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

Audibles at the Line: 2021 NFL Draft Day 1

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jacksonvill Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence
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.


Bryan Knowles: So, uh, that Aaron Rodgers story, huh? Apparently, the Packers said they were going to trade him, then didn't, and now Rodgers is saying he won't play for the team in 2021.

I'm still betting heavily on "Rodgers plays for the Packers in 2021," but I suppose today was never going to be boring.

Scott Spratt: The irony is that the Packers are better equipped to play chicken with their star quarterback if he threatens to sit than most teams would be with theirs since they drafted Jordan Love last year, setting off this debacle. But the thing that makes this crazy is that the Packers have driven the possible breakup with their disinterest in keeping Rodgers rather than their mismanagement of the team. I need someone to explain that one to me. Rodgers can't be that weird, and head coach Matt LaFleur can't have that big of an ego. So why wouldn't you want to ride out Rodgers' prime?

Rivers McCown: Well, Rodgers' 2019 was not exactly dominant. I can understand the thought that he may have been headed for a decline in the moment of that draft. But it feels like more than anything it's Football Brain Guys and Owners running into problems communicating with players and setting proper expectations, and instead just expecting everything to be fine because they're "in charge."

Bryan Knowles: It was noted on Twitter that the Packers are the one team without a specific owner; someone who could theoretically come down and work things out. I don't know how much I agree with all that—there are certainly owners out there who would hinder rather than help—but it does mean that there's not really anyone above LaFleur/Gutekunst to go "uh, what are you guys doing, again?"

Tom Gower: Mark Murphy is team president. He's the guy who oversees Gutekunst and LaFleur and makes sure they don't screw everything up without his approval. He's not the owner, but he's basically the "owner"'s representative.

Rob Weintraub: Booger already falling for the "Bengals will commit malpractice by not picking Sewell!" trope—I'm off to NFLN...

Rivers McCown: "They have been installing the Jags offense with Lawrence since February" but it took 13 minutes to make the pick...

Bryan Knowles: I assume the reason the Jaguars used the full 10 minutes on the clock was to try to squeeze all of Trevor Lawrence's golden locks under an official team hat. Or maybe Trent Baalke was triple-checking to see if Lawrence had ever torn his ACL, but resigned himself to taking him anyway.

I'm amazed how little I have thought of Lawrence this draft season. He has been such an obvious first pick for ... well, 18 months, at minimum, that most people just kind of skipped over him to debate all the other quarterbacks.

Aaron Schatz: My girlfriend would like to vote against Trevor Lawrence's olive green suit.

Rob Weintraub: It's a TV show, gang. The clock is just there for show.

Scott Spratt: Well that's chalk for picks 1 and 2. Anyone have strong feelings about who the 49ers will take?

Bryan Knowles: I have MANY strong feelings. Panic's a feeling, right?

Bryan Knowles: Oh, thank goodness. The 49ers take Trey Lance—I had a whole write-up, 24 hours in advance, on the five stages of grief and the Mac Jones selection. And it's stupid to celebrate over this; it's a decision we can't possibly evaluate for at least 18 months.

I would have taken Lance, so that makes ME happy, at least.

The one bit of the prewrite that does survive is this:

Trading three first-round picks? So you could ensure you got Lance instead of Jones or Justin Fields? To have that much confidence in your evaluation just isn't backed up by historical data. I'm a big believer that you trade up to get a quarterback, not one quarterback. If Shanahan really did have five guys he liked, as he has said in press conferences, then he should have waited and been happy with whoever guy No. 5 was, and traded if necessary to get that last guy. What, was it going to cost more than it took to get up to 3?

Rob Weintraub: The Niners take Trey Lance! And thus, the first three picks are all quarterbacks with two first names!!

Vincent Verhei: It makes much more sense to keep Jimmy Garoppolo and draft Trey Lance than it would have to keep Garoppolo and draft Jones.

It actually makes more sense to draft Lance than Jones anyway, but very much so under their circumstances.

Dave Bernreuther: I too switched to NFLN from Booger, just in time to hear "Zach's Fifth Avenue." He spent months on that line too. Groan. What's the coach's tape equivalent for this broadcast?

I'm the last person to ask about quarterbacks (I'm pessimistic about all of them, and that's hardly a contrarian take), especially this year (I didn't even realize that they were playing college ball last year till November), but man am I unimpressed by Wilson and the presumptive third pick, Jones. This feels very much like 2017 to me so far, except in that draft I wasn't nearly as high on Lamar Jackson as I am on Justin Fields.

One of my coworkers floated the idea that San Francisco would surprise us all and take Kyle Pitts here and then trade back up, Cleveland-style, into the later first round to still get their quarterback. Part of me REALLY wants to see that, just because of what Shanahan could do with that tight end tandem (plus Deebo Samuel) in the middle of the field, sort of like the 2010 Pats, but bigger and harder to tackle.

Alas, it's the quarterback. But not the one everyone agreed it would be! We have our first surprise.

Rivers McCown: I think Justin Fields is probably a better prospect from what I've gathered but Lance is a much more reasonable No. 3 overall pick than Jones and I think you can argue the ceiling is higher, so good for the 49ers.

Aaron Schatz: I think the most important fact is that honestly, we don't know much about who's going to be the best between Lance, Jones, and Fields. We all have strong feelings about which was the right pick but in reality there's too much randomness to know for sure.

Scott Spratt: My favorite Trey Lance stat is that Trevor Lawrence threw more touchdowns in high school (161) than Lance threw passes period (113). It's alarming, but I think in truth it echoes Bryan's sentiment that we aren't going to be able to judge this anytime soon.

Tom Gower: One of the ways to think about prospects is what about if you misevaluate a particular aspect of a player. Misevaluating Mac Jones' ability at any particular aspect leaves his ceiling at an average-plus starter in the NFL. I'm not remotely convinced the same thing is true of Trey Lance or Justin Fields. They could still fail, but their profile gives them ability to fail to reach their maximum potential and be different in a way different than Jones seems likely to. That's the sort of profile that could be worth a significant trade up to No. 3. And Lance is a guy where keeping Jimmy Garoppolo makes sense for 2021. It was the way to square the circle, and made sense for San Francisco. But this is the NFL, so making sense is sometimes optional.

Carl Yedor: I mostly tried to avoid getting too into the weeds on the quarterback conversation this year, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why Fields was not seen as being on the same level as the top guys. The "processing" concerns were obviously raised throughout the pre-draft period, but at some point, a track record of production against top college competition should matter, no? You can't really say that for Lance or Wilson, and Jones has a relatively short one. Tools are important for sure, but it's not like Fields is lacking for those.

Dave Bernreuther: Kyle Pitts to Atlanta was too easy. Still, they have had embarrassments of riches at receiver before and somehow still managed to struggle, so it's hard to get too excited about this pick, especially with Julio Jones on his way out.

Anyone else finding the verbal overusage of "Jimmy G" really grating? In print, I get it; it's hard to spell. But it isn't hard to say his name out loud.

Now we get to an interesting one—protection for your quarterback or toys? My thoughts on how to approach this have changed a lot since Andrew Luck was picked (and I thought "play to your strengths and make his job easy"). These days? I'd take Sewell every time.

But why do I feel like it's a near certainty they go with Joe Burrow's former teammate?

Bryan Knowles: So Kyle Pitts is the highest-drafted tight end in the common era. Kind of a simple "take the best guy on the board" pick from Atlanta. Does Pitts break the "first-year tight ends never produce" curse? Jeremy Shockey has the common-draft era record for yards by a rookie tight end with 894; Mike Ditka's 1,076 from 1961 remains the all-time record.

Rob Weintraub: So all those "close to Shanahan" insider types who put this "Mac Jones at 3" thing into the wild were just lining up to be BS'd then I guess? And that's kind of their job description?

Rivers McCown: Kinda depends on if Julio Jones is still there, right? I know that they were rumored to be shopping him.

Scott Spratt: Following the Falcons' selection of Kyle Pitts at No. 4, I'll just remind everyone that the team had to restructure Matt Ryan to even fit their draft picks under the salary cap, and now Ryan has a more than $40 million dead cap figure for 2022 (as in, the year after 2021). Yikes.

That said, Pitts may be really, really good, and new head coach Arthur Smith may be the actual quarterback whisperer. The Falcons are definitely interesting.

Scott Spratt: I know that Playmaker Score preferred DeVonta Smith, but it's way more fun that Ja'Marr Chase is rejoining Joe Burrow. Here's hoping Smith goes to play with Tua Tagovailoa again in Miami.

Rob Weintraub: Yes, Virginia, the draft lasts more than one round...

Tom Gower: I can't see the No. 4 pick being worth it for a pure tight end pick. The non-pass-route snaps, and what Arthur Smith tight ends primarily did in Tennessee, there's just not enough of a difference between a Hayden Hurst-type player and a truly elite prospect such as Kyle Pitts who could do a lot. But we shall see.

Bryan Knowles: I sign off on Chase over Penei Sewell for the Bengals. I'm more concerned about their interior line than their tackles, and there are a lot of solid offensive line prospects on Day 2. Let's have some fun out there.

Scott Spratt: Or the other Alabama wide receiver I guess.

Bryan Knowles: Wrong Alabama receiver, Scott! It's Jaylen Waddle, Playmaker's WR5.

I think that falls more under "...huh. Really?" rather than "What?!?!" It also makes me wonder if they couldn't have just stayed at 12 rather than bouncing back up to six for him.

Rob Weintraub: "How could they ignore their dire need on offensive line just to reunite the quarterback with his college wideout!!??"

I refer of course to Miami and Tua/Waddle...

Aaron Schatz: I think the scouts thought Waddle was better than Smith, despite what Playmaker Score and their college production said. I know Sports Info Solutions had Waddle as their No. 1 wide receiver. I'm betting Waddle would not have been there at 12.

Rob Weintraub: Waddle has always been seen as a better prospect than Smith, in my opinion. Can score from anywhere, is super sudden. He was also the No. 1 target at Alabama before he got hurt, over Smith, whose weight scares the old-school general manager types, for whatever that's worth.

Scott Spratt: Also interesting in their pairing, Robert, the Bengals and Dolphins ranked ninth- and 10th-best in offensive pressure rate in 2020 according to Sports Info Solutions charting. Those offensive lines aren't as bad as their reputations.

Tom Gower: One of the themes of last year's draft was that, with less information getting out to the media than in a normal year because of that whole pandemic thing, the NFL would be significantly off from the conventional wisdom. And that didn't turn out to be true at all, with most picks being incredibly chalky based on what we outside the NFL thought based on our evaluations and the leaks we did get. And through the Lions' selection of Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick, the NFL is being incredibly not weird and fairly predictable again this year.

(The Carolina Panthers are on the clock.)

Scott Spratt: Please take Fields, please take Fields.

(The Carolina Panthers select South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.)

Scott Spratt: Awww.

Dave Bernreuther: Dan Campbell, football guy, celebrates like he just hit the lottery because the second-best quarterback in the draft fell to him, right?

Ha. Of course they take Sewell. Who is pretty awesome. (And WOW is his family gigantic—as in, they were carved from Sequoias, not as in there are a lot of them.) And while it's hard to fault that pick ... well, you can celebrate all you want, but your quarterback is still Jared Goff.

Aaron Schatz: Jaycee Horn instead! Goes seven spots before where he went in our final mock draft.

Bryan Knowles: Horn to the Panthers is probably the biggest surprise of the night so far, and even then, it's not a huge reach or anything. Someone needs to trade up for Najee Harris or something!

Rob Weintraub: OK here's a hot future take—Penei's younger bro Noah Sewell, a linebacker, will be an even better pro than the tackle...

Rob Weintraub: Scott—absolutely. Plus, I can tell you the upgrade from talent suppressor Jim Turner as offensive line coach to Frank Pollack will help enormously in Cincinnati.

Scott Spratt: So, Fields to the Patriots at 15 I guess? I would not have guessed CB-CB for the Panthers and Broncos with, I think, the two least compelling starting quarterbacks in football.

Rob Weintraub: Ja'Marr Chase comp: Steve Smith minus the teammate-punching.

Bryan Knowles: One of my favorite stupid things to follow in the draft is the Boo-Meter, which scans Twitter to see how fans are feeling about their picks.

Panthers and Broncos fans, on the whole, are not happy right now.

Aaron Schatz: I still think somebody is trading up to take Fields, and I hope it is the Patriots because they need to get him before Chicago or Washington can trade up for him.

Rob Weintraub: Woah, Philly and Dallas trade! Cats and dogs, living together!

Scott Spratt: Or could it be the Eagles?? They just traded with the Cowboys, which is awesome.

Scott Spratt: The Cowboys may need some time to think about what they're going to do since they couldn't have possibly guessed Horn and Surtain being unavailable.

Aaron Schatz: The Dallas-Philadelphia trade makes some sense because if Philadelphia specifically wants a player that the Giants also want, then Dallas knows that player is going to be in the NFC East either way. They might as well get some extra picks for going down two spots.

Aaron Schatz: Change that to "one extra pick." Dallas picks up selection 84 in the third round in this trade to go down two spots.

Bryan Knowles: TRRAAAAAAADDDE!

So the Eagles have gone from six to 12 to 10, with the Cowboys giving them an assist so they can steal a player from the Giants? Fun, if a bit disorienting.

I don't know if the Giants would have taken DeVonta Smith either way; that'll be interesting to hear about in the next few days. But more weapons for Jalen Hurts is not a bad grab for Philly here.

Rob Weintraub: I can't believe a team that desperately needs offensive line help would pick a wideout just because he played in college with their quarterback!"

I refer of course to Philly and Smith/Hurts...

Bryan Knowles: And now Dave Gettleman trades down? Here's the chaos I wanted to see.

Bears gonna get a quarterback now, right? And they have to take Fields over Jones, yeah?

Scott Spratt: Well your Pats just got jumped by the Bears, Aaron.

Bryan Knowles: No. 22, No. 164, and future first- and fourth-round picks. Well, that's apparently what it takes to get Gettleman to slide down.

Scott Spratt: I'm surprised that package wasn't enough for the Panthers, who reports suggested were trying to trade down.

Rob Weintraub: Everyone talking like Fields can possibly beat out Andy D...

Rivers McCown: If the Bears don't hit on this trade they're all getting fired anyway so I understand the trade cost.

Carl Yedor: The unstoppable force (Ryan Pace's desire to get his guy) defeated the immovable object (Gettleman's hatred of trading down) here. Chicago gets Fields, and Gettleman clearly does not get fleeced in terms of value.

Tom Gower: Well, we finally know what it takes to get Dave Gettlemen to trade back, and it's a significant amount. And the Bears got a quarterback. If Justin Fields is as good as we think he can be, the compensation doesn't really matter. But it's bizarre to see the Bears draft a good quarterback prospect. I wasn't really paying enough attention in 1987 to judge the draft, so I can't say if he's the first quarterback I've really liked since the Bears took Jim Harbaugh back then, or if it's even before that (OK, Dan LeFevour was a vaguely interesting college quarterback, but he was a sixth-round pick). We'll see if he avoids the jinx. And, oh, boy, does Ryan Pace like trading up to get his guys.

Bryan Knowles: Is Fields the best quarterback prospect the Bears have ever taken (at least in the modern era)? I think QBASE had him over Mitchell Trubisky, and I can't imagine Rex Grossman or Cade McNown would have ranked higher.

Dave Bernreuther: Safe to say that Gettleman did not get fleeced.

That haul is a very nice consolation prize for not getting the player he probably wanted (who wouldn't have really helped them win anyway).

I'm sad about Fields going here because I too hoped he would slide to the Patriots. Also, the Bears are where quarterbacks go to die. But I know a lot of Bears fans (lived in Chicago for eight years) and this is the most excited I've ever seen them, so I guess I'm really not that sad about it after all. It's about time they had a quarterback to be excited about.

Aaron Schatz: I don't understand Dallas taking Micah Parsons. I don't think he's the best player available given the value of the off-ball linebacker position. And the Cowboys already have two good off-ball linebackers, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. I guess the idea is that Vander Esch has struggled with injuries and the Cowboys won't give him the fifth-year option? Otherwise, the Cowboys don't have room for all three unless they plan on playing a bunch of base defense.

Scott Spratt: Don't forget about Kyle Orton, Bryan. Legend.

Tom Gower: Based on everything I saw last year, Jaylon Smith is not good. So I get the pick from that perspective. But Parsons has some off-field maturity concerns and I'm not sure he has a ton of experience in coverage, and between Smith, Vander Esch, and Sean Lee, when do you stop investing in linebackers as the way to solve your defense? This feels like a pick that needs to hit its upside potential to be good, and I'm not a huge fan of that.

Aaron Schatz: Lee retired but they did sign Keanu Neal from Atlanta and they're moving him from safety to linebacker.

Tom Gower: Yup, so it's wheel of linebacker as the solution to defensive problems. I get not going with defensive tackle because of the lack of depth/quality of that grouping, but wouldn't have been surprised had they gone with a Kwity Paye or traded back. Maybe Parsons will be better than I'm expecting, by which I mean have more of a significant impact on how good the overall defense is. I'm just a bit skeptical.

Scott Spratt: I'm not sure who would want to trade up to that point. This is just where the talent level falls off in this draft, right?

Bryan Knowles: Love, love love Rashawn Slater ending up with the Chargers. Build a wall in front of Justin Herbert; it feels like the Chargers have needed line help for five years running now.

Bryan Knowles: The Jets seem to disagree, Scott! They've traded with Minnesota and are back on the clock.

Scott Spratt: Well let me go ahead and eat those words because the Jets just traded to 14th right after I made that comment.

Scott Spratt: The Jets should double down on quarterback and draft Mac Jones. I mean, they can't both be bad, right?

Vincent Verhei: Not to be that guy, but, uh, it's the Jets. Scott may well still be right about the talent falling off.

Rivers McCown: Trading up nine spots for a non-quarterback is an interesting play—Alijah Vera-Tucker must have been their last elite tackle on the board.

Dave Bernreuther: Did Roger Goodell call him a junior? His dad is Reginald. That makes no sense. Maybe I misheard.

But speaking of giant family members ... this was especially noticeable from the perspective of the NFLN camera, but WOW is Reginald a big man. Imagine dwarfing an elite NFL tackle prospect. At first I thought he must have been standing on an ottoman or something.

I know we've seen basketball stars produce (or convert to) football players, but have we ever seen one spawn an NFL tackle before?

Bryan Knowles: I don't know if I would have traded back up for a guard, considering the depth on Day 2, but I am 100% here for the Jets using all their picks on the offensive side of the ball and hoping Robert Saleh and company can just scheme up defense for a year.

Dave Bernreuther: Again, I'm a horrible pessimist and my opinion shouldn't matter ... but yes, Scott, they can absolutely both be bad.

And even if they're not, they're the Jets. They'll find a way to screw it up. (TM)

Rivers McCown: And here goes Mac Jones to the Patriots...

Scott Spratt: The Jets have some talent on defense, too. They were 21st in defensive DVOA last season even with C.J. Mosley opting out, and they added Carl Lawson this offseason.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, AVT is supposed to be a guard in the NFL. Mekhi Becton is solid at left tackle for the Jets.

Bryan Knowles: Upon learning the details, I definitely would not have given up No. 23, No. 66, and No. 86 for 14 and 143. The Jets need roughly two of everything; they need more picks, not fewer.

And the Pats are gonna get Mac Jones now, as the quarterbacks are done coming off the board now.

Vincent Verhei: Since I just ripped on the Jets, I will point out that making a bold move to protect your new franchise passer is very wise. Paying that high a price to move up is still very Jets-like, but there are worse ideas than investing too much capital into your offensive line right now.

Scott Spratt: Would it be more on brand for Bill Belichick to skip Mac Jones and draft Kellen Mond or someone on Day 2?

Aaron Schatz: At least we know that Mac Jones comes with a good review from his college coach, because Belichick would never have selected him if Nick Saban didn't love him and tell Belichick to take him.

Scott Spratt: Well the collection of offensive skill talent the Patriots added in free agency makes a lot more sense with a quarterback like Mac Jones under center versus Cam Newton.

Rob Weintraub: Why would the Pats take Mac Jones if he didn't go to Rutgers?

Vincent Verhei: Zaven Collins to Arizona. Linebacker is a definite weakness for the Cardinals, but with their corners they're still going to give up a zillion passing yards.

Scott Spratt: Maybe Belichick did some deep scouting of Jones' dad's tennis career?

Tom Gower: Well, uh, (a) I'm not sure how you build an offense to operate well with your quarterback being either Cam Newton or Mac Jones; (b) New England at least was the best in the league at completely switching the game plan from week to week; and (c) NFL Network is emphasizing the downside of Mac Jones is Andy Dalton, so having a player have to hit the upside to be a good pick, that doesn't really excite me. But I go back to the basic dilemma of NFL quarterback drafting, the split between "don't elevate bad prospects" and having even a decent quarterback on a rookie contract creates so much value relative to paying even an average starting quarterback a post-rookie deal salary, so I get it even though I don't get it.

Bryan Knowles: Gonna quote Derrik's Futures piece on Collins here:

"Perhaps a top-15 pick at linebacker should be a bit flashier, more athletic, and come from a system with a clearer picture to project with. ... Collins slots comfortably into that next tier, though, and would be a nice addition to any number of teams in the back half of the first round."

Well, Collins wasn't a top-15 pick, at least! I still think it's a reach, though if Arizona really, really liked him, he was never going to last to No. 49.

Bryan Knowles: They just announced Alex Leatherwood as a tackle; I thought he would be a guard. They also announced him as a Round 1 pick; I thought he'd come off the board tomorrow.

Other than that, good pick, Las Vegas.

Rob Weintraub: When you have Jon Gruden's contract you only bother to watch the college championship game so I guess it makes sense...

Rivers McCown: SackSEER strikes again!!!! Jaelan Phillips to Miami.

Tom Gower: Oh, c'mon, after taking Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) at No. 4 and Damon Arnette (Ohio State) at No. 20, Mike Mayock needed to get the achievement of overdrafting in the first round a player from every college football championship playoff by taking an Alabama player, and Alex Leatherwood fits their need at offensive tackle.

I admit I haven't watched him in detail, and I don't necessarily know what I'm looking at even if I do watch offensive linemen, but that's the first real "what on earth are they doing?" pick tonight for me.

Rob Weintraub: I like Phillips, but he's the guy who we look back on in three years and say "of course he's always injured—he was in college too."

Scott Spratt: The top defensive tackles are still available for the Giants here at 20.

Bryan Knowles: As was Kadarius Toney, whom Playmaker serenaded by calling him a "dangerous prospect because he so closely fits the profile of past wide receiver busts."

Tom Gower: I'm sure Jason Garrett and Daniel Jones will be able to unlock his potential.

Scott Spratt: At least the Giants brought in wide receivers with different skill sets this offseason. The Golden Tate/Sterling Shepard/Evan Engram overlap was pretty rough.

Rob Weintraub: I don't love Toney, but he fits as a complement to Kenny Golladay and Shepard and Engram. Less bustola potential as speed/YAC guy in that corps than the defensive linemen available.

Tom Gower: Also, taking Toney strongly suggests that the Giants would have taken DeVonta Smith had he been available at No. 11, so the Eagles were correct to trade up to No. 10 if they wanted Smith that much.

Rivers McCown: Kwity Paye feels like a pretty obvious need pick for the Colts

Scott Spratt: That makes sense Tom, although I'll point out that Toney is close to 30 pounds heavier than Smith. I suspect some teams may have been scared off of Smith by his weight.

Bryan Knowles: As Tanier pointed out in the liveblog, Smith is under the Pop Warner weight limit. Some teams may have been scared off, others may have seen Smith blown away from them by a slight gust of wind.

Rivers McCown: Caleb Farley for the Titans, another pretty solid fit. Thought they might go tackle here to replace Isaiah Wilson, but with Janoris Jenkins and Kevin Johnson at corner, the future was not at all secure there.

Rob Weintraub: My literary agent is named Farley Chase and somehow Caleb Farley is even more of an obnoxiously pretentious name...

Kidding F.C.! Love ya, babe!

Tom Gower: I thought the Colts would go with Christian Darrisaw to fill their glaring need at left tackle and prioritize that over pass rush, but Paye also makes a ton of sense.

The Titans take Caleb Farley. The question for him was whether Tennessee would be comfortable enough with his medical evaluation to take him. This isn't quite as straightforward as the Jeffery Simmons pick a couple of years ago; ACL injuries are now mostly predictable enough that teams feel comfortable with managing him. Heck, the Titans gave Bud Dupree a ton of money coming off one this offseason, to name a particularly pointed example. But with stuff like Kevin Dyson saying "this is the kind of back injury that ended my career" about Farley, that's an ask of a different order. While the late noise was all about Elijah Moore, going cornerback was not a surprise and we had heard enough about Farley I thought he was the most likely name even if I couldn't reduce the uncertainty. As I've said in other contexts, some risks can only be accepted or rejected. The Titans decided the upside was big enough to accept this risk. As a fan, I hope they're right. As an outsider, I can't competently evaluate just how good a decision this was.

Dave Bernreuther: As a Colts fan I am thrilled that they have chosen pass rush over offensive line, even as release times get smaller and after Anthony Castonzo retired. I am also thrilled to get to say the name "Kwity Paye" for years to come.

I remain un-thrilled by their quarterback situation, however, which is part of why I was so oddly disinterested in the draft this year and almost fell asleep before this pick.

Still, from what I have read (I haven't seen this kid play a down), this is a great value and pick, and it fits a position of need, so this feels like a win.

Bryan Knowles: Get out the analytics booing machine—the Steelers take a first-round running back, Najee Harris. I mean, they needed someone in the backfield ahead of Benny Snell/Anthony McFarland, but there are still tackles on the board, there's cornerback help out there...

Scott Spratt: Harris is an awesome fit though. The Steelers ranked dead last in adjusted line yards in 2020. Harris can make up for some of that with yards after contact, plus he can catch passes.

Rivers McCown: If there were an obvious Saquon Barkley situation (running back who is a consensus top-five talent in the draft, checks all the physical/statistical benchmarks you want, etc.) in 2021, what is the highest you'd feel comfortable picking that back?

Rob Weintraub: I mean, the Steelers totally took Najee Harris to get that Franco Harris 2.0 vibe going, right?

Bryan Knowles: I just think if I was trying to boost my adjusted line yards, I'd grab a tackle such as Tevin Jenkins or Liam Eichenberg and add a Trey Sermon or someone tomorrow.

Aaron Schatz: I'm just not comfortable taking a running back before the second round at this point.

Rivers McCown: Well, here comes another running back.

Aaron Schatz: Did the Jaguars not show last year the value you could get out of an undrafted running back?

Tom Gower: I'm blaming Urban Meyer coming from a level of the sport where running back can be significantly more important.

Bryan Knowles: Rivers, it depends on what other positions my team would need, and who was left on the board. Like, if my big needs now were running back, center, defensive tackle, and tight end, sure, I'd take Harris or Travis Etienne right now. But with useful linemen and cornerbacks and receivers out there, it's hard to justify prioritizing running backs here.

Rob Weintraub: Etienne scored four touchdowns in the two semifinal games against Ohio State the last two seasons, so we know the game Urban Meyer was watching...

Rob Weintraub: By the way, it just dawned on me that the Patriots now have added Alabama's Mac Jones to their all-Auburn quarterback room...

Gonna be some static in there...

Rob Weintraub: Why would a team with obvious offensive line needs take the running back just because he played with the quarterback in college?!

Might have to be some shared Alumni Awards coming in the near future...

Bryan Knowles: Never believe coaches, but Urban Meyer just came out and said that Etienne will be his third-down back, with Carlos Hyde and James Robinson as a one-two punch.

No. No, do not do that, Urban Meyer. If you're going to draft a first-round running back, play them and play them a lot.

Tom Gower: I admit I haven't listened to Urban Meyer's public statements in Jacksonville, but this is a pretty remarkable thing to say about a guy you just drafted in the first round when you're coming off a season where the team earned the No. 1 pick by virtue of being really bad at multiple positions.

Bryan Knowles: To sooth their aching quarterback, the Green Bay Packers select ... cornerback Eric Stokes, who was a second-round prospect on most of the boards I have seen. Well, he'll provide more of an impact than their first-round pick last year.

Tom Gower: Ten first round picks. Nine on defense and one on a quarterback. I respect Green Bay's commitment to their apparent philosophy, that if you have a quarterback that's all you need on offense and you can spend all your premium picks on the other side of the ball. And the next quarterback for when the one you have gets tired of you spending all your first-round picks on the other side of the ball.

Tom Gower: First round is done, with Joe Tyron going to the Bucs, who brought everybody back and can afford to plan for losing a defensive end after this season.

The names that stand out to me as surprises to be available after 32 picks are Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Notre Dame LB/SAF Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins. Dane Brugler, to name one, is pretty plugged in and had Ojulari 16th and JOK 15th, so it's not like we're completely off the board here. Ojulari reportedly has medical issues that were flagged at the Combine, which explains that. JOK does somewhat fit the profile of hybrid defenders that have fallen a bit in recent years. Jenkins wasn't great, but with Christian Darrisaw falling all the way to No. 23 with Minnesota, maybe the NFL doesn't love offensive tackles as much as we think they might.

Vincent Verhei: Just a late note to add that I think the clear winners of the night were the Bears—Fields was my second-favorite quarterback in the class, and they got him at a great spot, Even if it cost them two firsts and two later picks, that's easily worth it for a quarterback.

Comments

149 comments, Last at 05 May 2021, 7:13pm

1 "if you have a quarterback…

"if you have a quarterback that's all you need on offense and you can spend all your premium picks on the other side of the ball." You'd think after almost 10 straight years of defense that the team would learn that defenses just aren't built like that in today's league and are still at the mercy of opposing offenses. And that no defense is really built to last being so sensitive to player/coach movement.

Elijah Moore would've fit in so well. What the team has been missing since prime Cobb. I'm surprised they weren't in love with Terrace Marshall Jr and his height though, would've been the Stokes to Elijah Moores Asante Samuel Jr, a fine pick but with better options on the board.

Good time to remind the team that every single one of their WRs is a free agent next year. And with the Rodgers news it's becoming clear Davante hasn't signed an extension because he probably doesn't want to go through Loves growing pains. That and they're giving him all the leverage in the world if they continue to make him the only guy worth retaining next year (eyeing Hopkins extension money) or he's just wants to leave for a better QB when Rodgers is shoved out (which was the original plan after this year).

2 "Rob Weintraub: I can't…

"Rob Weintraub: I can't believe a team that desperately needs offensive line help would pick a wideout just because he played in college with their quarterback!""

Hilariously ESPN didn't even list OL as a need for the Eagles. I mean, I guess because *technically* they've nominally got starters at each position? Cuz we're all totally OK with Mailata/Dillard at left tackle and the shambling corpses of formerly great players elsewhere, I guess? (OK, being way too mean to Kelce/Brooks/Johnson, but... c'mon).

Also amazed at the lack of "not quite as bad as Detroit mid-2000s but still LOL" at Philly - they surpass San Francisco as the closest "spend a high pick every year on a WR" team to the Matt Millen Lions (Denver/Jacksonville get honorable mentions for 3 *total* in 3 years, but there were 2 in one year in both cases). And that comes to a total of *7* WRs drafted in 5 years.

Will Howie Roseman *ever* figure out that maybe, just maybe, his staff's ability to evaluate/develop WRs is the problem? We'll find out next year, when they draft *yet another* first round WR to attempt to take away the Millen Futility Award for Drafting Receivers!

6 Eagles Drafting WR's

As an Eagles fan, I am very happy with the Devonta Smith pick. I was hoping that they would have ended up with Smith, Parsons, Surtain, or Horn, so I was thrilled that they got Smith. That being said, I also agree with what you stated. The offensive line, when healthy, is great, and arguably the best in the league. However, I do agree that the line has been somewhat neglected over recent drafts, and is always one injury away from completely falling apart. They are putting a lot of stock in Kelce, Brooks, and Lane staying healthy for an entire season.

I do agree that Smith is going to be the ultimate wide receiver litmus test for the Eagles. He's the most talented receiver prospect the Eagles have taken in the 2000's. And, of course, the reason that there was a need to draft Smith is because they have whiffed on some of their more recent receiver picks. If Smith does end up being a disappointment, then the Eagles' evaluation and development of receiver prospects is indeed the problem.

29 If Smith does end up being a…

If Smith does end up being a disappointment, then the Eagles' evaluation and development of receiver prospects is indeed the problem.

If? Uh, yeah, no, regardless of what happens with Smith, WR evaluation/development is the problem with the Eagles. Which is why I don't have a ton of hope for Smith.

Keep in mind: WRs, historically, have a development curve. Yes, Jefferson and Metcalf came in and seem to have said "we see your development curve and tell it to go stuff itself." Way too early to tell. Mike Evans came in and put up a 1000-yard season right away and made it look like that development curve was garbage, too. Nope. Just turns out Evans's peak level is very high, so starting at like, 70-80% of that still really, really good. So, who knows - Jefferson and Metcalf might dominate the league in a year or two. (Which makes the Eagles missing out on them hurt more, but whatever).

So drafting so many high receivers consecutively basically automatically means your evaluation stinks, because those players have to be showing so little that you don't even believe WR development will get you a manageable receiving corps (either that or you're so bad at developing/evaluating that you can't see the growth).

Now add in the fact that Agholor literally had his best year after leaving the Eagles and was just valued as a typical mid-level receiver by the Patriots, plus of course the disaster of the Jeffery/Jackson signings... and yeah, it's completely undeniable that the Eagles have no idea how to evaluate WRs.

49 Jeffrey Signing

I agree with you about Agholor and Jackson, but I would not call the Jeffrey signing a disaster. The disaster was guaranteeing his 2020 salary. But they don't win the 2017 Super Bowl, and they don't make the playoffs in 2018, without him. I could make a case that he may have been the best Eagles receiver since T.O., from the standpoint that the Eagles seem to very rarely have a receiver that can win jump balls and contested catches.

56 "The disaster was…

In reply to by COtheLegend

"The disaster was guaranteeing his 2020 salary."

Yeah, that's what I meant, sorry. The original signing was great. The extension wasn't great, but meh, it was worth the risk. Keeping him around through 2020 was wacko stupid.

 

69 Kelce had another great year…

Kelce had another great year last year, didn't miss a game. Brooks will be back to All Pro form after missing a year. Johnson had the ankle surgery and is healthy also, he's not 38 or anything. We took Driscoll last year as a backup OT and he played well, and we have Dillard and Mailata at LT and your diss of Mailata is weird for how ASTOUNDINGLY WELL he played in his first ever games at the NFL level, for a guy who just turned 24 that every single franchise would love to have in their OL room.  

Take a CB 2nd, and an OL 3rd. Maybe the Okla C, he's real good. So yeah we need more lineman but not in the first round. Assuming PHL will have record-breaking bad OL luck in 2021 is more Negadelphian than even regular Negadelphian. Most teams would love to have 3 OTs of the caliber of Lane J, Mailata and Dillard/[Driscoll] as a backup [unless he wins the job].

109 "he's not 38 or anything" I…

"he's not 38 or anything"

I love how "38" is now old for an OL, considering literally the oldest starter in the league was 38 last year.

Philly will be wacko lucky if 2/3 of Brooks/Johnson/Kelce are viable in 2-3 years, and it typically takes 2-ish yrs for an OL to develop. You solve tomorrow's problem in the draft, not today's.

4 Yeah

This might be the first Miami draft in a while where I liked the picks. I'm okay with the trade up, given the picks from the trade down. I'd rather they take risks on productive players with upside than unproductive players with mythical upside like Dion Jordan and Charles Harris. Fans see Waddle as the next Ted Ginn Jr, but Ted while overdrafted played 14 seasons in the NFL so it's not such the insult fans think it is.

5 I was a Justin Fields…

I was a Justin Fields proponent for SF. If you're breaking things down into something simple enough to fit in a paragraph, it's hard to come up with reasons to take Lance over him. Fields also ended up going at 11, very near the 49ers original spot, so you have to ask not just, is Lance better than Fields, but is he better than Fields plus two first-round picks?

Everyone who talks about Lance talks about his great intangibles. I hope those intangibles are worth 2 first rounders.

7 Has Lance ever competed…

Has Lance ever competed against a defense which has a player who will start an NFL game? I think he's competed against one athlete who has made a 53 man roster.

11 I guess my retort would be…

I guess my retort would be you can make the same kind of argument for a lot of these quarterbacks coming from small schools playing in non major conferences. And there have been some success stories with such players.

The argument follows that while your opponents have few NFL quality players of note, your own team has the same handicap so it nets out I guess?

My bigger concern with Trey Lance is the low number of starts he's amassed in his career.

73 It's more than just the few games

The difference between Lance and most other small school picks is teams usually can compare FBS players to FCS players most years. A typical FBS schedule usually has an FCS school or two on their schedule for the money. The Eastern Illinois, Appalachian States, and NE Louisianas usually lose these games, but it's not unusual to see an FBS QB or WR have a great game against an FCS defense to play his way into the first or second day. That wasn't true at NDSU which rarely plays FCS schools and hasn't the last two years. 

I agree the few number of starts, especially combined with the few number of actual game passes, is a serious concern. But I'm very concerned about his lack of real competition for a guy whose upside from my POV is more Colin Kaepernick than Josh Allen. He may get you to the top for a short time while DCs try to figure out how to stop him, but I'm not sure he can even get to that point. 

85 One thing that supposedly…

One thing that supposedly makes Lance different from Kaepernick is his processing time and general "football IQ," which as nearly as I can tell is a polite synonym for plain old "IQ."  Kaepernick had a lot of strengths, but the speed of his thinking wasn't one of them. In fact, I could write a lot about Kaepernick's outsized strengths and outsized weaknesses, but I won't. 

Trey Lance doesn't strike me as that kind of guy.  It's also hard to imagine Kyle Shanahan falling for a QB who wouldn't be quick at the whiteboard and quick on the field to diagnose. 

95 HUH???

It's a crap way to figure IQ, but Lance's Wonderlic was reported as 40 vs Kaepernick who was reported to be 38. Both are excellent scores and higher than Rodgers (35), Rivers (30), and P Manning or Russell Wilson (28). So if you're using IQ as a substitute for "Football IQ" that's not going to work. 

We've all read a lot about Kaepernick's strengths and weaknesses, and how he was a midlevel starter with some amazing highs and downright scary lows. But I've seen no evidence that Lance is any more than a first read-second read-run QB at this point, which was Kaepernick's MO. Lance might get better, but I've seen no proof that he can. 

12 I guess my retort would be…

I guess my retort would be you can make the same kind of argument for a lot of these quarterbacks coming from small schools playing in non major conferences. And there have been some success stories with such players.

The argument follows that while your opponents have few NFL quality players of note, your own team has the same handicap so it nets out I guess?

My bigger concern with Trey Lance is the low number of starts he's amassed in his career.

18 The problem with that…

The problem with that argument is that Lance's team is usually so much better than the teams they face that not only can you dock him for the weaknesses of his opponents, you also have to give him the Alabama QB treatment: how much of his production is due to the players around him?  For ND State has sent players to the NFL; one of them will be starting at quarterback for Indianapolis this season.

70 Your argument is akin to…

Your argument is akin to draftniks who would never take guys like Joel Embiid or Giannis in the lottery. Not rooted in reality of the physical tools it takes to succeed at the next level. 

Romo, Jimmy G, Randall #12 all did pretty well as guys who didn't play the best comp in the world.

96 Drawing analogies between…

Drawing analogies between appropriate risk/reward aspects in constructing an NBA roster, to those of the NFL, probably is of somewhat limited value. In terms of delivering championships, none of the top 20 NFL draft picks in the last 40 years is as remotely as valuable as any of the top 20 NBA picks.

98 I did not state or imply…

I did not state or imply that late drafts or undrafted guys from small schools couldn't be good qbs. I said that if a guy has never played qb against good competition, it reduces the reasonable confidence that he'll be good.

102 What Will Allen said, plus I…

What Will Allen said, plus I'd argue that Giannis at 15 was a great gamble. The average-talent/pick curve had flattened out by that point and a marginal talent won't make much difference whether it hits or misses, may as well swing for the fences if you've got the opportunity (mmm, mixed metaphors). Given the shorter draft, smaller rosters, and expanded playoffs in the NBA, I'd rate it about equivalent to gambling on a physically gifted small-school QB in the late-1st/early-2nd - like Favre or Flacco.

Trading a bevy of picks to move into the top 3 for one of those guys, though - and one whose track record is substantially shorter and weaker than theirs, I'd argue - that's betting the whole 401k. Maybe it hits and you're a billionaire, but if it fails you're in a pretty big hole.

(Embiid was the consensus top talent in the draft and still went top-3 despite serious injuries - more like drafting Tua last year. Still a gamble, but a very different one.)

31 Shanahan was saying that he…

Shanahan was saying that he and Lynch made up their minds definitely a couple weeks ago, but that Lance was always their first target, and it sounds like it's been that way since 2019 after the great year Lance had then.  "Maybe," Shanahan was saying, "if he'd played in 2020 he wouldn't have been available at 3."  Well, shoot, maybe if he'd played in 2020 he'd have still been available in the second round, guy. 

To me, Lance is a high-risk, high-reward type while Fields is a low-risk, high-reward type (as relatively low-risk as a QB prospect can be, at any rate.)  But then, if I were to write down exhaustively everything I know or could even find out about those two guys, it would all probably fit in a few thousand words.  If Kyle Shanahan were to do that, he'd fill a few books. 

Apparently there were rumors that Atlanta liked Lance, so Shanahan & Lynch felt they had to get to 3 if they really wanted him.  I'm confused why Atlanta would have spent #4 on Lance but not on Fields.  In general I'm confused about why Fields dropped so far.  I suppose the next few years will educate me.

36 The Niners do have a roster…

The Niners do have a roster that makes taking a flyer like this at the #3  spot viable; it's not like they have huge holes elsewhere that demand immediate attention. Still, trading two firsts to move up is really steep, for The Conqueror of James Madison University.

41 If you get a chance you…

If you get a chance you should check out Matt Waldman's RSP Boiler Room.  He has one on Fields, but also has a podcast on the quarterbacks which includes his harsher opinion of Fields (it's not that harsh, and he doesn't think that highly of Wilson either).  He thinks Lawrence is a lock, but is high on Lance's potential.  It crystallized my issues with Fields (he can sit in the pocket too long, and that leads to trouble).

48 I will, thanks. I sort of…

I will, thanks. 

I sort of thought that Fields sitting in the pocket was partly because of how many deep option routes Ohio State ran, where Fields isn't sure where the receiver is running until he makes his break. 

But what do I know?  I'm still heaving in relief that we didn't spend all that capital on Mac Jones.  Kyle and Lynch were laughing afterwards about how badly they faked out the entire internet. 

Guys...that was NOT FUNNY.  Not funny AT ALL.

8 Leatherwood good pick. Very…

Leatherwood good pick. Very nice start for Raiders. Lance rto sf 48ers nice. Did say months ago. Wtahc. Good chance he will go in top 2 or 3. Fields 5o bears nice. Will be goof if Bears ever land a nice startijf quarterbavk amd havr for a decade or more. Patriots used to be like jEts and browns- sloppy, dopey, lumpy, flop sweatinf all iver the place, but now loook at rhem. one day bears wiol figure out quarterback positijb. Mayhe that day was yesterday

9 Video

Is there any way to see last night's Twitch video?

63 Yes!    https://www…

In reply to by caminante0

Yes! 

 

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2021/nfl-draft-round-1-twitch-stream-recap

10 I still really struggle with…

I still really struggle with Denver's decision not to draft a qb even though it falls perfectly in line with Denver's recent track record. Trevor siemian begets Case keenum begets Joe Flacco begets Teddy B. Oh and then you get a sprinkling of toolsy big armed prospects in between.

If you're really believe in the efficient markets of the NFL draft and almost all the evidence suggests, especially in the first round, that it is efficient... Then when a top quarterback prospect falls to you, you should be taking him personal fetishes be damned.

I guess Elway's reputation is set in stone after they won the super bowl, but his direct stewardship has produced a perpetual motion machine of sub 500 blah

15 Considering the claim that…

Considering the claim that Rodgers wants to be traded to the Niners, the Raiders or the Broncos,  it makes sense the Broncos wouldn't draft his replacement, especially since the Packers already have Jordan Love and may not want Fields.

79 The Broncos still makes the most sense if Rodgers is traded

I'm afraid that the damage done by drafting Love instead of player that could actually help last year has made keeping Rodgers impossible. It's not so much that it wasn't a WR - he'd likely have been fine with Patrick Queen - but it was his replacement. I won't be surprised if Rodgers is still on the Packers roster in September, but I won't be surprised if he's in a different uniform either, most likely in the AFC so they don't have to face him regularly. 

Part of being a GM or coach in the NFL is dealing with the massive egos. Rodgers has one of the biggest, even if it's earned. The Packers FO basically told Rodgers he was good as gone when they drafted Love. You can't fix that. But they can't easily trade him until after June 1 because of the cap math. 

The best option is probably the Broncos. Rodgers would accept the trade as Denver could probably compete for a title there. They could offer Bridgewater plus a ton of picks. I don't think other teams can offer a comparable package, at least not from the teams Rodgers would be willing to accept. I don't believe the SF offering this year's #3 and Garoppolo rumor, and I don't think that would have been enough anyway. 

84 It makes the most sense but…

It makes the most sense but there's no guarantee hes going to go there and I don't think its advisable to roll the dice like this when it means your tossing away yet another season into the trash.

I hated the Love decision when it was made and I wrote this after the NFC championship audibles; the fact that this team went 13-3 and had a chance at the SB is an indictment on the organization. 

I would also add...whatever value you get having Love marinate on the bench, now theres real opportunity costs for him to remain on the bench because before you know it, you will wake up and if he plays well enough, he's going to get very expensive. So the decision just made no sense in general.

I will say - I think there is value in the Packers getting rid of Rodgers right now. For 3 first rounders(hell even 2 and 2 seconds); that would be an amazing hall. Rodgers is 37, has been more injured than his contemporaries and from his Jeapordy comments, seems less maniacle about football than his contemporaries as well(this is me reading into his comments). I think there is a real chance he declines faster than people realize and so in a way, his stock is about as high as it likely is ever going to be. I think if Denver did offer a motherlode package, they should take it. 

93 You know I've been…

You know I've been ruminating on Jordan Love the last few days, even before the Rodgers chaos exploded. Let's say Rodgers is gone, out of the picture this year or next. Jordan Love plays well for 2-3 years, good enough that they want to resign him. I can absolutely see his second contract being a bargain because he hasn't truly proven himself yet when it comes time to sign his second contract, especially if he doesn't start until 2022 or later.

In the same way that Rodgers' second contract was a huge bargain because they signed him long-term after three years on the bench and two promising seasons. Is it possible that Green Bay was thinking this when draft Love "a year early"? I think that's probably giving them too much credit. But let's say Love sits again this year, they trade Rodgers after 2021, Love plays well in 2022 and improves in 2023 then they sign him to a long-term extension after 2023 for a decent value relative to QB contracts elsewhere. I think that's a big win for Green Bay, mostly because they took him a year early even if they really took him because they thought Rodgers was declining.

100 Your dates are wrong on Rodgers' second contract

Rodgers signed his second contract after he had only been a starter for a half-season, in October 2008. At that point, he still had 1.5 years left on his rookie contract. He signed a good QB contract for someone who really hadn't proven himself by that point and it was a gamble for both him and the team. He'd have been a lot more costly if they had waited until 2009. They did it because Favre had just been traded to the Jets two months earlier and it solidified Rodgers status as the face of the franchise. 

104 True, but I guess the…

True, but I guess the thought still stands. Even a contract signed after two years of starting is likely to be a better bargain than if they had him starting for 4 years, even though years 3 and 4 likely add little additional information about the player's quality barring serious injury.

Again, I don't think this was *actually* Gutekunst et al.'s plan. But it could work out this way.

101 All I can figure is that the…

All I can figure is that the state of the relationship is *really* bad, because he appears to be floating trade destinations like Las Vegas that are obvious downgrades from Green Bay (and while Denver would probably be good, that supporting cast is very young). And if he's really willing to retire even though he would owe the Packers $23 million in signing bonus money? Yikes. Just get it together, everyone.

103 Yeah, it doesn't make any…

Yeah, it doesn't make any sense. It is why I still think it's all posturing, even if it is elaborate and effective posturing. There's the literal meaning of what is coming out, that he's actually requesting these trades or whatever with serious intent to get out of Green Bay. But to me a more reasonable explanation is that he's saying these things and/or having them leaked in order to increase the pressure on the Packers to give him the monster extension he craves. If they do so, which I think they are very likely to do, then he can come out and be like "oh that was all overblown, I was mad but I never said I wanted out of Green Bay that was just the media going crazy like they always do" and have his cake and eat it too.

107 He still could retire because he's that weird

Rodgers could retire because 1) he's that weird and 2) he has the potential for a real career post-football. Let's say he becomes the next Jeopardy host; he won't start at Trebek's $10M/year salary, but he could start at $5M and the show could still run for decades. He could host for 20 years and still be under 60. He could also host a reboot of Password or another geeky game show, or even a talk show like Bob Costas. Rodgers could quickly be making $15M/year as a TV personality. That doesn't include his desire to produce documentaries. He could do all that and still be a sports network talking head during the season; I'd love to see him as the third man in the SNF booth. 

I agree he's unlikely to walk away while paying back $23M. But it honestly wouldn't surprise me. 

108 I agree with this

I think if he's not traded, he will just retire. He's newly engaged, he has other interests, he's 37. Frankly money shouldn't be an issue for him. Maybe he comes back in a year, but I believe he would sit out the season (at the very least).

110 I agree. Keep in mind his…

In reply to by DoubleB

I agree. Keep in mind his contract runs through 2023. It's just the way the dead money works that a 2022 cut or trade isn't too awful for the team. So if he retires it's likely legit. If he tried to come back in 22 or 23 he's still got to deal with the Packers, he couldn't come back as a free agent until 2024.

The Packers have a ton of leverage on him so he's doing what he can, but I really do think the Packers will let him sit for 2021 if he doesn't retire because the consequences to them aren't really any worse. If he holds out, he holds out. They'll let him sit. If he just is a malconent, it won't work out well for him if the Packers put him in a game and he doesn't play. Think that's going to help your trade or FA standing buddy, everyone knows you are capable of MVP play and you're still like the 6th highest paid QB in the league even with all these new contracts.

He's playing the cards he has, and honestly if the Packers get a good trade off post June 1st (because of cap reasons) and trade him, good for everyone. Rodgers did what he could with his limited options as a player, and the Packers get some assets back.

Honestly after living through 3 years of this with Favre and then seeing the team only get a 4th rounder for him I kinda hope they do trade him for legit value if they don't sign him to a big extension (and then immediately sign Adams to an extension after). Hell looking at it that way, Rodgers might be doing the team a bit of a favor pushing for a trade now. Which I think someone else has already pointed out.

115 "As good as gone"?!

What part of being unwilling to trade away a 37yo for multiple 1st round picks is "telling him he is as good as gone"!

Rodgers' behaviour here is baffling and extraordinary. GB was and remains a better opportunity to win than anywhere he is realistically going to be traded to. His beef appears to be that they future-proofed themselves by taking the potential successor to a 36yo QB, and that they have focused their drafting on defense. I mean.... what??

117 "...and that they have…

"...and that they have focused their drafting on defense" for the last 10 years. Their refusal to draft WRs for their superstar QB is flabbergasting. Brady is no different, he left the Pats largely because they had no offensive weapons and now he's a happy man. The difference is that at least NED tried to find him weapons. Green Bay seems to think WRs are redundant once you have a good QB. And to add insult to injury, they use a prime pick to pick, not even on a defender, but his replacement? I mean, I understand the man perfectly. What's next, give him a pair of used cleats and have him practice in the parking lot?

118 I don't think drafting…

I don't think drafting defense every year in the first round implies they don't want to help Rodgers. They probably have gone with best available player and it happened to be a defensive player. And if you think about it, their offense was awesome last year. Their defense was what lost them the game.

 

Drafting his replacement after a 13-3 year and with his track record of success? Now that is an egregiously unforgivable move that makes his later year ire entirely justifiable.

122 But nine defensive players…

But nine defensive players in the first round in ten years... I'm not a statistician, but what are the odds of a coin toss coming out heads nine times out of then? Is it plausible? Also, I like BPA, but you have to slant towards your needs at least a bit, no?

58 Paton's call, not Elway's

Just a reminder, Paton was in charge of the draft room this year.  Elway fired himself a few months ago.  Heck, if Elway was in charge Denver would have traded up and drafted Jones.

I actually think the new GM partially explains the pick.  New GM doesn't want his first pick to be a complete bust.  Combine that with a draft where prospect evaluation was the hardest in recent memory (thanks to Covid).  And so he went with Surtain, generally considered one of the highest floor/safest picks in the draft.  And then you add in that our top two corners are both injury prone and in their last contract year, and we play in a division with Mahomes and Hebert, well...

Not saying I agree with the decision, just that I can see the logic.

And I question your assertion that the NFL is an efficient market, in the first round or otherwise. Half of 1st round picks bust or at least don't sign a second contract with their original team.  That's not efficient at all.  Its why almost everyone thinks more picks is better than higher picks.  More darts to throw and try to get lucky.

91 Efficient markets doesn't…

Efficient markets doesn't imply correct markets. It's a subtle distinction, but it implies that no one has an edge on predicting player outcomes over one another. Testing this is quite difficult but attempts at it(including my own work in grad school) seemed to confirm this. 

 

 

88 I seem to be in the minority…

I seem to be in the minority, but I'm glad the Broncos passed on Fields. Time may prove me wrong, but I don't see Fields as a long-term solution. He's got enough talent that he will probably enjoy some initial success, but I think that DCs around the league will have him figured out quickly. (I am not a scout, so this promise comes with a $0 money-back guarantee.)

In my ideal world, there would have been some serious OL talent available at 9, but the Surtain pick seems reasonable to me.

13 Every NFL team in the top…

Every NFL team in the top ten, hell-bent on not drafting Fields: I'm afraid I can't do that Dave.

Dave Bernreuther on the team that does what he wants them to do: "The Bears are where quarterbacks go to die." No wonder they don't listen to you Dave.

Just kidding, I'll probably wish the Jets had listened to you today three years from now when they're drafting a new QB.

55 I'm not even THAT high on…

I'm not even THAT high on Fields. I just think he was clearly better than Wilson and especially Jones, and more of a known quantity than Lance.

But that comment was more just based on the history of that organization. Not that the previous busts were as highly regarded as prospects as Fields is, but it's not exactly as if they have a sterling reputation for quarterback development.

14 I don't properly follow…

I don't properly follow college ball, but the consensus appears on the Chicago/Fields pick here appears to be very positive. I see plenty of criticism of Denver for passing him up, but none of the Giants. Daniel Jones has -600 DYAR through 2 seasons, and actually got worse in his sophomore season. That is a big problem.

16 I actually think it's a good…

I actually think it's a good place for him; Dalton is there, so you don't have to start him right away, and he does need to sit, as does Wilson, Lance and quite possibly Jones.  Nagy also made Trubisky look good... at times, and Trubisky only had one year of great play at the NCAA level, Fields has two.  Lawrence probably doesn't need to sit, I'm just thinking Baalke and Meyer are going to destroy everything there anyway.

19 I think it's really unlikely…

I think it's really unlikely that Fields or Wilson ends up sitting. I see them along with Lawrence as week 1 or at least first quarter of the season starters, especially with the trend of teams testing their rookie QBs earlier than they did 15-20 years ago. 

22 At least Fields has to beat…

At least Fields has to beat out Dalton and Foles.  Wilson is definitely starting, unless James Morgan or Mike White decide they're Brady 2.0.  In which case, I'm scouring the internet for some guy named Morpheus.

38 Dalton and Foles were among…

Dalton and Foles were among the very worst QBs in the league in 2020, so if Fields can't beat them out the moment he's given a fair chance to, he wasn't the right pick.

IMHO, given the huge advantage that comes from a good QB on a rookie contract, it is organizational malpractice to trade up in the first round to draft a guy and not have him starting by at least game 4 or 5 of the regular season. (I'd rather the Bears just name Fields the starter today and go through the offseason and training camp with that in mind, but the fact that they wasted money on Dalton and named him the starter means we'll need to go through all the BS about Fields earning the job, blah blah blah, that bad teams like to pull).

45 I think this is right. The…

I think this is right. The let the QB marinade and become great just doesn't hold up in the data as far as I can tell. Sure, there are some stories of it working. Mahomes, Rodgers, and Carson Palmer. There's also Wilson, Watson, and Peyton Manning

47  I have to go work, so I'll…

 I have to go work, so I'll be short, but the list also includes Sanchez and Geno Smith, one guy who Qbase thought would always be a bust and one guy Qbase thought was the equal of Rodgers.  How many have busted because they were thrown into the tiger pit right away?

66 I think the fact that 2/3 of…

I think the fact that 2/3 of the teams you mentioned with QBs that sat never had any intention of starting them that first year anyway. This feels more like Palmer's situation; Dalton vs. Kitna at this point is much closer than Dalton vs. Favre or Smith. The only thing that really concerns me about starting Fields from the jump is the fact that his processing was an issue that evaluators brought up consistently (though I think there's an argument to be made that scheme played into a lot of that) and that's a flaw that could eat him alive early on.

I still think there's no way Fields doesn't start from the beginning since (regardless of what Ted Phillips and the McCaskeys say) Pace is getting fired if the Bears don't at least make the playoffs, and that's a very dicey proposition with Dalton behind center.

46 Don't agree with this take. …

Don't agree with this take.  The Bills didn't start Josh Allen right away, they gave it to Peterman (and yes, that game was a disaster), but the long game with Allen worked.  Don't throw too much on his plate right away, and let him grow without getting a lot of bad habits from terrible game situations.  I'd rather waste a few games in Fields' or Wilson's career than ruin their entire career.  Seriously, Russell Wilson has spoiled everyone.

17 I think the argument would…

I think the argument would be that Jones has a terrible situation and wasn't as horrible as his overall metrics would indicate. When I've watched him, he has a lot of jameis Winston in him and like Josh Allen you just wonder if you can coax enough of the good and eliminate enough of the bad to turn him from a bad player to a really good one. 

24 I guess Josh Allen will…

I guess Josh Allen will remain the poster boy for '3rd year QB leaps' forever more, and justify various GMs kicking the can down the street. Scratch beneath the surface though and you see that Allen actually improved significantly as a passer in his second season. The improvement was from 'downright awful' to 'replacement level', but it was significant nonetheless.  

Jones has displayed no such progress. I'd also dispute that his situation has been terrible. Not great, clearly, but not terrible. Somebody more dedicated than me could compile the list of QBs who posted negative DYAR in both their first two seasons, actually got worse in year 2, and went on to have a solid/good career. I'm betting its not a long list. They should be looking elsewhere.

62 Starting with the obvious

The Giants can at least say they got a haul in return instead of just one guy.

But the Giants obviously feel he has a higher ceiling hence why they drafted him at 6 and Lock went in the 2nd (55?). Giants couldn't even wait til 17 that year (OBJ trade) so they are clearly really high on him and very invested to making him a thing. 

Now they probably shouldn't be but Denver only has 2 more years of Lock and was picking 2 spots higher despite being Lock led instead of Jones (who has 2+1). I think they deserve more criticism than the Giants. Even if the criticism for the Giants is lacking. 

Denver and Carolina deserve about the same amount of criticism...but that's what happens when they trade for middling QBs! They get stupid! That's why I didn't like those two trades for them. They were pointless AND it caused them to overthink (both separate points that turn into a disaster waiting to happen). 

20 I have to be honest I didn't…

I have to be honest I didn't like the drafting of Pitts either.

When it comes to Tight Ends, it feels like there are three classes of players. Difference makers, complementary weapons, and just another guy.

And the difference in magnitude of value is enormous between the difference makers and the rest, with a club of just 2 currently. And Tight ends are one of those positions that appears uncorrelated with draft slot.

I mean how many first round tight ends can we think of that ended up becoming difference makers. I can think of zero after Gonzo and that was eons ago. That's why the bar is so enormous to justify drafting Pitts where he is

26 I'm constantly mystified how…

I'm constantly mystified how George Kittle can have been a 5th round pick. It's not like he's some scrappy dude who gets by on his smarts; he's physically dominant. Was he just being chronically misused in college? Is it just that difficult to scout TEs?

28 Well let's turn it around…

Well let's turn it around and ask why haven't the athletic marvels who have been drafted as first rounders failed to pan out. The list is sooo long.

I think being a great tight end is about knowing how to use your athleticism and football iq. That appears to be something you cannot scout for.

Seeing Julius Thomas go from all pro to out of the league is a nice bit of anecdotal evidence. If he has someone who can tell him the coverage he's going to get in real time and tell him where he should run his route, he's an awesome tight end.

35 Partly it was the offense he…

Kittle lasted until the fifth partly because of the offense he played in college.  Iowa was very run-heavy, and throwing to him was C. J. Beathard, who can make any receiver look bad.

Partly it was that Kittle was physically a late-bloomer.  For most of his college career he was another scrawny guy who got by on massive work ethic.  Then...he grew into his adult body just in time for his senior year, but who was looking at him?  Even his own team hardly noticed what they had.  The 49ers only picked him because they were heavily scouting Beathard (one of Kyle's more bewildering draft crushes) and thought they were drafting a good blocking TE with the speed to suit their outside zone running game. 

Instead...CHA-CHING!

111 Pitts was so good, though,…

Pitts was so good, though, that even a guy like me who doesn't scout college players was watching slack-jawed. He's so good thoughts of the Hall of Fame sprout unbidden in your head. If you don't want a guy like that then watching tape is meaningless, just burn it and pick names out of a hat.

120 I agree.  A guy like Pitts…

I agree.  A guy like Pitts is well worth a top 5 pick.  Normally you're reserve those picks for high impact positions, but in this case you're getting a guy who could potentially be so much better than replacement level at his position, that it's worth the pick, in my opinion.

33 The bottom line for me on…

The bottom line for me on Fields is that I was never going to be happy to see the Bears take a big swing in 2021 because I don't think Pace/Nagy are the right GM/coach to lead the team to real championship contention. (I define that as being one of the top 4-6 teams in the league; making the playoffs is not nearly enough, but it's also not a requirement to actually win Super Bowls because of the randomness involved in achieving that). I think trying to predict which QB is going to succeed and to what extent is really tough even for the experts, and I am far from that, so this isn't about Fields as a prospect.

Being kept around and allowed to trade up to pick Fields would seem to indicate that Pace and Nagy have a ton of job security. I don't like that because I think whatever potential Fields has, Pace will fail to put the right players around him to maximize it and Nagy will fail to coach him in a way to maximize it. I think Pace's 7 year body of work as GM and Nagy's complete failure to run a decent offense with Trubisky or Foles (yes, I understand they're not good QBs, but I don't accept the excuse that a supposedly good offensive mind can't make a bad QB look decent) are evidence to support this conclusion.

So that leaves me seeing the following possibilities for the next 5 years:
1. Fields turns out to be a transcendently great player who can obscure the flaws in the rest of the team, and the Bears are championship contenders. Obviously, that's a great outcome.
2. Fields turns out to be Trubisky 2.0 and after the 2023 or 2024 season, everyone gets fired. That's a disaster, and then four or five years from now all the fans are still sitting here hoping for a good QB. (2a, Fields is a historic bust and that moves the timeline up a year, but that would be more surprising. Also, for all of the flaws the McCaskeys have as owners, they are not historically impatient so I don't see a scenario where they give up on Fields and burn it all down after only 1 or 2 years, unless Fields is Johnny Manziel 2.0 or something).
3. This is the one that worries me most. Fields turns out to be a good, not great QB. The best the Bears have ever had, but no better than 10th in the league. A guy who can drag the 2021-2024 Bears to 7-10 wins every year despite their salary cap situation and their aging, declining defense. A guy who they'll have to pay $40M+/year on his second contract, because you can't just let a good starter walk away even if he's no Mahomes, Wilson, or Rodgers. And a guy who will keep Pace and Nagy safe, because he's good enough that the Bears will never be embarrassingly bad even if they're never one of the top 4-6 teams in the league. The best outcome of this scenario is that the Bears get lucky one year and ride a hot month into the Super Bowl. The worst outcome is that instead of fumbling around for a decade with a good to great defense and no QB, they fumble around for a decade and waste the best QB they've ever had.

Also, it amazes me how many Chicago people - fans and media - are saying that they've never been remotely this excited about a Bears draft pick. I remember an awful lot of people who were excited about Trubisky in 2017 for a lot of the same reasons they're excited about Fields - sure, we don't know how good he's going to be, but they finally drafted a franchise QB! They finally took a big swing instead of trying to go with a guy whose ceiling is mediocrity! Again, this is not about Fields as a player or as a prospect. I realize he has a pedigree of experience and winning in college that is the opposite of what Trubisky came in with. It's just funny to me how many people seem to remember the entire Trubisky era through the lens of 2019-2020, and not how many people were really excited about him when he was drafted.

37 What about him?

McMahon was quite a high pick, wasn't he? How does he not qualify as an attempt at a franchise QB? His in retrospect FO prospect rating that low??

44 At this point, anyone under…

In reply to by BigRichie

At this point, anyone under 50 or so wouldn't remember how they felt when McMahon was drafted, so I don't think it's an anti-McMahon position as much as a lot of people not being from that era. 

51 I will say that the cost to…

In reply to by bravehoptoad

I will say that the cost to trade up from 20 to get Fields turned out to be much less than I would have thought, so that helps. Obviously if he turns out to be that great QB they're hoping for, using two first round picks on him will have been worth it.

40 Scenario 3 is exactly the…

Scenario 3 is exactly the scenario I have been pondering for a while now. Are teams ok to be in scenario 3? It seems to me the best outcome for scenario 3 is you get a short window as a contender before things get prohibitively expensive. The worst outcome is you are the lions who manage to squander a good qb for years and never went beyond wildcard fodder. 

In a way, the Bears lived scenario 3 with Lovie and fired him for that reason. That decision looks awful in hindsight, but there was merit to it at the time. 

I have maintained, you draft a qb and hope he's tier 2 and above. If he's not, I think you ride out his rookie contract and if you cant get him for a palatable figure(25 million say in todays dollars), you try your hand again. It sucks but that to me is the optimal strategy. 

52 In a way, the Bears lived…

In a way, the Bears lived scenario 3 with Lovie and fired him for that reason.

Uh. What? Did I miss something? When did the Bears ever look like a team with a window of contention under Lovie? Yeah, they had a fair number of successful seasons but it was pretty obvious to anyone that those were dumb luck. You're talking about a stretch with 3 playoff wins in nine years.

If he's not, I think you ride out his rookie contract and if you cant get him for a palatable figure(25 million say in todays dollars),

Meh. With a mid-level QB you just make sure to structure the contract so you can back-load things hard, then move on and eat the cost with a trash year or two. It's not like you can avoid the trash years anyway. And of course structure it so you can trade the guy, but that's pretty much universal now anyway.

The QB alone isn't enough to cause a team problems financially. A mid-level QB just means the team has less margin for other mistakes. Mayfield pulling $30M+/yr in cap is easily handled by the Browns for instance, but Garrett at $30M complicates things, and if Beckham continues to underperform that's a lot of wasted space.

The teams that were really strapped due to mediocre QBs (oh, gee, let's see... Philly) are there because of lots of mistakes like that. 

53 They made it to a SB and had…

They made it to a SB and had the NFC title game at home against a loaded Packers team. That's a better showing than the Chargers ever had with Philip Rivers. That's better than the Panthers with Cam Newton, better than the Cowboys with Romo, and arguably, on par if not better than the Falcons with Matt Ryan. 

I think flukey describes the Coughlin/Eli Giants more than the Lovie Smith Bears

59 " That's a better showing…

" That's a better showing than the Chargers ever had with Philip Rivers. "

It's almost like there's a difference between the AFC and the NFC. Can't quite put my finger on it, though...

"I think flukey describes the Coughlin/Eli Giants more than the Lovie Smith Bears"

I think my head just exploded. Giants from 05-12 were consistently average/above-average teams: no losing seasons, no seasons with negative DVOA, consistently positive offensive DVOA. The Bears... weren't. I literally have no idea how anyone could look at the '06 or '07 Bears and not call them fluky. The '06 Bears offensive strategy was "chuck it up and pray." The '07 Bears were actually solidly outscored in regular play (pass/rush TDs + FGs, 249 pts to 291, a -42 point differential) - but, y'know... Devin Hester.

I mean, yes, the Giants wins in 07 and 11 were surprising at the time - and then they followed both wins up with significantly better years the next year. In other words, the playoffs weren't the fluke, the prior regular seasons were the fluke. Whereas with the Bears, in their "successful" years, their follow-up years were garbage.

Of course, I could've also just said "Giants won with good offense and occasionally great defense, Bears won with occasionally great defense and occasionally great special teams" and that automatically tells you which one's less fluky.

61 We seem to be having…

We seem to be having different defintions of scenario 3. I was arguing that because they achieved high seeds and made it to the SB. It was a reflection of the actual results, not what DVOA was showing. 

And I said the giants runs are flukey because they did them as a wildcard and a 4th seed in a weak NFC east. If they lose in the playoffs, no one remembers the Giants whatsoever. 

Sure, over their run they did better in DVOA than the Bears, but that's because the Bears had a routinely terrible offense. In that respect, its even more impressive that the Bears achieved what they did; unless you take the view that Lovie had a hand in making the offense awful.

As an aside, I don't really buy the fact that because they improved the next year, therefore the postseason was somehow a true reflection of the team and the regular season was a fluke. 16 games of flukes vs 4 games of reality? And the year to year correlation between team's is super weak so how much are you actually trying to draw from it?( I should add, there's autocorrelation bias baked into those regressions and you still get a weak result). 

67 " First of all, the year to…

" First of all, the year to year correlation between teams is weak "

Obviously -  because bad teams don't exactly like to stay bad! Year-to-year correlation between offenses is pretty high, and guess what happened to the Giants offense at the end of 2007? Their DVOA was declining throughout the year, then jumped to about ~20% at the end, and next year? 20% - top in the league. The entire FO SB XLII preview was "Eli seems to have improved a ton starting with week 17: is Eli Manning's improvement real?" And golly gee, 2008 had Eli performing at about that same level.

Let me put it this way: Manning in 2007 had -190 DYAR. Basically bottom 5 in the league. Absolutely terrible. That is not a QB you can win a Super Bowl with outside of a massive defensive fluke. But come week 17, he started playing like a top-half QB. Which is exactly why everyone thought it was fluky

Eli DYAR after 2007: 840 (8), 975 (10), 545 (15), 1110 (8). The 2007 regular season was the fluke, not the playoffs. And that's a tier 3 QB.

(The 2011 win wasn't particularly fluky at all - while 13-3 vs 9-7 looks like a mismatch, the Patriots had a way easier schedule. Those teams were close enough that the Giants winning was totally a reasonable outcome.)  

"Ultimately, I think once you consider the QB situation, Lovie did as well as could be expected"

Yes, but Lovie's teams never even had a tier 3 QB until the very end, and once he did get one it was obvious that he was the drag on the team's offense, not the QB. Cutler's performance tanked under Smith, and rebounded pretty strongly under Trestman.

68 I think you definitely have…

I think you definitely have to place some of the blame on Lovie for how consistently bad the Bears offense was during his tenure, but Cutler was plenty responsible himself. It's not like he played that well under Trestman - Josh McCown significantly out-performed him in 2013, and Cutler sucked in 2014. Cutler's two best seasons in Chicago were actually 2011 (Bears were well on track for a playoff berth before he got hurt) and then in 2015 under offensive genius Adam Gase.

I think Lovie's Bears in the end are more of a testament to how difficult it is to build a team to consistently contend through defense. They had two short windows of contention ('05-'06 and '10-'12), but they couldn't give themselves enough opportunities to break through without more consistent QB play or a better offense in general.

81 I think Lovie has to be…

I think Lovie has to be dinged more for the fact that his teams never put together a good offense. Whereas Payton's Saints have had multiple stints where they were bad (or worse) on defense, but they've managed to fix them and I think he/they deserve credit for that, too.

89 See... I look at the two…

See... I look at the two situations and I think they are more similar than you realize. The fact that Payton coud oversee two versions of defenses tells me its less about him and more about how well they drafted. 

This question fundamentally comes down to - is Lovie inherently going to make his offense worse or did he just get unlucky? I think he just got unlucky. If he wasnt a defensive wunderkind, he would have been fired in 3-4 years like so many other defensive coaches have been. 

90 Lovie's best offense by DVOA…

Lovie's best offense by DVOA was the Rex Grossman Experience, 2006, at -4.6%, 18th in the league. He literally never had an offense that wasn't bad

Payton's defenses have on average been bad, but he had multiple above-average defenses, including the year they won the Super Bowl. Totally different situation.

83 By DVOA Cutler's worst two…

By DVOA Cutler's worst two seasons were 11 and 12. ANY/A has 11 as pretty good, but he's boosted by opponent adjustments (likewise 14 is depressed by that). Similarly QBR has Cutler's highest point actually being 13, believe it or not. To me there was a pretty significant jump in Cutler's performance (and the offense in general, obviously) once Lovie left. Now, obviously, the defense was a different story.

 

I think Lovie's Bears in the end are more of a testament to how difficult it is to build a team to consistently contend through defense. They had two short windows of contention ('05-'06 and '10-'12)

I just don't see those windows as real. The '05 Bears were a massive paper tiger. 3rd easiest schedule in the league. Divisional opponents were ranked 21, 23, and 26. Best regular season win they had was Carolina, who beat them in the playoffs. (Full disclosure, the '05 Bears were heavily defended by FO commenters then, so I do have a negative opinion of them). And again you kinda just have to gloss over 2011 to create a "10-12 window". Yes, the Giants also had 8-8 years in their stretch, but, I mean, the Giants going 8-8 in '06 in a tight division with 3 playoff teams is way different than the Bears getting curb-stomped by the Packers in 2011.

'06 and '10 were just weird. I don't know how else to describe '06 with the Bears chucking the ball randomly for half a year before other teams "played... to win... the game" and then suddenly the Bears have to kick like 4 field goals to win. And Devin Hester. My God, Devin Hester. And then '10 has the Bears get a first-round bye at 11-5 (geez) basically because Rodgers got his head smacked randomly against the Lions.

The Steelers and Ravens (the Harbaugh ones, not the Billick ones) have done fine winning primarily through defense, because their offenses haven't been hot garbage. This is why I'm saying I don't feel like those windows were real - the only time they managed to have enough of an offense that wouldn't actively lose the game for them was 2006, and again, Rex Grossman.

99 Only because I really enjoy…

Only because I really enjoy hating on Cutler, I just want to make sure to point out that 2009 was far and away his worst season by just about every metric, including DVOA. I was a Packers fan in Illinois amongst fans who entered that season with a lot of optimism - it was a fun year :)

Good point about his 2011 DVOA - I was just looking at ANY/A+. The 2011 Bears were a good team, though. At the point they lost Cutler, they were 7-3 with all 3 losses to eventual playoff teams, and they were looking at a pretty easy schedule down the stretch. Like I said, I'm a Cutler hater, but I've at least got to nod to the fact that without him they lost 10-3 to the Tyler Palko Chiefs and 13-10 in one of the Tebowmania games. I guess they would have been a wild card team either way thanks to the Packers, but they were probably about on par with the 49ers and Giants that year, the two teams who met in the conference championship. By 2012 at least I suppose it was clear that without any further improvement from the offense, their window was closed.

The '05-'06 Bears won some fluky games, but the strengths of their defense and special teams were very real. Hester and the ST even won them some fluky games in '07, but the window closed on them because their defense regressed to basically league average.

134 Fair point that I might be…

Fair point that I might be underrating the 2011 Bears - I forgot when Cutler got hurt, and DVOA had them at #6 at that point.

I still wouldn't have called them a contender that year: their strongest component at that point by DVOA was special teams (best ever through 11 weeks!), and any Bayesian estimate of their true strength would've pulled them way down - it was far more likely that their special teams was a fluctuation, and it's "truly" lower than that. And it did pull down by the end of the year, although nowhere near what their offensive drop was.

And, of course, even at #6, they were still well behind Green Bay. But in some weird alternate universe where, I dunno, Cutler doesn't get hurt but Rodgers does... nah, I still would've picked San Francisco. 

113 As a Jets fan, I'm going to…

As a Jets fan, I'm going to have to chime in on this, the idea that the Eli RINGZ years were not flukes.  I agree 2007 wasn't, they were great in 2008.  Not so much in 2009 and 2010 though.  At this point they seem like the Ravens with Flacco, but not as consistent.  2011 was a ridiculous fluky win for them; they needed miracles in several straight games just to get to the playoffs.  They needed a short pass on third down to turn into a 90 something yard touchdown on a play where Revis isn't on the field for some reason against the Jets; they needed one of Dallas' star receivers to miss a deep ball in the lights in the stadium as the Cowboys were trying to come back; they needed the Packers' #1 offense to drop 16 something passes and a end of half Hail Mary; they needed the 49ers to forget how to field a punt in the NFC Championship game; and then they needed another miracle catch to start the comeback against the Gronkless Patriots.  They didn't need any luck against Atlanta; they had home field against them.  The 2011 Giants are the only team to win a Super Bowl while being outscored during the regular season.  They then proceeded to prove all the doubters like me wrong by going... 9-7 the next year and missing the playoffs.

Sorry if I seem to be venting. Because I am, as an angry Jets fan.  My frustration with the Patriots makes sense, but has limits because the Patriots have been very well run the last twenty years.  They deserve their rings.  You won't be able to convince me the Giants deserve theirs.

116 Yeah, I think the idea of …

Yeah, I think the idea of "fluke" has just deviated from what I originally was saying. What I'm saying is that had the Bears actually won a Super Bowl in '06, that would've been way more of a fluke than the Giants wins were. Not that the Giants were "destined" or anything - dear God no. Both of those were still lucky wins, they were absolutely the underdogs in both games.

The '07 Giants win only looked like a super-fluke because 1) the Patriots were wacko good and 2) the Giants offensive improvement was so sudden that it seemed like it couldn't be real. Knowing that it was real and that the Patriots offense probably wasn't quite as good as it appeared makes that win not look quite so crazy.

What's funny is that at the time the Bears winning in 06 wouldn't've been considered much of a fluke, but hindsight knowing that, well, Grossman was awful kinda changes that.

119 It's interesting how the…

It's interesting how the Giants offense performed both in the regular season and in the playoffs. There appears to be no trend at all. If anything, their highest scoring outputs occurred early in the year and tailed off dramatically in the middle. The last two games in the regular season it was back to being good before again dipping back.

The defense was similarly all over the place.

I just think this is all after the fact rationalizing. Lots of teams have profiled like the Giants in the regular season and either didn't make the playoffs or lost well short of the SB. And we don't remember them. I don't think this giants team was any different other than probability went in their favor over that stretch. 

As for the Bears. Look of course when your offense is abjectly terrible, it's going to depress your DVOA and make you look like a fluke. So one way to read into that is to proclaim their high seeds and SB appearance as completely flukey. Or, you can reason that Lovie did an amazing job everywhere else to mitigate his offense as best he could. And that being able to survive awful performances from his offense took skill and coaching and it's much easier to imagine Grossman winning playoff games when he's at home with a great defense and special teams than on the road.

And if this had been one season? Fine totally agree it was a fluke. But he managed to do it multiple times and was also keeping the Bears competitive even during the down years. That's why he is a scenario 3 coach. 

 

121 Go look up the SB XLII FO…

Go look up the SB XLII FO preview and take a look at NYG's offensive trend. Average the last few data points. Compare to 2008. Virtually identical.

I have no idea how you can say Lovie Smith's offense is "tier 3." If it's tier 3 then like, the Colts/07 Pats/Green Bay were "tier 0." Smith never had a QB that I would say was "tier 3" until the very end with Cutler.

I'm not saying Smith didn't do a good job coaching. I think he did, although his drag on offenses just makes him not worth it. And if we're going to talk about rationalizing, I don't know how you don't recognize that saying 9 straight years of below-average offenses is 'bad luck' is just a bit unlikely.

And again, just to be clear: all I'm saying is there's no way that you can look at Eli's 7 year stretch with the Giants and somehow say that wasn't a better stretch than Lovie's stretch with the Bears. No way. SRS for instance has Eli's stretch at +3.7, and Lovie's stretch (05-12, actually same period for both) at +2.7. The Giants were absolutely a more consistently good team than the Bears. They actually had a tier 3 QB. The Bears didn't have anything close.

126 And if Neal doesn't get hurt…

And if Neal doesn't get hurt in the Super Bowl, all the weird stuff on the Giants last possession probably doesn't matter, because the Pats woulda' been up two scores. Always a mistake to attribute much meaning to either a w or l in a close game, other than as an avenue for examining late game strategy.

 

74 I can totally understand…

I can totally understand your hesitation around the fact that Pace and Nagy are still in charge, but I can also see why a lot of Bears fans are excited. I know it's right on the heels of the Trubisky experience, but it really is pretty rare to have the opportunity to bring in a top-of-the-1st round QB, especially one talented as Fields and especially considering they came into the night at #20 and didn't have to bet the farm the way San Francisco did.

I think about the Colts in comparison. I really like Chris Ballard and Frank Reich and they seem to be doing a lot of things "the right way," but since Luck retired they've gone the aging mercenary route with Rivers and now the reclamation project route with Wentz. And as long as this iteration of the Colts remains a competently-run franchise, they'll probably never have an opportunity to grab a Fields-level talent without paying a SF-level premium. And ultimately I fear they're also going to be stuck floating between 7-9 and 11-5 (er, 8-9 and 11-6?)

80 On the other hand, you can…

On the other hand, you can flip your logic on its head, and take courage!  All it takes to grab a Fields-level talent is to pay an SF-level premium! 

Any team with desire can pay that. 

106 I do wonder if the Colts…

I do wonder if the Colts thought about something like this before they pulled the trigger on Wentz. They've had so much cap flexibility relative to the rest of the league that they were probably as well-positioned as anyone to forego their next two first round picks.

34 You want weird?! Let me show you weird!

Scott, you can run that by colleague Mike Tanier. Yes, Rodgers is that weird. All that and more so. And beyond. Then beyonder.

You cannot keep a guy like Rodgers happy. Heck, make that tolerable. So you just put up with it till he entirely forces it, then get as much as you can in exchange. If this is that point, time to see which GM you can extort what out of. If every last one plays hardball, you just put up with a grumpy Rodgers for the umpteenth+1 season in a row. I mean, every one knows the drill by now.

57 yes, actually

Pretty much so. Those first years we all blamed it on a grumpy Favre, and goodness knows he deserved it. Even in the (relatively) tranquil years, Rodgers would never, ever let McCarthy forget that he chose Alex Smith over him back with the 49ers. That was the sign that was understandably missed; even when everything around him is going right, Rodgers still found a itch he just couldn't stop scratching. Then Greg Jennings dumped on Rodgers on his way out after the '12 season, saying Favre had been a much better teammate. That's what first startled me, you just don't see players do that.

Everything since then, well ... that's all pretty well known.

60 Extremely one sided

In reply to by BigRichie

Yet many teammates like Davante, former teammates like HHCD, etc stick up for him when Jennings and Finley start talking trash.

And despite all this they continued to re-sign him and keep him on the roster. You'd think they'd take #3, Jimmy G, multiple other picks and multiple other players if he was so bad. And besides what's he won in the last decade? Seems like a perfect time unless they want to be the ones to call others and lower his trade value even more...for whatever reason.

65 It's still mystifying to me…

In reply to by BigRichie

It's still mystifying to me that the Packers looked around for a new HC and said, "I know!  Let's hire the OC from a 4-12 San Francisco squad!" 

Maybe McCarthy knew this was going to happen and influenced Nolan to pick Smith so that Rodgers would fall to the team he knew would hire him as head coach!  Mwahahaha!

72 I know it ended poorly, but…

I know it ended poorly, but as odd as it was bringing him in from an awful SF team, McCarthy was a successful hire. Especially in the first half of his tenure in GB, he was much more creative with formations and personnel and he was ahead of the curve embracing things like operating out of shotgun. Eventually though the rest of the league caught up on those types of things, and if anything his offense devolved into something that was more simple and predictable.

87 I know the final two choices…

I know the final two choices were Sean Payton and McCarthy and Andrew Brandt has gone on record saying they took McCarthy mostly because of his stint with the team in 99.

I do agree that he was not a bad hire. He was innovative, he did a good job with the tools given early on. He revitalized Favre, and he helped oversee the complete overhaul of Rodgers mechanics (you can see the changes in the 05 to 06 to 07 preseason games). The offense kept evolving till about 2012. By 2015 it was pretty clear that he was no longer really interested in improving things and started to fall into "my system works, you guys just have to execute it". He also was a bit too loyal to his coaching staff, trying to keep people around. There is merit in that, but everything in moderation. Capers should have been gone YEARS before they finally got rid of him. But Capers had the same problem as McCarthy at that stage. Damn the players I actually have, the system works, they just have to execute it!

You can win Super Bowls with coaches like that. Sticking to what you do and out executing your competition. It can work great. But it requires a front office that gets you the players that can execute the system. Thompson was draft, develop, resign. So when a draft pick missed there was no FA stop gap till the next draft for that position. Pair that with a coach who no longer really innovates and cracks start to show. The HoF QB and the system were good enough to cover those and success was still had, SB was still a viable outcome. But to tie into other posts in these draft day discussions, it lead to the front office and the coaching staff being overrated. They weren't bad, but they could have been better, and most observers could see exactly where they could have been better.

I still question a lot of what the new FO and CS are doing and it's still early, but I do see signs that things are more flexible. LeFleur certainly has a system. But I do see the week to week game plan adjusting fairly fluidly around what players are a available. It's also a system that appears to not require as much specific talent to succeed. Capers needed some specific things for his defense. McCarthy needed at least one receiver that could stretch the field and at least one that could win inside (be that TE or slot receiver). It didn't need offensive lineman that had to always win with just the five. The scheme had plenty of options to help a lineman, but at the end of his career he never would help a lineman that was having issues. So it felt like it needed that. Though maybe that was a symptom of no longer having a receiver who could attack the linebackers and also having a receiver that could stretch the field so he was trying to cover for that. LeFleur doesn't seem to have those same hard requirements. No idea what Barry will do with the D, but Pettine, while he had his issues also did seem to at least try to mold the defense around the players he had. Questionable choices on how to do that (why are you dropping Preston Smith into coverage so much!?) but at least the effort was there.

The Rodgers situation was always going to be messy and full of drama. I'm not sure what is playing out is all that bad, even thinking about the worst outcomes based on current trajectory I don't think it's that bad. The media will have a massively good time with it for months. It was always going to be ugly though. Rodgers, Gutekunst, and Murphy's personalities ensured that. Oddly I feel like LeFleur is going to come out fairly clean from all this.

105 Agree with a lot of what you…

Agree with a lot of what you wrote here. One other thing related to your point about being 'too loyal' to his coaching staff is that even after McCarthy finally started trying to do a few new things on offense at the end, he never brought in anyone from outside of his circle or system. He fired his offensive coordinator a couple of times, but only for in-house promotions or retreads like Joe Philbin. To last 10+ years in the same job, I think you either need to be uniquely innovative or adaptive or willing to bring outside voices into your coaching staff.

It's funny you mention LaFleur potentially coming out clean from all this drama. One of the many rumors flying around last night was that LaFleur wasn't informed ahead of time that the Packers were going to pick Love. I can't believe that's true for a second, but it sure sounds like that's how he's trying to position himself!

64 So the trade ups for QBs

Are as follows

Lance for: Micah Parsons, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2022 3rd round pick and a 2023 1st round pick

Fields for: Kadrius Toney, a 2021 5th round pick (164th overall), a 2022 1st round pick and a 2022 4th round pick

Wow. I dont really think Lances upside is really that much more than Fields either.

71 At least Lance going 3 over…

At least Lance going 3 over Mac Jones blew up the 'peOpLe DoNt LikE fiEldS' because of 'iNtaNgiBLeS [wink]' nonsense that was going around by people who should know better, including Tanier.

Maybe GMs/Scouts correctly decided he wasn't worth the risk of a top 10 pick, esp when teams like Cinci and CAR and ATL and DEN already had QBs. Maybe it's true he doesn't work hard and leaves early, I don't know but they certainly should.

And gosh, he fell all the way to 11! [clutches pearls, thinkofthechildren.gif]

78 This ain't it

Wilson still went 2nd behind Lawrence of course and, Fields went 11th despite multiple teams that shouldve selected him including CAR (LOL you're really letting Darnold stop you, ATL (old less effective Ryan home state would rather make a TE the highest ever) and DEN (you're putting hope in Lock? lol)

You really out here spreading that stereotypical lazy narrative when he WAS THE MAIN REASON CFB STARTED LAST YEAR. Holy cow. Yall really don't even see your own bias.

 

125 Yours is the incredibly lazy narrative

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Jets took Wilson because they think he's a better QB prospect. So did most other teams. So did virtually every draftnik. Scouts were raving at his pro day. I'm surprised DEN took a CB over a QB but that had nothing to do with race, either. They just signed a black QB to be their starter ffs.

Saying NYJ took Wilson merely because he's white is an incredibly lazy and racist take. But I guess the ignorati gotta believe some dumbass conspiracy theory.

Murray just went #1 overall and if Trevor was black, or brown, or red, or green he'd have still gone #1 overall - anyone who thinks differently is high or trying to sell you something.

For every Lamar who fell on draft day there's an Aaron Rodgers similarly dropping 20+ slots. And many Akili Smiths and Andre Ware's who were way overdrafted due to their physical gifts.

127 It's like you refuse to read the room.

And strawman yourself.

It's clear you don't know or care for nuance in this discussion if you don't think the sudden rise of Wilson isn't due in PART due to his race influencing the way they perceive prospects (or why no one talks of Trevors flaws). Ignoring how Murrays class was considered bad when he and Haskins were the top prospects (and then Jones taking a giant leap because he worked with a Manning trainer). 

The fact that you give ANY credence to the actual lazy narrative of "Maybe it's true he doesn't work hard and leaves early, I don't know but they certainly should." says all I need to know when the dude took an absolute shot vs Clemson and remained in the game despite clearly not being 100%. 

The fact that you refuse to accept such a thing is possible (like it's never been a problem in this country) is, not surprising, but entirely why progress can't be made when all you do is spout unsupported anecdotes (with such force too) instead of listening to real world views that you can't see yourself

147 "Ignoring how Murrays class…

"Ignoring how Murrays class was considered bad when he and Haskins were the top prospects (and then Jones taking a giant leap because he worked with a Manning trainer). "

Uhhhhhhhhh. Do I need to tell him that Haskins was a huge bust? Do I need to tell him that Jones is headed to Bustville himself? 

Look, I really hate to have to talk down to people online, but the Murray class WAS bad. It is objectively true. Murray himself has potential, but isn't anything special. Jones is mediocre at best, and Haskins is an absolute joke, and I said as much before he was drafted and then flamed out of the league. 

"The fact that you give ANY credence to the actual lazy narrative of "Maybe it's true he doesn't work hard and leaves early, I don't know but they certainly should." says all I need to know when the dude took an absolute shot vs Clemson and remained in the game despite clearly not being 100%. "

Wow, it's almost like taking a hard shot and putting in hours and hours of extra work are two different things. It's almost like that, because it is that.

"It's clear you don't know or care for nuance in this discussion if you don't think the sudden rise of Wilson isn't due in PART due to his race influencing the way they perceive prospects (or why no one talks of Trevors flaws).

The fact that you refuse to accept such a thing is possible (like it's never been a problem in this country) is, not surprising, but entirely why progress can't be made when all you do is spout unsupported anecdotes (with such force too) instead of listening to real world views that you can't see yourself. "

LMAO. Why does it feel like I'm talking to Corporate HR?

148 What a coincidence

So was 2017 with Watson and Mahomes. Whoops Trubisky went first. 

Oh and you missed when I already mentioned "HE'S THE ONE THAT BROUGHT CFB BACK." Yall hanging on that clear stereotype is a baaaaaad look. 

You have a problem talking to HR? You have a problem talking about human problems that the NFL isn't exempt from?

131 The sudden rise in Wilson's…

In reply to by theslothook

The sudden rise in Wilson's stock is due to his last season of play.  He didn't have a bad game the entire year (people talk about losing to Coastal Carolina without watching the tape from that game); Fields had rough games against Indiana and Northwestern.  Granted, those two teams were in the top ten of defensive efficiency, and Coastal Carolina was only 16th, but the footage from the Indiana game is not good.  You have to go back to 2019 to find something like that in Wilson's game footage.

That said, attributing the Jets passing on Fields to racism when they hired a African-American head coach who is also the first Muslim head coach in league history is a little much.  Attributing the Niners passing on Fields due to racism when they drafted an African-American quarterback is absurd.  Those two teams passed on Fields because they thought Wilson and Lance were better prospects, that's all.

If you want to talk about the rumors before the draft being about racism, I'll agree with you up to a point.  However, I think most of that was one team or another trying to get Fields to fall down the board.  The thing is, it was tried with Wilson as well.  Walter Football quoted an anonymous NFL source claiming Wilson didn't work hard, was a terrible leader and was privileged coming from a wealthy family.  The entire BYU staff and football team shot this down immediately, and no one heard anything about it from then on.  I bet it was the same team that spread the rumors about Fields.  Here's hoping it wasn't Chicago and karma was served.

As a Jets fan, I'm still hoping Fields, Wilson and Lance do great in their respective spots.  I'm not going to root for Jones no matter what.  I'm also thinking Lawrence is the one most likely to bust because of where he went; Jacksonville is going to be a disaster.  Hiring a coach with no NFL experience what so ever had only worked out once, and both Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman had a really rough first year.  I don't hate Lawrence, but he's going to have to succeed in spite of that front office.

136 I've heard slow processing…

I've heard slow processing to describe Tebow. And Manziel. I can see where the racist undertones are coming from, but to me, if you are going to claim racism, it helps to be academic about it and at least consider what other factors are in play. Charles Barkley said as much multiple times; when he correctly noted that calling everything racist is lazy witchhunting and takes away from serious discord. It becomes like the boy who cried wolf. 

Who knows why Fields really fell. He's not the first Qb to fall dramatically and this certainly isn't exclusive to black Qbs. He's also not the first to be called lazy either. I heard the same rumors about Big Ben. And to some extent, those rumors turned out to be true as he himself admitted. Ditto for Vick who admitted as much that he didn't take the playbook seriously. That's not because Vick is black, that's because Vick was Vick back when he was a 20 year old kid. 

 

 

137 Being a minority doesnt dissolve conceptions

Saleh is still subjugated to the same stereotypes. He's influenced the same way white coaches are (and his mostly white staff that do a lot of work for him, including his white OC, which his own background is in defense, so he's likely leaning on them a lot). Just because he's a minority doesn't mean he isn't pressured or affected to go one way or another, especially on something that isn't his specialty.

OSU and Ryan Day shot down the same rumors and yet it still got a lot more air time.

And going back to 2019, when he actually faced a P5 team, is pretty big (Washington and Utah weren't...the best). Meanwhile when you go back to Fields 2019 and it's excellent. Oh and you see him dominate Northwestern and Indiana there too lol but hyperfocus on those two games you miss him absolutely thrash Clemson. 

"But that’s the thing about bias: It influences a person’s belief system. Nobody is saying these talent evaluators intentionally give Black quarterbacks lower marks simply because of their skin color. Their bias influences evaluations in a way they may not be able to perceive. And the only way to address the problem is by recognizing it."

138 He also threw a foolish pick…

He also threw a foolish pick in that Clemson game... which is really rare for him.  The thing about Fields is that he rarely puts the ball or his receivers in danger.  He won't be a turnover machine unless he's pressured every down, but he might be a sack machine.  You've already read what I had to say about the Alabama game.

I'm watching Trey Lance against Montana State, he's at 13 of 18 at the half, and I'd still take Fields over him.  I felt Lawrence, Wilson and Fields were basically tied.  

Tell me, do you think Wilson was not deserving of a high first round pick? 

139 Edit: I got to that 73 yard…

Edit: I got to that 73 yard bomb in the second half for Lance.  Jesus, what a throw.  And the buying time in the pocket before that.  Totally understand what the Niners were thinking when they took him.  I'd still have gone with Fields.

Also would be interested in your opinions on the tiers below, New.

140 Yes but that's nit picky

And it was tipped as soon as he released it (otherwise would've likely gone out the back of the endzone).

Yes Wilson deserved to go high, but it's very interesting, that it's the 2nd straight QB that shot from day 3 to top 2 overall (and not due to being be on the bench behind a Tua or Mayfield). They were starters beforehand and...meh. Then sudden jumps that make everyone dump the meh tape. And it's not like they were just 5 star recruits that were waiting to pop, like Fields at Georgia or Murray at Oklahoma (and lets just blame that on seniority). 

Lance is just raw but isn't that far ahead of Fields athletically. He just showed it more due to his schools system. Having them, both, over Fields is a very odd and specific intersection a team wants.  Like it's not accuracy, it's not pocket presence, it's...not being under center, or athleticism. And Lafleur is coming from Shanahan, so it's not likely he deviates early. 

Either way stances have to be made at some point, regardless of how good everyone is but it's crazy that the guy was 2nd in QBR behind Jones this season, despite the bad games dragging him down, suddenly just has people worrying so much about his flaws, despite being seeing them in a lot of good NFL QBs. Wild that a player like Darnold is seen as more attractive, straight up. 

141 After reading around a lot-…

After reading around a lot--Matt Waldeman was particularly good, I thought--I've distilled the primary differences this way for my little brain:

Fields is super accurate but can be a slow processor.

Lance has inconsistent accuracy but is a quick processor.

Which you prefer depends on whose flaws you think are more fixable.

143 And that's because of what the schools ran

OSU used a lot of option routes (and generally pushed the ball down the field) and NDSU...well didn't. 

Now I've seen it devolve into (since the read routes were pointed out) that's it's his release that makes him slow. So slow processor and slow release? You'd think a guy would never complete a pass with that combination. 

I guess Allen has people convinced they can fix accuracy as opposed to scheming "slow processors" like Russ, Watson, Rodgers (and he actually had to slightly fix his release, nothing major though), etc. 

Forgot to add on he was 2nd in QBR last season and 3rd the year prior. So he went up in the rankings but I guess...he didn't improve as much as the others because he was already so good? If a team wants to try and improve accuracy instead of their scheme to go more towards quick passing...*throws hands up*

146 And? The previous OSU QB,…

And?

The previous OSU QB, Dwayne Haskins, had absurdly good statistics for OSU. I watched him play and he outright sucked. Dumping the ball off to some RB who then makes 3 guys miss and runs for 40 yards is not exactly impressive to me. His accuracy was outright horrible. His arm strength was above average, nothing special. He had no scrambling ability. He wasn't quick through his reads.

But man did he have good QBR.

In fact, I looked it up. Haskins QBR for his time at OSU: 174.0

Fields QBR at OSU: 179.1

So a complete bust who sucks has a QBR of 174.0 at Ohio State University, and you think it's some killer point that Fields has a QBR barely higher?

149 Helmet scouting?!

You're doing that? In May of 2021? You think Fields was getting his yards on screens? Holy cow, double posting rage on the fact that Fields...might have been discriminated against. Yikes. 

And lol QBR is different from passer rating. Haskins was 5th in 2018. at 84.8 and didn't have any other eligible seasons. In Fields two eligible seasons he had 92.1 then 91.7

Wait...helmet scouting + this...

"I had seen Fields in two games, one of which was the national championship game against Alabama, and frankly I was definitely more impressed with Mac Jones."

Lol nevermind. Have a good one.

92 Fields has a slower release

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Fields release. I can't remember who said demoed it yesterday, but one of the NFLN talking heads showed how much slower Fields release is. The other top four QBs all had a release around a half second; Fields was barely under a second. So it's slower, but not Byron Leftwich slow either. Fields also has a hitch in his release, but I didn't think that was important because it doesn't seem to affect his accuracy. He also could probably get his release time up to the 0.5-0.6 range of the other QBs from 0.8 seconds if you coach out the hitch. These are little things, but GMs seem to obsess over little things at the expense of game and practice film.

I agree with the others that think Fields should have been the #2 QB off the board yesterday. But the slower release combined with all the BS motivation rumors likely caused Fields to drop. Front offices screw up when they obsess over meaningless crap and I have a feeling we'll see another example in a few years with Fields. I wasn't happy the Bears got him because I think he may be the best QB in the NFCN in three years.

114 Slow or fast release is not…

Slow or fast release is not meaningless.  As a Jets fan who watched Marino torment the AFC East (as well as the '85 Bears) I can attest to that.

It wouldn't surprise me if Fields does beat out the field for best QB in this draft, but that tidbit about his slower release makes me realize I've been ascribing some stuff in his tape to slightly lesser arm strength than Wilson, when it's really Wilson's release that's the difference.  

If they need to coach out the hitch, they probably should sit him for a bit to work on it.  Then again, everyone else has flaws that need to be corrected too (Wilson throwing receivers into danger and being too reckless).

If any front offices downgraded him due to the BS about motivation and epilepsy they're idiots waiting to be fired.

129 Fields release is not that bad given his other traits

But I can see why it would give pause to coaches like Shanahan, McVay, and Payton. Mac Jones and Justin Fields seemed to be the 2 QBs whose brains were frequently outpacing their arms for very different reasons. Both of them were really good at going through progressions but had issues with shooting when they found their target late for different reasons. Fields seemed to find the right read and not pull the trigger because the window got too small for his windup. He was able to bail this out with his legs frequently by buying more time in the backfield or run for yards but it also lead to a bunch of sacks. Russ and Watson have been great in the NFL with similar issues holding the ball so I do not think this will hurt Fields all that much at the next level as long as his coach doesn't try to put him in an awful offense given his skills. Mac Jones seemed to frequently find reads that he knew he did not have the arm strength to throw and move to the check down immediately. He can drive the ball outside the numbers but has to setup everything mechanically to make it happen so it effectively slows down his release on those types of throws. Mac and Justin overcome these flaws with insane accuracy and football IQ. I honestly think that was why the top three of Trey, Trevor, and Zach surprisingly separated themselves in the group of 5. This is coming from a huge Fields supporter 49ers fan. I had to dig into the tape/stats to get why Trey was being elevated above him. His release/arm strength combo is truly insane. Matt Waldman made a great comp when he said he reminded him of Steve McNair. The seemingly effortless arm strength with a quick release is truly amazing stuff.

123 I have to say I was very…

I have to say I was very surprised to see everyone just assuming that Field was the second best quarterback prospect. I had seen Fields in two games, one of which was the national championship game against Alabama, and frankly I was definitely more impressed with Mac Jones. Imelda had a harder day, with more pressure and better coverage, but he also missed a few throws weirdly. One game is one game, and different circumstances are different circumstances, but I really do not at all understand the apathy many here feel towards Mac Jones. Guy seems extremely accurate with the football.

EDIT: Meant third best after Lawrence and Wilson.

130 I am going to ask this here…

I am going to ask this here.

Everyone has an after the fact justification for why a player will or will not be great. But how many people really are willing to say it and sign their name to it.

So here goes: Please write the 5 qbs and decide which tier they will belong to. Here's my list of tiers(please don't quibble with who belongs in what tier, just get a flavor of the tier itself)

tier 1: the Perennial MVP, HOF Lock(you know the names

tier 2: Watson, Wilson, prime Big Ben - HoF but not perennial MVP/1st team all pro guys

tier 3: Good but not great. Long list, deep breath - Stafford, Jimmy G, Kirk Cousins,

tier 4: Just a guy and below. Everyone from Andy Dalton to Jamarcus Russel.

I myself have no opinion on any of these guys because I don't watch college football.

135 Come on Pat!

you are answering this question in an expected value kind of way. I am asking you to have some fun with it.

Based on whatever x,y,z variables you have seen from the tape or heard casually, who would you position where.

For example, based upon the hype Lawrence is getting, I'll predict hes a tier 2. The rest...I don't have any sense of how they rank compared to past prospects. 

142 I've only seen Fields,…

In reply to by theslothook

I've only seen Fields, Lawrence, and Jones play. Lawrence will be a good QB, but it's Clemson. The OMG best ever talk is nuts: derating at all due to the "QB on a football factory" effect and you're easily at the "he's good" stage.

Fields and Jones are just guys. Little higher on Fields, but still.

133 Tier 3: Lawrence, Wilson,…

Tier 3: Lawrence, Wilson, Fields- I'm thinking they all might get All Pros, but not perennially.  I'm thinking they probably are all Eli Manning level.  I realize he's going to the Hall of Fame but he doesn't deserve it.

Tier 4: Mac Jones- he may move into tier 3.  His celing is Chad Pennington.  If Pennington had stayed healthy he may have made it to Tier 2, but probably not.

Trey Lance is the mystery box.  Who knows?

144 Uh, healthy Chad Pennington…

Uh, healthy Chad Pennington was definitely tier 2. Even-year Pennington (his full seasons - in his partial seasons the injuries always happened early) averaged 6th in DYAR, with a lowest ranking of 10th overall, going 8-4, 8-5, 10-6, 11-5, and a missed field goal away from an AFCCG. And that's including noodle-arm Pennington years!

At worst you might include '07 (since he was supposedly pulled for non-injury reasons - I wouldn't, high ankle sprains suck) but even then Pennington was, uh, just a bit better than his replacement, and it's still 1 bad year out of 5.

To be honest even if Jones was Pennington with the injury risk I think I still might take him middle of the first round. I mean, hey, the odd number years get you higher draft picks with a built-in excuse to your players/owner, right?

145 Oh yeah, if he ends up like…

Oh yeah, if he ends up like Pennington this is a win, especially since Belichick is a better coach than Herm Edwards.  But that's his ceiling, and mind you, he has flaws that Pennington either didn't have or grew out of before he went pro, namely accuracy on the run.