The Indianapolis Colts have taken a calculated gamble to fill a glaring hole on their offensive line.

According to multiple reports, the Colts have signed former number one overall pick Eric Fisher to a low-risk one-year deal.

The left tackle was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in March as they remade their O-Line, Fisher having missed their Super Bowl LV blowout loss due to a torn Achilles.

Fisher may not be ready to make his return from that injury until early October, but the Colts are betting he can recapture the form that has seen him voted to the Pro Bowl twice in the past three seasons.

Can Fisher fill Castonzo void?

Fisher allowed a pressure rate of 10.9 per cent in 2020, above the league average of 8.9 per cent but a significant improvement on his 16 per cent pressure rate during a 2019 season in which he battled injuries while helping the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV.

What helped him earn a Pro Bowl nod last season, however, was the lack of sacks he allowed. He gave up only three, though Stats Perform data credited him with four adjusted sacks, which measure pressures on sack plays, even if the pressuring defender did not bring down the quarterback.

His adjusted sack rate allowed of 0.9 per cent was bettered by just eight left tackles with at least 100 pass protection snaps.

It followed a 2019 campaign in which his adjusted sack rate allowed of 1.1 per cent put him in a five-way tie for seventh among left tackles.

The Colts will hope he can prove an effective replacement for mainstay Anthony Castonzo, who retired in the offseason.

Castonzo allowed a pressure rate of 8.4 per cent and an adjusted sack rate of 1.5 per cent in 2020.

The statistics suggest Fisher should be able to fill the void left by Castonzo, but the Colts will have to rely on Sam Tevi at left tackle if Fisher is not ready in time for the start of the season.

Tevi up to the task?

Tevi is coming off his best season in the NFL with the Chargers, allowing a pressure rate of 10.1 per cent, one sack and three adjusted sacks for an adjusted sack rate of 0.8 per cent.

He outperformed Fisher by those metrics but hasn't performed with the consistency for the Colts to be certain he can perform at that level for the long term.

Tevi allowed six sacks in 2018 and 5.5 in 2019 playing right tackle, the latter season seeing him give up a pressure rate of 15.5 per cent - tied for fifth-worst among right tackles with at least 200 snaps - and an adjusted sack rate of 2.3 per cent.

The Colts are banking on Fisher getting healthy and returning to top form if and when he does. Should he fail to do so, they will be hoping Tevi's underrated 2020 was not an anomaly.

Though the Colts are not tied to either Fisher or Tevi beyond the 2021 season, for a team with Super Bowl aspirations but starting a quarterback in Carson Wentz who was sacked a league-high 50 times for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, they need to be right about at least one of their potential Castonzo successors.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf described the opportunity to race against world-class athletes as a blessing after his Olympic hopes seemingly came to an end on Sunday.

The 23-year-old competed in the 100 metres event at the USA Track and Field (USATF) Golden Games and Distance Open in California, part of the qualification process for this year's rescheduled Games in Tokyo.

Metcalf posted an impressive time of 10.36 seconds in his heat, but that was only good enough to finish ninth as he missed out on a place in the final of the event.

A time under 10.05s would have been enough to automatically qualify for the US Olympic track and field trials in Oregon next month.

"I'm just happy to be here, excited to have the opportunity to come out here and run against world-class athletes like this," Metcalf said in his post-race interview on Peacock.

"Just to test my speed up against world-class athletes like this. Like I said, to have the opportunity to come out here and run against these guys was just a blessing."

Metcalf had been a hurdler and a long jumper at high school before focusing on football in college at Ole Miss. He was selected by the Seahawks with the 64th pick in the 2019 draft.

After posting 58 receptions for 900 yards in his rookie season, he finished the 2020 campaign with 83 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns, good enough to earn him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

"They do this for a living. It's very different from football speed, as I just realised," Metcalf, who was strong out of the blocks, added.

Seattle team-mate Russell Wilson was among those from the NFL to be impressed by Metcalf's performance, the quarterback tweeting: "Amazing Bro!"

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also praised the receiver, who admitted the focus will now switch from competing on the track back to his NFL career.

"10.36 is crazy tho [sic] at that size!! Mad respect!" Mahomes posted on Twitter.

Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka have earned the top 2021 prizes at the Laureus World Sports Awards, while Patrick Mahomes, Lewis Hamilton and Mohamed Salah were all also recognised.

Tennis dominated the individual honours as Nadal collected a fourth award, named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the second time.

The Spaniard, who has also previously taken the 2006 Breakthrough Award and the 2014 Comeback Award, was selected after winning the French Open to tie Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam titles.

Nadal, who said he "can't be happier", added: "Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th grand slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment.

"It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend. It's something very special after all the history we have had together on and off court."

Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Osaka, the 2019 Breakthrough winner, claimed a second US Open triumph while supporting the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

"I think it is important to use my voice, because, for me, I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it," the Japanese superstar said.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Mahomes won the Super Bowl last year and played in the big game again earlier in 2021, making him the latest Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award winner.

He and Formula One great Hamilton both joined Osaka in demonstrations against racial inequality.

Two-time Laureus winner Hamilton got his hands on the Athlete Advocate of the Year Award and said: "This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but it has also been heartening to see the power of our collective voices spark new conversations and change.

"The impact of each and every one of you who have stood up, is so inspiring, so I want to thank you. Please keep fighting, keep shining your light."

Liverpool's Salah supported a number of causes and led the Reds to Premier League glory, receiving the Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award, but Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga were the World Team of the Year for the second time.

Nadal and Osaka were not the only tennis stars to have their name called, as Billie Jean King took the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brett Favre is not optimistic star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play for the Green Bay Packers again.

Rodgers and his future in Green Bay has dominated headlines since the opening day of last week's NFL Draft, with the reigning MVP reportedly unhappy and seeking a Packers exit.

The Packers have made it clear they are unwilling to trade the 37-year-old three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion.

Hall of Famer and Packers great Favre spent the majority of his illustrious career in Green Bay, where he led the franchise to the Super Bowl before leaving in 2008, having been replaced by Rodgers.

"Boy it's a good question; that's the million-dollar question," Favre told ESPN on Wednesday when asked about Rodgers' future.

"I think I know Aaron fairly well, and honestly I just don't see him coming back and just saying, 'All right, let's just bury the hatchet, whatever caused the rift, and I'm just going to come back and play because I love the guys, I love the Green Bay fans' -- I assume he does -- but his rift isn't with the fans or the players.

"It's with the front office. Will he just swallow his pride and come in? Maybe. But I don't see that happening.

"If there's not a trade, my gut tells me that he'd rather sit out than play. That's just my gut. There's no reason for me to say that other than that's what my gut's telling me, and I think you guys know Aaron fairly well enough to sort of feel the same way."

Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers, who lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game last season.

His quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers is now level with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three MVP honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

"I'd like to see him win a Super Bowl in Green Bay, another one," Favre said. "But the thing is, life's too short, I want him to be happy. He's been there as long as I was there, and I know what that means, and he's put up unbelievable numbers.

"Win another Super Bowl and then do what you want to do, whether it's keep playing, play somewhere else, whatever. But win one more in Green Bay and go out the way you want to go out.

"You don't want to go out this way, whether it's sit out or play somewhere else."

The Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva on a two-year deal.

Villanueva – a two-time NFL Pro Bowler – joins the Ravens from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he started every game at left tackle for the past five seasons.

The 32-year-old will likely step into right tackle for Orlando Brown Jr., who was traded by the Ravens to the Kansas City Chiefs before last week's NFL Draft.

Villanueva, who was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and 2018, is believed to have signed a contract worth $14million.

Baltimore have made several offensive changes, signing right guard Kevin Zeitler from the New York Giants in March and drafting Ben Cleveland in the third round with pick 94.

The Ravens finished the 2020 season with an 11-5 record and were second in the AFC North Division, eventually losing to the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Judging draft picks in the immediate aftermath of their selection can be a foolhardy endeavour, as the success of rookies that enter the league depends on several factors including situation, opportunity and luck.

While it is tough to dole out grades for players who have not even hit the practice field for their new teams, it is possible to assess the totality of a franchise's moves in a draft and determine who has been impacted, positively and negatively, by those player selections.

In a draft dominated by a historic level of talent at the position, it is the classes of teams that made changes at quarterback that will likely have the most significant influence on the league.

After five quarterbacks went in the first round, we use Stats Perform data to determine the winners and losers from a draft that should go on to be remembered as one of the most important in NFL history.


Winners

Chicago Bears fans

Who knows whether the Justin Fields-era in Chicago will be a success? The weight of history surrounding Bears quarterbacks suggests it has a very good chance of being a failure.

But by trading up to land the Ohio State quarterback instead of committing to a year of purgatory with Andy Dalton, the Bears ensured they should be significantly more watchable in 2021, assuming post-draft talk about wanting to sit Fields behind Dalton proves false.

Fields is an exciting downfield thrower who averaged 10.10 air yards per attempt in the 2020 college season. It is an imperfect comparison given the difference in the level of competition but the two Bears starters in 2019, Mitchell Trubisky (7.94) and Nick Foles (7.92), each averaged under eight air yards per attempt.

And Fields was accurate when he pushed the ball downfield. On throws of 15 air yards or more, 76.47 per cent were well thrown, compared to 71.43 for Lawrence, 69.41 for Wilson and 67.39 for 15th overall pick Mac Jones.

His aggressive style should mesh well with number one receiver Allen Robinson, who was fifth in the NFL with 908 of his receiving yards coming at the point of reception.

Fields will also have the benefit of improved protection from a nasty offensive tackle in the form of second-round pick Teven Jenkins.

Jenkins allowed a pressure rate of 2.9 per cent in 2020, third among tackles with at least 100 pass protection snaps. The top tackle in that regard was Larry Borom of Missouri (1.8%), whom Chicago drafted in the fifth round.

Chicago also further helped Fields' cause by drafting Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert, who was second in the Power 5 in yards per carry (7.63) among running backs with at least 100 carries and Dazz Newsome, the North Carolina wideout who was 11th in burn percentage (71) among receivers with at least 25 slot targets. 

The Bears have been a chore to watch in recent years. It isn't clear whether the move up for Fields will work and it is debatable whether general manager Ryan Pace should have been allowed to make it given his track record, but there is finally reason for a passionate fanbase to be genuinely excited about their team.

Zach Wilson

Wilson going second overall to the Jets was no secret, but New York did an excellent job of taking steps to ensure concerns over his one season of elite production against non-Power 5 opposition do not prove prescient by surrounding him with talent.

A trade up for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker raised eyebrows but his pressure rate allowed of 1.3 per cent when playing left guard for USC in 2019 was the best in the Power 5 and suggests he can lock down that spot for the next decade for the Jets.

Wide receiver Elijah Moore brings inside-out versatility and should have gone in the first round. Instead, the Ole Miss star went 34th overall to the Jets, adding a wideout who led the FBS in receiving yards per game (149.1) last season to an intriguing group that includes Denzel Mims, Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder.

Third-round running back Michael Carter will give offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur a versatile skill set to utilise.

The North Carolina back led Power 5 runners with 100 carries or more in yards per carry (7.98) and yards before contact per rush (5.36) in 2020.

As a receiver, Carter was eighth among those Power 5 backs, who also had a minimum of 10 targets, in burn yards per target (10.86).

Carter should, therefore, be able to have a substantial impact in the zone-running scheme the Jets will employ in 2021 and influence the passing game significantly.

Growing pains are to be expected in Wilson's rookie season in New York but this was a draft in which the Jets went to great lengths to make his adaptation to the pros as smooth as possible.

Lamar Jackson

Every year, the Baltimore Ravens do an excellent job of letting the draft board come to them and reaping the rewards.

In 2020, they stole linebacker Patrick Queen in the back end of the first round. This year they grabbed arguably the most well-refined receiver in the draft, Minnesota's Rashod Bateman, with the 27th overall pick.

A truncated 2020 season in which he played just five games following a bout of coronavirus may not have helped Bateman's stock, but his 2019 tape showed a receiver who can develop into a number one target for Lamar Jackson.

Bateman can excel at all levels of the field and his downfield upside shone through in 2019, when he was open on 70.8 per cent of his targets in 2019 with an average depth of target of 16.2 yards.

His burn yards per target average of 16.15 was sixth among all Power 5 receivers with at least 50 targets two seasons ago, with Henry Ruggs III and Chris Olave the only players in the same group to produce a superior big-play percentage to Bateman's 50.4.

Big plays in the passing game have not been consistent for the Ravens. Jackson (25) had fewer passing plays of 25 yards or more than Teddy Bridgewater (27) and Drew Lock (28) in 2020.

Bateman has the talent to greatly increase that tally of explosive plays while the addition of Tylan Wallace, who was eighth among Power 5 receivers with a minimum of 50 targets last season with a burn yards per route average of 4.33, should further boost Jackson's hopes of bouncing back as a passer in 2021.

Having also addressed the interior of the offensive line by drafting Ben Cleveland, whose pressure rate allowed of 2.7 per cent was seventh among Power 5 guards last season, in the third round, Jackson goes into 2021 in an excellent position to take the passing game to levels that escaped the 2019 MVP in 2020.

In the coming season, Jackson will have much better weapons and should have improved protection. If the Ravens' offense falls short again in the playoffs in 2021, he won't have much room for excuses.

Losers

Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh lost left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and the versatile Matt Feiler in free agency but did nothing to fill either of the voids left by that duo until the third round when they picked up athletic Illinois guard Kendrick Green. Tackle Dan Moore was picked in the fourth round.

Instead, they spent their first two picks on a running back and a tight end in Alabama's Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth of Penn State, stacking the offense with further weapons for Ben Roethlisberger in what will likely be his last season in the NFL.

But, beyond running back, weapons were not the need for the Steelers. Harris is an upgrade in the backfield but he averaged only 2.14 yards after contact per rush last season, below the Power 5 average of 2.21, and typically the offensive line has just as much of an impact on running game production as the back.

A failure to prioritise the trenches could result in Harris struggling to evade defenders that the O-Line has allowed into the backfield. More worryingly for Roethlisberger, the lack of a dependable replacement at left tackle could leave a quarterback who missed 14 games as recently as 2019 open to punishment from opposing pass rushers.

Roethlisberger completed 50.7 per cent of his passes when under pressure in 2020, the fifth-worst number of all quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. If this is to be his swansong, the Steelers are not setting him up for a successful one.

Trevor Lawrence

Ok, so Trevor Lawrence is a winner. He's the number one overall pick and is set to be paid millions to take his talents to the highest level.

But, in terms of the situation he is going into in Jacksonville, the Jaguars did little to help him.

With the 25th pick, they passed up the chance to boost their pass-catching options in favour of drafting his Clemson team-mate, running back Travis Etienne, following a 2020 season in which undrafted rookie James Robinson finished the year sixth in yards after contact per attempt (2.34). 

Simply put, Etienne was the definition of an unnecessary luxury pick.

Tyson Campbell was a decent value pick at 33rd overall in the second round but Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, who developed a reputation during his time running the San Francisco 49ers for taking ill-advised risks on players with bad injury histories, picked a safety in Andre Cisco who tore his ACL in September and offensive tackle Walker Little, who has not played a game since 2019, when he featured in just one before suffering a knee injury.

The only pass-catching additions came in the form of a 29-year-old tight end, Luke Farrell, in the fifth round and wide receiver Jalen Camp in the sixth. 

Between D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault, Lawrence does have reasonable weapons, but the Jags did not do much to add to his arsenal.

NFC West run defenses

Teams trying to stop the 49ers' ground game have had a hard time since Kyle Shanahan became head coach in 2017.

Their 224 rushes of 10 yards or more are tied sixth in the NFL in that time, and that tally looks set to increase after San Francisco drafted a franchise quarterback in Trey Lance who boasts a devastating mix of speed and power in the open field.

Lance's 14 touchdowns in 2019 were bettered by just four quarterbacks across the FBS and FCS, his rushing average of 6.5 yards fifth among signal-callers with at least 100 rushes.

San Francisco then added further to their ground game by picking Trey Sermon in the third round and Elijah Mitchell in the sixth.

In the Power 5 and Group of Five, just four running backs with a minimum of 100 attempts had a better yards per carry average than Sermon's 7.50 last season.

Burst to the second level is a key trait for Sermon, who was fourth in average yards before contact per attempt with 4.85.

The electric Mitchell, meanwhile, averaged the third-most yards after contact per attempt, putting up 3.23 per rush, a rate beaten by Javonte Williams (4.59) and Jaret Patterson (3.25).

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are each free agents in 2022 but, by drafting Lance, Sermon and Mitchell, the Niners ensured their run game is about to get more diverse and potentially more destructive.

For the three NFC West teams that face them twice a year, that is simply terrible news.

With free agency in the rear-view mirror and the 2021 draft all wrapped up, NFL teams can now draw breath and start to reflect on what has unfolded during the offseason.

Ideally, all teams will hope they sit in a better position to challenge than they did a few months back, but the reality is some are just starting from further back than others.

When it comes to Super Bowl challengers, undoubtedly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs remain strong favourites to get back to the big game. The Bucs have got the band back together after hoisting aloft the Vince Lombardi Trophy on home turf, while the Chiefs have responded to a harrowing loss by rebuilding the offensive line in front of Patrick Mahomes.

But what about the chasing pack? Stats Perform picks out some of the leading contenders for glory while reflecting on what has happened since they last played.

Buffalo Bills

An appearance in the AFC Championship Game inspired by the improved play of quarterback Josh Allen left Buffalo rightly believing they needed minor tweaks, rather than dramatic alterations, to challenge once again in 2021. They kept the offensive line together, then added depth at a key area in the draft when selecting Spencer Brown in round three.

However, the Bills – who ranked 15th in opponent yards per play allowed (5.5) last term but were a lowly 26th versus the run (4.62) – used first and second-round selections to help their defense, with Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr firming up a pass rush that tied 15th for sacks. Add in Emmanuel Sanders to the receiving group and Buffalo appears to be in rude health as they aim to go one better than last season.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are swinging for the fences as they bid to get back to the Super Bowl. Jared Goff was the starter when they lost to the New England Patriots in February 2019, but his time with the franchise is over. The blockbuster deal to get Matthew Stafford from Detroit has ramped up the pressure to get results on the field – and not just in the regular season either.

Leonard Floyd remained thanks to a bumper contract, but John Johnson and Troy Hill are gone from the secondary. They will continue to lean heavily on Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey to lead a defense that allowed the fewest passing yards per play (5.08) and the third-least rushing yards per play (3.76). While trades have seen the Rams become accustomed to watching on as teams are on the clock in round one, it was notable they added three wide receivers with their picks as they aim for a fifth successive winning season under head coach Sean McVay.

San Francisco 49ers

Yes, a team who finished the 2020 regular season with a 6-10 record should be considered as genuine contenders. The 49ers went so close to Super Bowl glory 15 months ago, while a roster ravaged by injuries last season will hope for better fortune when it comes to keeping key personnel healthy. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has jetted off to New York, but Nick Bosa should be back.

In truth, it will be the offense that defines San Francisco's chances. Jimmy Garoppolo failed to inspire in his limited appearances, throwing seven touchdowns to five interceptions, so getting a quarterback in the draft – even if trading up to number three came at a high cost – made sense. Trey Lance was their choice, a high-upside selection who showed plenty of promise in 19 games for North Dakota State. The run game remains pivotal, though, which explains why they splashed out to make sure Trent Williams and Kyle Juszczyk stuck around.

Cleveland Browns

Having made the playoffs for the first time since 2002, the Browns knocked out divisional rivals Pittsburgh and then came close to upsetting Kansas City on the road. The defense was bolstered up front with the signings of Jadeveon Clowney and Malik Jackson. However, having given up 31 passing touchdowns, the secondary has rightly been the focus. After snapping up former Rams duo Johnson and Hill, Cleveland selected cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first two rounds of the draft.

Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski built the offense around the rushing tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt – the team averaged 4.8 yards per rush – easing the pressure on Baker Mayfield to move the sticks. Still, he ranked sixth in passer rating (118.4) on throws of 21 air yards or more among quarterbacks with at least 25 such attempts, showing teams cannot fill the box and focus solely on stopping the run. If they can get out of a highly competitive AFC North again, the Browns will believe they can build on a Divisional Round appearance.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens' hopes will once again rest with Lamar Jackson, their dual-threat quarterback who is on course for a significant pay rise when an agreement is reached over a long-term extension. His ability to run helped Baltimore finish first in rushing yards per play with 5.53, while the passing game has a little extra help now after receiver Rashod Bateman was taken with the 27th pick. Still, there was no flashy free-agency signing at the position, despite links with JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.Y. Hilton. Kevin Zeitler did pen a deal, securing an experienced guard to bolster the offensive line.

Defensively, Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue have moved on to the Patriots and Raiders respectively, though the Ravens have a reputation for building a pass rush no matter who is on the roster. Tyus Bowser can expect an increased role, plus outside linebacker Odafe Oweh was chosen with the late first-round pick acquired in the trade that sent offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr to the Chiefs.

Honourable mentions

The Green Bay Packers would have made the list were it not for the uncertainty surrounding the future of reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. For all their quarterback's undoubted qualities on the field, they have not made a Super Bowl in 11 years. And what is going on in Seattle too? Rumours relating to Russell Wilson's future have dominated the offseason for the Seahawks.

The Indianapolis Colts will hope they can get the best out of signal-caller Carson Wentz and the Pittsburgh Steelers seem set for one last ride with Ben Roethlisberger. As for a trendy pick who missed out on the playoffs last season, look no further than the Los Angeles Chargers, complete with a revamped offensive line to help keep QB Justin Herbert safe.

Josh Allen will be under contract with the Buffalo Bills through 2022 after the team exercised their fifth-year option.

The quarterback was drafted by the Bills in 2018 and has since established himself as one of the NFL's outstanding dual-threats.

Allen has thrown for 9,707 yards, 67 touchdowns and 31 interceptions across 44 games and 43 starts, although the bulk of his yards (4,544) and scores (37) came last season.

The former seventh overall pick, who also has 25 career rushing TDs, led Buffalo to the AFC Championship Game in 2020 where they were beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Allen's completion percentage of 72.8 ranked fourth in the league last year, while he led the NFL at 80.2 when throwing without pressure.

The option in his rookie deal would see Allen earn around $23million in 2022 before becoming an unrestricted free agent – a situation the franchise will be desperate to avoid.

The Bills have also agreed to pay middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, another 2018 first-round selection.

Edmunds is set for $12.7m in 2022, although Buffalo will be expected to negotiate a contract extension before that option kicks in.

The Bills traded up six places to take Edmunds in 2018 after he had 10.0 sacks across his final two college seasons with Virginia Tech.

Although Edmunds has been a Pro Bowl selection in each of the past two years, he has contributed to a defense that has struggled to disrupt opposing passers.

Edmunds only successfully pressured QBs on 7.7 per cent of pass rush attempts last season – the fourth-worst pressure rate among linebackers with 10 or more attempts – and Buffalo's failure to get to grips with Patrick Mahomes led to their playoff exit.

The team spent their first and second-round 2021 draft picks on edge rushers Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr.

Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made linebacker Grant Stuard "Mr. Irrelevant" with the final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Someone has to be the last player selected, and that is the case in the NFL Draft as well, only the final player taken in each draft has come to be celebrated in a strange way with the bizarre title, Mr. Irrelevant.

Most Mr. Irrelevant do not pan out, either failing to make the roster, or going on to short, mostly anonymous careers. But there have been exceptions. Kicker Ryan Succop – the final player chosen in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs – is still active 11 years later with the Buccaneers.

Tae Crowder was bestowed with the honour in 2020 after he was selected by the New York Giants with the 255th overall pick.

Meet this year's Mr. Irrelevant, University of Houston LB Stuard – who was selected with the final pick of the seventh round (Number 259 overall) by the Buccaneers.

Houston captain in 2020, Stuard led the team with 61 tackles, boasting an 8.7 tackle-per-game average last season.

Stuard will be buoyed by Crowder, who enjoyed a promising rookie season with the Giants, featuring in 11 games and posting 72 tackles, while also recording a fumble return for a touchdown.

Green Bay Packers president and chief executive Mark Murphy said the franchise are aware of Aaron Rodgers' concerns but "remain committed" to the disgruntled star quarterback in 2021 and beyond.

Rodgers and his future in Green Bay dominated the opening day of the NFL Draft on Thursday, with the reigning MVP reportedly unhappy and seeking a Packers exit.

The Packers have made it clear they are unwilling to trade the three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion.

Murphy addressed the situation in his monthly Packers column on Saturday.

"This is an issue that we have been working on for several months," Murphy wrote via the Packers' official website. "[General manager] Brian Gutekunst, [head coach] Matt LaFleur and I have flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron.

"We are very much aware of Aaron's concerns and have been working with him [and his agent Dave Dunn] to resolve them. We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond.

"He is not only a tremendously talented player, but has developed into a true leader for us. The relationship that Aaron has forged with Matt and the other offensive coaches has propelled us to the brink of the Super Bowl in two straight years.

"We look forward to competing for another Super Bowl championship with Aaron as our leader."

Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers last season.

His quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers is now level with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Packers great Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three MVP honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

Asked if LaFleur's next game as Packers head coach did not include Rodgers, he replied: "I can't even take my brain to that spot right now. I just want to do everything in my power to ensure that doesn't happen."

LaFleur added: "I don't only love the player, I love the person. I love working with him on a daily basis."

Jimmy Garoppolo faces the awkward task of assisting his eventual successor as San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Trey Lance, adapt to the NFL. However, as somebody who "loves helping other players get better", he may well be up to the challenge.

Pierre Garcon has experience of witnessing how Garoppolo conducts himself in the locker room, having been his team-mate in 2017 and 2018 following his arrival in the Bay Area after his trade from the New England Patriots to the Niners.

Garoppolo is likely set to play his last season with the 49ers in 2021, with a tally of 23 games missed through injury since his acquisition by San Francisco leading them to trade three first-round picks to move up in this year's draft and select North Dakota State quarterback Lance third overall.

But former San Francisco wide receiver Garcon seemingly has no doubt in Garoppolo's willingness to mentor his heir apparent, the former second-round pick having received tutelage on how to make the switch to the pros from Tom Brady during their time together in New England.

Speaking to Stats Perform News, Garcon said: "Jimmy is a fun guy. We all understand football where at some point they're going to draft someone in your position and if you're hurt you have to respect it because it's part of the business.

"It's like 'Hey, you got here because someone else got hurt and it's natural that someone else is going to come for your job'.

"That's part of the game. Jimmy's a great guy, he loves playing football. Unfortunately injuries happen in football and at quarterback it's more glaring than in any other position as there are two players in every other position on the field and at quarterback, there's only one quarterback.

"If one quarterback gets hurt you're looking for the next guy naturally. Jimmy's a great guy, he loves helping and communicating.

"He loves helping other players get better because that's what Tom Brady did for him. You sit back and learn and help the guys that make your life easier so that they can be successful and that ultimately helps the team and helps the person."

Garcon's analysis is already proving accurate, with 49ers general manager John Lynch revealing in a media conference following day two of the draft that the first text Lance received after being picked was from Garoppolo.

"That's pretty special. I think it speaks to his class," said Lynch. 

Head coach Kyle Shanahan added: "Jimmy has taken a business approach, but I think he's excited for right now just talking to him and he's ready to come here and get back to being healthy and playing with our team.

"If we have them compete [for the starting job in 2021], I know he's ready to compete."

The Baltimore Ravens have exercised the fifth-year option in Lamar Jackson's contract.

It was a no-brainer decision for the Ravens, who selected Jackson 32nd overall in the 2018 draft.

Since then he has gone on to establish himself as one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL, his dual-threat skill set helping him win the MVP award in 2019.

He has a 30-7 record as a starter and has guided the Ravens to three successive postseason appearances.

Picking up the option will see Jackson paid just over $23million in 2022, though the two parties are in talks over a contract extension.

Jackson has 7,085 passing yards and 68 touchdowns through the air in his three seasons in the NFL. He has thrown 18 interceptions in that time.

In addition, Jackson has compiled 2,906 yards and 19 touchdowns as a runner, with his yards per carry average of 6.03 since 2018 the best in the NFL.

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