We are all on the clock, but not on same page

Apr 24, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye at Lowes Community Project at Volunteers of America Michigan. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye at Lowes Community Project at Volunteers of America Michigan. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As we count down the last hours and minutes to the 2024 NFL Draft, it is now or never to go on the record about a few things. We've mentioned them here and there, but before Roger Goodell says "With the first pick..." I want to be very Frank.


Why does almost everybody buy into whatever reason it is that the Chicago Bears should take USC quarterback Caleb Williams? I don't get it. He's a marvelous person and an entertaining quarterback, but sending him to Chicago, which plays 11 games outdoors this season, is as smart as drafting of Bryce Young by the Carolina Panthers, another outdoor team east of the Mississippi. How well is that working out?


Yes, we heard that Chicago is planning to build a swell domed stadium. But we doubt that will happen in time to help shield the 6-1, 200-pound Williams from the wind, the rain, the wind, the cold, the wind, the snow and ... did we mention the wind? If Williams is indeed drafted by Chicago — which seems certain — we have one important question. Based on the history of Chicago getting projects done, which will be finished first, the domed stadium or, for whatever reason, Williams football career???


We wish Williams the very best, but we point out some red flags in his profile.


Maybe the poet Carl Sandberg should help the Bears to draft a player for the, uh, Windy City, or as he called it, "City of the Big Shoulders."


Hog Butcher for the World,

   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

   Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;

   Stormy, husky, brawling,

   City of the Big Shoulders:


Although Sandberg was with us through the AFL-NFL merger, he wasn't into football. Still, we would bet, if given the chance, he would bypass drafting Williams and take the Big Shoulders that come with North Carolina  quarterback Drake Maye, who at about 6-4 and 232 pounds (and still growing) could stand up to the weather and NFL defenses, indoors or out. We see a Ben Roethlisberger-like potential. 


Although we appreciate the magicianry of Williams, we can't get a clear vision of what to expect. Some have compared his off-platform antics to the play of Kansas City's Pat Mahomes. Anything's possible, but Mahomes sat for a year behind Alex Smith and was coached by Andy Reid. Chicago's next quarterback won't have those advantages. 


Stepping back, we continue to be amazed at the insanity surrounding the evaluation of quarterbacks. In 2021, five were taken in the first round. One remains with the team that drafted him: Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I think that is the saying.




Three years after that 2021 disaster, we are hearing predictions of six quarterbacks selected in the first round this week. In a supply-and-demand world, it damn well may happen, because the demand is inflating the value of the supply.


We see three quarterbacks who should definitely be first-rounders: Maye, Williams (to the right team) and the ascending ex-LSU QB Jayden Daniels.  We also love Washington's Michael Penix Jr., whose 10.5-inch left hand can really spin the ball. Those four, season-ending surgeries are a concern, if not for fear of another injury, then for the arthritic aftermath of his past. And he is already 24.


Biggest recent trend has been to boost Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy from the seccond-day position he held a few months ago, as high as No. 2 overall. Here is what we think of that.


Finally we have Bo Nix — isn't that a great name? After disappointing his hometown folks at Auburn, Nix moved to Oregon and was transformed into a consistently prolific quarterback. We really don't know how he will be in the pros, but I would be disinclined to spend a first-round pick on him.


There are other concerns, especially the growing attitude of these Gen-Z prospects who apparently feel they don't need to go through what their predecessors did to get into pro football — like take part in the Indy Combine. Williams became the first Combine attendee to skip the medicals. Ohio State's top wide receiver, Marvin Harrison Jr., who took part in last year's Pro Day, did nada at this year's Combine and OSU's Pro Day. 


More prospects opted out of more things this year than ever before, including bowl games and workouts. Twenty-five players who practiced at the Senior Bowl skipped the game.


If you made it this far, thanks for "listening." This is not a good trend and something needs to be done to right the ship. Almost time for Goodell to say "With the first pick. . . ."


Enjoy the draft.



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