I know this isn't a fashion newsletter, but I'm making it one today and that's because we've got some new uniforms to talk about in the NFL.
Last year, there were seven different teams that unveiled new uniforms, but this year, only one team is giving us a major makeover and that team is the Cincinnati Bengals. Those new uniforms were released on Monday. Unlike last year's teams, the Bengals decided not to hold a fashion show and instead, they went the simple route with their unveiling: They tweeted out some photos (By the way, I'm guessing the Bengals probably wanted to have a fashion show, but that likely wasn't possible due to COVID-19).
The release of the Bengals new uniforms was only the second-biggest thing to happen in the NFL on Monday and that's because Alex Smith announced his retirement. We'll be covering both stories, plus a lot more in today's newsletter, so let's get to the rundown.
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.
1. Today's show: Mock Draft Monday
From now until the start of the draft on April 29, every Monday will be Mock Draft Monday on the podcast. which means that sadly, there is only one more Mock Draft Monday left on the calendar (April 26).
For this week's mock draft special, Will Brinson was joined by CBSSports.com draft expert and podcast regular Ryan Wilson.
In today's show, the two guys examined the discrepancies between Wilson's Big Board rankings and his latest mock. For instance, Kyle Pitts is listed as the second-best prospect in the draft on Wilson's Big Board, but Wilson doesn't have Pitts going No. 2 overall to the Jets. The fact that the Jets need a quarterback is going to work out well for another team and that's because Pitts is going to fall into their lap. There are a few prospects like that on Wilson's Big Board and the two guys covered those players on today's episode.
To listen to today's show -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here.
I'm not sure how Wilson even had time to podcast this week and that's because he's been pretty busy over the past few days: Not only did he release his big board of the top 150 players in the draft, but he also released his one and only FULL seven-round mock draft today.
Here's a look at Wilson's weekly mock and you should definitely read it, because he went through all 259 picks and I'm pretty sure he didn't talk to his wife or kids for 19 straight hours while he was putting this together.
Every week, I give you a sneak peak at Wilson's latest mock, and this week, we're going to look at the final 10 picks in the ENTIRE draft. I feel like this is the only way to fully appreciate the seven-round mock that Ryan just put together.
- 250. Seahawks: Carson Green, OL, Texas A&M
- 251. Buccaneers: Michael Strachan, WR, Charleston
- 252. Rams: Noah Gray, TE, Duke
- 253. Broncos: Earnest Jones, LB, South Carolina
- 254. Steelers: Matt Bushman, TE, BYU
- 255. Saints: Trey Ragas, RB, Louisiana
- 256. Packers: Quinton Morris, TE, Bowling Green
- 257. Browns: Whop Philyor, WR, Indiana
- 258. Dolphins: William Bradley-King, EDGE, Baylor
- 259. Buccaneers: Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
If you want to see how Wilson thinks all 259 picks in the draft will shake out, be sure to click here.
Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of everything you need to follow pro football.
2. Bengals unveil new uniforms
For the first time in 17 years, the Bengals decided to redesign their uniforms and let me just say that it was definitely worth the wait. The new uniforms are awesome and I will not let anyone tell me otherwise. Sure, you could argue that I have a completely biased opinion about the situation since I'm the resident Bengals homer here at CBSSports.com and I have to say, that would be a completely valid argument.
The one problem with the Bengals old uniforms is that they were too busy. If you looked at them for more than five minutes on television, you'd get dizzy trying to see every detail.
So what did they do to fix that? They cleaned everything up, They basically combined their old-school stripes from the 1980s with the look they wore from 2004 to 2020 and that produced a sharp-looking uniform that should make Bengals fans and uniform aficionados happy.
If you want to see what all the new uniform combinations look like in one picture, be sure to click here. If you want to see an entire photo gallery of the new uniforms, be sure to click here. That photo gallery is worth checking out if only for the picture of Chad Johnson smoking a cigar during the photo shoot.
The one thing I will say is that I wish they had included some orange pants in the new look. For some reason, the Bengals decided to include TWO sets of white pants, which doesn't really make any sense (One pair has orange stripes and the other pair has black stripes).
I also hope to one day see a white helmet with stripes that they can wear with their all-white uniforms. However, it's not the Bengals fault that doesn't exist yet. The NFL only allows teams to wear one helmet each year and as long as that's the rule, the Bengals will keep wearing their orange helmet, as they should.
3. Alex Smith announces retirement
Less than one year after completing one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history, Alex Smith has decided to call it a career. The quarterback, who was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, took to Instagram on Monday to announce his retirement.
Smith was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after returning from a devastating leg injury. Back in Week 11 of 2018, Smith suffered a compound fracture in his leg that resulted in a broken tibia and fibula. After the injury, Smith underwent what was supposed to be a one-off surgery, but shortly after the operation, Smith's leg became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria. After that happened, Smith had to undergo 16 more surgeries before the problem was under control.
"Two years ago, I was stuck in a wheelchair, staring down at my mangled leg and wondering if I'd ever be able to on a walk in my life again or play games with my kids in the yard," Smith said in the IG video. "Putting my helmet back on was the farthest thing from my mind, I just kept asking myself, 'All this for a stupid game?'"
Although Smith questioned whether he should try to return, he eventually made the decision that he wanted to get back on the field.
"Football wouldn't let me give up, because no, this isn't just a game, it's not just what happens between those white lines on a Sunday afternoon," Smith said. "It's about the challenges and the commitment they require. It's about how hard and how far you can push yourself. It's about the bond between those 53 guys in the locker room and everyone else in the organization."
The 36-year-old now plans to spend more time with his family.
"Even though I have got plenty of snaps left in me, after 16 years of giving this game everything I've got, I can't wait to see what else is possible," Smith said. "But first, I'm going to take a little time to enjoy those walks in my life and my kids have no idea what's coming for them in the backyard."
Over the course of his career, Smith played for a total of three teams. He led the 49ers to the NFC title game in 2011 and then played half the season in 2012 during a year where the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl. During his time with the Chiefs (2013-17), Smith led them to the playoffs four times in five seasons.
The three-time Pro Bowler will finish his career ranked in the top 30 all time for passing yards (35,650), passes completed (3,250) and completion percentage (62.8%). Smith also is just one of four quarterbacks in NFL history to register at least 4,000 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes, and five or fewer interceptions in a single season.
4. Tom Brady gives first update on his injured knee
It's now been nearly two months since Tom Brady underwent surgery on his left knee and after laying low for the past few weeks, the 43-year-old quarterback was finally out in public again over the weekend. Brady decided to attend Bruce Arians' Family Foundation gala and while he was at the event, he was asked how his knee was doing.
"I feel pretty good, and I push myself pretty hard," Brady said, via ESPN.com. "I feel pretty good. I don't know if I could go this week [if I had to practice or play], but we'll see how things play out. It's a long time between now and the beginning of the season, and just be smart about all these different things that we have to do and fulfill, but we all take a lot of pride in being ready to go and I'm sure we will be."
Brady has no idea if he'll be able to participate in any offseason workouts this spring -- if they even happen -- but it sounds like he plans on being ready for training camp.
"It's good progress. It's rehab. None of that is fun but looking forward to getting back to real training and stuff, which is hopefully here pretty soon," Brady said. "I'm cool with it. It's just part of what you deal with. Things come up. You deal with them the best way you can, with the best opportunity to improve. I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I did six or seven weeks ago."
I think my biggest takeaway here is that Brady and his bionic knee are probably going to combine to win four or five more Super Bowls. There is no stopping the man.
5. How the 49ers can have the perfect draft
Between now and the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, we'll be going over how each team can pull off the perfect draft, and today, we're going to focus on the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers have a lot of pressure on them heading into the draft and that's because they've made the biggest gamble of any team so far. Less than a month ago, they made a monstrous trade with the Dolphins that allowed the 49ers to move up nine spots in the first round.
When you make a trade like that, it puts even more pressure on you to get your first-round pick right. With 10 days to go until the stat of the draft, no one seems to know who the 49ers will take with the third overall pick, but our Jeff Kerr does know whom he THINKS they should take. With that in mind, here's Kerr's three-step process for the 49ers to have a perfect draft.
- Draft Justin Fields. "Fields is the ideal quarterback for Shanahan's zone-read scheme. He can make the throws on the run and thrives on the intermediate passes. Not only does Fields have a strong arm, but his timing is excellent for a player his age. Fields does need work seeing the field, but he can get out of trouble with his running ability -- which he doesn't use nearly enough. He can instantly start Week 1 in the 49ers offense, a system that focuses on running the ball. Fields can get comfortable as a game manager before developing into the game changer he has the potential to be."
- Trade Jimmy Garoppolo. "Now that the 49ers have selected Fields, he's good enough to start Week 1 so there's no reason for Jimmy Garoppolo -- the team's starting quarterback for the past four years -- to compete for this job nor be on this roster past Day One of the draft. There are going to be teams that will be unable to select a franchise quarterback in this draft (the Broncos and Patriots are two that come to mind). Some team is going to strike out on landing that quarterback, which is where the trade market for Garoppolo really heats up."
- Restock at cornerback. "The 49ers have the No. 43 pick in the draft, a selection they should use to land a cornerback. San Francisco has Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson as the starting cornerbacks on the depth chart, but this is a position that needs reinforcements."
You can check out Kerr's full explanation for his perfect 49ers draft by clicking here. If you want to know how the rest of the NFC West can pull off a perfect draft, click here to see what the Rams should do, click here to see how the Seahawks should handle things and click here to see what moves would make the most sense for the Cardinals.
6. Rapid-fire roundup:
It was 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.
- Marshawn Lynch talked to Tom Brady about playing for the Buccaneers. During an interview last December, Lynch casually mentioned that he had been talking to a few NFL teams about a possible return, but he never named any of the teams. Well, Lynch finally named one of the teams and apparently he had some conversations with Tom Brady about possibly joining the Buccaneers last season.
- Chiefs jersey number proposal expected to pass. In just two days (April 21), the NFL will be voting on some potential new rules and one that's likely going to pass is Kansas City's proposal to make it easier for players to pick a number. If the rule passes, it would allow running backs, tight ends, wide receivers and defensive backs to all wear single-digit numbers. For more details on the rule, be sure to click here.
- Trey Lance's pro day is going to be crowded. Lance's pro day is going to be held Monday and there will be multiple teams in attendance. According to SI.com, the Falcons, Patriots, Broncos and 49ers will all be in North Dakota. One interesting nugget on Lance's pro day is that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan helped design the workout, according to ESPN. We've already heard rumors that the 49ers might draft Mac Jones or Justin Fields, so I'm going to assume the Trey Lance rumors will be heating up by the end of the day.
- Bears re-sign Tashaun Gipson. Free agency might have slowed down for the rest of the NFL, but not for the Chicago Bears. Not only did they re-sign Gipson on Monday, but they also signed Marquise Goodwin to a one-year deal on Friday. Goodwin spent his past three seasons with the 49ers, but didn't play in 2020 after deciding to opt out. As for Gipson, the Bears probably realized they weren't going to be able to upgrade at safety, so it made sense to bring back a guy who started 16 games for them last year.
- Some Cowboys players report for offseason workouts. Over the past few weeks, there have been a total of 19 teams who have said they won't be participating in voluntary workouts this spring, however, the Cowboys were not one of them. Several players have showed up for the workouts, which means if the Cowboys are the best team in the NFL next season, it's because they were the only team that actually practiced in the spring.
7. The Kicker: Jaguars fans found Trevor Lawrence's wedding registry
There are a lot of advantages to being the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and one of those advantages is that fans will send you expensive gifts off your wedding registry. Some Jaguars fans found Trevor Lawrence's wedding registry earlier this month, so they did what any normal fans would do: They bought a bunch of expensive things for Lawrence and his new wife.
Not only did they drop $300 on a high-end toaster for the Lawrences -- for reference, I have a $21 toaster -- but they also a bought a high-end vacuum while also donating roughly $3,000 to charity.
After his wedding, not only did Lawrence acknowledge receiving the gifts, but he also decided to do some gift-giving himself. The soon-to-be Jaguars quarterback announced on Twitter over the weekend that he's going to donate a total of $20,000 to some charities in Jacksonville.
I'm starting to think that Lawrence might be a good fit in Jacksonville.