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Where the quarterback competition battles stand

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The NFL offseason was defined by huge changes to the quarterback landscape as Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield were traded. In the wake of all of those seismic changes, that leaves some unresolved QB situations across the league. Here’s a look at where several active quarterback battles stand early in training camp.

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QB battles in training camp

Atlanta Falcons: Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder

Marcus Mariota is the leader to be named the Atlanta Falcons’ QB1 and replacement for Matt Ryan after Atlanta made an unsuccessful run at Deshaun Watson. Mariota is mobile and has a live arm and experience, but he’s keeping the spot warm for rookie Desmond Ridder.

Mariota has a ton of familiarity with coach Arthur Smith’s offense and played for him with the Tennessee Titans. Look for him to win the starting job and be declared the guy at some point.

Ridder, a third-round draft pick from Cincinnati, is promising. He has leadership qualities and a lot of upside working in his favor. If Mariota falters or his past durability issues resurface, then Ridder could become a rookie starter and face the task of learning on the job.

“I’m very comfortable with where I’m at,” Mariota said during a press conference. “I’m trying [to] make sure everyone else is in the same place so we can go out there and play fast.”

Carolina Panthers: Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold

Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a reason. While he fell out of favor with the Cleveland Browns for his play and personality, that doesn’t mean Mayfield can’t play. When Mayfield is healthy and has his head on straight, he has rhythm and confidence and can move the offense down the field on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Sam Darnold has failed twice now. First, he washed out with the New York Jets. Now, he’s expected to lose this competition to Mayfield.

Meanwhile, rookie Matt Corral will have to wait his turn. Mayfield and Darnold have been rotating days with the first-team offense. It will become more evident when the preseason games start who should be QB1.

That said, it’s hard to see Darnold beating out Mayfield. Healthy again, Mayfield is off to a good start with his new team. And Darnold has had issues with ball security, fumbling twice in a recent practice.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph

Big Ben left some very big cleats to fill, and this doesn’t look like a distinguished group of potential replacements.

Now that Ben Roethlisberger has retired, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in flux under center. Mitchell Trubisky, a bust with the Chicago Bears who performed well as a backup to Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills, is the projected starter ahead of rookie Kenny Pickett and career backup Mason Rudolph.

Here’s the twist, though.

Trubisky, by all accounts, is struggling mightily at training camp. He’s been highly inaccurate in red-zone drills and the daily charts from beat writers reflect his inability to build chemistry so far with his receivers.

Meanwhile, Pickett still has a lot to learn. Strangely enough, Rudolph has drawn the highest marks early in training camp. All three quarterbacks have taken a turn with the first-team offense.

This looks like a rough situation. It’s a good thing the Steelers have outstanding leadership in coach Mike Tomlin and one of the best running backs in the NFL in Najee Harris.

“We’re not going to micromanage or overmanage this quarterback competition,” Tomlin told reporters. “The depth chart will not rest on every throw. I know that you guys will want to ask me every day and every throw, but we’re going to be a little bit more steady than that.

“I think it’s important from a leadership perspective to not overmanage it, to not be too impulsive, so that’s what I’ve relayed to those guys, and our actions will continue to display that mindset.”

Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith and Drew Lock

Following the Wilson trade to the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks are now at a crossroads at the all-important quarterback position. For now, Geno Smith is in the lead at training camp as the first-string quarterback ahead of former Broncos starter Drew Lock, who was included in the Wilson trade.

However, Smith hasn’t been a regular starter since 2014 when he played for the New York Jets. He has a strong arm and can run, but he’s never been consistent, thus, why he’s been a career backup.

Lock has a reputation for being erratic, but he’s improved his dedication and work ethic over the past two years.

Neither option seems great for the Seahawks, who are expected to lean heavily on their running game tandem of Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III.

Smith has been working exclusively with the starters and Lock with the second-team offense. Both have had some issues in red-zone work. Smith has sailed passes even too high for 6-foot-4 wide receiver DK Metcalf to come down with despite his 40.5-inch vertical leap. Not good.

At this point, it’s geared toward Smith winning the job. But perhaps general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll should dial up the San Francisco 49ers and trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.



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Why Eagles’ Jalen Reagor isn’t focused on trade rumors or social media insults following an offseason of loss

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PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Reagor knows what you’re thinking.

He’s seen the personal attacks on social media and heard the jeers from Eagles fans at the NovaCare Complex during practices in training camp. The former first-round pick is also well-versed in what “boos” sound like at Lincoln Financial Field. He knows that fans aren’t going to buy into the hype of a strong summer and that most of them want him to be traded … for basically anything. But none of that really matters to him.

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Jalen Reagor looking to rebound after offseason of loss

This offseason, Reagor endured a couple of tough life lessons through loss.

In January, Reagor’s grandmother — who he credits with raising him — passed away. He then lost his best friend, former NFL cornerback Jeff Gladney, in a deadly car crash in May. Those losses gave Reagor a lot to think about as he entered his third NFL training camp.

He leaned heavily on his father, Montae, a former Eagles and Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman, for emotional strength and wisdom. Through those hard times, Reagor pushed forward with added perspective. He also got in the best shape of his career.

Reagor believes that’s exactly how Gladney would want him to carry on in his memory.

“I’m not all the way through [the grieving process], but I know I have a job to do,” Reagor said. “And I know what [Gladney] would want me to do. I’m just continuing to [honor] him every time I touch the field — give it to him and God — and do the best that I can.”

Reagor entered last year’s training camp out of shape. This offseason, his wide receivers coach, former NFL wideout Aaron Moorehead, believes he returned to Philly in better shape than most of his teammates.

“He came in as good a shape as anyone in the camp this year, and it’s showed by the way he’s played,” Moorehead said.

Reagor has routinely made headlines for his sensitivity to social media. And while the occasional hiccup — like a dispute over his playing toughness early in camp — has occurred, he’s in a better place mentally because of the personal experiences he’s had over the past few months.

He knows what’s important in life, and he’s not trying to dwell on the criticisms of faceless posters or disgruntled fans.

“Just put my head down and go to work,” Reagor said. “Not really worried about anything else, just focused on myself.”

Down the totem pole

While Reagor returned to camp with an improved physique and attitude, he found himself deeper down the depth chart than in years past.

The team traded first- and third-round picks to the Tennessee Titans to acquire top wideout A.J. Brown in April. Philly then immediately gave Brown a four-year, $100 million contract extension.

Brown’s arrival ruled out a starting role for Reagor. He had already been succeeded in the lineup by DeVonta Smith, last year’s first-round pick, and draft classmate and friend, Quez Watkins, last season.

So, Reagor came into the summer fighting for a job with the fourth spot on the totem pole being his best option for playing time.

“I love a good challenge,” Reagor said. “It’s a humbling experience because you go from being a first-rounder to you battling — but I like challenges, though.”

Stay or trade?

The Eagles can’t cut Reagor, as that move would enact a $6.04 million dead-money hit, according to Over The Cap.

The team’s only option in a potential divorce would be through a trade. While Reagor’s name has repeatedly been mentioned in trade rumors, and the Baltimore Ravens — according to a league source — showed some interest in him during the offseason, the Eagles don’t seem to be in a rush to unload him for just about anything.

In particular, Reagor has the backing of Moorehead, who has known him since the coach and Reagor’s father were teammates in Indianapolis in the 2000s. Moorehead hasn’t given up on the former first-round pick, even if his depth chart is now stacked to the brim.

“He’s had a nice camp so far, he’s made plays, and he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do,” Moorehead said. “He’s got to come in and challenge himself every day to be great on the field, off the field, and continue to take care of himself. We have had no issues this year.”

In order for Reagor to have a role with the Eagles, he needs to outlast veteran Zach Pascal — a favorite of head coach Nick Sirianni — undrafted standout Britain Covey, Deon Cain, Greg Ward, John Hightower, Lance Lenoir, Devon Allen, and Keric Wheatfall for a job. The Eagles also have listed Reagor as their top punt and kick returner on their first unofficial depth chart, which could lead to a game-day place to make plays.

But does Reagor want a new opportunity through a trade? Publicly, he’s standing firm on his goal to revitalize his potential where it all started.

“I want to be here for the rest of my career,” Reagor said. “But, you know, it’s a business — a business of production. I’m going to handle my end, and I’m going to let them handle theirs.”

Make-or-break preseason

Last summer, Reagor made a couple of circus catches that tantalized the fan base and gave the Philly faithful hope that he had turned the corner from his underwhelming rookie season. Reagor went on to play 67% of the offensive snaps, but he caught just 33 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns.

That’s why it’s understandable that fans are a little hesitant to buy into Reagor’s positive reviews through three weeks of camp. The wideout has been running mostly with the second-team offense, even with Smith sidelined with a groin injury. Despite the depth reps, though, Reagor has made the most of his targets, especially of late.

On Wednesday, Reagor worked with the starters and was able to beat No. 1 cornerback Darius Slay on an out route. Starting QB Jalen Hurts looked Reagor’s way and put the ball where only he could get it. Reagor made a highlight fingertip catch before heading out of bounds for a 10-yard gain in 11-on-11 team drills.

“It’s one of those things that the coaches game plan,” Reagor said about the play. “If Slay would have played off, you have a certain conversion — but he played off, I came full speed, and a great throw by Jalen. It’s my job to make the quarterback look good.”

That highlight added to a handful of big plays made in previous practices, as Reagor has routinely used his deep speed to get open for chunk plays. He hasn’t been perfect — no wideout can make that claim — but he’s looked consistently capable of making plays when the ball goes to him, which is a steady improvement from his first two years.

As one source told Pro Football Network, Reagor is “locked in.”

All that said, the Eagles still might spotlight Reagor in the preseason to shop him to the highest bidder before final cuts. Or, maybe, they’ll finally help him get in rhythm with Hurts and the starters as Smith recovers on the sideline.

Either way, Reagor knows he can’t worry about the end result. He just needs to do his job.

“We’ve got a hell of a room,” Reagor said. “It’s a competition in there. Obviously, people have their jobs, some people don’t, and some people are fighting. So, you’ve got to come in, and when people go down, you’ve got to step up. When people are up, you’ve just to make sure you’re ready when it’s your time.”



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Make way for Baylor’s returning offensive linemen

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For one final college football season, the Preseason All-Big 12 Team features Oklahoma and Texas. However, it’s also the last year before the conference welcomes BYU, Cincinnati, and UCF into its ranks which will change its course for the next few decades. Presented in conjunction with our release of our College Football All-Americans, we at PFN debut our 2022 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, as voted on by our team of national analysts and NFL draft evaluators.

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PFN’s 2022 All-Big 12 Team

It is important to note that these teams may look a bit different than the all-conference teams listed by each individual conference. Our teams mirror our All-Americans, taking into consideration not only what a player has accomplished to date but looking forward to what we expect to see based on the growth of the athlete’s career.

Offense | First team

QB: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
RB: Bijan Robinson, Texas
RB: Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
WR: Xavier Worthy, Texas
WR: Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
WR: Quentin Johnston, TCU
TE: Ben Sims, Baylor
FLEX: Malik Knowles, Kansas State
OT: Connor Galvin, Baylor
G: Trevor Downing, Iowa State
C: Jacob Gall, Baylor
G: Grant Miller, Baylor
OT: Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

Defense | First team

EDGE: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
DT: Siaki Ika, Baylor
DT: Dante Stills, West Virginia
EDGE: Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
LB: DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
LB: Dillon Doyle, Baylor
LB: Dee Winters, TCU
CB: Al Walcott, Baylor
CB: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU
CB: D’Shawn Jamison, Texas
S: Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas
S: Anthony Johnson Jr., Iowa State
FLEX: Keondre Coburn, Texas

Specialists | First team

PK: Isaiah Hankins, Baylor
P: Michael Turk, Oklahoma
KR: Malik Knowles, Kansas State
PR: Phillip Brooks, Kansas State
LS: Matt Hembrough, Oklahoma State

The All-Big 12 Team is stacked at the top, including the nation’s best returning offensive line in Baylor. The Bears sport three first-team offensive linemen, including Connor Galvin at left tackle. Dillon Gabriel earns the top honors at quarterback after transferring in from UCF as he’s one of the premier downfield passers in all of college football. He edged new rival Spencer Sanders out for the top spot as the Oklahoma State quarterback headlines the second team.

Offense | Second team

QB: Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
RB: Devin Neal, Kansas
RB: SaRodorick Thompson, Texas Tech
WR: Marvin Mims, Oklahoma
WR: Phillip Brooks, Kansas State
WR: Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia
TE: Jahleel Billingsley, Texas
FLEX: Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State
OT: Khalil Keith, Baylor
G: Chris Murray, Oklahoma
C: Steve Avila, TCU
G: Doug Nester, West Virginia
OT: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State

Defense | Second team

EDGE: Brock Martin, Oklahoma State
DT: Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State
DT: Jaxon Player, Baylor
EDGE: Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech 
LB: O’Rien Vance, Iowa State
LB: Gavin Potter, Kansas
LB: Krishon Merriweather, Texas Tech
CB: D.J. Graham, Oklahoma
CB: Noah Daniels, TCU
CB: Woodi Washington, Oklahoma
S: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech
S: Jason Taylor II, Oklahoma State
FLEX: Garmon Randolph, Baylor

Specialists | Second team

PK: Casey Legg, West Virginia
P: Isaac Power, Baylor
KR: Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
PR: D’Shawn Jamison, Texas
LS: Kasey Kelleher, Oklahoma

Oklahoma State wasn’t just represented by their quarterback as the versatile Brennan Presley made his way to the second-team offensive flex position. Brock Martin and Tyler Lacy should dominate the Cowboys’ pass-rushing unit while Jason Taylor II patrols the backend.

Offense | Honorable Mention

QB: JT Daniels, West Virginia
RB: Roschon Johnson, Texas
RB: Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech
WR: Taye Barber, TCU
WR: Isaiah Neyor, Texas
WR: Jordan Whittington, Texas
TE: Brayden Willis, Oklahoma
FLEX: Sam James, West Virginia
OT: Earl Bostick Jr., Kansas
G: Micah Mazzccua, Baylor
C: Zach Frazier, West Virginia
G: Cole Birmingham, Oklahoma State
OT: Christian Duffie, Kansas State

Defense | Honorable Mention

EDGE: Eli Huggins, Kansas State
DT: Cade Hall, Baylor
DT: Jaylon Hutchings, Texas Tech
EDGE: Trace Ford, Oklahoma State
LB: Deshaun White, Oklahoma
LB: Daniel Green, Kansas State
LB: Rich Miller, Kansas
CB: Julius Brents, Kansas State
CB: Ekow Boye-Doe, Kansas State
CB: Jacobee Bryant, Kansas
S: Key Lawrence, Oklahoma
S: Marquis Waters, Texas Tech
FLEX: Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma

Specialists | Honorable Mention

PK: Alex Hale, Oklahoma State
P: Austin McNamara, Texas Tech
KR: Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State
PR: Derius Davis, TCU
LS: Randen Plattner, Kansas State

For the rest of the Pro Football Network All-Conference Teams, view each conference here: ACC | B1G | Pac-12SECIndependentsAACC-USAMACMWCSun Belt

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.





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Bryce Young set to lead Alabama, SEC this fall

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After the balance of power shifted in the 2021 college football season, the 2022 Preseason All-SEC Team gives pause for a potential Georgia repeat in the national championship. Instead, the Alabama Crimson Tide look poised to regain their spot as they’re led by QB Bryce Young in 2022. Presented in conjunction with our release of our College Football All-Americans, we at PFN debut our 2022 Preseason All-SEC Team, as voted on by our team of national analysts and NFL draft evaluators.

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PFN’s 2022 All-SEC Team

It’s important to note that these teams may look a bit different than the All-Conference teams listed by each individual conference. Our teams mirror our All-Americans, taking into consideration not only what a player has accomplished to date but looking forward to what we expect to see based on the growth of the athlete’s career.

Offense | First team

QB: Bryce Young, Alabama
RB: Tank Bigsby, Auburn
RB: Devon Achane, Texas A&M
WR: Kayshon Boutte, LSU
WR: Cedric Tillman, Tennessee
WR: Jermaine Burton, Alabama
TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia
FLEX: Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
OT: Darnell Wright, Tennessee
G: O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
C: Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia
G: Layden Robinson, Texas A&M
OT: Broderick Jones, Georgia

Defense | First team

EDGE: Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
DT: Jalen Carter, Georgia
DT: Gervon Dexter, Florida
EDGE: BJ Ojulari, LSU
LB: Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama
LB: Bumper Pool, Arkansas
LB: Anfernee Orji, Vanderbilt
CB: Kelee Ringo, Georgia
CB: Cam Smith, South Carolina
CB: Malachi Moore, Alabama
S: Jordan Battle, Alabama
S: Jalen Catalon, Arkansas
FLEX: Jaylon Carlies, Missouri

Specialists | First team

PK: Harrison Mevis, Missouri
P: Nik Constantinou, Texas A&M
KR: Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
PR: Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
LS: Marco Ortiz, Florida

Bryce Young takes the top spot as the conference’s best quarterback returning to action, and he’ll have an emerging talent in Jermaine Burton to throw to this season. Alabama reached into the transfer portal to add a one-of-a-kind running back in Jahmyr Gibbs that should give defenses headaches in 2022. Vanderbilt turns heads with their selection of Anfernee Orji to the All-SEC First Team as he is one of the most dominant linebackers in the country.

Offense | Second team

QB: Will Levis, Kentucky
RB: Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky
RB: Zach Evans, Ole Miss
WR: Justin Shorter, Florida
WR: Antwane Wells Jr., South Carolina
WR: Josh Vann, South Carolina
TE: Cameron Latu, Alabama
FLEX: Tayvion Robinson, Kentucky
OT: Javon Foster, Missouri
G: Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
C: Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
G: Kenneth Horsey, Kentucky
OT: Warren McClendon, Georgia

Defense | Second team

EDGE: Derick Hall, Auburn
DT: Zacch Pickens, South Carolina
DT: Byron Young, Alabama
EDGE: Byron Young, Tennessee
LB: DeAndre Square, Kentucky
LB: Ventrell Miller, Florida
LB: Dallas Turner, Alabama
CB: Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
CB: Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri
CB: Eli Ricks, Alabama
S: Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M
S: Trey Dean III, Florida
FLEX: Nehemiah Pritchett, Auburn

Specialists | Second team

PK: Will Reichard, Alabama
P: Oscar Chapman, Auburn
KR: Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri
PR: Tayvion Robinson, Kentucky
LS: Connor Choate, Texas A&M

The Kentucky Wildcats have an exciting trio returning to the offensive side of the ball. Will Levis leads the team at quarterback with Chris Rodriguez in the backfield and Virginia Tech transfer Tayvion Robinson set to expand the role Wan’Dale Robinson made famous last season. Two Byron Youngs make the team as Alabama’s rushes from the interior and Tennessee’s crushes QBs from the edge. Both are players to watch every week.

Offense | Honorable Mention

QB
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

RB
Kenny McIntosh, Georgia
Raheim Sanders, Arkansas
Re’Mahn Davis, Vanderbilt
Jo’quavious Marks, Mississippi State

WR
Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
Dakereon Joyner, South Carolina
Will Sheppard, Vanderbilt
Jaden Walley, Mississippi State
Ladd McConkey, Georgia
Adonai Mitchell, Georgia

TE
Jaheim Bell, South Carolina
Trey Knox, Arkansas

FLEX
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
Nick Brahms, Auburn

OT
Jeremy James, Ole Miss
Austin Troxell, Auburn
Bradley Ashmore, Vanderbilt
Richard Gouraige, Florida

G
Javion Cohen, Alabama
Brady Latham, Arkansas
Emil Ekiyor Jr., Alabama
Keiondre Jones, Auburn

C
LaQuinston Sharp, Mississippi State
Julian Hernandez, Vanderbilt

Defense | Honorable Mention

EDGE
Ali Gaye, LSU
Trajan Jeffcoat, Missouri
Cedric Johnson, Ole Miss
J.J. Weaver, Kentucky

DT
DJ Dale, Alabama
Maason Smith, LSU
Colby Wooden, Auburn
Daevion Davis, Vanderbilt

LB
Ethan Barr, Vanderbilt
Jacquez Jones, Kentucky
Micah Baskerville, LSU
Mike Jones Jr., LSU
Jeremy Banks, Tennessee
Owen Pappoe, Auburn

CB
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
Tyreek Chappell, Texas A&M
Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri
Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M
Deantre Prince, Ole Miss
Carrington Valentine, Kentucky

S
DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama
Tykee Smith, Georgia
Rashad Torrence II, Florida
AJ Finley, Ole Miss

FLEX
Jaylen Mahoney, Vanderbilt
Latavious Brini, Arkansas

Specialists | Honorable Mention

PK
Anders Carlson, Auburn
Cam Little, Arkansas

P
Jeremy Crawshaw, Florida
Paxton Brooks, Tennessee

KR
Lideatrick Griffin, Mississippi State
Juju McDowell, South Carolina

PR
Xzavier Henderson, Florida
Kearis Jackson, Georgia

LS
Kneeland Hibbett, Alabama
Jacob Quattlebaum, Auburn

For other Pro Football Network’s All-Conference Teams, view each conference here: ACCB1GBig 12 | IndependentsAACC-USAMACMWCSun Belt

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.





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