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.
Bryan Knowles: Oh boy, I can't wait to see all the players my 49ers will take here on Day 2!
Scott Spratt: I find it interesting that the Bengals went QB-WR in Rounds 1 and 2 after going WR-QB in the A.J. Green draft. This one probably makes more sense.
Derrik Klassen: Love the Tee Higgins pick for Cincinnati. While I think Joe Burrow is an accurate and very good quarterback, he did benefit at LSU from some good catch-point receivers. Higgins fits that mold.
Scott Spratt: Wow, also all tigers -- LSU, Clemson, and the Bengals themselves.
Rivers McCown: A.J. Green available? They just extended Tyler Boyd, and they also have John Ross.
Aaron Schatz: This is off-topic from the 2020 draft but I just have to defend Andy Dalton a bit. That's a pretty good second-round pick right there. He's not a super-stud quarterback but he had some good years. And A.J. Green was a great pick too. Green-Dalton made a lot of sense and had a lot of success! Honestly, there's a good chance that Burrow is never as good as Dalton, especially Dalton at his 2015 peak when he had all that talent around him. (Of course, there's also a good chance that Burrow is better than Dalton for a much longer period of time. That's the risk-reward of the No. 1 overall quarterback.)
Aaron Schatz: I'm guessing John Ross is an afterthought at this point, or he becomes more of a deep-threat gimmick. As much as I want Playmaker to retroactively be correct, it has just never happened for that guy in the NFL.
Bryan Knowles: The Green-Dalton duo gave the Bengals their longest extended period of success, and trust me, I've been spending far too much time diving into that over the past few months.
(That's called a cheap plug, there.)
Robert Weintraub: Also of note: 2011, there was a lockout and no offseason stuff, much like now. Cincy, picked to go 0-16 by at least one national pundit (cough -- Chris Mortenson -- cough) went 9-7 and made the playoffs behind Andy D and A.J. Dalton took a ton of guff, but he certainly delivered his share of production.
Now Green is hurt, 31, and on the tag, Ross is always injured -- they needed a long-term outside threat. I'd have been good with Denzel Mims, Michael Pittman, or Josh Jones up front, but Tee is good -- if he too can stay healthy. Reminds me a bit of Carl Pickens, which would obviously work...
Bryan Knowles: D'Andre Swift going to play defense now, Lions? I mean, running back was a need, sure, but nearly everything was a need.
On a related note: is anyone ever going to take Xavier McKinney? I'm always baffled by how little NFL teams value the safety position, be it in the draft or free agency.
Aaron Schatz: Didn't the Lions just use a second-round pick on a running back? That was two years ago. Are we giving up on Kerryon Johnson already?
Rivers McCown: If I ordered all the NFL front office/head coach combos 1 to 32 based on how much faith I had in them, the Lions would almost certainly be in the bottom three.
Scott Spratt: Kerryon Johnson has multiple knee injuries. Maybe they don't think he can get back to his peak form?
Vincent Verhei: The Lions had three players average at least 50 rushing yards per game last year: Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, and -- really! -- Jeff Driskel.
But they were also 27th in rush offense DVOA, and Swift is perhaps the best runner in the draft, and it's a second-rounder, not a first. I'm fine with that.
Derrik Klassen: Man, Dave Gettleman is pretty awful at understanding how to build a team, but it's fair to say he knows how to ID solid football players. Xavier McKinney is as sharp as safeties out of college get. Not the best athlete, but more than enough. Insanely good tackler and above-average coverage piece with some of the flexibility Clemson's Isaiah Simmons was lauded for.
Bryan Knowles: And here come the safeties -- it's being reported the the Giants are taking McKinney, and it feels really odd to be praising Gettleman for a pick. And then the Patriots are reportedly taking Kyle Dugger, because of course Belichick would find someone from a tiny Division II school for his first pick.
Rivers McCown: That's not polite to say about Rutgers, Bryan.
Scott Spratt: I hope Dugger was also a lacrosse star.
Vincent Verhei: Why is the ESPN/NFLN broadcast showing highlights of everyone's family members? Tee Higgins' sister and D'Andre Swift's dad won't be winning games in the NFL this fall.
Scott Spratt: Are you sure D'Andre Swift's dad won't be winning games, Vince? He is super jacked.
Scott Spratt: As a Panthers fan, I'm digging the new defensive front core of Derrick Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Brian Burns. Of course, with a defense that bad, it's easier to make picks that fill needs.
Bryan Knowles: Interesting they announced Robert Hunt to Miami as a tackle; it seems like he was pegged by many to shift inside to guard.
I mean, the Dolphins need both, so it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.
Aaron Schatz: The Dolphins have like a zillion mediocre veterans to go with the two rookie offensive linemen they drafted, and somehow they need to figure out which five will start. And I'm counting Ereck Flowers as one of the mediocre veterans, no matter how much they spent on him.
Bryan Knowles: Wait, wait, the Colts traded up to grab a running back? Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins not enough for them?
Scott Spratt: Gotta capitalize on that Philip Rivers title window, Bryan!
Rivers McCown: There are a lot of film-watchers who think Jonathan Taylor is going to be a stud.
Obviously, trading up for a running back ... but I get it.
Vincent Verhei: Jonathan Taylor blew up BackCAST. He probably makes them a better team in 2020, the AFC South is a mess, and this team is in win-now mode with Rivers. I get this one too.
Robert Weintraub: I'll take Taylor over his predecessor in the Wisconsin backfield, Melvin Gordon, every time.
Bryan Knowles: Five minutes ago, I Tweeted "if the Bears take TE Cole Kmet, I will jump out the window."
It was a JOKE, Chicago. I was JOKING. You can't run a four-tight end offense! And this was your first pick of the draft!
Derrik Klassen: Ryan Pace is terrible. All I have to say.
Aaron Schatz: As far as the four-tight end offense, I don't know if Adam Shaheen and Demetrius Harris are that irreplaceable. Kmet might be No. 2 on the depth chart. If they felt he was the best player available, I'm fine with that pick. It's not like we think Jimmy Graham will last that much longer.
Scott Spratt: Matt Nagy's draft room is straight out of A Beautiful Mind.
Vincent Verhei: Also, if my quarterbacks were Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, I'd be looking to get them as many good short-range targets as I could too.
Scott Spratt: The Bucs just drafted Antoine Winfield, Jr., and just as a fun aside, Antoine Winfield, Sr. is just 40 days older than Tom Brady.
Bryan Knowles: Speaking of trying to help your quarterback, the Broncos just added KJ Hamler to go along with Jerry Jeudy. Drew Lock won't be able to say he didn't have the weapons to succeed, at the very least. Yowza.
The Broncos didn't have a ton of positions of need, so I get doubling down.
Dan Pizzuta: We have no idea if Drew Lock good, but the Broncos are putting resources in place to find out as quickly as possible.
Vincent Verhei: Broncos go WR-WR, adding KJ Hamler to Jerry Jeudy. Courtland Sutton is already a Pro Bowler and doesn't turn 25 until October 10. (I turn 45 that same day, which is fun and depressing at the same time.) Can't say John Elway isn't doing all he can to give Drew Lock a chance to succeed.
Scott Spratt: The Broncos also have Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay at running back and Noah Fant at tight end. It seemed like a strange path to get there, but their skill positions are loaded.
Bryan Knowles: Here come the Seahawks! They give up 59 and 101 to move to 48 and take...
Darrell Taylor, edge, Tennessee.
The two lowest names on the consensus big board taken to this point are Taylor and Jordyn Brooks, so Seattle is zigging pretty darn hard.
Carl Yedor: In other words, Bryan, they're Seahawking. I just tuned in a few minutes ago, so I'm not sure if there was an edge rusher cliff approaching. Maybe they felt that they really needed to come away with one of those guys. It is a position of need for them, so that's a good thing.
Aaron Schatz: I love the trade down for the Jets. 101 is a great value for moving down just 11 spots.
Vincent Verhei: After failing to trade down in Round 1, Seahawks trade up in Round 2 and finally get their edge rusher in Tennessee's Darrell Taylor. Only had a third-/fourth-round grade, but had the best SackSEER projection of anyone with such a low scouting grade.
Booger McFarland mentions that Taylor has an NFL-ready repertoire of pass-rush moves. That's something Pete Carroll and John Schneider stressed about Jordyn Brooks last night -- with the weird offseason, they're focusing on guys who are finished products more than those with lots of potential.
Scott Spratt: That seems like a zag from Legion of Boom-era Seahawks, right Vince? Weren't the big proponents of SPARQ score prospects, thinking they could develop freak athletes into star players?
Vincent Verhei: Yeah, Seattle has often looked for size-speed prospects with an eye on what they do well, overlooking weaknesses and focusing on strengths. But drafting guys way earlier than expected? That's a Seahawks tradition.
Bryan Knowles: I do have to be fair -- Jaylon Johnson was someone I thought the Bears might take at 43, so that's a solid pickup at 50. They needed secondary help in a big way.
Robert Weintraub: Cleveland, one year after taking a second-round LSU defensive back who refused all opportunities to tackle during his final college season (Greedy Williams), selects a second-round LSU defensive back who refused all opportunities to tackle during his final college season (Grant Delpit). BDU -- Business Decision University.
Of course it was two different front offices making those picks.
Tom Gower: I believe Dane Brugler that Trevon Diggs was a guy the Cowboys might have picked at No. 17. To do that would've been in my mind a Terrell-like stretch. To get him at No. 51 is pretty good value.
Bryan Knowles: Ooo, Jalen Hurts to the Eagles at 53. Now there's a surprising pick. They don't have a backup with Josh McCown retiring (again), so the position was a need, but a second-rounder to fill it? And Hurts over Jake Fromm or Jacob Eason? Wow.
Aaron Schatz: I don't get the Jalen Hurts pick at all. This isn't a "draft Jimmy Garoppolo in case the old quarterback falls off" situation, or even a "draft Jordan Love in case the old quarterback falls off" situation. I don't see what the value is here in having a second-round backup when your starter is still young and set for the next few years.
Scott Spratt: Maybe the Eagles were inspired by my "Sign Taysom Hill and load manage Carson Wentz" bold move?
Carl Yedor: I think it's fitting that Sean McVay's yard in his live look-in was so similar to that of Kliff Kingsbury given that part of why Kingsbury got hired was "he knows Sean McVay."
On a serious note, the Rams just drafted a running back a year after using two third-round picks to select Darrell Henderson. That's a lot of investment in back-to-back years at that position when you add in the whole Todd Gurley contract thing.
Vincent Verhei: I figured Hurts was ending up in New England for sure.
I agree with a lot of what Aaron said, but there's a big difference between snagging a project quarterback in the second round and trading up for one in the first.
Bryan Knowles: Oh, I don't know if the Bills needed more help on the defensive line, but I love A.J. Epenesa. I know he bombed the combine, but he was much, much better on the field; strong with good technique. Nice pick for Buffalo.
Bryan Knowles: And I was just about to type a "when does J.K. Dobbins go?" post, but the Ravens swooped in to take him at 55 so, whelp. Not sure the Ravens needed more running backs, but Dobbins was probably the best player left on the board, and it's not like they're filled with weaknesses, so eh.
Scott Spratt: Who is the odd man out among Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill?
Vincent Verhei: Ravens set the single-season record for rushing yards last year and they want more.
Bryan Knowles: Ingram in 2021; he'll be 31 and cost $6.3 million against the cap. 2020 is a trickier question.
Scott Spratt: Answering my own question, the Ravens can cut Ingram after this year with just a $1.3-million cap hit.
Robert Weintraub: I was hoping Epenesa would fall to the Bengals at the top of the third...
Wonder if this makes Trent Murphy a potential cap casualty/trade target?
Vincent Verhei: Rams take a wide receiver, Van Jefferson out of Florida. Makes sense with Brandin Cooks traded, given how much Sean McVay relies on his wideouts. But I'm surprised they haven't addressed their offensive line yet.
Tom Gower: Or their defense. I mean, I was on the same page with everybody else who thought Akers might be good when not in a dumpster fire of an offense like he was at Florida State, but passing on offensive line and defense with both those picks didn't make sense to me. And if they wanted a Cooks replacement, Denzel Mims was that guy, not Jefferson.
Vincent Verhei: Ooh, New England trades up to 60. Jacob Eason?
Vincent Verhei: Nope. Michigan linebacker Josh Uche. Well, they needed youth on defense.
Bryan Knowles: Josh Uche over Zack Baun for the Patriots? I get jumping the Packers and Chiefs if you want a linebacker, but I'm surprised at the guy.
Aaron Schatz: Patriots take Josh Uche from Michigan. Surprised to see the Patriots take Uche and not Zack Baun, who I thought was the perfect Kyle Van Noy replacement.
SackSEER is lukewarm on Uche but SIS did have him with 46 pressures last year.
Aaron Schatz: Well, a lot of draft Twitter seems to feel that Uche is also similar to Van Noy, so I guess the pick does make a good deal of sense.
Bryan Knowles: Also worth noting that the Patriots only gave up 71 and 98 for 60 and 129. That's the rare good value for both teams, based on the modern draft value charts, as opposed to the premium everyone else has paid to move up.
Scott Spratt: I would not have expected QB-RB as the first two Packers picks in this draft.
Vincent Verhei: By passing and rushing DYAR, Green Bay had the No. 8 quarterback and No. 4 running back in 2019. So far they have traded up for a quarterback, and now taken a running back. I am confused.
Tom Gower: Not just a running back, a pure rusher who provides basically no passing-game value. I'd love to have an Aaron Rodgers camera on those picks.
Bryan Knowles: Mmmmmm. No, Pack. No.
Vincent Verhei: At this exact moment, Green Bay's wide receiver depth chart looks something like this.
1. Davante Adams
2. Are we sure Davante Adams isn't open?
(Massive, echoing, dizzying gap)
3 to 6, in whatever order you want: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, Equanimeous St. Brown.
Rivers McCown: At least they don't have Jimmy Graham anymore.
Robert Weintraub: Love the Logan Wilson pick at 3.65 -- Cincy has been on him since the Senior Bowl (won't be surprised if the rest of their picks are guys they coached that week), and obviously a desperate need position. Daniel Jeremiah comped him to Fred Warner, which would be very nice, obviously...
Bryan Knowles: ESPN's coverage on Ashtyn Davis: "Santa Cruz is known for two things: surfing and smoking weed."
Hey! ... OK, they're not wrong.
Vincent Verhei: Seahawks, as is so often the case, make more sensible picks in the later rounds than they do in the first. LSU guard Damien Lewis goes over 320 pounds, and can step right into the starting spot at left guard left open by Mike Iupati's departure.
Bryan Knowles: The Seahawks have 19 different offensive linemen on the roster at the moment, but I really do like the Lewis pick quite a bit. Lewis might well be the best player the Seahawks have drafted to this point.
Aaron Schatz: Actually, Iupati re-signed. Doesn't mean he'll make the final roster though.
Vincent Verhei: My mistake -- lost track of that late signing in Seattle's crap-against-the-wall offensive lineman acquisition plan in free agency.
Scott Spratt: 293-pound defensive tackle and new Ravens draft pick Justin Madubuike was apparently a high school sprinter? I'd love to see that video.
Robert Weintraub: Mixed feelings about Damien Lewis -- excellent leadership skills and brilliant business mind, though an arrogant prick and apparently a traitor...
Vincent Verhei: "Apparently a traitor?" I'm missing the joke here.
Bryan Knowles: The Cardinals' draft picks so far have resulted in DeAndre Hopkins, Isaiah Simmons, and Josh Jones. The NFC West is going to eat each other alive.
Bryan Knowles: I think we have our first trade of a future draft pick this year, and of course it's the Saints. And it's a good pick; I have no idea how Zack Baun fell to the third round. But man, if the Saints just kept some of those future picks, they wouldn't have to keep trading up!
Vincent Verhei: Most entertaining moment of Day 2 may be the Falcons using this GIF to announce the selection of Temple center Matt Hennessy:
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 25, 2020
Scott Spratt: It's a tough sale to laud Hennessy based on Matt Rhule's quotes from when they were both at Temple, given that Rhule is now in the NFL and didn't take him in the first three rounds.
Aaron Schatz: That's the old "Why didn't Pete Carroll draft Taylor Mays?" thing.
Scott Spratt: At least Hennessy can get revenge by keeping Derrick Brown away from Matt Ryan.
Tom Gower: Arizona:
First round: Isaiah Simmons.
Second round: traded for DeAndre Hopkins.
Third round: grabbed a falling Josh Jones, whose college offensive line coach was formerly Kliff Kingsbury's offensive line coach at Texas Tech.
Rivers McCown: I see Tom is determined to send me for my own Hennessy selection.
Vincent Verhei: Raiders select Kentucky's Lynn Bowden, who finished his college career with over 1,500 rushing yards and 1,300 receiving yards, and nearly 500 passing yards to boot. He also scored twice on punt returns. Insert obligatory Taysom Hill reference here.
And then they add another wideout one pick later with South Carolina's Bryan Edwards, after taking Henry Ruggs in the first round. We might need to run a "draft capital spent on wideouts" chart in the Almanac this year.
Scott Spratt: We should also check the count on Raiders draft picks from the SEC, Clemson, and Ohio State under the Gruden-Mayock brain trust.
Vincent Verhei: Patriots three-for-three on defensive picks now. Sure looks like they're punting on the 2020 season in hopes of winning defensive games with a young quarterback in 2021.
Scott Spratt: Couldn't the Patriots win games with a great defense and a young quarterback in 2020?
Vincent Verhei: I should have specified: a GOOD young quarterback in 2021.
Rivers McCown: Until Cam Newton and Jameis Winston get signed I'm not sure there's any reason to pretend that the Patriots are doomed to a young quarterback purgatory.
Bryan Knowles: Hey, Patriots, you just traded up again. Who you calling?
Jake? Fromm state farm?
No, of course not; it's Devin Asiasi. Good pick, but man, do the Patriots not care about the middle class of quarterbacks in this draft.
Vincent Verhei: You've been sitting on that gag for years, haven't you?
Bill O’Brien ain’t happy with someone. pic.twitter.com/CxS6vFnbiz
— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) April 25, 2020
My head coach can't even keep calm when he knows the entire world is watching
Bryan Knowles: Packers add Josiah Deguara, an H-back type with bad speed, trouble separating from coverage, and not much skill with the ball in his hands.
I mean … oof. I don't like this Packers draft at all.
Tom Gower: My favorite part of that clip is how his son's expression doesn't really change. "Dad's just being Dad again, no big deal."
Aaron Schatz: Deguara is the 16th-ranked tight end in the SIS rookie handbook.
Vincent Verhei: Last night I hesitated to name a winner and loser of the first round. Well, 24 hours later, the Packers are clearly the losers. I don't have any damn idea what the hell they're trying to do.
Tom Gower: I'd proffer a #hawttaek on the Titans draft class, but I don't have one. Isaiah Wilson was a widely-mocked pick to them and seems to fit. They needed a corner and went with Kristian Fulton over a couple of other reasonable-seeming options. Without an overwhelming need at a specific position, they spent their third-round pick on a needed complement to Derrick Henry in Darrynton Evans. In the abstract, I would've gone wide receiver or defensive line there, but I didn't have a name I loved there, so whatever, follow your board and hit a need. It's not like they went full Brian Gutekunst or anything.
Carl Yedor: I do like that Seattle traded back from 64 to grab another pick, but the trade up does not seem like great process. Drafting a guard at 69 could be helpful because the whole offensive line (other than Duane Brown) should realistically be up for competition. Taylor makes sense positionally, but the trade up was a bit of an overpay based on draft pick values.
The positions Arizona targeted make a lot of sense in snagging Isaiah Simmons and drafting a tackle expected to be picked much higher than in reality (Josh Jones). Their second obviously went out in the Hopkins trade, so they have to be happy with their first two days' worth of picks so far.
San Francisco was aggressive in grabbing Brandon Aiyuk, but smart in their trade down of one spot to take Kinlaw yesterday. I know those were both Day 1 picks, but the 49ers didn't have any selections today. Not much news from their camp today as a result, but the positions they looked at make sense in that they needed a receiver and a DeForest Buckner replacement.
The Rams aren't done for the day, but I do think taking a receiver to replace Cooks was logical. I don't really have a strong opinion about Van Jefferson; his selection made more sense than the Akers pick though (regardless of how good Akers will be) unless they are really concerned about Darrell Henderson. Terrell Lewis seems like a good fit to replace the departed Cory Littleton, and they have one more compensatory third-round pick still to come. Their first-rounder went out in the Jalen Ramsey trade, so I imagine they're happy with how they used that one.
Vincent Verhei: Reinforcing what was said earlier about the Raiders and Mike Mayock's preference for big-school guys:
Players the Raiders now have drafted from the one national title game between Clemson and Alabama:
🏈Lester Cotton Sr
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2020
Vincent Verhei: Geez, Mayock even said he was going to do this!
Turns out, Mayock wasn't even half joking. He's now drafted six players who appeared in this game. Also has G Lester Cotton Sr. on the roster. An undrafted free agent from Alabama, who was on that Crimson Tide team. https://t.co/XrznlJsfaz
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) April 25, 2020
Carl Yedor: Also, I missed a large chunk of tonight's proceedings, but at what point did Roger Goodell start reading off the picks while seated? It seems like he's really leaning into working from home with that gesture.
Aaron Schatz: The Patriots take Dalton Keene. They traded up for him, dealing two fourth-rounders and a sixth-rounder next year. And ... he's tight end No. 21 in the SIS Rookie Handbook. On the other hand, Doug Kyed thinks he's the next George Kittle, so I don't know what to think.
Vincent Verhei: We'll see the draft report cards next week, but it looks like the Bills are going to get some good grades -- because Brandon Beane gave his staff some very important instructions:
Also said he told his staff not to let him "do anything crazy and trade into the first round" https://t.co/96GI49Z916
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) April 25, 2020
Bryan Knowles: Wow -- the Saints trade 130, 169, 203 AND 244 to move up to 105. Saints love giving picks to find Their Guy.
And in this case, Their Guy is ... Adam Trautman, as they see a mini-tight end run happening.
Bryan Knowles: And the Saints now have no more picks in 2020. So, I mean, I suppose that's assertive...
Vincent Verhei: As a result of that mini-Ricky Williams deal, the Saints are now out of picks! They can take Saturday off! Cesar Ruiz, Zack Baun, and Adam Trautman. That's their draft class.
Tom Gower: Is this right? The Vikings are up to 13 picks on Day 3?
Bryan Knowles: 13 picks total, Tom. So "only" nine picks tomorrow.
They need warm bodies after the Vast Salary Cap Exodus.
Bryan Knowles: ... no, I'm wrong; you're right, Tom. That trade got them to 13; the tracker just hadn't updated yet.
Tom Gower: One takeaway from tonight: Jalen Hurts was the only quarterback to be selected. No Jake Fromm, no Jacob Eason. Maybe the NFL is learning that premium bets on lesser quarterbacks aren't worth it.