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Russell Brown | NFL Draft Analyst, FantasyPros

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April 26, 2024 5:56 am

Russell Brown | NFL Draft Analyst, FantasyPros

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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April 26, 2024 5:56 am

FantasyPros NFL Draft Analyst Russell Brown joins the show to recap round 1 from Detroit.

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. We head to the Motor City now. Welcome Russell Brown, who's an NFL draft analyst for fantasy pros and betting pros that also has the Detroit Lions podcast.

And Russell, first time the draft lands in Detroit. What did it feel like to you when you were down there on Thursday? For me, the draft's what I live for. It's all I've ever thought about, and it was great being down there today.

And just to experience it, it's truly something that's just remarkable as just a draft guy myself. But for the fan base in the city of Detroit and just Lions fans that were down there, according to Roger Goodell, 275,000 people on attendance, breaking and just shattering any record that was previously held by other cities like Nashville and Vegas. It was amazing at how many people there were. And we were at the corner of Woodward and Congress in Metro Detroit just broadcasting live with our radio station and just looking at just the mountains of people and the different colors of the jerseys.

You'd see a Broncos jersey and a sea of Honolulu blue and then some Jets fans. And it was just awesome. And just getting to interact with all these different fan bases and getting their opinions on these players, it was so much fun. Are you in any way surprised that Detroit set a record for attendance?

No, I mean, this is what we do. This is a football city and people love the Lions and they live for this football scene here in this city. And it was awesome. How significant is it to get an event like this from the NFL in Detroit? It's just so important for the fact that Detroit gets such a bad rap nationally from people like, I would never go there, it's dangerous, this, this and that.

In all major cities, they have dangerous parts in it. But it was just a great event where you got great food, great bars and restaurants, and just great people. And the atmosphere was awesome.

A little cold, no doubt about it, but it looks like the weather's going to start warming up over the next couple of days. And it should be a great three day weekend for anybody that's there. And hopefully that means as future events come along, people will look at it and be like, Hey, I'm going to go check out the city of Detroit because there's just so much to do down there.

Whether it be the casinos, the restaurants, like I mentioned, just it was, they set it up beautifully. Detroit definitely dazzled. But let me ask you this, Russell, how much does it matter that it came after not just a winning season, but the first playoff win for Detroit in Lions fans know how long? Yeah, 32 years and who's counting, you know, but it was great. I was there for that game and just, just being there sharing that with my son, that was awesome. And those fans, it was, it was amazing.

It's like you're living on a cloud, you know, it's, it's something that's just remarkable. And obviously they were one half away from the Superbowl and what just, what a run is this organization's been on. If they had a great pick tonight with Tyrion Arnold and they got aggressive and that place erupted when they were on the clock.

Yeah, it was really neat scene. Russell Brown is with us from Detroit in the wake of round one, still a weekend to go in this 2024 NFL draft. And he's an analyst for fantasy pros and betting pros.

And with us here after hours with Amy Lawrence on the infinity sports network. So Russ, there were lots of predictions and mock drafts about how this would play out, but I don't know how many people thought six quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks. What's your reaction to those first 12 record setting night. And just looking at those six quarterbacks, I really can't believe all six went in the first round and we started joking. Is there going to be a seven quarterback?

Are we going to see Spencer Rattler? Obviously we, we didn't see that, but it just goes to show that the teams in this league, they, they had a quarterback need and they value these, these players at that position more than any other position. And it's an offensive heavy league. And we knew this was an offensive heavy draft, but just a bunch of sparks and a bunch of fireworks in those first 14, 15 picks and really just in this first round. But the landscape of the NFL is, is changing with six new faces at the quarterback position going to the different teams. So it's going to be so intriguing. I think the one I'm most excited about is probably Jayden Daniels to Washington, just simply because of that division and how explosive he is and the weapon that he is as a, as a runner, but then just the deep touch and anticipation that he has as a quarterback, it's by far, I think some of the best we've seen in this class.

So a winnable NFC East that we see every year is so much uncertainty with the Cowboys and giants. I think Washington's a very intriguing team. How surprised were you at the Falcons choosing Michael Pennix at number eight, once they had already paid Kirk Cousins? Yeah, that one was just, uh, just shocking. And then when they went to the war room there, it was like, it didn't seem like many people there were on board and it really felt like their general manager had to explain himself to why he took Michael Pennix and even Kirk Cousins. There's that text or that picture of the text message of Kirk being somewhat surprised what was going on and that he didn't really get a heads up that they were going to be drafting a quarterback and adding competition to that room.

So I think it's, it's very surprising. I thought this was a team that might capitalize on getting a pass catcher or going, you know, Roma dunes, they staring them in the face, the thought of maybe adding a defensive player would have been there, but they add Michael Pennix and I guess they've kind of got a plan in case Kirk Cousins doesn't work out. He doesn't bounce back from a torn Achilles, but just really shocking stuff with the Falcons in round one tonight. Were you expecting more trade movement Russell?

Yes and no. I mean, obviously it picked up in the back end more so because the bills kept trading back, but it was one of those where we always expect all of these trades. I feel like this was the case last year and then we didn't see very many trades last year. I believe it was only three draft day trades and then the same in 2022. Really the only team that was moving in the top 20 was the Minnesota Vikings. So I wasn't overly surprised because I think teams, once they get settled into the war room and they start figuring out where players are going and they can reassess their board, I think they start realizing, okay, we're comfortable with taking player X or player Y here in this spot. Russell Brown is with us from Detroit. When you think about what the Bears did, how do you like the combo of Caleb and Rome one and nine?

It's a phenomenal combo. I mean, I'm a Lions fan at heart. I always try to put my fandom to the side and I just look at it from a football perspective and there's just so much to be excited about. If you're a Bears fan, get the best quarterback in the draft, depending on who you talk to. I think Caleb was the best quarterback in this draft.

He's so dynamic and he's a guy that many people would label as generational. I wouldn't necessarily go there because he's still got to win football games and those types of things, but they get him a pass catcher that's different from anybody they have on the roster. There's much to be liked with DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, but Roma Dunesay at six, three to 12, he moves so well. He can be that prototypical X receiver in that offense. They can move him around too, but just what he does, he's, he's a workhorse and he could very well be one of the two or three best players to come from this draft. So I think it was a great first round for the Bears. And, and really when you look at the NFC North, the dynamic has changed. JJ McCarthy, Caleb Williams, Roma Dunesay, Dallas Turner, so much has changed. It's going to be a very competitive vision and I can't wait to see how it unfolds this fall. Just out of curiosity, if it's not Caleb Williams and they still have Justin Fields, but they put all these pieces around him, might the narrative be different with the Bears and their offense?

It could be. I think a lot of that would just be determined on how many more games is Justin Fields going to win for them over Caleb Williams. And I mean, we all knew what Justin Fields was.

I mean, he only won 10 games in Chicago. It was time for a change of scenery, obviously. And I think it was one of those where I think Bears fans are very happy with the upside that Caleb Williams possessed for their organization. And they kind of knew the writing was on the wall with Justin Fields after, you know, the last couple of years have kind of played out the way that they did for him. Outside of quarterbacks, okay, because that was a big surprise with so many taken in the top 12. What else surprised you about this first round? Just the offensive players that went 14 in a row, something I didn't think we would see seeing the, the Las Vegas Raiders take Brock Bowers over an offensive tackle. Talise Fuaga was staring them in the face at right tackle and they kind of doubled down at the tight end position as they took one last year with Michael Mayer and they take Brock Bowers. I'm assuming we're going to see some heavy personnel there with, with multiple tight ends that those were a little bit surprising to me, but yeah, those offensive players 14 in a row, that was, that was certainly something. And then I will say, you know, seeing the lions trade up from 28 to 24 to get Terry and Arnold and to see him there available at 24. Not exactly sure what happened with those corners and why we only saw three of them go in the first round, but it was one of those where they just went later than expected. I thought we might, we might see them in the teens and then we might see a little bit of a run in the back end of the first round at the position, but to see only three go and Quinon just fall into the lap of the Philadelphia Eagles at 22, that's a great fit too.

So I would say that. Who's a player that maybe you thought would go in the first round that is still out there and still available? I thought Cooper Dejean was going to go in the first round just simply because of how well he tested at his pro day. And then you just look at what he can do for a defense and for a special teams unit, he's got great return ability. He was really the only reason why Iowa football scored any points a season ago. And I know he's coming back from an injury, but I thought with the medicals clearing and then the pro day and how he is just so athletic. I mean, this guy was Gatorade player of the year in the state of Iowa, a guy that as a basketball player, probably could have went and played college hoops. He averaged 25 seven and seven.

I know the Lakers are down three nothing right now. They might want to give him a call to maybe revitalize their playoff hopes, but Cooper Dejean I thought was somebody that we'd see in the first round and he's available on day two. So very intrigued with him. And I will say Johnny Newton, I thought he was one of the better defensive players in this draft. I know there was some concerns with his foot, but I thought maybe a team would draft him in the back end of the first round, like the Buffalo Bills, maybe even like the Baltimore Ravens. And he ended up just kind of falling into day two.

So we'll see where he lands tomorrow night. Still the chiefs are the team to beat as the super bowl champions, two time defending champs and would love to go three Pete. I'm not saying that there is a replacement for Tyree kill, but they do draft speed and Xavier worthy out of Texas. How do you like that addition to Patrick Mahomes arsenal? I can't believe that Buffalo bills traded out of that spot to give Xavier Harvey to the Kansas city chiefs. First, they gave him Patrick Mahomes years ago, and now they give them Xavier. And I joked about this earlier, a Hollywood Brown, Marquise Brown, and Xavier worthy. Haven't even caught a pass from Patrick Mahomes and they're already better than sky more and Kadarius Tony. So I love what worthy possesses a four to one guy. I mean, he plays bigger than he's listed at five 11, one 65, a really good route runner. He's going to be dangerous in the red zone.

And then obviously vertically down the field with Pat Mahomes, so much is going to happen with this offense. And it's hard to imagine them not repeating getting back to the super bowl. Russell, before I let you go, what did it mean to you to be able to cover the draft, this event that you love, something that you pour a lot of time and effort into in Detroit where you're from? It was a dream come true.

I mean, it was a surreal moment for me. It's something that I have been working and practicing for probably the last 20 years, writing out mock drafts and making up fake player names and teams and all of this stuff. Like I was Mel Kiper on TV in my living room as a kid. And I got to do it live on the radio tonight joining you. It's just great. It's a dream come true. And I mean, doing radio every couple of days and response all over the country, it's awesome.

But to cover it for five, six hours tonight and breaking it down, it was awesome. I'm so glad to hear that. Congratulations on this dream come true. A lot of dreams coming true on this first night of the NFL Draft and more to come.

You can find Russell Brown on Twitter at Russ NFL Draft and analysts with fantasy pros and betting pros, the Lions Wire or Lions podcast. A lot more to come this weekend. I'm glad it was a night that exceeded your expectations. Russ, thank you so much for a couple of minutes. Absolutely. I appreciate it. This episode is brought to you by Progressive Insurance.

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