Russell Wilson making powerful case to be NFL MVP


When Wilson told Dan Patrick the other day he thought he was the best quarterback in football, eyebrows got raised. That wasn’t like the traditional Wilson, deflector of praise. “I think when you’re trying to be the greatest to do this, you always have to believe that way, think that way, and know that,” he said from Seattle early this morning.

My theory about the perception of Wilson: He’s a short quarterback drafted 75th overall in 2012. Being a Seattle quarterback in a more traditional offense that hasn’t given him the freedom of some other passers means he’s not going to have the gaudy numbers of other quarterbacks. He’s never thrown more than 35 touchdown passes, and never had more than 4,300 passing yards. Regarding the MVP vote, the 50 voters get one selection. In baseball, voters pick multiple players for MVP in a sliding order and then you see who finishes second and third and so on. In football, often times, one player has an incredible season and he wins in a landslide. Last year, Lamar Jackson set the single-season quarterback rushing record, led the league with 36 TD passes, and Baltimore was a league-best 14-2. The year before, it was the 50 TD passes by Mahomes, and the Chiefs winning the AFC’s top seed, that paved the way for him to win it.

Wilson traditionally has done more with less talent that many other star quarterbacks, and that matters. But if the Ravens are 14-2 and Jackson has what may be the best all-around season by a quarterback ever, it’s hard to vote for someone else.

This year, though, might be different. The “Let Russ cook” thing—fans and media wishing he’d be able to create more, the way he did at time Sunday night—is gaining traction, maybe even in the coaches offices in suburban Renton, home of the Seahawks. The tight seat-belted game plans that resulted in frustrations like the 24-22 playoff loss to Dallas two years ago are fading away. I asked Wilson if he’d be able to open a better line of communication with coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, to tell them what he likes and doesn’t like.

“I think I have a tremendous relationship with Coach Carroll and also Coach Schottenheimer. I don’t think Coach Schotty gets enough credit. He’s an amazing teacher of the game. Then, obviously Pete and I, we’re been together what is this, my ninth year now. We’ve had some amazing times together, amazing wins. We bond so well together.”

But it’s no secret Wilson has wanted a freer hand in the offense. “I’m trying to go somewhere, you know what I mean? I’m trying to help take this team somewhere special. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes everyone. It’s not just me. I’ve always strived to be the best in the world. I wanna lead my team.”

I’m trying to go somewhere, you know what I mean? To me, that’s code for, I’m trying to win a championship, and the more diverse we are on offense, the better chance we have. (That’s my interpretation, no one else’s. These are not exactly the best days to sidle up to players or coach and ask them the reality of what’s up.)

This game showed us so much of Wilson’s talent—even when he was throwing incompletions. Wilson knows when it’s smart to throw it away and live for the next down. Midway through the fourth quarter, nursing a 28-23 lead, Wilson threw two balls away, both times against a heavy rush. On third-and-seven with six minutes left, another heavy rush came. This time he had Tyler Lockett streaking across the middle and hit him. Now he was in comfortable field-goal range to take an eight-point lead—at least. But two plays later, Carson wheeled out of the backfield, safety Adrian Phillips was way late covering him, and Wilson, staring down the barrel of Winovich, hung in to make a perfect throw, 33 yards in the air.

“I’m super grateful,” Wilson said. “I just thank God every day I get to do what I get to do. I think about everything that’s going on in America and around the world, to be able to play this game is a gift. We’ve lost so many people. It’s very tough year. Despite it all, I keep the faith and just believe that better days are ahead. This game is a part of that. This game is a gift and I want to continue to cherish every moment of it.”

It’s only two weeks, and there are challengers new (Arizona) and old (a battered San Francisco and the Rams). The NFC West is 7-1, best division record in football. So there are miles to go before these teams sleep. Seattle looks dangerous and diverse, though, especially when Russ cooks.

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!