3. DETROIT. Defensive player or trade down. Lions would love to find a partner to supply them with a fifth pick in the top 90 of a top-heavy draft. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah or Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown would be Matt Patricia types. But how about this counter-culture idea from one smart GM on Saturday: “I bet 40 percent of the teams in the league have C.J. Henderson higher on their boards than Okudah. Better cover guy.” Hmmmm. Even a trade down for slightly less value would be smart for Lions GM [Bob Quinn].
Perhaps, a better cover guy, but if Hendeson doesn’t play the run, he’s a liability on a significant percentage of plays.
A few others:
5. MIAMI. In free agency 14 years ago, the most fateful decision in the NFL was quarterback-desperate Miami bypassing Drew Brees because of a major shoulder injury in favor of Daunte Culpepper. That, of course, changed the course of pro football history. In the draft this year, the most fateful decision will be another medical one, and it’s in quarterback-desperate Miami’s hands again: to draft Tua Tagovailoa with his injury history, or to pass him by.
Interesting to note that Chris Grier, the current GM, was a Miami national scout in 2006 and watched the organization make the safer, and ultimately dead-wrong, call. Interesting, too, that Grier was Miami’s director of college scouting under football boss Bill Parcells from 2008 to 2010—and one of Parcells’ favorite bromides is, “The most important part of ability is availability. ” Tough call for Grier.
I do hear that he and coach Brian Flores are very much against trading the farm to move up to get Burrow—which some in the organization want to do. I doubt owner Stephen Ross will pull the owner card and force a mega-offer to try to move up to number one, but we’ll see. “You can’t say anything with certainty on Tua,” Mel Kiper says.
One last point, and I can’t take credit for it; a smart GM told me this Saturday. Imagine the buzzkill if the Dolphins take Tagovailoa, and there’s a huge virtual celebration, and Adam Schefter or Chris Mortensen take the TV throw from Trey Wingo and say: “Trey, I’ve been told that more than one NFL team gave Tua Tagovailoa a failing grade on his physical exam.” Welcome to Miami, kid.
6. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS. Top-five GM poker-player in the league: Tom Telesco. (So you ask: Who is the top one? Easy. Jacksonville’s Dave Caldwell, who keeps the Jags’ picks from his wife. ) A quarterback or long-term tackle makes the most sense; a GM friend of Telesco’s thinks he’s very high on Justin Herbert. But head coach Anthony Lynn is legitimately bullish on Tyrod Taylor, and maybe for more than one year. Talked to Telesco on my podcast this week, and he said the final board gets made, virtually, this week by video conference.
9. JACKSONVILLE. Not a quarterback, I hear. “They really want to give Gardner Minshew a real shot,” one FOC (Friend of Caldwell) says. Defensive impact player like Swiss-Army-knifish Isaiah Simmons makes sense. Biggest question for Jags on draft weekend revolves around the latest really good cornerstone player who wants out, Yannick Ngakoue. Can Caldwell find a fair deal for the defensive end?