It's 4-20 and we all know what 4-20 means around these parts, it means that the NFL Draft is just NINE DAYS AWAY.
After being held in Roger Goodell's basement last year, the draft will mostly be returning to normal this year. After drafting from home in 2020, 31 of the NFL's 32 teams will be conducting the draft from their own team headquarters this year. The one team that won't be at their own facility is the Rams and that's because they've RENTED A MANSION IN MALIBU, which reminds me, if you guys want to chip in and rent a mansion in Malibu where we can all watch the draft together, I'm absolutely down for that. It would be even better if we can get it next door to the Rams.
We'll be talking more about the mansion and the NFL Draft 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. If they own a mansion in Malibu, today is definitely a good day to tell them to sign up. All you have to do is click here and then share the link.
1. Today's show: Ranking receivers and tight ends in the draft
With the NFL Draft just nine days away, I don't think we're legally allowed to talk about anything but the draft on the podcast, so that's exactly what Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson did for Tuesday's show. Yesterday, Wilson gave us his full-seven round mock draft and since you're probably not done reading that yet -- I mean, it's 259 picks -- we decided not to overwhelm you for today's show.
For this episode, Wilson and Brinson kept things simple by discussing the top receivers and tight ends in the draft this year. Wilson started things off by listing his top 10 receivers and although you might know the obvious names like Ja'Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle, this is a deep receiving class and there's going to be some serious talent available late in the first round and into the second round with guys like Rondale Moore (Purdue), Amari Rodgers (Clemson) and Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State).
Wilson also ranked tight ends during the podcast and let me just say that unlike the receiving class, this one isn't exactly deep. After Kyle Pitts gets taken in the first round, there's a chance we might not see another tight end go off the board until the third round.
Besides the draft, Wilson and Brinson also spent some time breaking down the career of Alex Smith, who retired on Monday. To listen to today's show -- and to follow the podcast -- 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. NFL Draft trade rumors
Less than four weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers turned the top of the NFL Draft upside down when they decided to pull off a monstrous trade with the Miami Dolphins. The crazy thing about that trade is that just minutes after that March 26 deal was made, the Dolphins turned around and made another huge trade in a deal that went down with Eagles.
Since then, it almost seems like teams have stopped taking phone calls because we haven't seen any other trades involving first-round picks. However, that could be changing in the coming days. With the draft inching closer, the trade rumors are now heating up.
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the most recent rumors:
- Dolphins might make another trade. If the Dolphins' goal is to make more trades than any other team this year, they're on the right track. They've already made two and it seems that they're thinking about making at least one more. According to NFL.com, several teams have been calling the Dolphins about possibly moving up to the sixth spot and Miami is giving serious consideration to taking one of the deals and moving down in the draft.
- Eagles might make another trade. The Eagles originally had the sixth overall pick in the draft, but dropped down to 12th after their trade with Miami. Now, it seems Philadelphia has no plans to stay put. According to SI.com, the Eagles will consider making a move back into the top 10 if a player they like is available. On the other hand, if they stay at 12 and don't like their options, they'll also think about trading down. Basically, the Eagles are getting antsy and it doesn't sound like they plan on staying at 12.
- Broncos have called the Falcons about trading up to No. 4. The Broncos haven't really tried to hide the fact that they'd like to get an upgrade at the quarterback position and their plan for doing that could involve a big trade with the Falcons. According to Woody Paige, Denver has already called Atlanta about making a possible deal. If a trade happens, the Broncos would most likely take either Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
- Cowboys getting calls. The Cowboys have the 10th overall pick in this year's draft and it appears there are a few teams who would like to acquire that pick. Cowboys COO Stephen Jones revealed on Monday that his team has been taking plenty of calls about teams that want to trade into the top 10 .
If all three of those teams were to make a trade on draft day, that would be three deals before we even got out of the top 10, which is my way of saying you better put the kids to bed early and get buckled in on draft night because things could get crazy.
3. NFL Insider notes: Are the Jets definitely a lock to draft Zach Wilson?
If there's one team picking in the top 10 of the NFL Draft that no one seems to be talking about this year, it's the New York Jets and that's because everyone seems to be assuming that they're going to select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. However, it seems that not everyone is convinced that's going to happen.
Wilson has been tied to the Jets for more than a month now, but that was before all the other quarterbacks held their pre-draft workouts. Now that the Jets have seen everyone, will they stick with Wilson?
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason Canfora floated that question in his Insider notes column :
"Are we all sure that Wilson is going second?" one longtime AFC executive said. "Is that written in stone somewhere? Seriously, have they come out and said it? Maybe Wilson is the pick, but you can't tell me he is absolutely a better prospect than Fields. We would take Fields there at 2. What if they do take Fields? Then San Francisco takes Wilson. Then New England comes up to 4 and gets Jones. There's no way that could happen?"
Um, doesn't seem totally crazy to me. Not in the least. Teams have done the unexpected and surprised us before, just when we thought we had them all figured out."
In his weekly notes, La Canfora also discussed the draft plans for the Ravens and Steelers, plus he took a look at nine teams that could try to trade for Aaron Rodgers if the Packers ever decide to get rid of him. To check out all the notes, be sure to click here.
4. Steelers give Mike Tomlin three-year extension
Although there were some Steelers fans calling for Mike Tomlin's head due to the way season ended last year, the team definitely wasn't listening to those fans and we know that because the Steelers awarded their longtime coach with a three-year extension on Tuesday.
The new deal means that the 49-year-old Tomlin is now under contract in Pittsburgh through the 2024 season. The most interesting thing about the new deal is that it basically means Tomlin has agreed to stick around in a post-Ben Roethlisberger world. The 2021 season will likely be Big Ben's final year with the team and that means Tomlin will be on the hunt for a new quarterback.
Although the 2020 season didn't end the way the Steelers wanted it to, the fact of the matter is that Tomlin has been one of the most successful coaches in the NFL for well over a decade. Here's a quick look at what he's done during his time in Pittsburgh:
- AFC North domination. In 14 seasons with the team, Tomlin has led the Steelers to nine playoff appearances, seven division titles and two Super Bowl appearances with one win. The Steelers have finished first or second in the division in 12 of Tomlin's 14 seasons with the team.
- Racking up wins. Tomlin has amassed a total of 145 wins in his career, which is tied for the 21st most in NFL history. If Tomlin averages just NINE wins per season through the rest of his contract, that would move him into 11th all time.
- Never had losing record. In 14 seasons with the team, the Steelers have never finished under .500. Tomlin is one of only two coaches in NFL history -- along with Marty Schottenheimer -- to start a career with 14 non-losing seasons.
- Been around forever. Only two coaches in the NFL have been at their current job longer than Tomlin and those coaches are Bill Belichick (hired by the Patriots in 2000) and Sean Payton (hired by the Saints in 2006).
Tomlin is just the third Steelers head coach since the 1969 season, joining Hall of Famers Chuck Noll (1969-91) and Bill Cowher (1992-2006). To put that in perspective, the Browns have had four coaches since 2018. Once Tomlin finishes the 2021 season, he'll have coached the Steelers longer than Cowher.
5. How the Jaguars 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 Jacksonville Jaguars.
As you've probably heard by now, the Jaguars have the first overall pick in the draft this year and as long as Trevor Lawrence doesn't retire from football between now and April 29, there's basically a 197% chance that Jacksonville is going to draft him.
The Lawrence pick is so easy that not even the Jaguars can botch it (At least I don't think they can botch it), which means the big question in Jacksonville is: What should the Jags do with the rest of their picks?
That's where our Tyler Sullivan comes in. If the Jaguars want to have a perfect draft, they just need to follow Sullivan's simple plan below and that simple plan is to build around Lawrence.
- Emphasize protecting Lawrence with the 25th-overall pick. "The club placed the franchise tag on tackle Cam Robinson, which may have some writing off the need to bring in an offensive tackle this spring. However, given the one-year nature of Robinson's tag, it's tremendously important to have stability in front of Lawrence, which they could ensure they'll have by having an open mind about tackling a lineman at this spot."
- Take best-player available at 33. "While it's a bit more traditional for teams with a more complete roster to take the best-player-available approach, this could work to the Jaguars' benefit with the first pick in the second round. At No. 33 overall, there is bound to be a handful of players that surprisingly fell out of the first round and Jacksonville shouldn't have a specific position in mind to fill here. Instead, the Jags should let the board come to them and at that point see which way best suits the organization."
- Use Day Two to add weapons for Lawrence. "In all, the Jaguars have three picks on Day Two (No. 33, No. 45, and No. 65). While my ideal approach is to go best player available at No. 33 as you read above, this should be the area where Jacksonville looks to add weapons for Lawrence."
You can check out Sullivan's full explanation for his perfect Jaguars draft by clicking here. If you want to know how the rest of the AFC South can pull off a perfect draft, click here to see what the Titans should do, click here to see how the Colts should handle things and click here to see what moves would make the most sense for the Texans.
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.
- Jordan Reed retiring. After eight NFL seasons, the former Pro Bowl tight end has decided to retire. After being drafted by Washington in 2013, Reed showed flashes of his amazing talent, but he was rarely able to stay healthy. The 30-year-old missed at least one game during each of his eight seasons and missed a total of 53 games over eight years (6.6 games per year).
- Arrest warrant issued for Aldon Smith. Smith has dealt with multiple legal issues over the course of his career and he's now dealing with another one. An arrest warrant has been issued in Louisiana over an alleged assault incident that took place at a coffee shop. For more details on the situation involving the Seahawks defensive end, be sure to click here.
- Deshaun Watson's lawyer says all 22 accusers are lying. After watching the accusations mount, Watson's lawyer finally issued a legal response to the sexual misconduct lawsuits on Monday. In a court filing, Watson's attorney says all 22 accusers are lying to "get money" from Watson. The attorney has also claimed that he has "already uncovered evidence that numerous allegations ... are simply not true or accurate." You can click here for more details on the Watson case.
- Buccaneers finally have someone to back up Tom Brady. Going into this week, Brady was the only quarterback on Tampa Bay's roster and it appears the Buccaneers finally realized that, because they've finally added a backup. The team has re-signed Ryan Griffin, who was with the team last year, but didn't play in a single game.
- Dolphins sign D.J. Fluker. The Dolphins beefed up their offensive line on Tuesday by adding D.J. Fluker. The former first-round pick, who was drafted 11th overall by the Chargers in 2013, has had a steady NFL career. In 2020, the offensive tackle was with the Ravens and played in all 16 games, which included eight starts.
7. The Kicker: Rams will be drafting from a mansion in Malibu
If NFL teams learned one thing last year, it's that they don't have to conduct the draft from team headquarters. Due to the pandemic, every team was forced to draft from home in 2020 and apparently, the Rams liked drafting from home so much that they've decided to conduct this year's draft from a giant home in Malibu.
The team has rented out a 9,000 square-foot, oceanfront, luxury mansion and that's where they'll be situated for the draft this year. I'm not saying every team should rent out a mansion, but this is easily the best draft idea that any team has ever come up with. This monstrous house has an infinity pool, a bar and a perfect view of the pacific ocean. The best part for the Rams is that they don't even have a first-round pick this year so they can spend the first day of the draft lounging around in the pool and drinking pina coladas, which is what I would do every day if I lived in the house.
By the way, Cody Benjamin will be your point man for the newsletter tomorrow and that's because I'll be spending the next 24 hours trying to figure out how to score an invite to the Rams' party house in Malibu. If anyone in the Rams' front office is reading, please call me.