“It’s a very rich draft at wide receiver, above average at corner, and good at running back, defensive tackle and quarterback…and suspect everywhere else.” – King on this year’s draft prospects at the Combine
“After conversations with coaches, others close to the process, and one person close to officiating over the past month, I can’t see the rule surviving in its current form, and maybe not at all.” – King on last season’s pass interference replay review rule
“The most contentious issue, of course, is adding a 17th game to the regular-season schedule. Several owners pushed early for 18; the players said it was a non-starter.” – King on 17-game schedule negotiations
STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 24, 2020 – Peter King previews the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and discusses the ongoing CBA negotiations in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also shares his thoughts on how to salvage the pass interference review rule and speaks with NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah about the 2020 draft class.
Additionally, across NBC Sports, PFT Live, with NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms, will be live from the Combine, interviewing head coaches, general managers, and draft prospects throughout the week. The show airs live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Radio tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-11 a.m. ET.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
2020 NFL COMBINE
King on this year’s draft class: “It’s a very rich draft at wide receiver, above average at corner, and good at running back, defensive tackle and quarterback…and suspect everywhere else.”
King on Tua Tagovailoa’s health: “Tagovailoa’s a marvelous prospect…This week gives 32 team medical staffs the chance to evaluate the hip (especially) and to probe whether his injuries will become professionally chronic, or whether they’re flukes. It’s a really important week for him.”
Daniel Jeremiah on Tagovailoa: “If I’m the Dolphins and I’m picking 5 and my doctor tells me, ‘Look, I think he needs to sit out this entire season to get 100 percent healthy’…then you pick him. I wouldn’t even care if you redshirt him.”
King on Joe Burrow: “One team told me if Burrow had left LSU after his mediocre 2018 season, that team would have given him approximately a fifth-round grade. And now he’s likely to go number one. So should 15 otherwordly games in 2019 bury the evidence of 2018?”
Jeremiah on why Burrow improved this season: “His super-power is his ability to see the entire field, to work through progressions, and then throw the ball accurately. So they kind of unlocked that super-power this last year. And the rest is history.”
Jeremiah on this year’s wide receiver class: “It’s not just last year where we’ve seen the day two group outshine or at least be neck and neck with the day one group. I think this class this year goes deeper than that. Last year, I probably had 18 or 19 players with top-three-round grades. This year there’s just more of them.”
Jeremiah on the depth at wide receiver: “It makes sense, with the way the game is being played. These college teams are playing four and five wide receivers at all times. These guys are catching a million balls and the NFL offenses are still asking these guys to swallow a phone book playbook.”
Jeremiah on position-less players: “Are we heading toward the position-less player profile as we go into the future? That’s where I think it’s going. And I think guys like (Clemson LB) Isaiah Simmons have tremendous value. I’ve talked to a couple defensive coordinators around the league about this and they see it.”
PASS INTERFERENCE RULE
King on the pass interference replay review rule: “The rule became a sideshow, a joke, surely because the NFL wanted to discourage coaches from throwing challenge flags and making the games challenge-flag-filled. But the result of it was that the league looked foolish for passing a rule it didn’t enforce.”
King: “The rule was passed in 2019 on a one-year trial basis…After conversations with coaches, others close to the process, and one person close to officiating over the past month, I can’t see the rule surviving in its current form, and maybe not at all.”
King on his idea for the rule: “The impetus for this rule was to provide a fail-safe for plays like the one in the (Rams-Saints) NFC Championship Game 13 months ago…Let’s leave the fail-safe in place. Create a rule in, say, the last three minutes of a game to prevent a catastrophic play like the one in the title game.”
King: “Given that the league (and probably a majority owners) doesn’t want the rule in its current state, there’s still a way for an amended rule to save games from ending with a terrible call or non-call affecting the outcome in the waning seconds. The league should strongly consider it.”
King: “What I find interesting about the prospective 10-year labor deal between NFL owners and players is this: Some of the biggest issues have made zero headlines.”
King on proposed roster expansion: “There will be two more active players per team on game day, and, by 2022, four more practice squad spots per team…Meaning more playtime/active-roster bonuses could be earned for marginal players, and practice squads.”
King on salary increases: “Bigger salary increases for lower-level players…Consider that, per Over The Cap, 788 players in 2019 (about 25 per team) made less than $600,000; these are the bottom-of-the-roster players who would see salary increases.”
King on pension and retired player benefits: “Per a source, the pensions for 11,000 former players will rise…Re the hospital network, which still has details to be worked out, I’m told NFLPA Executive Committee member Richard Sherman was a spur for this plan for ex-players, including mental-health care and a plan for surgeries that would be phased in.”
King on a 17-game schedule: “The most contentious issue, of course, is adding a 17th game to the regular-season schedule. Several owners pushed early for 18; the players said it was a non-starter. Nobody on the players’ side wanted 17 games.”
King on possible playoff expansion: “Regarding the playoffs: I’m told it’s possible the league will use either a 3-3 wild-card weekend system for the games, or 2-3-1. In other words, either three games Saturday and three Sunday, or two Saturday and three Sunday and one Monday night.”
King on the proposed deal: “I think if this 10-year labor deal gets done, somehow, it will procure labor peace for the NFL through the 2029 season. Imagine that…Through the end of the new deal, it would mean 42 years and 10 weeks of labor peace. In modern sports, that’d be amazing.”
King on Jameis Winston: “I really want the Steelers to sign Jameis Winston. Sit for a year, get him ready to conditionally succeed Ben Roethlisberger, and if the interceptions continue in 2021, he’s gone after one season…I’m just talking about a coach-player relationship (Mike Tomlin-Winston) dynamic I’d like to see.”
King on TV deals: “I think there’s a good chance the next TV deal includes streaming rights by a Facebook or an Amazon. Too many league people think a limited package of games, streamed instead of sold to a tradition network or cable outfit, makes sense.”
King on reports Rams head coach Sean McVay will only spend one night at the Combine: “I don’t understand Sean McVay (per Mike Silver) spending only one night at the combine, and his coordinators not going. Seriously: You get so little out of spending 15 minutes with lots of prospects in a first meeting, and you get so little out of interacting with agents and coaches about looming free agents, that you’d rather be back in the bunker?”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ Super Bowl LIV coverage:
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms are on-site at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week to discuss major storylines and conduct interviews with coaches, general managers, and draft prospects across the NFL. The show will air live from the Combine Media Center at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-11 a.m. ET.
- Rotoworld Football Podcast: Rotoworld’s Josh Norris and Hayden Winks are in Indianapolis reacting to all the latest Combine news.
- Regional Sports Networks: NBC Sports Regional Networks will have a heavy presence in Indianapolis, with on-site content, including interviews, podcasts, articles, and more, originating from all six RSN’s.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.