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.
Before the Draft
Scott Spratt: Early breaking news: Todd McShay has coronavirus and is missing the draft.
Is it too soon in the pandemic to make Mel Kiper sabotage jokes?
Rivers McCown: Seems like a fun class. I spent a lot less time pre-evaluating it because high draft picks are an affront to the wisdom of Glorious Football Leader O’Brien.
I think the most interesting team is probably the Chargers. Take a quarterback (trade up for Tua?) or take the franchise left tackle that you’ve probably needed since Marcus McNeil’s back gave out?
Bryan Knowles: Real life has been kicking me repeatedly, so I’m coming into tonight pretty blind on what’s been going on down the last couple weeks.
Though now I’m hearing that Tua might not even be the second quarterback taken, to which I say: zwuh? It feels like this is one of those cases where teams talk themselves out of something in the silly season, only to regret it later.
Dave Bernreuther: Today’s big rumor and talking point has been that the Dolphins are trying not only to move up to the Lions’ pick at No. 3, but to do so without surrendering No. 5. To pull that off would require a haul similar to what the Falcons gave up in 2011 to jump up to get Julio Jones, and even that was for pick No. 6.
The interesting twist is that this was all done with an eye on blowing the Bengals away for the No. 1 pick, which would net them Joe Burrow instead of Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. The Bengals, of course, have already told Burrow he’s the pick and seem to have no reason to change their mind.
This all makes me laugh — a lot — because all the Dolphins had to do was give Josh Rosen a better look (or called fewer awesome trick plays) last year and they would probably have met their tanking goal and be in possession of that first pick without having to surrender anything at all. Only the Dolphins (and quite probably also the Jets) could so obviously tank a season, accumulate a ton of draft assets, and still screw it up to the point where they lost out on getting their guy anyway. In fact, it’s quite likely that they’ll be duped into wasting extra picks in order to trade up to 3 to ensure that they even get their backup choice.
And so a team that spent two decades mostly stuck in 8-8 mediocrity land and shamelessly blew everything up to tank and rebuild promptly spent more than necessary to acquire a bunch of good-not-great free agents but did well enough to hold more draft capital than any other team, only to lose out on the guy they really wanted and fire themselves pretty quickly right back into that 6- to 10-win stratosphere of mediocrity.
The postscript to this is that I’m still actually rooting for them to pull it off. I’m local, I like Brian Flores, I love Joe Burrow, and I think he’d be wasted or ruined in the Bengals organization. I’d absolutely love to see the Fins find a way to get him here and I think he’d be great for the region and the division. Even so … man. All they had to do was tank properly, and they’d be all set with the best player in the draft AND 13 other picks. What a missed opportunity.
Bryan Knowles: Also, open question: we’ve heard a lot about the relative technical skills and, erm, lack thereof among the various NFL front office staffs. Do we expect that there will actually be a problem tonight, or will things go smoothly?
Scott Spratt: As the resident fantasy football guy, can I ask why they’re not using ESPN’s or another platform’s fantasy draft tool for the real draft? Those are pretty user-friendly, seems like a no-brainer.
Andrew Potter: As ever, it will go fine, but in future days/months/years, technical issues will be blamed for some of the more questionable decisions.
Bryan Knowles: All I’m asking is for the 21st Century equivalent of the Booker Reese pick; is that too much to ask for?
Robert Weintraub: Someday I’ll need an explanation as to how the Bengals organization will ruin Burrow but those fantastically run Dolphins are a prime destination.
Bryan Knowles: Now guys, don’t fight; I’m sure your favorite franchises are both equally capable of blowing this one.
Dave Bernreuther: Hey, hey — don’t call the Dolphins my favorite! They’re just the least un-favorite of any team in whose city I have lived.
But Rob’s question is totally fair, and the only answer that I can give is that I actually believe that their management wants to win, will spend to do so, and that their current coaching staff *may* be somewhat well-suited to do that.
Then again, they just hired the corpse of Chan Gailey, not to mention all the brilliant moves they’ve made to counter their tank, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut and just go back to enjoying the local comedy.
Robert Weintraub: It’s all in good fun. What I do think is people > institutions, despite what David Simon has told us. If Burrow isn’t that special person, alas, but he’s as close as I’ve seen in some time. So this is a hopeful night for me and my long-suffering Bengals crew.
What is classic Cincy would be to get a hold of a guy like that, then lose the season to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. If it happens, the Bengals get the 2021 No. 1 pick too, right?
Scott Spratt: Rate the analogy: Joel Embiid : Philadelphia 76ers :: Tua : Miami Dolphins
Dave Bernreuther: That’s a really interesting question, and I’d say the chances of that are 50/50 at best. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if they set up a 2021 draft with some type of weighted coin flip or lottery system in the event that 2020 was canceled.
Hat tip for the thinking man’s Simon reference too, by the way.
Bryan Knowles: That’s how they did the 2005 NHL draft after the lockout — a weighted lottery, based on playoff appearances and top picks in the previous three drafts, and then a snake draft in the second round.
If they did it that way for the NFL in 2021, the lottery assortment would be:
- Three balls: Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, NY Giants, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, Washington
- Two balls: Atlanta, Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, LA Chargers, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
- One ball: Baltimore, Buffalo, Houston, Kansas City, LA Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, New England, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tennessee
Vincent Verhei: If we’re wondering which GM is mostly likely to have a massive technical gaffe … I mean…
I just watched Gettleman’s and Shurmur’s Saquon Barkley presser. Highlight for me was Gettleman mimicking an analytics nerd by typing on an imaginary keyboard, while a half-awake Shurmur watches his fingers. Good luck, Giants fans. pic.twitter.com/tf7PvmxzvU
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) April 27, 2018
The Show Begins
Tom Gower: The downside of the joint broadcast is there’s no alternative choice on TV if one network decides to go non-football for a while.
Aaron Schatz: Actually, there should be two broadcasts. One is on ABC, the other is on both ESPN and NFL Network.
Bryan Knowles: I believe ABC’s coverage is more college football-oriented, but yeah — if you’re a channel-flipper, not much to do this year.
Bryan Knowles: Benefit to less live coverage: more hilariously terrible ESPN animatics. I am 100% on board with this.
Carl Yedor: Co-signing Bryan’s point on the graphics. This is almost like watching the Super Bowl for the ads.
Vincent Verhei: I don’t think I’ve watched ESPN’s draft coverage since NFL Network started doing their own. This is really jarring for me.
Also, it appears the one personality NFLN contributing to this octobox is … Michael Irvin?!
Aaron Schatz: Kurt Warner, Daniel Jeremiah.
Scott Spratt: Daniel Jeremiah, too, Vince.
Vincent Verhei: And that’s what I get for posting too fast.
Robert Weintraub: Plenty of bitching already about how long the pick is taking — like there is something else to do or watch? Lean in, people — let’s take this past midnight!
The Pick is In
Bryan Knowles: Holy cow, the Bengals took Joe Burrow. Definitely worth waiting 26 freaking minutes for that pick, considering they already sent him his welcome letter yesterday.
Aaron Schatz: And Chase Young goes second. Chalk so far!
Bryan Knowles: Literally 100% of mock drafts SB Nation polled had Burrow going No. 1; 96.6% had Young going No. 2. So finally, 35 minutes in, ~the draft can start~.
For the record, the first pick without a clear favorite is the Giants at No. 4; a majority had the Lions taking Jeff Okudah at No. 3. Best player available at the position of greatest need makes it seem like a no-brainer to me, but they HAVE been shopping the pick … but no. They’re currently penciled to be starting Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, and…Mike Ford, maybe? at corner. Don’t overthink this, take Okudah, and move on
Robert Weintraub: Speaking of Baltimore, the idea that Mel Kiper, of all people, would be the guy caping up for the Bengals org in defiance of the national talking points is as stunning as Omar and Bowtie blowing away Stringer Bell.
Dan Pizzuta: Mildly surprised the Lions stayed put after being connected to half the NFL in trade talks this morning. The Giants could be too stubborn to trade out too, which could set up nicely for the Dolphins and Chargers.
Aaron Schatz: Chalk continues. Jeff Okudah third to Detroit, and most people thought the Giants would take an offensive tackle and they did; Andrew Thomas of Georgia is the first one off the board. He’s SIS’s favorite of this year’s many first-round-quality tackles.
Tom Gower: And the Giants take a tackle at No. 4. Mild surprise that it ends up being Andrew Thomas instead of Jedrick Wills or Mekhi Becton, but we’re still waiting for drama.
Aaron Schatz: I wonder if Andrew Thomas starts at right tackle as a rookie, or does he wait and learn? I’m guessing Nate Solder is cut after 2020.
Bryan Knowles: First real surprise of the day goes to the Giants, again — not that they drafted a tackle, because someone’s gotta try to keep Daniel Jones upright, but that they took Andrew Thomas over Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills
… and two of you say the same thing at the same time, and we name four different tackles at the top of the list. It’s a deep class; Thomas probably needs the most polish of the big four, but it’s not like we can laugh at them like we did last year. More the shame.
Robert Weintraub: Did the dog make the Giants pick?
Vincent Verhei: Checked out a little bit of Rich Eisen’s #DraftAThon on Twitter. Tom Brady and Russell Wilson razzing each other was kind of fun. Deion Sanders and Jimmy Johnson acknowledging that Deion went to Florida State because Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes didn’t recruit him. Eisen breaking the news to Daniel Jones that the Giants had just drafted a new offensive tackle, before Jones admitted he got the news texted to him a few minutes prior. Jones is a terrible liar.
Carl Yedor: We definitely have a bit of the conference call classic where there are either slightly awkward pauses in the conversations or a bit of talking over each other more than normal. Other than that I haven’t noticed anything funky happening with the virtual draft broadcast compared to more normal circumstances.
Dave Bernreuther: Why did Gettleman just put a mask on when he’s home in a room alone? Can’t this guy do ANYTHING that’s not worth making fun of?
So if nobody traded up to 3, where the Lions were active sellers, or 4 to jump Miami, can we safely assume that no team at all, including the Dolphins and Chargers, was anywhere near as excited about either Tua or Herbert as we’ve been led to believe for the last six months?
Vincent Verhei: Tagovailoa to the Dolphins. It was destiny, and neither a few Miami upsets last season nor Tagovailoa’s injuries could deny that fate. It was meant to be.
Bryan Knowles: We can’t judge if Miami was desperate for him; they might have been able to read the tea leaves as well and felt confident staying at 5. ‘Cause hey, tanking for Tua worked!
First left-handed quarterback in the league in nearly a decade. Crazy, coming from someone who grew up watching Steve Young, et al.
Bryan Knowles: I’m really interested about the Chargers pick coming up here. I feel like Herbert at No. 6 is a massive reach. Do they say screw it and get the best quarterback left on the board, ’cause they need one? Do they take one of the many, many good tackles available? Do they try to trade down to, say, 15 with Denver to see if they can get someone interested in starting the receiver run? Tough call.
Scott Spratt: Crushing these Tua comparisons. Who else was left-handed? Oh, Steve Young! Mark Brunell!
Dave Bernreuther: Style-wise Young is actually not that bad a comparison but come on, guys … your only comparables for Tua are Young and Brunell? That’s “the white receiver is shifty and just like Wes Welker”-level analysis.
I remain lukewarm on Tua, but it will be interesting to get to watch him up close. I really hope the Chargers don’t take Herbert.
Oh, they did. Ugh. That’s bad.
On a more positive and much more important note … did Pizza Hut go retro with their logo?
Bryan Knowles: It’s Herbert, and no, I don’t like it. Best player available at position of greatest need, sure, but he feels to me like a bundle of tools who hasn’t actually become a player yet — it’s not quite Josh Allen territory or anything, but anytime someone goes “he’s got a cannon for an arm, and we’ll figure out the rest later,” big alarm bells start ringing for me.
Robert Weintraub: They couldn’t have thrown in some Boomer Esiason clips for the lefty comps? Or is that a “don’t give love to the analyst on a rival network” thing?
Vincent Verhei: Maybe they just figured that with the new threads, they should get a guy who was used to wearing yellow?
Robert Weintraub: Wait till Jordan Love goes in the first round…
Bryan Knowles: The Panthers taking a nose tackle over a safety/linebacker hybrid seems like something from a draft 15 years ago — Derrick Brown is going to be good, but top-10 good? Over Isaiah Simmons? Little surprised.
Scott Spratt: I’m guessing the Panthers’ 32nd-ranked DVOA run defense was a motivating factor.
Aaron Schatz: I agree on the Panthers but at least it does look like Derrick Brown is not just a run-stuffing hog molly, he does rush the passer pretty well for an interior defensive lineman.
Scott Spratt: Kliff Kingsbury having a white couch is the least surprising development of the night.
Dave Bernreuther: I love Derrick Brown’s game, but he aspires to be a lobbyist? What a dumb thing to want to be.
I said this each of the last two years too and ended up wrong, but the Panthers are going to be really interesting next year. If he can get after the other quarterbacks in that division right away this is a great pick.
Vincent Verhei: Isaiah Simmons to the Cardinals, who also drafted Budda Baker, and Tyrann Mathieu. Steve Keim sure loves his Swiss Army knife defensive backs, doesn’t he?
Tom Gower: Keim definitely has a type, and Simmons fits it enough that they pass on taking an offensive tackle to do so.
Vincent Verhei: A note on Gettleman.
Dave Gettleman on the mask: “I’ve got a young IT fellow in here with me and we’re social distancing, and part of it’s the mask. I’m fine”
Gettleman is in remission from lymphoma, so naturally the Giants GM is extra cautious amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
— Madelyn Burke (@MadelynBurke) April 24, 2020
Yes, I regret making fun of him now.
Andrew Potter: I really expected the Cardinals to take an offensive tackle instead of a defender. The Jaguars simply had to take a cornerback. I couldn’t believe my ears earlier when I heard people on the broadcast suggest they were considering an offensive tackle.
Bryan Knowles: No receivers, no trades through ten picks. I’m very surprised about the former; moderately surprised at the latter.
Robert Weintraub: Browns take Jedrick Wills, will play with two right tackles and no left tackle.
Dave Bernreuther: I like CJ Henderson a lot. As much as I’ve liked a college player in a long time. What a great player to grab for the Jags to get them over the top. That defense is going to be really scary now that they can pair him with Jalen Ramsey behind that scary defensive line with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. It’s going to be impossible to throw on them now.
(Oh. Wait. They did what? They paid the Bears’ new quarterback how much? Their quarterback is who, again? Oh. Well OK then.)
Bryan Knowles: I am very surprised Jerry Jeudy is still sitting on the board. I know Playmaker only had him second, but I think a plurality of the scouts had him first. The Jets, Raiders, 49ers, and Broncos are all going in the next five picks; he won’t last long…
Robert Weintraub: I wonder how much the pending lack of OTAs/camp/preseason caused Simmons to drop to Arizona? Hybrid guys likely have more stuff to learn, whereas Brown, for example, is just “get in there and be country strong.”
Vincent Verhei: All the receivers are still on the board! It’s supply and demand — the supply of good receivers is so high, the demand is low. You might get a starter in the second round, so go somewhere else in the first.
Might also apply to the Cardinals taking Simmons, actually. This is supposed to be a deep draft for tackles too, maybe they’re looking to grab one later — although they are missing a second-rounder, so that could be tricky.
Scott Spratt: The Raiders just drafted the fastest receiver! Throwback!
Vincent Verhei: Henry Ruggs is the first receiver off the board. Fastest player at the combine goes to the Raiders. Some things never change.
Dave Bernreuther: I don’t know how I never saw those basketball highlights of Mekhi Becton before now. To move like he does at that size is absolutely amazing.
I have no idea how he’ll do against NFL players but he’s a freak and I’m rooting for him.
His dad (I assume) is a monster too.
It’s going to take years before I’m used to hearing “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Aaron Schatz: The Raiders with the first kind of surprising pick taking Henry Ruggs ahead of CeeDeeLamb and Jerry Jeudy. But taking the fast guy first is so, so Raiders.
Bryan Knowles: Al Davis lives!
And of course the Raiders take the third-best of the three biggies (by our Playmaker rating, at least). Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree memories.
Vincent Verhei: Yes, I saw Becton’s (presumably) father and thought he was the largest guy I’d see all night. Then Mekhi stood up, and, well…
49ers at 13 a good candidate to be the first team to trade down tonight.
Carl Yedor: In addition to “Raiders take a fast guy” we also have the continuing trend of “Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock take someone from Alabama or Clemson.”
Bryan Knowles: Vic Tafur is reporting the Raiders were TRYING to move back, but no one wanted to come up. If that’s true, I doubt there’s much demand for No. 13, either…
Scott Spratt: Is that the Raiders’ draft board behind Gruden? Someone zoom in on that.
Tom Gower: Have we specifically looked at wide receivers who played a much lesser role than their teammates? Ruggs had 40 catches to Jerry Jeudy’s 77 last year, and I’m kind of skeptical of guys who are a college team’s secondary or even tertiary option as first-round picks.
Scott Spratt: I’m obviously cherry-picking here, Tom, but Odell Beckham had 18 fewer catches than Jarvis Landry in their final year at LSU.
Tom Gower: I’d argue Beckham and Landry were 1A and 1B. The receiving yards their final season were pretty similar (1,193 Landry, 1,152 OBJ). Jeudy had 50% more receiving yards than Ruggs this past season, and the 2018 disparity was even bigger.
Dan Pizzuta: Is Henry Ruggs going to force Derek Carr to throw the ball down the field more often or is this just wasting a year until Gruden can get someone who can?
Vincent Verhei: Jameis Winston is currently available.
Things Get Interesting
Dave Bernreuther: Why on earth would you trade up one spot from 14 to 13? That makes even less sense than what the Bears did for Mitchell Trubisky (before we knew for sure that Trubisky sucked).
Good for John Lynch. Pulled the same trick twice.
Vincent Verhei: Good catch Dave. Wasn’t even thinking about that.
Bryan Knowles: Trade details:
- TB gets No. 13 and No. 245.
- SF gets No. 14 and No. 117. Not the Day 2 pick they wanted, but an extra mid-round pick, plus a move back and still getting their choice of the remaining receivers.
Carl Yedor: So the Bucs just moved up one slot, I wonder who they were worried about jumping in front of them for Tristan Wirfs.
Vincent Verhei: I used to lift weights a lot. I know what 300-plus pounds feels like. This video of Tristan Wirfs doing four reps of a hang clean with 450 pounds reminds us that NFL players are superhuman.
450 easy on the hang clean 😳💪
Iowa O-Lineman Tristan Wirfs is a MONSTER.@TristanWirfs74 (via @HawkeyeFootball) pic.twitter.com/XnOP0NeVEJ
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) July 23, 2019
Dave Bernreuther: As a former “strength athlete” myself I want to just point out that a 450×4 clean with non-disgusting form as a college kid is one of the most ridiculous feats of strength that I’ve ever seen. Wow. Becton and his abilities got all the press but Wirfs is on that same level and a more polished player as well. I totally get the infatuation with him … still a bit confused about what would’ve made it necessary to make that trade though.
Aaron Schatz: I can’t believe the 49ers were able to move up from 245 to 117 when they weren’t going to take the offensive tackle anyway!!!! I wonder if some other team was talking to them about trading into that spot and they made the Buccaneers outbid that other team. Or maybe they just made the Bucs think that was happening.
Tom Gower: John Lynch must have sold that he had another legitimate offer from some other team so … Miami coming up from No. 18? I don’t get it. But I do like that Jason Licht got the seventh-round pick back because that way he can say he traded two picks and got two picks back like there’s not a huge difference between a 4 and a 7. Jon Robinson, who used to work for Licht, has done the same thing several times in his trades up.
Vincent Verhei: John Lynch makes some mistakes, but so far he has been really, really good at working the phones on draft day. Shows the preparation needed to make quick decisions and think on the fly as players fall.
Bryan Knowles: Lynch is going to celebrate by signing a running back to a five-year, $45-million deal.
Vincent Verhei: JAVON KINLAW?????
Bryan Knowles: I don’t hate the Kinlaw pick, I really don’t.
I am now hoping, hoping, hoping that Justin Jefferson falls to No. 31.
Robert Weintraub: San Francisco gets Kinlaw, and Kyle Shanahan breaks the Falcons’ hearts again…
Carl Yedor: So the Niners ignore receiver in Round 1 and go for a DeForest Buckner replacement in Javon Kinlaw. Depth at the receiver position driving down price showing up again.
Dave Bernreuther: So San Francisco takes the guy that I’d imagine the Colts would have taken with the same pick had they not traded it. This will be really interesting, because I didn’t hate the Buckner trade, or even necessarily the contract. But now we get to watch and see … what are the chances that DeForest Buckner — who I love — is roughly $60 million better than Kinlaw over the next four or five seasons?
Vincent Verhei: I just … yes, they need to replace DeForest Buckner, but … they were so desperate for receivers they traded for Emmanuel Sanders in the middle of the year. Then they lost Sanders, which means they’re desperate for wide receivers again, right??
Scott Spratt: Do you have any optimism for Jalen Hurd at this point, Vince?
Vincent Verhei: I wouldn’t say I’ve written Hurd off, but he missed his whole rookie year with a back injury. Last I read they weren’t even sure he’d be ready for offseason workouts. If I were running a team looking to make it to two Super Bowls in a row, I’d want something more certain there.
Bryan Knowles: I don’t really think the 49ers can go into 2020 with Deebo Samuel/Jalen Hurd/Kendrick Bourne as their top three receivers.
There are a quartet of receivers still out there who make sense at 31 (Lamb, Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins), but I would have assumed the 49ers would try to trade down from 31…
Meanwhile, the Broncos are dancing in the aisles that they got Jeudy at No. 15 without having to move.
Dave Bernreuther: As long as I’m complaining about a Herbert, it’s worth featuring another likable Herbert with far less downside, as something of a PSA: Herbert the Pervert, my rescue old man German Shepherd, is chugging along in his golden years and about to hit two years since I found him near death on the streets.
Rescue old dogs, people. They’re amazing. And low-maintenance. And so grateful and rewarding.
Tom Gower: The draft has been extremely chalky, but the Falcons were the first pick where I wasn’t sure what they would do. Reaching for their favorite of the remaining defensive players felt like the most likely move with Henderson and Kinlaw off the board, and that’s what they ended up doing. But A.J. Terrell was their guy? OK, good luck with that.
Derrik Klassen: Underwhelmed with the Terrell pick as well. Kristian Fulton for sure a better player to me, and I’d probably take Jeff Gladney too. Don’t hate going cornerback, just feels like the wrong guy.
Aaron Schatz: A.J. Terrell is ranked as the 15th (!!) cornerback in the SIS rookie handbook. Yikes.
Robert Weintraub: Agree with Derrik on the Terrell panic. Feels also like it would have been K’Lavon Chaisson if they hadn’t been burned by rangy edge guys in Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. Catching up on Ruggs, Alabama didn’t send him streaking deep too much — he was a killer slant guy. So he may work with Carr better than we expect.
Also, if you like Ruggs, wait until Jaylen Waddle comes out…
Dallas takes CeeDee Lamb in what feels like direct payback for Philly taking Dallas Goedert out from under them a couple of years back.
Dave Bernreuther: Why are they bothering with these camera shots of the coaches? They don’t interview them. They’re not the ones making the picks. It’s ten times more awkward than having the players stand there and nod for five seconds during in-game introductions and it serves no purpose. But for some reason we’ve had Mike McCarthy on screen for several minutes now.
Lamb is a great player and I like him a lot. But damn. This was already the second-best offense last year and they had plenty of holes. This isn’t going to be what puts them into the playoffs, right? Seems dumb. But at the same time … if you’re a Cowboys fan — and I’m 6-plus-feet away on this couch from one — it’s hard not to get excited about the potential there.
Even if it doesn’t actually make the team all that much better.
Carl Yedor: Looks like Jerry Jones wants to make Dak Prescott’s contract very expensive if he does play out this year on the franchise tag by snagging Lamb there.
Vincent Verhei: I think this is a case where “best available player” outweighed “biggest need.”
Dallas games are gonna be fun, that’s for sure.
Aaron Schatz: Dallas was No. 2 in offensive DVOA last year (No. 3 if you take out Kansas City’s Matt Moore games).
Bryan Knowles: Also, the “Oh thank god, Philly didn’t get CeeDee Lamb” factor, as spite always makes your pick feel that much better.
Tom Gower: Here’s the thing with Dallas and CeeDee Lamb: he’s a terrific prospect and should be a good pro. But are you a better team in 2020 and in the long run with a better third receiver (given you just paid Amari Cooper and have Michael Gallup) than you would have been with K’Lavon Chaisson? I’m higher on him than SackSEER because I think he would have had the testing numbers to justify a better projection, and the pass-rusher cliff is right after him in my opinion. I’m not convinced.
Robert Weintraub: Is it me or is the coverage leaning hard into the depressing back stories of every single draftee? It’s like the Up Close and Personal Olympics here.
(Truth is, the production has been extremely high-quality given the circumstances. Producers/director and technical director doing great work.)
Robert Weintraub: Larry David made the Cowboys’ spite store pick… I prefer Jerry Jeudy to the other wide receivers. He’s like Marvin Harrison without the (alleged) murder.
Bryan Knowles: With one of the picks from the Khalil Mack, the Raiders select … a cornerback people had going in the second or third round.
Tom Gower: Austin Jackson to the Dolphins feels like a little bit less of a reach than Terrell, but in the similar vein: we want this position, and he’s our favorite player here. Damon Arnette definitely falls into the same camp. I see stuff like Dane Brugler have him in the late 60s overall in his draft guide, and while I thought he might go higher than that, felt like it was reasonable to hope he’d be there for the Titans at the end of the second round. Going No. 19? And it’s not like this is the Clelin Ferrell pick last year, since that was a personality-driven pick and Arnette has some football-character issues.
Aaron Schatz: Regarding Damon Arnette: players chosen far before the conventional wisdom do not have a great track record.
Vincent Verhei: K’Lavon Chaisson going to the Jaguars at 20 pretty much eliminates any chance that the Seahawks weren’t going to trade down again. There may not be another first-round player available that fits any of their needs.
Bryan Knowles: But D’Andre Swift is right there, Vince! What’s the point of the 49ers drafting ten zillion defensive linemen if they’re not there to battle the Seahawks’ ten zillion running backs?
Robert Weintraub: Man, I was thinking Arnette for the Bengals — at pick 66! But I always say, when in doubt, draft the Buckeye (except Billy Price, of course).
Dave Bernreuther: I made fun of the Jags earlier because of past moves, but they’ve made two picks now and I think both of them made their defense a lot better. Chaisson is exactly who I didn’t want them to take there.
How is it that the league’s commissioner can’t even get pronunciations correct, by the way?
Andrew Potter: The second Jaguars pick is the other massive hole on their defense. Predictable and sensible approach to the latest episode of their multi-season rebuild so far.
Bryan Knowles: Go to bed, Patriots fans — they just traded 23 to the Chargers for 37 and 71.
Scott Spratt: Haha, they just ran the “Pizza Hut Draft Moment” and it was the end of the Vikings-Saints playoff game, not anything draft-related.
Carl Yedor: Justin Jefferson makes a lot of sense for the Vikings with Stefon Diggs gone.
Dave Bernreuther: Finally, a dog! Rick Spielman’s lab makes a live appearance, thrilling those of us who hoped to see Abby make a pick earlier.
Vikings use the Diggs pick to take a receiver. Just like the Colts can look at Kinlaw for the comparison (and vice versa), now we can compare Jefferson and Diggs over the next few years to see if the Vikings were really better off getting rid of the known quantity.
Vincent Verhei: Patriots get two Day 2 picks for their first-rounder. Sets a market for Seattle.
Chargers trade up for inside linebacker Kenneth Murray. Was that a glaring need for them? Quite a price to pay.
Robert Weintraub: Pats do what they do — trade out of 23 to get two mid-rounders. Nice.
Chargers take Kenneth Murray, whom I would rate a lot higher if he went by “Kenny.” Pretentious much?
Serio, if he plays out of the whole “Big 12 defenders are a joke” thing, that’s a rough defense to tangle with.
Vincent Verhei: I see Rivers listed inside linebacker as the Chargers’ quiet need for ESPN, so … yes, it was a need, but it was also a quiet need, so I don’t feel bad about missing it.
Bryan Knowles: The Saints drafted Cesar Ruiz, “born to play center.” Uh, Erik McCoy had a great rookie season last year, so I presume one or the other will be kicking out to guard, right?
Andrew Potter: I’m baffled by that pick. Baffled.
Aaron Schatz: I’m thinking Ruiz doesn’t play in his rookie year. The Saints just re-signed Andrus Peat, and they pay Larry Warford a lot of money. Warford’s contract ends after 2020, Ruiz goes to right guard.
Vincent Verhei: Niners trade up. This has to be a receiver. Brandon Aiyuk? Tee Higgins?
Scott Spratt: There you go, Vince!
Vincent Verhei: It’s Aiyuk. I was completely not impressed with him after Derrik’s piece in Futures, but if there’s any coach in the league who can get the most out of a YAC-machine, it’s Kyle Shanahan.
Bryan Knowles: It is in fact Aiyuk.
Derrick Klassen called Aiyuk a roleplayer in 2020, and someone who needs a creative coach to get the most use out of him. The 49ers certainly have the creative coach…
I’m OK with the 49ers going wide receiver and defensive tackle with their two first-round picks. I would have been happier with Jeudy and, say, A.J. Epenesa, but I can’t argue with the general strategy.
Vincent Verhei: But the 49ers give up three picks for Aiyuk (31, 117, 176) and now they only have three picks left in the draft, with no picks in the second, third, or fourth round. I don’t know, man.
Bryan Knowles: Yeah, it feels like a move to go all-in on this year … but if that’s what they’re doing, why Aiyuk over Lamb or Jeudy? They must have had Aiyuk right up there in a top four alongside the others, which surprises me.
Zachary Binney: Just dropping in to note CBS has forgotten to update their algorithm for prior picks and currently has Jordan Love as a best fit for Miami at 26.
Robert Weintraub: I like Aiyuk — he’s a tough MFer, got some Steve Smith to him — but that’s calling it a draft, basically, for the Niners. Still, filled two needs with two good players.
Things Get Crazy
Vincent Verhei: HOLY SH*TBALLS!!!! LOVE TO GREEN BAY!!
Carl Yedor: So this is Aaron Rodgers’ successor, huh?
Robert Weintraub: Love hurts (if you’re Aaron Rodgers)!
Aaron Schatz: Aaron Rodgers just got Aaron Rodgers’ed by Jordan Love.
Bryan Knowles: Woah, woah, woah, Jordan Love to the Packers! History repeats itself with the sliding quarterback!
Tom Gower: If you like Jordan Love that much, go ahead and trade up to get him…
1. But given Aaron Rodgers’ contract, you’ll have him on the team for at least the next two seasons, so you’re missing out on two of Love’s cheap years.
2. The Packers traded up to get him. Who was taking a quarterback before they were on the clock at No. 30? Not the Dolphins. Not the Seahawks. Not the Ravens. Not the Titans. Maybe there was some other team lurking and trying to move up. Maybe.
3. You were in the NFC Championship Game last year, and this move doesn’t make you better this year or next year or really in your Rodgers window.
Scott Spratt: After the trade, the Dolphins have 13 picks left in the draft, incredible.
Statistically speaking, Jordan Love was one of the 8 most efficient passers in the MAC last season. pic.twitter.com/7yazgqeiuK
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) April 24, 2020
Vincent Verhei: SEATTLE’S PICK IS IN. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. SEATTLE’S PICK IS IN.
Bryan Knowles: … The Seahawks not only don’t trade down, but take Jordyn Brooks?!
Vincent Verhei: I’m so baffled by the non-trade that I can barely even process the pick. The last player taken by Seattle in the first round without trading back was James Carpenter in 2011.
Carl Yedor: Yeah, I’m confused, I don’t understand this at all. He’s an inside linebacker joining a team with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright starting already that also drafted two off-ball linebackers in last year’s draft, one of which was in the third round (so, not insignificant investment). Wright may not have much gas left in the tank, but I’m not sure what the plan is here. Pass-rusher is a much more pressing need for them. The ABC broadcast essentially just clowned on picking a defensive player from Texas Tech too.
So, very on-brand? I jokingly suggested they were going to trade down to 29 and take Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, but I’m not sure if this makes more or less sense.
Vincent Verhei: You know what? This makes much, much less sense than taking a running back. Chris Carson is hurt! Rashaad Penny tore his ACL! It’s a real need!
The Seahawks already showed up as the team that drafted guys higher than they were mocked in Benjamin Robinson’s research. This is going to blow up his scale.
Robert Weintraub: Agree on the need part, but I like Brooks more than Patrick Queen, which is unusual to say for a Big 12 defender vis-a-vis an SEC guy.
Bryan Knowles: Of COURSE the Ravens get Patrick Queen. Love the fit, and there’s no reason he should have fallen this far.
Dan Pizzuta: SIS had the Seahawks in base 67% of the time last year, with the next-highest team at 37%. No team relies on their off-ball linebackers more. Though the question is why Jordyn Brooks instead of Patrick Queen, who goes next to the Ravens, the team that played base the least in 2019.
Dave Bernreuther: I’m still in awe over the Love pick. It’s not quite the same as trading into the top ten, but wow. A contending team with a Hall of Fame quarterback whose window is closing just traded up to draft an inaccurate project quarterback in the first round when several players who could have helped immediately were still on the board.
Did they think their 13-3 record last year was legit and that they had no roster holes to fill?
Tom Gower: Sometimes you see an emerging consensus destination for a player at the end of the first round, and you never think it’s going to happen. Compiling day-of mocks the past few years, it didn’t happen. But then Patrick Queen falls to the Ravens and the Titans find a player who fits precisely their type in Isaiah Wilson, so you never know.
Aaron Schatz: Brian Flores is all about the cornerbacks, baby. Noah Igbinoghene to join Byron Jones, Xavien Howard, and Nik Needham.
Bryan Knowles: The Dolphins take Noah Igbinoghene at No. 31, when corner was listed as “Not a Need” in our draft guide. The Dolphins somehow found the one position where they DIDN’T need to draft anyone, considering they have Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Bobby McCain.
Robert Weintraub: Noah is hella good though, and you can’t ever have too many cornerbacks, especially when they are ready to move off X-man in two years (I-man is only 20). But all that matters is 2.33 — Josh Jones? Denzel Mims? Laviska Shenault? Tee? Logan Wilson? Trade down? Gonna be an interesting day…
Scott Spratt: Oof, tough break for my guy Darwin Thompson with the Chiefs taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Bryan Knowles: And with pick 32, the Chiefs take 2020’s most overrated running back — or, at least, that’s what BackCAST thinks. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is, at least, arguably the best receiving back in the draft, but his size/speed combo is … underwhelming, shall we say.
Vincent Verhei: Every year at the end of the first round I try to pick winners and losers of the day, but the first half was so chalky, and the second half so surprising, that my head is swimming and I don’t even know what to say. I am bewildered by the Seahawks. I am stunned by the Packers. I have no idea what to make of the 49ers.
Well, that certainly wasn’t boring. See you all tomorrow night!
Bryan Knowles: I’m surprised to see Xavier McKinney still on the board at the end of Day 1; I wouldn’t be surprise if Cincinnati got dueling calls from Carolina and Tampa Bay about 2.33 overnight.
Tom Gower: Even more than most years, I’m reluctant to dig too deeply into evaluating how teams did with specific players. Agnostic on how good you think Jordan Love will be, I think I laid out the reasons why Green Bay’s move for him was eye-openingly aggressive. The other “reach” picks were more “That’s who you think is the best player at that position? Good luck.” I mean, maybe Jalen Reagor will be better than past Big 12 receivers. Maybe Damon Arnette will be that good. Maybe A.J. Terrell will be worth the pick. Maybe those picks would’ve felt more “normal” had we gotten the normal deeper round of information leaking out from the NFL to us hoi polloi from pre-draft activities.