Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'd like everyone to know that I didn't sleep at all last night and that's because I stayed up for 12 straight hours trying to figure out WHO WON the Saints-Eagles trade. I didn't even get to watch the NCAA title game. Does anyone know who won? I'll bet it was North Carolina. They were up 16 when I turned the game off and there's no way they blew that lead.
As for yesterday's big trade, we'll be covering it in detail in today's newsletter, plus we'll be taking a look at Pete Prisco's latest mock draft. We'll also be taking a look at how Russell Wilson can make NFL history.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Four teams that should trade up and four teams that should trade down in the NFL Draft
When it comes to NFL Draft trades, what the Eagles and Saints pulled off Monday will probably just be the tip of the iceberg. Every year, there are dozens of trades involving draft picks and this year has been no exception.
For today's episode of the Pick Six Podcast, Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson took a look at four teams that should trade up in the draft and four teams that should look to trade down.
Teams that should look to trade up:
- Packers. Both guys think the Packers need to move up to grab a receiver, but one thing the Packers shouldn't do is package both of their first-round picks (No. 22 and 28) to make the deal. The Packers have two second-round picks (53, 59), and they could package one of those with one of their first-round picks to make a move up the board.
- Steelers. Wilson doesn't think the Steelers will move out of the 20th overall spot. However, he does think the Steelers will try to trade back into the first round by making a deal for one of the final few picks of the round. The Steelers would then use that pick on a quarterback.
- Lions. Brinson thinks the Lions should stay put with the second-overall pick, but then package the 32nd-overall pick and the 34th-overall pick together to move back up into the back half of the first round to grab a QB.
If you want to know which teams should be looking to trade down, you'll have to listen to today's podcast, which you can do by clicking here. You can also watch today's episode by heading to the Pick Six YouTube Channel.
The Saints and Eagles shook up the NFL Draft on Monday when they made a major trade that consisted only of draft picks. When you see a big trade like this, there's almost always at least one player involved, but that wasn't the case with this deal, which consisted of eight picks changing hands.
Here's a look at the trade details:
- Saints receive: Two first-round picks in 2022 (No. 16 and No. 19) and a 2022 sixth-round pick (No. 194)
- Eagles receive: 2022 first-round pick (No. 18), 2022 third-round (No. 101), 2022 seventh-round pick (No. 237), 2023 first-round pick, 2024 second-round pick
On the surface, it might feel like the Eagles won this trade, but I actually love this deal for both teams.
On the Saints' end, having two first-round picks in 2022 is huge because it gives them plenty of options. On one hand, the Saints could try to trade up and grab a quarterback. That being said, trading up for a QB in this draft seems risky and somewhat crazy. Not only do the Saints already have Jameis Winston, but they also have Andy Dalton ready to roll in case Winston isn't fully recovered from his ACL injury by Week 1.
It doesn't make much sense to sign TWO quarterbacks in free agency if you're planning to draft one. Also, the QB draft class isn't that great and trading into the top-10 this year to get a QB would be borderline crazy. This means it won't be surprising if the Saints use their two first-round picks to fill two of their biggest needs, which are at wide receiver and tackle.
If the Saints want to be bold, they could also call around the NFL to see if any quarterbacks are available for a trade. I mean, who knows, maybe the Cardinals would be willing to part with Kyler Murray for multiple first-round picks. Those two don't seem to be getting along.
As for the Eagles, they now have two first-round picks in both 2022 and 2023. The advantage for the Eagles right now is that they can give Jalen Hurts one more year to prove himself without sweating it. If he struggles in 2022, they can simply look to draft his replacement in 2023. If he ends up being good, they can spend the next two drafts building around him.
The true X-factor in this trade is going to be where the Saints finish in 2022. If they make it to the playoffs, then the Eagles will be getting a first-round pick from New Orleans in 2023 that will be 19th or lower. If the Saints flame out, then the Eagles could be getting a top-10 pick. The Saints made this trade assuming they'll be good in 2023, but if they struggle, then the deal is definitely going to backfire on them.
Whenever there's a trade, there's a 100% chance we're going to hand out grades for that deal and that's exactly what we did in this situation.
The Saints-Eagles deal was graded by CBSSports.com's Jordan Dajani and here's what he came up with:
- Eagles grade: A-. "Even with this trade, the Eagles still have two first-round picks in this year's draft -- 15 and 18 -- and they didn't have to part with their top pick at No. 15 overall. They also ensured they have multiple first-round picks again in the 2023 draft."
- Saints grade: B. "The Saints are our technical "loser" in this trade, but "loser" is not an appropriate term. New Orleans clearly wanted multiple selections in the middle of the first round, and it made sure a deal happened."
You can check out Dajani's full explanation for each grade by clicking here.
3. Pete Prisco's mock draft
After ranking the top-100 NFL free agents last month, Pete Prisco needed some time to mentally recover from making the list, which is why we haven't heard from him in nearly four weeks. However, Prisco is back and he's back with his latest mock draft.
After looking at Prisco's mock, I'd say there are two very notable things: He has three quarterbacks going in the top-16 picks and he has the Jaguars taking an offensive lineman with the first-overall pick despite the fact that Jacksonville spent big in free agency by signing Brandon Scherff and tagging Cam Robinson. That being said, Prisco is pretty plugged into what's happening in Jacksonville, so don't be surprised if the guy at the top of his list ends up going No. 1 overall.
With that in mind, here are the top-10 picks in Prisco's mock:
1. Jaguars: OL Evan Neal (Alabama)
2. Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
3. Texans: DL Travon Walker (Georgia)
4. Jets: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
5. Giants: OL Ikem Ekwonu (North Carolina State)
6. Panthers: QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
7. Giants: EDGE Jermaine Johnson (Florida State)
8. Falcons: QB Kenny Pickett (Pitt)
9. Seahawks: OL Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
10. Jets: CB Ahmed Gardner (Cincinnati)
The other QB Prisco has going in the top-16 is Desmond Ridder. Prisco has the former University of Cincinnati quarterback projected to go to the Saints at 16th overall. To check out the rest of Prisco's mock, be sure to click here.
We also have a full seven-round mock draft for the Cowboys, which you can read by clicking here. You can also read our Commanders seven-round mock draft here and our Giants mock draft by clicking here.
4. Free agency matchmaker: Looking at possible landing spots for the top free agents left on the market
When it comes to playing matchmaker, there's no one better than Cody Benjamin. I'm not sure if it's because he spends half his week watching old episodes of "The Love Connection," but Cody is the king of matchmaking.
Due to that fact, we asked him to match up several leftover free agents with the team that would be the best fit for them. Cody decided to play matchmaker for 15 free agents who are still on the market, and we listed five of those below.
- Chargers sign WR Odell Beckham. "OBJ would prefer to stick with the Rams, but they've already paid up to secure his replacement in Allen Robinson. If you're Odell, why not stay in L.A. while saddling up with another title contender? Imagine Justin Herbert having Beckham to join Keenan Allen and Mike Williams down the stretch."
- Steelers sign S Tyrann Mathieu. "The market for 'Honey Badger' has been unusually slow, which only makes Pittsburgh a better option considering the lack of overpriced bids. The Steelers are still leaning on their defense to win now, and Mathieu next to Minkah Fitzpatrick would give them one of the league's rangiest safety pairings." Note: Mathieu is visiting with the Saints today.
- Cowboys sign WR Julio Jones. "After dealing Amari Cooper and letting Cedrick Wilson Jr. walk, Dallas is expecting more from CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, which is fine. But Jones has the big name that'll appeal to Jerry Jones, and he'd still be a red-zone weapon for Dak Prescott."
- Eagles sign RB Melvin Gordon. "Yes, you can find running backs everywhere, but coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen both have a history with Gordon. More importantly, they're likely committed to a run-heavy approach with QB Jalen Hurts. Gordon could step in on a one-year deal as a more talented version of Jordan Howard, who split carries with Miles Sanders."
- Browns re-sign Jadeveon Clowney. "Both parties would benefit from sticking together. Clowney finally saw his sack numbers jump working opposite Myles Garrett in 2021, and the Browns are clearly in the business of winning sooner rather than later after their busy offseason."
To check out where Cody has the other 10 free agents landing, be sure to click here.
5. Russell Wilson could become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to beat all 32 teams
With Russell Wilson headed to Denver, the former Seahawks quarterback is going to have a chance to join a very exclusive club this year: Wilson could become just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to beat all 32 teams.
Here's a look at what has to happen:
- Wilson has beaten 30 of the NFL's 32 teams. The Broncos quarterback still hasn't beaten the Chargers or the Seahawks, and he'll be getting a crack at both teams in 2022. The Broncos will be play the Chargers twice since they're division rivals. As for the Seahawks, Denver will be playing a road game against them at some point during the 2022 season.
- Wilson would join four other quarterbacks on a very exclusive list. The only quarterbacks who have beaten all 32 teams are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre. It's one of the most exclusive clubs that a quarterback can join, and Wilson could be getting his membership in 2022. (Joe Montana and Fran Tarkenton are also kind of in the club. Even though they haven't beaten 32 teams, they did get at least one win against all 28 teams that were in existence during their career.)
- Wilson would be the youngest player to join the club. Depending on how the schedule goes, Wilson could join the club at age 33 or 34. (His birthday is on Nov. 29, so he'd need to beat both teams before then to join the club at 33.) The youngest QB to join the club was Manning, who did it at age 38. Brady didn't join the club until last season, when he beat the Patriots at age 44 to complete the 32-team gauntlet.
In a twist, Joe Flacco could also join the club this season, but that's unlikely. To get to 32, Flacco needs to beat both the Ravens and the Seahawks, which could theoretically happen this year because New York plays both of those teams in 2022, but he'd need to win the Jets' QB job to even have a chance at that and no one expects him to win the starting QB job.
Wilson, Flacco and Aaron Rodgers are the only three active quarterbacks who have beaten at least 30 teams. Rodgers has beaten 31 teams and could get to 32 if he can somehow beat the Packers, but obviously that's not going to happen while he's still playing for them.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Gronk still not ready to commit to an NFL return
It's been a wild 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.
- Gronk still not ready to commit to an NFL return. It's been nearly three months since the Buccaneers' season ended and Rob Gronkowski still hasn't decided if he's going to play in 2022. "Right now, I'm not ready to get back out on that field. I'm not ready to commit to the game of football," Gronkowski told TMZ. The more likely explanation is that Gronk wants nothing to do with offseason workouts, especially because he already has a full calendar. Not only is he hosting the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice awards this month, but he's also hosting "Gronk Beach" in Las Vegas during the NFL Draft. I'm guessing Gronk will return, but he probably won't be signing at any point over the next month.
- Saints sign former Cowboys' first-round pick. Making a big draft trade wasn't the only thing the Saints did Monday. They also signed Taco Charlton. This will be the fifth team Charlton has played for since being drafted by the Cowboys with the 28th-overall pick in 2017.
- Falcons sign former Titans' first-round pick. Taco Charlton isn't the only former first-round pick who landed in the NFC South on Monday and that's because the Falcons signed Rashaan Evans. The linebacker spent the first four years of his career with the Titans after they made him the 22nd-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Commanders deny damning allegation made by ex-employee. The Commanders have sternly denied a potentially damaging accusation that was recently made by an ex-employee. A person who used to work for the team told a congressional committee that the Commanders had been withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams. (The money is supposed to be distributed and split evenly among the 32 teams.) "There has been absolutely no withholding of ticket revenue at any time by the Commanders," the team said in a statement, via ESPN. "Those revenues are subject to independent audits by multiple parties. Anyone who offered testimony suggesting a withholding of revenue has committed perjury, plain and simple."
- Frank Gore to make professional boxing debut. It appears that one reason Gore retired from football is because he has another profession lined up. The running back will be making his boxing debut on May 14 in Mississippi. For more details on the fight, be sure to click here.