Well, well, well, it’s Wednesday again! Which means we’re a day closer to the 2022 season. John Breech is holding out of newsletter duties today since Pete Prisco didn’t rank Joe Burrow as the No. 1 QB in his Top 100 rankings (more on that below), so you’ve got me, Cody Benjamin, to guide you through all the latest from around the league.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let’s get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don’t want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We’ve got discussion on Prisco’s ranking, QB competition previews, and much more:
- Today’s show: Dissecting Prisco’s Top 100 NFL rankings
The man, the myth, the legend joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s special edition of the “Pick Six NFL Podcast,” with Pete Prisco chiming in to dissect his own annual Top 100 list, which dropped on CBSSports.com this week. Some highlights:
- Aaron Rodgers is Prisco’s top QB, ranking No. 2 overall, but he understands if fans prefer Patrick Mahomes. He also considered putting Josh Allen ahead of Mahomes but believes the Chiefs star still sets the standard at the position.
- The biggest riser this year? Rams wideout Cooper Kupp, who wasn’t even on Prisco’s list a year ago. “He’s the best receiver in the league right now,” Prisco said, putting him over stars like Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson.
- Brinson suggested Matthew Stafford should be ahead of both Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert among the QBs, but Prisco laughed that off, projecting that “these two guys are gonna be Brady and Manning going forward.”
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Top QB training camp battles: Steelers headline competitions
There are a half-dozen quarterback situations to monitor this summer, so we ranked all the competitions:
6.) Falcons — Marcus Mariota vs. Desmond Ridder: The fight to lead the rebuild!
5.) Seahawks — Geno Smith vs. Drew Lock: Which backup will replace Russell Wilson?
4.) Panthers — Sam Darnold vs. Matt Corral: Which veteran might join the mix here?
3.) 49ers — Trey Lance vs. Jimmy Garoppolo’s shadow: Can the young gun prove he belongs?
2.) Browns — Deshaun Watson vs. the NFL: When, and for how long, will the big name be suspended?
1.) Steelers — Mitchell Trubisky vs. Kenny Pickett: The new first-rounder, or the ex-first-rounder?
3. Biggest NFC needs, most questionable 2022 moves
With most of the big offseason moves out of the way, Josh Edwards went through all 16 NFC teams to identify the biggest remaining needs around the conference. Jordan Dajani, meanwhile, did his own deep dive into the most questionable decisions of each NFC squad ahead of 2022. Here’s a sample from their arguments, focused on one of the top contenders:
Biggest remaining need for Packers: Interior offensive line
Wide receiver may have seemed like the obvious choice, but Aaron Rodgers makes a lesser unit look better. Rodgers can make do with Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson and Amari Rodgers. The offensive line is of greater concern. With a healthy David Bakhtiari at left tackle and Elgton Jenkins presumably moving to right tackle, the outside should be impenetrable. Josh Myers, Jon Runyan, Zach Tom, Rasheed Walker, Sean Rhyan and Royce Newman give Green Bay plenty of young interior offensive linemen to find a working rotation. They need more consistency from Myers and Runyan this season.
4. Year 2 breakout candidates: 49ers QB Trey Lance headlines the bunch
Draft expert Chris Trapasso has a keen sense of which prospects — both rookies and second-year players — are best suited to emerge as pros in 2022. So he rounded up seven youngsters poised to break out this season. The biggest name on the list? 49ers quarterback Trey Lance, who’s set to take over for Jimmy Garoppolo.
I’m compelled to start with a layup. Got to. Trey Lance is the most naturally gifted quarterback Kyle Shanahan has ever coached — especially during his time as a head coach. From his designed-run capabilities to his monster arm talent, Lance exquisitely fits the mold of the modern-day franchise quarterback. That’s not to say he is a franchise passer just yet, but he ticks the physical boxes for what it takes to become one.
5. Holdout, contract updates: Cardinals hopeful for Kyler deal
A handful of big names are either skipping mandatory minicamp or seeking new contracts while practicing, so here’s the latest:
- Kliff Kingsbury ‘praying’ Kyler Murray deal is finalized before camp: The Cardinals’ young QB is attending minicamp, but his representatives have put public and private pressure on Arizona to lock him up long term.
- Steelers extend Minkah Fitzpatrick with lucrative deal: The Pro Bowler is reportedly now the highest-paid safety in the game, signing a new five-year, $73.6 million deal with Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
- Robert Quinn skipping Bears camp amid trade rumors: The pass rusher, fresh off an 18.5-sack renaissance, may want out of Chicago amid the team’s rebuild, which sent Khalil Mack packing in March.
- Ron Rivera optimistic about Terry McLaurin contract talks: The Commanders‘ star receiver is holding out of camp while seeking a lucrative extension, perhaps averaging at least $20 million per year.
- Rodney Hudson an unexcused absence for Cardinals: Despite optimism on Murray, Arizona is without its veteran center for undisclosed reasons, but Kingsbury told reporters they’re “working through something”
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Watson drama, Cowboys‘ plans for Dak, more
Hungry for more headlines? You came to the right place:
- Deshaun Watson addresses new lawsuits: The Browns QB says he’s seeking to “clear my name”
- Cowboys planning to use Dak Prescott differently: The QB just might be using his legs more in 2022
- Jets rookie pays $50K to wear jersey No. 1: That would be first-rounder Sauce Gardner
- Richard Sherman going to broadcast booth: The former All-Pro corner is headed to Amazon
- Former NFL WR Golden Tate moving to baseball: The West Coast League will feature the former Giant