Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
The best thing about writing a newsletter is that you can do it from anywhere in the country and right now, I’m in Miami. I’m here celebrating a friend’s birthday and the only reason I’m mentioning that is because it’s somewhat NFL-related: I’m hanging out with a bunch of Bengals fans and I would like you guys to know that their idea of fun was to spend last night re-watching every Bengals playoff win from the 2021 season.
The lesson here is that if you ever agree to hang out with Bengals fans at any point between now and the start of the 2022 season, there’s a 98 percent chance that they’re going to force you to re-watch every Bengals playoff win from last season. Speaking of the Bengals, we’ll be talking about them in today’s newsletter when we predict the Cowboys‘ record for 2022 (The Bengals and Cowboys play each other in Week 2). We’ll also be ranking the NFL’s best defenses AND looking at the players who have the best chance of winning the offensive rookie of the year award this season.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Let’s get to the rundown.
1. Today’s show: Looking at the latest NFL news and rumors
For today’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast, I joined Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson and the three of us went over the latest NFL news and rumors. During the 40-minute show, we touched on a multitude of topics and the one thing we spent the most time talking about was Deshaun Watson.
The Browns quarterback spent his week meeting with the NFL regarding his 22 civil lawsuits and if the past is any indication, that meeting likely means that the league is getting near the end of its investigation into Watson.
Since no one seems to have any idea how long Watson is going to be suspended, we went through the Browns’ schedule to try and figure out how many games they can win based on how long Watson’s suspension might be. In our thought exercise, we all basically agreed that the Browns will have a tough time making the playoffs if Watson is suspended for eight or more games, but they might be able to survive if the suspension is at six games or less.
During the show, we also talked about Brinson’s new favorite team (THE EAGLES) and the fact that their defense now feels loaded with the addition of James Bradberry. Wilson also shared a secret with us and that secret is that he’s TIRED of Tom Brady. I’m not sure how anyone could be tired of Tom Brady, but Wilson is.
2. Ranking the best defenses in the NFL
If you read this newsletter regularly, then you know we love to rank things here and after ranking the NFL’s top offenses yesterday, it only makes sense for us to rank the top defenses today.
Although this is a top-10 ranking, it’s not exactly a top-10 ranking. CBSSports.com’s Jared Dubin went through each NFL team‘s roster and came up with a list of the 10 teams that are most likely to finish with a top-10 defense in the NFL this year and here’s the list he came up with:
If you want to see the rest of Dubin’s ranking and his explanation for each pick, then be sure to click here. Dubin also came up with a list of teams that almost certainly won’t have a top-10 defense and that list included the Falcons, Lions, Texans, Jaguars, Giants, Jets and Seahawks.
3. Ranking the top-10 offensive rookie of the year candidates
If you’re thinking about betting on who’s going to win offensive rookie of the year this season, you’re definitely going to want to read what Chris Trapasso has to say first. Our NFL Draft guru assessed the situation that each rookie has been thrown into and then came up with a list of the 10 players most likely to win offensive rookie of the year in 2022.
Trapasso’s list is heavy on wide receivers, which is almost fitting, because a wide receiver won the award in 2021 (Ja’Marr Chase). That being said, receivers haven’t been winning the award all that frequently. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen four quarterbacks, four running backs and two receivers win the award.
Anyway, here’s Trapasso’s ranking of the players most likely to win the award this year:
1. Chiefs WR Skyy Moore
2. Titans WR Treylon Burks
3. Steelers QB Kenny Pickett
4. Jets WR Garrett Wilson
5. Jets RB Breece Hall
6. Falcons WR Drake London
7. Bills RB James Cook
8. Saints WR Chris Olave
9. Steelers WR George Pickens
10. Lions WR Jameson Williams
If you want to check out Trapasso’s explanation for his rankings, be sure to click here.
4. Predicting the Cowboys’ final record for 2022
With Memorial Day right around the corner, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is almost upon us and although things can get kind of boring during that period, we’re going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting each team’s record for the 2022 season.
There are 32 teams and we’ll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Over the past three days, we’ve been running through the NFC East and we’re going to conclude that today by predicting the Cowboys’ final record.
CBSSports.com’s Patrik Walker went through the Cowboys’ entire schedule and picked out all the games they’re going to win and all the games they’re going to lose.
Here’s a look at his predictions for three key games:
- Week 1: Buccaneers at Cowboys. “Is it time for the streak to end? Tom Brady is 6-0 against the Cowboys in his Hall of Fame career that spans more than two decades. Both teams have some feeling out to do in Week 1, but home field advantage and the revenge angle gives the Cowboys a W.” Prediction: Cowboys 28-27 over Buccaneers.
- Week 2: Bengals at Cowboys. “Riding high off of their season opener over the almighty Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., the Cowboys run face-first into a reality check when the Bengals claw their way into Arlington for Week 2.” Prediction: Bengals 35-24 over Cowboys.
- Week 13: Colts at Cowboys. “Matt Ryan could struggle mightily in this game and that’s because of Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, his former head coach who knows every single thing about how to rattle him in a game.” Prediction: Cowboys 28-17 over Colts.
Final record prediction: 12-5
You might want to listen to Walker’s prediction and that’s because he NAILED his Cowboys prediction last season. Walker had them going 12-5 and that’s exactly what happened (you can check out his 2021 prediction here).
If you want to see Walker’s prediction for each game in 2022, be sure to click here to check out his entire story.
5. Top 10 free agents left on the market
Every Friday, we close out the week here by taking a look at the biggest names still available in free agency. Once all the big names are signed, we’ll stop doing this, but surprisingly, there are quite a few talented names left on the market.
That being said, our top-10 list has undergone some changes this week and that’s because two players on the list were recently signed. Not only did we see the Texans sign Jerry Hughes, but Melvin Ingram ended up signing in Miami.
With that in mind, let’s check out our newly updated list of the top 10 free agents from Pete Prisco’s top 100 list who are still available (they’re listed with the team they played for last season):
1. DL Akiem Hicks (Bears)
2. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (Browns)
3. OL Duane Brown (Seahawks)
4. TE Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)
5. WR Odell Beckham (Rams)
6. OT Eric Fisher (Colts)
7. S Jaquiski Tartt (49ers)
8. Dont’a Hightower (Patriots)
9. LB A.J. Johnson (Broncos)
10. DT Larry Ogjunobi (Bengals)
Most veterans are more than happy to sit out minicamp and OTAs, so it won’t be surprising if the guys on this list wait until late June or even July to sign with a team.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Ravens punter retires
It’s been a wild 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Sam Koch retires. The Ravens punter has decided to call it quits after 16 seasons. The 39-year-old played in a franchise record 256 games during his lengthy career in Baltimore. Koch went to one Pro Bowl (2015) and won one Super Bowl (2012) during his time with the team. Koch’s decision to retire comes less than a month after the Ravens spent a fourth-round pick on punter Jordan Stout.
- Panthers and Seahawks still interested in Baker Mayfield. Just because the Panthers drafted a quarterback doesn’t mean they’re out of the Mayfield sweepstakes. According to The Athletic, the Panthers and Seahawks are BOTH still interested in acquiring Mayfield, but they want the Browns to take on a substantial portion of the QB’s contract, which Cleveland has apparently been unwilling to do.
- Greg Olsen to call Super Bowl LVII. Although Tom Brady has been hired by Fox, that job won’t be starting until he retires. With Brady still playing, that means Fox still has an opening on their No. 1 announcing team, which is a big deal because Fox has the Super Bowl this year. According to the New York Post, former Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will be teaming with Kevin Burkhardt to call the Super Bowl for Fox.
- Ex-Buccaneers starter explains why he shockingly retired from football at age 28. The most shocking retirement in Tampa Bay this offseason didn’t come from Tom Brady, it came from Ali Marpet. Nearly three months after announcing his retirement, the 28-year-old offensive lineman finally revealed what led him to call it quits and you can check that out by clicking here (It was basically a health-related decision).
- Tom Brady will not shake your hand if you beat his team. After losing to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Brady famously didn’t shake the hand of Philadelphia QB Nick Foles. As it turns out, that wasn’t a one-time thing. Ryan Fitzpatrick revealed this week that Brady didn’t shake his hand after his Jets team beat the Patriots a few years ago. The moral of the story here is that if you want to shake Brady’s hand, you better not beat his team.