Every week, I open up the mailbag for anyone to send me their questions on college football, the NFL, or the 2020 NFL Draft. With the Super Bowl now in the rear-view mirror and the NFL Scouting Combine just weeks away, expect the buzz to pick up tremendously. This week’s mailbag includes information on the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons’ plans to replace Vic Beasley, additional info on what the Jets may do this offseason, and much more. But we start with a brief update on the status of the pending collective bargaining agreement.
Do you have a question you want to send to me? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @PFN365 on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTonyPFN, and we’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming mailbag column.
The Tony Pauline Mailbag
Any updates on the CBA or a possible work stoppage?
I’m told by those close to the situation there is a deal on the table that the NFLPA is reviewing. The belief is the 17th regular season game will not be as big of a sticking point as many are making it out to be. Many in the league – including players, teams, and agents – feel that a deal really needs to get done by the Combine or it’s going to be a while.
Tony, who are your favorite fits for the New York Jets in this draft? We know they want to upgrade the offensive line and if one of the big four (Wills, Thomas, Becton, or Wirfs) is there, do you think they draft him? Who would be good fits for Adam Gase in rounds 2-5?
I prefer Andrew Thomas by a longshot, but I don’t think he gets out of the top ten. After that, I prefer Tristan Wirfs but Mekhi Becton would be a better fit for Adam Gase’s offense. However, is Becton worth a top-15 pick? On my board, the answer is no. I don’t think Jedrick Wills is a good fit at all for the Jets.
As far as the Jets, the draft, and the offensive line (and even receiver), we’ll have a clearer picture after we see their moves in free agency. Speaking of which…
Have you heard of any players the Jets may target in free agency or the draft?
I made mention of Joe Thuney last week and the only additional information I have is people tell me the Jets are giving signals they will be very active in the free-agent market. I do know the Jets like Anthony McFarland, the running back from Maryland, and this makes complete sense. He is a perfect fit for their offense.
Last year I took a ton of heat after saying Le’Veon Bell was not a good fit for Gase’s offense as he’s more an inside power gap runner versus the outside zone runner Gase wanted – think Tevin Coleman, for example. McFarland is a great fit for the outside zone scheme and I expect him to run super-fast at the Combine. The Jets have two picks in the third round so you can draw your own conclusions at this point.
Why exactly was George Paton reluctant in taking the Browns GM job, removing his name despite having multiple interviews with them?
The bottom line – there is a reluctance by front office people to move their families to Cleveland, work for the Browns, only to end up on the unemployment line two years later. This has happened time and time again and it’s a major concern and issue for people in their final analysis as to whether or not to take a job in the Browns front office.
Who are you most excited to see at the Scouting Combine? Also, any inside linebacker for the Packers to keep an eye on? Any free agent rumblings involving the Pack?
I’m most excited to see Boise State OL Ezra Cleveland – he’s going to blow it up at the Combine. Stay tuned. Nothing on the Packers yet. As we get closer to the Combine, I’m sure things will break.
Now that it’s been announced by the team that Vic Beasley will be an unrestricted free agent, what do you think the Atlanta Falcons will do for a pass rusher? Free agency? The draft?
I think they’ll look towards free agency first. Keep this in the back of your mind – Dante Fowler is coming off of a terrific season and is now a free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. I’m told Fowler wants to play in Atlanta for the Falcons. It’s going to cost a pretty penny, but if the Falcons offer Fowler a competitive offer I think he ends up in Atlanta.
Can you please talk about the leverage that Tua Tagovailoa has (and seems to be using), and how he can use that leverage to make it to the Miami Dolphins at pick 5?
I don’t know he has any leverage considering there are several talented quarterbacks in this draft plus his hip is yet to be examined by team doctors. Anything coming out now is just bluster.
Which player has the biggest divide between media perception and the actual opinion of the scouting community?
There are a couple, but the main one is Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, as many in the scouting community feel he is overrated. Young has upside but is not a “sure thing” compared to Nick Bosa, something teams really prefer in a top-three selection.
What are you hearing about the Chicago Bears in regards to free agent names they’re targeting? What are you hearing regarding their draft board?
I have not heard any specific names to date, but people tell me they expect the Bears to make a good number of roster cuts before free agency and then sign guys in free agency to fill those holes.
Hi Tony, when do compensatory picks get determined?
They are probably already determined, if not close to being completed. They are usually released in March.