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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

You better buckle up and get ready because things are likely going to start getting crazy in the NFL this week ... Actually, things have already started to get crazy, and it started on Monday with Mike Evans landing a huge contract with the Buccaneers. We also had a new kickoff proposal unveiled over the weekend. 

Oh, and let's not forget that the franchise tag deadline is coming tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET, which means there could be some drama on that front. Anyway, we have a loaded newsletter today, so let's get to it. 

As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. 

1. Mock Draft Monday: Top-four picks are all quarterbacks

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If you've been reading this newsletter since the end of the Super Bowl, then you know that the first day of every week here is known as Mock Draft Monday. That's where we give you a new mock draft, and this week, we have a big one from Kyle Stackpole. The reason it's big is because it's our first post-combine mock draft. 

The big change this week is that Stackpole has a quarterback going with EACH of the top four picks. 

With that in mind, here are the top-15 picks from his mock: 

1. Bears: QB Caleb Wiliams (USC)
2. Commanders: QB Drake Maye (UNC)
3. Patriots: QB Jayden Daniels (LSU) 
4. Giants (via mock trade with Cardinals): QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan)
5. Chargers: WR Marvin Harrison, Jr. (Ohio State)
6. Cardinals (via mock trade with the Giants): EDGE Dallas Turner (Alabama)
7. Titans: OT Joe Alt (Notre Dame)
8. Falcons: WR Malik Nabers (LSU)
9. Bears: WR Rome Odunze (Washington)
10. Jets: OL Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn State)
11. Vikings: CB Terrion Arnold (Colts) 
12. Broncos: TE Brock Bowers (UGA)
13. Raiders: CB Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) 
14. Saints: OT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State) 
15. Colts: WR Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU) 

If you want to see how the rest of the first round pans out in his mock, then be sure to check out his entire mock draft by clicking here

For more draft coverage, you can hear in-depth analysis twice a week on "With the First Pick" -- our year-round NFL Draft podcast with Ryan Wilson and Rick Spielman. You can find "With the First Pick" wherever you get your podcasts: Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube

2. Winners and losers from the NFL Combine, plus Worthy breaks record for 40-yard dash 

With the 2024 NFL Combine officially in the books, we had our NFL Draft guru Josh Edwards go back and assess everything that happened. Edwards did that by making a list of winners and losers, and here's what he came up with:


  • WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas. "Mitchell ran .13 seconds slower than his Texas teammate, Xavier Worthy, but also weighed 40 pounds more. At 6-foot-2, the one-time Georgia transfer had a 39.5 inch vertical jump and an 11-feet-4-inch broad jump. His size and athletic profile are that of a top-flight pass catcher in the NFL, which will likely catapult him into the first round."
  • CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo. "Mitchell has A's across his report card over the past few months. He recorded six interceptions in his final two seasons with the Rockets. He has shown the speed to carry routes vertically but can also transition across the field and trigger quickly downfield in run support. Mitchell singed the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium running a 4.33 second 40-yard dash and jumped out of the stadium."

We do have some winners on our list who do not have the last time of Mitchell. You can see Josh's full winners list here


  • CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama. "McKinstry was unable to participate as he deals with an injury. Alabama's Terrion Arnold and Mitchell had strong days, while Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds before bowing out prematurely due to an injury. McKinstry needs a sub 4.5 second 40-yard dash to really keep his stock towards the top of the cornerback class as others have surged up the board."
  • EDGE Austin Booker, Kansas. "Booker was one of my favorite sleeper prospects coming into the week. He weighed in at 240 pounds, which was lower than the film suggested. If he had dropped weight and ran a fast 40-yard dash, then it would have been understandable, but his 4.79 seconds was not impressive."

There was a lot of other action at the combine over the weekend -- we saw the 40 RECORD GO DOWN -- so here are a few other nuggets:

  • Worthy sets 40 record. Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy etched his name into NFL history by setting the record for the fastest 40 ever with a 4.21. Worthy broke the previous record of 4.22, which had been held by John Ross since 2017. You can see Worthy's blazing fast run here. Worthy will now be looking to break a trend: The fastest guys at the combine rarely pan out in the NFL, especially at wide receiver. Here's a full list of every receiver who has run 4.32 or less since 2000 and as you'll see, there are very few future NFL stars on the list
  • Out-of-this-world jump. Tyler Owens made headlines last week when he said he doesn't believe in "space" or other planets, and he also made headlines over the weekend when he pulled off the second-longest broad jump in the history of the combine. The Texas Tech defensive back jumped 12 feet and two inches, which left him just one inch short of the all-time record. You can see Owens' jump here
  • Joe Milton has a cannon for an arm. If we learned one thing about the QB class, it's that Joe Milton has a cannon for an arm. The Tennessee quarterback threw a completion over the weekend that traveled 70 YARDS in the air (You can see the play here). To put that in perspective, the longest pass ever thrown IN THE AIR in a game is believed to be 72 yards, but it fell incomplete. Since 2000, the longest completed pass in terms of air yards is believed to be 68.6 (preseason by Patrick Mahomes) and 67.6 (regular-season pass by PJ Walker that you can see here). Milton is projected to be a Day 3 pick in the NFL Draft.  
  • Christian McCaffrey's brother is faster than Christian McCaffrey. Luke McCaffrey ran a 4.47 40 over the weekend, which topped Christian's time by just .01 (Christian ran a 4.48 in 2017). Luke, who is a receiver, jumped around to several colleges during his football career, but he played his final season at Rice, where he caught 68 passes for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2023. 

Finally, if you want to know how the top receivers did at the combine, then be sure to check out our story here. If you're more interested in running backs, you can see how they fared by clicking here. We also took a look at some sleepers from the combine, and you can see our full list here

3. One thing we learned about every team at the NFL Combine

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During the early portion of the NFL Combine, we saw more than 45 coaches and general managers speak last week. Although it's smoke screen season and you never know who's telling the truth, we had Jordan Dajani parse through each press conference so he could come up with one major nugget that we learned about each team. 

Here are a few things he learned: 

  • Bears: Justin Fields trade will likely come quickly. Bears general manager Ryan Poles made it sound like a trade could come sooner rather than later. "I will say this: If we go down that road, I wanna do right by Justin as well," Poles said. "No one wants to live in gray. I know that's uncomfortable. I wouldn't wanna be in that situation either. So we'll gather the information. We'll move as quickly as possible."
  • Colts: Indianapolis won't be letting Michael Pittman Jr. go. The Colts' No. 1 wideout is going to be back in Indy in 2024. "Even if the Colts have to use the franchise tag. "We'll work hard to get a deal done. [The franchise tag] is a tool we have," said Colts GM Chris Ballard, via 1075TheFan. "I'm not going to say we're not going to use it, but I'm not going to say we are. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and find some compromise on a deal."
  • Broncos: Russell Wilson is definitely gone. If there was any question, it appears Mr. Unlimited's times in Denver is limited. Broncos head coach Sean Payton said at the combine that a decision will be made on Russ soon. He also made several comments about the Broncos' next quarterback. 
  • Chargers: L.A. could be a player for a big free agent running back. Most teams don't value the running back position as highly anymore, but the Chargers may be one of those few teams. "Running backs are important for an offense, and I truly believe that," new Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz said, via The Athletic. "I've been in Baltimore for 26 years, and running backs were extremely important. And certainly in Jim's offense and Greg's offense, it will be."Not only is Hortiz from Baltimore, but so is new Chargers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He's known for running the football, and it's something he's going to do in L.A.

That's only four teams. If you want to see what he learned about the other 28 teams, be sure to check out his full story here

4. Mike Evans staying in Tampa Bay

NFL free agency won't be starting until March 13, but one of the best available receivers is already off the market. Mike Evans has a agreed to a two-year deal with Tampa Bay. 

Here's what you need to know

  • Buccaneers hand Evans $52 million. The five-time Pro Bowler will be given a two-year deal worth $52 million, which averages out to $26 million per year. The average makes Evans one of the five-highest paid receivers in the league and the average annual value is believed to be the highest given to a receiver who's at least 30 years old, according to his agent. According to's Joel Corry, a former NFL agent, Evans' new deal will make effectively make him the second-highest paid receiver in the NFL. 
  • Why this is big for the Bucs. Some receivers take a step back at age 30, but not Evans. In a contract year, Evans went off by catching 79 passes for 1,255 yards. Evans has now started his career by hitting the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his 10 seasons, which is the second-longest streak to start a career in NFL history (Only Jerry Rice has a longer streak). Evans also caught 13 touchdown passes in 2023, which led the NFL. 
  • A lot of other teams were interested in Evans. If the receiver had hit free agency, it's almost a guarantee that he wouldn't have ended up back in Tampa Bay. According to The Athletic, there were multiple teams interested in Evans, including the Titans, Rams, Chiefs, Patriots, Giants, Panthers, Falcons and Jaguars. 

With this new deal, Evans has now taken one step closer to playing his entire career in Tampa Bay. The receiver, who was taken by the Bucs with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, will have played 12 seasons in Tampa Bay if he plays out this new contract with the Bucs. 

With Evans off the market, you can see our updated list of top receivers expected to hit free agency here

5. Drastic changes could be coming on kickoffs: Here are the details on the likely proposal

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There's a good chance the kickoff is going to be undergoing a huge change this offseason, and we finally have an idea of what those changes are going to look like. Special teams coordinators from around the league met over the weekend to help with a new kickoff proposal. 

Here's what you need to know about the proposal, which resembles the kickoff that the XFL was once using: 

  • Most players will be within five yards of each other. For the kicking team, everyone besides the kicker will line up at the receiving team's 40-yard line. For the receiving team, there can be one or two returners, but the nine or 10 players not returning will be required to be at the 35-yard line, just five yards away from the kicking team's players. The kicker and returner will be the only players on the field not within five yards of each other. 
  • The action doesn't start right away. The kicker and the returner are the only two players who can move BEFORE the ball is touched by the returner. So the kicker will kick it off from his own 30 and then the kicking team will have to wait until the returner fields the ball before they can try to tackle him. They can also move if the ball lands inside the receiving team's 20-yard line. 
  • There are a lot ways a kickoff can end with a touchback. If the kickoff doesn't make it past the return team's 20-yard line, then the ball is considered out of bounds and the return team will get possession at its own 40-yard line. If the ball is kicked into the end zone on the fly, then the return team gets a touchback at its own 35-yard line. If a ball lands inside the 20 and rolls into the end zone, then the touchback will only go out to the 20. 
  • Why there will be different touchback rules. The new proposal is supposed to encourage returns, so kickers are being discouraged from kicking it through the end zone. If they have a ball go in the end zone on the fly, the receiving team gets it at the 35. The rule is essentially incentivizing kickers to kick a returnable ball. 
  • Onside kick will be changing. Since the ball HAS to make it to the receiving team's 20-yard line to be considered in play, that kills the onside kick. In the XFL, they got around this by implementing a fourth-and-15 play instead of an onside kick. If a team converted the play from its own 25-yard line, it got to keep the ball. The NFL will not be using that rule. In the NFL, onside kicks will only be allowed in the fourth quarter, and only if a team is trailing. Also, the team that wants to attempt the onside kick will have to "declare" that it's trying it. This will eliminate the surprise onside kick. Teams might be allowed to have an unbalanced formation for an onside kick under the new rule, but that likely won't help as much as the NFL seems to think it will. 

As the resident special teams expert here at, I'm not a huge fan of the proposal. I actually liked the XFL rule, but that included the fourth-and-15 play instead of the onside kick. If the NFL wants to steal the XFL's rule, then it should steal it. Instead, it's taking a few parts of the rule and making the rest of it worse (If you're wondering what an XFL kickoff looks like, you can see it here). 

Over the past two seasons, NFL teams have recovered 25% of surprise onside kicks (1 of 4) while they've only recovered 4.5% of regular onside kicks. Surprise onside kicks have historically been recovered almost twice as often as a regular onside kicks, so taking the surprise kick out of the game makes no sense unless you're replacing it with a fourth-and-15 play, which the NFL is not doing here. 

One other thing about this rule is that NFL kickers are better than XFL kickers. The goal for a kicker will be to kick a low line drive down the middle of the field that lands just inside the 20-yard line. Footballs bounce in mysterious ways and this could set up a situation where the kicking team can recover the ball if the returner can't get his hands on it. 

You can read our full story on the proposal here.

6. Extra points: Jason Kelce expected to retire

It's been a busy weekend 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. 

  • Jason Kelce expected to announce retirement. By the time you read this, there's a good chance Kelce will have announced hire retirement. The Eagles center is holding a press conference at 1 p.m. ET today where he's expected to announce that he's done with football. There is a small chance that he could be announcing that he's returning for another season, but that seems unlikely. 
  • 49ers hire a new defensive coordinator. After taking nearly three weeks to get things figured out, the 49ers finally have a new DC. In the end, they ended up promoting defensive passing game coordinator Nick Sorensen. They've also hired former Chargers coach Brandon Staley as an associate head coach. You can read more about the hirings here
  • Joe Burrow expects to be back on the field in May. The Bengals QB, who underwent surgery on his wrist in November, is hoping to be fully cleared by May. "I think middle of May is when I am expecting to kind of be cleared for full contact and everything," Burrow told ESPN over the weekend. "Over the next month [to] month and a half, we'll kind of decide all those things."
  • Darren Waller considering retirement. The Giants tight end, who has been dealing with injuries for a good chunk of his career, is currently mulling retirement. For the details on that, be sure to head here
  • Cowboys star expected to hit free agency. After 13 seasons in Dallas, it appears that Tyron Smith might finally be moving on. The Cowboys have apparently decided to let their left tackle hit free agency. If you're wondering what the means, you can find out here
  • Britt Reid's prison sentence gets commuted. The son of Andy Reid will soon be out of prison. Reid's sentence has been commuted, which will allow him to serve out the rest of his sentence at home. He'll now be under house arrest until October 2025. Reid had been in jail since being convicted following a drunk driving incident that left a 5-year-old girl seriously injured in 2021. 
  • Chris Mortensen dies. The long-time NFL reporter, who had been with ESPN since 1991, passed away on Sunday at the age of 72. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called it a "sad day for everyone in the NFL." Mortensen was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016, but managed to stay on the job for several more years. For more NFL fans over the age of 30, Mortensen is a household name. You can read more about Mort's life here