In 2008, Scott Wright began his “Dream Draft” Series, one of my favorites at Draft Countdown. As draftniks, all of us feel like we can do a better job picking players than most real GMs, so the Dream Draft puts it to the test. I will be continuing his series and using the team he drafted from 2008-2019 (active players listed at the bottom of this post) and mine from 2020. Here are the guidelines for the challenge:
- I will get one selection in the middle of every round of the draft.
- In each round, I can only select a prospect who actually went in that frame.
- I can’t take anyone who was selected before my mid-round slot.
- I can’t choose more than one prospect at each position.
- I will also be allowed to sign one undrafted free agent.
- I will not be selecting for any particular offensive or defensive scheme.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Bateman was my #3 WR in the class and a versatile weapon that can flourish in any offense. His route running and explosion off the line creates instant separation, which is crucial in the NFL today. He was a lock to be a Top 50 pick but likely to go after the Alabama duo of Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. When Kadarius Toney was taken over Bateman, he was sure to be a steal. There are some early question marks with the Ravens being a run-first offense (though our team also has J.K. Dobbins,) and now core muscle surgery sidelining Bateman for a while. Once he is back to 100%, expect more passing from the Ravens and Bateman to be one of the top WRs in the NFL.
Actual: Baltimore Ravens (#27 Overall)
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The 2021 class was full of big, athletic OTs. When Cosmi was getting top 15 publicity, it felt a little high, but seeing him fall to 51st overall, the 8th Tackle off the board (when he was my #5 OT in the class) made him a steal and my best available player at that point. An athletic mover who showed some inconsistency in college, Cosmi needs good technique coaching to become a dominant Right Tackle. He looks like he will start right away for WFT and is in a great situation to flourish and prove some of the teams that passed on him wrong.
Actual: Washington Football Team (#51 Overall)
Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
A player from Wisconsin-Whitewater rarely goes in the Top 100, but Meinerz is a unique breed of tough, hard-nosed player who will have a long NFL career. Dominant in college, Meinerz true challenge came at the Senior Bowl where he held his own after a rough start to the week. Eventually, he was stonewalling big-time college players proving his worth. Meinerz was my #2 Center in the class but fell to #4 at 98th overall due to his small school. Though he will start as a backup, we will hear of Meinerz as a starting Center or Guard for the Broncos soon enough when he gets comfortable in the pros.
Actual: Denver Broncos (#98 Overall)
Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
A productive pass rusher for multiple years with elite agility scores seems like a good bet to be a good pass rusher in the NFL. That is what the Titans got with Weaver in the 4th round at 135 overall. Weaver was the 18th Defensive End off the board but came in at 11th in my rankings at DE. Weaver led Pitt in sacks in 2018 with 6.5; then, after a torn ACL in 2019, he came back 7.5 sacks in 2020. Weaver may not be flashy, but he can get after the passer and attack RBs in the backfield, the type of player you want on your defense. The Titans have some holes, which may lead to a role for Weaver in his rookie season.
Actual: Tennessee Titans (#135 Overall)
K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn
Britt is the classic case of an undersized LB who works their behind off to get where they are. He isn’t a stud athlete, but his technique, tenacity, and hard work are always on display. From Auburn to the Senior Bowl and now to Buccaneers camp, Britt is the first one on the field, giving it everything to succeed. That is the type of player I’ll take a chance on in the 5th round. He could be a special teams player who could come in due to injury and perform. Maybe I’m a sucker for those hard workers, but Britt is worth the shot.
Actual: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#176 Overall)
Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
Smith is an insane talent. Over 6’5 at 320 pounds, he is a mammoth of an Offensive Lineman, but not only that, he is extremely athletic for his size. Smith fell due to medical concerns about a previous blood clot in his lungs, but Smith would have easily been a Top 100 pick without those concerns. A pulling guard at that size is hard to find, so I am willing to bet on Smith being an NFL starter as long as he can stay healthy.
Actual: Kansas City Chiefs (#226 Overall)
Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State
Running Backs fell pretty far in the draft, but my favorite late-round player was Jefferson. He may not be the most athletic, but his consistent production against top competition. Jefferson can make defenders miss in short area while still churning out short yardage. He pretty much was the Oregon State offense for many games throughout his career. With D’Andre Swift’s injury history, Jefferson could earn a role behind Jamaal Williams. He has the talent to be productive for a 7th round selection and may end up a steal.
Actual: Detroit Lions (#257 Overall)
Undrafted Free Agent:
Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
When I did my Top 100, Shakur Brown snuck in as a player I thought NFL teams would be high on. Though he didn’t have ideal workout numbers, his productivity against top Big Ten competition was very impressive. A shocking drop out of the draft entirely doesn’t negate his play on the field to me. The Steelers and their thin depth at CB is a perfect situation for Brown to make the team and make an impact. I’ll gladly take him as my UDFA.
Actual: Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Active Dream Draft Team Members
LB: K.J. Britt (‘21) Justin Strnad (‘20) D’Andre Walker (‘19) Terrill Hanks (‘19) Jeff Holland (‘18) Harvey Langi (‘17) Dadi Nicolas (‘16) Jordan Tripp (‘14) Christian Jones (‘14) Lavonte David (‘12) Vontaze Burfict (‘12)
2008-2019 players were selected by Scott Wright
2020-2021 players were selected by Shane P. Hallam
Follow Shane P. Hallam on twitter @ShanePHallam