NFL News & Analysis

Doug Kyed's Mailbag: Rookie quarterbacks, Ravens wide receivers and more

Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) holds out the ball after running for a touchdown in the first quarter of the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL schedule has officially been announced, so fans have their eyes set on September and beyond with questions about which rookie quarterbacks could start Week 1, 2021 playoff teams that could miss the postseason, how the Baltimore Ravens can fix their receiving corps and more.

Read this week’s mailbag below.

@zuk60746497:Which 2021 playoff teams are you most concerned about falling off this year?

The 2021 playoff team with the lowest current win total odds is the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7.5. And that makes sense. The Steelers snuck into the playoffs with nine wins last season, lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to retirement and then replaced him with two unproven signal-callers in free-agent addition Mitchell Trubisky and 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

2022 win total betting odds for 2021 playoff teams:

Buffalo Bills: 11.5
Green Bay Packers: 11.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 11.5
Kansas City Chiefs: 10.5
Dallas Cowboys: 10.5
Los Angeles Rams: 10.5
San Francisco 49ers: 9.5
Cincinnati Bengals: 9.5
Arizona Cardinals: 9.5
Tennessee Titans: 9.5
Philadelphia Eagles: 8.5
New England Patriots: 8.5
Las Vegas Raiders: 8.5
Pittsburgh Steelers: 7.5

The Steelers otherwise added some useful pieces this offseason in guard James Daniels, linebacker Myles Jack and center Mason Cole while losing wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and guard Trai Turner. Veteran cornerback Joe Haden is among the Steelers’ free agents still available.

While it’s entirely possible that Trubisky or Pickett could wind up being improvements over Roethlisberger this season, a playoff berth is looking unlikely based on their win total betting odds.

Other teams to worry about repeating would include the Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, all of whom have an over/under win total of 8.5. The Patriots, at least on paper, probably underwent the least improvement this offseason.

@CJHurricane781: Between Davante Adams & Tyreek Hill, which one do you think is in a better position to produce from a fantasy perspective?

PFF’s own Ian Hartitz has Raiders receiver Davante Adams (sixth) ranked one spot ahead of Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill (seventh) on his most recent 2022 fantasy football rankings piece.

That makes sense. Adams has the better quarterback in Derek Carr and competition in targets from Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Hill will see a more significant downgrade in quarterback from Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa and will be competing for targets with Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki and Cedrick Wilson.

It’s also worth noting that Adams is not starting from scratch with Carr. The two were teammates at Fresno State. There are questions about how Hill’s speed will match up with Tagovailoa’s lack of arm strength.

@PoetryintheSand: See any rookie QB's starting week #1?

Here’s how I’d rank the likelihood of each of the top rookie QBs starting in Week 1:

  1. Kenny Pickett, PIT
  2. Matt Corral, CAR
  3. Desmond Ridder, ATL
  4. Sam Howell, WAS
  5. Malik Willis, TEN
  6. Bailey Zappe, NE

There’s pretty much zero chance that Willis or Zappe will start over Ryan Tannehill or Mac Jones, respectively, but Willis was drafted higher than Zappe, so that’s why I put him one spot above.

It was tough to decide between Corral and Ridder. We saw Panthers starting quarterback Sam Darnold benched multiple times last season, so it doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility that he could have a bad enough summer that Carolina would turn the reins over to Corral. Ridder faces slightly steeper competition in free-agent addition Marcus Mariota.

The Panthers could, of course, still acquire a veteran quarterback such as Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo. That would probably push Ridder over Corral since Ridder was drafted higher than Corral.

There’s definitely a solid chance that zero rookie quarterbacks will be starting Week 1.

@bldnghrtcnsrvtv: Are the Seahawks actually that confident in Drew Lock, or do you see them still adding a QB?

“Confident” is a strong word, but it’s May 13, the Seattle Seahawks have had ample opportunities to add a quarterback through trades, free agency and the draft, and they’ve chosen to stick with Drew Lock, Geno Smith, Jacob Eason and Levi Lewis.

They’re, at least, willing to head into the 2022 season with those four options, otherwise, they would have scrambled to add another quarterback at this point.

The Seahawks’ win total over-under is currently 5.5, which is tied for third-lowest in the league behind the Falcons and Texans. The Panthers, Falcons and New York Jets also have a win total over/under of just 5.5.

I think it’s still within the realm of possibility that the Seahawks could add a quarterback such as Mayfield. If they stick with Lock and Smith, then they should be considered one of the favorites to land a top quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud (+200), Alabama’s Bryce Young (+225), Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec (+1500), Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke (+1800) and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler (+1800) are among the favorites to go No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

@LianNFT:Who has the best chance of reaching the playoffs, #Seahawks  or #BroncosCountry  ?

The Broncos’ win total over/under is 10.5. So, definitely Denver.

@Edu__GR: What needs to be done by the Commanders to be a competitive team again?

Find a franchise QB, whether that’s Howell, Stroud, Young, Carson Wentz or someone else.

@InkedExplorer88: Hey Doug for us Big Blue NY Football Giants fans… at what point in the season will we have enough info to have the word on Daniel Jones? We giving this kid all year and going draft 2023? Or if he stinks right away does Brian Dabol make a trade mid season? Thanks!

A mid-season trade for a quarterback seems unlikely. I’d bank on Daniel Jones being given a long leash for the 2022 season.

@willofhousewill: Would the ravens be better served expanding the roles of the young receivers and adding depth in the secondary or signing Jarvis Landry?

I think the Baltimore Ravens need to add a veteran wide receiver. Jarvis Landry makes a lot of sense. Will Fuller could be a pretty decent facsimile of traded wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, as well.

As Baltimore’s roster currently stands, it has 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman and a bunch of guys with little-to-no NFL experience.

Devin Duvernay has 53 career receptions for 473 yards with two touchdowns and 11 carries for 120 rushing yards, James Proche has just 17 career receptions for 216 yards, and Tylan Wallace caught two passes for 23 yards as a rookie in 2021. The Ravens could probably enter the season with one of those receivers as a third option, but they need more certainty at the position even in a run-heavy offense with receiving options at running back and tight end.

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