Mary Ann Chastain/AP
Mary Ann Chastain/AP

The Draft Games Begin

It’s a rite of April. Draft chatter is at full buzz and no one knows what’s the truth and what’s just spin. Let’s cut through all that with five things to know as May 8 draws near. Plus, NFL Media’s new leader, 10 things and my journey to England

Five things you should know about the draft, 24 days before the first round begins:

1. You’d better go to the videotape if you want to see Jadeveon Clowney work out. Clowney won’t be doing any more individual workouts for NFL teams, apparently the result of Clemson tackle Brandon Thomas, a day-two NFL draft prospect, blowing out his knee in training for the draft two weeks ago. The Clowney camp has told at least three teams he won’t be working out for teams before the draft, preferring to let his on-campus Pro Day April 2 at South Carolina stand. I spoke to two general managers over the weekend about this, and one took exception to Clowney taking a pass on pre-draft team workouts and one didn’t. He still will visit teams and interview with coaches and GMs, but his next show-and-tell football performance will be after the draft in a mini-camp, with whichever team picks him. Now, I don’t think this will prevent a team that loves him from picking him, but it might be a small factor in the decision by a team on the fence about Clowney. As one of the general managers said, “I’d want the guy who’s going to be coaching him to put him through some of our drills, and see how he responds.”

2. Ten players who touch the ball in the first round—and no runners. That’s how draft guru Gil Brandt sees it. Four quarterbacks and six wideouts in the top 32 for Brandt, if he had to pick it today. Contrast that to last year, when there was one quarterback, wideout or running back in the top 15—receiver/returner Tavon Austin, who went eighth to St. Louis. This year a very similar player in size and production, Brandin Cooks of Oregon State, could be the sixth wideout picked. Regarding the passers, Derek Carr of Fresno State joins the big three quarterbacks, and at receiver, the depth is so good that former unheralded guys like Cody Latimer of Indiana are creeping into view high in the second round now.

3. “I’m down to my 40th-ranked player, and I don’t have a running back picked yet.” That’s Brandt on this crop. It’s the diminished importance of the position, plus the fact that Trent Richardson looks like he should have been picked 103rd, not third, in 2012 based on his production so far. Teams have proven over and over they can find good backs on day three of the draft, and as rookie free agents.

Tom Savage is making the rounds and could have the strongest arm in the draft. (David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Tom Savage is making the rounds and could have the strongest arm in the draft. (David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

4. Speaking of surprise players … The stunner this draft season is a quarterback who threw 83 passes as a Rutgers sophomore in 2010, then didn’t play college football in 2011 or 2012 as he transferred from Rutgers to Arizona to Pitt. “The hottest guy in the draft,” Brandt of Tom Savage. How hot is he? Late last week Savage’s agent, Neil Schwartz, had to tell two teams who wanted to set up a visit or meeting with the quarterback that he didn’t have any time left to do so. “There are literally no days left on his calendar for him to go see any other teams,” Schwartz said Saturday. The deadline for teams to host players or work them out is April 27, and by then Savage is scheduled to have either worked out for or had visits with 24 or 25 teams. That’s an amazing number of workouts and/or meetings … and when I say meetings with teams, I mean time with either the GM, coach, offensive coordinator or two or three of those. Savage is popular because he’s got an above-average NFL arm right now—some are calling it the best in the draft—and showed well over the last half of last season with a bad offensive line at Pitt. He spent Friday with the Oakland staff, and that’s a place he’d fit in well. Amazing to think a player so itinerant and with so little college success could be leap-frogging A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. But there’s a good chance Savage will. Todd McShay had Houston taking Savage with the 33rd overall pick. Now there’d be a way to kick off the second day of the draft in style, with a stunner like that.

5. A few teams with quarterback needs have an interesting strategy. I’ve heard that at least four quarterback-needy teams—Houston (first pick),  Jacksonville (3), Cleveland (4) and Oakland (5)—are strongly considering passing on quarterbacks with their first picks and waiting until their second or third selections. Simple reason: They’re not in love with any of the quarterbacks, and there are too many other good players who are surer things than a quarterback you have sincere doubts about. For that reason, there could be more quarterbacks taken in round two than round one. For instance, Jacksonville really likes Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, and he’d likely be there high in the second round when the Jags pick again, at 39.

One more thing: The great value in this draft will be from about 20 to 50. So guess what team is in great position to capitalize on the depth in rounds one and two? San Francisco, with the ability and the recent history of moving around so well. The rich-get-richer Niners hold the 30th, 56th, 61st, and 77th overall picks. If they want someone in the forties, they’ve got the currency to get him. The Browns are in good shape to do some damage too, with picks 26, 35, 71 and 83.

1 2 3 4 5NEXT VIEW AS A SINGLE PAGE
138 comments
REH913
REH913

hope they cancel The right reverend Dion Sanders accusing the Eagles of racism after the release of Djax. I guess he never heard of Mike Vick or just recently the 31 year old Jason Peters who is black and had a few minor law infractions. They are so racist they gave him a 3 year extension. By the way do reverends get a tax exemption? 

StanLa
StanLa

Don't get too high on U-Conn. I heard they were going to invite a student to play next year

help4mac1
help4mac1

Had a heart attack on 1 Feb and was lucky a woman who was very good at CPR was passing by in her car. I ignored some symptoms and was otherwise very healthy. The doc told me only 10% survive something like this. If you need a stent Mr King, get it.

TexasDoorman
TexasDoorman

Mr. King,

I hope you will find some peace after the loss of your brother.

I have two brothers, both living, that mean the world to me. 

Your words about your loss resonate with many of us.

I thought about you and your brothers and me and mine.

That is a compliment to a writer. You made me think. 

You made me appreciate.

Best wishes to you. 

leonardosobe
leonardosobe

Let me guess............. most will be Felons by the time they depart the NFL.

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

I'll stick to NFL Yesterday and keep the money in my wallet rather than Goodell's thankewverymuch. 

dennis
dennis

Recently, I've been worried that Goodell would take away free NFL on TV as a way for him to satisfy his greed for more money. Still worried, even after the interview. Don't trust the commish after the false 50,00 pages of evidence and what he fabricated against the Saints. And Peter, that photo of you in 1978 proves you were a non-football playing nerd. The one thing missing from your writing is the inside knowledge from the point of view of a man with the passion to succeed at a violent sport. For you, risk-taking is trying a new coffee.

joebdox
joebdox

Peter,


Thanks for mentioning UCol's victory in the NCAA hockey championship. But have your editors lose the (N.Y.), OK?


It's just UNION, like Yale or Harvard or Stanford or Baylor. Would you say Bosox (MA) or 9er's (S.F.)????

dawgpoundgal
dawgpoundgal

I believe the whole Alex Mack situation was caused by his agent, not Mack.  His comments before and after Cleveland matched the Jaguars offer seems to support that.  His agent was just looking for a bigger payday.

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

I saw Savage play several times this past season.  He was a bright point in the usual mediocre Pitt football offering.  Given that he played well with a terrible offensive line and so-so receivers, he could do well in the NFL. 

tonybot3
tonybot3

C'mon now Mr. King.... Mack can't be upset by Cleveland.... He's the top paid center in the entire league. Cleveland was ready to pay him that money even BEFORE the Jags stepped in, via the transition tag.   Its not like they were holding out on the guy.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Aldon Smith will remain on the 49'ers roster until he is arrested and put in jail. They are an organization that has sacrificed everything for a winning record. The league will have to be the ones that take action, if any is required. 

FootPrints
FootPrints

PK not getting to over, but I'll say a Rosary for you in all happenings..

BenjaminSargo
BenjaminSargo

Heres a revelation...........  of the 1st 100 picks..maybe 3 will be white.

Jim21
Jim21

My condolences to Peter King. I have to say though, I liked MMQB beetter when Greg did the column. More concise and just football. It was refreshing to say the least. 

Scramble
Scramble

Brown's fans will be thinking why aren't we making the playoffs with a 9 mil a year center, yet the Ravens let a 7 mil a year center walk and won the super bowl with a 3 mil a year center. How many ways can Brown stain their fans.

David G
David G

Mr. King, It will be interesting reading to see what you will write about Aldon Smith.  That coupled with the Von Miller story in Denver.  Beginning to look like teams need to really check the on players stability away from their teams.  I thought Von messed up pretty bad.  Smith makes Von look like an amateur.

HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

Peter,

It's been an emotional time - pop a tall one, turn off the world and catch last night's episode of VEEP. Best one yet and the best favor you could do for yourself. For what it's worth. 

WR2

tojo45
tojo45

Beautiful piece on the services and events.   I'm sorry for your loss.  

GeorgeLovell
GeorgeLovell

Peter I'm so sorry for your loss.  It seems like your brother had a good life and was loved by many people and in the end, that's all that really matters.

ReadIt
ReadIt

Anyone else's office get a little dusty reading this? Sorry for your loss PK, great to see all the love and support your family has from both sides of the pond.

ashoreinhawaii
ashoreinhawaii

My brother and I were having a conversation about how the NFL never allows itself to portrayed in movies, how overprotective they are of their brand.

Along comes "Draft Day." From the reviews I've read it appears to be one big commercial for the NFL and ESPN.
No interest. Bad enough I have to endure Chris Berman, and all those other not-funny braying jackasses on ESPN - Herm Edwards, et al.

JohnMatuszak
JohnMatuszak

peter king was seth rogen before seth rogen was seth rogen

Milldog13
Milldog13

Condolences on your brother. Some of your best writing regarding your time in England. Felt like I was there. Glad there were so many to help ease his wife's burden and to help celebrate his life.

delmail333
delmail333

Clowney will be the #1 pick & worth every pennie of what ever he signs for ( think millions ) & the Texans Owner is also a USC Grad which also helps !, Johnny Football should have stayed in school, I mean 2 years worth will not take him far ( And this was after being schooled in his Dorm his last year ) & not in a class room .

He'll get killed in the NFL, Just watch !

Plainview
Plainview

Peter King and all of his brothers in that picture remind me of Mungo Jerry.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

It’s what the NFL wants but more mock-drafts & “need to know” about the biggest crap-shoot, market push in America, a dice roll that more often than not come up snakes-eyes, even for prized 1st-rounder draftees, we “need” like we need more Super Bowl hype in January.   We’d all do better in spring spending more time on the already ares & weres. 


As for Rolapp’s TNF sell: until they stock it w/ some top-tier tussles, in vintage Texas lingo, ‘that dog won’t hunt.’  Football is king (no pun) but even monarchy can wear thin.

JamesPate
JamesPate

Don't get me wrong on my comment, I love all sports and wish I  could have  somehow  played in all of them. I did alittle football  jr. high and high school . Point being i never was any good . My comment is,  over the yrs. now how come the players   being drafted are Afican-American, you hardly see any white players( afew playing). It just seems too me the white guys quit playing. The same goes for NBA and baseball. Don't get me wrong if you play ball of any kind, God Blessed you with it. I know i sure  wished I could have, the money is. good ,but too play is BETTER.I don't want any drama just interested.

MikeBailey
MikeBailey

It seems to me that Tom Savage has Jeff George written all over him.

Mike26
Mike26

@leonardosobe  What a winner YOU are!  You're right:  99.99% are felons when they leave the league.  

Mike26
Mike26

@dennis  "False 50,000 pages"....time to accept the reality that your thugs messed up dennis and move on.

joe1025
joe1025

@joebdox There are Union Colleges in other states, so they are distinguishing it from those. It's the same reason they always use Miami (FL) and Miami (OH) when reporting football scores.

Mike26
Mike26

@joebdox  No, it's Union, NY.  You're a tiny college no one's ever heard about before and won't again.

andye2007
andye2007

@Jim21  Seems a bit callous to mention that in the the same message containing your condolences.  

Buck2185
Buck2185

@Plainview Peter looks like someone you would want to keep away from your children......

Bruce Poff
Bruce Poff

Hey James! Ur wrong about whites & blacks in MLB ! Only 8% of the players in MLB are African American! Better recheck ur research numbers! LoL

Wombat
Wombat

@JamesPate  I don't know... but I did notice recently that I see no kids playing outside in middle America any more. Perhaps it is partially a symptom of WOW and Facebook? Heck, I have a kid that has "texting dates"? What the bleep is that?

clt0002
clt0002

@MikeBailey  People were fawning over George. That's not really the case with Savage. They just love his arm. 

JohnMatuszak
JohnMatuszak

@MikeBailey  i don't see that..George was the #1 overall pick wasnt he? highly touted as the strongest arm ever

brettwolfe
brettwolfe

@Mike26 @joebdox  Well, Mike,smart people have heard of Union.  It's a top 50 ranked college.  And the Dutchmen are not a One Hit Wonder.  They've been to the Frozen Four 2 of the last 3 years.

Newsletter