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.
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:
From a league source on Guice: "He got into an altercation at a meeting with the Eagles. He had several meetings where he came across lazy only wants to play video games. We caught a direct dishonesty from him in our meeting."
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) April 28, 2018
Vince Verhei: The second round ends with four new Colts, three new Buccaneers, two new Browns, and zero new Seahawks.
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:
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...)