Welcome to the March 1 edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'm going to start off today with some good news and some bad news: The good news is that we now know when the next NFL game will be played; the bad news is that it's 156 days away. That's what we found out Monday when the NFL announced the two teams that will be playing in the Hall of Fame game this year.
In other big news, Cody Benjamin will be here tomorrow because I'll likely be out late celebrating Ja'Marr Chase's 22nd birthday tonight. I wasn't actually invited to his birthday, but I'm going to celebrate anyway by watching Super Bowl LVI and turning it off with 22 minutes left in the game while the Bengals are still leading. By the way, today is also Tyreek Hill's birthday, so I think the lesson here is that if you have a kid on March 1, there's a 50% chance they'll make it to the NFL as a receiver. I think that's how that works.
Alright, let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Mock Draft Monday (on a Tuesday)
From now until the start of the NFL Draft, the first day of every week here will be known as Mock Draft Monday. Usually, Mock Draft Monday is held on a Monday, but we had to make a slight change this week because our senior draft analyst, Ryan Wilson, is on his way to the combine. With Wilson out, Will Brinson brought in Chris Trapasso to talk about his latest mock draft. This was recorded late Monday and posted for Tuesday, so I think it still counts for our Mock Draft Monday show.
During the show, Trapasso and Brinson spent a lot of time focussing on the top-five picks in Trapasso's mock draft, and you can see those picks below. As you'll notice, Trapasso has three offensive linemen going in the top five, including the Jaguars taking one with the top pick.
- 1. Jaguars: OL Evan Neal (Alabama)
- 2. Lions: S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
- 3. Texans: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
- 4. Jets: OL Ikem Ekwonu (North Carolina State)
- 5. Giants: OL Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
This is one year where the first overall pick actually feels wide open, and you'll also hear Brinson and Trapasso discuss who could end up going in the top spot if the Jags don't take Neal. Also, if you're interested in the picks outside the top five, you can see the rest of Trapasso's mock draft by clicking here.
2. One critical move each NFL team should make this offseason
There aren't very many people who understand the inner workings of the NFL better than CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. JLC has his hand on the pulse of all 32 teams and because of that, we asked him to come up with a list of one critical move each team should make this offseason. And let me just say, he did not disappoint.
La Canfora's specialty is telling it like it is: If you need to dump your star running back or trade your disgruntled quarterback, JLC will let you know.
With that in mind, here's the one move he recommended for five different teams:
- Giants: Move on from Saquon Barkley. "Dump Barkley and shed as many of the excessive recent contracts of the old regime (Blake Martinez, Kenny Golladay) as you can on the trade market."
- Cowboys: Get rid of Ezekiel Elliott. "Move on from Zeke and tell Mike McCarthy to prepare as if he might need to assume play-calling duties at some point to save his job. Because things continue to bog down with Kellen Moore in charge. And I suspect that will become a talking point again in 2022."
- Seahawks: Trade Russell Wilson. "The odds of winning another Super Bowl with him on his current contract are bleak at best. He's not gonna do an extension. Franchising him in his late 30s is silly. You have no picks and very little talent. It's time for a reboot."
- Falcons: Set the table for a Matt Ryan trade. "Try like heck to get Ryan to do a realistic short-term extension as a precursor to a trade. Promise to only send him to a winning team."
- Browns: Bring in competition for Baker Mayfield. "Bring in legit competition for Mayfield. I don't mean Case Keenum, who at this age could hold it down for a month or so. I'm talking someone who could get you through three months if need be. Not sure if Gardner Minshew or Mitch Trubisky or Marcus Mariota is an upgrade, but I might be inclined to find out."
If you want to know what JLC's one move of advice is for the NFL's 27 other teams, then be sure to click here.
3. Raiders and Jaguars will be kicking off the 2022 preseason
The official kickoff to the NFL preseason comes in the Hall of Fame game every year. For the 2022 season, that game will feature the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here's a quick look at the game:
- The game will be played on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio, and if you need to know what time it kicks off so you can plan your annual Hall of Fame game party, the answer is 8 p.m. ET.
- The Hall of Fame game always features two teams that have ties to that year's Hall of Fame class and this year is no different. The Raiders were selected for the game because Cliff Branch and Richard Seymour are both being inducted, while the Jags were selected because Tony Boselli will be enshrined that weekend.
- This will be the Raiders' fourth appearance in the Hall of Fame game. Not only do they have a 3-0 record in the game, but they finished with a winning record in two of the three seasons where they played in the game. (The three seasons were 1979, 1993 and 2006. The only time they didn't finish with a winning record was 2006.)
- This will be the Jaguars' second appearance in the Hall of Fame game. Their only other trip to Canton came during their expansion season in 1995 when they lost to the Panthers 20-14.
Although we know when the Hall of Fame game will be played, we're going to have to wait a few months until we know the times and dates of any other games. The 2022 regular season schedule isn't expected to drop until May.
4. AFC South team needs: Colts have issues at QB and left tackle
Over the course of this week, we'll be covering the offseason needs for each team by going through each division. Today we're going to be going over the AFC South.
With that in mind, Jordan Dajani went through every team in the division and made a list of their biggest needs to fill this offseason.
Top needs (in no particular order): CB, WR, TE
Dajani's take: Depending on what happens in free agency, pass-rusher, offensive line and maybe inside linebacker could become big needs as well. Some will say quarterback is a top-three need for Tennessee, but in my mind Ryan Tannehill is the guy this year.
Top needs: QB, LT, WR
Dajani's take: The Colts are undecided on keeping quarterback Carson Wentz, as it's been reported that they're likely to trade or even release him. The Colts also need to address the left tackle position, and this is where they could look to strike in free agency. If the Colts don't splurge on a left tackle in free agency, they could do so on a wide receiver. T.Y. Hilton is again a free agent, and so is Zach Pascal.
Top needs: WR, OL, TE
Dajani's take: Tight end isn't a major "need" per se, but I'd like an addition. Imagine giving Trevor Lawrence three talented wideouts, two receiving tight ends and a couple of versatile running backs. That sounds fun. ... The offensive line could and should be upgraded, but there are also decisions to be made. Left tackle Cam Robinson is a free agent, left guard Andrew Norwell is a free agent, and so is right guard A.J. Cann.
Top needs: CB, OL, WR
Dajani's take: The Texans could really stand to upgrade almost everywhere this offseason.
If you want to see the full explanation for each team's needs, then be sure to click here.
5. Uniform news: Buccaneers bringing back Creamsicles, Cardinals could be getting a new look
The best thing about the offseason isn't free agency or the draft. It's all the UNIFORM news we get and we've definitely gotten some over the past week.
Here's a look at what we've learned:
- Buccaneers bringing back their popular Creamsicle jerseys. The Buccaneers originally wore their iconic Creamsicle uniforms from 1976 to 1996, but the team stopped wearing them after switching to a pewter-colored uniform in 1997. However, due to fan demand, the Buccaneers brought the Creamsicles back from 2009 to 2012, but they haven't worn them in more than 10 years due to the NFL's one-helmet policy. (Tampa didn't want to wear a pewter-colored helmet with the Creamsicle uniform.) The NFL will be dropping its one-helmet policy starting in 2022, which opened the door for the return of the Creamsicles. The one downside to this announcement is that the Creamsicles won't be returning until 2023. Apparently, Nike can't make Creamsicle uniforms fast enough to have them ready for 2022, and you can't really blame them because Creamsicle probably isn't an easy color to mass produce when it comes to making jerseys. You can see a picture of the Creamsicles by clicking here.
- Cardinals owner hints at major uniform change. During an interview over the weekend, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill seemed to hint that new uniforms would be coming at some point for Arizona. "It's part of the array of things we look at. It's on the radar screen," Bidwill said, via AZCentral.com. This will probably come as good news to Kyler Murray, who admitted in 2020 that he doesn't like Arizona's uniforms. Maybe that's why he's mad at the team.
After watching the Bengals unveil new uniforms for 2021, it doesn't look like we're going to see anyone unveil a major new look for 2022. However, since NFL teams are allowed to wear a second helmet this year, there could be a lot of throwback uniforms. According to Uni Watch, an estimated 15 teams will be wearing a second helmet in 2022, which means that 15 teams will likely be wearing a throwback.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Finalist cities named for 2024 NFL Draft
It's been a busy 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.
- 2024 NFL Draft will be headed to one of these three cities. According to Packers president Mark Murphy, the three finalists to host the 2024 NFL Draft are Green Bay, Detroit and Washington D.C. The final decision for hosting duties is expected to be made at the NFL's annual league meeting at the end of March. The draft is headed to Las Vegas this year before heading to Kansas City in 2023 and then to our mystery city in 2024.
- Packers working on short-term deal with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers don't know if Rodgers will be returning to Green Bay, but if he does, they're going to be ready. According to NFL.com, the Packers are working with Rodgers' camp to hammer out a short-term deal that the QB could sign almost immediately if he decides to return to the Packers.
- Fox being sued by original USFL. When Fox decided to call its new football league the "USFL," the network apparently forgot to work things out with the company that owns the rights to the original USFL. That problem has led to a big issue for Fox with the old USFL now suing the network. You can check out the details of the case by clicking here.
- Buccaneers will leave the light on for Tom Brady. During an interview with NFL Network on Tuesday, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said the team will be leaving the "light on" for Brady, which basically means that if he decides he wants to return, the Bucs will gladly take him back.
- Panthers tight end hit with five misdemeanor charges just days after signing $17 million extension. Just days after signing a three-year extension worth $16.95 million, Ian Thomas has been hit with five misdemeanor charges. The charges stem from an incident back in July where he allegedly used a dirt bike to try and flee police after he was pulled over for having an unregistered vehicle. You can read more about the situation by clicking here.
- Cowboys won't commit to Amari Cooper. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones gave a vague answer when asked about Cooper's future in Dallas, "It's too early for me to address that yet. We're continuing to have conversations," Jones said, via USA Today. That noncommittal answer makes it feel like the Cowboys could be thinking about moving on.