Merchantmen pick CB Matthews, TE Velazquez in first round
The Maassluis Merchantmen have selected cornerback Aidan Matthews and tight end Derrick Velazquez with their pair of first round picks in the 2092 IHOF draft. The Merchantmen had tried to move these picks, but eventually decided to hold on to them and pick what they felt were the two best players left from the player pool. Immediately after, they traded their pair of second round picks, as well as their third, fourth and fifth round picks for a second and fifth round pick next draft from Moontown and that team's sixth and seventh rounders this draft.
Aidan Matthews ranked third in this class amongst cornerbacks, with a stellar 6.5 grade and had respectable combine scores. The West Virginia graduate wasn't interviewed by the Merchantmen, but their staff report that Matthews was considered the best man to man and bump and run defender of this class, with decent zone defense, interceptions skills and endurance. It comes as a surprise as the Merchantmen are trying hard to extend the contracts of their outstanding cornerback duo of Kirk Hitchcock and Jackie Richardson. Combined with last season's first round rookie Devon Farrell, this should be a superb secondary.
Tight end Derrick Velazquez was an even bigger surprise as the 5.9 graded Oklahoma State alumni joins a crowded tight end group in Maassluis. Possibly undersized with his 6'1" height, the Merchantmen staff found him an underrated player and are confident he'll be a very good blocker with decent receiving skills. It remains to be seen how he can be used with the likes of Clay Gaynor and Clarence Gore already on roster, while run blockers Jeffery Blake and Renaldo Crawford are highly respected by the staff.
Merchantmen management has openly advertised the two players' availability for trade, as the Merchantmen are in their usual cap troubles and have been open about trying to maintain their roster as closely to last season's as possible. Neither of these rookies would fit into a starting role right away, unless the team plans on trading players at their position, or just picking these rookies as placeholding merchandise.
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail