146 thoughts on “2018 NFL Draft

  1. Interesting but not surprising. This century has been all about the passing game, so you’re looking at bigger numbers for the guy throwing the ball, the guy he throws it to, the guy trying to kill him, and the guy trying to protect him.

    I thought you didn’t care for the Ringer NFL guys.

  2. Putting aside whether I care about the Ringer guys or not, what does that have to do with my posting something by one of them?

    For what it’s worth, I don’t really care for one of the NFL podcasts (I can’t remember the names of the two guys that do it), but I listen to GM Street. As for Kelly, I’m familiar with him and his writing and Fieldgulls, and I’ve liked both.

    As for the data, I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers were similar prior to the 2000s–with the exception of the RB, which I think would be higher–up there with QBs and edge rushers.

  3. I’m assuming you were even aware of the tweet because you follow him (although maybe you picked it up in a retweet), and that surprised me because I thought you didn’t care for the Ringer NFL guys. I was just surprised to see it.

    Yeah, Kelly is one of the Ringer NFL podcast guys, which is where I got that impression. Maybe he’s a good writer but a lousy podcast host. I know Peter King thinks the world of him (which of course may be as much blessing as curse, depending on how one feels about King).

  4. I’m assuming you were even aware of the tweet because you follow him (although maybe you picked it up in a retweet), and that surprised me because I thought you didn’t care for the Ringer NFL guys.

    Ah, OK, got it. (Is Kelly doing a podcast? He wasn’t on the one I had in mind.)

  5. A Complicated Discussion About the Value of Certain Positions

    Is there a difference between the value of certain positions and specific players at those positions? Before I say anything else, let me say that my thoughts are fuzzy on this topic, and I’m writing this to gain some clarity about this topic. Let me dive in with what might be the best example for this–namely, the RB position. In general, I would say the value of the RB is fairly low in the NFL….Well, that’s not entirely true, either. I think it is low for spread-dominant offenses. For those teams, I would come close to saying they should never take a RB in the first round. On the other hand, if your team employs a run-centric offense, drafting a RB in the first round, even in the first ten picks, is reasonable. I guess the bottom line is that even simple generalizations are not entirely appropriate when evaluating the value of RBs (or other positions?).

    But now what happens if the best player in the draft turns out to be a RB–who happens to be considered a generational talent and potential for the Hall of Fame. To what degree does the value of the position factor in? If you’re a spread-based offense, and you have a chance to take this player, do you pass? What if the RB is great at catching the ball–say something like Marshall Faulk?

    I guess what it comes down to is that positional value is ultimately a generalization, and that specific players can be exceptions.

  6. I listen to the NFL podcast on The Ringer and Danny Kelly is practically on every show. He’s not a host, but is called practically every show for a short segment and is on if one of the other two isn’t (I think).

  7. I have a feeling Dallas will pick Shaquem Griffin (the one handed guy) in round two, unless they think they can wait until round three. They love to take chances in round two ala Jaylon Smith.

  8. I subscribe to the two NFL shows from the Ringer. GM Street and the one with Mays and Clark. When I read the written descriptions I didn’t really notice Kelly’s name all that much. I just see Mays’s and Clark’s name. Then again, I rarely listen to their podcasts.

    They love to take chances in round two ala Jaylon Smith.

    This is one thing I would criticize the Cowboys FO for–especially if they did it again. I think they’ve been burned too many times. Also, what they’ve shown (especially on defense) is that they can take no name guys and produce a serviceable, if not more than serviceable, defense. The high risk guys not only may not play, but also have the potential for hurting their culture.

  9. Ranking the most talked about QBs

    (Note: This is based on comments I’ve heard from others, not my own observations of the QBs.)

    Let me first say that all of them have enough red flags that I would lean toward picking another position–one that a team felt confident the player would have a high floor (solid starter) and a high ceiling (top 3 at their position, if not better than this). Or, I’d be thinking of trading down for more picks.

    Putting that aside, here’s the order:

    1. Sam Darnold. The thing I don’t like is the turnovers. Can that improve? I think so, but this one thing makes me nervous. Also, USC QBs don’t seem to have a great NFL track record. I also hear that he misses open WRs a bit too much, but I’m not sure if that’s true. People say his mobility in the pocket and ability to throw while scrambling is really good, and that’s a big plus.

    2. Josh Rosen. From what I understand, he’s smart, processes information quickly, accurate, and has toughness and courage to stay in the pocket. That checks off almost every box, and this makes him a a really enticing pick. The two red flags seem to be injuries and his love of the game. Mora’s comments are a big deal to me–specifically, the ones about Rosen having many interests and the implication that the coaches have to keep him interested. (Just heard more comments from Mora recently, where he tries to backpaddle on this, but it wasn’t convincing. Mora seems like a clown to me, but that’s another story.)

    3. Baker Mayfield. Height limitations, lackluster performances against better competition and his success being dependent on the system and play calling–all these things are a turn off.

    4. Lamar Jackson. I haven’t heard enough about him, so I’m not entirely sure. I’ve heard mixed things about his ability to play from the pocket, read coverages, and about his accuracy. Actually, if I recall I heard comments that the latter is iffy, but I’m not sure if this is true. I’m a little gunshy about super athletic QBs, unless they have good pocket skills.

    5. Josh Allen. Seems like the classic bust waiting to happen. Strong arm but has accuracy issues and struggles to read defenses. This doesn’t sound like a first round draft pick to me.

  10. Just so I’m understanding, if you were the Browns, you would pick a non-QB with the first or fourth pick? Based on what little I know of college football, there isn’t really any sure things coming along next year either.

    Based on the little I’ve heard, I think I would go with Josh Allen. I hear enough good things, and not just his arm strength to give him a shot. I would definitely pick him over Lamar Jackson, who seems like a bigger risk, unless you are including the projected draft position in the equation.

    I would have Rosen second. I don’t think his love of football is an issue at all. I also put almost no stock in Mora’s comments. Who knows what that guy is thinking.

    I will just comment a little on Danold and Mayfield. I saw Danold play a couple times in college. Both times I thought he was shaky down the stretch in games, and maybe that’s why I don’t have him as high. Mayfield’s is great. He competes and has a Favre way of playing football. It’s his college offense that should give most NFL team’s pause. Their offense is really like Chip Kelly’s at Oregon in many ways.

    I think if Cleveland wasn’t burned so many times before from a QB, the draft move would have been to trade out of their one or fourth spot and move down to get Mayfield in a later pick. But if they were going to do that, they should have done it with the Jets already. They should really go for Chubb, I think.

    Reid,
    Do you think the Hawks should go O-linemen or defense? Or would you like them to trade down?

  11. Just so I’m understanding, if you were the Browns, you would pick a non-QB with the first or fourth pick?

    Assuming that my descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the QBs are accurate, yeah, I think so–even if next year’s QBs don’t seem promising. That may seem like a tough pill to swallow, but look at this way. Suppose you could choose one of the QBs or have a draft like the Saints last year–a good CB, O-lineman, and RB–players that are good, but not necessarily the best at their position. Put that way, the multiple player package seems attractive. It’s even more attractive if the package is made up of safe picks by your scouts.

    Based on the little I’ve heard, I think I would go with Josh Allen. I hear enough good things, and not just his arm strength to give him a shot.

    I’m guessing these reports don’t include his problems with accuracy and reading defenses, or they have a good explanation for these things.

    I also put almost no stock in Mora’s comments. Who knows what that guy is thinking.

    I don’t blame you for feeling this. I sort of feel this way, too. But is the doubts about his passion for the game emanating mainly from Mora? That would be more reassuring. Also, for what it’s worth, all the stuff about Rosen needing explanations for why things are done is not a red flag for me. If anything I see that as a positive. It could be bad if this means that Rosen will have a problem with authority–i.e., if the coaches don’t explain things to his liking, he’ll tune them out, lose respect for them, and not respond well. That’s kinda weird, though, because I have a hard time believing that between the head coach, OC, and QB coach–one of them couldn’t adequately explain things.

    I saw Danold play a couple times in college. Both times I thought he was shaky down the stretch in games, and maybe that’s why I don’t have him as high.

    I recall hearing something like that about him, too. if that’s true, that’s a worrying sign–in addition to the other concerns I brought up.

    Mayfield’s is great. He competes and has a Favre way of playing football.

    How’s his arm talent? I assume it’s not as good as Favre–but is his arm strength and accuracy and issue? (I recall hearing that his reading of defenses and accuracy are solid, if not better than that.)

    Do you think the Hawks should go O-linemen or defense? Or would you like them to trade down?

    I’m not sure. A part of me would be happy if they went for the best player available, especially if that player was really good. Putting that aside, and just going by need, I would say DL, then OL. I doubt Carroll will ever do this, but I would prefer him building the defense on the front seven.

    But if they don’t have a high confidence that 18th pick will be solid starter and even better upside, I think they should trade down. They’ve got some holes.

  12. It’s hard to compare the Saints with the Browns because the Saints got a QB. I know what you are saying though, but man even though Philly did it without a QB last year (talking Super Bowl run), it will take multiple drafts to build enough to win without a QB. I’m a fan of Tyrod though. So I’m not totally discrediting what you are saying. Not that Tyrod can win games, but he may be enough with enough pieces.

    I hear Josh Allen is a good study, and I didn’t hear he had problems reading defenses. If that’s true, that may taint my rankings. I just heard some of his negatives can be attributed to the bad team around him. Yes his competition wasn’t great either, but I heard his teammates should have taken on the burden of some of Allen’s downsides (I’m guessing this is sort of how you feel about Wilson).

    Mayfield’s arm talent isn’t Favre’s for sure. He just has fun playing just like Favre used to. I would say based on his college system, that reading defenses should not be considered one of his strengths. As I said he was playing in a Duck-like offense sort of like Mariota. Where it seems the offense dictated more of the what the defense would do versus the other way around.

    The talk of the draft is that after the first ten to twelve picks, it’s a sort of deep cliff to the next tier of players, but it’s an extremely deep draft till about the second half of the third round. Pundits were saying that because of the rookie salary structure it may be beneficial to get a second or even third round pick over a late first, because the drop off between talent isn’t as bad as other years. That would make trading back better in some sense, but I’m guessing harder to do as well.

  13. It’s hard to compare the Saints with the Browns because the Saints got a QB.

    If the Saints didn’t have Brees and had a choice between getting package of players equivalent to Lattimore, Kamara, and Ramczyk or one of the QBs, which would you prefer? If the red flags are too big, I’d go with the former–and I think I’d do that even if the next draft wouldn’t have strong QBs. I’d rather have more of the sure thing.

    Now, all picks have some uncertainty. If uncertainty for QB is too high, I’d rather get a few players with less uncertainty that they will be solid starters.

    I just heard some of his negatives can be attributed to the bad team around him. Yes his competition wasn’t great either, but I heard his teammates should have taken on the burden of some of Allen’s downsides (I’m guessing this is sort of how you feel about Wilson).

    The issue I heard is accuracy. Unless the pass protection was really bad, that’s something that falls back on the QB. Completions–you include the pass catchers, but accuracy is largely on the QB (again, assuming the pass pro isn’t awful).

    Problems with accuracy is a huge red flag for me. I kinda feel like that’s something that sticks. Have there been QBs dramatically improved in this area? There must be, but I’d guess the numbers are small.

    I would say based on his college system, that reading defenses should not be considered one of his strengths.

    That’s not a good sign, unless he’s shown signs that he has the ability. What about his accuracy? I thought I heard he was accurate. And can he play from the pocket–that’s another big thing.

  14. Listening to Michael Lombardi, he mentions Chubb and Nelson being locks for pro bowls for years to come. (Nelson might get into the HoF.) If there’s consensus in Cleveland about this, I don’t think it would be bad for them to if they used #1 and #4 on these two players. In fact, I would like this more if Cleveland had some serious questions about the QBs.

  15. Any player or position you want the Raiders to get?

    They have a lot of needs on defense. I might have LB first, but I guess best player at one of the defensive positions. I wouldn’t mind a great O-lineman, too.

  16. Browns 1.1. Baker Mayfield

    A lot of people were saying this was the pick today. I hope Browns know what they’re doing.

    Here’s the thing: Mayfield may not be Favre, but if he’s several notches below, who cares? That still can translate to a really good QB. In a way, it’s kind of a silly argument.

    Below, Cosell says Mayfield has good ball placement, which I equate with accuracy. That’s a good sign.

  17. Yeah, but you don’t have a preference for a position to be filled?

    Man, Denver has a chance to get Rosen. I hope they don’t, or if they do, he doesn’t turn out to be really great.

    1. Well, dang, now the Broncos can get Chubb–which I hope they don’t get.

      Man, I wouldn’t mind if the Raiders could get a DT like Vita Vea. Roquan would be great, but he probably won’t be there.

  18. Colts have a lot of holes in my opinion. What if you could get 2-3 three solid starters for one all-pro? Would you do that if you’re the Colts? I’m not sure. If I go with that one guy, I better be really confident he’s an all-pro and maybe a HoF guy.

  19. Seems like a good deal for the Bucs. It will be a good deal for the Bills if they get their franchise QB. (Rosen?)

  20. Two things on the Browns draft so far. One, why didn’t they make a trade with the Jets? The Browns may have been able to get either guy they drafted (ie: 1st or 4th pick) if they moved back. I’m going to guess one, they didn’t know who they were going for at the time the Jets were trying to trade up or two they really, really, really wanted Mayfield and didn’t want to risk losing him.

    Put it this way the Browns had a more than 50% chance of getting Mayfield at four, maybe a better than 75% chance. And get Ward at sixth where the Jets was originally. Not great FO work to me…

  21. It was supposed to be Chubb with Garrett at the Browns, now it’s Chubb and Miller with the Broncos. Either way wow…

  22. …or two they really, really, really wanted Mayfield and didn’t want to risk losing him.

    I’m guessing this was it. I know Scot McCloughan is advising them, and I believe he was really high on Mayfield.

  23. Dallas should make a play for the safety at FSU by trading with Arizona. Although Arizona may want a QB here so Dallas may be able to wait a pick.

    1. Maybe Dallas can sit tight and get James. Do the Chargers need a S? I think Seattle is trying to trade back, so another team might swoop in to get James, though.

    1. Nope–Marcus Davenport.

      Man, does he have to be top five pass rusher to make this worth it? I’m not sure, but they seemed to give up a lot for him.

    1. 1.15 Kolton Miller (Raiders)

      They need to shore up OL (especially given what Denver just did), so I don’t mind them picking an O-linemen. I heard that Tom Cable liked Miller. If Miller turns out to be a bust, Cable will have done damage to OLs of my two favorite teams!

  24. Raiders (1.15) Kolton Miller, T, UCLA. I have no idea who he is or what he did, but he’s OURS so he’s GREAT.

          1. Yeah, I saw that, too. Heard he’s a Mike. I’ll be sick if he’s really good, and Miller is not. (Raiders really need LBs, in my opinion.)

          1. (This was almost like the Johnny Football year–“Don’t do it…”)

      1. The highlight reel for Vander Esch was fearsome. He must be terrific, or maybe the Mountain West competition is just weak. Oh yeah.

        1. I didn’t realize Lee was that old. Plus, he’s never been durable, and without Lee the defense looked really different (in a bad way), so this makes sense I guess.

    1. Really? He seems like a needed piece and it’s only a third since he wasn’t happy in Steeler land. Was he suspended? No right.

      1. I think he was suspended–for a long time. Or was he injured? I can’t even remember. When he came back, he didn’t really seem all that great. If he plays to his potential, he could be great, but he just seems like problem player. We’ll see.

  25. I wanted to see if the Patriots take Lamar Jackson. It would be very fascinating to see Belichick design an offense around Jackson (after Brady of course).

  26. In the words of several Star Wars characters…I gotta bad feeling about this.

    1. OK, this is a little more reassuring.

      1. You are reassured because NE was going to take him? I think the Dallas insider (former scout) had both Wynn and Hernandez ahead of Miller.

        1. Yeah. Their OL coach has a good reputation. It’s good to hear that someone like that and Belichick would have taken Miller. I’m not confident in Cable’s assessment.

          I’ve heard good things about Wynn and Hernandez. I’m kinda enthusiastic about Hernandez.

      2. More reassurance:

        (By the way, this is genuinely reassuring. The thought that Cable was a big reason for picking Miller makes me a little uneasy. The fact that teams like NE and DAL wanted him in the first round is genuinely comforting.)

    1. I think the Ravens did well, and they got Lamar who is supposed to have a high ceiling. I think they also got the best TE in the draft too?

      1. The Lamar Jackson pick is interesting. What does that say about what they think of Flacco? My first thought is that Flacco isn’t that old, so does this mean he’s losing favor with them? Then again, the pick could be similar to the Packers’ approach. You can still expect the current starter to play for a while. If you draft a backup who develops into a good QB, at the very least that QB has really good trade value.

        I don’t know anything about the TE, but I think they could sure use one. (On a side note, the Ravens pass catchers seem kinda bad in the last two or three years.)

        1. Flacco’s contract must be up soon. It could be used as leverage for that contract or as you said releasing him if Lamar is good. I will also say it makes a lot of sense just to have a good back-up even if you are not going to use them. Yes in case of emergency, but more so that if he appears good, you can get a lot for him in return, ala Garapollo or even what teams may have been willing to give up for AJ McCarron.

          1. I totally agree with the last part. Drafting QBs, even when you have a good starter makes a lot of sense to me. And I do think good backups are important, if you can get them. (I favor getting a good young QB that might need time to develop–if you have a good starter. That’s a good situation in my opinion, and I prefer this to getting good backup that’s a vet.)

  27. Trading Earl Thomas still in play

    And Dallas is supposed still involved. Asked about the possibility of DAL trading for Earl, Ed Werder:

  28. Reid,

    Did you like the RB pick by Seattle? I think most had the RB like the fourth or fifth RB at best in this year’s draft. I think OL or DL would have been better.

    1. At one point last year, Carroll mentioned intimated that struggles at the RB position was a significant reason for their struggles in the run game, and I thought it was strange for him to make this point, given how bad I thought the OL performed. My feeling was that the running game would have been fine with the RBs if the OL was decent. It almost sounded like Carroll disagreed with that.

      If he’s right, and Rashaad Penny is a good RB, then the pick makes sense. One thing to consider is that there are (obviously) different types of RB, and the RB one favors depends on the offense and philosophy of the team. If you have a spread offense where the RB will also be critical in the passing game, a RB that can break tackles and punish defenders may not be as coveted as a shifty back that is great in space and can catch the ball. In other words, a RB can be valuable in one system and far less valuable in another. My understanding was that Penny was great in yards after contact and breaking tackles. That seems to fit what Carroll wants, and it’s something that gets me excited. I like RBs that are sledgehammers. (The 5′ 11″ frame is not that appealing to me, although wasn’t Emmitt kinda short, too. Still, that seems more like the exception.)

      Two other things. I think character and health and durability were really big factors for the team. I don’t think Penny has run a lot, as he played behind a good RB early in his career. This is a big deal because their RBs have been plagued by injuries, and it’s hurt their run game. They need someone dependable. If Penny checks off that box, and he’s not a problem in the lockeroom, those are two significant accomplishments.

      So I’m somewhat positive about the pick, but ultimately I have a wait and see attitude. I’m still think the the OL is the bigger issue.

      1. I’ve been hearing you talk about sledghammer RBs for a few months now. Is this a recent thing? I thought you used to love Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk.

        1. I can’t remember if I ever loved him. For fantasy football he was great, but he’s not the type of RB I’d want on my team, and I’m not sure when I came to that point.

          Going back to the 80s and 90s, I liked slashing RB–guys like Eric Metcalf or Curt Warner–and those guys can be fun to watch now, but those aren’t the type of backs I like. Same with Barry Sanders. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that in the 90s, we talked about whether we’d want a guy like Sanders or Emmitt, and I down on the Emmitt side (not that Emitt is really a hammer, but more north-south).

          By the way, I don’t mind elusive RBs, but that should be in addition to the physical, hard-nosed style of running. I liked Craig. I thought he was a kind of physical runner.

    2. I’ve probably said more than you wanted to know, but another thing I forgot to mention is that Penny plays on ST, returning kicks and punts. If he can do this fairly well, that’s a significant bonus.

        1. Lockett is already a starter. He also got banged up, so having another good returner is not insignificant. (Paul Richardson would also return kicks, but he’s no longer on the team.)

          It would be cool if he did things like this, too:

  29. I was pushing for the Giants to go for Quentin Nelson with their second pick. I thought that would have been a smarter move than Barkley. But now that the Giants will have a good chance for a Will Hernandez in the second round, the Barkley pick up seem correct. Although, one can say there are also a lot of good RBs still in the draft as well.

    Speaking of which, I heard that NE last year had three of the top twenty-five RBs in terms of salary. If that’s right, it’s interesting to note, that yes NE doesn’t want to spend money on any big name RBs, yet they are willing on spending money on the position overall. They used that mentality and picked up a RB in the first round yesterday as well, despite glaring needs in other positions.

    1. I thought of the Giants taking Nelson crossed my mind as well. You can’t go wrong choosing a guy who has a floor of a good starter, and HoF ceiling. Plus, the Giants do need help on the OL.

      (The more I think about it, the more I think O-linemen are being undervalued. Competent starters seemed to be scarce, and because of that competent FA can be kinda expensive. If that’s true, then I would think a competent starter on a rookie contract has more value than people realize. For example, Eric Fisher might be a bust in some ways, because he wasn’t really great. But if he was competent for most of his rookie contract the pick may not be as bad as it seems. Well, it’s still pretty bad, though.)

      Speaking of which, I heard that NE last year had three of the top twenty-five RBs in terms of salary.

      You mean, on their roster? That is interesting, and it is interesting that they used a first rounder on the RB. Something is up. Either they feel getting an adequate RB is getting harder, or a good RB is more valuable to them. The latter could mean several things. For example, it might mean that the schemes and playcalling aren’t enough to boost value of a RB in the offense–maybe they need RB with more talent (in certain areas). Or maybe in the chess match between OCs and DCs, RBs are becoming more valuable. If true, this is interesting, because it seems like the Pats could pick up almost any RB off the street and get good production out of them.

  30. Some general comments apropos of nothing.

    1. Is the Chargers’ roster really good? I only have a vague sense of the Charger’s roster now, but I’m getting this crazy feeling that they might have one of the best rosters in the league. They’ve got two good pass rushers, a solid secondary, which probably got stronger with Derwin James. They upgraded their OL, which was a weak point for their team, and as long as the pass catchers stay healthy and Mike Williams and Hunter Henry are as good as they’re supposed to be–man, they could be tough. (And I haven’t mentioned their RB group.) The thing about the Chargers is that they’ve had really good rosters in the past and have fell far below expectations.

    2. Falcons draft a WR in Ridley. The thought that comes to mind with them: They better upgrade their OL. For the past few years, I think they’ve had a competent but rickety OL. It’s like they’re getting by on duct tape. Getting Alex Mack was key, but he can only do so much. I’m probably wrong about this, but that’s my impression. (Credit to Matty Ice for playing in a frequently crumbling, muddy pocket.)

  31. Being that Dallas has moved pass round three, I hope all the Earl Thomas talk ends. He would be great to have, but doesn’t seem like Dallas could afford him.

    I hope Dallas is right in picking an o-linemen with their second pick over picking a receiver. And/or Dallas got the receiver they really wanted all along with the third round pick. If not we will see a struggling offense again next year with receivers that can get no separation.

    1. It’s over–I can’t see there be any way for a trade at this point, unless we’re talking players. That would be something out of left field, though.

      I hope Dallas is right in picking an o-linemen with their second pick over picking a receiver.

      I heard one positive comment about that guy (mostly disappointment because the guy was Redskins fan, and he thought the player was good).

      If you had to choose between a good OL with weak pass catchers or the opposite, weak OL and strong pass catchers, which would you choose? I’m biased by Seattle’s experience with their OL, but I’d prefer the former. I’ve seen the Packers struggle in that situation, and while it must be bad for fans, if I had to choose, I’d rather have that then my QB running for their life and getting pounded.

      By the way, I kind of like the plan of stocking up on an OL, even if you have a good one. (The Packers seem to have a really good system. They’ve lost players to free agency, but haven’t really missed a beat. Same with the Steelers. This might be just a grass is always greener thing with me right now.)

  32. I think the difference is one good WR can have a greater affect on the team than a good o-linemen at this point, imo. I guess Dallas FO doesn’t feel that way. That being said though I would rather have a good line and weak receivers.

    1. Here’s what that guy Duke said about Conor Williams:

      He wasn’t very high on Kolton Miller, though. 🙁

      One thing that I forgot about–and this might make you like the pick more–Philly’s front seven. (Then again, I thought they were going to move La’el Collings back to RG. Maybe Conor Williams goes to RT?)

  33. I haven’t been paying a lot of attention in Day 2 and 3, because I’m really unfamiliar with most of the players. However, I have a few comments about picks by the SEA and OAK.

    OAK: Arden Key (3rd) and Mo Hurst (5th). Hurst’s a DT and he sounded really appealing to me, but he has a heart condition. This seems like a total gamble–I kinda don’t like those type of picks. I’m hoping that the Raiders medical team is really good and did a thorough examination, making this less risky than it seems. I guess 5th round is a good place to take this gamble, especially if other options are not that great. Key seems to be a similar type of gamble. The guy has history of problems with marijuana, going back to the high school. If there’s a strong pattern, one that wasn’t broken by suspensions, the chances he’ll change, in my opinion, is really low. He’s supposedly a talented pass rusher, but who cares if he can’t stay away from drugs that will keep him off the field. He sounds like another Randy Gregory.

    SEA: Will Dissly (4th, TE) Mayock says he’s the best blocking TE. That makes me happy. If they can find a really good blocking FB (or if Fowler turns into a really good FB) I’ll be ecstatic!

    They also got Shaquem Griffin, who is the twin brother of Seahawk CB, Shaquille Griffin. It’s a great story–because the brothers will be playing together and Shaquem’s disability. Actually, there’s an unsentimental side to me, where I care more about whether he’ll be a good player. If he can be a great ST player, with a chance to play LB or a nickel pass rusher, that would be great. I do admit I got a little emotional watching this:

    It’s pretty cool. Griffindor!

  34. Seahawks use move up in the fifth to draft a…punter. I heard one comment that he was the best punting prospect of all time. Even if that’s partially true, I like this pick. Here’s something else I saw in that piece:

    Of his 11 punts that marvelous night, 10 settled inside the Mizzou 15, seven inside the 10, and four inside the five. Watching Dickson punt was like watching Michelangelo work with rock. He won the game’s MVP honor as the Longhorns beat the Tigers, 33-16.

    (emphasis added)

    I can’t remember a punter ever winning an MVP for a game. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened before, but it can’t have happened very much.)

  35. re Shaquem Griffin
    I don’t understand how someone that fast at that size can drop that far in the draft. Yes he might not be able to fight off some blocks, but in space he can keep up with any RB, any TE, and probably 75% of WR. That’s crazy from a LB spot. People also thought he can move to safety based on speed alone.

    1. It kinda sounds like you think playing with literally only one hand is not a big deal. Even if he’s proven that he’s found a way to get around this, I can understand why a lot of teams are gunshy. I really hope he succeeds. It’d be a great story.

  36. I’m hearing good things about Dallas’ WR selection in the third round, which makes me feel better. I think it’s completely possible that Dallas got five contributors even as early as next season, in the first four rounds, with a TE and DE taken in the fourth to add to the WR, O-lineman, and LB taken in the previous three rounds. That would make a successful draft to me if that turns out to be true.

  37. I don’t know who this guy is, but if he’s right, I don’t like the sound of it:

    I hope it’s not accurate or at least not as bad as it sounds to me. McKenzie seems like a really good GM. I hope Gruden is working well with him, and not inappropriately interfering.

  38. Reid,

    Are you happy with the guys the Seahawks got versus the guys they passed up? I didn’t see anyone give Seattle a good draft grade.

    Dallas’ draft grades have been all over the place. The guys who really thought Dallas should have gotten one of the top receivers (all of which was still on the board), have been giving Dallas a bad grade. Other guys thought their draft went perfectly and Dallas got good value for when they picked their players. For example there are a lot of talk that Dallas was going to move up to get the guy they got in the third and same for the guy they got in the fourth. I’m happy overall, but this will be the true test of Dak playing without Dez and Witten, this coming year.

  39. Don,

    It’s really hard to evaluate the draft. I think one of the criticisms I hear is that they reached for certain players. But I would think you’d also have to factor in the draft position of the team. For example, with drafting Penny in the first, the Hawks didn’t have a second round pick. Would he have been there in the third? I have no idea. Also, I sort of feel like what matters most is how well the player performs. If Penny turns out to be really good and the Seahawk run game becomes one of the best in the league, I’ll be content with the pick.

    Overall, I like what the picks seem to indicate. Since I don’t think they would dramatically upgrade the defense via the draft, the next best option is to establish the running game and/or help ST. The picks seem to suggest this. Now, this assumes that a) the current OL personnel is good enough, and b) the coaches are also good enough. I’m a little nervous about this. They drafted some defensive players, too, but I’m not expecting them to make a huge impact this year.

    Dallas’ draft grades have been all over the place.

    I don’t really put much stock in these grades–for Seattle especially, but I would apply this to most teams as well. For the most part, I assume teams know their personnel and their systems the best, so they have a better idea of who fits. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee the picks will pan out, though.

    I’m happy overall, but this will be the true test of Dak playing without Dez and Witten, this coming year.

    I kinda wish they had those two or found players we know are just as good. It’ll be harder to evaluate Dak this year–unless he does really good. If he doesn’t, is that because of him or the lack of pass catchers? It might be hard to determine that. (Maybe if you watch the all-22 and know the offense?)

  40. Apropos of our discussion about draft grades and evaluating the draft now, here’s some comments from Cowherd that I want to respond to:

    How can he be so sure? Based on what experts say, I guess he can make a case that the Browns didn’t maximize the value of their picks, but if Mayfield and Ward become really good players, Cowherd would be wrong–or at least his claim right would be considerably weakened. Now, maybe if players that they could have had are significantly better then he’s right, for example, if Darnold and Bradley Chubb turn out to be way better. But at this point, we really don’t know that for sure.

  41. Your question about “how can he be so sure?” is the point I’ve been trying to make about the whole hype surrounding the process. He can’t be, but hemming and hawing while evaluating a draft doesn’t make for good TV or radio, so guys like Cowherd pick a side, come down hard on it, and make millions of dollars in the process. It’s one of the reasons the programs I pay most attention to won’t even bother. Let’s see them play and then evaluate.

    Which is not to say I’m above reading some of the hype. I’ve been hearing that Gruden and the Raiders went for higher-ceiling, higher-risk guys, which I think is a good way to go. If the draft is a dice-roll anyway, why not take a go-big-or-go-home approach? When people bet on roulette, they could minimize risk by betting only on red or black during their whole week in Vegas, but are they having any fun? Sometimes you should bet on 22 and “leave it there.”

  42. But draft analysis isn’t just hype–it’s about evaluation the strengths and weaknesses of the players. It’s also about evaluating risk based on these evaluations. This is different from saying “x” player will definitely be a great player or the Browns had a terrible draft because they picked “y.” For example, I don’t know if Josh Allen is going to be really good or not, but I wouldn’t use a high draft pick on him because the scouting reports have said he has serious accuracy issues. Assuming those reports are correct, I don’t think he’s a good high draft pick. This isn’t about making definitive statements or claims that are 100% certain. There are still a lot of uncertainty here, but the evaluation is meaningful to me, and it’s about taking smart risks.

    I’ve been hearing that Gruden and the Raiders went for higher-ceiling, higher-risk guys, which I think is a good way to go. If the draft is a dice-roll anyway, why not take a go-big-or-go-home approach?

    No, I don’t agree with this. It sounds like you think all the risks are equal in terms of the degree and nature of the risk. I believe Arden Key has a history of problems with marijuana use. In other words, this suggests a pattern, not just a one-off mistake. The former poses a higher risk in my opinion, and I wouldn’t want to take a player like that–except at later rounds.

    Also, suppose you could chose a player who had a lower floor and ceiling, but zero red flags. To be more specific, suppose the Raiders could have chosen a player that had a high percentage of being a decent starter, but likely not more than that. Suppose this player would fill be a significant upgrade at that position for the team. Should you take him or the high-risk, high reward guy? I don’t think it’s that clear cut of an answer. Now, if you’re using one later round pick for this type of player, and you feel you’ve made a lot of solid picks, than taking one chance can make sense.

  43. I think there’s a time and place for each approach, sometimes in the same draft. I think what you say in your first paragraph is especially relevant here: “I wouldn’t use a high draft pick on him because the scouting reports have said he has serious accuracy issues.”

    I think that’s great, and it makes for good day-after sportstalk radio fodder, but teams are secretive about their scouting. What if a team sees something different, or something they know they can fix? We wouldn’t know it, the team wouldn’t tell us, and yet Cowherd will make a million dollards tearing that team up.

    Al Davis famously drafted Mark Van Eeghen after only seeing him work out in a gym in gym shorts. And the Raiders of the 70s and 80s were the winningest team in the NFL, picking up players other teams had cast off, some of them with the kind of off-field issues I know you condemn. Sure, that sorta stopped working in the last 20 years or so, but my point is that unless the teams themselves tell us what they’re thinking, everything Cowherd says, while interesting and provocative, is pretty close to meaningless. It’s far, far more meaningful to talk about it later, when we can see what the teams actually have.

    1. Mitchell,

      What if a team sees something different, or something they know they can fix?

      That’s fine, but if there is a strong consensus about something like accuracy, I tend to lean on the consensus. Again, my position is often contingent on the accuracy of the evaluation. Does Allen have a pervasive accuracy problem or not? If he does–if that is close to a fact–then I would make certain decisions based off of that.

      As far as a team believing they can correct that, that’s fine, too. Here, I would factor the extent to which certain flaws are correctable. If, for example, out of 10 QBs that have accuracy issues, only 2 tend to turn into really good QBs, I don’t like those odds. Now, maybe the team has a QB coach who has a special technique at improving accuracy. OK, we’ll see. But I think I think we can make meaningful statements about the judgment of the pick–versus simply throwing up our hands in the air and saying, “It’s a crapshoot! We know nothing!”

      Sure, that sorta stopped working in the last 20 years or so, but my point is that unless the teams themselves tell us what they’re thinking, everything Cowherd says, while interesting and provocative, is pretty close to meaningless.

      I think the problem is that he’s so definitive and certain.

  44. Reid,

    So using your Josh Allen example. Basically you are saying you are okay pre-draft evaluating where he should be picked by evaluating his strengths and weaknesses. But post-draft once he’s picked, because no one knows for sure, saying it’s a good or bad draft as a whole doesn’t matter that much?

    1. . But post-draft once he’s picked, because no one knows for sure, saying it’s a good or bad draft as a whole doesn’t matter that much?

      I think making a definitive claim isn’t worth much–or crosses a line. If I were the Bills I wouldn’t have picked Allen where they did. I’m not confident enough to say that it was definitively wrong or bad, though.

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