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NFL Draft

Update on unsigned 2019 first round picks

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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We are now three weeks removed from 2019 NFL Draft and while some of the first round selections are under contract there are others, including in Tampa Bay and Jacksonville who are not.

Up front, you have to acknowledge that with the new rookie salary scale that went into effect with the last Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, holdouts have become almost like dinosaurs. That is to say, ugly, scary and only talked about in the past tense.

Top pick Kyler Murray of Arizona agreed to his deal late last week before their rookie camp began. While we don’t yet know the contract terms, it is expected that he would get somewhere in the neighborhood of the $22.1 million that last year’s number one pick quarterback Baker Mayfield did from Cleveland.

Interestingly, after that none of the 2 – 7 selections have signed their deals as of yet. This includes LSU linebacker Devin White of the Buccaneers at five and Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen taken by the Jaguars two selections later at number seven. Because six of those seven picks (excluding the Giants taking quarterback Daniel Jones) are on the defensive side of the ball, the belief is that White and Allen with their representation are waiting to see what players Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, and Clelin Ferrell are going to get from their teams at the 2 – 5 selections.

Using last year as a reference point Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb got $18.2 guaranteed at the five spot and the Bills gave quarterback Josh Allen $13.7 million. Obviously, the Jaguars Josh Allen is not a quarterback and may see less of a guarantee than that.

It’s also worth noting that picks 8 through 15 have all agreed. That includes the Dolphins taking defensive tackle Christian Wilkins from Clemson. Last year the 13th pick was Redskins defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, who received  $8.7 million guaranteed over his four years.

Once more, holdouts are virtually a thing of the past and all of these rookie deals should be done by training camp time in July. For now though, White and Allen aren’t able to spend money that they haven’t yet signed for off their draft status.

NFL Draft

Bucs and Jaguars never called Raiders about fourth pick

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After an awful season in 2018, the Raiders were looking to start fresh with a stockpile of number one picks last Thursday night in the NFL Draft. And slotted at 4th overall, Oakland’s coach Jon Gruden and new GM Mike Mayock were potentially in position to take the player that the Buccaneers, specifically, would have wanted. And, do it one pick before them.

However, an exclusive look inside the “Raiders Draft War Room” in real time from last Thursday night has been published by Peter King of Pro Football Talk on Monday.

And in it, King reveals that the Raiders never got a phone call from anyone while on the clock, including the Buccaneers, Gruden’s old team. Or, no phone call from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were slated to pick three slots later at number seven.

As it turns out, the Bucs stood firm and grabbed LSU linebacker Devin White with the fifth overall selection. There had been great speculation that a team, like the Redskins who were picking 15th or even, the Giants who were picking 6th, might make a call and a move to get either the Bucs fifth pick or higher, the Raiders 4th pick to ensure drafting the quarterback they wanted.

We now know that the Giants, who were obviously certain that the Raiders and the Bucs weren’t going to take a quarterback, went ahead and picked Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at number six.

Giants GM David Gettleman has claimed post-draft that they believed at least two teams, probably the Redskins and the Broncos, would take Jones before the Giants picked at#17 later on Thursday night. Washington did take Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins at 15 and Denver traded up to take Missouri QB Drew Lock early in the second round Friday night.

Back to Thursday, after the Giants took Jones, the Jaguars were next  at number seven. And they wasted no time calling out the name of Kentucky outside edge-pass rusher, Josh Allen, to help bolster their defensive line. Obviously, the Jags knew once the Raiders had taken Clelin Ferrell, defensive end of Clemson, that Tampa Bay was likely going to take a defensive player, also and maybe, even take Kentucky’s Allen, themselves.

What we don’t know and may not ever know, is whether the Jaguars called the Bucs about trading in front of the Giants up to number five to get their guy. Or, if they just “played it cool,” and waited to see if Allen would fall to them. And of course, ultimately, the SEC leading sack man a year ago did fall right to them without having to make a trade.

It’s further interesting from King’s recounting of the Raiders private discussions that later in the night that Oakland was fearful that the Eagles had potentially traded in front of them to grab running back Josh Jacobs of Alabama. That’s who Oakland was slotting to take with their 24th pick. Some have ridiculed Oakland for picking a running back in the first round, however, it’s less risky, financially and otherwise, to do it where they did. In the end, Philly didn’t take Jacobs and the Raiders drafted their back at #24.

However, this also a reminder of what Gruden did when he was coaching the Buccaneers and Bruce Allen was his general manager in 2005. That’s when the Bucs picked Cadillac Williams at running back from the Auburn Tigers at fifth overall. Williams went on to have a great rookie season including becoming the first back in the history of the NFL to run for a hundred yards or more in the first four games of his first season. However, injuries to both knees derailed Cadillac’s career and turned the pick into a bust.

And worse looking back, the Buccaneers and Gruden (and others) could have drafted a certain quarterback early that day in ’05, who plummeted in the first round before going to… the Green Bay Packers.

That player was Aaron Rodgers.

So, time and history will judge how smart the Raiders, Bucs, Giants and Jags did with the 4th-7th selections last Thursday. It’s just fascinating to read the rationale’ behind what the Raiders did and didn’t do.

And, the same with Tampa Bay and Jacksonville right after them.

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NFL Draft

“Thumbs up- Thumbs down” for Bucs Dolphins Jaguars drafts

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft concluding on Saturday, we decided to take a quick look at how the three state NFL teams fared for the positive and for the negative.

We fully understand that you won’t have final results on this for at least this season and maybe, two or three seasons on who did well or who did not do well?

Still, here we go with what we liked and didn’t like briefly.

Buccaneers

Big thumbs up for taking LSU linebacker Devin White, who clearly gets put in as a starter at a need inside linebacker position. White will compliment Lavonte David in the new Todd Bowles 3 – 4 scheme, and no one can question Tampa Bay grabbing the best linebacker in the draft when they did.

Thumbs down? You have your choice for GM Jason Licht. As we wrote earlier on Saturday, Licht once again repeatedly drafted players in the defensive backfield early. This is been a recurring theme over the last four years of him doing the selecting for Tampa Bay. By using three more premium picks in the second and the third round on the secondary, the Bucs disregarded any other positions, including offensive line or defensive tackle which appear to be needs.

However, that thumbs down is rivaled by Tampa Bay once again choosing a kicker in the selection process. When the Bucs picked Utah’s Matt Gay in the fifth round, he admitted that even he was surprised that he was being drafted that highly.

And, this comes on the heels of a horrible mess created, when Licht picked Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft only to have him fail miserably and be gone after just one season full season.

Gay will be under tremendous scrutiny come from the beginning of training camp and into preseason, etc. because the Bucs repeated a previous nightmare scenario.

Dolphins

Two separate thumbs-up go for the opening round draft selection of Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. New coach Brian Flores wants to stress defense and the Dolphins had to get better with the losses they’ve suffered on their defensive line. Wilkins will help with that.

The second part of that thumbs up is GM Chris Grier exercising his leverage and getting quarterback Josh Rosen at a serious discount to come to South Florida and likely become the Dolphins QB of the future. Miami only had to part with a late second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick to get it done.

Thumbs down to the Dolphins for not addressing offensive tackle until the 6th round when they grabbed Isaiah Prince of Ohio State. Miami is in desperate need to fill right tackle and compliment Laremy Tunsil on the other side. And. it’s questionable at best, as to whether Prince can become that guy.

Jaguars

Thumbs up for each of their first two picks. The 7th overall being spent on the SEC top pass-rusher Josh Allen (above) of Kentucky will only bolster Jacksonville’s tough defense. The Jaguars brass of Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell, then boldly traded up on Friday night into the third spot of the second round to get Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor. As we mentioned above, Miami could have had that same opportunity to do something similar, but they were busy working on the Rosen trade with their second round pick.

The two minor thumbs down were taking obscure tight end Josh Oliver of San Jose State in the third round. Then, going with another small school safety in Quincy Williams from FCS Murray State late in the third round. Jacksonville could have probably done better with a more noteworthy name/school with either of those picks.

We’ll also give one more minor thumbs up to the Jags for drafting Temple power running back Ryquell Armstead at the top of the fifth round Saturday afternoon. He will join the stable of veterans trying to backup star running back Leonard Fournette, and it looks like a good value where they got him.

Again, draft grades at the end of the weekend are a dime a dozen, but clearly there were some good things and some minor bad things that all three of the state’s NFL teams did.

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