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28 Apr 2018

Audibles at the Line: 2018 NFL Draft Day Two

compiled by Andrew Potter

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

While these e-mails 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 aspects of the draft may not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all.

2017 NFL Draft -- Rounds 2 & 3

Vince Verhei: Some thoughts on Day 1 after sleeping on it.

First, we weren't nearly hard enough on Buffalo yesterday. We made it clear, I think, that none of us expects Josh Allen to be any good. But we really undersold just how much Buffalo gave up to get this longshot. As Bill Barnwell pointed out, depending on which chart you use, the value of the picks Buffalo gave to Tampa Bay add up to more than the value of the first overall pick. If Allen does turn out to be a good player, they still overpaid to get him, and they won't have the draft capitol to build around him. If he turns into an average player, even worse. But in all likelihood, he won't even be that, and they gave up so much to get him that they're going to be bad at quarterback and two or three other positions because of this move.

And on that note, we didn't do nearly enough to congratulate Tampa Bay for pulling in such a haul. You can argue that they missed out on Minkah Fitzpatrick, or that Vita Vea wasn't the best pick at 12. But the deal was so great for them I think they still come out way ahead.

Finally, I spent most of the night trying to talk myself into the Rashaad Penny pick for Seattle. He's noted for tackle-breaking ability, which he'll need in Seattle, and at least it's a sign that they are going to build on offense, and actually give their top-flight quarterback something to work with, and not just ask him to perform miracles to win games every week. But I can't help but think they were spoiled by the talent they had on the Super Bowl team. They saw Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch (and Golden Tate, for that matter) make so many big plays on their own, they started to believe they could always find guys to make plays like that. Those were special players (still are, really), and I kind of think Seattle took them for granted. Part of the reason they stood back and watched the offensive line deteriorate year after year. So they're basically counting on Penny being not just a very good back, but a borderline Hall of Fame guy like Lynch. And if he's not, it's hard to see this pick paying off.

Bryan Knowles: While we're re-contextualizing Day 1 picks, the 49ers traded Trent Brown to New England. That makes San Francisco's pick of Mike McGlinchey make a lot more sense, but it makes me wonder a little bit more about what the Patriots are doing. When they announced Isaiah Wynn as a tackle (rather than a guard), we kind of all went "well, at least that's filling a need." But now, I guess Brown will be their right tackle, and they will in fact move Wynn inside?


Scott Kacsmar: Have to think the next quarterback should go to one of the five teams with the oldest quarterbacks. Giants and Chargers have the strongest need. I think the Steelers and Saints can still justify a defender or another weapon for their aging quarterback while the Super Bowl windows are still open. Then you have the Patriots, who passed on Lamar Jackson at 31 and no longer have a successor to Tom Brady after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. They could just let it all hang out with Brady to the end, or they may grab a Mason Rudolph later tonight.

Aaron Schatz: I don't quite get the Trent Brown trade for the Patriots, either. They now have two really good right tackles who probably can't play at left tackle, Brown and Marcus Cannon. Are they planning to try one of them at left tackle anyway? Or is Wynn the left tackle, and Cannon kicks inside and someone like Joe Thuney isn't starting anymore? Or does someone else such as Antonio Garcia win that left tackle job and then you've got two tackles kicking inside or sitting on the bench.

Speaking of offensive linemen, NFL Network is saying Austin Corbett (No. 33) is going to kick inside and play guard, not tackle, but that doesn't make much sense for Cleveland. They've got Joel Bitonio, they've got Kevin Zeitler, they're set at guard. They need a left tackle. They have to be thinking he's going to play left tackle, right?

Run on offensive linemen! Will Hernandez to the Giants at No. 34. No pass blown blocks this year according to Sports Info Solutions.

Dave Bernreuther: Was there a part of Tampa's haul that I'm missing? I thought it was just the two twos to move back five spots. Maybe I'm just poo-pooing that because the Colts got three high twos to go back three spots.

Either way, I found myself wishing that the Colts had taken that same offer of two twos to move back to Tampa's slot. Not only for the comedy of them then having five picks in the second round, but because at 12 any of Vea, Davenport, or James would've been good value AND fit a need AND not sparked a full day argument where I wasn't really even arguing in the comments of the Audibles thread.

As for Scott's comments on the quarterbacks, I'll again link to Cian Fahey's QB Catalogue and say that I agree with everything he says about Mason Rudolph. He looks like an NFL quarterback. He throws with great anticipation at all levels to receivers that are only NFL "open" versus to college wide open. Baker Mayfield had a great game in the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State shootout last year, but it was Rudolph who impressed me more. I would love to see what a New England or a New Orleans could make out of him. The same goes for Kyle Lauletta too. He became such a trendy pick in mocks to Bill Belichick, though that it wouldn't surprise me to see someone else reach for him just based on that hype or to keep him out of New England.

Which circles us back nicely to making fun of Buffalo some more. The Bills had two firsts and two early seconds and Cordy Glenn, and never mind that they could've gotten Rosen for less than they paid to get Allen, they could've gotten two impact players in the first round, kept Glenn, and scooped up one of those two better quarterback prospects in the second.

Instead, they took a terrible, terrible quarterback.

Speaking of having handfuls of early 2s, there are a bunch of defensive talents still on the board. The Browns and Colts could come away with a very exciting defensive overhaul here if they wanted to grab some combo of Landry, Jackson, and Hurst. Heck, some outlets/pundits had two of those guys graded as top ten picks.

Bryan Knowles: And speaking of the Colts -- Darious Leonard (will they use him as in inside backer?) and ... their second guard of the draft in Braden Smith. Not really sure I like that set of picks, though it's not like there was a great match between top prospects and their needs left.

Tom Gower: The Colts took Braden Smith at 37. Guards at 6 and 37 in the same draft. Chuck Pagano would have LOVED this draft.

Dave Bernreuther: Oh my God they did that with all that defensive talent still on the board. That's terrible.

Aaron Schatz: So hey, good job signing Matt Slauson and and re-signing Jack Mewhort, those guys will be useful now.

Tom Gower: To give credit where it's due, that's impressively consistent philosophically by Chris Ballard.

Bryan Knowles: The run on linemen continues, as Chicago takes James Daniels. I'm not sure about the need, with Cody Whitehair already at center, but I think he was the best player left in the draft pool, and probably should have gone in the Center Run back in the first round. I like the pick, assuming the Bears can figure out a way to get all their interior linemen places on the field.

You know, if I'm the Raiders, I would have just stuck there and taken Harold Landry. Instead, the Titans picked someone called "Honor Honor Landry," according to Vince Young. I haven't done a lot of scouting on that guy, but Harold Landry topped SackSEER. Nice pick!

Derrik Klassen: Allowing Mike Vrabel to beef up the pass rush with Harold Landry is a good move. Landry should be the surefire pass-rusher who enables Vrabel to get creative elsewhere.

Tom Gower: Loved Landry, thought there was no way he'd be there at 25. Right now I can only hope whatever medical issues that may have caused him to fall so far don't end up hurting his production and ability to play on a regular basis in the NFL. Me loving a Titans pick is a weird, weird feeling.

Aaron Schatz: Does Nate Burleson feel like he doesn't get enough time to talk, five mornings a week?

Dave Bernreuther: The Colts will be well prepared for the Landry-led Titans rush, or the Jaguars onslaught, or the Watt/Clowney/Mercilus trio because they now have FOUR STARTING GUARDS.

Bryan Knowles: Little surprised the 49ers traded up for Dante Pettis with players like Christian Kirk, Anthony Miller, D.J. Chark, etc. still on the board. Not a bad pick, but I'm surprised they felt the need to jump up so high for him.


Rob Weintraub: Gotta think the Pettis pick is a Shanny Special -- he knows who fits his offense best.

Vince Verhei: San Francisco has been below average in punt returns for five straight seasons, so they trade up and take Dante Pettis, college football's all-time leader with nine punt return touchdowns. He'll make an impact out of the gate, even if he starts his career as their third wideout. Great fit.

And then the Packers take Josh Jackson. That's four first- or second-round defensive backs in the past two years. Should be a scary secondary in a year or two.

Aaron Schatz: Chiefs with a GOOD trade up. They traded two picks for two picks in the same two rounds! They dealt 78 and 54 for 100 and 46. Shoot, if you have a guy you like and you want to move up for him, this is the way to do it. You don't lose any of your lottery tickets. Meanwhile, it's a good trade for Cincinnati too. Maybe they didn't particularly think anyone currently on the board was worth pick 46. So instead, they move down slightly, and they get to move up 22 slots with their third-rounder. Seems like a good way for both teams to go after what they see as value on their boards without screwing up their chances at picking as many good players as possible.

Rob Weintraub: If I had to guess I'd say Cincy will grab any of the safeties, and they should have their choice even after trading down.

Scott Kacsmar: I like the Mike Gesicki pick for Miami. Feels like a long time since that offense had a legit tight end.

Nathan Forster: As a Lions fan, I admit that I am not enthused about the selection of Kerryon Johnson. Johnson has a BackCAST of -29.0%. The best running backs with a BackCAST that low or lower are Travis Henry, Domanick Davis/Williams, and Julius Jones. Sure, those are decent players, but that's three players out of 100, and after those three you get guys like Stevan Ridley and guys who barely touched the ball at all. I wouldn't trade up in the second round to draft a guy who has a 3 percent chance to be as good as Travis Henry.

The Lions really do not seem to know how to draft running backs. Ameer Abdullah had a BackCAST of -19.9%, and based on what I have seen of Abdullah, I think BackCAST was far too kind.

Aaron Schatz: I was trying to fill in that Eagles second tight end on my "projected starters" sheet. The Eagles really needed Dallas Goedert and they move ahead of the Cowboys to get him, which is pretty sweet for the rivalry.

Vince Verhei: Dallas stays put at 50 and takes offensive lineman Connor Williams. Pretty much guarantees Earl Thomas won't be traded. He'll play out his last season in 2018 then, in all likelihood, leave in free agency. Another chance to build an offensive line, and they stick with their rent-a-Hall of Famer instead. I love Earl. I thought a trade made sense. Frustrated now.

Rivers McCown: Shut up and read the pick, former players. #GetOffMyLawn

Tom Gower: The NFL could shut them down in an instant if they wanted to, but they want the drama for TV purposes. Or something. I don't get it.

The Bears gave up 105 and a second-round pick next year for No. 51 this year. They must have an incredible grade on Anthony Miller, wide receiver, Memphis, because on the face of it that trade is INSANE and opposing teams should stop giving the Patriots ludicrous amounts of draft capital.

Vince Verhei: I was just wondering how the Bears were getting all these picks after the Trubisky trade, but the only 2018 pick in that deal was Chicago's third-rounder.

I promise you, the trash-talking stuff is way more popular and entertaining for most football fans than a dry delivery of names. Most fans only care about cheering their favorite team and insulting their friends about theirs, and that's it.

Aaron Schatz: Patriots moved down eight spots earlier in the second round and picked up pick 117. Then they just traded pick 117 to Tampa to move up ... seven spots. They took Florida cornerback Duke Dawson, who led college football in man coverage success rate last year according to SIS charting.

Rob Weintraub: Safety for Cincy: Jessie Bates was a guy they had their eye on for his ballhawking. Former baseball centerfielder and that's what Cincy wants -- Shawn Williams and George Iloka are steady positional players but they miss Reggie Nelson's picks.

Vince Verhei: Derrius Guice to Washington. Well, lord knows it was a need. Whatever these mysterious off-field concerns are, they may have worked out to Washington's favor. Much like Warren Sapp falling to Tampa Bay or Randy Moss going to Minnesota.

Bryan Knowles: Well, the Steelers go down a wide receiver with the Martavis Bryant trade, and then get one back with James Washington. I think that's a heck of a weapon for them, though Playmaker isn't in love with him. Brown/JuJu/Washington is a pretty nice corps.

Aaron Schatz: Nah, it's hard to say Playmaker argues against taking Washington late in the second round. It says this is a little early, but not that early. Twenty picks ago would have been too early.

Here's your Derrius Guice report:

Vince Verhei: The second round ends with four new Colts, three new Buccaneers, two new Browns, and zero new Seahawks.

(Several old Seahawks though -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch...)

Scott Kacsmar: Mayock says there's a Guice story that could be an embarrassment for the team that drafts him. Then Washington immediately did. That was a highlight moment of the night for the franchise once perfectly mocked on South Park.

Feel like the Steelers are due to not nail one of these wide receiver picks. As long as Washington can catch, he shouldn't be a Limas Sweed, and he should slip right into Bryant's role. I actually thought Rudolph was an option because the Steelers were checking him out. Maybe he's still there at 79 too.

Bryan Knowles: I thought that if the Giants attempted to draft a linebacker, the universe would implode? That's what I've been led to believe, at least.

Vince Verhei: Giants open the third round with ... Lorenzo Carter! A linebacker! This is the biggest news of the draft -- they haven't drafted a linebacker in the top 100 since Clint Sintim in 2009.

Tom Gower: Eh, I assume Carter will be an edge rusher with James Bettcher bringing his variety of 3-4. Off-ball linebackers may still be denigrated.

Scott Kacsmar: The Raiders went from "best offensive line" debate to drafting guys who Tom Cable has to develop. That's a quick fall from grace.

Vince Verhei: Washington has good tackles in Morgan Moses and Trent Williams, but question marks at guard and center. So in the third round they add Louisville tackle Geron Christian. Unless somebody's getting moved inside, I don't get it.

Mason Rudolph to Pittsburgh. I just hollered in shock.

Bryan Knowles: I'm not sure if Mason Rudolph will be the one to replace Big Ben or not, but it's Pittsburgh's first early-round quarterback since 2004. An overdue selection, and a very intriguing one.

Aaron Schatz: It's not a shock. Ben Roethlisberger is getting old, and apparently the Steelers were there in force at Rudolph's pro day. He gets to go to Pittsburgh with his favorite receiver, James Washington, which is kind of cool. They're going to be an awesome duo for Week 17 in DFS.

Vince Verhei: It is funny, though, that the Giants and Steelers both have Class of 2004 quarterbacks. The Giants went 3-13 and are going into win-now mode. The Steelers went 13-3 and are planning for the future.

Tom Gower: Wow, the latest obvious system quarterback from the Sooner State the Steelers took worked out just fine, so obviously they needed to trade up (slightly) in the third round to replicate that exact experience.

The top four quarterbacks should have gone by pick 40, as they did, and nobody else should've gone before tomorrow.

Carl Yedor: Well, there's that second Seattle trade down I was looking for yesterday. I had been avoiding draft coverage during the second round because I didn't want to deal with the will-they/won't-they trade Earl Thomas rumors. But now it certainly looks like he's staying put, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Looks like they're going with Rasheem Green out of USC at 79. Seahawks needed more youth along the defensive line, with Michael Bennett gone, Cliff Avril's future in doubt, and Frank Clark about to get expensive.

Vince Verhei: The Seahawks are drafting a running back. They are always drafting a running back.

The Seahawks are drafting a defensive lineman. They are always drafting a defensive lineman.

Guess the offensive game plan will remain "wait for Russell to make a miracle."

Bryan Knowles: I actually really like the Green pick for Seattle, but yeah, looks like I get to do more copy-pasting for the "biggest needs" article. I appreciate the Seahawks saving me work by throwing Wilson to the wolves.

Rob Weintraub: Bengals get a pair of defenders they were thought to be targeting in Round 2 -- Sam Hubbard and Malik Jefferson. Hubbard could be a find, especially if he can kick inside, and replace Mike Johnson in that role. Malik is an amazing athlete but inconsistent.

Solid choices but I had that twinge of unease when Pitt jumped in front of us for Rudolph.

Vince Verhei: Watching Orlando Brown manhandle dudes on running plays in these highlights and thinking how the Seahawks could have stuck him at right tackle and kicked Germain Ifedi inside and ... I need a beer.

Bryan Knowles: I'm surprised the Ravens just drafted another tight end (Mark Andrews), after taking Hayden Hurst in the first round. They're different types of players, but it still feels a little weird for them to double-down at the position.

Vince Verhei: Tight ends drafted as of the 22nd pick of the third round:

Baltimore: 2
Everyone else: 2

Dave Bernreuther: I'm surprised that Tom and I have such different views of Rudolph.

I know that that's one of those often one-read spread out college offenses, but I see pocket awareness, processing, and anticipation/ball placement skills in him that are already better than several NFL starters, and I consider him just as likely to succeed in the right situation as any of the other top quarterbacks in this draft.

Is Pittsburgh the right situation? We'll see. It feels like it could be OK. I'd rather have seen New England or New Orleans grab him, or hell, even the Giants.

Carl Yedor: Trey Wingo basically stole my thought on Oakland taking Arden Key. Gruden just cut Marquette King because ... reasons ... and has since signed Daryl Worley (arrested) and drafted a player in Key who slipped primarily for off-field reasons. I'm not aware of what those reasons are, so I'm not going to judge Key specifically, but it does seem weird that Gruden would cut his punter given that context.

Tom Gower: When the play wins and things go well, Rudolph is fine. When both of those aren't true, eh.

Philosophically, I think of quarterbacks as Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. Tier 1 guys have all the physical traits necessary to become top-eight NFL quarterbacks with no significant flaws and should be ready to start and play acceptably by no later than their second season. They're worthy of being very high picks. Tier 2 encompasses a broader range of types -- players who may have one or more flaws that must be corrected and may be hard to do so, players much more dependent on scheme to succeed, players whose physical limitations prevent them from becoming top-eight NFL quarterbacks, or players whose selection requires a team to assume an element of irreducible risk. Tier 2 quarterbacks are what I think of as second-round quarterbacks who may go late in the first, and may be promoted into Tier 1 if they have the right scheme or are willing to assume the irreducible risk. Tier 3 guys are everybody else and shouldn't go before Day 3; significant, hard-to-fix flaws in key areas, like major accuracy problems unlikely to be changed by simple and easy mechanical work, are in and of themselves enough to drop quarterbacks to Tier 3.

If that made any sense.

I wonder what Reggie McKenzie really thinks of this Raiders draft.

Vince Verhei: Day 2 is done. Seahawks have added one offensive player, and it's at the position most of us feel is least important. They've got eight picks in the last three rounds, so hey, maybe they'll win the lottery. But it looks like the offense that was 29th in three-and-outs per drive last year is only going to get worse.

Tom Gower: End of Day 2. Maurice Hurst is the best player still on the board, in my view by a considerable margin. No, his tape isn't flawless, but he flashes amazing play as an interior player. The heart condition likely has him medical red-flagged by a number of teams, so who knows where he'll go. It only takes one team.

Second-guessing prospect evaluation by NFL teams who know way more about players and are way better at scouting than I am is silly, and even picks that stand out to me are easily justified by the simple rebuttal that that's where that team had the player ranked. As Chris Ballard indicated, he had Darius Leonard as ILB5 and that's why he took him at the top of the second round.

My off-the-cuff reaction with Day 2 just ended are the negative ones, with the Bears giving up a 2019 second that may be as good as or better than the 51st pick they acquired, plus 105. And Oakland, which doubled down on their trust in Tom Cable's ability to identify and develop offensive linemen, supplemented with small-school defensive tackle P.J. Hall, who's another "this is our evaluation" special. And, oh, yeah, the Colts took another guard at 37. I WAS JOKING WHEN I TWEETED BEFORE THE NIGHT KICKED OFF ABOUT THEM TAKING ANOTHER GUARD. I think I said last year or the year before, though, that Day 2 is teams executing their philosophy. And so it was and so it shall be again and again and again.

Rob Weintraub: The 78th pick overall got free pizza from Pizza Hut for life as part of some gimmick promotion. Bengals used it on Malik Jefferson. But they also had 77 and took Sam Hubbard. So is Hubbard all, "why didn't you take me second? I wanted the free pizza!"

(Deep thoughts when the draft is not even halfway finished...)

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 28 Apr 2018

68 comments, Last at 05 May 2018, 12:47pm by The Ninjalectual


by jtr :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:50am

Tom's link to his tweet near the bottom is a broken link

by Vincent Verhei :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 2:35pm

Thanks. It has been fixed.

by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:01am

Bengals wanted Hubbard to stay in shape. Jefferson is more of a run-stuffer, isn't he? Eat all the pizza you want then.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:30am

Brady, Wilson, Brees, Roethlisberger, and Wentz were tier 2 or 3 guys, right?

by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 12:46pm

So, Josh Allen and Christian Hackenberg are Tier 5 guys, right?

by Tom Gower :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:34pm

Brady: wasn't watching football that seriously, didn't have a real opinion on him at time of draft from a scouting perspective.
Wilson: Tier 3, could be 2 for right team.
Brees: not watching seriously, but Tier 2. Went where I thought at the time he should have.
BenR: not watching seriously, but LOVED him. My favorite QB in that draft, Tier 1.
Wentz: Tier 2 for me. I couldn't get past the risk associated with an FCS QB with 620 PA or whatever it was. I could understood the Tier 1 if you could get past that.

And this year, Darnold and Rosen were Tier 1, Mayfield and Lamar were Tier 2, rest Tier 3.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 5:18am

I watched every game Brady played in college. He was a two year starter who was,at best, a slightly-above average college quarterback (he almost lost his job to Drew Henson, for cryin out loud). People using 20/20 hindsight kill other teams for missing on him, but I was not surprised at all (nor was literally anyone else) that he lasted till the 6th round. Not to take any credit away from him for having the drive and self-motivation to make himself better, but the Patriots coaching staff deserves a significant amount of credit for molding him into what he eventually became.

by Vincent Verhei :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 2:24pm

Brady was second in the Big Ten in completion percentage in 1998 and first in 1999. The fact he was almost benched for Henson says a lot more about Lloyd Carr than it does about Brady.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 3:39pm

"The fact he was almost benched for Henson says a lot more about Lloyd Carr than it does about Brady."

I won't dispute that, if only for the fact that Drew Henson was wildly overrated.

"Brady was second in the Big Ten in completion percentage in 1998 and first in 1999."

Aren't we always talking about how completion percentage can be a misleading stat? He was above 60%, so he didn't hit that red flag for bust potential.

As far as Y/A (which I think is markedly more important than completion pct) and TD's (yes, volume stats are overrated, but not wholly unimportant) he was 4th and 5th respectively in 1999. In 1998 he was second (1.2 YPA behind the immortal Joe Germaine) and 4th.

Late 90's Big 10 quarterbacks were mostly a wasteland, so ordinal rankings are a little misleading. Brady's only real competition was sophomore and junior year Drew Brees.

by Independent George :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:26pm

NFL Network had a special a few years ago on the QBs who were drafted ahead of Tom Brady. It was utterly useless, because it was all about the ways Brady was better than them. Duh. They spent an hour on something we already knew, giving us a boring career retrospective on Brady with 20/20 hindsight.

What would have been much more interesting - and, in fact, what I had expected the show to be about - would have been to interview the scouts, have them review their notes, and explain what it is they saw and what they didn't see. What did the Niners actually see in Giovanni Carmazzi? Chad Pennington was a solid QB - did anyone have red flags on his potential for injuries? What was visible in the tapes on Brady?

We all know everybody missed out on Brady. Taking him in the 6th round, even the Pats missed out on Brady. What would have been interesting would have been to autopsy their mistakes and try and figure out how and why they happened - maybe distinguish between the things that can be determined from the things that cannot.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:32pm

The most interesting analysis in sports scouting right now IMO is what the Astros are doing. The way I understand it, they track what scouts have historically said, and whether the player worked out or not, and have apparently found some unintuitive correlation between scouts saying "XXXXY" and that player's MLB prospects. That's a bold line of research, with loads of danger of false positives. The scouts love it because they can go on doing whatever inefficient bullshit they always have without having learn anything new, or to meet the analytics department halfway, which is apparently onerous if you're an old-school baseball scout.

by Independent George :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 8:06pm

That makes me think of how machine learning works (or at least how people tell me it works, because I honestly don't understand most of what I read on the subject) - you let it make a ton of errors in early iterations, constantly grading its answers and letting it create its own method of figuring out what you're looking for. You end up with a bunch of predictive algorithms that nobody really understands, but which somehow mostly works.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 12:03am

I remember, probably incorrectly, there was an A.I. program that could predict sexual orientation at a 90% accuracy rate. It turned out it was the type of pose (profile vs 3/4's vs ...) and kind of facial hair that the AI focused on rather than any sort of intrinsic differences in the facial structure of people with different preferences.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 3:07pm

Yep and the study's full write-up is available for free here:


I've only just glanced at it, but I wonder how it would do with pictures of straight actors playing gay characters or vice versa. And before and after going through makeup

by MC2 :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:36pm

I'm thinking it would be pretty easy to create a program that predicts sexual orientation at 90% accuracy -- just program it to predict "straight" 100% of the time.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:50pm

Yep, kinda' like getting a high percentage of college QB pro projections right. Just say "He'll never amount to much", on every one, and you'll be right the vast majority of the time.

by gomer_rs :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:30pm

Completion % is can be misleading, but in this case: that's a 60% completion percentage from an offense that probably had a fullback on upwards of 50% of all plays and probably did not use ANY bubble screens.

Gotta love old time coaches like Lloyd Carr, if I recruit enough talent I can just run straight at them like a steam roller!

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

by Independent George :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 8:29pm

Wasn't Charles Woodson the best receiver on that team?

ETA: Nope, my memory failed. Woodson was already in the NFL.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 9:21pm

His best receivers were David Terrell and Tai Streets. While they by no means turned into NFL stars (Terrell ended up being a 1st round bust with the Bears, and Streets was an okay WR2 with the Niners for a couple seasons opposite of T.O.), they were pretty good college receivers. But then that starts to get into trying to separate the contributions of receivers and quarterbacks. I would love for someone to do a film study article on Brady’s college tape (trying their best to turn of their hindsight).

by MC2 :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 9:39pm

The mention of Tai Streets reminds me of a fantasy draft, about 15 years ago, in which one team drafted Streets, Donald Driver, and David Carr. Seriously.

by Independent George :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 12:05am

Years ago, we FO old timers played games like that during the offseason - like trying to set up a hypothetical all-Smith team vs All-Johnson team.

by jtr :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 7:38am

This is Travis' cue to put together the Automotive All Stars. Gotta have Kerry Rhodes at free safety.

by Travis :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 1:34pm

The Automotive All-Stars:

QB: Eddie LeBaron
RB: Cadillac Williams
RB: Ace Parker
WR: Donald Driver
WR: Tai Streets
TE: Marcedes Lewis
LT: Dwight Wheeler
LG: Chris DeGeare
C: Alex Mack
RG: Dick Steere
RT: Truck Myers

DE: Robert Porcher
DT: Henry Ford
DT: Evander Hood
DE: Otis Sistrunk
LB: Ron Ferrari
LB: Mike Lemon
LB: Audie Cole
CB: Chevis Jackson
CB: Jimmy Carr
FS: Kerry Rhodes
SS: Larry Benz

K: Josh Lambo
P: Bradley Pinion

Coach: Gene Stallings

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:14pm

Nicely done.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:28pm


Although is it Porcher = Porsche? Might be a bit of a reach. A lot more than Marcedes=Mercedes anyway.

by Travis :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:36pm

Substitute Van Hughes for Porcher if you want.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 3:15pm

Must have been a tough call choosing between LeBaron and Tyrod. Several names earned LOLs though

by MC2 :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:38pm

I think the funniest one was Mike Lemon.

Well done, Travis.

by Independent George :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 3:20pm

*slow clap*

Bravo, sir.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:18pm

"I am an excellent driver", "Well I am an Ace Parker". Do you think his parents had high hopes for his parking ability when they named him? Well done Travis.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 11:55am

Totally agree with Nathan Forster. I really don't know what Bob Quinn is doing. I liked his 2016 and 2017 drafts, as well as this year's 1st pick. But it's like he was on drugs on Day 2. Drafting a running back in the 2nd is bad enough...but trading up to do it (with the Patriots, no less!) compounds the error. And then on top of that, he takes a small-school safety who will not be a starter in 2018, and probably should have been a day 3 pick.

by ssereb :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 1:32pm

"Second-guessing prospect evaluation by NFL teams who know way more about players and are way better at scouting than I am is silly, and even picks that stand out to me are easily justified by the simple rebuttal that that's where that team had the player ranked. As Chris Ballard indicated, he had Darius Leonard as ILB5 and that's why he took him at the top of the second round."

That's not a very efficient drafting strategy, though. If you have a good reason to think that the small-school prospect you have with a high 2nd round grade is not viewed similarly by your fellow GMs, then maybe you should take the guy you have ranked slightly lower that everyone else is ready to pounce on, and count that your guy will still be available in round 3. As I'm typing, the Falcons took a running back out of Southern Mississippi who ESPN doesn't even have a picture of. Meanwhile, there are probably 5 or 6 backs who've been heavily scouted still on the board. What are the odds that this is the guy you need to get who won't be around for your next pick (even if it is in round 6)?

by jw124164 :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 5:54pm

As a Falcons fan, I hate this pick. Maurice Hurst is sitting there, they've already got another DT, so pick Hurst and your interior rotation is set with Jarrett, Hurst, and Senat. Instead they take, as you point out, a RB they could have got in round 6-7, probably.

Last year's mid-round RB didn't even survive the season, so I don't have a lot of faith in their ability to rate these guys. And they still haven't addressed their greatest position of need - Offensive Coordinator.

by DoubleB :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:17am

"If you have a good reason to think that the small-school prospect you have with a high 2nd round grade is not viewed similarly by your fellow GMs . . ."

But how do you know that? How would you know how the other 31 GMs feel about any prospect in the draft?

by ssereb :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 10:40am

You can't know with perfect certainty, but if you need to know with perfect certainty that a later-round prospect will be available in a certain spot then you're vastly overestimating your ability to evaluate talent and pick winning lottery tickets. That doesn't mean you're totally in the dark, though. You can figure out from attendance at pro days, since I doubt USM's was as well attended as USC's. You can figure out from pre-draft visits to teams, which are generally public knowledge. You can figure out based on earlier picks, since the team that drafted a running back last round is probably not doubling up on them in consecutive rounds. And finally, you might know something about the other GMs, either by being part of the same tree or just due to the overall incestuousness of NFL front offices. So you can't know 100% that a guy will be there later on but you can certainly have a general idea. Plus, if you're talking later-round guys, there's a decent chance that even if you don't get a shot at them in the draft, they won't make it through roster cuts on another team and you'll be able to pick them up later on.

by DoubleB :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 4:43pm

So Atlanta should have passed on the USM RB and chosen a lower rated player because in your opinion nobody would have taken this kid between this pick and Atlanta's next pick?

For all you know, Atlanta saw a lot of other GMs at this guy's pro day and spoke with other NFL personnel guys and believed (whether rightly or wrongly) that he wouldn't have been there when their turn to draft came around again.

by ssereb :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 6:26pm

No, under those circumstances that wouldn't make sense. I just don't think that those circumstances are especially likely. In either case, though, they're not totally in the dark about other teams' draft boards, which is the point: your decision shouldn't be made purely based on your draft board, but should incorporate how your perceive other teams' draft boards and strategies.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 1:35pm

And then the Packers take Josh Jackson. That's four first- or second-round defensive backs in the past two years. Should be a scary secondary in a year or two.

You would think. But if you check further, they drafted five first- or second-round defensive backs in 2014-17 and they still needed to draft two more DBs. Not a great track record.

by DoubleB :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:33am

Dave: I know that that's one of those often one-read spread out college offenses . .

How many of those guys have truly succeeded in the pros? Watson had a remarkable 1/2 season. Mariota and Goff might get there. Carr ran a lot of spread, but was under center quite a bit at Fresno.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 8:28am

Brees ran a spread.

Foles and Keenum were spread guys.

by DoubleB :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 9:54am

Brees was like Carr. Some shotgun spread (relatively new for the era) with a fair amount of traditional under center sets.

Keenum and Foles definitely qualify. Are they top 12-16 QBs in the league? Maybe this is Keenum's springboard to get to that level.

by joe football :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 12:02pm

Don't know the intricacies of the offense but Roethlisberger was criticized at the time for playing almost exclusively out of the shotgun

Cam Newton lead a spread option running attack that looked nothing like an NFL offense, his example makes me really wonder how much the college system actually matters because it doesn't get any less pro style then that

by DoubleB :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 4:49pm

Roethlisberger, I would compare to Brees and Carr. He ran more shotgun spread than was usual at the time, but definitely played under center quite a bit.

I completely forgot about Newton who should be on the original list and is the most successful of that group. Like Mariota he ran a spread to run offense (different system) in college.

by gomer_rs :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:19pm

It's more drastic transition for Newton, because the Auburn offense uses a lot of single-wing and veer concepts while the Chip Kelly Oregon system only asked the QB to run to prevent over persuit on the primary rush plays.

Otherwise it plays as a relatively straightforward offense using the huddle pace to catch defenders flat footed.

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:25pm

This year's QBase article (or was it the other new QB prediction system article?) mentions that playing in a "pro style" offense in college mattered in the 1990s but hasn't since. I suspect that's NFL coaches getting smarter and more flexible

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:46pm

Good to see both Shaquem Griffin and Equanimeous St. Brown both got drafted. I don't know anything about St. Brown as a player, but I expect Griffin to outperform his draft position.

by danplatt17 :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 9:34am

Regarding the Bears trade with the Pats, I don't understand the criticism from Tom Gower. The Bears gave up a 2019 2nd-round pick and a 2018 4th-round pick for a 2018 middle of the 2nd round pick. Let's say the Bears don't improve much in 2018, and have a pick around number 10 in round two. That would mean they gave up a 4th-round pick and 9 spots of 2019 draft positioning in the second round. In return, they get a player they obviously like, and they get him right now. How is that an insane amount of draft capital? Some in the Boston Media seems to think that the Pats are trying to obscure the value of the Garoppolo trade, and that the Pats are likely the ones who got hosed on the trade - see the first bullet point here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2018/04/29/patriots-should-d...

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 4:27pm

duplicate post

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 1:39pm

I don't like it for several reasons, the most basic being that I hate seeing a team give up significant future draft picks unless it's to draft a QB or if that team is in win-now mode. I admit that I am also tired of seeing Ryan Pace trade up year after year, once again at a time where the necessity of trading up so far is questionable. It didn't seem like anyone had projected Miller to go quite that high, so maybe Pace could have waited and had to give up less than a 2nd rounder to trade, say, into the top of the 3rd round. (I will acknowledge that it's also just as possible that he had information suggesting that Miller would be picked a spot or two after where he traded up, and that it was in fact necessary to get him).

Most of all, I don't get it because wide receiver was no longer a critical position of need after free agency. Miller is going to have to be very good for me to think this was worth it.

I feel like after Pace made the most obvious pick at #8, one that I have heard no one really criticize, he then spent the rest of his draft making questionable moves with almost every other pick. Obviously the later you go in the draft the fewer guys ever pan out, and it's more acceptable to take risks in the 5th or 6th round than in the 1st, but still.

by danplatt17 :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 1:48pm

I can understand it from the perspective that you don't think that particular player was worth the draft capital. But it seems like the argument by Tom G. is something else... that the Patriots basically fleeced the Bears out of a valuable 2nd-round pick.

The Bears time-shifted their 2019 second-round pick to 2018 at the cost of a 4th-round pick. As in most areas, an asset in-hand right now is worth more than an asset in the future. That doesn't seem like a bad deal to me... especially given that they apparently think very highly of this particular player.

by Steve in WI :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:12pm

I see what you're saying. Yes, I agree that if you look at it as giving up only a 4th to get him, it's not such a significant cost. And hey, maybe Miller is going to be a really great draft pick and four years from now, no one is going to remember the trade to get him.

I would be shocked if the Bears 2nd round pick next year is any earlier than 10th in the round, and I would expect it to be more in the 15 to 20 range. I see the Bears as being one of the better teams that doesn't make the playoffs, unless they get bitten by the injury bug or unless Trubisky busts. So from that perspective, they may not have even devalued their 2nd round pick at all by moving it forward a year.

by Alternator :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 10:53pm

The Bears were a bad team, and are likely going to be a bad-to-mediocre team again. Fourth rounders are expected to be solid depth players, starters at lower-value positions, or rotational guys - all things that the Bears can use right now.

With an already-good roster, the marginal value of depth players is much lower, but the Bears don't have that. They traded away a useful asset for a non-essential, and people don't like that.

by Tom Gower :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 10:36pm

From an NFL team's perspective, why should future assets be discounted? The Bears have been a bad team; I don't see any particular urgency associated with fielding the best possible team in 2018, and the relative value of good player on a rookie contract will be greater in 2022, when Trubisky (if he's good) is more expensive, than it is in 2018 (both 2018 and 2019 second-round picks would be on rookie deals for 2019-21). If you're a team with a short-term window that's about to expire, that's one thing, but for Chicago, I don't get it. The people who gain from giving up more future assets for less current assets are the people who run the Bears right now and might get fired for losing. So, good trade for Ryan Pace's immediate job security, and bad for the Bears.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:47pm

Anyone with the time want to look at draft strategy for GMs at different levels of job security?

by gomer_rs :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 1:36am

I would almost be suprised if there wasn't an "agency cost" economics paper on the subject.

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

by danplatt17 :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 10:27am

Except... that Pace got a new contract this offseason to go through 2021. I would agree that GM's with more urgency to perform would likely forfeit future assets for current ones. But there is little doubt that the large majority of GM's put extra value on draft picks now versus draft picks in the future. I think the Boston Globe writer makes a better point - what are the Pats thinking, trading away this year's 2nd-round pick, given Tom Brady's age?

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 05/02/2018 - 1:52pm

Given Pace's recent extension, he's safe through at least 2020 unless he does something unfathomable. I cannot see the McCaskeys eating more than 1 year of a GM's contract.
I think the argument for the trade up (though as I said, my initial reaction was negative and I still lean against the decision) is twofold. One, the Bears believe they can take a big step forward in 2018. I don't know how realistic that belief is but given the value that QBs on rookie contracts provide, if they're not at least competing for a playoff spot by year 2 after drafting a QB with the #2 overall pick, then either they've failed or Trubisky is bad or a combination of both. Two, that the trade up was for a receiver and not, say, an edge rusher is relevant, because if Miller is a seriously good receiver that accelerates Trubisky's development. After they gave him no weapons in his rookie year, they've done an admirable job of correcting that for 2018.

by Nahoj :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:23am

I'm not even entirely sure Rudolph will be the second best QB on the Steelers. I honestly liked Josh Dobbs better than him in college.

Rudolph has some superior college passing stats, but I think he played with a better supporting casts, coaching, and against easier defenses. Dobbs has a lot more mobility and really improved his accuracy by the end of his career.

For their senior years, Rudolph vs Dobbs:

Passing - (R) 65%, 4,904 yards, 37 TD/9 INT
(D) 63%, 2,946 yards, 27 TD/12 INT

Rushing - (R) .6 yard avg on 61 attempts, 10 TDs (likes to vulture near goal line apparently)
(D) 5.5 avg on 150 attempts, 12 TDs

by jtr :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:36am

It'll be an interesting camp battle to watch. The Steelers have already said they can't carry 4 QB's, so somebody out of Dobbs, Rudolph, and Landry Jones isn't going to make the roster. So long as at least one of Dobbs and Rudolph shows enough to make the team think he could play OK as a backup this season, I think Jones turns into the odd man out, which I think most Steelers fans would appreciate since obviously Jones doesn't have any upside beyond mediocre backup.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:58am

On the other hand, Jones is an absolute expert at beating the Browns with Steelers backups.

by Theo :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 12:59pm

Aren't we all?

by Lebo :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 6:05am

The Colts' Noah's Ark draft intrigues me. Has any team drafted two players at the same position so many times in the same draft before?

I wonder if this is a strategy to create an atmosphere of competition within the squad. I also wonder if it Chris Ballard wanting to put his eggs in various baskets.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 6:19pm

Has any team drafted two players at the same position so many times in the same draft before?

I only closely follow the Packers, but they do this a lot. A popular example with fans is the Ron Wolf 1999 draft when he drafted 3 CBs in rounds 1-3 after Randy Moss destroyed their secondary in 1998. Other years when their first two picks were corners include 2004, 2015, and, of course, this year. (2017 was a corner and safety.) Along with starting this draft with two CBs, they later drafted three tall wideouts.

Similarly, they drafted two DE in the first round in 1978, running backs with their first two picks in 1971, and tackles with their second, third, and fourth picks (all in the first three rounds) in 1966.

Possibly the most interesting was the Cowboys drafting QB Troy Aikman with the first overall pick and using a first round supplemental pick on Steve Walsh.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 6:24pm

The Packers 2013 draft is even more like this year's Colts. Round drafted in ().

DE Datone Jones (1), Josh Boyd (5)
RB Eddie Lacy (2), Johnathon Franklin (4)
T David Bakhtiari (4), JC Tretter (4)
LB Nate Palmer (6), Sam Barrington (7)
WR Charles Johnson (7), Kevin Dorsey (7)

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 05/02/2018 - 12:03am

FOA10 Jaguars chapter covers teams using their first two picks at the same position (which wouldn't cover the Colts, because they went G, LB, G). You're probably getting one starter, like the Jaguars did with Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Carolina did it later with Lotulelei and Short, and that's probably been the best result of doubling up.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 05/05/2018 - 12:47pm

Carolina's DT pair and Washington's QB pair in 2012 both worked out pretty well. I'm generally in favor of this approach, when later round picks are involved. Spending two high picks on a non-QB non-RB position is fine only when the available prospects and team needs align.

FOA 2010? Haha I think I might still have it on a bookshelf somewhere.

by Dan :: Wed, 05/02/2018 - 3:32am

I don't see a problem with the Colts taking 2 guards. They have Slauson & Mewhort signed for just this season on relatively cheap contracts ($3M and $1.5M) because of question marks around injuries & skill decline. After the Nelson pick, then under the maximally optimistic scenario they have 4 solid (or better) interior linemen this year in Nelson, Kelly, Slauson, and Mewhort, which is what you need since most likely at least 1 of your 3 starers will miss some time. And then 2 of them hit free agency at the end of this season and you need to do something.

More likely, only 1 out of Slauson + Mewhort turns out to be solid/startable. So if Braden Smith hits the ground running that again leaves them at the target of 4 solid (or better) interior linemen.

Bottom line: the Colts are unlikely to have interior OL talent wasting away on the bench because of overinvestment in the position, and if they do (thanks to a blessing of picking talent and remaining healthy) it'll only be for 1 season. Guard wasn't an overwhelming need after Nelson was on board, but it was still somewhere on the list of needs, so nothing wrong with taking another.

by Lebo :: Wed, 05/02/2018 - 6:40am

Oh, I have absolutely no issue with the Colts doubling-down on Guard, or any other position. I just found it curious that every position (except, I think, ILB) was drafted in pairs.

I also agree with you that the Colts won't be over-supplied with Guards, given likely injury rates (plus, variations in performance). I think it's also worth noting that Jack Mewhort has successfully player RT before (when healthy).