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Field Yates, ESPN NFL Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
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April 16, 2024 5:03 pm

Field Yates, ESPN NFL Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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April 16, 2024 5:03 pm

ESPN NFL Analyst joins Zach Gelb


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Comfortable. Alrighty, this is Zach Gelb's show on the Infinity Sports Network. And this portion of the show is brought to you by Wesley Financial, stuck at a timeshare and want out.

Contact Wesley Financial Group now and get a free timeshare exit information kit at And now joining us on the show, he does a wonderful job in getting everyone set for the NFL Draft. He'll be a part of all their coverage. And that, of course, is Field Yates, kind enough to join us right now on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio Field.

Thanks so much for the time. How you been? I've been great, Zach. How are you doing?

Well, I'm doing fantastic. So let me start you off with the second overall pick. The Washington commanders have it. We all know that going at number one, it's going to be Caleb Williams. How do you think the second overall pick is going to play on out? I think it winds up being Jayden Daniels.

You know, my colleague Adam Schefter has been sort of suggesting this. I think he has stopped short of saying that this is a done deal. Caleb Williams, I guess nothing is a done deal until we actually get to the finish line that is April 25th at around 8.10 p.m. Eastern time. But Caleb Williams can probably safely check out Zillow real estate in the area surrounding Soldier Field there in Chicago. Meanwhile, Jayden Daniels, I do think, is in pole position to be the number two pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

And throughout the process, as I have been trying to forecast how that second overall pick would go, understanding that we didn't know for certain which way the commanders are leaning, I have deferred to Jayden Daniels because I have him rated higher on my overall big board than Drake May, which is not a shot at Drake May, but rather a testament to just how special a player Jayden Daniels is. The guy was so good this past season, already passing touchdowns, just four interceptions. Didn't throw a single interception when facing zone coverage this past year. Also didn't throw a single interception when he was blitzed this past year. So he was a pick your poison passer. If you slough off and try to make him beat you through zone coverage, he's good enough to find his way.

And if you bring the heat, he can certainly beat you with his arms and of course can beat you with his legs as well. Yeah, sitting here as a Patriot fan, I want Jayden Daniels. I have already waved the white flag. I don't think that's going to happen. And then with the third overall pick, I've been so against Drake May, but I feel like that's who they're going to end up taking.

And it's not anything really with Drake May. It's really more so the Patriots don't have much. And I just fear they're going to ruin another quarterback. Yeah, I understand that argument.

I've heard it a lot. My colleague Matt Miller has kind of been in that side of the argument as well about how, you know, is this team ready to draft a quarterback? And I think there are healthy debates that can be had about it. I also think that ultimately the quarterback is the straw that serves the drink. And that gives you a chance to help elevate players that we don't think of in a certain light right now. I'm not trying to compare every young quarterback to C.J. Stroud. But if you go back to last year, well, some people might know, hey, yeah, you know, Laramie Tunstall is a great left tackle.

It's not like anybody was sitting there saying, wow, C.J. Stroud is set up for success in Houston this year. Meanwhile, by the end of the season, we're all talking about how this band, this Tank Dell is a game changer wide receiver. And Nikko Collins is this awesome perimeter, big body wide receiver that can stretch things down the field. And, you know, everything changed because of the quarterback. So if you're the Patriots, I think that's part of the calculation is that we believe enough in a quarterback to take and pick three. And we also expect that once he becomes our starter, we start to see him elevate the players around him.

It's going to be tough. They have a lot of gaping holes right now on offense. They need to protect the quarterback better. They certainly need better wide receivers.

But I'm of the opinion that it's too premium of an asset to pass up. I mean, well, you know, we can probably reduce this number for teams like Kansas City and, you know, Baltimore and San Francisco. The reality is you've got less than a 10 percent chance every year of having a top three overall pick. And that is generally where a good quarterback class might have three total quarterbacks. So it would not be a surprise to me if the Patriots stamp out a pick three and take whichever quarterback is available.

That's what I think they end up doing. What I'm also concerned about is how large of a range it is from the floor to the ceiling when people talk about with Drake May. If things go well for him at the next level, what could you see Drake May turning out to be? If you want to compare him to maybe a quarterback or two or the pass.

Oh, the ceiling's huge for Drake. Maybe six foot four, two hundred twenty nine pounds, led North Carolina rushing two years ago. He's a great athlete. He actually had more more scrambles over the past two years than any other quarterback in FBS.

Hundred and twenty of them. So Drake is not a statue in the pocket by any stretch whatsoever. The Patriots haven't had a quarterback for a prolonged period of time that has offered them the dual threat ability that Drake May does. You've heard all the Justin Herbert comparisons, I'm sure by right now. I see that in some ways. You've heard some of the Josh Allen comparisons.

I see that in some ways as well. You know, Zach, I'm not really much of a player comparison guy. I just think that each one's so unique that it's hard to say with great certainty that this guy is on track to become someone else of the past or at least the present. And the other thing about it is that I think it assigns expectations to a player that are perhaps unfair to him.

The upside for Drake May, though, is tantalizing. The guy has all the goods to become a legit 10 year starting quarterback in the NFL. I know it's easy for us to pick these players apart. It's a long pre draft process.

We haven't played a football game of consequence for these players in the case of some of them like four or five, five and a half months for guys that opted out of bowl games. So there's a lot of time for us to overthink it on these players. Six foot four, 230 pounds, rocket arm, outstanding character and processing ability.

A whole lot to like about Drake May. We know Phil Gates, the Giants are looking for a quarterback at six. Can they stay at six and get one of the top four quarterbacks in the draft? Because it feels one, two and three. It's going to be quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, then four and five is a team like Minnesota.

The Raiders, whoever got to be able to jump the Giants. I think that's going to be the intriguing part of this. Yeah.

I think the reality is you always could. Right. We don't know for certain what's going to happen to pick four and five. But that's a really dangerous game you are playing. And just for the reasons you highlighted, 11, 12 and 13.

Right. Those are the teams that in Minnesota, Denver and Las Vegas all have a quarterback need to some degree or the other and the assets to some degree or the other to make that move up. You know, Minnesota has been too logical of a team to trade up for us to not discuss it.

They have two first round picks, as we all know, via that trade from Houston. So if I'm the Giants, my stance on New York is this, is that I'm exploring the trade up from six to four. I ain't doing it though if it includes my 2025 first round pick going to Arizona, which if I'm Arizona, that's where I'm starting.

I'm saying, hey, you want to move from four to six to four? We'll take your 2025 one. That might be a done deal.

Right. Four for six in your 2025 one. If I'm the Giants, I'm not doing it. If I can do something different, you know, a second and a third or multiple threes, who knows exactly what the compensation would be.

I am thinking long and hard about it. But if I'm the Giants, the only way I'm moving up is if I can do so a bit more on my terms than on the opposing team's term, which is very hard to do because I do think Arizona will have a few different suitors for that number four pick if they entertain a trade down. Do you think ultimately they will end up trading down?

Because I look at Marvin Harrison Jr. and I'm like, OK, team up Marvin Harrison Jr. I have is the best player in this draft with your own quarterback that you paid in Kyler Murray. Yeah, I don't think it's a it's a fait accompli that they trade down. But I do think it's very tempting for GM Monty Austin for.

But it comes with the caveat. And I think you just sort of hinted at it, which is that they have such a desperate need a wide receiver. The fear I have for Arizona moving from pick for where they currently select to 11, which is the most obvious target because Minnesota has that capital to move up, plus that need is that if you move down from four to 11, say goodbye to Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabors and Roma Dunze. They ain't getting there. No chance, no way, no how. Unless one of those guys decides over the next nine days to say to put out some rumor they're going to retire or something. Right. It ain't happening.

So you've got to be very careful if you are so intent on having one of those as your preferred target. So a mini move down four to six to the Giants keeps you in that safe space. Right. Because the Giants are not moving up to grab a wide receiver. They're moving up to quarterback, which means you're guaranteed two of the three wide receivers will be on the board at pick six. I think and I'm just so much of this is just speculation to be truthful.

Zach, we don't know. I mean, there's 32 teams and it's not exactly like teams are handing out draft information slash plans like like candy on Halloween. Right. But if I'm Arizona, one thing that I would be mindful of is can I execute a similar move to what happened last year? I don't know the order of operations for how Monty Ossoffort got last year's deals done. But for those that don't recall the 2023 NFL draft that well, they moved from three to 12.

That was where Houston was. And then they moved back up 12 to six after the Lions were via the Rams. If you I don't know if as Monty Ossoffort was negotiating with Nick Caserio, the Texans GM, he also had somebody on the other line talking to Lions GM Brad Holmes.

Brad Holmes and saying, all right, you know what? We've also got this guy lined up. You know, we can move from six to three to 12 and we'll get as part of the package to go back up 12 to six. You're getting 12 plus I think it was a second round pick and a couple of the things Sam Laporta ended up being a part of that deal. So if you have that in your back pocket, three, I'm sorry, four to 11 and 11 to seven for Tennessee, as an example, knowing that the first four picks under the circumstances we are discussing are going to be quarterbacks. And I'd be happy about that if I were a Cardinals fan to add some capital and still get one of those three wide receivers.

Where are you at with JJ McCarthy? Because we're on that if he goes to the Giants or if he goes to the Patriots, I don't feel good about it. But if Minnesota moves up to get him, I think that could be a very good relationship moving forward. I mean, certainly, Zach, and I think that's actually kind of the reality of the NFL draft, right? Is there are very few players that you just drop them anywhere and all of a sudden that franchise just changes forever, right?

Once they're fully formed, we can say that, right? You put Lamar Jackson, Patrick Holmes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, those those kind of guys make your team borderline walking playoff contenders, regardless of what it looks like around them. But it's hard for us until we've seen it from a guy to say, OK, you know what, regardless of where Caleb Williams goes, he's going to be a mega super duper star. I think the situation is very good in Chicago, but it's part of the reason why I think it's important for us to rank these players going into the draft, right? Because the truth of the matter is that if Drake May goes second and Jayden Daniels goes third, Jayden Daniels might have a more difficult first season than Drake May. Even if I think that Jayden Daniels by a little bit is the superior prospect, because the Patriots right now have a relatively barren cabinet at wide receiver. So circumstances means so much in every pick, but 100 percent with these quarterbacks are just so few of them that can transcend the mold of a bad franchise. So, yes, J.J. going to Minnesota, any of them going to Minnesota would be a very cushy spot when you have Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, eventually a healthy T.J. Hawkinson, two very good offensive tackles, Aaron Jones in the backfield. That to me is maybe not quite where Caleb Williams is with Chicago, but pretty darn close to being about as ideal as it gets for a rookie quarterback.

Wrap it up with Phil Yates, who joins us right now in the Zach Gelb show on the Infinity Sports Network. When can you see Michael Pennix Jr. going at the earliest, like the Raiders at 13? Do you think that's in play? Yeah, I think that 11, 12, 13 run is interesting for both he and Bo Nix. I think if I had to sort of bet my lot on one going ahead of the other now, and this is Intel that is ever-evolving, but you know, Tuesday, April 16th, nearly 5 p.m. on the East Coast, I would go with Michael Pennix Jr. ahead of Bo Nix and around that 11, 12, 13 range. You know, obviously that's the Vikings right now, plus the Broncos, plus the Raiders, you know, the conundrum that each of those teams faces is that if we don't take one now, are we going to get one later?

And the answer is probably not. The strength of this quarterback class really drops off after about six signal callers. So Denver is the most interesting of those three teams to me because they have no second round pick, but they also are about to pay $85 million in dead money to Russell Wilson over the next two seasons. They may say that we can't afford to incur too much more risk at quarterback and taking a quarterback at 12 certainly would be risky. Take the position out of it. Who just who do you think are the five best players in this draft field?

So, I mean, my overall rankings do bake in positional value, so it's hard for me to totally divorce myself from that. But my top five are Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabors, and Drake May with Roma Dunes and Drake May kind of at 5 and 5A. If you wanted to do a non-quarterback conversation, it's those three wide receivers I just mentioned, plus Brock Bowers and also I think Joe Ault.

But there's a pretty healthy conversation about Dallas Turner right there. I've gone back and forth, flipped back and forth between Dallas Turner and Joe Ault. I've thought about Troy Fatutanu in there.

I've thought about J.C. Latham in there. So, yeah, I think those guys are all kind of in the conversation for the best football players in the draft. And the last thing I'll ask you, just give me two names here, guys that you're buzzing on that maybe haven't gotten that much attention or not being talked about enough. It's funny, you know, when you live in this draft analyst role, you feel like you're talking about every player all the time.

So, I'll give you a second-round player and then maybe probably a little deeper on the board. I think, you know, Jalen Polk, great player from Washington, loved the toughness, loved the body control, contested catches. He had six games with 100-plus receiving yards this past season, was great in his college football semifinals against Texas at over 100 yards in that game as well, including a big play on the opening drive, has vice grips for hands. And then Bo Great, safety from Maryland, a guy who probably ends up going somewhere on the fourth round that can cover, a guy can hit a little bit, a guy could experience. And, you know, any player that stood the task, which he did against Marvin Harrison Jr. in man coverage, even in the small sample size, to me, good enough to have my attention. He is Field Yates. He is a rock star as an ESPN NFL draft expert. You can watch him this time of the year.

He's everywhere, Field. We appreciate you carving out some time for us. Thanks, Zach.

Take care, man. You got it. There he is, Field Yates, with a comprehensive draft breakdown with us on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports.

Oh, the Infinity Sports Network. See, got to give my quarter. That's now 50 cents. We're two days into this new name of the network, and I've already had to drop off 50 cents into the big jar.

Geez. I have to call my agent. Got a new boss in town, Ryan Hurley. Spike out, Ryan Hurley in. We have to do new expedited contract negotiations. Good stuff with Field. We're coming on back when we return. We got to talk about these quarterbacks. You could suggest when they're going to go. What's the best fit for these quarterbacks?

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