Dolphins take Tagovailoa at No. 5, Chargers Herbert at No. 6
Two years ago this spring, Joe Burrow announced on Twitter that he is moving out of Ohio State University after three frustrating years.
He was tired of riding the bench and not getting a chance to show how good a passer he could be.
Two April’s later, it’s no longer a concern for Burrow. And probably won’t be again.
On the basis of unexpectedly zooming into college superstardom last fall at LSU, the quarterback Thursday night was selected No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals to kick off the three-day NFL Draft.
The reports said the Bengals had already informed Burrow on Wednesday that he was their man. He was the first of three QBs to be selected in the top six.
The draft, originally planned for Las Vegas, was conducted remotely via video conferencing – due to the coronavirus pandemic. Physically isolated team personnel, league officials, draft players and networking talents were remotely linked.
Outside of a couple of expected, but still annoying, syncing delays and errors, it seemed early on that it went smoothly.
Like Burrows last season in college.
“Jumping up to No. 1 overall is crazy to me, but it’s a dream,” Burrow said on the joint NFL Network / ESPN telecast.
Told ESPN’s top draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. Having rated him as a sixth-round pick entering his senior season at LSU, Burrow hinted that low quality was justified at the time.
“I wasn’t very good in my junior year. It’s pretty simple, “Burrow said of his parents’ home in Athens, Ohio. “But I worked really, really hard to get better.”
Thirty-one other prospects were selected on Thursday after Burrow to finish Round 1. The draft continues with Round 2-3 on Friday starting at 1 p.m. EDT and round 4-7 on Saturday start at noon EDT.
Canadians Chase Claypool (a tall and muscular but fast University of Notre Dame wide receiver from Abbotsford, BC) and Neville Gallimore (a powerful, penetrating Oklahoma University defensive tackle from Ottawa) were expected to be selected Friday in mid Round 3.
A few other Canadians have a chance outside to be drafted for a late round Saturday.
So much buzz had swirled around in the hours, days and weeks before Thursday night about this team or the trade that went up in the Top 10 – or, more precisely, about teams in the Top 10 that were looking for trading partners to trade down to get more juicy picks.
Surprisingly, the first trade of the night first fell almost two hours in, as San Francisco and Tampa Bay swapped choices # 13 and 14.
With overall pick # 2, Washington, as expected, took top rusher in the draft, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who grew up less than 30 miles from Redskins headquarters in northeast Virginia.
Young stands nearly 6-foot-5, weighs 264 pounds and is universally described not only as a super-freaky athlete, but an exceptionally influential playmaker. New Redskins head coach and chief defense strategist, Ron Rivera, has to rub his hands on adding such a promising passport rusher.
The Detroit Lions at No. 3 selected cornerback Jeff Okudah of Ohio State.
Okay, another Buckeye. The top three picks were all played at OSU at one point.
As for Burrow, I’ve been watching American college football closely since the 1970s, and his last season reversal is as amazing as I can remember from a previous three-year college backup. I remember watching Burrow fight in the shadows of J.T. Barrett or Dwayne Haskins in a pair of televised spring games at Ohio State in 2017 and 2018. I didn’t see anything to suggest that Burrow had college-level grandeur in him. Nothing.
I’m still stunned by that. It is a reminder for eternity that sometimes a budding athlete needs not only a chance but time to put it all together. Only we who anticipate look stupid afterwards.
Even after Burrow transferred to LSU in the summer of 2018, he had an okay – certainly not great – first season, his first meaningful playing time since piloting his Athens High School team in Southeast Ohio from 2012-14.
No one thought Burrow was capable of the final college season of what he wound up showing week after week. He scintillated for LSU and completed 76.3% of his throws for 5,671 yards, 10.8 yards per. Trials, 60 touchdown passes and just six interceptions – arguably the best statistical season for any passer in the U.S. college football’s 150-year history.
Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in December as college football’s top player, led the LSU Tigers to a 15-0 record and national championship – and is now considered a no-miss for pros, packed with top-shelf QB qualifications, both physical and mental.
“When the pressure was on him, when it was championship or bust, he was on – and that’s what cemented him as the overall No. 1 prospect,” Kiper said during the previous show.
Kiper called Burrow’s two-year turnaround “historic.”
Assuming the Bengals start Burrow from the start, trading their starter in the last 10 seasons, Andy Dalton, the young man will be bull-eyed for the league’s top pass rushers. One of them, Calais Campbell now of the Baltimore Ravens – a Bengal division rival in the AFC North – congratulated Burrow in a tweet, legend added: “Can’t wait for us to get to know him properly.”
The 6-foot-2½, 221-pound burrow was bred in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio as a college coach’s son. His father, Jim Burrow, played in the CFL from 1977-81 with the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Rough Riders.
It is rather doubtful that his son will ever play in the CFL. But I’m done condemning the young man.
At No. 4, the New York Giants Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas chose something of a surprise. Not that the Giants took a tackle; rather that they took IT tackle. Some draftniks, such as Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network, rated Thomas the No. 4 OT in this draft.
The No. 5 Miami Dolphins actually took on the second-best QB, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa – as many had predicted for months, and as most Dolphins fans deeply hoped.
Tagovailoa, who left the university a year early, was the mystery man for the entire infinite four-month advance process. Not because he stands only six feet flat (that’s quite short by prototype NFL QB standards), and certainly not because of his impressive overall skill set (since he has above-average accuracy and top-end decision-making, vision and instincts).
Rather, that’s because Tagovailoa released his hip last November, a serious injury that ended his Crimson Tide season and threatened to kill his football career. But the operation was successful and he is now fully working and throwing again.
He swore by the Scouting Combine that he would be ready to go by that time, regardless of which team pulling him begins his post-draft, on-field practice.
Tua Tagovailoa shows off the lining of his jacket during the NFL Draft after being selected fifth overall for the Miami Dolphins. NFL / Distribution Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Tagovailoa’s history of being vulnerable – he had surgery on both ankles in the 11 months before the wound to his hip and suffered finger and knee injuries in the months before that in 2018 – allegedly scared some teams who might otherwise have considered appointing him to the top 10, or act up there to hook him.
It was clear that the dolphins had no such noticeable concerns.
It could have charrined the Los Angeles Chargers, who had been trying unsuccessfully since January to convince everyone that they were content to enter the 2020 season with meh veteran Tyrod Taylor at QB.
At No. 6, the Chargers selected QB, who was most tied as the third best in the draft, by Justin Herbert of Oregon. He is athletic, strong-armed and accurate on rollout.
The knock on the 6-foot-6, 236-pound is that he holds the ball far too long before throwing, and that his substandard footwork all too often leads to out-of-the-blue awful throws. Chargers were not deterred.
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, the best interior D-lineman last year in college ball, was taken No. 7 overall by the Carolina Panthers. He helps when the Panthers re-enter a defense shaken by departures, primarily the retirement of a perennial Pro Bowl inside linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The Arizona Cardinals at No. 8 chose Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, described as perhaps the NFL’s first no-player position. Apparently a linebacker, Simmons ran a 4.39-second 40-yard strike at the combine. He is so tough, athletic, physical and limp that in college he played inside linebacker, rush linebacker, slot corner, true cornerback and safety. Yup. Crazy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected University of Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson to No. 9. The Jags had a need after trading away from the league’s top corner in Jalen Ramsey last October and solid A.J. Bouye last month to Denver.
Around a surprisingly trade-free Top 10, the Cleveland Browns – to no surprise – chose a much-needed offensive tackle: Jedrick Wills Jr. from Alabama. Jeremiah of the NFL Network predicted Brown will hire Wills at left tackle, holding free agent purchases Jack Conklin at right tackle, playing for four years at Tennessee.
The offending tackle many selected as the draft’s best, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, an unbelievably fast 364-pound, went to the New York Jets at No. 11.
The first member to step out of the board from what was named the NFL’s best and deepest wide receiver class ever was the fastest prospect in this year’s draft: Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III. He drove a 4.27 40.
In conducting the first trade of the draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose some protective help for newly signed QB Tom Brady with offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, a junior from the University of Iowa.
San Francisco, which also sent a Round 7 (No. 245) to Tampa Bay, in return received the Bucs’ No. 14 choices as well as their choice of Round 4, 117th overall.
Niners GM John Lynch then took a defensive tackle, ostensibly to replace veteran D tackle DeForest Buckner he traded to Indianapolis last month to get the No. 13 pick, becoming No. 14: South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw .
Kinlaw over the next four seasons in San Fran will earn only a little more than Buckner will do this year alone in Indy.
Denver’s No. 15 cracked the wide receiver, which many considered to be the best of a big game in Alabama’s second starter, Jerry Jeudy. He is not as fast as Ruggs but runs sharper routes and is considered by most to be more reliable.
The Atlanta Falcons at No. 16 took the night for third cornerback Clemson’s A.J. Terrell.
Dallas No. 17 took on big-play receiver CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma. Former Cowboys great and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin said Lamb was the No. 1 wideout on his former team’s draft board.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, third from right, speaks on a phone after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, 2020. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Miami used the No. 18 pick it received in exchange for sending safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh last September on the fifth offensive tackle of the night, USC’s Austin Jackson.
With the last of the draft Round 1 draft the Raiders received in return for trading with Khalil Mack for Chicago in September 2018, Las Vegas took on No. 19 Ohio State’s second starting cornerback in 2019, Damon Arnette. He had been considered a choice of round 2 or 3.
With the pick they received from the Rams in last fall’s Ramsey trade, the Jaguars took No. 20 LSU outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson.
Philadelphia took a receiver at No. 21: Jalen Reagor of TCU, a smurfy slot type.
With the choice they received last month from Buffalo in return for disgruntled but very talented science, Minnesota’s No. 22 seed Stefon Diggs chose LSU wideout Justin Jefferson, a fast-paced big-play slot.
In the second trade of the night, New England traded out of the first round at No. 23 for selection of the Chargers Round 2 (No. 37) and Round 3 (No. 71) on Friday. At No. 23, the Chargers took Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
FIFA calls on organizers not to sanction in-game gestures supporting George Floyd – CBC.ca
FIFA urged soccer competition organizers on Monday to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity with George Floyd during matches.
The recognition of the “depth of sentiment” over Floyd’s death came in a rare statement by FIFA telling the global game to show flexibility and not enforce laws of soccer it helps to set.
Players used weekend games in Germany to reveal messages demanding justice for Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after he pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck in Minneapolis.
Germany’s soccer federation announced earlier Monday that it was assessing whether to sanction the players for breaking laws of the game that prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment.
WATCH | German league players show support for George Floyd:
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” the governing body said in a statement.
FIFA controls half of the eight votes on the International Football Association Board, with the other four held by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A law change in 2014 — proposed by England — led to players being banned from revealing personal statements on undergarments.
England winger Jadon Sancho was booked while playing for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday for removing his jersey — a yellow-card offence — only so he could reveal a T-shirt with a “Justice for George Floyd” message.
WATCH | Canadian athletes speak against racism:
Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi displayed the same message on a T-shirt after scoring in the same game on Sunday but was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. Three other officers were also at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.
On Monday, after the Deutscher Fussball-Bund said it was assessing the players’ actions, Cologne forward Anthony Modeste became the latest to make a gesture after scoring against Leipzig. He stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.
Cologne said it was “a clear signal” against racism from Modeste.
WATCH | ESPN’s Howard Bryant reflects on Kaepernick’s preaceful protest:
DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.
“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin colour, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin colour, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.”
The expressions of protest are being investigated by the German soccer federation’s control body.
“As is the case internationally,” federation vice-president Rainer Koch said, “the game itself should remain free of political statements or messages of any kind.”
FIFA’s awareness of the depth of feeling over the racial inequalities highlighted by Floyd’s death comes amid ongoing criticism soccer is not doing enough to eradicate or punish racism.
“FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours,” the Zurich-based governing body said. “FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.”
UFC star Jon Jones confronts vandals during George Floyd protest in Albuquerque – GIVEMESPORT
UFC star Jon Jones took to the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday night to confront vandals at a Black Lives Matter protest.
Jones has made news in the UFC world recently by vacating the light heavyweight belt but turned his attentions to more pressing matters at the weekend.
The 32-year-old shared footage on his Instagram account that shows him approaching vandals who were spray painting the city.
The protests were sparked by the death of American George Floyd while in police custody last week.
The clip of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes shocked the world and has led to people challenging the injustice towards black people.
But Jones was eager for the protests to be peaceful and he was seen asking the vandals to hand over their spray cans.
He added a caption that read: “Is this s*** even about George Floyd anymore?!? Why the f*** are you punk ass teenagers destroying our cities!??
“As a young black man trust me I’m frustrated as well but this is not the way, we are starting to make a bad situation worse.
“If you really got love for your city (505), protect your s***. All you old heads need to speak up, call your young family members and tell them to come home tonight.”
Several sports stars have paid tribute to Floyd, with Bundesliga football players making gestures in support of the American at the weekend.
On Saturday, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a ‘Justice for George armband’.
And on Sunday, both Marcus Thuram and Jadon Sancho honoured Floyd after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
MLS players boycott training in apparent labour impasse – TSN
Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecap players boycotted training Monday in an apparent labour impasse between the MLS and the MLS Players Association.
It appears players in “multiple markets” also stayed home amidst reports they faced a threatened lockout by the league.
The training sessions are voluntary but players had been taking advantage of them, with Toronto, Atlanta, Inter Miami and Sporting Kansas City among those slated to progress from individual to small group training sessions Monday.
“Players made a CHOICE to focus their time and energy on an important decision which includes the threat of a lockout instead of volunteering to attend on-field training for a tournament we already agreed to attend,” tweeted Minnesota United midfielder Ethan Finlay, a member of the MLSPA’s executive board. “Refuse is not the word I would use.”
With the season on hold since March 12 due to the pandemic, the two sides have been bargaining about concessions and pay.
On Sunday night, the Players Association announced its membership had approved a package for the 2020 season included player salary reductions and additional concessions. It did not provide specifics although the proposal included participating in a summer tournament in Orlando.
“While a difficult vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so,” the PA said in a statement. “The package has been formally submitted to the league for a decision by the owners.”
The league declined comment Sunday night but reports soon emerged that it wanted more concessions.
Complicating matters is the fact that while the league and PA agreed on a new collectively bargaining agreement in February, it has yet to be ratified.
The players’ proposal included adding a year to the CBA.
The labour negotiations come against a backdrop of unrest in the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
“I can’t sleep some of these nights!,” tweeted Mark-Anthony Kaye, a Canadian international who plays for Los Angeles FC. “My mind just races and goes on and on at the amount of possible scenarios in where I lose my life or I’m harmed by a police officer who took an oath to protect us. The police force has lost its credibility, the CHANGE needs to start internally!”
The league released a statement Monday saying the “entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.
“We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration. We hear you. We see you. We support you. We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our league, our clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.”
Prior to the league release, Toronto defender Justin Morrow wondered what was taking so long.
“How long must we wait to hear from you regarding what’s going on across the country?” he tweeted. “Can’t you see that your players are speaking up and it matters to them? Your silence is deafening. Please support us.”
The MLSPA issued its statement Sunday.
“Like our players, we are deeply sickened by the continued inequality and violence around the country. We stand with all of those who have been subjected to unfair and unequal treatment because of the colour of their skin. We must commit as a society to end this horrible cycle.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter
How TikTok got political – The Conversation UK
Ontario to extend state of emergency; health officials remind of COVID-19 risk while protesting – Toronto Star
FIFA calls on organizers not to sanction in-game gestures supporting George Floyd – CBC.ca
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