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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

I am put to the test to choose between Denzel Ward and Vita Vea, and my answer ended up being not what I thought it would be.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
  1. In our annual SB Nation author’s mock draft, I eagerly awaited my turn to select the next all-time great Redskin at #13 overall. As you all know, I put out my initial “Race to the Podium” list last week. Quenton Nelson, Derwin James and Denzel Ward were my top three players, and this mock draft put me to the test on that. Some of you will argue I failed that test. The others will (hopefully) argue that I evolved. Please note—there is no trading in this particular mock. When it’s your turn to pick, you have to make a choice. The full results from the mock will be released later, but as we engage in 24-hour mock draft chatter, I thought going through the thought process here would be fun (for me anyway).
  2. Quenton Nelson, the Notre Dame offensive lineman that I think might be the best player in this draft (maybe...), was the first of my three off the board, going #6 to the Colts. When that happened, I thought, “I wonder if Mark Tyler would let me get away with drafting Mike McGlinchey at #13 overall?” I have seen him ranked as the top offensive tackle in this draft, and I feel like if you can get that player at #13 overall, you are probably playing things pretty safe. I love the idea of strengthening the offensive line for the long term, but the 6’8” Notre Dame product would not immediately fill an open starting spot. As much as I like investing in the offensive line, I do understand that this pick has to result in the selection of an immediate starter. With no top-tier center screaming at me from the board, I willfully moved on from the idea of drafting an offensive lineman in the first round.
  3. A popular mock destination for Derwin James, the safety out of Florida State, has been Tampa Bay in the #7 slot, which is exactly where he went here. At this point, I think that people are just ripping off my list. To be clear, if Nelson is gone, and James is available, I am racing to the podium with a card that has his name written on it. This mock draft (and most we are seeing these days) should really prepare us for the glaring reality that these two players will not be available when the Redskins draft in the first round. I don’t think we are talking about Ryan Kelly types that hang around until a pick or two before we go. Nelson and James are worthy of top-7 status. We need to prepare for that eventuality. On the other hand, Denzel Ward is a player that very well could be available when the Redskins draft...
  4. Before we go there, something odd did happen in this mock: Josh Allen fell. As I watched this happening, I had to ask myself the tough question, “Is there a place on this earth remote enough for me to escape the wrath of this fanbase if I were to submit a card with Josh Allen’s name on it in the #13 spot of this first round?” When we sized up the Buffalo Bills move to #12, we all kind of thought they were stealing a prime quarterback slot away from us. By this, I mean that with them at #12, and with them needing to select a possible franchise passer, the trade-up spot to grab the last of the legitimate first-round passers now belongs to the Bills. I always assumed it was Lamar Jackson territory. I did not think Allen would fall that far (and I think we can all agree he won’t fall this far on April 26th). As I was looking at airfare to northern Canada, the good folks at Buffalo Rumblings saved me from having to learn how to ice fish. (Sidebar: am I crazy, or does hanging out in a shed on a frozen pond with a PS4, HD television and all the whiskey you can drink sound like the way life was meant to be lived? I am pretty sure this is in my future...even if I have to flood my backyard next winter. T, don’t worry, not only will there be a place for you in the shed, the ice will be way easier for you to navigate than the mud.) (Side-sidebar: There is no way T EVER willingly joins me in a shed in my backyard. In fact, I recall being served with legal documents requiring my signature that prevent me from even asking.) Irregardless...Josh Allen is off the board, and I don’t have to change my name.
  5. Sooooooooooo...based on things I have previously written, my pick should have been rather simple. I still have a Race to the Podium guy, and it happens to be a player personally recommended to me by Shawn Springs (excuse me while I just drop that name over here). He came to the basement and told us that Denzel Ward was better than Marshon Lattimore and that Ward was going to SHINE in the league from the start. I have also always believed that if you can get a top cornerback option in the middle of the first round, you are ahead of the game. You get a high-level player who will be on the field for you without dinging the salary cap. I started writing the words...all the while thinking of how I would enjoy making Denzel references for the next decade. (I was even workshopping such gems as, “I didn’t land on Denzel Ward in this mock...the mock landed Denzel Ward on me!” The crickets loved it.) Then something happened. I froze and stopped typing his name. I knew I was wrong. The answer was there all along...and it was obvious: the player we really need to draft is someone who has a body like Michael with a Denzel face! Okay...I’m done on that.
  6. Vita Vea has officially replaced Denzel Ward as the third on my Race to the Podium list (Denzel is still the equalizer at #4...and NOW I’m officially done). This is based on a rule I have been working on with Kevin and T in the basement: If a 350-pound Tongan athlete is available at TAKE HIM. Putting Vea next to Jonathan Allen on our defensive line should give us something we haven’t seen since...I don’t know if I can think back that far. With an inside man like Vea, we would have a magnificent (front) seven. (I need help.) The Washington run defense was...a problem. Drafting a ridiculously strong and agile defensive tackle goes down as both best player available AND best need-based pick. Who among us doesn’t want to see what giving Jim Tomsula a player like Vea does for our defense? I know that the Redskins have made some picks in the top two frames that have left us...wanting more. This one should get us out of our chairs. Taking Vita Vea in the first round would be the kind of selection that would solidify some strong and positive emotions heading into training day camp. It is my hope that all of you can get excited about the kind of front we would have with Allen and Vea. It is my hope that I haven’t let you down with this mock pick. After all, y’all’s the onlyest family I got...

(Maybe it is for the best that we don’t draft Denzel Ward.)