Our Baltimore Beatdown staff collaborated on a team builder or rookie expansion team mock draft. Using a snake draft format, we were each tasked with building a 22 player team using only 2018 prospects to fill out each position. The results and rationale follow:
The Fighting Spartans are built to dominate on both sides of the ball. Strong armed QB Mike White has a pair of field stretchers in WR Deon Cain and TE Mike Gesicki as well as tough possession target WR Michael Gallup. Once a lead has been secured, a versatile two-headed backfield can kill the clock behind a mauling offensive line led by C Billy Price. It all starts up front on defense where a pair of interior space eaters allow quick twitch DEs Lorenzo Carter and Josh Sweat to hunt the opposing quarterback. The back-7 will lean on man coverage, with a pair of long outside corners in Isaiah Oliver and Kevin Toliver, rangy cover linebackers, a speedy slot man and ballhawking centerfield FS Tarvarius Moore. Finally, Derwin James the ultimate x-factor with the ability to serve a variety of functions depending on the opponent. #Championship - Vasilis Lericos
Team Pup N’ Suds is going to get into a lot of track meet games where the ball is flying up and down the field both ways, and are set to be competitive in all of them. The offensive side of the ball will dominate the headlines if nothing else, with quarterback Lamar Jackson tossing it to Calvin Ridley and Troy Fumagalli. He’ll be well protected by Alex Cappa and Martinas Rankin at tackle and a mauler of a center in Frank Ragnow. They’ll be clearing the way for the electric Sony Michel to help control the game, and put the defense in a good situation. That side of the ball is headlined by the linebacking corp of Leighton Vander Esch and Malik Jefferson and backed up by a defensive backfield that features Josh Jackson. If nothing else, this team is going to sell some tickets. - Jake Louque
The Sa(va)ges are anchored in the winning ways of Baker Mayfield who will continue to silence the doubters and overcome the narrative surrounding his stature. Mayfield will look to connect with popular Maryland product D.J. Moore and fellow Big 12 alum Keke Coutee out of Texas Tech who ranked fourth in FBS for receiving yards last season. Nick Chubb will look to build on a successful and productive career for the Bulldogs. The Sa(va)ges will have a formidable defensive line, led by Stanford’s Harrison Phillips who recorded 103 tackles and 7.5 sacks in his junior campaign. Safety Marcus Allen will terrorize opposing receivers with his aggressive playing style and productive tackling that led the Nittany Lions defense. This team has the offensive weapons to demoralize opponents and the defensive support to keep a comeback at bay. - Sage Morander
The Conquistadors go with quarterback Mason Rudolph at the helm. Kerryon Johnson joins him in the backfield as the running back behind Quenton Nelson, the best offensive lineman in the draft. Rudolph has a solid supporting cast to target as well, including wideout Anthony Miller, Braxton Berrios in the slot and reliable tight end Ian Thomas. Shutdown Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis is the leader of the secondary while linebackers Rashaan Evans and Tre Williams patrol the middle of the field. Underrated pass rusher Jeff Holland and Tyquan Lewis are the outside linebackers. This team is very much built from the inside out, and could dominate opponents with a strong run game. - Dustin Cox
The Yak Wizards features the top QB and the most balanced roster, loaded with talent at every level. After grabbing QB Sam Darnold and starters at each of the premium positions for a 3-4 defense, the Wizards loaded up on weapons for their franchise QB, adding Christian Kirk, Hayden Hurst, Rashaad Penny, Allen Lazard, and Jaylen Samuels to go with a solid line led by Kolton Miller. On the defensive side, the Wizards have top talents at all 3 levels, namely Da’Ron Payne, Harold Landry, Donte Jackson, & Justin Reid. This team is fast, athletic, and is a force to be reckoned with.- Yitzi Weiss
CAPS YEAR is ready to win right now. I was surprised the strong armed Allen fell to me a the 9th pick in the first round, and I made sure to grab wide receivers that fit his skill set. Knowing that Allen’s accuracy isn’t the greatest, I grabbed big bodied wide receivers in Equanimeous St. Brown, Simmie Cobbs Jr. and Javon Wims, that can adjust and win 50-50 balls. I have the draft’s second best pass rusher in Marcus Davenport, and the second best corner in Mike Hughes. My defensive line should give opponents trouble, with Davenport and Uchenna Nwosu off the edges, and Tim Settle as well as Trenton Thompson on the interior. In the middle of the defense, I have the best story in the draft, Shaq Griffin, who has star potential in the NFL. Finally, in the backfield, Ronal Jones II is an underrated running back who reminds me a lot of Jamaal Charles. - Matt Cohen
For the Death Valley Pile Drivers, leading the way is the best player in this draft, Saquon Barkley. A guy who will be a franchise caliber back for years and a face of the team. We team Barkley up with a solid dependable quarterback in Luke Falk. The Pile Drivers surround these two core pieces with weapons such as Courtland Sutton, Mark Andrews, and DaeSean Hamilton. Running back Akrum Wadley will complement Barkley. On the offensive line, I have Orlando Brown at offensive tackle, along with Brandon Fanaika, Brendan Mahon, Timon Parris, and Scott Queensberry to round out the line. Highlights on defense include pass-rusher Sam Hubbard and Josey Jewell at middle linebacker. Kendrick Norton is at defensive tackle, and the secondary features Duke Dawson and Terrell Edmunds.- Evan Mazza
I had the opportunity to draft a quarterback—which I probably should have—but I didn’t. I went full blown defense to begin: eight straight rounds before an offensive player was added to the Colorado Kings. College football is built in the trenches, and these are all college players. Why not go heavy in the trenches, when the time came to add the big men?
To begin, I added the number one defensive player, Bradley Chubb, in the draft at sixth overall; then I paired him with Vita Vea, the highest upside-player on the line. Taven Bryan only adds to the strength of the line, while Duke Ejiofor, who is receiving Matt Judon comparisons, will stuff the stat sheet with plays being forced away from Chubb.
This draft certainly exposed my lack of draft knowledge, though, as I blatantly missed out on my two favorite dark-horse prospects: WR Michael Gallup & LB Shaquem Griffin. Nonetheless, a stacked defense will produce serious results against most offensive lines. On the offensive side of the ball, it’s not so pretty. I decided upon the Baltimore Ravens’ early ways: loading up on premier defensive talent and praying for the offense to hold it together in hopes of a championship. I did, however, score Dante Pettis in the twelfth round, and in a league with only so much talent in the blocking department, opted for the best fullback, Dimitri Flowers, to pave the road for Northwestern’s RB Justin Jackson. Overall, maybe not the best team in this draft, but the defense will certainly outclass quite a few squads in this exercise. — Kyle P. Barber
Admittedly, I may have overvalued the depth at wide receiver in this class by not addressing this position until very late in the draft. However, I prioritized the positions that have little to no depth in this class; offensive tackle, safety and cornerback. I addressed the offensive line early by securing four potential first-round picks. This dominant unit would open up a lot of holes for Bo Scarbrough. In addition, I bolstered my secondary very early as well. My team, on paper, may not look ‘sexy’, but they would certainly dominate this league due to the fact that this would be the top defensive unit. With a dominant pass-rush and lockdown secondary, it would be hard to find much success against this group.
The biggest concern for this team would be the wide receiver position. However, Tre’Quan Smith is an underrated receiver, who can create separation. Deontay Burnett is an intriguing slot receiver, who is excellent after the catch. Not to mention, Jester Weah is a late-round prospect with a ton of potential, who excels in the red zone. With a game manager in Kurt Benkert, this would be a run-heavy offense that would utilize a lot of play-action.
Why you should vote for my team as the best? Football is won and lost in the trenches. Without a doubt, I have the most talent in those areas as my offensive line is extremely talented. James Daniels, Mike McGlinchey, Will Hernandez , Matt Pryor and Isaiah Wynn is a fierce unit that would keep Benkert upright. In addition, my defensive line that features Jalyn Holmes, Da’Shawn Hand, Nathan Shepherd and Kemoko Turay would be a nightmare for opposing offenses. - Logan Levy
Who built the best team?
This poll is closed
Kyle J. Andrews
Kyle P. Barber