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Bryce Young Takes Meetings Before Alabama Pro Day, Panthers Haven’t Received Calls About No. 1 Pick



The NFL Pro Day circuit rolls on, with college prospects getting the chance to show their stuff in front of NFL general managers, head coaches, and scouting departments. With the 2023 NFL Draft just over a month away, players can improve or impair their draft stock with their performances.

We’re covering the latest NFL draft news and rumors, including all pro day news related to Thursday’s action. Be sure to bookmark our NFL Pro Day schedule and check back daily for the most important takeaways.

Bryce Young Meets With Panthers and Raiders Ahead of Alabama Pro Day

Given that Alabama is the premier college football program in the country, it’s no surprise that a large contingent of NFL teams are sending their staffs to Thursday’s Crimson Tide Pro Day. At least a dozen clubs will have their general manager on-site, while 10 organizations plan to send their head coach, according to Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.

While teams will want to get a look at first-round prospects like edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., safety Brian Branch, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs, most of the focus will undoubtedly be on quarterback Bryce Young, who will throw for the first time after forgoing passing drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Young had dinner with the Carolina Panthers, who own the No. 1 overall pick, on Wednesday night, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported. Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer, head Frank Reich, assistant general manager Dan Morgan, vice president of football administration Samir Suleiman, and coaches Jim Caldwell, Thomas Brown, and Josh McCown were all in attendance.

Young also met with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Media. While the Panthers will have their choice of quarterbacks at No. 1, the Raiders might have to get creative to land a signal-caller. All four of the draft’s top QBs — Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis — could be off the board by the time Las Vegas is on the clock at No. 7, so Josh McDaniels and Co. may have to consider trading up.

Panthers Haven’t Received Any Calls About No. 1 Pick

The Panthers gave up a haul to acquire the draft’s top selection from the Chicago Bears, but reports immediately after that trade suggested Carolina could trade back down if they were comfortable with more than one quarterback.

However, rival front offices don’t believe that the Panthers would abandon the No. 1 pick, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. Asked this week if he’d received any calls about the choice, Fitterer simply said, “Not yet, no.”

The betting odds indicate Stroud is the favorite to be chosen first overall, and that’s who Carolina’s coaches would draft “if left to their own devices,” per La Canfora. However, the Post suggests that Young may be Tepper’s preferred prospect, and ownership often holds outsized influence on high-end quarterback selections.

The Panthers met with Stroud before Ohio State’s Pro Day on Wednesday and intend to visit with him again before the draft, as NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports. Given that the NFL discourages teams holding the No. 1 pick from revealing their selections ahead of the draft, Carolina will likely keep things close to the vest until April 27.

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Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa Battle for Midfield Dominance




The AFC East is an incredibly competitive division, boasting four potential playoff teams and potentially three of the 10 most talented rosters in the entire NFL. But how do their quarterbacks stack up alongside one another? Which teams hold that particular advantage within arguably the best NFL division?

Ranking the QBs in the AFC East

The top spot and the final spot are inarguable for now. But how do we navigate the peculiar injury situation in Miami and a Hall of Famer in a new environment for the first time in his professional career?

1) Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen

The overall production and threat that Josh Allen poses to NFL defensive coordinators in unique. Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and others all provide their own challenges, but Allen is a different animal. While Anthony Richardson certainly makes things interesting as the one true height/weight/arm/athleticism freak, Allen furthered that archetype from the Cam Newton era.

The mobile QB evolution is upon us, and there isn’t a single version of that player that defenders want less of a piece of than Allen. Aside from not having 4.5 speed, Allen is as close as you can get to a create-a-player at the position.

MORE: PFN’s All-Under 25 Team 

However, his style of play has come under question, and for good reason. Newton’s career was slashed by an accumulation of hits that led to nagging injuries and a loss of arm strength.

“I know this sounds crazy, but I’m getting older,” Allen said. “It’s like, ‘I can’t continue to do this.’ I know when I’m using my youth, I feel like I can, but over the course of my career, I’m going to have to learn to adapt and change.”

He’s right. And while he may become slightly less efficient on the ground by shying away from contact while on the hoof, he’ll also protect his body from unnecessary wear and tear.

2) Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa

Choosing between Tua Tagovailoa and Aaron Rodgers was the difficult debate here. There’s no questioning who was the more productive quarterback a season ago. Tua was outstanding when healthy, and the Dolphins’ offense was a well-oiled machine in Mike McDaniel’s first season calling plays for Miami.

Rodgers may very well return to an MVP level of passing efficiency with the Jets. But Tua got the edge over Rodgers here because of his willingness to attack the middle of the field where the Dolphins’ offense thrives. Rodgers is an all-time talent, but part of his TD:INT ratio is the fact that he’s often unwilling to test those margins in the middle of the field.

Tua doesn’t have the elite arm talent of Rodgers, even at 39. Still, his accuracy is impeccable, and he’s only improving his processing ability, which was already at a high level coming from Alabama.

PFN NFL Analyst Arif Hasan ranked Tua above Rodgers in his overall QB Power Rankings. As fun as it would be to argue, the situation in Miami is primed for Tua to produce at an incredible level in 2023.

3) New York Jets: Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is in a much better place this season, and we’ve already seen that it’s foolish to believe that Rodgers has officially crested the hill. After a few down years in Green Bay, he won consecutive MVP awards with the man who will call plays for him after a one-year hiatus to try and be a head coach in Denver. Say what you want about Nathaniel Hackett, but he had that Green Bay offense humming as the OC.

Rodgers is likely the most cerebral pre- and post-snap passer in the NFL, but he fools the people just as Tiger Woods once did. These amazing talents actually play an incredibly conservative brand of their sport overall.

He’ll have no shortage of talent alongside him on offense. But he will also have incredible expectations in New York, particularly because two of his former receivers joined him on the team from Green Bay.

4) New England Patriots: Mac Jones

Mac Jones has a lot to prove in his third NFL season. After playing well in Year 1, he was eventually benched for fourth-round rookie QB Bailey Zappe for parts of 2022. But the more crucial mistake may have been his perceived disloyalty to Bill Belichick.

MORE: Best NFL Offenses | Best NFL Defenses

“That effort to improve was showing up the Matt Patricia-Joe Judge contingent that Bill put in charge,” Tom Curran told WEEI. “When Bill caught wind of it — he’s still pissed about it.”

Belichick owes Jones more of an apology than Jones owes him for the decisions he made regarding the offensive coaching staff a season ago. But he won’t get that. Jones has to prove he belongs as the Patriots starting QB, and luckily Bill O’Brien should help supplement those efforts through actual offensive play-calling prowess.

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Chicago Bears Breakout Candidates in 2023 Include Khalil Herbert, Jaylon Johnson, and Braxton Jones




The Chicago Bears had a busy offseason as they revamped an offense that desperately needed explosiveness and more talent. Armed with an array of draft picks and dollars to spend in free agency, Bears general manager Ryan Poles didn’t disappoint fans who wanted to see the roster improve for 2023. We can realistically expect a jump in performance on both sides of the ball.

With quarterback Justin Fields headlining an offense set to be more balanced in 2023 and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds now leading an athletic defense, role players are in a better position to break out this year. We dive into the three Bears breakout candidates this season beyond players who have established themselves as foundational pieces.

Chicago Bears Breakout Candidates in 2023

RB Khalil Herbert

The Bears allowed veteran David Montgomery to depart to Detroit, then replaced him with former Carolina Panthers back D’Onta Foreman and fourth-round rookie Roschon Johnson. Foreman has already been clear he has no intention of being a “back seat” option to Herbert, but he won’t have much of a say once the team hits the field. Foreman was good in 2022 when he broke out with 914 yards, but Herbert was dominant in his 129 rush attempts.

The biggest problem Herbert had last year was the Bears’ reluctance to give him more snaps when Montgomery was healthy. Though Herbert hasn’t produced as a pass catcher yet, Foreman’s addition shows the team may not value that aspect as much as they may have previously. Foreman has only 23 catches in five seasons, Herbert had 23 in two seasons, and Johnson had 32 over his final three seasons at Texas.

With the receiving corps getting a big boost by the addition of DJ Moore, a healthy Darnell Mooney, and sliding Chase Claypool into a more-fitting third-target role, the receiving aspect from the running back position may not be as important.

Herbert’s ground production justifies giving him a larger role and relegating Foreman into more of a “lightning” to Herbert’s “thunder.”

MORE: Are the Chicago Bears a Bottom-5 Offense Heading Into 2023?

Herbert’s efficiency in 2022 was startling, but a real breakout can come with more touches. He led all running backs with 5.7 yards per carry, ranked seventh in juke rate, and overcame the 21st-ranked run-blocking unit. The biggest flaw on his résumé was he wasn’t given a role when Montgomery was available.

Poles said the plan is to not rely on one back and to instead maximize the rotation they’ve built at the position. However, as the season progresses, expect Herbert’s talent to continue to endear him to the staff because he’s simply the best rusher on the team.

LT Braxton Jones

Poles’ first draft class with the Bears was largely inconsequential in their rookie season, but he did appear to find a stud in left tackle Braxton Jones. The former fifth-round pick ranked eighth in pass-block win rate amongst all tackles and was the only Bear to play every snap last year. He was PFF’s 12th-highest-graded rookie in the entire NFL.

Despite his obvious success, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell said Jones “kept his head above water” as a rookie. While Jones’ rookie year didn’t guarantee he’s the next All-Pro at his position, an improved season from the Bears will put Jones further into the spotlight, and his profile will rise.

Jones noted he’s working to improve his ability to handle bull rushes entering his second year, and Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan said Jones is “really strong right now.” With the Bears set to face elite pass rushers in Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Maxx Crosby in 2023, expect Jones to be in the spotlight as more people tune into Bears games.

CB Jaylon Johnson

The Bears’ cornerback room was a near disaster in 2022. Second-round rookie Kyler Gordon was awful as he adjusted to the NFL, allowing 76.8% of targets to be completed for the third-most yards in the NFL with 764. Jaylon Jones and Kindle Vildor weren’t as bad but were clearly below average as well.

The two bright spots within the unit were cornerback Jaylon Johnson and rookie safety Jaquan Brisker. Johnson is less known despite entering his fourth season. He led the team by allowing only 58.8% of targets to be completed in 11 games played.

MORE: Chicago Bears 2023 Schedule

Only 24 years old, Johnson came into his own at the right time. The Bears sound like they agree, with Poles expressing that the team wants to extend Johnson before the 2023 season starts so they can lock in their CB1 long-term. Johnson said he wants to improve his interception total, which sits at one through 39 career games played, but he’s happy with how sound he is in coverage.

Johnson’s film doesn’t disagree. The six-foot cornerback fits Matt Eberflus’ zone-based defense well, and he can deter targets by crowding passing lanes with his length and closing ability. He has to churn out more ball production to take his game to the next level, but becoming a consistently good player in coverage is a big step in that development.

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NFL Betting Futures Line Shopping: Finding Middles




What if you could take the guesswork out of betting? What if you could place a wager with minimal risk but a high reward? There is one NFL betting market I’ve found ripe for middle opportunities.

NFL Betting: Line Shopping and Middling

For those new to sports betting, or perhaps new to this angle of sports betting, here is a quick primer on “line shopping” and “middling.”

Line Shopping

The concept of line shopping is rather simple. You “shop” sportsbooks the same way you would shop in supermarkets. I live in New York and have accounts with six different sportsbooks. Every time I look to place a wager, I check the line on all six books and place the wager on the book with the best line.


When the average person places a bet, they are doing so because they believe that outcome is more likely to occur than the odds suggest. Most people don’t think about it that deeply — they are just placing a bet on something they think will happen. But even without realizing it, that is the calculation they are making.

Every season, I post weekly NFL player props using that exact philosophy. I look at the lines, evaluate the prices, and recommend plays I believe are more likely to occur than the lines suggest.

MORE: PFN’s FREE Betting Odds Calculator 

However, not every bet needs to be predicting an outcome. The concept of “middling” is betting both sides of an outcome, hoping the result lands in between the over and the under, allowing you to win both bets.

For example, let’s say Christian McCaffrey’s rushing yardage prop was set at 80.5 on one sportsbook and 100.5 on another. Regardless of what you think McCaffrey will do, you bet over 80.5 and under 100.5. That way, if McCaffrey rushes for anywhere from 81-100 yards, you win both bets. If not, you split, and you only lose the vig. It’s minimal risk for a potentially large payout.

NFL Line Shopping: Finding Middles on QB Passing Yardage Totals

Currently, the top NFL betting markets are futures. Included in NFL futures are season-long player props. Not every book offers lines for every player. Some books don’t offer season-long player props at all. But on the ones that do, the lines are not exactly the same. In fact, there are some pretty large disparities we can take advantage of.

Recently, I did this with quarterback passing yardage totals. For every single quarterback listed, you can find a difference in his yardage total across sportsbooks.

MORE: Where Is Sports Betting Legal? Tracking All 50 States 

Of course, not every line is worth betting on, though. The middle needs to be large enough that you can realistically hit it, and the vig needs to be low enough that you’re not risking too much on a low probability outcome such that you’re creating negative expected value.

With that in mind, here are 10 quarterback yardage props that I believe are worth chasing a middle.

Aaron Rodgers

FanDuel: Over 3875.5, -112
DraftKings: Under 4050.5, -120

Anthony Richardson

DraftKings: Over 2600.5, -110
Caesars: Under 2800.5, -115

Bryce Young

FanDuel: Over 3300.5, -112
DraftKings: Under 3500.5, -115

C.J. Stroud

FanDuel: Over 3200.5, -112
Caesars: Under 3450.5, -115

Dak Prescott

FanDuel: Over 3925.5, -112
DraftKings: Under 4100.5, -130*

I included this because I bet it, but the under was -110 when I placed the wager. It has since moved to -130. The middle is still large enough to reasonably hit, but the -130 price increases the risk to the point where this is likely no longer +EV.

Josh Allen

FanDuel: Over 4200.5, -112
DraftKings: Under 4350.5, -110

Justin Herbert

Caesars: Over 4325.5, -115
DraftKings: Under 4550.5, -110

Kenny Pickett

BetMGM: Over 3125.5, -115
DraftKings: Under 3300.5, -110

Lamar Jackson

BetMGM: Over 3499.5, -115
DraftKings: Under 3625.5, -125

Tua Tagovailoa

Caesars: Over 3800.5, -115
DraftKings: Under 3950.5, -110

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