"Reid Between The Lines" represents the London Bulldogs' continued efforts to connect with the RFL community. This series looks to inform the reader on the latest news surrounding the Bulldogs. You'll get opinions directly from Coach Reid, and dive deeper into the team's moves than you ever have before.
In our third issue of "Reid Between The Lines" we'll be diving into the draft and what caused us to pick the players that we did.
RFL Draft Day 1
Coming into day one of the draft, we were looking at picks 2, 11, and 31. We didn't have to wait long before we were on the clock, and our pick appeared obvious to the entire RFL community. The potentially elite QB, Darryl Johnson had just went off the board, and Jermaine Taylor, likely the best prospect in the entire college series, was sitting there waiting. Yet, there were a handful of players we were otherwise considering in that spot. Leading up to draft day, our board had switched around a few times, because we ultimately did not know what would be available for us at Pick 11. If you took a look at our transactions leading up to the draft, we left a few spots open in the secondary. We moved up to pick 11 with the hopes that one of the top DB's would fall to that spot, but we weren't certain. I had to make an executive decision to address our pass rush first, and hope for the best with our next pick. If we left the draft with just Jermaine Taylor, our draft would still be a win. We had a shortlist of 11 guys ready to go, and it was time to wait it out.
A second quarterback went off the board within the top 10 picks, which was a bit of a surprise to us, and left our options a bit more open. We were very surprised by the pick of Xavier Eaves to the Pioneers, because they didn't address the fact that they don't have a LT on the roster, and have a seeming need at DT on paper. This helped to shape our views of where the rest of the players would fall within the draft though, because when a team skips over an apparent need like that, it could mean those positions are weaker in terms of overall. In the next few picks, all of our top DB's went off the board, leaving us with a decision to make. We had to select from a top player at any of the other positions. We already knew the best interior offensive lineman had gone off the board, and the Pioneers then passed on the best tackle. We decided that we would go with the top WR in the college series, and give ourselves an immediate impact player. We were surprised that Winckelmann did not have superstar, given that he was the unanimous top WR, having around 1,500 yards, and twice as many touchdowns as his next best competitor at that yardage level. He won best WR, and had a solid combine, so suffice it to say that we were shocked when a receiver got selected the pick after him at the same exact development and overall. However, we are extremely happy to have Jake on the team, as we think he might be able to add a new dynamic to this offense on day 1. Getting an immediate starter with Pick 11 was the goal, and we believe we achieved that.
With one pick left to go on day 1, were were looking for a way to select a player who could have the most impact on the organization right away. I'll be honest, we were looking at the QB's with our final selection on day 1. It was always going to be a waiting game though, because we were confident a QB or two would get picked in front of us and indicate the rest of the overalls. We had a few other guys that slipped to the late first as well at various positions of need, and it was hard to pass on any of them. However, when it came to the Diablos pick, they selected Ramos at a 67 overall. The important thing to note here is that we already have two, young 67-overall QB's on the roster, and we like them. Our scouting told us that there should only be one, or maybe two QB's with a better overall to Ramos, especially considering his positive performance in the Senior Bowl. Therefore, we made the call to forego selecting a QB and wait until our pick in the 2nd round, if not later to re-evaluate the position.
In my opinion, you would have to be a bit crazy to see that Ramos pick and then say "yeah, we want to go QB soon." In addition, we had a major need on special teams, and we elected to go for a guy who could make an impact on day 1.
Selecting one of those other guys on day 1 wouldn't have immediately answered any questions for this team, like Michael Flota did. Then I take a look at all of the guys selected between pick 31 and our day 2 pick, pick 55, and I don't see a single player who would've come in and started for our team on day 1. Knowing that there were multiple teams looking at Flota in the second round, we definitely made the right choice. Besides, it was looking likely that we still may get a QB late in the second round, considering no one should've been selecting one one early that day. There were also a bunch of other good players still on our board, so one of them would likely be available at Pick 55, while Flota would not. Finally, we had no answers as to whether we would be able to trade up in the 2nd.
RFL Draft Day 2
Moving on to the second round, we were getting closer and closer to the pick and some major QB's were still on the board. Owen Jack ended up getting picked two picks in front of us at a 70 overall, and I wasn't upset that he got taken. That pick saved us from selecting a player who came in severely underrated. We thought Jack would come in as a much better player after his great college season. This also told us that it was time to go after the other parts of our board. There weren't going to be QB's that would be a big enough upgrade over what was already on the roster. We elected to draft strong safety Trey Simmions, who we had rated as an early-round talent, and he came in at a 70 overall with normal development.
Now, for a guy who lead all safeties in tackles, made a lot of standout plays in other categories, and had one of the best combines of any player, we felt he was a bit underrated. While the rating on him is a little bit weird, he's still a very nice safety who has a nose for the ball. He sports fantastic size at 6'3 230 pounds and elite 95 speed to match. It's safe to say Simmions is a bit of a freak of nature, and we are extremely happy that he was our only selection on day 2. We had even made efforts to trade into the early parts of round 2 to select him, so I'm glad that we stayed put and he fell right to us.
RFL Draft Day 3
Leading up to day 3, we were already really happy with our draft and looking to trade away some of our picks. We knew that there were teams who really wanted to snag these lower overall players, and we could use these in-demand picks to get ourselves something of better use. We made a move to package a handful of picks together and bring in X-Factor safety Jacolby Haskins, who will have a massive impact in our secondary this season. This move was a no-brainer, and left us with only a 5th, 6th, and 7th round pick remaining.
With our 5th rounder, we selected CB Kenun Grant, who is another prototype athlete. By now, most fans should know that we do one thing well on the Bulldogs, and that's athleticism. Grant is a guy who may rotate in for some reps at CB, FS, and SS throughout his rookie season, so he provides a nice depth presence.
With our 6th round pick, we selected RE Julio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a 6'8 defensive lineman who has the potential to play around on our defensive line. We like guys who can play more than one spot, so Gonzalez had added value on a team like ours, especially when you consider he's going to be learning from pedigree guys like Drew Brewer and Jermaine Taylor.
With our selection in the final round of the RFL draft, we selected QB Malcolm Love. At this point in the draft, it was just about selecting a player who had a fighting chance at making the roster. Love is a player that we really like the upside of. He is a very similar QB to Dre Lawson, but 4 years younger, and an active community member. We believe Love will have a really good shot at building himself up to compete for a starting spot one day. Not to mention, he's not that far off of the guys that teams reached for on days 1 and 2.
Stay tuned for more in volume 4.