football Edit

CI's Mock UK Football Draft: Rounds 1-5

Cats Illustrated's Mock UK Football Draft has become an annual tradition.

As usual, Justin Rowland, Jeff Drummond, and Travis Graf are building teams via snake draft format.

Here are the first five rounds of that mock.

ROUND 1

Rowland: OT Darian Kinnard

Drummond: RB Chris Rodriguez

Graf: WR Wan'Dale Robinson

ROUND 2

Graf: WR Josh Ali

Drummond: DE Josh Paschal

Rowland: NG Marquan McCall

ROUND 3

Rowland: S Yusuf Corker

Drummond: LB DeAndre Square

Graf: RB Kavosiey Smoke

ROUND 4

Graf: LB JJ Weaver

Drummond: TE Keaton Upshaw

Rowland: LB Jordan Wright

ROUND 5

Rowland: C Quintin Wilson

Drummond: OG Luke Fortner

Graf: S Vito Tisdale

TEAM ROWLAND

OT Darian Kinnard

NG Marquan McCall

S Yusuf Corker

LB Jordan Wright

C Quintin Wilson

In this annual event I'm always hoping to draft the best player available every time my name comes back around, but positional scarcity is always something I prioritize as well. So for instance, Quintin Wilson hasn't played as much as some of the other players chosen here, but I love scooping him up because I don't even know who the backup center on this year's team might be, and the staff seems pretty high on him. Jordan Wright is an experienced playmaker and I couldn't let him sit on the board any longer because of the lack of proven players at outside linebacker. I'd have loved to have a healthy J.J. Weaver, but I don't know what his status is going to be.

My first three picks are fairly self explanatory. Kinnard may be the best draft prospect on the team and will start at left tackle. The coaches are hopeful McCall can have an excellent year. And Corker is the best player in the secondary. I'm feeling good.

TEAM DRUMMOND

RB Chris Rodriguez

DE Josh Paschal

LB DeAndre Square

TE Keaton Upshaw

OG Luke Fortner

I would have been happy to start building my team with Darian Kinnard, but when he came off the board first, I think Chris Rodriguez was the clear choice. He’s probably the most bankable guy on the roster with his proven productivity. I took a similar approach with my second pick, Josh Paschal, to give me a really solid anchor on the D-Line. Things started getting more challenging with the third pick.

I decided to go with DeAndre Square, who was overshadowed by Jamin Davis’s great 2020 season and did not make as many plays as he did as a freshman. I look for him to bounce back strong this year. Keaton Upshaw is a guy I’ve loved ever since he stepped on campus. With Liam Coen taking over the OC job, I look for him to be a much more utilized weapon in the passing attack. It would not surprise me at all if he leads UK in a couple of the receiving categories. My final pick of this initial five rounds was Luke Fortner, a proven guy on the O-Line that I can build around. Usually, I don’t wait this long to take an O-Lineman, but circumstances dictated adding him later than usual. The Cats getting Fortner back for an extra season was a big development this winter.

TEAM GRAF

WR Wan'Dale Robinson

WR Josh Ali

RB Kavosiey Smoke

LB JJ Weaver

S Vito Tisdale

I went with Wan’Dale Robinson and Josh Ali as my first two picks because there’s a huge gap in their production over their replacements. They should be Kentucky’s best playmakers on the outside. Kavoisey Smoke is a player that’s a fantastic homerun threat at running back and always provides production with opportunity. JJ Weaver is Kentucky’s highest ceiling pass rusher but can also drop back into coverage with ease. Vito Tisdale is a very aggressive DB that you can plug in at multiple positions in the secondary. He’ll be one of Kentucky’s best blitzing DB’s this season, so that will help my team with the pass rush that the ‘Cats lacked a season ago.