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

Audibles at the Line: 2020 NFL Draft Day 1

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Vincent Verhei

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 emails 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.

Before the Draft

Scott Spratt: Early breaking news: Todd McShay has coronavirus and is missing the draft.

Is it too soon in the pandemic to make Mel Kiper sabotage jokes?

Rivers McCown: Seems like a fun class. I spent a lot less time pre-evaluating it because high draft picks are an affront to the wisdom of Glorious Football Leader O'Brien.

I think the most interesting team is probably the Chargers. Take a quarterback (trade up for Tua?) or take the franchise left tackle that you've probably needed since Marcus McNeil's back gave out?

Bryan Knowles: Real life has been kicking me repeatedly, so I'm coming into tonight pretty blind on what's been going on down the last couple weeks.

Though now I'm hearing that Tua might not even be the second quarterback taken, to which I say: zwuh? It feels like this is one of those cases where teams talk themselves out of something in the silly season, only to regret it later.

Dave Bernreuther: Today's big rumor and talking point has been that the Dolphins are trying not only to move up to the Lions' pick at No. 3, but to do so without surrendering No. 5. To pull that off would require a haul similar to what the Falcons gave up in 2011 to jump up to get Julio Jones, and even that was for pick No. 6.

The interesting twist is that this was all done with an eye on blowing the Bengals away for the No. 1 pick, which would net them Joe Burrow instead of Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. The Bengals, of course, have already told Burrow he's the pick and seem to have no reason to change their mind.

This all makes me laugh -- a lot -- because all the Dolphins had to do was give Josh Rosen a better look (or called fewer awesome trick plays) last year and they would probably have met their tanking goal and be in possession of that first pick without having to surrender anything at all. Only the Dolphins (and quite probably also the Jets) could so obviously tank a season, accumulate a ton of draft assets, and still screw it up to the point where they lost out on getting their guy anyway. In fact, it's quite likely that they'll be duped into wasting extra picks in order to trade up to 3 to ensure that they even get their backup choice.

And so a team that spent two decades mostly stuck in 8-8 mediocrity land and shamelessly blew everything up to tank and rebuild promptly spent more than necessary to acquire a bunch of good-not-great free agents but did well enough to hold more draft capital than any other team, only to lose out on the guy they really wanted and fire themselves pretty quickly right back into that 6- to 10-win stratosphere of mediocrity.

Bravo, guys.

The postscript to this is that I'm still actually rooting for them to pull it off. I'm local, I like Brian Flores, I love Joe Burrow, and I think he'd be wasted or ruined in the Bengals organization. I'd absolutely love to see the Fins find a way to get him here and I think he'd be great for the region and the division. Even so ... man. All they had to do was tank properly, and they'd be all set with the best player in the draft AND 13 other picks. What a missed opportunity.

Bryan Knowles: Also, open question: we've heard a lot about the relative technical skills and, erm, lack thereof among the various NFL front office staffs. Do we expect that there will actually be a problem tonight, or will things go smoothly?

Scott Spratt: As the resident fantasy football guy, can I ask why they're not using ESPN's or another platform's fantasy draft tool for the real draft? Those are pretty user-friendly, seems like a no-brainer.

Andrew Potter: As ever, it will go fine, but in future days/months/years, technical issues will be blamed for some of the more questionable decisions.

Bryan Knowles: All I'm asking is for the 21st Century equivalent of the Booker Reese pick; is that too much to ask for?

Robert Weintraub: Someday I'll need an explanation as to how the Bengals organization will ruin Burrow but those fantastically run Dolphins are a prime destination.

Bryan Knowles: Now guys, don't fight; I'm sure your favorite franchises are both equally capable of blowing this one.

Dave Bernreuther: Hey, hey -- don't call the Dolphins my favorite! They're just the least un-favorite of any team in whose city I have lived.

But Rob's question is totally fair, and the only answer that I can give is that I actually believe that their management wants to win, will spend to do so, and that their current coaching staff *may* be somewhat well-suited to do that.

Then again, they just hired the corpse of Chan Gailey, not to mention all the brilliant moves they've made to counter their tank, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut and just go back to enjoying the local comedy.

Robert Weintraub: It's all in good fun. What I do think is people > institutions, despite what David Simon has told us. If Burrow isn't that special person, alas, but he's as close as I've seen in some time. So this is a hopeful night for me and my long-suffering Bengals crew.

What is classic Cincy would be to get a hold of a guy like that, then lose the season to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. If it happens, the Bengals get the 2021 No. 1 pick too, right?

Scott Spratt: Rate the analogy: Joel Embiid : Philadelphia 76ers :: Tua : Miami Dolphins

Dave Bernreuther: That's a really interesting question, and I'd say the chances of that are 50/50 at best. Wouldn't surprise me at all if they set up a 2021 draft with some type of weighted coin flip or lottery system in the event that 2020 was canceled.

Hat tip for the thinking man's Simon reference too, by the way.

Bryan Knowles: That's how they did the 2005 NHL draft after the lockout -- a weighted lottery, based on playoff appearances and top picks in the previous three drafts, and then a snake draft in the second round.

If they did it that way for the NFL in 2021, the lottery assortment would be:

  • Three balls: Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, NY Giants, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, Washington
  • Two balls: Atlanta, Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, LA Chargers, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
  • One ball: Baltimore, Buffalo, Houston, Kansas City, LA Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, New England, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tennessee

Vincent Verhei: If we're wondering which GM is mostly likely to have a massive technical gaffe ... I mean...

The Show Begins

Tom Gower: The downside of the joint broadcast is there's no alternative choice on TV if one network decides to go non-football for a while.

Aaron Schatz: Actually, there should be two broadcasts. One is on ABC, the other is on both ESPN and NFL Network.

Bryan Knowles: I believe ABC's coverage is more college football-oriented, but yeah -- if you're a channel-flipper, not much to do this year.

Bryan Knowles: Benefit to less live coverage: more hilariously terrible ESPN animatics. I am 100% on board with this.

Carl Yedor: Co-signing Bryan's point on the graphics. This is almost like watching the Super Bowl for the ads.

Vincent Verhei: I don't think I've watched ESPN's draft coverage since NFL Network started doing their own. This is really jarring for me.

Also, it appears the one personality NFLN contributing to this octobox is ... Michael Irvin?!

Aaron Schatz: Kurt Warner, Daniel Jeremiah.

Scott Spratt: Daniel Jeremiah, too, Vince.

Vincent Verhei: And that's what I get for posting too fast.

Robert Weintraub: Plenty of bitching already about how long the pick is taking -- like there is something else to do or watch? Lean in, people -- let's take this past midnight!

The Pick is In

Bryan Knowles: Holy cow, the Bengals took Joe Burrow. Definitely worth waiting 26 freaking minutes for that pick, considering they already sent him his welcome letter yesterday.

Aaron Schatz: And Chase Young goes second. Chalk so far!

Bryan Knowles: Literally 100% of mock drafts SB Nation polled had Burrow going No. 1; 96.6% had Young going No. 2. So finally, 35 minutes in, ~the draft can start~.

For the record, the first pick without a clear favorite is the Giants at No. 4; a majority had the Lions taking Jeff Okudah at No. 3. Best player available at the position of greatest need makes it seem like a no-brainer to me, but they HAVE been shopping the pick ... but no. They're currently penciled to be starting Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, and...Mike Ford, maybe? at corner. Don't overthink this, take Okudah, and move on

Robert Weintraub: Speaking of Baltimore, the idea that Mel Kiper, of all people, would be the guy caping up for the Bengals org in defiance of the national talking points is as stunning as Omar and Bowtie blowing away Stringer Bell.

Dan Pizzuta: Mildly surprised the Lions stayed put after being connected to half the NFL in trade talks this morning. The Giants could be too stubborn to trade out too, which could set up nicely for the Dolphins and Chargers.

Aaron Schatz: Chalk continues. Jeff Okudah third to Detroit, and most people thought the Giants would take an offensive tackle and they did; Andrew Thomas of Georgia is the first one off the board. He's SIS's favorite of this year's many first-round-quality tackles.

Tom Gower: And the Giants take a tackle at No. 4. Mild surprise that it ends up being Andrew Thomas instead of Jedrick Wills or Mekhi Becton, but we're still waiting for drama.

Aaron Schatz: I wonder if Andrew Thomas starts at right tackle as a rookie, or does he wait and learn? I'm guessing Nate Solder is cut after 2020.

Bryan Knowles: First real surprise of the day goes to the Giants, again -- not that they drafted a tackle, because someone's gotta try to keep Daniel Jones upright, but that they took Andrew Thomas over Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills

... and two of you say the same thing at the same time, and we name four different tackles at the top of the list. It's a deep class; Thomas probably needs the most polish of the big four, but it's not like we can laugh at them like we did last year. More the shame.

Robert Weintraub: Did the dog make the Giants pick?

Vincent Verhei: Checked out a little bit of Rich Eisen's #DraftAThon on Twitter. Tom Brady and Russell Wilson razzing each other was kind of fun. Deion Sanders and Jimmy Johnson acknowledging that Deion went to Florida State because Johnson's Miami Hurricanes didn't recruit him. Eisen breaking the news to Daniel Jones that the Giants had just drafted a new offensive tackle, before Jones admitted he got the news texted to him a few minutes prior. Jones is a terrible liar.

Carl Yedor: We definitely have a bit of the conference call classic where there are either slightly awkward pauses in the conversations or a bit of talking over each other more than normal. Other than that I haven't noticed anything funky happening with the virtual draft broadcast compared to more normal circumstances.

Dave Bernreuther: Why did Gettleman just put a mask on when he's home in a room alone? Can't this guy do ANYTHING that's not worth making fun of?

So if nobody traded up to 3, where the Lions were active sellers, or 4 to jump Miami, can we safely assume that no team at all, including the Dolphins and Chargers, was anywhere near as excited about either Tua or Herbert as we've been led to believe for the last six months?

Vincent Verhei: Tagovailoa to the Dolphins. It was destiny, and neither a few Miami upsets last season nor Tagovailoa's injuries could deny that fate. It was meant to be.

Bryan Knowles: We can't judge if Miami was desperate for him; they might have been able to read the tea leaves as well and felt confident staying at 5. 'Cause hey, tanking for Tua worked!

First left-handed quarterback in the league in nearly a decade. Crazy, coming from someone who grew up watching Steve Young, et al.

Bryan Knowles: I'm really interested about the Chargers pick coming up here. I feel like Herbert at No. 6 is a massive reach. Do they say screw it and get the best quarterback left on the board, 'cause they need one? Do they take one of the many, many good tackles available? Do they try to trade down to, say, 15 with Denver to see if they can get someone interested in starting the receiver run? Tough call.

Scott Spratt: Crushing these Tua comparisons. Who else was left-handed? Oh, Steve Young! Mark Brunell!

Dave Bernreuther: Style-wise Young is actually not that bad a comparison but come on, guys ... your only comparables for Tua are Young and Brunell? That's "the white receiver is shifty and just like Wes Welker"-level analysis.

I remain lukewarm on Tua, but it will be interesting to get to watch him up close. I really hope the Chargers don't take Herbert.

Oh, they did. Ugh. That's bad.

On a more positive and much more important note ... did Pizza Hut go retro with their logo?

Bryan Knowles: It's Herbert, and no, I don't like it. Best player available at position of greatest need, sure, but he feels to me like a bundle of tools who hasn't actually become a player yet -- it's not quite Josh Allen territory or anything, but anytime someone goes "he's got a cannon for an arm, and we'll figure out the rest later," big alarm bells start ringing for me.

Dave Bernreuther: As long as I'm complaining about a Herbert, it's worth featuring another likable Herbert with far less downside, as something of a PSA: Herbert the Pervert, my rescue old man German Shepherd, is chugging along in his golden years and about to hit two years since I found him near death on the streets. If ESPN is going to mention Abby (Joe Judge's dog) and then not show her, I guess I'll make up for it:

Herbert the Pervert

Rescue old dogs, people. They're amazing. And low-maintenance. And so grateful and rewarding.

Robert Weintraub: They couldn't have thrown in some Boomer Esiason clips for the lefty comps? Or is that a "don't give love to the analyst on a rival network" thing?

Vincent Verhei: Maybe they just figured that with the new threads, they should get a guy who was used to wearing yellow?

Robert Weintraub: Wait till Jordan Love goes in the first round...

Bryan Knowles: The Panthers taking a nose tackle over a safety/linebacker hybrid seems like something from a draft 15 years ago -- Derrick Brown is going to be good, but top-10 good? Over Isaiah Simmons? Little surprised.

Scott Spratt: I'm guessing the Panthers' 32nd-ranked DVOA run defense was a motivating factor.

Aaron Schatz: I agree on the Panthers but at least it does look like Derrick Brown is not just a run-stuffing hog molly, he does rush the passer pretty well for an interior defensive lineman.

Scott Spratt: Kliff Kingsbury having a white couch is the least surprising development of the night.

Dave Bernreuther: I love Derrick Brown's game, but he aspires to be a lobbyist? What a dumb thing to want to be.

I said this each of the last two years too and ended up wrong, but the Panthers are going to be really interesting next year. If he can get after the other quarterbacks in that division right away this is a great pick.

Vincent Verhei: Isaiah Simmons to the Cardinals, who also drafted Budda Baker, and Tyrann Mathieu. Steve Keim sure loves his Swiss Army knife defensive backs, doesn't he?

Tom Gower: Keim definitely has a type, and Simmons fits it enough that they pass on taking an offensive tackle to do so.

Vincent Verhei: A note on Gettleman.

Yes, I regret making fun of him now.

Andrew Potter: I really expected the Cardinals to take an offensive tackle instead of a defender. The Jaguars simply had to take a cornerback. I couldn't believe my ears earlier when I heard people on the broadcast suggest they were considering an offensive tackle.

Bryan Knowles: No receivers, no trades through ten picks. I'm very surprised about the former; moderately surprised at the latter.

Robert Weintraub: Browns take Jedrick Wills, will play with two right tackles and no left tackle.

Dave Bernreuther: I like CJ Henderson a lot. As much as I've liked a college player in a long time. What a great player to grab for the Jags to get them over the top. That defense is going to be really scary now that they can pair him with Jalen Ramsey behind that scary defensive line with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. It's going to be impossible to throw on them now.

(Oh. Wait. They did what? They paid the Bears' new quarterback how much? Their quarterback is who, again? Oh. Well OK then.)

Bryan Knowles: I am very surprised Jerry Jeudy is still sitting on the board. I know Playmaker only had him second, but I think a plurality of the scouts had him first. The Jets, Raiders, 49ers, and Broncos are all going in the next five picks; he won't last long...

Robert Weintraub: I wonder how much the pending lack of OTAs/camp/preseason caused Simmons to drop to Arizona? Hybrid guys likely have more stuff to learn, whereas Brown, for example, is just "get in there and be country strong."

Vincent Verhei: All the receivers are still on the board! It's supply and demand -- the supply of good receivers is so high, the demand is low. You might get a starter in the second round, so go somewhere else in the first.

Might also apply to the Cardinals taking Simmons, actually. This is supposed to be a deep draft for tackles too, maybe they're looking to grab one later -- although they are missing a second-rounder, so that could be tricky.

Scott Spratt: The Raiders just drafted the fastest receiver! Throwback!

Vincent Verhei: Henry Ruggs is the first receiver off the board. Fastest player at the combine goes to the Raiders. Some things never change.

Dave Bernreuther: I don't know how I never saw those basketball highlights of Mekhi Becton before now. To move like he does at that size is absolutely amazing.

I have no idea how he'll do against NFL players but he's a freak and I'm rooting for him.

His dad (I assume) is a monster too.

It's going to take years before I'm used to hearing "Las Vegas Raiders."

Aaron Schatz: The Raiders with the first kind of surprising pick taking Henry Ruggs ahead of CeeDeeLamb and Jerry Jeudy. But taking the fast guy first is so, so Raiders.

Bryan Knowles: Al Davis lives!

And of course the Raiders take the third-best of the three biggies (by our Playmaker rating, at least). Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree memories.

Vincent Verhei: Yes, I saw Becton's (presumably) father and thought he was the largest guy I'd see all night. Then Mekhi stood up, and, well...

49ers at 13 a good candidate to be the first team to trade down tonight.

Carl Yedor: In addition to "Raiders take a fast guy" we also have the continuing trend of "Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock take someone from Alabama or Clemson."

Bryan Knowles: Vic Tafur is reporting the Raiders were TRYING to move back, but no one wanted to come up. If that's true, I doubt there's much demand for No. 13, either...

Scott Spratt: Is that the Raiders' draft board behind Gruden? Someone zoom in on that.

Tom Gower: Have we specifically looked at wide receivers who played a much lesser role than their teammates? Ruggs had 40 catches to Jerry Jeudy's 77 last year, and I'm kind of skeptical of guys who are a college team's secondary or even tertiary option as first-round picks.

Scott Spratt: I'm obviously cherry-picking here, Tom, but Odell Beckham had 18 fewer catches than Jarvis Landry in their final year at LSU.

Tom Gower: I'd argue Beckham and Landry were 1A and 1B. The receiving yards their final season were pretty similar (1,193 Landry, 1,152 OBJ). Jeudy had 50% more receiving yards than Ruggs this past season, and the 2018 disparity was even bigger.

Dan Pizzuta: Is Henry Ruggs going to force Derek Carr to throw the ball down the field more often or is this just wasting a year until Gruden can get someone who can?

Vincent Verhei: Jameis Winston is currently available.

Things Get Interesting

Dave Bernreuther: Why on earth would you trade up one spot from 14 to 13? That makes even less sense than what the Bears did for Mitchell Trubisky (before we knew for sure that Trubisky sucked).

Good for John Lynch. Pulled the same trick twice.

Vincent Verhei: Good catch Dave. Wasn't even thinking about that.

Bryan Knowles: Trade details:

  • TB gets No. 13 and No. 245.
  • SF gets No. 14 and No. 117. Not the Day 2 pick they wanted, but an extra mid-round pick, plus a move back and still getting their choice of the remaining receivers.

Carl Yedor: So the Bucs just moved up one slot, I wonder who they were worried about jumping in front of them for Tristan Wirfs.

Vincent Verhei: I used to lift weights a lot. I know what 300-plus pounds feels like. This video of Tristan Wirfs doing four reps of a hang clean with 450 pounds reminds us that NFL players are superhuman.

Dave Bernreuther: As a former "strength athlete" myself I want to just point out that a 450x4 clean with non-disgusting form as a college kid is one of the most ridiculous feats of strength that I've ever seen. Wow. Becton and his abilities got all the press but Wirfs is on that same level and a more polished player as well. I totally get the infatuation with him ... still a bit confused about what would've made it necessary to make that trade though.

Aaron Schatz: I can't believe the 49ers were able to move up from 245 to 117 when they weren't going to take the offensive tackle anyway!!!! I wonder if some other team was talking to them about trading into that spot and they made the Buccaneers outbid that other team. Or maybe they just made the Bucs think that was happening.

Tom Gower: John Lynch must have sold that he had another legitimate offer from some other team so ... Miami coming up from No. 18? I don't get it. But I do like that Jason Licht got the seventh-round pick back because that way he can say he traded two picks and got two picks back like there's not a huge difference between a 4 and a 7. Jon Robinson, who used to work for Licht, has done the same thing several times in his trades up.

Vincent Verhei: John Lynch makes some mistakes, but so far he has been really, really good at working the phones on draft day. Shows the preparation needed to make quick decisions and think on the fly as players fall.

Bryan Knowles: Lynch is going to celebrate by signing a running back to a five-year, $45-million deal.

Vincent Verhei: JAVON KINLAW?????

Bryan Knowles: I don't hate the Kinlaw pick, I really don't.

I am now hoping, hoping, hoping that Justin Jefferson falls to No. 31.

Robert Weintraub: San Francisco gets Kinlaw, and Kyle Shanahan breaks the Falcons' hearts again...

Carl Yedor: So the Niners ignore receiver in Round 1 and go for a DeForest Buckner replacement in Javon Kinlaw. Depth at the receiver position driving down price showing up again.

Dave Bernreuther: So San Francisco takes the guy that I'd imagine the Colts would have taken with the same pick had they not traded it. This will be really interesting, because I didn't hate the Buckner trade, or even necessarily the contract. But now we get to watch and see ... what are the chances that DeForest Buckner -- who I love -- is roughly $60 million better than Kinlaw over the next four or five seasons?

Vincent Verhei: I just ... yes, they need to replace DeForest Buckner, but ... they were so desperate for receivers they traded for Emmanuel Sanders in the middle of the year. Then they lost Sanders, which means they're desperate for wide receivers again, right??

Scott Spratt: Do you have any optimism for Jalen Hurd at this point, Vince?

Vincent Verhei: I wouldn't say I've written Hurd off, but he missed his whole rookie year with a back injury. Last I read they weren't even sure he'd be ready for offseason workouts. If I were running a team looking to make it to two Super Bowls in a row, I'd want something more certain there.

Bryan Knowles: I don't really think the 49ers can go into 2020 with Deebo Samuel/Jalen Hurd/Kendrick Bourne as their top three receivers.

There are a quartet of receivers still out there who make sense at 31 (Lamb, Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins), but I would have assumed the 49ers would try to trade down from 31...

Meanwhile, the Broncos are dancing in the aisles that they got Jeudy at No. 15 without having to move.

Tom Gower: The draft has been extremely chalky, but the Falcons were the first pick where I wasn't sure what they would do. Reaching for their favorite of the remaining defensive players felt like the most likely move with Henderson and Kinlaw off the board, and that's what they ended up doing. But A.J. Terrell was their guy? OK, good luck with that.

Derrik Klassen: Underwhelmed with the Terrell pick as well. Kristian Fulton for sure a better player to me, and I'd probably take Jeff Gladney too. Don't hate going cornerback, just feels like the wrong guy.

Aaron Schatz: A.J. Terrell is ranked as the 15th (!!) cornerback in the SIS rookie handbook. Yikes.

Robert Weintraub: Agree with Derrik on the Terrell panic. Feels also like it would have been K'Lavon Chaisson if they hadn't been burned by rangy edge guys in Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. Catching up on Ruggs, Alabama didn't send him streaking deep too much -- he was a killer slant guy. So he may work with Carr better than we expect.

Also, if you like Ruggs, wait until Jaylen Waddle comes out...

Dallas takes CeeDee Lamb in what feels like direct payback for Philly taking Dallas Goedert out from under them a couple of years back.

Dave Bernreuther: Why are they bothering with these camera shots of the coaches? They don't interview them. They're not the ones making the picks. It's ten times more awkward than having the players stand there and nod for five seconds during in-game introductions and it serves no purpose. But for some reason we've had Mike McCarthy on screen for several minutes now.

Lamb is a great player and I like him a lot. But damn. This was already the second-best offense last year and they had plenty of holes. This isn't going to be what puts them into the playoffs, right? Seems dumb. But at the same time ... if you're a Cowboys fan -- and I'm 6-plus-feet away on this couch from one -- it's hard not to get excited about the potential there.

Even if it doesn't actually make the team all that much better.

Carl Yedor: Looks like Jerry Jones wants to make Dak Prescott's contract very expensive if he does play out this year on the franchise tag by snagging Lamb there.

Vincent Verhei: I think this is a case where "best available player" outweighed "biggest need."

Dallas games are gonna be fun, that's for sure.

Aaron Schatz: Dallas was No. 2 in offensive DVOA last year (No. 3 if you take out Kansas City's Matt Moore games).

Bryan Knowles: Also, the "Oh thank god, Philly didn't get CeeDee Lamb" factor, as spite always makes your pick feel that much better.

Tom Gower: Here's the thing with Dallas and CeeDee Lamb: he's a terrific prospect and should be a good pro. But are you a better team in 2020 and in the long run with a better third receiver (given you just paid Amari Cooper and have Michael Gallup) than you would have been with K'Lavon Chaisson? I'm higher on him than SackSEER because I think he would have had the testing numbers to justify a better projection, and the pass-rusher cliff is right after him in my opinion. I'm not convinced.

Robert Weintraub: Is it me or is the coverage leaning hard into the depressing back stories of every single draftee? It's like the Up Close and Personal Olympics here.

(Truth is, the production has been extremely high-quality given the circumstances. Producers/director and technical director doing great work.)

Robert Weintraub: Larry David made the Cowboys' spite store pick... I prefer Jerry Jeudy to the other wide receivers. He's like Marvin Harrison without the (alleged) murder.

Bryan Knowles: With one of the picks from the Khalil Mack, the Raiders select ... a cornerback people had going in the second or third round.

Tom Gower: Austin Jackson to the Dolphins feels like a little bit less of a reach than Terrell, but in the similar vein: we want this position, and he's our favorite player here. Damon Arnette definitely falls into the same camp. I see stuff like Dane Brugler have him in the late 60s overall in his draft guide, and while I thought he might go higher than that, felt like it was reasonable to hope he'd be there for the Titans at the end of the second round. Going No. 19? And it's not like this is the Clelin Ferrell pick last year, since that was a personality-driven pick and Arnette has some football-character issues.

Aaron Schatz: Regarding Damon Arnette: players chosen far before the conventional wisdom do not have a great track record.

Vincent Verhei: K'Lavon Chaisson going to the Jaguars at 20 pretty much eliminates any chance that the Seahawks weren't going to trade down again. There may not be another first-round player available that fits any of their needs.

Bryan Knowles: But D'Andre Swift is right there, Vince! What's the point of the 49ers drafting ten zillion defensive linemen if they're not there to battle the Seahawks' ten zillion running backs?

Robert Weintraub: Man, I was thinking Arnette for the Bengals -- at pick 66! But I always say, when in doubt, draft the Buckeye (except Billy Price, of course).

Dave Bernreuther: I made fun of the Jags earlier because of past moves, but they've made two picks now and I think both of them made their defense a lot better. Chaisson is exactly who I didn't want them to take there.

How is it that the league's commissioner can't even get pronunciations correct, by the way?

Andrew Potter: The second Jaguars pick is the other massive hole on their defense. Predictable and sensible approach to the latest episode of their multi-season rebuild so far.

Bryan Knowles: Go to bed, Patriots fans -- they just traded 23 to the Chargers for 37 and 71.

Scott Spratt: Haha, they just ran the "Pizza Hut Draft Moment" and it was the end of the Vikings-Saints playoff game, not anything draft-related.

Carl Yedor: Justin Jefferson makes a lot of sense for the Vikings with Stefon Diggs gone.

Dave Bernreuther: Finally, a dog! Rick Spielman's lab makes a live appearance, thrilling those of us who hoped to see Abby make a pick earlier.

Vikings use the Diggs pick to take a receiver. Just like the Colts can look at Kinlaw for the comparison (and vice versa), now we can compare Jefferson and Diggs over the next few years to see if the Vikings were really better off getting rid of the known quantity.

Vincent Verhei: Patriots get two Day 2 picks for their first-rounder. Sets a market for Seattle.

Chargers trade up for inside linebacker Kenneth Murray. Was that a glaring need for them? Quite a price to pay.

Robert Weintraub: Pats do what they do -- trade out of 23 to get two mid-rounders. Nice.

Chargers take Kenneth Murray, whom I would rate a lot higher if he went by "Kenny." Pretentious much?

Serio, if he plays out of the whole "Big 12 defenders are a joke" thing, that's a rough defense to tangle with.

Vincent Verhei: I see Rivers listed inside linebacker as the Chargers' quiet need for ESPN, so ... yes, it was a need, but it was also a quiet need, so I don't feel bad about missing it.

Bryan Knowles: The Saints drafted Cesar Ruiz, "born to play center." Uh, Erik McCoy had a great rookie season last year, so I presume one or the other will be kicking out to guard, right?

Andrew Potter: I'm baffled by that pick. Baffled.

Aaron Schatz: I'm thinking Ruiz doesn't play in his rookie year. The Saints just re-signed Andrus Peat, and they pay Larry Warford a lot of money. Warford's contract ends after 2020, Ruiz goes to right guard.

Vincent Verhei: Niners trade up. This has to be a receiver. Brandon Aiyuk? Tee Higgins?

Scott Spratt: There you go, Vince!

Vincent Verhei: It's Aiyuk. I was completely not impressed with him after Derrik's piece in Futures, but if there's any coach in the league who can get the most out of a YAC-machine, it's Kyle Shanahan.

Bryan Knowles: It is in fact Aiyuk.

Derrick Klassen called Aiyuk a roleplayer in 2020, and someone who needs a creative coach to get the most use out of him. The 49ers certainly have the creative coach...

I'm OK with the 49ers going wide receiver and defensive tackle with their two first-round picks. I would have been happier with Jeudy and, say, A.J. Epenesa, but I can't argue with the general strategy.

Vincent Verhei: But the 49ers give up three picks for Aiyuk (31, 117, 176) and now they only have three picks left in the draft, with no picks in the second, third, or fourth round. I don't know, man.

Bryan Knowles: Yeah, it feels like a move to go all-in on this year ... but if that's what they're doing, why Aiyuk over Lamb or Jeudy? They must have had Aiyuk right up there in a top four alongside the others, which surprises me.

Zachary Binney: Just dropping in to note CBS has forgotten to update their algorithm for prior picks and currently has Jordan Love as a best fit for Miami at 26.

Robert Weintraub: I like Aiyuk -- he's a tough MFer, got some Steve Smith to him -- but that's calling it a draft, basically, for the Niners. Still, filled two needs with two good players.

Things Get Crazy


Carl Yedor: So this is Aaron Rodgers' successor, huh?

Robert Weintraub: Love hurts (if you're Aaron Rodgers)!

Aaron Schatz: Aaron Rodgers just got Aaron Rodgers'ed by Jordan Love.

Bryan Knowles: Woah, woah, woah, Jordan Love to the Packers! History repeats itself with the sliding quarterback!

Tom Gower: If you like Jordan Love that much, go ahead and trade up to get him...

1. But given Aaron Rodgers' contract, you'll have him on the team for at least the next two seasons, so you're missing out on two of Love's cheap years.

2. The Packers traded up to get him. Who was taking a quarterback before they were on the clock at No. 30? Not the Dolphins. Not the Seahawks. Not the Ravens. Not the Titans. Maybe there was some other team lurking and trying to move up. Maybe.

3. You were in the NFC Championship Game last year, and this move doesn't make you better this year or next year or really in your Rodgers window.

Scott Spratt: After the trade, the Dolphins have 13 picks left in the draft, incredible.

Aaron Schatz:


Bryan Knowles: ... The Seahawks not only don't trade down, but take Jordyn Brooks?!

Vincent Verhei: I'm so baffled by the non-trade that I can barely even process the pick. The last player taken by Seattle in the first round without trading back was James Carpenter in 2011.

Carl Yedor: Yeah, I'm confused, I don't understand this at all. He's an inside linebacker joining a team with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright starting already that also drafted two off-ball linebackers in last year's draft, one of which was in the third round (so, not insignificant investment). Wright may not have much gas left in the tank, but I'm not sure what the plan is here. Pass-rusher is a much more pressing need for them. The ABC broadcast essentially just clowned on picking a defensive player from Texas Tech too.

So, very on-brand? I jokingly suggested they were going to trade down to 29 and take Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, but I'm not sure if this makes more or less sense.

Vincent Verhei: You know what? This makes much, much less sense than taking a running back. Chris Carson is hurt! Rashaad Penny tore his ACL! It's a real need!

The Seahawks already showed up as the team that drafted guys higher than they were mocked in Benjamin Robinson's research. This is going to blow up his scale.

Robert Weintraub: Agree on the need part, but I like Brooks more than Patrick Queen, which is unusual to say for a Big 12 defender vis-a-vis an SEC guy.

Bryan Knowles: Of COURSE the Ravens get Patrick Queen. Love the fit, and there's no reason he should have fallen this far.

Dan Pizzuta: SIS had the Seahawks in base 67% of the time last year, with the next-highest team at 37%. No team relies on their off-ball linebackers more. Though the question is why Jordyn Brooks instead of Patrick Queen, who goes next to the Ravens, the team that played base the least in 2019.

Dave Bernreuther: I'm still in awe over the Love pick. It's not quite the same as trading into the top ten, but wow. A contending team with a Hall of Fame quarterback whose window is closing just traded up to draft an inaccurate project quarterback in the first round when several players who could have helped immediately were still on the board.

Did they think their 13-3 record last year was legit and that they had no roster holes to fill?

Tom Gower: Sometimes you see an emerging consensus destination for a player at the end of the first round, and you never think it's going to happen. Compiling day-of mocks the past few years, it didn't happen. But then Patrick Queen falls to the Ravens and the Titans find a player who fits precisely their type in Isaiah Wilson, so you never know.

Aaron Schatz: Brian Flores is all about the cornerbacks, baby. Noah Igbinoghene to join Byron Jones, Xavien Howard, and Nik Needham.

Bryan Knowles: The Dolphins take Noah Igbinoghene at No. 31, when corner was listed as "Not a Need" in our draft guide. The Dolphins somehow found the one position where they DIDN'T need to draft anyone, considering they have Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Bobby McCain.

Robert Weintraub: Noah is hella good though, and you can't ever have too many cornerbacks, especially when they are ready to move off X-man in two years (I-man is only 20). But all that matters is 2.33 -- Josh Jones? Denzel Mims? Laviska Shenault? Tee? Logan Wilson? Trade down? Gonna be an interesting day...

Scott Spratt: Oof, tough break for my guy Darwin Thompson with the Chiefs taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Bryan Knowles: And with pick 32, the Chiefs take 2020's most overrated running back -- or, at least, that's what BackCAST thinks. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is, at least, arguably the best receiving back in the draft, but his size/speed combo is ... underwhelming, shall we say.

Vincent Verhei: Every year at the end of the first round I try to pick winners and losers of the day, but the first half was so chalky, and the second half so surprising, that my head is swimming and I don't even know what to say. I am bewildered by the Seahawks. I am stunned by the Packers. I have no idea what to make of the 49ers.

Well, that certainly wasn't boring. See you all tomorrow night!

Bryan Knowles: I'm surprised to see Xavier McKinney still on the board at the end of Day 1; I wouldn't be surprise if Cincinnati got dueling calls from Carolina and Tampa Bay about 2.33 overnight.

Tom Gower: Even more than most years, I'm reluctant to dig too deeply into evaluating how teams did with specific players. Agnostic on how good you think Jordan Love will be, I think I laid out the reasons why Green Bay's move for him was eye-openingly aggressive. The other "reach" picks were more "That's who you think is the best player at that position? Good luck." I mean, maybe Jalen Reagor will be better than past Big 12 receivers. Maybe Damon Arnette will be that good. Maybe A.J. Terrell will be worth the pick. Maybe those picks would've felt more "normal" had we gotten the normal deeper round of information leaking out from the NFL to us hoi polloi from pre-draft activities.


75 comments, Last at 27 Apr 2020, 4:29pm

3 He's tied for the lead. In…

He's tied for the lead.

In the common draft era, he's tied with Shawn Springs (1997, Seattle) and Bruce Pickens (1991, Atlanta) at #3 overall.  There's also Billy Stacy (1959, Chicago Cardinals), but whether you'd call him a modern corner or not is tricky.

18 Tied with Jerry Stovall --…

Jerry Stovall was #2 in the NFL draft and #3 in the AFL draft, but mostly played as a long-snapper!

His 1963 was kind of fascinating. He was a safety, but also a punter, but also a punt return, but also a long-snapper.

I'm tempted to see if he even snapped the ball to himself, punted it, returned that punt, and tackled himself.


But the all-time winner was Gary Glick, who went #1 overall in 1956.

He played long enough ago his initial position was left defensive halfback (slot corner, functionally). He also played safety and outside corner. We can argue whether 1956 is modern or not. It's pre-merger, but post-free substitution. I'm inclined to say yes -- Unitas, Graham, Rote, Layne, Blanda, Van Brocklin, and Starr were playing, and we regard them as modern.

2 GB

I think the Love pick is pretty smart. I think they lost to SF last year even if Prime LT and Prime Rice were on the team. No pick at that range is likely having a meaningful impact in regards to immediately closing the gap to any significant degree.

They might as well roll the dice on a super high upside QB. Personally, I would draft a QB every year until I hit on a star, since QB is that important. I have never seen him play so have 0 insights on him but it is by far the highest possible upside pick

5 I think several things: -GB…

In reply to by Q

I think several things:

-GB must have a worse internal evaluation of Rodgers’ play than they’ve been letting on. Not saying they think he’s been awful, but they’ve been singing his praises. If he were playing that well they wouldn’t have done this I don’t think.

-The contract details for Rodgers mean Love is absolutely going to sit for a couple years. And even if they cut Rodgers after the 2021 season they still eat like $17 million in dead cap. Not exactly ideal for taking advantage of your young, cheap QB.

-I think they’re just trying to avoid an Eli situation: aging QB stinking it up with a big contract and no viable replacement. First two parts could still be true but at least they fixed the 3rd.

-Really thought it was going to be Patrick Queen when they traded up. Alas.

24 Yeah, Rodgers is absolutely…

Yeah, Rodgers is absolutely locked in for two more seasons and that timeline actually matches up with a lot of the free agent contracts from last offseason and Davante Adams' extension. Looks like in 2022 they'll be deciding whether to take on Rodgers' $39.9 million (oh my god) cap charge for one more go, or cut him, install Love, and potentially re-work the entire roster.

So you can see a plan there. I'm just shocked they feel this strongly about Jordan Love to pull the trigger now. They could have drafted a QB this year, next year, or even in 2022 and this general plan would still work.

32 The worst possible scenario…

The worst possible scenario now is that Rodgers plays well enough, and Love poorly enough, in practice/preseason, through 2021 that switching starters isn't viable, but Rodgers is alienated enough that you have to get rid of him after 2022, when you still don't know for sure what you have in Love, as you make your 5th year extension decision on Love. Then Love is just ok in year 4 of his contract.

45 This is actually pretty…

This is actually pretty close to how Favre/Rodgers played out. There were no fifth-year options back then obviously, but Rodgers' rookie contract was up after his 4th year in 2008 and so the Packers decided to give him a pretty significant extension after 6 or 7 starts in '08. It wasn't a blind decision - Rodgers was playing well once he finally saw the field, definitely better than just ok - but they still had to project a lot based on a limited sample and it carried more long-term risk than the modern fifth-year option does.

Don't want to draw too many comparisons to that situation for a million different reasons, but I think this will probably end up playing out quite differently. Other than the fact that the odds are extremely low that Love will turn out to be anywhere near the player Rodgers is, he's more likely to get an extended shot due to injury than Rodgers was.

47 One of the unanswerable…

One of the unanswerable questions is, how much does marinating a QB truly impact that player's value. And here, marinating seems to have two limiting criteria: The qb needs to be at least 2 full seasons holding the clipboard and he has to have at least some first round pedigree(maybe 2nd?).


The sample size of these examples is pretty slim and I can't remember any beyond the one's that worked out, like Rodgers and Jimmy G.


I guess if you do subscribe to that theory(and maybe the theory of qb osmosis), then this decision makes a lot of sense. However, I am skeptical of the former and absolutely a non believer in the latter.  




I did think of one counterexample. Brock osweiler never developed after spending 3 years taking victory kneel downs.

50 When Rodgers talks about…

When Rodgers talks about what he learned from his time on the bench, it really just convinces me that he was likely to have a successful career however early he played. He was an active learner who thought about quarterbacking to crazy levels of detail and always looked for ways to improve. Like, he taught himself to throw without his feet set on purpose based on observing Favre and understanding what he could achieve with it. (He talks about stuff like this in Bruce Feldman's book from a few years ago.)

Maybe he could have still been a bust in SF or Cleveland because you can't escape a black hole, but that combination of talent + work ethic + attention to detail is obviously special.

51 Sure Rogers can say that,…

Sure Rogers can say that, but we have no idea if he would have developed bad habits with a different coaching staff and supporting cast. 


Alex Smith's career offers some guidance on how much coaching and organizational competence can affect a players performance. On the other hand it's not clear to me that Alex Smith was destined for superstardom if only he hadn't gone to the niners.

52 Right, coaching and…

Right, coaching and organization are still extremely important. You can believe in Rodgers' inherent talent and also recognize that he might have only topped out as a solid starter/Pro Bowler if he wound up elsewhere.

You can use Smith to show the benefit of coaching and organizational competence, but also talent. Even after Smith eventually found his groove as a starter, he got supplanted twice in his career by more talented players who went on to outperform him. He was also an immediate downgrade from Kirk Cousins in Washington, though I'd grant that their offensive coaching staff and supporting cast were declining.

56 AR's rookie contract was…

AR's rookie contract was five years, so he would've only been a FA after 2009 (and as it turned out, he would've been a RFA and not a UFA because of the uncapped year, but noone on 2008 knew that would happen for sure)

62 Ah, thanks. Very different…

Ah, thanks. Very different situation then. I feel like I remember reading that the Packers feared they wouldn't be able to re-sign Rodgers if they didn't play him in '08, but either I'm totally wrong or it didn't have anything to do with his contract situation since they would have had a lot of leverage.

63 The real worst possible scenario

The actual worst case scenario is Rodgers throws a hissy fit worse than the one Rothlisberger threw after the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph. As it is, I'm worried we'll get the worst possible passive-aggressive behavior from a QB who's exhibited this behavior on-and-off his entire career. He could offhandedly state that he believes it's obvious that the Packers staff wants to move on. He could demand to be traded. In the meantime, Rodgers is to Love what Favre was to Rodgers; the difference is Rodgers was in consideration for the top pick while Love was already considered a talented but seriously flawed prospect. 

We may be mercifully spared from much of this right now because the public venues Rodgers attends in the offseason, like golf tourneys and Brewers games, aren't currently happening. But I'm sure at least some of it (like the passive-aggressive behavior) will reveal itself before training camp. Rodgers said he learned what not to do from watching Favre. He may use some of Favre's more successful tactics against Love. You've lost your starting HoF QB forever, and Love busts is the worst case scenario. 

7 While I'm not sure I agree…

In reply to by Q

While I'm not sure I agree with you, exactly, I do think there's an angle to this FO didn't cover in Audibles, even though Dave B. touched on it a little, when he said:

"Did they think their 13-3 record last year was legit and that they had no roster holes to fill?"

I think you could also ask, "Did the Packers agree that they weren't actually as a good as their 13-3 record, and that they were likely to be quite a bit worse next year, so they looked to the future?"

I'm still kind of shocked they traded up for Love.  I can see trading up if Tua or Herbert had fallen into the teens, to capitalize on that, or just taking Love at pick 30 without trading.  But the combination seems very odd to me.

12 Yeah, a bit of a head…

Yeah, a bit of a head-scratcher. Must have been scared that some other team (NE, PIT, IND) would have traded up with SEA or MIA instead.

They didn’t overpay for the trade up at least, their 4th rounder is at or below the value chart for the difference between 26 and 30.

I guess the other thing to take away is that they must think they have some solid guys pegged in the later rounds, especially at ILB. One could see them standing pat at WR even if the fans (including me) think it’s dumb, but they absolutely have to get another ILB or S/LB tweener. They’re one injury away from a total dumpster fire at that position.

9 Packers taking a QB in the…

Packers taking a QB in the first round makes no sense. Aaron Rodgers may not quite what he once was but he's still not going anywhere any time soon. I wouldn't even really want to take a QB in the third round if I were them, but spending such high draft capital for a guy who's going to sit on the bench for the foreseeable future is absurd.

16 Favre played six seasons…

Favre played six seasons after the Rodgers draft, four at a high level. He lost two OT NFC Championship games in that time, both for teams who were favored.

This is in character for GB.

21 Main difference being that…

Main difference being that by 2005, Favre had been talking publicly about retirement for 4 years and didn't inform the team he was coming back until March. Whereas Rodgers talks about playing until he's 40 and the Packers can't even get out of his contract for 2 or 3 years.

22 Also, Rodgers was a…

Also, Rodgers was a candidate for the top pick overall.  San Francisco drafted Alex Smith instead primarily because he had agreed to a hypothetical contract, and Rodgers's representation indicated that they'd be digging in for something better -- as most top picks did prior to the next salary structure.  Aaron Rodgers at 21 or whatever was a steal.

Jordan Love was considered, at best, the #4 QB in the class, and a fringe 1st round pick.

This was a bad was at least one year too early.

39 See, to me this is really an…

See, to me this is really an argument for why this move made no sense. You can't act as if the history of your particular team is a better guide for you than the experience of other teams in general. The fact that drafting a replacement happened to work out so well once for your team does not make it more likely to work for you now. That would be like the Patriots saying they don't need to look for a QB before the 6th round since waiting until then worked out so well for them last time.

59 In fairness, Belichick did…

In fairness, Belichick did get Stidham in the fourth, and Garopolo in the second round, and found Hoyer as an undrafted player, for whatever that's worth. It is possible that Belichick has the ability to spend considerably less resources on the quarterback position, especially since he only needs to draft one every four years or so.

Actually, that last point I think is crucial. If you are desperate for a quarterback, even a good talent evaluator can reach. If you only draft quarterbacks when you think there's a ton of value in the pick, then you will draft much better, in terms of efficiency. The same is almost certainly true of every position. 

Of course, maximizing the value of the picks you spend on QB's is not the only thing that matters, if you don't have Tom Brady.

38 That's nice. Too bad Rodgers…

That's nice. Too bad Rodgers is under contract and isn't going anywhere so selling too soon isn't even a possibility. More importantly, he may be diminished but is still leagues ahead of a low-first round rookie. There's also still a real chance he bounces back to being a contender for best QB in the league again. There's a better chance Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the league two years from now than Love is.

48 Yeah, here's the thing. …

Yeah, here's the thing.  Rodgers can't really go anywhere for two years because of that extension, so this move is the Packers saying that Love (+two years in the system) is better than any option they'll have in the 2021 or 2022 drafts, as well.  And even if they're assuming they'll be really good and won't have the shot at Trevor Lawrence or something, is Love better enough than, say, a Kellen Mond to justify ~not~ helping the 2020 or 2021 Packers with this pick?

If you think so, then this is a good move; Rodgers has been on a downward trajectory and it IS better to get rid of him too early rather than too late.  But that's a lot of confidence in the fourth-best QB in the class.

If the Packers had used a second round pick on Jake Fromm or Jacob Eason, or grabbed Jalen Hurts in the third, then I'd be all in favor of it; good forward planning without locking you into one specific guy going forward.  But Love in the first round is a hell of a flag to plant.

58 Not really. Rodgers hasn't…

Not really. Rodgers hasn't been hurt for the last two years and he's never gone more than three without missing games. People forget he was injured in his second year when he broke his leg against the Pats and missed the rest of the year. His injury history is pretty typical for a QB; Packers fans just got spoiled with Favre's amazing durability. Any later round rookie QB would likely get a decent shot at playing his first two years behind Rodgers. It's not like the competition of Tim Boyle and Manny Wilkens is a high bar to beat. I was expecting a late round flyer like Anthony Gordon, which I actually wanted Gutekunst to do. There would have been more than enough time to evaluate Gordon (or whomever) and draft another prospect. 

It could work out, but I doubt it. It's like there really isn't a plan at 1265 Lombardi. This reminds me more of the Mike Sherman GM disaster; questionable trades up, being enamored by measurables while ignoring actual play, and thinking your the smartest guy in the room so you have to do something to keep everyone guessing. I made it through the 70's and 80's. I really don't want another 25 years of mediocrity-at-best as I'll probably be dead before the end of it. 

64 I think there's at least a…

I think there's at least a plan in that they seem to have a couple of clear decision points (after either 2021 or 2022) where they have the ability to move on from (or trade) Rodgers and many of the other expensive veterans - a lot of their guaranteed/dead money windows are synced up. But yeah, the Love pick seems to cover all of the hits: trading up for their guy, overconfidence in their assessment, overconfidence in their ability to mold the raw tools into a real QB...

37 Moore was the last lefty to…

Moore was the last lefty to start -- technically, the last lefty to throw a pass was Kevin Byard on a trick play in Week 2 of 2018.

Only five lefty quarterbacks started a game in the 2010s:

Michael Vick (47 starts for the Eagles, Jets and Steelers)
Tim Tebow (14 starts for the Broncos)
Tyler Palko (4 starts for the Chiefs)
Kellen Moore (2 starts for Dallas)
Matt Leinart (1 start for Houston)

11 but anytime someone goes "he…

but anytime someone goes "he's got a cannon for an arm, and we'll figure out the rest later," big alarm bells start ringing for me.

Patrick Mahomes sits up.

Also Brett Favre.


Perhaps the lesson here is you need Andy Reid.

27 I don't get all the Herbert…

I don't get all the Herbert hate.  Yes, he's the third best QB prospect in this draft, he doesn't look perfect, but it's not like QBase hated him.  It rated him just behind Tua.  He's not Josh Allen or Blaine Gabbert, no matter how much you repeat it.  He completed 64 percent of his passes in college.  Did he throw a lot of screens- yes, he did.  So compare him to Geno Smith then.  Except Herbert doesn't take an hour to read coverages.  Honestly, his biggest red flag is the team he went to.  And that's because of the owner and not the coaches.

43 Plenty of film break down on…

Plenty of film break down on youtube for him. His accuracy is subpar, he makes late decisions, and he hasn't learned to throw the ball with touch. His completion rate is a mirage due to Oregon throwing a lot of short passes. And he hasn't shown much improvement in his time at Oregon.

I was relieved the Dolphins didn't take him as everyone said they would. I don't know if Tua can stay healthy, but he's a better risk than Herbert IMO.

13 I prefer Jerry Jeudy to the…

I prefer Jerry Jeudy to the other wide receivers. He's like Marvin Harrison without the (alleged) murder.

Give him time. Harrison didn't murder anyone until he was a long-time NFL vet.

\actually sat at a table next to Marvin Harrison at a restaurant when he was meeting with about 10 of his attorneys.

14 You were in the NFC…

You were in the NFC Championship Game last year

In the same technically true sense that Detroit was in the 1991 NFC Championship Game. You made a cameo. Your presence was not essential to the outcome.


Regarding the tweet -- Utah State is in the MWC, not the MAC

15 Bryan Knowles: And with pick…

Bryan Knowles: And with pick 32, the Chiefs take 2020's most overrated running back -- or, at least, that's what BackCAST thinks. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is, at least, arguably the best receiving back in the draft, but his size/speed combo is ... underwhelming, shall we say.

I tend to think of Edwards-Helaire is being a rich man's version of the Patriots Fungible Receiving Back, or as a poor man's Darren Sproles/Bryan Westbrook. I think he fits fine into an Andy Reid system that doesn't run a ton and doesn't need a stud back, but needs a RB to be able to catch and pass protect.

17 I mean, maybe Jalen Reagor…

I mean, maybe Jalen Reagor will be better than past Big 12 receivers.

Because Crabtree, Brown, Westbrook, Stills, Bryant, Wright, Lockett, Nelson, Williams, and Evans were disappointments?

34 Oh, Favre really let the…

Oh, Favre really let the Packers off easy. If Favre had gone full dickhead in the training camp prior to the Jets trade, he could have made life much more difficult for Rodgers, and the coaching staff, creating a toxic locker room, and sabotaging trade prospects, in an effort to gain his outright release. Packers management said there was nothing Favre could do to force that, but everbody always claims they can't be budged, prior to the pain dial being turned to "11", just prior to the budging.

I think Rodgers is less sentimental than Favre, so if he gets mad enough, I could see him blowing everything up. Maybe Gutekunst is so in 'luv with Love that he hopes Rodgers does just that.

23 The first half of that . . .

Was boring as hell, hardly any trades, and, outside of the Chargers pick of Herbert, nothing that seemed overly dicey.

My favorite thing about the Herbert pick was ESPN doing one of their usual "let's show pictures of this guy as a kid" for the standard heartwarming story, and they mentioned multiple times that Herbert grew up an Oregon fan.  The last picture they showed of him he was wearing a Joey Harrington jersey.

Ummmm . . . little ominous there, guys.

36 No, Mariota was definitely…

No, Mariota was definitely better than Joey Harrington in the pros.  And there's still a chance Mariota gets a revival in Vegas.  Though it would be weird if Herbert had a Mariota jersey back then, since Mariota was still in high school when Herbert was in 8th grade.

66 “Harrington was at least a…

“Harrington was at least a worthwhile starter for a few years before he got worn down as all Lions players do.”

Uh.....when was he  a worthwhile starter?  His completion % was stuck in the mid-50’s (running Mariucchi’s West Coast offense, too!), and his YPA was stuck in the mid-5’s.  Sure, the team around him stunk, but it’s not like he covered himself in glory when he moved on to Miami and Atlanta.  Mariota may have disappointed in Tennessee, but he is a far superior player. 

68 Interesting stat for the day…

Interesting stat for the day -- every season of his career, Joey Harrington had the most wins and the highest win percentage on his team.

He played with Culpepper, Leftwich, and Garcia, and did better taking over for Batch and handing off to Kitna. The only team who did better after he left was Atlanta, and that comes with the asterisk of his being there the year Petrino quit on the team and before Mike Smith took over.

I don't know if Harrington was good, but he was better than any of his teammates and he wasn't his teams' problem.


Mariota has been better than Zach Mettenberger and not as good as Ryan Tannehill.

70 When did he play with…

When did he play with Culpepper and Leftwich?  Culpepper backed up rookie Stafford.  I don’t remember Leftwich ever being on Detroit.

If you want to say QB wins are a valid stat, then Mariota has Harrington beaten by a mile.  If you want to compare DVOA, Mariota still has him beaten by a mile.   Yes the Millen Lions were way worse than the Mularkey Titans, but if you want to die on the hill that Harrington was secretly good, go for it.

73 He played with Culpepper on…

He played with Culpepper on the 2006 Dolphins, and Leftwich on the 2007 Falcons. Garcia was on the 2005 Lions.

Yes, Mariota has a better DVOA/DYAR -- he also played on better teams. Harrington was like a magnet for shitty rosters/front offices -- his last three seasons featured the HC quitting all three times. He never had a top-half rushing attack or even average receivers. He had one above-average defense in his career. Despite this, he achieved average QB performance for his last four seasons. Harrington never really managed a good passing attack, but he rarely had an opportunity to do so. What he did manage was to best the performance of other QBs on the roster who had taken good rosters to the playoffs -- he was able to turn lemons into at least something drinkable, whereas nominally "good" QBs could not. I don't know what he could do with a solid roster, but his college numbers suggested he was pretty good with one. He wasn't Barry and he wasn't Stafford, but that's not an indictment.

In contrast, Mariota has achieved average QB performances despite above-average rosters and decent front offices and rosters. He got replaced by a journeyman who had never won more than 8 games in a season, who suddenly looked like an MVP candidate after getting on the Titans roster.


I'm not arguing Harrington was good. I'm arguing Mariota is worse.

74 Mariucchi didn’t quit in…

Mariucchi didn’t quit in 2005, he got fired.  I would argue Harrington’s performance was a significant contributor to him getting fired. 

It would also be fair to point out that Harrington got benched for a gimpy Garcia in 2005.  Garcia threw far fewer passes, so small sample size, but his DVOA was less terrible.  

I agree Mariota’s probably not good.  Maybe Harrington would have proven himself better in more advantageous surroundings, but I’m skeptical.  I guess we’ll never know.

75 I saw a lot more of…

I saw a lot more of Harrington than I have of Mariotta. For what its worth, Harrington was pretty bad and he kept getting starts only because he was a high draft pick and the organization was trying desperately to prove his worthiness. I am of the opinion, even when you control for his crappy environment, he was still a bad quarterback. His general decision making, accuracy, and even pocket feel were all not good. 

Mariotta at times has looked like a competent qb, but most of the time hes a meh qb. He brings some rush value, has some ability to extend plays,  but most of the time its a string of 20 yard drives and then stalling out.  I think in Harrington's era of football, Mariotta probably remains a low end starter. But in today's nfl, even being meh makes you a bottom tier quarterback.

Gun to my head, I'd rather have Mariotta but that's not saying much at all. 

40 And after Tua was picked…

And after Tua was picked they started rattling off pictures of QBs like Geno Smith and a bunch of other busts, for some reason. I don't know why because I had a different sound on.

26 Since they were essentially…

Since they were essentially capped out and decided to reset the roster a little bit rather than kick the can down the road, the Vikings seem to have done a nice job matching first-round talent to the positions where they let guys go. We'll see if they can finally have some luck with a highly-drafted WR.

35 Zimmer coaches dbs…

Zimmer coaches dbs effectively. They don't all become stars, but they don't bust out, so the cb will likely be a decent contributor. The wr? I generally don't like wrs in the 1st round, short of a guy dropping well below what his position should be, like Moss did. This guy appears to have good ball skills, however, and nothing dicey about his speed, like Treadwell, so maybe they'll get luckier.

33 Raiders were reaching again

I don't think the reactions here to the Raiders' head-scratching picks were strong enough. The odds of Ruggs being better than Jeudy and Lamb are slim, and they could've picked one of several great defensive prospects instead of this third-round DB project.

53 The Dolphins reportedly had…

The Dolphins reportedly had an offer on the table to the 49er's for the 13th pick and wanted Wirfs. That's why Tampa Bay traded up.

57 The Raiders value their…

The Raiders value their picks too much. Last year they "couldn't" trade down from 4 and reached hard for Clelin Ferrell. This year they "couldn't" trade down from 12 so they reached (just a little bit) for Ruggs.

I would be absolutely shocked if they couldn't have traded down and added value both times. Apparently for Gruden/Maycock, adding value only matters if it's *enough* value. Seems arrogant AF to me. 

61 Well it's double stupid…

Well it's double stupid considering who they end up picking. Personally, I actually like that they have a reduced draft board, even if they take it a little too far, but I like that they have confidence in the players they want. What is so head-scratching is them being unable to trade down to select the exact same guys, as you said.

I mean, if you're going to draft Ferrell, sure, maybe the table says that you deserve something like the 10th pick and a third, or the 25th pick and a late second, but if your heart is set on Ferrell, could you really not get at least a fourth by trading down? Just seems like bizarrely leaving value on the table.

65 Herbert thebPervert

Wondering hwo Herbert the Pervert got rhat nickname. Best guesss is he humps fhings atnhome such a s ottomans kr stufded animlas. My odl dog, a lab mix named Smokey aka Mr. Death,, had big stuffed animal gorilla that he used for humping

72 Rodgers:Love::Smith:Mahomes

Obviously that is a HOT TAEK, because Smith is not as good as Rodgers, nor is Love as well regarded as Mahomes was.

But I am struck a bit by the similarity of the moves. In the 2016 season the Chiefs went 12-4, got the second seed in the playoffs, and had an established starter in Alex Smith. In theory, they were in a tight championship window, and the right move would have been to finish off that roster. Instead, they decided to go heavy for a young QB, who wasn't likely to even start that season--a season where they were supposed to be fighting for the Super Bowl. I remember criticism at the time of the Chiefs ignoring needs on a contending roster to go after a luxury.

Obviously, we know what happened there; Mahomes is amazing. I don't know Rodger's situation that well, but getting rid of Alex Smith didn't end up being too hard for Kansas City, either.

Again, this is obvious hyperbole. The most likely outcome is that Rodgers is really good and Love is not and the Packers are hurt by not giving Rodgers help. But I did think of Smith/Mahomes as a comp before Favre/Rodgers.