Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I know that some people hate Mondays, but you're not going to hate today because we're making this the best Monday ever. How are we doing that you ask? By unveiling our top 10 kicker rankings.
You know, now that I'm reading that back to myself, I might be hyping these rankings up too much, but it's too late now. Not only do we have our kicker rankings, but we'll also be taking a look at the players under the most pressure heading into 2023. Plus, we'll be breaking down the Steelers' offseason from today's episode of the Pick Six podcast.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. We'll be delivering NFL news here all summer. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Breaking down the Steelers offseason and predicting how they'll do in 2023
It's time for another episode of our "All 32" series, and for today's show, we're focusing on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our goal with the "All 32" series is to give each team its own podcast episode before the start of training camp, and I think we might actually meet that goal, which would be a first in Pick Six history.
Anyway, to talk about how things are going in Pittsburgh, we brought on everyone's favorite podcast hosts here at CBS Sports who also happen to be huge Steelers homers: two-time Super Bowl champion Bryant McFadden (the host of "All Things Covered") and Ryan Wilson (host of "With the First Pick").
Here are a few topics Wilson and McFadden covered with Will Brinson:
- Can the Steelers win with Kenny Pickett? With Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson in the AFC North, the Steelers are going to need some solid QB play from Kenny Pickett if they want to win the division this year. The good news is that he seemed to improve as the year went on last season, going 5-1 over his final six starts, and that's why McFadden thinks Pickett will be successful. "I think he's capable of turning the corner in 2023," McFadden said. "You look at how he started the 2022 season versus how he finished the season. He really showed growth throughout the year." With Pickett improving, McFadden thinks all the offensive pressure will be on Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada. "Every week, I think Matt Canada will be coaching for his job in Pittsburgh," McFadden said. "If we don't see growth from Kenny Pickett... you got to get a guy in there who can help your young QB grow."
- Brinson thinks the Steelers can finish with the NFL's best record. Will Brinson has had some crazy football opinions in his life, and he might have had his craziest one ever during this podcast. "You can bet on who's going to have the best record in the NFL, and I'm going to throw out right now that I like the Steelers at 40-to-1," Brinson said. Not even our two Steelers guys were willing to take that bet.
The three guys spent nearly 35 minutes talking about the Steelers, and if you want to hear everything they had to say, you can listen to today's show here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here. You'll definitely want to, just so you can see Wilson and McFadden react to Brinson's wild statement about the Steelers finishing with the best record.
2. Ranking the NFL's top 10 kickers heading into the 2023 season
As you may or may not have noticed, we've been ranking every position group in the NFL over the past two weeks, and believe it or not, we are down to our final two position groups: kickers and punters. Obviously, we decided to save the best for last. Our top 10 ranking of kickers will be coming today, and that will be followed tomorrow by our list of punters.
Since I'm one of only about 11 people on the planet who actually enjoys writing about kickers, I was given the task of ranking the NFL's top 10 kickers this year. The good news for me is that nearly everyone on earth seems to agree that Justin Tucker is the best kicker in the NFL, so I don't have to waste any time trying to figure out who to put on top of this ranking.
After that, though, things get a little dicey. Here's a look at my top 10:
1. Justin Tucker, Ravens
2. Daniel Carlson, Raiders
3. Harrison Butker, Chiefs
4. Matt Gay, Colts
5. Younghoe Koo, Falcons
6. Chris Boswell, Steelers
7. Jake Elliott, Eagles
8. Graham Gano, Giants
9. Jason Myers, Seahawks
10. Eddy Pineiro, Panthers
Just missed: Evan McPherson (Bengals), Tyler Bass (Bills)
First, let me say that it hurt my heart to leave McPherson off the list, and that's mainly because I'm probably never going to be able to show my face in Cincinnati again. Since McPherson's rookie year in 2021, he's hitting just 68.2% of his field goals between 40 and 49 yards, which ranks 21st out of the 24 kickers who have attempted 15 or more field goals from that range over the past two seasons. That was a big reason he just missed the cut here.
The other notable aspect about this list is that only one kicker in our ranking won't be kicking for the same team he played with last year and that's Matt Gay. Usually, when a team finds a reliable kicker, they try to hold on to that person, but the Rams decided to let Gay walk in free agency, which is how he ended up with the Colts.
Finally, if you want a detailed explanation of my kicker rankings, then.
3. Players, coaches under the most pressure heading into 2023
When it comes to the 2023 season, it's pretty safe to say that some players are facing way more pressure than other players. For instance, if you play for the Arizona Cardinals, then you're facing almost zero pressure, because everyone expects your team to be bad this year. On the other hand, if you're a high-priced free agent who just got signed by a contending team, then you have a lot of pressure on you to help your new team get over the hump and win the Super Bowl this year.
With that in mind, Cody Benjamin decided to take a look at some of the players with the most pressure on them heading into 2023. One thing you'll notice is that there are no quarterbacks on this list, and that's because we'll be coming out with a separate list for those guys later this week.
Here's a look at three guys on Cody's list:
- Ravens WR Odell Beckham Jr. "The Ravens gave OBJ $15 million, which isn't cheap for a guy who's started 20 games the last three years, missing extensive time with knee injuries. Beckham is easily the most accomplished member of a remade WR corps, but his availability could be crucial to Lamar Jackson's growth as a passer inside a new offensive system."
- Bengals OT Orlando Brown. "Brown left K.C. for another title contender, and while the Bengals may have gotten him on a relative discount at $16M per year, he's still got a very important job: keeping Joe Burrow upright. ... Removed from the confines of Reid's offense, can he live up to his deal?"
- Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. "The former Cowboys OC could be key to unlocking Justin Herbert as a more consistent downfield thrower. Brandon Staley needs big-game results more than most, so there's a lot riding on Herbert's leap from really good to playoff-level great."
There are a total of 14 players and coaches in Cody's story, and if you want to check out his full list,.
4. Ranking rookie corners by who will be the best in 2023
If there's one position on the defensive side of the ball where rookies can quickly make a difference, it's at corner. We saw it last year with Sauce Gardner in New York, and there's a chance we could see it this year with such a solid crop of rookies.
With so many good players, Chris Trapasso decided to rank this year's rookie corners by who has the best chance of being successful in 2023. Here's a look at the top three players on this list:
1. Christian Gonzalez, Patriots. "From two seasons at Colorado to his final collegiate campaign at Oregon, Gonzalez made it clear on film -- he can lock up in man coverage. ... That's precisely what Bill Belichick will ask of Gonzalez as a rookie, and at nearly 6-2 with 4.38 speed and elite explosiveness, he'll be capable of staying with most NFL wideouts in his first professional season operating in the scheme of arguably the greatest defensive mind in football history. Gonzalez is even my pick for "
2. Joey Porter Jr., Steelers. "He didn't allow a touchdown during his final college season. Now he's on a Pittsburgh defense with T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward pressuring the quarterback. Porter has the length, natural mirroring talent, and ball skills to rock as a rookie."
3. Deonte Banks, Giants. "Banks was the most eye-opening, rocket of an athlete in a loaded cornerback class in the 2023 draft. The Giants moved up one spot to ensure they'd land Banks, because he's an ideal scheme fit for Wink Martindale's aggressive, blitz-happy, man-coverage heavy defense. ... I have plenty of faith Martindale will deploy him correctly as a rookie in one of the most unique schemes in football."
5. Ranking the top offensive position groups
From quarterbacks to receivers to running backs to tight ends to offensive linemen, we ranked the top 10 at every offensive position in the NFL over the past two weeks. Now that we have that out of the way, we can move on to an even bigger ranking: Cody Benjamin deciding to rank which team has the best personnel at each position.
With that in mind, let's check out which teams are the best at each offensive position.
- Quarterbacks: Eagles (Jalen Hurts and Marcus Mariota). "Be easy, Chiefs fans. We all know Patrick Mahomes is the best QB in the game, and not only that, but one of the game's all-time greats at just 27. But if we're looking at QB rooms, the Eagles have the slight edge."
- Running backs: Packers (Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon). "Jones is the lightning, and Dillon is the thunder. Too often, they've starred at different times rather than in tandem. But both offer Pro Bowl dynamism -- Jones as a slippery dual-threat and Dillon as an old-school bruiser."
- Wide receivers: Bengals (Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd). "It's a close call here between the Bengals and Dolphins. Tyreek Hill, for example, can match if not surpass Chase's sheer electricity as Miami's No. 1, and his teammate Jaylen Waddle has starred as both a high-volume target machine and Hill-like deep threat. Boyd is the difference, though, providing Grade-A security as a tried-and-true No. 3 outlet for Joe Burrow."
If you want to see Cody's full list, which includes tight ends and offensive linemen,.
6. Extra points: Dalvin Cook likely to hold off on choosing next team
It's been a busy weekend 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.
- Dalvin Cook not expected to make any decisions over the next week. Don't look for Cook to sign with a new team this week. The former Vikings running back is likely going to wait until the passing of the July 17 franchise tag deadline. With so many running backs being tagged this year (Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, Saquon Barkley), Cook apparently believes that he'll have a better idea of what his market is once each of those situations plays out. You .
- Giants assistant special teams coach leaves team to coach XFL's Vipers. The Giants are going to need a new assistant special teams coach after their old one, Anthony Blevins, took an XFL job over the weekend. Blevins was offered the head coaching position of Las Vegas Vipers and apparently, the offer was too good to pass up.
- Stefon Diggs shows up to Damar Hamlin's charity softball game. A player showing up to his teammate's softball game usually wouldn't be notable, but it is here, because of all the drama surrounding Diggs. According to The Buffalo News, Diggs appeared to be in good spirits at the event, which also involved several other Bills players.
- Titans might not keep Malik Willis. Despite being a third-round pick last year, there's no guarantee that Tennessee is going to keep him for 2023. With that in mind, Chris Trapasso decided to take a look at a few possible landing spots for the 24-year-old QB, and . (Spoiler alert: All five of the potential landing spots are in the NFC.)