The concept known as “lying season” has officially commenced. The interviews with all general managers and coaches from around the league kicked off the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. It’s always interesting to see the different personality types from each team. Some executives and coaches are engaging and transparent while some others may be laid back or even nonchalant. Regardless, the quotes leftover after each interview never disappoint.
Here are five of my biggest takeaways:
Arizona Cardinals – Steve Keim: Playing poker with the No. 1 overall pick
Steve Keim did nothing to silence the rumors that the team may have interest in a quarterback at the top of the draft. After a past video of head coach Kliff Kingsbury stating if he ever had the top pick in the NFL Draft, he would select Kyler Murray. Keim went to say that Josh Rosen is the teams answer under-center “right now, for sure” and he left the statement at that.
Keim: “is Josh Rosen our QB? He is right now, for sure.”— Dan Kadar (@ByDanKadar) February 27, 2019
This quote can be a double-edged sword because Keim could be playing his way into auctioning off the No. 1 overall pick and making others develop their own belief, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, the rumored love for Murray may be true, and there is a match with Kingsbury-Murray and the relationship that both have had previously.
New York Giants – Dave Gettleman: Entertaining the thought of drafting a QB of the future
Head coach Pat Shurmur gave Eli Manning a massive vote of confidence by saying “when everyone started playing better around Eli, he played “better.” That is a clear indicator that the team will welcome back the two-time Super Bowl champion despite his recent decline. Manning enters the final year of his deal, worth $23.2 million. On the flip-side, Dave Gettleman still has confidence in the 15-year veteran, but he did not hide that he’s looking forward to evaluating some of the signal-callers in the 2019 class.
Dave Gettleman clarified on his original lukewarm comments about Eli Manning returning by stating “The Kansas City model really worked well.” It’s clear the Giants are looking at Eli starting with a rookie first-round pick waiting in the wings.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 27, 2019
He repeatedly complimented the Kansas City Chiefs “model” and how there was a clear understanding of the present and future state of the organization with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes on the depth chart. He seemed to hint towards knowing that Manning’s long-term outlook is bleak and that some type of backup plan may need to be formulated to establish continuity at the position when Manning retires or the club decides to part ways with him.
Minnesota Vikings – Rick Spielman: Find players that exclusively fit your scheme
A lot gets lost in the certain abilities of players, but what matters most to teams are how well they fit their criteria. Whether that’s from an analytical standpoint, character-wise, schematically, or a combination of them all, each team has boxes that they want to see prospects check during the pre-draft process.
Favorite Spielman quote from today's presser... Finding the guys that fit YOUR SCHEME. What a concept.. pic.twitter.com/Th8jGCehmJ— Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) February 27, 2019
Spielman went in depth about the offensive line aspect of it when comparing zone vs. gap scheme offensive lineman. The gap scheme type may be good moving forward, but if the teams’ scheme is more zone-oriented where more lateral movements are required then no matter how good that player may be, that automatically doesn’t qualify them as a fit because of success in that one particular scheme. Finding players who strictly fit your prototype is vital and just because they fit one and thrived in that specific category doesn’t mean that they will have success in the other.
Oakland Raiders – Mike Mayock: Interior pressure is more important than edge pressure
Since the success of recent interior defensive lineman and the growing pace of interior pressure over the past five seasons, the debate of exterior vs. interior pressure has come about. First-year Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock spent extensive time finding out on which was more important. Saying that he asked every top quarterback drafted during the last few years to get their thoughts on the debate and the overwhelming consensus was that interior pressure gave them harder times because it was directly in their face.
#Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he’s talked to every top quarterback in the NFL over the last few years and they have all said that pressure up the middle is what gives them the hardest time.— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 27, 2019
At the No. 4 overall pick and with a little luck, they may have their chance at drafting Quinnen Williams, but if he’s selected, Ed Oliver and other down the line options later on in the draft could be an option to add to the young core of Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall along the interior.
Green Bay Packers – Brian Gutekunst: The draft board is solidified ten days after the Combine
It’s always interesting to see the disparity between each teams timeline as to when their final draft board comes together following the NFL Scouting Combine. There have been teams that don’t firmly set their boards until a few weeks out from the draft, while others like to have their’s done relatively early to prevent recency bias.
Gutekunst says the Packers draft board tends to solidify roughly 10 days after the Combine.— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) February 27, 2019
Gutekunst quote was a bit of a surprise because it was the first time that I’ve heard of a team setting their draft board so quickly following the Combine. There’s no proven or right/wrong method, but the differences in the duration between draft boards being finalized are staggering.
For more NFL Draft news and analysis, follow Jordan on Twitter @JReidNFL