Some of the MWConnection writers decided it would be fun to draft a fantasy team consisting of units from the schools around the conference. I decided, as the new guy, to join in on the fun. What I learned is that I know a whole lot about Boise State, and significantly less about the intricacies of the other MWC squads.
Luckily, I am now writing for the right website to remedy that issue. For now, I did the best I could winging this draft. Here’s who I’m rolling with this year:
First Round, Second Pick: Boise State QBs
I’m a sucker for quarterbacks, so I took the best QB room in the conference with my first selection. Not only do I get Hank Bachmeier with a year under his belt, I get a battle-tested backup in Chase Cord and a four-star USC transfer in Jack Sears.
Second Round, Fifth Pick: Boise State Cornerbacks
With a similar rationale for picking a quarterback group in round one, I went with cornerback in round two. Passing numbers continue to climb each season so I needed a deep group of corners to counter the trend. I have the starting tandem of Jalen Walker and Avery Williams as the best duo in the conference. When you add in emerging sophomore CB Markel Reed, it’s hard to argue I don’t have the best cornerback group in the Mountain West.
Third Round, First Pick: Boise State Defensive Line
This is around the point of the draft that some of the Mountain West generalists of the group started dunking on me. I thought about Wyoming or Airforce offensive lines here, but I panicked and stuck with what I know. I still like the pick. I have a solid, experienced DT in Scale Igiehon and an emerging superstar at STUD with Demitri Washington. Additionally, and why getting to select the whole unit can be helpful, Boise State is loaded with both experienced vets and up-and-coming talent across the defensive line.
Fourth Round, Fourth Pick: Wyoming Running Backs
In a departure from just taking Boise State positions, I head to Laramie to select Xazavian Valladay and the Wyoming running back room. While other teams have more depth at the running back spot, I was able to take (maybe) the best running back in the conference in round four. This isn’t a bad haul at this point in the draft, but unlike the Boise State defensive line pick, I won’t benefit from having the entire running back room. It’ll be a whole lot of Valladay for me.
Fifth Round, First Pick: Hawaii Wide Receivers
This is just an unacceptable pick. I bet they are having a good laugh at my expense at the MWConnection watercooler this week. Had we been drafting in 2019 I would be ecstatic to have the Hawaii receiver group. Unfortunately, a few factors dampen my enthusiasm for the 2020 pass catching group on the Island. First, they lost about 3,000 yards worth of receiving talent year-to-year. Second, they have a brand-new coach, with a brand-new system, in a year where physical meetings are highly restricted. Terrible job by me.
Sixth Round, Second Pick: Fresno State Linebackers
After the disaster in the fifth round, I redeemed myself a little here. I am now the proud owner of a first team all-conference talent at the linebacker spot in Justin Rice. Surrounding Rice is a combination of young talent and veteran leadership. Fresno’s linebacker unit should finish among the top of the conference.
Seventh Round, Fourth Pick: Hawaii Offensive Line
Will you look at this, another uninspired pick? As mentioned in the fifth-round synopsis, there are far too many variables surrounding the Hawaii program to feel confident in predicting how things are going to go. Hawaii brings in a new system with a new quarterback and it’s hard to think that there will not be some growing pains in 2020.
Eighth Round, Second Pick: San Diego State Tight Ends
I’ll admit, I was not too sure what the tight end scene was like around the conference before this draft. It turns out I ended up with an intriguing team anyway. San Diego State returns 6’6 Daniel Bellinger and has an inexperienced quarterback who would benefit from some tight end targets. The junior tight end only caught 15 balls in 2019, but he averaged nearly 14 yards per catch and had three touchdowns. He could be a steal in round eight.
Ninth Round, Fifth Pick: Air Force Safeties
I’m going to level with you here; I have no idea how good or bad the Air Force safeties are going to be. It seems they lost both starters at the position, so that’s not great. We are DEEP into the draft now, so I’m calling this a shrewd sleeper pick.
Tenth Round, Second Pick: Nevada Special Teams
As in NFL fantasy football drafts, I decided to auto-draft my special-teams unit. Nevada has a decent kicker and some game-breaking potential in the return game. I’ll take it to round out my draft.
Summary: The offense is talented but inexperienced. The soft spots are at wide receiver and offensive line. To cover up our weaknesses we will run a lot of 12 personnel and ride Valladay while getting Bellinger involved in the passing game. As the young talent is developed, we will open the offense up with more 11 personnel and integrate a heavy run/pass option scheme that allows Bachmeier to bootleg and move around to mask the offense line deficiencies.
On defense, we will run a 4-2-5 to maximize our talent. The cornerback room is the best in the league, we have one of the best linebackers, and there is plenty of talent and depth along the defensive line. With the inexperience on offense, the defense must lead the charge. We are looking to win games in the low 20’s and wear teams out.
There you have it, folks. I have a lot to learn about the Mountain West as a whole, and I hope you will read along through my stumbles and triumphs while learning about teams that don’t play their home games on the majestic Blue Turf. Feel free to teach me a thing or two in the comments, I could clearly use the help!