7:25: Hi, I’m setting up for what will be a running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft. We’ll see how this goes. I do think the unique nature of this draft, with everyone staying home, will be kind of cool. Also hope it Is the last time it happens this way.
Obvious fact #1 tonite: Roger Goodell’s basement is nicer than my living room.
8:00: Starting with ESPN, as opposed to NFL Network or ABC.
Michael Irvin has three Lombardi Trophies behind him in his house. He is the early leader for best home setup.
They show a deserted Las Vegas Blvd, in front of Caeser’s Palace, and it makes me sad. Such a busy, vibrant place, almost totally deserted right now. I look forward to being back out there as soon as it is safe to do that.
8:05: Roger Goodell seems like a good guy, but if I made $30M a year, I’d be pleasant, too.
8:13: Dr Fauci makes an appearance. He was captain of his high school hoop team at Regis HS in Brooklyn, in 1958, which is before I was born. Good man, Dr Fauci; I look forward to the day he tells us it is safe to travel.
Please start the draft; make a pick, already. Bengals are on the clock.
8:25: Bengals take Joe Burrow, who was turned down by Nebraska multiple times.
Burrow wasn’t alive in 1990, last time the Bengals won a playoff game. This is the third year in a row a QB gets taken first overall; all three of those QB’s transferred in college.
LSU has six coaches in their football office; no social distancing there.
8:33: Washington Redskins take Chase Young a DE from Ohio State; he is wearing sunglasses in his living room.
HBO is remaking the old TV series Perry Mason, which I watched on re-runs when I was a little kid. It premieres June 21. The key is who will play Hamilton Berger, the lawyer who always lost to Perry Mason in the original series?
8:38: CB Jeff Okudah is picked by the Lions; the first three picks all played at Ohio State in 2017, before Burrow transferred to LSU.
In the Super Bowl era, which is 54 years, Lions are 1-12 in playoff games; 11 of those 13 games were on the road. Their last playoff win was in 1991.
8:47: New Jersey Giants take Andrew Thomas, an OT from Georgia who was a drummer in high school. His high school coach played in the NFL, which has to help. Daniel Jeremiah of ESPN doesn’t like the pick very much; thought the Giants had better options.
I’m liking this TV format better than having everyone in a ballroom somewhere.
8:55: Miami Dolphins take QB Tua Tagovailoa, ending Josh Rosen’s tenure in Miami; Tua will be the first lefty QB in the NFL since Kellen Moore, who is now the Cowboys’ OC. Would expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to start this season, then hands the reins over to the kid.
When the Dolphins passed on Drew Brees in 2006, he had already played four years in the NFL, 58 starts. Big difference between that and a kid who got hurt a lot in college, especially with the league going to 17 games, starting next season.
Boomer Esiason’s 247 TD passes are the most-ever by a lefty QB in the NFL.
9:02: Chargers take QB Justin Herbert, who started out his college career as Oregon’s 6th-string QB, so three of the first six picks in the draft are quarterbacks. He’ll sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a while, which will help his development.
Oregon had a very experienced offensive line LY; how will he do under more pressure?
9:10: Carolina takes Derrick Brown, a DT from Auburn. He wants to be a lobbyist when he is done playing ball. This is Matt Rhule’s first draft pick in Carolina; he wants to make sure the Panthers can stop the run.
9:14: Arizona Cardinals take the versatile Isaiah Simmons, who played five different positions on defense at Clemson.
9:20: Jacksonville takes CJ Henderson, a CB from Florida who is strong in coverage but needs work on his tackling. What the Jaguars really need is a GM or coach who can persuade their players to stay in Jacksonville, instead of asking to be traded all the time.
9:26: Cleveland takes Jedrick Wills, a tackle from Alabama who is the 30th Crimson Tide player taken in the first round in the Saban era.
Ten draft picks; no WR’s taken yet, kind of surprising.
9:35: Jets take OT Mekhi Becton, a tackle from Louisville; he is 6-7, 364 pounds and played basketball in high school- he can run. ESPN showed as many of his basketball highlights as his football highlights- they also showed him pushing a pickup truck down the street.
9:40: Las Vegas Raiders take Henry Ruggs, a WR from Alabama who didn’t look all that happy when they showed him in his house. Ruggs caught 98 passes in college, 24 for TD’s . Ruggs’ mom was a sprinter in high school, which doesn’t help Jon Gruden much.
Kid can dunk at 5-11; he isn’t such a great route runner yet- he is also a skilled kick returner.
9:45: Tom Brady made a trade; Bucs move up a slot to #13, take Tristan Wirfs, a tackle from Iowa. 49ers get a pick in exchange for this pick. Wirfs won state titles in wrestling and track in high school- he is very strong. He better be good, to protect his 43-year old QB.
9:58: 49ers dropped down a slot, take DT Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina who was homeless for a while as a kid, living in Washington DC. ESPN compared him to Richard Seymour. He played better against the better teams the Gamecocks played.
Coach’s and GM’s kids are now hanging around their dads to get on TV.
10:04: Denver takes WR Jerry Jeudy from Alabama; the 3rd Bama player taken tonite, the 32nd first round pick in the Saban era. Jeudy is a superior route runner.
10:12: Falcons take CB AJ Terrell from Clemson; Mel Kiper says he needs to tackle better, be coached more. I’m sure Dabo Swinney loved hearing that.
Atlanta owner Arthur Blank has to have a good home setup; he used to own freakin’ Home Depot. Plus he was wearing one of the Falcons’ new black jerseys.
10:19: Dallas Cowboys take WR CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, whose family relocated after Hurricane Katrina. They showed Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s living room, which is really nice. For some reason, he has two pairs of sneakers right by the TV. Anyway, Lamb is a very good WR; he had 62 receptions for 1,327 yards, scoring 14 TD’s LY.
Dallas hasn’t played in the NFC title game since 1995; I’m assuming Jerry Jones has a really, really nice house, but the room he’s in looks like a sitting room in a funeral parlor.
10:27: Miami Dolphins use the Steelers’ pick (for Minkah Fitzpatrick) to take OT Austin Jackson from USC, whose grandfather played five years for the Packers. He is still only 20 years old, so he may be something of a developmental project.
Last year, this kid donated bone marrow to his younger sister to save her life from a rare form of anemia, which is very excellent.
10:32: Raiders take Damon Arnette, a DB from Ohio State. This is Cris Carter’s son, the great WR from the Vikings. Arnette almost came out of school LY, but Carter told him he needed to come back for another year, to become a better player, and it paid off for him.
2022 NFL Draft will be in Las Vegas; it was supposed to be there this week, until Mother Nature intervened. Hotels can start jacking up their rates for that week now.
10:41: Jacksonville takes LB K’Lavon Chaisson from LSU, who didn’t play football until his junior year of high school- he was a basketball guy. Chaisson got his scholarship to LSU when he went to watch a friend work out, and someone suggested that he work out, too.
10:47: Philadelphia Eagles tase Jalen Reagor, a WR from TCU. His dad played nine years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts. He is a really good punt returner.
If you’re sitting in your house, even if you’re working, why are you wearing a jacket/tie?
10:55: Minnesota takes LSU WR Justin Jefferson, who was a n0-star recruit coming out of high school in Louisiana. His older brothers also played football at LSU. Jefferson played out of the slot the great majority of the time at LSU; what happens to Adam Thielen?
Kurt Warner has a strong home setup, with a Lombardi Trophy, his Hall of Fame bust and his Man of the Year trophy all there. Not as good as Michael Irvin’s, but not bad.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer must like to hunt; he had some very large heads of dead animals mounted in his living room, over the fireplace.
10:59: New England traded the 23rd pick to the Chargers for 2nd/3rd round picks; Patriots now have 13 picks in this draft. Chargers take Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, who saved a woman’s life with CPR last year. ESPN’s Booger MacFarland liked this pick, but he’s liked every pick he’s been asked about tonight.
Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco has a surfboard in his dining room; not sure what thats about.
11:09: Saints take Michigan C Cesar Ruiz, who can play either guard or center. He started 31 games at Michigan. Offensive linemen tend to be obscure, but other than the QB, they’re the most valuable guys on the team- they allow the offense to operate.
11:12: 49ers traded three picks to Minnesota to move into the 25th pick; Niners then take WR Brandon Aiyuk, from Arizona State. He has an 81-inch wingspan, the longest wingspan of any player under 6-feet tall in NFL Combine history.
Aiyuk is the sixth WR taken in the first round.
11:23: Green Bay traded with Miami to move into this slot; they take QB Jordan Love from Utah State. Aaron Rodgers is 36; Brett Favre was 35 when Green Bay drafted Rodgers. Love only got one I-A scholarship offer out of high school, but Rodgers didn’t have any— he played in junior college before playing for the Cal Bears.
Quote from someone close to Rodgers: “Aaron feels betrayed, he was told by management they would get him some weapons to throw to.” Uh oh.
Considering this is a virtual operation, there haven’t been many glitches on TV. Impressive.
11:34: Seattle takes Jordyn Brooks, a LB from Texas Tech; he’ll play against his old college coach Kliff Kingsbury twice a year. ESPN said he is a better pass rusher than a cover guy, but Mel Kiper called him “a tackling machine” He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, has a balky shoulder.
11:41: Baltimore Ravens take Patrick Queen, another LSU LB; I’m guessing the Bayou Bengals will be young at LB this season. Queen grew up 30 miles from Baton Rouge, but is the first player from his high school to be offered a scholarship by LSU.
This is the first time the Ravens ever drafted an LSU player; their old GM Ozzie Newsome, played college ball at Alabama.
11:48: Tennessee takes T Isaiah Wilson, a guard from Georgia. He is 6-6, 350, very good run blocker; but Mel Kiper thought he needed another year in Athens.
This gives the SEC 13 first round picks, setting the record for a conference.
11:58: Miami drafts DB Noah Igbinoghene, a former WR who got switched to DB because he has bad hands. Both of his parents competed in the Olympics for the Nigerian track team- they both ran track in the SEC. His sister is a track athlete, also at Auburn.
With this guy and Tua Tagovailoa getting drafted, going to be lot of copy/paste by Miami beat writers. Tough names to spell.
12:02am: Minnesota takes Jeff Gladney, a DB from TCU. If you play DB in the Big X, you’re battle tested; some scouts question how Gladney will do against more physical receivers.
12:10am: Defending Super Bowl champ Chiefs take Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a RB from LSU, making it 15 first round picks for the SEC. Versatile player, this kid is only 5-8, but catches the ball well, which is obviously important in today’s pro football.
Before I go tonight, a public service announcement, from Dr Eugene Gu, a doctor, an actual medical expert. Please listen to medical experts.
“PLEASE do not inject anything into your body or ingest anything at all to kill the coronavirus. There is NO SUBSTANCE that will disinfect your body of the coronavirus from the inside. Don’t inject or drink bleach, soap, don’t do isopropyl alcohol, lysol, or ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.”