Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone. Pretty sure John Breech made me -- Cody Benjamin -- handle the newsletter today so he could grab a margarita and properly celebrate. Hope you're having fun, Breech! Anyway, I'm having fun here, too, because boy is there ever NFL news to discuss. Aaron Rodgers keeps ramping up the drama in Green Bay, Tim Tebow somehow is back in football headlines, and ... I'm hungry for Mexican food. Let's get right to this, so I can start looking for dinner options.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. 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 NFC draft grades, team-by-team draft rankings, the latest on Rodgers, and much more:
- Today's show: Vikings among big winners in Prisco's NFC draft grades
Want to hear Will Brinson slam Pete Prisco for failing to show up to Wednesday's Pick Six NFL Podcast? Or how about the Pick Six crew reviewing all of Prisco's top NFC draft grades? If either piques your interest, today's episode is for you: Listen and follow the podcast right here. Ryan Wilson and John Breech are also on hand in Wednesday's show to dissect some of the biggest winners and losers from the 2021 draft. The top dog, according to Prisco's rankings? The Minnesota Vikings.
"If Aaron Rodgers does get traded," Brinson offers, "maybe the Vikings are sort of a sleeper here."
Breech agreed, highlighting the team's second pick -- Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond -- as a spicy but smart addition: "I like that, because you put pressure on Kirk Cousins without putting too much pressure on the coaching staff. It's a win-win."
One team that drew some harsher Prisco critiques -- the Philadelphia Eagles, who got a C+ -- didn't get as much pushback from Brinson, Breech and Wilson.
"I had the Eagles as having the sixth-best draft," Wilson noted. "The only issue I have was Landon Dickerson, and the only reason for that is the injury history. And that's it. I liked their draft."
Producer Eric DeBerardinis (Debo, for the uncultured among you), who happens to be Pick Six's resident Eagles expert, suggested the only regret Philly may have from the draft is passing on Ohio State QB Justin Fields at No. 10. But even that decision can be justified, according to Brinson.
"I think, if I'm the Eagles, I don't even really consider Philadelphia in the group of teams that could feel like idiots for passing on Fields," he said. "If I'm Philly and I trade Carson Wentz and I (used) a second-round pick on Jalen Hurts and he has played well at times in the NFL, I'm sort of with Jeff Lurie on this. I wanna see what he does in 2021. And to do that, you need to get him some help."
2. Agent's Take: What lies ahead for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers
Have you heard that one of the NFL's best QBs wants out of Green Bay? If not, you must be emerging from beneath a rock. Long story short: Aaron Rodgers is not happy with the Packers, and the Packers know it. But now what? Can Green Bay actually reconcile a relationship with its star signal-caller? If so, how? Joel Corry, former agent and cap expert, offers a unique perspective for us at CBS Sports, presenting a plan for the Packers to appease Rodgers without trading him or firing general manager Brian Gutekunst, reportedly the primary target of Rodgers' disdain.
The entire piece is worth a close read, but basically, Corry believes this thing boils down to a two-step plan:
- Trade Jordan Love, reversing the commitment to a future QB switch and "whose presence is a major cause of Rodgers' rift."
- Extend Rodgers with a record new deal.
(President Mark) Murphy has proclaimed the Packers are committed to Rodgers in 2021 and beyond. The second step would be the Packers putting their money where Murphy's mouth is. ... A two-year extension that's satisfactory to Rodgers would likely need to make him the NFL's highest-paid player ahead of Mahomes' $45 million per year. This would mean more than $90 million new money allocated over the five years of a contract running through the 2025 season.
This, remember, is all contingent on Rodgers actually believing his relationship with Green Bay isn't beyond repair. And that, Corry concludes, is the toughest thing to project.
My experience as an agent was money talked in a rift with a player. If Rodgers truly feels there's too much water under the bridge at this point, no amount of money will make a difference to him. ... In any event, I really don't expect the Packers to go the extension route because of my skepticism in any deviation from the apparent original plan of having Love become Rodgers' replacement as early as next season. The $22.648 million of 2022 cap room that would be gained from Rodgers' departure could really come in handy given Green Bay's cap situation for next year.
Couple that with a new report from The Athletic about Rodgers shrugging off big-money offers from the Packers in recent months, as well as privately poking fun at Gutekunst, and a future split between the parties seems more and more likely.
In non-Aaron Rodgers news, all 32 teams are still fresh off the 2021 draft. If you're still hungry for analysis, our draft expert Ryan Wilson has something special for you: A rundown of every single team's rookie class, sorted according to the value of each of their picks. Rather than assigning standard grades to team drafts, Wilson compared all of his prospect projections with where teams actually drafted them. So the teams high on his list got tremendous value, and teams near the bottom likely over-drafted their guys.
Here's a sneak peek at the top and bottom five from Wilson's rundown:
New England's pickup of Alabama's Christian Barmore ranked as Wilson's favorite pick for the Patriots, while Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins, a third-round pick, ranked as New England's best value selection.
Most of these teams added impact players early (see: Rashod Bateman to the Ravens; Micah Parsons to the Cowboys), but Wilson saw plenty of reaches among these squads. Los Angeles, in particular, took a big swing in the second round by taking Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell, a fourth-round prospect according to Wilson.
4. How 10 teams helped their young QBs in the 2021 draft
A handful of teams added new QBs on draft day, but plenty opted instead to build around their own young signal-callers. Who are they, and what did they do? Thanks for asking, because Jared Dubin has a detailed answer for you in his analysis of 10 teams' draft-weekend moves to strengthen their QBs. One of the bigger beneficiaries of this year's rookie class, according to Dubin? The Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa, who enters 2021 as the team's unquestioned starter.
The Dolphins committed to Tua (at least for the 2021 season) by moving down three spots from No. 3 to No. 6, but they made sure to keep themselves in the range of the draft where they could still land a premier playmaker. They did exactly that by grabbing Jaylen Waddle, right after the Bengals took (Ja'Marr) Chase. Miami then traded up in the second round for presumptive starting right tackle Liam Eichenberg and landed tight end Hunter Long in the fourth.
Waddle figures to slot in alongside DeVante Parker as one of this team's starting wideouts before too long. Perhaps Will Fuller begins the season ahead of him in the lineup, but Waddle should take over before year's end. His pre-established comfort with Tua should help, but his skill set would fit in just about anywhere, and help just about any quarterback.
5. News and notes: Updates on Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow (!) and more
Yes, you read that subheading right. Catch up on all the latest right here:
- Dak Prescott is healthy: And the Cowboys QB says he could play a game right now.
- Jimmy Garoppolo opens up on Trey Lance: The 49ers QB says he'll help San Francisco's top pick.
- Jaguars believe in Tim Tebow: Team execs insist the former QB could help Urban Meyer's roster (it's still 2021, yes).
- Ranking every first-round RB since 2000: Bryan DeArdo has LaDainian Tomlinson atop the list.
- Why the Panthers passed on Justin Fields: It sounds as if they really are into Sam Darnold.
6. Draft analysis roundup: What teams got right and wrong
If you're looking for more than just draft grades and prospect analysis, we've got more in-depth breakdowns for you, thanks to a series that dissects what each team got right and wrong in the draft. Where did teams strike gold over the weekend? And what do they still need to do between now and the start of the season? Check out our post-draft reports on all these teams:
- Bears: They swung big for a franchise QB, but a long-term CB should still be a target.
- Browns: Adding Greg Newsome II was vital at CB, but Myles Garrett could still use help.
- Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle is a huge splash, but the Jaelan Phillips pick was a big gamble.
- Lions: They got tougher, which is great, but they probably could've double-dipped at WR.
- Jaguars: Nothing mars adding Trevor Lawrence, but where is his pass-catching help?
- Ravens: Lamar Jackson got weapons, but OT is still a long-term question mark.