Which Doesn’t Belong and Why: NFL draft analysis
Mike Florio and Peter King play a round of “Which Doesn’t Belong and Why” to digest the NFL draft, including QBs selected in the Top 5, GMs receiving near-universal praise for their draft classes and more.
MIKE FLORIO: The Colts hope to be riding high with Anthony Richardson at quarterback. Here's a little Quenton Nelson, first round pick from several years back, on the new quarterback in Indy as they finally take a break from one veteran after another and go after a rookie. Here's Nelson.
QUENTON NELSON: Really excited. Just heard great things about him and his character and the person he is. And then seeing his film, you see what he can do on the field is pretty extraordinary. And, I mean, he dominated the combine and did really, really well in college football this year.
MIKE FLORIO: I love an offensive lineman who looks like he just rolled out of bed and showed up, especially when he's really good like Quenton Nelson is. But Anthony Richardson, potentially great player. The Colts loved him. I think the Colts would have taken him at number one if they had the pick. We're playing a little game of Which Doesn't Belong and Why this morning, Peter. Of the three quarterbacks taken in the top four-- Anthony Richardson, CJ Stroud, Bryce Young-- which doesn't belong, and why?
PETER KING: Well, I would just say Anthony Richardson doesn't belong, and here's why. I think he's the only guy who there's a question in my mind about whether he starts opening day. I think the other two quarterbacks definitely-- well, almost certainly will start opening day.
But Anthony Richardson, as Chris Ballard told me on Sunday night or Saturday night, whenever it was, is he told me, he said, listen, we got to get him in here and see where he is. He told me a story of Morocco Brown, one of his most trusted scouts in the personnel department. Went to scout Anthony Richardson in Gainesville during the football season. And when he came back, he told Ballard, he said, Chris, I watch-- I'm watching practice, and I am drooling over this guy.
And I think the big question is, here's a guy, Anthony Richardson, who won six college games, started for one season, is incredibly exciting. In his last college football game, he completed 9 of 27 against Florida State. And, look, you can pick out one game for anybody and all that. He's a tremendously talented person.
But in my opinion, I think that the Indianapolis Colts have to be concerned with 15 years, not two years. And if they think he's ready to go on Labor Day weekend, he's the starter. And if he's not, and if he hasn't captured everything or if they feel like he would benefit by watching for a while, then it's either going to be Minshew or Foles.
And everybody said, oh, my God, you can't play him. You can't do this. You can't do that. You think the Jets might be questioning how fast they put Zach Wilson in the lineup? I mean, I don't know. All I'm saying is, I would say I would play Anthony Richardson if he were ready at the start of the year. And if he isn't, don't sweat it. Just play him when he's ready.
MIKE FLORIO: There's two types of teams in the NFL, teams that have franchise quarterbacks and teams that don't. In my mind, there are five or six franchise quarterbacks right now. Anthony Richardson doesn't belong among Stroud and Young because I think he's the one who's got the highest potential to become one of those short list best in the game quarterbacks. Will he? I don't know.
There's a video on the Colts website-- and it's on my list of various things to eventually get to-- where Chris Ballard says on the day of the draft or in the draft room, basically, I'd rather take my chance with a potential superstar and be wrong about him becoming a superstar then pass on a potential superstar and watch him become a superstar on another team. So Richardson has stood out to me for that reason--
PETER KING: He said exactly that to me, Mike.
MIKE FLORIO: --see if he could-- And it makes a ton sense. It makes a ton of sense. Go ahead.
PETER KING: He said, "I would rather take the risk, the risk that he might fail, than pass on him and see him become a star somewhere else." And that is one of the reasons why the Colts did what they did. All the power to them.
MIKE FLORIO: And I give him credit for doing that because, you know what, from an owner's perspective, you can do that because if it doesn't work out, we'll be right back in that same spot drafting high again and can take a chance on another superstar. Ballard may not be there for the next time around. He's hitching his wagon to the roll of the dice that Richardson is going to become the guy.
All right, Nick Bosa, the 49ers defensive end, recently told Yahoo that he doesn't think there'll be much of a change with Steve Wilks in as defensive coordinator in place of New Texans coach DeMeco Ryans. So which doesn't belong, and why? We're talking about the two NFC finalists' new coordinators, Wilks in San Francisco, Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai, Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. Which doesn't belong, and why?
PETER KING: I would say Sean Desai, because in Philadelphia, there was a sense that-- and you definitely felt it from the fans. And in the wake of Jonathan Gannon going to Arizona, there is a sense that the Eagles say not good riddance but, it's OK, you can go, for a lot of different reasons. But I do think that Sean Desai is going to have a chance to bond with his players and to become a powerful presence in that organization very quickly.
Whereas, Brian Johnson was already there. They love the guy. They have total full faith in him. And I think Steve Wilks is the kind of guy-- I agree with the guys on the 49ers who have said, we're not going to change much. Why would you change much with the 49ers? They're a great defense with most of the same pieces still there.
MIKE FLORIO: I agree with you on Desai. I'm going to say Wilks just to have a little variety in the conversation. Wilks is a guy who's been a head coach. He was the interim coach of the Panthers. The players wanted him back as the head coach. So the 49ers basically have two head coaches. They've got Kyle Shanahan, who can focus exclusively on the offense, as he usually has because he's had great defensive coordinators.
But there's no dropoff here from DeMeco Ryans to Steve Wilks. There was no dropoff from Robert Saleh to DeMeco Ryans. And it helps to have great players too. When you have a Nick Bosa, it's a lot easier to be a smart defensive coordinator. But Wilks comes in perfectly suited for the job, and the 49ers will be in good hands defensively.
Jalen Carter, the first first-round pick this year to sign his contract, ninth overall after the Eagles traded up from 10 to nine with the Bears to make it happen, which doesn't belong and why from this group of three GMs who are getting a lot of praise in the aftermath of the draft? Howie Roseman of the Eagles, Omar Khan of the Steelers, and Joe Schoen of the Giants? Which doesn't belong, and why?
PETER KING: You know, Mike, I think all of them did a good job. So I'm not going to sit here and say, well, that was a dumb pick. Frank Reich said something to me the other day that I think is absolutely true. He said, listen, in the draft, it's important that sometimes you have to take chances. If everybody just sat there with the same board picking the same players in the same order, I mean, you know, who's-- how do you know that you're really ever going outside the margins a little bit, you're coloring outside the margins to really try to get a great player?
And, look, I applaud Howie Roseman for doing that several times over the years. And he did it here, look, with Jalen Carter at number nine. The Seattle Seahawks at number five needed a big space-eating, you know, divisive defensive tackle. They could have used Jalen Carter. They passed. The Detroit Lions could use him. They passed. The Las Vegas Raiders at seven could have used him. They passed.
So I'm not saying that Howie Roseman did a dumb thing in any way. I think when you are as good as the Eagles are and you have this pick at number nine and you have an opportunity to take the guy who might be the most talented player if he gets his-- keeps his head screwed on straight, then I'm not killing him for doing it.
The only point that I would make is, it's been very convenient in everything I've read to say, oh, my God, what an incredible pick Jalen Carter was, and that was a fantastic pick by the Eagles. How do we know that? How do we know it was a fantastic pick? We've got to let nature take its course. We got to play two or three years minimum before we make any decision.
I just went over the 2020 draft class in my column on Monday, Mike, and you saw it. Eight of the 32 guys drafted in 2020 are big hits, basically. And the rest of the 24 are somewhere between OK starters, good starters, to absolute failures. And so that's the reason why I think it is just absolutely precipitous to say in essence, oh, my God, Jalen Carter is going to be great.
Have we forgotten what happened over the last two months? Why, if we focus so much on S2 with CJ Stroud, why have we all of a sudden forgotten all of the things about Jalen Carter? And again, look, I hope he turns out to be a great player. But the only people who know if he's going to be a great player or not right now are the people holding tarot cards.
MIKE FLORIO: Well, and the reality is, too, it's not just about the kid at this point. It's about the support system. It's about how they get the most out of him. You and I were both fascinated by the possibility the Steelers would land Jalen Carter someway, somehow. And they could have traded into that ninth spot, if they had so desired, had been willing to pay the price. Mike Tomlin with Jalen Carter may be a different outcome then Sean Desai and Nick Sirianni with Jalen Carter. That's all to be determined.