Pigskin’s 2021 Draft Thots Random Rovings

There were some nice moments in the coverage of the Draft-extras that the NFL cooked up. It had to happen eventually, but it was still kinda cool when the K.C. ‘fan Pick announcers’ male component proposed to his lady. Luckily, she said yes, at least on camera. Then they did a nice job of swapping spit in a camera close up. That woman is a goooood kisser.

I thought it was quite interesting, though not surprising, that 5 QB’s were gone in the first 15 Picks of the Draft, and then only 5 more were taken in the remaining 254 Picks. 3 more were taken by Pick 86, then only 2 on Day Three. The message seemed to be the top of the QB group was really strong, but then there weren’t a whole lot worth drafting. In my mind, the most interesting of the later QB Picks was IAN BOOK by the SAINTS in Round 4. Head Coach SEAN PAYTON clearly thinks BOOK is a work in progress, with some, as of yet, untapped upside. By the way, in case you missed it, the final guy to go of the QB group was SAM EHLINGER/Texas, who went in Round 6 to the COLTS.

By the way, a quick expression of condolences to SAM EHLINGER, and his family, at the passing of his younger brother last week.

It was a very solid article by Michael Silver @ nfl.com regarding the BRONCOS Draft, and the power switch from JOHN ELWAY to GEORGE PATON. The article details ELWAY’s tough pandemic season, PATON’s long history working with the VIKINGS, and how PATON handled the Draft effort. BTW, quite well, is the general consensus. I want to interject that rather than drafting another QB prospect, like DA BEARS and the PATS did, PATON snapped up TEDDY BRIDGEWATER from CAROLINA to supplement DREW LOCK in a QB competition. I think LOCK has gotten a bum deal in DENVER. He has not been great on a consistent basis yet, but the Offense he had around him last season was decimated by the absence of some of their best offensive players; COURTLAND SUTTON/WR, JA’WUAN JAMES/LT, PHILLIP LINDSAY/RB. They also got less than stellar Rookie seasons from WR’s JERRY JEUDY, (who came on late), and K.J. HAMLER. LOCK deserves some patience and a better surrounding cast, which he may get just thru returning players. I digress somewhat, but it’s an article worth your reading time.

Don’t know how I missed this little tidbit, but someone on the TV side of things pointed out that among a multitude of draftees with family ties to ex-NFL players was WYATT DAVIS/Ohio State, who is headed to the VIKINGS. The big OG is the grandson of WILLIE DAVIS, HoF DE from the PACKERS of the Lombardi era in GREEN BAY. Statistically, we have no idea how many Sacks he had in his career. The league did not keep track of sacks back in his day, but like DEACON JONES, I can assure you he got lots of sacks during his playing days.

The Senior Bowl has had a large influence on the Draft for decades, by providing a week of exposure and access to a hundred-plus prospects every year. This year, the venue was even more important to the NFL since the Shrine and NFLPA declined to stage games because of Pandemic concerns. But JIM NAGY, who runs the game as Executive Director, put together a detailed Covid Protocol policy to be followed, and pulled off a limited, but still valuable, practice week and game. I should know… At 71 years old, I felt the protocol was effective enough for me to attend my 24th straight Senior Bowl. By the time the smoke cleared in Cleveland from the Draft festivities, out of 259 Picks, 106 of them were used on Senior Bowl attendees. That’s an all-time record for the game. Yes, there were more players invited to the game than ever before, but that’s still a remarkable number.  Well done, as usual by JIM NAGY and the Mobile, AL area.

I have got to believe that one of the happiest players in the League, with what his team did in Round One last week, was TUA TAGOVAILOA/QB of the DOLPHINS. After a less than spectacular Rookie season in MIAMI, TUA survived a lot of off-season speculation and rumors as to how firmly the DOLPHINS consider him their starting QB. And the icing on the cake was when they drafted his former Alabama teammate, WR/RS JAYLEN WADDLE in Round One. WADDLE will get every chance to win a starting role in MIAMI as a Rookie, probably in the slot. He will also do some Punt Return work, as well as be featured on some gadget plays. However, most of all, he will provide TUA with a talented receiver and old friend.

Anybody out there like word or name games? How about these two from the Draft that I read or heard.

In GREEN BAY, maybe….  A. RODGERS throwing to new receiver A. RODGERS.

In NEW ENGLAND… Rookie QB MAC, is vet QB CAM spelled backwards, or vice versa.

Another rather large loss for the PATS, and HC BILL BELICHICK in particular, is the retirement of ERNIE ADAMS. ADAMS official title with NEW ENGLAND was Football Research Director, and his functions were as varied, and perhaps mysterious, as that title implies. It is safe to say that ADAMS was a confidant, friend, and perhaps savant of sorts for BELICHICK. After attending school at Andover Academy in Massachusetts, they reunited in 1979 when ADAMS was hired by HC RAY PERKINS, and ADAMS talked PERKINS into hiring BELICHICK as a Special Teams assistant coach. ADAMS joined BELICHICK in 1991 when BILL got the job as BROWNS Head Coach. They reunited in NEW ENGLAND when BELICHICK got the Head Coaching gig and hired ADAMS. After TOM BRADY, ADAMS may have played the biggest role in the Patriots success during the BELICHICK regime. No one had BELICHICK’s ear and trust more than ADAMS, who also took a major role in developing younger members of the BELICHICK regime like SCOTT PIOLI and NICK CASERIO. The 68-year old ADAMS got an unusual honor from BELICHICK at the end of the Draft, when he expressed appreciation for ADAMS work and allowed ADAMS to Pick the final Draftee from the tags on the PATS Big Board. ADAMS pulled off the tag with TRE NIXON/WR/UCF’s name on it. A fitting finale for his career in the PATRIOTS organization.

The BUCCANEERS were the envy of the League when they captured their Super Bowl title under the guidance of TOM BRADY. However, it doesn’t stop there. They also kept just about every VFA on their 2020 roster. Never before has a Super Bowl champ headed into the following NFL Draft with the entire starting lineup it had in that Super Bowl matchup. So GM JASON LICHT was pretty much free to calculate 2021 roster options heading into the NFL Draft weekend with no immediate, pressing needs to force them into player selection decisions other than to fill in their depth chart, and find some players to plug into their aging and/or expensive player position groups. And they pretty much did so with their 7 Picks. From a glamour perspective, their selection of Florida QB KYLE TRASK may make him the most scrutinized Rookie in Training Camp this Summer. He’s a Florida kid, born and raised, who is used to sitting behind big name QB types, going all the way back to High School. He will also have a couple of seasons (seems likely to, anyway) to get adjusted to the world of pro football. My favorite Pick by the team, and a guy I encourage you to keep your eye on, is their top Pick JOE TRYON, the long, athletic defender that I see as the heir apparent to multi-purpose JPP in their Defense.

The most telling, or mysterious Pick in the entire Draft, may have taken place near the beginning of Round 3, when the TEXANS selected QB/DAVIS MILLS/Stanford. Because of some highly questionable trades by former Head Coach/GM BILL O’BRIEN, Pick 67 was the TEXANS first selection of the Draft. For a team that has been insisting that disgruntled and beleaguered QB DESHAUN WATSON is not available in a trade, this Pick would seem to indicate something to the contrary. MILLS now joins VFA TYROD TAYLOR and RYAN FINLEY (released by the BENGALS) in the lineup behind WATSON’s name on the TEXANS QB depth chart. Makes one begin to wonder if new GM NICK CASERIO isn’t preparing for WATSON’s exit from HOUSTON after all, either by Commissioner’s Suspension, or trade (if anyone will have him, given his current legal issues). One thing seems clear to me… veteran NFL Coach DAVID CULLEY, doesn’t deserve this steaming hot chaos in his first shot at running an NFL team.

For any NFL fans, or NFL people that have doubted the importance of the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the lack of one this year, because of Covid issues, should lay those doubts to rest. Give NCAA member schools credit for accommodating pro football by conducting extensive campus pro days, but the lack of medical information gleaned from the first two days of detailed medical information gathering for every Combine attendee, as well as on-field testing, which eliminates any “home field” advantages for the players, made this year’s final evaluation of prospects harder than ever to both quantify and qualify. Not to mention, the thousands of in-person team/prospects interviews also conducted in Indy each evening. As a Draftnik trying to gather information, I can only imagine the amount of detailed information missing in Scouting folders as NFL teams tried to set their Big Boards. Here’s to the return of the Combine, and All-Star Games, following the 2021 football seasons in 2022.

Back at you next week to take a look at some roster impact around the league from the Draft, including Day 4+ with Rookie Free Agent singings.

Cheers

Pigskin