Friday’s Den: Wrapping up the first 20 picks of the NFL Draft

— First job tonight was to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network had a concert on, ESPN had four or five commercials for the NBA. No bueno; back to the Extra Innings package until they start picking players.

— There were reports this afternoon that Aaron Rodgers wants the Packers to trade him, which would be tumultuous. 

— Quick reminder that the NFL season is now 17 games long.

— There are tons of people outside on a rainy night in Cleveland to watch all this draft stuff happen; having the draft in Las Vegas seems like a much better idea.

— Well, ESPN made the decision for me; they have Mike Greenberg hosting their coverage, so it is off to the NFL Network.

— It is 8:10 and there is still a damn band playing in Cleveland; start the draft!!! In happier news, Kris Bryant just doubled for the Cubs/Armadillos. Cubs lead 4-0 in the third.

— Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock; Urban Meyer is their new coach. You get the feeling this is an all-or-nothing deal for Meyer, he’ll either win really big or he won’t finish his first season. Whatever, thanks for the Jaguars for getting him off of TV, where he was terrible- zero personality.

— Why is Jacksonville taking the whole 10:00 to make their pick?

— Eric Lauer is pitching for Milwaukee tonight, his first start of the year. Lauer is 14-19, 4.75 in 57 career games (54 starts), but he is 5-0, 2.11 in seven starts against the Dodgers, which makes no sense.

— Daniel Jeremiah just said that when the Jets upset the Rams last year, which put the Jaguars in position to pick first in this draft, that Jacksonville sold a ton of season tickets right after. Its the least the Rams could do for Jacksonville- they traded star CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams.

— OK, now that Trevor Lawrence is a Jaguar, how long before he starts?

— Jets have a new coach, they traded their QB, they have the #2 pick. Everyone in their draft room has a suit jacket on; things in Jacksonville were way more casual.

With the #2 pick, Gang Green selects Zach Wilson; going from BYU to New Jersey qualifies as worlds colliding.

Someone just called Wilson “…….borderline cocky” Hmmmmm

There is a woman in a Jets sweatshirt sitting in an easy chair behind Roger Goodell’s pedestal.

— It irritates me when I hear an analyst say “He’s a winner” because for every winner, there has to be a loser, and I don’t think anyone is pre-ordained to be a loser.

— 49ers have the third pick in the draft; they take QB Trey Lance, who started 17 games for a I-AA team, playing only one game last year for North Dakota State. Carson Wentz also played for the Bison; what does this mean for Jimmy Garoppolo?

North Dakota State has a third QB in the NFL, Easton Stick, who is a backup with the Chargers, or at least he was before they got Chase Daniel. Must be a fun time to recruit quarterbacks at North Dakota State.

— Great stat they just said on TV; last ten QB’s to win the Super Bowl all threw 1,200+ passes in college; Trey Lance threw 318.

— Atlanta Falcons take TE Kyle Pitts with the 4th pick; his college coach Dan Mullen is sitting there in the draft room with him, getting some free TV time. Matt Ryan must like this pick. 

Pitts is the highest drafted tight end ever.

— Bengals take Ja’Marr Chase, the LSU WR who didn’t play last year; he is reunited with his old LSU QB Joe Burrow. Explosive receiver; opting out of last year didn’t cost him any money.

— When was last time the first five picks all went to players on the offensive side of the ball?

— Miami has the 6th pick; they take WR Jaylen Waddle from Alabama, the second WR in row who was wearing sunglasses backstage. Chase took his shades off when he went on stage; Waddle kept his on. Six offensive players in a row, which ties the all-time record.

We are told that Waddle is very fast, a good feature for a WR. Are there slow WR’s?

— Detroit Lions are on the clock; they have a new everything- coach, GM, QB. They’ve won one playoff game in the Super Bowl era; that’s 55 years.

Lions were very good in the 1950’s; they won three titles back then, before I was alive.

People in Detroit’s draft room are hugging each other like they just won the Super Bowl, so they got someone they didn’t think they’d get- OT Penei Sewell from Oregon, which has to make Jared Goff a happier guy. Quarterbacks need their blind side protected.

— Carolina Panthers take CB Jaycee Horn with the 8th pick, the first defensive player taken; he is described as “chippy, competitive; talks a lot on the field”

— 87-year old Bob Uecker still does commercials on Brewers’ TV in Milwaukee for Usinger’s, a sausage company; he is an amazing guy, so funny. Still does Brewers’ home games on the radio.

— Denver Broncos are up next; they take a CB from Alabama whose dad also played in the NFL. Guess they’re serious about starting Teddy Bridgewater at QB this fall, though I also just read a thing on the Interweb about Denver trading for Aaron Rodgers.

They just showed Justin Fields’ family on TV, sitting at home; his parents don’t look happy. Someone needs to tell them that there were six QB’s taken in the 1983 Draft, and Dan Marino was #6 of the six, so you never know what the future will hold.

Yup, Dan Marino was 27th pick in the draft, which is why this is a fascinating process.

They also showed Alabama QB Mac Jones, sitting by himself in the draft room with his phone, probably wondering “Who the bleep told me to come here?!?!?!”

— Dallas Cowboys are on the clock; they traded the pick to Philadelphia, who take DeVonta Smith, the Alabama WR who is also reunited with his college QB, Jalen Hurts.

Not often two division rivals make a trade like that; Eagles only moved up two slots, but they bypassed the Giants, who may have wanted Smith.

— Cowboys got a third round pick to drop back two slots.

— Giants traded the #11 pick to Chicago, which takes Ohio State QB Justin Fields, bad news for Andy Dalton/Nick Foles.

— Dallas finally gets to pick; they take a LB from Penn State, which means Stephen Jones made the pick, not his father, who prefers flashier choices.

— Damn, to drop back nine slots in the draft, Giants got:

— 5th round pick (164th overall) in this draft.

— Bears 4th round pick 2022.

— Bears’ first round pick in 2022.

Seems like a pretty good haul, if they connect with those picks.

— Chargers have a new coach and a young QB; they took a tackle from Northwestern; when you have a good, young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

— Lot of trades; Jets traded with Minnesota to move up from #23 to #14- they took Alijah Vera-Tucker, a guard from USC. You draft a young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

— Patriots take QB Mac Jones from Alabama, who was expected to go a lot higher. Belichick and Nick Saban are good friends, so this makes sense.

— With the 16th pick, Arizona Cardinals take Zaven Collins, a LB from Tulsa.

— This is the first time I can remember where the draft was held before the schedule for next year was released- that comes out May 12. Seriously, for like an hour, I put everything aside as soon as the schedule comes out. 

I get my second vaccination May 14; when I get home from that, I’ll be looking online for flights and hotel rooms for my first vacation in two years. Have to pick a good NFL weekend, or maybe even two weekends; we’ll see. Football weekends in Las Vegas are lot of fun.

— Las Vegas Raiders took a tackle from Alabama; lot of Crimson Tide guys getting picked.

— Miami Dolphins are picking again; they take a defensive end from Miami FL, who apparently returned punts for his high school team. Must be a very good athlete. 

Last year, only 34% of players in the NFL were guys drafted in Rounds 1-3; the GM/scouts are so important in pro football. Thats why Saturday is a very important day- you can find diamonds in the rough at the end of the draft, guys who make a big difference.

— Washington takes a LB from Kentucky; they had taken a defensive lineman in the first round the previous four years, so at least they change things up some.

Washington needs to come up with a nickname, an actual mascot. It can’t be that difficult; as a matter of fact, I’ll do it for them— Washington RedTails, honoring pilots from World War II.

They made a movie about the RedTails; they could keep everything pretty much the same, the team song, the colors, all that. Simple stuff.

— Last item of the night, then I’m off to write the baseball article; with the #20 pick, Giants take Kadarius Toney, a WR from Florida. Graphic says “inconsistent hands” always a solid quality for a receiver.


I’ll be back tomorrow, with more of this jocularity. Guy I used to know made fun of me because I like watching the draft; it was freakin’ rude, because we all like different stuff, and that’s what makes life interesting.