Howdy ho, everyone, and happy Wednesday. John Breech wanted to capture the spirit of cutdown day by cutting himself out of newsletter duties this afternoon, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the NFL.
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 top takeaways from final rosters, a preseason All-NFL team, and much more:
- Today's show: Instant reactions to cutdown day
Ryan Wilson and John Breech joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to break down the biggest storylines from Tuesday's deadline for final roster cuts. Some highlights:
- The crew agrees that Texans rookie Dameon Pierce is poised not only to be an early RB1 for Houston but also a fantasy sleeper, now that veteran Marlon Mack has been relegated to the practice squad. New coach Lovie Smith figures to lean on an old-school ground game, and even when the Texans do pass, Brinson foresees Pierce collecting plenty of targets.
- Brinson believes Jimmy Garoppolo's return to the 49ers on a revised contract is the "best-case scenario" for the team, considering how much insurance Jimmy G offers behind Trey Lance. Breech, meanwhile, thinks Lance is a clear-cut loser in this scenario, given how impatient San Francisco fans might be with his development.
- The guys highlight just how poorly the Raiders' draft classes under Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock fared, now that both Alex Leatherwood and Trayvon Mullen, first- and second-round picks of the last three years, are gone.
Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Top team takeaways from final rosters
Most teams will keep tweaking their depth charts from now until, well, the end of the 2022 season. But now that initial 53-man rosters are set, here are some other major takeaways from this week's moves:
- Willis progressing in Tennessee: Malik Willis' preseason electricity wasn't for naught, with the Titans cutting Logan Woodside as Ryan Tannehill's top backup. Quietly, this situation has similarities to the Lance-Garoppolo pairing of 2021. It's probably a matter of time until Tennessee is itching for Willis' athleticism under center.
- Commanders backfield taking shape: Brian Robinson Jr.'s inclusion on the active roster, just days after gunfire struck him in an attempted carjacking, confirms he's on track for a big role in their offense. The rookie seemingly overtook Antonio Gibson as Washington's primary ball-carrier as the summer progressed.
- Eagles are rolling: They have upgraded basically every one of their positions of need after trading for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the feisty ex-Saints slot corner. Gardner-Johnson will slide in as a starting safety in a secondary also featuring Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Maybe it's not wrong to buy into the Philly hype.
3. Preseason All-NFL Team: The best 53 players of 2022
After every team cut down to 53 players, we decided to do the same. In celebration of the upcoming season, eight of our NFL analysts teamed up to vote on the best players at every position, creating a roster of our top talents for 2022. Here's a sneak peek at a few of the premium positions:
- QB: Justin Herbert (7 votes), Patrick Mahomes (6), Josh Allen (5)
- WR: Justin Jefferson (8), Ja'Marr Chase (8), Cooper Kupp (8), Davante Adams (7), Stefon Diggs (4), Tyreek Hill (4)
- EDGE: T.J. Watt (8), Myles Garrett (8), Nick Bosa (8), Maxx Crosby (5), Cameron Jordan (4), Joey Bosa (3)
- CB: Jalen Ramsey (7), J.C. Jackson (5), Trevon Diggs (5), Xavien Howard (4), Jaire Alexander (4), Patrick Surtain II (3)
Check out the full 53-man all-star lineup right here.
4. Mike Tomlin declines to name Steelers' starting QB
But that doesn't mean the coach doesn't already have an idea of which signal-caller will be under center in Week 1 against the Bengals. Asked Tuesday to reveal the winner of Pittsburgh's summer competition between Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, Tomlin said they'll instead announce the starter "at our leisure." The guess here: Trubisky gets the nod after a mostly smooth preseason, if only because it makes more sense to turn to Pickett rather than away from him during his rookie year.
5. All-NFC North Team: Vikings headline offensive side
Jared Dubin has been identifying the top players from each division in the lead-up to 2022. Up next: the NFC North, where Aaron Rodgers reigns supreme under center but a slew of Vikings headline the division's offensive skill spots:
- QB: Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
- RB: Dalvin Cook (Vikings)
- WR: Justin Jefferson (Vikings), Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions), Adam Thielen (Vikings)
- TE: T.J. Hockenson (Lions)
Jefferson is already among the small handful of best receivers in the NFL, and he should only get better as the Vikings move to a more pass-friendly offense. Thielen remains an underrated contributor, though if this division were not so low on high-end receiving talent, he might be less of an obvious choice for this type of roster.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Injury updates, notable cuts, more
Hungry for more headlines? We've got more of the latest:
- Tre'Davious White out at least four games: The Bills corner will open 2022 on the PUP list
- Jon Gruden wants another shot in NFL: The former coach is "ashamed" of his email scandal
- Vikings cut starter Armon Watts: And trade for former second-rounder Ross Blacklock
- Baker Mayfield disses Browns: And the new Panthers QB used some colorful language to do so
- Dolphins GM downplays Mike Gesicki rumors: Miami did not initiate any trade calls, he claims