Cardinals end worst bluff in history, do what Kliff Kingsbury said he would in October
Kingsbury really did reveal the Cardinals’ pick six months ago. "Kyler Murray is a freak,” Kingsbury said Oct. 28. “I would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could." Sure, Kingsbury was still coaching at Texas Tech, Murray had made only eight starts at Oklahoma and the Cardinals were half a season away from clinching the No. 1 pick, but this was the moment the die was cast. With no reason to lie, Kingsbury tipped his hand. Everything that happened afterwards, including Thursday’s persistent rumors that the Cards might take Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams, was just noise. Kingsbury has his man and the Cardinals have avoided a sunk cost in Josh Rosen. Murray will set about trying to become a Michael Vick for the spread age and Rosen will get a second chance elsewhere. What seemed obvious is now reality.
Giants draft Daniel Jones for … reasons
When the Giants made Jones the second quarterback off the board at No. 6, the television networks were quick to lay out the reasons why. Jones played for coaching guru David Cutcliffe. He knows Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. He comes from an athletic family. What they did not mention were Jones’ on-field achievements. That’s because they were few and far between at football outpost Duke. Jones completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes, averaged a measly 6.4 yards per attempt and tossed only 52 touchdowns in three years as starter. For perspective, Kyler Murray threw for 42 last season. It is not that there is nothing to like about Jones’ game. He is reasonably athletic. He throws a reasonably good ball. It is just that those are not usually reasons to take a quarterback in the first round. Both on paper and film, Jones is a prototypical day-two pick. Someone you roll the dice with, not someone you stake the franchise on. Giants GM Dave Gettleman believes otherwise. From Gettleman’s frightening certainty comes the blueprint for the G-Men’s long overdue post-Manning future.
Redskins execute owner-telegraphed pick, make Dwayne Haskins third quarterback off board
All week out of Washington, the word was that owner Daniel Snyder and GM Bruce Allen were smitten with Haskins. The scouts were rumored to have their eye on Daniel Jones, but Dave Gettleman made the point moot. Not that Snyder was ever going to take someone else. The owner sat in on one pre-draft meeting: Haskins. Only one quarterback prospect went to his son’s high school: Haskins. That is apparently the way things work in Washington. In this case, the awful process did not necessarily produce a bad result. The Redskins were not the only team intrigued by the one-year starter. Haskins’ college numbers were ridiculous, while he puts the ball right on his pass catchers. The concern is mobility this side of Philip Rivers. Haskins’ tape revealed a quarterback who sometimes seemed to have the lateral movement skills of Ryan Mallett. That will be a difficult trait to overcome in the modern NFL. If Haskins can do it, Snyder might start sitting in on a lot more prospect meet and greets.
Lions make T.J. Hockenson first pass catcher off the board at No. 8 overall
Finally, the Lions have taken a tight end in the top 20. Whereas Brandon Pettigrew busted and Eric Ebron flourished elsewhere, the Lions are hoping Hockenson is a third-time charmer. There is no debating Hockenson’s profile: He is a special prospect, one who can do it all at tight end. But first, he must make one of the most difficult transitions in football. Tight end is an infamously difficult position for college players to grow into at the pro level. Pettigrew and Ebron can attest. 2019 could be more about blocking than pass-catching as Hockenson tries to harness his Travis Kelce-ian athletic prowess. Dynasty-league drafters might have to weather some Dwayne Allen before finding the George Kittle.
Hockenson’s teammate Noah Fant goes 12 picks later to the Broncos
A truly elite athlete for the seam, Fant is less polished than his fellow Hawkeye. He couldn’t quite match Hockenson’s production in the Big 10, and sports a less-imposing frame. He could still become an Aaron Hernandez-type threat as a pass catcher, but it will be difficult with Joe Flacco at the controls. Even if Fant quickly grows into his role, there is no guarantee that Flacco makes it profitable in fantasy leagues. Consider Fant a longer-term investment in Dynasty rookie drafts.
Ravens snap wide receiver drought at No. 25
Famously, Marquise Brown spent 2016 enrolled at “College of the Canyons” and working at Six Flags. Thursday, he was the first receiver off the board after spending time as both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s No. 1 receiver at Oklahoma. Brown boasts rare explosiveness for any position, but his frame — 5-foot-9, 166 pounds — is equally rare at the professional level. He was often running free off the line of scrimmage in the Big 12. That is not going to happen in the AFC North. He will also be transitioning from an offense studded with pyrotechnics to one grounded in the run. Brown has the skills to overcome his size. Hopefully he has the situation.
Patriots add to barren receiver room with N'Keal Harry
Big and strong, Harry is also a plus athlete. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always easy to tell on his college film, as he was often stuck to an opposing cornerback. Harry’s game is not based on separation. He is a hand fighter who plays big and relies on yards after the catch. That is not always a formula that works at the NFL level. The greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick, believes it will, though it must be said that Belichick’s track record when it comes to drafting wideouts is not exactly great. Harry is in the mix for No. 1 overall status in Dynasty rookie drafts, but he could end up the latest in a long line of Aaron Dobsons for the Pats.
Oakland makes Joshua Jacobs the only running back selected
Whereas the Raiders delivered on their promise to surprise at No. 4, Jacobs at No. 24 was draft week’s worst-kept secret outside of Kyler Murray. Although Jacobs was limited to committees at Alabama, he is a forward mover with upside in the passing game. He wastes no time getting downhill, and stays upright with a low center of gravity, a la one of the players he will be replacing in Oakland, Doug Martin. You can question the wisdom of using a first-round pick on a running back, but Jacobs will be a no-brainer top-three selection in Dynasty rookie drafts.
Tweet Of The Night, From NBC Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank: These Daniel Jones highlights are pretty impressive against Quinnipiac.
Dashed Conspiracy Theory Of The Night: That the Raiders would not select a Joel Segal client. Not only did the Raiders work with Segal, they made the most stunning pick of the evening at No. 4 with Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell.