Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU
Disclaimer: Although I haven't read all the write-ups of my fellow faux BGN GM's, I don't believe anyone else questioned their initial pick and then completely hated it. But in the sake of continuity and for the sake of staying true to my initial choice, I will give my opinion on why I chose Kelvin Benjamin and my thought process at that time.
The New Orleans Saints, the Who DAT nation, have been a mainstay near or at the top of the NFC since 2006. This success can mostly be attributed to Sean Payton and Drew Brees who have made the Saints offense arguably one of the most dominant offenses in history in terms of continued success. The defense has had its share of successes, disappointments and scandals (BOUNTYGATE) during that stretch.
Coming into this season, the Saints are among the leaders in the league in terms of age. Some key members will be entering that stage in their careers where father time might start to catch up with them. These players include Drew Brees who will be 35 and his most consistent weapon during the past 7-8 years Marques Colston who will be turning 31. Although for the most part most of the roster will be entering their prime which makes it the perfect time for the Front Office to strategize a "win now" type strategy. Jimmy Graham, the Saints most explosive weapon is at odds with the team due to contract issues and disapproval due to offseason moves. The defense is a work in progress, at one point last season they were lauded to be elite by some analysts but towards the end of the season this label proved to be folly.
The areas of need that I ascertained when I glanced over the Saints roster and conversed with Saints fans were at Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Center, Edgerusher and Tackle. Although most fans didn't believe that Tackle was an immediate need, I believe the position as it stands now is average at best.
On The Clock
Going into the draft in my head I expected to have one of the players below on the board at my pick but was disappointed when none of them were available.
Wide Receiver- Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Marquise Lee
Cornerback - Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller
Edge Rusher- Kony Ealy
At that moment the next five on my board were Kelvin Benjamin, Dee Ford, Jason Verrett, Ryan Shazier and Marcus Martin.
At the time I was picking to say I was indecisive, would be an understatement. I was torn between three prospects Kelvin Benjamin, Dee Ford and Jason Verrett as they were neck to neck in terms of value to me. I eventually went with Kelvin Benjamin and below I will explain why.
Kelvin Benjamin -
If I could use one word to describe Kelvin Benjamin, it would be raw. Unlike Greg Cossell, who has been on the record saying that Benjamin runs the route tree better than Mike Evans, I believe Benjamin is in development in that aspect. His physical attributes are what make him a prospect to salivate over. He is a legit 6'5, 230 plus wide receiver with a monstrous wingspan enabling him to catch almost anything thrown in his radius (think Plaxico). Although his straight-line speed is not even in the same stratosphere as his counterparts i.e. Watkins and Cooks, his short area quickness enables him to create separation which would enable him to use his physical traits to their fullest in jump ball situations. While his length and weight can be considered strength, it is also a weakness as he is hinder by it as it makes him less fluid. The tape shows a player who drops too many passes for a player as skilled as Benjamin. He shows poor form and recognition when catching passes which leads to many of these drops. These are traits that can be coached up. Benjamin also has come under fire recently by scouts and by front offices.
So why did I pick Benjamin over Ford and Verrett. To be totally honest it was a coin toss. Yes, a actual coin toss and of all places the internet. (REC FOR INTERNET COINTOSS, REC ME YOU #$%&#$&)
Other than the coin toss there are other reasons I chose Benjamin, these include as stated above the age of Colston and disputes between the Saints and Jimmy Graham. Benjamin would be a canvas for Sean Payton to mold into Colston's replacement while also keeping Graham at bay. The second reason is Drew Brees, Drew Brees is among the handful of QB's who can make even mediocre receivers look like gold, like his counterparts Manning( the one who does charity work not bumface), Brady, Rodgers, *cough* Folsean Dynamite, etc. The last reason I chose Benjamin as one of my finalists was because of the drop in the Saints red zone percentage from the 2012 season to the 2013 season. They were 2nd in the league in 2012 while they dropped to 12th in 2013.
Dee Ford - Another one of my finalists. Dee Ford offered the Edge Rusher the Saints covet or should I say "the" Rob Ryan wants. Ford who possesses great speed and good power would work effectively in Ryan's system offering versatility as an Outside Linebacker and in certain situations as a Defensive End. The knocks on Ford include small sample size in terms of production in college, questions of him dropping into coverage, size and his run defense.
Jason Verrett - The other finalist in my Saints sweepstakes. Verrett is my favorite player in the whole draft, just watching him on tape is a pleasure. His knocks mostly come in the form of his physical stature. He is everything you look in a elite corner. He shows great man cover skills, adequate off man skills, is athletic, agile, has great hip movement and shows a knack to be around the ball. Basically if you wanted to have a cornerback baby you would breed with him. Unfortunately for Verrett he's not as tall, "strong" or lengthy as many in the league like their corner's to be. That being said if he was 2-3 inches taller many would be lauding him a top 10 pick.
TL;DR - My picks came down to Verrett, Benjamin and Dee Ford. By the process of coin toss I picked Benjamin.
1 Houston Texans (Imp) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - [Explanation]
2 St. Louis Rams (starship 007) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - [Explanation]
3 Jacksonville Jaguars (sports00fan00) - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, SC - [Explanation]
4 Cleveland Browns (InHinkieWeTrust) - Johnny Manziel, QB, TAMU - [Explanation]
5 Oakland Raiders (SleepingDuck) - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - [Explanation]
6 Atlanta Falcons (jimmyrustler) - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn - [Explanation]
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AnthroEagle) - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF - [Explanation]
8 Minnesota Vikings (pot) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - [Explanation]
9 Buffalo Bills (wow4444) - Jake Matthews, OT, TAMU - [Explanation]
10 Detroit Lions (kamjam) - Mike Evans, WR, TAMU - [Explanation]
11 Tennessee Titans (NowWhat?) - Justin Gilbert, CB, OK State - [Explanation]
12 New York Giants (Anthony DiBona) - Eric Ebron, TE, UNC - [Explanation]
13 St. Louis Rams (ILL Eagle) - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
14 Chicago Bears (JerkyBoy) - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - [Explanation]
15 Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - [Explanation]
16 Dallas Cowboys (Patrick Wall) - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama - [Explanation]
17 Baltimore Ravens (rohan915) - Zack Martin, OT, ND - [Explanation]
18 New York Jets (del.champion) - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State - [Explanation]
19 Miami Dolphins (HD) - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - [Explanation]
20 Arizona Cardinals (NCeagle) - Kony Ealy, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
21 Green Bay Packers (ablesser88) - Jimmie Ward, S, NIU - [Explanation]
22 Philadelphia Eagles (jhn) - Marqise Lee, WR, USC - [Explanation]
23 Kansas City Chiefs (PeaceVT) - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU - [Explanation]
24 Cincinnati Bengals (deg0ey) - Bradley Roby, CB, OSU - [Explanation]
25 San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Kyle Fuller, CB, VT - [Explanation]
26 Cleveland Browns (P_Roach17) - Darqueze Dennard, CB, MSU - [Explanation]
27 New Orleans Saints (bebin) - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU - [Explanation]
28 Carolina Panthers (MikeKafka) -
29 New England Patriots (Amateur_Hour) -
30 San Francisco 49ers (AndyMcNabb) -
31 Denver Broncos (dceagles) -
32 Seattle Seahawks (eagles0132) -