Round one was about the super-duper stars. The number one picks and unanimous All-Americans. The Michael Vicks, Tyrod Taylors, Bruce Smiths, and (one of four) Fullers.
With the cornerstones in place, round two became a time to fill in the rosters. Find glue guys at key positions of need, pluck the upper end of the shallower positional pools, and in one of our cases, keep it in the family. (I'd give a hint as to who, but I'd like to think it's obvious.)
Surely Sam won't bend the rules and pull another Engleberger-to-defensive-tackle move, right? He wouldn't pick guys just to change their position on his imaginary team, would he?
(Narrator: he does.)
Let's get going.
1. TFF: Jeff King, TE
I am going to make a distinction here that H backs and tight ends are different things. That being said, there are two clear TEs that stand out in program history and two time All-ACC Jeff King, owner of a pretty decent NFL career to boot, is the move here. I continue to resist the urge to draft a WR because we have had so damn many of them. I anxiously await Brian mocking me for taking a TE too early.
2. Brian: J.C. Price, DT
Ugh. Tight end is arguably the most top heavy position in program history. Please go ahead and tell me the second best to play TE in Blacksburg. Since TFF swung in and took my pick here, let me go with Price. An All-American in '95, he may just be the best all-around defensive tackle to play under Foster, with 17 career sacks. He anchored the line in the mid-90s next to Brown, and since I whiffed on all the top pass rushers at end, I'll pick up the best guy inside to start my d-line.
3. Sam: Jim Druckenmiller, QB
Now's the time for me to grab the leader of my run-n-shoot attack, and I really can't think of a better gunslinger in Tech history than Druckenmiller. In 1995, Druck led the Hokies to a Sugar Bowl win against mighty Texas. That season he threw for over 2,100 yards and tallied nearly 14 yards per completion. Then in '96, Druck led the Hokies to a 10-1 regular season record (including 3 top 25 wins) and a berth in the Orange Bowl, throwing for over 2,000 yards as well. A first round draft pick by San Francisco, 2 BCS Bowl berths, 20-4 record as a starter... That's quite the resume.
Oh, and Druck to Holmes is one of the greatest plays in Tech history.
4. Pierson: Ben Taylor, LB
This feels like a critical point in this draft. At a number of positions, Tech has a handful of historically great players followed by a steep drop-off. While there are a number of great players left on the board, I'm worried about ending up incredibly weak at some critical spots. Ben Taylor was a key contributor within Bud Foster's linebacker corps during his career, punctuated by outstanding performances during his junior and senior seasons. A hard nosed player who contributed at Backer and Whip, Taylor led the Hokies in tackles in 2000 (103) and 2001 (121). He was a 2-time All Big East player, 2-time All-American and Butkus Award semi-finalist.
1. Pierson: Cody Grimm, Whip
Anyone who had the opportunity to watch Cody Grimm play for the Hokies has fond memories of him flying around the field. The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman Russ Grimm and younger brother of former Hokies linebacker Chad Grimm, Cody walked on to the Tech football team in 2005 and eventually blossomed into standout linebacker for Foster. Despite his diminutive size, Grimm finished his career with 204 total tackles, 26.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks and 2 INTs. During his senior season, Grimm led the ACC in forced fumbles and finished in the top 4 in tackles and passes defended. He was First Team All-ACC, Third Team All-America, Chick-fil-A Bowl Defensive MVP and the Dudley Award winner in 2009. He was also a 2-time ACC Champion. Paired with my previous pick (Taylor), I've got two versatile tackling machines that fly to the football.
2. Sam: Victor "Macho" Harris, CB
Macho Harris is one of my favorite Hokies of all-time. He was an electric, hard hitting athlete that could make a play at any time. Pair him with Kam and I don't think a single wideout is gonna feel safe. First-Team All-ACC in 2007 and 2008, 15 career INT's, and 5 total TD's....as a corner! I think Virginia Tech fans have been over saturated with "DBU" talk, but only really see highlights of the Fuller brothers, DeAngelo Hall, or Brandon Flowers. Macho is one of the many great Hokies that get tossed aside sometimes. I can write you a whole column about the things wrong with that. But for now, I'll just throw him out on the field and watch him hit some guy into oblivion like Jacoby Ford.
3. Brian: Chris Ellis, DE
This is a reach. I know it, the other guys know it, but sometimes you need to do what it takes to fill the holes on your roster. Ellis is one of the last pass rushers on my board before a sizable drop off to the next tier, and I had to grab him before Sam "I'm playing John Engleberger at DT" Jessee does. Ellis was a beast in the mid-2000s, a freshman All-American, a first-team All-ACC in '07, and disruptor who totaled 35 TFLs and 22 sacks in his career. He'll make a nice pair with Price on my line.
4. TFF: Kyle Fuller, Whip
Just like last week, my anxiety was ramping up that I'd miss on a Fuller too much for me to wait any longer. And honestly, you could play him at CB or Whip, but the depth at CB is much better than Whip, so I'm playing him there. That way, it's absolutely clear I'm taking the referee high-fiving, Vad Lee-soul destroying version. Kyle was probably the most accomplished of the Fullers, getting in a solid four year career before being drafted in the first round.
1. TFF: Bill Conaty, C
Please join me in the way-back machine, to a time before most of you were aware of Virginia Tech football (the sad thing is that it's really not THAT far back). Conaty set a then-record for consecutive starts for the Hokies in the early to mid 90s, starting at tackle as a freshman before succeeding Jim Pyne at center for the rest of his career and becoming an All-American as a senior. KJ gonna have holes for days now.
2. Brian: Matt Lehr, OG
Once upon a time, Virginia Tech set the Big East record for rushing yards gained in a season. And then, they set it again. Lehr was the big body in front of those records, including the one who paved the way for Lee Suggs' excellent 2000 campaign.
3. Sam: Will Montgomery, OG
Will Montgomery is from Maine. Maine is awesome. Blueberry pancakes are awesome. You know I once had an entire pitcher of blueberry margarita in Maine? True story. Anyways, Montgomery was pretty much a beast. His senior year, he was a major part of why Virginia Tech was able to withstand the jump from the Big East to the ACC and still dominate. He also squatted 625lbs. That's 188,997 blueberries!
4. Pierson: Jimmy Williams, CB
Sam's just being a dick, drafting two of the best centers in program history. By all means, slide them along your line however you see fit. But I digress. Williams began his career at safety before sliding over to cornerback in 2004 to fill the void left by DeAngelo Hall. All Williams did was turn in one of the best seasons by a Tech corner in recent memory, finishing with 5 INTs (including a pick-six) before being named 1st Team All-American and a Thorpe Award finalist. Physically, Williams had prototypical size and length for a modern corner, utilizing those attributes to blanket receivers and disrupt them at the catch. While Williams took the occasional play off during his time in Blacksburg, I'm hoping the high character guys I've surrounded him with on my defense will overcome any concerns.
1. Pierson: David Pugh, DT
Another hard-nosed, prototypical Foster-type of player for my defense. Pugh fits in nicely with Cornell Brown and Darryl Tapp, setting up a heckuva fight over possession of the lunch pail. Pugh anchored the interior of Tech's defensive line during and after the Mike Vick years, racking up 41 TFLs and nearly 14 sacks during his career. A two-time All-Big East player, Pugh's relentless motor allowed him to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and progressively wore down opposing lines.
2. Sam: Ed Wang, OT
I always thought Wang was undervalued as a Hokie — he was unfairly grouped into the fan stereotype that Tech just always had a bad offensive line. He was second team All-ACC his senior year and had a small stint in the NFL for 4 years. He was also the first ever full-blooded Chinese player to be drafted in the NFL, which is pretty sick! Wang was a really tenacious blocker, and I needed a monster as my left tackle to protect Druck.
3. Brian: Pierson Prioleau, ROV
Dudes don't stick in the league for 10 years by accident. Prioleau was a machine at rover, an All-American in '97, a first team All-Big East selection in both '96 and '97, he's going to be a tackle machine in my secondary (if anyone is lucky enough to get past Hall and Edmunds).
4. TFF: James Gayle, DE
I really hate you, Brian. I had my blurb ready to go and you just stole Prioleau from me. Anyway, now that everyone has a quarterback and the one that I wanted that isn't named Vick or Tyrod is still available, I am going to focus on my defense. My other bookend on the defensive line, I am shocked he dropped this low. Yes, he was never a first team all-conference player, but he was and continues to be a first team All-American shit talker, and he particularly loves to make LOLUVA players cry, which is a huge upside on my board.
1. TFF: Andre Davis, WR
Davis only dropped this far because everyone feels like we've got great depth at WR to choose from. And we do. To me, Davis and Royal are the top of the heap, and the other #1 WRs are slightly lower tier. Davis was a 1st team All-American, accounted for 27 touchdowns in his career between receiving, rushing and punt returning, and as Michael Vick said, was so fast that Vick would just try to out throw him sometimes and was never able to. I remember Vick throwing up ridiculous stat lines like 11-13 for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the big chunk of those yards and TDs were always to Davis. Now my QB TO BE NAMED LATER will have a speed weapon to throw to.
2. Brian: Ernest Wilford, WR
And then you stole one from me, TFF. Davis was going to be my guy here, but I'll pick the next receiver on my board. I'm running a spread, and we'll need to focus on two different types of wideouts, so let's get Wilford to dominate the outside. His back-to-back seasons of 51 and 55 receptions may not seem impressive in 2020, but Tech was running an offense predicated on forgetting the forward pass was legal. Wilford will give Tyrod a huge, physical target to dominate the red zone.
3. Sam: Rayshard Ashby, LB
To fill out my two pure linebackers, I'm looking to a current Hokie. Ashby had a tremendous season last year, andIf it weren't for the ACC media's obsession with UNC he would've been 1st team All-ACC over Chazz Surrat. Ashby is a solid tackler, great off the blitz, and really showed his ability to adapt to how different teams tried to pull him out of position. To top it off, he has 117 SOLO tackles in two seasons, which is insane.
4. Pierson: Luther Maddy, DT
Every great defense needs a disruptive defensive tackle, and I've come away with two. Maddy had a quick first step that he used to beat blockers and get into the backfield. He got his hands up to disrupt passing lanes. And he was thicc, using his strong base to control the line of scrimmage. I always loved Maddy, partly because he was a 2-star recruit that committed right before signing day and immediately made an impact with the Hokies. Maybe it was also because you could spot his backside from the top of the east stands. Maddy was a model Hokie, garnering a number of accolades during his time in Blacksburg. He finished with 175 career tackles, including 29.5 TFL and 14 sacks across a program-record 56 games.
1. Pierson: Temuchin "Bucky" Hodges, TE
When Mike Vick is your quarterback, why not pick up a mismatch nightmare as your starting tight end? A converted quarterback (drink!), God's Gift lined up out wide more often than on the line during his career but was officially listed as a tight end so yay for me. Hodges broke every tight end receiving record at Tech, finishing with 1,747 receiving yards on 133 catches. His 20 career receiving touchdowns rank third all-time. He was a 3-time All-ACC third teamer who utilized an impressive size/speed combination to dominate hapless defenders on crossing routes and deep balls, alike. I love the idea of Vick's rocket arm and Bucky's ability to create space downfield, not to mention a wide open Bucky on a Vick roll-out.
2. Sam: Jayron Hosley, CB
Another vastly underrated DB in Tech history, Hosley led the nation with 9 INTs in 2010 and earned All-American honors. He played for the Giants for 4 seasons and had 17 INTs in his NFL career. What he lacked in size, he made up for with great instinct and ball skills and flourished in Foster's Cover 1 Robber scheme. He and Macho make for a pretty decent cornerback pairing.
3. Brian: Sergio Render, OG
Great interior lineman, but maybe an even better hang on a boat. Render lined up shoulder-to-shoulder with DeChristopher and Wang to lead Darren Evans and Ryan Williams to the promise land time and time again. Pair him with Lehr and we've got a nice looking line that will come up and push you around — and then maybe throw a lip in and hit the lake.
4. TFF: Jack Tyler, LB
Tyler has one of those stories that fans fall in love with, a former walk-on that eventually became a two-year team captain, recording over a hundred tackles in each of those two seasons. Tyler also fell in love with Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, returning for his current coaching role for the Hokies. Not that I needed more locker room guys, but I'm feeling pretty good about the mindset of my team, let alone my linebacking corps.
1. TFF: Derrick Hopkins, DT
Skip Hopkins completes my defensive line, and if you think anyone is running on us through the middle, you're a fool. After Pierson picked up Maddy and I took Hopkins, there was a spirited Slack debate as to which hoss had a bigger waistline. I think the fact that Hopkins earned the moniker ManBearPig makes weight arguments meaningless. Besides, if you really want to go there, my DTs alone combined for over 650 pounds at their peak.
2. Brian: Jason Worilds, DE
I may have waited to fortify my pass rush, but coming away with Worilds and Ellis at the end of the second day is nothing to be ashamed of. I feel a bit bad for Worilds, between choosing to end his pro career early and leaving Blacksburg as an underclassman he goes a bit overlooked in the all-time pass rushing conversation. But he was a bad, bad man in 2008 and 2009, finishing as a second team All-ACC player in each campaign and totalling 12.5 sacks and (double checks notes) 29.5 TFL. He and Ellis will do just fine together.
3. Sam: Kyshoen Jarrett, WHIP
A hard hitting, classic LDP athlete. Could play center field as a safety as well as play the run near the line of scrimmage. Was drafted by the Redskins and recorded 58 tackles his rookie year. It's a real shame that a horrible neck injury ended his career, because this guy was so much fun to watch. He's the quintessential Lunch Pail defender, and I now have the hardest hitting secondary known to man. I'll just leave this here:
4. Pierson: Todd Washington, C
A versatile offensive lineman for Frank Beamer during a time when the program really moved into the next tier of college football, Washington was a 4-year starter who played at both guard and ultimately center. A raw prep player who followed his older brother TJ to Blacksburg, Todd was a mauler who used his size to keep defenders at bay. Washington's senior season ended with 1st Team All-Big East honors, paving the way for a rushing attack that averaged over 200 yards per contest. A two-time Super Bowl champion — once as a player and once as a coach — Washington brings both the physical traits and leadership qualities necessary to lead my o-line.