Three things Peter King learned from Colin Kaepernick’s workout


We all can, and do, have opinions about the Colin Kaepernick workout story. Mine: Here’s a guy who asked for teams to work him out for the past two years, and though the arrangements Saturday weren’t to his exact liking, the NFL arranged to have 20 or so teams at the Atlanta Falcons training facility for his first workout in front of NFL scouts (low-level ones, mostly), with the agreement that a video of the workout would be available for every GM and coach and staff in the league to see. That wasn’t good enough, in the end. Kaepernick had a problem with the waiver he’d have to sign. (I’m told this waiver is essentially the same one a tryout wide receiver, say, would have to sign to work out for a team during the season.) He didn’t trust the NFL to send the complete videotape to the teams. He didn’t trust that the NFL motives were pure—inviting scouts to see him work out when the league never does it for anyone else. One … excuse … after … another. Does someone dying for a tryout place all these obstacles in front of him at age 32, and then cancel the NFL workout and move the workout to a high-school field 60 miles away, while his last chances to play in the NFL fade away more and more by the day? If that were me, and I were dying to get back into the NFL, I’d show up and show those NFL scouts how wrong they and their organizations have been—whether this was a real tryout or something that allowed the NFL to say it tried.

But my opinion is meaningless. I don’t make NFL decisions. It’s more important to find out what the decision-makers think. I called a couple of veteran and smart NFL people (no names, positions or teams, to ensure frankness) in the 24 hours after the workout blew up.

I am going to paraphrase three points that I learned.

1. Is a backup quarterback worth this? Maybe he won’t be a backup for long; and maybe if he signed with a team like Cincinnati he’d have a good shot to win the starting job in 2020. But lay the cards out on the table. Nobody had worked him out in more than two years. The NFL said some teams were interested in working him out, but I don’t know if that’s true. I hadn’t heard a single bit of buzz about him as a football player this year. Not a syllable. One person kept wondering why he wouldn’t approach this workout this weekend, regardless of his disgust for the NFL, with the seriousness of a player longing to play pro football.

2. You may be surprised at this, but I believe there is some (slight) NFL interest. I told one of the two NFL people: Remember Kaepernick’s last year for the 49ers, 2016? Worked very hard, was cooperative with the press, gave social-justice opinion, kneeled before games, but he was dead-serious about winning and practice and being a team leader. I think it will take Kaepernick saying he’ll come in as a football player for the six or seven months of the preseason and season, leaving his political and social-justice pursuits for the offseason. I don’t know about the kneeling part. It’s obviously going to be a sore spot in some markets and with some teams. Gut feeling: I bet sometime in the next six months (we probably will not find out about it) Kaepernick meets very quietly with a team.

3. One person I spoke with said he thinks three coaches would fit with Kaepernick: Frank Reich of the Colts (nothing bothers him, and he’s a good teacher), the Chiefs’ Andy Reid (signed Michael Vick out of Leavenworth, doesn’t care about fires outside his door), and Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich in Tampa (good teachers, tough-love guys). This person stressed to me how important it was that Kaepernick go to a place that would allow him to focus on football and learn football and get back into a football regimen after three or so years away. The most interesting thing in this regard is the person wondering how long it had been since Kaepernick was hit. By the time he signs, if he does, would it be 40 months since he played the game of football?

It’s easy, of course, for me to say, Just suck it up and play, dude. But Kaepernick is wired differently. I thought something I read Sunday night, from Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, was smart and relevant.

“It has been clear for years the league doesn’t want him in it,” Thompson wrote. “And suddenly, the league is extending an olive branch days before Week 11? That reeks of a setup in the works.Yet I’d do it anyway. Because I’m just a guy. I wouldn’t feel big enough, strong enough, to take on a multibillion corporation. I would know I was being hustled but just take the chance I was wrong. Because, in the end, what other option would I have? Some forces feel too great. Some defeats seem too inevitable. This is how most people feel. You take what you can get. Often, you settle for what is less than you deserve. You put up with what you know is wrong because it is not as bad as it could be. I’d tell myself this is the best I can hope for. I’d talk myself into being grateful for the chance. I’d likely call it a blessing, the whole time knowing I’m probably getting played. Who am I not to not take an olive branch if the NFL, holder of dreams, offers one?

“But this is why Colin Kaepernick is different, and so beloved. This is why I find him inspiring. He just refuses to bend, to compromise his beliefs.”

Something smart to consider, whatever you think of Kaepernick’s decision on Saturday.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft CB Rankings: Devon Witherspoon highlights loaded draft class


The 2023 NFL Draft is growing nearer, with just weeks remaining until teams make selections that could alter the future of their franchise forever.

A solid secondary is crucial to any team’s defensive prowess, and for the teams looking to tighten up in coverage, this year’s draft is the one to do so.

The 2023 NFL Draft cornerback class is an incredibly deep one, but which corner will be first off the board? Chris Simms unveiled his 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback rankings this week on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, posting Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon at the top of his list of corners in this year’s crop.

But trailing Witherspoon very closely are four other potential NFL superstars, with Simms ranking Michigan’s DJ Turner at No. 2, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez at No. 3, Maryland’s Deonte Banks at No. 4 and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo at No. 5.

The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27, and end on Saturday, April 29. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday. Click here for Simms’ quarterback rankings,and here for his list of top wide receivers.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms’ Top Five CB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

Tier One

1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

2. DJ Turner, Michigan

3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Tier Two

4. Deonte Banks, Maryland

Tier Three

5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

RELATED: 2023 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft CB Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ CB draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

What Simms said: “This guy is must-see TV. He’s up there with one of the most twitchy, sudden people I’ve ever seen in my life to the point where when he takes off, you’re like, ‘Wait, is that real? Did he really get to full speed in half a step?’ … Bump or off, both are phenomenol —  it’s rare to have that. He’s got very good play strength for a guy that’s 5’11” and a half at 181 lbs. He doesn’t know that, he thinks he’s 220 … It’s efficient and easy. He’s sudden and can see the ability to accelerate whether it’s downhill or sticking the foot in the ground and changing direction. As compared to my No. 2 and No. 3 guy, he might be a hair tighter in his hips, but his twitchiness and explosion and acceleration … you just start to go, ‘What does this guy not have, besides the fact that he’s not 6’2” or over 200 lbs.’ He’s phenomenol.”

No. 2: DJ Turner, Michigan

What Simms said: “To me, (DJ Turner is) the most technically sound corner in the draft. There’s nobody better at technique. Like Witherspoon, the ability to mirror receivers at the line of scrimmage, the quick feet, it’s phenomenol. His hips are better than Witherspoon … His ability to flip those hips, turn and break on the ball, it’s right up there. It’s actually more smooth hip-wise than it is for Devon Witherspoon … What more can you say about the guy? Start-stop ability, amazing. Make-up speed, amazing. Other than Witherspoon, I think he’s put in the second-most tough spots out of anybody I’ve watched in this. He plays man-to-man, in your face a ton against big-time receivers. He’s awesome defending double moves. He could be the best nickel or outside guy, and he’s also the fastest guy in the draft. He’s got it all.”

No. 3: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

What Simms said: “There’s not much to pick apart here … He’s got a little more size and meat on his bones. The Tee Higgins of the world, the bigger receivers of the world, they’re gonna have a harder time pushing him around and doing that stuff. He’s got incredible ball skills … He looks prototype. He looks Darrelle Revis, Champ Bailey-ish in his uniform …  He just wasn’t as edgy as the other guys … He’s gonna match up better with DeAndre Hopkins than the other two. But I don’t know if he’ll match up better with Jaylen Waddle or Ja’Marr Chase than the other two … But his technique is real. He’s a top-20 pick. You talk size, technique and straight speed, of course this guy is one of the top corners in the draft.” 

No. 4: Deonte Banks, Maryland

What Simms said: “He has more measurables like Gonzalez. 6 foot, 197 lbs., there’s a thickness to him and a power and strength element that certainly jumps out. Let alone, speed is Real Deal Holyfield … man-to-man, great legs, runs easy … He’s comfortable in his speed. He’s never panicked. He’s comfortable in going, ‘You have a step on me? That’s fine, I’m good,’ … But he’s also incredible, like Witherspoon and Turner, at getting on top of people when they try to run a go-route. No one can ever really get around him for the most part … He’s sticky as hell, he’s got very good feet, but he doesn’t know how to use his hands at all yet. So he’s not really that great at jamming people at the line of scrimmage, but he’s never not there … I thought his ability to play the ball and create PBUs in those 50/50 situations where the quarterback tries to throw the ball back shoulder and all that, he’s got a great feel and vision to be able to cover and see the throw at the same time that I was very impressed with.”

No. 5: Kelee Ringo, Georgia

What Simms said: “When you turn on the film, you go, ‘What? This guy’s a corner, he’s not a safety?’ Because he has a prototype safety vibe … Against the bigger, straight-liner guys, nobody’s gonna push this dude around. That’s certainly not going to be an issue, that along with the straight speed. Hey, the change of direction stuff is not beautiful. He’s a little heavy-footed because he’s a bigger guy … but it’s not bad … When he opens up, he can really go; obviously with a 4.36 second 40 time … He’s very smooth as far as an athlete overall.” 

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings

  1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  2. DJ Turner, Michigan
  3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
  4. Deonte Banks, Maryland
  5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!