2021-02-19 20:52

Location: Deventer Chronicler website
Date: 13th February 2021
Time: 01:13

Who: Bart Kampman
Title: Beat Writer Deventer Devils

Review Draft 42: Despite the dark chaos, Muriki seems to be a real football coach

After the drama of the first ever draft in S41 the Deventer Devils participated in, it was nice to see a proper draft take place. In short, it was clear what the strategy of coach Muriki was and we agree with this approach. Basically, the strategy seems to be to get one key player in every position group and use this as a foundation for the youth intake to build on. Last season the club drafted a QB, WR and a LB. This season the following picks were made (in italics is my ranking going from E (worst) to A (Elite):

Round 1 | 17th pick | RB Santiago Martín - Grade B
People might disagree with picking a RB in the first round but it was clear that all the elite draftees had gone of the board already by the time the Devils made their pick. I like this pick however. This guy is fast, and when I mean fast, I mean the fastest on the pitch. From the tape I've seen he has shown football intelligence which is a good trait for a fast RB that needs to quickly decide which gap to hit. From my sources in the club I understand that his strength, which was the only concern for Santiago coming out of college, is also near the top. So on the most important skill positions (WR and RB) the club now has two future stars and I like that.

Round 2 | 49th pick | FB Jalpesh Manju - Grade C
So I'll be honest here: I don't necesssarily agree with going for a FB in the second round. It is easily the worst pick of the three in this draft. I think there were better options still out there. However, it does give an insight into Muriki's vision on how to play ball. With a RB being picked in the first round it is clear that Manju was picked for his blocking ability and not neccessarily for his running ability. I do think this is a smart strategy. The O line is a mess and having an extra blocker in there makes sense. My sources however tell me that his strength is disappointing and they thought there was no room for improvement so that is a bit of an issue for a blocking FB. However in college Manju did show a knack for pass protecting and it was easily his best skill that jumped out from the tape I watched.

Round 3 | 81st pick | LB Petru Astanei (will play as DE) - Grade B -> A
Now I absolutely love this pick and it is an absolute steal to get it in the 3rd round! This makes the Manju pick palpable. He declared for the draft as a LB but the Devils will use him on the line, most likely a DE. Strenght wise this guy is a beast, no one is stronger then him. But what really jumped out to me is his football intelligence. I've not seen better. He consistently makes the right plays. This allows him to make plays that should not be possible as he can quickly diagnose a developing play. On top of that,when blockers did get his hands on him he often was able to wriggle out of these with easy. Slippery is how one coach described this and I think this is a very apt description. The concern coming out of college was his low speed. However my sources in the club tell me that they think they can work with him to increase his base speed, especially as early on in his college career he was described as a track star. As of now they were not willing to put a limit on this development which makes me very excited. I really think Astanei can develop into a leader on defense the same way Sulaiman already is now for the LB group. My grade is B with it becoming an A if he can develop his speed to elite levels.

So there you have had. 3 more players on the books for the Devils and they will all make a direct impact on the field, no doubt. So despite all the weird things surrounding the arrival of coach Muriki it has to be said that he does seem to have football acumen that is legit.

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Tags: Inside Deventer Devils

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