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

Audibles at the Line: 2020 NFL Draft Day 2

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
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.

Round 2

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.

Round 3

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:



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?

Rivers McCown:



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:



Vincent Verhei: Geez, Mayock even said he was going to do this!



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:



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.

Holy crap.

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.


41 comments, Last at 29 Apr 2020, 10:05am

1 Raiders sweet picks

So farm Ruggs, Bowden, Edwards mixed eith other guuys alresy on rooster makea dor reallt good wide reicver cirps. Possibly best in leagye by 2021. Obviouslt these guys young. Ned time to develop into great players.  

2 Surprised no one mentioned…

Surprised no one mentioned the Jets getting Mims after trading down.  Gang Green Nation was loathing that trade, until they got him.  They also don't like the Ashtyn Davis pick, and are meh on the Zuniga edge rusher, but love the second trade down with the Pats.

3 Another thing about few…

Another thing about few teams giving up next year's picks- no one is taking them either.  With the college season so uncertain, teams don't know what next year's draft will look like at all.

12 I'm fairly confident there…

I'm fairly confident there would be a draft either way -- there are players who would be eligible for the first time in 2021 who wouldn't like the idea of being forced to go back to school for another unpaid year.  It'd just be a really difficult draft to scout if there is no football in 2020.

4 If Zimmer thinks a guy can…

If Zimmer thinks a guy can be a decent NFL corner, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, so I like the two corners they drafted so far. The Boise State tackle certainly looks like, in the clips I saw, a very athletic big man you'd want in Kubiak's offense. I tend to not like taking receivers in the 1st round, so I guess I just hope they get lucky with the LSU guy. Really, really, really like that they have 13 picks today. Hope they don't do any more trading, and just use them all. It's just a crap shoot on the 3rd day, so you may as well just maximize your tosses.

20 WR Vikings


Like you I was quite anti picking a WR but the LSU kid apparently is pretty focused and he caught a lot of passes a) on first down to give them 2 and 2 b) catch to make a FD and c) take it to the house. So in the spirit of DVOA he wasn't a stat filler. 

Seems to have a solid family background as well so fingers crossed. Also looking at our WR busts, Patterson, Williamson and Treadwell the first two had clear red flags and the last one clearly, like many kids, had separation anxiety. The LSU kid apparently catches his passes in space or leaping on deep crosses. So, hopefully, we have worked out what successful WR's look like at the NFL level.

Completely agree with you about throwing as many darts as possible in the later rounds. Also the two top round DB's like tackling which is nice.

Even though he is a superstar I hope they don't extend Dalvin, we could get a high compensatory pick and keep our cap space free. Plus while not in the same solar system Mattison seems like a nice player.



22 While Cook is tremendously…

In reply to by Willsy

While Cook is tremendously fun to watch, and really puts opposing defensive coordinators in a conumdrum, he just has been hurt too often to give a big 2nd contract, and no doubt somebody will be willing to roll the dice and do it.

24 >Seems to have a solid…

In reply to by Willsy

>Seems to have a solid family background as well

Yeah you lost me here with this "analysis." I couldn't give a damn about family background and I don't trust anybody who does. Sounds like the kind of thing the idiots commenting at PFT place a lot of value on, and I'm pretty certain it has nothing at all to do with future performance.

5 Packers keep getting scooped…

Packers keep getting scooped for the good value WRs so I think that’s why they keep passing on that position. But man the Day 2 picks were perplexing. Addressing positions that will be urgent needs next year, sure. But there are urgent needs *this* year.

I’m hoping for one of playmaker score’s value picks on Day 3, but seems like their priorities are out of line with what everyone else thinks they should be

7 Holding at 30 would probably…

Holding at 30 would probably have been a perfectly fine place to draft any one of the five receivers that went in the top half of the second round. Maybe they weren't big fans of any of them.

I know LaFleur would like to run more 2 TE and 2 RB sets. Rookie TEs virtually never contribute as receivers, but I guess the guy from Cincy is a good blocker and can also play FB or H-back. But even if you find a good niche with heavy personnel, wide receivers are still on the field on every play...

Either the RB or TE could turn out to be good players, but there's just such little upside to using two of your three most valuable picks on the most replaceable position in football and a guy who looks like a subpackage specialist. I get if they didn't want to fall into a trap of thinking "we must get a WR" and overextending to pick an iffy prospect, but they could use depth at literally any other position on the roster, too.

8 Yeah, I would’ve gone a…

Yeah, I would’ve gone a different way with the picks to be sure. And even the guys they got they probably could’ve gotten later. Dillon’s draft projection was all over the place, and Heguara’s was 4th or later.

9 Yeah, I don't want to get…

Yeah, I don't want to get over-pessimistic about any individual player because I know that I really have no idea how they'll turn out, but the Dillon pick screams "we learned all of the wrong lessons from watching Derrick Henry" to me...

26 I hate to say it, but this…

I hate to say it, but this clicked in my head last night: Green Bay's early picks make a lot more (conventional) sense if you assume there won't be an NFL season in 2020.

Assuming the players accrue a year of service time (I have to think the union would fight tooth and nail to ensure this), suddenly, both Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams are free agents before "next" season (i.e. 2021). Dillon looks like a straight-up Williams replacement. I still don't love taking a RB in round 2 - or taking specifically that RB in round 2, although BACKCAST's love is intriguing (still, I get Leonard Fournette vibes) - but I think if the narrative in the off-season were "The Packers lost their top-2 RBs to free agency!" draftniks would be listing RB as a "Top Need" for them. It essentially is.

And then suddenly you're only 1 year from plausibly cutting Rodgers. I still doubt they're moving on from him before Year 3 of the deal is completed, but it's on the table (especially if his relationship with the team implodes *cough*). I don't think anyone would be perplexed by a team drafting (even trading up a bit for) a potential replacement for a QB in what could be the last year of his deal.

Sure there's another draft between now and 2021 (I literally cannot imagine there wouldn't be), but that would presumably be without another college season, either, so you're drafting those guys based on what you know right now, minus what you don't know about what (if anything) they did to stay in shape during the layoff. If you luck out and end up in position to draft Trevor Lawerence maybe that's not a problem, but any other QBs... I'd sure be happier taking a guy I had another year of film on, even if it's pretty bad, and having some control over what they're doing to stay healthy.

The wisdom of selecting a project QB when you anticipate having minimal opportunity to coach and practice with him for a year is beyond the scope of this post.

41 That is an interesting…

That is an interesting insight. There's also no guarantee what the 2020 college season will look like, and GB may have decided to address big future needs rather than big immediate needs while they have a full normal season of scouting data. Anyway, I passed this along to a couple Packer fan friends and it backed them away from the cliff a bit, so thanks for that.

6 Re: Rob Weintraub's joke

"Apparently a traitor?" I'm missing the joke here.

Vince, I believe it's a "Homeland" reference.

10 I am glad FO rightly…

I am glad FO rightly defended Andy Dalton. And Aaron is absolutely correct - there exists a large enough probability that Burrow never gets close to Dalton's production.

I have never understood why people think of Dalton as a punching bag and they did this practically since he entered the league, not just his last year with the sad sack Bengals. 

18 This is one of my pet peeves…

This is one of my pet peeves....people judging a player or team after watching one or two of their games, and ignoring the rest of their body of work.  Dalton, for whatever reason, seemed to have his worst games when the Bengals were on national TV (including playoffs, of course).  Those are the games most people watched of him, so of course the unwashed masses think Dalton is like early-career Vinny Testaverde.

13 "Bryan Knowles: Five minutes…

"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!"


Aaron properly deflated this already, but I have to jump on the pile too. The Bears have (had) three tight ends like the Dolphins had 10 O-linemen. It's a tight-end-based offense, and they had nothing at the position. I also think Pace is mostly awful, but this was a completely reasonable pick.

14 Saints

One thing to note is that New Orleans is a Corona hotspot and socioeconomically very vulnerable, if there will be no off-season and potentially some sort of reduced season to speak of they would be well attuned to that possibility and would make their moves more logical, plus cap/roster space and sticking with their MO of course

16 Saints

The rare triple post

17 We can laugh at Mayock, but…

We can laugh at Mayock, but Renfrow for what it’s worth has already hit the expected value for a 149th overall pick. It’s not the worst strategy.

19 "Who you calling? Jake?…

"Who you calling? Jake? Fromm state farm?"

I think this is actually better as "Who you calling? Jake? From State Fromm?"

23 Vince completely sums up my…

Vince completely sums up my feelings about how the Packers handled the draft with his Round 2 comment: 

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.

That hasn't changed. They didn't draft a single WR in a draft loaded with good prospects. They also traded up for a highly questionable QB prospect when they have an aging but still good HoF expensive QB who they can't cut for 2 - and more likely 3 - years. They then picked a RB with no passing game history to incorporate into an offense which requires it and a TE in the third round who's more blocker than receiver. They had no other picks until the fifth round. I can't express the combination of bad feelings overwhelming me, feeling the current Packers brain trust is going to destroy 25 years of Green Bay positivity. I won't live long enough to see another good Packers team if they go back to the 68-91 bad management. 

27 I think I'm losing my mind,…

I think I'm losing my mind, but the actual receiving order:

1. Adams

2. Lazard

(2a. Jones)

3. Funchess

4. MVS

5.-6. ESB and Kumerow in whatever order not that bad? It ain't a murderer's row by any means, but I'd put that group about equal with the Niners' (even including Kittle) and the Vikings', to name a couple of presumptive competitors.

I'd have like them to add some more receiving weapons (in particular, I was really hoping AJ Green would hit the free agent market), but I absolutely understand the wisdom of sticking with this group and building depth in other areas.

(I'm also convinced that what Rodgers hates about the non-Adams+Lazard receivers on the team is that they don't do what he expects them to when he starts freelancing, and no rookie or free agent is going to do any better. Especially, no rookie was ever going to improve their passing attack much in their first season, rightly or wrongly.)


28 Yes, this is bad. Lazard…

Yes, this is bad. Lazard seems to be a nice find, but he still only caught 35 passes for the season. MVS caught 26. Funchess is three seasons removed from the only year in his career where he had more than 50 receptions. Jones offers a nice dimension in the passing game but by the end of last season teams were actually prioritizing him in coverage (e.g. not leaving LBs on him if he was split out), and under those circumstances Jones is not going to come anywhere close to '2a.' receiving production. Kumerow and ESB have 20 and 21 *career* receptions each. There's just a stunning lack of proven production on this depth chart after Adams.

It looks like a hope and a prayer that one of the young players breaks out or that Funchess actually has something to offer. Or I guess they're just planning on playing the entire season out of 12 and 21 personnel?

30 I'll add quickly that while…

I'll add quickly that while a rookie WR would also not provide the Packers with any proven production, every single one of those young receivers on the packers roster are Day 3 picks or UDFAs. They're basically just trying to get lucky gambling on a bunch of players with a very low likelihood of success. You're not any better off if a high draft pick is a bust, but the odds of success are much improved.

33 Quote from Peter King: …

Quote from Peter King: “Gutekunst said the Packers had two receivers they were targeting in early and middle part of the second round. They tried to move up with several teams, he said, until the second receiver they preferred got picked, and then they stopped.”

Encouraging to me that they’re not totally blind, and just weren’t able to find a trade partner and didn’t find value at the receiver position at their draft spots. Backhanded compliment haha.

Also, I think Rodgers dislikes many of the receivers because they don’t really seem to get open on their own, period. Schemed open sometimes, but I can’t think of a time MVS or Kumerow or any of the others won on their release or at the stem point of their route. Mayyyybe Lazard but his ceiling is low.

I guess their betting that they’ve got five chances for a receiver to develop into a passable weapon (Lazard, MVS, St. Brown, Funchess, Sternberger) and they really only need 1 or 2 to actually work out.

Here’s my thought on the probability of each developing into a decent weapon (above 50 DYAR and positive DVOA):

Lazard: 0.4 (he did it last year)

MVS: 0.2

St. Brown: 0.2

Funchess: 0.2

Sternberger: 0.2

Of course, simple probability doesn’t really apply here because things aren’t independent, but for fun, that means they have about a 24% chance of not having any of them work out. Play around with the probabilities as you wish, but I guess I can begrudgingly live with the bet the Packers are taking.


36 I mean my probabilities are…

I mean my probabilities are totally made up, but you can play around with the probabilities as you desire and in general come to the same conclusion that they’re making a decent bet that one or more of those 5 options will be productive. Even if you cut all those probabilities in half, it’s still better than a 50/50 shot (52.8%) that they’ll get at least one decent option. Collectively the chance that one of them works out is relatively high.

37 Yeah, "who knows?" should be…

Yeah, "who knows?" should be the default comment regarding draft strategies. I tend to agree with the human wave attack draft approach to positional need; get a bunch of players at the position, and have the odds turn in your favor. Of course, this only works when your overall roster quality is decent. The Packers already had a bunch of guys at wr, so unless a guy available to them in this draft class graded out higher than the spot the Packers drafted at, they were right to draft guys at other positions. The Vikings were at the earlier spot of the approach with regard to cb. Most of their cbs has left, do they went out and drafted a bunch. Zimmer teaches the position well, so chances are it'll be ok.

38 I don't think a probability…

I don't think a probability of being decent vs. not-decent is quite the right way to think about it. There is a whole spectrum of outcomes for a young player, and the Packers need to find useful receivers that can produce at #2, #3 or #4 levels and/or fill particular roles (like deep threat) that the offense has been missing.

The big problem with stacking your depth chart with low pedigree players and castoffs is not that just that they have a low likelihood of becoming good players, but that they have a low likelihood of providing even modest production or filling needed roles just to help the offense function. It's not just a ~24% chance that none of them work out, it's a higher probability that what the whole group adds up to in the end is completely deficient.

39 I mean, yeah. There's a…

I mean, yeah. There's a spectrum of outcomes that my little made-up probability exercise ignores. I'm just not a computer and I can't calculate the various intersections of all those various probability distributions on my iPhone calculator. :)

40 Of course! Just hard to…

Of course! Just hard to believe they've wound up where they are when they were about as successful as a team could be in evaluating and developing all of those 2nd and 3rd round receivers they picked back in the day: Jennings, Jones and Nelson from 06-08, Cobb in 11, Adams in 14... seems it will be at least until 2021 before they make any type of significant investment again.