VOL. 132 | NO. 80 | Friday, April 21, 2017
The Press Box
NFL Experts Can’t Agree On QBs in Upcoming Draft
By Don Wade
The NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 27, and it seems more than likely that Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will go first overall to the hapless Cleveland Browns.
At nfl.com, three of four draft insiders have the Browns taking Garrett and the other, naturally, has the Browns returning to the quarterback well to pick North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky; Garrett then goes No. 2 to San Francisco.
Some other interesting things from this particular mock draft: All four experts have LSU running back Leonard Fournette going fourth to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two of them have Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson going sixth overall to the New York Jets (Watson is easily my favorite QB in this draft).
Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett is projected to go anywhere from 11th (New Orleans) to 19th (Tampa Bay).
One expert has Trubisky lasting all the way to 25th (Houston) and another has Watson going 25th.
The Tennessee Titans have the fifth overall pick and the four nfl.com insiders cannot agree on what the Titans will do. The four players predicted to be taken there: Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams.
From Memphis to Ole Miss. Former University of Memphis senior guard Markel Crawford is transferring to Ole Miss and will be eligible to play next season. Not only is he a Memphis kid leaving the program – one of six departing players since Tubby Smith arrived – he’s not going to a team with strong NCAA Tournament prospects.
Avery Woodson transferred to Butler last year to chase his NCAA Tourney dream and it was realized; he even played in the South Regional at FedExForum.
But Ole Miss is always a better bet for the NIT. So why go to Oxford? Well, it keeps Crawford close enough that family and friends can drive to Rebels home games.
At the end of the day, however, Crawford seems to be saying that playing on a non-NCAA Tournament team for Andy Kennedy sounds like a lot more fun than playing for a non-NCAA Tournament team for Tubby Smith.
Once again, not a good look for the U of M program.
Baseball’s steroids problem is not over. Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was busted for using the performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone. MLB handed Marte an 80-game suspension.
Marte, 28, is in the midst of a long-term contract with the Pirates so this wasn’t about trying to get a big deal next year. He has won two Gold Glove Awards and was a National League All-Star in 2016 when he finished with a .311 batting average and 48 extra-base hits.
If a player such as Marte is juicing, it’s probably a pretty good indication a lot of other productive players are still taking their chances. Remember, Miami Marlins star second baseman Dee Gordon was caught last season.
Phil Cannon Memorial Scholarship: A fitting tribute to Cannon, the long-time director of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The scholarship, a collaborative effort between the FESJC and the University of Memphis, will honor outstanding journalism students who have demonstrated a commitment to the community.
“Phil had a passion for journalism and the people that work in the industry,” said FESJC director Darrell Smith.
On a personal level, I can attest Phil was never anything but exceedingly gracious and always helpful. He brought a servant’s attitude to his work every day.
Contributions to the Phil Cannon Memorial Scholarship can be made payable to the FESJC and checks can be mailed to the FESJC at 3325 Club at Southwind, Memphis, TN 38125.
Don Wade’s column appears in The Daily News and The Memphis News. Listen to Wade on “Middays with Greg & Eli” every Tuesday at noon on Sports 56 AM and 87.7 FM.