After watching seven straight rounds of the NFL Draft over the weekend, my brain is mush, so if today's newsletter reads like it was written by someone who seems to be barely functioning, that's because it was.
As for this year's draft it will definitely go down as the best one of all time and yes, I'm only saying that because a kicker got drafted. As everyone knows, my two favorite things to talk about are kickers and the Bengals and the Bengals ended up selecting the first and only kicker of the entire draft. I've always said that the Bengals are just one good kicker away from the Super Bowl, so this will be the year where they finally put my theory to the test.
Anyway, I promise not to talk anymore about kickers today, but there will be plenty of draft talk. As a matter of fact, this entire newsletter is 95% draft coverage. it would have been 100% if Aaron Rodgers didn't exist, but he does, so we'll be talking about all the drama in Green Bay that happened over the weekend.
By the way, if you want to see the full draft class for every team before we get to the rundown, you can check out our draft tracker by clicking here. We're also keeping track of where every undrafted free agent ends up signing and you can see that tracker by clicking here.
Alright, let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link.
1. Today's show: Handing out the awards for best and worst draft classes
The NFL Draft consisted of 259 picks this year and although most people at home didn't stick around to watch every pick get announced on television, there are two people I know who watched EVERY SINGLE PICK go down and those two people are: Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards.
I mean, I get paid to watch football, but even I had to take a break on Saturday. I missed a total of 11 picks and that's mostly because I went to the bathroom three times over the course of the day, made a Chick-Fil-A run and I also think I watched roughly 12 minutes of "The Goonies."
Anyway, since Trapasso and Edwards watched everything, Will Brinson decided to bring them on the post-draft podcast so that they could hand out some awards. So without further ado, let's get to those awards (Josh and Chris listed their award and then I commented on their choices, because I like commenting on things).
- Trapasso: Bears. The Bears pulled off the biggest trade of the draft to land Justin Fields and then followed that up by landing a stud tackle in the second-round (Teven Jenkins).
- Edwards: Jets. The Jets don't ever really do anything well, but they crushed this draft. The Jets needed some help on offense and they got that with their first four picks, which were all offensive players.
- Trapasso: 49ers. After Trey Lance, Traspasso thinks their the draft fell apart. You can yell at him on Twitter if you don't agree with that.
- Edwards: Rams. The Rams didn't make their first pick until late in the second round. They basically got stuck with everyone's leftovers.
Most NFL-ready class
- Trapasso: Panthers. The Panthers used four picks in the first three rounds and it wouldn't be surprising if all four of those guys are starters in 2021.
- Edwards: Broncos. The Broncos used four picks in the first three rounds and it wouldn't be surprising if all four of those guys are starters as well in 2021.
Class that will take the most time to judge
- Trapasso: Colts. The Colts didn't fill their biggest hole (left tackle), which means the rest of the class is going to have to prove it was worth it.
- Edwards: Panthers. Although we could see the top four picks all starting next season, the Panthers also had seven picks after that. If just half of those seven pan out, this draft class could be the foundation for a successful future in Carolina.
To listen to the rest of today's show -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. NFL Draft grades for every team
I'm not sure if Pete Prisco was a professor in a past life, but the man loves handing out grades and there's no better event for handing out grades than the NFL Draft. As soon as the draft ends, most fans want to immediately know how their favorite team did and that's where Prisco takes over.
Professor Prisco went through every team's draft class and graded it accordingly. I'm not sure if Prisco was feeling nice this year, or if he was just afraid of getting called out by Old Takes Exposed, or if he's just gone soft, but he didn't hand out a single "F."
Let's take a look at the three teams with the highest grades and the three teams with the lowest grades.
- Dolphins: "I love their draft. Chris Grier did a great job, starting with Waddle and adding a lot of quality players after that. The key will be how well edge Jaelen Phillips, their second first-round pick, shows up in the pass rush. Getting a right tackle in Liam Eichenberg was big, too."
- Broncos: "I really like what the Broncos did. They landed the best corner in Surtain and then continued to load up on good players. Their later-round picks were impressive. I really like fifth-round safety Jamar Johnson."
- Vikings: "They had a lot of picks by virtue of trading down and they landed a lot of good players. Rick Spielman and gang had three really good days. They fixed the offensive line with Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis and added some defensive talent in the later rounds. Keep an eye on sixth-round pick Jaylen Twyman."
- Texans: "They didn't have much capital to work with, so it's hard to really gauge this draft. I like the move to get Mills, and fifth-round tight end Brevin Jordan has some talent and could end up being a good player."
- Raiders: "They over-drafted Leatherwood, but bounced back with a nice pick of Moehrig. But why take two more safeties in your first five picks? What in the hell? The Raiders have struggled to draft with Jon Gruden running things."
- Seahawks: "They didn't have a lot of picks because of trades — their first- and third-round picks went to the Jets in the Jamal Adams trade — but I didn't love what they did with the three picks they had. It was just OK."
If you're wondering how the other 26 teams graded out, you're going to want to click here to check out Prisco's full story. The most shocking part of Prisco's grades is that he didn't penalize the Bengals too badly for taking a kicker. Prisco hates kickers.
3. Winners and losers of the 2021 NFL Draft
When I said we were going heavy on the draft today, I might have been underselling things. Not only did we have full post-draft podcast, plus Prisco's grades, but we also have some winners and losers, because, like most things in life, some people won and some people lost.
Cody Benjamin was given the task of deciding who the draft's biggest winners and the draft's biggest losers were and here's the list he came up with:
Winners (each team is listed with a few of their notable picks)
- Ravens: WR Rashod Bateman (1), OLB Odafe Oweh (1), OG Ben Cleveland (3), CB Brandon Stephens (3), CB Shaun Wade (5)
- Panthers: CB Jaycee Horn (1), WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (2), OT Brady Christensen (3), TE Tommy Tremble (3)
- Bears: QB Justin Fields (1), OT Teven Jenkins (2)
- Browns: CB Greg Newsome II (1) ,LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (2), WR Anthony Schwartz (3)
- Vikings: OT Christian Darrisaw (1), QB Kellen Mond (3), LB Chazz Surratt (3)
- Broncos: CB Patrick Surtain II (1), RB Javonte Williams (2)
- Packers: CB Eric Stokes (1), C Josh Myers (2), WR Amari Rodgers (3)
- Colts: DE Kwity Paye (1), DE Dayo Odeyingbo (2), S Shawn Davis (5), QB Sam Ehlinger (6)
- Raiders: OT Alex Leatherwood (1), S Trevon Moehrig (2)
- Saints: DE Payton Turner (1), LB Pete Werner (2), CB Paulson Adebo (3), QB Ian Book (4)
If you want a full explanation for why each team ended up where they did on Cody's list, be sure to click here.
4. NFL insider notes: Chiefs are still the best team in the AFC
The Chiefs have been the best team in the AFC for two straight years and if the other teams in the conference were hoping to close the gap with Kansas City during the NFL Draft over the weekend, that definitely didn't happen, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
The Chiefs had one big weakness heading into the offseason and that was their offensive line. However, it's no longer a weakness due to the fact that they signed Joe Thuney and traded for Orlando Brown. They also drafted center Creed Humphrey with the 63rd overall pick.
Basically, it's the Chiefs at the top of the AFC and then everyone else. The Ravens, Bills and Browns are in the next tier of top AFC teams, but it's unlikely they'll be able to pass the Chiefs in 2021.
Here's JLC's take on the Chiefs weekend:
"Disregard any draft grades that rip [Kansas City] for lack of selections. They went all in to repair their one glaring need, and ownership showed a willingness to dig far deeper in its pockets than many rivals (you know who you are) including almost landing Trent Williams, the highest-paid left tackle in the game. Those draft grades don't include the 24-year-old tackle they just landed (Brown) who has already gone to the Pro Bowl at two different positions already, and if you aren't giving Andy Reid an 'A' for the totality of his offseason transactions, you aren't paying very close attention. But trust me, the GMs in the AFC are. None of this escapes them. And best of luck keeping chase."
To find out how the Ravens, Bills and Browns stack up to the Chiefs, you're definitely going to want to read La Canfora's story and you can do that by clicking here.
5. One thing each team got right in the draft and one thing each got wrong
Although Prisco handed out a few "A" grades earlier, no team had a perfect draft and I know that because we'll be running a series this week going over one thing that each team did right in the draft and one thing they got wrong.
Since the Packers are an absolute disaster right now, I thought we should start with them. Here's what Cody Benjamin had to say about Green Bay's draft.
- One thing the Packers got right: Most of their draft. "If Rodgers plays hardball and is actually committed to playing elsewhere, we suppose you could make a case they should've considered adding another quarterback, but even that's a stretch: 1.) Because you're not replacing Rodgers with one last-minute swing in the draft; and 2.) Because you already have Jordan Love, the guy whose arrival sent Rodgers' frustrations to a new level. Otherwise, Green Bay addressed just about every position it needed to."
- One thing the Packers got wrong: Reached with certain picks. "While Josh Myers certainly gives them an able-bodied blocker to take over for Linsley and may very well start in Week 1, the Pack had their choice of several other linemen who were widely considered superior prospects -- namely Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey and Michigan's Jalen Mayfield. There's also the matter of spending a second-rounder on strictly a center. Ideally, if you're going to use a top-65 pick on an interior lineman, you'd like him to have more versatility."
To check out a more in-depth explanation on how the Packers' draft fared, be sure to click here. If you want to read about one thing Washington did right in the draft, then you're definitely going to want to click here. You can also check out our takes on the Giants (Click here), Vikings (Click here) and Eagles (Click here).
6. Latest details on the Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay
At the rate we're going, I might have to start a separate newsletter that only covers Aaron Rodgers news, because things have gotten crazy in Green Bay.
Here's the latest on the situation between Rodgers and their star QB:
- Rodgers confirms rift with team. Rodgers attended the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and while he was there, he did an off-camera interview with NBC's Mike Tirico. Based on what Rodgers told Tirico, "there is a chasm between management and the reigning NFL MVP." That doesn't sound like a good thing for the Packers. You can click here for full details on that story.
- Rodgers has threatened retirement. According to NFL.com, if the Packers won't trade Rodgers, then he is going to give some serious thought to retiring and it's something that could happen "unless the situation [in Green Bay] is repaired to his liking." For more on that, you can head here.
- Rodgers wants Packers to fire general manager Brian Gutekunst. So how could the Packers fix the situation to Rodgers' liking? Glad you asked. Apparently, that would involve the team firing Gutekunst. According to Yahoo Sports, Rodgers isn't going to play for the team as long as Gutekunst is around. The Packers GM was actually asked about the report over the weekend and said that he wasn't aware of Rodgers making any such demand. For more on this drama, be sure to click here.
- LaFleur is keeping hopes alive that Rodgers will return. The Packers coach did an interview over the weekend and he made it clear that he wants Rodgers to return, but he also sounded like a guy who has no idea what's going to happen. "I can't fathom him not being in Green Bay," LaFleur said. "I won't even let my mind go there."
- Rodgers is apparently intrigued by both the Broncos and Raiders. Last week, we told you about three teams Rodgers was interested in joining -- the 49ers, Raiders and Broncos -- well, that list is now down to two. With Trey Lance now in San Francisco, a report came out Sunday saying that Rodgers was "intrigued" by the thought of playing in Vegas and was also still interested in the Broncos.
This spat seems like it's only going to get uglier and if you're a Packers fan, you better start bracing for a Rodgers exit, because that seems like where this is headed.
7. The Kicker: Michael Vick just ran a 4.72 40-yard dash at age 40
Based on what I learned in my high school physiology class, humans are supposed to slow down as they get older, but apparently, that doesn't apply to Michael Vick, because I think he's actually getting faster.
The former NFL quarterback showed off his speed during the NFL Draft over the weekend as part of Rich Eisen's "Run Rich Run" fundraiser. The charity event, which is held by Eisen every year, basically consists of a bunch of people running the 40 to raise money for St. Jude.
This year, Vick got involved and let's just say, he might be the fastest living 40-year-old on Earth. During the event, Vick ran a 4.72 40 and he did that even though his right hamstring started giving him problems about 25 yards in. The good news for Vick is that his hamstring didn't tear in half, which is what would have happened to me if I tried to run a 40 over the weekend. I mowed my lawn last week and my body still hurts from that.
To check out Vick's lightning fast run, be sure to click here.