In the inaugural MLR draft last night, Old Glory used their two picks at 11th and 23rd to select Casey Renaud of Kutztown University and Matthew Gordon from the University of Mary Washington. Unsurprisingly, OGDC opted to select two forwards in the draft. Young players like Will Vakalahi and Jack Iscaro had a significant impact in the forward pack last season, something which Old Glory is attempting to continue with their draft picks.
Originally from Vermont, Casey Renaud played lock at Kutztown University and was a pivotal factor in their Rugby East conference championship last year. At a towering 6′ 8″, he has the potential to provide a great lineout target and help improve DC’s somewhat scrappy lineouts. He’s 240 lbs., which sounds great until you consider how tall he is, so he may need to pack on a few more pounds until he’s truly MLR ready.
With this pick, Old Glory took a shot at someone who could give them a big advantage in the lineout. Renaud is 2-3″ taller than any of the other forwards in the squad, and will be one of the tallest locks in the league. He will likely need some strength and conditioning training before he’s truly match-ready, and whether he can hold up in an already-shaky scrum will play a big part in how much playing time he gets. That said, Old Glory took a bet on Renaud which, if it pays off, will payoff big.
As one of the top-rated prospects of the MLR draft, it was a bit of a shock to see Matthew Gordon still on the board for the 23rd overall pick. He’s an alumnus of the University of Mary Washington, where he played lock and 8-man. Originally from Scotland, he also played with the Glasgow Warriors Academy u16 through u20 sides. He was an All-American last year and at 6’5″ 245 lbs. he comes ready to step on the field.
This pick was a clear example of the “best available player” draft strategy. Put simply, you don’t pass up an opportunity to get athlete as good as Gordon if he’s still on the board in round two. If the first pick was about adding something unique to the team, this pick was more about adding depth.