I wanted to take some time before the weekend just offer some draft thoughts and status check a few things. So here we go…
— I’ve taken a few names off my horizontal board who opted not to declare for the draft and return to college. This includes linebackers Smael Mondon and Barrett Carter at Georgia and Clemson respectively, receivers Julian Fleming and Josh Kelly (both heading for the portal) and cornerback Trikwese Bridges (also in the portal). There are still a number of players yet to make their intentions clear for the draft.
— I didn’t include Carson Beck on my initial board and the Georgia QB has now confirmed he isn’t turning pro. Tyler Van Dyke is going to Wisconsin, Will Rogers to Washington, Riley Leonard to Notre Dame, Will Howard to USC and Grayson McCall to NC State. Some of these are yet to be officially confirmed, though, so things can change. Cam Ward, KJ Jefferson and DJ Uiagalelei are yet to indicate where they are heading in the portal, with Ward said to be commanding a lot of interest.
— The buzz around Jayden Daniels is incredible and increasingly it seems like he might be the second quarterback drafted in 2024. His case will be aided if Lamar Jackson wins the MVP and/or Baltimore wins the Super Bowl. Teams will recognise the similarities between the two players. I still think it’s a lock that Caleb Williams will be taken by the Bears with the top pick but Daniels as QB2 and Drake Maye as QB3 feels extremely plausible.
— There are so many teams chasing quarterbacks and supply isn’t going to match demand. The key name I’m going to continue to keep an eye on is Quinn Ewers. The latest talk is he’s 80% committed to returning to Texas. However, if he wins the National Championship and plays well in the process there’s little reason to return. His decision will likely hinge on the outcome of the playoffs.
— On the Seahawks, it’s increasingly hard to imagine Geno Smith isn’t on the roster next year. They aren’t picking high enough to guarantee anything in terms of the draft. The veteran alternatives are not attractive and players like Kirk Cousins will cost a fortune (I suspect he’ll eventually be extended by Minnesota, keeping him off the market). The question really is how much can they shave off Smith’s cap hit? They can’t go into next year with Smith on three times what he’s on now. He’s still a bridge and their cap situation is bad enough that they need to find considerable savings. Jamal Adams will be gone, that’ll create some relief. They’ll need a lot more than the $16.5m that will provide (plus other inevitable cuts such as the $5m they’ll get for parting with Bryan Mone). They absolutely should still plan to draft a quarterback as a potential heir apparent. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading up, especially for someone like Daniels — exactly the kind of QB who causes San Francisco problems. Having a big-time playmaker at QB is one way to combat playing a team who simply has far more blue-chip players than you do.
— I’m delighted that the media, at least, continues to sleep on Spencer Rattler. I keep reading so much nonsense about him from people who clearly haven’t fully studied his tape since leaving Oklahoma. For me he remains an excellent option for the Seahawks if they can’t trade up for a QB. Rattler’s a talent I’d be prepared to consider in round one — so if he’s destined to go later than that, fantastic. We see quarterbacks last longer than they should all the time. I mentioned a few days ago — you’ve got to look for special qualities and take shots to find ‘the guy’. I think Rattler’s as talented as any quarterback eligible for 2024, with arm talent to die for. He’s shown maturation at South Carolina, he’s proven he can play within structure. There’s so much to like and without a top-five pick this year, you have to look at other options if trading up isn’t a solution.
If you enjoy the blog and want to support the site via Patreon — (click here)