The NFL Draft was set to begin at 5:00 pacific time. I had somewhere to be at 6:00, so I figured I’d at least get to enjoy the first few picks before having to head out. Not so fast.
Kings of Leon, anyone? Huh? Really?
Then Roger Goodell enters to much pomp and circumstance, with that tired routine of his, encouraging boos from the Cleveland crowd. If that wasn’t enough, next we got Goodell’s armchair? Followed by the prerequisite pontificating from the studio talking heads before the Jacksonville Jaguars were even on the damn clock, for what had to be the most no-brainer of first picks in recent draft memory.
And can somebody please tell me why in the world Jacksonville needed to exhaust all ten minutes allotted to them to pick Trevor Lawrence at number one? Or why the Jets needed nearly all of their allotted time to pick Zach Wilson second, especially since they’d been telegraphing this choice without any attempt at deception for weeks?
I smell a rat, and I’m taking aim at ESPN and the NFL Network — doesn’t a longer show allow the networks to air more commercials, and thus rake in the millions of dollars in revenues tied to every additional ad? Yeah, I thought so.
Anyway, delays aside (and I didn’t even make it to the Niners selecting Trey Lance at number three before I had to leave), it was an eventful Day One of the NFL Draft. Here’s a few thoughts while we wait for Round 2 to begin:
- Give Aaron Rodgers credit. Two years in a row now he’s been the highest profile NFL star to make headlines on draft night. Will this improve his chances to become the next Alex Trebek one day? Sure it could. Maybe it even accelerates the timetable. Could the Packers actually blink and trade their over-exposed insurance pitchman? Doubtful. However, I do look forward to this high-level game of chicken continuing into the summer months.
- Tim Tebow’s making a comeback? Hell yeah, he is. (Oops, sorry Timmy. Heck yeah, he is…) One of the funniest memes I saw yesterday was the one proclaiming that “with the first pick of the NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Tim Tebow of the New York Mets.” Could Tebow make an impact as a Swiss Army Knife type for Urban Meyer this year? I wouldn’t bet against him. Tight end? Sure. Gunner on kick coverage? Why not. Heck, line him up as the punter on those no man’s land 4th and 4 situations from your own 45. The NFL is more interesting with Tebow hanging around, and in the space of 24 hours, the Jaguars just became a highly intriguing franchise to watch this season (did I really just type that sentence?).
- Everybody likes to talk about trades that benefit both teams, but actual examples are few and far between. Yet it seems to me that the Bears moving up to get Justin Fields at number 11 last night will be a home run for Chicago, who boast talent everywhere except under center. And at the same time, Dave Gettleman coming away with three additional picks, including the Bears’ number one next year, sets up the Giants to build something special over these next couple of years. And the Gints still got the playmaker they desired at number 20, when they scooped up Kadarius Toney out of Florida. Will the Big Blue O-line keep Daniel Jones upright to enjoy all the weapons he suddenly has at his disposal? We’ll see… we’ll see…
- I’m on record as being a Sam Darnold fan. I’m highly skeptical Zach Wilson will ever end up being a substantial upgrade over Sam at the QB position for the Airplanes, and certainly not this year. Yeah, it’s safe to pencil Gang Green in for another year under .500 and out of the playoffs. In fact, since this is the Jets we are talking about, is there anyone out there who would be surprised if somehow the Darnold-led Panthers do something, at some point in the future, to damage their new QB’s old squad? You know, like knock the Jets out of playoff contention? Yes, we could definitely see that. How about, dare I say it — beat them in the Super Bowl? I don’t know, that sure feels like a stretch to the extreme, but something tells me Sam will get the last laugh on this one.
- Speaking of Wilson, based on the number of times I’ve now seen the video on social media — the one where ESPN filmed all the rookies in attendance for the draft last night — I guess I’m not the only one who noticed how uncomfortable young Zach looked, awkwardly tugging on his lapel and looking at his shoes with a pained expression on his face. Meanwhile his cohorts preened and mugged shamelessly for the cameras all around him. Luckily for Wilson he’s unlikely to get much media attention in New York City… ruh roh…
- Let’s not go giving Bill Belichick any more rings yet just because he drafted Mac Jones. Is it possible that at least some of Jones’ success is attributable to the two wideouts selected before his name was called last night? And I really hate to pile on, but keep your shirt on Mac…it sure looks like Jones was getting second helping on some biscuits and gravy while his Bama teammates were toiling away in the weight room.
- Nice to see that the Raiders brought their draft night sense of humor with them to Las Vegas. Alex Leatherwood? Anyone? Anyone? Just reach, baby…
- How dysfunctional must it be in Cincinnati’s draft room that they are letting their 24-year-old, injured QB dictate who their first pick will be? Good to know Jets fans aren’t alone at the bottom when it comes to organizational ineptitude.
- I’m fully aware it’s become taboo to take a running back in the first round, but it says here that both Pittsburgh and Jacksonville end up big winners taking Najee Harris and Travis Etienne with their late first-rounders.
- Apparently the Lions draft room erupted in cheers when the Dolphins took Jaylen Waddle, leaving Detroit free to pick Penei Sewell at number seven. It sure seems like an incredible selection for the Lions, as everybody has Sewell ID’d as a future star. But this is the Lions we’re talking about here, isn’t it? What tragic injury awaits poor Mr. Sewell? Would anyone be surprised if the big tackle slipped in the shower this morning and severed an achilles tendon? I hate even speculating about bad things befalling the young man, but this Lions shit is deep.
And now onward into the second round. Jets picking second. Cornerback, anyone?