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Which KU football player should go No. 1 in the spring game draft?

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Monday marked the first spring practice for the Kansas football team, including quarterbacks (from left) Carter Stanley, Peyton Bender and Tyriek Starks. The Jayhawks began preparation for head coach David Beaty's third season inside Anschutz Pavilion, on March 13, 2017.

Monday marked the first spring practice for the Kansas football team, including quarterbacks (from left) Carter Stanley, Peyton Bender and Tyriek Starks. The Jayhawks began preparation for head coach David Beaty's third season inside Anschutz Pavilion, on March 13, 2017. by Mike Yoder

The Kansas football team is going all in on building up hype for this Saturday’s spring game at Memorial Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff).

David Beaty and company started off the week Monday by announcing the two sides for the scrimmage — Team Jayhawks and Team KU — and the coaches in charge of each. It will be Kansas associate head coach and running backs coach Tony Hull (Jayhawks) on one sideline and cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator Kenny Perry (KU) on the other, with Beaty observing the action in more of a neutral capacity.

How will the rosters be split up for the spring game? Well, that will be determined Wednesday afternoon with a draft.

Hull — who will be assisted by defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, special teams coordinator Joe DeForest, quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley and offensive line coach Zach Yenser — won the right to the No. 1 pick on Monday, when Perry — working with linebackers coach Todd Bradford, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and defensive line coach Jesse Williams — lost a coin toss by picking tails.

None by Kansas Football

Second-year assistant Hull had the opportunity to take either the swagged-out home KU locker room or the No. 1 pick in the spring draft by winning the coin flip, and he rightfully went with the draft rights.

None by Coach Tony Hull

So who should Hull pick for this weekend’s family-friendly affair? We got together some of our KUsports.com staff members to find out which Jayhawk they think Hull will select — and who they would take No. 1 overall.

Let us know your picks in the comments section below.

Benton Smith’s prediction and pick

Who Hull will take: Since Mr. Louisianimal himself landed the top choice, I think he will want an impact guy from “The Boot” to build his team around.

Kansas receiver Daylon Charlot runs back to the line after catching a pass during spring football practice on Thursday, March 30, 2017.

Kansas receiver Daylon Charlot runs back to the line after catching a pass during spring football practice on Thursday, March 30, 2017. by Nick Krug

That means Hull will go with perhaps the most intriguing talent on the roster, former Alabama wide receiver Daylon Charlot, from Patterson, La. A 6-foot, 195-pound pass-catching and return threat, Charlot walked away from Nick Saban at Alabama when the most prominent head coach in all of college football tried to convince him to stay.

Teammates and coaches rave about Charlot’s athletic ability and how he can break open a play in the open field or with a deep catch. Charlot has been looking forward to playing for months after sitting out and he’ll want to make a splash in his unofficial KU debut.

Who I would take: He won’t have the same flash or fan attention as Charlot or one of KU’s top quarterbacks, but I’m taking a big man who can not only give my QB some time to make his reads, but also get out and create holes for the running backs (or speedy receivers on end arounds).

A transfer from Alabama, offensive lineman Charles Baldwin sat out the 2016 season at Kansas. This spring, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior right tackle finally gets to practice with the first-stringers on offense, as the Jayhawks begin preparation for the 2017 season.

A transfer from Alabama, offensive lineman Charles Baldwin sat out the 2016 season at Kansas. This spring, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior right tackle finally gets to practice with the first-stringers on offense, as the Jayhawks begin preparation for the 2017 season. by Mike Yoder

The pick is another Alabama transfer, junior offensive lineman Charles Baldwin.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound right tackle, like Charlot, will be eager to play after sitting out 2016 as a transfer. And he has the power and athleticism to try and limit the likes of Dorance Armstrong Jr. and/or Daniel Wise, should they end up on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.

Even if QB’s won’t be hit in the scrimmage, it would be nice to have a beast like Baldwin on your side as a starting point.

Matt Tait’s prediction and pick

Who Hull will take: Junior DE Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) celebrates with Kansas wide receiver Jeremiah Booker (88) after Armstrong forced a fumble during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) celebrates with Kansas wide receiver Jeremiah Booker (88) after Armstrong forced a fumble during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

For my money, Armstrong is the best player on the Kansas football team. As he showed last season, he’s a big-time pass-rusher at the Power 5 level and he’s only getting better.

Because it’s a spring game and the KU quarterbacks will be wearing red jerseys, you won’t see any of the bone-crushing hits that Armstrong is capable of delivering. But you might see him wreak havoc on KU’s offensive line, which, in a game that features players getting credited with sacks for just touching the quarterback, could make for a long day for the KU offense, especially if Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley aren’t getting the ball out quickly.
 Hull coaches offense so it won’t surprise me if he’s leaning toward picking a player from that side of the ball. For what it’s worth, I can’t see it being a running back. But with enough quality players at other positions available down his draft board, Hull can scoop those up later and take the difference-maker with the No. 1 overall selection.

Who I would take: Junior WR Steven Sims Jr.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) gets near  the end zone after a catch late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) gets near the end zone after a catch late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Spring games have been known to showcase offensive firepower, and, at Kansas, wide receivers often have been the beneficiaries of that fact.

From Christian Matthews on a couple of occasions back in the day to LaQuvionte Gonzalez last season, the guys on the outside typically get a lot of space to work with and often can take advantage of being put in position to use their speed to score quickly and often, because they don’t have to worry about their teammates lighting them up. Once they catch the ball, especially in space, it becomes a foot race to the end zone and Sims, along with most of KU's wideouts, is faster than many of the defensive backs on this team and, perhaps most importantly, far more experienced. 


Sims has been KU’s most consistent wide receiver during the past two seasons and I think he’s ready for an even bigger role now that he’s an upperclassman. I think that role begins Saturday and I'd gladly welcome him onto my team if I had the No. 1 pick. 


He catches everything, knows how to get open and has proven to be a favorite target of quarterbacks because of his reliable hands and precise route running.

Give me Sims to start my team and I’ll build around him.

Bobby Nightengale’s prediction and pick

Who Hull will take: Joe Dineen.

Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. (29) pressures Ohio quarterback Greg Windham (14) during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. (29) pressures Ohio quarterback Greg Windham (14) during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

When a coach or front office is making a pick at the top of the draft, it’s always important to consider all of the intangibles. That’s why I think Hull is going to pick junior middle linebacker Dineen, aka Local Boy, with his first pick. 

Perhaps no player will be more excited to step on the field Saturday than Dineen, who missed nearly all of last season with a right hamstring injury. The 6-2, 230-pound linebacker was a captain for the defense and is essentially another coach on the field. People know what to expect out of him — a run-stopper capable of running sideline to sideline, and a good pass-rusher on blitzes. 

Who I would take: Mike Lee.

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) intercepts a pass during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) intercepts a pass during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

With a young, inexperienced secondary, Kansas sophomore-to-be safety Lee stands out because of his talented freshman campaign. The 5-foot-11, 176-pounder proved that he’s a threat to stop rushing attacks  (70 solo tackles last year) and his big hits make receivers think twice on balls floating over the middle. 

In the spring game, the key to slowing either quarterback, Stanley or Bender, will be strong coverage against top receivers Sims, Gonzalez, Charlot and others. Surrounded by young cornerbacks, Lee is the best weapon in the Jayhawks’ secondary and can provide leadership through his experience. 

Plus, as a bonus, Lee isn’t going to shy away from the top moments. His interception in overtime against Texas helped seal Beaty’s first Big 12 victory in November, providing momentum into the offseason. 

Comments

John Myers 4 months, 1 week ago

Good grief, Coach Hull completely dwarfs Coach Perry and HCDB!

Can't wait for the season to get started! ROCK CHALK!!

Dirk Medema 4 months, 1 week ago

Coach Perry has a great stare.

Love the coin flip throw down video.

Will the draft be televised? Maybe on the LHN? We do have partial rights there - yes?

Dale Rogers 4 months, 1 week ago

How do you pronounce Charlot? Is it like Charlotte, or Char-lot', or Char-low'? Thanks.

Brett McCabe 4 months, 1 week ago

I was a little surprised that Charlot was described as raw, after two years of college football practice. I think that I'll be tempering my expectations until the spring game where we can see what he brings to the table.

If your first pick isn't Dorrance, you should probably quit your job.

Benton Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

Full disclosure: We wanted to have a variety of answers for our picks. So we all argued for different guys. It would be pretty boring if we all said Dorance.

Dirk Medema 4 months, 1 week ago

Dorance is probably the best player, but it would seem to me that part of the question is a matter of relativity. How much better is Dorance than the other DE's, and is that difference greater than the differences at the other positions. It would seem to me there few more options closer in ability to Dorance - as good as he is, than to Mike Lee, who is the one and only returning member of the DB's. Charlot (described as raw after 1 season being compared to NC caliber teammates) and Sims cancel each other out for the same reason with Quiv and others factoring in as well. Same thing applies to the most important single position QB. The competition is too close.

It doesn't hurt that Mike is from da boot.

Joe Ross 4 months, 1 week ago

Im glad no one is considering taking a QB first. Pick defensive players, linemen, and skill positions until a QB is chosen by the other team. Then, your next pick should be either of Carter Stanley or Peyton Bender (whichever one was not chosen).

Benton Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

Interesting tidbits I've found out since we put up this blog yesterday.

  1. When one team selects a guy at a certain position, the other team automatically gets the other player on the 2-deep at that position. That keeps the teams balanced from a pure roster/position standpoint. So if Hull took, for example, Khalil Herbert with a pick, Perry's team automatically gets Taylor Martin

  2. It sounds like they are keeping Bender and Stanley out of the so-called draft. So once it's done Stanley or Bender will get to choose which team he plays for. Not sure on who gets first choice. Maybe coin flip? Proof that they're going out of their way to avoid any QB-related controversy. So no one can say, 'Well, obviously Stanley is better. He went first.' Or vice versa.

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