NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter! 

With the NFL Draft officially in the rearview mirror, there's only one big offseason event left on the calendar and that's the release of the NFL schedule. The only problem with this year's release is that no one seems to have any idea when the schedule is actually going to come out. 

In each of the past two years, the schedule has come out on the second Thursday of May. Under that timeline, the schedule would be released this Thursday, but it looks like the NFL is throwing that plan out the window this year. Right now, it's looking more and more like the schedule will be coming out at some point next week. 

Although we don't have a schedule to talk about today, we will be taking a look at the 10 teams that have the most difficult strength of schedule. 

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. Actually, you don't even have to tell all of your friends; just tell two of your friends and I'll be happy. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here

1. Today's show: Biggest post-draft questions for every AFC team

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Over the past two months, teams have been doing their best to fill their roster holes through free agency and the draft, but there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered. We decided to ask those questions during Tuesday's episode of the Pick Six Podcast. 

For today's show, Will Brinson, Tyler Sullivan and I went through the entire AFC to look at each team's biggest post-draft question mark. 

Here's a look at three of the teams we covered today: 

  • Browns: Will Deshaun Watson finally have a breakthrough season in Cleveland? When you give a QB a fully guaranteed $230 million contract, you have high expectations for him, but through two years, Watson simply hasn't lived up to those expectations. The Browns QB has been underwhelming during his time in Cleveland and the three of us agreed that if he produces another disappointing season, that's going to put the Browns in an awkward situation going forward.  
  • Jaguars: When will Trevor Lawrence get his extension? The Jaguars QB is eligible for an extension this year, but he still hasn't gotten one and it wouldn't be surprising to learn that the two sides aren't on the same page when it comes to the contract numbers. We had an interesting debate about what we would do if we were running the team in Jacksonville. Personally, I wouldn't give Lawrence a contract that makes him the highest-paid QB in the NFL, so if he's asking for that, that could be slowing down negotiations in Jacksonville. Joe Burrow currently has the highest average annual salary at $55 million per year, but Lawrence hasn't quite proved that he belongs in that stratosphere just yet.  
  • Chiefs: Who will replace L'Jarius Sneed? A big reason the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last season is because their defense was good, but that unit took a huge hit with the loss of Sneed, who was traded away to the Titans. It's looking like the Chiefs starting corners will be Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson, who are both a considerable step down from Sneed. The loss of Sneed could end up being a huge problem for a Chiefs secondary that will be facing some of the NFL's best offenses in 2024, including the Bengals, Bills, 49ers, Ravens and Texans. Not to mention, they have to face Justin Herbert twice.  

If you want to hear our conversation on the biggest question mark for all 16 AFC teams, you can do that by listening to today's podcast here. You can also watch the entire thing on YouTube by clicking here. Oh, and if you need another reason to listen, we also spent 25 minutes breaking down the roast of Tom Brady

2. Top 10 most difficult schedules for the upcoming season

Although the NFL is refusing to tell us when the schedule is going to come out, we do know that it will be coming out this month and since it will be coming out at some point this month, now seems like a good time to take a look at which teams have the most difficult strength of schedule heading into 2024. 

And now, I have some bad news for everyone in Cleveland. Based on the final standings from 2023, the Browns will be going into the upcoming season with the toughest strength of schedule. Cleveland's rough schedule includes 12 games against teams that finished the 2023 season with a winning record, which is tied for the most in the NFL. 

The Browns' home schedule is especially brutal with five of their eight games coming against teams that made the playoffs last year (Steelers, Ravens, Chiefs, Dolphins, Cowboys). 

With that in mind, let's take a look at the 10 most difficult schedules in 2024: 

Hardest schedules (opponents combined record and winning percentage from 2023)
1. Browns: 158-131 (.547)
2. Ravens: 155-134 (.536)
3. Steelers: 154-135 (.533)
T-4. Packers: 152-137 (.526)
T-4. Texans: 152-137 (.526)
T-6. Bills: 149-140 (.516)
T-6. Giants149-140 (.516)
T-8. Jaguars: 148-141(.512)
T-8. Raiders148-141 (.512)
T-8. Patriots: 148-141 (.512)

The Patriots have one of the 10 toughest schedules even though they're playing a "last-place" schedule, so good luck to them. 

If you're wondering who has the easiest strength of schedule, we'll be revealing that closer to the actual schedule release. And if you're now wondering when the actual schedule release is going to happen, you'll have to ask the NFL.  

3. 2024 NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 most impactful classes 

2024 NFL Draft - Round 1
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After spending five straight weeks writing the newsletter, I thought for sure that Chris Trapasso would take at least a month off, but apparently, that's not the case. Our NFL Draft guru is still churning out draft stories, and for today, he decided to rank the top 10 teams that had the most impactful drafts this year. 

Let's take a look at his top 3:  

1. Commanders
Impactful rookies: 
QB Jayden Daniels, DT Johnny Newton, CB Mike Sainristil, TE Ben Sinnott, WR Luke McCaffrey
Trapasso's take:
 "Those first five picks by GM Adam Peters were sensational. ... Daniels has all the dynamic skills to be that new-age, dual-threat passer that terrifies defenses underneath, at the intermediate level, downfield, and yeah, with his legs. If Newton was able to work out before the draft, no way he's available in Round 1. He can be a 50-plus pressure defensive tackle as a rookie. Sainristil can be the annoying nickel corner who tackles like a champ, blitzes off the corner, and sticks to slot receivers underneath, and Sinnott legitimately has Sam LaPorta-esque athleticism and powerful YAC skills."

2. Cardinals
Impactful rookies: 
WR Marvin Harrison Jr., DL Darius Robinson, RB Trey Benson, CB Max Melton, OL Isaiah Adams, S Dadrian Taylor-Demerson
Trapasso's take: 
"I like all of these first-year pros making an impact in 2024. Of course there's Harrison Jr., who could see over 150 targets as a rookie. Robinson will be maximized inside as a "sleek" interior rusher and run-halting defender. Benson was my RB1 with Breece Hall-like capabilities. Melton and Taylor-Demerson are elite linear athletes who play with a chippy, in-your-face style, and Adams, if kicked inside to guard, has a chance to really move people up front."

3. Packers
Impactful rookies: 
OL Jordan Morgan, LB Edgerrin Cooper, S Javon Bullard, RB Marshawn Lloyd, S Evan Williams, S Kitan Oladapo
Trapasso's take:
 "GM Brian Gutekunst has masterfully rebuilt the Packers for the organization to almost seamlessly transition from the Aaron Rodgers era to the Jordan Love era. Amazing. The past few draft classes have been stellar."

If you want to check out Trapasso's full top 10 ranking, you can do that here.  

4. Predicting rookie of the year winners

Now that the draft is over, our draft writers need something to do, so we had them make predictions about who's going to win rookie of the year in 2024. Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards each voted for an Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Defensive Rookie of the Year and here's how they see things shaking out: 


  • Trapasso: Giants WR Malik Nabers. "From blazing downfield speed, to over-the-shoulder grabs, to ridiculous YAC scampers, Nabers will ignite the Giants offense with his complete skill set en route to winning this award."
  • Edwards: Bears QB Caleb Williams. "Low hanging fruit here, but Offensive Rookie of the Year is a quarterback award and Williams is walking into a situation in which he is throwing to wide receivers DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze, as well as tight end Cole Kmet."


  • Trapasso: Colts EDGE Laiatu Latu. "Latu may not have immense potential because of his age, but he is as ready to go as any defensive prospect in this class, and the Colts had a massive need at the edge-rusher spot."
  • Edwards: Lions CB Terrion Arnold. "When it comes to tookie of the year honors, you are looking for an impact performer who is ready to contribute from Week 1. Arnold plays for a Detroit team that should make a run in the playoffs. It also has an attacking front, which should allow for him to capitalize on the back end."

The two guys answered several rookie-related questions today, including which non-first-round rookie will have the most successful season, and you can check out all their answers here

5. Kirk Cousins situation takes another twist

When the Falcons selected Michael Penix Jr. during the first round of the NFL Draft, Kirk Cousins was said to be stunned by the decision, and now we know part of the reason why. 

Here's the latest on Cousins

  • Cousins left the Vikings because he knew they were going to draft a QB. According to, the Vikings informed Cousins they were going to use a high pick on a QB in the draft and that was one of the reasons that he decided NOT to re-sign in Minnesota. Basically, the Vikings informed him of their draft plans and he wasn't on board with it, so he walked. He then ended up in Atlanta, where they did NOT inform him of their draft plans before taking Penix. If Cousins had known that the Falcons were going to use the eighth overall pick on a QB, it seems like there's a very good chance that he would NOT have signed with Atlanta. Cousins may put on a happy face going forward, but he can't be happy about his current situation. 
  • Why the Falcons plan doesn't make a lot of sense. The Falcons plan this year is to keep Penix on the bench, which is interesting, because keeping your QB on the bench for his entire rookie year is a plan that has almost never worked in NFL history. Since the first Super Bowl was played back in January 1967, there has only been one instance where a quarterback drafted in the first round ended up sitting out his entire rookie year before eventually winning a Super Bowl with the team that drafted him and that QB was Aaron Rodgers.

So the Falcons' entire draft strategy revolves around something that's only happened once in NFL history. That doesn't seem like a good plan (And just in case you're wondering, Patrick Mahomes started one game during his rookie season, so he doesn't qualify for this list). 

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot has also mentioned that he would be fine if Penix sits for four or five years -- because that means Cousins is playing well -- but that's an equally bad plan because Penix turns 24 tomorrow (May 8), which means he would be 29 before he gets the starting job. 

6. Extra points: Raiders sign three-time Pro Bowler

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.

  • Raiders beef up offensive line by adding Andrus Peat. After spending his entire nine-year career in New Orleans, Peat is now on the move after agreeing to a deal with the Raiders on Monday. Peat is a three-time Pro Bowler at left guard and he'll be bringing some veteran experience to the Raiders' line. Las Vegas also made another move on Monday by signing former Chargers receiver Jalen Guyton.
  • Panthers sign Rashaad Penny. The former first-round pick is headed to Carolina after signing a deal with the Panthers on Monday. A big reason Penny ended up in Carolina likely has to do with the fact that he's extremely familiar with new Panthers coach Dave Canales. Penny spent the first five seasons of his career in Seattle and during that time, Canales was on the Seahawks' coaching staff. If you want to know how Penny will fit into Carolina's backfield, we broke that down here
  • Joe Burrow returns to practiceFive months after undergoing surgery on his wrist, not only was Burrow back on the field with the Bengals, but the team shared videos of him actually throwing a football, which is good news for everyone in Cincinnati. The Bengals are getting to set to begin their second phase of voluntary workouts and it's looking like Burrow will be participating. Burrow was targeting the middle of May for getting full clearance to practice, so it appears that he may have beat his own deadline by a few weeks. 
  • Tank Dell expected to make full recovery. The Texans receiver, who was shot in the leg while in Florida last month, is expected to make a full recovery. Texans owner Cal McNair offered the positive update about Dell on Monday. "It looks like Tank will make a full recovery," McNair said. "We saw him in the office the other day and he looked good, in good spirits. But he'll have to rehab and get back to where he was."