Matthew Berry's 2023 NFL Rookie Premiere reactions
Matthew Berry reviews his experience at the 2023 NFLPA Rookie Premiere and highlights his conversations with Colts QB Anthony Richardson, Falcons RB Bijan Robinson, Texans QB C.J. Stroud, WR Tank Dell and many more.
- You've been a busy man.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yes, sir.
- Rookie Premier. For those listening that don't know what the Rookie Premiere is, I feel like they just see that the photo of all of the guys. What is that experience like before we get into the actual conversations you got to have?
MATTHEW BERRY: It's great. And so in essence, what the Rookie Premiere is, so the NFLPA, the Players Association, they're great friends to me. They're great friends to fantasy. You see all the jerseys behind us. And you see some of the knickknacks there in the back, like the little player stuff. That is all Thanks to our friends at the NFLPA and Fanatics as well, our friends at Fanatics.
So we really appreciate it. They've been tremendous supporters of me over the years. And they invite me every year. In essence, what the rookie premiere is is that they take what they consider to be the 40 or so-- this year we had 43. The 40 or so most marketable rookies coming into the NFL, and have them engage with all their partners.
So they get their "Madden" rating for the first time. And they see that. They get their jersey for the first time. There's a photo shoot. They do signing for Panini Cards and all the different companies that the NFLPA works with. All their partners, they get to get content from the rookies.
And so it's great. You're in this hotel in LA for like three days, and you're just like, you walk into the elevator. He's like, what's up, Bryce Young? Like, it's just like you're all just sort of right there. And it's great. And it's really a special experience. And I've been going for years, and years, and years, and they're tremendous hosts.
- Well, it looked awesome. And obviously, the face of the Rookie Premier you would think this year is Bijan Robinson, or at least the face of fantasy amongst rookies. And I know that you got to not only talk to Bijan Robinson, but, obviously, you said right away, like this dude is different, not just on the field but a different personality off of it.
MATTHEW BERRY: So to finish what we were saying, in terms of what it's like, in terms of what I do there, is I go there, and from literally from like 7:00 AM until 5:00, I interview all 43 of them. They come in one after another, and you're doing interview after interview. So it's great.
It's a long day but an awesome day. Shout out to [INAUDIBLE], our producer, who's out there with me as well. And I met-- and so it's interesting, right? You meet 43 people in the course of a day, and sometimes it's hard to like-- they run together in a little bit.
But I will tell you, yes, Bijan Robinson is different. My take away after I met him was, this guy is going to be a massive, massive star in the NFL, in addition to we know his on-field prowess. But I will just tell you, in terms of super engaging personality, really, really funny, humble, focused. I was incredibly impressed with him.
And he told me that-- you know, I asked him about fantasy football. He doesn't play, but he just said, oh, all my friends have been texting me, 101. He's like, what does that mean? And he goes-- I'm like, Bijan, it means they want to draft you as being the first pick overall. And by the way, I don't think it's that crazy.
- Not at all.
MATTHEW BERRY: He talked about the fact of some of the things we've already discussed. He's like, oh, yeah, coaches already told me they're going to use me all over the field. They're going to use me in the slot. They're going to use me out wide. They're going to use me in the backfield. They're going to be really creative.
I'm going to be involved in all aspects of the game. I can already tell, in terms of what they're telling me to learn in the playbook, and in terms of some of the stuff we've been doing in rookie minicamp.
- Yeah, I think Bijan's obviously-- I mean, he's the guy among rookies from a fantasy perspective. And also, you know, we talk about Offensive Rookie of the Year. He's the clear favorite of that. I think he has a chance to be an Offensive Player of the Year.
I think the most interesting rookie, though, in terms of range of outcomes is Anthony Richardson. So how is your discussion with Anthony?
MATTHEW BERRY: I loved Anthony Richardson. You never know. Look. You don't want to base anything based on, whatever, a 15-minute conversation with a kid, right? You never know.
I mean, I've had bad conversations, and those people have gone on to be superstars. There have been people at Rookie Perimeter that I've interviewed, where I'm like, I love that guy, and they've just done nothing in the league. So you never know.
I will just tell you this. Of all the interviews, I think I was most impressed with Anthony Richardson. This kid is super focused. Like, he is ready to kick ass and take names. A lot of people were jovial, and he's just like, no, this is what I'm doing. This is what I've got to do. You know?
He is very aware of the expectations on him, what he needs to do to get there. And talked about the fact that-- we talked a little bit. His favorite player is Tom Brady. And his two favorite players are Cam Newton and Tom Brady. Cam, obviously, because it's a similar playing style, Tom Brady because of the mental aspect of the game.
He had had a chance to spend some time with Tom earlier in the week that made the rounds on social media. Michael Rubin hosted a thing at his house. And just talking about what he learned from Tom, in terms of the mental aspect of the game, incredibly impressive kid.
Let me put it this way. I don't know what Anthony Richard is going to do, but if he fails in the NFL, It's. Not going to be from a lack of effort or a lack of mental acuity, right? This guy is locked in.
- Yeah. I think they are a team, as well, that's going to be a lot more fun, and interesting, and potentially good than people are anticipating, too. I mean, we've talked about [INAUDIBLE]. People forget they were heavy favorites to win that division last year. Now they've been completely written off because they had a terrible season.
They had a terrible season because they were starting Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles down the end of the year. I mean, they have talent on that team still. They still have Jonathan Taylor, and Michael Pittman, and an offensive line that should be better, and a good defense. So like if Richardson is good, they just need that one thing to happen, and then all of a sudden they could be a playoff team.
MATTHEW BERRY: Look, he's going to make some mistakes. Obviously, he's a rookie. But I think-- look, I think he's got all the tools. I was really impressed with sort of just how-- again, how focused and locked in he was during the three day-- during the three days.
And the other thing I'll say here is that like, look, my rankings are out on Rotoworld.com, Nbcsportsedge.com. I currently have Anthony Richardson as QB13.
- Yeah, wow.
MATTHEW BERRY: I mean, he is going to-- like, it may not always be pretty, but because of the rushing, he'll put up fantasy numbers. And so-- I think he's going to start week one, too.
- I think it's even more impressive when you hear about that maturity level, considering he played as a 20-year-old this season. I mean, the other quarterbacks are older than him. So for Richardson to already be there-- and he presented himself that way at the combine, obviously the Rookie Premier, and has positioned himself quite well to start for the Colts out of the gate.
MATTHEW BERRY: I will also say like, when he walks-- so you meet all these guys in person, and they're not in pads and everything like that until you sort of physically see them. And I mean like, whatever. I'm 6 foot 200 we'll call it, you know?
- I'm [INAUDIBLE].
MATTHEW BERRY: 195.
MATTHEW BERRY: Well, you know, it depends on the chicken tenders. I'm just saying, I was bigger-- I didn't get-- it's been a couple of weeks since I've had some really good chicken. What I will tell you is is that Anthony Richardson walked in, and he is built different--
- Oh, it's different.
MATTHEW BERRY: --than a lot of the other quarterbacks I met, a lot of the other players I met. I'm physically bigger than a lot of the running backs and wide receivers I met.
- Bigger than Tank Dell.
MATTHEW BERRY: Bigger than Bryce Young.
- Yeah, seriously.
MATTHEW BERRY: Real talk. But Anthony Richardson came in, and you're just like, oh, oh, man, you-- you are-- you're--
- It's Josh Allen level stuff.
MATTHEW BERRY: Exactly. He's a big, big guy. There's no like-- you know? So it was impressive from all over the place, physically, mentally, conversationally. He was-- I'm a big fan. I'm a big, big fan.
- So he weighs in at 244. So he's between 30 and 60 pounds heavier than you, somewhere in that round.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- Depending on [INAUDIBLE] chicken fingers.
MATTHEW BERRY: I mean, like, yeah, exactly. I think our-- we're close there, but I think body fat wise we're way, way apart. This guy probably has like 4% body fat. I've got like, you know, 4% non body fat. It's slightly different. I got like 4% lard. All right.
- Something I always like seeing at the Rookie Premiere picture is duos that come into the league.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- And there was one there for Houston now in CJ Stroud and Tank Dell, who will get to play together in this new look Houston offense.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, I talked to both those guys, and I talked about-- because their story came out, how CJ Stroud lobbied the Texans to get CJ Stroud. I asked him about that. He said, yeah, he had hoped that-- because the Texans originally had 2 and 12, and he was hoping that JSN would go there, his teammate from Ohio State.
When the Texans traded up to get Will Anderson and 12 was no longer on the table, he then started lobbying for Tank Dell. He's like, this is somebody I met in the pre-draft process that I really vibed with. And then, talking to Tank Dell, same thing.
Like, they've really vibed as well. Apparently, they've been hanging out nonstop. Obviously, Tank Dell is from Houston. He played at the University of Houston. So he's like, yeah, I've been showing him around, everything like that. We've been hanging out every night. We're playing "Madden." We're grabbing food.
And so they become like best buds very, very quickly. The fact that CJ Stroud went out and lobbied for Tank Dell, spoke up-- spoke very highly of Tank Dell, as did his college quarterback as well.
- Clayton Tune.
MATTHEW BERRY: Clayton Tune from the University of Houston. I interviewed him, and I said, what are the Texans getting in Tank Dell, and he was very effusive as well, in terms of great teammate, great route runner, just unbelievable wide receiver. So when you think about Houston and the fact that they've got Nico Collins, and John Metchie, and like they just don't have a lot of experience there.
I think there's a much-- there's a better than average chance that the leading receiver on this Texans team is Tank Dell. And I think he should move up the rookie ranks because the situation he's in and the connection that's already forming between him and CJ Stroud.
- Yeah. I think he can jump Robert Woods.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. I mean, like exactly. Like, you're not worried about Robert Woods at all. So anyway.
- It's nothing new for Tank. I mean, you look at his offense that he played in at the University of Houston. And like you said, he stays in Houston under Dana Holgorson. I mean, the target share was absurd. This guy had, I think, over 150 targets last year. They put him on motion every play.
The gadget plays will be right there for Bobby Slowik's offense right away. So that's good to hear that he already has that relationship with Stroud, who we're going to presume will be the starter for Houston.
MATTHEW BERRY: And by the way, easy kid to root for, too. It's clear-- it was easy to see why him and Stroud have bonded so much. He's just-- Tank Dell's got a really infectious personality.
- So before the draft all the spotlight was on, where will Will Levis go, how high can Will Levis go. After the draft, as he fell to the second round, now he's behind Ryan Tannehill, a little more of a quiet spot in Tennessee. There's no spotlight on Will Levis. But Will Levis was there. And maybe one of the first times we get to see him in that spot after the draft.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. You know what was so interesting is like, one of the rumors that went around is that, one of the reasons why Levis fell from-- people were projecting him to potentially be a top-five pick, and why he fell to the second round was that he, quote, "didn't interview well." And I found that shocking.
Maybe. I mean, we weren't in those interviews. But I will just tell you, meeting him, incredibly personable, self-deprecating. I talked about about the fact that he threw the mayonnaise thing out just as kind of a joke. Like, he did it once, and all of a sudden it's taken off like wildflower and everything like that.
But I really enjoyed him, another guy that's just like, in terms of you talk about physical specimens, like just like--
- He's jacked.
MATTHEW BERRY: He is. He is jacked. He is like-- from central casting in terms, I need like big, good-looking quarterback. Like, he is jacked. There's no question about it.
He's a big fantasy football player as well. He talks about the fact that he's been in a league with his buddies since ninth grade. And they're all-- they're all joking how they're going to draft him over him and everything like that. The loser asked him-- he told me he's never finished last in the league and that the loser punishment was that the loser had to eat a pack of uncooked hot dogs.
Like, it's a real league. I was impressed. They got a--
- Is that a safety hazard?
MATTHEW BERRY: Probably. Probably not healthy. But luckily, he hasn't--
- He hasn't lost.
MATTHEW BERRY: He hasn't lost in a while. Anyway, just whatever. There's no fantasy value to Will Levis this year, but I found him to be an easy guy to root for. And just worth noting. Again, so I'm sitting here in my Cheshire Lacrosse Rams t-shirt here.
So Will Levis grew up in Connecticut. He played high school ball at Xavier High School, which is one of Cheshire's rivals. He's played Cheshire. We talked about it a little bit, and just-- and I told him how we're in the playoffs, everything like that.
And after our interview, he very graciously-- he recorded like just a, hey, good luck, boys, go get 'em. Connecticut athletes, we got to stick together. Just a really nice video for the Cheshire Rams lacrosse team, which I shared with him, and they won their first round playoff game pretty handily.
So anyway, just good dude. Easy dude to root for.
- Going to make a prediction. So the Tennessee Titans, here's how they start next season with their schedule, at New Orleans, Chargers, at Cleveland, Cincinnati, at Indy, Baltimore, bye week. I think there's a good chance that Will Levis is the starting quarterback coming out of the bye week.
MATTHEW BERRY: Out of the bye week.
- Because then it goes Atlanta, at Pittsburgh, at Tampa.
- Softer landing.
- Goes Carolina, Indianapolis. Like, Will Levis could very well be the quarterback by [INAUDIBLE].
MATTHEW BERRY: If they go into that bye week, and they're 2 and 5, or what is that-- yeah, 2 and 5. They're 3 and 4. And Jaguars or Colts are sort of running away with the division.
- Derrick Henry's getting traded.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, I like that call. I like that call.
- One of us was laughed off the set when they took him in our dynasty mock draft. I don't remember who, just one of us was laughed off the set.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. Was it me? I don't think it was me because I got my guy, Anthony Richardson.
- That's absolutely right. All right, let's look at some wide receivers. I think it was a surprise when Green Bay took Jayden Reed when they did, especially the receivers that were on the board. And I think a lot of people called it a reach at the time, but it looks like Jayden Reed might be the Packers starting slot receiver this year.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, I literally just said to him-- I said, listen, Jayden, I know you just got there, and it's early, rookie minicamps just sort of started, but I'm sitting here looking at this team, and I'm like, I don't think Christian Watson's playing the slot. Pretty sure Romeo Doubs ain't playing the slot.
And he was just like, yeah, I'm going to be the slot receiver. Like, he's just like, yeah. He's like, they'll play me some outside. I'm doing some, but most of the stuff that I've been doing is inside. I'm going to be their slot receiver.
Packers, by the way, fourth in slot targets last year. Obviously, they move from Rodgers to Jordan Love, so there'll be some tendency change there. But think about Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Bob Tonyan, all three of them no longer on Green Bay. There's 217 targets up for grabs in this offense.
So Jayden Reed, who's going to be the slot receiver for an inexperienced quarterback in Jordan Love, you could certainly see him having a nice year. We liked Jayden Reed coming out of the draft.
- Absolutely. And he's going to return punts for them as well. So he's going to be doing a lot of things. They want him involved, especially when they took him that high in the draft. Obviously, big thoughts for Jayden Reed.
How about the forgotten receiver of the first round here? It feels like there hasn't been a ton of buzz about Zay Flowers when all four of those wide receivers went in a row. We know this is going to be a new look Ravens offense that he'll be entering.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, look, you think about Mark Andrews, you think about Odell Beckham, Jr., you think about JK Dobbins coming back. How about Rashod Bateman, by the way, on the field for the first day of OTAs. He's recovering from that Lisfranc surgery in November last year. Remember, with the foot.
So great to see him. But I want to talk about Zay Flowers again. And it's going to sound like, oh, wow, you liked everyone. No, we're going to talk about 10 guys. I interviewed 43.
- You talked to 45.
MATTHEW BERRY: I talked to 43. I'm talking about 10 here today. So you know, some of the ones I don't mention, either I didn't get anything great from the interview--
- You hated him. No, I'm just kidding.
MATTHEW BERRY: No, I didn't hate anyone, but I didn't either get much from them. Or also, by the way, all these interviews are going to be available on NBC'S YouTube channel. They're coming up soon. We'll do a special podcast with some of the great stuff that we got from the NFLPA rookie premiere.
But specific to Zay Flowers, he just talked about how excited he was to play with Lamar, sees this offense as, obviously, having huge potential. He's talked with Lamar. And you know, he noted the fact that, I think people don't understand why Lamar Jackson's passing gets criticized when, in 2019, his first year as the starter, Lamar Jackson led the NFL in touchdown passes.
Forget about the rushing and the dynamic offense, like the dude led the NFL and touchdown passes. Adding Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator this offseason, we think there'll be some creativity and more of a pass-heavy approach to Baltimore's offense here.
I will just tell you, Zay Flowers is a guy that-- another easy kid to root for, really infectious personality, really enjoyed getting to know him, easy to like and root for. I think he'll bond with Lamar very quickly.
- Yeah. And that offense now is just completely loaded. Their offensive line is excellent. Lamar, when he was healthy, was fantastic last season. He was a top MVP candidate the first few weeks of the season in particular.
And now the wide receivers, like I don't know who it's going to be, but between Odell, and Agholor, and Zay Flowers, and Devin DuVernay, who's like quietly effective last year, and Mark Andrews, they just have so many choices now, and some of them are going to work.
- Yeah, with a much better play caller too in Todd Monken.
MATTHEW BERRY: By the way, that's how-- quietly effective is how I would describe you, Jay Croucher.
- Oh, thank you.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, that's also-- that's a good description of you, quietly effective.
- I wouldn't use the same adjectives for you.
MATTHEW BERRY: No. No, not quiet nor effective. That's 0 for 2 on me, right there.
- Loudly happening, Matthew Berry.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. Existing.
- Yeah, loudly existing.
MATTHEW BERRY: Existing. Yeah.
- The Devin DuVernay of the desk. I don't have a clear comp you yet.
- I don't know if that's a great thing for my legacy, but that's OK.
- Oh, wow.
- He's Devin DuVernay.
MATTHEW BERRY: [INAUDIBLE] like you know, well known, potentially past his prime. He's there. A bit of a diva.
- [INAUDIBLE] heavily in the media.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, exactly.
- Yeah, I remember when you were a free agent.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, exactly.
- OK. So, and Connor would be Mark Andrews as the rock.
- Oh, I like this.
- Yes. Yeah.
- The foundation of the offense.
MATTHEW BERRY: [INAUDIBLE] and maybe he's Rashod Bateman.
- Well, he's-- Odell Beckham is the bigger name. But Mark Andrews is kind of rock solid and more effective.
- I'm not on the injury report as much as Rashod Bateman.
MATTHEW BERRY: That's also fair.
- I try to make it at this desk.
MATTHEW BERRY: [INAUDIBLE]
- Start with being Devin DuVernay in this, but that's fine.
MATTHEW BERRY: That's fine. I don't blame you.
- All right, let's look over to a backfield. Kendre Miller for the Saints, of course, a third-round pick. We know the Alvin Kamara suspension could be on the horizon. They signed Jamaal Williams. But Kendre Miller, there was a little bit of a surprise when you talked to him.
MATTHEW BERRY: So when you go there, you're interviewing 43 people. And so the NFLPA gives you like a little cheat sheet. You know, here's a couple of nuggets about each player. Yeah, they give you a little--
- That's a lot of interviews.
MATTHEW BERRY: They give you a little bit of a cheat sheet. And myself and my producer Damian, like we had done some prep as well. And so we'd talk through every interview. And so we sort of had a game plan going in, but it is, right, 43 they do run over against.
But so one of the tidbits on the NFLPA cheat sheet for Kendre Miller is that his favorite player growing up was Jerry Rice. And I was just like, you're a running back. Like, why Jerry-- I mean, I get it, Jerry Rice is the GOAT, but like--
And he's just like, I wanted to be a receiver growing up. I want to be a receiver growing up. And we talked about that. And he talk about the fact that how, at TCU, they had a lot of vertical threats. Max Duggan not the most mobile of quarterbacks.
And so they just-- they didn't really need him in the passing game, but that the coaches have been impressed with-- he's like, I can catch the ball. I can catch the ball. It's something I pride myself on. I think I'm really good at it.
I didn't get a chance to showcase that at TCU, but the Saints coaches so far have been really impressed with my pass catching ability. And I will say that, talking with other people around the New Orleans media, they say that they think that, a year or two from now, when Kamara has moved on, they think Kendre Miller can be Alvin Kamara in this offense, can be--
He's obviously a different player, but that in the sense of a three-down back, somebody that can be on third downs, that can be part of the passing game as well as going between the tackles. And so I just thought that was really interesting. He does tennis ball catching drills every day, where they're throwing--
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, right, exactly. And he's doing those drills. And he said they're really impressed with him and how well he's doing in those drills.
- So Kendre Miller was born in 2002, which one, makes me feel really old, which makes you feel even older. And then two--
MATTHEW BERRY: Here's what's great about being me. I feel old at every moment. It doesn't matter. Nothing makes me feel old other than just existing.
- Getting out of bed.
MATTHEW BERRY: When I wake up-- when I wake up in the morning, I'm like, oh, hey, OK, I wake up. Good. All right, I'm still here. Good.
- That's what the chicken fingers diet does to you.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah.
- So Kendre Miller-- Jerry Rice is his favorite player growing up. It's like Connor's favorite basketball player being like Bernard King. Wow, I loved Bernard King when I was growing up.
- Big Bart Starr guy over there.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right.
- Yeah, unbelievable.
MATTHEW BERRY: It is right. I mean, like Jerry Rice could-- I'm old enough where Jerry Rice could have been my favorite player growing up.
MATTHEW BERRY: I mean, like that's how long ago that Jerry played. But anyway, whatever. You know? He like he must have watched clips on YouTube or something like that.
- I love Dan Fouts.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right. The point of the Kendra Miller thing is just that, I think based on his college tape, people will underestimate his potential to have a role in the pass catching for the Saints. Again, they really only have Jamaal Williams. There's a looming suspension likely happening for Alvin Kamara, so some opportunity there. Kamara has also, obviously, been injured a lot the last couple of years.
- How about this note in the rundown. I'm just going to throw it right up to you. Michael Wilson, day-two pick of the Arizona Cardinals, really talented wide receiver that just had horrible injury luck at Stanford but a really, really good player, will have a career in media when he retires. So is this the run away interview, like the guy?
MATTHEW BERRY: I just-- he is-- the minute our interview is over, we shook hands, and we took a picture, and I just said, whenever you're playing career is done-- I hope it's 20 years from now, but whenever your playing career is done, you should go immediately to broadcasting because he's a good looking guy. He is smooth in terms of how he delivers information.
Like, he was just really personable and likeable but just also just had all the qualities you want to look for in a broadcaster. Like again, just a good looking, personable, concise, and engaging person, the opposite of me, honestly. I mean, the opposite. I'm sitting here trying to describe him.
- You're describing someone's concision while--
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I mean, 100%. Like, if I can make it, Michael Wolfson absolutely can. I thought it was interesting too, by the way, his girlfriend Sophia Smith, is a-- she plays for the US National Team. She's a pro soccer player with the Portland Thorns as well.
They've been together over five years. And I literally just said, assuming you guys get married at some point, can I just represent your kid in whatever sport they want to do because that kid's going to be like the greatest athlete of all time.
- It's like the Zach Ertz, Julie Ertz situation all over again.
- Exactly, right? 1,000%. Anyway, that was just his thing. It's just like, I wasn't that familiar with Michael Wilson, but then after meeting him I'm just like, good God. Like, you are-- he talks a good game, man. He's like-- yeah, I was really impressed with him.
- All right. Let's keep it going with the wide receivers here. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, obviously the first wide receiver taken in this draft. I thought he just looked awesome at the Rookie Premiere. He had the shades on. There are certain aesthetic of wide receivers where you go, you have to be good.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right? Yeah, yeah.
- And that's what I thought with Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, definitely had the swag going. And you know, walk the walk, talk the talk. So one of my first questions to him was, hey, OK, so you're an Ohio State wide receiver. Last year, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, monster years. I'm a Commanders fan. Terry McLaurin, he's my-- he's an Ohio State guy. He's been great.
Do you feel any pressure you to continue this tradition of Ohio State wide receivers coming out of the Buckeyes program and immediately contributing in the NFL? And he had one of the best quotes I ever heard. He said, we're taught at Ohio State, pressure is a privilege.
And I never heard that phrase before. He's like, pressure is a privilege. And I just-- I love that. And so he said, yes. Obviously, that weighs on it. I also want to do-- he's like getting to Seattle and being next to DK Metcalf and the OG Tyler Lockett is how he described it.
He's just like, wanting to be able to be good for Seattle, which is a storied franchise, and Geno is a really good quarterback. And so he felt like-- he felt like, no question, there's pressure. There's pressure on him because of where he's coming from, because the team he's been drafted to, because of the role that's expected. He's going to be their starting slot receiver.
But I just love the idea, the mentality of not wilting under the pressure, the idea of pressure is a privilege, that you don't have pressure if no one expects anything of you, right? You know you don't have pressure if there's not an opportunity there. So it's a phrase I guess they use at Ohio State.
And I just-- I love that phrase, and I wanted to find a way to work into the show. Pressure is a privilege.
- Very Al Pacino, peace with inches, "Any Given Sunday," pressure is a privilege. Yeah, I'm interested to see how much Seattle will throw the ball this season because the book on them was always that, well, why don't you let Russ cook. Why is it run, run, pass, run run, run, pass, run, run, pass?
And then last year, with Russ finally gone, they didn't start to throw it a lot more, but they've still now got Charbonnet, and Ken Walker, but they have so many receiving weapons. Like, they're going to be spoiled for choice. I hope they throw the ball more and more because I think they should, but that'll be interesting to watch the first two games of the season, just like what's play call rate of runs versus passers.
- I think after Bijan Robinson everybody's wondering the other running back taken in the top 15, Jahmyr Gibbs. What will it look like for him his first season in Detroit? Obviously, with David Montgomery there, you'd hope there's at least a pass-happy role for Gibbs in year one.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, certainly. And that seems to be the expectation. I asked him about that. Again, it's early, but he goes, oh, yeah, they've already got me lining up all over the field. I'm lining up, again, in the slot, outside. I'm in the backfield. They're going to use me in a lot of different ways.
You talk about the fact they've-- that they talked to him about one of the reasons they drafted him was because of his pass catching ability. I asked him, were you surprised because all of us were surprised that Detroit took you. And he says-- he goes, they were one of my top 30 visits.
I had a top 30 visit from them, meaning because he was-- and, anyway. Sorry. But so he said, I wasn't-- I knew they liked me, but yes, I was shocked just like everyone else. I didn't expect to go there.
MATTHEW BERRY: But you know, he's very happy, and they're excited to use him, and he's going to be a big part of their passing game.
- Where does he rate out of pass catching running backs out of the backfield of the past few years? Because it seems like his stats are off the chart in that regard.
- He's right near the top. And it's funny he was in the same class as Bijan Robinson because that kind of took the spotlight off him. With any other class, you'd say Jahmyr Gibbs is that guy. I mean, this should be an Alvin Kamara kind of player at the NFL level. Like, 80-- Kamara, obviously, had 81 plus catches his first four seasons. I don't know if I expect that from Gibbs as a rookie, but the same kind of usage and role, Gibbs has that, and he's just as explosive.
MATTHEW BERRY: I mean, look, D'Andre swift had over 45 catches every year that he was in Detroit, and he missed a lot of games. Like, I don't think 60 catches is out of the question for Jahmyr Gibbs. Like, I would take-- I don't know what the line is on the preseason prediction, but I would take north of 60 receptions for him this year.
- Yeah, I think a good thing for Gibbs is that it always felt like D'Andre Swift was disappointing in Detroit, relative to what he could have been, but he always produced. And the fact that Gibbs. if he just meets expectations, he's going to be an absolute monster.
And also, his skill set is just so fantasy friendly in PPR. Like, he is going to be-- I think it's going to be-- we're going to talk about Austin Ekeler, but it's going to be a similar thing where his fantasy production is going to outweigh, I think, the perception of him just as a regular NFL player.
MATTHEW BERRY: And look, the Lions have a very good offensive line. They have a real quarterback in Jared Goff. And they have opportunity, right? Hodgkinson's in Minnesota. Jameson Williams is suspended for the first six games. They've got Amon-Ra St Brown and not a lot else.
- Josh Reynolds.
MATTHEW BERRY: Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Sam LaPorta, the rookie tight end. I mean, but they don't-- it's not like there's-- it's not like it's hard to squint and say like, oh, where could he get five or six targets a game. Like, it's pretty easy to see a scenario where Jahmyr Gibbs is having four receptions, five receptions a game.
- I think most importantly, a young offensive coordinator in Ben Johnson too, who will come in with a plan for a guy at the running back position they used a top-15 selection on. Our final rookie here in the notes guys, Tank Bigsby, who is in the headlines lately. Jags reporter John Shipley believes he'll be-- he has the inside track to be the number two. Impressions of Tank Bigsby.
MATTHEW BERRY: So I've met a lot of NFL players in my life, right? You know what I mean? It's one of the benefits of being my age. I have met a ton-- no, jokes aside. I'm not that old.
- 64 years old.
MATTHEW BERRY: I'm not that old, asshole.
- That was fun.
MATTHEW BERRY: But what I will say is, so I've met a lot of NFL players in my life. And the only person that has a stronger handshake than Tank Bigsby is Adrian Peterson. It was Adrian Peterson-esque. Like I mean, people have talked legendary about like-- but his, it was just like, ah. You know? Like he is-- right.
And it's not like he was trying to be a jerk or-- but that's just like-- this guy is built like a brick. He is like-- there's not an ounce of fat in this guy.
- He's a tank.
- He's literally Tank Bigsby.
MATTHEW BERRY: He's named Tank. He is a tank. Like, unbelievable. Like I was just like, oh, damn. And so right, to your mention, like you think about, whatever, D'Ernest Johnson, Jamycal Hasty there. I do think Bigsby will be the backup. Doug Pederson has traditionally liked using multiple running backs.
Last year, Etienne did get a decent amount of run, a significant workload here. But given the postseason expectations for Jacksonville, I don't think they're going to want to wear Etienne down. So I do think Bigsby can carve out a role here.
Really productive, obviously, all the way through Auburn as well. Just I don't know. Tank Bigsby, just that's a guy that can take a beating. Like that's a guy that can-- that's a guy that can go between the tackles, and just very impressive physically.
- Yeah, I think he's significantly cuts into some of Etienne's production, specifically at the goal line. I mean, when you look at Bigsby, he did not get a lot of help from that Auburn offensive line last year. I remember writing down that scouting report. The first thing I noted was leg drive. I was like, this guy just knows how to push the pile. It's going to be interesting to see how he impacts Etienne.
- Yeah. And I think Doug Pederson, in his heart of hearts, what he wants to do is he wants to have guys max out at around 200 carries, not get to 255. Like, he wants guys to be explosive, to not be worn down, and to have a rotation of capable guys. That's why they took him.
So I'd be a little bit-- like, Etienne is going to be fine, and he's going to score a lot of touchdowns, probably more touchdowns than last year because the team is going to be better, but I wouldn't go in expecting that he's necessarily going to potentially get into that tier with McCaffrey, and Ekeler, and Bijan, or even Jonathan Tyler and Saquon. I'm not sure he's going to have that workhorse load, particularly when he does have an injury history.