THE TOP FIVE STORIES IN FOOTBALL
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NO CLICKBAIT | JUST SUBSTANCE
Antonio Brown resigns with the Bucs
- on a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million
- Source: Tom Pellisero | NFL Network
Brown was solid in his eight-game stint with the Bucs last season - catching 45 passes (73% catch rate) for 483 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also caught 2 additional touchdowns in the postseason.
Tom Brady’s 2021-2022 supporting cast is set to include:
- the return of PFF’s fifth ranked offensive line
- two superstar receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin... and three playmakers behind them in Brown, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson
- a three-piece set at running back - Leonard Fournette (power), Ronald Jones III (speed), and Gio Bernard (catching)
- and three big-time tight ends in Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and O.J Howard
When you also factor in the Bucs’ elite defense, it's easy to see why Tampa is the odds on favorite to win it all again next season.
The 49ers have made a decision on which QB they will take with the third pick
- the final two candidates were Mac Jones and Trey Lance
- Jones is the favorite - but Lance may have narrowed the gap
- Source: Adam Shefter | ESPN
Jones is the safer pick, he competed against a higher level of competition and is considered to be the most accurate quarterback in the draft class. The big takeaway from Jones is his lack of mobility (only 14 rushing yards in 13 games last season). If Jones can live up to expectations, he compares well to Matt Ryan (who 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan coached to an MVP season in 2016).
Lance is the higher upside pick, he is considered to have the strongest arm in the draft class and offers dual-threat capabilities (ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019). The big takeaway from Lance is his lack of experience against top competition (17 career starts in the lower level FCS). While a comparison to Pat Mahomes would be unfair and unjustified - his skill set is probably the closest thing we’ve seen to Mahomes since the latter was drafted in 2017.
The Broncos have acquired QB Teddy Bridgewater from the Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick (No. 191)
- Source: Adam Schefter | ESPN
As it stands now, Bridgewater will compete with Drew Lock for the starting job. Though Schefter did note that the trade “does not take Denver out of the quarterback market” with the ninth pick.
Lock has an 8-10 record and an uninspiring 59% completion percentage since Denver took him in the second round two years ago.
Bridgewater completed a solid 69% of his passes last season but he threw only 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and went a lousy 4-11 as the starter in Carolina.
A top quarterback like Justin Fields would be a much more exciting and dynamic option… in the off-chance he is available at nine.
Whoever ends up starting in Denver will have a nice supporting cast to work with… Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler at WR, Noah Fant at TE, and Melvin Gordon III at RB.
If the Broncos don't select a quarterback in the first round, expect them to target Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons or offensive line help in the form of Penei Sewell (Oregon) or Rashawn Slater (Northwestern).
The Patriots are making calls to move into the top ten to take a quarterback and could trade Stephon Gilmore to get a deal done
- Source: Dianna Russini | ESPN
If the Patriots are able to trade up, they’d likely be targeting either Trey Lance or Justin Fields. As QBs Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones are expected to go one, two, and three respectively. Though the 49ers could take Lance over Jones (see above).
Gilmore could be highly attractive to teams like the Falcons (#4), Panthers (#8), and Cowboys (#10) who are desperate for help at cornerback.
Other possible trade partners include the Lions (#7) and the the Broncos (#9).
If the Patriots aren’t able to select a tier-one quarterback, they could have interest in Stanford QB Davis Mills - who recently had a long zoom interview with New England, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
The Cowboys held their annual pre-draft press conference...
- Jerry Jones believes the Cowboys have a good chance of selecting a top defensive player with the tenth pick… but that they are not going to prioritize need over talent and could have an opportunity "to do something unconventional."
- Stephen Jones said he expects the team to draft at least one offensive lineman and emphasized the importance of offensive line depth
- Mike McCarthy added that he wants to add ‘more speed and energy’ to the roster
Defense is clearly the top priority for the Cowboys and there is clear interest in cornerbacks Patrick Surtain III (Alabama) and Jaycee Horn (South Carolina). Surtain III is the more technically sound and accomplished player, while Horn is seen as a better athlete with more upside.
With Sean Lee’s retirement and uncertainty surrounding Leighton Vander Esch’s future - another option at ten could be Penn State LB Micah Parsons.
All three prospects offer the speed McCarthy desires.
Jerry’s willingness to “do something unconventional” at ten could indicate an interest in selecting an offensive player or a working out a trade.
If the Cowboys go offense, it will likely be in the form of an offensive lineman like Oregon’s Penei Sewell (who some evaluators believe has HOF upside) or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater (who offers a lot of versatility).
Should one of the tier one QBs fall to ten, watch for a deal between the Cowboys and the Patriots - which could include the fifteenth pick and Stephon Gilmore.
NFL DRAFT COUNTDOWN
MOCK DRAFT OF THE DAY
COLUMNSMike Reiss | ESPN... Patriots' QB plans fuel intrigue, but importance of 2021 NFL draft goes deeperThe NFL Draft Bible... Scout Confidential: What We're HearingCody Benjamin | CBS Sports... 2021 NFL Draft bold predictions for first round
PODCASTSAround the NFL... Alex Smith Retires ; MVP Odds with Matt Money SmithThe Mina Kimes Show... On A (Team) Needs To Know Basis
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