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Eric Eager | VP of SumerSports

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February 28, 2024 6:00 pm

Eric Eager | VP of SumerSports

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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February 28, 2024 6:00 pm

Eric Eager joins Zach to talk about the Bears’ looming QB decision, the upcoming NFL Combine, and more.

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That's Stamps.com Code Program. Most of the NFL world right now is at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. So let's head to Indy right now and welcome in Eric Eger, our pal who is the VP of Sumer Sports. He's kind enough to jump on board with us once again on CBS Sports Radio.

Eric, appreciate the time as always. How are you? Zach, I'm doing great. How about you?

I'm doing fantastic. So we've been having a big show today in regards to Caleb Williams. What is your view of Caleb Williams? We all hear him get called to generational talent. When you evaluate him, your evaluation of Caleb Williams is what? Yeah, I think that that description is fair to an extent. I mean, I think that there are warts, for example, when you look at the way that he handles pressure.

There were some games in college football last year, for example, the one against Notre Dame, where it went off the rails a little bit. But I do think that when you look at arm talent and the things that these teams are looking for, as far as does he have every club in the bag as a quarterback, I think that he certainly has those. And so as far as going number one to Chicago, whoever trades up for that pick, I think he certainly has the goods. He's not foolproof, he's not bus proof, but I do think he is certainly in that cluster of players who is in that Trevor Lawrence kind of class.

So you're there in Indianapolis, you hear a bunch of this chatter. I think it's a lock that the Bears are going to take Williams at one and trade Justin Fields. I know Peter King, the great Peter King, who just announced his retirement in one of his articles, his last article I guess on Monday Morning Quarterback and Football Morning in America said he believes, from what he's hearing, that the Bears are going to trade the number one pick and they're going to keep Fields. So do you think it's a lock right now that it's going to be Williams at one to Chicago? A lock, no. I think that Williams, so I think Williams is very, very likely to go first. If you look at the markets, it's like minus a thousand that he'll go first. Do I think Washington could trade up to go get him?

Possibly. Do I think that the Bears would be smart to move back to two and maybe consider Jayden Daniels or Drake May and still move on from Fields? Absolutely. I think keeping Fields is probably the third best decision that they could make beyond just staying at one and taking Williams, trading back to two and taking the second best guy on their board and then staying with Justin Fields.

To me, it doesn't matter. The Bears have not necessarily given Fields the best as far as support is concerned, but that doesn't matter at this point. You have to make the best decision based upon what the future holds. And even if Fields ends up being a $45 million quarterback, which that's a pretty, I don't know, eager estimate for him, that's what they're going to have to pay him because that's what Daniel Jones is making. So would you rather have a guy that's maybe a zero surplus quarterback over the next four or five years or a guy, even if Caleb Williams ends up being a $35 million quarterback, he's going to make 10.

And so you're going to be making $25 million surplus. You can go and go get another player like a Montez Sweat or go get another player like a DJ Moore. Imagine adding another player to your stable like that to go and make sure that that player can have success. So much of what we talk about with respect to Justin Fields and before him Mitch Trubisky and before him Jay Cutler has been about support. And I can't imagine going and paying Justin Fields $45 million just to make that support weaker and to make that argument again about the same quarterback. So with what you just said, it's fascinating. You're now the second person back to back days that we've had throughout this scenario where the Bears pass on Williams at one, maybe trade back and still get some in return for the number one overall pick and still take a quarterback. Like let's say I make Eric Eger the GM of the Chicago Bears. Are you taking Williams at one or you may be trading back to two or three rolling with May and Daniels trading fields and then still getting some stuff in return and getting a quarterback of the future? Before I got into this world, the seminal paper that I read was by a Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler and Cade Massey who's now a good friend of mine.

The fact is we're not all that sure and this research suggests that between one and two. We think we know that Caleb Williams is definitively better than Drake May or Jayden Daniels but we don't know. And the fact is that there's a team like Washington that's going to give you pick 40, a future one and maybe a veteran player for the right or for that certainty. And you get to say, okay, I'm going to maybe take Drake May who on average is maybe 10% worse than Caleb Williams but I get in return a pick 40, a first round pick next year who, again, I could use that on a quarterback. If Drake May is a complete disaster, again, et cetera, et cetera, that's the move that I make.

I go to Washington and I say, look, like, Cliff Kingsbury, Caleb Williams, I'm going to dangle that in front of their faces and try to do that. And at some point, if you build up so much young talent around this quarterback with sweat and with more and with all of these young players that they build up from the Panthers picks a season ago, it might not even matter that much the difference between Caleb Williams and Drake May because the talent around him is so vast. Eric Eager here with us. So you rank May in front of Jayden Daniels, I'm assuming just based off that answer or do you put Daniels in front of May?

It's close. Daniels, his production last year, that season that Daniels had at LSU is the best season of any of these quarterbacks in the whole draft, including Williams' 2022 Heisman season. The problem with Daniels is there's a metric called pressure to sack ratios, basically how often you take pressures and convert them to sacks. And his measure is going to be the highest of any first-round quarterback that's ever been taken. And the stat that's really funny is like Patrick Mahomes, his mark coming out of Texas Tech was less than half of that. And his mark from college to pro is less than one-tenth of a percent different than it was Kansas City to Texas Tech.

It's a very stable metric. And generally speaking, when a young quarterback comes into the league, he's coming into a league without a great offensive line. He's coming into a league and the game is really sped up. I need to have a quarterback who can avoid pressure. And Drake May is not the best at it, but he's six percent better at it generally over the course of his career than Jayden Daniels was. So I'm going to break the tie with that statistic.

I don't think that they're that far apart. I think that Daniels has a ton of ability, but he is going to have to break a statistical mold that not many quarterbacks have broken, including Justin Fields, who had many great accuracy statistics and a lot of other things going for him. But when he was at Ohio State, he was very mediocre at converting pressures to sacks. Eric Eager here with us. He's at the Combine. Zach Gelb shows CBS Sports.

Ray does a great job, VP of Sumer Sports. So we know Williams, May and Daniels will all be first round picks. How many more quarterbacks do you think end up going in the first 32 picks?

The other day, I said it will be four. I think Michael Pennix is better than J.J. McCarthy. But I don't think Pennix will be a first rounder because of the injury history. And I think McCarthy will find the way to fall in the first round.

Yeah, I think that's sharp. I think by the time you look at the betting markets, they'll probably make the market five and a half. And historically, betting the under on that has always won.

There's always that quarterback that sort of trails. Even in the year when it was Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen, the betting market was actually expecting Mason Rudolph to get into the back end of that first round. And it ended up Lamar Jackson barely getting in. So I think they'll put the market at about five and a half. And I think J.J. McCarthy probably will get in. And then it'll probably be a Bo Nix, Michael Pennix. And I think we'll both be surprised that a team is not going to be willing to go up and grab the fifth-year option on that player.

Because it's not worth as much now that the new CBA of 2020 makes that fifth-year option a lot more expensive. So I do agree that it's probably going to be up four. And I would think it tops out at about five.

I don't think it's as deep of a class as people believe. So we had a big conversation the last hour. One of the producers around here, Ryan Hickey, who I know you know, who used to be my old producer. He suggested that the Bills should trade Josh Allen to the Bears. And the Bears would give him the first overall pick in the draft and the ninth overall pick in the draft. He's getting dragged on Twitter for that suggestion. I understand why.

And he should be dragged. But it elicited the conversation of how many quarterbacks are untouchable in a trade for the number one overall pick. I had six. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, obviously, Joe Burrow, C.J. Stroud. And I did still throw in there Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert. How many quarterbacks do you think would be untouchable in a deal for the number one overall pick to go have Caleb Williams be your next quarterback?

Yeah. Throw the contracts out just because Justin Herbert's contract is not tradable, for example. And I think that that's the number I would go in. But one more name I would add it and maybe I wouldn't. But there's one name that's interesting. How close is Jordan Love to that conversation? He was one that we threw out there and also Jalen Hurts, who outplayed Mahomes in a Super Bowl two years ago and then had a year this year down the stretch. Love, the reason I ended up going still with Williams is because as good as Love was down the stretch, I just think Williams has a higher upside. But you go back to the Jordan Love draft process. No one said he was Patrick Mahomes, but they were like, he could be 40 or 50 percent like Patrick Mahomes. And you know this, Caleb Williams is the closest prospect that we've had compared to Patrick Mahomes. So I just think as a prospect, Williams is like, you know, not the right term to use here on steroids compared to Jordan Love a little bit.

Which just shows you the uncertainty this whole process. Jordan Love is a mid 20s pick. Patrick Mahomes, the 10th pick, picked eight picks after Mitch Trubisky. Like we're talking about, of course, the first overall pick as if, you know, he's some certain thing. And yet the guys who are all, we're all talking about the pros, it's like Patrick Mahomes is 10th overall pick. Josh Allen's a 7th. Justin Herbert's a 6th. You know, Lamar Jackson's a 32nd, et cetera, et cetera.

It's so much, it's so funny. And again, if you're thinking about, you know, whether or not the Bears should trade pick number one, I think that that, you know, is more evidence that maybe you should consider the best quarterback in a draft is not always the first one that's taken. And the craziest part too, is I don't even think Caleb Williams is the best player in this draft. Like I think Marvin Harrison Jr. is the safest thing in this draft. And if I had to put my money on one player being a hall of famer from this draft, it's Marvin Harrison Jr. for me, and it's not even close.

Yeah. And I think, I think Arizona, if it gets to that pick, and I do think New England does trade out of that pick and let, you know, the first team that, you know, the team that wants a quarterback that's a better built team is going to trade up for that third pick. But if that, if it gets to Arizona, I think Marvin Harrison to Arizona is the biggest lock of this draft from a, from a betting perspective.

But, but yeah, I think you're right. And, and, and he does seem like the most polished wide receiver prospect we've seen since Jamar Chase. Talk to Eric Eager for a few more moments on the Zach Gelb show. He's the VP of Sumer Sports. What are your thoughts on Brock Bowers?

Had a great college career, but I'm not going to lie. I saw him in person without pads on at the Super Bowl. And I was like, Hmm, that doesn't look like the guy that I usually see that's on a television.

I was underwhelmed by Brock Bowers. Yeah. And, and I think that that's the biggest part of the combine now that not a lot of guys do the three cone and not a lot of guys bench and all that.

Like, I just want to heighten the weight on a guy now. Like if he's six, one and three quarters and we're, and I know you're in the Northeast. Like if he's Garrett Mills size, like, are we really, are we talking about a guy that's going to be picked in the top 10? And, and, and, you know, with Kyle Pitts, the situation with him a few years ago where he was generational, but he hasn't really lived up to it. And you know, the history of, of, of first round tight ends, let alone top 10 tight ends being what it is. I think if he slips past to the chargers at five, like, I don't know who's going to trade up and actually take him.

So it's going to be an interesting one. I could see as far as ranges in this draft. Other than, you know, a guy like Pete Pennix or another guy like Bo Nix and JJ McCarthy, like I think of the position players, he has the widest range.

I think he could go five all the way down to like 18 in this draft, you know, come April. So wide receivers, we know Roma Dunze is highly touted. We just, you just heard what I had to say about Marvin Harrison Jr.

The wide receivers is also a big prospect as well, but everyone keeps telling me how deep this wide receiver draft class is after those three guys who were some of the other guys that you are really inclined to maybe use an earlier pick on in the NFL draft. Yeah, McConkey out of, out of George is an interesting one. The Georgia receivers haven't always done. I mean, Pickens did okay. You know, he's had his ups and downs. McCole Hardman was not necessarily, I know he caught the game when he touched on the Super Bowl, but he wasn't necessarily the greatest for Kansas City. But McConkey has a lot of traits that I think are different than some of the guys have come out of George in the past.

I know my former colleague, Mike Renner, you know, just came out with an interesting comp for him. I think that, you know, it's going to be, you know, interesting, you know, near the back end of the draft there, but I've sort of, you know, enjoyed what I saw out of his tape and his analytics have looked pretty good. Right now, it looks like he's being mocked kind of in that 30 to 35 range. So depending upon, you know, whether you are a team like Kansas City that wants to shore up a receiving corps that kind of held them back and made it difficult for them to win the Super Bowl, or you're a team like Carolina who that's going to be your first pick at 33. It's gonna be interesting to see where he lands and, you know, for him, I know for McConkey, it's going to be a he's probably praying it's the former not the latter. So I got two more for you, Russell Wilson, and then Justin Fields, where are they playing next year in your opinion?

Where would you like to see them play next year? Well, I think with Wilson, it's really interesting because does he swallow his pride and go to Minnesota on a one year like minimum value deal, stick it to Denver. Because you know, like, any deal that he takes is going to offset with Denver.

And so if he goes somewhere on a minimum, you know, deal, he's still going to get all of his money from Denver, and then he's going to benefit the team that he goes to on a minimum value contract. So if he goes to Minnesota place, Justin Jefferson, maybe he could look really good. You know, Kevin O'Connell has done a really good job with Kirk Cousins over the past couple years and even a very, I think a passable job with guys like Josh Dobbs and Nick Mullins, and so forth. So I think Minnesota as a bridge to maybe JJ McCarthy, or if the Vikings straight up and take Jayden Daniels, that could be a possibility there. I think for fields, the natural one is the Falcons, but I think the Falcons are going to be heavy in on Kirk Cousins.

So I think Pittsburgh's kind of the next one go there. You know, with with the Najee Harris's and the Jaylen Warren's and kind of, you know, build that run game with an offensive line that had a really good second half of the year when you look at Harris's efficiency. They really came on as an offense, not because Mason Rudolph was anything special, but because they were able to actually move the line of scrimmage down the stretch that that's kind of the ingredient for for Justin Fields being a, you know, a plus player at the quarterback position.

Last thing last Eric Eager, the VP of sumer sports. So I remember in the summer when we had you on, and you were talking about the Texans, how they could be better than what people think. And the Texans were not only better than what people think, then a whole lot better than what people thought making the playoffs and winning a playoff game. I know we haven't seen the draft unfold yet. I know we haven't seen free agency get underway yet. Is there a team maybe right now that you're already starting to have a little buzz about how you think their offseason is going to play out? I think you have to look at Arizona, and and I'm maybe going to be a little bit more long term there but you have 13 picks you have a decent amount of draft capital. There's a coach who I think has a clue, you know, the way that the way in which they they beat Philadelphia with the onside kick there's very clearly some strategy in that building that you like, and they and they're going to be able to build it I think from the ground up, and that division when you look at Seattle, la I think la was, you know, punched above their weight class certainly last year, Seattle is going to be breaking in a new coach in San Francisco, you know, every single year San Francisco is either going to be in the NFC championship game or better, or they're going to lose 10 games that's it that's empirical so I think that there's a there's a path for Arizona to eventually be pretty good in that NFC West, and whether it's the Detroit path where it's a couple years before they're good, or it's the Houston path where they're good almost immediately after putting a bunch of draft picks in place. It remains to be seen but I like Kevin Carvey and David Spade here, you might know our podcast fly on the wall featuring guests from across the entertainment industry, we decided to spin off called super fly, and it's fun it's just two of us riffing on current events pop culture catching up impressions Joe Trump's trying to be a dictator.

Yeah. You know, bump on the tater tots, Joe no listen to and follow super fly on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcast. Arizona student, make sure you check out summer sports he's the VP Eric eager Eric always great to see it thanks so much for doing this. Zach thanks for me on Take care, you got it Eric eager joining us on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio live from Indianapolis the site of the 2024 NFL combine that is underway. Yes, even the Commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred has been a constant wave of baseball both powerful voices. So join the revolution subscribe and soak in baseball and boring, listen on your Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts, you'll be glad you did.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-28 19:22:04 / 2024-02-28 19:31:00 / 9

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