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Pregame Blogs

Pregame Blogs

Videos are just the START of the conversation. Each show has a dedicated blog post with show notes, links, and pics. Plus, the host and guests continue the conversation in the comments section!

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  • Created On:
    09/07/2011 9:56 PM
  • Last Update:
    05/09/2024 7:02 PM

Straight Outta Vegas AM/NFL Draft Recap!

We are Straight Outta Vegas AM, your daily destination for sports conversation with a Vegas lean.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:40 - 1:57)
Here's what you need to know to start your day. Offense owns the day in the NFL Draft. Wait, Michael Panix went eighth?

Yeah. All right, the NFL Draft is the Vegas lead. Here to help us break it down is the only two-time winner of the Super Contest, Mr. Steve Fezik. Steve, how are you, friend?

[Steve Fezzik] (1:57 - 2:03)
I am still waiting for my defender to get picked in the top 14 picks. I don't think he got picked.

[Scott Seidenberg] (2:04 - 2:13)
I don't think he did, nor was he the first. Yeah, first defender was Leilatu Latu from UCLA, went 15, Byron Murphy right after him at 16.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (2:14 - 2:22)
The only one of us who was right was under three-and-a-half Big 12 players. It's like, I tried to tell you guys, this is the way. Nobody wanted to listen to me.

[Scott Seidenberg] (2:22 - 2:22)
What a sweat.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (2:23 - 2:51)
It was never in doubt, obviously. Actually, it wasn't really in doubt until about pick 28, when two Big 12 players went 28-29, but we survived the last three picks, and that's a winner. Fez, what was your biggest takeaway?

What's the big story? I think I know the answer, and it's probably related to you losing that bet. What's the big story of round one of the draft?

[Steve Fezzik] (2:51 - 3:40)
Lottery tickets are valuable, and so if you can pick a guy that you think is going to be a good, decent or good starter in the NFL, he's worth half a point, but if by some miracle you can pick a guy who plays so far above expectations that his nose bleeds the rest of his life, and he's suddenly an above-average quarterback, that guy is going to take your team, if you don't have a quarterback, forward four or five points in their power rating, and so teams are looking at this and saying, you know what, I'm going to go for it, even though I don't think this guy necessarily is a starting quarterback in the NFL, if I can somehow develop him into being even an average one, that is so much more valuable than having four other first-round picks, and so they're going for it.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (3:41 - 3:54)
I think the biggest example of deciding you're going to scratch a lottery ticket was Atlanta. Scott, you said this was the most shocking thing, kind of set the tone for the rest of round one.

[Scott Seidenberg] (3:54 - 4:26)
Well, especially when you sign Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal, and there's a lot of financial implications with getting out of that deal early, to draft a guy like Michael Pennick's eighth overall, to me, was the biggest shocker of the first round, because it set a lot of other things in motion, like the Vikings willing to swap picks with the Jets in order to take J.J. McCarthy, like the Broncos drafting Bo Nicks at 12. I think that, I don't think anybody, in any mock that I read, had Michael Pennick's junior going eighth to the Falcons. How about this?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (4:27 - 4:45)
Kirk Cousins' agent said that he found out that they were going to take Michael Pennick's while they were on the clock. Yeah. Obviously, something Kirk Cousins isn't thrilled about, because he was hoping they were going to use something to make the team better for next year.

[Steve Fezzik] (4:45 - 4:54)
If you're Kirk and you get a text from your GM, you're like, that's funny, that's cute. Is it still April 1st? What's going on?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (4:54 - 4:57)
I mean, just an odd thing to take.

[Scott Seidenberg] (4:58 - 5:07)
Listen, do you think that they made this pick because they are unsure if Cousins is going to be healthy for the start of the season, or is it because they're truly building for the future?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (5:08 - 5:41)
It has to be building for the future, but that's confusing, because- You could have gotten him later. You could have, but you're taking a 23-year-old quarterback, which is already, I mean, he's up there. But if you're saying you're worried about Kirk Cousins' health, Michael Pennick has had four season-ending injuries in his college career.

I had a shoulder injury, a hip injury, two knee ACL surgeries. This is a guy who's had health issues throughout college, and he's older. It just didn't seem like a good fit for Atlanta.

[Scott Seidenberg] (5:41 - 6:06)
The other thing, and Fez, tell me if you agree with this, by drafting a lefty quarterback, you now have to prioritize the right tackle position over the left tackle position. So you can be okay with what your offensive line looks like now for this year, but moving forward, they have to prioritize right tackle because with a lefty quarterback, the right tackle is the blind side now.

[Steve Fezzik] (6:07 - 6:10)
Who is the second most important player on any football team?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (6:10 - 6:15)
The left tackle. Typically. Are you gonna say the backup quarterback?

[Steve Fezzik] (6:15 - 6:19)
I'm gonna throw out a radical feeling that it's the backup quarterback.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (6:19 - 6:19)
You know why?

[Steve Fezzik] (6:20 - 6:34)
We're in a day and age with 17 NFL games, and it's just more and more quarterbacks don't make it all the way through. So think about this. If you're a quarterback, how many games is Kirk Cousins, what's an over, under, and how many games he's going to start and play this year?

[Scott Seidenberg] (6:34 - 6:40)
12 and a half. Oh, I'll go over. Oh, I'd go over that.

For a zillion. Yeah, I think Kirk Cousins is a guy that doesn't get off the field.

[Steve Fezzik] (6:40 - 6:41)
But this is a great point.

[Scott Seidenberg] (6:41 - 6:44)
When we watch that quarterback show and he's hurt every play, he's still playing.

[Steve Fezzik] (6:45 - 7:15)
But this is a great point because I asked the wrong question. But it's action points, okay? But what I mean by action points, I think the right number is probably 14 and a half, all right?

However, let's say Kirk Cousins played 15. He would go over by half a game. He'd win half a unit.

But if he played two games, he would go under by the 13 units, okay? So in other words, expectation-wise, there's gonna be a lot of seasons he just barely goes over. But in the long run, over the next three years would be a better example of how many games would I expect Kirk Cousins to miss.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (7:15 - 7:17)
Well, he's gonna miss more and more every year because he's an older guy.

[Steve Fezzik] (7:17 - 7:49)
But let's assume that he misses 10 games over the next three years, okay? So in those 10 games, let's say I can get an average quarterback. Taylor Heineke, who's on the roster.

So if Taylor Heineke's a minus three, let's say Penix is a minus one, okay? So that's a 20-point upgrade over 51 games. That's 0.4 upgrade per game. That's pretty much a slightly better than taking, it's pretty much on par with what you would get if you took what you think is gonna be a starting O-lineman or wide receiver.

[Scott Seidenberg] (7:50 - 8:05)
So based on the draft results, Fez, which team or teams get the biggest adjustment from you in the power ratings? I mean, immediately I would think Chicago, but was that built in already to your current rating of Chicago?

[Steve Fezzik] (8:05 - 8:58)
No, because I didn't know that Chicago was gonna get arguably, there's three good wide receivers, and they got one of them. And I would never have expected that. So you've gotta bump Chicago, and obviously you've gotta lower Atlanta.

Now that sounds completely counterintuitive to what I just said, but I'm talking about my power ratings, how good you are on opening day. And on opening day, Kirk Cousins is gonna be playing, and Penix is gonna be on the bench. And so he's not gonna be worth anything in game one.

I will say one thing about them paying, I wanted to ask you guys this, with Kirk Cousins, all that money, it's not really all that important, because inevitably someone else is gonna get their quarterback hurt. So I'd say Penix is just tremendous in practice, just stealing the show during his entire rookie year. And Cousins is pretty good.

You can always trade Cousins. Someone will certainly pay him and take over that contract as long as he's performing out of expectations.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (8:58 - 9:39)
The problem is trading these guys, and everybody's like, well, just trade these quarterbacks. It's so onerous to your cap when you start trading these guys who are especially early in contracts. There was a story yesterday after the draft about teams inquiring to trade for Justin Herbert.

Apparently Minnesota and New England both reached out to the chargers inquiring about trading for Justin Herbert. But on top of the idea of trading a young, an in-his-prime high-level quarterback would be, I would think, would be absurd, it would also be terrible for a team that already has cap problems to trade away a guy that they just signed to a long-term deal.

[Steve Fezzik] (9:39 - 9:42)
I didn't know that. Yeah, that's interesting. Why is that?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (9:42 - 10:03)
It's not like baseball, where when you trade a guy, because the salary cap, obviously baseball doesn't have the salary cap, or at least not a hard cap. But when you trade a guy, the money on the cap sticks with you. So it doesn't make a lot of sense for these teams, which is why people say, oh, I wish there were more trades in the NFL.

Well, that's a good reason why there's not more trades in the NFL.

[Scott Seidenberg] (10:03 - 10:09)
For example, as McKenzie points out, Atlanta incurred $40 million in dead cap when they traded Matt Ryan.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (10:09 - 10:10)

[Scott Seidenberg] (10:10 - 10:13)
I mean, it's hard to deal with that.

[Steve Fezzik] (10:13 - 10:58)
You know, that's an excellent point. You know, going back to the betting, I will say, like, with this, I've heard a lot of people saying, oh, this is the worst draft ever, it was just impossible to pick winners and the like. And you know what, the people I spoke to that just can't name a player and just basically were riding, you know, the directional change on players, they did really well, really well, especially the late move.

And like, you look at how unexpected this Bo Nix and Pennix going so early, well, the market was like, screw you. Will they go in the first round? Of course they're gonna go in the first round.

We were seeing dramatic movements. Both those guys were favored to not go the first round. And by the time the draft started, they were like minus 400 Pennix going first.

[Scott Seidenberg] (10:58 - 11:30)
If you listen to the Dream Pod several months ago, I mentioned Bo Nix to the Denver Broncos. And as the weeks kept going on, I was like, there's no way they're gonna take him at 12, like maybe in the second round, or maybe trade back into the late first round and get him. But they took him at 12 and the handicap was tried and true.

You know, Sean Payton is a Parcells disciple and the one quarterback that fit the Parcells rules, Bo Nix. And so he will now be the starter for the Denver Broncos.

[Steve Fezzik] (11:30 - 11:34)
Well, now that's interesting. Can you give me odds on him being the starter?

[Scott Seidenberg] (11:35 - 11:42)
Do you think it's gonna be Jared Stidham or Zach Wilson over him? I think it's entirely possible. I mean, like we just said, like a lot of people- Draft the guy at 12.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (11:42 - 11:45)
A lot of people thought Bo Nix was a second or third round prospect.

[Steve Fezzik] (11:45 - 11:55)
I would say Stidham would be the slight favorite. Give me a nod, yes or no, McKenzie. What do you think on that?

Would you, who should be favored? Bo Nix or Stidham?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (11:56 - 12:01)
Zach Wilson. I think Bo Nix is gonna be the starter.

[Steve Fezzik] (12:01 - 12:16)
You think, so McKenzie thinks Bo Nix. I think Bo Nix. I think it's an open competition.

And the reason I don't think it's Nix, if it's too close to call, if you start Nix, you're screwed. Because then if he does poorly- Well, then you can always go to Zach Wilson. Oh, yeah.

[Scott Seidenberg] (12:18 - 12:59)
Yeah. You can always go to Zach Wilson. I thought the Raiders getting Brock Bowers was a really interesting pick.

Because a couple of seasons ago, the Raiders took what Max, what's the kid's name? Max Crosby? No, Mayer, Michael Mayer.

Oh, Michael Mayer. Michael Mayer. So now you look at the Raiders offense, and Michael Mayer was the tight end from- Notre Dame.

From Notre Dame. Now you look at this Raiders offense, and you have Mayer and Brock Bowers, like, are we, it's gonna have two, now we're gonna run two tight end sets here. One of those guys is gonna have to line up as a wide receiver.

I mean, these are two elite, pass-catching tight ends here.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (12:59 - 13:09)
The Bills did a similar thing last year, when they, like, everyone was like- Dawson Knox and Dalton Connect. Are you drafting Dalton Kincaid? Oh, Dalton Kincaid, yeah.

And he came out, and he was, I mean, it worked. It worked, the two of them, yeah.

[Steve Fezzik] (13:09 - 13:25)
You know, I felt bad, because the Aces star, Kelsey Plum, just got divorced. Yeah. And her ex-husband, or her- Darren Waller.

Waller, obviously, was the Raiders' star tight end, and he got traded to the East Coast. But, well, now she's got two more stud tight ends. So, things might work out for her.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (13:25 - 13:29)
Oh, Fez, you think she's a, you're saying you think she's a jock chaser?

[Steve Fezzik] (13:31 - 13:37)
I, that was just, the first thing that came to my mind, when the Raiders got a tight end, I'm like, oh, I wonder if Kelsey Plum's gonna hook up with them.

[Scott Seidenberg] (13:38 - 14:04)
I just think it's really interesting, and I'm so curious to see what this Raiders offense looks like, if, in fact, they are gonna be a two tight end set, and have both Mayer and Bowers on the field. I'll tell you what, it opens up, like, the outside, because it's gonna be hard to double team a guy like Devontae Adams, when you have two tight ends over the middle, that are both, you know, elite pass catchers. And, well, I mean, I guess they're gonna need a quarterback, but, they got still Aiden O'Connell.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (14:04 - 14:06)
That would help all elite pass catchers.

[Scott Seidenberg] (14:06 - 14:51)
And Gardner Minshew, and Gardner Minshew. Hey, they say the tight end is a quarterback's best friend, so Aiden O'Connell doesn't have to throw the ball down the field. He's got a couple buddies already.

If he's got those two tight ends. A lot of wide receivers went in the first round. I mean, it was a lot of offensive players.

Actually, 23 breaks the record of most offensive players drafted in the first round. The previous record was 19. But, aside from the big three wide receivers that went, Bryant Thomas from LSU went 23rd.

Yes, die, Thomas, die! Xavier Worthy goes 28th, and then two wide receivers to end the draft, and Ricky Purcell and Xavier Leguette. The wide receiver prop goes over with the amount of wide receivers drafted in the first round.

I honestly did not think that was gonna happen.

[Steve Fezzik] (14:51 - 14:53)
Ricky Purcell? Who is he from?

[Scott Seidenberg] (14:53 - 14:53)

[Steve Fezzik] (14:53 - 14:55)
Florida? Not Ricky Proll?

[Scott Seidenberg] (14:55 - 15:04)
Not Ricky Proll. He was not drafted yesterday. Whose son or nephew is on American Idol?

Got voted off. Oh, really? The one that was in the NFL for, like, had a cup of tea?

[Steve Fezzik] (15:06 - 15:06)
Ricky Proll.

[Scott Seidenberg] (15:07 - 15:09)
I think it's his son or his nephew. I don't know.

[Steve Fezzik] (15:09 - 15:25)
Little trivia. I'm sure you guys all know this. It's like the greatest show on turf.

Kurt Warner and all those elite wide receivers couldn't do anything against Tampa Bay until useless Ricky Proll somehow cradled a pass in for the only touchdown they had in the game, and they won, like, 12-7.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (15:25 - 15:38)
I think more wild than the running backs being taken was the idea that six quarterbacks, or excuse me, the wide receivers were taken, was six quarterbacks being taken in the first 12 picks.

[Steve Fezzik] (15:38 - 15:38)

[AJ HOFFMAN] (15:38 - 15:48)
Are you worried about your Rattler pick? No, I'm not. Because I think now, if you thought you were getting a starting quarterback in this draft, you got him yesterday.

You're not getting one.

[Steve Fezzik] (15:49 - 15:54)
You don't believe in the rising tide raising all quarterbacks? You believe the tide has come in and now it's going out.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (15:54 - 15:58)
You wait until next year to take your shot because no one's looking to draft a backup quarterback.

[Steve Fezzik] (15:59 - 16:02)
But no one's any good next year is the problem. Who's good that's gonna go next year?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (16:03 - 16:15)
I mean, but, somebody pops up every year. I mean, it's not like this was, listen, I think the idea that, this tied the record, by the way, for next year you have guys like Quinn Ewers.

[Scott Seidenberg] (16:15 - 16:21)
He's pretty good. Carson Beck from Georgia. Shador Sanders.

Carson Beck. Riley Leonard.

[Steve Fezzik] (16:21 - 16:22)
That guy's a stiff.

[Scott Seidenberg] (16:22 - 16:26)
Riley Leonard. Jalen Milrow. Jalen Daniels.

That's a good quarterback class next year.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (16:27 - 17:29)
Now, the six in the first round ties the 1983 draft. Jim Plunkett? For most quarterbacks taken in the first round, that was John Elway.

Maybe you've heard of him. Todd Blackledge. Jim Kelly in that draft.

Ken O'Brien. Dan Marino. Like, that was a, Tony Eason was the sixth one.

That was a pretty good first round. Something tells me you're not gonna get three Hall of Famers out of this group. Like, it just feels like now we've gotten to a point where teams are gonna reach.

Teams are like, well, is he better than this guy? And I think, I don't wanna say that, certainly, I can't say that the Bears reached with Caleb Williams at number one, but I think the idea that the Bears felt they needed to make a move to draft him number one speaks to that, because they had time left with Justin Fields. It's not like Justin Fields was terrible, but what they saw was, Justin Fields isn't a Super Bowl winning quarterback.

And if we don't have one of those, we have to find one.

[Steve Fezzik] (17:29 - 17:44)
I'm gonna disagree. I think that the jury right now is saying, the jury being the NFL, is saying Fields is a bad quarterback. And he just was serviceable because he had a good team around him, because no one wanted him.

So is everyone stupid?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (17:45 - 17:49)
Everyone sees that Justin Fields is not a Super Bowl winning quarterback.

[Steve Fezzik] (17:49 - 17:51)
Bullshit. They'd only think he's a starting quarterback.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (17:52 - 17:52)
I disagree with that.

[Steve Fezzik] (17:52 - 17:56)
They could have given up a fifth round pick and grabbed him. But who wants that?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (17:56 - 18:17)
All these guys who, Who's looking for that is the question. Denver. No, Denver won.

They reached up and got Bo Nicks in the first round because these teams would rather, rather than just have the 20th best quarterback in the league, they would rather throw the 20th best quarterback in the trash and take another shot at getting a top 10 guy. Because you can't win if you have the 20th best quarterback.

[Steve Fezzik] (18:18 - 18:20)
Yeah, but you can make the playoffs.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (18:20 - 18:43)
Making the playoffs doesn't matter to teams anymore. Like that's not the goal. It should be for teams like Carolina.

Well, Carolina took their swing. I would imagine in a couple of years when they figure out Bryce Young isn't gonna win the Super Bowl, they're gonna have to swing again. Because if you don't have one of the top 10 guys, you don't have anybody.

So all you're doing at that point is wasting time.

[Steve Fezzik] (18:45 - 18:52)
Let's all name an organization that we think is the least likely to win a Super Bowl over the next 50 years. What team will not win a Super Bowl?

[Scott Seidenberg] (18:52 - 18:53)
Carolina Panthers.

[Steve Fezzik] (18:53 - 18:54)
I hear Carolina.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (18:59 - 19:01)
Cleveland is a good one because, I'll go Atlanta.

[Steve Fezzik] (19:02 - 19:05)
I'm gonna give you one that you're gonna be shocked by.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (19:05 - 19:05)

[Steve Fezzik] (19:06 - 19:07)
Buffalo Bills.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (19:07 - 19:18)
Okay, well, I mean, history's on your side. But the only reason I would say I disagree with that is because they're one of the five or six teams that has a dude right now.

[Steve Fezzik] (19:19 - 20:13)
I'm worried about the next three years. There's no doubt about that. But where I'm going is the big economics of it all.

If I'm a free agent or if I'm a football player, what city do I not wanna go to? Well, I'm telling my agent, please God, well, maybe put me into Buffalo now because they're a contender. But if they're just- There's a new stadium though.

I don't care. I'm not paying you. Scott, you're from New York.

You couldn't pay me enough to pay the state income tax because I'd have to pay it back to the state of New York. And the weather's terrible. So the double whammy of the terrible taxation and the horrible weather and the amenities of Buffalo, at least if I'm in Chicago, there's a lot of fun things to do.

And at least if I'm in Minnesota, if I'm a big, ugly offensive lineman, I can go hunting. I can go fishing. I can buy like a ranch with like- You could do that in Buffalo.

Yeah, I don't think so.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (20:13 - 20:14)
Go hunt moose up there if you want.

[Steve Fezzik] (20:15 - 20:18)
Whatever you're looking for. Get the Canadian Mounties shooting at me if I'm on the border.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (20:18 - 20:32)
I don't know. I think you make a good point. It's historically been a place that's hard to get free agents.

But what I do believe is when you have a guy like Josh Allen, guys want to go play with that.

[Steve Fezzik] (20:32 - 20:56)
It's interesting people though, but Pittsburgh should fall into this bucket, this rust bucket of places you don't want to go. But I think Pittsburgh has such a long history and tradition of winning, Pittsburgh and Green Bay, that that somewhat supersedes the trepidation of going there because I can say, oh, but you know, I'm proud to be a Steeler. I'm proud to be a Packer.

I mean, what about Cleveland? Cleveland's- What about Detroit? Cleveland and Detroit are bad also.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (20:56 - 21:02)
Like that can't be high destinations. Jacksonville, Florida. I know it's warmer.

It ain't nice.

[Steve Fezzik] (21:02 - 21:03)
A lot of pretty girls in Jacksonville.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (21:04 - 21:10)
Oh, yeah. A lot of pretty girls with hairy legs and wearing shorts that are two sizes too small.

[Steve Fezzik] (21:10 - 21:19)
All I know is I watched the Georgia-Florida football game and they cut to the stands. And it's quite a contrast to the Minnesota-Wisconsin game.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (21:19 - 21:24)
Because all those girls are from 100 miles north of Jacksonville and 100 miles south.

[Steve Fezzik] (21:25 - 21:31)
In Jacksonville, all the girls look like you. Brother, I'll just get in my McLaren and I will drive north then.

[RJ BELL] (22:02 - 23:11)
All right, hold on, hold on. I can't just sit back here, Scott. I mean, listen, please?

No, no, no. Fez, I agree with you that Chicago is gonna get a lot of action, that there's gonna be a lot of optimism about the Bears. But it seems extremely unwarranted.

I think if you look at the quarterbacks that were taken early, what situation, which team clearly has improved the quarterback from any of the round one picks? I mean, would you say anyone? New England.

I mean, how? Matt Jones was so dreadful last year. Well, but what I'm saying is, Drake, I mean, of all the quarterbacks taken high, or I think all the quarterbacks, I don't know about Knicks, but other than Knicks, it's the biggest project in New England.

Drake May, I disagree with that. Well, then the Scouts, you and the Scouts are on very different perspectives. I mean, they said physically he's got all the tools, but his footwork, his ability to read the defense, he's like a Josh Allen or even less developed.

And remember, Josh Allen didn't do anything till year three.

[Steve Fezzik] (23:11 - 23:34)
Or like a Joe Flacco. My gut check is any new quarterback coming in the league that's not like Herbert or someone, I want to make him a minus three. All right?

I want to make him play- Herbert, you mean for someone that likes their teammates? Or a Tua, you know what I mean. So I would put Caleb Williams is like a Tua or a Herbert.

I expect him to be like an average quarterback in his first year. In year one. Yeah.

[RJ BELL] (23:35 - 23:46)
Well, I mean, I would say, in what quarterbacks have been rated high? I mean, Herbert, remember Herbert went fifth, right? Or sixth?

It was sixth.

[Steve Fezzik] (23:46 - 23:47)
Yeah, Tua and Herbert went five, six.

[RJ BELL] (23:47 - 24:18)
Yeah. So a lot of teams said no thanks. It's not like Herbert coming out with some crown prince.

It's Andrew Luck, Trevor Lawrence, and Caleb Williams are the three most, unless I'm missing someone, the most credentialed or the most acclaimed first-year players, I would say since Peyton Manning. I mean, Peyton Manning, even. Where was Burrow?

Oh, Burrow was clearly one, but he wasn't that.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:18 - 24:20)
Burrow had one magical year.

[RJ BELL] (24:20 - 24:23)
Burrow wasn't as high as Caleb Williams this year. No, no.

[Steve Fezzik] (24:23 - 24:24)
I agree with that.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:24 - 24:24)

[RJ BELL] (24:24 - 24:30)
I agree. So, I mean, thinking back, I mean, maybe, let's just say from 2015 on.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:30 - 24:34)
Jameis Winston in 2015 was the person? I wouldn't think so.

[RJ BELL] (24:34 - 24:35)
He had character issues also.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:36 - 24:36)
Yeah, I mean.

[RJ BELL] (24:36 - 24:37)
And he couldn't even see.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:37 - 24:38)
Cambers? Huh?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (24:39 - 24:40)
Oh, I guess Cam was pre-2015 anyway.

[RJ BELL] (24:40 - 25:18)
Yeah, in a way, that's why I thought of that, because Cam really was so good in college. But there was, at the time, the running quarterbacks weren't as appreciated either, right? So I think Cam exceeded expectations.

Sure. So this is one of the couple, so you would say one of the three or four most, like we said, acclaimed, you would have him ranked what this year, let's say by mid-year, would you guess, plus or minus an average quarterback? Right at average.

Now, that's pretty good. I mean, so you're saying. And I hate rookie quarterbacks.

That's what I'm saying. So you have a lot of optimism for him. Yes.

And where did you have Justin Fields at the end of the year? At the same point, right in the middle.

[Steve Fezzik] (25:18 - 25:27)
Now, I downgraded him because the rest of the NFL, who's smarter than me, are all saying, he's not a viable starting quarterback, because no one wanted him, right? I mean, he went for a sixth-round draft pick.

[RJ BELL] (25:28 - 26:02)
Well, Pittsburgh's pretty smart, but I mean, I hear you, I hear you. So I have to downgrade him because of that. I think that's true.

I think that's true. So my point is they had the biggest equity in the draft is the number one pick. And you're saying they're trading guys that maybe this year are gonna be about the same if Fields were there versus Williams.

You don't see a big difference performance-wise. That's correct. So that's like pretty much saying, if they would have given that pick away, for just being friendly and all, it would be about the same effect this year.

Yes. How can that be a good draft?

[Steve Fezzik] (26:03 - 26:12)
Because I don't care about the draft. What I care about is that I got two dudes now, and Keenan Allen, who is already a number one wide receiver, and now I pick up a kid, Odunze.

[RJ BELL] (26:12 - 26:15)
So you got three games covered. Well, I got two.

[Steve Fezzik] (26:15 - 26:32)
When he's not injured. Well, I got two number one wide receivers. You're right, you're right.

But to start the season, I got two number one receivers, and I got a third good receiver. And so the Bears, who historically, it's the Delta. The Bears never have any receivers.

Just a couple of years ago, they had the worst receiving core, or right there in the NFL, and now they got top five.

[RJ BELL] (26:32 - 26:34)
So Scott, has this moved?

[Scott Seidenberg] (26:35 - 26:36)
It's eight and a half minus 140.

[RJ BELL] (26:37 - 26:39)
And was that the case the same a couple of days ago?

[Scott Seidenberg] (26:39 - 26:43)
It wasn't juiced as much as minus 140. So it's moved up a little bit, but yeah.

[RJ BELL] (26:43 - 26:52)
So when this thing settles in up 30, 40 cents, I'd say, because I do agree the perception's gonna be this, are you looking to fade it? Oh no, it's gonna move more. It'll go to nine.

[Steve Fezzik] (26:53 - 26:56)
The Bears will close timber.

[RJ BELL] (26:56 - 27:04)
Bears will close 9.1. Well, remember, we were debating this like a month ago, and we were talking about how good they were in the second half. So I think you might be right.

[Steve Fezzik] (27:04 - 27:05)
They were plus three at Green Bay to end the year.

[RJ BELL] (27:06 - 27:11)
I know. In fact, you even brought that up to kind of counteract your own point, which I appreciate it.

[Steve Fezzik] (27:12 - 27:15)
It's all about providing the right information. I'm unimportant.

[RJ BELL] (27:18 - 27:22)
So AJ, what did you think about this Herbert, the rumors he was getting traded?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (27:23 - 27:26)
No, the rumors were that teams wanted to trade for him, and he was unavailable.

[RJ BELL] (27:27 - 27:30)
Is it true they offered two fourth rounders? Please.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (27:30 - 27:46)
What was the offer? No one said, because there wasn't a conversation to be had. First of all, and Fez and I talked about this, they just signed him to this long-term deal.

It's so onerous to trade a guy at this point in the contract from a cap standpoint.

[Scott Seidenberg] (27:46 - 27:51)
Well, see, I- They would've had to take on $63.5 million cap charge if they traded Herbert.

[RJ BELL] (27:52 - 28:06)
Now, see, that surprises me. Me too. I was shocked by that.

It's like- Because they haven't had any years go by, because in theory, it's when you accrue stuff forward, and then you're not having to deal with the cap today because you're deferring it, but they haven't even done that yet.

[Scott Seidenberg] (28:06 - 28:08)
Yeah, they signed him last year.

[Steve Fezzik] (28:08 - 28:15)
So I don't understand why that would be, but- I wonder if the NFL doesn't like teams, like star players moving around. This is the way they deter it.

[RJ BELL] (28:15 - 28:30)
Well, that, I mean, you think about it. That's a great point. And then the franchise tag and such, right?

So, all right. So I think we let Feds go, right? I think so.

All right. Since he said I was right, I just say, all right, that's all I need from you. Thanks.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (28:30 - 28:30)

[RJ BELL] (28:31 - 28:32)
What'd you think about the bills?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (28:33 - 28:48)
The bills have a lot of holes to fill. I mean, they've got a lot of- I would've liked to see the bills get a wide receiver yesterday, but they need a lot of things. So piling up some picks, and they didn't move back far.

They dropped from 28th to the first pick in round two.

[RJ BELL] (28:49 - 28:58)
Did they even- Have they ever even made the AFC- I mean, in this era, have they even made the AFC championship game? No. That's pathetic.


[Scott Seidenberg] (28:59 - 29:01)
That Patrick Mahomes guy's been standing in the way.

[RJ BELL] (29:01 - 29:09)
Yeah, he's pretty good. It doesn't seem like it. They got beat by Cincinnati.

They got beat, oh, I guess this year. But they were at home against Mahomes?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (29:10 - 29:12)
Uh-huh. And then 17 seconds against Mahomes.

[RJ BELL] (29:12 - 29:13)
Was it 13 or 17?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (29:13 - 29:18)
It was 13. You're right. That's unbelievable.

Yeah, he's good.

[RJ BELL] (29:18 - 29:28)
What do you think is necessary? If the Bills win 10 games, make the playoffs, lose in the second round, do they keep their coach? Yes.

You think?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (29:28 - 29:35)
I think they do. The Bill, listen, the Bills are not a, and the Bills' window, I think, now is all but closed.

[RJ BELL] (29:35 - 29:38)
Of all teams? I just got a note passed to me.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (29:38 - 29:42)
Oh, yeah, we talked about this. Go ahead, you should've just had him say it out loud.

[RJ BELL] (29:42 - 29:50)
He says the Bills are the least likely to win a Super Bowl in the next 50 years because of the snow and the taxes.

[Steve Fezzik] (29:50 - 30:05)
Exactly. They've got a three-year window, and they're, they in Cleveland, they in Cleveland are doomed after three years because no one's gonna wanna go there. You wanna, how much, RJ, how much do I have to pay you to live in Buffalo the rest of your life?

[RJ BELL] (30:05 - 30:24)
Well, the only thing I know about Buffalo is Buffalo 66, the movie. Number two, you only have to be there six months a year for the rest of your career, not the rest of your life. That, I mean, I didn't do anything wrong, but I will say this.

I disagree with one thing. One, there's rumors they might be building a dome. They got a new stadium coming.

[Scott Seidenberg] (30:24 - 30:25)
They're building a new stadium, yep.

[RJ BELL] (30:25 - 30:45)
But supposedly, it's still uncertain if it's gonna be a dome or not, apparently, which makes no sense to me that it'd be so late. If they don't have a dome, couldn't you make the case it's an advantage where there's more and more domes, less and less teams that can handle the weather, and if you got home field, you got a big advantage? That's a good point.


[Steve Fezzik] (30:45 - 30:49)
Yes, but I still don't wanna live there. I still gotta drive from the stadium to my house.

[RJ BELL] (30:49 - 30:57)
But if you're winning, if you're winning, I mean, I don't know. Buffalo hasn't really done great in free agency, but free agency doesn't mean that much in the NFL.

[Steve Fezzik] (30:57 - 31:12)
And that's why I said, like, you could make the case for Pittsburgh and Green Bay, but those towns have a history of championships, so it's a much better sell. Like, hey, do you wanna go to a team that has a storied history of success, and Buffalo doesn't have it?

[RJ BELL] (31:12 - 31:25)
No, I agree. I think the bill, I don't think Josh, I mean, what's the odds of Josh Allen winning a Super Bowl? I mean, is it better than 50-50?

Under. Think about that. Yeah.

And then you might be 100 before that.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (31:25 - 31:25)

[RJ BELL] (31:27 - 31:30)
Faiz is taking real joy as he leaves with this, too.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (31:31 - 31:34)
So what did you think? Not like Cincinnati's winning one anytime soon either, so.

[RJ BELL] (31:34 - 31:38)
They just made this twice or three times they've made it. Bill's only made it four, right?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (31:38 - 31:39)
Bill's made it four.

[RJ BELL] (31:39 - 31:40)
In a row?

[Scott Seidenberg] (31:40 - 31:46)
Yeah. Isn't it amazing? Oh, go ahead, Scott.

No, I said the Panthers are the least likely team to win a Super Bowl in the next however many years.

[RJ BELL] (31:46 - 32:12)
Well, I gotta be honest with you, from what I heard of that Belichick story, where it was reported pretty deeply about Atlanta, and where Caroline is saying, yeah, Belichick wasn't one of our top three finalists, I mean, I'm not sure if there's any indictment worse than that. I mean, how did the, I've always thought hedge fund people were some of the smartest people on earth. And in some ways they are, but I don't know.

I don't know.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (32:12 - 32:15)
Doesn't mean he's good at running a football or anything.

[RJ BELL] (32:15 - 32:20)
There's basic logic to some of it, good common sense and decision making, right?

[Scott Seidenberg] (32:21 - 32:29)
I mean, yeah. Do you think Bill Belichick, speaking of Belichick, do you think, not this coming season, obviously, you think he's back in the NFL next season?

[RJ BELL] (32:29 - 34:11)
I think it's, I think there's a chance, and John Middlecoff was talking about this with Yates from ESPN, that if there's any guy that, now, see, I think they have this wrong, but their thought was, if there's any guy that could come in week six and take a team over as an interim, he could. And that if there's any of these teams that are supposed to do well, that starts out like one and three or something, maybe he gets in this year. I would say next year feels, I mean, if his health stays, it's almost certain.

Yeah. Because I think there's been a real backlash. I can't imagine him being out more than a year.

And I think him doing this media, did you get a chance to see any of that? No, I saw, I have clips that I have. I know, yeah.

So he's so articulate with the game. And he knows how to cut through the BS. So there's a lot of people who are super technically savvy at things that can't explain them.

He's been a coach 50 years, so he explains well. So I think people are gonna, look at how well Barkley in the NBA is held versus let's say Carl Malone. Most people would say Carl Malone was the better player.

Now Barkley had the heights. It's almost like a LeBron Michael debate, right? But Carl had consistency and longevity.

Yeah, big time with both of them. So Carl Malone, if you ask a typical 22 year old NBA fan, George Mikan and Carl Malone are like about the same. They're unknown from the past.

Maybe the only difference is there's some YouTube videos, right? But Barkley's like a basketball god. Think about, AJ, you always like to say you're a little bit younger than me.

No, I am.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (34:11 - 34:11)
Yeah, exactly.

[RJ BELL] (34:12 - 34:16)
Do you remember when Pat Riley went to NBC for I think it was two years?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (34:16 - 34:17)
I do not.

[RJ BELL] (34:17 - 34:58)
So it would have been like 92, 93. I don't remember that. And I mean, it really helped.

I mean, it was this guy you would see on the sidelines of the Lakers or on the court. But you never heard him talk that much a little bit in the press conference. But then he gets on with Bob Costas.

He comes off like a guru. And it helps, the coaches especially that are good on camera, it helps. I mean, look at the Raiders.

What am I thinking of? John Madden. Well, Madden for sure.

But also Gruden. I mean, his articulateness really helped his standing to get a $100 million deal. You don't think Balochek's gonna get that effect?

I think that helps a lot.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (34:58 - 35:14)
Absolutely. It's funny, when you said Pat Riley, this is a sad maybe state of affairs is the first face that popped into my head when you said Pat Riley was the guy from Winning Time, like the actor. Like now when you say Pat Riley, that's who I picture.

[RJ BELL] (35:15 - 35:17)
Well, they canceled. I mean, Riley had them cancel that show.

[Scott Seidenberg] (35:17 - 35:25)
Did he really? No, it was, what's his face that doesn't like the show? The...

Yeah, Jerry West. Jerry West.

[RJ BELL] (35:25 - 35:29)
Well, first of all, how could you like the way you were doing?

[Scott Seidenberg] (35:29 - 35:31)
He wants that show off the air.

[RJ BELL] (35:31 - 36:12)
I mean, the funny thing is, if you look at Jerry West's background, it's very similar to Nick Saban, where they both were West Virginia and they both had these extremely difficult fathers, supposedly, and it's kind of interesting how... I'm not saying I'm Jerry West, but considering I grew up like 10 or 10, or I guess two miles away from West Virginia, I kind of can relate. Though, again, Jerry West was so before my time.

It is interesting, the logo idea too, where he's the logo, but he was like one in, I think he was one for 10 in the finals or something. He like lost the finals like nine times or something. Even LeBron didn't do that.

So what'd you think of the Chargers, Jaren?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (36:13 - 36:23)
I thought the Chargers, I mean, getting an offensive lineman, I thought was the key goal and they got the best one available. So yeah, I think the Chargers did well. I think Joel was by far the best offensive lineman.

[RJ BELL] (36:23 - 36:36)
So you feel like you got a take where you can actually critique like linemen. You can say like, I mean, cause it seems like it's hard. I mean, you're not watching the All-22, right?

Of the college?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (36:36 - 36:41)
Not of college football, no. No. But I mean, this is me talking to guys who...

[RJ BELL] (36:41 - 36:46)
Oh, that's a good point, but you're taught. Yeah, that's interesting. You do have like Zerline, like you...

[AJ HOFFMAN] (36:46 - 36:55)
And Zerline, like Lance, his best thing is offensive line. Like his dad was an offensive line coach in the NFL. Like he knows the offensive line better than anybody.

So I trust his takes on that stuff.

[RJ BELL] (36:55 - 38:00)
It is interesting though, that even the team, like one of the things we figured out, and I think this is a good message about the draft. What Fez is saying is the public reacts to perceptions in the draft. Oftentimes those perceptions are long-term instead of one year, right?

I think Caleb Williams is a huge upgrade for the Bears in the next five years, right? Over the next five years. But we're only betting one year, right?

So that's number one. Number two, Mel Kiper is gonna say A, B, C, whatever. But in truth, they've done studies.

The correlation between the next day's grade and the actual quality of these drafts is almost zero. Like Mel Kiper could take a nap for 365 days and randomly make grades next year and it will have about the same effect or correlation to the quality of these drafts. But if the public thinks it's correlated, all of a sudden, let me guess, the Ravens had a great draft is what we're gonna hear tomorrow.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (38:00 - 38:04)
Yeah, Nate Wiggins, number 30 overall. Probably should have gone top four.

[RJ BELL] (38:05 - 38:07)
I think he should have been picked a year before.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (38:08 - 38:08)
Probably so.

[RJ BELL] (38:08 - 39:23)
But go to ESPN and just like, I'm sure they're gonna- They've done draft grades. Oh, I'm sure, I'm sure. It's an A minus.

They don't wanna make it too obvious. So I think in general, the amount of draft equity a team has is meaningful because it's lottery tickets. Me and you were competing, Scott, to have the most money.

And I've got my money piled up, you got your money piled up. If I had 10 lottery tickets on there that were yet to be scratched, what would the value be on those? Well, whatever the expectation is.

But if you had double as many lottery tickets because you're a little more risk-taking, all of a sudden, your lottery tickets are worth more than mine. Mine might end up winning the whole thing. Yours may not.

That's the way you gotta look at the draft. How many lottery tickets do these teams have? And they're likely gonna hit corresponding to that.

Though, who knows? Meaning it could be none of them hit for one team and all hit for the other. But there's no one team, even the Ravens, that do well year after year when you judge it fairly.

Let's say three years it takes. That's fine. I think five just because.

I think three, you can get a good damn idea, right? I mean, we got a good darn idea about Young now with Caroline. We don't know for sure.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (39:23 - 39:33)
CBS, the only one who's put any kind of real grades up yet, says Baltimore does go cornerback, was expecting Kool-Aid McKinstry. They go with Nate Wiggins instead.

[RJ BELL] (39:33 - 39:34)
Let's be smarter, then.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (39:34 - 39:48)
Wiggins has the highest upside as a man coverage corner in this entire class. No doubt. But no grades?

No grades, not yet. It'll be an A. Wait till they finish the whole draft.

So they're saying that- The guy they get in round two and three, those are the guys that are gonna really make it.

[RJ BELL] (39:48 - 39:49)
They're saying they reached though, right?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (39:50 - 39:57)
Effectively by saying it wasn't Kool-Aid. No, the thought was that the Ravens have typically liked Alabama players and SEC players.

[RJ BELL] (39:57 - 40:03)
Oh, remember I told you about this guy, right? Not enough man to man. Right?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (40:03 - 40:04)
I did say that.

[RJ BELL] (40:04 - 40:06)
I did, didn't I? I stumble on a thing now and again.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (40:08 - 40:20)
Well, RJ, well, you know what? Before we do let you go- Okay, yeah. Thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers?

You're probably not, just like me, not an offensive line expert, but do you think that was the direction they needed to go?

[RJ BELL] (40:21 - 41:37)
I think if you look at the Falcons, is the extreme on, not the other side, but one extreme, which is they draft like, it's so funny for a team that doesn't seem to, at least now with the new OC, right? It's gonna be different. But last year, and I'm just kind of thinking, well, Pittsburgh's OC now, but the idea of, they were anti-fantasy, it seemed.

Oh, the tight end didn't get enough catches and the receiver didn't get enough runs. He should be using the red zone. But they draft Atlanta like a fantasy team.

It's like, we got a quarterback we just paid a monster salary to with a three-year commitment. Well, there's this one quarterback people would think was gonna go in the late 20s. I think we pick him eight.

I mean, I don't understand it. No. I think if Belichick was there, they wouldn't have done that.

Probably not. But it's like, what is the rationale? Would you mind looking up as we finish what the dead cap is on Kirk Cousins, over the cap maybe?

I mean, this feels weird to me. You got the old quarterback, meaning the college guy that's been around. 90 million?

See? See, it's not a one-year deal. No.

I mean, it's a monster. Kirk Cousins' agents are like mob style.

[Scott Seidenberg] (41:37 - 41:43)
I mean, they get every angle. 2025, it's a 65 million dead cap hit. 2026, a 25 mil dead cap hit.

[RJ BELL] (41:44 - 41:49)
I mean, maybe it's a two-year at minimum, is what we're saying. And then there's still a decent hit.

[Scott Seidenberg] (41:49 - 41:58)
Yeah, potential out in 2027 would make it a three-year. Yeah, and Penix is gonna be 31. 135 mil with a 12-5 dead cap hit.

[RJ BELL] (41:58 - 42:21)
Yeah, that's doable when he's 31. And he's up for another contract himself. I mean, it's almost like someone did LSD and said, let me do the draft.

And they couldn't stop him. I mean, if this was the 39th pick, or 40, and it was the second round, no one took back, it's like, hey, what the hell, let's take a flyer.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (42:21 - 42:34)
This is crazy. And the fact that Kirk Cousins didn't find out about it until the Falcons were on the clock and right before they tell Michael Penix we're drafting you, they'd say, hey, Kirk Cousins, we're drafting a quarterback. Not thrilled.

[RJ BELL] (42:34 - 42:42)
I wonder if Penix, in a weird way, Cousins has been treated like this the whole time, though, right? Where he's never been given the respect.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (42:42 - 42:46)
Yeah, you're never the franchise guy. You're always, somebody's gonna come take your job.

[RJ BELL] (42:46 - 42:49)
Well, the interesting thing is he's the one that took the job to start with.

[Scott Seidenberg] (42:49 - 43:10)
You know what's interesting is, when you think about what we saw this past offseason, with all of the young quarterbacks getting traded, guys that were drafted and then played right away, like a Sam Howell gets traded, you know, all these other guys, Zach Wilson a couple years later, like, would it shock you if they have a great season this year with Kirk Cousins, if they trade Penix?

[RJ BELL] (43:11 - 43:19)
But they got, they picked him higher than he was expected to go. Way higher. So the question is, how do you ever do a transaction that you gain from?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (43:19 - 43:27)
How does he ever become more valuable than what you gave him in the eyes of other people, without playing? It's the craziest thing to happen in the draft, by far. It is pretty wild.

[RJ BELL] (43:27 - 43:33)
I mean, in a way, this is an injury, maybe they're saying quarterbacks are so important that this is an injury guarantee.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (43:33 - 43:36)
But you're drafting a guy who had several different injuries in college.

[RJ BELL] (43:36 - 43:57)
It's been multiple years. I mean, at some point, you gotta be able to say that the guy, I mean, is Deshaun, well, I guess Deshaun, but Deshaun Watson had multiple injuries. I don't know.

I think sometimes it's funny. Someone will have two injuries, and you might say he's injury prone, doesn't have another one. But there are certain people that have two, then they have the third and the fourth of it.

There does seem to be injury prone people.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (43:57 - 44:01)
I mean, well, he played five years of college football, four of them ended in injury.

[RJ BELL] (44:01 - 44:03)
Wow, but he had two major, I mean.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (44:04 - 44:11)
Two knee injuries, but he also had an AC joint injury to his shoulder. It's always been something. Every year, it's something with this guy.

[RJ BELL] (44:12 - 44:13)
Oh, it wasn't this year, was it?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (44:13 - 44:13)
Not this year.

[Scott Seidenberg] (44:13 - 44:21)
This year, he led the league in our college football and pass. Not since going to Washington, I'd say. So when he had an offensive line, he didn't get hurt.

Yeah, that helps.

[RJ BELL] (44:21 - 44:26)
But in college, you're not supposed to, I mean, like, if you're a strong, you know, not like Big Ben, imagine him.

[Scott Seidenberg] (44:26 - 44:29)
He ran a lot, too. When he was in Indiana, he ran a lot. He was much more.

[RJ BELL] (44:29 - 44:29)
Well, they saw that.

[Scott Seidenberg] (44:29 - 44:33)
Yeah, he became much more of a pocket passer at Washington and less of a runner.

[RJ BELL] (44:34 - 45:22)
So one last thing about the draft is there's reaches and there's drops, or droppers, let's say. And they're very different if you think about it game theory-wise or just purely logically. So what happens if a player drops?

So let's think of Aaron Rodgers back in the day, right? Could've went fifth or whatever. I think could've went first some people, if I remember right.

And then he went to like 22 or whatever it was. Every increment down from number five to six to seven to 14 to 17, et cetera, it was each of those teams saying, we have the option of drafting Aaron Rodgers, but we will say no thank you and go another direction. Every time.

So that is collectively, and if a guy drops more than one round, the whole league is saying he's not worth this draft round.

[Scott Seidenberg] (45:22 - 45:55)
It's the one thing that the movie Draft Day got right about the NFL draft. Because a lot of that movie is just preposterous. Is that the right word?

Yeah, I think that's exactly right. But when they don't take the Bo Callahan, the quarterback number one overall, and then everybody's calling to find out what's wrong with him, what's wrong with him. And then the team that drafts second doesn't take him.

Then the team that drafts third doesn't take him. Then the team that drafts fourth doesn't take him. It's the one thing they got right about the NFL draft.

Because when someone passes on a guy, all of a sudden everyone wants to know what are we missing?

[RJ BELL] (45:56 - 47:42)
I think there's some truth there, but I also think it's a choice, meaning if you haven't done all your work as a team and he drops to you, maybe you're gonna be like, we're not gonna be the sucker. I think there's some truth there. But in general, these teams are very confident, probably overly confident in their ability to draft.

And if they got, I mean, think about it, Belichick's gonna be the extreme, but if Belichick has someone third on his board and he's picking seventh and he's there, he's taking him. He's not worried why he, so I think that your point is valid that if someone starts dropping significantly, there might be momentum to it, but it doesn't change the fact that each team is saying no, no, no, no, no. It's a collective IQ decision.

But if someone reaches, it's one team saying we think they're a lot better than other people think. The reaches historically, if you go against like Mock in the draft or some of these other aggregation sites, if you say that is consensus opinion, and the question is how above or below were these guys picked? If someone had a reach, those usually have done historically badly because it's one team bucking everyone else.

But the droppers have actually done fair, meaning that where they've been picked has been fair, meaning the drop was warranted. So Atlanta being a reacher puts them at risk because they're saying we know better than the rest of the league, where when the opposite happens, the team is not necessarily making a good decision picking them, but all the teams that came before it, the past probably were right, at least if you look at it historically over all the players.

[Scott Seidenberg] (47:42 - 47:53)
Yeah, I think the Seahawks getting Byron Murphy at 16, the fact that he fell into their lap, I mean, they're one of the happiest teams in this draft because he arguably could have been the first defender taken. I mean, he was the second defender taken.

[RJ BELL] (47:54 - 47:55)
Oh, this was your pick.

[Scott Seidenberg] (47:55 - 48:21)
So he was the second defender taken. The first defender was taken at 15 right in front of the Seahawks. So these are guys, both Murphy and Latu, they were expected to go eighth to the Falcons.

And the Falcons don't take a defensive player. And then at nine, the Bears don't take a defensive player. They go wide receiver.

All of a sudden now, the guys that, two defensive players that were projected top 10 picks fall to 15 and 16.

[RJ BELL] (48:23 - 48:25)
Well, but it also shows to some degree where the league's going.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (48:26 - 48:26)

[RJ BELL] (48:26 - 48:27)
Right? The emphasis.

[Scott Seidenberg] (48:27 - 48:36)
So, huh, 23 offensive players breaks the previous record of 19. So it broke it by four. Wow.


[AJ HOFFMAN] (48:36 - 48:42)
And I looked at a list of, when they made that pick, I looked at a list of Falcons team needs going into the draft.

[RJ BELL] (48:42 - 48:43)
Quarterback wasn't high on it?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (48:43 - 48:52)
Edge, safety, cornerback, interior defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, quarterback.

[RJ BELL] (48:53 - 48:54)
It said quarterback last?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (48:54 - 48:55)
It does say quarterback last.

[RJ BELL] (48:55 - 48:57)
And does it rationalize why they're saying quarterback?

[AJ HOFFMAN] (48:57 - 49:18)
Says Kirk Cousins will be 36 years old when the season begins. Taylor Heineke is a one-year option. Falcons keep talking about adding a third quarterback because they need more insurance at the most important position on the roster.

And because they'd like to have someone young to develop to be at least serviceable as a multi-year backup. That makes it a genuine need, albeit a small one for 2024. Not the eighth overall pick.

[RJ BELL] (49:18 - 49:24)
It's really one of the most inexplicable picks I've seen. I mean, if I would've told you beforehand.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (49:24 - 49:28)
This is the third year in a row the Falcons have made a pick that people have said, really?

[RJ BELL] (49:28 - 49:56)
Well, no, I wouldn't make the case last year with the running back that it was. When's the last time a running back went top five before last year? But what I'm saying is everyone felt like that he was going to.

And I mean, eighth was, let's just say this. In collaboration with the picks in the years prior, the tight end. Yeah, it seemed like more of the same in a weird way.

But at no point was, I mean, the over-under, I think was right around that.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (49:56 - 50:05)
And I think maybe the reason why it felt weird last year was because there was so much talk about the devaluation of running backs. Like that was during the off season where running backs were just not getting paid.

[Scott Seidenberg] (50:05 - 50:08)
They felt that way during the season because they misused him completely.

[RJ BELL] (50:08 - 50:20)
Yeah, see there's more. But I think what it was, was they had what, Patterson, right? Cordero Patterson.

I think them having a running back that supposedly was good. So now Pittsburgh has him and Pittsburgh has the OC or the former head coach.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (50:20 - 50:22)
Yeah, now you get to be the Falcons.

[RJ BELL] (50:22 - 51:15)
No, the Falcons are now, because it's the second string running back or like the third string running back and the OC. We just take their lead guys and make them our number two. That's how we roll.

We're like the Yankees like that. All right, well, listen, I got a note from Sue, from Sue Falls. She's a, I mean, I would say AJ hater.

I thought she's come around on me in recent years. She did a little bit, but she, yeah, you're right. It went from hate to.

Lukewarm, maybe. No, God, no. A modest disdain.

Okay. She said, if you keep winning at over 60% in every sport, she won't start listening to your show in San Antonio. That'd be nice.

And she won't start, like, cause she gets in good with people. She'll get in with the GI, who knows what. So just keep winning is all I'm gonna say.

I'll do my best. All right, I mean, I would do better than that. Okay.

Thank you, RJ.

[Scott Seidenberg] (51:15 - 51:32)
All right. Let's get into the NBA playoffs with McKenzie Rivers, joining us here on Straight Outta Vegas AM and McKenzie, the Orlando Magic with a 121-83 route of the Cavaliers. So Orlando avoids the 0-3 start and McKenzie, for the first time in this series, we have an over.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (51:32 - 51:49)
Yeah, the first time in the Cavs playoffs, last two years, seven straight games, averaging 18 points under, and they did their best to keep that going, scoring only 83 points. But the Magic at home got red hot, the opposite of what we've seen so far, in a blowout, 40 points. Magic went easy.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (51:49 - 52:06)
I've talked about in this series how the Cavs, like everybody talks about Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, but they've had a real advantage down low with Mobley and Allen. Seemed like the Magic did a really good job limiting those two guys last night. What do you think they did differently to slow down that front court?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (52:07 - 52:29)
I'm not sure. I think they just got hot. I think they just started shooting the ball well, and that kind of allows them to play smaller and not really worry about it.

And then the faster they play, the less minutes they can play. Mobley only played 22 minutes. When you're down in a game like that, your center's not gonna be the one to get you back in the game.

So they just limited their minutes, not really on the offensive side of the ball.

[Scott Seidenberg] (52:29 - 52:45)
Paulo Banqueiro with 31 points. We know he's still not like the guy. Like when you need a basket to be made, he's not on that level just yet.

But with a performance like that last night, does that give him confidence now moving forward into game four?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (52:46 - 53:15)
Yeah, because he had 14 turnovers in the first two games. That would be the highest. He was currently leading the league history in turnovers per game at seven per game, and he had zero, and he didn't do anything different.

He just shot it quicker, shot it more decisively. He had five assists in the game, which is high for him. I think that's gotta be an up arrow for his career trajectory, that he can have two really kind of embarrassing games on the road to start his playoff career and have a really high usage rate the next game and not make any mistakes.

[Scott Seidenberg] (53:16 - 53:33)
So Orlando listed now as two-point favorites in game four, total 2.01 and a half, so a slight tick down with the total despite this game going over, and about a half a point difference between the two. It was 2.5 here the Magic closed in game three. Is that accurate in your mind?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (53:33 - 54:19)
Yeah, so this total is interesting because we saw all unders for most of the playoffs, and then on Wednesday night, we see two overs, and every game on Thursday got bet over, over, over. So game three was 198 and a half at one point, closed 2.02 like we mentioned. So people are just like, all right, the streak is over, something's different.

Let's bet these more like the regular season. However, when a team loses by 40 points, especially a defensive-oriented team like the Cavs, I think they turn the screws. I think they play really good defense, and they haven't figured out anything on offense.

Mitchell's really been the only player to have success, so I think the Cavs' offense is gonna continue to struggle, and I think their defense, I mean, I think they just got unlucky to give up so many made shots. I think they're gonna play as hard as ever. I really like the under in this game.

[Scott Seidenberg] (54:19 - 54:34)
Elsewhere last night, the 76ers avoid the 0-3 hole as they beat the Knicks 125-114. Sixers cover the spread. The game does go over.

Joel and Bede with a monster performance, 50 points. You know, I asked you if you were concerned. Wait.

He scored 50?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (54:34 - 54:37)
I stopped watching after he hit 45. He scored 50.

[Scott Seidenberg] (54:37 - 55:08)
I know I asked you this when you had said that you liked the Sixers in this game, and I asked you if you were concerned that if the Knicks finally got a Jalen Brunson performance, would that, because he's been so bad in games one and two, like the Knicks were up two games to none with Jalen Brunson being terrible, and I said, if they finally get a Jalen Brunson 40-point night, like, are you worried about that?

Well, Jalen Brunson scored 39 last night, and it didn't matter. I told you he wouldn't score 40. I told you, the way he scores 40, it didn't matter.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (55:08 - 55:19)
And I got this game wrong. I had the Knicks team total under, as we talked about, and it wasn't even close. Not only did Brunson turn it around, but the role players continued to hit threes, making over 45%.

[Scott Seidenberg] (55:19 - 55:22)
Not Dante DiVincenzo, he was over three.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (55:22 - 55:57)
The Boos got to him. This is what I got wrong, and this is something I need to pay more attention to, is the pace is dictated by the home team consistently in the NBA playoffs. The Knicks, slowest pace in the league by far, were much slower at home than they were on the road, and right away, every quarter went over here, if you're betting quarters.

Even though the Knicks were up early, they were hitting a lot of threes. They made more than 50% of their threes in the first half. It was a sixers pace, and it was only a matter of time before Maxey and Harris and then Embiid went crazy in the third quarter, hitting, I think he hit four threes back-to-back-to-back in the third.

Kind of made it a laugher, and he ended up getting 50 points. That's insane, wow.

[Scott Seidenberg] (55:57 - 56:05)
I was gonna ask you about the report. Woj had the report last night that Embiid's dealing with a mild case of Bell's Palsy, but he scored 50 points.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (56:06 - 56:08)
Someone just knocked him back into reality.

[Scott Seidenberg] (56:08 - 56:09)
I don't think it affected him.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (56:10 - 56:20)
I didn't even think about the, you know, you talked about the booing. I didn't even think about this until they played a game in Philly that the Knicks have three- Three Villanova guys.

[Scott Seidenberg] (56:20 - 56:20)
Villanova, yeah.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (56:22 - 56:28)
Who've played in that building almost their entire college careers. I don't know if we've ever seen anything like that.

[Scott Seidenberg] (56:28 - 56:42)
Well, that's why I thought the Knicks were gonna win this game, because I'm like, the Villanova guys are so comfortable playing in Philadelphia, but, I mean, Brunson did score 39. I mean, DiVincenzo, he did take a shot to the face, and so he was like a little bloody, and his face was a little red.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (56:42 - 56:45)
You're thinking he might get the Palsy, and he might blow up.

[Scott Seidenberg] (56:45 - 56:52)
I'm thinking that maybe when he got hit in the head, maybe that bothered him a little bit, because he also didn't play a full complement of minutes in that game last night.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (56:52 - 56:53)
He's not feeling tough, that's why.

[Scott Seidenberg] (56:53 - 57:03)
He's not feeling tough. Well, Mackenzie, game four, the spread has ticked up. Sixers are five-point favorites.

The total has ticked up. Game three closed at 205 1⁄2. Game four, 207 1⁄2.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (57:04 - 57:47)
Yeah, and this is, as I mentioned, this was something that the betters got right in game three. It was 201 when I went to sleep on Wednesday night. Thursday throughout the day, tick, tick, tick, went up to 205 1⁄2, and they were proven right when it goes over 230 1⁄2, or 235, I should say.

So, I gotta think, I mean, I don't want to knee-jerk react to what I just saw, but I gotta think the pace will be dictated by the home team, and the Sixers like to get up and down a lot more than the Knicks do. So, the series prize is Sixers plus 200 plus 230. I think they're the better team.

I think they were the better team in game one, game two, and game three, and they got unlucky, or they made some mistakes. They didn't call the timeout when they should've.

[Scott Seidenberg] (57:47 - 57:53)
But all the Knicks have to do is just win one. They just win one of these games. They lost game three.

If the Knicks win game four, it's their series.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (57:54 - 57:56)
So, I think- Spoken like a true New Yorker.

[Scott Seidenberg] (57:56 - 58:19)
I think they're in a decent spot right now. Everyone's gonna react to what we're, recency bias of what we just saw. But I think if Thibodeau is in that locker room addressing his team, he's saying, guys, we came here to Philly with one goal, just to win one game out of two.

And so, we lost this one. We're gonna ratchet up the intensity now for game number four. I wouldn't be surprised if game four goes under.

Do you still feel like the Sixers are the better team?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (58:19 - 58:46)
Yeah, that's what I'm saying. I think game one and game two, I think the Suns are the better team. And you might think I'm crazy because they lost by a million, but they're favored by more than the Wolves were.

So, Vegas is saying they're the better team. And the Sixers, the same thing. They were favored, they were underdogs by 2 1⁄2, then 3 1⁄2 in games one and two.

Now they're 5 1⁄2. Vegas says they're the better team. Will it matter, or will the Knicks be able to take advantage of their lead in the series?

I mean, that's the question. I definitely think the Sixers are a better team.

[Scott Seidenberg] (58:46 - 59:12)
Well, the home teams were off to a 2-0 start in terms of the home teams that were down 0-2 in the series, as both the Magic and the Sixers win to make the series 2-1. The Lakers started off hot. They were up 10 in the first quarter.

They were up, they covered the first half line as well, but they lose 1-12, 1-0-5, as this series now comes to a close.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (59:12 - 1:00:26)
So, for the third time, exactly. I mean, we've never seen it before. Last year was close with the Celtics' heat.

But you can get 20-1 if you think the Lakers are gonna do it. So Vegas says, you know, take your chances. For the third time in three games, the Lakers looked like the better team through about 20 minutes of the game.

They were up 10, Jokic was in foul trouble, AD again shooting 65% or so in the series, LeBron was aggressive early, but the Nuggets do what the Nuggets do. Their offense is like a clock. It just keeps on ticking.

And in the third quarter, when the Lakers went cold like they did in game two, the Nuggets didn't. And the fourth quarter, I mean, I got a lot of heat for saying LeBron didn't play a great strategy game. I know his stats were good, but I didn't think his strategy was right in game two, moving away from AD.

In the fourth quarter when his game was on the line, it looked, it was like they were listening to me. They went to AD time after time. They went right to him, yeah.

And he couldn't get good shots, and he only scored, I think, four points in the fourth. I mean, he doesn't have all those LeBron moments in the fourth quarter coming through. And LeBron tried to make it a game with like three minutes or four minutes to go, taking over the ball, but the Nuggets are just better.

And I don't think they're phased at all by the LA crowd. I don't think they're phased by much. They're defending champions for a reason.

So yeah, they ended it. They ended the series.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:00:27 - 1:01:16)
All right, well, I'm gonna be, I don't wanna call it a conspiracy theory, but I think that the NBA just wants maybe one more game out of LeBron. I mean, this isn't the Western Conference Finals here. This is the first round.

No one will notice. So I think this is gonna be- Where's Scott Foster? I think this is gonna be what is known as the gentlemen's sweep, where the favorite team wins the first three games of the series.

They go up 3-0. The home team is gifted one game, which is game four, and then the Nuggets, who have the home court, return home for game five, and end the series four games to one. It's the gentlemen's sweep.

I think that's what's gonna happen here. I would take the Lakers plus three in game number four. I think the NBA just wants one more game on Monday night out of LeBron.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:01:17 - 1:01:20)
Jimmy, Lakers first half, and get out of the way. Yeah.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:01:20 - 1:02:06)
Yeah, it's been working. It's 3-0. I'm not against the conspiracy theory.

So historically, just to give you the numbers- It's a TNT game. I mean, come on. Yeah, historically, and this is not LeBron teams.

LeBron is like Jordan or Kobe, a marquee attraction unlike any other. Historically, teams that go down 3-0 just pack it up and say, one, two, three, Cancun, and they're gone. Like, their ATS record is terrible.

Their margin is terrible. But if you're the Cronkies, you wouldn't mind selling out again in game five with LeBron coming to your building. That's right.

One game. I've heard crazier conspiracies. I'll say that much.

And you're getting value because you were just a two-point favorite. Now you're a three-point dog. Nothing's changed.

The pride of AD and LeBron has to be at the forefront. So I wouldn't be shocked if they got one.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:02:06 - 1:02:27)
And I'd bet it now sooner rather than later because it's a Saturday night game. So the public's gonna jump all over it and the public will be all over the Los Angeles Lakers. Okay, let's take a look at the three games on the schedule for tonight.

The Bucs are at the Pacers in the six-point favorite with a high total of 221. What is this, a regular season game?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:02:27 - 1:04:47)
Yeah, right, and it's funny because it's a much higher total than it used to be. It's a much higher total than it was a few hours ago as it, again, ticks up, ticks up. Bettors are changing their minds on what's happening with totals.

But it's nine points lower than it was in game one. So the market is still taking homage to the fact that this has been an under playoff so far as it has been the last decade. Again, nine out of the last 10 years, you only bet unders.

You're profitable in the NBA playoffs. But I think this is a Pacers game that might go over. I wouldn't even mind that correlation.

I think their offense was completely asleep in game one. Playoff jitters, whatever it was. But they woke up, Halliburton woke up, on the road.

Now I think at home they feel that much more confident and the Bucs have been one of the worst defensive teams, at least in Bucs' recent history, and in the playoffs still, they have no answers. However, I have a bet here because, I don't know, I mean, maybe you like the over, maybe you like the Pacers, but I like this bet better. I'm not critiquing those bets.

Pascal Siakam has been the one standout. I think he's leading the playoffs in points, 36 points per game. I'm betting under 27 and a half.

It's all about the overreaction, and I think there's reasons why the other Pacers step up at home. So he was the one guy to step up in game one and do anything, 37. In game two, he had another hot game.

In game three, the Bucs have to respond. They have to make the next chess moves. They're gonna start guarding Pascal Siakam.

And we've seen, he's never averaged more than 22, one year he's averaged more than 22 in his entire career. And we've seen his point prop go from 21 and a half in the regular season, 22 and a half against the Bucs. Okay, they're a bad defense, you bump it up.

26 and a half, no, I'm sorry, 24 and a half in game two, and now 27 and a half, another three-point bump. It's way too much. It's an overreaction.

I know people love to get on the hot prop, but here's why it's not gonna work, because Halliburton's gonna be way more comfortable than he was in game one or two. And all the role players we talk about all the time at home will be sowing their oats. If you tell me the Pacers win by 30, I think Siakam's gonna be one of many players that succeeds, doesn't go over his prop.

If you tell me the Bucs surprise the Pacers and win, in that scenario, I think, okay, well, they must've done something against Siakam to settle him down. There's so many different ways to win, so many different ways he might not play as many minutes in the fourth quarter, so I like him under 27 and a half, fading the overreaction.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:04:47 - 1:04:56)
Elsewhere, the Clippers take on the Mavericks, as this series as well, tied at a game apiece. Dallas, four and a half point favorites, total of 210.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:04:56 - 1:05:18)
This is the 16th time in the last four years that the Clippers and Mavericks have played a playoff game. This is the second, no, I'm sorry, this is the third time that they've been favorite, and this is the most they've been favorite. This is the first time that they've actually been more than home court advantage, saying that the Mavericks are the better team than the Clippers.

Now, that might make sense if you're just watching the last couple months of basketball. The Mavericks have done excellently.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:05:18 - 1:05:20)
They were the- Especially defensively.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:05:20 - 1:06:20)
Yeah, especially defensively, since the trade to get Gafford in there and move on from Grant Williams. But if you just took out a 30,000 foot view, the Clippers are more talented than they've been in recent years. They've added James Harden, now Kawhi and Paul George are back, Terrence Mann has matured into a legitimate NBA starter.

So I'm leaning to the Clippers here. I don't think home court matters much in this particular series. We just saw two years ago, the road team won the first six games of this series.

The Mavericks have a better home court overall than the Clippers, but I think the Clippers, because they're so bad at home, they feel like they're on the road every game. Kawhi especially has done great in Dallas. Wouldn't be surprised to see another big fourth quarter out of him.

So I like the Mavericks in the series. I bet them to win the series. And I think they have a legitimate chance to knock out the Nuggets.

Don't feel so great about the Suns in that particular way. Another future I gave out. But in this particular game, I think the number's a little high here.

I lean towards a four and a half. I'm seeing even a four and a half minus a five. It looks like you might be able to get a five.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:06:20 - 1:06:35)
Well, speaking of those Suns, their four-point favorites over the Timberwolves. First game in Phoenix as the Suns are down 2-0. Do they do what the Magic and the Sixers did last night, or do they do what the Lakers did and go down 3-0?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:06:35 - 1:07:27)
Right, and the zigzag in the first half was two and one. The Lakers did win the first half. So did the Magic.

Sixers ended up blowing them out, didn't they? But I think the Suns here historically have had a great home court advantage. They've been eight points different from all their playoff games since 2002 at home versus on the road.

Eight points better. I feel like that matters, especially against a Wolves team that their best players haven't really showed up. Karl-Anthony Towns has been okay.

Missed a lot of time with foul trouble. Anthony Edwards had one great game and one pretty bad game. Last year in the playoffs, he has had some bad games.

I don't think he's that consistent game after game guy. So it's been the role players. It's been Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert who are veteran players, but not players that necessarily feel like they have the autonomy to take the ball and change the game on the road.

So I like the Suns here. I laid the four myself. The total is way down from what it's been.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:07:27 - 1:07:28)
Yeah, 2.06 and a half.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:07:28 - 1:07:43)
2.06 and a half, and it was 2.17 when the series started. I feel like the Suns can't play worse offensively. I feel like they're due to break out.

And the Wolves, I could see them being cold, not really knowing who's gonna pick up the slack if Edwards doesn't have another great game like he did in game one.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:07:44 - 1:08:15)
It's funny you say, and obviously, you're much more of an expert when it comes to this stuff than I am. I know that Anthony Edwards didn't have a good shooting game. I felt overall, though, watching that game, it didn't feel like he was playing poorly.

The shots weren't falling, but he was making his teammates better. He played really good defense. It felt like even though the scoring wasn't there necessarily, he was still a major factor in the game, which is, to me, that gives me some confidence not to write him totally off.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:08:15 - 1:08:28)
Oh yeah, I'm a believer in Edwards overall. I'm just talking about particularly on offense. I'm not sure where the Wolves are gonna get it, but he had three steals, a block.

He's a PT peer, as they say. Who's that guy that says that?

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:08:28 - 1:08:29)
Dick Vitale.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:08:29 - 1:09:00)
Dick Vitale, yeah, he's the man. He has all the qualities of a guy that can lead a franchise. I think going three for 12, if you're plus 15 in the game, you're leading your team to a win in the playoffs, that doesn't make me dock him as an overall player.

I'm just thinking, in this game, I like the Suns offense to wake up. I'm not sure, if Edwards isn't playing great like he did in game one offensively, who else is gonna show up? Because I don't think McDaniels is gonna have another 25 points.

I don't think these role players necessarily will feel like they can just shoot freely. That's what we've seen historically.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:09:00 - 1:09:13)
This could very well look like the game from yesterday late afternoon, I guess, with the Cavs and the Magic, where one team has just been totally asleep on offense, and you're saying, where's it gonna come from? And then it just comes in a gigantic burst.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:09:13 - 1:09:29)
It gets contagious, and your crowd gets into it, and you finally feel like you can let fly. And we saw this with the Suns. They were down 0-2, kind of embarrassed against Denver.

They made it 2-2 going back to Denver for game five. If I had to guess, gun to my head, I would like them to win the next two games.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:09:29 - 1:09:39)
If you like the Suns, does that, in your opinion, correlate to the over? Because if the Timberwolves win, it's an undergame. Does that mean if the Suns win, it's more of an up-and-down game?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:09:40 - 1:10:07)
No, I mean, I could see that, because the Wolves, the reason they won game one and game two is because the Suns' offense completely fell apart in the second half, and both of those games went under. But I could see the Wolves scoring 80 points here, and then the Suns, I mean, that's what we saw with the Magic, or the Cavs. I could see the Wolves, just from the indecision of it, not knowing where to go with the ball.

And in that case, the Suns can be great on offense, and play the pace that they want to, pay up style, and it still wouldn't go over, necessarily.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:10:07 - 1:10:20)
I wanna ask you, before we let you go, McKenzie, about a game tomorrow, because obviously we're not gonna do a show tomorrow morning, OKC minus one at the Pelicans. I get a real vibe that the Pelicans are done.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:10:20 - 1:10:20)

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:10:20 - 1:10:22)
I mean, minus one.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:10:22 - 1:10:23)
I get that same feeling.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:10:23 - 1:10:27)
It just feels like a really good number for the Thunder. Am I missing on something here?

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:10:28 - 1:11:06)
I don't think so. I think the Thunder, the way to look, just, I mean, in neither game did the Pelicans score 95 points. Brandon Ingram, since he came back from his knee injury, has not been the same.

A lot of people, like Nate Duncan on the Dunked On podcast said, he's playing because his contract is about to be up. He's not playing because he's back to be 100%. And with Zion out, just psychologically, we talk about the zig-zag and the feeling in the building.

First of all, there's never a feeling in smoothing King Arena. It's one of the worst home court advantages in the NBA. And with all the attention on their best player not being there, I feel like it's gonna be a dead arena.

I feel like the more talented, better coach, deeper team pulls it out. So yeah, I lean toward the Thunder here myself.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:11:06 - 1:11:11)
That's's NBA expert, McKenzie Rivers. Thank you, McKenzie. We'll talk to you soon.

[MACKENZIE RIVERS] (1:11:12 - 1:11:12)
Talk to you soon, my brother.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:11:44 - 1:13:41)
Just two games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, and both series are now 3-0 leads. As the Panthers defeated the Lightning 5-3 to take a 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Islanders as Carolina goes up three games to none.

As for the Tampa series, it's just real shocking to see them not really compete with Florida. I mean, that's what they do in the playoffs. They usually show up in playoff time, right?

They usually show up in playoff time. They still have a ton of talent, but Florida just stifles you. And Tampa just wasn't really able to get anything.

I mean, I had a prop in this game that I lost. I had Braden Point over two and a half shots on goal. He had four missed shots in the game, but just unable to get any shots on goal because Florida's defense is just so good.

They clog the lanes. They block a ton of shots. They do not allow a free look at the net.

And Bobrovsky comes up big when he needs to. He made 26 saves last night, but the Panthers now up three games to none, and you can pretty much end this series. Same thing with the Hurricanes against the Islanders.

Islanders are just no match for them. They even went back to Ilya Sorokin in net. It didn't matter.

Hurricanes with a 3-2 win over the Islanders. So let's take a look at the four games on the schedule for tonight, and I think we're gonna get two home teams winning and two road teams winning. So the Rangers have a 2-0 series lead.

They will take on the Capitals in D.C. They're minus 170 favorites, and the Rangers are just a better team than the Capitals. They outclassed them, and when it comes to special teams, the Rangers are just so good. They have the third-best power play in the league.

They have the third-best penalty kill in the league. Igor Shesterkin is hot right now, and I do not see the Rangers losing, even though the game is in Washington, and the teams split the home games this year. So then they played each other.

Rangers won at MSG in the regular season. Capitals won at Capital One Arena in the regular season. I don't see it happening, though, here in the postseason.

I think Rangers stay hot and beat the Capitals. Canucks are at the Predators.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:13:41 - 1:14:17)
I have a take here. Let me give mine before you give the expert opinion. You tell me if I'm wrong.

On Nashville and Vancouver? Yeah. Go right ahead.

I like the Predators here. I love the Predators here. I think the Canucks, this franchise, is a loser franchise in the playoffs.

Since 2011, one playoff series win? Since 2011? Yep.

What are we doing? Again, this is another example of a team that's been good all regular season. It just seems like the way they lost that last game, the game two at home against the Predators, doesn't give me much confidence in this team.

I actually sat and watched that full game.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:14:17 - 1:20:12)
I think the Canucks are doing what they always do and choking in the playoffs. Well, so Thatcher Demko, their goaltender, was hurt late in the regular season and was out for a while. He played 51 games this year and was incredible.

He was 35-14-2, a 9-18 save percentage, a 2.45 goals against average, five shutouts, and he was number one in the NHL in goals saved above expected per game. He's gonna be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year, but he got hurt at the end of the season, came back for game one of the playoffs, got hurt again, and missed game two. Don't think he plays here in game three.

I think Nashville, that crowd in Smashville, is going to be electric tonight. So I think Nashville takes this one at home. Moving on, we got the Jets at the Avalanche.

You didn't know I was an expert, did you? Of course I do. Jets are at the Avalanche.

I think Colorado's home ice is too much. I think Colorado wins this one. There's an argument to be made that they could have won both games in this series.

They lose 7-6 in game one and then 5-2 win in game two. I think they take care of business on home ice. And then the Oilers, who were surprising losers, if you will, on home ice in game two, 5-4 in overtime to the Kings.

I think this continues to be an over series, and I do think that Edmonton gets the win on the road. They are much better than L.A., and I think that their offense will be too much. I think the defense locks it down a bit after seeing what happened in game number two.

This total has finally ticked up. It's now at 6 1⁄2, but like I said, I think this series continues to go over, and I think the Oilers win this one at home. And take a two games to one series lead.

And then tomorrow, the Hurricanes and the Panthers are gonna move on, whether it's a sweep or not, it doesn't matter. But I think the most intriguing game, I do think that the Knights are gonna win on home ice. Like that game is, I mean, the crowd's gonna be insane.

Plus Vegas is, the Dallas Stars play defense. They play great defense. They don't have the offense to keep up with Vegas.

Vegas is healthy now, and I just cannot see Vegas losing the first game on home ice here with the healthy team. You know, they're finally healthy. So I do like Vegas tomorrow.

But I think the most intriguing game is Toronto against Boston. Because I think this series could legit go seven. And if Toronto loses this game on home ice, they're not coming back to Toronto.

Like Boston's gonna win this series when the series goes back to Boston. So I think you're gonna get the best effort from the Maple Leafs tomorrow that you're gonna see. I like Toronto first period tomorrow against the Bruins.

I think it's the best effort you will see from the Maple Leafs all season in what is, for all intent and purposes, a must-win game for the Maple Leafs. Taking a look at your Major League Baseball schedule for today and tonight. We got one day game in Detroit.

Reese Olsen gets the start for the Tigers against the Royals. Seth Lugo starts for the Royals. Detroit is a minus-120 favorite.

Then we go to the night schedule where Corbin Burns gets the ball for the Orioles at home against the A's. And Ross Stripling, the O's, a minus-285 favorite. Blue Jays will host the Dodgers.

Gavin Stone for L.A., Chris Bassett for Toronto. L.A.'s minus-122 on the road. Cardinals are at the Mets with Jose Butto on the mound for New York.

He has been phenomenal to start the season. He doesn't have a win yet, doesn't have a loss yet, but a 1.65 ERA. Myles Michaelis, the struggling Myles Michaelis, goes for the Cardinals.

The Mets are minus-130. Cubs are at the Red Sox. Another revelation this season has been Shota Iminaga for the Chicago Cubs.

They take on the Red Sox at Fenway. Cutter Crawford goes for Boston. It's minus-110 both ways.

Nationals are at the Marlins. Jesus Lozardo for Miami. Trevor Williams for the Nats.

Marlins minus-170. Guardians are at the Braves. Chris Sale against Logan Allen.

Chris Sale on the Braves, a minus-218 favorite. Rays are at the White Sox. Chris Flexin for Chicago.

Zach Eflin for Tampa. Tampa's minus-230. Chicago's so bad.

I mean, we talk about this every day. I mean, they're historically bad. It's just embarrassing watching this team play baseball.

You have the Reds at the Rangers. Nathan Uvalde for Texas. Graham Ashcraft for Cincinnati.

Texas is minus-170. Yankees at the Brewers. Colin Ray for Milwaukee.

Luis Gil for the Yankees. Yankees are minus-130 on the road. Twins are at the Angels.

Patrick Sandoval for LA. Bailey Aubert for the Twins. Twins are minus-115.

Phillies at the Padres. Joe Musgrove for San Diego. Aaron Nola for Philadelphia.

It's minus-110 both ways. Zach Allen on the mound for the Diamondbacks. They're minus-135 road favorites at the Mariners.

Emerson Hancock goes for Seattle. And the Pirates are at the Giants. Kyle Harrison for San Francisco.

Quinn Preister for Pittsburgh. San Francisco, minus-158. Well, as we close out the week here and get you ready for the sports weekend, this is the final SOVAM in this format for A.J. Hoffman. If you were listening to the DreamPod last week or two weeks ago, when did we announce this? Two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, you announced.

A.J. has taken a job in San Antonio, Texas, and will be leaving SOVAM. We'll still have him on from time to time, you know, maybe once a week or maybe once every two weeks. He will not be gone and forgotten, but he will not be on the show daily anymore, A.J. You want to say something to the audience? No, I just appreciate everyone listening to us. And that's A.J. Hoffman, everybody. No, go ahead.

[AJ HOFFMAN] (1:20:12 - 1:20:42)
I appreciate the audience that we've built here. I got a lot of kind words from everybody, like when we announced it, and certainly going to miss the interaction that we have with these guys. You know, no one picks out every day and sweating bets with them.

It's something to miss for sure. Going to miss working with you. Going to miss working with McKenzie Rivers, Steve.

Always a joy with you guys on this show. So that will be tough to miss out on, but I'm excited for the future down in my home state of Texas, Scott.

[Scott Seidenberg] (1:20:42 - 1:22:41)
That's right, and we'll have to get down there soon to try some barbecue. Oh, yes. And check out some, you know, maybe this fall, a little UTSA football.

That's right. Or they got arena football down there? They do.

They got arena football? No, they've got UFL. UFL, oh, XFL, or UFL.

UFL, excuse me. UFL, yes, the Brahmas. The Brahmas.

Got to check out some Brahmas. Got to check out Wemby. We got to go watch Wemby.

And maybe just hit up, like, the Riverwork for, like, just a good time. Just a good time. We can eat some good spicy Tex-Mex and see what it does to your body.

Absolutely not spicy. Sweet barbecue only, but we'll make a trip down to Texas. We'll do a remote from San Antonio at some point.

But if you're listening to this show, continue to listen, continue to follow along the podcast. We ain't going anywhere. Going to continue to provide the excellent daily insight as only we can here at each and every morning for your commute to work or whether you're at the gym or whatever you do in the morning. And as a reminder, you got about a couple of more days to use our promo codes here. So save 20% off any purchase at if you use the promo code NEW20 or the promo code START20. Either one of those promo codes will save you 20% off any purchase at that includes an NBA playoffs all-access package or a major league baseball season all-access package. You can even get a half a major league baseball season package that just runs through the all-star break. So use the promo code NEW20 or the other promo code START20 as next week will be a new start for the program. You get it?

See, I did it. We're pretty clever here. 20% off your purchase at

For Mackenzie Rivers, Steve Fezzik joined us, RJ Bell, and A.J. Hoffman one final time. Although when he joins us like next week, I'm still gonna like give him credit. Thank you, thank you.

But we are straight out of Vegas.

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