I’ve been begging the Chiefs to improve their pass-catching depth for years. It was an issue in Super Bowl LV against the San Francisco 49ers, and I think it hampered them again in 2021.
That being said, I think they should have tried to fix it when Tyreek Hill was still on the roster. The Chiefs’ wide receivers are pretty solid four or five deep with Mecole Hardman, rookies Skyy Moore and Justyn Ross, and veteran additions JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, among others such as Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon and Cornell Powell.
There’s a wide range of outcomes for that group. If Smith-Schuster can return to his 2018 form while Valdes-Scantling continues to ascend in addition to Moore and Ross catching on quickly, then they should be in good shape. However, none of that is guaranteed.
I like that they added depth. I think they made smart signings and a good pick in Moore, and I understand why they had to trade Hill. But is this a better group than what they had last year with Hill? A lot of things would have to bounce their way for that to be true.
I think wide receiver Tre Nixon would have to make the roster if New England was forced to cut down to 53 players right now. He was the best wide receiver on the field through two days of minicamp, aligning in the slot and making a slew of deep catches from quarterback Mac Jones.
Plenty of undersized slot receivers have come through New England, but I can’t recall Josh Boyce, Riley McCarron, Austin Carr or Braxton Berrios making as many impressive plays as Nixon did during a two-practice stretch. Nixon has a good combination of speed and agility, and at 6-feet, he is a little bit taller than the prototypical Patriots slot.
Most importantly, he seems to have a good rapport with Jones.
How does all of that affect Meyers? It might not at all. Meyers still hasn’t signed his restricted free-agent tender. It’s unclear why at this point, but it is worth noting that he’s represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, who had another RFA this offseason in Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson. The Browns back didn’t sign his RFA tender and instead agreed to a new one-year contract with the Browns with guarantees and money tied up in incentives.
Meyers is going to want to cash in on that wide receiver free agency money after this season. We’ll see if he winds up signing his RFA tender or if he’ll instead agree to a new deal, but the Patriots are done with spring practices for now, so they have until late July to figure it out.
So, yes, I think it would be an upset if Allen isn’t in contention for MVP this season, though he faces steep competition from Brady, Rodgers, Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and a ton of other great QBs.
Allen was PFF’s highest graded quarterback in the postseason with a 95.8 overall mark. If he can continue that trend into 2022, then yeah, he absolutely can be the MVP.
I’ll go with the wide receiver with the better quarterback, and that’s still, at this point, Davante Adams with Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr. I like Jalen Hurts’ potential, and I think A.J. Brown has a bright future, but Adams is currently the better wideout, and he has preexisting chemistry with Carr from their time at Fresno State.
I think part of it is just that Gardner Minshew is in a strange middleground where he’s a young quarterback with some solid starting experience, but no one wants to count on him as their de facto starter heading into a season.
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired him in a great deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, only giving up a conditional sixth-round pick in the trade. He’ll be a free agent after the season, and it will be interesting to see if a team either gives him a shot as a starter or signs him to compete with an aging veteran.
I can understand why the Eagles wouldn’t be in a rush to trade him right now with some still potential uncertainty in their quarterback room. Hurts has shown potential, but he’s not exactly a sure thing.
So, there’s still time for Minshew to earn respect, but I can’t necessarily say that he’s one of the best 32 quarterbacks in the NFL right now when Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo are still floating out there without starting spots.
It’s too early to say, but it’s an interesting question. Davis Mills earned a 58.5 overall PFF grade last season.
If we go back five years to 2017, the only rookie QBs with sub-60 grades were C.J. Beathard, DeShone Kizer and Nathan Peterman. None of those QBs remain with their original teams. Looking at rookie quarterbacks since 2013, the only ones who earned a sub-60 grade and made it to Year 5 with their original teams were Carr, Blake Bortles and Jared Goff.
So, yeah, it’s possible. The Texans might have to be patient with Mills, and I know Houston fans like him. There’s at least a precedent in place with someone like Carr.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was better than Cincinnati‘s Ja’Marr Chase in 2021. Jefferson had a 90.1 overall grade and 90.1 receiving grade while Chase posted an 85.3 overall grade and 86.1 receiving grade. Jefferson also earned a higher grade than Chase as a rookie, recording a 90.4 overall grade and 90.5 receiving grade.
Looking back at that 2019 LSU season, Chase had better potential than Jefferson, but Jefferson is probably currently better than Chase.
It would come as no surprise if Chase is the best wide receiver in football once the 2022 season is all said and done, however.
I’m talking myself into circles. They’re both great, but Jefferson has the better NFL track record right now.
I still have some questions about the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff, and I don’t think New England has top tier offensive talent, so some of the decks are stacked against Jones as he heads into Year 2.
That being said, I was impressed with Jones during minicamp. His accuracy on touch throws was tremendous, and he was hitting on every deep shot he took.
I don’t know if I want to throw out a stat line for Jones, but he has a chance to make a massive step forward if he plays a little bit less conservatively this season. I think the Patriots are in good shape with Jones.