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Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 @ 5:37 PM
— NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock took part in a conference call Monday to preview the NFL Scouting Combine coming up this week in Indianapolis.
He dropped a few nuggets that could be of interest to fans of the Bengals, Browns and Ohio State.
1. Who is the No. 1 quarterback?
With the Browns picking No. 1, they can get any quarterback they want.
Mayock has USC’s Sam Darnold at the top of his board ahead of Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
He praised Darnold’s ability to make plays on the run but noted his well-known propensity for turning it over.
Allen has the biggest arm he has seen since LSU’s JaMarcus Russell 10 years ago and noted Cleveland’s new general manager, John Dorsey, traded up to draft a strong-armed quarterback last year when he was running the Chiefs.
Mayock acknowledged Allen’s low completion percentage (and therefore accuracy) is a concern.
2. Watch out for Lamar Jackson.
Last week we made the case the Bengals should draft the Louisville quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy two years ago.
Mayock called him the most-electrifying player draft and predicted a team that selects him and commits to utilizing his skill set will make the other 31 defensive coordinators very uncomfortable.
Mayock sees Darnold, Allen, USC’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield as first-rounders with Jackson a wild card in that regard.
Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph could go in the first round, too, but Mayock implied that might be a reach.
SPORTS TODAY: NCAA schools confirm they don't care about NCAA rules, Wright State lets title slip through its hands, good and bad from Dayton loss, OSU and UD women lock up top seeds, etc. https://t.co/uqEravPYyP pic.twitter.com/bsA3AI09KH— daytonsports (@daytonsports) February 26, 2018
3. Could the Bengals draft a quarterback?
If Jackson ends up elsewhere and the Bengals want a new backup quarterback to replace AJ McCarron (who is expected to leave as a free agent), Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta could be a candidate in the third or fourth round.
Mayock said he is not elite at one thing but is solid at everything, which sounds a lot like McCarron — or Andy Dalton, for that matter.
RELATED: Lessons from the AJ McCarron debacle
Mayock also said Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside has not gotten enough credit yet because he is a playmaker. He wants to see him throw at the combine.
4. Mayock noted last year was the worst draft ever when it comes to elite offensive line prospects, but that is not a problem this year,
That’s very good news for the Bengals because they need one if not two new players to shore up their weakest position group.
Mayock has Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey rated his No. 1 tackle prospect and sees his former Fighting Irish teammate Quenton Nelson as an elite guard prospect.
He’s also high on Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown and Connor Williams of Texas as far as potential first-rounders.
Ohio State center Billy Price joins Nelson in a strong group of interior offensive linemen, and teams should find value there throughout the first three rounds.
5. Denzel Ward is the best corner and the top Ohio State prospect in this draft.
Ward is expected to ace all the workouts this week at the combine, but Mayock expressed concern about his durability because of a slight frame.
He called Price a plug-and-play interior offensive linemen who could go late in the first round or sometime in the second.
Sam Hubbard projects as a second rounder unless he runs a faster-than-expected 40-yard dash (like in the 4.5 range). He could play end in a 4-3 or linebacker in a 3-4. Mayock thinks he will test well but not blow anyone away at the combine. If he does the latter, he could be a first-rounder.
5 things to know about Ohio State football in 2018 https://t.co/74BOG5ThG0— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) January 22, 2018
Linebacker Jerome Baker is a physical specimen with the athleticism the NFL craves at that position now, but his tape is inconsistent.
Jamarco Jones is a solid offensive line prospect who should go in the third or fourth round.
6. Is J.T. Barrett a sleeper prospect?
Ohio State’s all-time leading passer has everything teams want in a quarterback except high-level talent according to Mayock, who called him an ideal backup who could play in the NFL for many years.
He sees Barrett being drafted late on day three.
“Somebody’s going to buy into him because they love the kid because of what he brings to the table,” Mayock said.
7. Drafting receivers has been tricky lately.
The Bengals took Washington speedster John Ross in the first round last year and got next to nothing from him because of injuries.
Mayock sees that as a common theme lately with multiple teams struggling to find productive pass-catchers early in the draft.
He has surmised bigger, physical receivers with great ball skills like Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster tend to be safer picks and more likely to be able to contribute right away because they have a better chance to stay healthy and make contested catches.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:25 AM
— So much stuff going on for a Tuesday in mid-March I don’t know where to begin…
Dayton basketball made news yesterday with the entirely unsurprising report Matej Svoboda is leaving the program to return home to the Czech Republic.
That is nothing against him. He might yet turn out to be a quality basketball player for a long time.
However, he was not an Anthony Grant recruit to begin with, he’s older than the average college basketball freshman and various options playing in Europe are probably more appealing to European natives.
Svoboda’s departure means Dayton has two scholarships open for the 2018-19 season. Xeyrius Williams announced he was transferring earlier this month.
How Grant uses his those (and who knows if he’s done gaining spots) will be interesting to say the least.
As we saw last year following Archie Miller’s exit and Grant’s hiring, it’s a whole new world for college basketball roster building with the graduate transfer phenomenon only growing and more high school prospects waiting until spring to make their college decision.
We’ve even got players now “reclassifying” to basically skip their last year of high school (or take an extra year), so the list of things that could happen between now and the end of the summer is endless.
There’s little doubt Dayton will be active in the transfer market this spring, and there’s a lot of talent out there. It’s selling its success with recent transfers on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/TUuAWhCa4Z— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) March 19, 2018
That’s also good news for Ohio State.
Chris Holtmann’s first season went better than almost everyone expected, but there are some big questions to answer if Year Two isn’t going to be more of a rebuilding season.
Keita Bates-Diop said after the Buckeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Gonzaga on Saturday night he hadn’t though about whether or not he will use his last year of eligibility or enter the NBA draft.
He might not be a lottery pick, but KDB looks like the prototypical shooting wing in today’s NBA: Not only does he have the obligatory outside shot, he can score anywhere on the floor and has the long arms and discipline to be a good defender.
The James Posey clone also already has an economics degree in hand, which would seem to be one more reason to make the leap now so he can get started on his 15-year career with the Spurs.
The Buckeyes also lose Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams and Andrew Dakich, but Versailles wing Justin Ahrens is part of a recruiting class that currently consists of three players.
Could it grow?
Ahrens said in January that Holtmann told the newcomers to be ready to come in and let it fly next season.
Speaking of Buckeyes basketball, I was in the gym last night for the last game of one of the best Buckeyes ever.
Kelsey Mitchell’s last shot in an Ohio State uniform was one she made a couple hundred times before: A pull-up jumper from a few feet behind the 3-point line that hit nothing but net.
Unfortunately, that came well after the outcome had been decided in a second-round NCAA tournament game dominated by upstart Central Michigan.
Except for a few minutes early, the 11th-seeded Chippewas looked like the favorite most of the night, running and gunning and throwing in 3s from all over the floor.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team might have even more questions than the men’s squad heading into next season.
Along with Mitchell, All-Big Ten center Stephanie Mavunga, forward Alexa Hart and guards Asia Doss and Linnae Harper are out of eligibility.
On the bright side, Fairmont grad Makayla Waterman and fellow fourth-year junior Sierra Calhoun both told The Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper) they will be back next year.
We’ll take a closer look at the Buckeyes later today…
The Kelsey Mitchell era of Ohio State basketball ended with blowout loss to Central Michigan https://t.co/5v1TKF5Lna— daytonsports (@daytonsports) March 20, 2018
The Cincinnati Bengals backfield should be less crowded next year with Russell Bodine’s exit official.
If your response to that is, “I think you meant Jeremy Hill,” I will have to conclude you don’t watch many Bengals games closely.
One of the constants of the last four years was seeing their center, Bodine, being pushed back into Andy Dalton’s face or the running lane most of the time.
The fourth-round pick out of North Carolina started every game in his four years in Cincinnati, and that is basically the only positive thing that can be said about his time with the Bengals.
They apparently thought about re-signing him, but he became next-to-impossible to afford when they acquired left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Buffalo Bills. So chalk that up to another positive of being proactive in making the move to shore up left tackle before the draft.
The Bengals should have a chance to take a potential upgrade at center with prospects such as James Daniels of Iowa and Billy Price available in the NFL draft…
Speaking of Hill — The Patriots signed him for one year on the cheap a couple of days after the Browns signed his superior draft classmate Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal worth at least $5 million…
Lastly: The Cincinnati Reds pulled off an impressive news dump early last night when they announced top prospect Nick Senzel has been sent to the minors.
That did not come as a surprise, but it was still probably something that could cause some ripples in the fanbase given the excitement for his eventual debut with the big club.
That comes after he spent his first two years in the minors playing third and worked at shortstop this spring.
The Reds locked up third baseman Eugenio Suarez with a long-term contract last week, and they are apparently pretty happy with what they have seen from Jose Peraza at shortstop this spring if that’s the move with Senzel at this point.
Perhaps it also means Scooter Gennett will be the odd man out when they are ready to call up Senzel?
Stay tuned…Follow @marcushartman
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:58 PM
COLUMBUS — Central Michigan looked far from an 11 seed Monday night.
The Chippewas crushed third-seeded Ohio State 95-78 at St. John Arena to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
That brought an end to the brilliant career of Ohio State point guard Kelsey Mitchell.
She scored 28 points to finish with 3,402 for her career.
That is No. 1 at Ohio State and in Big Ten annals while trailing only Washington’s Kelsey Plum on the NCAA’s all-time list (3,527). Mitchell passed Jackie Stiles of Missouri State to move into second place with a breakaway layup in the fourth quarter.
The three-time Big Ten Player of the Year also holds the NCAA record for 3-pointers with 497.
Sports Today: So much for Ohio’s high NCAA tournament hopes
Ohio State led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, but the Chippewas scored the last four points of the stanza to close within 15-9.
CMU hung around despite missing 13 of 16 shots in the first quarter.
Ohio State was 6 for 16 but committed four turnovers, but that was spectacular compared to a disastrous second quarter for the Buckeyes.
The Big Ten champions missed 11 of 13 shots from the field and committed six turnovers against an aggressive CMU defense and while being outscored 25-6.
“First of all, give Central Michigan credit,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “They played a great game and they deserved to win. They were outstanding today and they’ve got a great basketball team.
“They were well-prepared and their kids really executed at a high level tonight, but I don’t think we handled the adversity of them making shots or them going on a run. We kind of got out of the things that make us a good basketball team. And when that happened, they really made us pay.”
The Chippewas used a 20-1 run that started late in the first quarter to open up a 25-16.
Mitchell halted that by rattling home a jumper from the elbow with 3:12 on the clock.
She had a chance to make it a three-point game with 2:18 left but missed a free throw.
Then the Buckeyes gave up three consecutive 3-pointers, two wide-open looks for Cassie Breen and one a fadeaway by Presley Hudson off the dribble.
That plunged the Buckeyes into a 34-21 hole from which they never recovered.
Ohio State shot 27.6 percent in the first half and committed 10 turnovers.
Central Michigan made 30.6 percent of its shots, had only five turnovers and enjoyed a 28-20 rebounding advantage.
The Chippewas extended their lead in the third quarter with an out-of-this-world shooting performance.
They made 11 of 16 field goals, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range to extend their lead to 67-46.
The Buckeyes found some offense in the third, but not nearly enough.
Ohio State was still outscored 33-25 in the stanza and never got closer than 13 in the fourth quarter.
“I guess it just felt like everything was going in,” Hudson said of the second half. “We got a lot of open shots and even if we weren’t open we felt like we could make ‘em.”
Hudson led Central Michigan with 28 points while Breen had 22.
Stephanie Mavunga scored 16 points for Ohio State while fellow senior Linnae Harper added 14.
“They did a good job of capitalizing on everything we did wrong,” Mavunga said. “They never let up.”
The Buckeyes had a seven-game winning streak in NCAA tournament games at St. John Arena snapped.
Central Michigan ended up making 14 of 27 from 3-point range and won the battle of the boards 46-35.
Ohio State was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round for the first time since 2015.
The Buckeyes advanced to the Sweet 16 the past two seasons but haven’t been to the Elite Eight since 1993, when they made their only Final Four and lost in the national championship game to Texas Tech.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 6:28 PM
Russell Bodine will not return to the Cincinnati Bengals after signing with the Buffalo Bills on Monday.
Bodine started all 64 games at center after the Bengals traded up to draft him in the fourth round in 2015. The unrestricted free agent signed a two-year contract with the Bills.
The only center on the Bengals roster is T.J. Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who has appeared in 45 games with five starts, all at guard.
The Bengals could look to add depth at the position by signing one of the veteran free agents available, but the 2018 starter could be a player they select in the 2018 draft next month.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 5:18 PM
DAYTON — Dayton Flyers freshman Matej Svoboda will leave the program after one season to return home to the Czech Republic, according to a source.
Svoboda’s departure means Dayton has two scholarships open for the 2018-19 season. Xeyrius Williams announced he was transferring earlier this month.
Svoboda, a 6-foot-7 forward, will play professional basketball in his home country. He appeared in 28 games this past season for the Flyers, averaging 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. He shot 20 percent from 3-point range (9 of 45).
Svoboda was recruited by Archie Miller’s staff and committed to Dayton in February of 2017. He signed with Dayton in May despite not having met new coach Anthony Grant in person.
» RELATED: Archdeacon on Svoboda
Svoboda was one of five members of the 2017 freshman class and one of six Flyers to make their college debuts last season.