Posts Tagged ‘NFLDRAFT’

Jacksonville – Trevor Lawrence

New York Jets – Justin Fields – I am the only on on the planet who believes the Jets will draft Justin Fields. Zach Wilson has already called three former Jets QBs suggesting Joe Douglas will draft him at 2 overall. I can’t make sense in my head that the Jets will want an injury prone, small school QB behind that offensive line. Justin Fields is a leader. He’s a big play QB. I acknowledge the likelihood of this selection is very low, but I can’t base my mock draft selections strictly off of reports. Certainly the Jets would have no reason to smokescreen their pick, but they have no reason to tell everyone either. This is the only pick that makes any sense at all to me.

San Francisco – Zach Wilson, BYU QB – Wilson is an efficient passer, and the 49ers have the blocking scheme to protect and let him do his work. Supposedly John Lynch and Co. like Trey Lance here. I personally feel all of these top five QBs can be great if given enough time in one system to become good.

Atlanta – Trey Lance, NDSU QB – Arthur Smith, new Falcons coach, made his name most recently by turning Ryan Tannehill from a bust into a high level starting QB. Trey Lance is a high tools, smart guy who just needs experience. The Falcons would drool over what he can do. They can sit him as long as they want, Ryan’s under contract for three more seasons. I believe Terry Fontenot would jump at the opportunity to draft Lance with everything he’s shown he can do, even with his limited passing experience.

Cincinnati – Penei Sewell, Oregon OT – Burrow already lost some rookie season games to injury, and he was actually connecting well with the receivers they have on the roster. I’m sure he’ll want Ja’Marr Chase, Mike Brown is an old school guy who may believe the games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage and I believe he will see this draft as an opportunity to get some slam dunk offensive tackles and still get quality receivers later in the draft.

Miami – Kyle Pitts, UF TE – Chris Grier does a great job of not overthinking his selections and drafting for value. This has served them well so far. Pitts has been lauded as the gem of the draft.

Detroit – Ja’Marr Chase, LSU WR – The Lions have a need at wide receiver with Kenny Golladay gone, Chase is the best wide receiver in the draft.

Carolina – Jaylen Waddle, Alabama WR – I could see Rashawn slater being the pick here. Facing Tampa Bay twice a year makes me think OC Joe Brady will want firepower to keep up. Waddle helped Tua Tagovailoa and likely Mac Jones become first round picks.

Denver – Mac Jones, Alabama QB – I feel Mac gets unfairly criticized for his team and looks. He throws the ball well. He’ll have a great setup in Denver, the Broncos could be a legit playoff team if they have an above average quarterback next year.

Dallas – Patrick Surtain II, Alabama CB – Teammates with current Cowboy Trevon Diggs, Surtain is seen by many as the top corner in the draft as Farley’s had some injury(back) issues and now even has COVID. Should fit Dan Quinn’s defense well with physical play at Alabama.

New York Giants – Devonta Smith, Alabama WR – Smith is the first Heisman trophy winner to not play QB since seemingly forever. Signing Kenny Golladay suggests Gettleman is now willing to invest in receivers, and Smith would give Daniel Jones every chance to take the next step, 166 lbs be damned.

Philadelphia – RaShawn Slater, Northwestern OT – Former first rounder Andre Dillard has not been healthy and keeping Jalen Hurts upright will be important if they want to see what they have in him. They could also go corner here, with Jaycee Horn or Asante Samuel Jr. The Eagles have invested in LOS positions in the past highly.

LA Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, VA. TECH OT – Darrisaw is a balanced, physical blocker who should run block and has done well in pass protection as well. The Chargers have a gaping need at offensive line generally and Darrisaw played well in 2020.

Minnesota – Jaycee Horn, SC CB – Horn’s one of the top man corners in the draft, Mike Zimmer openly complained about lack of defensive talent on the roster after getting plowed by Alvin Kamara for 6 rushing touchdowns against the Saints who they normally bully. Horn took Seth Williams completely out of the game against Auburn, he should do well in Minnesota.

New England – Greg Newsome II, Northwestern CB – Newsome helped Justin Fields look bad in the 2020 OSU/Northwestern game. Newsome still cracks six feet, and Belichick tends to like his defensive backs tall. I could maybe see Trevon Moehrig or Jamar Johnson here.

Arizona – Alijah Vera Tucker, USC OL – Vera Tucker comes from an offensive scheme very similar to what Kingsbury is running in Arizona. While he started at left tackle in 2020, many expect Tucker to start at guard. Arizona’s weakness is Kyler Murray’s health. I expect offensive line to be a priority for Arizona, and Vera Tucker could reasonably start at guard or tackle on this line.

Las Vegas – Teven Jenkins, OKST. OL – Jenkins is a great run blocker which will be important to the Raiders. I could see the Raiders liking Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah or one other wide receivers. Gruden and Mayock have had great OL play and I see them making that a priority, Jenkins would be a good value here.

Miami – Micah Parsons, Penn State LB – Parsons is a do it all super athlete linebacker, if teams are comfortable with his off field issues. Flores and Grier would draft him if he is still here, Parsons would immediately be one of the best players on the field.

Washington – Trevon Moehrig, TCU S – Washington’s identity is on defense, and Moehrig is a plus size defensive back who many regard as the top safety in the draft. Washington’s struggled at safety.

Chicago – Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame OL – Notre Dame has been an offensive line factory, and Eichenberg played well in 2020.

Indianapolis – Samuel Cosmi, Texas OT – The Colts are solid all around, they need an offensive tackle to replace Anthony Castonzo. Cosmi has great size and has shown the pass protection and run blocking skills to be up to the task for Indianapolis. The Colts have been elite at offensive line, I would be shocked if this wasn’t a priority for them.

Tennessee – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame LB – JOK had an all pro performance against Clemson in 2020. He lacks ideal size, but he flies around the ball like Troy Polamalu. JOK may be asked to move to safety because of his small size.

New York Jets – Jalen Mayfield, Michigan OT – Mayfield has experience at right tackle and should play well there in the NFL. The Jets know they need to be good on the offensive line, they have holes everywhere except for left tackle.

Pittsburgh – Najee Harris, Alabama RB – Harris is a prototype, all round great runner, pass protector, receiving back. Daniel Jeremiah compared him to Matt Forte. The Steelers need a QB and a left tackle, but they may not see the value in those picks here.

Jacksonville – Jaelan Phillips, Miami DE – Phillips is the top edge rusher and played great in 2020. He has NFL size and pressured the passer more often than stud Gregory Rousseau.

Cleveland – Rondale Moore, Purdue WR – Moore can be versatile and can work with the offense that works best for Baker Mayfield. Moore is crazy fast and even stronger. Think of Moore like a roided up Deebo Samuel.

Baltimore – Rashod Bateman, Minnesota WR – Baltimore needs help at wide receiver. Even if Marquise Brown isn’t the answer for them, they don’t have a lot of help even outside of Brown. Bateman is a burner.

New Orleans – Asante Samuel Jr, FSU CB – Samuel is an elite zone corner in the draft. Even at CB3, Samuel would be a big time defender for New Orleans especially against Tampa Bay. at 5’10”, Samuel isn’t even that small.

Green Bay – Eric Stokes, UGA CB – Stokes has great size and played well at Georgia.

Buffalo – Wyatt Davis, Ohio State OG – If Buffalo wants to run the ball better, they should improve their o-line play. Davis has been a major part of OSU’s dominant rushing offense.

Baltimore – Zaven Collins, Tulsa LB – Collins is a versatile linebacker who can rush the passer or play inside. Collins has a gigantic frame and can move around the defense depending on what Baltimore needs.

Tampa Bay – Elijah Molden, Washington DB – Molden is a smaller corner but he has elite coverage skills. Tampa’s done a great job collecting depth in the secondary, and that depth has helped them to be successful against teams like the Chiefs and the Falcons. Molden is likely a CB3 because of his size, but has top coverage chops and will be more valuable late in the season as injuries begin to pile up.

I was expecting that quarterbacks with more college pass attempts would be better overall QBs, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at least looking at these numbers here. The good/bad QBs are all over the map. Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo are at the higher end of the list but Carson Wentz and Tom Brady are at the lower end of the list. The data’s certainly not complete, I didn’t include many backup or third strings QBs.I was expecting that quarterbacks with more college pass attempts would be better overall QBs, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at least looking at these numbers here. The good/bad QBs are all over the map. Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo are at the higher end of the list but Carson Wentz and Tom Brady are at the lower end of the list. The data’s certainly not complete, I didn’t include many backup or third string QBs.

It does concern me a little bit that Trey Lance has the lowest passes of everyone on the list. I feel the NFL needs to take this as a caution that he needs to go the Buccaneers or Falcons. Where he can sit for two seasons and get a real NFL education. Patrick Mahomes threw almost five times as many passes as Lance did in College and he sat for a year (Minus one late season start). Rodgers threw twice as many passes as Lance and sat for three years. Both of these men are very smart, hard working people, and had a ton more experience than Lance did. Throwing him onto ‘Bad Team X’ like New York or Detroit is setting even the smart, most resilient quarterback up for failure.It does concern me a little bit that Trey Lance has the lowest passes of everyone on the list. I feel the NFL needs to take this as a caution that he needs to go the Buccaneers or Falcons. Where he can sit for two seasons and get a real NFL education. Patrick Mahomes threw almost five times as many passes as Lance did in College and he sat for a year (Minus one late season start). Rodgers threw twice as many passes as Lance and sat for three years. Both of these men are very smart, hard working people, and had a ton more experience than Lance did. Throwing him onto ‘Bad Team X’ like New York or Detroit is setting even the smart, most resilient quarterback up for failure.

I find it interesting that although I would label Alex Smith’s a career a success mostly on number of starts, a quarterback with his performance early on would not likely be given a chance for as long as he was. Dwayne Haskins was cut less than two seasons into his NFL career. Josh Rosen was traded after only one season. NFL franchises are more like day traders and less like ‘buy and hold’ investors in that way it feels to me, at least with quarterbacks. This may explain the aggressive nature in which players fight for fully guaranteed money and other benefits in their contract.

Washington Football Team Tight End Logan Thomas ranks in the top half on this list for passes thrown in college, suggesting Washington should probably move him to Quarterback as it is unlikely he’s very bad compared to other NFL backups with that experience. Eagles tight end Tyree Jackson seems to be a similar story. His completion percentage at Buffalo was less than ideal, but I felt he showed enough that he warrants at minimum a practice squad spot or a 3rd string spot on a proper NFL team assuming he gets reasonable coaching and receiver talent. Being tall and fast may have given them a roster spot when shorter quarterbacks may have been free agents looking for work, of course it could have also pigeonholed them from being granted a long enough leash to fulfill their potential, a leash often longer for early draft picks or free agent trades like Sam Darnold or Jimmy Garoppolo. I have no answers their, only questions.

College Career pass attempts for notable NFL QBs:

Kyler Murray – 519

Mitchell Trubisky – 572

Alex Smith – 587

Dwayne Haskins – 590

Carson Wentz – 612

Cam Newton – 628* (336 from JUCO)

Tom Brady – 638

Ryan Fitzpatrick – 641

Josh Allen – 649

Aaron Rodgers – 665

Tua Tagovailoa – 684

Julian Edelman – 706

Ryan Tannehill – 774

Jacoby Brissett – 839

Sam Darnold – 846

Jameis Winston – 851

Tyrod Taylor – 865

Blake Bortles – 891

Joe Flacco – 942

Joe Burrow – 945

Tyree Jackson – 955

Matthew Stafford – 987

Jalen Hurts – 1047

Lamar Jackson – 1086

Kirk Cousins – 1128

Teddy Bridgewater – 1142

Gardner Minshew – 1168

Dak Prescott – 1169

Robert Griffin III – 1192

DeShaun Watson – 1207

Logan Thomas – 1248

Daniel Jones – 1275

Justin Herbert – 1293

Ben Roethlisberger – 1304

Andy Dalton – 1317

Matt Ryan – 1347

Patrick Mahomes – 1349

Russell Wilson – 1489

Baker Mayfield – 1497

Drew Lock – 1553

Jared Goff – 1568

Derek Carr – 1630

Jimmy Garoppolo – 1668

Case Keenum – 2229

Former QBs

Jamarcus Russell – 797

Andrew Luck – 1064

Philip Rivers – 1087

Eli Manning – 1363

Peyton Manning – 1381

Drew Brees – 1678

WISHFUL THINKING MOCK

Jacksonville – Trevor Lawrence

NY Jets – Justin Fields. Fields was QB2 for a year plus until the hype machine started backing Zach Wilson’s performances against North Alabama and other like powerhouses. Zach struggled with injury and doesn’t react well to pressure. Fields is at least a gamer and his worst performance came against a sneaky NFL talent ridden Northwestern defense. His bonkers performance against Clemson is the best single game performance from a College QB since the Cam Newton Era. Wilson would be speared and eaten alive by a barely functioning organization like the Jets, Fields brings the leadership, competitiveness and his “Hero Ball” play would be a STRENGTH not a weakness in this east coast hellhole.

San Francisco – Zach Wilson – Forget all of those negative things I just typed about Wilson, that was smokescreen nonsense. In all seriousness Wilson CAN be great, but he clearly requires more support than the Jets could give him. The 49ers can give him an easier job to do. He had top notch pass protection at BYU in 2020, and he’ll have that in San Francisco. He would be out with injury by week four in New York.

Atlanta (For Now) – Rashawn Slater, Northwestern – The pick here is ‘supposed’ to be Kyle Pitts. Fontenot is used to New Orleans, an overall class organization. New Orleans has had a strong group up front for several years. Slater’s a technician, he’s CRAZY strong, and he could play any position up front. He’s the best pass protector in the draft, and the Falcons are still a pass first offense.

Cincinnati – Penei Sewell, Oregon – Pitts would make sense here, as would Jamarr Chase. Mike Brown is an old school decision maker, and Cincinnati in its’ heyday was strong on the line of scrimmage. This is the OL draft, and I expect NFL teams to get them while they’re hot. Also the Bengals are unsteady overall on the OL. Sewell would maybe be asked to start at Guard, where he would be maybe the best guard in Football immediately.

Miami – Kyle Pitts, Florida – This would be a wet dream for Miami. They would be happy with Jamarr Chase or Devonta Smith.

Detroit – Ja’Marr Chase, LSU – The Lions just need to draft for value. They might swing on a quarterback, I would expect Brad Holmes to see what Goff looks like in Detroit and just building a team before immediately drafting a QB.

Carolina – DeVonta Smith, Alabama WR – I’m not so sold on Darnold that the Panthers WOULDN’T draft a QB here. I think Lance needs a mentor (not Darnold) and Mac Jones is strongly a personal preference draft pick. Stacking up at wide receiver would be a strong ‘pro-analytics’ move that the Panthers are supposedly more bought in on with a new owner.

Denver – Mac Jones, Alabama QB – The rumors are that the NFL scouting community is higher on Mac Jones than the media types are. I understand that Mac is white, but he’s not a tall, cannon-armed QB like Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch. In order to NOT sabotage Trey Lance’s career, Denver would need to sign a veteran/mentor QB like Alex Smith or Teddy Bridgewater AND need the patience to sit Lance for bare minimum one season. The Broncos roster is honestly respectable outside of QB.

Dallas – Caleb Farley, LSU CB – Dallas’ defense clearly needs any help they can get. Top secondary play is key when you’re passing as much as Dallas will be.

NY Giants – Alijah Vera Tucker, USC OL – Tucker would likely be asked to move inside. I think Jaylen Waddle or Patrick Surtain II would make a lot of sense here. Tucker is a versatile lineman who Gettleman would like.

Philadelphia – Jaylen Waddle, Alabama WR – The Eagles are telling themselves they just need a couple of wide receivers to be competitive, and it is a need for them. Waddle might be WR1 in next years’ draft.

LA Chargers – Patrick Surtain II, Alabama CB – The Chargers have long maintained a presence in the secondary. I would expect the best remaining offensive tackle here or the top corner available. Surtain is big game tested and Staley was used to Jalen Ramsey being available with the Rams.

Minnesota – Jaycee Horn, South Carolina CB – Mike Zimmer wants a strong defense, Horn might be the best technician at corner.

New England – Trey Lance, Trey doesn’t fall past here, if he falls to here. Lance’s footwork and throwing mechanics are clean and an old school guy like Bill Belichick will appreciate that. Bill can start Cam as long as he wants until he feels Trey is ready.

Arizona – Rondale Moore, Purdue WR – Moore can lineup in a variety of roles. He lacks ideal height but he was usually the best player on the field while at Purdue and is as strong as an ox.

Las Vegas – Christian Darrisaw, Va Tech OL – Gruden clearly wants to make a statement up front. Darrisaw has some smaller technical flaws, but that’s what coaches get paid to do.

Miami – Micah Parsons, Penn State LB – Parsons can do whatever Flores would ask him to do at a high level.

Washington – Teven Jenkins, OK STATE OL – Jenkins plays with incredible strength and toughness and plays well especially as a run blocker. Ron Rivera has shown a preference for a power run game in the past.

Chicago – Eric Stokes, UGA CB – The Bears need corner help. Stokes allowed 53% completion percentage over his career in the SEC.

Indianapolis – Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame OT – Another Notre Dame bruiser, The Colts need a new left tackle. The Colts has success with Notre Dame lineman Quenton Nelson.

Tennessee – Kwity Paye, Michigan DL – Paye can play at three technique or as an End. The Titans defense was laughably bad in 2020. Paye is the latest Michigan front seven stud.

NY Jets – Asante Samuel Jr, FSU CB – Samuel’s been nothing short of a shutdown corner at Florida State. The Jets badly need O-line help, but that will not likely be a great value pick here.

Pittsburgh – Kellen Mond, Texas A&M QB – This is Ben’s last season, and Pittsburgh may not even want him for 2021. Mond is a rockstar, showed out at the Senior Bowl, Chris Simms who’s been right when others have been wrong really likes Kellen Mond. Mond has started a grip of games in the SEC and keeps the turnovers low. All a great fit for what the Rooneys like in a QB.

Jacksonville – Greg Newsome II, Northwestern CB – Newsome doesn’t have all the ideal measurables of a typical round one corner, but he played a big role in shutting down Ohio State’s passing game. Something Urban surely took note of.

Cleveland – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame linebacker – The Browns don’t have a gaping hole at crucial starting positions like most other teams. JOK is a defensive playmaker and the Browns will find a way to put him on the field.

Baltimore – Terrace Marshall, LSU WR – The Ravens don’t typically draft receivers in the first round. If they want to win playoff games, they’ll need ace in the hole pass game weapons.

New Orleans – Trevon Moehrig, TCU S – The Saints have done a great job here in recent seasons. One of the rare good safety prospects in the draft, they will likely look for receivers in the middle rounds.

Green Bay – Rashod Bateman, Minnesota WR- Green Bay can’t just not draft receivers. Bateman has average height, but that’s not slowed him down in the BIG 10.

Buffalo – Gregory Rousseau, Miami DE – Buffalo wants a better pass rush with their crazy high scoring offense now. Rousseau will come into a great room to learn and grow in.

Kansas City – Brady Christensen, BYU OT – Brady looked really good in 2020, and Reid has had a soft spot for BYU players in the past. Even against the big dogs like USC and UTAH in 2019 Christensen held his own.

Tampa Bay – Milton Williams, LA TECH DT – While not as BIG as Suh, Williams moves incredibly well and could eventually reload at DT when Tampa is ready.

Trey Lance throws the ball downfield early and often at North Dakota State. He has a strong arm, seems to often place the ball just where his guy can catch it, and finds the open man to catch his passes. Lance ran for over 1,000 yards at 6.5 yards per carry in 2019 (on his way to another 1-AA national title). Overall, Lance looks great. It’s concerning to me that North Dakota State vastly outperforms the other teams it plays that Lance doesn’t ever have to actually make any difficult throws, or go through his reads. Watching his game tape, his receivers are often WIDE OPEN. I have concerns that he may struggle against actual defenses that aren’t ten levels below the offense he’s running. North Dakota State has won eight of the last ten national championships, they are more dominant in their arena than Alabama, Clemson, LSU or any other D-I team is in D1 football. This team in 2016 beat #13 Iowa with Easton Stick at quarterback (Stick was a 5th round selection, nowhere near the player Lance is viewed to be). North Dakota State has a season opener against University of Oregon, which game I believe will be monumentally important in showing the football world how Lance performs when he is NOT racing a Ferrari against proverbial Smart Cars. Oregon recruits actual NFL talent and has a smart coaching staff. There is a lot to like about Lance’s on field performance, I can see why talent evaluators like Daniel Jeremiah are excited about him. Because the level of competition NDSU plays is so low, it’s hard for me to say what Lance would look like in the NFL, where the skill gap between his teams and the teams he faces are much closer than they are at North Dakota State. 

I only watched one game of Justin Fields so far, the Clemson/Ohio State game in the College Football playoffs of 2019. Fields’ stat sheet made him look like he had a rocky outing (30/46, 320 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 14 carries for 13 yards). After watching the game I felt Fields played very well, and the referees made some bad calls that impacted the outcome of the game. His first interception was a sideline pass that Isaiah Simmons made an ultra athletic diving play to pick off. Simmons has absurd speed, height and athleticism even for the NFL game, most of the time that pass gets thrown it goes out of bounds or to his receiver. Fields should shoulder some of the blame for this throw, he understands Simmons is an elite defender, he is partially to blame for this interception, really Isaiah Simmons just made a crazy play on the ball. Fields’ second interception was a timing throw to Chris Olave on a route where Olave fell down and Nolan Turner redeemed himself after being badly burnt on routes previously by giving Justin Fields his third and final interception of the season. On plays like this, Fields has to trust Olave will show up at the catch point or else the defense may have enough time to drive Fields into the turf. Fields did exactly what he should have done, his receiver didn’t show up to catch the ball, the defender was there and picked it off. This is not Justin Fields’ fault. Fields made lots of passes downfield which required accuracy, arm strength, and split-second decision making.

Trevor Lawrence is an elite college quarterback prospect, I feel Clemson ran more YAC (yards after catcb) plays that didn’t demonstrate his arm. Both of Lawrence’s passing touchdowns were brilliant catch and run efforts by running back Travis Etienne. Lawrence himself had a 67 yard run, showcasing his own athleticism. Whether it was excellent coverage, play calling, or Lawrence’s comfort level, Lawrence didn’t pass down field often and I felt Fields outshone him as a passer in this game. Lawrence looks like an excellent thrower of the football overall and I look forward to watching more of his play as the Covid season progresses.

I really enjoyed watching tape of Memphis’ Brady White. White repeatedly threw the ball downfield into relatively tight coverage. Many college offenses run safer “catch in space” plays while Memphis really lets him loose with his arm. White doesn’t play a lot of elite teams as the starter at Memphis. In his bowl game against Penn State, White threw a lot of accurate, downfield passes. He was credited with two interceptions. One was a last second toss while being sacked which he threw towards his offensive line. This was an irresponsible pass but more of a coach-able moment than a deeply instilled passing habit. The interception to Marquis Wilson was Brady White trying to thread a needle too narrow. The pass was right on target for his receiver, but White has to respect the coverage better as Wilson jumped in front of the pass and intercepted the ball. I still feel White played pretty well overall, I would certainly like to see him adjust better for better competition in the future.

Iowa State’s Brock Purdy has gotten attention from some early 2021 mock drafters as a potential early quarterback in the 2021 draft. I felt that while Purdy was not a bad decision maker, most of his successful passes were a product of his offense rather than high level passing. Purdy has lots of plays showing him throw a jump ball to 6’7″ tight end Charlie Kolar, or throwing a quick pass to one of his receivers and letting the receiver create yards after the catch. While I understand this is likely a great gameplan for actually winning games in college, it’s more challenging to see what Purdy looks like if he is asked to make challenging throws. Like Trey Lance, I don’t feel I can confidently say I know who Brock Purdy is as a quarterback because of circumstances out of his control. He seems to protect the football well and take the plays that the defense gives him, but he is not asked to throw downfield enough for me to say how well he can actually throw downfield.

I’ve already written how I feel about Louisville QB Micale Cunningham. I feel he is being underrated and maybe a top two quarterback in the draft class. He has a 22-5 TD/INT ratio, a QBR of 50+ in all but two contests in 2019 (Kentucky QBR 50.0, Clemson QBR 22.6), and is an effective runner. Cunningham may spark concerns he can’t handle a high volume passing offense at Louisville where he hands the ball off a lot and was credited with 122 rushes himself. He has demonstrated impressive quick twitch arm strength and great accuracy. In a rough loss to Clemson, Cunningham placed a 42 (air yards) yard bomb to Dez Fitzpatrick just outside the reach of first round draft pick corner A.J. Terrell. His lone interception went through the hands of wide receiver Tutu Atwell and into the hands of Clemson safety K’Von Wallace. I understand quarterbacks are tasked with protecting the football, this the type of pass Cunningham needed to be willing to risk throwing if Louisville wanted any chance at beating Clemson. The placement of the ball was close enough I blame Tutu Atwell more (although Tutu is a great receiver) for not bringing the pass down over Cunningham for throwing it.

There are still other quarterbacks I want to get into before the draft, guys like: Tanner Morgan, Sam Ehlinger, K.J. Costello, Davis Mills, D’Eriq King, Spencer Rattler, Alan Bowman, Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond, and several more.

Teams likely to draft a quarterback early in 2021 draft:

  • Chicago – With Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace likely gone, it’s tough to know what direction Chicago will want to go at quarterback.
  • Carolina – Carolina looks to either be in position to draft their choice of quarterbacks, or to trade up if they aren’t in the top five. I’d have to believe Justin Fields or some 2020 newcomer would be their top choice, based strictly on current QB hype/overall performance.
  • New England – Bill Belichick will pass on every good quarterback prospect until round seven when he drafts Large WhiteMan from Obscure University. Realistic connections could leave us with Mac Jones from Alabama considering Saban’s/Belichick’s connections, or a “lower-risk” QB like Kyle Trask at Florida.
  • New Orleans – I think New Orleans, who really liked Patrick Mahomes, will really like Trey Lance because of his deep ball and athleticism. Even if Trey Lance struggles a little to go from playing Illinois State to the Atlanta Falcons twice a year, the Saints will be confident they can work with his aggressive throwing he’s already shown.
  • Jacksonville – You can credit Shahid Khan, Jaguars owner, for identifying and pushing the Jaguars to draft Gardner Minshew. If Gardner does not work out long term, Jacksonville would likely to be thrilled with any of the big three (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance). Trevor Lawrence might feel like more of a safe pick after flopping hard on small school risk Blake Bortles. Jamie Newman at Georgia would also be a name to monitor for Jax, as he may blow up in 2020.
  • Pittsburgh – Kevin Colbert may ride out Ben Roethlisberger for 2021 and start fresh in ’22. If he follows the trend of other general managers, I could see the Steelers looking at Jamie Newman and drawing comparisons because of his size and scrambling ability to Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Indianapolis – With Indianapolis, I’m reaching deep into the mists of the unknown. They could pursue a quarterback like Spencer Rattler or Alan Bowman if they develop at their current QB factories (Rattler projected to start at Oklahoma, Bowman at Texas Tech under Matt Wells). They would likely gamble on Trey Lance or be happy with Fields/Lawrence if they lose enough games.

Song of the post is “Why am I here” by Bonjr

 

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It’s better to g̶i̶v̶e̶ run between the tackles than it is to receive

Outside of Green Bay’s decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love (which I fully support) Green Bay leaned heavy into installing a power run personnel group. The Packers had a clear need at WR2 to take some of the load off of Davante Adams. This 2020 draft was known for it’s plentiful wide receivers available throughout. Literal K.J. Hill, Ohio State’s all time catch leader, was available in the last round of the draft. The Packers did not draft one wide receiver. Not one. Not even a round seven flyer.

Green Bay? More like Protein Bay, Am I right?

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In round 2, Green Bay drafted running back A.J. Dillon. The former Boston College Eagle weighs in at 247 lbs, and stands at 6 feet and zero inches tall. (Just tall enough to get tinder matches.)  Dillon, whose physical profile very closely matches former Buccaneer Mike Alstott, has a highlight reel filled with inside runs that break for 10 plus yards. Dillon runs with surprising straight line speed, he’s not an ankle breaker in change of direction. Dillon is an incredible back to watch. Dillon is more of a 3rd/4th round prospect, seeing Green Bay take him early showed a clear interest in having Dillon be a focal part of the future. This is more interesting considering Green Bay currently boasts one of the NFL’s finest young running back in dynamic runner Aaron Jones.

Hold the line

330px-Jake_Hanson_(cropped)

Brian Gutekunst drafted three offensive linemen. Two of which (Oregon center Jake Hanson, Simon Stepaniak, Indiana) were top performers in the 225 lb bench press at the NFL Combine. (Hanson placed 4th at the combine with 33 reps, Stepaniak 2nd with 37 reps). In a draft where 45 offensive linemen were drafted between 32 teams (1.4/team) the Packers about doubled the average teams’ investment into offensive line. It should be noted that all three offensive linemen Green Bay drafted project to line up as interior offensive linemen. Guards and centers are generally asked to be above average run blockers.

Green Bay’s third round selection went to Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara. Deguara was noticeable at the combine for his impressive bench press performance. His 25 reps were best in class among tight ends. Lance Zierlein, NFL draft analyst, wrote how Deguara “Takes run-blocking duties to heart.”

 

The success of Kansas City has inspired several other teams to recruit speed threats to outgun the Chiefs. Green Bay knows what they want to be, and aren’t afraid of setting their own trend. This draft was wildly unpopular with fans and draft analysts alike, and while I think Green Bay could’ve easily drafted a skilled wide receiver to reload at an important position, I respect that they have a game plan and are sticking to it.