Pre-draft process fueled Baker Mayfield’s rise to No. 1

A week ago, it was becoming more and more clear that the Browns were serious about taking quarterback Baker Mayfield at No. 1. It’s now becoming more and more clear that plenty of teams had Mayfield as the top quarterback in the draft.

So how does that happen? Specifically, how does a six-foot quarterback who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds become not only the first pick in the draft but also a guy who was coveted by more than a few of the teams that needed quarterbacks?

So, basically, Mayfield was at one point on track to be Drew Brees, the prospect — a high second-round pick. Now, many think he has a realistic shot at becoming Drew Brees, the franchise quarterback — a highly-paid, highly-successful, first-ballot-Hall-of-Famer.

Not bad for a couple of six-foot quarterbacks who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds.

Tickets for two games at Wembley Stadium went on sale yesterday, and the NFL announced early today that the Eagles-Jaguars game on October 28 has already sold out, while the Titans-Chargers game a week earlier has only “very limited single tickets available.”

That’s a healthy sign that the NFL is profitable in London, and it’s one of the reasons that Jaguars owner Shad Khan is eager to buy Wembley Stadium and put more NFL games there. At the same time, it was frustrating to local fans who couldn’t get tickets, especially when many of those tickets immediately popped up on resale sites for significantly more than the listed price.

“Due to the unprecedented demand for this sale, we understand that fans who missed out on tickets are frustrated,” the NFL said in a statement.

Liz Fox, who writes about the NFL from a UK perspective, noted that tickets on resale sites are priced so high that fans might as well buy a plane ticket and fly to the United States for a game.broncos_029_d884c04e6b13ded7-180x180

Giants grab a small-school quarterback in Kyle Lauletta

Despite Eli Manning‘s advancing age, the Giants decided not to take a quarterback with the second overall pick. Instead, they waited until Day 3.

In the fourth round of the draft, the Giants finally made a move for a passer, grabbing Kyle Lauletta from Richmond.

The Chargers entered the draft in need of another high-potential defender to complement pass-rushing forces Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, preferably at safety, linebacker or defensive tackle. And in a perfect world, a team fighting to capture the hearts of Los Angeles football fans by contending while quarterback Philip Rivers remains effective would also land a rookie who is ready to contribute right away.

When the Chargers were on the clock with the 17th pick of the draft, the world was indeed perfect. That’s because versatile, NFL-ready safety Derwin James had dropped all the way to that spot, despite the fact most mock drafts had him going in the top 12.

Shelton played in 53 games with 47 starts in five years at Washington. He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors last season after starting all 13 games at center and won the school’s John P. Angel Lineman of the Year Award and Academic Achievement Award.

Wilson appeared in 41 games with 29 starts in four years at UNT. He rushed for 3,205 yards and 32 touchdowns on 562 carries, while adding 70 catches for 527 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson finished third in school history in rushing touchdowns and fourth in rushing yards.

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported in February that Goodell’s wife Jane was included on the deposition list as well. Robinson also listed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome as having been requested to testify.

First, coaching jobs were filled. Then, players were released, signed, re-signed and tagged. Soon after that, 256 more were drafted, before hundreds more were signed as undrafted free agents. broncos_068_5f281d4a512a9f4c-180x180

XFL considering putting a team in Orlando

Next year, the Alliance of American Football plans to put one of its teams in Orlando. In 2020, the XFL possibly will, too.

Via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, the XFL is exploring the possibility of putting a team at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. The AAF plans to play at UCF’s Spectrum Stadium.

During the first run of the XFL in 2001, Orlando played host to a team known as the Rage (pictured).

The XFL, like the AAF, plans to put franchises in eight cities. In cities targeted by both leagues, the AAF will get the benefit of a one-year head start.

The suits filed by Davis and Ware aren’t demanding million-dollar contracts or the kind of treatment given to players.

They are simply asking to be treated like valued members of the organization: more pay, more security, better treatment, more recognition of their talent.

At Northwestern, the cheerleaders weren’t half as important as the football team (nor did we think we should be).

“Julio and the organization are doing very well,” Dimitroff said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I’m not concerned one bit about any of the social media. I think we’re in a great spot. He had very good discussions with [coach] Dan [Quinn]. And we’re in a great spot.”

Jones has seen his average salary per year fall behind receivers like Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins when they signed new deals this offseason, but there’s been no public comment about wanting a bump from the $14.25 million average from the deal he signed in 2015.

Cheerleaders shouldn’t have their injuries used against them, and considering the physical demands of the job they need much more than that.

They should have a dedicated athletic training staff for their care.

USE LAST NAMES Every NFL cheerleading team refers to their cheerleaders by first name only.

Bailey Davis was just Bailey, Kristan Ann Ware was just Kristan Ann.broncos_128_f486199b8fb2f027-180x180

Tom Brady mercilessly skewered over Met Gala ensemble

The Twitterverse had a field day Monday night, mercilessly skewering Tom Brady over his all-black ensemble at the annual Met Gala.

Ditching his tried-and-true jacket and bow tie for a black turtleneck and a embroidered lapel from Versace, the Patriots quarterback received high marks from E!’s Fashion Police, as he and supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen paid homage to the event’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination theme.

But in the holy grail of sports, however, the online opinion matters most.

Tom Brady just has to have the tough conversations with Giselle and say, ‘Look it, I will pick my own damn suit to wear — just once ok #metgala, one user commented.

The Saints will lean heavily on Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara during Ingram’s absence. The depth behind Kamara those four weeks could be a bigger question. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported the team doesn’t plan to add a veteran. Instead, they’ll lean on their current cast, including sixth-round rookie Boston Scott. Behind Ingram and Kamara, the reserve backs saw few totes in 2017. Trey Edmunds led the way with nine total carries.

Expect Kamara to see the boatload of carries until Ingram returns in Week 5.

He’s got his confidence back, Green said. The way he’s working this offseason is unbelievable. He’s healthy and explosive again.

This could be a huge boost for the Bengals’ passing game if Ross is any bit of the player that the team is hoping to have in the fold.

Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll again cede early-down work to a bigger, veteran back. When this question was posed to me on Twitter, one commenter suggested Joe Mixon as a breakout candidate. Mixon frustrated the heck out of fantasy owners last year by averaging a mere 3.5 yards per carry but at least he had the benefit of volume. Only two rookies—Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette —earned more carries than Mixon last season. That’s impressive, especially considering he played all of 38 snaps in Weeks 1 and 2 before the Bengals fired in-over-his-head offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. The former Oklahoma Sooner saved the best for last though, averaging a robust 5.02 yards per carry over his final four games.sharks-024

Severino makes Stanton prediction

Harvey’s tumultuous run with the Mets appeared to come to end Friday when Sandy Alderson, their general manager, told reporters the team would soon designate Harvey for assignment after Harvey refused a minor-league assignment.

A team could claim Harvey and the rest of his $5.6-million salary for 2018 off waivers or trade for him, but both scenarios seem highly unlikely.

A fourth-round pick in 2015, Petty started seven career games for the Jets over the past two seasons (1-6 record), completing just 53.1 percent of his passes for a total of 1,353 yards with four touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Steve Wilks had a sign posted for his defensive backs when he coached in Carolina, a sign Josh Norman remembers to this day. Hands, feet, eyes, hips are going to be the key on every play, the current Washington cornerback recalled, whether you make it or not. Wilks is a head coach now, but he got here in large part by the way he guided defensive backs through his career. The draft brought Wilks a quarterback of the future with Josh Rosen, and a veteran to quarterback now in Sam Bradford. The draft also gave him a wide receiver in Christian Kirk to pair with Larry Fitzgerald, and more help on the offensive line with third-round pick Mason Cole.

The truth is, as one Patriots player told me this week and another former player confirmed, there have been issues—both players called them minor—between Brady and Belichick for at least five years. They just haven’t entered the public sphere. Or kept the Patriots from winning their division every year or going to the Super Bowl three of the past four.

The issues Brady and Belichick have are typical for any two people who have had a highly productive relationship but have been around each other as much as they have. The edges are frayed.

Belichick is the opposite. He’s an android. Cold and calculating. This isn’t a bad thing. In many ways, it’s what a coach should be.

But the emotional quarterback and the man with the positronic brain are bound to irritate each other over time. tigers_072-115x115