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Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network NFL Draft Analyst

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2023 9:42 pm

Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network NFL Draft Analyst

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb

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February 28, 2023 9:42 pm

Tony Pauline joined Zach to rank his top 5 quarterbacks in the draft and discuss a few sleepers that will make a name for themselves at the scouting combine. 


Tony appreciate the time. How are you? I'm okay. Thank you for having me again.

Well, I appreciate you joining us. So how do you think after the combine is over that we'll be talking about Anthony Richardson? I don't know that it's going to be all that different than what we're talking about him now. I mean, I'm sure he better throw well in shorts and underwear, although the quarterback workout is a little bit different to combine because he's never thrown here before and he's gonna be throwing to strange receivers. But I mean, you're going to have your, the people who love them are still going to love them.

And people like me who are just detractors are going to say, you know what? There's a lot of concern about Anthony Richardson at the next level. If you're going to take them in the first 20 selections of the NFL draft, what are your concerns? Just wondering with Richardson. I mean, the inexperience, the inconsistency he's all over the place was never a real winner at Florida. It's not like he, you know, had one great year where he carried that team on his shoulders. I mean, he lost to Vanderbilt this year.

They, they didn't, they played subpar football. He got, he completed 30% of his passes against Florida state. I mean, I think it was absolutely a situation where he really would have been better served going back to college for one more year and developing his game physically. He's got all the tools to be a big time starting quarterback, but he's just so unpolished in every single area of being a quarterback and being a passer. I just think he's got bust written all over him. When you have to rank your top five quarterbacks in this draft class, how do you do it one through five?

Well, you know, it's funny because it's not like a lot of other people. I do have Bryce young number one. I do have CJ shroud number two, and then it gets a little bit, it gets a little bit different after that. I mean, a lot of people like will Levis. I actually like Hendon hooker of Tennessee, the quarterback who had a terrific year, but hurt his knee. I think he's going to go second or third round because of that need. But I think when you look at him compared to will Levis, he may, he does a better job reading defenses.

He does a better job seeing the field. I then have will Levis and Anthony Richardson, not necessarily the way they're going to come off the board, but you know, listen, we get all wrapped up in what happens on draft day. We forget, you know, what matters is what's going to happen two or three years down the road.

Tony Pauline here with us. It was funny last year when we were talking about the quarterbacks, we all said this isn't a great quarterback draft class, but it's just the nature of the business that three or four will go in the first round. Only Kenny picket went in the first round, then no one went in the second round. And then eventually we started to see some quarterbacks come off the boards around three and on. How many quarterbacks will go in the first round this year?

I'm going to three, maybe four. I mean, Bryce Young and CJ Stroud are going to go in the first round. I think we'll, Levis will go in the first round, though not as early as people think. And then, you know, wildcard is Anthony Richardson. Some people think top 10.

I think that's crazy. I think, you know, was Seattle with that second pick if they signed Geno Smith, I think Seattle with that second pick would be a perfect fit for him because I think Geno Smith would be a great mentor for a team that needs a quarterback in the future. That second pick in the first round, I mean.

So three, maybe four. Talking to Tony Pauline right now does a great job covering the draft for Pro Football Network. Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, you told me how you rank those two quarterbacks.

Why is it Young over Stroud for you? Because I think he's the most NFL ready. I think he's a plug and play type quarterback. He doesn't have the physical skills of CJ Stroud. He doesn't have the physical skills of any of the top quarterbacks. But when you watch his film, it's an absolute joy. He's almost clairvoyant on the field.

He knows what's going to happen before it happens. He's in tune with his receivers. And remember, he lost a lot of pass catchers this year at Alabama after Jamison Williams and everybody else graduated or actually left for the draft. They didn't graduate.

I left for the draft early. So he had he was basically set up with a brand new set of receivers. He didn't miss a beat.

He just gets it between the ears. And I really like that type of quarterback. Obviously, he's small.

You're going to have to protect them. You know, everybody's going to watch the height and the weight. And teams are going to wonder, you know, is he a guy that can put on 10 to 15 pounds? Because if you watch that Tennessee game earlier this year in the last season, I mean, he got pummeled in that game and he had to pull himself off the ground, which he did. He got back in the huddle.

I watched that game. I was like, wow, I just don't know if he's going to be able to take that type of beating on Sunday. So if you draft Bryce Young, you better be able to protect him.

For the size and the lack of it, like I agree with everything you just said. I watched Bryce Young the last two years. I was more impressed this year than the other year when he won the Heisman Trophy because of all the weapons that he lost. Do you think that size will prevent him from being the number one overall pick and maybe make it a team like the Texans or the Colts if they move up, take shroud over Young?

As a behold, it's not just the sizes. You know, like I said, is he going to be able to put on 10 to 15 pounds over the next year or two and he will be able to play at that size. You know, that's what's called gross potential. If teams think he can add another 10 to 15 pounds easily and he's not going to lose any mobility or agility, it shouldn't hurt him. You know, and again, I mean, he's got to be in a situation where, you know, he's got a good left tackle. That's what they have. They used to have a very good left tackle to protect him and keep him upright. So, I mean, there's going to be some caution there.

There's going to be some discussion there. But when you throw him the film with Bryce Young, it is just so attractive. It's so appealing because he does so many things so well. Talking to Tony Pauline, who's the best defensive player in this draft in your opinion? Jalen Carter is my number one, the number one player on my board, closely followed by Will Anderson of Alabama, two SEC kids at the top. For Tyree Wilson, but what's your report on him? Because I keep on seeing him getting projected as some places as high as five, maybe going to Seattle. Phenomenal athlete, an explosive pass rusher who can come out of a three-point stance or standover tackle. Texas Tech has also used him successfully off the line of scrimmage when they won interior blitzes or his own blitz. They'll drop him off the line and he'll get depth on his pass drops, play 10, 15 yards off the line of scrimmage.

Does a solid job of it, doesn't embarrass himself. I think he's a guy who's got a lot of upside. I think he's got to get a little bit stronger. I don't have him rated as high as Will Anderson who's been phenomenal. I have Myles Murphy of Clemson rated a little bit higher because I think he's more of a natural pass rusher. But I think Tyree Wilson has got a great amount of upside. He's a good player now who could be a phenomenal player if he just gets a little bit stronger and he just completes the game. Do you go Michael Mayer or Dalton Ginkade as the best tight end of this draft class?

It depends on what you're looking for. I mean, I've got a couple other guys, Tucker Craft of South Dakota State who people are going to be talking about real soon after this weekend. A small school guy and Luke Musgrave of Oregon State ahead of Dalton Ginkade. Now you got to remember Dalton Ginkade's injured and there was some talk he may not even be able to work out before the combine. And Dalton Ginkade, I like his game, but it was misused a bit a lot by Utah because remember he wasn't really even a starting tight end or the number one tight end coming into the season was Brian Queeth.

And then Dalton Ginkade really took over when Queeth went down. Michael Mayer is the prototypical tight end of 30 years ago. Not a guy who's going to get down the field and stretch the seam with great speed, but a guy who will get in the middle of the field and make it difficult catching a crowd and a guy you're going to put on the line of scrimmage on third and short or goal line situations. And you can use him as a blocker or you can use him as a short-range pass catcher. He's not the move tight end. He's not the super fast athletic tight end.

I'd be surprised if Michael Mayer runs faster than 4'8", but he's really good. It's just a matter of having a need for that type of tight end. You keep on seeing Christian Gonzalez really shoot up in these mock drafts. What's your evaluation of the Oregon corner? Very good. Needs a little bit of work on his game.

I mean it really doesn't have a big body of work. I happen to like Joey Porter of Penn State and Devon Witherspoon of Illinois ahead of Christian Gonzalez. Guy's got a lot of upside. He showed some tremendous flashes, shut down a lot of good receivers, but I'm just concerned that when you compare it to Joey Porter and Devon Witherspoon, the body of work is not there for Christian Gonzalez.

Wrapping up with Tony Pauline who's in Indianapolis right now. Does a great job covering the draft for Pro Football Network. Wide receivers, talk to me about them. We know the big name, Jackson Smith and Jigba. You have Quinnen Johnson as well, Addison out of USC. Who are the wide receivers you really like and how do you kind of look at them?

Well, I mean it's a grab bag of sorts. Jackson Smith and Jigba, you go up to 2021 film. I had him rated higher than CJ Shroud. He was that phenomenal. I mean you look at the 2021 film, Chris Alave, who had a great rookie year that was a top 12 pick. You know, was basically the forgotten man because Smith and Jigba was so good, but then he hurt that hamstring last season. Third degree hamstring injury. Basically played part-time in three games.

You know, you don't know what you're getting with them. If you get this Smith and Jigba from 2021, you hit a home run. Jordan Addison, not the biggest guy in the world.

Probably won't be 180 pounds. May run under 4-4, but just a great receiver. A great route runner who separates in and out of his breaks. Catches the ball very well and that's what teams like these days.

Now Quinton Johnston, he's big. He's athletic. He can win out for the for the contested pass. He can beat you downfield, but he's not a real good receiver at this point. He doesn't run good routes. He doesn't catch the ball cleanly with his hands. He does a lot of body catching, a lot of poor fundamentals there, but he probably has the greatest upside.

Just a matter of, you know, there's a bit of a boom or bust factor there. And let's not forget Jalen Hyde out of Tennessee who basically was forced into the role of the number one receiver and people could not stop him. I mean, he is the purest home run threat of any of the top receivers. He's the type of guy that when he steps to the line of scrimmage, safeties and cornerbacks are going to have to take a step or two back just to guard from his ability to break the big play. Is Zay Flowers a first round pick in your opinion? You know, I have him like right on the cusp. I have him as a first round, early second rounder. A lot rides on how fast he runs this weekend.

He told us at the Shrine Game he's going to be in the four threes. You know, the thing about Zay Flowers is he's a great route runner and he separates very well, which is what the league wants these days. He catches the ball very well and he was a force at Boston College that had a lot of problems with the quarterback position last year.

Had a lot of problems with their overall offense, but he's not the biggest guy in the world. I don't know, he doesn't present himself as a home run threat. I mean, he could go late first round. If he doesn't go late first round, he'll be off the board within the first 10 selections of round two. Running backs are always tricky because we've seen so many running backs go second rounds or later and end up being some of the better running backs in the NFL. Bijan Robinson is, I guess, the only running back that's considered here in the first round. How early could you see him going?

You know, I don't think he's going to go that early. I mean, when you look at it on the board, he's the number five player on my board, but you know, you see what's happening with the running back now. Fournette's going to be gone. They're talking about Ezekiel Elliott, you know, basically his game is over and there's not a lot of value put in running backs. I could see Bijan Robinson going to the Buffalo Bills. There was a lot of talk that the Buffalo Bills were going to take Breese Hall.

I don't know that he's going to go much earlier than that. I do think that there's a chance Ymir Gibbs, the running back from Alabama, also goes to the first round, maybe to the Philadelphia Eagles as the first round closes out. So we may get two running backs in the first round, though I doubt either of them break into the top 20.

Before we let you run, who do you think stock is really going to rise after this week at the combine? Deontay Banks, the cornerback for Maryland, who doesn't get a lot of talk. I mean, here's the guy who's over six foot tall, had a tremendous season. He's going to run in the very low four threes. He's going to vertical jump over 40. He's going to prove he's a real good athlete, but at the same time, the film matches the athleticism.

You can see he's a real good player. Mozzie Smith out of Michigan, one of my favorite players, defensive tackle. In the past, he has run under seven seconds in the three cone. There are a lot of defensive backs who come to the Indianapolis to combine the hope to run under seven seconds. Mozzie Smith at almost 320 pounds has run under seven seconds in the past. Don't know if he's going to do it here, but even if he runs seven one or seven two, that will be phenomenal. I think a lot of people not talking about him.

They will as a potential first round pick. And I mentioned Tucker Kraft, the tight end from South Dakota State, plays a tight end position like he's a receiver. He's big. He's physical.

He can also block. I expect some very fast times from Tucker Kraft. And again, people will start to talk about him as a potential late first round choice when the weekend's over. Last thing I'll ask you, we know Caleb Williams and Drake May are still at USC and then also North Carolina. If they were in this draft, where would you rank them with the quarterbacks that are currently in this draft?

One and two probably. Now again, with Drake May, I want to see him do it again. I want to see him prove that last year was not the exception to the rule. But when you look at both of those guys, when you compare them to say Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, you know, they've got the size, they've got the arm strength, they've got the physical skills over Bryce Young. And when you compare them to CJ Stroud, I think they're just more polished.

They're more NFL ready. CJ Stroud, you know, he remembered for two outstanding games, that Georgia semifinal game earlier this year. And then the Rose Bowl, a lot of times he struggled. I think he was over coached. But both of those guys I think would go, if either of those were in this draft, I think Chicago would probably try and trade Justin Fields and take one of those two quarterbacks with the first pick. How about that?

I lied to you, I got one more for you. Jordan Love, I guess we're leaning or inching closer and closer to him seeing the field. I think Rogers is going to get dealt, but we'll see how that plays out. What's your evaluation on Jordan Love going back from a few years ago? I mean, there were two different Jordan Loves. The Jordan Love his sophomore season looked phenomenal. I mean, he was a knockout player, you know, and it looked like he was going to be a top 10 pick. And then his junior year, he sort of took a step back and he's never been able to get it back.

And for me, that's always a warning flag. When you get a quarterback coming off a bad year, entering the draft early, that's something that usually doesn't work out. You got to be careful of, he's got the physical skills. Obviously, he's been able to observe and learn from one of the best.

So it's going to be now or never for Jordan Love. Tony Pauline, enjoy the combine. Appreciate the time. As always, make sure you check him out at Pro Football Network. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 23:26:43 / 2023-02-28 23:34:06 / 7

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