If you need an NFL Draft take to bring to your next Zoom meeting, we’ve got you covered.
The most unique and bizarre NFL Draft we’ve ever experienced got underway on Thursday. Everyone was at home, the picks were read from Roger Goodell’s basement, and despite the quarantine changing the overall flow of things we were still gifted with some draft shockers.
All in all, it was a weird night laced with an odd sense of normalcy. Nothing was actually normal about the night but it was good to talk about football, watch teams draft potential franchise pillars while others burped up all over themselves.
The first night doesn’t tell the whole story of a team’s draft class but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty to talk about. If you’re looking for a good conversation starter while awkwardly sitting in a Zoom meeting you arrived too early, one of these will probably make it a little easier.
Packers made four key mistakes drafting Jordan Love
Mistake 1: It’s highly unlikely that Aaron Rodgers was consulted on this, and even if he was there isn’t a single Doctor Strange multiverse probability outcome where he’s going to take this in stride.
Mistake 2: Green Bay isn’t going to be a warm locker room for the next few seasons, and Matt LaFleur’s honeymoon with Rodgers has likely come to an abrupt end. Now he’s the adult in the room who has to make sure this transition goes off without a hitch — which is most certainly will encounter many of.
Mistake 3: This is a contract disaster. Rodgers would be owed $39.8 million in dead money on the Packers cap in 2020 or $31.6 million in 2021 if he were to be traded or released. That means regardless of the animosity, Rodgers is staying in Green Bay for at least two more seasons. Meanwhile, a best case scenario on Love’s contract is that the Packers get value out of the last year of his rookie deal before having to pay him a new deal to be their starter of the future. This is very similar to what the Patriots tried to do with Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady — neither of whom are on the team at the point in time we’re talking about with Rodgers and Love.
Mistake 4: See Mistake 1, because the Packers just put Aaron Rodgers on the clock with this pick. Either it works out and he leaves in two years to do the Tom Brady thing or Love busts and Rodgers still leaves because the bridges have been burned, and he’d be leaving knowing he won.
Kliff Kingsbury made billionaire owners look poor
One of the weird perks of the virtual draft was getting to see how NFL head coaches, GMs, and owners lived. Obviously we knew they live lavishly, they’re millionaires and billionaires, so seeing how well off they are wasn’t what we all loved.
Seeing how much better Kliff Kingsbury is living was.
When ESPN cameras cut to his palace, in which the Cardinals aptly had the luxury of picking Isaiah Simmons, we all got a glimpse of how Kliff lives.
Later in the draft, Jerry Jones made the Dallas Cowboys selection on a literal yacht yet not even that could top the Bond villain compound that Kliff calls home. He’s not a little guy in the sense that he’s clearly well off, but seeing him put the greedy billionaire owners to shame felt like a weird victory we didn’t know we needed.
The Miami Dolphins were masterful with their smokescreens
Before the draft started on Thursday night, the Miami Dolphins tried to galaxy brain their way to the No. 1 pick. It wasn’t ever going to work, but in a world of cockamamie draft schemes, this one actually made sense.
Trade for the No. 3 pick without trading the No. 5 pick so that both could be packaged in a Godfather offer to move up to No. 1. Miami gets Joe Burrow and can build around a franchise quarterback.
Miami didn’t make that trade and still walked away with a franchise quarterback. Call it the chips fell in their favor but the Dolphins got the quarterback we thought they were tanking to take with the No. 1 pick without having to trade out of No. 5 — Tua Tagovailoa
Even though Miami didn’t pull off the draft heist of getting Joe Burrow, the fact that they tried (and had a pretty damn good plan of how to do it) reinforces the idea that the Dolphins front office knows what it’s doing. Not only that but it has the confidence to know that what it’s doing is going to work, which should please fans wondering if the war chest of assets meant to set up the future of the franchise is going to work out or not.
Don’t’ laugh at Dave Gettleman’s mask
Also, that kid wasn’t pooping (apparently)
A real 0-for-2 on everyone trying to be funny on the internet. It happens, don’t beat yourself up about it.
Arizona Cardinals are quietly building a monster in the desert
Learning that Kliff Kingsbury lives like a football version of Neil McCauley, the real revelation was that the Cardinals are actually building a functional team. Not only that, but Kingsbury and company are crafting a team around Kyler Murray that is going to be good sooner than we all thought, not to mention at all.
Trading for DeAndre Hopkins gives Arizona’s Air Raid offense an All-Pro element that will be, at it’s most reductive, fun, and at it’s most productive, good. That’s why taking a tackle in the Top 10 made sense — protecting Murray so he can continue to grow into a great quarterback is important.
What Arizona did instead was draft Isaiah Simmons, a player who scouts didn’t know what defensive position he should play other than that he should play one. He’s a wild card in the best possible sense, as offensive coordinators will not be able to plan for him the same way week-to-week since he can play almost anywhere on defense and play there well.
Simmons won’t be a weapon for Kyler Murray in the same way DeAndre Hopkins will be. Rather, where Hopkins will be catching touchdowns to help Murray lead the Cardinals to more victories, Simmons will be offering defensive run support in the form of keeping opposing offenses from catching up when the Air Raid pulls away.
Arizona is becoming a complete team under Kingsbury and now is the time to buy stock in the next overnight sensation in the NFC West.
Henry Ruggs III is a vintage Al Davis pick
If there’s one thing on the line every draft night, it’s legacy.
General managers and coaches make or break their legacy based on what they do with their draft. Bill Belichick, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knoll — the list goes on because there’s a 1-to-1 ratio of legendary head coaches and drafting legendary players.
Al Davis has a legacy in football greater than almost anyone to come before or after him, and it’s one that lived on Thursday night. Davis loved a fast football player, and sometimes reaching a bit to get a player who’s attributes sometimes outweighed the logical choice.
Henry Ruggs III is a speed demon, but he was not the best receiver in this year’s class. In fact he wasn’t even the second-best, but that didn’t stop the Raiders from honoring the Al David legacy of overdrafting for speed and taking him ahead of all the other receivers on Thursday night.
To truly put a cherry on top of this move, this year’s class of receivers is being touted for its depth of talent. That isn’t to say Ruggs won’t turn out to be a star talent, as he’s already drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill. But in true Al Davis fashion, all parts of the whole were not considered. While Ruggs has blazing speed like Hill (he came .05 seconds short of setting an NFL combine record for the 40-yard dash) he does not have Patrick Mahomes throwing the ball to him.
Somewhere Al Davis is grinning and laughing — the Raider Way never dies.
John Lynch is the G.O.A.T. of getting teams to trade up one spot
If you’re picking behind the San Francisco 49ers in the draft, be prepared to get seduced into moving up.
Twice in three years, John Lynch has coaxed the team sitting behind him in the first round of the draft to trade places with him. Back in 2017 he infamously duped the Chicago Bears into trading picks the would become Solomon Thomas, Fred Warner, and Dante Pettis for the right to move up one spot and draft Mitchell Trubisky.
Would Trubisky have been there anyway? Perhaps the 49ers had a deal with a team further down but that’s a detail which will be lost to history.
Lynch did it again on Thursday night, convincing the Buccaneers to trade up one spot to draft Tristain Wirfs — the top tackle on most Big Boards — who had inexplicably fallen to No. 13 overall. Would Wirfs have been there for Tampa Bay anyway? It doesn’t matter.
Granted, Jason Licht isn’t Ryan Pace and Tristian Wirfs is not Mitchell Trubisky. But lest we forget that when Lynch got the 49ers GM job, many rolled their eyes at the idea a former player with zero front office experience was going to have any sort of success.
In three years Lynch was on the right side of a historically bad trade, crafted a Super Bowl-caliber roster, and continues to effortlessly wheel-and-deal like an old pro.
Not bad for a guy who was laughed at for being given a job he apparently wasn’t qualified to succeed at.