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Dynasty-Fantasy Football Notes 3/1/19 (From the Combine on 2/28)
Watching as many press conferences and one-on-one interviews as I could, in addition to things I talked to contacts/sources about (some even reliable)… *In no particular order:
-- CFM Subscribers…a web page will be open prior to 9am for my live/streaming reaction to Combine things happening. If you want my instant analysis and lists of times, etc., follow along there.
-- Whomever is advising Kyler Murray on the Combine/workout process is a genius.
Murray just solidified himself as a top 3 pick by nailing three ‘check boxes’ at the Combine yesterday…
1) His hand size was fine (9“+), no red flag.
2) More importantly, his height was above 5’10”, when many (including me) thought he’d be 5’8”-5’9”. Huge win. He’s a hair shorter than Russell Wilson…and we shouldn’t even be talking/concerning ourselves with height anymore when scouting quarterbacks. It’s a ridiculous, antiquated argument. And I’ll explain more of my thoughts on that in a moment.
3) His weight was above 200 pounds, when it was feared he might be under 190 pounds.
With all those boxes checked, Murray drops the mic and will not participate in any drills – and he shouldn’t. Great job of advisement here. He has nothing to gain doing anything at the Combine. Some players have to prove something at the Combine…not Murray. He only has everything to lose standing in a line drill with 6’4” QB prospects.
He has plenty of arm strength he doesn’t need to have it micro examined in the most meaningless setting of throwing in shorts/t-shirts to foreign-to-him wide receivers with no coverage. It’s a joke, really. Avoiding it, if you can, is smart.
He’s not running at the Combine either. Good…let them all guess what he runs. Lamar Jackson didn’t run last year. Unless Murray ran in the 4.3s, anything else would be a letdown.
Why I think his advisers are so brilliant here – he’s not not-running because he is trying to hide an issue where he is not as fast as people think. No, he’s ‘playing’ the system like a fiddle. THEY worried about his weight…he added weight to shut them up. Now, he’ll lose 10 pounds and run at his Pro Day, if he even runs there. Pro Days are home cooking and bad hand times by old school Charley Casserly types. Murray will shave 10 pounds, get a favorable hand time and they’ll report he ran a 4.35 and that will be the headline from his Pro Day. He also gets to throw to his known receivers at his Pro Day with less spectacle and unknowns than at the Combine.
I saw some people say, in interviews, that Murray could be questioned for not ‘competing’. That’s ridiculous. That’s just babies wanting their candy. I get it…I want to see everything now too, but if I were advising Murray, I’d have him do exactly what he’s doing. We have a ridiculous anal-exam for QBs at the Combine, and Murray is avoiding it with nothing to gain. He’s going top 3 without throwing at the Combine…so, who is the fool in the end?
-- Here’s the thing about height and quarterbacks. If anyone says, “Well, traditionally, smaller QBs don’t fare as well in the NFL,” then your lost in your calculations on a number of false fronts. It’s one of the downfall of analytics’ scouting…not only on this matter, but many other similar ‘assumptions’.
Sure, smaller QBs didn’t make it back in the day…but was it because they somehow couldn’t handle the NFL…or did antiquated, limited-minded head coaches think it and then push/change the talented players to other positions in high school or college – so, we never got a good sample of what smaller QBs could do? You’re telling me Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray would have gotten a fair chance 20 years ago? 30 years ago? No way. That’s not even mentioning any racial bias into the equation.
The NFL didn’t have smaller QBs succeeding because THEY wouldn’t allow it because THEY thought they were smart. To this day, most NFL decision makers want a 6’5” guy with a big arm…and it doesn’t matter if he has any intuition for the position. It’s not a height issue…it’s terrible NFL coaching and scouting for decades issue.
The most talented quarterbacks in the NFL are (in whatever order) Mahomes-Brady-Wilson-Rodgers-Brees-Mayfield. That’s…6’2”(Mahomes)…too skinny/couldn’t start for his college team(Brady)…way too short(Wilson)…6’2”/fell in the draft(Rodgers)…too short(Brees)…too short(Mayfield). One guy definitively above 6’2” on my list…and, yet, we gush over 6’4”+ QBs.
Let’s stop with the argument smaller QBs are not statistically correlated to NFL success. We had Doug Flutie and no one else for a hundred years until the last decade or so.
How the NFL and its media constantly gets this one position wrong in scouting and, yet, we all still listen with bated breath to see what they think of Josh Allen and Drew Lock and Jameis Winston, et. al. Not me. That’s why I have zero doubt when my scouting models show everything differently than the scouts, analysts, and media. When my scouting agrees with the consensus, especially at quarterback…I fear I’ve made a mistake.
-- The football media is the worst, but their ‘worry’ about everything, or certain things they talk themselves into, drives me crazy during this Combine process…but it is much like any other industry.
For a month+, and the last two at the Combine, all I’ve heard is how Kyler Murray may be too short, be too thin, and still wondering--does he really love football? The pay for a top 10 NFL draft pick vs. what the MLB is offering him isn’t even in the same stratosphere. He’s going to play football…not baseball.
The only reason there was doubt on Murray’s motivations, was because the ‘experts’ advising prospects told Murray, a few months ago, he was too short, too small, too ‘system’ and probably not a top 50-100 NFL draft. Well, again…no one knows their product less than NFL scouts and expert advisers. 2-3 months later, he’s on his way to becoming a #1 pick in the draft.
The only worry left is whether Murray is any good at playing quarterback or not…not about height or the allure of baseball, but the side stuff was still bandied about in Indy all day.
It’s like when I watch CNBC (business channel) all day to follow the stock market…
When the economy or a single stock is roaring…all the experts worry it’s going to cool next quarter. A recession might be lurking. The news is too good. A few months ago Apple stock was dropped, somewhat on the notion of people going “What if the next iPhone release has problems…what if they lost their innovation?”
When the economy or single stock is ‘just right’…well, that’s a problem – why isn’t the economy red hot? Why is this stock so ‘dull’? Remember that one year a decade or two ago when the economy was super red hot, why isn’t it that again? Are we on the brink of recession?
When the economy or a single stock is just going along ‘average’/OK…”Well, we’re nearly in a recession”…or “Why isn’t it doing better?”
Experts always look for the downside in everything and rarely the upside.
What if Murray is too small? What if Murray secretly wants to play soccer or be an astronaut? Why doesn’t anyone ask – is Murray a generational talent the likes/style of which we’ve never seen?
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-- Yesterday, I passed on a wild rumor about Tampa Bay possibly in play for Nick Foles. The more I watch of Bruce Arians, the more I know there is 0% chance of that happening.
I have said for a couple of years now – Bruce Arians wants emotionally fragile, needy players…and he wants to father them/be needed by them. He likes the ‘second chance’ and the ‘overlooked’ players/prospects. It’s what cost him in Arizona ultimately. Too emotionally attached to the wrong players. Jameis Winston is the poster child for what Arians wants to coach.
I saw Arians sharing a story Thursday, doing so for the second time in a week that I’ve seen, this time with more passion – about how he literally loves Winston, the person. He had him at a camp years ago, when he was little, and Winston was impressed with Arians’ Super Bowl ring and Winston told Arians that moment trying on Arians’ ring changed his life…yada-yada. That’s all music to Arians’ ears.
Arians will go down with the ship on Winston, I would virtually guarantee it. Foles is not going there, and Foles would want nothing to do with playing for Arians either, I would imagine. Foles doesn’t need a foul-mouth father-figure. He’s a grown up.
What’s funny/sad is if Winston becomes a free agent in 2020…he’ll go where the money is and leave Arians clutching that memory. He’ll walk out on dad for a few extra bucks. Arians truly cares…but leaves himself open to getting played by all these violin-playing-in-the-background moments. He thinks he’s so smart…but he gets conned easily by players telling him what he wants to hear, in my opinion.
-- Jason Witten going back to the Cowboys for $5M…
Speaking of too emotional NFL execs…Jerry Jones can’t help himself.
The last thing Dallas needed was to spend $5M on a way past-his-prime TE. It stunts the growth of emerging Blake Jarwin and hurts Dak Prescott as defenses having to cover Witten isn’t a big chore in 2019…Dak has reduced options to scare a defense with.
The Witten move shows how emotional Jerry Jones is…and a reminder of how dumb ESPN was for throwing Witten into the MNF gig, totally unprepared and devoid of any broadcasting chops.
Again, these are the people running things in the NFL…so, excuse me when I question their logic, their scouting, their hiring’s, etc.
-- I saw part of Sean McVay’s press conference… He doesn’t seem to think Gurley was all that hurt. He did a good job refuting the ‘too injured’ notion without realizing he was doing it…he was just dealing facts. He blamed the defenses, his play calling, etc., and he even started to point our Gurley struggling but switched quickly over to how well C.J. Anderson was playing/helping. In a round about way…McVay let everyone know it was not an injury thing.
Will this McVay stuff be reported/analyzed deeper…or are we just sticking with C.J. Anderson M.D.’s pure guess that Gurley must have been more hurt than he said? The CJA notion fits what we want to hear…so, I already know the answer.
-- The 49ers/GM John Lynch came out and said they were not contacting the Steelers about Antonio Brown. Could be a front/bluff…or could be as a I speculated in my Dante Pettis Rewind Report yesterday.
The more I talk to people, the more I’m convinced AB is going to be the Steelers starting WR for Week 1…
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