I am always amazed how quickly the NFL jumps right from the Draft into Undrafted Rookie Free Agent (URFA) signings, vet roster cuts (based largely on what they got in the Draft) and limited leftover VFA signings. So let’s reflect a bit on some Draft numbers and what that has led us to today.
Let’s start with non-Draft news on the VFA front. RAP Sheet, and others, are reporting that the Saints are currently in serious discussion with JAMEIS WINSTON’s agent, and probably JAMEIS himself about a one-year contract. It certainly makes sense given that DREW BREES dos not have a true vet back-up right now. I luv TAYSOM HILL, but he is NOT a starting NFL QB now, or ever, IMO. It would put JAMEIS with a winning team, and a chance to clean up some of his turnover issues with SEAN PAYTON, with BREES conducting the learning lessons. It would make logical sense if the dollars can be comfortably worked in under the Saints current Salary Cap situation. I would just say for now that this strikes me as a legitimate development, not just some cheap bar talk.
Yours truly has lost a lot of respect for the capabilities of the Packers leadership with the handling and verbiage being thrown about regarding the drafting of QB/JORDAN LOVE and the garbage excuse for not drafting a wide receiver to bolster the Packers Offense over the last 3 days. Seriously, BRIAN GUTEKUNST, you expect us to buy your argument that you (and your Scouting Dept.) did not support the widely held opinion that this year’s WR prospect list was of high quality and depth? Makes me wonder about the caliber of your personnel people if that is really true. And if it is also true that there was no prior mention of this probable effort to get LOVE with AARON RODGERS, then you folks are truly clueless in how to relate to the potential HoF QB you currently have under contract. You certainly don’t have to kiss AARON’s ass, but a little bit of respect for his status in the NFL QB pecking order and his status in your locker room and out in the huddle, shouldn’t be below your egos to accommodate. If this all blows up, guys by the names of GUTEKUNST and LaFLEUR need only look in the mirror to understand the problems at hand.
It might just be me, but as NFL teams look to fill their rosters after they stir in Rookies, a few added leftover VFA’s, and then cut some excess baggage, (especially the expensive guys), I am going to be curious to see whether the majority of GM’s turn to unemployed XFL players next. The League was surprisingly indifferent for the most part last Spring when the AAF folded, and to be blunt about it, an awful lot of the XFL players were those same guys who were ex-AAF players. These are strange times, primarily due to a worldwide pandemic, but signing 3-4 useful vets (regardless of age) to short League minimum contracts, (in most cases), certainly seems like a logical progression to me. May could be a very active personnel move month for the NFL this year.
I had mentioned several times before the Draft rolled around that I felt like the Big 3 All-Star games were providing larger and larger numbers of players to the Draft pool of prospects. Their importance as showcases for Draft eligible talent has taken a place on the same personnel evaluation platform as the Combine, to my eyes.
So during the final rounds of the NFL Draft Sunday, I began accumulating info/numbers about how many drafted players attended a major All-Star venue; the big 3 venues being the Senior Bowl, Shrine Bowl and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. So after Round 4, I began pulling together numbers as to how many of the 255 Draftees had participated in the 3 Star games. I also predicted in a Tweet on Twitter that I felt like more than half the players in the entire Draft, would come from these game venues. Please remember as we get to actual numbers, that underclassmen, except for a handful who have received their college degrees, are not allowed to participate in these games.
So, when Mr. Irrelevant (TAE CROWDER/LB/Georgia) was announced at Pick 255, I tabulated my numbers, and triple checked them for accuracy. The Senior Bowl had 93 Draftees; Shrine Bowl 29; NFLPA Collegiate Bowl 15. That’s a total of 137, but 3 players appeared at 2 venues, so the Total number of players involved was 134. One-half of 255 is 127 1/2, so to be over half, my Total would need to be 128 or more players. Clearly 134 is more than 128, so I won my first “bet” of the 2020 Draft extravaganza. I also had projected that the Senior Bowl would surpass last year’s record total of 92 draftees. That one was really tight, but by one, I was correct again. After biting the bullet in my Top 100 player rankings over the first two days of the Draft, collapsing down the stretch as usual, I was ready to take any victory that I could get. Even little inconsequential ones like these.
Monday, I will begin to publish some of my actual thoughts about the Draft itself. Please remember, I do not give letter grades to teams for their Draft efforts, despite my background as a teacher some decades ago. However, I will tell you who impressed, and who left me cold. Also, don’t forget that today is the 4th day of the Draft. Personnel people around the league have been calling players and their agents since the Draft ended Saturday trying to fill more roster holes with undrafted players that are now fair game for any and all teams to sign, and you can count on Chief Scout Larry Parker to be following those signings and getting them posted here at out website.