Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

2021 Draft Pick-by-Pick Analysis: Picks 21-32

Michigan Wolverines ER Kwity Paye
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Welcome to Football Outsiders' pick-by-pick coverage of the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL draft! Over the next 29 hours or so, we'll provide you with…

  • Laser-accurate quarterback comparisons (only Football Outsiders dares to compare one of this year's prospects to Drew Stanton);
  • Heartwarming tales of offensive linemen destroying their childhood homes with their siblings and preteen quarterbacks getting publicly shamed by their fathers;
  • Lots of statistical nuggets about teams and prospects (this is Football Outsiders after all);
  • Visits from special guests like Emo Howie Roseman and Death Metal Shanahan;
  • Actual scouting observations, occasionally; 
  • Tons of insights, analysis, asides and fun.

This is my 20th draft providing some form of live pick-by-pick coverage for outlets from Bleacher Report to The New York Times, but it's my first time doing so for the home team here at Football Outsiders. I'm thrilled to be able to spend the next two nights with you. Welcome aboard what's always a wild ride! Refresh often for updates!

If you're looking for the usual "Open NFL Draft Discussion Thread," there isn't one this year. Feel free to get the discussion going in the comment thread below.

And don't forget to check out the first-ever Football Outsiders Draft Recap Twitch Livestream, tonight starting at 11:30 p.m. Eastern on the Football Outsiders Twitch channel. Aaron Schatz will be hosting the discussion along with Scott Spratt, Derrik Klassen, and Benjamin Robinson of Grinding the Mocks, plus I'll be joining the discussion once the first round of the draft is fully in the books.

21. Indianapolis Colts

Michigan Wolverines ER Kwity Paye

Kwity Paye, ER, Michigan

There is no Chase Young or Myles Garrett who can start from Day 1 and be a double-digit-sack threat as a rookie among the 2021 draft class. This year's class is full of edge rushers with an elite skill or two who lack the complete package. While Jaelan Phillips was drafted earlier by the Dolphins, Paye was considered by many to be the best of the bunch.

Paye can absolutely take over games at times and look unblockable for long stretches. In the fourth quarter against Minnesota, for example, he recorded two sacks and appeared to apply pressure on just about every snap. Paye has a wide base and powerful build, possesses great footwork off the snap, can bend back quickly to the quarterback after turning the corner, and hustles to chase plays from behind.

Unfortunately, Paye is often a pass-rusher without a plan, and he goes through long quiet stretches where he just crashes into his blocker over and over again. A groin injury slowed him down during a portion of an already-curtailed 2020 season, but he needs to get better at disengaging from blockers and stringing together moves to become a more consistent pass-rusher. SackSEER likes Paye's workout results but dislikes his sack rates and lack of passes defensed, projecting a not-so-spectacular 21.7 sacks through five seasons.

I see Paye as a complementary pass-rusher destined to get hustle sacks and cause chaos when he moves inside in NASCAR-type packages. There are too many flaws in his game right now to project him as a double-digit-sack guy.

This selection doesn't exactly move the needle for the Colts (don't worry, we'll talk about Carson Wentz a little tomorrow), but it's a fine enough selection.

Grade: B

22. Tennessee Titans

Virginia Tech Hokies CB Caleb Farley

Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Here's a video that purportedly shows Farley running a 4.28-second 40 at his performance academy before undergoing back surgery in early March.

Er … what's up with the jump cut at the beginning? Did Steven Soderbergh direct this video? As deep fakes go, this looks more like a "shallow feint." I'm pretty sure that dude in the background is holding a sandwich before the cut and has eaten half of it after the cut.

We need the combine to come back to provide some workout standardization, folks.

Farley is 6-foot-2 with long arms and quick feet, and he gets a great break on the ball in the air. But he underwent a discectomy in March to correct an earlier back problem. He also tore an ACL in 2017. Toss in a 2020 opt-out, and we have not seen much of a fully healthy Farley.

Farley triggers my Sidney Jones alarms. I fear that the Titans are going to spend two years waiting to see a fully healthy version of Farley. For all of Farley's considerable upside, Asante Samuel Jr., Greg Newsome, and other safer choices are on the board for a team that should be in win-now mode.

Grade: C-

23. Minnesota Vikings

Virginia Tech Hokies T Christian Darrisaw

Christin Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech

Darrisaw is not as much of a technician as Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater. He's a massive individual with nimble feet who can snowplow defenders when he gets his mitts on them, but there are all sorts of little flaws in his game. Darrisaw gets caught moving laterally at times and tries to block his defender by just lowering a shoulder, which won't cut it in the NFL. He's also an inconsistent finisher who will piledrive defenders on running plays, then ease up as a pass-protector before the ball is in the air.

Darrisaw performed well against Miami's pass-rushers, particularly late in a close game in 2020. He tossed around some North Carolina State defenders as well, and had some Walter Jones moments throughout last season where he could be seen blocking for Khalil Herbert 20 yards downfield. That said, Darrisaw may struggle if asked to start right away, as Andrew Thomas struggled for the Giants last year.

Overall, Darrisaw's flaws are correctable, while his raw strength-quickness combination is rare. He's a solid value here.

Grade: A-

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

How excited am I allowed to be about a running back when writing for an analytics-savvy audience? I don't want to be ostracized from the analytics community. Again.

Harris looks like Derrick Henry, plus catching. His truck/hurdle/stiff-arm moves want me to reach for a PS5 controller, assuming I someday score a PS5. But writing about running backs for the Don't Matter crowd makes me fear that I am supposed to sneer like a 1990s kid at a music festival. Ugh. Looks like the bassist for Surge Requiem had bridgework done. Guess they're just another bunch of sellouts to the establishment.

Meanwhile, the current Steelers running back depth chart consists of Benny Snell (essentially a mid-1970s fullback), Anthony McFarland Jr. (no relation to Booger or chance of being more than the third guy in a committee), Kalen Ballage (on the two-franchise-per-season circuit), Jaylen Samuels (essentially a mid-1980s fullback), and Derek Watt (an early 2020s fullback).

Harris could be a cross between Henry and Ezekiel Elliott. That will make him a useful high-impact player for the Steelers, at least on his first contract, and someone who is not necessarily fungible with the incumbents. So I like this pick.

Now, can I still sit at your lunch table tomorrow?

Grade: B+

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienne

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

My brain has stumbled over Etienne's last name every time an announcer said it over the past three years. "Etienne" sounds like "ETN," which sounds like a shifty cable news network where midday hosts get apoplectic over the thought of Fred Flintstone getting "cancelled."

And frankly, Fred Flintstone should be cancelled, not just for establishing the patriarchy back in the Stone Age but for perpetuating negative stereotypes about cave-persons. And what's in those chewable vitamins anyway? They're nothing but starter edibles leading our nation's youth down the slippery slope to reefer madness!

But I digress.

We have all watched Etienne many times over the last three years and know he can play. He reminds me a little of vintage, pre-holdout Le'Veon Bell in his ability to set up blocks and then explode through cracks to become an open-field playmaker. His college workload is a minor concern—he had 788 collegiate touches—but he generally only carried the ball 10 to 17 times per game for most of his career.

It's one thing for a stacked team with realistic playoff expectations like the Steelers to draft a running back and quite another thing for a rebuilding team to spend draft capital on one. If Urban Meyer's plan is to just port the Clemson roster to the NFL, Mike Mayock is gonna have some words with him.

But hey, that Trevor Lawrence/Etienne/Tim Tebow offense is gonna be fun to watch.

Grade: C-

26. Cleveland Browns

Northwestern Wildcats QB Greg Newsome

Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern

Newsome is NOT a Young Cornerback Avenger. That "II" in his name is just so he can sit at the same table as guys like Asante Samuel Jr. and Patrick Surtain II. Or, far more likely, it's there to honor his father of the same name.

Newsome is a long-armed, swivel-hipped defender who was rarely targeted last season, making scouting him pretty boring. Sports Info Solutions says he was targeted 35 times and allowed 10 receptions, fairly typical rates for a first-round cornerback prospect, but I must have missed about 33 of those targets. He's a bit of a downfield Grabowski who will climb his receiver's back to get to the football. Otherwise, all of the tools are there, and the technique is rock-solid for a college defender.

Newsome adds to a Browns rebuild in the secondary that also includes new arrivals Troy Hill and John Johnson. I like what the Browns are doing there, and think they have done a fine job this offseason building upon what they did in 2021.

Grade: A-

27. Baltimore Ravens

Minnesota Golden Gophers WR Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Bateman originally opted out of the 2020 season but opted back in "to help send a positive message to this country" in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. He changed his uniform number from 13 to 0 to represent zero tolerance for racism.

Bateman also suffered a bout of COVID, with significant symptoms, in the summer of 2020.

What's remarkable about the stories of many prospects this year is how unremarkable they are. Many of us walked the same hard road in 2020, dodging a deadly contagion while trying to address systemic socio-political problems we would like to pretend only exist in Southern Gothic novels anymore. Bateman's story (you can read more here and here) is both powerful and commonplace, and we are still treading down that same road.

And no, I cannot wait to return to writing draft grades about players who had little more on their minds in their final seasons than pulled hamstrings and the transfer portal.

Bateman spent a great deal of time running RPO slants from the slot for the Gophers, but he appears to be capable of much more. He's a slippery downfield double-move guy who tracks the ball in flight well and can tiptoe the sideline. He's no side-speed marvel (Playmaker Score projects a middling 498 yards per season), but I see a lot of Stefon Diggs in his game.

Bateman is a great value at this round and a solid fit in the Ravens' unique Lamar Jackson-centric system.

Grade: A-

28. New Orleans Saints

Houston Cougars ER Payton Turner

Payton Turner, ER, Houston

Turner reminds me of the Chiefs' Tanoh Kpassagnon when he was a prospect coming out of Villanova: Groot-like measurements, just enough "soft skills" to get by. I was expecting to see some 270-pound edge rusher running around and crashing into stuff when I watched Turner's tape, but was pleasantly surprised to see some subtleties: head-fakes and set-up moves when pass-rushing, ball-location awareness, and so forth.

The Saints had the oldest defense in the NFL last season, per our own snap-weighted age metrics. So any young defender is a good defender. That said, Turner is still pretty raw, and he's more of a two-gap end than an edge rusher. This was a reach by a team that needed to do something more creative, or at least secure someone with higher upside.

Grade: D

29. Green Bay Packers

Georgia Bulldogs CB Eric Stokes

Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Stokes' nickname is "Dirty Red" because of his reddish-tinged hair. Do not, under any circumstances, search for "Dirty Red" on the Internet. [Saves document. Throws computer onto firepit. Waits for new computer to arrive from Amazon. Continues player capsule.]

Stokes is long-limbed at 6-foot-1, with track speed and the lateral quickness to handle slot assignments. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns and is good at jumping routes in front of him.

Most of Stokes' flaws are technical, common, and correctable: he doesn't turn for the ball quickly enough in deep coverage, will grab receivers at the top of the stem, and needs to do a better job fending off blockers in the run game.

Stokes had a rough game against DeVonta Smith and Alabama in 2020 but has been a solid starter for two seasons with the Bulldogs. He can develop into a capable, versatile starter.

As you might guess, I had some killer pre-written gags about Aaron Rodgers, his omega-level passive-aggression, his smarmy Jeopardy! stint where he came across like he was trying to sell viewers the TruCoat, and so forth. Now, it appears that we have crossed the Rubicon: the bickering couple has become the divorcing couple, which means it's time to stop making fun of them and brace for what comes next.

Any Aaron Rodgers trade immediately shatters the NFL status quo in the same way that Tom Brady caused a league-wide tectonic shift last year. In a way, of course, Brady touched off the Rodgers situation with the Buccaneers' victory in the NFC Championship Game, and the dubious Packers coaching decisions which made that victory slightly easier.

It's a lot to process while covering a draft. For now, it appears that the Packers are going about business as usual and will have the This is Fine dog announcing their Day 2 draft picks from its burning kitchen. So I will proceed in a similar fashion and pretend this was just an ordinary selection, not something that will be perceived as a final slap in the face by one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation.

Grade: B

30. Buffalo Bills

Gregory Rousseau, ER, Miami

Gregory Rousseau, ER, Miami

Rousseau's nickname is somehow not "the Noble Savage." C'mon, football fans: why aren't you better versed in 17th century European philosophy?

(Upon Wikipedia research, it appears that Jean-Jacques Rousseau himself never used the term "noble savage," just as Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary, my dear Watson" and Captain Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty." So maybe I am the one who should be better versed in 17th century European philosophy).

Rousseau recorded 15.5 sacks in 2019 but opted out in 2020. He's strong, tall and has extend-o-arms that enable him to strip-sack quarterbacks even when he's blocked. His length also allowed him to block a field goal and generate a few sacks by diving at an escaping quarterback.

Rousseau was a one-dimensional pass rusher before the opt-out, and disappointing pro day results no doubt hurt his stock: he needed to either be several pounds meatier or a few beats more explosive after his year away from the game. SackSEER (21.3 sacks through five seasons, an unspectacular 59.3% rating) was as disappointed by the workout numbers as scouts were.

There's a risk that Rousseau turns out to be the sort of defender who gets out-leveraged against the run but does little more than swat down passes as an edge rusher. The Bills are hoping that Rousseau's pro day isn't a true reflection of his athleticism. At this point in the draft, that's a risk worth taking. And while the Bills finished fifth in adjusted sack rate, there's room for improvement as they try to keep up with the league's elite.

Grade: B+

31. Baltimore Ravens

Penn State ER Jayson Oweh

Odafe (Jayson) Oweh, ER, Penn State

Of all the ridiculous pro day results we saw in March, Oweh's seemed the most like figments of a college social media director's imagination. A 4.36-second 40-yard dash at 257 pounds? A 39.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 11 feet, 2 inches? Why not heat vision and retractable claws, too?

Even the garden slugs in Happy Valley were running sub 4.5-second 40s in March, so I'm taking Penn State pro day results with a grain of salt until the Bureau of Weights and Measures sends its investigators to campus to determine the truth. (They'll just get bribed with that fancy ice cream anyway).

Oweh is indeed a top athlete, but the tape doesn't show the super soldier that the pro day results suggest. He looks like just another guy on far too many snaps. Oweh was held without a sack in 2020; yes, he played just seven games and the Nittany Lions stunk, but zero sacks is a more telling number than any pro day result.

SackSEER went kittens on Oweh's workout results: 24.5 sacks through five seasons, a whopping 90.9% rating. SackSEER was built for combine results, not 37.5-yard dashes timed by college roommates.

Oweh could indeed be another Danielle Hunter, who was unproductive in college but became a monster in the pros, but if every college defender who couldn't notch a sack was secretly the next Hunter, no quarterback on earth would be safe, and NFL games would end in 4-4 ties after each team notched two safeties.

I would be more skeptical of this pick if the Ravens didn't have such a solid track record of developing defenders like Oweh. Also, it's the 31st overall pick, and I had a notion that Oweh would get selected in the teens or early 20s. Overall, this is fine, but I am wondering when the Ravens will get around to upgrading their interior offensive line.

Grade: C+

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Huskies ER Joe Tryon

Joe Tryon, ER, Washington

What do you get the team that has everything, including Tom Brady? MOAR SACKS, of course.

I've made a few wisecracks about how unbelievable many of this year's pro day results were (see the last capsule), and I am likely to make a few more tomorrow. Some of the eye-popping 40-yard dash results we saw in March contradict the tape: He looks like your basic defensive tackle for two seasons as a starter, but did you know he ran a 4.28-second 40 at 378 pounds in March?

On the other hand, some results confirmed and reinforced the game tape. Tryon ran a reported 4.5-second 40-yard dash at 251 pounds at his pro day, and he looks exactly that fast when you watch his footage from 2019. (Tryon opted out in 2020.) That said, SackSEER was less impressed by his three-cone and broad jump results and projects just 17.4 sacks through five seasons.

Tryon may have the most consistent first-step get-off of any edge rusher in the class. He's supple and bendy when rushing, rarely taking a predictable path through his blocker to the quarterback. Factor in quick, active hands, and Tyron is a real headache to block. I liked him better than Jayson Oweh when watching tape.

As a run defender, Tryon is a shopping cart, so he won't be of much use from a three-point stance on rushing downs. But if the Buccaneers can use him as a situational edge rusher and keep him away from pile-driving right tackles, Tryon will be a nasty edge rusher. Think Dante Fowler, without the outsized expectations.

Grade: B+


That's all for tonight, friends! See you on the Football Outsiders Twitch stream in a few minutes. And don't forget to stop back tomorrow for even more stats, scouting reports, analysis, and obscure references in our pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 2 and 3!


Looking for the rest of the draft? Click here for:

  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Picks 1-10
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Picks 11-20
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Round 2
  • 2021 Pick-by-Pick Coverage: Round 3

Comments

70 comments, Last at 04 May 2021, 9:20am

1 Minnesota cowards

not selecting Bateman.

Although the Packers should take him

48 Yeah, Spielman's been…

Yeah, Spielman's been working for a few years now to make up for his past sin of inadequate o-line investment, To be fair, a lot of that past sin was likely due to crappy injury luck and The Ponderous Debacle, which I'm convinced was not his decision. It's intetesting how a few bad luck injuries and one really bad pick can resonate, in a harmful way, for a decade.

Anyways, yet more bad fortune has now rendered a roster which needs help on the d-line, too.  Hope their luck improves.

4 1st round RB????

Steelers keep up the tradition of some team throwing a first round pick in the toilet.

5 Harris

Najee about to lead the league in yards after contact, and still average like 3.1 ypc.

31 Love it! I like Harris as a…

In reply to by TacticalSledgehammer

Love it! I like Harris as a player and don't hate the pick at all. But you raise a valid point...

6 Their qb is mummified…

Their qb is mummified remains and actively turning into dust...so let's draft a RB. This is even less justifiable than the Giants taking Saquon.

8 WAY less justifiable.  You…

WAY less justifiable.  You could at least argue that Barkley was a unicorn.  Harris is just a good RB.

Oh, but now JAX makes PIT look like ... well, they don't make PIT look any smarter, but they just made themselves look like they're very, very confused about what will help their No. 1 pick be able to play like a No. 1 pick.

44 Was hoping Teddy Bridgewater…

Was hoping Teddy Bridgewater would end up in Pittsburgh somehow. Garroppolo might make sense there next year, maybe? Or hell - if they can get Minshew for a 5th or less, I'd think that'd make sense.

Or really Fitzmagic.

7 Yeeesssssss Jacksonville

Yes, you have no other holes and didnt just have a 1k yard rusher...that went undrafted. HAD to draft one in the 1st. The league never learns lol

Silliness ensues. 

50 The lack of criticism…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The lack of criticism towards the Steelers always astonishes me.

Yeah, they are on a great no-losing-season streak many franchises dream of.

But at the same time, they have a HOF QB since 2004/5. They SHOULD be contenders year in year out.

Then you look at the last decade and you find only 3 playoff wins and exits against QB greats like Tebow, Bortles, Smussnoggle, whatshisname and the Browns.

And then they do what they do and draft a running back, thinking that he will cut into holes that never develop.

/endrant

51 It was speculated a lot predraft

And they confirmed how stupid they were so many weren't surprised.

Jacksonville on the other had juuuust proved RBSDM and yet drafted one anyway. Of all the teams you'd think knowing first hand would stop them. 

9 Jacksonville

You gotta be kidding? A running back will go nice to keep you near the bottom with Trevor Lawrence.

12 I've just spend the last few…

I've just spend the last few minutes confounded by JAX's second pick, but I finally figured it out. Meyers is filling out his roster from the top down ...

QB: check
RB: check
FB: hmmm, should I get one of those? nah, we'll stick to 11 formation
WR1: pending

25 Your comment got me curious…

Your comment got me curious who the best wide receiver in Ravens history was - by about a million miles it's Derrick Mason. Who is more associated with a different franchise. That was known primarily for rushing while he was there.

By yards, Torrey Smith is second. And Qadry Ismail is in the top 5.

You don't need me to tell you all that, but it was just shocking how bad that position has been for basically their entire existence.

20 Whispers were right

What a reach. TMJ was right there.

Now GB...Elijah Moore for us >>>>>>>>>>TMJ

Cant wait to select Marvin Wilson though and go cry

22 Le sigh

I...guess it was better than last years pick.

23 Packers pick

I'm good with the Packers selection. They have Alexander, but the other two main CBs are on one-year contracts and it's the same other two as last year.

26 Jeopardy

Rodgers was great on Jeopardy and you know it Mike.

28 And for our next trick...

The Ravens pick a DE who doesn't get sacks. Did the mirror universe take over while we weren't paying attention?

This is what the experts call "pulling a Jacksonville".

29 re The upcoming Packers divorce

Tanier is probably right about the Packers-Rodgers inevitable divorce. Otherwise, this July will make Favre's retirement-unretirement look like an amiable split. Rodgers will likely be a post-June 1 trade. Let the trade speculation begin!!!

36 No, it's more likely we will…

No, it's more likely we will all survive the insomnia plague and everything will turn out to be flowers even though we thought the village was going to be massacred.  If you're a Packers fan.

If you're a Jets fan it's Waiting for Godot or Krapp's Last Tape.

35 Yeah I think it's a 5.6 mil…

Yeah I think it's a 5.6 mil cap savings pre June 1 and 22.8 million post June 1. There is still at least 20 odd million in dead money either way, but post June 1 vs pre June 1 is a massive difference. That alone was all I needed to see to know there wouldn't be a trade during the draft. I tend to believe the rumors that he rejected contract extensions as well.

I don't see what he gains for leverage by going more public today. The current contract and cap meant he wasn't going to get traded pre June 1 anyway. With the 49ers, who he is rumored to want, maybe it's an "OK you draft this guy and send us your 22 and 23 firsts etc and we'll trade him after June 1st, we can hammer out more specifics after the draft when we have time". But I wouldn't think that would be Trey Lance they would want. Regardless of when he did this his leverage is to play or not to play or to sign an extension that is somehow more favorable to being traded, though I'm not sure what that would be. Not playing could cost him over $23 million in lost pay not to mention the mandatory $50K a day fines for missing camp. If they are moving on, someone will trade something even if it's not market value and I don't see how Rodgers has any leverage to try and make a trade happen faster. 

The problem with comparing any of this with Favre is that Favre started things back in 05 and was still doing it 3 years later before things finally ended. At least the grumblings and rumors that have been coming from Rodgers for the past few years were a little less openly disruptive.

I get why Rodgers hasn't been happy, the 2020 draft being a flashpoint. So he goes and gets another MVP. The team brings back 20 of 22 starters and offers him a contract extension which he rejects (assuming those rumors are true). The does feel like an effort to say "Hey we were one game away, let's give it another shot, we'll fill holes in the draft since cap means we couldn't do much with FA." It doesn't completely feel like the team said fuck you.

Do I want to see Rodgers go? No, I don't. But I lived through the pre-Favre years, the teams resurgence with Favre, and Favre leaving. Rodgers is gone at some point too. I didn't get 3 preseasons of Jordan Love to feel as good about him as I did about Rodgers taking over sure, heck I didn't get 1 pre-season so things could be ugly for a few seasons with or without Love. Questionable play calls in the NFC Championship aside (though Rodgers had failed on 6 other goal to go plays already that game) I like the current coaching staff. I'm still not fully sold on the current front office but we're still only a few years into the post Thompson era. I even kinda understand why they were preparing for the move away from Rodgers anyway. The injury in 17 and the "very good NFL starter, but not superlative" years in 18 and 19 coupled with age even given the new aging curves of QB's. He got the new contract in 2018 that pretty clearly meant the team was moving on in 2022. So I guess that's another thing that has me going, OK whatever about this now too. 

Sure this pick doesn't give Rodgers a direct weapon. But it could be a player that might have changed two very big plays at the end of each half of the NFCCG. Stokes actually has some of the same flaws that Kevin King has, but he's also faster. So while Tanier does a nice job of saying they are correctable, the team didn't correct them in King so I'm not sure they will in Stokes either. But again everything else being equal, if Stokes is a quarter step faster than King it make those flaws less likely to be exploited.

52 I honestly believe the team…

I honestly believe the team when they say they won’t trade him, and I still don’t think this is anything but elaborate and sensational contract posturing. There just is no realistic deal that makes sense for a player as valuable as Rodgers, and if Rodgers doesn’t show up they will be perfectly happy to give Love the starter’s reps. Rodgers knows this, because it’s what they did with Favre.

There are lots of conflicting stories out there. Some say Rodgers turned down contract negotiations, others say his agent worked with the Packers for days on end but couldn’t reach an agreement. The latter makes much more sense to me; why would he turn down negotiations? It makes zero sense from his perspective. Because he wants to live on the west coast now? Because he’s mad they drafted Jordan Love? I just don’t think those make sense as a reasons; they are annoyances yes and I’m sure he’s not thrilled about them, but to just say he’s taking his ball and going home is disproportionate to those reasons.

It makes much more sense that he wasn’t getting the money or years on his extension that he wanted, so he timed the leaks to come out on draft day when the whole sports world is focused on the NFL as a way of pressuring the GB into giving more money. But nothing has substantively changed since he was saying he wanted to retire as a Packer, except that he had a great season. He wants to capitalize on that, and he should, and honestly he’s doing it very effectively.

61 Yeah I'm not upset with…

Yeah I'm not upset with either side really. I was just genuinely trying to figure out Rodgers side. Players have so little power in these matters. So I got that he was trying to do what he could, but I wasn't fully groking it. 

Your thoughts clarify some of that for me. 

I don't think the team has been completely unreasonable. I don't Rodgers has been either. I can follow what the team has been doing and don't fault them for using all the cards they have been given.

I hadn't seen rumors that negotiations had been seriously tried, only that he rejected them and that really didn't make sense. If, as you say, that is not the case and it's a matter of negotiations have been happening, but Rodgers isn't getting what he wants, then his actions make a lot more sense. I just hadn't really processed that potential yet. 

 

I also believe the team when they say they won't trade him. As mentioned his contract is set up to make that happen next year if they wanted to. Sure post June 1st this year they could get some benefit from it and if the right deal shows up and Rodgers really is that dead set on it. But having him sit and eat $22 million and then holding all the cards again next year when they can move on basically free and clear isn't much different than a post June 1st and a 22 million deferred cap hit. 

So yeah if this is just Rodgers wanting his market value, I get what he's doing. He has about 2 cards he can play and the team has about a dozen they can play. It's a rigged game. 

Thanks for helping me think through it.

 

62 Yeah it's a confusing…

Yeah it's a confusing situation, honestly just hoping it doesn't get dragged out for months and months of drama. If he really wants to move on, so be it; get a good offer and trade him. I'm sure the Raiders, Broncos, Panthers, etc. can put together a package. But if it's really all the contract stuff, then they will figure that out too.

Heres the report on his agent meeting with them for multiple days: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/04/29/aaron-rodgers-agent-met-with-packers-couldnt-agree-on-new-contract/

https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/1387854611239870472

30 Tucker vs Darrisaw

so, Minnesota could have stood pat and taken AVT at 14. They need a left tackle, and AVT has played tackle, but everyone seems to t hink he's an NFL guard, not a tackle. So they trade back and get Darrisaw, who apparently is more of a tackle.... even if he wasn't as highly rated overall as Vera-Tucker. What is it that makes someone a viable tackle vs guard? Is it just arm length?

37 I just watched AVT vs Oregon…

I just watched AVT vs Oregon and Darrisaw vs Miami.  I don't think the Oregon guys are better than Phillips, and Darrisaw held up ok at tackle against the Hurricanes.  Not perfect, he gave up at least one sack, but AVT did worse.  There were plays where the Ducks didn't come close to Slovis, who still couldn't find anyone open, but there were plenty where they got around AVT.  Neither look like maulers in the run game (AVT will have the good fortune playing next to Becton, who does destroy people on a regular basis), but they both look like decent starters at the next level. Not sure if I would have traded up to make sure I got one over the other.  I'm also not sure Darrisaw can't play inside, although he seems less likely to finish blocks than AVT.

46 Additionally, they drafted…

Additionally, they drafted Ezra Cleveland last year, who looked a whole lot more like a tackle than a guard when we drafted him.

I am curious if we pick up another light tackle like Christensen for the other guard slot tomorrow and try to to build a big-boy track team OL.

38 There is everything wrong…

There is everything wrong with the Steelers selecting a runningback. No RB is going to produce behind that line. They will run him into the back of whatever center and guard they line up there for minimal gain and then ask Ben to bail them out with a 5 yard pass on 3rd and 6.

They will do this now with Harris for about 85 or more % of the carries of the season (having him limited or not at all if they make the playoffs), and by year 3 or 4 he's worn out and is out of Pittsburgh. 

This is such a shortsighted pick...

 

"His truck/hurdle/stiff-arm moves want me to reach for a PS5 controller."

If you had played madden in the last 5 years you wouldn't say this.

40 Newsome is NOT a Young…

Newsome is NOT a Young Cornerback Avenger. That "II" in his name is just so he can sit at the same table as guys like Asante Samuel Jr. and Patrick Surtain II. Or, far more likely, it's there to honor his father of the same name.

Wouldn't he be a Jr, then? "II" indicates his namesake is his grandfather or earlier.

41 ???

“ C'mon, football fans: why aren't you better versed in 17th century European philosophy?”
Well, since Rousseau lived in the 18th century, what good would it do?

49 Packers have had the most…

Packers have had the most overrated front office in the league since Ron Wolf left, back in the cretaceous. It happened mostly due to the extrene good fortune of Rodgers lasting until late in the 1st, to be the 2nd qb picked. The last 5 years have exposed this reality, however. Of course, if the luv for Love proves justified, then they're geniuses again. Ah, nuthin' like tiny sample sizes in draft picks to wildly swing performance metrics in talent evaluation!

54 I normally respect your…

I normally respect your opinions but this is a joke of a comment. The Packers have made the NFC Championship Game in 3 out of the last 5 years, and have gone 49-30-1 over that span. Not to mention the 8 straight playoff berths before that (2009-2016). The only reality the last 5 years have exposed is that the Packers are still a top notch organization.

55 Yes, they have a terrific…

Yes, they have a terrific 1st ballot HoF qb, which they were quite fortunate to obtain. With that kind of consistent quarterbacking, you should nearly always be winning 9 games, at a minimum, which means you should nearly always be in the playoffs, which means 3-4: conference championships in a 10 year period would not be unexpected.

Packers have had a qb capable of MVP performance for nearly 30 straight years. They've played in February three times. That's pretty mediocre.

 

56 I mean, they drafted him…

I mean, they drafted him when 21 other teams passed on him. Part luck, part skill if you ask me. They pulled the trigger when others did not. Not giving the front office credit for drafting Rodgers but then saying they're underperforming with their HoF QB is pretty inconsistent. Do I wish they had reached and won more Super Bowls? Obviously. But I don't blame anything but luck for that, and certainly don't blame a front office that aside from Rodgers has drafted or signed many Pro Bowlers and All Pros. David Bahktiari, Corey Linsley, Bryan Bulaga, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Sitton, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Jaire Alexander, Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Zadarius Smith, Kenny Clark, Micah Hyde, Casey Hayward, etc.

Rodgers puts the team over the top, obviously, but it has not been Rodgers and a bunch of scrubs out there and credit for that should go to the front office.

57 Where they were extremely…

Where they were extremely lucky is that the 2nd qb taken fell all the way to 22. It was just a year when fewer than normal non-playoff teams were qb desperate.

Don't get me wrong. "Overrated" is not synonymous with "poor". I think they've been a little above average, and really haven't taken advantage of their good fortune at the most important position.

60 Unfortunately ,

I think I agree. HOF QB play masks a lot of sins and questionable process (like last nights!)

I must say I do enjoy the appropriate respectful discourse on here though. Talking with other Packers homers can but a chore explaining how things the team does isn't always right (they're touting Stokes 40 and potential right now as they slowly turn on Rodgers).

64 I always feel compelled to…

I always feel compelled to remind people, neither Smith nor Rodgers was the consensus top QB throughout most of that draft process - it was Matt Leinart. After he opted out, the Niners felt compelled to take whichever of the QBs they wanted since they had #1, and everyone else passed because no one really liked the 2005 QB prospects that much (the whole draft was considered weak by draftniks at the time). They were wrong. (Everyone liked the 2006 QBs much better. They were also wrong.) There was always a real chance that he would be available in the 20s, but Thompson et al. were astute enough to recognize that he was such a value proposition there that he would be worth taking even if it meant spending a 1st on a player who wouldn't play for years, on a team swinging back into serious contention.

I think it's pretty clear in retrospect that Thompson was a very good, if idiosyncratic, GM until he started having his health problems in the mid-2010s. Combined with McCarthy becoming so much lazier (tactically), that led to some underwhelming finishes.

 

66 Teams in need of a qb nearly…

Teams in need of a qb nearly always talk themselves into a Ponderous Pick in the top half of the 1st round, no matter what. Yes, Thompson deserves credit for seeing value, despite still having a qb capable of top-notch performance, but the Packers were very lucky that it was a year when much fewer than normal nonplayoff teams felt desperation at that position.

59 I don't really disagree…

I don't really disagree. There were some straight up disaster years between Wolf and Thompson. Thompson was only about draft and develop after some very early FA signings and while his team was above average at it, it gets more credit than it deserves. 

The newest incarnation has only been in control since the 2018 draft. So very much jury is still out, though FA activity seems to be more reasonable and they have gotten some good players in the draft. Alexander, Savage, Jenkins. MVS with all his issues was not a bad 5th round pick. Of course you've got the 2020 draft sitting there as a counter example too. If Stokes works out they may have done in 4 drafts what the team has basically never done. Draft a solid secondary. 2 good corners and a safety from the draft with a FA bolster (Amos) at the other safety. The good secondary of rodgers super bowl was mostly FA. Also note Kevin King was Thompson era. Though yes with how much continuity the FO has had, they get done blame/credit for that too. So split the valuation of a first round pick turning into an injury riddled CB 2/3 with too many plays on the lowlights reel how you will.

But overall in the nearly 30 years they have had a HOF QB playing for them, yeah the front office has been over rated. It's been at least average more often than not, but it's been rated like it's top 5 in the league, and it clearly hasn't been. Heck it's let talent get away from it that perhaps it should have promoted instead. Seattle and KC are two examples of teams being run by former GB front office talent. So perhaps the FO needed to focus more on the FO at times too.

The coaching staffs also suffer from this too. Most have been fine, but holding onto Capers for that long because he built one defense on the backs of the only major FA talent brought in (Woodson) and the #9 and #26 in one draft. He got a few years out of that, then kept trying to force it without the talent. I'm encouraged that they let Pettine go. He was fine. He didn't put compete disasters out there on defense, but I think we saw his ceiling and there is talent on that D. So I'm alright with saying we need to do better. So I'm encouraged that the FO may actually be performing up to it's rating on recent years. 

63 Agree to disagree

I'd say the early Thompson years were quite good. I don't think they were above average since about 2012 or 13 which marks the transition from consistent excellent drafting supplemented by smart FA acquisitions to drafting late round stars like Bahktiari and Mike Daniels while blowing almost all their Day 1 and 2 picks and rarely signing FAs period. (Even when they hit on them like Casey Hayward and Carlos Hyde, they missed on the evaluation when they let both go in FA.) The Packers have not had much success through the draft over the last decade. 

65 So been rewatching college…

So been rewatching college video on Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, and Josh Jackson, mostly using highlight stuff for them to remind me of what they were in college. I've been watching stuff on Stokes too. Stokes doesn't pop on video the same way Alexander did. I had to watch pro highlights of Alexander again too and yep what he was doing in college is exactly what he's doing in the pros too other than he doesn't return punts in the pros, but damn he brought everything with him and a higher level of competition didn't make a difference dude is just good, but we all knew that.

I was reminded of what worried me about King (despite sharing a first name with him so rooting for him by default). There were too many times in college where he was a step or two behind and used his length to break things up. I was worried about how he would use his hands when in close too and things that looked like they would be penalties in college but weren't called. Watching him in the pros I see improvement, but the better talent in the NFL does exploit his tendency to try and rely on his length.

Stokes, after looking more closely, plays a lot faster than King did. He's not going to be faster than everyone in the pros and that worries me a bit. I was worried about with how he uses his hands, and how many penalties he might draw in the pros at first glance at him. I'm not as worried about that with deeper dives. Heck at times it almost looks like he's using the receiver to slow himself down. The speed really does jump. It leads to the concern that he opens up to early and against college talent he would just catch right back up after giving up leverage. But there is a lot of film where he has good technique and is just glued to the receiver no worries about penalties. He does not jump off video the same way Alexander did, but he looks better than King or Jackson did in college.

Speaking of Jackson, since he rarely gets on the field in the pros I wondered what his college film looked like again. I mostly just grabbed highlight reels, and what I saw was a dude who punished QB and receivers who made mistakes. I also saw him get lucky that passes were completed on him at times because his feet were sloppy and he was out of position when receivers broke. I also saw a lot of poor tackling form a lot of that diving and legs with his arms at his side stuff. Alexander will go low too, but he tries to wrap up. King isn't great but he does square up. Stokes looked a bit better than King.

So while I thought Stokes was the wrong cornerback at the spot, even if I didn't mind them going for a CB (I've wanted a WR for years). I feel a lot better about him. If he doesn't take King's job by the end of the year I'll be surprised. Which is good since King is on a 1 year deal right now. King has improved in the pros but the feel of the tape was that he's improved to where Stokes is now. Stokes has more upside than King had. So regardless of when he takes that job (even if that's next year) it should help the defense next year, and if he improves in the pros even more in future years. Of course I know I'm pining for the Woodson Harris level cornerback play again because that was fun to watch. Alexander and even best case Stokes isn't going to be that, but it would be nice to have something closer to it.

I hadn't really gone back to old college video for current players it was interesting to take that mindset on existing players again. Still sucks they haven't been able to fix Jackson and get him on the field. Yeah he had some footwork issues, but the dude showed great hands and was good at playing the ball without interfering with the receiver. But clearly if you resign King for a year despite his issues and draft another CB in the first they don't like him. Even with what I saw as flaws on the college video he still felt like he should have been able to develop into a good slot corner.

67 Jackson a slot corner?

Opposite. He's not agile enough to handle the slot. Best as on outside off-man/zone corner. The constant pull of him inside and outside is what's probably stunted his growth. Felt like they never knew how to use him and just stagnated his growth. 

Still preferred they threw him out there in Kings role instead of re-signing King but alas...

68 Yeah not sure why I said that

I really meant nickel/third corner not sure why I said slot. You are right that his skills are better outside (ditto king). I mean it was his footwork I was criticizing. I just felt they should have been able to get him on the field even if it was putting him outside and sliding alexander inside. They did that in early years with tramon williams. Harris or Woodson would cover the slot and Williams would stay outside. Williams developed enough to play anywhere like the other two eventually. Maybe the issue was in part that King wasn't great in the slot either and moving alexander inside with Jackson and King outside was worse than just putting sullivan in the slot.

But yeah jackson feels so wasted and while he has limitations, they aren't that bad, the coaches would have been able to help with his feet and help him get on the field and get reps to improve more.

If the plan was jackson or king would work out and they threw a pick away that sucks. Worse if they thought jackson and King would both be better than alexander and they would just use alexander in the slot they have other evaluation problems. At least Stokes, in theory, shouldn't have issues inside or outside.

69 Ah

Jaire was asked about it earlier this year and said something like "nah, I like my island" or something. Still a stigma against slot corners. If anything it's a compliment. He doesn't need the sideline as an extra defender that King and Jackson desperately need.

Agree on Jackson. He's got limitations but still feels like a waste as they aren't entirely unworkable. He entered college as a WR. Just like Richard Sherman who's famous for staying static in all his schemes, on the outside. So he was never going to hit automatically. 

Can never have too many good corners (and this saying actually really applies here as more teams start going 3+ WR).

70 Oweh's 40 yard dash time

there's multiple videos (taken from different angles) of Oweh running his sub-4.4 40yd dash on YouTube. it isn't exactly difficult or time-consuming to verify that the 40 time is right around 4.4 and does include all 40 yards. seems a little sloppy to trash someone's athletic accomplishment without (apparently) doing any research