Florio: Levis ‘walked into an uppercut’ in Round 1

After three quarterbacks were selected in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect if Will Levis’ agent should’ve had better information about where he would be selected.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: So we go from three quarterbacks in four picks. I thought that over was gonna hit.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah. Boom, it ends right there.

MIKE FLORIO: Quarterbacks, the over under is four and 1/2.

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MIKE FLORIO: And that's it. The slide begins for Will Levis. Hendon Hooker was never even mentioned. It's like he's stuck in the on-deck circle until Will Levis gets picked.

And let me say this. You know, I thought they were getting away--

CHRIS SIMMS: I'm gonna be interested--

MIKE FLORIO: --from televising--

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, yeah, sorry. I was just gonna-- can I say--


CHRIS SIMMS: --I'd be interested if Hendon Hooker--


CHRIS SIMMS: --might go off the board before Will Levis tonight. I don't think that's a crazy thought. You know, Levis, I know he's in a tough spot. And he's gonna go off the board somewhat early here. But I wouldn't be shocked in the top of the second round if somebody went Hendon Hooker over Will Levis, right?


We heard some of the concerns about Levis early on in the process, and that seems to be really what the true storyline was. And then we got, you know, thrown some BS by things and thrown off, you know, throw some curveballs. But, yeah, the league cooled on Levis a little bit. Sorry, Mike. I just wanted to throw that in there.

MIKE FLORIO: No, you're fine. And here's the key.


MIKE FLORIO: Because I see the images of him sitting there, he clearly is a guy who is surprised by this development as it's unfolding. And at one point-- at one point, the league's position was, we're not gonna have all these shots of the guy in the Green Room who is experiencing this agony--



MIKE FLORIO: --of not being picked.


MIKE FLORIO: Well, there were more than a few of them last night. And the other side of it, too-- there was some reporting that happened before the draft as it relates to the nonvitiation of Quentin Johnson, who ended up being taken much higher than expected because they think he's not gonna be taken round one. So we don't want to put him in a bad spot.

Somebody had bad information about Will Levis. And the most important thing the agent can do before the draft is set the expectation of the player. Part of the role is to get the player drafted as high as possible, to use your skills of persuasion to get GMs and coaches and owners to think of the guy the way that you want him to be viewed, and to see the best attributes and downplay the negatives.


But at the end of the day, the agent had better be damn sure where the floor is. And the agent had better communicate that to the client. That's important information because you're gonna have some members of the Will Levis family who are pissed off that they had to sit there all night through that indignity.

We wouldn't have come to Kansas City if we knew he wasn't gonna be taken in round one. We could have sat at home and not answered the phone all night long and not embarrassed ourselves out here acting like this guy's gonna be a top five pick and he doesn't get picked at all.

So this is a failure by the agents to know exactly where the floor is. And I know it's not easy to do. But plenty of agents know how to do it.

We knew what the Jalen Carter floor was. We knew-- Drew Rosenhaus knew. Jalen Carter is not gonna be in Kansas City if he's gonna tumble out of the top 10 after he calls his shot. I'm not visiting anyone who doesn't have a top 10 pick. He knew where the floor was. Jaxon Smith-Njigba--



MIKE FLORIO: --we talked about this yesterday.


MIKE FLORIO: His floor was 22.


MIKE FLORIO: His agent knew, and he went at 20, even though he's not a number one receiver.


MIKE FLORIO: Even though he's not gonna draw double coverage and be a game breaker, they knew where the floor was. He wouldn't have been there.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, yeah.

MIKE FLORIO: Somebody-- somebody gave Will Levis bad information. And I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a change made in agents, just like we saw Geno Smith do after he didn't get picked in round one 10 years ago. Somebody didn't know the most important piece of information to be known. Where is Will Levis's floor? And we still don't know where it is.


CHRIS SIMMS: No, we don't. We don't. It's tough, right? This does happen from time to time. I thought the, you know, the TV coverage was just right. I don't think they went overboard in putting him on the screen too much.

You know, we got there in the early 20s. And we thought, hey, wait. There might still be a chance. So they were showing him on the screen a little bit.

But I think after, what, the Vikings at 23, that stopped, right? That's where they-- he kind of-- I don't think we saw him again after that. And I thought that was just the right move.

MIKE FLORIO: Somebody thought he left.

CHRIS SIMMS: Right, which he didn't.


MIKE FLORIO: Somebody told me he left.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, he didn't, because we saw him late in the draft. And even when the draft was over, there was a few clips of him back in the Green Room, and he was on the phone with somebody. So he was there.

But, you know, I thought the NFL did a good job of pulling the plug there. It's an unfortunate situation. It's uncomfortable.

And, yeah, you'd like the agent to know, too. But I do know that it can work in a way sometimes where, hey, when the invitations go out, and you're going, there's still teams that, hey, it's Will or this guy. It's Will-- so they might have got those answers from people.


And as we talked about earlier, I think there's a lot of people that didn't know they were gonna get picked by that team. It wasn't communicated all the way. So, I mean, you're right. There's a skill by the agents.

But, you know, it's a tough one, too. And sometimes, the agent goes, hey, we're gonna go even though we don't know, right? And I think we got a few spots where you're, you know, one of their top two guys.

They go to go make teams think who are on the fringe between one of those two guys, hey, wait, somebody likes him. That's why he's there. He knows he's gonna get picked. And maybe that forces the hand of a team to do it. So there is that goes into it, too, Mike.

MIKE FLORIO: But you got to communicate it clearly to the kid--


CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, right.

MIKE FLORIO: --so he's not stunned.


MIKE FLORIO: So it doesn't look like-- I mean, he looked stunned.

CHRIS SIMMS: He did. He looked stunned.

MIKE FLORIO: You can only hide so much of your facial expression. He looked stunned by what was happening.


MIKE FLORIO: He walked into an uppercut by going to the draft and not getting drafted. And he's gonna be pissed about it because somebody didn't get the message through to him the way they could have, the way they should have, that there's a very real chance you're gonna be sitting there all night.

I thought it was funny, too. I don't want to take any gratuitous shots here. It's not gratuitous. It's applicable.

ESPN touting the fact that its analytics had Will Levis at less than 0.1% of a chance of not being drafted at all in round one, I think that says something about your formula.


MIKE FLORIO: When the numbers-- when the outcome defies, completely and totally, your mathematical calculation, it's probably time to go back and reconfigure--

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, what is that calculation?

MIKE FLORIO: --the calculation itself.


MIKE FLORIO: You got some bad factors in your model if that is what the prediction was, because the prediction was as wrong as it could have been. Let's go ahead and take a break. We'll talk about teams that doubled their pleasure on Thursday night with not one but two new players. Beyond the Houston Texans, there were several more. We'll get to that one. "PFT Live" continues right after this.