What happens if the NFL’s winless disasters wind up with No. 1 pick and a chance at Caleb Williams?

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About 20 hours after Caleb Williams and Shedeur Sanders are accomplished slinging footballs Saturday in what ought to be a Pac-12 shootout, the 2 quarterbacks could have a chance to see right into a crystal ball.

The place may the 2 projected high-first-round draft picks be taking part in subsequent season?

Two video games Sunday in Week 4 of the NFL season may play an enormous function in deciding their fates.

Computer systems at NFL headquarters spit out a whole bunch of 1000’s of choices for the 272-game regular-season schedule yearly earlier than the ultimate model is authorised. However what number of of these had the final 4 winless groups assembly in two video games on the day after Williams leads USC towards Sanders and Colorado?

Certain, Dolphins-Payments and Ravens-Browns most likely will make the most important impacts amongst this week’s video games on how this NFL season performs out, however as for the longer term panorama of the league? You possibly can’t beat Broncos-Bears and Vikings-Panthers — or at the least not as simply as different opponents are beating these 4 groups.

The No. 1 decide within the 2024 NFL Draft is Williams’ spot to lose. Sanders — the son of Corridor of Famer and Colorado head coach Deion Sanders — is one of many few challengers able to stealing that spot (North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye stays the most important risk) particularly if he outduels Williams head-to-head. Or he may keep at school for an additional yr and observe Williams’ path to the No. 1 decide in 2025.

Sure, Week 4 is a bit early to start eager about the ripple results of the No. 1 decide within the 2024 NFL Draft, however solely 4 of 158 groups to start out 0-3 since 1990 have made the playoffs, so you may wager these 4 franchises are at the least starting to suppose, “Wait ’until subsequent yr!”

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders has risen shortly as an NFL Draft prospect in main the Buffaloes to a stunning 3-1 begin.
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What occurs if the No. 1 decide goes to the …

Bears: Say goodbye to Justin Fields. Most likely to move coach Matt Eberflus, too. Normal supervisor Ryan Poles would possibly be capable to survive as a result of he didn’t draft Fields.

However Poles made the controversial determination to maintain Fields and commerce the No. 1 total decide within the 2023 draft to the Panthers, as an alternative of buying and selling Fields when his worth was excessive and beginning over by drafting Bryce Younger, C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson. The package deal he bought to maneuver down from No. 1 to No. 9 included a 2024 first-rounder, two second-rounders and receiver D.J. Moore, who already is complaining about not getting used proper within the offense, as caught on video.

Fields entered the season as a dark-horse MVP candidate and is finishing simply 58 % of his passes with three touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The Bears wouldn’t go a second time on a chance to reset at quarterback, which might put Fields on the commerce market.

Broncos: It’s tough to say if this state of affairs would clear up a large number or make the mess messier.

The Broncos owe Russell Wilson one other roughly $215 million (not all assured) by way of 2028. The earliest it wouldn’t be crushing to their wage cap to maneuver on can be in 2026.

However Wilson and head coach Sean Payton would possibly quickly be in a dog-eat-dog world. Who will new proprietor Rob Walton select? The coach that he authorised the commerce of two draft picks to amass? Or the quarterback the Broncos traded three gamers and 4 draft picks to get earlier than Walton took over?

The Broncos gave up a number of draft picks and a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} for Sean Payton and Russell Wilson, and have nonetheless misplaced their first three video games.
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Wilson’s stunningly poor play final season has continued into this season, which raises the query of whether or not he’s completed. It absolves former head coach Nathaniel Hackett of some blame. And perhaps Payton is studying what Invoice Belichick has discovered post-Tom Brady — the guru is just pretty much as good as his quarterback. Williams and Sanders look like good up-and-coming ones.

Vikings: After making the playoffs in Yr 1 collectively, basic supervisor Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell ought to think about using up a few of their banked fairness by tanking for a prime decide. Which means buying and selling Kirk Cousins, who’s on his contract yr. Pair Williams (or Sanders or Maye) with younger receiver Justin Jefferson, whose request for a record-breaking contract might be simpler to suit when the quarterback is on a cost-controlled rookie contract.

The Vikings haven’t had the No. 1 total decide since 1968. However they let go of numerous items to final yr’s NFC North-winning roster — Dalvin Prepare dinner, Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, Adam Thielen, and many others. — so the transition is already underway. The brand new quarterback can be the hand-picked alternative of O’Connell, a former NFL quarterback who has coached the place for years.

Panthers: Cue all of the references to how the Cardinals gave up on Josh Rosen — buying and selling him to the Dolphins — after one season to draft Kyler Murray. Would the Panthers do the identical to Younger for his or her top-ranked quarterback in 2024?

Bear in mind, there was discuss head coach Frank Reich may be immune to the 5-foot-10, (supposedly) 204-pound Younger due to his slight stature. Effectively, Younger already missed considered one of his first three profession video games attributable to harm. Is the 6-foot-1 Williams extra to his liking? Is the 6-foot-2 Sanders? Or the 6-foot-4 Maye, who could have hometown pull as a North Carolina native?

Although it’s unlikely the Panthers transfer on from Bryce Younger a yr after drafting him, they might recoup a lot of the draft capital they gave as much as get him by buying and selling the No. 1 decide in 2024.
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The Panthers may recoup among the belongings they traded to the Bears by sticking with Younger and buying and selling this decide to a group as determined for a future as they have been final spring.

In fact, don’t depend out the Cardinals, Raiders and Texans — all 1-2 — as No. 1 decide contenders, both.

Final two of a sort?

There’s a probability that come Sunday evening, the Patriots’ Invoice Belichick is completed together with his post-game tasks and might settle in to privately benefit from the afterglow of his three hundredth profession regular-season victory at nearly the identical time that Chiefs-Jets kicks off.

The Chiefs’ Andy Reid might be seeking his 250th regular-season victory.

Solely Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318) have extra victories (excluding playoffs) than Belichick. Solely these three and Tom Landry (250) have greater than Reid. Who’s subsequent on the listing?

Let’s pause for a second.

The quantity 300 is thought to be a factor of the previous in MLB in relation to profession wins for a pitcher. The final to succeed in that 24-member membership was Randy Johnson in 2009.

It may very well be a very long time earlier than one other coach approaches the 300 wins Invoice Belichick may have this weekend and even the 250 Andy Reid would possibly get Sunday evening.
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The energetic profession chief is 40-year-old Justin Verlander (256), who has indicated a want to maintain pitching, however is coming off a subpar yr in his second season faraway from Tommy John surgical procedure. Zack Greinke (224) and Max Scherzer (214) look much more tapped out.

In soccer? The 300-win (and even 250-win) golf equipment may be harder to affix regardless of coaches not essentially ageing out of careers.

The energetic wins leaders listing after Reid consists of the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin (165), the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll (163), the Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy (157) and the Ravens’ John Harbaugh (149).

So, at their present profession profitable percentages and assuming the NFL retains a 17-game common season, right here is when these 4 coaches would attain the 250- and 300-win milestones:

Tomlin (.636 profitable proportion): 250 in his first recreation of the 2031 season, 300 in his twelfth recreation of the 2035 season

Carroll (.590 profitable proportion): 250 in his fifteenth recreation of the 2031 season, 300 in his fifteenth recreation of the 2036 season

McCarthy (.615 profitable proportion): 250 in his second recreation of the 2032 season, 300 in his fifteenth recreation of the 2036 season

Having by no means coached the Steelers to a shedding document in 17 seasons, Mike Tomlin seems headed for Canton.
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Harbaugh (.608 profitable proportion): 250 in his seventeenth recreation of the 2032 season, 300 in his 14th recreation of the 2037 season

Tomlin, 51, has one of the best probability to be an all-time nice due to his age and the profitable proportion that comes with by no means having had a shedding document in 17 seasons on the helm. McCarthy is 59 years outdated, Harbaugh is 61 and Carroll is 72.

Carroll is the NFL’s oldest energetic head coach, but it surely’s enjoyable to think about him pulling the strings for his three hundredth win at age 85.

If you’re questioning about among the wunderkinds, right here’s how it could search for the Rams’ Sean McVay (61 wins) and 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan (55 wins), who’re 37 years outdated and 43 years outdated, respectively:

McVay (.604 profitable proportion): 250 in his tenth recreation of the 2041 season, 300 in his fourth recreation of the 2046 season

Shanahan (.545 profitable proportion): 250 in his eighth recreation of the 2044 season, 300 in his eleventh recreation of the 2049 season

In different phrases, recognize watching Belichick and Reid — and their contrasting on-field methods and public personalities — play chess whereas they final. As a result of there may not be two others like them for a very long time.

School soccer recreation to observe

No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Ole Miss, 6 p.m. Saturday, ESPN

One of many fastest-rising gamers in NFL Draft circles is LSU receiver Malik Nabers, whose inventory is climbing from late first-rounder to potential top-10 decide.

He’s squarely within the dialog with Florida State’s Keon Coleman and others because the runner-up prize for groups that miss out on Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State.

The 6-foot-1 Nabers (32 catches for 523 yards and 5 touchdowns) has the velocity to take the highest off of a protection and the physicality to win 50/50 balls.

LSU additionally has two defensive linemen garnering first-round consideration: Maason Smith (5 tackles) and Mekhi Wingo (14 tackles, 1.5 sacks).

Ole Miss receiver Tre Harris has turned eight catches into 5 touchdowns, however was not within the field rating final week — taking part in at “70 %,” in response to head coach Lane Kiffin — towards Alabama. The Louisiana Tech switch will get one other probability to point out he belongs towards prime SEC expertise.

One other potential prospect who might be on the sidelines, Ole Miss tight finish Caden Prieskorn, has performed only one recreation this season attributable to harm.

Invasion of the Swifties

Taylor Swift’s budding relationship with Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce has grow to be the discuss of the NFL.
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Transfer over, D’Andre Swift. The NFL’s second-leading rusher has to make room for a brand new hottest Swift within the NFL.

Music icon Taylor Swift’s budding romance with Professional Bowl tight finish Travis Kelce of the Chiefs is the discuss of the league — sure, even gamers are gossiping about it in locker rooms — so I made a decision to have some enjoyable and match seven of Swift’s tune titles to NFL storylines.

Merciless Summer season: The anthem for the Giants’ Saquon Barkley, the Ravens’ J.Okay. Dobbins, the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler.

All 4 struck out of their pursuits to safe new multi-year contracts earlier than coaching camp as a result of the running-back market tanked. 

Now? Solely Jacobs is taking part in as a result of Dobbins (torn Achilles) is out for the yr, Barkley and Ekeler are sidelined by much less extreme accidents. The damage and tear amassed by working backs is each why the gamers covet long-term safety and why groups are reluctant to supply it.

We Are By no means Ever Getting Again Collectively: Talking of working backs … The Colts’ Jonathan Taylor is eligible to return off the Bodily Unable to Carry out listing subsequent week. Will he be traded earlier than then?

Taylor’s ankle harm overlapped together with his hold-in for a brand new contract. As quickly as he went on PUP, stories got here out that he may go a bodily if traded, which raises a query of if he was ever injured or if the Colts have been retaliating for Taylor being “too damage” to apply.

The Colts surprisingly began 2-1 with out Taylor.

If the Colts and Jonathan Taylor don’t agree on a brand new contract, there could also be various groups seeking to commerce for a working again who’s averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his three-year profession.
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Anti-Hero: Patriots quarterback Mac Jones actually is changing into public enemy No. 1 after his newest in a sequence of alleged low-cost pictures.

The Jets reportedly despatched video to the league on cornerback Sauce Gardner’s behalf, exhibiting Jones hit him within the “non-public components” final Sunday.

NFL gamers previous and current reminiscent of Chris Lengthy, Darius Slay, Patrick Queen, Lawrence Tynes (who co-hosts a podcast for The Put up) and Devin McCourty (Jones’ former teammate) all weighed in on what’s a string of incidents over three years that might result in a advantageous or suspension — or to a teammate getting damage as revenge for Jones’ actions. 

Welcome to New York: Injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is upset that the group’s followers and former gamers — together with Joe Namath, essentially the most revered of all of them — are blasting his two buddies, quarterback Zach Wilson and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Rodgers is urging “everyone stick collectively,” which seems like a really Inexperienced Bay mind-set. He needed the massive metropolis. Criticism is as a lot part of it as Broadway reveals.

You Belong With Me: Head coach Mike McDaniel can serenade quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — who’s again to taking part in at his pre-concussions MVP kind — and receiver Tyreek Hill — who has been value each asset the Dolphins traded to the Chiefs in 2022 — on the heels of a 70-point outburst towards the Broncos.

The unlikeliest of the NFL’s three remaining unbeaten groups faces an enormous check in Buffalo this weekend.

It’s laborious to not smile once you win a recreation by 50 factors, as Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel did in Week 3.
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Shake It Off: One week in the past, the Cowboys have been solid as Tremendous Bowl contenders. Then got here the mix of All-Professional cornerback Trevon Diggs struggling a season-ending torn ACL with a loss to the lowly Cardinals. Now Ezekiel Elliott returns to city with the Patriots, singing his personal Swift tune: “Cowboy Like Me.”

I Forgot That You Existed: Three of the 4 groups within the NFC South personal profitable data, one yr after the Buccaneers’ 8-9 document was adequate to win the division. Former No. 1 total draft decide Baker Mayfield has only a large enough ego to have the ability to step into Tom Brady’s impossible-to-fill sneakers with out experiencing self-doubt in Tampa Bay.

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