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What All-Pros at each offensive position look like, plus rookie QBs most likely to outplay predecessors

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Happy Friday, everyone! John Breech is off for the day, so you have me, Kyle Stackpole, delivering all of the goods from around the NFL.

Be sure to subscribe right hereย to ensure you never miss a daily dose of NFL updates. And keep on reading for everything from rookie QB talk, projecting All-Pros and more.

1. Offseason topics we’re tired of hearing about

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (left) and HC Mike McCarthy

For those who say the NFL has no offseason, you’re mostly correct. But the time between when teams break from mandatory minicamps in mid-June to when they reconvene for training camp in late July is truly the slowest time of the year. And that leads to repetitive storylines and making things out of nothing. It’ll be that way until the football practices start back up in just over a month.

With this in mind, our Jeff Kerr decided to go through some storylines we’re tired of hearing about. Here are a few:

Dak Prescott’s contract situation with the Cowboys.ย “This one may be the most overblown of all, especially since Dallas refuses to give its franchise quarterback a massive deal after a career season. Prescott is going to be paid by somebody in 2025, but the question that has lingered on for months is if that will be the Cowboys. The Cowboys haven’t actually helped their cause by saying they are committed to Prescott. If Dallas is so committed, why has it not signed the soon-to-be 31-year-old Prescott in a contract year?

Back-and-forth between Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers. “The Aiyuk saga has been lingering for over a year, and it’s only growing with the explosion of wide receiver contracts this offseason. … One would think a Super Bowl team would want to pay one of their biggest offensive playmakers, especially since the 49ers’ window of contention is now. The 49ers do want to pay Aiyuk, but both sides clearly aren’t on the same page. … This story will continue to drag on until a resolution is made, with a lot of “he said, she said” until the issue is resolved. The Aiyuk trade rumors are already old.”

Basically anything Aaron Rodgers does. “Any storyline involving Rodgers is just a nuisance at this point. Of course, Rodgers skipping minicamp for whatever he was doing turned out to be a big deal — because the New York Jets made it one by saying it was an unexcused absence. Let the speculation begin! Is Rodgers committed to football? Does Rodgers like the Jets? What was more important than mandatory minicamp? … These questions will linger until Rodgers speaks again in July, and will certainly continue if the Jets lose games this fall.”

Check out all of the storylines Jeff is tired of hearing about, here.

2. Which rookie QBs will outplay their predecessors?

There will be a ton of focus on rookie QBs during the 2024 season; that’s what happens when they are drafted at a historic rate, with six going within the top-12 picks. But will they outplay their predecessor in Year 1? Douglas Clawson dove into the subject, ranking the six signal-callers by the likeliness of doing so. Here are the QBs who occupy slots six through four.

6. J.J. McCarthy, Vikings (Predecessor: Kirk Cousins). “J.J. McCarthy is the least-likely quarterback to outplay his predecessor, mostly because Kirk Cousins was a top-10 quarterback last year before he tore his Achilles in Week 8. McCarthy also has to beat out Sam Darnold for the starting job”

5. Michael Penix Jr., Falcons (Predecessor: Desmond Ridder). “I considered Penix for last place on this list, considering he could sit the entire season behind Kirk Cousins or be hurt himself. The scenario where Cousins is hurt and Penix is healthy is a small slice on the Venn diagram of Falcons’ 2024 quarterback play.

4. Drake Maye, Patriots (Predecessor: Mac Jones).ย “I expect a wash when comparing the Patriots’ quarterback situation in 2023 and what Drake Maye can provide in 2024. The Patriots have one of the worst situations ever for a first-round quarterback prospect, especially one as raw as Drake Maye.”

So, which first-year QB landed in the No. 1 spot? You can read the entire story right here.ย 

3. Projecting NFL All-Pros at each offensive position

Texans QB C.J. Stroud

Kudos to Josh Edwards, who went through every offensive position, taking the average measurements and combine data (in addition to draft position) from every All-Pro of the past five years. Then, based on the results, he projected a current NFL player and an NFL Draft prospect to become All-Pros in the future. Here’s a snippet from the QB section:ย 

“Quarterbacks often opt out of testing such as the 40-yard dash, bench press, etc. … so those numbers are less important. Where teams are finding these players IS important. Half of the All-Pro quarterbacks have been selected in the first round. The second, third, fourth and sixth rounds each have one representative.”

NFL player who profiles as potential All-Pro: C.J. Stroud, Texans

“Fans have been able to see more of Stroud’s personality since the season concluded. He is wired the right way as a competitor and a student of the game. His rookie season, which ended in the divisional round of the playoffs, was one of the best ever seen from a player in his first season. As he continues to grow more comfortable with the system, the talent around him, the atmosphere and more, he should be able to take his game to another level.”

If you liked that, you’re going to love Edwards’ article, which you can read here.

4. Players entering a make-it-or-break-it year

Every year is a prove-it year in the NFL, but for some, the results of a given season could have life-changing consequences. That’s the case for these eight players whom Chris Trapasso highlighted in his story for CBSSports.com this week. We’ve listed two below:

Bills CB Kaiir Elam.ย “The former Florida corner has been a wildly roller-coaster, without many impressive highs, since joining the team. Troubled by injuries, general inconsistency in coverage and penalty-inducing grabbiness, it’s been a real challenge for Elam to even stay on the field through his first two seasons in Buffalo, yet he hauled in two picks as a rookie — one in the end zone on a pass thrown by Patrick Mahomes — and has two career playoff interceptions. … With Tre’Davious White now residing in Los Angeles, the Bills need Elam to finally play like a former first-round selection.

Ravens WR Rashod Bateman. “On paper, the Ravens desperately needed receiver help when Bateman was drafted in 2021. But that was when Baltimore wasn’t too keen on throwing the football under Greg Roman. Add a litany of injuries, and you have an exquisite recipe for disappointment, which is precisely what Bateman has been through three seasons with the Ravens. … Baltimore needs to see more than 350-500 yards for him in Year 4, or his bust status will be cemented.”

5. Offseason topics no one is talking about

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa USATSI

We’ve already covered offseason topics we’re tired of hearing about in this newsletter, so how about the ones that no one is talking about? These under-the-radar storylines could have a massive impact on how teams perform in the fall. Here are a few questions Cody Benjamin sought to answer in his piece:

  • What’s the Dolphins‘ backup plan for QB and the offensive line?
  • Do the Seahawks have a top-10 roster?
  • Are RBs back in vogue?ย 

For an explanation of those questions, plus more topics people need to start talk talking about, check out the story here.

6. Extra points: Ex-Steeler attempts comeback, WR University?ย 

Want more NFL news? Here are some other noteworthy headlines from across the league:

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Author: Kyle Stackpole
June 21, 2024 | 1:35 pm

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