I'm going to start things off here today by pointing out that if I sound extra tired, it's because I stayed up way too late last night and you're not going to believe this, but it was Tom Brady's fault.
Brady was on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" last night and as everyone knows, any time Brady shows up on CBS, I'm contractually obligated to stay up and watch so that I can tell you about it. The downside of staying up late is that I live with a baby and the baby doesn't care how late Brady does his interviews, she still wakes up at the same time every morning.
Anyway, one of the most fascinating things that Brady talked about is why he still wants to play football at age 44 even though his wife has wanted him to retire for several years now. You can check out more on Brady's trip to "The Late Late Show" by clicking here. For everyone else, let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Ranking the top 10 receivers in the NFL
If you read this newsletter every day, you've probably noticed that we've been ranking every position group in the NFL over the past few weeks. The man in charge of ranking the top 10 receivers in the NFL was Jared Dubin and he joined the Pick Six Podcast on Thursday to discuss his list with Will Brinson.
According to Dubin, the top three receivers in the NFL heading into the 2021 season are:
Of course, Brinson isn't the type of host who wants to focus on the top three. Instead, Brinson decided to grill Dubin about a few of his snubs and he started that grilling process by bringing Julio Jones into the conversation (Jones didn't crack Dubin's top 10). Calvin Ridley was also left off the list even though he was the only receiver in the NFL last year who caught 90 or more passes while also averaging 15 or more yards per catch. Clearly, Dubin just hates anyone who plays for the Falcons or who has ever played for the Falcons.
To listen to today's episode -- and to follow the podcast -- be sure to click here. You can also check out Jared's entire top 10 list by clicking here. If you love reading rankings about wide receivers, then you can also click here to check out this list from Chris Trapasso where he ranks rookie receivers based on who's going to be most productive in 2021.
2. NFL Scouting Combine will soon be leaving Indianapolis
After holding the combine in Indianapolis for 34 straight years, the NFL has finally decided that it's time to move on. The league is going to open up the bidding process for the combine starting with the 2023 event, which means Indy won't be the host site to it anymore unless it somehow wins a future bid, which is something that probably isn't going to happen. The NFL took the draft away from New York in 2014 and the Big Apple hasn't played host since, so it's highly unlikely Indy will be getting another combine anytime soon after 2023.
So where does that leave us? Let's take a look.
- Indy is definitely getting one more combine. The NFL announced that Indianapolis WILL get the event in 2022 to mark the city's 35th year as host. Of course, this kind of feels like telling your spouse eight months in advance that you're going to divorce her on your 35th anniversary. That usually doesn't go over well.
- The Cowboys are already interested being a host for the combine. Part of the reason Jerry Jones spent $1.5 billion on the the Cowboys' practice facility is so it could be the host for events like the combine. Jones is planning to make a bid on the event so that Dallas can be the host as soon as 2023.
- Deadline is coming up. Any city that wants to be the host of the 2023 combine has to let the NFL know by July 23. With that deadline right around the corner, there's a good chance Jones and the Cowboys won't have much competition when it comes to bidding for the 2023 event and if I had to bet money on it right now, I'd say Dallas is the front-runner.
- Combine not the only thing cities will be bidding on. That July 23 deadline I just mentioned doesn't just involve the combine. According to NFL.com, any city interested in being the host site of Super Bowl 60 or 61 also has to apply by July 23. This deadline also applies to any city interested in being the host for the 2025 NFL Draft.
Although the combine is the smallest of those three events, it can still be bring a big boost to a local economy. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the combine generated $8.4 million in economic impact in 2019 for the city of Indianapolis and as much as $10 million in media exposure.
3. Predicting every game on the Broncos' 2021 schedule
Now that the month of June is here, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is upon us and although things can get kind of boring during this period, we're going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting every game on each team's 2021 schedule.
There are 32 teams and we'll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Today, we're going to continue our run through the AFC West by taking a closer look at the Denver.
Our Cody Benjamin went through Denver's entire schedule and picked out all the games the Broncos are going to win and all the games they're going to lose. Although Denver is believed to be highly interested in trading for Aaron Rodgers, Cody made his predictions under the assumption that Rodgers will not be playing for the Broncos this season. With Rodgers out, Cody has Teddy Bridgewater opening the season as Denver's quarterback.
Here's a look at how Cody sees the Broncos doing in three key games, along with the final record he sees them ending up with:
- Week 1: Broncos at Giants. "Daniel Jones brings some heat in the season opener, finding new weapons Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney for a couple of big plays. But Teddy Bridgewater protects the ball from start to finish, and Denver's restocked secondary clamps down in crunch time." Prediction: Denver 24-20 over N.Y. Giants.
- Week 5: Broncos at Steelers. "Pittsburgh starts strong behind a roaring Heinz Field crowd, with T.J. Watt terrorizing Bridgewater to the point that Drew Lock is forced in as injury relief. But Denver's "D" fires back, frustrating Ben Roethlisberger and then eking it out on a Brandon McManus field goal." Prediction: Denver 26-24 over Pittsburgh.
- Week 18: Chiefs at Broncos. "Denver enters with a shot at a wild card berth -- win or lose -- but once again can do only so much against Patrick Mahomes, who's playing for a top seed in the AFC. Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy triumph as the Chiefs finish a season sweep of the Broncos." Prediction: Kansas City 31-22 over Denver.
Overall, Cody is predicting that the Broncos will end the season with a 9-8 record, which would likely be considered a success in Denver. Not only would it give the Broncos their first winning season since 2016, but it would also give them an outside shot at their first playoff appearance in six years. The Broncos haven't been to the postseason since 2015, which is tied for the second-longest drought in the NFL (Only the Jets have gone longer without making the playoffs).
If you want to see Cody's prediction for each game, click here to check out his entire story. Coming tomorrow, we'll be finishing up our adventure through the AFC West by predicting the Chargers' final record.
4. Ranking the top 10 defensive ends
As you may or may not have noticed, we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com and because of that, we thought we would spend the next few weeks ranking every position group heading into the 2021 season.
From running backs to receivers to quarterbacks to kickers, we're going to be ranking everyone and since there's a zero percent chance that you're going to agree with each ranking, I'm going to be sharing the Twitter handle of each author so you can argue with them about their ranking on social media.
Today, we're going to be ranking the top 10 defensive ends heading into the 2021 season. This list was put together by Jared Dubin and if you'd like to tell him how perfect it is, or if you'd like to argue with him, you can do that by clicking here. This ranking consists of EDGE players who spend most of their time rushing the passer.
Top 10 defensive ends
1. Myles Garrett, Browns
2. T.J. Watt, Steelers
3. Nick Bosa, 49ers
4. Joey Bosa, Chargers
5. Shaq Barrett, Buccaneers
6. Brian Burns, Panthers
7. Za'Darius Smith, Packers
8. Chandler Jones, Cardinals
9. Chase Young, Washington
10. Danielle Hunter, Vikings
If you want a detailed explanation of the ranking or if you want to know if the Bosa family paid him to put the brothers that high, be sure to click here so you can check out Dubin's entire story.
5. Ranking the NFL's top duos
I told you we love to rank things here and I wasn't kidding. Not only are we ranking defensive ends today, but we're also ranking the top duos. If you're wondering what that means, I was also wondering that, but then I read Cody Benjamin's story and he explained everything.
Basically, Cody ranked all 32 teams based on their top two players -- aka their best duo. For some teams, this meant ranking a quarterback and a receiver (I'm looking at you Chiefs) while for other teams, it meant ranking two defensive players (I'm looking at you Broncos).
Cody ranked one duo from each team, which means this ranking goes from 32-1. However, we're only going to cover the top 10 here, so without further ado, here are the top duos in the NFL heading into 2021:
1. Packers: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
2. Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill
3. Chargers: Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen
4. Bills: Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
5. Seahawks: Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf
6. Cardinals: Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins
7. Rams: Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey
8. Vikings: Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson
9. Saints: Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas
10. Titans: Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown
If you want an in-depth explanation for how these rankings worked or if you want to see how the final 22 spots broke down, then you're going to want to click here so you can check out Cody's full story.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
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.
- NFL sets key offseason dates for 2022. Unlike me, the NFL likes to plan things way in advance and because of that, the league released its 2022 offseason calendar this week. The most notable dates are March 16 (start of free agency) and April 28-30, which is when the draft will take place, so you can now officially book your hotel for draft week in Las Vegas. To see all the key dates, be sure to click here.
- Players have until July 2 to opt-out. For the second year in a row, NFL players are allowed to sit out the season due to COVID. However, there is one major change for 2021. Players who are deemed high risk for COVID are entitled to a $350,000 stipend -- just like they were last year -- but voluntary opt-outs will receive nothing (They got paid $150,000 last season).
- New NFL policy encourages vaccinations. Under a new league policy, if a vaccinated players misses a game due to COVID, that player will still be allowed to collect on any per-game roster bonuses that they're entitled to. However, if a player is not vaccinated, they don't be able to earn that money.
- Raiders owner gets in fender bender. Mark Davis was driving around Las Vegas this week when he got in a small accident. The craziest part of the story is probably the fact that Davis drives a Mini Cooper. To see pictures of the incident, be sure to click here.
- George Kittle explains why Tim Tebow didn't get an invite to "Tight End University." Apparently, the reason Tebow didn't score an invite is because Kittle didn't want to start a trend of inviting backup tight ends. If he had invited Tebow, then he would have felt obligated to invite every backup tight end in the league. I'm guessing this is all going to end with Tebow starting his own university.