Levis not looked at as first-rounder by NFL teams
Raiders reporter Tashan Reed joins Brother From Another to talk about why the Raiders passed on Will Levis in the first round of the NFL Draft and his general perception in the league.
MICHAEL SMITH: Oh, man. You hate that was prophetic from Will Levis. Tashan Reed from "The Athletic" covers the Raiders and the NFL. Let's start with the number 7 pick. A lot of people have mocked Will Levis to the Raiders, Tashan. So I'll ask it this way. What did the-- they ended up with-- now, they ended up with Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech, who was the best-dressed, gave the best commissioner hug maybe of all time, and is arguably the best edge rusher.
A lot of people had him going number 2 to Houston in some mocks going into the last night. What did the Raiders think about Will Levis? Hell, what do they think about Will Levis? Because there's reports that they were among the teams trying to get back into the first round toward the end of the night. And from what you know covering the league, what does the league think about Will Levis? Is it the toe? Is it something else? What do you know about Levis in particular?
TASHAN REED: Well, I'll start with the Raiders. While they did their due diligence on all the quarterbacks in this class for the most part-- even though they signed Jimmy Garoppolo, they were still exploring adding at the position, even in the first round. You know, from what I gathered, you know, going into the draft, they didn't believe that there were four first-round-caliber quarterbacks. They really only thought there were two. And the two that stood out were Bryce Young and CJ Stroud. And so even if Anthony Richardson was there at 7, I don't think the Raiders would have ultimately taken him.
And Will Levis was never really in the picture for me at 7. Like, we've done tons of mock drafts at "The Athletic." I never made the pick taking him there for that reason. I just didn't believe that high on him. Now, does that mean they wouldn't draft him overall? No. I mean, they are picking at 38th overall in the second round. I mean, at this point, there's a decent chance he could fall to 38. I mean, there aren't a ton of teams early in the second round and need a quarterback. Even Hendon Hooker could be an option there at 38.
And so I wouldn't completely rule him out. But it was never really a thing in the first round. And it kind of makes sense with the overall league view of him. I mean, obviously, he's still here for a reason. But at the combine, you heard a lot of buzz about Stroud, Young, Richardson. But it didn't seem like anybody really loved Will Levis.
You know, they didn't think he was bad necessarily. They like his physical tools. They liked that he played in NFL-caliber offenses with some Shanahan influence at Kentucky. They respected that he played through injury last year and didn't have the best supporting cast. But when you take a guy in the first round, you're pretty much tying yourself to him as your guy. And he better pan out. And I just don't think anybody loved him enough. And, as we see, he's still on the board in the second round. And so that's proven to be true.
MICHAEL SMITH: So and that brings me to my-- I want to make another point. I was pissed last night watching. And Will Levis-- you know, he's going to be fine in life one way or the other. He doesn't need anybody to feel sorry for him. He doesn't need anybody to come to his rescue. But we've seen over the years.
Whether it's Geno Smith, whether it's Brady Quinn, whether it's Aaron Rodgers, we've seen a lot of guys be that guy that Will Levis didn't want to be, which is, you know, the camera's on you in the green room as you're waiting-- the agonizing wait where you're playing with your phone. And your family's consoling you, and this, that, and the other. What pissed me off last night-- and I would love to see-- you talk about receipts, Michael Holley-- an explanation of who came up with Will Levis had a point percentage chance of being available at the 20th pick.
How the hell do you know? Because, clearly, despite all the mocks, the league, Tashan, as you just laid out, didn't feel the same way about Will Levis. And there were enough question marks throughout the process where last night shouldn't be that much of a shock. The only reason there was X% chance-- again, how do you calculate such a thing-- an X% chance that Will Levis was gonna go earlier was because the machine hyped us up into believing that he was somehow entitled or a lock to go earlier.
And that's unfair to him. That's why that pissed me off. It's one thing to watch the theater play out where it's like, OK, he's waiting. He's waiting. Yeah, because he's a quarterback. That comes with the territory. But to then add insult to injury by saying there was this percent chance that he'd be here-- that puts the onus on the kid as if something's wrong with the kid for lasting that long, as opposed to, Michael, the league just didn't view him that way, as Tashan just laid out.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, that's a good point. And you know what? For both of you, you know, in science, in math, you're gonna have-- you've got to have all the information before you can start to draw some conclusions. So you can't come up with the percentages unless you have counted everybody and figured out what they're likely to do. You're just guessing. You just made-- that's a fake number. It really is. You're just kind of making it up--
MICHAEL SMITH: Totally fake!
TASHAN REED: --based-- based on what? Mock drafts? I don't know. But here's the real question. I want-- I want y'all, two very handsome, well-dressed men-- I want you to explain this to me because I'm wondering about this. Will Levis planned out his suit for last night. This is my draft day suit. Now he's sitting there, nowhere to go. What do you do today? Do you not show up? Do you wear the same suit? Do you accessorize? Can you wear the same-- it's a blue suit.
MICHAEL SMITH: That's like [INAUDIBLE] back in the day. Like, you packing one suit or two?
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Or-- hey, listen. As a protest-- as a protest, you come back. And you wear the same thing. Imma run it back. I don't care what they say.
TASHAN REED: I think [INAUDIBLE]. Actually, I don't think he's going.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Tashan, what do you do?
TASHAN REED: I don't think he's going the green room.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: He ain't gon' go?
TASHAN REED: I heard. I think he's just gonna stay in his hotel room. So, at that point, I'm pulling up. I'm in a sweat suit now. Like, y'all don't take me. Y'all gonna invite me to this room, put me on national TV. I got my family. I got my girl sitting next to me. You know, I'm dressed to the nines, and I don't even get picked?
MICHAEL SMITH: Y'all already got enough. Y'all already got enough content out of me. Y'all got enough content out of me for one draft.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Do you know-- do you know how much I paid for this?
TASHAN REED: Nike Tech Fleece. Yeah, at this point, I'm in a sweatsuit. I'm kicking back on the couch. I'm like this. Like, I'm-- nah. No, you're not getting me to dress up again.