DKROM is a Chicago based Sportswriter & sportscaster with a near encyclopedic knowledge of all things NFL. We here at Sports Krunch with DKrom enforce our “No Spin” policy 24/7/365, and do our absolute best to help all of you football fans cut through the spin and get to the truth. Sports Krunch wil…
1. Week 6 Takeaways -Me: Cardinals remove all doubt that they're serious Super Bowl contenders, Ravens look even more dangerous than they did in 2019, Broncos look like they have quit on Vic Fangio a la the Bears and Marc Trestman in 2014 -Hal: Dak Prescott making a push for MVP, Carolina just not the same without Christian McCaffrey, Sam Darnold turning back into a pumpkin, Bengals are legit 2. Truth or Exaggeration -Mike McCarthy will prevent this Cowboys team from reaching the Super Bowl -After holding Washington to less than 5 yards per pass attempt, the Chiefs have turned the corner on defense -Derrick Henry is already a lock to get enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame -Carson Wentz is well on his way to regaining his 2017 MVP form -Barring a miraculous turnaround these next two weeks, the Broncos should trade Von Miller by the November 2 deadline -The Cardinals offense is only about to get more dangerous with the addition of Zach Ertz, who will end up being an upgrade over the injured Maxx Williams -The AFC North is making a serious push to be considered the best division in football 3. Bengals at Ravens Preview -How underrated is this Bengals defense? -How much more dangerous does Rashod Bateman make this Ravens offense? -Key matchups and picks 4. Chiefs at Titans Preview -Which defense do you trust more at this time: the Chiefs or the Titans? -If either one of Julio Jones or A.J. Brown misses this game, how big of a hit do the Titans chances of winning this game take? -Key matchups and picks 5. Picks for all other Week 7 Games -Broncos at Browns -Washington at Packers -Falcons at Dolphins -Jets at Patriots -Panthers at Giants -Eagles at Raiders -Lions at Rams -Texans at Cardinals -Bears at Buccaneers -Colts at 49ers -Saints at Seahawks 6. Bold Predictions -Hal: Joe Burrow 5 TD passes….all to Ja'Marr Chase including a 75-yarder to take the lead with under a minute to play -DKrom: Case Keenum throws for 340 yards and 3 TD's…and the Browns defense totals 10 sacks…6 of them by Myles Garrett 7. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Miami Dolphins, make sure you have a backup plan in case Deshaun Watson is either put on the Commissioner's Exempt List or worse, convicted -Hal: Bottom-five teams…either start winning or accumulating more draft capital
1. Week 5 Takeaways -Me: Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott and Tom Brady all making very strong cases to be 2021 NFL MVP -Mark: Lamar Jackson's performance on Monday night, Browns/Chargers game, Bills statement win over Chiefs 2. The big story in the NFL this week comes out of Las Vegas as Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders after numerous emails of him making racist, misogynistic and homophobic slurs were uncovered by the New York Times. Although it is refreshing to see Gruden gone, the prevailing sentiment is that this is just the tip of the iceberg as many powerful decision makers around the NFL harbor such attitudes. How can we as fans, reporters, et al continue to hold the league accountable and force them to reveal and expel more of these bad apples? 3. This Or That -Who is a more legitimate Super Bowl contender: Cowboys or Cardinals? -Which head coach is more likely to get fired at season's end: Urban Meyer or Vic Fangio? -Who is more likely to grow into a franchise QB: Daniel Jones or Jalen Hurts? -Which defensive rookie has been more impressive: Micah Parsons or Odafe Oweh? 4. Chargers at Ravens Preview -How has Lamar Jackson taken that big next step forward as a passer so far this season? -Last week against the Browns, the Chargers defense was absolutely GASHED on the ground for 230 yards. And in Baltimore's past two games, both the Broncos and Colts sold out to stop the run, and Lamar obviously made them pay through the air. What would you anticipate Brandon Staley doing differently on Sunday in order to at least contain this seemingly unstoppable Ravens offense? -Key matchups and picks 5. Cardinals at Browns Preview -How has Kyler Murray grown as a passer so far this season? -Did the 49ers provide a basic blueprint on how to stop or significantly slow down Kyler and the high-powered Cardinals passing attack last week? If so, how do you expect the Browns to replicate it this week? -Key matchups and picks 6. Picks for all other Week 6 Games -Bucs at Eagles -Dolphins at Jaguars -Texans at Colts -Packers at Bears -Bengals at Lions -Vikings at Panthers -Chiefs at Washington -Rams at Giants -Raiders at Broncos -Cowboys at Patriots -Seahawks at Steelers -Bills at Titans 7. Bold Predictions -Mark: Tom Brady throws three TD passes despite his injured thumb -DKrom: Justin Herbert throws for 500 yards and scores six total TD (4 passing, 2 running) 8. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Sam Darnold, lead your team to a win!!!! -Mark: Chiefs defense step up!!!!
1. Week 4 Takeaways -Me: Rookie QB's shine, Cardinals prove they're for real -Hal: Cordarrelle Patterson, Buffalo Bills early AFC Super Bowl favorite 2. Quarter Pole Awards 3. This Or That -Who is more likely to win their division: Chargers or Cardinals? -Which previously unbeaten team got exposed more last week: Panthers or Raiders? -Which division is worse: The 2020 NFC East or the 2021 AFC South? -Which 1-3 team is more likely to make the playoffs: Vikings or Steelers? 4. Browns at Chargers Preview -Do the Browns have the best defense in the NFL right now? -Does Baker Mayfield need to play his best game of the year to date in order for the Browns to eke out a win over the Chargers? -Key matchups and picks 5. Bills at Chiefs Preview -Do you think the Bills need to use their RB's and TE's in the passing game a LOT more than usual in order to win Sunday night? -How big of a factor do you think Josh Gordon will be in this game? -Key matchups and picks 6. Picks for all other Week 4 Games -Rams at Seahawks -Jets at Falcons -Dolphins at Buccaneers -Patriots at Texans -Titans at Jaguars -Lions at Vikings -Packers at Bengals -Broncos at Steelers -Saints at Washington -Eagles at Panthers -Bears at Raiders -Giants at Cowboys -49ers at Cardinals -Colts at Ravens 7. Bold Predictions -Hal: Joe Burrow 4 TD passes, fourth one with less than 30 seconds…and converts two-point conversion to Ja'Marr Chase. Aaron Rodgers sacked by Trey Hendrickson to end game -DKrom: Tyrann Mathieu pick-sixes Josh Allen TWICE 8. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Shad Khan …do right by Trevor Lawrence by FIRING URBAN MEYER ASAP!!! -Hal: Kliff Kingsbury…forget the curse…and forge ahead to that fifth win!!!
1. Week 3 Takeaways -Me: Watching Justin Tucker's historic 66-yard field goal at the gun reminded me that it's time for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors to put more specialists in these next several years -Hal: 2020 Josh Allen is back, Derek Carr continues to dominate, Aaron Rodgers back to normal, surprising upsets, et al 2. Truth or Exaggeration -Ben Roethlisberger is literally finished and the Steelers should consider benching him if their offense continues to sputter -Nobody is playing better football than the Los Angeles Rams right now -If the Chiefs do not beat the Eagles in dominating fashion this week, it will be THE reddest of red flags -Matt Nagy is the biggest impediment to the development of Justin Fields -The Buffalo Bills are in prime position to nab the AFC's #1 playoff seed -If the Seahawks lose to the 49ers on Sunday, they will NOT make the playoffs -If it wasn't for two plays, Kirk Cousins would be squarely in the MVP conversation right now -The Dallas Cowboys are clear favorites to win the NFC East in 2021 3. This Or That -What is Micah Parsons best long-term position: Off-ball linebacker or edge pass rusher? -Which 3-0 team is the more legitimate contender: Panthers or Broncos? -What has been the bigger disappointment so far this season: The rookie QB's or the Washington defense? -Who will make the bigger impact for his new team: Richard Sherman (Bucs) or Josh Gordon (Chiefs)? 4. Cardinals at Rams Preview 5. Raiders at Chargers Preview 6. Picks for all other Week 4 Games -Jaguars at Bengals -Browns at Vikings -Lions at Bears -Washington at Falcons -Panthers at Cowboys -Giants at Saints -Chiefs at Eagles -Texans at Bills -Colts at Dolphins -Titans at Jets -Seahawks at 49ers -Ravens at Broncos -Steelers at Packers -Bucs at Patriots 7. Bold Predictions -Hal: Sony Michel runs for 120 yards and 3 TD for the Rams -DKrom: Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase connect for 4 TD's on Thursday night 8. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Chargers and Raiders…give us a game for the ages on Monday night and show America you mean business!!!! -Hal: Vikings…don't let your season slip away this week!!!!
1. Week 2 Takeaways -Me: The Ravens victory over the Chiefs has serious potential to be paradigm-shifting in the way we think about them and Lamar Jackson -Hal: The Jekyll-and-Hyde teams (Saints, Titans, Steelers, Dolphins, Bills, Chargers) 2. Truth or Exaggeration -Taylor Heinicke will NOT give back Washington's starting QB job to Ryan Fitzpatrick -Not only will Justin Fields not give back the Bears starting QB job to Andy Dalton, he will have a similar rookie season as Justin Herbert did last year -The Cowboys should NOT reduce the workload they gave Tony Pollard last week one bit -If their season continues to go south, the Colts should NOT play Carson Wentz so they can keep their 2022 first-round pick -It's time to put Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers squarely in the conversation as one of the five best edge pass rushers in the NFL -The Chiefs should no longer be considered clear-cut favorites to win the AFC West this season -Win or lose, should Jimmy G struggle badly against an atrocious Packers defense, the 49ers should insert Trey Lance into the starting lineup in Week 4 -Tom Brady will have the best statistical season of his entire career in 2021 3. This Or That -Who is the leading candidate for 2021 NFL MVP honors right now: Derek Carr or Kyler Murray? -Who will be the hotter head coaching candidate come January 10, 2022: Bills OC Brian Daboll or Panthers OC Joe Brady? -Who are you more worried about after two weeks: Josh Allen or the Chiefs defense? -Which QB would you rather have for the next decade: Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert? 4. Chargers at Chiefs Preview 5. Bucs at Rams Preview 6. Picks for all other Week 2 Games -Panthers at Texans -Saints at Patriots -Washington at Bills -Falcons at Giants -Colts at Titans -Cardinals at Jaguars -Bengals at Steelers -Bears at Browns -Ravens at Lions -Jets at Broncos -Dolphins at Raiders -Seahawks at Vikings -Packers at 49ers -Eagles at Cowboys 7. Bold Predictions -Hal: Justin Herbert 5 TD passes 450+ yards passing, scoring go-ahead TD with less than 2:00 away…Derwin James seals it with an INT!!! -DKrom: Justin Fields throws for 300+ passing yards, runs for at least 75 more, and scores five total TD's in a Bears upset victory over the Browns 8. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Matt Nagy, PLAY TO JUSTIN FIELDS STRENGTHS and put him in the BEST possible position to succeed so you don't even have to go back to playing Andy Dalton -Hal: All of the 0-2 teams (Giants, Colts, Vikings)….GET THAT FIRST WIN!!!
1. Week 1 Takeaways -Me: The Chargers proved they aren't the same old Chargers -Hal: LOTS of surprises 2. Truth or Exaggeration -All four NFC West teams will make the playoffs -Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford will be among the top three finalists for 2021 NFL MVP honors -Kyler Murray has already proven himself to be a legit NFL franchise QB -Urban Meyer will only last one season as Jaguars head coach -It's time to talk about the Atlanta Falcons as a serious candidate to have the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft -The Philadelphia Eagles will be serious contenders for a Wild Card playoff spot this season -Even though they didn't come away with a win, the way the Browns played the Chiefs last week bodes EXTREMELY well for their chances in a potential playoff rematch at Arrowhead, especially when the weather will likely benefit their physical brand of football more -The Tennessee Titans offense will be one of the NFL's biggest disappointments in 2021 3. This Or That -Who had the more impressive defensive performance in Week 1: Steelers or Cardinals? -Who is the best bet to be the main RB for the 49ers going forward: Trey Sermon or Elijah Mitchell? -Which head coach has the hotter seat: Mike Zimmer or Matt Nagy? -Who was the more impressive QB in Week 1: Dak Prescott or Derek Carr? 4. Cowboys at Chargers Preview 5. Chiefs at Ravens Preview 6. Picks for all other Week 2 Games -Giants at Washington -49ers at Eagles -Rams at Colts -Broncos at Jaguars -Texans at Browns -Raiders at Steelers -Bengals at Bears -Saints at Panthers -Patriots at Jets -Bills at Dolphins -Vikings at Cardinals -Falcons at Buccaneers -Titans at Seahawks -Lions at Packers 7. Bold Predictions -Hal: A.J. Brown goes off for 10 receptions, 200 yards, and 4 TD -DKrom: Aaron Rodgers roars back with a vengeance against the Lions on Monday night and throws an NFL record 8 TD passes in one game 8. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, if you want to increase the odds of keeping your jobs, START JUSTIN FIELDS NOW!!!! -Hal: Mike Vrabel and Titans D…SHOW US WHAT YOU'VE GOT!!
1. GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA -Was it a good idea or bad idea for the Patriots to release Cam Newton and hand over the reins to Mac Jones right from the get go? -Was it a good idea or bad idea for the Broncos to name Teddy Bridgewater as their starting QB over Drew Lock? -Is it a good idea or bad idea for the Bears to begin the season with Andy Dalton under center as opposed to Justin Fields? -Is it a good idea or bad idea for the 49ers to hold Trey Lance out of practice until Week 3 so the “small chip” fracture in his hand can fully heal? 2. Truth or Exaggeration -Zach Wilson, who I originally panned the Jets for drafting rather than Justin Fields or Trey Lance, has a FAR better chance of becoming the best QB from the 2021 class than most of us initially thought -Robert Saleh is THE best possible man to help make the Jets a consistently relevant franchise -Jameis Winston will have his best year as a pro in 2021 -The Carolina Panthers will finish with a better record than the Saints this season -The Packers are the team that's best equipped to dethrone the Bucs in the NFC -Josh Allen, not Patrick Mahomes, will be the highest-scoring QB in fantasy football this year -Tom Brady is right in his comments about it being more difficult for the NFL to deal with COVID-19 this year given the return to full capacity stadiums 3. Cowboys/Bucs Preview and Prediction -Impact of Zach Martin's absence, is Cowboys D improved?, is Bucs D even better?, Key Matchups 4. Browns/Chiefs Preview and Prediction -Are Browns AFC's strongest roster outside of KC?, Key Matchups 5. Picks for all other Week 1 Games -Jets at Panthers -Eagles at Falcons -Chargers at Washington -49ers at Lions -Vikings at Bengals -Steelers at Bills -Cardinals at Titans -Seahawks at Colts -Jaguars at Texans -Packers at Saints -Dolphins at Patriots -Broncos at Giants -Bears at Rams -Ravens at Raiders 6. Bold Predictions -Hal: Matthew Stafford throws for 300+ yards and 4 TD's in the first half alone -DKrom: Andy Dalton gets sacked 10 times by the Rams, forcing the Bears to turn to Justin Fields in the second half 7. Challenge Flags -DKrom: Packers, if this is indeed “The Last Dance” with Aaron Rodgers…play like it on Sunday!! DOMINATE the Saints, regardless of what the final score says -Hal: Bengals organization…KEEP JOE BURROW UPRIGHT!!!
1. Based on everything we've seen and/or heard out of training camp and preseason action thus far, which player's fantasy stock has gone up the most, and which player's stock has fallen the most in your view? 2. In terms of the running back position, who are your favorite running backs this season outside the top four (McCaffrey, Cook, Henry, Kamara)? 3. One of the keys to not just prevailing in fantasy football, but in literally anything, it to be willing to go against the grain when it comes to groupthink. Are there any players you're considerably higher on than most Mike? Considerably lower than? 4. THIS OR THAT -David Montgomery or J.K. Dobbins? -Nick Chubb or Antonio Gibson? (PPR) -Aaron Jones or Austin Ekeler? -Allen Robinson or CeeDee Lamb? -Adam Thielen or Tyler Lockett? -Brandon Aiyuk or Ja'Marr Chase? -Kyle Pitts or Mark Andrews? -Logan Thomas or Irv Smith, Jr.? -Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray? -Trevor Lawrence or Jalen Hurts? 5. Buy Or Sell -Justin Herbert will be a top-five fantasy QB in 2021 -Marvin Jones will be the most productive Jaguars WR in fantasy this season -Given his history with Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson is the Panthers WR for fantasy owners to target in drafts, even more so than D.J. Moore -Unless both Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson make major strides in their recoveries, you should let someone else draft Jonathan Taylor -Given the inevitable, net negative regression to the mean in TD % that is coming, you should let someone else draft Aaron Rodgers 6. Name some players to avoid at each skill position -QB: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Justin Herbert -RB: Saquon Barkley -WR: CeeDee Lamb, Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin -TE: Kyle Pitts 7. Fantasy drafts are usually won in the latter half (rounds 8-16). Name some players at each skill position with the potential to become HUGE steals who will likely be available in that range -QB: Jalen Hurts, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Taysom Hill -RB: Salvon Ahmed -WR: Marvin Jones, DeVonta Smith, Corey Davis, Cole Beasley -TE: Logan Thomas, Jonnu Smith, Cole Kmet
1. While I still firmly believe Trevor Lawrence will be the man under center on September 12, is it just absolutely bonkers for Urban Meyer to give Gardner Minshew any kind of chance to start? 2. This year, the NFL plans to crack down on taunting, as NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported a few weeks ago. Two taunting fouls per game will now result in an automatic ejection, plus fines and even suspensions. Yet in Week 1 of preseason action, officials were flagging even the most innocent of celebrations as taunting. Do you think this is just one of those things where the refs penalize a lot of stuff in preseason, then let a lot of it fly when the games count, or are you very worried that a bad taunting call will end up costing several teams key wins in 2021? 3. With the Delta variant wave expected to get worse during the fall and winter, can you see many other teams following the Raiders lead? 4. Main Takeaways from Week 1 of Preseason -David: Several lesser known rookie edge-rushers show they are ready to contribute (Gregory Rousseau, Joe Tryon, and Joseph Ossai stood out) -Hal: QB situations being ironed out 5. Truth or Exaggeration -The 49ers MUST hand the reins over to Trey Lance, by no later than Week 4, if not sooner -Mac Jones will sit behind Cam Newton in New England for half of the season or longer before getting his chance to start -Even though defensive backs don't win NFL defensive rookie of the year honors that often, the Broncos Patrick Surtain II has an excellent chance to buck that trend -The most productive WR in Jacksonville this season will not be D.J. Chark. It will not be Laviska Shenault. It will be Marvin Jones -Rondale Moore will be the Cardinals most dangerous skill position weapon not named DeAndre Hopkins -Given the Chiefs remarkably improved offensive line, Patrick Mahomes will have the best season of his young, illustrious career in 2021 6. Of all the teams that finished in last place in 2020, which is most likely to win their division in 2021? 7. Which playoff team from 2020 will see the biggest drop-off? 8. Who will be the NFL's two breakout superstars in 2021, one on offense, the other on defense? -David: CeeDee Lamb (offense), Brian Burns (defense) -Hal: Brandon Aiyuk (offense), Chase Young (defense) 9. What is the main thing you're looking for in Week 2 of the preseason? David: Zach Wilson, can you build on your efficient first outing by leading multiple TD drives this week? Hal: Health, health, health
1. Do you know or know of Kelly Kleine, and if so, what kind of football mind did the Broncos get with her and what makes her so good at what she does? 2. Who do you have in mind for the first ever all-woman NFL broadcast? 3. In recent months, your business, Athlete Relations has grown even more. In addition to signing more NFL clients, in what other ways has Athlete Relations expanded since we last had you on? 4. During your time in the sports industry, have you ever felt mistreated solely because you're a woman? What can me and my fellow men do to create THE best possible workplace environment for women in sports, and in any other field? 5. Do you still think it would be the worst thing for the Bears to play Dalton for just four games and then give the reins to Justin Fields shortly thereafter? 6. How much will what Simone Biles did shift the paradigm in how women in sports (and women in general) are perceived and does the sick reaction of many to her decision not to participate in that event show you that too many of my fellow men are unfortunately desperate to not let our sisters take more control of the wheel? 7. 2021 NFL Predictions -2021 NFL MVP: Josh Allen -2021 NFL Offensive POY: Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry -2021 NFL Defensive POY: Chase Young -2021 NFL Offensive ROY: Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance -2021 NFL Defensive ROY: Wide open -2021 NFL Comeback POY: Nick Bosa, Dak Prescott -2021 NFL Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan, Brandon Staley -Super Bowl LVI Matchup and Winner: 49ers, Chiefs over Packers
1. As you know, this past year-and-a-half or so has been nothing short of paradigm shifting in terms of women in sports. It seems that every month, a new glass ceiling in the sports industry is smashed to pieces. In recent months, we've seen the highest-ranked female scouting executives in NFL history (Kelly Kleine of the Denver Broncos and Catherine Raiche of the Philadelphia Eagles) and two women (Becky Hammon and Teresa Weatherspoon) receive serious consideration for NBA head coaching jobs. Yet Major League Baseball, where you work, saw arguably the two biggest glass ceilings get shattered this year. First, we witnessed Kim Ng become the first woman GM in league history, and just a few weeks ago, we saw the first-ever all-female broadcast of a Major League Baseball game with Alanna Rizzo, Sarah Langs, Lauren Gardner, Heidi Watney and Melanie Newman. As a woman who assists with the radio broadcasts of an MLB franchise, how much did it mean to you to see such a barrier-breaking milestone in terms of women in sports media, and sports in general? Have you met any of the five aforementioned women who took part in that historic broadcast? 2. During your career, have you ever felt mistreated solely because you're a woman? What can me and my fellow men do to help ensure the safest workplace environment possible for women, whether in sports, or in any other field? 3. What are some of the responsibilities of your current job? Do you aspire to get to a higher level in broadcasting, whether as a studio anchor, field reporter, etc.? 4. You currently reside in Tampa, where the Lightning just won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, the Bucs are coming off an incredible win in Super Bowl LV, and are in the best position possible to run it back, and the Rays are coming off a World Series appearance. Given all this winning, many are referring to Tampa as “CHAMPA BAY.” How does it feel to be living in Tampa amidst all this championship-level play from its three major sports teams? 5. What were your favorite pro sports teams growing up? 6. What are some of your favorite sports to watch other than baseball? 7. When you look at the standings alone in both the American and National League, it seems like a wide open race for the 2021 World Series Championship. I just want to get some predictions from you as to how the rest of this MLB season will unfold -Best NL record: Los Angeles Dodgers -Best AL record: Tampa Bay Rays -2021 League MVP: Ohtani -2021 Cy Young Award Winner: Liam Hendricks -2021 AL Champion: Rays (if not, White Sox) -2021 NL Champion: Dodgers -2021 World Series winner: -MVP of 2021 World Series: Rays over Dodgers
1. If both Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson take until late October to recover, are the Colts looking at a potential top-10, if not top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft? 2. Chris Mortensen reported that the Colts are not going to pursue a trade for a veteran QB like Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew, or Marcus Mariota at this time, but implied the team can change its mind if Jacob Eason struggles badly in preseason. Should that happen, which of those three aforementioned quarterbacks would YOU trade for if you were Chris Ballard, and why? 3. Do you think the Niners will be forced to abandon their original plan and start Trey Lance sooner than many expect? 4. As long as the Bears get 10 or more starts from Justin Fields this year, would it be acceptable to let him wait his turn for just a few weeks given the uncertainties on the offensive line? 5. How bullish are you on this new Chiefs offensive line and if they're as good as PFF thinks they're going to be, is defending Patrick Mahomes going to be scarier than ever before? 6. Last week, nearly the entire Vikings QB room, including Kirk Cousins, was forced to isolate when rookie Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19, because they were not vaccinated. If this was Week 1, the Vikings would have been in BIG BIG trouble. Do you get the feeling that a similar situation that occurs in the regular season will cost a team a spot in the playoffs? 7. Do you like how the Broncos are apparently going to use Pat Surtain? 8. The Browns were outscored by 11 points last year and were an astonishing 7-2 in games decided by seven points or less, and that's almost certainly going to regress to the mean in 2021. Because of those statistics, should the Ravens be considered AFC North favorites? 9. Two star defensive players (Cardinals pass rushing OLB Chandler Jones and Dolphins CB Xavien Howard) have made it clear they want to be traded. If either the Cardinals, Dolphins (or both) are forced to cave in at some point before the trade deadline, what would be the best possible destination for Jones and for Howard? 10. Tonight, football returns with the Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Steelers. If there are any players on either team to keep an eye on tonight, who are they and why?
1. DRAFT STRATEGIES -The two most common ways to begin a fantasy football draft (at least the ones I've come across) are to either draft two running backs in the first two rounds, or to draft one running back and one wide receiver in the first two rounds. Which of the two approaches do you prefer and why? -When you're drafting, how much stock do you put into early season schedules (Weeks 1-4) and [fantasy] playoff schedules? 2. Speaking of fantasy playoff schedules, with the NFL changing to the 17 game/18 week regular season format this year, when would you recommend fantasy league commissioners schedule their playoffs (same standard as always with weeks 14-16, or do you move it to weeks 15-17)? 3. Running Backs -Why is Christian McCaffrey your #1 fantasy player right now? -Why is Jonathan Taylor worth an investment as early as the fifth overall pick in fantasy drafts? 4. Wide Receivers -Why do you think 2021 will be Terry McLaurin's breakout season from a fantasy perspective? -WR is always one of the deeper positions in fantasy football. Would you be content if the first receiver you drafted was a guy like Adam Thielen, CeeDee Lamb or D.J. Moore? 5. Tight Ends -Would you fault anybody for taking Kyle Pitts with both Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson still on the board? 6. Quarterbacks -Unlike in real football, great QB play in fantasy football is quite plentiful. That's why they say every year to wait as long as you can to draft a QB. How long would you personally wait on a QB in 2021? -Currently, you have Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson ahead of Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson, on your board. Why are you more bullish on the former two than you are on the latter three at the moment? 7. Name some players to avoid at each skill position -QB: Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers -RB: Josh Jacobs, Darrell Henderson -WR: Mike Evans, Kenny Golladay -TE: Dallas Goedert, Noah Fant, Robert Tonyan 8. Fantasy drafts are usually won in the latter half (rounds 8-16). Name some players at each skill position with the potential to become HUGE steals who will likely be available in that range -QB: Tua Tagovailoa, -RB: A.J. Dillon, Gio Bernard -WR: Parris Campbell, Elijah Moore -TE: Adam Trautman, Jonnu Smith
1. Hypothetically speaking, if there's a tie in the competition between Justin Fields and Andy Dalton at the end of preseason play, and if there's a tie between Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo at the end of preseason play, should the Bears and 49ers unquestionably start Justin Fields and Trey Lance, respectively, in Week 1? 2. What should we expect from Zach Wilson and this young Jets offense this season, and do you think Joe Douglas has put his rookie QB in the best possible position to succeed? 3. Does the approach Urban Meyer's taking with Travis Etienne concern you about how he will utilize Trevor Lawrence? 4. You said the transition from the Alabama offense to Josh McDaniels' offense isn't as seamless as many think. Why is that so and when is the earliest we see Mac Jones this season? 5. How much should we temper expectations for this Rams offense as a result of the brutal injury to Cam Akers and what schematic adjustments, if any, should we expect? 6. With the presence of new Seahawks OC Shane Waldron, who is known for his creativity and has been praised by Russell Wilson as “an amazing mind” and “super collaborative”, is this the season we finally see the Seahawks take the shackles completely off Russell Wilson? 7. If this new Chiefs OL is as improved as advertised, could this be the best season of Patrick Mahomes' career to date? 8. Which holes in his game must Josh Allen address the most this season? 9. Does Julio Jones' addition make the Titans the offense that can best match the Chiefs pound for pound? 10. Do you think the marriage between Sam Darnold, those weapons the Panthers have and the Joe Brady offense give Darnold a good enough chance to beat the odds? 11. Is it the right thing for the Broncos to do everything possible to make sure Drew Lock wins the job fair and square? 12. Would you be either surprised or shocked if the Broncos ended up as a top-10 defense this season, if not top-five? 13. How much improved is the Bengals offensive line compared to last season and how, if at all, is Joe Burrow better equipped to deal with below average OL play? 14. Should the Dolphins do whatever it takes to get Deshaun Watson, or should they just play out the season with Tua Tagovailoa under center and see what he has? 15. Would you expect somewhat of a rough start to the season for Justin Herbert given he has to learn his second offensive system in as many years?
1. Hypothetically speaking, should the QB competition between Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, end in a tie, with both training camp and preseason play accounted for, should the tie go to Fields or Dalton? If Dalton starts Week 1, when is the earliest you think we see Justin Fields this season? 2. What is your most educated guess as to Allen Robinson's future as a Bear at this point in time? How much hotter should Ryan Pace's seat be if the Bears let Allen Robinson walk for nothing? 3. The two young pass-catchers I personally have my eye on are TE Cole Kmet and WR Darnell Mooney. Which one of those two sophomores (so to speak) has the bigger breakout season, and how much does the answer to that question depend on who starts more games at QB? 4. If Roquan Smith does what he did in 2020 this season, do the Bears give him a similar mega-deal before Week 1 of the 2022 season? 5. Since their out-of-this-world 2018 season, the Bears defense has still been solid, but nowhere near the dominance they showed that year. This season, the Bears are returning to the basic Vic Fangio system under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. If you take that, plus Khalil Mack at full strength (he wasn't 100% last season), a full season from Akiem Hicks, and a sophomore breakout campaign from Jaylon Johnson, will this 2021 Bears defense be the best the franchise has had since 2018? 6. Even with Tarik Cohen back from injury and Super Bowl LIV hero Damien Williams now in the stable, do you see David Montgomery having an even better season in 2021, and is he worth taking in the fourth or fifth round in fantasy football re-draft leagues? 7. What position battles (other than QB) will you be keeping an eye on as the Bears begin training camp next week? 8. WAY TOO EARLY Predictions -Bears 2021 MVP: Khalil Mack -Bears 2021 Breakout Player: Darnell Mooney -Bears 2021 Bounce-back Player: Akiem Hicks -Bears final 2021 regular season record, place in division, playoff seed: 8-9, 2nd place, no playoffs
1. Based on the intel you have, why did the Panthers decide to take Jaycee Horn over Justin Fields, and why do they think Sam Darnold can be the long-term answer for them at QB? 2. Outside of Jaycee Horn, which Panthers rookie do you see making the biggest impact this season? 3. Last season, Christian McCaffrey, the focal point of the Panthers offense, only played three games due to various injuries. With the NFL moving to the new 17-game regular season format this season, how much do the Panthers plan to lighten CMC's workload, if at all? Is he still worth the first overall pick in fantasy drafts? 4. The Panthers have one of the NFL's rising stars at WR in D.J. Moore. Despite playing with five different QB's over the past two seasons, he's totaled 1200+ receiving yards each year. If he plays as good or better in 2021, can you see the Panthers extending him some time before the 2022 season? 5. Do you think Brian Burns solidifies himself as a top-10 pass rushing DE this season, if not top-five? 6. Listener question: Is Ha-Ha Clinton Dix still an option at safety or is there another FA target the team has its eye on, like bringing back Tre Boston? 7. What position battles will you be keeping an eye on as soon as the Panthers begin training camp? 8. WAY TOO EARLY Predictions -Panthers 2021 MVP: Brian Burns/D.J. Moore -Panthers 2021 Breakout Player: Donte' Jackson -Panthers 2021 Bounce-back Player: Yetur Gross-Matos -Panthers final 2021 regular season record, place in division, playoff seed: 10-7 9. Aside from boycotting the NFL, what can we do to hold the NFL accountable for not caring whatsoever about the physical and emotional safety of its female employees? 10. During your experience working in the sports industry thus far, were there times you ever felt mistreated because you are a woman? What can us men do to be the best possible allies for you and all of our sisters in this field, or in any field?
1. What will be the next major barrier to fall for women in pro sports? Will it be the first woman NBA head coach, first woman NFL GM, first woman NFL offensive or defensive coordinator, or something else? 2. You currently work for The Draft Network, which I have said many times is THE best year-round NFL Draft resource there is. We have interviewed many of your colleagues, including your partner in crime (the good kind) Paige Dimakos earlier this year. What exactly do you do for TDN, and are there any exciting developments going on there this season? 3. Last week, the Washington Football Team was fined $10 million due to the findings of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment throughout the club. That said, the attorney who led the investigation, Beth Wilkinson hasn't released a single page of her report and the aforementioned penalty can only be summarized as a slap on the wrist. Aside from boycotting the NFL, what can we do to hold the NFL accountable for not caring whatsoever about the physical and emotional safety of its female employees? 4. During your experience working in the sports industry thus far, were there times you ever felt mistreated because you are a woman? What can us men do to be the best possible allies for you and all of our sisters in this field, or in any field? 5. We are just two years removed from the Raptors winning the NBA title. What did that monumental achievement mean not just to Toronto, but to all of Canada in general? Speaking of the NBA title, you currently reside in the Phoenix area. Just how widespread is Suns fever throughout the entire state of Arizona right now? 2021 NBA Finals prediction? 6. As we speak right now, all NFL training camps will be in full force in just over three weeks. What are you looking forward to the most this NFL season? 7. WAY TOO EARLY 2021 NFL predictions -2021 NFL MVP: Josh Allen -2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Fields -2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Surtain II -Super Bowl LVI Matchup and Winner: Bucs vs. Browns, Bucs
1. What will be the next major glass ceiling to be shattered in pro sports? Will it be the first woman NBA head coach, first woman NFL GM, first woman NFL offensive or defensive coordinator, or something else? 2. How did your experience as a Broncos cheerleader help make you into the strong, powerful woman you are today, and how pivotal were those seven years in getting you ready to go into sports media? 3. During your seven years on the team, did you ever encounter anyone giving you hell and/or stereotyping you for being a cheerleader? What can me and my fellow men do to help ensure a safe, healthy workplace environment free from such stereotypes and all other forms of sexual harassment for ALL women in sports? 4. You were a Broncos cheerleader in 2015, when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. That was truly one of THE most intriguing Super Bowl championship seasons I have ever watched. Aside from going to San Francisco, dancing at the Super Bowl, and every post-game celebration that came afterward, what were some of your most memorable moments from that epic season? Did the cheerleaders get a Super Bowl ring, and how similar or different is it to the ring the players received? 5. Based on what you've heard, why did the Broncos decide to pass on Justin Fields and go with the current QB situation they have? 6. Would it be totally unsurprising if Teddy Bridgewater is the starter on September 12, or would he have to just absolutely beat out Drew Lock SIGNIFICANTLY to win the job right off the bat? What other training camp battles will you be watching? 7. Would anything less (and I mean ANYTHING less) than a playoff appearance this season cost Vic Fangio his job as head coach of the Broncos? 8. WAY TOO EARLY Predictions -Broncos 2021 MVP: Courtland Sutton -Broncos 2021 Breakout Player: Jerry Jeudy -Broncos 2021 Bounce-back Player: Bradley Chubb -Broncos final 2021 regular season record, place in division, playoff seed: 10-7, 2nd place in AFC West, #7 playoff seed -If Broncos make playoffs, how far will they go? One and done
1. Just a few weeks ago, the Titans acquired Future Hall of Fame WR Julio Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Tennessee's 2022 second-round pick and 2023 fourth-round pick. Now you add Julio Jones, who can still play at a very high level, to a Titans offense that has arguably the best running back in the NFL in Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, who has grown into a top-10 WR in the NFL after just two seasons in the league, and a QB in Ryan Tannehill who has played at a Pro Bowl level for the last two years. Does the acquisition of Julio Jones make the Titans THE most dangerous offense in the entire NFL right now? 2. A big issue for the Titans offensively is the depth at the skill positions behind Julio Jones, A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry. Which Titans offensive skill position players do you expect to play the biggest role outside of those three? 3. For the Titans to go the distance, they are going to need FAR better play from their defense. And their defensive woes start up front, as they've arguably had the most anemic pass rush in the league in recent years. To address that issue, the Titans signed former Steelers pass rushing OLB Bud Dupree to a five-year deal worth up to $85 million. However, Bud Dupree is also coming off a torn ACL that he suffered late last season. When is the earliest we can expect Bud Dupree to play in 2021? 4. I was very impressed with the Titans 2021 NFL Draft, especially in the first three rounds, where they got excellent value everywhere. In the first round, they selected Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, who probably would've been a top 10-15 pick if it weren't for his back issues. In round two, they got a potential decade-long starter at OT, either left or right, in North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz. In round three, they added some much-needed ILB depth with Monty Rice out of Georgia, and got a potential GEM in versatile Washington DB Elijah Molden at 100 overall. What did you think of the Titans draft as a whole, and which rookie do you expect to have the biggest impact right off the bat? When it comes to Caleb Farley and Dillon Radunz, which one of those two would you say needs to absolutely ball out for the Titans to fulfill their potential? 5. An underrated potential concern for the Titans is the departure of former OC Arthur Smith to the Falcons, where he's obviously now the head coach. Moreover, new OC Todd Downing's previous stint in that role was underwhelming to say the least. How worried are you that losing Arthur Smith could prevent this Titans offense from reaching its ceiling? 6. What are the big Titans training camp battles for us to keep an eye on? 7. WAY TOO EARLY Predictions -Titans 2021 MVP: Derrick Henry -Titans 2021 Breakout Player: Amani Hooker -Titans 2021 Bounce-back Player: Rashaan Evans -Titans final 2021 regular season record, place in division, playoff seed: 1st place, #3 seed, 11-6 -If Titans make playoffs, how far will they go? Divisional round at least
1. This is the first year of the post-Drew Brees era for the Saints. Thus, all eyes are on the looming training camp battle between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston to be the starting QB Week 1 in New Orleans. As of right now, what is your most educated guess as to which of those two will be under center for the Saints September 12 against the Packers? 2. Given the COVID-related salary cap reduction this season, the Saints cap issues were further magnified this year. Moreover, according to OverTheCap.com, the Saints are projected to start the 2022 league year nearly $15 million above the cap, $14.847 million to be exact. This means, they will likely have to get super creative as they try to re-sign their two 2017 first-round picks, Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk. Which one of those two do you believe is most likely to re-sign in New Orleans long-term? Can you see the Saints eventually re-signing both? 3. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Saints used all of their picks in the premium rounds (rounds 1-3) on defense. In the first round, they selected pass-rushing DE Payton Turner out of Houston. Next, in the second round, they selected Ohio State LB Pete Werner, and they traded up 22 spots in the third to select Stanford CB Paulson Adebo. Which of those three rookies do you see making the biggest impact for the Saints this season? 4. In the fourth round, the Saints took another roll of the proverbial QB dice with Ian Book out of Notre Dame. During the pre-draft process, a draft analyst friend of mine who I trust said that Ian Book should switch positions and become a running back. Thus, when the Saints took him, I was wondering if they view him as Taysom Hill's eventual replacement, especially if Hill is a cap casualty after this season. Do the Saints see Ian Book that way? 5. Aside from the Jameis/Taysom competition, what are the biggest Saints training camp position battles to keep an eye on? 6. Before we proceed, I am pleased to announce that we're beginning a very special series of episodes on Women In Sports. This podcast intends to help promote and empower women in all facets of the sports industry as much as possible, from cheerleaders, reporters, agents and managers, to coaches and athletes. And speaking of women in sports, several major glass ceilings have just been smashed in the NFL. In the past month, Kelly Kleine and Catherine Raiche, became the two highest-ranked female scouting executives in NFL history. Would you be surprised if we saw the first ever woman NFL GM some time this decade? 7. In your career on the NFL beat, was there ever a moment where you felt that you were treated unfairly because you're a woman? What should us men do to help create and ensure the safest, most equitable work environment possible for women in sports, or in any other high-profile industry?
1. Jaguars -Not only did I feel the Travis Etienne pick was a waste given the presence of James Robinson on the roster, Urban Meyer says they are trying to get Etienne to play wide receiver in addition to running back, and he's never played the former position. Outside of Etienne's familiarity with Trevor Lawrence and his impact on team culture, how do you justify the Jaguars taking him in the first round? -With their first of two second-round picks, the Jaguars selected Tyson Campbell, the long, tall athletic corner from Georgia with track speed. The only reason he fell out of the first round was his struggles locating the ball in the air. In 2018, a corner prospect with a similar body-type fell all the way to the end of the second round for essentially that same reason. That prospect? Carlton Davis, who has grown into a top-10 corner in the NFL for the Bucs. Can you see Tyson Campbell experiencing a similar rise over these next three years? -In the third round, the Jaguars addressed the secondary again with safety Andre Cisco out of Syracuse. Cisco's tape shows the ultimate “feast or famine” prospect. He's either making a big play on the ball or giving up a big play to the opposing offense and nothing in between. That said, Doug Farrar of the USA Today “Touchdown Wire” said that Cisco could be “lethal” if he can get coached up to stop biting on every route. Just how high is Andre Cisco's ceiling if he does eliminate those bad habits in his play? 2. Texans -The Texans first pick didn't come until the third round at 67 overall and they used it on Stanford QB Davis Mills. As soon as that pick was made, the TV analysts were saying that the Texans were essentially admitting that Deshaun Watson has played his final snap as a Texan regardless of how his legal issues turn out. Do you see it that way? Would you anticipate Davis Mills starting a few games late this season? -22 picks later, the Texans traded back up into the third, surrendering their 2022 fourth in the process. And they did that to select Michigan WR Nico Collins, who is that big-bodied WR they've been missing since they traded away DeAndre Hopkins. Joel Klatt said on the NFLN broadcast that Collins would've put up far better numbers in college if it weren't for poor QB play at Michigan. Do you think he can find better success in the NFL with at least competent QB play? 3. Colts -At 21 overall, the Colts selected who they hope will be the consistent edge rusher that they've been lacking in Kwity Paye. At Michigan, Paye played a lot of his snaps inside, but some people believe the Colts should almost solely play him at defensive end for now. Is that what the Colts should do, or should they have him kick inside next to DeForest Buckner in certain sub-packages? -In the second round, the Colts double-dipped on the defensive line with the versatile Dayo Odeyingbo from Vanderbilt. He is unlikely to play this season due to the Achilles injury he suffered in January, but the Colts obviously have high hopes for him long-term. What does he bring to the Colts front four that Kwity Paye does not? 4. Titans -At 22 overall, the Titans selected Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley. Some believed he would slide out of the first round entirely due to his two recent back surgeries. Prior to his most recent procedure, some of the top analysts considered Farley as the best corner in this class. Do you think there was a good argument in initially placing him above Pat Surtain and Jaycee Horn? If so, why?
1. Eagles -With their first-round pick, the Eagles traded up two spots with the division-rival Cowboys, leapfrogging the division-rival Giants to take DeVonta Smith. Now, we all know about DeVonta Smith. He was the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and despite his size, he does EVERYTHING you want a WR to do. While I personally expect DeVonta Smith to have at LEAST a very good career (as in multiple Pro Bowls plus an All Pro honor or two), the Eagles, at least in my view, could have done a lot better by beginning their rebuild with Justin Fields. Do you think the Eagles should have taken Justin Fields, or is DeVonta Smith the kind of player you want to begin a roster overhaul with? -In the second-round the Eagles, as they do often, rolled the dice on an extremely talented, yet often-injured player in Landon Dickerson. After the pick was made, many, if not most, said he would redshirt in 2021 and then replace Jason Kelce as the Eagles center of the future in 2022. However, they announced him as a guard and Chris Trapasso, lead NFL Draft analyst at CBS Sports, believes he's a better bet at guard. If you were the Eagles, where would you plan to play Landon Dickerson? -With their third-round pick, the Eagles went back to the trenches and took a favorite of several notable voices on Draft Twitter, Louisiana Tech DT Milton Williams. That said, Williams was introduced as a defensive end in the draft. Is the long-term outlook for Milton Williams as a potential replacement for Fletcher Cox at DT, or can you see him as a replacement for Brandon Graham at DE while kicking inside in sub-packages? 2. Cowboys -After trading back two spots, the Cowboys began their defensive-heavy draft with Penn State LB Micah Parsons. While LB was a pretty big need in Big D given Jaylon Smith's inconsistencies and Leighton Vander Esch's inability to stay healthy, several people whose opinions I value did not view Parsons as high as many in the NFL and media did. Did you consider Micah Parsons to be the best defensive prospect in this draft class? -In the second-round, the Cowboys addressed the position they initially hoped to address in the first round, corner, with Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph. Like Parsons, Joseph had some off-field concerns, but you also cannot deny his freakish athleticism. If he keeps his head on straight, just how high is his ceiling? -The Cowboys had three picks in the third round and again, used all of them on defense with UCLA DT Osa Odighizuwa, Iowa DE Chauncey Golston and Oregon State CB Nahshon Wright. Which of those three is the likeliest to grow into a long-time contributor for the Cowboys? 3. Giants -In a move NOBODY expected, the Giants traded down in the first round after the Eagles snuck up and stole DeVonta Smith from them. They ended up at 20 overall and selected another weapon for Daniel Jones in Florida WR Kadarius Toney. Some didn't understand this pick given the presence of Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, but what those people either forgot or just don't know is that Florida didn't list Toney at any position. How does Kadarius Toney fit into the Giants offense this season and what is the best way for Jason Garrett to utilize his skill-set? -In the second round, the Giants not only got a potential steal, they addressed arguably the lone remaining weak-spot on their defense, which was EDGE, with Georgia's Azeez Ojulari. What does Ojulari bring to the Giants edge pass rush that nobody else currently on the roster does?
1. Before we begin here, please explain the criteria you used in determining the ranking of all 32 NFL rosters 2. NFC North (Packers 1 , Vikings 2 , Bears 3 , Lions 4 ) -Why did you rank the Vikings roster as high as you did? At least to me, they don't seem anywhere near as strong as they were in 2018 when they were preseason Super Bowl darlings -With Justin Fields now in the fold, what are the next must-dos for the Bears in roster building? 3. AFC West (Chiefs 1 , Broncos 2 , Chargers 3 , Raiders 4 ) -In your view, do the massive upgrades the Chiefs made to their OL solidify them as favorites for a third-consecutive Super Bowl trip? -Why did you rank the Broncos, who have one of the worst QB rooms in the entire NFL, ahead of the Chargers and Raiders, who have two top-12 QB's themselves in Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, respectively? 4. AFC North (Browns 1 , Ravens 2 , Steelers 3 , Bengals 4 ) -You and I are in agreement that the Browns are the most complete team in the AFC outside of Kansas City. What put them just one spot ahead of the Buffalo Bills in your rankings, and are they the best bet to top the Chiefs in the AFC despite having a worse QB situation than Buffalo? -Would you be surprised if the Bengals ended up with a better record than the Steelers this season? 5. NFC West (Rams 1 , Seahawks 2 , 49ers 3 , Cardinals 4 ) -While several believe the Rams as the best team in the NFC to challenge the Bucs, you are more lukewarm on them. Why is that the case? -The Seahawks roster is VERY top-heavy and they lack depth in many places, especially on defense. Are Russell Wilson and that receiving corps he has to throw to pretty much the only reasons why you have Seattle as the 11th best roster in the league? -If Trey Lance hits the ground running with a vengeance in the next two years, do the Niners become the best team in the division again? 6. AFC East (Bills 1 , Patriots 2 , Dolphins 3 , Jets 4 ) -If Tua Tagovailoa takes a huge leap forward this season, do the Dolphins trade spots with the Patriots on your list roster wise? 7. NFC East (Cowboys 1 , WFT 2 , Giants 3 , Eagles 4 ) -What was the tiebreaker that made you put the Cowboys ahead of Washington? Should it surprise anyone at all if Washington wins the division for a second consecutive season? 8. AFC South (Titans 1 , Colts 2 , Jaguars 3 , Texans 4  -Compared to other NFL bottom-feeders in the past 5-10 years, how bad is this Texans roster? Is this like the worst roster in modern memory? -Would it either surprise or shock you if Trevor Lawrence leads the Jaguars to a second-place finish in the division this season with say an 8-9 record? 9. NFC South (Bucs 1 , Saints 2 , Falcons 3 , Panthers 4 ) -If the Falcons trade Julio Jones as expected, how far does that push them down these rankings, if at all? -Is the NFC South going to be the most lopsided, non-competitive division in the NFL in 2021?
1. 49ers -The 49ers arguably made the biggest move in the arms race draft-wise. After losing out to the division-rival Rams in the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes, the 49ers went all in on finding their next franchise QB in the draft, trading two future first-round picks to move all the way up to three, where they selected Trey Lance. Before they made the move, Mark Schofield, one of THE best QB minds in the business, told me on this podcast that there was no clearer hand-in-glove scheme fit between prospect and team than Lance and the Niners. Also, many believed that out of the top-four QB's in the draft, Lance's ceiling was the highest. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared Trey Lance to Josh Allen, and Lance clearly has far better decision-making and accuracy than Allen did coming out of college. Given the athletic profile, the system he walks into and the talent around him, would it surprise you if Trey Lance is regarded as the best QB from this draft class five years down the line? -In the second-round the 49ers made an odd selection with Notre Dame G Aaron Banks. What made it so is that Banks isn't that athletic, pulling guard that is a major requirement in a Kyle Shanahan, zone-based offense. Why do you think the Niners took him? -The Niners added to their backfield in the third round by trading their fourth-round pick to move up to 88 overall, where they took Trey Sermon. After this pick was made, my friend Carl Dumler, who was on my draft night live-stream at the time said it wouldn't surprise him if Sermon eventually became the go-to guy at RB in San Francisco at some point this year. Now given the fact that Jeff Wilson may miss the first month of the season due to meniscus surgery plus Raheem Mostert's inability to stay healthy, can you see Trey Sermon ending up with the lion's-share of carries for the 49ers this season? 2. Cardinals -With the 16th overall pick, the Cardinals took Tulsa LB Zaven Collins. Bill Carroll, your colleague at Nuts and Bolts Sports said pre-draft that he thought Collins, not Micah Parsons, was the best off-ball LB in this draft. Did you share his view and regardless, how high are you on Zaven Collins as an explosive, playmaking LB in the NFL? -The Cardinals were widely believed to want to make a big trade up in the first round for Jaylen Waddle. Obviously, they were unable to do so, but they added to their arsenal in the second round with Rondale Moore. Our friend Bill Carroll described him to be as “the mutant love child of Darren Sproles and Eric Metcalf.” How do you see Kliff Kingsbury using the 2018 Paul Hornung Award winner this season? 3. Rams -Despite signing DeSean Jackson in free agency, the Rams wanted a long-term vertical option in their passing offense and they hope they got it with Tutu Atwell. That said, the pick was a bit of a head-scratcher given Atwell's underwhelming size (he weighed only 155 at the Louisville Pro Day). Do you think we mostly see Atwell on punt and/or kickoff returns this year before earning a larger role in Sean McVay's offense? 4. Seahawks -The Seahawks, with their only pick in the first three rounds, took another WR in D'Wayne Eskridge. Eskridge, like Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf brings speed, speed, and more speed. He's a two-time Indiana state high school track champion FYI. But the reason I personally didn't like this pick was that it's hard to find what Eskridge brings to the table that Lockett and Metcalf do not. That said, I'm not a scout. So my question is, do you see a certain skill or attribute in Eskridge's game that's not in that of Lockett or Metcalf?
1. Falcons -With the fourth overall pick, the Falcons decided to pass on a potential successor to Matt Ryan and instead took Kyle Pitts, the best non-QB prospect in the draft. Even though Pitts is listed as a tight end that, at least to some degree, is a misnomer. You can line him up inline, in the slot, or even at the X receiver position, and he is still equally as effective. Assuming the Falcons keep Julio Jones this season, does the addition of Kyle Pitts make the Falcons pass catching unit the most dangerous in the NFL? -In the second round, the Falcons traded down five spots and selected Richie Grant, the talented, versatile safety out of UCF. Atlanta obviously needed a safety, but some would argue they should’ve went with Trevon Moehrig, who went just three picks later to the Raiders. Do you think Richie Grant was the right pick for the Falcons in terms of fit, or do you think they’ll regret taking him over Moehrig? -In the third round, the Falcons made their first of two dips in the interior offensive line pool by selecting Jalen Mayfield, who played tackle at Michigan, but projects far better at guard in the NFL. Some were putting him in first-round mocks early in the process, but an underwhelming Pro Day sent him tumbling down the board. Do you think Mayfield is one of those prospects where the tape is far better than the way he tested? Does he have a shot to beat out Josh Andrews for that starting LG spot in training camp? 2. Panthers -With the eighth overall pick, the Panthers selected South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, making him the first defensive player off the board. As you discussed on our Dash To The Draft DB’s special, Horn is the ideal corner for a press/man scheme. However, the Panthers run more of a zone-oriented scheme under defensive coordinator Phil Snow. Are you at least somewhat troubled by the scheme fit here between the Panthers and Jaycee Horn? -After trading down twice in the second round, the Panthers got potential highway robbery with LSU WR Terrace Marshall, Jr. Marshall fell due to concerns about his injury history, but he brings a Courtland Sutton/Alshon Jeffery skill-set that the Panthers were sorely lacking at receiver. Sam Darnold now has a mouth-watering 11 personnel package with D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and now Terrace Marshall. With weapons like these plus a healthy Christian McCaffrey, is Sam Darnold a quiet candidate for 2021 Comeback Player of the Year honors? -With their first of two third-round picks, the Panthers went with a sorely needed OL upgrade in Brady Christensen, who protected Zach Wilson’s blindside at BYU. However, Matt Rhule said that the Panthers view him as someone who can play four different OL positions and added that he can be “elite” at guard. Do you think Brady Christensen will be better at tackle or guard in the NFL? 3. Saints -For the second time in four years, the Saints selected a “non-Power Five” pass rusher (Marcus Davenport in 2018, and Payton Turner in 2021). Turner obviously flew up draft boards after his freakish Pro Day, where he showed off his 84-inch wingspan. Can you see Payton Turner overtaking Marcus Davenport for the starting DE spot opposite Cameron Jordan at some point this season? -In the second round, the Saints filled a massive void at linebacker with Ohio State’s Pete Werner, While nowhere near the freak athlete his fellow Buckeye Baron Browning is, he is a cerebral, hard-hat/lunch-pail player in the mold of long-time Vikings LB Chad Greenway. Do you see Pete Werner become the starting MLB with on-field play-calling duties in New Orleans relatively quickly?
1. Lions -With their first-round pick, the Lions began their draft theme of drafting guys that can “bite kneecaps off” with Oregon OT Penei Sewell. His addition arguably makes the Lions offensive line one of the most promising groups in the NFL. The Lions now have rock solid bookend tackles with Sewell at RT and Taylor Decker at left tackle. Inside, they have All Pro Frank Ragnow at center and Jonah Jackson, who had a very good rookie season in 2020, at one of the guard spots. Would you be surprised if the Lions OL becomes a top-10 unit at the end of this season, if not a top-five unit? -On day two, the Lions double-dipped at defensive tackle with Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill. Double-dipping at a position in the draft usually means (at least in terms of logic) that the two players have perfectly complimentary skill sets. How well (if at all) do Onwuzurike and McNeill compliment each other, and can you see them as the two starters at DT for the Lions at some point in the next few seasons? -With their third-round compensatory selection, the Lions selected somebody who I personally expected to go quite a bit higher in CB Ifeatu Melifonwu out of Syracuse. He’s that long, lean, lanky, athletic corner most NFL teams prize in the modern NFL. Do you see Melifonwu capturing the starting CB spot opposite Jeff Okudah at some point this season? 2. Bears -The Bears arguably came away with not only the biggest steal of the 2021 NFL Draft, but a steal that can be THE most pivotal move in the history of the franchise as they traded up to snatch a potential superstar franchise QB in Justin Fields. Unlike most clubs in the NFL, most on Draft Twitter had Fields as the second-best QB in the draft solely behind Trevor Lawrence. And I agreed with that sentiment because in my view, Fields had the highest ceiling and highest floor out of all the non-Trevor Lawrence QB’s. On my draft livestream, I said that Justin Fields just might be the best QB in Chicago Bears history already, even though he’s yet to throw a pass. What makes Justin Fields so special, and exactly how high would you consider both his floor and ceiling to be? If Justin Fields wins the Week 1 starting job in training camp and preseason, should the Bears trade Andy Dalton, especially if he will get more value in return than Nick Foles would? -In the second round, the Bears traded up again to get Justin Fields some protection in Teven Jenkins, who is the quintessential “bouncer in a nightclub” offensive lineman. I was hoping the Bears planned on him playing RT opposite Charles Leno, but shortly after the draft, the Bears released Leno and said Teven Jenkins will be playing LT this season. Most draft analysts I really trust believe Jenkins is better suited to play RT or guard in the NFL than left tackle. How concerned are you about the Bears plan for him? -One of my favorite day three picks for the Bears was CB Thomas Graham, Jr. out of Oregon. It is VERY important for everyone to know that the Bears are essentially returning to the Vic Fangio playbook on defense this season with the promotion of Sean Desai to defensive coordinator, a move that was recommended to the Bears by Fangio himself. Graham is the vintage CB for a Fangio scheme given his instincts in zone coverage and ball skills. Do you see him starting at that slot corner spot at some point this season? 3. Vikings -The main need for the Vikings in this draft was to address their offensive line, and they did just that, with Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw in the first round and Ohio State G Wyatt Davis in the third round. Was getting those two guys better than staying put at 14 and taking Alijah Vera-Tucker instead? Given those two additions, how much better is the Vikings OL compared to last season?
1. Jets -A month and a half before the draft, everyone was saying that the Jets would take Zach Wilson with the second overall pick, and that’s exactly what they did. Personally, I would have taken either Justin Fields or Trey Lance ahead of Wilson, but you’re a better evaluator of game tape than I am and you had Zach Wilson as the best of the three “non-Trevor Lawrence” QB’s in the draft. Why was Zach Wilson the right choice for the Jets to bet their long-term future on? -With their second first-round picks the Jets moved up nine spots and surrendered both of their third-round picks to select USC G Alijah Vera-Tucker. The night before the draft, I told someone that the Jets dream haul on Day 1 would be the QB of their choice (which was obviously Zach Wilson) and Vera-Tucker…and the dream came true. Still, some people I respect absolutely RIDICULED the Jets for surrendering both of their third-rounders to get somebody at a position that’s not as highly valued. Why are those folks dead wrong? -In the second-round, the Jets arguably came away with an absolute STEAL in Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore. Most people in the league had him as the third or fourth-best WR in this draft didn’t think he would fall that far. When this pick was made, I immediately had a metaphorical orgasm imagining an 11-personnel package with Moore in the slot and Denzel Mims and Corey Davis on the boundary. Do you think Moore beats out Jamison Crowder for that WR3 role in training camp? 2. Patriots -With their first-round pick, the Patriots selected who they hope will be their QB of the future in Mac Jones. I absolutely did not buy the buzz that the 49ers would draft such a limited QB after giving up such a fortune to move up. If you listen to some folks on Draft Twitter, signal-callers of Mac Jones’ prototype are going the way of the dodo in the NFL. Why do you think the Patriots spent a super-high pick on such a QB and do you expect him to start over Cam Newton at some point this season? -On Day 2, the Patriots double-dipped on their defensive front. In the second round, they traded up to take Alabama DT Christian Barmore and they got very good value in the late third round with Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma. So you add Perkins to make a three-man pass rushing rotation off the edge with Matt Judon and Chase Winovich. You now add Barmore, who can push the pocket from the inside along with Deatrich Wise. Is this the scariest group of pass rushers Bill Belichick has had in quite a while? 3. Dolphins -The Dolphins kicked off their draft by reuniting Tua Tagovailoa with the most explosive weapon he had at Alabama in Jaylen Waddle. As special a talent as Waddle is, some criticized the Dolphins for trading back to 12 and then subsequently back up to 6 to take somebody they didn’t view as an equal talent to either Kyle Pitts or Ja’Marr Chase. How big, in your view, was the drop-off in talent from Pitts and Chase to Waddle…or was there any drop-off at all? -With their second first-round pick, the Dolphins made Jaelan Phillips the first edge rusher off the board. Many people around the league reportedly considered Phillips to not only be the best pass rusher in this class, but the best defensive player in this class. They added that he probably would’ve been a top-10 pick if it wasn’t for his alarming injury history. Do you share that view?
1. Broncos -In a move that will be scrutinized indefinitely, the Broncos, like the Panthers and Lions before them, decided to pass on Justin Fields and instead used their first-round pick on Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II. Despite the metaphorical black eye that could result from this decision, Surtain is a high-floor/high-ceiling prospect. Based on the numbers he put up at his Pro Day, he profiles very similarly to Derwin James athletically. Just how high is Patrick Surtain’s ceiling? The Broncos have a pretty crowded corner room right now with Bryce Callahan, Kyle Fuller, and Ronald Darby. And yesterday, Vic Fangio said he plans to try Surtain out on the boundary and in the slot. Does he start Week 1, and if so, at which spot? -Just like his former team did in 2017 with Dalvin Cook, George Paton traded up a few spots in the second round to take a RB in Javonte Williams from North Carolina. Williams was considered to be THE best RB in this draft by Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield. Many believe you shouldn’t draft a running back in the draft until day three unless that back is an extra special talent. What makes Javonte Williams such a talent and do you see him eventually surpassing Melvin Gordon as the guy in the Broncos backfield this season? -In the third round, the Broncos traded back twice and got both of the Saints compensatory picks. They spent the second one of those picks on Ohio State LB Baron Browning. Browning was viewed MUCH highly on Draft Twitter than in the NFL, in large part due to the fact of the uncertainty of what position to play him at. While the Broncos intend to try him out at ILB first, some think he can be a very good pass rusher of the EDGE. At which spot do YOU believe is Baron Browning’s best possible bet for success in the NFL? 2. Chargers -The Chargers began the draft with one of those potential steals as Rashawn Slater fell into their lap at 13 overall. I believe one of the reasons why he fell is that many, if not most in the NFL see him as a better fit at guard than at tackle. Daniel Jeremiah also said he would be a Zach Martin All Pro-level kind of player inside. That said, his responsibility from the start will be protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside at LT. How good (or great) can Rashawn Slater be at tackle for the Chargers? -In the second round at 47 overall, the Chargers perhaps got an even bigger steal with Asante Samuel, Jr. He is arguably a spitting image of his All Pro father (Asante Sr.) with his impressive ball skills, physicality, and click-and-close ability. He’s arguably the most tailor-made cornerback for Brandon Staley’s defense. How special can he be in this system? Can he be as good as a boundary corner and a slot corner despite his height? -With the first of their two third-round picks, the Chargers picked WR Josh Palmer of Tennessee. Eric Galko, the new director of the East/West Shrine Game, considered him a top-10 WR in the draft. Your colleague at MHH Erick Trickel was also a big fan of Palmer’s. Do you see Josh Palmer becoming the Chargers third WR in 11 personnel packages at some point this season? 3. Raiders -Several people, myself included, accused the Raiders of a massive reach with their selection of Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick. However, most of us thought they reached on Kolton Miller in 2018, and now Miller is an above-average NFL left tackle who just got rewarded with a healthy extension. As flawed as Leatherwood is, he is far more polished coming into the NFL than Kolton Miller was. Do you think Alex Leatherwood proves those naysayers wrong as well?
1. Bengals Draft Class -The Bengals ignored the advice we gave them on our Dash To The Draft AFC North Preview show and went with Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell. That said, you can’t deny Ja’Marr Chase is a pretty special prospect and aside from his established chemistry with Joe Burrow, what does he bring to the Bengals WR room that Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd lack? -With their second round selection, the Bengals invested in additional protection for Joe Burrow. That said, many believe they reached by taking Jackson Carman, who may have protected Trevor Lawrence’s blindside at Clemson, but projects far better at guard at the NFL level. What do you think of Jackson Carman based on his film, and does he improve the Bengals offensive line even slightly? -In the third round, the Bengals addressed the defensive front with their selection of edge rusher/LB Joseph Ossai out of Texas. In free agency, the Bengals pass rush was downgraded, in the views of some, by losing Carl Lawson to the Jets and throwing big money to Trey Hendrickson to replace him. Did the Bengals make up for that supposed mistake by taking Ossai? 2. Steelers -As everybody expected, the Steelers selected RB Najee Harris out of Alabama with the 24th overall pick. With Big Ben on his last legs and arguably the worst pass protecting offensive line in the entire NFL, is it hyperbole to suggest that Najee Harris will be the straw that stirs the drink for the Steelers offense in 2021? -With their second round pick, the Steelers kept Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth in Pennsylvania. Several guests on this podcast during the pre-draft process lauded Freiermuth’s blocking. Do you share that view and if so, do you see him being mostly utilized as that “sixth OL” this season due to the Steelers aforementioned issues at tackle? 3. Browns -The Browns kicked off their impressive draft haul by filling that gaping hole at corner opposite Denzel Ward with Greg Newsome II out of Northwestern. Many had Newsome as the third best corner in this draft, and some even had him as THE best corner in this draft. Were you a big fan of his during the pre-draft process and how lethal of a duo can he and Denzel Ward be? -In the second round, the Browns traded up seven spots to stop the slide of our man Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He fell in part due to a heart issue, but another reason why he fell is because of the uncertainty of how to utilize him. You said on our Dash To The Draft LB class special that JOK is mainly a box safety. However, given the lack of athleticism the Browns had at linebacker pre-draft, it is widely assumed the Browns will try him out there. What is the best way, in your view, for Browns DC Joe Woods to get the utmost out of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah if they do indeed play him at linebacker as opposed to box safety? 4. Ravens -With the first of their two first-round picks, the Ravens FINALLY selected a legit WR1 in Rashod Bateman. That said, the Ravens don’t have the best track record when it comes to drafting and developing first-round WR’s. Can Bateman buck that trend, and does he give Lamar Jackson what he needs to take that crucial next step as a passer? -In the first-round pick they got from the Chiefs in the Orlando Brown trade, the Ravens addressed the massive hole they had at EDGE with Penn State’s Odafe Oweh. Oweh was one of the freakiest athletes in this draft class, but his production in college was scant. Nonetheless, there was somebody named Danielle Hunter who had those same two basic things on his resume coming in and he went on to become a top-5 pass rusher. Of course, setting that as the base line of expectations for Oweh is foolish, but if there is any club that can help him reach his super high ceiling, it is the Ravens and DC Don “Wink” Martindale. Can you see Oweh becoming a Pro Bowl-level player in Baltimore?
1. Barring an unprecedented last minute surprise, the Jets are heavily expected to take BYU QB Zach Wilson with the #2 overall pick. Some respected voices on Draft Twitter, however, believe the Jets are making a mistake by taking Zach Wilson over Justin Fields. Do you share that view? And if you do, for the sake of playing Devil’s Advocate, why do you think the Jets love Wilson more? 2. Speaking of Justin Fields, it may be the worst kept secret in the NFL that Bill Belichick has the hots for the Ohio State QB. It just seems inevitable to many, including myself, he will make a move up the board to either seven or eight and take him. Should these assumptions come to fruition, does Justin Fields immediately make the Patriots AFC East contenders again? 3. The Miami Dolphins have a pretty tough decision at the sixth overall spot. As Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported, they are debating between Jaylen Waddle and Penei Sewell. Although the Dolphins SORELY need more playmakers and the temptation to reunite Tua Tagovailoa with one of his favorite college targets is understandable, the Dolphins offensive line isn’t in a pretty situation either, especially at tackle. Furthermore, they unloaded Ereck Flowers to Washington today and it was reported they plan to kick Robert Hunt inside to guard. And given the fact that Tua isn’t even two years removed from that freakish hip injury, the incentive to keep him upright may be higher than that to give him another weapon. What would you do if you were Chris Grier and Brian Flores? 4. When it comes to the Bills, they have their eyes on two needs early in the draft, EDGE and RB. Yesterday, Todd McShay reported that the Bills may be eyeing a trade up to the early 20’s to take a running back. And that makes sense to me given the fact most around the NFL expect the Steelers to select Alabama’s Najee Harris at 24, should he be available. In the grander scheme of things, however, I am 100% against taking a running back in the first round. But to play Devil’s Advocate, I can understand the Bills thinking here because after the first three RB’s (Harris, Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams), there’s a steep dropoff. Whereas at EDGE, it is a much deeper class and you can get someone of good quality on day two. What should the Bills top priority be in your view? 5. Jets Mock Draft -1 (2): Zach Wilson -1 (23): Alijah Vera-Tucker -2 (34): Javonte Williams -3 (66): Joseph Ossai -3 (86): Paulson Adebo 6. Patriots Mock Draft -1 (15): Trey Lance -2 (46): Asante Samuel, Jr. -3 (96): Divine Deablo 7. Dolphins Mock Draft -1 (6): Penei Sewell -1 (18): Rashod Bateman -2 (36): Najee Harris -2 (50): Carlos Basham -3 (81): Chazz Surratt 8. Bills Mock Draft -1 (30): Jayson Oweh -2 (61): Dyami Brown -3 (93): Jay Tufele
1. It is a VERY exciting time to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. Not only do the Jaguars possess the #1 overall pick in the draft (which they will use to select Trevor Lawrence, arguably the most coveted QB prospect since Andrew Luck), they have four picks in the top-50 alone. Should the Jags get two immediate contributors to go alongside Trevor Lawrence in this draft, could they contend for a wild card playoff spot (if not the AFC South title) this season? 2. Trevor Lawrence’s recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg has drawn quite some scrutiny. I personally disagree that the comments Lawrence himself made were a red flag, but if there was one small concern I had from Rosenberg’s piece, it was Joey King, Trevor Lawrence’s high school football coach, saying that Trevor Lawrence would “be fine” if he quit playing football tomorrow. If you’re the Jaguars, how much of a red flag, if any, would Coach King’s comments raise? 3. The Houston Texans not only have the worst roster in the entire NFL right now, they are arguably THE worst run franchise in all of pro sports. And another painful symbol that reflects both distinctions is them only having one pick in the entire top-100 in this draft…and it’s a pick that does not happen until early in the third round at 67 overall. What would be the most optimal way for first-year GM Nick Caserio and rookie head coach David Culley to approach this draft? 4. When it comes to the Colts, they are a team that is not particularly great at one single thing, but very good at many (if not) most things. They are rolling the dice on Carson Wentz to help them take the next big step forward, but they need help elsewhere as well. What should the Colts main priorities be in the draft? 5. As far as the Titans are concerned, most mock drafts have them addressing that gaping hole at edge rusher in the first round. That said, the Titans passing attack took a bit of a hit in free agency with the departure of Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis. Do you think the Titans will seriously consider an offensive playmaker at 22, or do you think it’s pretty much “EDGE or bust” for them? 6. Jaguars Mock Draft -1 (1): Trevor Lawrence -1 (25): Alijah Vera-Tucker -2 (33): Terrace Marshall, Jr. -2 (45): Pat Freiermuth -3 (65): Richie Grant 7. Texans Mock Draft -3 (67): Tyson Campbell 8. Colts Mock Draft -1 (21): Kwity Paye -2 (54): Jalen Mayfield 9. Titans Mock Draft -1 (22): Samuel Cosmi -2 (53): Asante Samuel, Jr. -3 (85): Tylan Wallace -3 (100): Patrick Jones II
1. The Lions begin yet another different regime with new GM Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell. And this roster has tons of pressing needs from top to bottom. So, the Lions have quite a difficult decision to make with that 7th overall pick. Given the unprecedented amount of uncertainty surrounding this draft, should they trade down and add even more future picks to their arsenal? Or if the last of the top four QB’s falls in their lap, do they stay put and take that QB and have him spend a year behind Jared Goff? And what if Penei Sewell and/or Ja’Marr Chase some how make it to seven? What should the plan of attack be for Campbell and Holmes? 2. This is a make or break year for Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. And the Vikings have an OL and a defense in urgent need of upgrades. Which of those two areas should they prioritize with the 14th overall pick? 3. If you think Spielman and Zimmer are facing such a make or break season, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are yelling “hold my beer” in Chicago. Personally, I think both of them should have already been fired. Yet they remain, and there is some buzz that the Bears are eyeing a move up the board. And it may not only be a QB they may be targeting in such a trade up. They may also be eyeing a tackle. If Penei Sewell and/or Rashawn Slater fall to 8 or 9 and neither the Panthers nor Broncos are able to move up for the last of the “big four” QB’s, would it be wise for the Bears to trade all the way up to get one of the top two OT’s? It might not be far fetched given that the Panthers and Broncos would highly consider moving down in such a situation 4. Last season, the Packers made it to the doorstep of the Super Bowl no thanks whatsoever to their 2020 draft haul. In order for them to get over the hump in 2021, should they draft more immediate impact players than long-term projects? If so, at what positions could they use an instant boost? 5. Lions Mock Draft -1 (7): Micah Parsons -2 (41): Christian Barmore -3 (72): D’Wayne Eskridge -3 (101): Walker Little 6. Vikings Mock Draft -1 (14): Alijah Vera-Tucker -3 (78): Quincy Roche -3 (90): Andre Cisco 7. Bears Mock Draft -1 (20): Mac Jones -2 (52): Asante Samuel, Jr. -3 (83): Stone Forsythe 8. Packers Mock Draft -1 (29): Elijah Moore -2 (62): Jabril Cox -3 (92): Derrick Barnes
1. Given how much Joe Burrow was hit last season plus the multi-ligament knee injury he suffered, many, if not most, believe that it is a no-brainer for the Bengals to take an OT with the fifth overall pick, whether that be Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater. However, recent buzz has the Bengals going with Joe Burrow’s favorite target at LSU Ja’Marr Chase. In your view, would it be a mistake for the Bengals to pass on the urgent need to protect Joe Burrow with their first round selection? 2. The Cleveland Browns have a top-10 NFL roster right now, at least in my opinion. And with them signing Jadeveon Clowney today, it opens up countless doors for them in the first round. They can still go EDGE (given Clowney’s deal is just for this year), but they can also go corner, WR, and as Benjamin Allbright said today, OL (especially considering the fact Jack Conklin’s contract expires after this season). What do you think is the best way for the Browns to start this draft? 3. The Ravens also have one of the NFL’s deeper, more complete rosters, but two glaring holes that stand out are the lack of a true go-to wide receiver and the lack of a true lead-dog EDGE pass rusher. If you’re Eric DeCosta, would your number one priority in this draft be to get the former to help Lamar Jackson take that key next step as a passer, or the latter to help your defense? 4. On one of our previous episodes in this “Dash To The Draft Divisional Tour”, Cole Thompson mentioned the Steelers as a good fit for Mac Jones. And since this is probably Ben Roethlisberger’s final year in Pittsburgh, it would be prudent for the Steelers to think long and hard about Mac Jones, especially if he falls toward the mid-teens, which is very possible. If that scenario does come to pass, do you think the Steelers should try to trade up in front of Washington, who also is reportedly interested in Mac Jones? 5. Bengals Mock Draft -1 (5): Penei Sewell -2 (38): Rondale Moore -3 (69): Payton Turner 6. Browns Mock Draft -1 (26): Caleb Farley -2 (59): Jalen Mayfield -3 (89): Tylan Wallace -3 (91): Jay Tufele 7. Ravens Mock Draft -1 (27): Zaven Collins -2 (58): Carlos Basham, Jr. -3 (104): Andre Cisco 8. Steelers Mock Draft -1 (24): Samuel Cosmi -2 (55): Asante Samuel, Jr. -3 (87): Khalil Herbert
1. With the first two picks essentially in sharpie (Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson to the Jets), the 49ers will essentially begin this draft with the third overall pick, a selection for which they paid a heavy price to move up to. While we cannot be 100% certain which QB will be their choice (and we will get to Trey Lance and Justin Fields shortly), you and I seem to be in agreement that all the buzz around Mac Jones being the pick is a bunch of hooey. And one of the main tealeaves that gives me confidence that is the case is Benjamin Allbright’s report that several people in the 49ers organization believe Jimmy Garoppolo cost them Super Bowl LIV. And mortgaging your future to replace Garoppolo with essentially Andy Dalton 2.0 would be one of the dumbest moves in modern NFL history. What message do you have to 49ers fans and football fans everywhere who are still buying into the Mac Jones hype? 2. To me at least, in terms of whom the Niners actually do pick at three, it is a tossup between Justin Fields and Trey Lance. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will likely get to spend some quality time with both prospects at their “second” pro days, with Fields tomorrow and Lance this coming Monday. Shortly after the Niners made that blockbuster trade, you tweeted “Lance or Fields at 3. I do not care.” Do you really think Kyle Shanahan can’t go wrong with either of them, and if so, why? 3. This is a make-or-break year for Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals…and we can tell that they know it because of the signing of J.J. Watt and the trade for Rodney Hudson. That said, Arizona only has two picks in the first three rounds. What are their most important areas of need to address with those two picks? 4. Ever since their heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks have become a stagnant franchise. And even though he remains in the fold, at least for this upcoming season, it is clear that Russell Wilson is frustrated with the lack of progress the Seahawks have been making these past few years. And due in part to the Jamal Adams trade, the Seahawks only have THREE draft picks this year, including just one in the first three rounds. If you’re John Schneider and Pete Carroll, how do you make the most out of these draft picks? Do you trade back from 56 overall multiple times before making your first selection? 5. Despite having made no picks in the first round since 2016 (a streak that will likely continue through 2023), the Los Angeles Rams may currently have the best possible roster, at least at the moment on paper, to dethrone the Bucs in the NFC, especially after the acquisition of Matthew Stafford. That said, there are a lot of short and long-term concerns on that offensive line and given Stafford’s injury history, do you think the Rams should highly consider double-dipping at OL with their day two picks? 6. 49ers Mock Draft -1 (3): Trey Lance -2 (43): Joe Tryon -3 (102): Andre Cisco 7. Cardinals Mock Draft -1 (16): Greg Newsome II -2 (49): Pat Freiermuth 8. Seahawks Mock Draft -2 (56): Carlos Basham, Jr. 9. Rams Mock Draft -2 (57): Brady Christensen -3 (88): Payton Turner -3 (103): Dylan Moses
1. Just three years after winning Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles appear to be in full rebuild mode. They have a very good chance at owning three first-round picks next year because of the Carson Wentz trade, and the trade with the Dolphins that saw them go from the 6th overall pick to the 12th. As a result, some believe the Eagles are 100% out on taking a QB in the first round. That said, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported over the weekend that many around the NFL still expect the Eagles to select a QB at some point in the draft. And we all know Howie Roseman has a penchant for making bold trades. Given all that, would you be surprised if the Eagles decided to use all the draft capital they’ve accumulated to trade back into the top-10 if a certain QB falls past the top-five? 2. When it comes to the Cowboys, most expect them to go defense early, particularly at cornerback. However, you also just paid a fortune to Dak Prescott and that once-heralded offensive line isn’t what it used to be. Travis Frederick has retired and Tyron Smith is aging and breaking down. IF Penei Sewell and/or Rashawn Slater are available at 10 (possible, but unlikely), would you prioritize them over any defender if you were Jerry Jones? 3. Joe Judge is quietly building a solid program with the Giants. They have a pretty stout defense and the addition of Kenny Golladay in free agency gives them a very promising stable of offensive weapons, especially if Saquon Barkley stays out of the trainer’s room. That said, how the Giants fare this season will almost entirely depend on whether Daniel Jones (or as we call him on this podcast, “Steely Dan”), takes a big leap forward. At 11 overall, do you think the Giants should address the main weakness left on their defense (EDGE) or potentially add another weapon to help Daniel Jones, especially if either Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith fall? 4. Recent buzz has the Washington Football Team as a top candidate (if not THE top candidate) to make a huge move up the board for a QB. However, let’s say Trey Lance and Justin Fields don’t fall far enough for them to pull the trigger, yet Mac Jones slips past the top-10. Should they move up to secure him in that scenario, especially if they believe he can stabilize their QB situation for at least the next 5-7 seasons? 5. Eagles Mock Draft -1 (12): Devonta Smith -2 (37): Nick Bolton -3 (70): Richie Grant -3 (84): Spencer Brown 6. Cowboys Mock Draft -1 (10): Kyle Pitts -2 (44): Jevon Holland -3 (75): Tyson Campbell -3 (99): James Hudson 7. Giants Mock Draft -1 (11): Alijah Vera-Tucker -2 (42): Joseph Ossai -3 (76): Pete Werner 8. Washington Mock Draft -1 (19): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah -2 (51): Pat Freiermuth -3 (74): Walker Little -3 (82): Tyree Gillespie
1. Even before new GM George Paton arrived, the Broncos have quietly built a very promising young roster with talent on both sides of the ball. That said, the QB position remains a glaring hole of uncertainty five years after Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset. Based on the sample size so far, it would take the utmost of miracles for Drew Lock to become a franchise signal-caller. But based on where they currently sit at #9 overall, the only possible way for the Broncos to find a potential long-term answer at QB in this draft is to trade up. If they are unable to do so, should they trade back from nine and start to build a long-term war chest of draft capital so they can go after a QB in one of the next 2 or 3 drafts? 2. When it comes to the Chargers, this draft should be about building around their new franchise QB Justin Herbert. They began in free agency by upgrading their OL, most notably by signing Corey Linsley. That said, they still have some issues at tackle and the weapons around Herbert may be very good, but not as great as the ones the Chiefs have. Therein lies their dilemma in the first round. Do you prioritize the offensive line or the skill position weaponry if you’re Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley? 3. In two years of the Mike Mayock/Jon Gruden partnership, their draft classes, at least so far, have been underwhelming to put it kindly. Do you think this is a make-or-break draft for Mayock and/or Gruden? 4. As Super Bowl LV demonstrated, no matter how great your QB is, football is won up front. After their patchwork OL got manhandled by the Bucs, the Chiefs have focused like a laser beam on improving their offensive line as they signed G Joe Thuney to a mega-deal in free agency plus getting Kyle Long out of retirement. However, due to the double release of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, their tackle situation is currently one of the worst in the league, at least on paper with the unproven Lucas Niang and Super Bowl turnstile Mike Remmers the projected starters. Do you believe it’s OT or bust for Kansas City in round one? 5. Broncos Mock Draft -1 (9): Justin Fields -2 (40): Baron Browning -3 (71): Spencer Brown 6. Chargers Mock Draft -1 (13): Christian Darrisaw -2 (47): Alex Leatherwood -3 (77): Jamar Johnson -3 (97): Jordan Smith 7. Raiders Mock Draft -1 (17): Teven Jenkins -2 (48): Creed Humphrey -3 (79): Quincy Roche -3 (80): Tyson Campbell 8. Chiefs Mock Draft -1 (31): Dillon Radunz -2 (63): Jevon Holland -3 (94): Stone Forsythe
1. The draft arguably begins at #4 overall with the Atlanta Falcons. And they are sending mixed signals as to what their intentions are. Chris Mortensen reported that they may have their eyes on selecting Matt Ryan’s long-term replacement and the apple of new GM Terry Fontenot’s eye is believed to be Trey Lance. On the other hand, Adam Schefter reported today that the Falcons have received calls for the #4 overall pick and are open to moving down. Do you believe the Falcons best course of action is to either stay put and take a QB or trade down, with no Plan C? 2. Yesterday, the Panthers acquired QB Sam Darnold from the Jets in exchange for a sixth-rounder this year, and second and fourth-round picks in 2022. Moreover, they are also expected to pick up the fifth-year option on Darnold’s contract. Do you still see the Panthers trying to move up the board to draft a QB, or can we pretty much rule out QB in round one for Carolina? 3. This is the first draft for the Saints in the post-Brees era. They would obviously need a miracle for a QB to fall into their laps in the first round. Given the overall strength of the rest of their roster, what should their basic plan of attack be for this draft? 4. Should the Bucs prioritize drafting players that can make an immediate impact this season or players who can turn into franchise cornerstones in 2-3 years even if they need to “redshirt” this season? 5. Falcons Mock Draft -1 (4): Trey Lance -2 (35): Liam Eichenberg -3 (68) Carlos Basham 6. Panthers Mock Draft -1 (8): Justin Fields -2 (39): Levi Onwuzurike -3 (73): Spencer Brown 7. Saints Mock Draft -1 (28): Caleb Farley -2 (60): Amon-Ra St. Brown -3 (98): Jordan Smith -3 (105): Kellen Mond 8. Buccaneers Mock Draft -1 (32): Christian Barmore -2 (64): Elijah Molden -3 (95): Michael Carter
1. How long have you been a football fan and what (or who) inspired you to work in the sports industry? 2. How did you get your start in the business and how did you get from then until now? 3. This has been a monumental year for women in both sports and the non-sports world alike. We witnessed the election of the first woman Vice President of the United States (Kamala Harris), the first woman to play in Power Five conference college football game (Sarah Fuller of Wake Forest), the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl (Sarah Thomas), and the first full-time female NFL coaches to win a Super Bowl (Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar). In terms of the NFL, what will be the next glass ceiling to be shattered (first female GM?, head coach?, player?) 4. You have a rather impressive list of clients, and one that stands out to me is Shelby Harris, who has played DT/DE for my Denver Broncos these past four seasons. Based on your experience working with him, what kind of person is he? Do you have an initial guess as to where he’ll end up in free agency? 5. With Super Bowl LV officially in the books, many of us are already in draft season mode. Are you currently working with any of the prospects that have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft? 6. What does your schedule in the weeks leading up to free agency look like?
1. Many people I know (if not most) believe that you should NEVER draft a running back in the first round, regardless of the talent. Do you agree or disagree with that school of thought? 2. Two RB’s that have a shot at going in the first round are Najee Harris of Alabama and Travis Etienne of Clemson. It’s a neck-and-neck race between them in terms of who is the top runner in this class. You currently have Etienne ranked above Harris. What is your reasoning for that ranking? Just for the sake of playing Devil’s Advocate, why do you think many people rank Harris as the best of the two? 3. Something that goes against the grain in your RB rankings is you having Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis as the third best back of the bunch. Gainwell hopes to continue the promising trend of recent Memphis RB’s finding success in the NFL (Tony Pollard and Antonio Gibson to be exact). However, he’s only 195 pounds and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com sees his role in the NFL as merely a change-of-pace back. Moreover, an NFC scouting director told Zierlein that he’s not certain Gainwell’s skill-set will translate to the NFL “if he doesn’t find a scheme that keeps him in space.” Do you think Gainwell can be more than what Zierlein and that anonymous scouting director project him to be and if so, why? 4. Kenneth Gainwell wasn’t the only thing that was outside the box in your RB rankings. There’s a near-universal consensus that North Carolina’s Javonte Williams is the best running back in the draft outside of Etienne and Harris. However, you have his teammate Michael Carter, who stood out at the Senior Bowl, ahead of him. Why is Carter the better back of the Tar Heel twosome in your view? 5. Buy or Sell -Trey Sermon: Buy -Khalil Herbert: HOLD -Larry Rountree: Sell -Kylin Hill: Buy -Jermar Jefferson: BUY -Jaret Patterson: Sell -Chuba Hubbard: Sell 6. Best Team Fits -Travis Etienne: Buccaneers -Najee Harris: Dolphins -Kenneth Gainwell: Cowboys -Javonte Williams: Steelers -Michael Carter: Patriots -Trey Sermon: Bears, Chiefs -Khalil Herbert: Chargers, Saints -Larry Rountree: Lions -Kylin Hill: Broncos -Jermar Jefferson: Giants -Jaret Patterson: Ravens -Chuba Hubbard: Bills
1. The consensus top interior OL prospect in this class is Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC. We discussed him on our OT special, and Nick Kendell of MileHighHuddle.com said he doesn’t see a place at tackle for Vera-Tucker at the pro level. When it comes to his prospects at guard, Dane Brugler believes Alijah Vera-Tucker has Pro Bowl potential. Would it surprise you if Vera-Tucker becomes the best guard in the NFL not named Quenton Nelson within the next 2-4 years? 2. Arguably the biggest riser up draft boards since January has been the man with the coolest midriff in America, Quinn Meinerz, center out of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Today, Daniel Jeremiah released his third Top 50 list, and he had Meinerz at 44. And this draft journey, at least so far, gives me flashbacks to when another small-school guard who, like Meinerz, saw his stock begin to skyrocket after dominating at the Senior Bowl. That small-school guard I’m talking about is Ali Marpet, currently with the Bucs and arguably a top 5 player at his position. Are you bullish on Quinn Meinerz, and if so, can you see him achieving similar success in the pro game as Ali Marpet? 3. Landon Dickerson of Alabama is another prospect with rock solid game tape, yet a medical history that’s very troublesome. He started out at Florida State in 2016, and missed 25 of 38 games over three seasons down there. After transferring to Alabama, he started 24 straight games until tearing his ACL in the 2020 SEC Championship game. Since it is harder than ever for NFL clubs to obtain accurate medical information due to COVID-19, how far do you see Dickerson falling, and when at the earliest does his talent warrant consideration? 4. In 2019, there was a lot of first-round buzz surrounding Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey, yet he decided to return to school for his senior year. Then, we saw his draft stock fall during the season, yet it has come back up a bit in recent weeks, as evidenced by him cracking the top-50 in Dane Brugler’s latest rankings. Do you think Creed Humphrey made the wrong decision (and potentially lose money) by returning to school? 5. One of the fascinating things about not only this iOL class, but this OL class in general, is the amount of position versatility and varied projections when it comes to several prospects. Three prospects we discussed on the last show: Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins, and Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield, are seen as better fits at guard by several. How do you like the chances of each of those guys to succeed at guard if need be? 6. Buy or Sell -Wyatt Davis: Buy -Deonte Brown: Sell -Jackson Carman: Buy -Trey Smith: Sell -Ben Cleveland: Sell -Aaron Banks: Buy -Josh Myers: Buy -Kendrick Green: Buy -Michael Menet: Sell 7. Best Team Fits -Alijah Vera-Tucker: Vikings, Chargers -Landon Dickerson: Dolphins -Quinn Meinerz: Titans -Creed Humphrey: Dolphins -Wyatt Davis: Vikings, Lions -Deonte Brown: Bengals -Jackson Carman: Packers -Trey Smith: Seahawks -Ben Cleveland: Cowboys -Aaron Banks: 49ers -Josh Myers: Steelers -Kendrick Green: Buccaneers, Bengals -Michael Menet:
1. Before we get to this OT class, let’s discuss the earthquake that shook the NFL a few days ago. And that earthquake was a blockbuster trade in which the Dolphins traded the #3 overall pick in the draft to the 49ers for the 12th overall pick (which Miami subsequently traded to the Eagles), first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 (the former of which the Dolphins also traded to Philly), and a third-round pick in 2022. It is clear that Kyle Shanahan wants his long-term answer at QB, especially one on a rookie deal that will extend the Super Bowl window of this extremely talented 49ers roster. And it is all but certain that the first two picks in the draft will be Trevor Lawrence at #1 to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson at #2 to the Jets. This means that the 49ers will be choosing between Justin Fields and Trey Lance at #3. If you were Kyle Shanahan, which of those two QB’s would you select, and why? 2. Around this time last year, many people were saying that Penei Sewell would be the “can’t-miss” prospect in the 2021 class a la Chase Young in 2020. However, I’ve come across some that say that as freakishly talented as Sewell is, he is FAR from a sure thing and there were some rumors that have him falling outside the top-nine. What are your thoughts on Penei Sewell and why do you think some aren’t as high on him? 3. The OT prospect some have ranked above Penei Sewell is Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater. He’s a freak athlete who did a PHENOMENAL job against Chase Young in 2019. Another big reason to be bullish on him is that he can play ANY of the five offensive line positions. Many believe Slater is a much better fit at guard given his lack of length. However, our friend Jordan Reid at The Draft Network believes Slater must be tried out at tackle first and only be moved to guard if he proves he can’t survive on the outside. Do you agree or disagree with Jordan’s assessment? 4. A prospect in a pretty similar predicament as Rashawn Slater is Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Like Slater, many view Vera-Tucker as a relatively safe prospect. He put two outstanding years of film in both at guard and this past year, at tackle. Although the consensus is that he is a much better fit inside, do you think there’s a place for him at tackle in the NFL? 5. Another OT prospect that you are rather high on personally is Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw. You went as far to say that he should be considered as an option for the Broncos at #9 overall. And there are several reasons why that should be the case. One is his experience (he started all 34 games he played in college) and the other is his scheme versatility. But as we all know, the tape is the most important part of the equation. What on Christian Darrisaw’s tape make him worthy of a top-15 pick in this draft? 6. Eleven years after Russell Okung was the sixth overall pick, Oklahoma State will likely have another OT go in round one, Teven Jenkins. While Jenkins is regarded by many as the best finisher in this OT class, some say his below-average athleticism might force him inside to guard. Where is the best home for Teven Jenkins in the NFL? 7. Buy Or Sell -Jalen Mayfield: Sell at tackle -Samuel Cosmi: Buy -Dillon Radunz: Buy -Liam Eichenberg: Buy (top-50) -Alex Leatherwood: Buy (top-50) -James Hudson: Buy in round 3-4 -Walker Little: Buy (mid-day 2) -Spencer Brown: Buy (round 3)
1. Today was the Penn State Pro Day and the consensus #1 linebacker in this draft Micah Parsons blew the roof off the facility with his freakish athleticism, most notably his sub-4.4. 40. But as you know more than anyone else, the tape matters FAR more than a Pro Day for any prospect. Based on the tape alone, why is Parsons the best LB in this draft class? 2. But as amazing as Parsons is on the field, he is, to put it mildly, a headache off the field. As my friend Erick Trickel of MileHighHuddle.com noted earlier today, Reuben Foster was considered a top-10 prospect in 2017, and character concerns nearly caused him to fall out of the first round altogether…and the red flags on Parsons are even worse. How far do you see Parsons falling? 3. An increasing trend in the NFL these days is that of the so-called “position-less” defender. Last year, we had Isaiah Simmons, who was listed as a linebacker, even though he could also be a safety, part-time EDGE, ad boundary corner. This year, Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is another such prospect. He may be universally listed as a linebacker, but many, including you, don’t see him that way. What is his best role in the NFL and how high will he get drafted because of his versatility? 4. Another outstanding LB prospect in this class is Zaven Collins out of Tulsa. He may be 260 pounds, but he moves around MUCH quicker for someone his size, is scheme versatile, and is the ultimate playmaker as he recorded four interceptions, two TD’s, one safety and one forced fumble this year alone. Would you be surprised if he ended up as the best linebacker from this class in the long run? 5. The University of Kentucky has sent two solid ‘backers to the NFL in recent years, Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan. And this year, Jamin Davis hopes to add to that lineage. Davis has astronomically risen up draft boards throughout this process. 2020 was his only year as a starter, yet he absolutely broke out, totaling 102 tackles, four TFL’s, 1.5 sacks, 3 INT’s (one for a TD, the other that set up the game-clinching TD for the Wildcats in the Gator Bowl). How does Davis compare to Woodyard and Trevathan as prospects, and do you think he’ll be an even better pro than both? 6. Another prospect that has shot up draft boards due to a breakout 2020 campaign is LSU’s Jabril Cox. Cox spent the first three years of his college career at North Dakota State before transferring to LSU this past year, and he did very well down in Baton Rouge, posting 58 tackles, 6.5 TFL, five pass breakups, and three interceptions (one of which was returned for a score). The main issue with him according to Dane Brugler, is his run defense, but do you think his abilities in coverage make him warrant a higher selection given that the NFL is the ultimate pass-happy league now? 7. Buy Or Sell -Nick Bolton: Buy -Baron Browning: Buy on late Day 2/3, but not early -Chazz Surratt: Buy -Cameron McGrone: Buy Day 3 -Dylan Moses: Sell -Pete Werner: Buy -Garret Wallow: Buy 8. Best Team Fits: -Micah Parsons: Cowboys, Washington, Dolphins -Zaven Collins: Vikings -Jamin Davis: Cardinals, Bucs -Jabril Cox: Steelers -Nick Bolton: Patriots, Dolphins, Titans -Pete Werner: Giants, Packers -Chazz Surratt: Chargers -Garret Wallow: Seahawks, Lions
1. This has been a rather rough week for one of the top CB prospects in this draft class, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. This week, his draft stock may have taken a hit as he underwent a microdisectomy procedure on his back on Tuesday. This is the second back operation he’s had in 15 months (he underwent surgery due to a pinched nerve in his back in December 2019). Many analysts had him as the top corner on their boards prior to this latest news. Even though you weren’t one of those analysts, why do you think so many regarded him that way and still do? Assuming he’ll be ready for training camp, is he still worth a top 15-20 pick in your eyes or should his worrisome history of back problems make him fall further down the board in your opinion? 2. The top corner on your board at the moment is the guy who many had running neck-and-neck with Caleb Farley as the top-rated corner in this draft prior to these latest developments, and that is Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. The son of All Pro CB Patrick Surtain, Sr., Surtain II was arguably THE cornerstone to the 2020 National Championship Crimson Tide’s defense. Moreover, Alabama’s associate DC Charles Kelly compared the younger Surtain to Jalen Ramsey, whom Kelly also coached in college. Do you think Patrick Surtain II can eventually reach the current level of Jalen Ramsey, who is arguably the best corner in the NFL right now? 3. As rough as a week as it was for Caleb Farley, this was a fantastic week for South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. The son of long-time Saints WR Joe Horn, Jaycee absolutely tore it up at the South Carolina Pro Day yesterday, posting strikingly similar numbers to Patrick Surtain II. Does the tantalizing upside Horn offers make him worth a top-15 pick in your view, and would it surprise you if he eventually turns out to be the best corner from this class? 4. A corner that is likely shooting up draft boards at the moment is Eric Stokes of Georgia. Stokes may have the best ball skills of any corner in this class (he totaled four interceptions this year, and only allowed a 38.5 percent completion rate when targeted), and he displayed some freakishly athletic traits at the Georgia Pro Day (ran a 4.31 in the 40, and posted a 38.5” vertical). However, he also posted some very concerning numbers in the agility drills (a 6.96 three-cone time, which puts him in the 7thpercentile, and a 4.36 20-yard shuttle time, which puts him in the 9thpercentile). Are those times enough to push him out of the first round entirely in your view? 5. This year’s safety crop is rather poor, but it has a consensus name at the top of the list in TCU’s Trevon Moehrig. What makes him the best safety in this class? 6. A safety that has seen a pretty meteoric rise up draft boards since he stole the show at the Senior Bowl is Richie Grant of UCF. There is buzz around the league that he could end up as a top-50 pick. Do you think that’s mainly because of the poor depth of this safety class or does his talent warrant such value? If this draft had a more typical group of safeties, where would he go? 7. Buy Or Sell -Greg Newsome (Northwestern): Buy -Elijah Molden (Washington): Buy -Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky): Sell -Tyson Campbell (Georgia): Buy as a sub-package player (early day three) -Asante Samuel, Jr. (Florida State): Buy -Jamar Johnson (Indiana): Sell -Jevon Holland (Oregon): Buy -Hamsah Nasrildeen (Florida State): Buy 8. Best Team Fits -Caleb Farley: Cowboys, Lions -Patrick Surtain II: Patriots, 49ers -Jaycee Horn: Vikings, Chiefs -Eric Stokes: Seahawks, Jets, 49ers -Greg Newsome: Broncos -Asante Samuel, Jr.: Colts -Elijah Molden: Any zone-heavy team (Chargers, Broncos, Seahawks, Jets, 49ers) -Trevon Moehrig: Falcons -Richie Grant: Cardinals, Giants -Jevon Holland: Lions
1. Not only the best pass-catcher in this draft, but arguably the best prospect period, is Florida TE Kyle Pitts. Daniel Jeremiah suggested that Pitts would be the overwhelming choice of folks around the NFL if they had to vote on which 2021 prospect is most likely to don a gold jacket. What makes Kyle Pitts so special and why is he worth a top-five pick despite playing a position that is less valued? 2. The WR class was arguably the centerpiece of the entire 2020 draft. Many, if not most, were pegging it as a generational crop. But some believe this year’s WR class could be even better. Do you share that belief, and if so, why? 3. The top WR on your board at the moment is the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner himself, Alabama’s Devonta Smith. And I can personally understand why you would have him there since it can be argued he is the best route runner and has the best hands of the bunch. However, some say he isn’t somebody who can absolutely dominate at the pro level and as he said himself today, he only weighs 170 pounds. And if you wanted to find the last WR standing over six-feet tall and weighing less than 180 pounds that was drafted into the NFL, you would have to go all the way back to 2001 when Marvin “Snoop” Minnis was taken by the Chiefs in the third round (that nugget courtesy of our friend Jordan Reid at The Draft Network). What is your message to all those who doubt Smith can make a generational impact in the NFL because of his lack of size and freakish athleticism? 4. As the Kansas City Chiefs have shown the league in recent years, speed is an absolute necessity in modern day NFL receiving group. And the best speed receiver in this year’s draft is Devonta Smith’s teammate Jaylen Waddle. Last year, another speedy wideout from Alabama, Henry Ruggs, was the first WR to go off the board. Buzz around the league suggests that scouts and GM’s are higher on Waddle than they were on Ruggs. Why do you think that’s the case and would you be surprised if Waddle is the first receiver off the board? 5. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is considered to be the best WR prospect in this class by many, including Dane Brugler and Daniel Jeremiah. He was obviously Joe Burrow’s go-to guy during LSU’s national title run in 2019, hauling in 20 TD’s in the process. But above all, it’s his yards after the catch ability and ball skills that make him the ideal prototype for today’s “X” receiver. What are the weaknesses in Ja’Marr Chase’s game that prevent you from ranking him number one on your board? 6. After the big three of Smith, Waddle and Chase, there’s a logjam of guys with diverse skill-sets. You have gadget-types like Kadarius Toney of Florida, Allen Robinson/Courtland Sutton-type talents like Terrace Marshall, Jr. of LSU and Rashod Bateman of Minnesota. If you were a GM of a team that had a bare cupboard at WR and had to choose between those three prospects while you were on the clock, who would you choose and why? 7. The distant second-fiddler to Kyle Pitts in this year’s TE class is, according to many, Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth. What makes Freiermuth a good consolation prize for a TE-needy team picking in the top 50 that has no shot at Pitts? 8. Best Team Fits -Kyle Pitts: Bengals -Devonta Smith: Dolphins -Jaylen Waddle: Lions, Giants -Ja’Marr Chase: Eagles, Lions -Kadarius Toney: Packers -Terrace Marshall, Jr.: Ravens -Rashod Bateman: Patriots -Elijah Moore: Bears -Rondale Moore: Bengals -Dyami Brown: Vikings -Pat Freiermuth: Jaguars -Brevin Jordan: Panthers -Tre McKitty: Chiefs
1. The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made it clearer than ever that they are hell bent on running it back and repeating. Last week, we saw Chris Godwin receive the franchise tag, Lavonte David sign a 2-year extension and Tom Brady agree to an extension via restructure that cleared $19 million in cap space. And yesterday, minutes after the legal tampering period began, star pass rusher Shaq Barrett re-signed with the team on a four-year deal worth up to $72 million. Just hours later, Gronk re-signed on a one-year deal and the Bucs currently are deep in talks to retain Antonio Brown, Ryan Succop, Ndamukong Suh and Leonard Fournette. At the moment, how do you feel about Tampa’s odds of making it back to the Super Bowl and who do you think is the greatest threat to them in the NFC? 2. Arguably the biggest headliner of free agency so far is Tom Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots. As of this morning, according to Adam Schefter, the Patriots have doled out a WHOPPING $137.5 million in guaranteed money, which is the second most in NFL history. Most notably, a bulk of those guarantees went to TE’s Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, WR’s Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and pass rusher Matt Judon. Based on these moves, do you think the Patriots have a team that can win the AFC East, or at least make the playoffs as a wild card in 2021? Should the Patriots be eyeing a move up the board on draft night for either Justin Fields or Trey Lance? 3. In response to the shellacking they experienced in Super Bowl LV, particularly up front, the Chiefs made the biggest OL move in free agency so far by signing former Patritos All Pro G Joe Thuney to a market-setting five-year, $80 million deal. Last week, they released both of their starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, but the club is very high on last year’s third-round pick Lucas Niang, who had a STELLAR performance against Chase Young in college. For now, looking at the Chiefs potential starting OL for Week 1 of the 2021 season, you’ve got Niang at LT, Thuney and Duvernay-Tardif at G, Austin Reiter at center and a rookie RT who they will likely draft early. While this group may be a downgrade from their 2020 Week 1 starting offensive line, do you think it could eventually represent a dramatic upgrade from the OL MASH unit they trotted out in the Super Bowl? 4. Last week, Texans head coach David Culley told Jim Trotter of NFL Network that Deshaun Watson was their QB “right now”, and those two words convinced Trotter and many, including myself, that the Texans will inevitably end up trading him. And today, the Texans signed Tyrod Taylor to a one-year deal that can be worth up to $12.5 million based on playing time and incentives. This shows you the Texans are at LEAST bracing for a LONG holdout from Deshaun Watson. But should they eventually realize a trade is in their best interest, should they make a deal before the draft or in late August before the regular season?
1. We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the NFLPA’s ratification of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. It was ratified by a very slim majority thanks in part due to COVID-19. I was STRONGLY opposed to it personally because I don’t think the players got nearly enough in return for the 17th regular season game. How did most of your clients view it then, and how do you view it now? 2. Due to the pandemic-related drop in the salary cap, this free agency period promises to be unlike any other. Outside of a few couple dozen big name free agents, we could see the VAST majority of players on the open market settle for one or two-year deals. If you had to make a guess, what percentage of free agents will sign one-year or two-year deals and how many game-changing market setting deals will we see? 3. As many NFL fans sadly don’t know, such news headlines that say “Player X signs a five-year, $120 million contract,” are blatantly misleading. The way NFL contracts are constructed, the overall length and total value of a deal aren’t a given. The only main givens are the signing bonus, the amount of money fully guaranteed at signing, and the cash flow in the first three years. If you had a client who made multiple Pro Bowls and the team’s final offer set the market in the latter three metrics, but not the former two, would you be inclined to accept such an offer? 4. We are 50 days away from the 2020 NFL Draft. Have any prospects signed up with you or your agency, and if so, whom? 5. If the Texans do not trade Deshaun Watson by late August and remain dug in, would you advise Watson to be willing to sit out the entire 2021 season if you were his agent? 6. What was the most grueling contract negotiation you went through in order to get the best possible deal for your client?
1. When you look at this EDGE class, there are no sure-fire top-10 picks, yet it is ripe with sky-high potential. Two current budding EDGE stars (Brian Burns and Montez Sweat) were selected outside the top-10 in the 2019 draft (Burns at 16 overall, Sweat at 26 overall). Do you anticipate a similar eventual outcome from this year’s class? 2. The top EDGE on your board at the moment is Gregory Rousseau of Miami. What makes him such an interesting evaluation is that he only has a four-month sample of college tape since he got hurt after a few snaps in 2018 (his freshman year) and opted out due to COVID-19 this past year. But that four-month sample in 2019 is staggering as he posted 15.5 sacks and earned ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. What makes him the top EDGE on your board right now? How much of a fall down the board, if any, will he experience given his relatively minute sample of game tape? 3. You have two other EDGE prospects ranked just slightly behind Rousseau in Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari. Both are super-freakish athletic specimens, yet some top analysts believe Paye’s film was underwhelming and that Ojulari needs to add a lot of moves to his rush. If you were a GM and your team ran a defensive scheme that was equally accommodating to the skillsets of both players, which one would you select and why? 4. Penn State’s Jayson Oweh is another intriguing EDGE prospect. While he only posted five sacks in his two seasons at Happy Valley, he possesses as much mouth-watering traits as the prospects we mentioned so far. Would you be surprised if he ended up as the best EDGE in this class? 5. This defensive line class (specifically defensive tackle) is not a good one this year. The top DT prospect on most analyst boards is Christian Barmore from Alabama. Given the poor depth of the group, is Barmore worth a top-20, if not a top-15 pick in your view? 6. The next two DT’s behind Barmore on most analyst boards are Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike and Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon. What do you like/dislike about their games and are any of them worth a late-first round pick? 7. Who are some of your late day 2/day 3 sleepers? 8. Best Team Fits: -Gregory Rousseau: Vikings, Colts -Kwity Paye: Giants -Azeez Ojulari: Titans -Jayson Oweh: Dolphins -Jaelan Phillips: Buccaneers -Joseph Ossai: Cardinals -Ronnie Perkins: Rams -Joe Tryon: Bills, Chiefs -Christian Barmore: Raiders -Levi Onwuzurike: Cowboys -Daviyon Nixon: Buccaneers
1. I am as guilty as charged for carelessly saying “this guy is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck” in the past, which I’m not qualified to do so given my porous film-evaluation skills. However, to say that about Trevor Lawrence may not be hyperbole. What makes Trevor Lawrence such a special, generational prospect? Do you like his fit with Urban Meyer and the Jaguars? 2. Almost every year, a QB begins the season as a borderline Day 2/Day 3 selection and eventually skyrockets into the top-five. This year, that prospect is BYU’s Zach Wilson, who many expect to be selected by the New York Jets with the #2 overall pick provided they decide to trade Sam Darnold. Conventional wisdom has it that Wilson is a natural fit for the Shanahan-esque system that new Jets OC Mike LaFleur will be running, but Benjamin Solak strongly disputed that notion in a recent column for The Draft Network. Do you side with Solak or the CW? 3. In terms of draft stock, if there’s a QB that is somewhat of an opposite to Zach Wilson, it’s Justin Fields. Fields entered the year as the near-unanimous choice as the 2nd-best QB prospect in this class. But some serious trouble spots in his game were exposed this season, most notably his struggles when his initial target is taken away. And Tony Pauline (Pro Football Network) reported that he is falling down draft boards. What would be the best possible situation for Fields to be in as a rookie? 4. It’s hard to believe, but it is pretty likely that for the second time in six years, a North Dakota State QB will be selected in the first round. Although there is concern about Trey Lance’s relatively thin resume (he only started 17 games, including only one in the past 414 days per Peter King), people have praised his poise and decision-making. Why do you think some clubs may have Lance ahead of Justin Fields? 5. Another QB garnering first-round discussion is Alabama’s Mac Jones. Jones, however, is a “throwback” pocket passer that many believe is going the way of the dodo. Your colleague Doug Farrar wrote a column that essentially said for that reason alone, he shouldn’t be a first-round pick. But given the high demand and relative lack of supply at QB, Jones may go earlier than many think. When is the earliest point in the draft that you would take a chance on him? 6. What QB that is expected to be selected late Day 2 or some time Day 3 is the most likely to outperform his draft value? 7. QB Carousel Fits -Wilson: Panthers -Lance: 49ers -Jones: Patriots, Washington, Broncos -Fields: Falcons -Stafford: Rams -Goff: Lions -Wentz: Colts -Darnold: Washington -Wilson: Bears -Watson: Dolphins, 49ers
1. Super Bowl LV Recap -Was this more of an awesome performance by the Bucs, just sheer luck given the circumstances Mahomes and the Chiefs were in, or a mixture of both? -Who do you think should have won SBLV MVP honors? 2. Looking Ahead -Do you consider the Bucs favorites to win the NFC in 2021? -Only six QB’s have won a Super Bowl after losing one (Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, and Len Dawson). With a gun to your head, does Patrick Mahomes eventually join that group? 3. QB Carousel -The second domino fell just last week as the Eagles agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that will become a first if Wentz either plays at least 75% of the snaps or plays at least 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs. Is Wentz beyond repair, or can you see Frank Reich fixing him? Which team got the better end of the trade? -Do you think the Jets get a similar haul for Sam Darnold should they decide to trade him? -Just when you thought the carousel couldn’t make you even more dizzy, it was reported in The Athletic that Russell Wilson is indeed VERY unhappy with the Seahawks organization. While his agent Mark Rodgers clarified to ESPN that Russ has NOT demanded a trade, he did list four teams his client would be open to if/when a trade is discussed (Cowboys, Saints, Bears, Raiders). Moreover, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler added many around the NFL DO expect Russell Wilson to be traded eventually, and the only question is whether such a trade gets done this year or in 2022. When would you anticipate Russ getting traded? Which one of the four aforementioned clubs is the best possible fit for him? -How great of a potential fit are the Panthers for Deshaun Watson? 4. Franchise Tag (You’re It/You’re NOT It?) -Bucs: Chris Godwin or Shaq Barrett? -Ravens: Yannick Ngakoue -Bears: Allen Robinson -Cowboys: Dak Prescott -Broncos: Justin Simmons -Lions: Kenny Golladay -Packers: Aaron Jones -Chargers: Hunter Henry
1. Given the fact there will be no traditional scouting combine this year, do you think there’s a rather good chance that what transpires on draft night is actually more different than ever before compared to what top analyst mocks say? 2. Based on all the film study and character/biographical background research y’all have done at the Draft Network so far, what position groups in this 2021 draft class are the strongest (in terms of depth and talent), and which are the weakest? 3. Mock Draft 1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence 2. Jets: Zach Wilson 3. Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase 4. Falcons: Trey Lance 5. Bengals: Penei Sewell 6. Eagles: Devonta Smith 7. Lions: Justin Fields 8. Panthers: Rashawn Slater 9. Broncos: Caleb Farley 10. Cowboys: Kwity Paye 11. Giants: Kyle Pitts 12. 49ers: Jaycee Horn 13. Chargers: Christian Darrisaw 14. Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker 15. Patriots: Patrick Surtain II 16. Cardinals: Najee Harris 17. Raiders: Micah Parsons 18. Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle 19. Washington: Jalen Mayfield 20. Bears: Samuel Cosmi 21. Colts: Teven Jenkins 22. Titans: Joseph Ossai 23. Jets: Gregory Rousseau 24. Steelers: Travis Etienne 25. Jaguars: Trevon Moehrig 26. Browns: Kadarius Toney 27. Ravens: Jaelan Phillips 28. Saints: Mac Jones 29. Packers: Christian Barmore 30. Bills: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 31. Chiefs: Alex Leatherwood 32. Buccaneers: Azeez Ojulari
1. QB Carousel -Are the Rams a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Matthew Stafford at QB? -Even with Jared Goff and the support for him in the building, should the Lions still highly consider trading up for a QB in the first round? -The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the Eagles are getting close to trading Carson Wentz. But if they do trade Wentz, they will have to swallow an historic $33.8 million dead cap charge. Should they avoid trading him if the best offer they receive is less than a first-round pick? -Thoughts on Niners/Kirk Cousins buzz? Should the Niners go all-in to acquire Deshaun Watson instead? -At least at the moment, the Texans are not showing any interest in trading Deshaun Watson. A team executive for an AFC club told Josina Anderson that Watson may have to sit out the entire 2021 season in order to force a trade. While I personally don’t think it will take that long for a trade to materialize, I can definitely see this thing lasting until late August before a deal comes to fruition. What do you think? 2. 2020 NFL Awards Award David’s Pick Matt’s Pick MVP Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers Offensive POY Davante Adams Derrick Henry Defensive POY T.J. Watt Xavien Howard Offensive ROY Justin Herbert Justin Jefferson Defensive ROY Jeremy Chinn Chase Young Comeback POY Alex Smith Alex Smith Breakout POY Justin Jefferson Josh Allen Most Improved POY Josh Allen D.K. Metcalf Coach Of The Year Kevin Stefanski Sean McDermott Assistant Coach Of The Year Brian Daboll Robert Saleh 3. Super Bowl LV Preview: Chiefs at Bucs -The Bucs pass rush was able to take advantage of David Bakhtiari’s absence to sack Aaron Rodgers five times in the NFC Championship. Now they go against a depleted Chiefs OL with backups at BOTH OT spots (including Mike Remmers). Why will or why won’t Patrick Mahomes suffer a similar fate as Rodgers? -The Chiefs have a VERY underrated secondary (Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thorhill, L’Jarius Sneed). How well do they match up with the Bucs’ cache of pass catching weapons? -In a column for The Athletic, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi said the Bucs margin of error to pull off the upset, while not impossible, is very, very, small. He compared the Chiefs to the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls because of their ability to win in ANY manner or style. If there are three keys for the Bucs to win, what are they? -Aside from the OL, what other vulnerabilities, if any, do the Chiefs have? -Game-deciding matchups -Game picks 4. Bold predictions -Me: Brady will lead the Bucs to a game-winning goal-to-go situation at the one with under a minute to go…and will be intercepted in the end zone!!! -Matt: Tyreek Hill is Super Bowl LV MVP with 2 TD’s and 175+ yards 5. Challenge Flags -Me: Bucs…embrace the underdog role!!! -Matt: Andy Reid, tell your son Britt that he is not allowed to be a part of ANYTHING going forward