Nothing you are about to read is true. Or accurate. Or even well-intentioned. That’s because it’s time for the NFL Draft, and while the draft has a longstanding tradition of being ushered in every year with a parade of smokescreens (“Per sources, the Niners are looking HARD at total fucking stiff Mac Jones, but will do their homework!”), those smokescreens have, over time, morphed into a form of strategic, diversionary libel and slander. Some of this slander gets laundered through an on-air cactus like Dan Orlovsky. You know, someone who has a mic but no frontal lobe to operate it effectively. But most of the time, it gets disseminated to the general public thanks to the frontline heroes you and I know as anonymous scouts:
The good with Zach Wilson is really good, but the bad can be really, really bad. And when he goes to a bad team like the Jets and he’s trying to win games, those are big concerns. To me he’s kinda like Patrick Mahomes coming out of college. People think now about Mahomes as the Super Bowl-winning quarterback and how great he is now, but coming out of Texas Tech, he was not this surefire guy. He was uber-talented arm-wise, and he does a lot of stuff that is really sexy now, but he threw a lot of bad picks, and his decision-making, I thought, was really inconsistent.
It takes a very special kind of person to compare Zach Wilson to Patrick Mahomes and frame it as an INSULT. Luckily for you and me, Scout Brain is so endemic across the NFL that a ladleful of asinine gibberish like this is not only common, but expected. The next time I hear an anonymous scout say something USEFUL will be the first. It’s entirely possible that every anonymous scout quote comes from just ONE person, and that that person is Bill Polian’s wet nurse. But the more likely story is that Scout Brain is real, pervasive, and inescapable.
And I want in on it.
Why should I be tethered to this commie street fair of a blog when I could hang a stopwatch around my neck, provide both NFL teams AND NFL fans with the kind of chesty dispatches they hold so dear, and make BILLIONS for it? I shouldn’t. I could be an anonymous scout. I AM an anonymous scout. I have a film room (TV room). I watch tape (live games on TV). I have the connections (HDMI). I know how to talk shit behind people’s backs. I’M A BLOGGER, FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Talking shit at a safe remove from my targets represents the foundation of my entire career.
So let me show you, and the NFL petty gossip industrial complex, how this is done. For the sake of this exercise, pretend I’m not Drew Magary. Pretend I’m a shadowy operative with the code name Deep Post. Here now are Deep Post’s thoughts about some of the bigger names in the 2021 draft class.
Trevor Lawrence: The long hair concerns me. We measured it at his pro day as extending two inches past the shoulders. You just don’t see guys at this level succeed with that kind of number. Could be a mitigating factor in terms of vision, neck torque, and attitude. I mean, just look at Lawrence’s brother. If this kid doesn’t want it, he’s got no shortage of role models within short range to lure him away from the game.
I do like that he played through COVID though. That’s what you want. When the heavy fire is coming in, do you WANT a guy who sits out and thinks only of himself? Or do you want a guy who knows the sacrifices necessary going in, and isn’t afraid of them?
Zach Wilson: To me, he’s kinda like Lamar Jackson coming out of college. Sure, Jackson has won an MVP and all that. Yada yada yada. But go back and look at his college film. The throws weren’t there, despite the arm talent. The calls for a position change were not unfounded. If you think they were, you just weren’t watching the same sport as I was. So when people praise Jackson NOW, they’re really indulging in cheap hindsight. Anyone can do that. That’s what really stood out for me on the tape when I watched Zach Wilson.
Justin Fields: Where do I begin? Only played five games last regular season. Played only two ranked teams in the Big Ten, and both of them were a joke. Listen, I know people who love the kid, okay? They love him. But they’re just watching all the pretty highlights. I don’t watch the touchdown passes. I watch the second and longs. I watch the third and shorts in his own territory. And you know what I see? HESITANCY. I see a kid who doesn’t really know what he’s doing out there, and doesn’t think he NEEDS to know. And you have to ask yourself, “Well, if Ryan Day can’t motivate this young man to get past the first read, how long is he gonna sit in an NFL pocket without getting happy feet?” Not long.
Mac Jones: He fits into what Kyle Shanahan wants to do. He absolutely fits. You can tell from the tape that this is a kid who’s gonna do what’s asked of him. We have him on our board at No. 2 and frankly, I wonder if we’ve got him high enough. His chin specs are off the chart. When this guy walked by one of my colleagues and me at his pro day, that colleague and I exchanged knowing nods. The name “Manning” was on the tip of our tongues.
Trey Lance: You just have to wonder about North Dakota State prospects after what Carson Wentz just put Howie Roseman through. You say, “OK, but Lance is a mobile quarterback.” Well, Wentz was too, and look what happened. He got hurt all the time. These are kids who think they can get away with more than they actually can. And in that sense, I view Trey Lance as no different from your average street criminal.
DeVonta Smith: Fragility will be a constant issue with him. The calf measurements set off alarm bells with every other scout I know. I don’t see a body type here that can withstand the rigors of a full season, especially with that 17th game.
Kyle Pitts: The razzle dazzle catches were pure theater. I only watched the tape of his blocking. And lemme tell you, this kid’s got shy feet.
Patrick Surtain II: Hip rotation is off. Needs a LOT of grooming.
Ja’Marr Chase: He plays fast, but what I’m looking for is a guy who knows how to play slow when the moment calls for it.
Jaylen Waddle: Easily the superior Alabama receiver to Smith. Heavier. Thicker bones. Has that bubble.
Drew Magary: This kid looks like he was born with his head stuck in a watering can. I see nothing in him.
Liam Eichenberg: I could see a line-hungry team like Baltimore scooping him up. But honestly, I watched the tape of Eichenberg fucking my wife when I paid him to, and he didn’t look like he was putting his whole motor into it.
Now tell me your opinion of these prospects is the same now that Deep Post has told you the truth about them. Hire him, NFL. Pay him to do your dirty sinful business. Unlike Justin Fields, he won’t let you down.
All drat nights in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Tonight: If you believe our Kalyn Kahler’s reporting (and you should), this is the most talent-poor draft in “living memory,” but also possibly in history. You’ve got prospects who opted out in 2020, prospects who played a limited schedule in 2020, and then a host of missing prospects who bailed on this draft entirely so that they could play a full slate of college games next fall. As a result, this draft pool is roughly a third of what it usually is in terms of eligible players.
I could keep on my anonymous scout hat and tell you that this draft will still yield fruit anyway, but the numbers are what they are. This talent pool could be improved thanks to enhanced player development, and even thanks to extended rest that opt-outs enjoyed during the pandemic. But really, this draft is fucked. The QBs are inflated. The Jimmy Johnson trade value chart is essentially meaningless for it. Any pick past the third round is crap. Amassing multiple picks for this weekend is a waste of time. I would trade out of this draft in a fucking heartbeat if I ran a team, same way the Chiefs and Rams did. The whole thing is gonna be one giant shit salad.
AND I’M GONNA WATCH ALL OF IT.
Tomorrow: The 2020 draft was a hit thanks to all of the surprising house porn on display. And so, naturally, the NFL noticed this phenomenon and INSTANTLY set about ruining it.
Fucking Schefter is gonna show up on camera this weekend with Chip and Joanna Gaines to walk you through every single team’s designated Airbnb war room, each one sponsored by Michelob Ultra Seltzer. I wanna kill him already. I always wanna kill Adam Schefter.
Reader Brendan had the bright idea for Defector to assign a city-specific house to each team, and I almost did that for the top of this post before I realized that gimmick would run out of steam even quicker than the lead essay I replaced it with did. But we had to do ONE team for this gag, at the very least, so here’s a perfect house that Kalyn found for the Bears. It was built by the son of the lady whose cow burned that city to the fucking ground.
You can just see the entire Bears organization huddled in that house right now, can’t you? No lights on. Baseboard heating that never works. Virginia McCaskey lying half-dead in a third floor bedroom, ringing a tiny bell for a servant to bring her a plate of exactly three Triscuits. Matt Nagy on the phone with the cable company, screaming. Ryan Pace smugly nodding as he stares at a greaseboard with OUR QUARTERBACK ROOM! scrawled across it in a barely legible font. And Andy Dalton in painter’s coveralls sweeping the front stoop.
Saturday: Speaking of Ryan Pace, let’s all enjoy this quote from him after Bears players decided to join the loose offseason boycott of voluntary workouts:
“I expect [attendance] to be good,” Pace said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think with just the feeling I have with our guys and the excitement of this offseason and the upcoming season, I feel it. I feel it from our leadership. I feel it throughout our team. I can already tell from the guys who are coming in now and just kind of the energy and the momentum I feel from that group. I expect it to carry right into May 17 when they can be here at Halas.”
If I told you that this was the same man who traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky, would you believe me? I think you would. I like it when football people gaslight themselves instead of everyone else. Now let’s get talk about some random crap…
• I watched The Outsider this offseason. For the first episode or two, this show plays out like your average, prestigious, morose crime procedural. And then it takes a turn and gets WAY cooler. The “based on a novel by Stephen King” credit should have tipped me off to this turn, but I was too lazy to make the connection. Anyway, The Outsider was canceled by HBO after that first season, which was shitty news if you’re like me and enjoyed that show.
But then I realized, even as the show’s producers were trying to get it picked up by other places, that one season of that show was exactly enough. I’m workshopping a take that canceled shows actually have better finales than one that are allowed to live out a full lifespan. There’s a button at the end of The Outsider’s finale that, in theory, leads you into a second season. But it’s way better if that mini-cliffhanger IS the ending. That gives your imagination all the time in the world to think about where the story might go, and where it might end up. You gotta leave some shit ambiguous. You don’t have to dot every I and cross every T. The average series that serves out a full run always goes longer than it should, so I appreciate the rare moments when every facet of a pop culture property is NOT explored.
You don’t have to go the full Sopranos finale every time out, but neatly wrapping up every storyline closes off any chance fans have of playing around with the future of that show on their own. If The Outsider does get resurrected by Netflix or another shop, I can pretty much guarantee it won’t have as cool an endgame as its first accidental one. This has been TV Knowing With Drew. Next week, join me as I talk about old episodes of Deadwood.
• Shock G died last week. I remember getting into an argument with my friends decades ago when Tupac’s “I Get Around” video showed up on MTV and Shock G, who discovered Tupac, showed up at the end of the video. I saw Shock G appear and I cried out HEY THAT’S HUMPTY HUMP! And all my friends were like, “Drew, that’s Shock G.” And I was like, “Are you guys stupid? That’s CLEARLY Humpty Hump.” And they were like, “Drew, his real name is Shock G.” And then I was like, “NO IT ISN’T. IT’S HUMPTY HUMP. HE EVEN SAYS SO IN THE HUMPTY DANCE VIDEO, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.” One of my finer moments as a youth.
• Let’s check in on world’s foremost judge of character, Urban Meyer!
It really is incredible that, given how much available knowledge NFL teams have at their disposal, football men can cling to the same Jurassic takes they’ve always had. Some draftees end up ruined by the money and by the spotlight. This is true. What’s also true is that this happens with EVERY KIND OF PLAYER, which Urb there clearly insinuates isn’t the case. It happened to Ryan Leaf, for fuck’s sake. This is because no one ever teaches rich people how to be rich. Players don’t know how to be rich. Owners don’t know how to be rich. I doubt Urban knows how to be rich. If he did, he wouldn’t be such a prick. Weird shit happens when you’re an otherwise normal person and suddenly everything around you is essentially free. I know the NFL holds rookie symposiums to go over this with new players, but it’s the same as practice: Everything feels different once the action is real. Urban Meyer has been in this sport for DECADES now. He should know this shit already. 3-14.
• If tonight goes like every other important TV viewing night in my life, my kids will scream for attention JUST as I’m settling in for the telecast. This happens every time the Vikings play. It happens every Super Bowl. It even happened during the Oscars, which I had to watch for blogging purposes. Sometimes these kids even interrupt me when I’m busy looking at my phone. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT? Horrible. I should get a hotel room for this weekend.
Predraft Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Into The Smoke,” by Destroyer of Light! Bit of a paradox there between this band’s name and the song, but I’ll allow it. From Jim:
From Austin, Texas it’s Destroyer of Light with “Into the Smoke.” Heavy riffs and a music video filmed inside of a supermarket. What else do you need?
I could use better singing, but the riffs are heavy and the video is sufficiently deranged enough to suit my needs. Pro tip: you can freak out anyone simply by having the camera hold on a dude with a frozen smile.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Joe Flacco for Pizza Hut! Ben asks, “Are you aware of these Joe Flacco Pizza Hut ads from Maryland?” Ben, I was not. Clearly, Pizza Hut’s ad buy was restricted to Dundalk and not any points beyond within my adopted home state. I like that Joe Flacco here couldn’t even do a decent acting job when calling HUT for the ball. That’s the kind of effort that Eagles fans are gonna really dig once the season gets underway. PHILADELPHIANS ARE READY TO LOVE THIS TEAM.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2021 chopping block:
(* – potential midseason firing)
Zac Taylor already got one season to care for my beloved son Joe Burrow. He never deserved a second. Get that Promising Young Woman bachelor party attendant out of my fucking sight.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Aaron sends in this story I call INTO THE VOID:
A couple years ago, on the 4th of July, I was invited to hang out and watch fireworks with some people I had recently met at my church. Before I went to this shindig, I had an early steak dinner with my family. When I arrived church party house, the host had made a ton of Mexican food for all of us and was practically serving us moments after we’d arrive.
Trying to be polite, I had some tacos and a wet enchilada and next thing I know it’s getting dark and it’s almost time to watch fireworks. Now this house is built into a cliff and I just assumed we’d watch from the patio we’d been on all night, but oh no… “The good fireworks are about fifteen minutes away, and we’re walking.” That’s when the rumbling in my stomach began. A few other people monopolized the bathroom before we left and I watched in horror as the host locked the front door before we started our walk towards the firework show.
So we get to the fireworks show and instead of watching all of the colorful explosions like everyone else, I’m pacing very slowly trying to keep my butt cheeks closed. Then my brilliant idea came to me. I bet I could walk back to the house and find the patio door unlocked, ruin the bathroom in peace while everyone else is watching fireworks, and then double-time it back without them noticing! I run-walked back to the house and of course, the patio door was locked. It was a miracle I had held out this long, but the fireworks in my stomach told me I had mere moments left.
Across from the driveway was a walking path that was above a wooded hillside, so I climbed partway down the hill and held onto a dead tree stump with my ass in the air as soft-serve rocketed out of me. It was horrible. All of the leaves around me were dead and crunchy, so there was nothing suitable to wipe up with. I scampered up the hill and started to walk back towards my new group of church friends only to bump into them halfway there. I made up some excuse about a phone call and never told a soul.
This tale serves as a useful reminder before summer kicks in that, once you’re grown up, fireworks displays are a waste of time.
Draft Time Snack Of The Week
Churros! During quarantine I got churros and chocolate with a takeout order and it was the best thing I’d eaten all year. You might think churros don’t travel well, because most other fried foods don’t. WRONG. My friends, these churros were fresher than a child’s backtalk. In fact, I’m pissed I’m not eating more of those churros right now. For the draft, I’m gonna eat nothing BUT churros. All three nights. It’s the right move.
Also, I went to Mexico for a wedding in 2019 and late into the night, I was like, “Man, I could go for some churros.” So my wife and I left the reception, crossed the street to a churro stand, ate some churros while standing under an awning to avoid the rain, and then went back to the reception. And you know what happened then? THEY BROUGHT OUT LATE NIGHT CHURROS FOR ALL THE GUESTS. I got maximum churros that night. Best night ever.
Draft Time Cheap Beer Of The Week
Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, which is NOT cheap but REALLY should be. Reader Scott explains:
Today I present Hardywood Gingerbread Stout. I found this jihad on Christmas flavored beer at my local Trader Joe’s in Virginia. The festive holiday themed can (with actual beer reviews on it!) did its job, by getting me to shell out over three bucks to buy it and the liquid garbage it contained. This beer poured fine but then the aroma hit me, and then I knew I had made a mistake. It smelled and tasted exactly like throw up, gingerbread men, candy canes and Samuel Adams. I honestly couldn’t finish this mess and tossed it down an innocent kitchen drain. It took three handfuls of Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving stuffing seasoned kettle chips to rid my mouth of that horror. I then began to research this brew and its “reviews”. Apparently, this shit is popular with the stout/beer crowd, and to them I say, “Fuck You!”. You and your ilk are basically the Comic Book guy for beer aficionados.
Can we back up to the stuffing-flavored chips? Because those don’t sound very promising, either.
Alex Guerrero’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Every fresh platter I make of fresh asparagus is, itself, a non-fungible meal. The drizzle of grapeseed oil I use to enhance the brightness of the asparagus is just that. A drizzle. It’s not exact, and that’s what makes the dish so unique every time I eat it, which is thrice daily with a glass of beet milk.”
Thursday Night Movie Of The Week For Rams Fans (no first rounder)
Free Solo, the documentary chronicling Alex Honnold’s unprecedented, rope-free climb of El Capitan. The only thing tenser than the climbing scenes in this movie (I didn’t even realize my legs were shaking until I looked down at them) are the scenes between Honnold and his girlfriend, Sanni McCandless. And now they’re married! THAT’S THE REAL STUNNER. Also, Sanni McCandless is apparently NOT related to Christopher McCandless, the subject of Krakauer’s Into The Wild. Again, I am left speechless. Great movie.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“We have roots here, Homer! We have friends and family and library cards! Bart’s lawyer is here!”
Enjoy the draft, everyone.