Bill O'Brien, A Hacked Instagram Account, And One Gas Mask Shaped The Foreseeable Future Of The NFL
Every once in a while, I find it a good exercise to step back and figure out how we got here. Could be something on a larger scale, like what we're about to get into, could be something like, "I'm too high and can't for the life of me figure out why I'm in the dining room right now." The Miami Dolphins held the third pick in this draft. Not because they're coming off a bad season, but because they owned the Houston Texans' selection.
Bill O'Brien did all that he could to run the Texans into the ground. He did it in a bit of a masochistic way, cutting off one limb at a time until the body was finally dead. Incapable of building a sturdy line, after running Duane Brown out of town, he got the Dolphins to trade him Laremy Tunsil for two firsts and a second round pick. A massive haul for a tackle they weren't sure they wanted to re-sign.
Before the Dolphins had a chance to even consider trading or re-signing Tunsil, they didn't even think they were going to draft him. Tunsil was the consensus number one offensive tackle in his class. He was going to be your anchor on the left side for the next 15 years. That was a done deal. I was running our social accounts, Draft night was always a fun night for the NFL. This was before ESPN wanted to tell you all the grim details of a prospect's life. 10-15 minutes before the Draft was set to kick off, I see a video making the rounds on Twitter. This video, you may remember.
It was already viral, but no other media companies were posting it. We were first, because we don't care about things like "morals" or "drug use" or "relationships with the NFL", the type of pesky things others must consider before unleashing that video to a larger audience. And before long, Tunsil's instagram started posting wild texts about accepting pay for play at Ole Miss.
A consensus top 10 pick was now in flux. Would he get drafted? How far would he slide? Does anyone actually really give a fuck about weed or paying college players? Turns out the Ravens and Titans do very much care about both of those things, as they both opted to take tackles not named Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins, sitting at 13, ended Tunsil's nightmare. They had more time to dig deeper into what was going on and made a decision that would shape their franchise - and the rest of the NFL - more than they could've imagined.
They couldn't have pictured the Texans being run so poorly that they could fleece them for the third overall pick. They couldn't picture that third overall pick would come in the same draft as four top quarterback prospects, five depending on who you ask. They couldn't imagine the 49ers would be willing to part with THREE MORE first rounders to move up from 12 to get Justin Fields or Mac Jones or Trey Lance. And now with the 49ers bringing in a new quarterback, the question isn't "if Jimmy G" will be move, rather, when. Does he go back to New England to finish off what Belichick had originally planned? Does he return to Illinois next year as a free agent to give Bears' fans hope? What happens with all these picks the Dolphins just acquired? The bottoms falls out in San Francisco and suddenly Miami finds itself with another top pick and more desperate, quarterback hungry teams willing to trade the farm.
If Laremy Tunsil just smoked his weed in a joint and off camera like an adult, Tunsil goes to the Ravens, and he's probably still a Raven. Who knows how these dominos fall: what tackle the Texans trade for, what price they have to pay. Maybe that tackle sucks ass and O'Brien is fired before he trades Nuk Hopkins for a running back. All it took was one gas mask to shake up and impact the futures of everyone: from quarterbacks who were still in high school to GMs and coaches across the League. And we still don't know how this story ends.