American Football

Alternate Draft 2023


Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s easy to look back at drafts past and say “Damn! We could have gotten that Pro-Bowler, but instead we got this dope.” Until you go on the clock with the GM and make a decision, you don’t really know how hard it is to pick winners. I should also say, it’s very easy to just make picks and disregard the work that went into the trades to get those picks. All the credit in the world goes to Joe and his team to get those trades in. This experiment will center around the picks made. Going back about 7 or 8 years, I have been making my picks before our GM turns in their cards. I am sure a lot of you do the same. This is a fun long-term experiment. Make those picks, and then follow their progress 3 to 4 years down the line. You start to get a look at what a team drafted by you would actually look like. Did you guys make picks right alongside Joe Douglas? Let’s see how you guys did when you were on the clock. How were my picks compared to Joe’s?


My Pick: WR, Jaxon Smith-Njigba

JD’s Pick: EDGE, Will McDonald

Time will tell who made the right decision here. The idea of having JSN and Wilson together in the same WR room once again was something I couldn’t pass on. The fact that JSN outplayed both him and Olave is just the icing on the cake. This move also would have allowed us to move on from C. Davis. With this said, I love Will McDonald or WMD as I will be calling him from now on. If he was used a littler differently at Iowa State, I don’t think he even makes it to pick 15. He was lining up as a shade 1 tech for them. He is not a big guy, so the fact that he was successful in this role is incredibly special. I am curious what his snap count will look like.


My Pick: C, John Michael Schmitz

JD’s Pick: C, Joe Tippmann

JD and I were both thinking about getting our future franchise center. We just differed in our approach. I had 4 centers ranked very close to each other. There were just minor differences in each that kind of made it a pick your flavor competition. With JMS, I saw safety. He could step in and be a day 1 starter, and I would be very comfortable with his ability. A true high floor prospect. His issue is that he is already near his ceiling, witch is not low. With Tippmann you probably have the highest upside with his incredible athleticism. He also has the most risk. There aren’t many centers with his height. That could be an issue with leverage. He also comes from an offense that is more run centric. Will JMS hold as the solid center that gets the job done? Will Tippmann reach his ceiling? Time will tell.

ROUND 4 (PICK 120)

My Pick: SAF, Antonio Johnson

JD’s Pick: T, Carter Warren

This was a hard one. I was tossing between bringing in some OL depth as well. I just couldn’t pass on my #2 SAF prospect. While he didn’t test well, his tape was what I fell in love with. His ability to play every single position in the secondary makes him perfect for our defense. His physicality is just icing on the cake. Carter Warren was also a good pickup. I can’t knock the pick. It fills some much needed T depth. Warren is still recovering from a torn meniscus during his final season at Pitt. In the end, I saw more future starting potential from Johnson than Warren. The fact that Johnson went so much later in the draft kind of gives JD the EDGE here for now.

ROUND 5 (PICK 143)

My Pick: IDL, Keondre Coburn

JD’s Pick: RB, Israel Abanikanda

With this pick, I saw the opportunity to fill an actual starting need. As of right now, we don’t have the beef to play next to Q on early downs. We have plenty of pass rushers who can step in on 3rd down, but no one to play NT or 1 tech. Coburn has the stoutness to be a force against the run, and also has some movement ability to not be a slouch when pass rushing. I also can’t complain about adding the speed of Abanikanda, but the reality is that if Carter bounces back, he is RB 3 at best.

ROUND 6 (PICK 184)

My Pick: IOL, Luke Wypler

JD’s Pick: LB, Zaire Barnes

Wypler was too good to pass up here. I had a solid day 2 grade on Wypler, who can play all along the interior OL. He can do three things for us. He can give us insurance for Laken if he has another poor showing this year. He can give us insurance for AVT if he has to move outside for any reason. Finally he can also be insurance for Tippmann if hovers more around his floor than his ceiling. On the flip side, LBer depth is very important. From the little I have seen of Barnes, he is a very athletic option at LBer who the coaches can help mold. When it comes to LBers, there is no one I trust more to develop them.

ROUND 6 (PICK 207)

My Pick: LB, Ivan Pace

JD’s Pick: DB, Jarrick Bernard-Converse

I didn’t want to ignore the LBer position as it is a big need. I just went a different direction. Pace is for sure undersized, but he has the heart and football IQ that I think will make him a valuable piece on any defense. Not many guys can say they put O’Cyrus Torrence on his butt, but Pace did at the Senior Bowl. Something should be said about the guys that go out there and compete like their hair is on fire every single play. They can be taught to play in a way that hides their deficiencies. Bernard-Covverse is a guy I really loved watching last year at Oklahoma State. I kind of really like this pick a little more than my own. Jarrick is fast, physical and has good instincts. I am kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I thought he came out last year. Turns out he just transferred. I think he will make a nice hybrid CB/S. I will give JD the nod here, great pick.

ROUND 7 (PICK 220)

My Pick: FB, Hunter Luepke

JD’s Pick: TE, Zack Kuntz

This pick was all about upside depth for the bottom of the roster. Kuntz had an Increidble RAS score that can’t be ignored, but his tape disappointed me. I saw a big TE that moves well, but needs to work on his blocking and route running quite a bit. He also isn’t much of a YAC guy for a big man. I just expected to see a lot more. Lots of room for growth to be sure. With Luepke I saw a potential weapon. Luepke is not just a power FB. He is also a very dangerous weapon as a receiver. If I were an OC, I would always be looking at how I can throw new wrinkles at a defense to keep them on their toes. To me, a FB that can attack an offense on many different levels can do just that.


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