Sunday Column

Sunday Column, NFL Draft, Michael-Kobe, Red Sox & Much More

April 26, 2020

The Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU QB Joe Burrow as the No.1 2020 draft pick. Here is why Burrow was able to parlay two seasons at LSU to be the top draft pick.

Burrow set numerous NCAA, SEC and LSU records on his way to becoming the most decorated player in LSU football history and only the second Heisman Trophy winner in school history … Guided the Tigers to a 15-0 record and the CFP National Championship in 2019 … Joined Billy Cannon (1959) as LSU’s second Heisman Trophy winner, the most prestigious honor in all of college sports … Won nearly every national award for a quarterback in 2019, claiming the Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year), the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Davey O’Brien Award (National Quarterback of the Year), the Manning Award (National Quarterback of the Year), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and was named AP National Player of the Year …. Won the Heisman Trophy by the largest margin in the 85-year history of the award … A unanimous All-America, the first quarterback and 10th player in LSU history to earn the honor … Just the second first-team all-America quarterback in school history, joining the “Ruston Rifle” Bert Jones, who was named All-America in 1972 … Named the AP and Coaches’ SEC Offensive Player of the Year … A unanimous first-team All-SEC selection by the AP … In two seasons with the Tigers, posted a 25-3 record as LSU’s starting quarterback … Won his last 16 starts, which ranks as the second-longest winning streak for the position in school history (trails only Warren Rabb, 19 straight wins from 1957-59) … The second quarterback in school history with back-to-back 10-win seasons, joining JaMarcus Russell in 2005-06 … Capped his career by completing 621-of-906 passes for 8,565 yards, 76 TDs and only 11 interceptions … Completed his career at LSU ranked No. 1 in school history for career completion percentage (68.5), passing yards per game (305.9), TD passes (76), 300-yard passing games (15), 400-yard passing games (4), total yards (9,332), total yards per game (333.3), and TDs responsible for (88) … Ranks No. 2 in LSU history for a career in completions (621) and passing yards (8,565) … Directed LSU to 11 wins over top-10 teams during his two seasons with the Tigers, the most of any quarterback in school history … Completed 20 or more passes in the final 18 games of his career, the longest such streak in LSU history.

The Green Bay Packers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to get the No. 26th pick and selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Green Bay is setting up for the post-Aaron Rodgers era, and it’ll be very interesting to see what Rodgers thinks of this selection. The Packers gave up a fourth-round pick to move up four spots from 30. The Packers apparently “secretly coveted” Love in the pre-draft process, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Philadelphia Eagles selected quarterback Jalen Hurts with the No. 53 overall pick. Few could have predicted that the Eagles would use significant draft capital on the QB position, but they apparently see him as a potential heir to Carson Wentz.

Adam Schefter spoke during ESPN’s coverage of the draft to highlight why the Eagles took Hurts. The well-respected reporter exclaimed that teams around the NFL have shown concern pertaining to their quarterbacks possibly getting the coronavirus.

The San Francisco 49ers’ congested running back room just got a little less crowded. The Niners sent running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round draft pick, No. 153 overall, on Saturday afternoon. San Francisco used that choice on West Virginia offensive tackle Colton McKivitz.

The 49ers acquired one Pro Bowl left tackle and said goodbye to another. The defending NFC champion 49ers acquired seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins on Saturday for a pair of draft picks and later announced that six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley is retiring.

The Indianapolis Colts will assemble a crowded backfield next season. Trading up from No. 44 to No. 41 with Cleveland, Indianapolis selected Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. In the deal, the Browns will slide down three spots and pick up a fifth-round selection No. 160. The Colts, meanwhile, will pair Taylor with incumbent Marlon Mack.

The Buffalo Bills may have found their backup quarterback of the future in Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, whom the team selected with the 167th overall pick of the NFL draft Saturday. Fromm said he already received a congratulatory text from Josh Allen, with whom he shares an agent.

No one thought WR Denzel Mims would last long, but the New York Jets aren’t complaining. With the 59th pick they acquired from Seattle Seahawks earlier Friday night; the Jets landed the star wide receiver out of Baylor.

The Baltimore Ravens dropped out of the No. 60 spot in the draft, dealing the pick to the New England Patriots. Michigan outside linebacker Josh Uche being the Pats’ pick. New England traded up from No. 71 and gave Baltimore one of its four third-round picks No. 98 to do so. The Ravens sent the Pats a fourth rounder No. 129 in the deal as well. The Ravens and Patriots then had three third rounders.

With Kerryon Johnson suffering injuries in his first two seasons, the Detroit Lions are adding a high-end reinforcement. They took D’Andre Swift with their second-round pick No. 35 overall.

The Denver Broncos landed the steal of Round 1 taking Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick. Then in Round 2, they doubled down on receiver taking Penn State star K.J. Hamler No. 46 overall. It didn’t take long for quarterback Drew Lock to react on Twitter after seeing his team land two electric offensive weapons.

Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien clearly wasn’t happy in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The veteran head coach showed obvious signs of frustrations during the 90th selection. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, O’Brien’s frustrations stemmed from the Detroit Lions backing out of a trade that the two teams had agreed to for the 90th pick.

The Houston Texans have engaged in “very preliminary “discussions with QB Deshaun Watson on a potential contract extension. With Laremy Tunsil’s contract complete, Watson is the next priority. The is team hoping to reach an agreement before the start of the season.

The New England Patriots passed on Jordan Love with the 23rd pick, and then did the same with every other quarterback in the NFL draft, creating a clearer path for Jarrett Stidham to serve as Tom Brady’s successor in 2020.

A man who lives next door to Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich revealed this week that new Bucs QB Tom Brady confidently strolled into his house on April 7 thinking it was Leftwich’s house. Brady quickly realized he had entered the wrong residence, apologized repeatedly and walked out.

Joe Douglas opted to make a long-term investment rather than get an immediate contributor with his second of three fourth-round picks on Saturday. The Jets GM grabbed Florida International quarterback James Morgan with the No. 125 overall selection, hoping to find a potential backup to Sam Darnold.

The Washington Redskins will sign former LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, the son of former NFL great and current ESPN analyst Randy Moss, as an undrafted free agent.

The Las Vegas Raiders confused everyone with their second first-round pick. GM Mike Mayock is out in front defending the pick. Drafting Ohio State’s Damon Arnette with the 19th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, Arnette is a good prospect, but most around the league had him pegged as a Day 2 selection. When the Raiders took him midway through Round 1 fans and analysts alike were taken aback.

The Chicago Bears have not made any official announcement on whether they will pick up QB Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option. The recent signing of Nick Foles maybe the end of Trubiksky’s time in Chicago. If the Bears pick up Trubiksky’s option, the salary projects to be over $24 million.

Anthony Jones, a running back from Florida International University was seriously injured in a drive-by shooting in 2018. Jones, a close relative of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, agreed to a deal with Seattle after going undrafted Saturday.

Then the final pick was Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder to the New York Giants. He is this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.” Dawn Aponte, NFL chief football administration officer, announced the final pick from her house.

Jace Prescott, one of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s older brothers, died Thursday morning at the age of 31 from unknown causes. Jason Pugh, assistant athletic director for media relations at Northwestern State, where Jace played on the offensive line from 2008-10, confirmed the death.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano became the latest marquee name to take a pay cut due to the economic crisis. Rutgers president Robert Barchi announced on Friday that senior university officials would need to take pay cuts amid a series of cost-cutting changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the suspension of classes and athletic schedules, Rutgers is already anticipating it will see a shortfall of $200 million in revenue this year.

NBA players will be allowed to return to team training facilities starting Friday, provided that their local governments do not have a stay-at-home order prohibiting such movement still in place as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kobe Bryant had his own personal camera crew following the Los Angeles Lakers’ every move during the 2015-16 season, which was Kobe’s last in the NBA. According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the crew had “unprecedented access” even beyond what the Lakers’ television partners were granted. Look for a blockbuster documentary coming soon.

In an interview with NBA 2K, former Bulls icon Michael Jordan shared some of his dream opponents, and even admitted that he thinks he would lose to one potential opponent: Kobe Bryant.

Danny Manning never built a winner at Wake Forest. Now the school is looking for a new coach and direction. Manning, a former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, went 78-111 in Winston-Salem with a 30-80 mark in ACC regular-season games. Those league struggles included a 6-49 mark in league road games and 1-6 in the ACC Tournament.

NBA’s G-League players will begin vote on the creation of a union. The NBPA’s assisting in the formation of a G-League-governed players association that would need more than 50 percent of players to sign an electronic authorization card for passage.

When the 2020 Major League Baseball season begins if it begins, players are going to have to slowly work their way back to baseball shape, that’s exactly what Tommy John surgery specialist Dr. James Andrews suggested on MLB Network’s SiriusXM Radio. Of course, the beginning of the season is the easiest time for players to get injured, and with this extended layoff, players will need to be even more careful.

The New York Yankees have benefited by the coronavirus shut down.  Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are among those who have remained in Tampa, trying to make sure they are healthy if and when the sport resumes this season. Judge had been out with a fractured rib that he believes he suffered on a diving play in right field last September. Stanton, like Judge, is in Tampa and has recovered from the strained calf that sidelined him during spring training.

Major League Baseball has finally announced Boston Red Sox penalty for stealing signs during the team’s run to the World Series in 2018. After concluding what the Red Sox did in 2018 was much less egregious than what the Astros did when they won it all in 2017, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stripped Boston of its second-round pick in this year’s amateur draft (No 52 overall) and suspended the team’s video replay system operator without pay for a year.

The NHL and NHLPA are intensifying communications as the league moves forward crafting plans to reopen the season if it is safe to do so. Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, and senior VPs Colin Campbell and Steve Hatze Petros represent the NHL, while the NHLPA is represented by Don Fehr, Mathieu Schneider, general counsel Don Zavelo, divisional rep Steve Webb, and active players John Tavares, Connor McDavid, James van Riemsdyk and Ron Hainsey. Medical advisers from both the league and union are added to the calls when appropriate.

Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning to face Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady in coronavirus charity golf match. Mickelson tweeted out the apparent pairings. “After feeling the sting of defeat the first time around, Looks like @TigerWoods is bringing a ringer to The Match (#PeytonManning),” wrote Mickelson, who then added he’s bringing Brady, using a GOAT emoji.

Thanks to Florida naming sports as “essential businesses,” UFC will hold three events in the Sunshine State starting with a blockbuster lightweight main event between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje on May 9. UFC president Dana White confirmed as much in an Instagram Live Q&A with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on Friday.

Relevent Sports Group has partnered with LaLiga and LeBron James’s media company Uninterrupted to create a players-only esports soccer competition featuring athletes from a variety of sports. Sixteen professional athletes from across the National Basketball Association, National Football League, LaLiga, and the National Women’s Soccer League will take part in the Kick Covid Fifa 20 tournament.

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights and monetization is the most hotly debated topic in college athletics today. While current student-athletes have to wait until their collegiate careers end to earn income from their NIL, now is the time to get ready and increase their future earning potential.

By using their time on campus to connect with their program’s fanbase and build an engaged audience, athletes can establish personal brands that provide immense value to sponsors the moment they are eligible to monetize.

The 2020 NFL Draft class is a picture-perfect example. In pre-draft negotiations, Opendorse learned that top 2020 prospects were seeking up to six-figure compensation for single-post social media activations scheduled to take place during the Draft.

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