Veterans who could be facing chopping block, plus NFL schedule leaks and 2023 top offensive prospects

Hello, everyone! Just one more day until the full 2022 NFL schedule is made public. John Breech can’t sit still as he works to identify schedule leaks and plot the Bengals’ path to another playoff run, so you’ve got me, Cody Benjamin, here to deliver all the latest from around the NFL. This is the Pick Six newsletter. Now let’s get to it.

(And 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 schedule leaks and previews, early 2023 draft projections, and much more:

  1. Today’s show: Which teams have easiest 2022 schedules?

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We’re still a day away from the NFL’s official full schedule release, but John Breech joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to assess strength-of-schedule rankings and preview which teams have the easiest and toughest slates in 2022. Some highlights of the discussion:

  • The Rams have an uphill climb to repeat as Super Bowl champions, with Breech reiterating that Los Angeles has the toughest schedule in the league, facing 10 playoff teams in 2022. The runner-up Bengals, meanwhile, have the toughest in the AFC.
  • The guys like the Matt Ryan-led Colts as sleeper contenders, considering they enter with the easiest schedule in the AFC and presently have long odds to win the conference (+1300) or Super Bowl (+2500).
  • The NFC East could be a real source of intrigue, with all four teams potentially benefiting from their schedules, which are the easiest in the NFL in terms of strength of schedule. The Eagles, remember, made the playoffs in 2021 off a weak schedule.

Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.

2. Schedule leak tracker: Running list of 2022 matchups

Speaking of schedules, John Breech has been tracking every single 2022 game that’s either been leaked or announced ahead of the official Thursday night release. Here are some of the notable matchups already on the books:

  • Week 2: Chargers at Chiefs, 8:20 pm ET (Amazon Prime)
  • Week 4: Vikings at Saints (in London), 9:30 am ET (NFL Network)
  • Week 11: 49ers at Cardinals (in Mexico City), 8:15 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Week 16: Broncos at Rams, 4:30 pm ET (CBS, Nickelodeon)

3. First-round pick contract tracker: Ikem Ekwonu lands $ 27M deal

Ik Ekwonu

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As OTAs and training camp draw closer, all eyes are on the top rookies reporting for work. Fortunately, Tyler Sullivan has us covered with a running tracker of every first-rounder’s contract situation. No. 6 overall pick Ikem Ekwonu, the Panthers’ new left tackle, is one of the latest big names to ink his deal, a $ 27.57 million fully guaranteed pact. Check out Sullivan’s tracker for complete contract details for all 32 first-round picks.

4. Veterans who could be on chopping block after draft

With the draft in the rear view, plenty of teams are beginning offseason work with new faces across the lineup. Some old ones could also be on the way out. Now that rookies are on board, draft expert Chris Trapasso has identified some notable veterans who could find themselves on the brink:

  • Bills RB Zack Moss: If Zack Moss is cut this summer, the financials will not have played a major role in it. Suddenly, though, Buffalo’s backfield is crowded. The Bills signed veteran Duke Johnson this offseason and picked James Cook in the second round of the draft. Devin Singletary enters camp as the penciled-in starter after a strong 2021 campaign.
  • Seahawks RB Chris Carson: They finally got quality production from former first-round pick Rashaad Penny at the tail end of the 2021 campaign, and they picked up the highly touted Kenneth Walker in the second round. Those two occurrences do not bode well for Chris Carson, the vintage brick wall of a back who simply happens to crumble far too often.
  • Patriots WR Nelson Agholor: His contract is starting to stick out like a sore thumb on the Patriots’ books. His 2022 cap hit is $ 14.8 million, and while New England probably doesn’t want to absorb $ 10M in a dead cap this season, it could afford to do it. It doesn’t feel like the ideal time to remove receiving weapons from the offense for second-year quarterback Mac Jones, but the Patriots do have plenty of pass-catching bodies on the roster now.

5. Top 2023 offensive prospects: CJ Stroud headlines QBs

CJ Stroud

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Is it too early to look ahead to the 2023 draft class? No way, says Josh Edwards. He’s dropped a position-by-position look at the best offensive prospects slated to leave college next spring. And he believes 2023’s top QBs will draw much more interest than this year’s crop of signal-callers:

  1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Will Levis, Kentucky
  4. Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
  5. Devin Leary, NC State

Stroud was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in college football last season. Young is an instinctual and impromptu playmaker who makes good decisions. Levis is a strong-armed quarterback with plus mobility. Van Dyke has great size for the position, never panics and throws with touch down the field. Leary was a productive player last season. His passes have good zip and the ball placement is usually good.

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Broncos’ record sale, new MVP odds, more

Hungry for more headlines? You came to the right place:

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