Welcome to Round One of the first Hustle Belt Group of Five Draft. Two rounds, each MAC school represented. We pick the best from the AAC, Conference USA, the MWC, and the Sun Belt. Consolidation is the only way we fight the Power Five. Together we can save mid-major football. MACtion can be had by all. With the first pick in the HBG5 Draft....
I really wanted to go QB with both Chuckie Keeton and Shane Carden (hello Ohio fans. Does that hurt a little?) out there. However, with Zach Terrell's apparent development, and the depth behind him in both Cam Thomas and Chance Stewart, I have to look elsewhere. The secondary and WRs are set for the Broncos as well, so I'm either looking at a lineman or a tight end. The more pressing need though is a defensive lineman with experience, and Ifedi brings that. The 6-3 defensive lineman usually lines up at DE, but can roll into the middle if need be. With DE being a weak position for the Broncos (and I mean especially weak), Ifedi automatically becomes not only the top dog and star on the line, but a much needed mentor for such a youthful group (1 junior, 1 senior [transferred in]). His 19 sacks and 25.5 TFL the past two seasons should help win the battle in the trenches and cause nightmares for MAC backfields all year long, while his experience helps bolster the roster down the road.- Brandon Fitzsimons
The Flashes need a lot of things on defense, but with defensive linemen Roosevelt Nix and Mark Fackler out of eligiblity, help up front is a must. The secondary is solid, so a guy who can play the run is a bigger need, and the SMU defensive end is one of the best. An upgrade from Fackler, Barnes made 13 of his 45 tackles in the opponents backfield, added 5 sacks (not bad for a 30 end), and even picked off a pass. He'll get a better opportunity to flash his pass rush ability in the Flashes system. - Al Burke
Conventional wisdom here may be to go defense, or go to the offensive line like the first four picks, but I'm going for broke. Akron was the surprise of the MAC last year and will be looking for bowl eligibility this coming season. I think Kyle Pohl has the potential to be a top tier QB in the MAC, and I feel confident in the running game with Jawon Chisholm in the backfield. I'm getting Pohl a weapon. Greenberry is a former 5-star recruit and Mr. Football in the state of California. He's on every watch list you can name entering this season, caught for over 1,200 yards last year, and in this world is now an Akron Zip. - Keith Scheessele
Don't get me wrong, I like Derrius Vick-he's got some wheels, a solid arm, and guts-but he's still somewhat of an unknown as a starting quarterback. Ohio's defense will be its strength this year, and now without Tyler Tettleton I can't pass up a sure thing like Rakeem Cato, who just may be the best pure-passer in the game. He instantly gives Ohio the best quarterback in the MAC, and an accomplished leader to take the reins of an offense that's lost several leaders over the course of the offseason. - Bryan M. Vance
Last year the Rockets were 10th in pass defense, 10th in pass defense efficiency, 11th in interceptions, and 13th in red zone defense. With the MAC being a pass heavy conference the addition of McCain to the Rockets' defensive back unit would improve in everyway. McCain missed 3 games last season due to injury but that didn't stop him from intercepting 6 passes, taking 2 back for touchdowns. In 32 career games McCain has 90 tackles, 70 solo, recovered two fumbles and forced another. He is entering this year as the NCAA FBS co-leader in interceptions per game with a .7 average. A change to a team that wins more might also help McCain mentally with Memphis only winning 3 games last year. A few wins with the Rockets could make him a better player. With the addition of this ball hawk to the defense, I could see the Rockets defensive improving significantly in the upcoming season. - Ian Davis
Quite frankly, I'm shocked that Chuckie Keeton is still on the board here with the 1st round winding down. Keeton is a perfect fit in the NIU offense and he's a top dual-threat QB. I think Keeton and Bryan's earlier selection, Rakeem Cato, could be Heisman dark horses if they stay healthy the entire year. As a sophomore for Utah State he threw for over 3,300 yards, ran for another 600, and scored 35 total TDs. Last year, in just about 5 games worth of action (if that due to blowouts), he had 1,200 yards passing, almost 300 rushing, 13 TDs (11 through the air), and just 2 interceptions. The Huskies have three unproven but talented quarterbacks vying to start this year but with Keeton still on the board here NIU's offense just got a lot more dangerous. Look for NIU to draft a defensive player the 2nd round since the offense is now looking as strong as last year with Keeton under center. - Mike Karpinski
With the final pick of the first round BGSU trades the pick to UMass for future first round picks (Browns strategy, baby).
No, but seriously...BG takes James Rouse from Marshall. Bowling Green took a step forward as a team in 2013, but actually took a step back on defense. The Falcons weren't great against the run, and were downright bad against B1G opponents. In the Pizza Bowl, BG's lack of a solid run defense was apparent (255 yards allowed with an average of 6.5 yards per carry.) Both their starting tackles (Jairus Campbell and Ted Ouellet) are now gone so the Falcons can use some help up front. Rouse is an athletic tackle at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, and is a menace. He explodes into the backfield and gobbles up ballcarriers to the tune of 14 tackles for-loss (-58 yards). He'll sure up the Falcons run defense and get the unit as a whole closer to its 2012 performance. - Bryan M. Vance