I have not made my desire to draft Ryan Kelly a secret. I think he is a first round talent and I think he may very well be on the board when we draft on April 28, but like all of you, I have no idea how high he is on McLovin's board.
When Kelly was no longer available to me in the first round of this SB Nation mock draft, I audibled to the strength of the top of this draft class, which is along the defensive line. Personally, I don't think Andrew Billings will be available when we select at 21st overall in the first round, so I like that pick from both a value standpoint as well as the standpoint of making an immediate impact on the field.
In the second round, I had my eyes set on a safety, even though most things I read suggest that the safety class is loaded with project players by the time we pick. Then, I watched as Karl Joseph, Vonn Bell, Darian Thompson, Jeremy Cash and even Keanu Neal were taken ahead of me. Gears had to be changed on the fly.
Given our need for defensive backs, Artie Burns (the corner out of Miami) stared me down when it was my turn to select. The God's honest truth is that I just didn't feel it, and let me be clear when I tell you that there is not a single professional personnel guy in the league who would pay a squirt of piss for my gut feelings.
I took a deep breath and looked at my board and there he was...with a nice number "2" written next to his name: Nick Martin. The guy has size, he has a "high football IQ" (according to people who know such things far better than me), and he has pedigree--his brother Zach is already in the league (plays on the offensive line in Dallas). I mean no disrespect to Kory Lichtensteiger when I say that Martin would project as a starter for the Redskins. In fact, if this is true, our offensive line depth would be the envy of other teams in the league, as we would actually be bringing in seasoned quasi-starters off the bench in the case of injury.
As I made the decision to draft the graduate student captain from Notre Dame, it just felt right. In two rounds, I had drafted two probable starters in the absolute hearts of the trenches on each side of the ball. Both of these guys have the potential to be productive members of the Washington Redskins for years to come.
I get the lack of sexiness involved in drafting two rather meaty dudes to play in the trenches for your team, but winning the individual battles there is often the difference between winning and losing. These two selections increase our chances of winning those battles, which increases our chances of winning games.
Finally, as I point out in my write-up (I will link the pick write-up when it gets posted), this draft selection is an investment in Kirk Cousins. Pairing Kirk with a young, blue-chip center, and helping them grow together could pay huge dividends for this coaching staff.