Virtual NFL draft: Front offices as fantasy football stereotypes
With the 2020 NFL Draft going virtual, it’s basically a fantasy draft.
That brings up a very important question: Which front offices fit which fantasy football player stereotypes?
You know the ones. The guys who insist they had the best draft while everyone else thinks it was mediocre at best. The ones who convince themselves they didn’t want a top-three pick anyway and they’re happy with No. 7. The players who only draft players from their favorite teams.
There’s probably an NFL general manager or head coach who thinks the same way.
In this exercise, we try to find which is which.
The guy who overloads on one position
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim
You ever get to the end of your fantasy draft and realize one position is stocked, but a different area is severely lacking and you might need to make a trade or hit the waiver wire ASAP?
That’s purely fantasy football. But now put yourself in a general manager’s shoes. You drafted a quarterback with the No. 1 pick despite trading up to draft one last year.
Maybe you traded for a second-round pick to take a wide receiver, and then you find two more later you also want. Maybe you think you can potentially line them up down the road with last year’s second-round pick, also a wide receiver.
Maybe you’re Steve Keim.
The guy who panic-drafts a quarterback
Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco
There gets to that point in fantasy drafts where seven teams have quarterbacks, you still need a starter, and you realize the stars are gone.
Time to pick your QB earlier than you wanted and deal with the other positions later, even though you know last year’s No. 6 quarterback (Josh Allen) and No. 12 quarterback (Tom Brady) averaged a difference of about 1.6 fantasy points per week.
This year, that’s the Chargers.
Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are likely off the board by the time they select sixth overall. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love both have their flaws, but the Chargers might draft one of them while there are apparent stars at other positions still on the board.
Los Angeles’ roster currently has quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor, the apparent starter, and Easton Stick. Their future quarterback either needs to start now, or the Chargers can run with Taylor for a year and hope to draft someone like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields next year.
Time to secure that quarterback and worry about your flex player next round.
The guy who thinks he’s a genius with his sleeper picks
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll
The Legion of Boom was built by Carroll and GM John Schneider by great picks outside of the first two rounds. In Pete Carroll’s first draft with the Seahawks, Seattle took Kam Chancellor in the fifth round. The next year, they got K.J. Wright in the fourth round, Richard Sherman in the fifth and Byron Maxwell in the sixth.
They topped it off by finding Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft.
No need to go on. Pete Carroll is 100% the guy who would draft a borderline roster player in the 10th round of a fantasy draft and look around proudly, telling his opponents he got a steal. “This guy is going to be the X-factor,” he says.
An honorable mention here can be New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has to still be proud about that Daniel Jones pick last year and excited to show he’s still got it this year.
The guy who complains the player he wants keeps getting selected right before his slot
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians
This guy probably cusses a lot and he doesn’t keep much close to the vest.
That’s a pretty apt way to describe Bruce Arians.
He’ll almost certainly have some choice words for the person who selects his sixth-round choice two picks before he does, and by the time it’s happened four times in the first eight rounds, he might even threaten to go knee-deep on someone. Actually, on that note, Arians would probably be the one to have a clever name for his team, too.
The guy who drafts a kicker five rounds too early
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden
In the year 2000, the Oakland Raiders used their first-round draft pick on kicker Sebastian Janikowski. The head coach at the time was Jon Gruden.
Twenty years later, Gruden is once again at the helm alongside GM Mike Mayock. The Raiders are going into the draft following a season in which kicker Daniel Carlson completed just 73% of his field goals and was 6-for-12 from 40 yards or deeper. A quarter of their games last season were decide by three points or less.
They could use the second coming of Janikowski.
Gruden, you are on the clock.
Welcome to Las Vegas. The bettors who took the under on which round their new team will select a kicker are going to strike big.
The guy who isn’t paying attention and keeps trying to draft guys who have already been taken
Houston Texans general manager, head coach Bill O’Brien
In 2016, I had to take a year off my annual fantasy football league. After the draft, about half the league told me about one guy who was not paying attention. Moments before the in-person draft began, he asked if it was too late to make an El Pollo Loco run. When his turn came up in the fifth round, he stared at the player list. Thinking. Finally: “Uhhh… is Julio Jones available?”
Julio Jones was not available in the fifth round.
Look, we have nothing but appreciation for David Johnson in Arizona. But Bill O’Brien probably Googled his Pro Football Reference page and didn’t realize he was looking at his 2016 numbers. Or maybe he looked at his fantasy football point totals the first half of last season – Johnson had some impressive games – and didn’t realize he didn’t pass the eye test compared to Chase Edmonds or Kenyan Drake.
Either way, it seems like he wasn’t paying attention when he took on Johnson’s full contract and traded DeAndre Hopkins.
Now, without Hopkins, the Texans could use a wide receiver to line up next to newly-acquired Brandin Cooks. To answer Berry’s question of who will ask in the fifth round if Jerry Jeudy has already been taken: It’s the Texans.
The guy who wants the timer between each pick to be cut down to 30 seconds
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick is going to be wondering why everyone else isn’t as prepared as he is. He’s going to be wondering how teams could possibly not know who they want when they’re seven rounds deep and have a list of the top 300 prospects ranked and sorted.
“Let’s speed this up and shorten the clock to 30 seconds” he’s going to type into the Zoom chat bar.
In the end, they’ll agree to do it “soon.”
The guy who makes sure to draft a big quarterback every year
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway
There’s almost always that one fantasy football player who makes sure he has a big-named quarterback, and he likely selects him a bit too early.
That’s John Elway. Literally. He has drafted three quarterbacks in the either the first or second rounds of the draft since becoming Broncos GM in 2011.
Brock Osweiler was 6-foot-7. Paxton Lynch was 6-foot-7. Drew Lock is 6-foot-4.
Other Broncos quarterbacks in that time include Peyton Manning at 6-foot-5 and Joe Flacco, who started eight games last season, at 6-foot-6.
Can someone scream “late-round flyer on 6-foot-7 Oregon State QB Jake Luton”?
The one who won’t shut up about his fantasy win years ago
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
Same thing each season: This is their year. Too bad they haven’t won since the second year you did this league and half the fantasy team owners are different.
The guy who goes on autodraft
The Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are more than thrilled to draft Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, which they do seconds after the draft begins. In Round 2, they see quite a few players they have ranked as mid-first round talent, so they excitedly grab another.
In the third round, one of the players they would’ve considered a round earlier is still on the board, so they snap him up too.
From there, whatever. We can just go by Matthew Berry’s mock draft rankings.
Congratulations to the Bengals for drafting the Tiger King LSU alumnus Joe Burrow. Those next couple picks should be impactful, too.
After those first few picks, it’ll be gravy, and they’ll be your buddy who just sits back and goes into autodraft mode after the players he knows and likes have all been selected.