FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 29th, 2021

PETER KING SPEAKS WITH JAGUARS HEAD COACH URBAN MEYER & DISCUSSES 2021 NFL DRAFT IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going.” – Urban Meyer to King on the Jaguars selecting Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick

“In the wake of 26 minutes that shook the NFL on Friday, it looks like the first three (maybe four) names out of Goodell’s mouth will be quarterbacks.” – King on how last week’s trades impact the 2021 NFL Draft

“If San Francisco picks Jones, the upshot will be stark. For a team to spend three first-round picks on Mac Jones will be the story to watch out of the 2021 draft.” – King on the 49ers after trading up to No. 3 in the NFL Draft

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 29, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer about making the transition to the NFL and the Jaguars’ offseason, and discusses how last week’s trades impact the 2021 NFL Draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also shares details on this week’s NFL league meetings, the move to a 17-game schedule, and speaks with recently retired sports broadcaster Dick Stockton.

Across NBC Sports, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which provides extensive NFL coverage, includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss offseason storylines.

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

URBAN MEYER

King on Urban Meyer and the Jaguars’ No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft: “Meyer’s been laser-focused on (Trevor) Lawrence since, as a FOX college football analyst, meeting him during college football playoff prep. Meyer’s extremely close to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, and has a pipeline to all things Lawrence, on and off the field. Fair to say he couldn’t be more comfortable with his first pick as an NFL head coach.”

Meyer to King on the Jaguars selecting Lawrence with the No. 1 pick: “I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going. I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official. But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed.”

King on Meyer’s transition to the NFL: “Today is Meyer’s 75th day on the job. He hasn’t met his full team yet. That bugs him, as it would any coach trying to get to know his players. He’s adjusting to life in pro football, and he knew this was coming, but the rhythms of an NFL coach’s job are far different than what he got used to in 17 years as a college coach.”

Meyer on his time as an NFL head coach: “Not much has surprised me other than the fact you just don’t get to be around your players as much…I think a lot of people coach for a lot of reasons. Mine is relationship with players and it’s hard…I’ve been the head coach since January and we have not had a team meeting because we’re not allowed. So that’s the biggest adjustment.”

Meyer on leaving Florida and Ohio State due to health concerns: “Florida was stress-related. At Ohio State, I went seven years and I kind of knew down the road, I was getting near the end. Plus I found the right guy. Ohio State’s very personal to me. When I found the right coach in Ryan Day, and he almost left the year before to become a head coach, I went to our president and I went to our AD. I said I found the right guy…At Ohio State, I didn’t have stress-related issues. I had some health-related issues.”

Meyer on the Jaguars’ current state: “It’s almost like it lined up pretty – I don’t wanna say perfectly, because you have a lot of draft picks, 11 of them. You have salary cap [room], which we addressed a bunch of needs…But it just aligned. And then you have the number one pick in the draft. This will set the stage for the Jaguars’ future for several years, if we do it right. If we don’t…[pause] it’s not easy.”

King on Meyer’s team culture: “Culture will be big for Meyer. It’s a major mantra…He believes maintaining greatness when the world works against it is part of an ethos built in an organization before the first games is ever played.”

Meyer: “Culture survives. Culture survives injuries to players, transitions to players, transition of staff. Coach Belichick’s the best I’ve ever witnessed at it. There’s a Patriot way and a Patriot culture there. It’s not for everybody…My Utah days and Florida days, I like to think that’s what made us sustainable all the years.”

Meyer on what he learned visiting with the Patriots in the past: “I got to witness Tom Brady first-hand and it was the last day of a mini camp in June…And Tom Brady is treating it like it’s the Super Bowl. He goes down and he scores with two seconds left to win that scrimmage. Ran around the field like a child—that’s how competitive he is. I went back immediately to my quarterbacks and shared with them that I just watched the greatest of all time, and the way you’re supposed to practice, the way you’re supposed to provide energy to the rest of your team and the way you lead your team.”

2021 NFL DRAFT TRADES

King on last week’s draft pick trades involving the Dolphins, 49ers and Eagles: “One by one, the 2021 draft dominoes fall. One month from tonight, Roger Goodell will take the stage in downtown Cleveland to announce the first-round picks in the 86th NFL Draft. In the wake of 26 minutes that shook the NFL on Friday, it looks like the first three (maybe four) names out of Goodell’s mouth will be quarterbacks.”

King on the 49ers: “Jimmy Garoppolo will have a chance, it appears, to beat back a challenge from the quarterback San Francisco drafts a month from tonight. The Niners, as of today, do not plan to trade Garoppolo before the season. An offer to blow them away could get Garoppolo – Carolina? New England? – but otherwise, Garoppolo and the new man will be in camp for the Niners in August.”

King on Mac Jones and the 49ers: “It seems stunning to think Alabama’s Mac Jones could be the Niners’ choice – and ‘could be’ is the operative phrase because the Niners have not decided who to choose at three…If San Francisco picks Jones, the upshot will be stark. For a team to spend three first-round picks on Mac Jones will be the story to watch out of the 2021 draft.”

King on the Eagles: “The Eagles, suddenly, have quarterback-insurance for the 2022 draft. Philly has two picks (its own and Miami’s) in the first round of 2022, plus the likelihood that the pick from Indianapolis in the Carson Wentz trade will be a first. If Jalen Hurts isn’t The Man in 2021, Philly will have some ammo to move up to get one in 2022.”

King on the Eagles’ picks: “This year’s draft, with all the opt-outs and uncertainty after an abridged season and scouting restrictions, is a total crapshoot. Next year’s draft will be a return to normalcy, most likely, and a first-rounder next year should have higher value than a first-rounder this year. The possibility of having three first-round picks in the first potentially normal season and pre-draft season since 2019 could be franchise-changing for the Eagles.”

King on the Dolphins’ trade with the Eagles to move back up to No. 6: “Miami had to have wanted certainty that it could nab one of the four great pass-catchers in this draft – tight end Kyle Pitts or wideouts J’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith. That’s possible at 12. That’s certain at six.”

King on the Jets at No. 2: “The likeliest bet is New York sitting at two and taking Zach Wilson…Wilson’s done what he can to prove he’s worthy of going second overall, an amazing rise considering he was in a three-way battle for the starting job at Brigham Young a year ago.”

King on Ohio State QB Justin Fields: “It’d be mock-convenient to slide Justin Fields, the fifth passer in the queue, to the Panthers (at No. 8), but I’m not so sure. Fields has his Pro Day on Tuesday in Columbus. He better hit all the right notes. No idea who’s picking him a month from today.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on NFL’s league meetings this week: “The league is delaying the discussion of all Competition Committee matters, new rules and bylaws, till an unspecified date in April. I was told it’s basically because too many people glaze over once Zoom meetings last longer than two hours.”

King on Tuesday’s meeting: “Tuesday’s meeting will concentrate on detailing the new $113-billion media deals (still hard to fathom writing that figure) to owners, confirming the 17-game regular-season schedule, with details on where the league stands now with COVID and vaccinations.”

King on Wednesday’s meeting: “Wednesday’s meeting will concentrate on diversity (including the 2021 hiring cycle results for coaches and GMs), social responsibility, budgeting and finance, including Washington owner Daniel Snyder buying back the minority shares of his franchise. Also, international games…And there will be a session on legalized sports betting.”

King on the NFL adding a 17th game: “One thing about the 17-game schedule that hasn’t been decided, or at least made public, is which teams get the ninth home game this year. As I was told recently, it’s very likely that teams in one conference would have the 16 additional home games in 2021, with the other conference getting the full slate in 2022, just to be sure that any division doesn’t have an imbalance of home games to give one team a possible playoff advantage.”

King on NFL international games: “In 2021, it’s likely no more than two games get played internationally, both in England. Doubtful that the NFL could plan a well-attended game in Mexico City in 2021 because of COVID concerns. Jacksonville likely would host one of the London games.”

King on sports broadcaster Dick Stockton: “Dick Stockton retired Thursday. He is 78, has worked in the sports TV business for 55 years, and figured it’s about time to go to Europe with his wife Janie for long periods while he still has time. And maybe even in the fall, when the NFL is playing on the other side of the ocean.”

Stockton to King on his career: “I never worked a day in my life. My thoughts, even courtside for a Lakers-Celtics championship series, or a World Series, or NFL playoff game, have always been: There’s a guy out there. He just toiled 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, probably at a job he didn’t particularly love, and now he was going to relax with a beer and a pizza and watch a game on TV. Could I enhance the game, even a little? Could I make the game a little more enjoyable for him? If so, then I’ve done my job.”

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

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

    • PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.

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 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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