that their guy would get picked. I waited to see Leonard Williams' name, but that didn't happen. The Saints were after Dante Fowler, Jr., the OLB from Florida. I had already typed Fowler's name out, but quickly changed the pick to Leonard Williams, and once the Redskins were on the clock, it took 3 seconds to hit send and get arguably the best player in the draft at #5.
Round 1: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Obvious choice here with the two top OLBs on my board already selected, and the top player on our board available. The Redskins invested heavily in the DL this year, but they also cut two veteran players. Williams represents the future of the Redskins, and should play early in the DL rotation. With Jason Hatcher likely gone after this year, and Terrance Knighton on a 1-year deal, getting youth and talent on the DL makes too much sense here to pass.
Round 2: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt
We had Clemmings as the top OT left on our board, and a 1st round talent. Another very easy pick that combined both value and need. Tom Compton is back for another season, but he was average at best last year, and Morgan Moses is recovering from Lisfranc surgery and needs work. Xavier Nixon was released by Indianapolis for on and off the field reasons. Clemmings comes in to compete for the starting job this year.
Round 3: Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke
I didn't plan on going back-to-back OL here, but with Tomlinson still available we wanted to again focus on the lines, and got some more meat and potatoes. Tomlinson makes moving on from Chris Chester easier, and gives Spencer Long strong competition for the starting RG job. The two 3rd round guards will have training camp and the preseason to win the job.
Round 4: Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State
The war room had several names as potential targets here, but Steven Nelson was on everyone's list. For me personally this pick came down to FS Derron Smith and Nelson. The need at FS is higher, but Nelson is a player that could win the slot CB job immediately making Tracy Porter (more) expendable. Derron Smith would likely need time, and would be behind Dashon Goldson for at least a year. Nelson has the potential to be a mid-round steal here, and should go higher next weekend.
Round 5: Max Valles, OLB, Virginia
We looked at several safeties here, and had one left on the board that was going to be the pick, Virginia's Anthony Harris. Unfortunately he was taken one spot before our pick, which caused us to quickly look for a replacement. Pinch hitting for the GM who was away from the phone, Michimore Wizskins selected Max Valles to add to the depth at the position.
Round 6: Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame
Logan Paulsen is someone that I wanted to replace last year to avoid paying a contract that is too high for what he brings to the team. He did not have a good season, and is still overpaid this year. Enter Ben Koyack to take over Paulsen's role at a 6th of the cost. Koyack does need to increase his strength to play at the NFL level, but should be an adequate replacement. He was a 4th round talent on our board, and great value at this spot.
Round 7: Dres Anderson, WR, Utah
A lot of players and positions were considered here like RB, S, WR. Dres Anderson is a mid-round prospect that some people are high on, but his season-ending injury has dropped him in this draft. Another player that needs to increase strength at the next level, but could be a solid depth pick. He would also be the tallest WR on the roster this year at 6'1".
Dean Marlowe, FS, JMU
Developmental safety prospect that has the size for the position Scot McCloughan likes(6'1", 203 lbs). Versatile DB who likes to hit.
Donald Celiscar, CB, Wesern Michigan
Physical, ball-hawking cornerback who is at his best in bump and run coverage per NFL.com's Lance Zierlein who could transition to safety at the next level.
Trey Depriest, ILB, Alabama
Perry Riley and Will Compton will battle for one spot, and Keenan Robinson still needs to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire NFL season. DePriest comes in to compete for a backup role and special teams spot.
Akeem Hunt, RB, Purdue
Fast RB, who can catch the ball and could fill a need for the team if they are not satisfied with the development/health of Silas Redd and Chris Thompson this year. Also has experience on special teams returning kicks.
Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
Practice squad QB for Jay Gruden to keep while figuring out the QB carousel this year. GM Scot McCloughan attended his Pro Day, and he will be visiting the team.
Special thanks to everyone that helped out this year including Steve Shoup, Joey Terrones(@joeyt5656), P_Hazard, Cadillactica, and Michimore Wizskins
10 more days...