Doug Pederson

Latest On Brandon McManus Lawsuit

TODAY, 5:25pm: Florio has provided more insight into the lawsuit and the impending impact it could have on the Jaguars organization. Florio understands that the suit will cite witnesses who claim that Jaguars players brought alcohol on the team flight.

As Florio noted earlier this week, the NFL prohibits the serving and consumption of alcohol on team flights. Following a pair of 2022 incidents, the NFL warned of severe punishment for future violations. While the Jaguars may claim ignorance (as coach Doug Pederson did earlier this week), Florio adds that it’s the “obligation” of NFL teams “to ensure players follow” the rule.

TUESDAY, 7:50pm: Veteran kicker Brandon McManus has been accused of sexually assaulting two flight attendants while he was playing with the Jaguars in 2023. After the news broke yesterday, we heard from McManus’s camp, the Jaguars, and his current team, the Commanders. Now, we’re hearing from his former coach, as Doug Pederson revealed that he only learned about the lawsuit when the news broke yesterday.

[RELATED: Commanders K Brandon McManus Named In Sexual Assault Lawsuit]

“I saw the article that came out,” Pederson said today (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, disappointing to hear the news that took place. You know, other than that, honestly, being that it’s a legal matter at this time, I can’t really comment until more information is gathered.”

McManus is accused of rubbing himself against the anonymous plaintiffs during the Jaguars’ flight to London on September 28, 2023. The suit claims that the player was passing out cash to have the plane’s staff members “drink and dance inappropriately for him.” The suit also alleges that the kicker was among the members of the team who turned the flight into a “party,” a crucial note that could drag the Jaguars further into the controversy.

As Florio notes, the NFL frowns upon teams serving and consuming alcohol on team flights. Florio cites a pair of 2022 incidents. First, Titans OC Todd Downing was arrested for DUI “under a timeline that suggested he was drinking on the plane.” Later, Commanders players were disciplined for having beer on a return flight. At the time, the NFL sent a “strongly worded” memo that future penalties for consumption “would be even worse” and could include “significant discipline.”

“A typical flight is not that way, it’s a business trip,” Pederson said today (via Florio). “It’s a business trip. And that’s how we approach it from an organizational standpoint, you know, from the league standpoint. So, for that — when I read that, that part was disappointing.”

Meanwhile, lawyer Tony Buzbee will be representing the pair of women in the lawsuit, per Florio. Buzbee is known for representing the 20 women who accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct. In a statement, the lawyer hinted that he tried to settle with McManus before filing the suit.

“We filed the case on Friday, but before that filing we attempted, without success, to resolve this matter without the need for litigation,” Buzbee wrote. “Our efforts at resolution were met with arrogance, ignorance and stupidity, strikingly similar to how Deshaun Watson’s team responded when we tried to resolve those cases pre-filing.”

McManus’s representation called the allegations “absolutely fictitious and demonstrably false.” The lawsuit is calling for a jury trial and damages in excess of $1MM.

Jaguars OC Press Taylor To Serve As Primary Play-Caller

Jaguars OC Press Taylor will serve as the team’s primary offensive play-caller in 2023, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Taylor, who joined the team in 2022 as part of head coach Doug Pederson‘s first Jacksonville staff, called plays in the second halves of games last year and will now get the chance to run the show on a full-time basis.

“I totally trust Press,” Pederson said. “We think alike. We’ve been together for a long time, and he’s around [quarterback] Trevor [Lawrence] all the time and knows what Trevor likes.”

Taylor worked under Pederson on the latter’s Eagles staffs from 2016-20, operating as a quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. Pederson reportedly wanted to promote Taylor to offensive coordinator in Philadelphia following the 2020 season, and his disagreements with the organization in that regard led to a mutual parting of the ways. Pederson spent the 2021 season away from the NFL while Taylor worked as a senior offensive assistant with the Colts. The two men reunited in Duval last year, with Taylor landing the OC post.

After a disappointing rookie season in 2021 under then-HC Urban Meyer, Lawrence thrived in the Pederson-Taylor offense in 2022, throwing 25 TDs against just eight inteceptions and leading the Jags to a stirring victory in the wildcard round of the playoffs. The Jags finished 10th in the league in both total offense and points per game, and there is reason to believe that they will perform even better this season.

While it would be fair to question whether this move is an attempt to fix a problem that doesn’t exist — as former Jaguars beat writer and current Bills reporter Ryan O’Halloran suggested — Pederson will obviously continue to have a significant role in the offensive design and gameday preparation. Plus, as Pederson himself noted, his own career trajectory unfolded in a similar fashion.

“It’s kind of like coach [Andy] Reid did with me in 2015 in Kansas City,” Pederson said. “Coach Reid would call the first half and he would let me call the second half with a very watchful eye.”

“Press is a smart coach who has been in the league a long time. He’s going to be a head coach one day,” Pederson added. “What better time than right now with the team we have to get that experience?”

The Jaguars’ new arrangement will get its first test against the division-rival Colts in the regular season opener today.

Eagles Were Split On Jalen Hurts’ Trajectory During 2020 Draft

The Eagles’ 2020 first-round decision generated some intrigue, especially as Justin Jefferson made a quick ascent to the All-Pro level and put together the most prolific three-year receiving stretch to start a career in NFL history. The Eagles were split on Jefferson and Jalen Reagor, going with the latter, who was preferred by Howie Roseman and the team’s coaching staff.

That call obviously proved incorrect, with Reagor now one of Jefferson’s sidekicks in Minnesota after an August 2022 trade. But the Eagles made a better choice, albeit an unexpected one, a round later. An extensive research effort into Jalen Hurts, which had begun during his senior year at Oklahoma, led Philly to pull the trigger on the ex-Sooners quarterback in Round 2. The move came despite the organization having extended Carson Wentz less than a year prior.

The Eagles decided on Hurts over safety Jeremy Chinn, with some in the organization preferring to add the Southern Illinois product — who later went to the Panthers at the end of Round 2 — instead of taking a quarterback so early. Again, the Roseman-Doug Pederson preference won out.

Coach Pederson and myself liked Jeremy Chinn, but our job is to determine the vision and then make sure it’s executed,” Roseman said, via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei (subscription required). “So when we were on the clock and having those conversations, it really came down to the quarterback versus safety. The quarterback we like. The safety we like. We’re going with the quarterback.”

Hurts as a second-round option came about partially because the organization did not want a repeat of 2012, when it intended to take Russell Wilson in the third round before seeing the Seahawks swoop and taking the future Pro Bowl mainstay at No. 75. With no pro days in 2020 — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the Eagles did not have a good idea how other teams valued Hurts, with Pompei adding the team believed it was possible the ex-Oklahoma and Alabama passer fell into Round 3. But the Wilson experience helped lead to the Eagles ruling out the prospect of waiting until Round 3 for Hurts.

Philly made that pivotal pick at No. 51 overall, leading to outside skepticism due to Wentz’s presence. Some inside the Eagles’ building were not entirely sold on Hurts as well.

[Hurts] was a polarizing figure in the sense that some people liked him, some saw him as a developmental quarterback and some thought he was a backup,” former Eagles exec Ian Cunningham, now the Bears’ assistant GM, said (via Pompei). “I thought he was a developmental quarterback that had upside.”

At the time, the team based the move on wanting a better backup option behind Wentz. Teams do not exactly make a habit of choosing backup QBs in Round 2, but the Eagles have needed a number of QB2 contributions this century. Donovan McNabb went down with a broken ankle during the 2002 season, leading to A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer seeing extensive time for an Eagles team that earned the NFC’s top seed. McNabb was lost for the year late in the 2006 season, moving UFA addition Jeff Garcia into the fray. The organization’s controversial decision to sign Michael Vick after his prison term in 2009 led to him replacing McNabb in 2010, and 2012 third-rounder Nick Foles eventually usurped Vick three years later. Foles delivered one of the NFL’s most famous fill-in performances in 2017, taking over for an injured Wentz to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. The Eagles, however, soon made bigger plans for Hurts.

The Eagles cleared the Hurts move with Wentz, with Pederson calling his then-starter to inform him of the pick. But the five-year Eagle struggled in 2020, leading to a late-season benching. The Eagles soon traded Wentz to the Colts, and Jeffrey Lurie angled for the organization not to bring in a starter-caliber QB in 2021. That led to Hurts being given a legitimate opportunity. Lurie was believed to be behind Hurts, even when Roseman had questions about his ceiling, and the Eagles — after showing interest in Wilson and Deshaun Watson — stuck with the former second-rounder last year.

Philly staying with Hurts turned out to be a seminal decision, as the team booked another Super Bowl berth. The Eagles went 16-1 in games Hurts started prior to the Chiefs matchup, with the third-year QB showing significant improvement as a passer. Hurts’ 2022 season earned him a then-record-setting five-year, $255MM extension from the Eagles in April. The Eagles also greenlit their Wentz extension shortly after he became extension-eligible; they will hope the Hurts Year 4 investment turns out better.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

After the 2022 offseason produced 10 new head coaches, this one brought a step back in terms of turnover. Five teams changed HCs, though each conducted thorough searches — four of them lasting until at least January 31.

The Colts and Cardinals hired their HCs after Super Bowl LVII, plucking the Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Jonathan Gannon). The Cardinals were hit with a tampering penalty regarding their Gannon search. Conducting their second HC search in two years, the Broncos saw multiple candidates drop out of the running. But Denver’s new ownership group convinced Sean Payton to step out of the FOX studio and back onto the sidelines after just one season away. The Panthers made this year’s first hire (Frank Reich), while the Texans — running their third HC search in three years — finalized an agreement with DeMeco Ryans minutes after the Payton news broke.

Only one of last year’s top 10 longest-tenured HCs lost his job. A turbulent Colts year led to Reich being fired barely a year after he signed an extension. During a rather eventful stretch, Jim Irsay said he reluctantly extended Reich in 2021. The Colts passed on giving interim HC Jeff Saturday the full-time position, despite Irsay previously indicating he hoped the former center would transition to that role. Reich landed on his feet, and after losing Andrew Luck to a shocking retirement just before his second Colts season, the well-regarded play-caller now has another No. 1 pick (Bryce Young) to mentor.

After considering a Rams exit, Sean McVay recommitted to the team and is overseeing a reshaped roster. Andy Reid also sidestepped retirement rumors, staying on with the Chiefs after his second Super Bowl win. This will be Reid’s 25th season as an NFL head coach.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2023 season:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  11. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  12. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders): January 1, 2020
  13. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  14. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  15. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  16. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  17. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  18. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  19. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  20. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  21. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  22. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  23. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  24. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  25. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  26. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  28. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers): January 26, 2023
  29. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  30. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  31. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  32. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023

Jaguars Not Eyeing Pass Rush Additions

Another veteran edge rushing name came off the list of available free agents yesterday, dropping the number of options available for teams looking to add in that department. For the time being, the Jaguars are not one of them.

Jacksonville has room for improvement in terms of production from its edge group, after the team ranked 25th in the league with 35 sacks in 2022. Head coach Doug Pederson has acknowledged the need for the team’s defensive front to take a step forward, but that will likely not involve an outside addition any time soon.

When asked about the Leonard Floyd deal, Pederson said, “he’s a good player and guys are gonna get scooped up, but, listen, you can’t just jump in the first thing that’s there” (video link via Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL). “Obviously, somebody has to fit your roster and fit your structure financially. There’s going to be guys probably going into training camp, there’s going to be guys coming out of training camp that we’ll take a look at but those are all things for conversations down the road.”

The Jaguars have made a number of high-end investments on the edge via the draft in recent years. They used a first-round pick on Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson in 2019 and 2020, respectively, though the latter’s future with the organization is up in the air. Jacksonville made Travon Walker the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, adding further to the young elements of the team’s pass rush who will likely be counted on in the short- and long-term future.

With respect to free agency, the only development on the Jacksonville front which has taken place at the OLB spot has been the departure of Arden Key, who signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Titans. Replacing his production and playing time will largely fall to the team’s in-house options, which includes another draft investment from this pat April. The Jaguars used a fourth-round pick on Oklahoma State product Tyler Lacey, who should have a path to at least a rotational role especially if no free agents are added before the season.

Jacksonville will certainly have a number of options to choose from if they do elect to go the veteran route, though. The likes of Frank Clark, Justin Houston and Jadeveon Clowney are still on the market deep into the offseason. The Jaguars could land an experienced depth option later in the summer, but their patient approach is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

K Brandon McManus Reached Out To Jaguars

Brandon McManus unexpectedly found himself on the open market recently, but he was able to find a new home rather quickly. The veteran kicker played a key role in pitching the idea of joining the Jaguars for 2023.

McManus reacted in short order to his Broncos release, a move which caught many off guard and ended his nine-year stint in the Mile High City. He and agent Drew Rosenhaus immediately starting contacting teams which may have represented suitable destinations, but Jacksonville was at the top of the 31-year-old’s list. The reason for that, as detailed by Garry Smits of the Florida-Times Union, was his relationship with Jaguars special teams coach Heath Farwell.

The pair first met before a Broncos-Jaguars game in London, and McManus’ desire to work with Farwell made Jacksonville one of at least six teams he reached out to during his brief free agent period. That interest was obviously reciprocated, since Jacksonville signed McManus to a one-year deal. Later that day, they traded incumbent kicker Riley Patterson to the Lions, marking their commitment to the veteran for at least the short-term future.

“I can’t say enough about Riley and what he did for us last season,” head coach Doug Pederson said when asked about the change made at the position. “We wish him the best. But anytime you can add a player like Brandon, who’s got the experience… and to get something for Riley… it’s just an opportunity to help us get better as a football team.”

Smits notes that McManus’ Jaguars deal includes $2.35MM in guranteed money, and a strong season could lead to a longer-term extension of this new relationship. The veteran went 10-for-10 on field goals during the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl run, and he has connected on 40 attempts of 50 or more yards during his career. A drop in overall accuracy to 77.8% in 2022 helped convince Denver to move on, though, so much will depend on McManus’ ability to rebound on a team with high expectations on offense, and which has seen considerable turnover at the position in recent years.

The Temple alum made it clear that he was taken aback by being let go in Denver, but he still reflects on his time there fondly. With a new home – one very much of his choosing – he is also confident that he will be able to enjoy a lengthy second chapter in his NFL career.

“We had a great run and hopefully I can have an equally great run here,” McManus said. “Kickers can play a long time. This is an up-and-coming team and I’m looking forward to bringing my leadership here.”

Jags GM Trent Baalke’s Status Uncertain?

The Jaguars have made a few changes to their front office hierarchy in recent years. They currently have Trent Baalke installed as their front office leader; the former 49ers GM is in his third year with the Jaguars but first as the team’s top decision-making presence.

Urban Meyer headed Jacksonville’s operation during his 11-month stay in charge, arriving after the Jaguars named Baalke interim GM. The Jags promoted Baalke to full-time GM after hiring Meyer, but the latter became the franchise’s top personnel voice. A year after Meyer’s dismissal, the Jags may not be committed to Baalke — at least not in the GM role. Rumors have emerged regarding Jags front office changes, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes, with Baalke’s status the key question mark here.

Baalke could be reassigned within the Jags’ front office, with La Canfora adding his future as the team’s GM is “very much in the balance.” This could well lead to Doug Pederson assuming more power within the organization. Baalke played a central role in the Jags hiring Pederson this year, but rumors regarding the franchise hiring another exec to outrank the current GM emerged early this offseason.

Baalke’s status as GM was believed to be turning off select coaches during what became a long-running Jags HC search, and the team interviewed longtime Vikings GM Rick Spielman for a non-GM position — but one that would have reported directly to Shad Khan. The owner was believed to be eyeing both an executive VP-type addition and a front office lieutenant that reported to Baalke. Khan ended up not hiring the former but adding an assistant GM (former 49ers exec Ethan Waugh). The team may be prepared to revisit the prospect of a new voice leading the front office.

Jacksonville’s decision-making reins have seen extensive changes since the team hired Tom Coughlin to head up the front office, effectively demoting then-GM Dave Caldwell, in 2017. The Jags then fired Coughlin in 2019, moving Caldwell back up the chain. Meyer’s hire, coming after the ousters of Caldwell and Doug Marrone, gave the successful college coach the lead role. The team hired Baalke in 2020 and promoted him to GM in January 2021, and after Meyer’s disastrous tenure, Baalke was left standing. This is Baalke’s seventh year in a GM role. He was in this position with the 49ers from 2011-16, a tenure that included three straight NFC championship game appearances but also a power struggle with Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers making back-to-back coaches (Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly) one-and-dones.

This marked a key year for the Jags’ GM role. The team held the No. 1 overall pick for the second straight year, following a slam-dunk Trevor Lawrence pick with a process that ended with high-upside talent Travon Walker being chosen over high-production pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson. Baalke and Khan were believed to be split on these two players ahead of the draft; Khan was believed to prefer Hutchinson. The Jags were also very active in free agency, filling several holes in their starting lineup.

The Jags have made a slight resurgence in recent weeks, beating the Ravens and Titans, and despite being 5-8, they are within striking distance in a weak AFC South. With Lawrence having a much better season compared to a rough rookie year, the Jags have the look of a rising team. It will be interesting if they follow through with the plan to make a major front office change in 2023.

NFC East Notes: Toney, Eagles, Commanders

Kadarius Toney did not make the trip to London with his Giants teammates, and Brian Daboll offered another discouraging update regarding the 2021 first-round pick’s status. Toney is battling a new injury, with Daboll indicating the reason he did not make the trip is due to a Wednesday tweak of his previously non-injured hamstring (via SNY’s Connor Hughes, on Twitter). Toney is now dealing with injuries to both his hamstrings, and ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan adds (via Twitter) the shifty wideout said the hamstring issue he entered the week with was different from the one that plagued him this offseason. That would add up to three hamstring problems since camp.

Toney has yet to sustain a serious injury as a pro, but he has fast become one of the league’s most unavailable players. Quadriceps and oblique injuries sidelined him for seven combined games last season, and an ankle malady forced him out of another game. Toney missed much of last year’s training camp with a hamstring injury and underwent a knee scope this offseason. The Giants’ current regime is souring on the Dave Gettleman-era investment, who is signed through 2024.

The Giants will be without ToneyKenny Golladay and Wan’Dale Robinson against the Packers in London. The second-round rookie, who has not played since Week 1, will likely be out again. While Golladay will almost certainly not be part of next year’s Giants team, it is worth wondering if Toney will be. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants wanted DeVonta Smith last year, but the Eagles traded in front of them. Philadelphia was able to begin wheeling and dealing to land the Heisman winner after its apparent Week 17 tanking effort the year prior. That gave Philly the No. 6 overall pick, though Doug Pederson was no longer with the team by that draft. Pederson never informed Jalen Hurts of the plan to, after not dressing Carson Wentz that night, take him out and play third-stringer Nate Sudfeld, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Pederson benching Hurts late in a close, nationally televised game bothered some in the organization, including then-DC Jim Schwartz. Some staffers also wondered if that decision would affect the Pederson-Hurts relationship going forward, McLane adds. That said, Pederson later expressed regret he did not go with Hurts sooner. As Wentz struggled during the 2020 season, the Eagles did not turn to Hurts until Week 14 that year.
  • Eagles management wanted to use the 2021 season to retool with younger talent, Zach Berman of The Athletic notes, while Pederson was behind a reload with a similar coaching staff. Pederson, who had resisted management’s wishes to oust Mike Groh during the 2020 offseason, wanted to promote Press Taylor to OC. That did not sit well with Jeffrey Lurie. Pederson has since hired Taylor as his Jaguars OC.
  • The Andrew NorwellTrai Turner guard reunion may end up being short-lived. The Commanders benched Turner in Week 4, and Ron Rivera said the move will carry over. Saahdiq Charles will start over Turner in Week 5, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets, with Rivera noting Turner is not fully over the quad injury he battled in camp. Turner nevertheless started from Weeks 2-4 and played 100% of the Commanders’ offensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3. The former Rivera Panthers charge signed a one-year, $3MM deal this offseason, coming to Washington after one-year stays with the Chargers and Steelers. A third-year Washington O-lineman, Charles has started five career games

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.