1. Where to start today? We actually all of a sudden have much to cover (just before getting back to some pretty slow days in May). For me, there is no better place to begin than our very own Scot "McLovin" McCloughan. Even though he threw me for quite the loop, the wisdom and wizardry of his drafting prowess was fully on display. Before I explain myself, let me make one caveat clear: I don't think fantasy football draft experience makes me an expert in...well, anything, but it helps to frame up a brief discussion on value. Many of us prepare our lists of players going into a fantasy draft. We have an understanding of the rules of our leagues, what kinds of players score well, and what the priorities should be as we move through each round. Invariably, players we rank highly are seen as undraftable by others, and vice versa. At some point in the draft, we find ourselves on the clock, with an available player that we believe should have been drafted one or two rounds earlier. At that point, we have a decision to make: we either draft this player as fast as we can click on his name, or we pull the trigger on another position or player, for whatever reason. For the first three rounds--at least--McLovin went with the former. When it was his turn to pick, and he was either unable or unwilling to trade, he looked at his board and saw a player sitting there that he felt was way too talented to still be on the board. What can I say? The man believes in his own ability to rank talent. All three of McLovin's first picks appeared to be made with the thought of getting the best football player available. We all know that there were players on the board that the Redskins either liked or wanted when they selected early in the draft, but they exhibited uncommon discipline in sticking to their board. Finally, the ability to move back and add three important picks to the 2017 draft make this a complete home run in my eyes. Two fourth-round picks are likely to net two starters for the Redskins, and the added picks in the fifth and sixth rounds could serve as ammunition to jump up and grab a player if the front office sees fit. Stockpiling draft picks is what good teams do (and Cleveland, apparently).
2. Raise your hand if you had us taking Josh Doctson in the first round. I know there are some of you out there. When this name was called, and I was feverishly preparing to get a post out on it, I paused for a precious moment to make sure I was seeing and hearing correctly. As it sank in, the impact of this draft pick started making sense...slowly. While I did not enter the draft extremely interested in seeking replacements for guys who may or may not be on the roster in two years, the value of a player like Josh Doctson extends beyond "DJAX/Pierre Insurance." At 6'2", he is immediately the biggest receiver on our squad. With a "catch radius" roughly the size of the Chesapeake Bay, Doctson figures to be given a chance to haul in touchdown passes from inside the red zone. Wide receivers are strange creatures, in that you rarely know if and when an elite college receiver is going to click in the league. McLovin believes that will happen in 2016, which would make this pick look rather smart, but clearly the thought is Doctson will be in place when the team decides to wave buh-bye to DeSean Jackson after the season. (Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like Garcon will agree to a reasonable (aka cheap) contract that keeps him here for another year or two?) I try not to put the cart in front of the horse, but I still can't help but envisioning a Doctson/Crowder/Reed trio on the field for the burgundy and gold. Kirk Cousins must be pleased.
3. Similar to the first-round pick, the second round selection made me take a second to get my bearings. Su'a Cravens is a player known to Hogs Haven, as Gabe wrote a great profile on him. We all know what we saw when we watched those first videos, even if we all also agree that despite early impressions, Cravens is not the second coming of Sean Taylor. What made the drafting of Su'a most fun to me was the thought of his versatility on the field for us right away. If McLovin picked him, we know he is a "football player" (in quotes because...well, because it is a ridiculous way to differentiate football players from football players, and yet that is how we seem to do it). Cravens brings the skills to help the Redskins in many areas of need right away. I worry about overloading a rookie with responsibilities at the pro level, so I truly wonder what the team will ask of him in the early stages, but my guess is he will make plays for us in September. Wearing #36, he already is following in the footsteps of a player we loved dearly that made an impact right away. Let's not burden him with those kinds of expectations though. He is likely already one of our best eleven players on defense, which is all I could ask for out of the second round.
4. By the time the third round started, I was convinced that my chances of guessing who we were going to pick were slim to none. Kendall Fuller would have easily been my 27th guess. In addition to being local (he went to Good Counsel High School--LIGER!!!!!!!), he is also the fourth Fuller brother to make it into the league--and by many accounts, the BEST Fuller brother to make it to the pros. That remains to be seen, as does the durability of Kendall's knee, but given that he was rated as a solid second rounder by many, and even a first-round talent by some (okay, so I am falling prey to draftspeak here...sorry), he represents straight value in the third round. The NFL is about throwing the football these days (in case you missed the memo), so covering receivers is kind of important. You may recall that we interviewed/auditioned about a dozen corners last year in the middle of our campaign, as we reeled from injuries at this critical spot. We were relying on a converted wide receiver and a free agent off the street to cover some of the best pass catchers in the NFL last winter. At the end of the day, if Fuller is healthy, he becomes a vital member of our secondary immediately, because he either earns a job outright in camp or he is forced onto the field because of injury during the season. I think you could rightfully suggest this was a need pick that also happened to be a value/BPA pick. Again, the more you think about this selection, the better it both sounds and feels.
5. Our draft class is very much based on these first three picks, but let's not sleep on Matt Ioannidis, the defensive lineman out of Temple. He falls squarely into the "McLovin-type" of football player. If you play or have played pickup football or basketball, Ioannidis is the kind of player you absolutely hate. He's that guy you have to guard that acts like every play is the deciding play of the Super Bowl or NBA Finals. He never quits and he never stops going all-out, all the time. (I often like to think I am this kind of player on the pickup court...a thought that is quickly dashed as the man twice my age that I am guarding is building a Hall of Fame highlight reel.) Ioannnidis seems to factor in our defensive line rotation right away, based on the reality of our current depth chart as well as the fact that he was (literally) hand-picked by McLovin for this role. As for Nate Sudfeld, Steven Daniels and Keith Marshall, there could be some gravy in there, but I don't want to be the guy who says something like, "All seven of our draft picks are going to make the team and be awesome!" Sudfeld could be fun to develop given his size. Daniels was the lead dog on one of the top defenses in college. Marshall brings the kind of speed to the roster you would hope our coaches could get something out of, whether it be on special teams or third down. One thing is certain: based on the fact that these were all players picked by McLovin, there will be teams waiting to see if these players become available. Should we try to move one of these late players to the practice squad, I would expect the Tevin Mitchel fiasco to play out all over again.
6. If you were following Hogs Haven during the draft this weekend, you might have clicked on a brief piece of audio posted up on Saturday featuring Scott (Hog Hunter) and myself, and then a second reaction piece with Kevin Ricca. Nobody likes to give me the business on Hogs Haven like Scott (which I deserve), and so I intend to loop him into some more segments of The Audible going forward, when his busy schedule allows. I do have one cool story to tease for this week's show: it involves something Kevin has in common with Moritz Boehringer, the first player to be chosen out of Europe. And I am not referring to Kevin's acapella performance of "The Final Countdown" in the basement studio. Please send us your comments and questions for tomorrow's show. In particular, did anyone watch the whole thing--or most of it? If so, send me your highlights and lowlights. I will be happy to include them with mine during the show. Since I have to write something that will cause Kevin and Tim to reach for their yellow legal pads, I will suggest the following topics:
- Which player--that was available when we picked--will we regret not drafting the MOST?
- Which NFC East team (besides us) helped themselves the most?
- Which draft expert reigned supreme this past weekend...and why?