1.01 - Gateshead Spartans - RB Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

Robinson ranks fourth all-time in Texas Longhorns history with his 3,410 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns, and while his selection eighth overall by Atlanta came as a surprise to some, his skillset is undoubtedly a fit for the Falcons’ offense.

The Spartans hit with running back Kenneth Walker at 2nd overall a year ago, and Robinson will immediately slot in as a starter alongside him in the Spartans’ backfield. The Spartans arguably have more need at wide receiver and tight end than the running back position, but Robinson was the best player available on the board and the Spartans didn’t hesitate to take him.

“After an intensive 5 minutes trying to see if there was a better option, we decided fuck it, just take the obvious guy” said Spartans owner Chris Copeland with his trademark media savvy.

1.02 - Oxford Seahawks - WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks traded up here from 1.05, to take Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Smith-Njigba (or JSN as his friends call him?) was the first receiver off the board in the NFL draft at 20th overall to the Seattle Seahawks, a testament to his talent given that he missed the majority of the 2022 college season due to a hamstring injury. “Did you see him in 2021?” asked Oxford Seahawks owner Dan Abrey. “1,606 receiving yards from 95 receptions in only 13 games, while competing with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. This guy is legit.”

The Seahawks gave up pick 2.03, along with a swap of late-round picks to move up three spots in a swap with the Chippenham Beavers. “As a team looking closer to a rebuild than a title challenge, the extra pick in the 2nd (which I didn’t have) was a key piece and Dan offered a deal too good to turn down.” said Beavers owner Tom Butler.

The Seahawks did have a need at receiver, with not much behind star WR Ja’Marr Chase and Amari Cooper, and Abrey will hope Smith-Njigba fills out some much-needed depth at the position.

1.03 - Cymru Cobras - RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

While rumours swirled that multiple teams were looking to trade up to the third spot, the Cymru Cobras stood pat and took the first running back off the board in the draft, Jahmyr Gibbs. The Georgia Tech product, who transferred to Alabama for the 2022 college season, could be a big receiving weapon in Goff’s dump-off heavy offense at the Lions, having caught over 100 passes in his three years of college football.

The Cobras could have a sneaky good running attack in 2023, with Gibbs joining Breece Hall and Isiah Pacheco in the backfield.

“I like what I see in Gibbs and with his issues ‘Swift-ly’ dealt with, I knew this kid was the money.” said Cobras GM Jason Reese, taking a beat to ensure the reporter had registered the pun. “I can’t wait to see what the pair of Hall and Gibbs can do together.”

1.04 - Coventry Eagles - RB Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins

A third running back off the board in the first four picks, the Eagles take the Miami Dolphins’ rookie back.

The Texas A&M alum has flown up draft boards following the NFL Draft, since his selection in the third round by the Dolphins. At a slightly undersized 5’ 8”, the speedy Achane ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the Combine in March, and should be a big-play threat from day one for Miami and Coventry alike.

“A McDaniels handpicked running back in an offense stretched by Hill and Waddle?” pondered Eagles GM Phil Aston. “Upside galore.”

1.05 - Chippenham Beavers - WR Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers

Having moved back from pick 3 to 5, the Beavers wasted no time turning in the pick of Chargers’ wide receiver Quentin Johnston. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist was taken 21st overall as the second receiver off the board in the NFL Draft last month, and he’ll slot into a receiver room in Chippenham speadheaded by DK Metcalf.

“Johnston offered the best long term value for me,” said Beavers GM Tom Butler. “He’s likely attached to a young elite QB for a number of years and his immediate competition are 31 and 28.”

IMPORTANT NOTE PLEASE READ: At this point in proceedings, it was announced by Gateshead Spartans owner Chris Copeland that he was to be unavailable for an unspecified number of hours due to his required attendance at a Russell Howard matinee. As you were.

1.06 - Derby Otters - QB Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

The first quarterback off the board in the NFL draft is not the first quarterback off the UKD draft board. Florida Gators’ Anthony Richardson was selected fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts in April, and the Otters obviously valued him enough to sit him behind Justin Fields in their quarterback room for some positional depth and safety.

A physical specimen at 6’4” and 240lbs, Richardson is a dual-threat quarterback who carried the ball over 100 times for 654 yards and 9 touchdowns in his final year for the Gators. If he can pass the ball anywhere near an average level in the NFL, he could be a stud for fantasy purposes

“With attributes that Vince Lombardi would cream himself dry over, he’s sure to lead the Otters to many future titles.” said Derby GM Chris Shepherd, gesturing wildly out of an ajar ground floor window to any passing pedestrian who would listen. “Go Otters!”

1.07 - Oxford Seahawks - WR Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings

The Seahawks were obviously looking to bolster the receiver room through the draft this season, taking a second WR in the first round in the form of Jordan Addison. The USC product was taken 23rd overall by the Vikings in the NFL draft.

“Addison is who we were looking to take at 5 if we didn’t get the deal done to move up for Jaxon,” said Seahawks boss Dan Abrey. “So we were stoked to have him fall to us at 7.”

1.08 - Flitwick Fireflies - WR Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens

The Fireflies got 1,103 receiving yards out of 2022 first round pick Garrett Wilson last season, and will hope to hit the receiver jackpot again with their selection of Zay Flowers.

A smaller receiver at 5’9”, Flowers’ playmaking ability was obviously valued highly by the Baltimore Ravens front office as they elected to make him their first round pick in April. At Flitwick, Flowers joins a young wide receiver room including the likes of the aforementioned Garrett Wilson and Jaylen Waddle.

When pressed for comment, Fireflies GM Mike Ki-Fun was in McDonalds attempting to convince his child to eat junk food, much to his own bemusement. Looking up from his Big Mac, he said “I wanted a big bodied receiver to add to my roster”. With a wistful, wandering eye at a nearby table’s occupants sampling the new Spicy Big Tasty™, the GM added “and no one plays bigger than Flowers”.

1.09 - Gateshead Spartans - TE Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

The comedic talents of Russell Howard were not enough to keep Spartans owner Chris Copeland away from making moves around the board in the draft. This pick started the day belonging to the Coventry Eagles, but, I assume because the very concept of picking once in the first round let alone twice was rather alien to Eagles’ owner Phil Aston, they elected to move back four spots to 2.01 and pick up an extra late second in the process.

The Spartans used the pick on the first tight end off the board, Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid, who played his college football at San Diego before transferring to Utah, led the team in receiving in 2022 with 70 receptions for 890 yards and 8 touchdowns. His ceiling is perhaps capped early-on at the Bills by the recently extended redzone-fiend Dawson Knox, but tight end is a position where patience can be key, and Kincaid has obvious potential.

“The Spartans see Kincaid as a player with a huge ceiling,” agreed Spartans owner Chris Copeland. “While there’s obvious risk, if we are to turn this franchise around, there needs to be a little gambling at times especially in a position of need”.

1.10 - Derby Otters - RB Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks

While the Derby Otters got adequate production out of James Conner and AJ Dillon in 2022, they clearly need new faces to improve numbers moving forward, and they’ve taken a step in that direction with the selection of Zach Charbonnet with their second pick in the first round.

The third running back off the board in the NFL Draft, Zach Charbonnet was a second round pick by the Seattle Seahawks, and while it looks on first glance as if he’ll be stuck behind Kenneth Walker, the Seahawks have a history of using the hot hand at RB and Walker has a chequered injury history. There would be no surprise if Charbonnet (albeit briefly) takes over the Seattle backfield at some point in 2023.

“Here at the Otters, we are expecting him to mature year after year like a fine, fine wine and deliver for the Otters Nation…. Go Otters!” said Otters GM Chris Shepherd.

1.11 - Oxford Seahawks - TE Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

Tight end is a position of need to the Seahawks, with their starters Dalton Schultz and Darren Waller switching teams this year to the Texans and Giants respectively and their potential production hard to predict.

With the Josh McDaniels Patriots-connection combined with Mayer’s size and contested catch ability, it’s no surprise - albeit a little fruity - to hear him described as “Baby Gronk” by some.

“We love Mayer here, and this was our target for the pick all along.” said Abrey. “We’re hoping he’s Toddler Gronk by week 6 this season, and Child Gronk by mid-December.”

1.12 - Chippenham Beavers - RB Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints

the final pick of the first round is a 5th running back, with the Chippenham Beavers selecting TCU rusher Kendre Miller. Drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, Miller provides a much needed body in the running back room at Chippenham, which doesn’t consist of much beyond Jaguars tailback Travis Etienne.

Miller’s path to playing time in 2023 isn’t crystal clear, and depends a lot on the possible suspension of Alvin Kamara, and how Jamaal Williams adjusts to the two-down role in Louisiana.

“There a lot to like about Miller,” gushed Beavers owner Tom Butler. “He’s explosive and was dominant in college, has an NFL frame, 3rd round draft capital and a clear path to being the RB1 on his team as early as this season. Sign me up at a 1.12 cost.”

We may not see Miller catch many passes in the NFL - unless his 5.1% target share in college was an under-utilisation - but the Beavers front office obviously believe he can carve out an early role in the Saints offense.