2022 NFL Draft takeaways: Chris Olave, Travon Walker, WR revolution

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The Sensible Draft

One veteran club boss called the 2022 draft “rational,” which I thought was spot on. “It didn’t seem like teams acted out of desperation,” he said. Teams really didn’t like the quarterback crop and so, after the Steelers picked Kenny Pickett 20th and said they’d give him a chance to win the job as heir to Ben Roethlisberger in camp, QBs were picked as backup plans: 74th (Desmond Ridder), 86th (Malik Willis) and 94th (Matt Corral). This puts zero pressure on teams to play any of these players this year. Willis, in particular, was seen by scouts as a project. Now, he can learn the position and the pro game, and if Ryan Tannehill plays poorly this year, Willis could be in position to challenge for the job in 16 months. If Willis had been a first-round pick, the clock would tick till he played—this year.

There was one trade that showed rationality: Detroit moved up 20 spots, from 32 to 12, to take a potential number one receiver, Jameson Williams. The Lions traded the 32nd, 34th and 66th pick to Minnesota for the 12th and 46th picks. Normally, the 12th pick would fetch more. But the Vikings didn’t love a player at 12; in their estimation, four picks between 32 and 66 were better than 12, 46 and 77. Of course, we won’t know for two or three years if Vikes GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was right in the first big trade of his GM career.

Wideout Revolution

Receivers might have short shelf lives with teams. In the good ol’ days, maybe like 15 months ago, Amari Cooper’s $20-millon-a-year contract was the gold standard for receivers. DeAndre Hopkins got a two-year bandaid deal in Arizona for a few dollars more in 2020, but $20 million was the long-term target for players until Christian Kirk (who?) got $18 million a year in free agency from Jacksonville. Then seven wideouts got between $20 million and $30 million a year in the next five weeks ending with the A.J. Brown trade-and-sign deal in Philadelphia on night one of the draft.

NFL: MAY 02 AJ Brown Press Conference
New Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown. (Getty Images)

As one GM told me: “I could see the receiver position becoming like running backs. Get as much out of the receiver in his first contract and then, after four or five years, let him go and draft another one high. There are so many good receivers now, I’m not sure they’re all going to get paid going forward.” Tennessee, for instance, simply swapped one physical 4.5-speed, 225-pound receiver (A.J. Brown) for another (Treylon Burks) and will pray that Burks can be 90 percent the player for the Titans that Brown was. That’s a very big ask. In the end, one team not paying big money to a QB (Philadelphia) could afford Brown, and one team paying a QB (Tennessee) couldn’t. Or calculated that it couldn’t.

What A Ransom

I did like the 11th pick in the draft, Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave, selected by New Orleans after a trade-up with Washington. Olave, multiple GMs told me, is the most NFL-ready of the receiver group, a precise route-runner, tough and consistently productive, and a sub-4.4 guy.

But that was one heck of a commitment the Saints made to get him.

Per the Jimmy Johnson draft trade value chart, the 11th pick in the draft is worth about 1,250 points of trade value. And by my approximation, the Saints paid about 1,942 points for it. New Orleans used value from two trades to move up to take Olave—the one with Philadelphia in which they acquired the 16th overall pick, and then the one with Washington in which they traded up to 11. Scrape away all the fluff, and here’s what the Saints used altogether to move up to the 11th overall choice:

Picks 16, 98 and 120 in 2022
First-round pick in 2023
Second-round pick in 2024

The 11th pick on the Johnson trade chart is worth 1,250 points. The 16th is worth 1,000, with the 98th worth 108 and 120th worth 54. I counted next year’s one as being worth the least amount of points for a first-rounder (590) and the second-rounder in 2023 as being worth a mid-third-round pick (190) in today’s value. There are many ways to extrapolate the value of those picks, but I chose to decrease the value by half-a-round per year. Total value of the five picks: 1,942. 

(You might wonder about the other picks involved in both trades, which is fair. I equated the two other first-round picks involved in the trade with Philly, because 18 and 19 are so close in value, and I equated the late-round picks exchanged because they too are so close in value.)

I understand why New Orleans did it. It’s a Rams-type move. Maximize your chances today, worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Three pieces to this:

1. Olave’s ready to contribute opening day, to a team very much in need of a productive wide receiver, particularly after Michael Thomas has had two straight washout seasons. Thomas should be healthy this year, but they don’t sell insurance for that, as Bill Parcells was fond of saying.

NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft
New Saints wide receiver Chris Olave. (Getty Images)

2. The Saints are ready to win now, and think they can win now. And why shouldn’t they think that? In four regular-season games against the Tom Brady Bucs, they’re 4-0, with an average victory margin of 16 points.

3. I believe some of this is GM Mickey Loomis sending a message to his team post-Brees/Payton. The message: We’re not building for 2025 here. We’re in it to win it now. With a defense ready-made to win now, the acquisition of Olave (and Tyrann Mathieu) says New Orleans thinks it can make a deep run this year. Loomis wants the players to believe it too.

Speaking of Mathieu

Local Dude Comes Home

Lots of ways to look at Tyrann Mathieu, who turns 30 this week, signing with his hometown Saints to finish his career. I think it’s borderline poetic. The timeline:

February 2010: Saints win Super Bowl. Local high school hero and big Saints fan Tyrann Mathieu celebrates in the French Quarter.

September 2010: At LSU, Mathieu stars as a true freshman defensive back.

August 2012: After two great years at LSU, Mathieu is kicked off the team for violation of team rules. Drug violations surface.

April 2013: Arizona picks Mathieu in the third round of the NFL draft, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles gives him four spots to learn in the Cardinal defense.

March 2018: Mathieu signs for one year in Houston.

March 2019: Mathieu signs and plays three years with Kansas City. He is the defensive leader on the Chiefs’ 2019 Super Bowl team. And then nothing. No offer from Kansas City. After two all-pro seasons and two Pro Bowl seasons for KC, the team never made him an offer to stay.

May 2022: Mathieu signs with the Saints.

Mathieu is confused, a little angry, that Kansas City never gave him a chance to come back. He says he got caught in bad timing, with younger players like Orlando Brown getting the cap money that might have been his. They never gave him an answer about not giving him an offer to stay, which hurts. “The business sucks,” he told me, still wounded by it. But he’s not going to let it be a scar for his time in Kansas City.

“I have a lot to accomplish on the field and off the field,” he said. “To come back here and play where I grew up is really good, really important. When I was young, and I was making mistakes, some big mistakes, a lot of times, something bad would happen with me, or I’d go to jail, and I could sense it in the people who believed in me. Disappointment. Hurt. So now, in my community, I’m gonna be the everyday reminder. You can get better. You can turn your life around. I did. It’s important for me to play great. But it’s as important for me to show these kids you can come back from big mistakes and be better. I’m better. I really want to help these kids in New Orleans.

“When I came by the Saints building to talk to them, I had a great talk with [defensive coordinator] Kris Richard. What a great teacher. I learned so much. I remember walking out of the building that day. ‘Those guys don’t need me. They don’t need the Honey Badger.’ That’s what I thought. I play a tricky position. Once you turn 30, it’s easy to just go draft a 22-year-old. Then they called me. I was thrilled. The money doesn’t matter. I just feel like there is so much more for me to accomplish.

“This is my last stop, my last challenge. I am just thrilled to be here. When I put the uniform on and play in the Superdome for the first time, I will have to take a moment. Honest. It’ll be so special. Just special.”

Now Mathieu had to pause for a moment. Four, six seconds.

“God is good,” he said. “God is good.”

Hmmmmm

All-Conference teams and All-America teams are not very important when it comes to the best prospects for the draft. But I find this interesting:

• The Southeastern Conference coaches vote for all-conference first and second teams. They vote for four first-team defensive linemen and four second-team offensive linemen. Travon Walker, the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, did not make the first or second team on the defensive line, among the eight players chosen.

• PFF honored its 2021 All-Americans, with four defensive linemen on the first, second and third teams, and four honorable mentions. Sixteen defensive lineman. Walker was not one of the 16.

• On the traditional Associated Press All-America team, with four linemen named on each of the first, second and third teams, Walker was not one of the 12 defensive linemen selected.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Georgia v Florida
New Jags defensive lineman Travon Walker. (Getty Images)

Walker is a gifted athlete who played on one of the great college defenses in recent times, and he didn’t start until this year at Georgia. But he’s not going to be in shadows anymore when his pro career starts in Jacksonville. And the spotlight will also be on the man who picked him, GM Trent Baalke, over Aidan Hutchinson or some top tackle prospects to protect the franchise quarterback. It’s going to be fascinating to watch the NFL development of Walker.

Four Sentences On Four Teams

Chicago. The Bears paid for the drafting of Justin Fields last year by losing the seventh and 112th picks to the Giants this year. He’d better be the guy, or this rebuild will be beyond arduous. With only three picks in the top 160, they got two physical players in coach Matt Eberflus’ image, corner Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker. No need for the Bears to panic here, because barring a huge jump from Fields this year, they won’t contend till Aaron Rodgers leaves football, or leaves Green Bay.

Carolina. Panthers keep chasing quarterbacks. In trading up into the low third round to take Matt Corral, Carolina dealt its third-round pick next year to New England to sweeten the deal. To me, it just continues to show the pressure from the owner to find the next quarterback. If Sam Darnold proves he’s not the guy this year and Corral is shaky in whatever 2022 opportunity he has, Carolina will be back at QB Ground Zero nine months from now—and without a ’23 third-rounder as ammo to move.

Seattle. Probably smart to not take a flier on Baker Mayfield, unless Cleveland throws the Seahawks a fifth-round pick to take Mayfield, and some of his salary, off the Browns’ hands. Barring that, I’d just let Drew Lock and Geno Smith handle QB in a restocking year with a big plus—taking the franchise tackle (Charles Cross) they could never find for Russell Wilson. Seattle could have four picks in the top 50 or so next year: their own first- and second-round picks, and Denver’s first- and second-rounders from the Russell Wilson trade. For the first time in recent Seahawk history, they’d be in position to draft one of the top quarterbacks from what is shaping up as a deep pool.

L.A. Chargers. By using draft capital to address pass-rush need with Khalil Mack and free-agency capital on the best young corner in the market, J.C. Jackson, the Chargers had two major needs plugged entering the draft. Zion Johnson, the top pick, will fit at guard or (more unlikely) at right tackle. And they got a bigger back, 220-pound Isaiah Spiller, who just maybe converts that fourth-and-one at Las Vegas. The Chargers are one of the most improved teams in the league.

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

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It’s Patrick Mahomes vs Tom Brady this Sunday night on NBC and Peacock as the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) head to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) in a rematch of Super Bowl 55. See below for additional information on how to watch the big game between the greatest of all time and the heir to the throne.

RELATED:  How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

Mahomes is currently in his fifth season as the Chiefs starting quarterback. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP signed a 10-year, $450 million extension in July 2020, which was the richest contract in American sports history by total value. Over the last four seasons (2018-2021), Mahomes has led the league in both passing yards (18,707) and touchdown passes (151). The 27-year-old looks to lead the Chiefs to their seventh straight AFC West Title. Kansas City is the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

At 45 years old Tom Brady, who already holds 7 Super Bowl titles–the most in NFL history, is currently playing in his 23rd NFL season–one that many thought he wouldn’t see after an unpredictable offseason filled with rumorsretirement, and unretirement. But the greatest of all time is back–this time without the comfort of his longtime trusted TE Rob Gronkowski–and is not only facing the challenge of playing with a banged-up offensive line but is also adjusting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

This Sunday night’s game will mark the sixth meeting between Mahomes and Brady. The previous five matchups have been both high-stakes and high-scoring affairs as Brady holds a slight advantage over Mahomes. Here are all of their head-to-head matchups.

Every past matchup between Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes (3-2 overall record):

  1. Oct. 14, 2018 (Week 6) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Brady threw for 340 yards and 1 TD. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TD, and 2 INT.
  2. Jan. 20, 2019 (AFC Championship Game) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, in overtime. Brady threw 348 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Mahomes finished with 295 YDS, and 3 TD
  3. Dec. 8, 2019 (Week 14) – Chiefs defeated the Patriots 23-16. Mahomes totaled 283 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Brady had 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
  4. Nov. 29, 2020 (Week 12) – Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24. Mahomes threw for 462 yards with 3 TD. Brady finished with 345 yards, 3 TD, and 2 INT.
  5. Feb. 7, 2021 (Super Bowl 55) – Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium. Brady threw for 201 yards and 3 TD and was named Super Bowl MVP for a record 5th time.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

In an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor for Football Night in America, Mahomes discusses the trademarks of a Brady-led team.

“First off, they take advantage of mistakes,” Mahomes said. “If you make a mistake on the field, if I throw an interception or if you fumble, or if something like that happens, he’s going to make you pay and get points on the board and then he’s going to manage the game.”

Mahomes also knows that while Brady has a knack for capitalizing on mistakes, he does not often make many of his own.

“He’s going to make some plays when he needs to make plays, but at the same time he’s not going to make that big mistake. So you have to go out there and play a near perfect football game to win. Another thing, he’s never out of it and I think that’s something I try to pride myself on as well is never being out of the game. So whenever you play against a Tom Brady-led team, you make sure you keep that foot down on the pedal and try to do whatever you can to finish the game off.”

Patrick Mahomes absorbs Tom Brady’s lessons

Despite the difference in age and experience, Brady and Mahomes are alike in their impact on the game.

“You want to not like Tom but he’s just like the best guy,” Mahomes said. “So it’s hard to not like him, but to be able to play in golf tournaments, and him give me kind of advice and stuff like that. I mean, he’s the GOAT. You want to learn from the best and it’s really cool to have that relationship with him.”

Even when Brady and Mahomes have faced off in high-stakes postseason games, the advice continues. The two met in the 2019 AFC Championship game, when Brady was still playing for the New England Patriots. Both quarterbacks delivered stellar performances, but Brady managed to lead the Patriots to an overtime victory.

Following this loss, Mahomes tells Taylor that he is upset and spends a lot of time after the game sitting in the locker room. But when Mahomes finally walks out, Brady is waiting for him.

“He could be celebrating” Mahomes said. “He’s going to the Super Bowl and everything like that, and all he said to me, ‘Hey, just keep doing it how you’re doing it. You’re doing it the right way.’ And as a young quarterback, you just go out there and play and try to have fun and do whatever you can to put your team in the best position to win.

But when the GOAT’s saying that, he’s saying you’re doing it the right way, it shows you that you are doing it the right way. And so that was big for me”

While Brady has not revealed all his football wisdom to Mahomes, the Chiefs’ signal-caller looks forward to learning more.

“He won’t give me all the secrets yet,” Mahomes said. “But hopefully one day I’ll get the secrets and can put those into my game.”

Patrick Mahomes embraces the Tom Brady mindset

While Brady and Mahomes are competitors, their respect from one another extends beyond the football field into their personal lives. Mahomes and his wife Brittany, have a young girl, Sterling, and are expecting a baby boy.

“You want to be able to be a family man and be with your family and you want to be able to do these different things, where you’re going into businesses and then helping out and shooting commercials and, at the same time, keeping football first.”

One of the biggest lessons Mahomes has taken from Brady is the importance of prioritizing football in addition to consistently improving at the game.

“That’s the greatness in Tom Brady is no matter how much off the field stuff he does, football is always the main priority and he makes sure to keep it that way,” Mahomes said. “And so you watch that and then at the same time you go back to him on the field and he’s always getting better. I feel like every single year he finds something he can get better at. And that’s what I want to do, is I want to keep getting better as my career goes on so that I can play hopefully, maybe not as long as him, but pretty long as well.”


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

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It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, October 2 in a rematch of Super Bowl LV where Tom Brady earned his seventh ring. Sunday’s matchup marks the sixth meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Brady with the 45-year-old veteran holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

RELATED: Tom Brady’s Super Bowl wins, rings, MVPs, losses: Every appearance, NFL stats, records

Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

RELATED:Will Tom Brady make playing beyond 40 more common for quarterbacks?

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season last Sunday after falling 20-17 to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City struggled offensively in Week 3 as the team was held to just three points in the second half. The Chiefs are still working to fill the void in the passing game since trading star WR Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in the offseason but according to Mahomes, that doesn’t excuse Sunday’s loss.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes –  I don’t expect growing pains, offense has to gel together

“I don’t expect any growing pains,” Mahomes told reporters at ESPN.com. “Obviously have new players and you don’t know everybody’s going to respond to tough situations. . . . We’ve got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys’ back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it.”

Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension, in July 2020–the richest contract in American sports history by total value–is in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback and hopes to lead Kansas City to its seventh straight AFC West title. The Chiefs are the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

RELATED: Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers (2-1) are also coming off their first loss of the season–a 14-12 defeat at home from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday afternoon. With WRs Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring)–Brady’s top two targets–and Julio Jones (knee) out in Week 3, Tampa Bay’s offense racked up a total of just 285 yards in the loss. Additionally, the team is still adapting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason. Despite some challenges on offense, Tampa Bay’s defense has remained consistent and currently leads the NFL in scoring defense (9.0 pts/gm) and also ranks in the top 5 in total defense.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!