Welcome to NFL Combine week!
(The annual event actually overlaps two weeks, but this is easier shorthand, OK?)
There are lots of storylines, starting today when many of the league’s coaches and personnel staffers meet with reporters to talk about the state of their teams.
This draft year already includes a lot of intrigue around the quarterbacks, who seem to be going through the draft process backwards. Normally we have a handful of highly regarded prospects who get picked apart beginning this week, the start of a string of mostly negative reports that stretch to draft day – when of course the team that picks them has nothing but nice things to say about their new franchise savior.
But we’ve already had pundits knock down this group that includes Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, Pat Maholmes and DeShone Kizer, so the news cycle figures to begin an upswing in Indianapolis with teams looking for reasons to love these dudes rather than excuses to doubt them.
Of course this is mostly a product of the entire state of quarterbacking in the NFL being a mess.
So few teams have true franchise signal callers (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, etc.) that average guys like Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton become exalted (and highly paid) probably beyond what they deserve, and countless teams have reached for questionable talents over the past 10 years or so because of the widely held belief a team can only win the Super Bowl with a franchise quarterback.
NFL coaches seem to blame college coaches for their lack of options, but I put almost all of it on the guys in the pros. They are the ones mostly unable to make what they do accessible to young quarterbacks (isn’t that a key tenet of coaching in general?), who they draft (often too high) and throw to the wolves (often too early) all while complaining they aren’t ready to play.
Maybe you’re doing it wrong, NFL coaches.
Of course, there is a wrench in all of this, and that is the amazing athleticism and intricate detail of NFL defenses, which are far tougher eggs to crack than anything you can find in college.
It’s no doubt true there aren’t a lot of ready-to-go quarterback prospects coming out of college (and that many things that work in college don’t in the pros), but I’m not sure that’s as unusual in the history of the league as it is made out to be…
RELATED: 8 Buckeyes invited to the combine
While the Bengals have ruled out drafting a quarterback, any other position is in play according to Marvin Lewis.
That means fans can watch the workouts in Indy dreaming of a wide variety of players ending up in stripes, including Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, Alabama’s Rueben Foster, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker or even a receiver like Corey Davis of Western Michigan.
And given the state of the Browns roster, it would seem every position should be in play for Hue Jackson and Co., too…
Ohio State snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last night thanks to Jae’Sean Tate, whose running layup in the closing seconds put the Buckeyes back on top of Penn State 71-70.
It’s too bad they can’t clone Tate a few times (and maybe make one of those doppelgangers taller…) because his basketball instincts and work ethic seem to overcome a lot of the mounting shortcomings with the current coaching staff.
Meanwhile, Middletown High School grad Vince Edwards is a Big Ten champion with Purdue…
Good news if you’re a fan of the NBA in general: Kevin Durant’s knee injury is not as bad as it could have been. The team announced he is out at least four weeks but could return by the end of the regular season that was rendered meaningless for some when he chose to join the Warriors as a free agent.
Of course, it’s still been a typically fun year in the NBA, and the playoffs pretty much guarantee six weeks of entertainment even if you have a good idea how they will end..
As for the trip to Warriors-Cavs III, it got some more juice yesterday when former Golden State center Andrew Bogut reportedly committed to sign with Cleveland. Ironically Bogut’s injury in the Finals last year was among the factors in the Cavs’ comeback from a 3-1 series deficit...
If you’re on the Let’s See The Mayweather-McGregor Fight train, you might not want to hear what Oscar De La Hoya has to say.
"It would be a joke, it would be an embarrassment for boxing if an MMA fighter were to go into the ring. It would be a no-contest. It would be the same thing if a fighter went into the Octagon, it would be an embarrassment for MMA."
He’s probably right, but I’d be lying if I denied being at least a little curious. That’s kind of the point of sports, right? We want to be surprised – especially when we’re sure we know what is going to happen…
Local gems: The job Franklin High School product Luke Kennard has done keeping Duke afloat this season has paid off in multiple nominations for national awards… Tonight Dayton takes on VCU with the Atlantic 10 title on the line at the arena the 1967 Flyers built… The Reds lost again, but Brandon Finnegan and Raisel Iglesias had good outings… Ohio State commit Justin Ahrens was named the Midwest Athletic Conference Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year, and his Versailles team faces Dayton Christian in a sectional final Saturday. He scored 38 points last night against Greenon… Greeneview grad Evan Bradds was picked Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year for the second time, and his Belmont squad won the OVC.
A classic from the second-best band produced by the musical wasteland of the 1980s.