Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Andrew Potter

For this special NFL draft edition of Audibles, as with our regular Audibles feature, the FO staff sends around email comments about the draft. We share information, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed as we watch. We then compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these emails are written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of the draft. That means we aren't going to discuss every pick, or every talking point. We watch the draft as fans as well as analysts, so the discussion may be colored by our rooting interests and some aspects of the draft may not be covered to your fullest desires, or even at all.

2017 NFL Draft -- Rounds 2 & 3

Bryan Knowles: Some good talent out there as we get going. Cam Robinson (Seattle at 34?), Forrest Lamp (L.A. Rams at 37?), Dalvin Cook (Philadelphia at 43?). Really good to be the Seahawks today; lots of talent at positions they could stand to bolster, and six picks to do it with.

Tom Gower: Excited to see where the quarterbacks and character and injury risk flags go, and, of course, who trades up to draft Zane Gonzalez.

Bryan Knowles: The Seahawks trade down again -- just one slot, just like we saw in the second pick yesterday. Something tells me they didn't get quite as big of a haul as the 49ers did, but hey, more picks for the Hawks.

I have to guess this is for Cam Robinson, yeah? No quarterback worth moving for here, he said for the fourth time this draft...

Aaron Schatz: Yes! The Jaguars took Robinson.

So I thought, OK, maybe the Seahawks take Forrest Lamp. Or a cornerback? Nope, they took Malik McDowell. My first instinct is to say "Uh, guys, you already have defensive linemen. You need OFFENSIVE linemen." But is it somewhat hypocritical to criticize Seattle for skipping over offensive linemen they clearly feel aren't worth that draft position given that I have no problem with Cleveland continuously skipping over quarterbacks they feel aren't worth that draft position?

Bryan Knowles: Adding Budda Baker and Haason Reddick to that Cardinals defense is very interesting. They're looking for athletes who they can move all around the field, and they're doing a great job at getting 'em. The run on quarterbacks in the first round may have been the best thing that could have happened to Arizona.

Vince Verhei: First of all, let it be known that I called that Seahawks third trade down yesterday. Thank you very much. 

That said, I wonder if they would have made the move if Green Bay hadn't taken Kevin King at 33. A 6-foot-3 corner who killed it at the combine. Seems like it would have been a great fit. Of course, if they really wanted him, they could have just taken him instead of trading down twice.

Anyway, they miss out on King and offensive tackle Cam Robinson, either of whom would have fit in their biggest need. And they end up with Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell -- a less obvious need, but Ahtyba Rubin will be 31, and now McDowell and Jarran Reed, last year's second-rounder, will in theory keep their defense strong for years. When in doubt, Pete Carroll will pretty much always get a defensive lineman or running back. 

Wow, Cardinals then take Budda Baker, who is awfully similar to Tyrann Mathieu -- an all-purpose Swiss army knife of a defender who can do a little bit of everything. Going to be fun to see the packages the Cardinals use with the two of them.

There is a big difference between a lousy team like Cleveland skipping quarterbacks in the first round. A perennial playoff team like Seattle ignoring its biggest needs in the second round is totally different. But they still have another pick in the second and now four in the third, so there is still time.

Rivers McCown: I love McDowell. He's got as good a chance as anyone in this draft to be an impact pass rusher from inside.

Bryan Knowles: The Jets take safety Marcus Maye, which is a good player...but they took Jamaal Adams in the first round, so they have doubled down on the position. I get that it was a need, but the Jets need a lot. Someone like Quincy Wilson or Jourdan Lewis might have made more sense if you were looking to bolster the secondary, yeah?

Vince Verhei: Carolina doubles down at running back with Curtis Samuel, but like Christian McCaffery, Samuel's a great receiver -- actually had more receiving yards than rushing yards last year. Pair those two scatbacks with a giant wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin and a very good tight end in Greg Olson, and a quarterback who can run you over too, and that team just got a lot tougher to defend.

Aaron Schatz: By the way, notice how everyone has forgotten about Devin Funchess already? They didn't mention him on NFL Network just now... tweets about the Samuel pick and all the weapons don't seem to mention him either. Funchess was the No. 41 pick just TWO years ago. Just a reminder that not all of the players drafted today are going to plug the holes you want them to plug.

Bryan Knowles: Philly fans are very upset the Vikings traded up and snagged Dalvin Cook there. There were mocks pre-draft that had the Eagles taking Cook in the first round.

BackCAST loves him too. I know that the NFL Network was saying "oh, this could be Mixon," but Cook's better even before considering anything off the field.

That being said, good lord, Cook is going to get clobbered if the Vikings don't get an offensive line, and soon.

Sidney Jones to the Eagles, hrm? Well, no doubting it's a major need, but you're picking up someone with a torn Achilles tendon. He's going to go on PUP, and not be ready for on-field action until September at the earliest, so you're kind of writing your second-round pick off for a decent chunk of 2017. I'm always iffy about drafting players with recent injuries, especially when you consider Philly doesn't pick again until pick No. 99 (they lost their third-round pick in the trade for Timmy Jernigan).

Rivers McCown: If he didn't get hurt he's a first-round pick. It cuts both ways.

Aaron Schatz: I always thought Achilles tendon recoveries were not as sure as recovering from broken bones or even torn ACLs. But all the talk on the Twitter seems to be that his surgery went well and he'll recover fully.

Tom Gower: I thought the story on Achilles was it's likely either career-crippling or not that big a deal, and the reports say Jones is of the latter category. But how good do you think he has to be if he's going to miss at least the first half of this year and maybe the whole thing? And when was the last player for whom this strategy of drafting an injured player works? Aaron Colvin, maybe, but he was a fourth-round pick and is now a slot corner behind two highly-rated guys (Ramsey and Bouye). The last early rounder who it worked out for was Willis McGahee, maybe?

Rivers McCown: Gurley. (Yes, I know 2016 happened.)

Carl Yedor: There had been some talk (mostly local to the Seattle area) that all three Washington defensive backs (King, Baker, Jones) could have ended up going in the first round had Jones not gotten hurt at their Pro Day. None actually did, but they only had to wait 11 picks on Day 2 for them all to find their new teams. All three now play for teams that play the Seahawks at least once this year.

Rob Weintraub: Speaking as a Bengals fan, I was quite upset when ESPN went through the entire process of the Vikings/Cook pick and even talked about Mixon without mentioning a single time that Minny had traded in to Cincy's spot, nor what they gave the Stripes to do so. I mean, that's kinda pertinent info, no? I realize there are only 17 Bengals fans, but c'mon.

And the Bengals get the guy at 48 who they would have taken at 41 -- that man, Joe Mixon. Conflicted feelings but the team met with him extensively and the apostle Mike Brown obviously believes he deserves a shot at redemption.

Aaron Schatz: Does Mixon suggest the eventual departure of Jeremy Hill, or Giovanni Bernard? I'm guessing the former.

Tom Gower: Jeremy Hill, maybe sooner rather than later, later being when his contract expires after this season.

Nathan Forster: With Joe Mixon coming off the board, I thought this might be a good time to say that I feel much more uncertain about my various draft projections than I usually do. There are just too many X-factors that complicate BackCAST and SackSEER's more extreme projections. I feel fine about BackCAST's optimism about Fournette, but all it takes is one off-the-field issue to derail positive statistical outlooks for Cook and Mixon. I feel good about Myles Garret's projection, but I'm a little uneasy about Harris, given that he performed much better at his pro day than his combine and his pro day is more in-line with his scouting reports. Other than those two, most of SackSEER's other projections are middle-of-the road. I'm mostly OK with Playmaker, but even there, its most controversial pick is its pessimism about Williams, and Williams' projection is really not that bad, so it wouldn't be unusual if he was successful.

Vince Verhei: I don't want to dwell on the subject, but it says a lot to me that Mixon has at least publicly shown remorse, and that the victim has publicly accepted his apology. I understand why he slipped, but it seems like this should be an easy lesson for him to learn, and the Bengals probably got a steal here. 

Disappointed that the legend announcing Washington's pick was Clinton Portis and not Coach Janky Spanky.

Cian Fahey: I'm realizing that the draft is thoroughly uninteresting when you don't A) support a team and B) know any of the players past the first round. These are my best takes right now.

Tom Gower: Browns take DeShone Kizer at pick No. 52. Still feels too early given how awful QBASE thought he would be.

Cian Fahey: I will fight QBASE on that one. Kizer only needs to become a competent passer and he can start in this league. Love his feet.

Bryan Knowles: Kizer feels a lot better for me when I think of him as the fourth player the Browns have taken, rather than a mid-second-round pick. Looked at it that way, Kizer's a decent risk at this point.

Other players could have helped Cleveland more immediately here, but they're not really looking to compete in 2017 anyway.

Rivers McCown: Kizer strikes me as a high-risk, high-reward quarterback. Essentially the opposite of Kessler.

Aaron Schatz: A lot of the QBASE issue there is that he couldn't complete 60 percent of his passes against an easier schedule than the other prospects. And I think it's hard to mentally filter for opponent strength in our minds when we're watching guys on film.

I should also point out that taking Kizer now doesn't at all prevent the Browns from using a high first-round pick on a quarterback in 2018 if they feel there's a guy who's finally worth it.

Rob Weintraub: Hill already cost the team Burkhead, and is widely loathed in Cincy (outside the team) for his general ineptitude and of course the fumble vs. Pittsburgh. It would take a spree of injuries or unforeseen events to get a second contract in Bengals-land.

Prediction -- all the sturm und drang over Mixon will be largely forgotten by Week 4 if he plays like his college tape. Not saying that's right, but human nature is what it is. 

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I guess you can accuse me of rationalizing, but if the woman Mixon slugged forgave him and his contrition is genuine, does he not deserve some benefit of Let Him Be?

Meanwhile ESPN still hasn't mentioned that the Bengals traded down to take Mixon. Come to think of it, I still don't know what Minny gave up.

Meanwhile, Denver steals one of my hopes to slip to Cincy -- DeMarcus Walker of Florida State.

Looks like the Vikes gave up 128 to move up, just to clean that up. Cincy has three fourth-rounders now. Could package something to move up to today possibly.

Quick note on Hill -- last two seasons have been a disaster, but he single-handedly carried the Bengals to the 2014 postseason, which shouldn't be forgotten.

One more thing -- the pressure is squarely on Ogbuehi and Fisher. The skill guys in Cincy appear terrifying, but it could all be for naught if the offensive line doesn't hold up its end of the bargain. Plenty of pressure on Paul Alexander too, the venerated line coach, who demanded the two tackles in the 2015 draft. Gotta coach them up, or trade a couple of those fourth-round picks for Dante Scarnecchia.

Bryan Knowles: The Seahawks take an offensive lineman! And... it's a center? If there's a bright spot to the Seahawks' offensive line, it's Justin Britt. Ethan Pocic has positional versatility, so I assume the Seahawks will be sliding him to guard...

Vince Verhei: Justin Britt sucked at tackle and guard but played much better at center and was considered the one sure thing on the line coming into the draft. Pocic played all positions at LSU and is reportedly a better run blocker than pass blocker -- sounds like a classic Seahawks pick.

Aaron Schatz: I noticed they announced Pocic as a tackle when they took him.

Carl Yedor: Britt was due for an extension if he was going to be part of the team's long-term plans. Now? Seems less likely he'll be around much longer.

Vince Verhei: Pocic is also 6-foot-7, which seems massive for a center -- or guard, for that matter.

Our old buddy Doug Farrar pointed this out: The closest NFL comparison for Pocic at NFL Draft Scout is... Justin Britt.

Rob Weintraub: Chiefs take Tanoh Kpassagnon, and 31 other beat writers exhale that they won't have to memorize that name.

Bryan Knowles: Drew Pearson with one of the all-time great pick announcements there. Or, to translate it into Philly, "Booooooooooooooooooooo!"

Vince Verhei: That was the best thing I've seen in the draft so far. I stood and applauded in my living room.

Ian Rapoport reporting that the Cowboys are shopping Orlando Scandrick for a third-rounder. Seattle has four third-round picks, and DeShawn Shead won't be ready to start the season. Seems like a perfect fit to me.

Cian Fahey: Rapoport has been the king of trade speculation this week. Not sure any of it has actually come true.

Scott Kacsmar: Also the fourth time in the last five years that the Steelers have gone linebacker and receiver in the first three rounds. They love scouting those positions, but clearly a much better track record at wideout. I think JuJu Smith-Schuster is a bit of a luxury pick though, or a sign that there's very little trust in Martavis Bryant staying clean. Depth chart-wise, you'd expect Antonio Brown to remain the king, Bryant a clear No. 2, Sammie Coates as a similarly skilled backup, Eli Rogers in the slot, and don't forget Ladarius Green at tight end, and of course Le'Veon Bell getting so many catches. So where does that put Smith-Schuster? I'm seeing Anquan Boldin comparisons, so maybe a tough possession receiver who can work in the slot, which would take away from Rogers in this offense. Definitely a smart fit if Bryant's career goes south, but like to hope he rebounds, which again makes this look like too much of a luxury to me.

Bryan Knowles: The 49ers continue to wheel and deal, this time trading out of a third-round pick entirely to get New Orleans' second in 2018 (and an additional seventh-round pick this year).

John Lynch dancing around the board, though this one feels the most unusual of the bunch.

Tom Gower: The Saints take Alvin Kamara, giving up that 2018 second-round pick. Good combination with Adrian Peterson, in terms of skills, and it does make sense that the Saints would value running back so much with how much they use them in the passing game.

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Aaron Schatz: We said in the BackCAST article that Kamara might only be the next Travaris Cadet. And now he can be.

Rivers McCown: What an odd fit that is in New Orleans. Tons of draft capital and Adrian Peterson.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, it's the Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles role. Teaming Kamara with Peterson isn't weird. It's teaming Peterson with Ingram that seems weird to me.

Bryan Knowles: Cincinnati's taking Jordan Willis feels like a really, really good pick. The Bengals need help across from Carlos Dunlap, and Willis might just be that guy.

Aaron Schatz: Cooper Krupp's skills better translate to play on the outside in the NFL, because the Rams did not need yet another slot receiver.

Tom Gower: Jon Robinson trades up again, this time with the Patriots. Again, he pays a price that looks a lot more like the Jimmy Johnson trade chart suggests he should pay than what a more ... modern trade chart suggests he should pay (92 percent of Jimmy Johnson, 125 percent of Chase Stuart's). That's good when trading down, but there are only so many desperate teams out there. I liked Taywan Taylor's potential fit with the Titans and thought they'd take two receivers, but thought it would be more likely they'd go with a cover linebacker (I had my eye on Duke Riley, whom the Titans took a couple picks later) or a tight end (Jeremy Sprinkle?) given those were likely bigger needs than a slot receiver.

Bryan Knowles: Sound the Air Raid sirens; the Giants are going with Davis Webb! Kind of an odd pick, with Eli and Geno Smith on the roster already.

Vince Verhei: Giants take Cal quarterback Davis Webb. Apparently they put backup/future quarterback at a higher priority than starting running back.

Aaron Schatz: "Who is this guy? Don't wink at the camera. You're a nobody!" The friend watching the draft with me is not a fan of ESPN's Davis Webb graphic.

Scott Kacsmar: Davis Webb feels like one of those irrelevant third-round quarterback picks. A tame succession plan that won't ever come to fruition. But I guess all the teams with an old quarterback will draft a young kid eventually. I wouldn't mind seeing the Steelers or Cardinals grab Josh Dobbs soon. Maybe not tonight, but in the fourth round.

Rob Weintraub: Which is why you don't reach for Barnett at 1.9 -- Willis is pretty much the same player.

Really wanted Cincy to trade back in and grab Derek Rivers, who is small school but has insane quick dip and bend. Instead the Pats get him, of course. Maybe he wouldn't be great everywhere but Belichick will make him into a terror.

Vince Verhei: The Seahawks' first third-rounder is Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin. First time Pete Carroll and John Schneider have ever drafted a corner in the first three rounds, but he fits their body type -- he's not huge at 6 feet even, but he has longer arms than Richard Sherman.

Carl Yedor: After missing out on uber-athletic Obi Melifonwu at the end of round two, Seahawks draft cornerback Shaquill Griffin with pick number 90. Griffin isn't the athlete Melifonwu is, but he's still one of the better ones in this class (seventh-best SPARQ cornerback according to

Bryan Knowles: 49ers trade up... to grab C.J. Beathard at the end of the third round, with Joshua Dobbs, Nathan Peterman, and Brad Kayaa still on the board. That's an interesting selection; most places I've seen had a sixth- or seventh-round grade on him. Seems odd to go up to get him, though he is a pro-style guy.

It's the right strategy -- a mid-round quarterback could turn out to be something but doesn't tie the team to anything as they look to 2018 and beyond -- but I question the actual player they chose.

Tom Gower: C.J. Beathard reminds me of Cody Kessler last year, a marginally talented passer who I thought was likely a sixth- or seventh-rounder going at the end of the third round. I didn't expect much from Kessler and didn't think we saw much last year. But, hey, San Francisco may just be playing a waiting game until they can get Kirk Cousins.

Analyzing the second and third rounds of the draft is a tricky business. They're really important and can give teams a lot of surplus value and go a long way towards determining who will be good in the next couple years. But it's tough to hold in your head simultaneously 32 separate team boards, rosters, and philosophies of the sort you need to really analyze picks immediately, plus have the in-depth knowledge of scheme to evaluate fit, so you tend to end up with a lot of (a) reflexive application of scouting grades to team, with some influence by need and/or (b) team-focused analysis saying "they needed X, they drafted X, good pick" because it's a pain to be really good at both. Plus, it's not like there are easy hacks where we can easily see the NFL is liable to get things wrong -- Carl Lawson on the board, to name one player many had rated highly, may be a function of medicals rather than player ability, and there's no reason we "deserve" to know that. Makes it hard to say too many things about the picks beyond generalities like "Beathard looks like a massive overdraft," "So does Davis Webb," "Stop throwing away third-round picks on fake succession plans at quarterback," "here's what this trade looks like," "like the trades last night, you can justify it if the general manager's aspiration for the pick turns out right," and suchnot.

Vince Verhei: Well Seattle's latest draftees certainly have their share of interesting stories.

  • Shaquill Griffin turned down offers from bigger schools, playing at Central Florida because he wanted to play with his one-handed brother Shaquem. (Shaquem, by the way, was AAC Defensive Player of the Year.)
  • North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones was nearly paralyzed five years ago due to complex regional pain syndrome.
  • Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh was born in Sierra Leone, losing both his parents to warfare. Emigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and became a U.S. citizen last year.

Don't think we'll have to worry about mental toughness with any of these young men.


45 comments, Last at 03 May 2017, 11:01pm

2 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

If an owner makes a business decision that a player's criminal behavior won't be tolerated by the entities that supply revenue, hey, it's their business, so they can make those judgements. As an ethical matter, if our society deems that the behavior doesn't warrant incarceration, , then there isn't much reason, ethically speaking, to not hire people for the jobs they are qualified for.

Nobody thinks twice about this, when,for instance, some dinosaur music act needs to hire a new drummer, but people get moralistic about athletes, for some reason.

1 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

"But, hey, San Francisco may just be playing a waiting game until they can get Kirk Cousins."

... and Cleveland with Jimmy G?

God, those'll be big contracts on the first day of the 2018 league year.

3 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Or they'll both be drafting 1-2 in 2018, and New England would have played themselves. Granted, the real disaster for them would be not trading Garoppolo, resigning him to an Osweiler contract, and then having him tank or get injured. I don't understand why any team would give up a 1st rounder for a guy who looked good for a Super Bowl team in two games before getting injured. He's more of a risk than Brock was.

19 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Here is the Jets schedule for the first month or so of 2017: at Buffalo, at Oakland, home against Miami, home against Jacksonville, at Cleveland. Then they start playing the Patriots. So they open against a rookie head coach who needs to replace his entire scouting staff, a good but somewhat lucky 2016 team playing in a town they're leaving in a year or two, a lucky 2016 playoff team, an unlucky team that drafted before them, and the worst team in 2016. If they go winless through those first five games I can start dreaming about the first pick. If they win 2-3 of those games, they can kiss Darnold and Rosen goodbye. They also play the Chargers at home in December, and the Panthers at home in November, with an extra week to prepare. Also, they have Buffalo at home on a Thursday night; usually that's a advantage to the home team.

7 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I actually think the Pats are keeping Jimmy G. as a hedge against a Brady injury at this point, given how old he is. Hey, it's a fool's errand to try to figure out what Belichick's thinking, but it sure looks like they are optimizing more for the short term than they have in the past. If the Pats were really looking to trade Jimmy G, they wouldn't be playing chicken, they would have gotten whatever they could get before this draft. If someone wants to give out a huge haul, they're good with that. If he walks at the end of the year, that's not the optimal result but it's worth the risk to have a good backup for 2017. I believe that Jimmy G's value to the Pats is much higher than his value to other teams. To them, he's a known quantity, even if to other teams he looks like a higher risk than Osweiler.

14 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

"but it sure looks like they are optimizing more for the short term than they have in the past"

I've seen this echo'd by a couple of people, but I don't understand it at all. What moves have they made that look short term?

Cooks is young, and Amendola and Edelman are old.

The simplest explanation here is that they're keeping JG because they think he might be the quarterback of the future, and that they plan on using this year (and possibly) next year to figure that out.

In my mind, optimizing for the short term would be trading him for a game-ready asset.

15 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I guess we disagree on what keeping Garropolo means. I'm not sure your explanation is simpler, just different. I don't think there was a game ready asset out there to be had for him. Hedging against a Brady injury seems short term. Also, Cooks is young but is only cheap for a year. That spells shorter term for me. I'm not talking about a total change in philosophy, just a slight shift. They are still maintaining flexibility. But I'm not that committed to my opinion, and I'll be interested to see how it turns out with Jimmy G.

17 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

The assumption that keeping Garrapalo is just to hedge bets against injury is an enormous assumption though.

And while Cooks is only cheap for 1 year, I'd be very surprised if he isn't extended this year. Edelman's contract is this year, and he's old.

BB has made it very clear that he doesn't believe in any sort of "window".

27 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

None of them are too old to be long term. I would say Belichick's strategy this offseason was to trade or sign free agents in their prime. The main drawback to this strategy is not the players get old, but the team's cap room shrinks. But since Brady won't be around that much longer, perhaps he's correct in not worrying about that so much.

It was just weird to see Belichick opt out of a really deep defensive draft. He did take two edge rushers, and Antonio Garcia was a great pick, but he drafted no corners this year, in a really good secondary class. I'm annoyed that the Jets waited until the 6th round to take a corner, but they still did more than the Pats did in this draft.

33 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

The Patriots entered this year with shittons of cap space - it's not really a worry for them - and other than Gilmore(and probably cooks), none of these guys are big cap additions.

The biggest issue they have is that they have very few roster spots available. Corners? They've one of the best groups of corners in the NFL with Gilmore/Butler/Rowe as the starters and Coleman/Jones/Jones as the backups (and Cyrus jones has actually looked good at corner - as opposed to KR, where he has been a trainwreck). It's a position of strength, and a rookie most likely wasn't making the team unless drafted high.

Of course the Jets did more in the draft - they have way more needs. The Patriots were (one of) the best in football last year, and they've significantly improved in the offseason.

34 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

One area where there still appears to be a dearth of anyalysis, with regard to career value, is cap space consumed. Is there a reference where we can, for instance, see a ranking for the last 20 years, in terms of % of annual team cap space consumed by individual players? I'm not aware of it, and without of it, you really arent getting the full picture.

45 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Here are a few overthecap articles about qbs and their percentage of the cap and SB winning value,

Here is an article detailing percentages of the SB winning teams cap devoted to position

This article has some interesting info as well

And lastly here is fieldgulls take on overthcap's analysis

35 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

"It was just weird to see Belichick opt out of a really deep defensive draft. "

I think this statement needs to be called out a bit - I think it's fair to say that BLESTO and The National think this was a deep defensive draft - as that tends to be what drives Mayock/etc and that drives public perception.

But it's important to remember that the Patriots don't use either one of those agencies, and have their own scouting. It's possible that looking at 1.32/2.32, etc, the Patriots just didn't like this class. It doesn't really matter if there are 15 studs this year instead of the normal 5, if your first pick is at 32.

And again " but they still did more than the Pats did in this draft."

There's just no way to tell if that's true yet.

36 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Agree with everything else you've mentioned, but this comment is absurd. So the Patriots don't use Blesto? So what. There's no way to tell if this was a terrible draft for quarterbacks yet, but everyone on this site has a pretty educated opinion on that, and chances are they're correct. The Pats routinely pick at 25th or lower, so why would it matter to them whether the top rung is 5 deep or 15 deep. They get their star players from rounds 2-4, sometimes even later.

Yes, it's true that the Jets drafted more cornerbacks than the Pats did this year; and I'm still mad at the Jets GM that he waited so long to take them. This was a real good draft for corners; Atlanta will probably be very happy with Demontae Kazee, who they drafted in round 5. Glad he's not in New England. It's just weird to me as a Jets fan to not see Belichick rule the draft and get the guys I wish the Jets would get.

38 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

", but everyone on this site has a pretty educated opinion on that,"

No, they really don't. None of us know shit.

" This was a real good draft for corners; Atlanta will probably be very happy with Demontae Kazee, who they drafted in round 5. "

Why do you think this is a real good draft for corners? BLESTO says it's a great cornerback draft, but the Patriots scouts may be looking at Kazee and saying "He's shit - has poor hips". Which one of the Patriots corners should have been cut to sign him? Why do you think Kazee is better than said corner?

39 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

", but everyone on this site has a pretty educated opinion on that,"

No, they really don't. None of us know shit.

Given the randomness of the NFL draft, and what the success rate is for first round picks (about 50%) on down, I'm not sure the GMs know that much more than us. New England deserves the benefit of the doubt given their history over the last 15-20 years, so sorry for questioning Belichick's genius in doing what Tannenbaum used to do in New York and having a 4 pick draft.

Which one of the Patriots corners should have been cut to sign him? Why do you think Kazee is better than said corner?

No one can be sure if Kazee is better than Rowe or either Jones, but he did have 15 interceptions the last two years. He looked fine to me in the tape that I watched against Cal and in the Mountain West Championship game against Wyoming. Perhaps the Pats know better. We'll know in about 2-3 years.

40 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Nobody is saying you can't question Belichick - what I'm saying is that the assumption that this is a go for it now move is ridiculous.

They traded away almost their entire draft in 2007 for veterans (welker, moss, etc). They routinely draft guys (like Sebastian Vollmer or Duron Harmon) way earlier than people expect them to be drafted, and they routinely trade picks for undervalued vets.

The only thing that looks out of place is trading a first round pick - and that doesn't look so out of place when you consider they traded it for a 23 year old talent at a position where their best starter is on the wrong side of 30, and going into a contract year. Cooks, Hogan, and Mitchell will be the base of that WR corps the next couple of years.

Draft picks are a currency to acquire talent. They're usually a very cost effective way to acquire talent- but they're not the only way.

The Patriots, outside of QB, are one of the younger teams in the league - they've been constantly rebuilding. They don't need to build only through the draft.

It should be pretty damn clear at this point that the Patriots draft board looks very different than Mike Mayock's. The simplest answer here is that they like the players available via trade better than they liked the players available via the draft.

Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong.

42 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Sorry, I assumed we both agreed that this wasn't a go for it now move once you pointed out the relative youth of the players they picked up this year. One of my earlier comments was poorly written, stating none of them are too old to be long term when I meant none of them were too old to be short term fixes.

That's a good point about the age of their receivers, and how Cooks fits a need for them, especially if they have to rely on Garoppolo in a year or two. I just felt the moves were slightly out of character from the Pats' usual moves. The last time they traded several picks for players they got Randy Moss and Wes Welker, so perhaps the rest of the AFC East should be concerned.

20 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I don't think Jimmy G being an injury hedge is any bigger assumption than any other in this situation. I agree Belichick doesn't believe in "windows" per se. I think he will maintain flexibility with contracts and will NOT trash the cap. But trading draft picks for more "ready to go" veterans rather than drafting players and trading for more picks, I think is a shift in his usual strategy that indicates he's looking more short term. For the record I have no opinion on what's the better strategy.

Now I'm curious what you think is the highest probability regarding Jimmy G:

1) trade him in 2017 for veteran player(s), (includes a tag-and-trade scenario)?
2) trade him in 2017 for draft picks for 2018 and beyond?
3) tag him and keep him?
4) keep him for 2017 and let him walk at the end?
5) something else i missed?

Since he didn't go for draft picks this year, my guess is #4.

23 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

"But trading draft picks for more "ready to go" veterans rather than drafting players and trading for more picks, I think is a shift in his usual strategy that indicates he's looking more short term"

Except that BB has a long history of doing this sort of thing.

Pretty much the only thing that's out of character is the trade for Cooks with a first rounder, but he's 23, and there's assuming a 23 year old player is a "go for it now" move is a bit ridiculous.

25 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Back in the Free Agency thread in March I wrote ...

"I felt like there's been a bit more freedom to BB's wheeling and dealing this offseason and that maybe he is going all-in. I'm interested to see how it plays out because he has never struck me as one to do that, yet he is also very good at playing his best hand to the situation that presents itself. So in the past he may well have been looking for longterm success thinking he was going to stay in coaching but if he knows he's retiring in a year or two then he may go for short term.

Anyway looking back to 2007, he paid a 2nd and a 7th to Miami for Wes Welker when he was a restricted free agent. So this deal comes closer considering that Cooks has a proven track record where Welker had already been cut by the Chargers and less than 100 receptions with Miami."

So, for me, the Cooks deal wasn't it. It was some stuff before Free Agency I think but I can't for the life of me remember what gave me the impression that maybe he's going all-in.

26 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

The transactions he made before free agency were:

Acquired WR Brandin Cooks in a trade with the New Orleans Saints, and DL Kony Ealy in a trade with the Carolina Panthers.

Re-signed S Duron Harmon; Signed restricted free agent TE Michael Williams.
Signed CB Stephon Gilmore as an unrestricted free agent (Buffalo Bills).

Acquired TE Dwayne Allen in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for an undisclosed draft selection.

Released T Sebastian Vollmer.

Named Nick Caley as tight ends coach.

Signed FB Glenn Gronkowski to a future contract.

Signed OL Chris Barker, LB Trevor Bates, OL Jamil Douglas, OL Chase Farris, RB Tyler Gaffney, DL Woodrow Hamilton, DL Darius Kilgo and WR Devin Lucien from the 2016 practice squad to future contracts; Signed TE Rob Housler to a future contract.

I think it was that he'd used at least 3 future draft picks to acquire Cooks, Ealy and Allen.

Draft picks are valuable because they get you cheap rookies which are essential for managing the cap with role players. I never analysed those trades in detail and don't know if he still got the value back in other picks etc, etc.

Whereas if you trade for a veteran you're expecting to have to pay that guy a decent 2nd contract.

In the past when he didn't want to pay Wes Welker, he signed Danny Amendola as a free agent. But this season he traded for Dwayne Allen to avoid paying Martellus Bennett.

That was the change in emphasis that got me wondering.

37 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Martellus Bennett is also three years older than Dwayne Allen.

If he were going all-in, it seems like the thing to do would have been to simply pay Bennett, not trade for a younger replacement.

He had the money.

I think they may have liked the depth of this year's draft class, but they weren't going to be able to keep all their draft picks (no real guarantee they could even PLAY this year, and it wouldn't be easy to get them onto the practice squad...)

So instead, they ditch the draft picks and bring in what looks like a much larger group of UDFAs, who are more likely to actually make it to the practice squad and have just as much potential. And if I recall rightly, some of the UDFAs are paid -more- than some of the late round picks, so teams are more likely to try and pick off those late round picks who are cheaper.

41 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Sheard was also 3 years older than Ealy.
Burkhead and Gillislee are both substantially younger than Blount.
Gillmore is a couple months younger than Logan Ryan.

They're acquired a ton of talent - but it's mostly guys who are younger than they guys they replaced.

4 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Love the Jordan Willis pick for Cincy. He graded out as low risk in the Waldo Football Future pass rushing formulas, and was real good last year for Kansas State. I considered Derek Rivers overrated; he almost fell into the do not draft pool in Waldo's formulas, due to a bad shuttle time, and he was king on campus for a Division I-AA school; sometimes those guys are awesome, sometimes not. Kyle Emmanuel has played well but isn't a dominant pass rusher for San Diego, and he had more production and better measurables. The Patriots pick I'm jealous of is Antonio Garcia. Watched his footage at Troy vs Clemson, and he was really good, and looks like a left tackle. Great pick for the Pats there.

I really wanted the Jets to get Dalvin Cook. Remind me why I can't have nice things.

5 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

"sometimes those guys are awesome, sometimes not"

This pretty much sums up the draft in a nutshell, and why trading up is usually so inadvisable. We have no reason to think that anybody is significantly better than the norm, with regard to projecting performance in the NFL.

8 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

Carolina's offense got a lot more exciting, but this is a team with an offensive line so utterly awful $55 million for Matt Kalil seemed like a good idea, and a secondary who could charitably be described as "dumpster fire full of syphilitic puppies". I mean, excitement is great and all, but Cam Newton is getting his butt kicked an awful lot with his play style, and, if you can't (A) protect him or (B) keep him from having to get into shootouts with what appear to be three very potent divisional rival offenses, I can't imagine it ends all that well.

10 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

From Scott Kacsmar : "I wouldn't mind seeing the Steelers or Cardinals grab Josh Dobbs soon. Maybe not tonight, but in the fourth round."

Nailed it. Seems like an OK pick for the Steelers... but I don't expect too much.

11 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I don't see what's so bad about using a third round pick on a QB who is unlikely to succeed the aging starter. There is a low but not zero chance of actually hitting on a successor, a better chance you've at least got a cheap backup, and most importantly in my opinion, you've got a plausible reason not to panic and draft a shaky talent in the first round if your starter retires early or falls off a cliff.

If the Bears had done the responsible thing and drafted a QB anywhere in the last two years, maybe they don't panic and give up too much to draft Trubisky, who I feel stands about as much chance of being great as Webb or Dobbs.

12 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I see the Steelers picking a WR in the second round as a potential indicator that we'll see more 4WR looks. If Green struggles to stay healthy again, they'll have several WRs that are better players than TE2 Jesse James. Might as well just take James off the field on passing downs and spread the field. Very few teams have four corners that they really feel good about, so if you can throw four good receivers out there you're going to get a couple of good matchups out of it.

13 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

What did we all think about the coverage?
I was on ESPN all weekend, and one thing that really annoyed me was long winded moralizing about players with character concerns. Did we really all need to see the Joe Mixon video? Did we need to miss multiple picks as we asked every panellist about him: if they would let him talk to the media etc? I'm a football fan, and while it is relevant to know that Mixon dropped because of character concerns, I don't see the need to rabbit on about it. There is a draft going on in the background. You guys mentioned that no one spoke about the trade the Bengals made, they were just so eager to roll Mixon's rap sheet. They did a similar thing with Dede Westbrook on day 3, missed picks and talked unnecessarily about it.

Another coverage note: the #6 pick of Jamal Adams was absolutely butchered by ESPN. They cut to him on the phone, obviously emotional - before the pick was announced, and then spent two minutes awkwardly reassuring us that 'now we don't KNOW Adams is the pick', with presenters pausing mid sentence a couple of times, as producers spoke in their ear I imagine. Really bad.

16 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I think ESPN's coverage is awful, and I switched to the NFL Network years ago. Mayock is great, and his little fit yesterday where he'd had enough of the chimpanzee at the Indianapolis Zoo showing the picks was one of the best parts of the weekend. He was visibly and audibly frustrated at the idiocy of it, and it was great.

A lot of the ESPN discussion feels very forced, and the NFL Network guys seem to genuinely like each other and are having fun. So much better. Also, it means I never have to hear Kiper or McShay, which is always a positive step.

21 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I don't know, both broadcasts have pros+cons. I prefer ESPN round 1 because I really like Riddick and Grudden is the only talking head whose QB takes I care about- people say he only says positive things, but I didn't have any trouble confusing his opinion on Trubisky/Mahommes/Watson. I don't hate Kiper&McShay, but they can be really annoying and Kiper is almost a parody of himself. I hate Wingo who to me is similar to Bob Saget hosting America's Funniest Home Videos- just awful. On NFLN I like Mayock+Jeremiah, but if there is someone associated with draft coverage worse than Wingo, it's Charles Davis who is embarrassingly bad. I watch night 1 live on ESPN, 2 live on NFLN, and then DVR day 3 so I can fast forward through commercials+police chiefs/sitcom stars announcing picks.

24 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I missed the first night as I was volunteering at a fundraiser. Just as well. TT traded out of Round 1. I watched part of days 2 and 3 on NFL Network. I like Mayock and the rest of the talking heads are at least tolerable. I'd rather watch nonstop pre-election coverage reruns than watch Kiper.

30 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I was disappointed that they passed on TJ Watt, but I think King may fill a bigger need for the Packers. I was surprised with Josh Jones. I get the need for more speed in the secondary. But they already have two safeties and even a reasonable backup. Unless they plan to use Jones or Burnett as the slot corner, I don't see the need. I like both Adams and Biegel adding strength to the front seven. The rest of the draft is irrelevant in the short run. Nobody knows if any of them can contribute, so I'm ok with TT grabbing three RBs (even before cutting Michael) because they really need a compliment to Montgomery and they hope at least one works out. Same with grabbing two WRs. They can also all play special teams, which is what you also need from your backups. I think getting both King and Biegel instead of just Watt is definitely worth it, although if TJ turns out to be almost as good as his brother a lot of people will not be happy.

32 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

If he's up for it I think there will be a role for Jones to contribute to the defense. They started experimenting with some 3 safety looks last season. If I'm remembering the goal was to compensate for the fact that their ILBs were poor in coverage. Seems like Jones profiles as a pretty good run defender. They also need to replace Micah Hyde, and although he usually seemed to just play corner (especially with all the injuries last year), he did possess kind of a hybrid corner/safety skill set.

28 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

I stuck with NFL Network except at the very beginning, because I was a few minutes late getting started and my wife was kind enough to DVR it but didn't realize it was shown on both ESPN and NFL Network.

I can do without all of the 2nd and 3rd day gimmicks as far as having weird ways to announce picks (I'm with Mike Mayock 100% on the orangutan issue), and I hate that some picks get completely skipped over except on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. I'm not totally sure because I DVRed Saturday and fast-forwarded through much of it, but I believe that neither of the Bears' final 2 picks got the slightest bit of analysis. It would've been nice to hear what the experts thought about the Bears taking a RB and a G, two positions they are seemingly pretty well set at.

I'm sure there was the usual pressure to try to appeal to a larger audience, but honestly, only huge football nerds are watching day 3 of the draft anyway. Embrace that and stick to as much analysis as possible and lose the gimmicks.

31 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

You're last paragraph nails it. Day 3 is for the NFL addicts. I don't mind having a cancer-surviving kid or military service member reading the pick. But the gimmicks and exotic locations not only are irritating, they waste far too much time. I was glad Mayock made it obvious that he was annoyed. He spoke for almost all of us.

43 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

This may be my favourite draft comment ever: "Kizer only needs to become a competent passer and he can start in this league".

Like saying he only needs to become a competent hitter and he can start at DH for the Indians

44 Re: Audibles: 2017 NFL Draft Day 2

In Cian's defence I think he means that Keizer does pretty much everything well apart from being accurate; he has the footwork, the smarts, a strong arm but just isn't accurate.

Which scares me to death for him, when a qb has clear mechanical issues then you've an idea of how to address those problems but how do you increase the accuracy of a passer who has textbook mechanics but still can't hit the target? The last qb like that was Jake Locker, technically sound but couldn't hit the broad side of an elephant.