The NFL Draft has finally arrived and the last 24 hours has been more than my heart can honestly handle. Between shocking draft picks, bogus reactions, garbage hot takes, and a possible-not possible trade that just so happens to involve my favorite team and the reigning MVP, I’ve had just about as much as I can handle of the 2021 NFL Draft bonanza. In this first installment of this series, you’ll get my thoughts on the biggest stories from the NFL Draft, the buzz around the league, and why my stress levels were through the damn roof on a Thursday night. Welcome…to Chiotti’s Corner.
The Bengals Banking on Burrow
One of the most shocking and honestly confusing picks from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft was the fifth overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. After giving up 48 sacks in 2020, the Bengals took a look at their offensive line and their franchise quarterback (who is currently in a knee brace because of some weird knee injury not related to offensive line play) and said, “Yeah let’s go with a wide receiver here. We paid Riley Reiff and Jonah Williams has panned out fantastically.”
Picking Ja’Marr Chase is not a bad pick by any means, but it was interesting to see the Bengals choose to pass up on Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater. The Bengals offense will be fun to watch if they can keep Burrow safe in the pocket. Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, Tee Higgins, and now Chase? That’s a dangerous receivers group if everything works out. Hopefully the Bengals add to the offensive line with guys like NDSU’s Dillon Radunz and Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins still on the board in round two.
George Paton pisses off Broncos Country
Good lord. Broncos fans are so difficult to please. While the whole fandom was awaiting news of a certain trade (more on this later), all eyes were on the Denver Broncos and new general manager George Paton when the team was on the clock with the ninth overall pick. So many fans had convinced themselves the team was selecting a quarterback with the ninth pick that they started purchasing jerseys with certain players’ names BEFORE THE F*****G DRAFT. When I say I could feel the collective sighs, groans, and moans from Denver all the way in the Pacific Northwest when Roger Goodell announced Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II as the pick, I am not exaggerating.
Post-selection, Broncos Twitter was in SHAMBLES. People who had previously said they were perfectly fine with whoever Denver took, as long as they took “their” guy, were now saying it was the worst mistake the team has ever made for passing up on Justin Fields for a corner. Some fans were even calling for Paton to be relieved of his duties, just a couple of weeks after calling him a genius for how he handled the Broncos offseason. Paton said that Surtain was the top player on their board and he fell right into their lap.
Listen, Broncos Country. Relax. Surtain is a fantastic cornerback who will help the team after Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan’s contracts are up after this season. Also, Callahan and free agent signing Ronald Darby have rarely finished a full season healthy. Do we remember last season when the Broncos’ secondary was rocked by injuries to Callahan and A.J. Bouye? No?
Aaron Rodgers wants to get the HELL out of Green Bay…as he should
Was anyone truly shocked when Green Bay’s star quarterback and the reigning league MVP allegedly said he didn’t want to return to the organization? Adam Schefter damn near broke Twitter just hours before the 2021 NFL Draft when he dropped the bomb that Aaron Rodgers wanted to leave the team that drafted him. The Packers went 13-3 last season, but failed to beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
Can we blame Rodgers for wanting to leave, though? This is an organization that has really pissed him off the last couple years and he still goes out there and absolutely balls out. The Packers were in prime position to add another explosive offensive piece in the 2020 NFL Draft to help the team get to the Super Bowl. What’d they do instead of help their star? Draft a quarterback in the first round who was third on the depth chart. Okay, okay, maybe they’re planning for life post-Rodgers, they’ll probably get something in the second and third round, right?
It was like Rodgers was on an episode of Pawn Stars. Rodgers walks in with a pretty nice piece of memorabilia and says, “what can you give me for this? I’d really enjoy a receiver like Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman, Jr.” The Packers response was, “Hmm, yeah this is nice, but the best I can do is Jordan Love, A.J. Dillon, and Josiah Deguara.”
I’m not shocked at all that Rodgers would want to leave and his rumored teams of choice don’t surprise me either. This is a guy who has spent 16 seasons with the same team, giving his blood, sweat, and tears to an organization that has recently done little to help his cause. The Niners chose to roll with Trey Lance after allegedly offering the third overall pick to the Packers, which leaves the Raiders and the Broncos as the legitimate teams to make a run at Rodgers for a post-June 1st trade. The Broncos were the team that was allegedly “close”, but the move wouldn’t make sense financially for the Packers at this point in time. Between the two teams, however, Rodgers should definitely push for Denver, as they have the better roster of the two.
The Bears need to stop posting QB1 Tweets
Please. Stop. I feel bad enough for Bears fans for having to put up with Mitch Trubisky, but the team’s social media unit has GOT to stop tormenting these poor people. After signing Andy Dalton this offseason, they posted the same QB1 tweet that they did for Trubisky just a year before. On Thursday, though, the team made a trade UP in the draft from 20th to 11th to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
While Fields may not start right away, I would be shocked if Fields doesn’t beat out Dalton for that starting spot on Week 1. Might as well get that Tweet loaded up in the drafts folder, because it’s more than likely going to happen. God, I feel bad for Bears fans. Hopefully, Fields is the answer and helps them get back to the postseason.
Rounding the Corner
Draft day is so much fun and the second round and beyond is upon us. With all the stress and anxiety surrounding it, it’s easy to forget how magical this time of year is. Everyone’s hard work during the year is paid off and examined by each other. Whether you hit home runs with your analysis or you missed completely, just know that your work is greatly appreciated. The 2021 NFL season will be so much fun, especially watching this young crop of quarterbacks in the league. Will Mac Jones be the answer in New England? Will Lance sit under Jimmy G for a season? Who knows.
Thanks for sitting in my corner.