Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
As of today, the 2022 NFL Draft is now less than a month away, which means you better buckle up and get ready for a lot of draft talk over the next month, starting with today. Not only are we going to take a look at the TOP 100 prospects in this year's NFL Draft, but we're also going to take a look at future host cities of the draft after Detroit was tabbed by the NFL on Monday to host the 2024 event.
Also, the NFL's annual league meeting is still going on in Florida and before the owners broke for lunch today, they approved a major change to the NFL's overtime rule. Under the newly approved rule, which will only be used in the playoffs, both teams will now be guaranteed at least one possession.
Under the old rule, if the team that got the ball first scored a touchdown on its first possession, then the game would be over, but thanks to the new rule, both teams will now get the ball at least once. If the game is still tied after each team has had one possession, then it will move to sudden death.
The Bills probably wish this rule could be retroactively enforced to include their wild 42-36 divisional playoff loss to the Chiefs in January. The Bills never got the ball in overtime because the Chiefs scored a TD after winning the coin toss in OT.
Alright, let's get to the rest of the newsletter.
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: Breaking down the top 100 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft
As of today, the 2022 NFL Draft is now less than a month away, so we thought we'd celebrate that milestone around these parts by having Ryan Wilson jump on the Pick Six Podcast to break down his Top 100 Big Board.
Wilson joined Will Brinson and the two of them spent nearly an hour going over Wilson's big board. One thing you'll notice about Wilson's top 100 rankings is that he's extremely high on pass-rushers this year. Not only does he have EDGE guys ranked as his top two players with Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux, but he actually has three EDGE guys in his top seven (Georgia's Travon Walker is the other star pass-rusher who will almost certainly get drafted high).
At the quarterback position, Wilson's top-rated prospect is Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. Although Corral is his top-rated quarterback, he's only ranked as Wilson's 26th best player in the draft, which means any team that selects a QB in the early to mid-first round will be taking a huge risk.
With that in mind, here's a look at the top 10 players on Wilson's big board:
1. Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan (EDGE1)
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon (EDGE2)
3. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame (S1)
4. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State (OT1)
5. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama (OT2)
6. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati (CB1)
7. Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia (EDGE3)
8. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State (WR1)
9. Drake London, WR, USC (WR2)
10. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State (OT3)
If you want to see the entire list of Wilson's top 100 players, then be sure to click here.
2. NFL creates new diversity committee: League will require every team to hire a minority or female offensive coach
With the NFL under fire for its minority-hiring practices, the league has decided to tweak the Rooney Rule in a way that will encourage teams to make more minority hirings. The league is also creating a diversity committee that will be made up of six non-NFL members. The committee "will lend its expert, external perspective on industry best practices and will evaluate league and club diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies and initiatives, including all hiring processes, policies and procedures, with a primary focus on senior-level coach and front office personnel positions," according to the NFL.
Here are the biggest changes being made by the league:
- Each team must add a minority offensive coach for 2022. All 32 teams must have at least one person on their coaching staff who is a "a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority" according to the policy. The person who is hired will get a one-year deal and will be paid out of a league-wide fund, according to ESPN.com. The NFL is making this rule for the offensive side of the ball because over the past few years, most new NFL head coaches have been offensive coaches who used offensive assistant or offensive coordinator positions as a stepping stone to a head coaching job.
- Interviewing a woman will count toward Rooney Rule. Under the old rule, an NFL team had to interview at least one minority to satisfy the Rooney Rule, but now interviewing a woman will also satisfy it. This doesn't mean that a team HAS to interview a female for an open position, it just means that if it does, it will be satisfying the Rooney Rule. Steelers owner Art Rooney II said he'd like to see women competing to earn a head coaching job at some point. "The truth of the matter is that as of today, at least, there aren't many women in the pool in terms of head coach," Rooney said. "We hope that is going to change over the years."
- Interviews must take place in-person. Holding a Zoom interview has gotten extremely popular over the past two years thanks to the pandemic, but NFL teams won't be allowed to do this if they want to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Any interviews taking place will have to be in-person and not done electronically.
- NFL hoping to increase diversity among ownership. With the Broncos for sale, the NFL, which has no Black majority owners, has made it clear that it would like to increase diversity among the ownership group. "When evaluating a prospective ownership group ... the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club, including serving as the controlling owner of the club," the league said in a statement.
The NFL's six-person diversity committee will include former Houston Rockets general manager Rick Smith along with Don Thompson, who was the first Black CEO of McDonald's. The NFL is hoping the committee can help build a more inclusive league, which would include more minority head coaches and more minorities at the front office level.
3. Detroit tabbed to host the 2024 NFL Draft
Football fans in Detroit haven't really had anything to get excited about over the past 50 years, but that is going to be changing in the near future and that's because the NFL has decided to hold the 2024 NFL Draft in the Motor City.
The league made the announcement on Monday just hours after the NFL also announced that the Lions would be appearing on "Hard Knocks" this year.
With the draft now in Detroit, that means the host city is set for the next three years:
2022 NFL Draft: Las Vegas (April 28-30)
2023 NFL Draft: Kansas City (April 27-29)
2024 NFL Draft: Detroit (TBA)
To get the draft, Detroit had to beat out Washington, D.C. and Green Bay, which were the two other finalist cities. My first takeaway from that is that this definitely is the first time Detroit has beaten Green Bay at anything (Just kidding, I love you Detroit).
The draft will be the biggest NFL-related event that has been held in Detroit since February 2006 when Super Bowl XL was held in the Motor City.
4. Stadium news: Bills finalizing $1.4 billion stadium deal; Broncos' home might not be ready for Week 1
I wasn't expecting to have an entire section dedicated to stadium news today, but here we are, and that's mostly because the Broncos, Bills, Chiefs and Titans all shared some big news over the past 24 hours.
Here's what's going on in the world of stadiums:
- Public will help pay for Bills' new stadium. The cost of the $1.4 billion stadium will be split four ways with the state of New York ($600 million), Erie County ($250 million), the NFL ($200 million) and the Pegula family ($350 million) all chipping in. The $850 million being contributed by the public toward the cost of the stadium is the most that any NFL has ever received toward the construction of a stadium.
- Bills' stadium details. The stadium is expected to be built next to the current stadium in Orchard Park. Right now, the plan is for the new stadium to have 62,000 seats. The team is hoping the new building will be ready in time for the 2026 season. One thing that stadium won't have is a dome or a retractable roof. However, the plan is for the 80% of the seating to be protected from the elements, according to the Associated Press.
- Broncos' stadium might not be completely ready for Week 1. The fire that ripped through Empower Stadium last week has caused some major issues for the Broncos. The damage was so extensive that the team isn't sure if the stadium will be fully repaired by Week 1 of the NFL season. "At first glance, we thought it wasn't much of a big deal, but after going to see the damage and witnessing it in-person and spending time with fire inspectors and people from our stadium and the reclamation team that came in, it was a significant event," team president Joe Ellis said. The Broncos will still be able to play in the stadium, but the damaged part won't be hosting any fans if it's not repaired. Several suites and hundreds of seats were damaged in the fire.
- Chiefs looking at stadium options in Kansas. The Chiefs could soon be looking to build a new stadium and if that happens, they might cross state lines to do it. Team president Mark Donovan told The Ringer that the Chiefs have been considering options in the state of Kansas for a possible new stadium. The Chiefs' current stadium (Arrowhead) is located in Missouri.
- Tennessee governor requests $500 million for new Titans stadium. It's looking more and more like the Titans are going to get a new stadium in Nashville, which means the next step in the process is figuring out how to pay for it. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has asked the state legislature to approve $500 million in bonds to help pay for the new stadium, according to Axios. However, that money will come with one big catch: If the Titans want the money, they'll have to agree to build an enclosed stadium to get it.
An enclosed stadium would allow Nashville to potentially host some huge events -- like the Super Bowl -- and as someone who lives in Nashville, I am completely on board with this.
5. NFL announcer dominoes have finally fallen into place: Fox has its new top guy
One of the most unexpected twists of the NFL offseason is that every network not named CBS is going to have a new No. 1 announcing team going into 2022. From Fox to NBC to ESPN to Amazon, the announcing booth is going to look a lot different this year than it did last year.
One of the final dominoes fell into place on Monday when Fox decided to promote Kevin Burkhardt to its No. 1 announcing position to replace Joe Buck, according to the New York Post. It's not clear who will be Burkhardt's play-by-play guy, but Greg Olsen is believed to be a top candidate.
If you've lost track of all the changes, here's what the top announcing booth is going to look like at each network that made a change:
- New No. 1 booth: Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play) and TBA ((analyst)
- Old No. 1 booth: Joe Buck (play-by-play) and Troy Aikman (analyst)
ESPN "Monday Night Football"
- New No. 1 booth: Joe Buck (play-by-play) and Troy Aikman (analyst)
- Old No. 1 booth: Steve Levy (play-by-play) with Louis Riddick (analyst) and Brian Griese (analyst)
NBC "Sunday Night Football"
- New No. 1 booth: Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
- Old No. 1 booth: Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
NFL on Prime: "Thursday Night Football" (Amazon)
- New No. 1 booth: Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
- Old No. 1 booth: The 2022 season will be Amazon's first year with the entire 2022 Thursday night package.
Feel free to bookmark this page or save this email if you can't remember who's in the booth for each network.
As for CBS, we'll have our trusty No. 1 booth of Jim Nantz along with Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson as the sideline reporter.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: 49ers won't be releasing Jimmy Garoppolo
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.
- 49ers won't be releasing Jimmy Garoppolo. If any NFL team wants Jimmy Garoppolo, they're definitely going to have to make a trade for him because the 49ers have no plans to release him. Both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have made it clear this week that they're not going to cut the QB or give him away. If they can't find a taker, it sounds like Jimmy is going to be staying in San Francisco.
- Andy Dalton lands one-year deal with Saints. For the fourth time in four years, Andy Dalton will be playing for a new team. The former Bengals, Bears and Cowboys quarterback has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Saints that's worth up to $6 million, according to ESPN.com.
- Cam Newton says teams are interested in signing him. One quarterback who hasn't really made any headlines this offseason is Cam Newton. The former NFL MVP is currently a free agent and although he has yet to sign with a team, the QB insists multiple teams are interested in his services. According to Cam, he hasn't signed with anyone because he wants to wait until he can find the "best fit as it pertains to winning a championship and getting a fair chance to play."
- Jaguars will continue to play annual games in London through at least 2024. The Jags have been playing an annual game in London since 2013 (minus 2020 due to the pandemic) and that streak will continue through at least 2024 with the team and the NFL announcing a new agreement on Monday. The Jaguars have played more international games than any other team in the NFL.
- Jerry Jones says he's been the subject to extortion attempts. Remember that paternity lawsuit that Jones is facing? Well, the Cowboys owner now says the lawsuit is one of "multiple monetary extortion attempts" that have been levied against both him and the Cowboys. The extortion allegedly involves the ex-husband of Jones' daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson. If you want more details on this bizarre situation, then be sure to click here.
- Jets have a busy Monday. Not only did the Jets sign a former No. 3 overall pick (Solomon Thomas) on Monday, but they also added a kicker for the second time in five days with the addition of Eddy Pineiro, who will compete with Greg Zuerlein for the kicking job. As for Thomas, the former 49ers defensive lineman will be reunited with Robert Saleh, who coached him in San Francisco from his rookie year in 2017 thru 2020.