Why 2020 undrafted free agency may crazier than the actual virtual draft

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The most interesting part of this draft, to personnel people, is what will happen when round seven is over. Every year, after the seventh round, scouts and coaches from the 32 NFL teams spend about the next two hours bartering with agents of undrafted players and with the undrafted player, trying to buy them cheap (2019 Pro Bowl running back Austin Ekeler cost $500 to sign as a UDFA in 2018) and do it while competing with 31 other buyers. But usually everyone’s in the same room doing it, or in rooms very close to the draft room so they can report when they land a player—or lose one. By the time the night’s over, more than 500 players will have NFL teams. Think of it: Almost double the number of players will get signed in two hours than get drafted over three long days.

This year? Scouts and coaches on cell-phone and video-conference chats, tethered to the main office by another video-conference feed, mentally sprinting to keep track of players who fly off the board.

“Chaos,” said Rams southeast scout Michael Pierce. “Controlled chaos when you’re in one building together. But this year, set apart, it could be crazier.”

“You hit the real story behind the draft,” Chiefs GM Brett Veach said last week. “The biggest challenge for most staff this year will not be in the draft, but [in undrafted] free agency . . . It’ll certainly be a story for years to come for all draft rooms, how it all went down.”

To see how a team will handle the UDFA planning and madness, look at the Rams. Most Rams scouts are given a college position group to follow each fall, and that scout is paired with the Rams position coach to work the group together. Pierce and Rams running backs coach Thomas Brown take the backs, and they begin to work on a condensed version of the prospect list for backs after the season. Once the draft is winding down, in the sixth and seventh rounds, Pierce and Brown will start calling agents for the best backs on their list who they believe won’t get drafted and try to sell them on signing with the Rams. Maybe there will be four or five prime candidates, and Pierce and Brown will call the players and the agents to give them the recruiting pitch. “As a scout,” said Pierce, “that pursuit is really one of the fun parts of the game.” This year, the Rams, with only one sure-thing back (2019 third-rounder Darrell Henderson) on the roster, could need one of the Pierce/Brown products to make their roster.

Rams GM Les Snead admitted it will be impossible to have the same supervisory capability with scouts and coaches in different places—in this case Pierce in Daphne, Ala., and Brown in Los Angeles, connected by video conference. Said Snead: “You give them ownership to make the call and close the sale.”

“Because of the separation of scouts and teams,” said former NFL GM Scott Pioli, “there’s probably going to be some balls dropped unintentionally this year. The process will naturally take longer.” Pioli says he think the Panthers could have an edge in the UDFA market. “It’s be interesting to see how many players [new Carolina coach and ex-Baylor boss] Matt Rhule gets who he knows . . . because he and the Baylor guys on his staff have recruited some of these guys out of high school. He’ll know some of the moms, I bet. And this very often is a recruiting game.”

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

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season 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: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!