C.J. Stroud Reveals His Current Top 5 QBs in the NFL

The public usually looks to the on-air NFL analysts for all their football news and rankings. Sometimes you get more interesting content from current players in the league, and rookies are not an exception to the rule.

Houston Texans rookie quarterback, C.J. Stroud, was asked for his top five quarterbacks on the spot by the Caps Off Podcast. Stroud’s list was fairly non-controversial until he got to his fifth pick…

C.J. Stroud Ranks Top 5 QBs in the NFL

“It’s hard, bruh,” said the former Ohio State star. “There’s a lot of dogs out there, so I respect everybody.” Nevertheless, Stroud’s rankings are as follows:

  1. Jalen Hurts | Philadelphia Eagles
  2. Patrick Mahomes | Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Josh Allen | Buffalo Bills
  5. Justin Fields | Chicago Bears

Like most of us, the Justin Fields selection at No. 5 is confusing, to say the least. It could be explained by Stroud and Fields both being former teammates at Ohio State. Fields did have an impressive season (rushing) in 2022, but he didn’t rank consistently in the top five amongst quarterbacks — despite the two’s friendship connection.

If you look at Pro Football Network’s QB Power Rankings, Fields actually ranks below Stroud at 19. That spot is good enough for him to be in the “Useful But Limited” section alongside names like Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray, and Derek Carr.

MORE: Patrick Mahomes Still Learning From Tom Brady

“After a resurgent middle of the season, Justin Fields came back down to Earth in the final games of the year. But he can cause some damage and showed the potential worth investing in. He’ll need to mature his passing game, but with Fields’ ability to run, there will always be a floor.”

Fields finished the 2022 season ranked:

  • 26th in passing yards (2,242)
  • 32nd in completion percentage (60.4%)
  • 1st in the league in fumbles (9)
  • 34th in yards per game (149.5)

It appeared on the interview that Stroud realized his fumble and quickly added that “Nah, I like Lamar [Jackson] too.” Stroud left a few other noticeable quarterbacks off his list, including (but not limited to) Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, and the aforementioned Lamar Jackson.

No one can fault the rookie for dropping a friend’s name, but Stroud may have to adjust his list the next time he’s asked.

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5 Philadelphia Eagles Breakout Candidates in 2023 Include Nakobe Dean and Kenneth Gainwell

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has watched plenty of players depart in free agency this offseason. Yet, there are a few familiar faces that are ready to step up and fill those voids in the City of Brotherly Love. Which Eagles players are due for potential breakout performances in 2023?

Philadelphia Eagles Breakout Candidates

After a flurry of offseason moves, the Eagles are approaching the start of NFL training camp. And despite the departure of several former starters in free agency, Philadelphia is well-positioned to immediately fill those vacancies.

Even though the Eagles’ selections in the 2022 NFL Draft hardly played last season, they’re set to rely heavily on a few of their second-year players. Despite signing several veterans at positions of need in free agency, Philadelphia will likely need a few of their young players to break out next season. Here are five candidates with strong chances to do exactly that in 2023.

LB Nakobe Dean

Many were shocked as former Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean fell to the third round in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was viewed as a steal for the Eagles but hardly played during his rookie season. T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White had a stranglehold on the LB position in Philadelphia, and Dean played just 34 defensive snaps last season.

MORE: Where Does Philadelphia Rank Among NFL Defenses in 2023?

But now, Dean is the clear leader to be Philadelphia’s LB1 in 2023. Dean is already donning the green dot on his helmet during practice, as he looks to become the voice of the Eagles’ defense this upcoming season. It was clear during his days at Georgia that Dean is a tone-setting leader, and he should be able to showcase exactly that for the Eagles in 2023.

RB Kenneth Gainwell

Although the Eagles signed Rashaad Penny in free agency and traded for D’Andre Swift, third-year RB Kenneth Gainwell is due for a breakout performance. During Philadelphia’s three-game postseason run last season, Gainwell led the Eagles in rushing yards, making it clear that head coach Nick Sirianni trusts him in the game’s biggest moments.

Similar to Swift, Gainwell is a strong receiver out of the backfield, but he also showcased a surprisingly tough running style last season. Given the fact that both Penny and Swift have struggled to stay healthy during their NFL careers, Gainwell could be a steadying force for the Eagles in 2023.

DT Milton Williams

Immediately after Javon Hargrave’s departure in free agency, many shifted their focus to Milton Williams as a player to watch in Philadelphia. Williams showed flashes of brilliance last season as a rotational defensive lineman off the bench. While only playing 36% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps, he had 36 total tackles, four sacks, and nine tackles for loss.

MORE: How Do Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, and Sydney Brown Fit Sean Desai’s Defensive Philosophy?

Despite the arrival of first-round pick Jalen Carter, Williams could still have a breakout campaign in 2023. Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai will likely use a 3-4 defensive front and rotate players along Philadelphia’s front. Williams is a freakish athlete with the versatility and ability to wreak havoc from various alignments.

DT Jordan Davis

It’s fair to say that Jordan Davis disappointed during his rookie season in Philadelphia. Just when the former first-round pick appeared to find his groove, he suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss multiple games. Although Davis returned during the second half of the regular season, he failed to make a significant impact and didn’t record a single sack.

Nevertheless, as the Eagles transition to more of a 3-4 defensive front, Davis is due for a breakout season in 2023. He’s clearly the top nose tackle on Philadelphia’s roster and should play significantly more snaps than he did last season. If he can stay healthy, Davis should be a dominant force in the middle of Philadelphia’s defensive front next season.

S Reed Blankenship

Reed Blankenship appears to be the next undrafted free agent success story for the Eagles. Blankenship stepped up for Philadelphia last season when starting safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was injured. The man that they call “Ghost” in Philadelphia’s locker room made plays all over the field and was a pleasant surprise during his rookie season.

MORE: What Would’ve Happened If the Eagles Traded Jalen Hurts to Seahawks for Russell Wilson in 2022?

Blankenship is already taking snaps with Philadelphia’s first-team defense during OTAs and is easily a top-three safety for the Eagles. If he can hold on to the starting job, Blankenship is in line for a breakout season in 2023 and will likely try to secure a few more interceptions on prime-time television.

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Latest Surrounding Patriots, Bills, Cowboys, and More

The first full week of June 2023 could present the time period of when DeAndre Hopkins ends his free agency situation. While there are teams that have fallen off from signing the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, one prominent NFL reporter revealed a new emerging favorite on Monday.

DeAndre Hopkins Rumors: Patriots the New Player in Sweepstakes

Per NFL Insider Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, he laid out some new breadcrumbs that point to the New England Patriots emerging as the new favorite to land Hopkins.

His first reasons were the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills being outpriced for Hopkins.

“At this point, I’d say both those teams would sign him only at a discount,” Breer wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column before indicating why K.C. and Buffalo are likely out.

“The Chiefs gave money that would’ve gone to Hopkins to left tackle Donovan Smith. The Bills traded up for Dalton Kincaid, lessening their need for a chain-moving receiver and giving them another mouth to feed in an offense that has to get the ball plenty to Stefon Diggs.”

Breer added: “Who does that leave? Well, I think now that the price has dropped and a draft pick won’t be involved, the Patriots are worth considering.”

Can Hopkins and Bill O’Brien Bury Past Rift?

If there is a roadblock that could prevent Hopkins from heading to Foxboro, it’s a past rift involving his former head coach Bill O’Brien…who’s now the offensive coordinator for New England. Breer addressed if Hopkins and O’Brien can co-exist.

“Despite perception out there, my sense is that O’Brien would be plenty on board with, not against, signing Hopkins (and Hopkins had his most productive years playing for O’Brien in Houston),” Breer wrote.

It’s true there was a falling out between Hopkins and O’Brien — helping spark the 2020 trade to the Arizona Cardinals. But it’s also true Hopkins put together his best league production in O’Brien’s scheme as a four-time Pro Bowler with the Texans.

MORE: What Would’ve Happened If the Eagles Traded Jalen Hurts to Seahawks for Russell Wilson in 2022?

Adding Hopkins gives the Pats someone who knows how O’Brien’s system works, which is more built on attacking the first open space instead of staying vertical through what Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were attempting last season. While New England did sign undrafted rookie Ed Lee from the nearby University of Rhode Island, the Patriots still have $14,299,960 in salary cap space per Over the Cap — enough room to potentially add DHop.

Breer concluded that while Hopkins is called a suitor for the Cleveland Browns, particularly because of his past relationship with quarterback DeShaun Watson, he indicated heading there is unlikely.

Are the Buffalo Bills Completely Out on Hopkins?

Again, the Bills went from one of the teams interested in Hopkins per Breer to falling further and further out of the picture.

Is Buffalo completely out? General manager Brandon Beane went on the Pat McAfee Show Monday to indicate that he’s not ruling out signing Hopkins, but the salary has to be able to fit.

Buffalo, though, has been proactive with signings in the past 48 hours. The Bills recently signed defensive tackle Ed Oliver to a $68 million deal, then added former Los Angeles Rams EDGE Leonard Floyd to a one-year deal Monday. Both moves, while bolstering needs on defense, still limits their cap room if they were to pursue Hopkins. Per OTC, the Bills are a shade under $1.4 million left in 2023 cap room.

One Other Team ‘Unlikely’ To Add Hopkins

The Bills aren’t the only ones drifting away as a possibility to land Hopkins.

Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Cowboys, through owner/general manager Jerry Jones, addressed any thought of adding Hopkins, who’s been long rumored as a possibility for the Cowboys.

“Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called a potential signing of WR DeAndre Hopkins ‘unlikely,’” Gehlken reported Monday.

Meanwhile, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones added via CowboysSI.com,”‘We went down the road with (Brandin) Cooks. We’re very comfortable with Cooks.”

MORE: Dallas Cowboys WR Depth Chart: Michael Gallup Form Check, and Who Ends Up WR4?

Dallas already has Pro Bowler CeeDee Lamb under contract until 2025. The team is additionally welcoming back Michael Gallup, who told the Dallas media that he feels “springy” and feeling like his old self following a knee injury that limited him to 11 starts in 2022.

With Dallas, Cleveland, and Buffalo falling off, New England has emerged as the new trending contender to swoop Hopkins up.

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Isaiah Rodgers admits to ‘mistakes’ amid NFL gambling investigation

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers released a statement regarding reports that he was the subject of an NFL investigation for gambling.

On Monday, SportsHandle.com reported that a player on the Indianapolis Colts was the subject of an investigation from the league for “pervasive betting” in 2022 and 2023. The outlet reported that the player placed “hundreds of bets,” including some on Colts games.

ESPN’s Stephen Holder David Purdum reported that the Colts player being investigated was cornerback and kick returner Isaiah Rodgers, who was entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Shortly after ESPN released their report, Rodgers released the following statement across his social media profiles, saying that he takes full responsibility for his actions and that he knows he’s “made mistakes” and that he is “willing to do whatever it takes to repair the situation.

“Addressing the current reports, I want to take full responsibility for my actions. I know I have made mistakes and I am willing to do whatever it takes to repair the situation. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a distraction to the Colts organization, my coaches, and my teammates. I’ve let people down that I care about. I made an error in judgment and I am going to work hard to make sure that those mistakes are rectified through this process. It’s an honor to play in the NFL and I have never taken that lightly. I am very sorry for all of this.”

Isaiah Rodgers releases statement after report indicates he’s subject of NFL investigation for gambling

ESPN’s report revealed that there was a sportsbook account under the name of an associate of Rodgers and that most bets were placed in the $25-50 range. But, there was at least one that was “a low four-figure bet,” per ESPN.

This offseason, the NFL has been cracking down on violations of their gambling policy. So far, five players have been suspended —  Jameson Williams, Stanley Berryhill, C.J. Moore, Quintez Cephus of the Detroit Lions, and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders. Williams and Berryhill received six-game suspensions, while Moore, Cephus, and Toney received indefinite suspensions. Berryhill, Moore, and Cephus were waived by the Lions.

In 15 games (nine starts) this past season, Rodgers recorded 34 combined tackles (24 solo, 10 assisted), four fumble recoveries, and three defended passes. In coverage, per Pro Football Reference, Rodgers allowed 17 completions for 192 yards and three touchdowns on 29 targets. As a returner, Rodgers returned 18 kickoffs for 452 yards, and two punts for 13 yards.

Through three seasons, Rodgers recorded 90 combined tackles (68 solo, 22 assisted), 10 passes defended, and three interceptions. As a returner, Rodgers took 61 kickoffs for 1,645 yards and one touchdown, and three punts for 25 yards.

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49ers quarterback room gets more head-scratching with QB visit

The San Francisco 49ers have a much-talked-about quarterback competition this offseason, and they are potentially going to add another signal caller.

The San Francisco 49ers‘ quarterback situation is an interesting one as we get closer to training camp. Trey Lance, who was supposed to start the entire 2022 season, suffered a broken ankle in Week 2, and is looking to regain his role. Brock Purdy, who took over late last season and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, is recovering from elbow surgery. Sam Darnold was brought in after having a promising end to the 2022 season with the Carolina Panthers.

San Francisco has four quarterbacks on the roster, but that’s not stopping them from potentially adding more.

According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, the 49ers are bringing in in former Indianapolis Colts, Wisconsin Badgers, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan for a workout on Wednesday. Coan recently played for the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL.

49ers bring in QB Jack Coan for a workout

Coan started off his collegiate career at Wisconsin. In 2019, he led the Badgers to the Big 12 Championship Game, where they lost 31-24 to the Ohio State Buckeyes. That year, Coan threw for 2,727 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He missed the 2020 season due to a foot injury. From there, Coan transferred to Notre Dame.

In his lone year with Notre Dame, Coan threw for 3,150 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 65.5-percent of his passes. The team went 11-2 on the year and made it to the Fiesta Bowl (lost 37-35 to Oklahoma State).

Coan signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2022. He was released by the team before the start of the season.

With the Brahmas in the XFL’s return season, Coan threw for 1,471 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions, while completing 62.2-percent of his passes in eight games played. The Brahmas went 3-7 on the year and failed to make the playoffs.

The 49ers are checking out all options available to them, and are bringing in Coan despite having four quarterbacks on the roster, three of which are active in organized team activities. With the team’s mandatory minicamp kicking off on June 13, we will see if Coan will a part of it.

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