FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 27th, 2020

PETER KING DISCUSSES THE 2020 NFL DRAFT, INCLUDING HIS TIME “EMBEDDED” WITH THE BUCCANEERS DURING THE FIRST ROUND, IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“For three days in the sports-starved United States, it was just what we needed – the one thing on the sports calendar that wasn’t cancelled, presented with the humility these times demanded.” – King on the 2020 NFL Draft

“This was the best achievement of his 13-year term since the midnight CBA agreement in late July 2011.” – King on Commissioner Roger Goodell

“It’s amazing what John Elway has done to transform the Denver offense in the last two years. It’s gone from somnambulant to must-see.” – King on Broncos

“That’s what excellent GMs do. No franchise-manager of a playoff team had a better weekend than Lynch.” – King on 49ers GM John Lynch

 “If there’s one team in football, over the past three years, that’s demonstrated the need for a very good backup quarterback, it’s Philadelphia.” – King on the Eagles selecting QB Jalen Hurts in the second round

ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Offseason News and Updates; Florio & Simms on PFT Live Weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 27, 2020 – Peter King discusses and analyzes this past weekend’s 2020 NFL Draft and outlines his time virtually sitting in on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ draft process during Thursday night’s first round in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com.

This week on NBCSN, Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico continues each weekday at Noon ET, followed by The Rich Eisen Show at 1 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Football Flex, a one-hour show featuring the most topical news and analysis from NBC Sports’ digital football content, begins daily at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN. For more information on NBCSN’s weekday programming, click here.

Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide analysis and updates on PFT Live.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

2020 NFL DRAFT

King on the 2020 NFL Draft: “For three days in the sports-starved United States, it was just what we needed – the one thing on the sports calendar that wasn’t cancelled, presented with the humility these times demanded…They recognized the condition of the country, and the role the NFL played in it.”

King on Commissioner Roger Goodell: “This was the best achievement of his 13-year term since the midnight CBA agreement in late July 2011.”

Broncos GM John Elway to King: “Roger Goodell had a lot of pressure on him entering this draft. I will tell you a lot of GMs and some owners didn’t want it to happen right now, but Roger held strong. He had forethought about what this country was going through, with people quarantined, missing sports, needing some normalcy.”

King: “It’s right today to praise the fundraising efforts of the NFL (money raised by the weekend Draft-A-Thon, and by player and owner and staff contributions), which now exceed $100 million. It’s also important to recognize Sean Payton, who recovered from a March bout with COVID-19 and last Monday sat in the New Orleans Blood Bank to give plasma.”

Jets GM Joe Douglas to King about the Draft as a family experience: “My experience in the NFL is, you get in the weeds of draft prep, and then you draft, and you get home after midnight, and everyone’s asleep. You never experience the draft with your family. This year was an unintended plus. I loved being together for it.”

NFL VP of Player Personnel Ken Fiore to King on if any teams went over their allotted time making a pick: “None. Came close a couple of times, but no. It ran similar to a regular draft. The only word I can think of to describe this draft is ‘flawless.’”           

KING WITH THE BUCCANEERS

King: “Each year before the draft, I try to find a team where I can embed…The Bucs, via GM Jason Licht, agreed. I was able through virtual connection to witness much of the first round through Licht’s eyes.”

King on Licht’s pre-draft trade work: “Trading is tough. Licht made about 30 calls during the week, up and down, to see which teams might want to go up or down in the top half of the draft.”

King on Licht during the first round leading up to the Buccaneers’ pick: “About 50 minutes of discussing merits of trades with his staff on Cisco WebEx videoconference and talking trades via cell phone with other GMs and judging the value of trades on his three tablets… and studying draft needs of the other teams in front of him in the first round on a huge Surface Studio desktop.”

Licht on attempting to trade with Arizona in the first round: “(Arizona) GM Steve Keim won’t pick up Licht’s call. Licht: ‘He’s one of my best friends, and he told me, ‘If you want to come up, gimme a call.’ Now he doesn’t answer.’”

King on the Buccaneers trading with San Francisco from No. 14 to No. 13 to select tackle Tristan Wirfs: “Licht had some intel that Niners starting left tackle Joe Staley was going to retire. So the free world was certain this next pick for the Niners was a great wide receiver or Javon Kinlaw…Licht wanted this deal, and he wanted it now.”

Licht on why he traded up one spot: “The Staley stuff scared me. The Niners could definitely be a tackle team.”

Licht on the virtual draft and working from home: “I gotta be honest with you, I loved it…I was still able to have the conversations I need to have. The private conversations…Here’s what’s crazy: I’m almost at the point where I like working this way, I’m getting so much done. And going back to the office…it’s going to be different.”

Licht on the Draft: “I was incredibly surprised I didn’t get upset at some point, especially when we were trying to make the trade. When this new way of doing business started, I was nervous. Not freaking out, but really on edge, hoping they’d push the draft back. I wondered how quickly I’d be able to master all these new technologies!”

2020 NFL DRAFT NOTES

King on the Packers selecting QB Jordan Love: “(GM Brian) Gutekunst told me Sunday that the Packers didn’t enter the draft thinking they’d pick (QB Jordan) Love; he thought Love might be gone in the teens or early twenties…With significant intel that a team drafting high in the second round – perhaps Indianapolis, at 34 – was trying to trade up for Love, Gutekunst felt he had to trade up to have a chance at Love.”

Gutekunst to King: “I know a lot of people are saying this puts a clock on Aaron (Rodgers), but I don’t see that at all. We prioritize the quarterback position, and have for a long time with this franchise…I believe if you’re going to sit in this chair, you have to accept that you’ll be heavily criticized.”

King on the Packers: “Had I written live Thursday night, or even Friday morning, I’d have been highly critical of this…If Rodgers, motivated by this cattle-prod of a draft pick, plays great for the next four years and Love never gives Green Bay anything but a future second or third-round pick, that would mean Green Bay bought an insurance policy for Rodgers that it never had to cash in.”

King on the 49ers: “In sum, (John) Lynch filled his three vital needs on one weekend with playoff-caliber players. That’s what excellent GMs do. No franchise-manager of a playoff team had a better weekend than Lynch.”

King on the Patriots’ QB situation: “I’ve been on the Andy Dalton-for-the-Pats bandwagon. But now that the Patriots have come this far, would it be smarter to sign a Dalton type for a bridge year?…Maybe it’s smart to give the gig to (Jarrett) Stidham and Brian Hoyer, let the best man win, and just see what you’ve really got.”

King on the Broncos: “It’s amazing what John Elway has done to transform the Denver offense in the last two years. It’s gone from somnambulant to must-see…and I have no idea how it’ll turn out. I just know I’m very interested to watch the Broncos now.”

King on the Eagles: “I hear all this criticism of the Eagles for taking Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the 53rd pick in the draft. If there’s one team in football, over the past three years, that’s demonstrated the need for a very good backup quarterback, it’s Philadelphia.”

Joe Burrow to King on working through potential difficulties of this offseason: “The adversity I’ve had has prepared me for what’s to come One thing that was good advice from Peyton (Manning) was to stay on your routine. Be structured. Win, lose, whatever, be the same.”

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to King on Burrow: “I don’t think schematically there’s gonna be anything that’s overly concerning with him. It’s just the physical reps of playing against the speed in the NFL. And the different defenses you’ll face and the disguises that those guys can utilize.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:

    • Lunch Talk Live: NBC Sports’ hour-long, daily sports talk show, which is hosted by Mike Tirico, continues each weekday at Noon ET on NBCSN. Today’s featured guests include Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.
    • The Rich Eisen Show: Rich Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, brings his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show to NBCSN on weekdays at 1 p.m. ET. Today’s guests include Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah and “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir.
    • Click here for more information on Lunch Talk Live, The Rich Eisen Show, and NBC Sports Football Flex.
    • PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms react to the NFL Draft and discuss offseason storylines.

 

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

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