Newsletter: NFL Draft day is finally here

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

One of the newer unofficial holidays on the American calendar has arrived: NFL Draft day.

While draft coverage jumped the shark a few years ago, it is still fun to follow, especially if you don’t take anything too seriously and accept the fact most of the draft-centric media don’t know what they’re talking about.

The overriding thing to know heading into Thursday night is the Bengals are in pretty good shape to fill some major needs early. They need offensive and defensive tackles, and this draft appears to have more of those than some recent editions.

The good news is the club hardly seem capable of going wrong in the first round. Fans should be happy if the Bengals are able to use the No. 18 pick on a defensive tackle such as Jer’Zhan Newton of Illinois or Bryon Murphy II of Texas or they take an offensive tackle such as JC Latham of Alabama, Amarius Mims of Georgia Troy Fautanu of Washington or Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State.

The bad news is the likelihood of getting a game-changer at the position they DON’T choose is not very good.

Maybe they go receiver or cornerback in the first round depending on how the board breaks, but I think they can get closer to the same value at those positions later in the week or weekend.

Trying out a couple of draft simulators Wednesday confirmed this, and it reminded me not to sweat too much about what’s available in the last couple of rounds. Those picks are important, but they mostly provide depth. If you get more, all the better.

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I’ve been a digital sports columnist and reporter for the Cox’s Ohio newspapers since 2016. I wite about local sports in southwest Ohio, including high school, college and the pros as well as breaking news from across the world of sports. If you have any thoughts, notes or story ideas, always feel free to reach out to me at

Ohio State’s Harrison Jr. expected to go early

Ohio State fans should be primed to have a relatively boring draft experience, and the ones who don’t like seeing happy Michigan fans probably will want to tune out after Marvin Harrison Jr.’s name is called in the first hour or so Thursday night, especially since Detroit is hosting the draft.

There is some intrigue beyond where Harrison goes, though.

Defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. is one of the draft’s mystery men simply because he didn’t have the projection his talent seems like it should have produced.

Although Ohio State has produced more Bengals draft picks than any other school, Michigan has been gaining lately.

I would not be surprised at all to see Cincinnati pick another Wolverine or three this weekend, but I would also keep an eye on Ohio State tight end Cade Stover in the third or fourth round.

He could be a great value pick for them as a threat in the passing game who has room to improve as a blocker. Stover would also be a great locker room fit for a team that values high character and players who love to play.

‘Dayton made’ defensive end Jared Verse a first-round pick?

Then of course there is Florida State defensive end Jared Verse. I went to the NFL Scouting Combine in February looking to pin down exactly why he identified himself as “Dayton made” on social media, and it turns out he grew up in Beavercreek. His family moved away when he was entering his teenage years, but Verse said he has siblings in the Dayton area and he’s happy to claim it as home.

(Aside: Who was the last person from Greene County to be an NFL draft pick? Trent Cole of Xenia is the first to come to mind, but I haven’t had a chance to comb the archives yet. The former UC Bearcat went to the Eagles in the fifth round in 2005 then went on to have a career that earned him a spot in the club’s hall of fame two years ago.)

College basketball news keeps churning

While football has become the preeminent sport in America, college basketball never seems to end these days, either.

Ohio State basketball lost Zed Key to Dayton, and the Buckeyes missed out on getting another face familiar to local fans when Oakland star Trey Townsend chose Arizona for his next destination instead of Columbus.

While the transfer portal seemed to be a net negative for previous OSU coach Chris Holtmann, it has yielded more positives than negatives for Anthony Grant at Dayton.

Is that changing with the loss of a player like Koby Brea and Kobe Elvis? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Watching a school like Dayton work so hard to carve out a niche then see the rules of engagement change so drastically in such a short period of time has been interesting to say the least.

I would say the Flyers still have some advantages over many other schools who want to be regular players in March, but obviously you can look at Elvis landing at Oklahoma and see Brea’s final five and conclude there is grass that will always be greener.

Elly and the Reds

Maybe I’ve been jaded with the results in Cincinnati lately, but actually seeing a guy like Elly De La Cruz arrive at The Show and live up to the hype is still striking to me.

That they have managed a solid start to the season despite some key injuries is even more encouraging.

That does it for the second edition, but I’m also always open to any feedback you have as we build THE newsletter for sports fans in Southwest Ohio. Message me at

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