Slides, Trades, and Demotions—Looking Back at the Draft
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
NFL Draft - "I texted Malik like, 'What's going on, they don't like us or what?' It was a lot. But I'm blessed to be a Falcon and get ready to work."
—Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder was keeping in touch with Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis throughout the weekend as the two prospects slid out of the first and second rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. (Cameron Wolfe, NFL Network via Twitter)
COLE STRANGE AND THE McVAY OF MADNESS
Sean McVay: "[Cole] Strange just went."
Les Snead: "Oh my! UT Chattanooga to the first round!"
SM: "How 'bout that! And we wasted our time watching him thinking he'd be at 104 maybe!"
—Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead held a press conference during their pick-free first round. Their only real talk of Day 1 prospects came when the New England Patriots selected University of Tennessee-Chattanooga's Cole Strange at 29 overall. The pick was so jarring it momentarily halted the press conference. (Andrew Siciliano, NFL Network via Twitter)
"I wish that it wouldn't have gotten misunderstood. It was more of a reflection of, I was actually giving Les some, you know, a hard time because when we started watching him, I think we both were in agreement, there's no way he'd be there because we like the player so much."
—McVay later reached out to both Strange and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, insisting his comments were taken out of context. (ProFootballTalk)
A LION'S SHARE OF ROUND 1 TALENT
"Brad said, 'Turn it in, let's go.' Because we knew we were good. (We said), 'Let's go, he's our guy.' We weren't going to wait around, and we're not going to do the whole dog-and-pony show. We got our guy, and we turned the card in."
"We said from Day 1, just ask [coordinator Aaron Glenn], 'what do we want our defense to be known as, and built off of what type of players?' Relentless, rugged, smart, explosive, and nasty, in the run game and the pass game. This guy fits that bill. He's everything we're about."
—Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell couldn't have turned in his team's draft card for edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson faster. Detroit actually got in trouble with the league for turning their card in too quickly. (Sports Illustrated)
"When we saw how it was unfolding and we saw there was a chance to possibly acquire Jameson [Williams], we were pretty set on going up and getting him. And again, it wasn't going up to get a wide receiver, it was going up to get him. That's not saying anything about the quarterbacks or anything like that, it was just the fact that Jameson was available. We felt good about going up to get him."
"We have to do our part to make sure he's set up for success. We need to develop him. He's got to get healthy. But we do think we've got the right resources and structure in place."
—Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes on the leap Detroit made from 32 to 12 to get Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. (ESPN)
TITAN-IC DRAFT DAY TRADES
"Not as long as I'm the head coach. I love A.J. professionally, personally. I've gotten to know him well as his coach and enjoy seeing him as much as I possibly can. Saw him here working out here earlier, said hi. As long as I'm the coach here, I would want to have A.J. Brown on my football team."
—Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel insisted prior to the draft that his team would not be trading away wide receiver A.J. Brown any time soon. During the first round, Brown was moved to Philadelphia in exchange for Pick Nos. 18, 35, 69, and 163 overall. Vrabel was visibly frustrated in the Titans' draft room upon the announcement of the trade. (Rich Eisen Show via Twitter)
"This wasn't my fault. I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer. The deal they offered wasn't even $20 million a year."
—As A.J. Brown thanked the Titans during his departure, he specifically wanted to let fans know that this decision was one made by the front office. (ESPN)
"It was just something, my happiness. I talked to Lamar about it after my second year. And you know, then after my third year, leading up to the end of the season, he wasn't playing. I let him know again, 'Yeah bro, I can't do it.' It's not really on Lamar. I love Lamar. It was just, you know, it's just the system wasn't for me personally. I love all my teammates. I love the guys, but it was just something I had to think about for myself. The Ravens, we both handled it the right way. I didn't go out and make anything public, I just kept it in house, kept working. It all worked out."
—Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown on his request for a trade out of Baltimore. The Ravens moved Brown and a third-round pick for No. 23 overall. (I AM ATHLETE Tonight via Twitter)
DEALING WITH DEEBO
"We're trying really hard with Deebo to work through whatever the issues might be. I always have really believed that there is a sacredness to those conversations and that they remain private, especially with things like this. I think it's in everyone's best interest we don't get into that. I don't think [the obstacles] are insurmountable. I think we can find a way to resolution, and we're hopeful for that because we know what he has been to this organization. Thirty-sixth pick in 2019, and he has been so good on and off the field. Obviously, a tremendous player. … He makes us better. I think we make him better. And we're hopeful that we get everything right and that we're rolling forward."
—San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch believes that there is still time for the team to work things out with wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who submitted a trade request earlier this month. Samuel believes his role as "wide back" decreases his potential career longevity and wants to be compensated as such. (ProFootballTalk)
FINALLY, A POSITIVE WIDE RECEIVER STORY
"I will say, we're going to get something done. I think I'm going to be in Seattle for the next couple of years."
"It's all smiles right now. It's just a matter of when. I can't stress over it, can't think about it too much, 'cause I'm gonna drive myself crazy. So I have been just enjoying this offseason, enjoying life, taking it a day at a time."
—Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf believes a long-term deal with the team is imminent. (Club Shay Shay via Twitter)
BECTON COME BACK! YOU CAN BLAME IT ALL ON ME
"I know he's working his tail off in Dallas. We have tabs on him, we know exactly what he's doing, we know where he is within his rehab, so (to camera) we'd love you back here, buddy. Come on. We'll take care of you."
—New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh makes an open plea for tackle Mekhi Becton to return to the team. Becton is still rehabbing from a knee injury suffered last season; he has struggled with his weight throughout the process, and at one point it was assumed Becton would not play another snap for the Jets. (SNY Jets via Twitter)
SNAPPING THE TORCH
"I knew we were taking [Cam Jurgens]. This is my favorite player in the draft. I'm not just saying that because we picked him. The Eagles have been using me to evaluate the centers coming out. Of all the guys I've looked at for the past two, three years, out of all the guys that compare the most to myself, this guy is him."
—Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce praises the Philadelphia Eagles' selection of center Cam Jurgens, whom Kelce had direct involvement with when scouting centers. (B/R Gridiron via Instagram)
WHAT'S ON THE MENU
"I'll probably get a steak … medium well. I know y'all might hate me for that. A lot of my coaches they get medium rare and rare. But I got better though, because when I got to college I used to get well done. And I remember one of my coaches, they was like 'It's like you eating meatloaf.'"
—New York Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner got his nickname from the sauce he adds to his incredibly dry steaks. (SBNation via Twitter)
"I'm excited to go see Seattle. I heard they have good halibut. I can't wait to go eat that."
—Seattle Seahawks edge rusher Boye Mafe was interviewed during University of Minnesota's spring game. Halibut was all that came to mind when asked about what he liked most about being selected by Seattle. (Big Ten Network)
"I love eating baked beans, a full plate with sugar on them. When I got to Auburn, that's when I started making that part of my pregame routine. … My favorite is Bush's."
—Tennessee Titans cornerback Roger McCreary will be bringing his favorite pregame meal with him to the pros: a full plate of baked beans with eight packets of sugar on the side. (Jim Wyatt, TennesseeTitans.com via Twitter)
SAM'D IF YOU DO, SAM'D IF YOU DON'T
"Sam is our starting quarterback. Yes."
—Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo didn't hesitate when asked if he sees Sam Darnold as the starting quarterback…
"One of the things I've been working on is being a better talking to you people. Announcing the starting quarterback here, I just put my foot in a mouth. That is something I shouldn't have said."
… but he did walk the statement back just a few minutes later, saying he put his foot in his mouth. (Paul Esden, The Score 1260 via Twitter)
"Sam was one of the people that intrigued me for the job. Sam does have some magic in his game."
—McAdoo had some high praise for the quarterback at other moments during the press conference. (David Newton, ESPN)
"It truly is, and this is where you're not gonna believe what I say, but just bear with me. It truly is like whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day, it's out of my control, and I know that. I have enough security in myself to where I can be like, 'I know I'm a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I've proved it.' And I know there's a team, if something happens, that would want me."
—Sam Darnold's honest evaluation of his current situation in Carolina. (NFL.com)
THE KIND OF SCOUTING YOU WON'T GET FROM FILM
"I do think [hand size] is something you have to consider. They are small … however, when I shook it, it wasn't like, 'whoa, you have a baby hand.' It was strong. You could feel like his thumb felt a little wonky."
—An unnamed quarterback coach mentioned that his handshake with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett slightly changed his stance on how he views the rookie's small hand size. (The Athletic)
REVENGE IS SWEETEST TWICE A YEAR
"A lot of people think that it went into my decision, being able to play the Seahawks, but I don't have that much hate in my heart. I really wanted to be happy, and I wanted to be close to home, and stay on the West Coast."
"That was important to me, but playing the Seahawks twice a year was the cherry on top. And I'll make sure they see me every time we play them."
—Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner said that playing his former Seattle Seahawks twice per season wasn't the main reason for signing in the NFC West, but it was a nice incentive. (Seahawks Wire via Twitter)
YOU'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE
"Honestly, I was watching the Suns-Pelicans game on my phone."
—Washington Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson was watching the NBA playoffs on his phone on Draft Night when head coach Ron Rivera called to give him the good news that he had been drafted. (David Aldridge, The Athletic via Twitter)
EVERY INJURY HAPPENS FOR A REASON
"If there was any year to miss, I missed a great one."
—When discussing his upcoming debut in 2022, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne mentioned he got a little lucky missing one of the worst-coached seasons in NFL history. (Eugene Frenette, Jacksonville.com)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
BOTTLE SERVICE HAS NEVER LOOKED SO SAD
The Deebo Samuel Saga in SF has taken a wild turn 👀
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) April 24, 2022
—A San Francisco night club's bottle service sign announced that 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel would be staying. By the looks of his reaction, Samuel had other plans.
IF YOU BEARD IT, THEY WILL COME
— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) April 30, 2022
—A dedicated group of like-minded individuals all attended the draft repping each of Ryan Fitzpatrick's stops in his NFL career.
THAT'S ONE WAY TO DISPEL DRAFT DAY RUMORS
To prove to reporters that the Cowboys had Tyler Smith ranked higher on their board than Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson, Jerry Jones showed a copy of the team's draft board.
Jerry Jones: "I'm dead serious."
Stephen Jones: "Don't show them that. … Put that sheet down." pic.twitter.com/vvj2NV4aEr
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 29, 2022
—Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones clarified a dispute in Dallas' big board by literally showing the reporters his team's draft board.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Everyone keep this on the down low please. pic.twitter.com/xPtrg1kXjr
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 5, 2022
—Hopping on the trend of "being honest on the Internet," Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback reveals the truth behind the play that helped birth his career.
YOU MUST BE NEW HERE
Kendrick Bourne, Mac Jones PRICELESS reaction to Bill Belichick trading down in the first round 😂
Mac just chilling with the dog 😂pic.twitter.com/KCiJWZKpjk
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 5, 2022
—New England Patriots players looked absolutely beside themselves when they found out New England would be trading back in the first round, forcing them to wait even longer to learn about their new teammate.