FMIA Super Bowl LVII: The “Corn Dog” That Won It All For Kansas City

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz.—For 47 minutes Sunday night in Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City never led. Their quarterback re-sprained his right ankle just before halftime, and the Eagles led by 10 as Rihanna sung to the world, and though the momentum began to change in the third quarter, everything was a chore for the men of Andy [more]

PFT’s Super Bowl LVII picks

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs Media Availability
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This is it. The last game of the year.

Patrick Mahomes has never been the underdog in a postseason game in his career. It happens now.

Is that an accurate reflection of the edge between the teams? Is it something that will motivate Mahomes and company. Read on to see whether MDS and I believe it will be the Chiefs or Eagles hoisting a Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.

Chiefs (+1.5) vs. Eagles

MDS’s take: The Chiefs and Eagles have been the two best teams over the course of the 2022-23 season. That doesn’t always happen; a great team can get cold at the wrong time, or suffer key injuries late in the season, or simply get upset in the unpredictable single-elimination format of the NFL playoffs. But the Chiefs and Eagles, despite actually having some injuries late in the season and some things go against them down the stretch, were the best teams all year and now find themselves facing off in the Super Bowl.

So how will the Super Bowl be decided? I think the primary difference between the two teams is at quarterback, where I believe Patrick Mahomes can do more than Jalen Hurts. Hurts has had a great season, and may have won the league MVP over Mahomes if he hadn’t been sidelined by a shoulder injury late in the year, but Mahomes can threaten a defense all over the field in a way that neither Hurts nor any other quarterback can. I think Mahomes is going to make the difference, and is the reason the Chiefs will win.

If I’m wrong, I’ll be wrong because of the Eagles’ relentless pass rush. Philadelphia has a total of 78 sacks in the regular season and postseason, a total that only the 1984 Bears and 1985 Bears have topped. With Mahomes possibly still hobbled by his high ankle sprain, if the Eagles’ rush can get to him, that changes the game significantly.

Ultimately, however, I see a close game that the Eagles may lead much of the way, but one that will end with Mahomes making big plays in the fourth quarter and winning his second Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: For the first time since 2017, both No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Super Bowl. And, on paper, the Eagles are just a little bit better than the Chiefs.

But the Chiefs have the one thing the Eagles don’t. As in one-five. 15. Patrick Mahomes.

Five straight AFC Championships at home. Three Super Bowl appearances. And, if he’s ever going to come close to Tom Brady‘s seven titles, it’s time to get No. 2.

The ankle is more than good enough. The team around him is more than good enough. Unless the Eagles methodically suffocate the Chiefs with the running game and in turn get to Mahomes and sack him repeatedly, this one should be close and it should be exciting and it should come down to the wire with the Chiefs finding a way to pull it off.

Kansas City has fought through more adversity than the Eagles, especially in the playoffs. That matters. Kansas City also has the experience edge in the Super Bowl. That matter’s, too.

What matters most is the presence of the best quarterback in football, a sure-fire Hall of Famer who may eventually earn a spot in the Canton Upper Room proposed by Deion Sanders. Mahomes.

The Magic Man. The man among boys. The guy who finds a way to move the ball, to score points, and to do it in a way that is always far more entertaining than anything anyone else can muster.

It’s time to win his second. On his way to possibly more.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Eagles 24.

NFL invites 319 players to 2023 Scouting Combine

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
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Once the Super Bowl wraps up on Sunday night, the next big event on the NFL calendar will be the Scouting Combine.

The combine will kick off in Indianapolis on February 28 and the NFL announced the names of the 319 aspiring pros who will be there to meet with teams, go through medical evaluations, and work out for scouts. Some of the top prospects will pass on the last of those things in favor of working out during their school’s Pro Days later in the predraft process, but they’ll still likely be in Indy for the other activities.

The full list of invitees appears below:

Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh
Yasir Abdullah, LB, Louisville
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern
Alan Ali, OL, TCU
Davis Allen, TE, Clemson
MJ Anderson, DL, Iowa State
Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama
Jake Andrews, OL, Troy
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DL, Kansas State
Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OL, Oregon
Alex Austin, DB, Oregon State
Steve Avila, OL, TCU
Tyson Bagent, QB, Shepherd
Henry Bainivalu, OL, Washington
Habakkuk Baldonado, DL, Pittsburgh
Deonte Banks, DB, Maryland
Jeremy Banks, LB, Tennessee
Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State
Micah Baskerville, LB, LSU
TJ Bass, OL, Oregon
Jordan Battle, DB, Alabama
Robert Beal Jr., DL, Georgia
Ronnie Bell, WR, Michigan
Jakorian Bennett, DB, Maryland
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin
Matthew Bergeron, OL, Syracuse
Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
Mekhi Blackmon, DB, USC
Jake Bobo, WR, UCLA
Earl Bostick Jr., OL, Kansas
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Lance Boykin, DB, Coastal Carolina
Anthony Bradford, OL, LSU
Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Julius Brents, DB, Kansas State
Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
Nick Broeker, OL, Mississippi
Jalen Brooks, WR, South Carolina
Myles Brooks, DB, Louisiana Tech
Paxton Brooks, P, Tennessee
Cam Brown, DB, Ohio State
Chase Brown, RB, Illinois
Ji’Ayir Brown, DB, Penn State
Sydney Brown, DB, Illinois
Jason Brownlee, WR, Southern Mississippi
Arquon Bush, DB, Cincinnati
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Anders Carlson, K, Auburn
Andre Carter II, LB, Army
Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
Jerrod Clark, DL, Coastal Carolina
Kei’Trel Clark, DB, Louisville
Keondre Coburn, DL, Texas
Chamarri Conner, DB, Virginia Tech
Jacob Copeland, WR, Maryland
Brenton Cox, DL, Florida
Jalen Cropper, WR, Fresno State
Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
McClendon Curtis, OL, Tennessee-Chattanooga
DJ Dale, DL, Alabama
Braeden Daniels, OL, Utah
Derius Davis, WR, TCU
Trey Dean, DB, Florida
Tank Dell, WR, Houston
Dontay Demus Jr., WR, Maryland
SirVocea Dennis, LB, Pitt
Gervon Dexter, DL, Florida
YaYa Diaby, DL, Louisville
Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty
Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte
Max Duggan, QB, TCU
Jaelyn Duncan, OL, Maryland
Christopher Dunn, K, N.C. State
Payne Durham, TE, Purdue
Travis Dye, RB, USC
Emil Ekiyor Jr., OL, Alabama
Ikenna Enechukwu, DL, Rice
Mark Evans II, OL, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Tiyon Evans, RB, Louisville
Zach Evans, RB, Mississippi
Viliami Fehoko Jr., DL, San Jose State
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Emmanuel Forbes, DB, Mississippi State
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WR, West Virginia
Alex Forsyth, OL, Oregon
Isaiah Foskey, DL, Notre Dame
Blake Freeland, OL, BYU
Jon Gaines II, OL, UCLA
Connor Galvin, OL, Baylor
Mekhi Garner, DB, LSU
Ali Gaye, DL, LSU
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Noah Gindorff, TE, North Dakota State
Christian Gonzalez, DB, Oregon
Richard Gouraige, OL, Florida
Jalen Graham, LB, Purdue
Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma
Antoine Green, WR, North Carolina
Jovaughn Gwyn, OL, South Carolina
Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State
Derick Hall, LB, Auburn
Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
Nick Hampton, DL, Appalachian State
Anton Harrison, OL, Oklahoma
Zach Harrison, DL, Ohio State
Jadon Haselwood, WR, Arkansas
Ryan Hayes, OL, Michigan
Malik Heath, WR, Mississippi
DeMarcco Hellams, DB, Alabama
Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
KJ Henry, DL, Clemson
Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
Shaka Heyward, LB, Duke
Ronnie Hickman Jr., DB, Ohio State
Elijah Higgins, WR, Stanford
Brandon Hill, DB, Pittsburgh
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, DB, TCU
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Dylan Horton, DL, TCU
Jordan Howden, DB, Minnesota
Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern
Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State
Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
Siaki Ika, DL, Baylor
Thomas Incoom, DL, Central Michigan
Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
Kearis Jackson, WR, Georgia
Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland
Michael Jefferson, WR, Louisiana
Jaray Jenkins, WR, LSU
Anthony Johnson, DB, Iowa State
Anthony Johnson Jr., DB, Virginia
Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M
CJ Johnson, WR, East Carolina
DJ Johnson, LB, Oregon
Paris Johnson Jr., OL, Ohio State
Roschon Johnson, RB, Texas
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Andre Jones Jr., LB, Louisiana
Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia
Cam Jones, LB, Indiana
Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue
Dawand Jones, OL, Ohio State
Jaylon Jones, DB, Texas A&M
Nic Jones, DB, Ball State
Tyreque Jones, DB, Boise State
Brandon Joseph, DB, Notre Dame
Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
Kyu Blu Kelly, DB, Stanford
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Jaxson Kirkland, OL, Washington
Malik Knowles, WR, Kansas State
Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
Tyler Lacy, DL, Oklahoma State
Brent Laing, OL, Minnesota-Duluth
Isaiah Land, DL, Florida A&M
Matt Landers, WR, Arkansas
Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
Cameron Latu, TE, Alabama
Eku Leota, LB, Auburn
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Hunter Luepke, RB, North Dakota State
Darrell Luter Jr., DB, South Alabama
Will Mallory, TE, Miami
Tashawn Manning, OL, Kentucky
Jartavius Martin, DB, Illinois
Ochaun Mathis, LB, Nebraska
Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB
Warren McClendon, OL, Georgia
Will McDonald IV, DL, Iowa State
Jordan McFadden, OL, Clemson
Isaiah McGuire, DL, Missouri
Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford
Kaevon Merriweather, DB, Iowa
Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
Marvin Mims Jr., WR, Oklahoma
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Mississippi
Cameron Mitchell, DB, Northwestern
Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina
Jake Moody, K, Michigan
Isaiah Moore, LB, N.C. State
Mike Morris, DL, Michigan
Wanya Morris, OL, Oklahoma
Riley Moss, DB, Iowa
Caleb Murphy, DL, Ferris State
Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson
Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
PJ Mustipher, DL, Penn State
Puka Nacua, WR, BYU
Joseph Ngata, WR, Clemson
Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue
Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas
John Ojukwu, OL, Boise State
BJ Ojulari, LB, LSU
Olu Oluwatimi, OL, Michigan
Anfernee Orji, LB, Vanderbilt
DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
Gervarrius Owens, DB, Houston
Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati
Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska
Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn
Jarrett Patterson, OL, Notre Dame
Kyle Patterson, TE, Air Force
Cam Peoples, RB, Appalachian State
A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
Lonnie Phelps, LB, Kansas
Clark Phillips III, DB, Utah
Zacch Pickens, DL, South Carolina
Jack Podlesny, K, Georgia
Joey Porter Jr., DB, Penn State
B.T. Potter, K, Clemson
Deneric Prince, RB, Tulsa
Jose Ramirez, DL, Eastern Michigan
Jalen Redmond, DL, Oklahoma
Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
Asim Richards, OL, North Carolina
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Eli Ricks, DB, Alabama
Kelee Ringo, DB, Georgia
Brad Robbins, P, Michigan
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Jammie Robinson, DB, Florida State
Tavius Robinson, DL, Mississippi
Chris Rodriguez Jr., RB, Kentucky
Jaquelin Roy, DL, LSU
Darius Rush, DB, South Carolina
Chad Ryland, K, Maryland
Nick Saldiveri, OL, Old Dominion
Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota
Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
Daniel Scott, DB, Cal
Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
Juice Scruggs, OL, Penn State
Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
Justin Shorter, WR, Florida
Nesta Jade Silvera, DL, Arizona State
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
JL Skinner III, DB, Boise State
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Cam Smith, DB, South Carolina
Christopher Smith II, DB, Georgia
Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan
Nolan Smith, DL, Georgia
Terell Smith, DB, Minnesota
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Sidy Sow, OL, Eastern Michigan
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Tyler Steen, OL, Alabama
Tyrique Stevenson, DB, Miami
Dante Stills, DL, West Virginia
Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
Ricky Stromberg, OL, Arkansas
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Jason Taylor II, DB, Oklahoma State
Leonard Taylor, TE, Cincinnati
Noah Taylor, LB, North Carolina
Charlie Thomas, LB, Georgia Tech
Tavion Thomas, RB, Utah
SaRodorick Thompson, RB, Texas Tech
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
Mitchell Tinsley, WR, Penn State
Joe Tippmann, OL, Wisconsin
Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama
O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida
Rashad Torrence II, DB, Florida
Cory Trice Jr., DB, Purdue
Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
Tre Tucker, WR, Cincinnati
Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC
Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
Michael Turk, P, Oklahoma
DJ Turner II, DB, Michigan
Carrington Valentine, DB, Kentucky
Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa
Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
Travis Vokolek, TE, Nebraska
Andrew Vorhees, OL, USC
Dalton Wagner, OL, Arkansas
Alex Ward, LS, UCF
Jay Ward, DB, LSU
Carter Warren, OL, Pittsburgh
Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Parker Washington, WR, Penn State
Jalen Wayne, WR, South Alabama
Tyrus Wheat, LB, Mississippi State
Keion White, DL, Georgia Tech
Blake Whiteheart, TE, Wake Forest
Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati
Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia
Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
Garrett Williams, DB, Syracuse
Brayden Willis, TE, Oklahoma
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Tyree Wilson, DL, Texas Tech
Dee Winters, LB, TCU
Devon Witherspoon, DB, Illinois
Colby Wooden, DL, Auburn
Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee
Rejzohn Wright, DB, Oregon State
Luke Wypler, OL, Ohio State
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Byron Young, DL, Alabama
Byron Young, DL, Tennessee
Cameron Young, DL, Mississippi State

FMIA Pre-Super Bowl: Commuting With Nick Sirianni, the O-Line of the Century, and the Tom Brady Recipe

Peter King drives to work with Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni
Peter King

HADDONFIELD, N.J.—The appointment was for 6 a.m. Saturday, and at 5:57, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni rolled his vehicle out of the driveway here in suburban Eagleville. I got in.It’s Super Bowl week, and I feel like the biggest story America doesn’t know is, Who is Nick Sirianni? I don’t know him well either. In my [more]

With salary cap in place, franchise and transition tag amounts for 2023 are known

US Dollar Rallies At Start Of The New Year
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The formulas for determining the franchise and transition tags ultimately tie the amount at each position to a percentage of the salary cap. Thus, once the salary cap is known, the tag amounts are known.

With the salary cap at a record-high $224.8 million for 2023, the tags have been determined.

Per multiple reports, the franchise tags are as follows:

Quarterback: $32,416,000.

Running back: $10,091,000.

Receiver: $19,743,000.

Tight end: $11,345,000.

Offensive line: $18,244,000.

Defensive end: $19,727,000.

Defensive tackle: $18,937,000.

Linebacker: $20,926,000.

Cornerback: $18,140,000.

Safety: $14,460,000.

Kicker/punter: $5,393,000.

The franchise tag allows a player to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet. If his current team doesn’t match the offer, the new team gives up two first-round picks.

The transition tag provides only a right to match, with no compensation. The transition tags are as follows:

Quarterback: $29,504,000.

Running back: $8,429,000.

Receiver: $17,991,000.

Tight end: $9,716,000.

Offensive line: $16,660,000.

Defensive end: $17,452,000.

Defensive tackle: $16,068,000.

Linebacker: $17,478,000.

Cornerback: $15,791,000.

Safety: $11,867,000.

Kicker/punter: $4,869,000.

The window for applying the tags opens on February 21 and closes on March 7. All that really matters is the deadline; unless, however, teams want to apply it before the Scouting Combine in an effort to tamp down the rampant tampering that happens in Indianapolis.

“Expedited review” has become a vague and inconsistent device for fixing mistakes

NFL: AUG 25 Preseason - Chiefs at Bears
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As the NFL inches toward embracing a full-blown sky judge/booth umpire procedure for supplementing on-field officiating, it’s using a hybrid system that many don’t understand — and that the league doesn’t apply as consistently as it should.

The current procedure has its roots in the real-time communication technology that the league established nearly a decade ago to allow the league office to commandeer the replay-review process. Once the pipeline that feeds instantaneous video and audio to 345 Park Avenue was established, the league realized it could be used for other things.

It started with basic administrative matters, such as putting the ball in the right spot or fixing mistakes with the clock or the down. At times, many wondered whether the league office was using it to fix other things, technically in violation of the rules — but as a practical matter aimed at getting calls right.

Some, like me, still believe to this day that it should have been used in the 2018 NFC Championship to direct the officials at the Superdome to drop a flag for pass interference on the Rams, rules regarding its usage be damned.

In recent years, the categories have expanded. Now, it’s generally called “expedited review.” But there doesn’t seem to be a clear understanding regarding when it can be used, how it can be used, and whether it is being used properly.

Here’s the relevant portion of the rulebook: “The Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating
department may consult with on-field officials, or conduct a replay review, or advise the game officials on specific, objective aspects of a play when clear and obvious video evidence is present, and/or to address game administration issues, including, but not limited to: (a) penalty enforcement; (b) the proper down; (c) spot of a foul; (d) the game clock; (e) possession; (f) completed or intercepted pass; (g) touching of a loose ball, boundary line, goal line, or end line; (h) location of the football or a player in relation to a boundary line, the line of scrimmage, the line to gain, or the goal line; or (i) down by contact (when a player is not ruled down by contact on the field). Nothing in this Article precludes a Head Coach or Replay Official from initiating a challenge or review otherwise allowed under Rule 15, Section 1.”

The first part of the rule is significant, for two reasons. First, it’s very broad. There can be consultation with the officials OR a replay review OR advice provided regarding specific, objective aspects of a play.

Second, the rule says that the replay official and designated members of the officiating department “may” consult, etc. Not “shall,” but “may.” That’s an important distinction. “Shall” is mandatory; “may” is permissive.

They can do it. But they don’t have to do it.

It seems as if there’s no consistent procedure for using expedited review to affirmatively spot and fix all errors. Instead, it seems more like something they do if someone happens to notice.

Yesterday’s games provided multiple examples of “expedited review” in action, or not. In 49ers-Eagles, the league office (which has immediate access to all camera angles from the game site) did not notice that Philadelphia receiver DeVonta Smith had lost possession of a key fourth-down reception before the Eagles rushed to the line and started the next play.

In Bengals-Chiefs, expedited review spotted that the shin of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was down before he threw a pass. This allowed the Bengals to not use a challenge, which coach Zac Taylor was prepared to do.

Also in Bengals-Chiefs, expedited review was not used to give the Chiefs a first down when receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling reached the ball forward on third down, beyond the line to gain. Chiefs coach Andy Reid was forced to use his last challenge in order to fix something that expedited review could have fixed.

Could have, not should have. Because the rule says “may” not “shall.”

This is something the league needs to rectify in March. There shouldn’t be inconsistency as to how it’s used. There shouldn’t be discretion as to when it will be used. And the league should work directly with the broadcast networks to help media and viewers better understand when and how expedited review does and doesn’t work.

Currently, “expedited review” is an amorphous device for the league office to wave a wand and fix some things, but not others. It should be far more clear, far more understandable, and far more consistently applied to all situations, for both teams.

The legalization and relentless promotion of gambling causes folks to embrace like never before the notion that games are rigged, even if they aren’t. Expedited review can fuel these conspiracy theories, because no one seems to really understand how it is and isn’t used.

More importantly, a vague and inconsistent process creates an opening for the unscrupulous to try to push an outcome one way or the other. Even if the league has never had a Tim Donaghy on the payroll, it should always be concerned about the possibility. And it should always be looking for ways to diminish the influence that one person can have over the outcome of a game.

FMIA Conference Championships: Eagles rout Niners, Chiefs outlast Bengals to set Super Bowl LVII stage

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How is he doing this? High-ankle sprains are six-week injuries, or something like that. And Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked fairly fine through 36 minutes Sunday in the AFC Championship Game—not running with abandon, but when he had to, Mahomes could get out of harm’s way and do Mahomes things.Nine [more]

PFT’s conference championship game picks

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
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Here we go.

Four teams left. Two spots in the Super Bowl up for grabs. It’s time to pick winners in games that could go either way.

Last week, MDS went 3-1 in the divisional round. I was 2-2.

This week, we disagree on both games. Our selections appear below.

49ers (+2.5) at Eagles

MDS’s take: Over the course of the full season, the Eagles have been the better team. But in the last couple of months, since Brock Purdy became the 49ers’ starting quarterback, the 49ers have been better. I don’t want to discount the great season Jalen Hurts and the Eagles have had, and playing in Philadelphia is an advantage, but I think the 49ers are playing better football than the Eagles right now, and I’m picking the upset.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: It’s still a quarterback-driven league. And Jalen Hurts is a far more accomplished quarterback than Brock Purdy. Yes, Purdy hasn’t lost a game yet. He also has yet to face a team like the Eagles, in a place like Philadelphia. Maybe he’ll make a clutch play that delivers a win. Maybe the 49ers are otherwise good enough that he won’t have to. Regardless, Hurts is the more proven quarterback, and I’ve got more faith in him to make a big play in a big spot, and/or to inspire his teammates at the right moment to do something that will make a difference. It will be a very slim difference.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 23.

Bengals (+1) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: If Patrick Mahomes were 100 percent healthy, the Chiefs would be favored. With Mahomes’ ankle possibly affecting him, the Bengals have been the favorites for most of the week, and it’s tempting to pick them — especially considering how well Joe Burrow has played in the playoffs so far in his young career. And yet I think even with Mahomes hobbling, this Chiefs team has the kind of offense that can attack the Bengals’ defense, and I’m going to pick Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 23, Bengals 17.

Florio’s take: The Bengals are salty. The Chiefs are salty. The teams are great. The quarterbacks are elite. But something has to give. The Bengals are down by three offensive linemen. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an ankle injury. The Bengals did well last week with a depleted offensive line. Mahomes on one leg is still better than most quarterbacks. Here’s hoping for a classic. Another one that goes to overtime. And because I swore to myself (and at myself) after the Bengals thumped the Bills that I’d never pick against them again, I can’t start now.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 30, Chiefs 27 (OT).

NFL 2023 head coaching and G.M. change tracker

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
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The regular season is over and that means that it is time for teams that fell short of expectations this season to start looking for the people that can take them where they want to go in 2023.

Three teams — the Panthers, Colts, and Broncos — fired head coaches during the regular season and the Texans relieved Lovie Smith of his duties after the team’s final game. The Titans fired General Manager Jon Robinson during the season and Cardinals G.M. Steve Keim took a leave of absence that is expected to lead to his departure.

More moves are likely to come and we’ll keep track of all the firings, interviews, and hirings right here, so check back often to see what moves teams are making as they get ready for the 2023 season.

Arizona: General Manager Steve Keim took a leave of absence on December 14 and he is not expected to return to the team. Fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury on January 9. Requested permission to interview Bears assistant G.M. Ian Cunningham on January 9. Interviewed internal candidates Adrian Wilson and Quentin Harris for the G.M. job on January 9 and requested interviews with 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon, 49ers assistant General Manager Adam Peters and Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort. Interviewed former Giants G.M. Jerry Reese on January 10. Received permission to speak with former Saints head coach Sean Payton. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is expected to interview for the head coaching job. Interviewed Cunningham on January 12. Requested interview with Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz. Interviewed Hortiz and Ossenfort on January 13. Requested interview with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Hired Ossenfort as their G.M. on January 16. Interviewed Frank Reich on January 17 and requested an interview with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Scheduled interview with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn for January 21. Requested interview with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Scheduled interview with Payton for January 26. Interviewed Quinn on January 21. Scheduled second interview with Quinn. Requested permission to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

Carolina: Fired head coach Matt Rhule on October 10. Hired Steve Wilks as interim head coach. Expected to interview Jim Caldwell and Frank Reich. Have reportedly spoken with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Requested to interview Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. Requested interview with Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Interviewed Jim Caldwell on January 9 and Steve Wilks on January 10. Interviewed Reich on January 11. Requested interview with Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Requested interview with Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. Interviewed Steichen on January 14. Requested interview with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Completed interview with Evero on January 18. Scheduled interview with Dorsey for January 21. Announced they completed the interview with Dorsey on January 21. Completed interview with Payton on January 23. Interviewed Moore on January 24. Interviewed Kafka on January 22. Had second interview with Wilks and scheduled second interview with Reich. Completed second interview with Moore on January 25. Hired Reich on January 26.

Denver: Fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett on December 26. Hired Jerry Rosburg as interim head coach. Have spoken with former Saints head coach Sean Payton, but cannot formally interview him until January 17. Expected to interview defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Jim Harbaugh. Requested interview with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Requested interview with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Requested interview with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Conducted virtual interview with Jim Harbaugh on January 9. Interviewed former Stanford head coach David Shaw on January 11. Scheduled interviews with Sean Payton and Raheem Morris for January 17 in Los Angeles. Interviewed Jim Caldwell on January 11. Scheduled to interview Quinn on January 20. Interviewed Payton and Morris on January 17. Scheduled to interview Ryans on January 19. Scheduled second interview with Payton for January 25. Terminated the expiring contract of Rosburg.

Houston: Fired head coach Lovie Smith on January 8. Requested interviews with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, and Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Requested interview with Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Requested permission to speak with Sean Payton. Requested interview with Rams assistant head coach Thomas Brown. Interviewed Johnson on January 12. Interviewed Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on January 13 and Gannon on January 14. Announced they completed an interview with Sean Payton on January 16. Interviewed Evero on January 17. Announced completed interview with Thomas Brown on January 17. Announced they completed an interview with Ryans on January 20. Interviewed Kafka on January 22. Scheduled second interview with Kafka. Scheduled second interview with Evero.

Indianapolis: Fired head coach Frank Reich on November 7. Hired Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. Requested interviews with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Requested permission to interview Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on January 9. Requested interview with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Interviewed Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone on January 11. Announced a completed interview with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on January 12. Announced a completed interview with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris on January 13. Interviewed Glenn and Steichen on January 14. Interviewed Johnson on January 13. Requested interview with Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Requested interview with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Requested interview with Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Requested interview with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Requested interview with Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. Announced a completed interview with interim head coach Jeff Saturday on January 19. Announced they completed an interview with Dan Quinn on January 20. Interviewed Kafka on January 22. Scheduled second interview with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Set for second interview with Saturday. Set for second interview with Morris. Scheduled second interview with Quinn for January 28. Set for second interview with Bisaccia. Set for second interview with Martindale. Set for second interview with Steichen. Set for second interview with Callahan. Glenn will have a second interview Feb. 2.

Tennessee: Fired General Manager Jon Robinson on December 6. Plan to interview or have requested to interview Titans vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden, Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon, Browns assistant G.M. Glenn Cook, Bears assistant G.M. Ian Cunningham, and 49ers assistant G.M. Adam Peters. Interviewed Carthon and Cunningham on January 13. Completed interviews with Cook and Carthon on January 13. Expected to have second interviews with Cowden, Carthon, and Cunningham. Hired Carthon as their G.M. on January 17.

NFL announces early entries for 2023 NFL Draft

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State
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The NFL announced this year’s list of players who have been granted special eligibility for the 2023 NFL Draft or who will be in the draft because they have graduated from college with eligibility remaining.

There are 69 early entries and 13 players who are entering the draft after graduating. There were 73 early entries and 27 graduates moving on to the professional ranks.

In 2021, 98 early entries and 30 graduates entered the draft. NIL money would be one place to look as a reason why some players who might have gone pro in the past have opted to remain in school the last couple of years.

The full list of players appears below:

Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda
Texas A&M RB Devon Achane
USC WR Jordan Addison
Iowa State DE MJ Anderson
Alabama DE Will Anderson Jr.
Kansas State DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Oregon State DB Alex Austin
Maryland DB Deonte Banks
Auburn RB Tank Bigsby
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte
LSU OL Anthony Bradford
Alabama S Brian Branch
Clemson Bryan Bresee
Georgia DL Jalen Carter
Houston WR Nathaniel Dell
Liberty WR Demario Douglas
North Carolina WR Josh Downs
Ole Miss RB Zach Evans
Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes
Notre Dame DL Isaiah Foskey
Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs
Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
Oklahoma OL Anton Harrison
Wisconsin LB Nick Herbig
Ohio State DB Ronnie Hickman
Pitt DB Brandon Hill
Northwestern RB Evan Hull
Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
Maryland WR Rakim Jarrett
Texas A&M DB Antonio Johnson
TCU WR Quentin Johnston
Ohio State OL Paris Johnson Jr.
Georgia OL Broderick Jones
Texas A&M DB Jaylon Jones
Notre Dame S Brandon Joseph
Pitt DT Calijah Kancey
South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft
Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
UAB RB DeWayne McBride
Georgia T Warren McClendon
Stanford QB Tanner McKee
TCU RB Kendre Miller
Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims
Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell
East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell
Michigan DE Mike Morris
Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
Central Michigan RB Lew Nichols
LSU DE BJ Ojulari
Calgary DT J-Min Pelley
Utah CB Clark Phillips
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
Flordia QB Anthony Richardson
Alabama CB Eli Ricks
Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
Texas RB Bijan Robinson
LSU DT Jaquelin Roy
Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
Cincinnati WR Tyler Scott
Oregon LB Noah Sewell
Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
Northwestern OL Peter Skoronski
South Carolina DB Cameron Smith
Michigan DL Mazi Smith
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Tulane RB Tyjae Spears
Penn State TE Brenton Strange
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud
Wisconsin OL Joe Tippmann
Florida S Rashad Torrence
Syracuse RB Sean Tucker
USC DE Tuli Tuipulotu
Kentucky CB Carrington Valentine
Iowa DE Lukas Van Ness
Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn
Georgia TE Darnell Washington
Penn State WR Parker Washington
Syracuse DB Garrett Williams
Auburn DE Colby Wooden
Ohio State C Luke Wypler
Albama QB Bryce Young

In addition to those players, the league announced that four players who inquired about their draft status are eligible to be selected without any need for special eligibility granted by the league. They are:

Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier
Texas TE Jahleel Billingsley
Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave
Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith

PFT’s NFL divisional round picks

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We started the super wild-card round in not-so-super fashion, going 4-2 each. This week, there are four games to be played, and picking the winners gets no easier.

The divisional round picks appear below. As you’ll see, MDS has picked two of the underdogs to cover. I’ve picked one to cover, and one to win.

However it plays out, the games this weekend should be great.

Jaguars (+8.5) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Jaguars already being in the divisional round in Year One of Doug Pederson and Year Two of Trevor Lawrence is a great sign for where this team is heading. But they’re not yet on the level of the team Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have in Kansas City. This is where the Jaguars’ impressive season comes to an end.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs are on upset alert. It will not surprise me at all if the Jaguars win the game. They’re loose. They have nothing to lose. The Chiefs may be peeking past the Jaguars, with a much-hyped Bills rematch looming. But, ultimately, I’ve got faith that Patrick Mahomes will find a way to advance. Even if it isn’t nearly as easy as people think it will be.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 27.

Giants (+7.5) at Eagles

MDS’s take: Brian Daboll has done an incredible job getting Daniel Jones to the point where he can have a playoff game like he had last week against the Vikings. This week against a much better Eagles defense, I find it hard to believe Jones can do it again. Jalen Hurts will put plenty of points on the board for Philadelphia, and Jones and the Giants won’t be able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Giants 17.

Florio’s take: It happened in 2008, when the Eagles beat the top-seeded Giants. It happened in 2007, when the Giants beat the top-seeded Cowboys. And it could happen again, with the Giants getting their revenge, 15 years later. The Giants are gaining momentum, improving at the right time. The Eagles have been wobbly for the past few weeks. Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence have become superstars before our eyes. Saquon Barkley is running as hard as ever. Isaiah Hodgins is the guy opposing defenses refuse to take seriously. Brian Daboll outcoached Kevin O’Connell last week, and could be ready to outcoach Nick Sirianni. It won’t be easy, but nothing has been easy for the Giants this year. Expect a Saturday night classic, one that the Giants could indeed win.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Eagles 23.

Bengals (+5.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: Both the Bengals and the Bills struggled to beat overmatched opponents last weekend, but I’m expecting a well-played game between them on Sunday. Josh Allen will make one more big play than Joe Burrow in the fourth quarter, and that will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Bills 24, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take: The Bengals are salty about many things. And that could be enough to fuel a second annual divisional-round road win. But the Bills will get a major lift from a pregame appearance by Damar Hamlin (if that happens), and quarterback Josh Allen will will his way back to the AFC Championship. It would help if someone other than receiver Stefon Diggs steps up, too.

Florio’s pick: Bills 31, Bengals 24.

Cowboys (+4) at 49ers

MDS’s take: After watching the Cowboys dominate the Buccaneers on Monday night, I’m tempted to pick an upset here. But I do think Brock Purdy will do just enough to keep the 49ers’ offense moving, and the 49ers’ defense will force Dak Prescott into a couple of turnovers to win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 17, Cowboys 16.

Florio’s take: The 49ers have a collection of badasses who can roll out of bed and run through a brick wall. And even though coach Kyle Shanahan has downplayed it, he knows having two extra days makes a world of difference, especially with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviewing for the Broncos job when he otherwise should be preparing to crack Shanahan’s code, and to not have his own code cracked.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Cowboys 17.

PFT’s 2022 season awards

Kansas City Chiefs v San Francisco 49ers
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With the postseason about to kick off, here’s a look back at PFT’s awards for the regular season, in which we honored the best players, rookies, coach, executive and comeback player for the 2022 season:

Most Valuable Player: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the obvious choice as he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns and led the Chiefs to the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Coach of the Year: Giants head coach Brian Daboll gets our award after taking over what appeared to be one of the worst rosters in the NFL and getting his team into the playoffs in Year One.

Executive of the Year: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman gets the honor for building a loaded roster that earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Offensive Player of the Year: Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson established himself as the top receiving threat in the NFL in 2022 and looks like he’s going to be one of the league’s elite playmakers for years to come.

Defensive Player of the Year: 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa and his league-leading 18.5 sacks were our choice as the NFL’s best defensive player.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy had an extraordinary rise from Mr. Irrelevant to Rookie of the Year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner went up against some of the best receivers in the NFL and consistently got the better of them, making him our defensive rookie choice.

Comeback Player of the Year: 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey looked like he was in for a long season on a bad team, but after his trade to San Francisco, he’s healthy and ready to be a playoff contributor on a Super Bowl contender.

PFT’s NFL 2022 MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
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Throughout every given season, the question of who will or could be the MVP becomes a rollercoaster. Candidates emerge. Some remain viable, others come and go. By the time all 17 games are played, the answer becomes obvious.

This year, the obvious answer is Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

It’s easy to take his wizardry for granted, to expect greatness rather than be awed by it. After a closer-than-expected December win over the Texans, which featured a hook-shot throw that not many quarterbacks in the history of the sport could have made, Mahomes explained that some of his best work happens when he slips into “panic mode.”

For most, panic mode never ends well. For Mahomes, it unlocks a combination of skill and instinct that leads to memorable moments, whether it’s throwing a cross-body laser while running away from pressure or flipping a sudden knuckleball to running back Jerick McKinnon.

And when Mahomes decides to run the ball, he has an uncanny knack for weaving through bodies that lunge and flail hopelessly in an effort to bring him down.

The end result for Mahomes was a single-season record for total offensive output, with 5,250 passing yards, 385 rushing yards, and six receiving yards. That’s 5,614 total yards of offense from Mahomes, who in his fifth year as a starter already has cemented his Hall of Fame credentials.

The next step is trying to get another Super Bowl victory. He said in December that he’d rather win a championship than an MVP award, that he’s won each prize and strongly prefers the one that’s determined in February. No player has managed to do both since Rams quarterback Kurt Warner in 1999.

Others merit consideration as the most valuable in the sport. Bills quarterback Josh Allen, the preseason favorite, had another special season. A tendency to turn the ball over in the red zone dragged him down in the end, however. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, after a slow start caused in large part by an appendectomy, showed that he’s not afraid of anything, as proven by three wins over Mahomes in calendar year 2022.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts may have won the prize but for a shoulder injury that caused him to miss multiple late-season games. He can run, he can throw, and above all else he can lead. He explained after a win over the Steelers that he has sensed that the rest of the team has adopted his obsessive focus and determination to win game after game after game.

A couple of non-quarterbacks showed their value as well. The Vikings would have been ordinary at best without receiver Justin Jefferson. And 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa caused folks to stop and think whether it’s time for a defensive player to win the award, for the first time since Lawrence Taylor in 1986.

Still, at the end of the day, it’s Mahomes. The best player at the most important position in the sport. A player who will likely keep doing what he’s been doing at the highest level for another decade, maybe longer.

2022 AP All-Pro second team features Jalen Hurts over Josh Allen

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
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Previously, Associated Press All-Pro voters had one vote per position. If that were the case in 2022, there would have been 49 votes for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, one for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, and none for anyone else.

By expanding the voting, more players got votes. Hurts ended up with 22 points under the revised voting system; Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow received 15 each.

It’s surprising that Hurts finished second, given that he missed multiple late-season games.

Here’s the full Associated Press All-Pro second team.


Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia.

Running Back: Nick Chubb, Cleveland.

Tight End: George Kittle, San Francisco.

Wide Receivers: AJ Brown, Philadelphia; Stefon Diggs, Buffalo; CeeDee Lamb, Dallas.

Left Tackle: Andrew Thomas, New York Giants.

Right Tackle: Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay.

Left Guard: Joe Thuney, Kansas City.

Right Guard: Chris Lindstrom, Atlanta.

Center: Creed Humphrey, Kansas City.


Edge Rushers: Myles Garrett, Cleveland; Haason Reddick, Philadelphia.

Interior Linemen: Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants; Jeffrey Simmons, Tennessee.

Linebackers: Bobby Wagner, Los Angeles Rams; CJ Mosley, New York Jets; Demario Davis, New Orleans.

Cornerbacks: Jaire Alexander, Green Bay; James Bradberry, Philadelphia.

Safeties: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers; Justin Simmons, Denver.


Placekicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore.

Punter: Ryan Stonehouse, Tennessee.

Kick Returner: Kene Nwangwu, Minnesota.

Punt Returner: Kalif Raymond, Detroit.

Special Teamer: George Odum, San Francisco.

Long Snapper: Nick Moore, Baltimore.

2022 NFL All-Pro first team includes four Chiefs, four 49ers

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
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The Associated Press has unveiled its 2022 All-Pro team.

The roster comes from votes cast by 50 media members. Expanded voting this year, with all voters selecting a first team and a second team.

The first team consists of four Chiefs and four 49ers, three Raiders, two Eagles, two Vikings, two Cowboys, and two Jets. The Dolphins, Browns, Ravens, Bills, Broncos, Steelers, Packers, Commanders, and Patriots each had one participant on the first team.

That’s 16 teams represented on the All-Pro roster. Omitted were the Bengals, Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Colts, Chargers, Giants, Lions, Bears, Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints, Falcons, Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals.

Here’s the full first-team roster.


Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.

Running Back: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas.

Tight End: Travis Kelce, Kansas City.

Wide Receivers: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota; Tyreek Hill, Miami; Davante Adams, Las Vegas.

Left Tackle: Trent Williams, San Francisco.

Right Tackle: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia.

Left Guard: Joel Bitonio, Cleveland.

Right Guard: Zack Martin, Dallas.

Center: Jason Kelce, Philadelphia.


Edge Rushers: Nick Bosa, San Francisco; Micah Parsons, Dallas.

Interior Linemen: Chris Jones, Kansas City; Quinnen Williams, New York Jets.

Linebackers: Fred Warner, San Francisco; Roquan Smith, Baltimore; Matt Milano, Buffalo.

Cornerbacks: Sauce Gardner, New York Jets; Patrick Surtain II, Denver.

Safeties: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh; Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco.

Placekicker: Daniel Carlson, Las Vegas.

Punter: Tommy Townsend, Kansas City.

Kick Returner: Keisean Nixon, Green Bay.

Punt Returner: Marcus Jones, New England.

Special Teamer: Jeremy Reaves, Washington.

Long Snapper: Andrew DePaola, Minnesota.