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2016 NFL mock draft: Center Nick Martin headed to Washington

It may not be a fun pick like an offensive playmaker, but Washington gets a steady starter in the second round of the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft.

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

When you're a playoff team, the draft process should be about filling holes to help either keep you there or push you over the top. That's the strategy Ken Meringolo of Hogs Haven has employed in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft. In the first round he took defensive lineman Andrew Billings, a workmanlike nose tackle. He flips to the other side of the ball for his second pick.

53. Washington: Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame

Meringolo: If this team is going to have any chance to be good in 2016, it will have to win more battles in the trenches. I didn’t get Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama) in the first round, but still landed a plug-and-play starter at the heart of our defensive line in Andrew Billings. The need for center remained, but Nick Martin wasn’t a forced pick--in fact, I would have taken a shot at one of the safeties that went flying off the board in the middle of the second round had one of them fallen to me. Joshua Perry and Artie Burns both tempted me, but the chance to land a second starter in the trenches -- this time at the heart of the offensive line -- was too good to pass up. Strength up the middle is one of the core tenets of winning football, and Billings and Martin add that on day one of their careers.

Nick Martin projects as an immediate starter, and is more than just an investment in a young and improving offensive line--it is an investment in Kirk Cousins. Martin’s high football IQ and NFL pedigree (his brother Zack plays in the division already) make him an ideal battery mate for Kirk Cousins to grow alongside in the coming years.

Neither Andrew Billings nor Nick Martin were at the top of my wish list in either round, but I am extremely pleased with the manner in which the trenches of this team were improved after the first two rounds of the draft.

Analysis: Given how there was a run on safeties, going with a potential starting center is a smart move. Martin is almost universally considered the draft's second-best center behind Kelly. Getting him would ensure Washington gets two starters with its first two picks in the draft. Center isn't a sexy position, but one the team has needed to address for a couple of seasons.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 40. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
  • 41. Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State
  • 42. Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
  • 43. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
  • 46. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

Washington picks

  • 1-20: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
  • 2-53: Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame

We're down to our final pick of the day with the Daily Norseman filing pick No. 54 at 3 p.m. ET for the Vikings.


Complete draft results:

First round

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Link)
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Link)
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (Link)
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama (Link)
20. New York Jets - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Link)
21. Washington - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (Link)
22. Houston Texans - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (Link)
23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (Link)
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (Link)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - William Jackson, CB, Houston (Link)
26. Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (Link)
27. Green Bay Packers - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (Link)
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (Link)
29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss (Link)
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson (Link)
31. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Link)

Second round

32. Cleveland Browns - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Link)
33. Tennessee Titans - Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State (Link)
34. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (Link)
35. San Diego Chargers- Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State (Link)
36. Baltimore Ravens - Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (Link)
37. San Francisco 49ers - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Link)
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia (Link)
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State (Link)
40. New York Giants - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia (Link)
41. Chicago Bears - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (Link)
42. Miami Dolphins - Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (Link)
43. Los Angeles Rams - Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (Link)
44. Oakland Raiders - Darian Thompson, S, Boise State (Link)
45. Los Angeles Rams - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Link)
46. Detroit Lions - Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (Link)
47. New Orleans Saints - Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford (Link)
48. Indianapolis Colts - Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (Link)
49. Buffalo Bills - Kamalei Correa, DE/OLB, Boise State (Link)
50. Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, S, Florida (Link)
51. New York Jets - Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn (Link)
52. Houston Texans - Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas