Round 1 of the annual rookie draft is in the books. The draft rumbles on, but we’ve got all the details of the top 12 picks below.
Round 1 in brief
1.01: Leonard Fournette, RB, JAX - Andover Sandslashers
1.02: Corey Davis, WR, TEN - Oxford Seahawks
1.03: Joe Mixon, RB, CIN - Irish Flyers
1.04: Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR - Gateshead Spartans
1.05: Mike Williams, WR, LAC - Andover Sandslashers
1.06: Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN - Oxford Pythons
1.07: OJ Howard, TE, TBB - Oxford Seahawks
1.08: Samaje Perine, RB, WAS - Chippenham Packers
1.09: Evan Engram, TE, NYG - Wigan Wombats
1.10: Kareem Hunt, RB, KCC - Wigan Wombats
1.11: David Nkoju, TE, CLE - Irish Flyers
1.12: John Ross, WR, CIN - Irish Flyers
Day 1 - Saturday 27th May 2017
There were no early surprises as far as player choices were concerned. It took only 1 minute and 14 seconds for the Andover Sandslashers to kick off the inaugural UK Dynasty Rookie Draft, with owner and Jaguars-sympathiser Scott Westwood selecting running back Leonard Fournette with the first overall pick.
The selection didn’t come with as little thought as others may have imagined, given the allegiance of the Sandslashers’ owner. “After some careful mid season trades we managed to secure 1.01, putting us in a great situation to not only get the best running back in the draft, but to multiply the value of 2 existing Sandslasher players, Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon”, Scott said.
Scott’s not concerned that all of the Sandslashers’ Brittania Bowl aspirations lay on Fournette’s shoulders. “Fournette will have to fight for a starting role this offseason but is showing impressive hand skills. If he faces an injury mid season then we feel we won’t lose a step in our pursuit for greatness.”
The Oxford Seahawks selected wide receiver Corey Davis with the second overall pick. “We were hoping that Leonard Fournette might make it past the Sandslashers at 1.01, as we need a lot of help in the backfield, but were equally happy to take the best player available in Corey Davis when the inevitable happened.” said owner Dan Abrey.
“Davis was high on our board before the NFL draft, and his landing spot with the Tennessee Titans only pushed him higher in our estimations. We hope Corey can contribute to the Seahawks’ success for the next decade.”
The Irish Flyers had warned prior to the draft that their pick at 1.03 may take some time to come through, due to the ascension of owner Dermy McAlinden to the tip of the highest peak in Northern Ireland. Dermy valiantly made the selection during the climb, a nod to both the dedication of UK Dynasty owners, and the proliferation of modern 4G coverage.
‘Joe Mixon, running back, Cincinnati Bengals’, read the card. “Mixon has the most talent out of all the RBs.” said Dermy. “Mixon’s tape has proven he can be that every down back and his hands are better than most WRs. It doesn’t matter if he has to catch it for 50 yards or run for 50 yards. He has it all.”
Just as the Bengals had to weigh up the risk in selecting Mixon in the second round of the NFL draft, Dermy and his front office also had to decide whether to take the chance of a PR storm. “The off field issues he had happened 3 years ago and although inexcusable we have decided as a franchise that he was our guy to move forward with.”
It only took until pick 4 for a dramatic last-minute trade to take place. Reigning Britannia Bowl champions, the Gateshead Spartans, sitting at 1.06 after an earlier trade, felt the need to move up two spots to get their man, and the Nottingham Bandits duly obliged in accepting a deal for the pick swap. Larry Fitzgerald and the Spartans’ 2018 2nd round pick were the bounty for the Bandits.
Christian McCaffrey was the player that the Spartans felt they couldn’t risk missing out on, and they immediately made the Panthers running back the fourth player off the board once the trade was complete.
Spartans owner Chris Copeland, Britannia Bowl I trophy in hand, was bullish about McCaffrey’s chances of success in Carolina, and consequently in Gateshead (that’s probably the first time that’s ever been said - Ed). “His pass catching out of the backfield in Carolina makes the offence even less predictable which also bodes well for PPR, and I desperately needed a good quality RB” he said.
Having shored up the backfield with the selection of Leonard Fournette first overall, the Sandslashers moved to do the same for their receiving corps by taking Chargers WR Mike Williams at 1.05.
“Going in to the draft there were only two wide receivers we were in love with, so when when Mike Williams fell to us we were over the moon.” said owner Scott Westwood. “Some may have concerns with the rumours of a back injury, but we feel that in the long term he is destined for many great seasons in the Sandslasher Gold and Brown.”
Williams has already found friends in Andover. “Corey Coleman has already reached out to Tate and Williams upon entering the facility to show them around what Andover has to offer. The last I heard, Tate, Williams, Fournette, Coleman and Goff were all heading to the Hawk Conservancy for a family fun day out.”
“As much as it warms us here in the front office to see our players building chemistry on their own, the offseason is still young for us and our scouting team.”
Day 2 - Sunday 28th May 2017
Nottingham Bandits had moved back two spots to be sat at 1.06, and with a lot of interest in the pick from other teams, were able to trade back oncemore and obtain some extra veteran talent to add to the acquisition of Larry Fitzgerald earlier in the day. Owner Josh Ridge used the pausing of the clock overnight to the Bandits’ advantage and allowed teams to fight over the right to trade up for the pick, with the Oxford Pythons the eventual winners of that particular battle on Day 2 of the draft.
The Pythons, without a pick until the 3rd round and the current holders of the infamous Johnny trophy, knew they had to make a move to take some chance of elite talent away from the draft, and gave up 2nd-year Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon and the Colts’ Donte Moncrief, as well as two third round picks (3.01 and 3.02) for the privilege. Their own 2018 2nd also came back to them from the Bandits as part of the deal.
There was no surprise in the room when the name of the pick came through: Vikings RB Dalvin Cook. “I’d had a few beers and just went for it.” said ever-casual Pythons owner Olly Conway. “I knew I’d have to put in a substantial offer to get the Bandits attention. The Pythons have been keeping tabs on Cook for a long time and I knew that when he dropped down to 1.06, I had to be the one to take him.”
There was no pause for breath, with another major trade involving the seventh overall pick. The Wigan Wombats had signalled their intention to trade down, and the Oxford Seahawks were the ones to secure the pick, sending Bills receiver Sammy Watkins and pick 2.12 in return for Falcons’ RB Tevin Coleman, 1.07 and the Wombats’ 2018 1st round pick.
The Seahawks immediately offered the 1.07 up for trade following the acquisition of the pick, but there was obviously little interest, as they announced the selection of Tampa Bay tight end OJ Howard soon after.
Wombats owner Jonathan Moffatt’s reasoning for trading back bordered on prophetic: “I didn’t really want to take OJ Howard at 1.07 here,” he said. “I think he’ll be great for the Bucs in the NFL, but for fantasy purposes I’m concerned whether he will put up the numbers to make him worth a mid first.”
“I felt I was overpaying slightly, but was surprised how strongly everyone else favoured the 1.07 side of the trade! If Watkins can replicate his numbers from the second half of the 2015 season, he’s more than worth Tevin Coleman, OJ Howard and an ‘18 1st, in my opinion.”
The Seahawks front office obviously hold Howard in higher regard. “Howard wasn’t really someone we were targeting leading up to the draft, due to the position of our picks - at the top of the 1st and 2nd rounds - but when we acquired the pick as part of the Watkins trade, I felt he was head and shoulders above the rest as the best available player.” said owner Dan Abrey.
Howard does fulfil a need for the Seahawks at tight end, with only Jason Witten on their roster at the position.
The eighth pick was the Chippenham Packers first move in this year’s draft, and he wasted no time in making it, admitting candidly that they had to interrupt a family meal to select Redskins running back Samaje Perine. “They were none the wiser” said owner Tom Butler.
Butler is confident that Perine will make a success of his time in Chippenham.
“I picked Perine because he offers the best investment. Washington won’t be using Rob Kelley as they did towards the end of the season, he was an UDFA so I expect Perine to win the job in OTAs/camp.” he said.
He is also hopeful that Perine will be able to contribute straight away to a Britannia Bowl tilt. “They have a good passing attack so the box is unlikely to be loaded, which helps his case. And when compared to the other options available to me, I felt he offered the best opportunity to contribute to a team here and now. It seemed like a no brainer!”
The Wigan Wombats and owner Jonathan Moffatt had put back their pick by two spots earlier on in the day by trading down from 1.07, but they pulled the trigger on Evan Engram, the Giants tight end at ninth overall.
“I felt more comfortable picking up a tight end here.” said the Wombats owner, referring to their earlier trade down from 1.07. “No doubts that Engram will be used for his receiving ability, and he could potentially fill the void for Gronk as my starting TE in the long term.”
The Wombats openly shopped the 1.10, their second consecutive pick in the first round, but decided instead on the selection of Kareem Hunt, the running back selected by the Chiefs in the 3rd round of the NFL draft.
Jonathan admitted that the Wombats weren’t initially high on Hunt due to his performance at the NFL combine. “I thought Perine would be available here, so had to have a re-think.” the owner said. “I was initially down on Hunt due to his sub-par Combine numbers, but the landing spot is a good one, and the Chiefs reporters seem to be really high on him, so this seemed like the best choice.”
The back end of the first round was filled out by the second and third picks from the Irish Flyers and owner Dermy McAlinden, who had since descended the heights of Slieve Donard.
They wasted no time in making the first of them, with Clevelander David Njoku becoming the third tight end off the board at 1.11.
“Njoku shores up the Flyers’ tight end position,” he said of the pick. “He’s in with a good group and will only learn with the guys ahead of him. I think he could be the day one starter but we will see how training camp goes.”
The Flyers tested the water on trading down from the final pick in the first round, but instead rounded it out by selecting the Bengals’ receiver John Ross.
“Ross has joined the Flyers because he was the best player available and too good to pass up at 1.12.” Dermy said. “His speed and great hands should make him a great deep ball target for Dalton.”