Day 1 Draft Notes

As expected the WFT took LSU’s Jayden Daniels with the #2 pick. New GM Adam Peters simply had to draft a QB. The only two elements of drama were; which one at #2, or trade down and draft which one? Either way a QB was coming to town. As for which one at #2 the only two in play were Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. What Daniels has that Maye doesn’t is speed in abundance. What Maye has the Daniels doesn’t is size. Maye’s footwork was the big concern. Daniels durability was the big concern. Whoever was picked would leave a good chunk of the fanbase less than happy. Daniels it is. Trading down had lots of appeal. But, the old adage is to never trade down until guaranteed you will get the guy you want. With the last of the top six QBs gone at #12 there was never a guarantee of getting a good QB. And, Peters had to have one. Now the organization has to keep him upright.


Falcon Nation got a huge shock when the team selected Michael Penix Jr with the #8 pick. The team had signed Kirk Cousins in the offseason to a 4-year $180 Million deal with $100 Million guaranteed. One would think a QB draft selection would have been the last thing on their agenda. After the initial shock of it the reasoning comes into some sort of focus. Penix may well turn out to be the best of the QB group. He’s very accurate, doesn’t take sacks, and has a cannon for an arm. Having a good backup to Cousins makes sense. Last year the number of QBs that played was 68. That’s more than two per team. Cousins is coming off of an Achilles tear. According to Dr. David Chao of Sports Injury Central when an athlete tears an Achilles the probability that he will tear the Achilles on the other leg skyrockets. Cousins isn’t a Spring Chicken either. The Falcon pick was an insurance policy on the Cousins investment. It makes more sense in that light. But, Man oh Man, it was a shocker!

The QBs went so quickly that Denver took Bo Nix at #12. He was slotted for mid-second round. If you’re into schadenfreude the Broncos are a worthy study. When new ownership came on board they first traded the farm for Russell Wilson. Then they gave him a contract that tied their hands. Then they traded more picks for Sean Payton, a one-time Super Bowl winner, to come deliver the franchise. Payton is often referred to as a QB whisperer. He had sure-fire Hall of Famer Drew Brees as his QB for 13 years. How much of the success was Brees and how much was Payton’s is an open question. Payton wasted no time is trying to discard Wilson. He was successful doing just that.

The Broncos took an enormous cap hit to jettison Wilson. The Steelers are paying Wilson League minimum at $1.2 Million. Denver is paying $33.8 Million for the privilege of watching him play elsewhere. So much for QB whispering. Denver wanted to move up over the other QB-desperate team, the Vikings in order to get Payton’s stated target, JJ McCarthy. In style, JJ more resembled Brees. Now they’ve drafted Nix. At the Senior Bowl Bo was arguably the worst-performing QB there. His style is hardly like Brees. Let’s see how well Sean Payton can “Coach him up.”

Two things are for sure with the Broncos: Sean Payton now has all the pressure to get production out of this kid. The other is that the new ownership group made a hot mess of things. Trading for the fading QB followed by trading for the Coach with the most bling has not been a good approach. The Josh Harris approach in Washington, so far, looks much more measured and encouraging.

Intriguing Moves

Kansas City traded up to get Xavier Worthy of Texas. There’s a team that needed a Wide Receiver. Especially so after their #1 Receiver Rasheed Rice landed in legal trouble. Worthy is the interesting selection. He’s fast…real fast. But, his route running is nothing to get too excited about. They could have stayed put and picked Xavier Legette, the best Receiver still on the board. Carolina moved up to grab him. It says here the new crew in Carolina has done pretty well this off-season.

Cincinnati at #18 took OL Amarius Mims. It’s nearly a full round sooner than many projections. He is one big, large, human. But, no one on the 1st Round board played less ball than Mims. He started eight games. Eight. The one good thing of that is that it didn’t take long to study his tape. His progress is going to be an interesting study.

The Lions traded up to get Terrion Arnold, a Corner from Alabama. One thing about the GM Brad Holmes is that he drafts well. He could have easily stayed put and drafted Nate Wiggins. The two were interchangeable on many mock boards. But, Detroit puts massive value on intangibles and attitude. Dan Campbell demands that his players are all-in. Not surprisingly they seem to find many of them at Alabama. One thing that will be interesting in the future is how the Alabama brand will change in the eyes of the NFL with Nick Saban having retired.

Buffalo traded out of Round One. They desperately need Wide Receivers. The two departures, Diggs and Davis accounted for over 1900-yards, 15-touchdowns, and 150+ catches. They didn’t leave a hole. They left a chasm. Legette, Pearsall, and Worthy were all there for the taking. Brandon Beane is an outstanding General Manager. But, this is a team that started the off-season in Salary Cap Hell. It’s one thing to excel while the QB is on the rookie contract. It’s another when he’s getting paid. There’s so much less money to spread around elsewhere. This season coming may be a step back for Bills’ Nation. Interesting to see what Beane does with the rest of the draft.

On to Day Two

Washington has FIVE picks today. In the second round the picks are #36 an #40. Look for one OT and one DE. OR look for two OTs. The late Gil Brandt used to say that the real draft came between the middle of the first round and the middle of the second. It’s a great opportunity for a team trying to claw up from the ashes. What one is hoping for are two contributors.

In the third round the picks are #67, #78, and #100. If one contributor comes from that round Washington will have hopefully come up with four. That’s a good draft.

Day Three will see three more picks. Because of NIL money many players have returned to college that had draft-worthy grades. One executive said the number was up around 130 or so of those types. That weakens the back of the draft considerably. Any contributor coming from the late rounds will be a bonus.

Let’s see what the new Afterguard does in the next 48-hours.

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