NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is next week and few people are better at breaking it all down than Daniel Jeremiah. The NFL Media analyst will be a part of the coverage on the NFL Network. Jeremiah was a scout for the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, and Philadelphia Eagles. He also was a three-year starter at quarterback for Appalachian State.

We spoke to Jeremiah about what should be a fascinating draft.

Awful Announcing: How difficult is it to be an expert on all 259 players who will be selected? 

Daniel Jeremiah: “It’s an open book test for me with the help of some really talented guys that I work with in (producer) Ben Fennell and (researcher) Jack Andrade. I’ll watch 400 players. I put all those players’ names in an Excel spreadsheet. I put my notes in that spreadsheet. Then I’ll sort that spreadsheet by my grades on that player, by the position they play, and I also have them sorted by school. So, as soon as someone gets picked, I can access my notes on that spreadsheet almost immediately. And then those guys do an unbelievable job working with me on the highlight tapes, the Xs and Os, as well as having some bio information on the players.

“For the first couple of days, I could probably do all of them off the top of my head because I’ve talked about them so much, But as we get into Day 3 and you’re in the fifth and sixth rounds, I definitely access my notes.”

How do you mix in bathroom breaks?

“Day One goes by fast. Even though there is a long time between picks, there are usually some trades. It’s fast-paced with lots of action. We maybe get one bathroom break where we can sprint off during a commercial break. I’m not trying to be Scott Hanson or Andrew Siciliano doing the Red Zone. I don’t have quite that skilled of a bladder. Maybe one opportunity on Night One. When it gets to Day Two, Day Three, we get more breaks sprinkled in there.”

What should the Carolina Panthers do with the first overall pick?

“I take Bryce Young. I think he’s the best quarterback. I wish he was a little bit bigger. I wish he was thicker. But all that being said, he played the best on college tape. I think everything he does well is going to translate. He’s able to process information. How quick he is. His release. His quick feet. Everything he does is at a quick pace. He’s off the charts in terms of his football intelligence. When you check all the boxes he checks, that gives you your greatest chance to succeed.”

Who’s the safest pick in this draft?

“Will Anderson from Alabama, an edge rusher who’s been a consistent player during his time there. He’s played on the biggest stage against the best competition in the SEC. He’s just been really consistent. I feel like there is very little chance of a swing and miss on him.”

Who’s the riskiest pick?

“Anthony Richardson from Florida, a quarterback who is 6-4-plus, 240-plus pounds. He ran in the 4.4s. He’s an incredible athlete. He just hasn’t played a lot of football. He started 13 games, which is the same number of games that Mitchell Trubisky started at (North Carolina). It’s not a great track record of guys with that limited of a résumé. There’s an unbelievable upside if you hit. But there’s some risk and red flags.”

You played the position, why is it so hard to evaluate quarterbacks?

“There are two main reasons. It’s hard to account for the supporting cast when studying them, whether it’s positive or negative. That can have an impact on your opinion. And it’s hard to account for the environment and the place they’re going to go into at the next level. If you take some of these young quarterbacks who have been so successful (at the pro level), some of them landed in a perfect opportunity. The right place with the right coaches, the right offensive line, the right playmakers.”

What’s the most right you’ve been about a prospect?

“There are always guys that you identify early in the process that you believe in that end up being good players. For me, guys like Keenan Allen when he was coming out. I was with the Ravens when we picked Haloti Ngata. I was with the Eagles when we picked Jason Kelce. Those are the ones we liked, and they ended up working out really well.”

What’s the most wrong you’ve been about a prospect?

“I would love a do-over on Patrick Mahomes. That’s one that I thought was the ultimate boom-or-bust pick. I thought there was some risk because of the offense he was coming out of. He played helter-skelter in college and freelanced. I was curious to see how all that would work.”

“Going to Andy Reid, getting to be with Alex Smith, and being able to sit for a year, absolutely helped him maximize his ceiling. I thought he would go in the first round on mock drafts but when I looked at my own personal rankings, I thought he was a second-round player because of the rawness. Obviously, that was way off.”

Do you have any unexpected interactions with the public, such as a grocery store clerk asking for your draft opinions?

“Oh yeah. I got it at a men’s bible study (in San Diego) a few weeks back with a very passionate Pittsburgh Steelers fan. We were getting ready to start, and he wanted to know what they were going to do with the 17th pick… He wanted to know what offensive lineman they were going to take and what offensive lineman they should take. So, we had a good little chat. I love it. I figure the more people who are into the draft, the better it is for me.”

“I go to a lot of baseball games. Padres general manager A.J. Preller is a good buddy of mine. I’ll go to a game and hang out with him in his box. He’s a New York Giants fan, so he’ll pepper me with questions about the Giants while I’ll pepper him with questions about the Padres. It’s a give-and-take.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.