2020 Post-Draft Presser Review: Round 1

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2020 Post-Draft Presser Review: Round 1

Every year immediately following the NFL Draft, I do the same thing: I watch and take notes on nearly 40 hours’ worth of Post-Draft Press Conferences. It’s a brutal mind-numbing slog, but it’s also quite possibly the most important and most valuable thing I do every offseason.

NFL GMs and head coaches lie all the time, fearful of giving away any important pieces of intel to the enemy, but the NFL Draft is something different. Teams have poured so much time and energy into this event. And most importantly, for a brief shining moment, they’re happy. They’re happy they got their guy and they’re excited to brag about him. And so, for once, they’ll tell us honestly why they liked a player, what they think about him, and how they envision him fitting into their scheme, and sometimes they’ll tell us even more than that.

Again, this is massively time-consuming, but not for you. I condensed all of the most important fantasy-relevant information here for your reading pleasure. We’ve broken this up by round (today’s article will cover all of Round 1) and each article is split into halves, where the top half contains my analysis, and the bottom half contains only the most important and most fantasy-relevant quotes from these press conferences. Consider the latter half of this article optional, as a sort of bibliography for the analysis at the top.

Author Analysis

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Round 1, Pick 1
Cincinnati Bengals

HC Zac Taylor and OC Bryan Callahan couldn’t be patting themselves on the back any harder after making this selection. Per Callahan, Burrow is the most accurate quarterback he’s ever studied, with only Andrew Luck rivaling him in terms of being a complete prospect coming out of school.

Burrow is a near-lock to be the Week 1 starter, and Taylor is already working on adding some things Burrow did at LSU to his playbook. Just from a personal feel, Taylor and Callahan came off to me as two guys “who really get it” – two of the most impressive and knowledgeable coaches I watched during this exercise. I came away with the sense that both will be very successful coaches in the NFL for a long time.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 5
Miami Dolphins

I really try not to insert such heavy conjecture and speculation into this sort of analysis, but in this instance I feel like I have to. Miami’s Round 1 Post-Draft Press Conference was one of the most bizarre I remember watching. GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores looked depressed and pissed off for much of the interview, as if they drafted Nathan Peterman, rather than former Heisman finalist Tua Tagovailoa.

Rather than giving a typically evasive non-answer, as Bill Belichick surely coached both of them to do, they were surprisingly honest when asked of their assessment of Burrow and Justin Herbert. Grier admitted he tried to trade up for Burrow. (They never tried to trade up for the No. 3 spot.) They selected Tagovailoa over Herbert, but only after months of debate.

It’s far too early to tell whether or not there will be any health-related restrictions for Tagovailoa this season, or if he’ll be competing for the starting job. Miami’s doctors haven’t even had a chance to evaluate him in-person to see what sort of shape his hip is in. When I relayed the full quote back to Fantasy Points’ own Dr. Edwin Porras, he had this to say:

The tone is actually extremely interesting. Obviously, without examining him personally it's impossible to guarantee, but Tua should be theoretically cleared by the time camp starts. The argument to wait longer than a year to let him come back is plausible too, if they want to let his bone density completely restore. But they have access to DEXA machines to test that.

Moral of the story: There's very limited research on Tagovailoa 's injury but the case studies that exist end with players coming back to play by the beginning of the next season. And by all accounts by those who have examined Tagovailoa's hip he seems to be doing well.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Round 1, Pick 6
Los Angeles Chargers

Similar to Miami’s presser, it was strange that GM Tom Telesco admitted he had Tagovailoa and Herbert closely-ranked behind Burrow, and that he would have been happy with either quarterback.

Telesco called Herbert a “dual-threat quarterback,” and, when asked if he expected Herbert to “run a lot in the NFL,” he replied that “it’s a part of his game and it’s a part of his game that we like.” Except, it wasn’t really a part of his game in college; Burrow averaged 6.6 rushing fantasy points per game over the past two seasons, compared to Herbert’s 3.0. He does, however, compare favorably (size/speed-wise) to Josh Allen and he did post some impressive numbers at the Combine.

It seemed clear there’s an open competition between Tyrod Taylor and Herbert for starting duties, with Taylor currently in “the driver’s seat.” When it was brought up that Herbert has taken snaps from the shotgun (rather than under center) for nearly his entire life, HC Anthony Lynn said he expects the offense to be more shotgun- and pistol-heavy this year. That would be good news for Austin Ekeler – 73% of his fantasy points came from the shotgun last year, compared to Melvin Gordon’s 53%.

While Taylor and Callahan had two of the most-impressive press conferences I watched, I came away with the opposite feeling after watching Telesco and Lynn. And, speaking of franchises with questionable leadership…

Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 12
Las Vegas Raiders

Why Ruggs over Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb? “The distinguishing factor really was his speed…” according to GM Mike Mayock, who admitted, “we had to get faster as an offense.” Obviously – because, that’s the only way in which Ruggs was superior to either receiver. Nevertheless, the Raiders have a clearly defined role for Ruggs – one that consists of deep routes, of course, but also “the manufactured touches,” things like “bubble screens and jet sweeps.”

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 15
Denver Broncos

GM John Elway was beside himself, incredulous that Jeudy fell to him at pick No. 15. Elway told reporters that wide receiver was their top position of need and that Jeudy was the No. 1 player on their board (just ahead of CeeDee Lamb). OC Pat Shurmur felt comfortable with Jeudy’s ability to play both inside and outside, but Alabama HC Nick Saban told DenverBroncos.com shortly after the pick that he felt Jeudy was most deadly from the slot. Per PFF, Jeudy ran 59% of his routes from the slot last year but wasn’t dramatically more efficient there (3.39 yards per route run) than when on the outside (3.18).

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Round 1, Pick 17
Dallas Cowboys

As happy as Elway looked, no one seemed more pleased with himself than Owner Jerry Jones, who told reporters he “had Lamb as the No. 6 player on his board.” They “never in a million years” thought Lamb would be there at their pick. They had both Lamb and Jeudy ranked “really high” and “higher than Ruggs.”

Wide receiver wasn’t a position of need, according to CEO Stephen Jones, but his father, Jerry, might have contradicted that. According to Jerry Jones, HC Mike McCarthy told him before the draft, “with this loaded wide receiver class we could really come out of here with an outstanding player that we could use certainly as our second receiver – as our Y or outside [wide receiver] – that had a lot of flexibility going at all positions.” This seems to imply that they already view Lamb as the No. 2 over Michael Gallup.

When asked how he would fit into the offense McCarthy said: “He’ll be there in our 3WR package. We want to train all of our wide receivers to play all the positions. He can play inside and outside, and is a great addition to our 11 personnel package.” Greg Cosell, via our 2020 NFL Draft Guide, certainly prefers him in the slot, though Amari Cooper might also fit well there.

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Round 1, Pick 21
Philadelphia Eagles

This was another odd press conference, coming immediately following the team’s surprise selection of a quarterback in the second round. GM Howie Roseman seemed defensive, repeatedly telling reporters how much he liked Reagor rather than actually providing any reasons why. (You can take my word for it, or see for yourself in the quotes section further down below.) Reagor was well-liked by Fantasy Points staff and the dynasty community, but many others panned the pick as a reach. Adding to that, Reagor told reporters that the Eagles were “clearly the team that showed the most interest.”

Roseman told us the next day, he “really fits what [the team] wants to do offensively” and that he “added a speed element” to the offense. Okay, but why Reagor over some other receivers (like Justin Jefferson perhaps)? Roseman made this point clear: “vertical separation as an outside receiver.” The implication, at least to me, was two-fold:

1) They didn’t trust Justin Jefferson as a full-time outside wide receiver. (Jefferson ran 99% of his routes from the slot in 2019.)

2) Either we should expect Alshon Jeffery or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to move to the slot full-time, or, we should expect the Eagles to play in 12 personnel more often than they have. (Philadelphia played in 12 personnel on 54% of their snaps in 2019. Minnesota, the next-closest team, was at only 35%. More snaps from 12 personnel would mean good news for Dallas Goedert’s fantasy value.)

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Round 1, Pick 22
Minnesota Vikings

I’ve always found GM Rick Spielman’s interviews to be underwhelming. He seems smart. He wears glasses, speaks well, and, at least, is smart enough to know you should trade down as much as possible in the draft. But, at the same time, the things he says don’t always seem smart to me. Plus, at the end of the day, this is the same man who traded first- and fourth-round picks for Sam Bradford (career 4.49 ANY/A at the time).

Per Spielman, “The biggest thing that lifted [Jefferson] up in this process was – you saw good speed on tape and after the catch, but when he went and ran in the 4.4s at the Combine, that went and elevated his status even more.” Okay, two things:

1) You’re double-counting speed. If you bumped Jefferson up your board for being fast on tape, why are you bumping him up again for being fast in shorts?

2) All statistical evidence suggests the forty-yard-dash is massively overrated when it comes to evaluating the wide receiver position. At the very least, it should certainly not be the biggest thing. (Granted, this is a bit out of context and you can judge for yourself by reading the full quote farther down the article.)

A savvy reporter later asked, “Is he a guy who can play predominantly on the outside?” Spielman responded, “I’m just trying to get the best guys we can get in right now. The coaches will figure out where to put these guys. With the addition of Tajae Sharpe and Adam Thielen, and now Jefferson, I think we’re going to have a pretty good crew.” Spielman sort of wrote off the concern, but I think it’s far more important than Spielman made it out to be. As we outlined above, Minnesota ran out of 12-personnel more often than anyone but Philadelphia. Minnesota had a slot wide receiver on the field on only 58% of Kirk Cousin’s dropbacks, even though Adam Thielen is best in the slot. (Compare that to 123% of the time for New England, or 150% for Arizona.)

Again, I’m not being totally fair, but this is a concern I’m not seeing mentioned anywhere else: Jefferson might be a poor fit for this offense. For what it's worth, Jefferson ran the majority of his routes on the outside in 2018, and, at least statistically, he wasn’t much worse there (2.40 yards per route run) than in the slot in 2019 (2.60 yards per route run).

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Round 1, Pick 25
San Francisco 49ers

GM John Lynch gave up fourth- and fifth-round picks to move up six spots to select Aiyuk, but, based on how they valued them, that sounds cheap. And, according to them, it was necessary – “based on our intel, there’s no way Aiyuk is getting to 31.” HC Kyle Shanahan told Aiyuk over the phone, “We were hoping to get you at 13. You were our guy.” He confirmed that again with reporters, telling them he was in consideration when they held the No. 13 pick, only, this time adding that he was also his favorite receiver he evaluated and their highest-rated wide receiver (in competition with CeeDee Lamb). Shanahan said he viewed Aiyuk as a scheme-transcendent every-down receiver who can play all three wide receiver positions.

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Round 1, Pick 26
Green Bay Packers

If you throw out the second quarter of the NFC Championship game, the Packers would have advanced to the Super Bowl. The team’s future Hall of Fame quarterback – Aaron Rodgers – is six years younger than Tom Brady with four years left on his contract.

The team traded up to draft a quarterback in the first round, and the first question HC Matt LaFleur was asked was “Why?” His response: “I had a facetime interview with him, myself, and Nathaniel Hackett. The one thing I took away from that is this guy is a humble guy. He is extremely talented. One thing I love about him is the accountability he took for every play, good or bad.” If that doesn’t sound like absolute unfettered Rodgers-shade, I don’t know what does.

Of course, LaFleur also said the following: “But we’ve got the best quarterback in the NFL and we plan to have him for a while competing for championships. I can understand the fan base and people thinking, ‘Why would you do this at this time?’ But I just think the value of our board and the way it sat, it was the best for the Green Bay Packers and we’re really excited to get Jordan here and get him in the door and learning our system.”

I don’t buy it. Instead, I think it’s pretty clear that LaFleur has grown tired of Rodgers, for whatever reason, and he views Love as his inevitable successor. It probably won’t be this year, but maybe as soon as 2021 we see Love under center for Green Bay.

To further aggravate Rodgers (I’m sure), they also failed to draft a receiver. Though, LaFleur said he had a lot of confidence in his receiving corps, hyping up, in order, Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Devin Funchess.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Round 1, Pick 32
Kansas City Chiefs

I already had Edwards-Helaire as my rookie 1.01, but, after watching all of Kansas City’s pressers, I have decided it’s still not high enough.

GM Brett Veach said, “I told coach [Andy Reid], when you turn on the tape, it’s going to remind you of Brian Westbrook. He called me back and told me he’s better than Brian Westbrook.” (From 2004-2008, under Reid, Westbrook averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game, which ranked behind only LaDanian Tomlinson.) Veach added, “We view this guy as… a rare talent, and extraordinary running back… We certainly view this guy as a franchise-type running back… He’s tailor-made for this offense.

Not only did the HC and GM like him, but so did QB Patrick Mahomes. Veach said on the call to Edwards-Helaire, “I told Coach Reid today that at about five o’clock, I said, ‘Clyde was going to be our pick’ because coach and I were thinking your way, and then I texted Pat and I said, ‘Give me a name, don’t think about it’, and he said, ‘Clyde’. And we said, ‘Good.’”

Most importantly, Veach confirmed the thought that (because of the type of offense they run) he should be a featured back in the offense like Jamaal Charles was, and that he can thrive and handle that sort of an every-down workload. And, finally, if you thought the Westbrook comparison wasn’t enough, Veach also compared him to Christian McCaffrey.

Key Quotes

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Round 1, Pick 1
Cincinnati Bengals

HC Zac Taylor

“He’ll be able to get up to speed very quickly [partly because he played in Joe Brady’s NFL-style offense.]

Q: Why is Joe the ideal quarterback for your offense?

A: He’s a proven winner. He throws with anticipation. He’s got a great football IQ. He can create off-schedule plays as well. The ability to create and extend plays.

Q: Do you fully expect him to come in and compete for the starting job immediately? And is that an expectation when you select someone No. 1-overall?

A: Yes it is.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ll be looking for, then, to…

A: Identifying what kind of defenses we’re going to face, and the speed of the game… But again, we selected him because know that he’s going to handle that. It’s just a matter of accumulating those reps as quickly as can.

Q: Would you call him the opening day starter?

A: I’m not ready to make any of those predictions.

Q: Where do you think that stands now with the draft over? Is Dalton still going to be a Bengal?

A: "We're going to keep addressing that over this weekend. He certainly is right now, as he has been all along. Now that the draft's over, we'll let the dust settle and talk through it."

OC Bryan Callahan

Q: Is he the most accurate quarterback you have ever studied?

A: Yes. He sure is. He’s the most accurate I’ve graded in my years in the NFL so far. The only guy that was probably close in terms of a total package was Andrew Luck.

Q: “Is there a quarterback he reminds you of?”

A: You know, he does remind me mentally of two of the guys I’ve been around – Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford. I see a lot of their makeup in Joe.

“I do have a ton of respect for Andy Dalton. I do still think he’s a good NFL quarterback.”

“We’re open to adjusting our playbook to incorporate some things Joe liked to do at LSU.”

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 5
Miami Dolphins

GM Chris Grier, HC Brian Flores

Q: How concerned are you with his injury history:

A: We did a lot of work on him. We’re very comfortable.

Q: How close were you to trading up to No. 3?

A: We’re always doing our homework. (They did not try to trade up, per Mike Rothstein.)

Q: Are there any health restrictions for Tua this season? Do you see him coming in and competing for a starting job in 2020?

A: We haven’t even seen him. Our doctors haven’t seen him. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s way too early to speculate.

Q: There was a report that you guys tried to trade up for Joe Burrow. Was there any validity to that? Was it a tough decision for you between Tua and Herbert?

Grier: You know we made our calls to everyone. You know. Again, to see if they were interested. So yes. But we talk to everyone. Every team in the league. So, yes, we reached out. Again, the decision to take Tua… You know. Justin’s been a really good player. We enjoyed getting to know him… But at the end of the day, we were making our decision, we liked both players a lot, we thought Tua was the right guy for us.

Flores: Nothing for me to add there. Chris and I were really in lock-step the whole way.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Round 1, Pick 6
Los Angeles Chargers

GM Tom Telesco

“We thought great about all three guys.”

Q: What did you like about Justin Herbert? What does he bring?

A: A lot. It’s a combination of his physical skills, the style of how he plays, and his makeup is just really intriguing to us. He’s a big fast dual-threat quarterback, with still plenty of room to grow. We love his intangibles, mental toughness.

Q: Is the plan still for Tyrod Taylor to be the starter or is there an open competition?

A: Well there’s always competition. But I think if you look at where we are and where we stand, I think Tyrod is in the driver’s seat, but you’ll never tell anyone there’s no competition. Once we get on the grass, we’ll go from there.

Q: Do you expect Herbert to run a lot in the NFL?

A: It’s a good tool to have… It’s part of his game and it’s a part of his game that we like.

Q: When did you guys decide that he was worthy of the No. 6 pick.

A: He’s somebody that in the fall we thought was one of the top players in the country.

HC Anthony Lynn

Q: What did you like about Justin Herbert?

A: What wasn’t there to like about him? I think he answered every question and passed every test. Four-year senior (ed: he meant ‘starter’). Went to the Senior Bowl and won MVP there. He goes to the Combine. Competes his tail off there. Had his Pro Day. Whatever he was asked to do. He led his team to the Rose Bowl his Senior year and he made plays.

Q: I know you mentioned during your closing press conference that OC Shane Steichen was going to spend a portion of the offseason revamping the offense. Making it his own. What will Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert allow that offense to do that maybe you couldn’t do before with a less mobile quarterback.

A: Well, let’s not leave out Easton Stick. He’s on that roster as well, and has done a heck of a job… They just allow you to do different. These guys they can run around a little bit. But you still need to play quarterback and play it from the pocket.

Q: When a player makes that transition from shotgun (in college) to under center in the pros….

A: We can be in shotgun or pistol more often than we’ve been. I don’t want our offense to be completely foreign to a quarterback. If he’s been under shotgun his life, then why am I going to want to put him under center right away? So, when we’re in pistol we can get the same things done and run read schemes.

Q: Should we expect a run-heavy game plan in 2020?

A: I wouldn’t say that… Whatever the defense is giving us.

Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 12
Las Vegas Raiders

GM Mike Mayock

Q: What made Ruggs stand out from Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb?

A: Yeah. All three WRs we felt were diverse and would bring different things to the Raiders. I think the staff could have gotten the most out of all three. However, you know the distinguishing factor really was his speed, the explosion, and the work ethic. When you look at Kansas City and what they have on offense and what their explosion looks like, we had to get faster. And we think that his addition opens up the entire offense. He can run the deep routes, he also gets the manufactured touches – the bubble screens, the jet sweeps. I think if you force defenses to roll coverage, it opens up our run game. You respect our deep routes, it opens up Darren Waller.

“Ruggs can return kickoffs.”

“What I really liked is Jon Gruden knows how use [Ruggs] and to maximize what he does well. Get him the ball in space and use that speed. Manufactured touches… Bryan Edwards is a different cat. He’s a guy where if you go 3 by 1 (three on one side) and put him on the backside, and let him run down the red line, and back shoulder fades, regular fades, slants, all the big-bodied throws that you think he can win. He’s physical, he’s got great hands.”

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 15
Denver Broncos

GM John Elway

“Jerry was our guy from the get-go.”

“Really surprised both he and Lamb got to our pick.”

“Jerry was the number one guy on our board. That’s why—for him to be able to fall there—Ceedee was number two. For us to be staring at 15 and to sit there and look at the top two needs on our board or the top need on our board and we have our top two guys that are still on the board, obviously we felt very comfortable with it. We felt good about the opportunity there. Jerry, we really like his ability to run routes, what he’s done, get downfield. He does a nice job after he catches the football like Ceedee does. They’ve been very productive and in very competitive leagues with Alabama in the SEC. That’s why we felt really good about the fact that we were able to get Jerry.”

“I think what we liked about Jerry was the fact that his route-running ability, his speed, being able to plant a foot, get out of a break, the experience that he has, and obviously playing in the SEC, plus the production that he’s had.”

Q: How relaxing it is now to have the wide receiver position set?

A: “It is a big weight off of my shoulders and our shoulders. I think that, obviously, that was a big position of need for us. Not only did we need that position, but we needed that to make Courtland [Sutton] better too because as we saw at the end of last year they were trying to take Courtland out of the game. We know what a great football player he is. Adding somebody not only because it was a need, we needed somebody, but it’s also going to make Courtland that much better too. It’s nice to be able to go to bed tonight knowing that we got the receiver that we coveted. Then we’ve got a big day tomorrow. We have four picks tomorrow so we’re looking forward to that.” (Sutton ranked 12th in receiving yards per game through the first 11 weeks of the season, averaging 80.5, but saw that fall to 51.2 over the final six weeks.)

“There was a trade right in front of us, we figured that there was somebody coming. We didn’t realize it was Tampa until they announced it was Tampa. We really kind of suspected that Tampa was coming for an offensive lineman with [Buccaneers OT Tristan] Wirfs being available. Once they did that, we felt very comfortable—we didn’t know if Jerry was going to be there or if Ceedee—we knew one those two were going to be there. We didn’t know what San Francisco was going to do. We’re thrilled that we had the opportunity to make our choice of those two.”

“We felt very comfortable with Jerry’s knee and where he was, so that was not an issue.”

HC Vic Fangio

“I think any time you get a receiver that’s hard to cover, that stresses the defense. It’s as simple as that. We think he’s hard to cover and once he does catch it, he can run pretty good with it after. It’s as simple as that. Can you cover him or not?”

“I did do a lot of watching of the wide receivers in this draft. When I was watching them, that was the lens I was watching them through as a defensive coach as to who was hard to cover, who would cause problems, who do you think you’d have to give guys help to. That was the lens I was watching all these receivers through. I think it’s a good lens to watch them through when you’re evaluating a receiver because there are a lot of receivers out there, but there’s only about a third of them that are less scary that you have to give them special attention. That was the lens I was watching the receivers through.”

OC Pat Shurmur

“He's a winner. Aside from that, he did a great job when he played in the slot. He can also play outside. So he sort of fits that player that we want to play opposite of Courtland Sutton. He was a fit for us obviously schematically.”

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Round 1, Pick 17
Dallas Cowboys

Owner Jerry Jones

“We talked to Mike and thought with this loaded wide receiver class we could really come out of here with an outstanding player that we could use certainly as our second receiver – as our Y or outside – that had a lot of flexibility going at all positions. We never thought one of Lamb’s caliber would be there.”

“We had him as our No. 6 pick on our board.”

CEO Stephen Jones

“We thought he was a top-10 player in this draft. We never thought he’d be there.”

“We didn’t think it was a need, but the right thing to do was pick the best football player.”

“We just felt that CeeDee was a top-10 type player and that we’d never see him. We did interview some other players that we thought might be there at our pick (KJ Hamler, Tee Higgins, Denzel Mims, Jalen Reagor). Just one of those good fortune things where he just fell to us.”

HC Mike McCarthy

“Is he in the slot? To be determined. He’ll be on the field in our 3WR package. We want to train all our wide receivers to play all the positions. He can play inside and outside. Great addition to 11 personnel package.”

“He can play all four positions. Inside and outside. We want that flexibility and he has that ability.”

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Round 1, Pick 21
Philadelphia Eagles

GM Howie Roseman

“We like Jalen Reagor. That is a player we are really excited about. Jalen Reagor has a skillset that we were looking for. We think Jalen Reagor is going to be a very good player for our offense. An explosive player. He has the ability to get the ball in his hands in different ways.… Let’s be clear on Jalen Reagor. That’s a player that we are extremely excited about. A guy that really fits what we want to do offensively. Really compliments the skillset on our team. We didn’t select him for any reason other than we think he can make a difference. He has a skillset that’s hard to find in the NFL.”

“You see the vertical separation as an outside receiver, and those things are hard to find. When you look at kind of this draft about guys who can just separate as an outside vertical receiver, there are not a lot of those guys. Those guys are hard to find and they’re hard to find in this league. You see it, that it really fits our quarterback skill set. Our quarterback likes to throw the ball down the field and make vertical throws.”

“We added a speed element. It was hard for us to push the ball down the field. Whether it was injury, or…”

HC Doug Pederson

“Explosiveness and speed jumps off the tape.”

“There are a couple of routes that are valuable to me. Can he run the go-route? Can he run the slant? And he can.”

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Round 1, Pick 22
Minnesota Vikings

GM Rick Spielman

“We got a receiver that’s going to come in and be an immediate impact player for us.”

“When you watch Jefferson on tape, not only is he a great route runner, very precise, which is critical in Kubiak’s offense, he’s a big target, can play slot. We went back to look at 2018 tape where he also played outside. He does have playmaking skills with the ball in his hand, after the catch. The biggest thing that lifted him up in this process – was you seen good speed on tape and after the catch, but when he went and ran in the 4.4s at the Combine, that went and elevated his status even more.”

Q: “Were you surprised he was there?”

A: “We were sitting there and Philadelphia was a threat. We had two good players. So, we decided to stay there (and not move up).”

Q: “Is he a guy who can play predominantly on the outside?”

A: “I’m just trying to get the best guys we can get in right now. The coaches will figure out where to put these guys. With the addition of Tajae Sharpe and Adam Thielen, and now Jefferson, I think we’re going to have a pretty good crew.”

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Round 1, Pick 25
San Francisco 49ers

HC Kyle Shanahan

“He has on tape that he can run every single route and he can do it outside the numbers and he can do it inside the numbers. He has a certain skillset where I think is similar to [WR] Dante’s [Pettis] in terms of you wouldn’t just peg him at one position. You know, he can do all three. He can play the X, he can play the Z, he can play the F. He’s got the speed to get on top. He’s got the quickness, to play in the slot. He’s got the toughness to go over in the middle. And the guy is just completely committed to me in to being as good as God ever intended him to be.”

“But, there are a few guys who you can’t pass at 13 and Kinlaw was one of those guys. And for Kinlaw to be there at 13 and us to go to 14 and still get him and pick up a fourth-rounder, we thought it was unbelievable. But, Aiyuk was one of the guys we were going to do that for if Kinlaw wasn’t there and then to still be there sitting there at 31 and a guy that we would have done it if we had to at 13 is sitting there when we’re at 31 available at 25 and we feel very strongly from our Intel over the last few months there’s no way Aiyuk is getting to 31 and so if we could take our fourth- round pick, which a fourth-round pick on our team is going to be hard to find a fourth-round pick to beat out any of our guys to start.”

Q: Is it safe to say Brandon was your top receiver on the board and what, what hole I guess, or what need do you see him filling in your offense among your receiver corps?

A: “I just, I think when we reached out for Emmanuel and made that trade, we just needed a consistent receiver who could do a little bit of everything, who we didn’t have to only put in on this play or that play who was just a down in a down out receiver. It didn’t matter where you put him and it didn’t matter what the play was and that’s what we got a little bit with Emmanuel when we traded for him and that’s what I think we’re getting with Brandon. There’s not something like, all right, if you use him this way he’ll be really good. I think Brandon would have been great whatever team he went to. And I’m so excited to have a guy like that because I think we can use him anyway we want. And I think he’s capable of doing everything from an athletic standpoint. And I think he has the mentality from a toughness standpoint in terms of the contact of the game and also in terms of this guy is just not happy with today. This guy wants to be great. I want someone like that. And I think he has the tools to be great. I think he has the mindset to be great and I promise you schematically we’re going to give him every chance to do that. And when that’s the case and you have a guy wired that way and you have a system that way, I mean what can hold him back. And I mean there’s always injuries that, you know, you can’t hold into it, but Brandon is being asked if he’s the top guy, he was my favorite receiver I evaluated. There is no doubt on that. [Dallas Cowboys WR] CeeDee Lamb was hell of a player who can make a lot of plays. I mean, I always keep it pretty real with you guys. And so, that was the guy who was competition with him. But in terms of the receiver and just all the positions and developed, this guy was there from the first time we watched him.”

(On the phone with Aiyuk) “We were hoping you were going to be there. We were scared we were going to lose you… We were hoping to get you at 13, the D-lineman that we needed was there, and then to still be able to come up and get you where we got you. You were our guy.”

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Round 1, Pick 26
Green Bay Packers

HC Matt LaFleur

“Aaron’s a pro. He’s our quarterback, he’s our leader. I envision that for a really long time.”

Q: When went into the decision to trade up to take Jordan Love?

A: I had a facetime interview with him, myself and Nathaniel Hackett. The one thing I took away from that is this guy is a humble guy. He is extremely talented. One thing I love about him is the accountability he took for every play, good or bad.

Q: “You told Silver months ago that Rodgers would be the leader of this team for a long time. What’s your definition of a long time?”

A: “Aaron is, in my mind, by far the best quarterback I’ve been around. You can argue, I think he’s the best to ever play the game. So I hope he can play until he decides he doesn’t want to play anymore.”

Q: Is it tough with Aaron knowing Love is his potential heir?

A: I don’t think so. I think Aaron’s a pro.

Q: How do you feel about your receiver group? Brian wasn’t able to add to it via the draft in a class that many thought was very receiver-rich.

A: We’ve got a lot of confidence in our receiving corps. Devante Adams a true No. 1 in this league. Allen Lazard, the things that he brought to us from a physicality standpoint. He made a bunch of big plays. Jake Kumerow made big plays for us. And then you look at MVS, the speed that he has, he’s got to take that next step. And that’s going to be a challenge for him. And then you add a guy like Devin Funchess. And I can’t wait to work with him. Because here’s a big physical receiver who is supremely talented. A good veteran presence. I feel really good about these guys….”

“First of all, the thing that jumps off the tape is the arm talent. He is extremely natural. It easy for him. He’s fearless in the pocket. Really good size. Moves really well. The thing I really like, getting to know him, he’s extremely humble, hungry, and ready to get to work. And what a situation for him to come in and get to learn from the greatest of all time.”

GM Brian Gutekunst

Q: How long will it take until Love is an NFL-caliber starter?

A: “I don’t think you can put that on him right now. Right now, I think he just needs to come in and learn and try to become the best quarterback he can be. We did draft him in the first round, so we like a lot about him.”

“We think he has a very good upside to become a starter in the National Football League. But we’ve got the best quarterback in the National Football League and we plan to have him for a while competing for championships. I can understand the fan base and people thinking, ‘Why would you do this at this time?’ But I just think the value of our board and the way it sat, it was the best for the Green Bay Packers and we’re really excited to get Jordan here and get him in the door and learning our system.”

“I know a lot of people will look at this as not a move for the immediate, and I understand that, but the balance of the immediate and the long term is something that I have to consider and that’s why we did it… Obviously, if there was a game-changer type player at another position, we would have seriously considered that. We didn’t feel that there was, so we picked Jordan and were really happy to do it. I think you can make mistakes thinking you’re one player away from anything.”

“I really like our group of young wide receivers… Most receivers really start to come into their own in Year 3.”

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Round 1, Pick 32
Kansas City Chiefs

GM Brett Veach

Q: What made him stand out for you?

A: Interior running ability. Vision, instincts. Start / stop, redirect. Hands out of the backfield. The guy has the ability to play in slow motion. We felt like he had all the traits.

“I told coach, when you turn on the tape, it’s going to remind you of Brian Westbrook. He called me back and told me he’s better than Brian Westbrook.”

“And that’s no slight to Brian. He’s a unique talent. He’s explosive. Makes something out of nothing. Can consistently make plays when there’s nothing really there.”

“We knew we had a good one. We thought the running backs might slide. We played the board right. There were a lot of guys we had closely rated 24-32. We knew what he could do in this offense would be special. For five years would be special.”

“We view this guy as the best player available, a rare talent, and extraordinary running back. We thought he was the best player and the right player for us. We certainly view this guy as a franchise-type running back.”

“I think our priority going into the draft was just add talent. At the end of the day you’re just collecting really good players. Certainly, there’s value placed on certain positions, but when you have a guy that you think is a Pro Bowl running back, that’s a high value too. So, you get a chance that is this talented that can add so much to the offense. A young guy who can run, catch, block, and return. It’s hard to pass up those guys for extra picks and a player that you think is good. We think this guy can be great.”

Q: “Do you think he can be a featured back like Hunt or Charles?”

A: “I think because of the type of offense we run, I do. If we were more traditional – 2TE sets, power run game – there would be some questions. But the way that we spread teams out, make them play east-west, and the threat of our vertical passing game. Again, this kid’s low center of gravity and ability to make people miss. I think just the way our offense is constructed, I think he will thrive and I think that he’ll handle the workload.”

“This kid is so versatile. There’s a little Christian McCaffrey-type comparison. The Maurice Jones-Drew comparison is certainly out there. Brian Westbrook. I mean kid can catch, he can run, great contact balance. To add him to our set of weapons is really exciting.”

“The vision and lateral agility. Can’t coach that. God-given ability. It’s like he plays in slow motion. He’s certainly tailor-made for this offense and what we build moving forward.

(On phone call with Clyde Edwards-Helaire.) “Clyde, I told Clark (Owner) and Coach Reid today that at about five o’clock, I said Clyde was going to be our pick because coach and I were thinking your way, and then I texted Pat and I said give me a name don’t think about it, and he said Clyde. And we said good.”

RB Coach Deland McCullough

“We’ve been talking about this since Day 1.”

“I was super impressed with him when I met with him at the Combine… He was my No. 1 guy from that point.”

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.