Sports Today: NFL draft day thoughts on the Bengals, Browns and Buckeyes 

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 9:55 AM

090316 Atlanta: North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws as Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Davin Bellamy leaps over a defender during the second half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome Saturday September 3, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
Brant Sanderlin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Welcome to NFL draft day! 

The league’s nefarious plot to make us care about football year round continues to be a success, and no, I’m not complaining. 

The first draft item to run across my feed this morning was about the Cleveland Browns considering taking second-round talent Mitch Trubisky with the No. 1 overall pick. 

Will Less-Experienced Andy Dalton pan out for the Orange and Brown or be the newest mistake by the lake? Only time will tell! 

As we discussed on our Facebook Live last night, I think Trubisky would be a reach at 12 (where the Browns are currently scheduled to pick again), but if they snag the consensus top player in the draft (Myles Garrett) to open things up, the rest of the first round they are more or less playing with house money... 

And what about the Cincinnati Bengals? 

They are sitting pretty at No. 9 with at least a half-dozen prospects they could really use there. 

I am warming to the idea of O.J. Howard even though I will be saying the defense needs a talent upgrade until I see an improvement on the field. 

Questions about Tyler Eifert’s durability are definitely legitimate, and having two tight ends too good to keep off the field is a nice problem to have. 

RELATED: Where the Bengals should be looking if they draft offense

It’s probably not worth much, but I have seen recent projections with Malik Hooker sliding past them. I would take him before anyone who could realistically be available except for Jonathan Allen (who may not realistically be available). 

Given his adventurous path to the draft, the most likely pick might be Rueben Foster, though. 

Here are Jay Morrison’s five players the Bengals are most likely to draft in the first round… 

What of the Ohio State Buckeyes? 

Everyone agrees Hooker and Marshon Lattimore will be gone early tonight, but Gareon Conley continues to twist in the wind. 

Conley released a statement yesterday insisting he is innocent and noting charges have not been filed against him at this point. 

TMZ then released a video showing Conley and his accuser interacting at a bar before the alleged incident. 

Why is that significant? 

The video is critical because it appears to contradict what the accuser told police -- that she first met Conley in an elevator at the Westin hotel around 2:45 AM. 

The accuser’s lawyer responded by telling TMZ an “incomplete” police report was released to the public. 

The biggest development from the NBA playoffs last night was the Boston Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls to take a three games to two lead in their series. 

Boston, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, has won three in a row after looking fairly lost in the first two games. 

The Bulls have badly missed former Celtic Rajon Rondo, who is out with a hand injury. 

The other game last night saw the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks to take a 3-2 series lead as well… 

The Reds lost to the Brewers again. 

They got a terrible start from a young pitcher, but Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler hit home runs. 

In other words, it was basically the same game they have already played about a dozen times this year. 

If anything changes (other than Devin Mesoraco coming back Friday), we’ll let you know… 

In keeping our streak of covering college basketball in this column alive, Ohio State lost a verbal commitment from Darius Bazley yesterday. 

The Cincinnati Princeton junior shared later in the same day he got an offer from Xavier. 

If that doesn’t tell you a lot about the current states of Thad Matta’s current program and his previous one, I don’t know what does (aside from actually making the NCAA tournament and winning tourney games, of course). 

I saw Bazley play in Kettering in January, and his potential was obvious even though he was rusty from sitting out the first half of the season. 

After the Vikings were run off the floor by a team from Georgia, Bazley said he has hopes of being the next Evan Turner for the Buckeyes — a do-it-all wing. 

Lastly, my column about the decline of ESPN has gotten a lot of attention, including a couple of people pointing out cord-cutting is also a major issue for the network. 

This is true, and falling revenues are no doubt a factor in to their deciding to cut costs by trimming payroll. 

However, my focus was more on what the personnel decisions they made tell us. 

There are many ways they could have reduced expenses, and the one they chose was to remove the salaries of people who gather news while keeping many “opinionists” who I’m sure in some (perhaps many) cases make more money than the people they let go. 

Are the Reds sending a message to pitchers?

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 5:26 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 5:26 PM

CINCINNATI — It appears a message is being sent throughout the Cincinnati Reds system to pitchers — especially guys like Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson. And that message is, “Throw strikes, display some command of the strike zone.”

And if they don’t they’ll languish in the minor league sytem while the Reds search here, there and everywhere for help.

An example surfaced again Tuesday when the Reds made a roster move to add a pitcher. Instead of recalling Reed or Stephenson, they Reds called upon a non-roster pitcher, meaning they had to drop somebody off the roster to add Kevin Shackelford.

Why Shakelford?

“HE HAS PERFORMED and he has performed really well — at a high level,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “He has handled the closing job, he has been a multiple-inning guy, throwing 3 2/3 innings and nearly 60 pitches. He checks off as being able to pitch some length for us.

“He has been in high-leverage pressure situations in the eighth and ninth innings,” Price added. “He is throwing good quality strikes and he has added a cut fastball. He has a sinker-slider combination that has been very good.

“He is a non-roster player that pitched himself onto our roster and on our team, not out of need, but out of performance. It is nice to recognize performers rather than guys we deem prospects.”

And that last quote says it all about performance over alleged prospects.

TO MAKE ROOM ON THE 40-man roster, pitcher Jake Buchanan was designiated for assignment and to make room on the 25-man roster pitcher Austin Brice was optioned back to Class AAA Louisville.

Shackelford, a 27-year-old right hander, was a 21st-round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2010. The Reds acquired him in August, 2014 from the Brewers in the Jonathan Broxton trade.

When Shackelford appears, he will be the 10th pitcher this season to make his major league debut with the Reds and the 24th pitcher used by the club this year.

IT LOOKS AS IF Brandon Finnegan has to return to ‘Go’ on the monopoly board and start over.

After missing two months with a shoulder injury, he returned to the mound Monday in St. Louis and lasted three innings before walking off the mound.

The injury is in the same muscle but in a different area and figures to shut him down for another lengthy period.

“It is going to be a while before we see Finney on the mound again,” said Price. “The disabled list is inevitable. It is the same injury, but a different part — sam muscle, different spot.

“It doesn’t look great with more triceps soreness,” Price added. “He did all the rehab from the previous injury and the MRI showed that it had healed. But this could be something similar.”

AN EXTREMELY GLUM and soft-spoken Finnegan stood in front of his locker Tuesday talking about his frustrations.

Asked if his latest injury might come from overcompensating, he said, “No, because the MRI last week showed everything a go, all 100 per cent. I was ready to pitch and everything was good.

“This is definitely heart-breaking, for sure,” he said. “I was so excited to be back, to be with the guys and try to help them win some games. It backfired, for sure. I’ll just come in and start rehab and go from there.

“This is definitely very hard for me, especially after seeing the MRI last week and everything was 100 per cent. Then I go out there and get hurt in the fourth inning. My mind is racing right now and I don’t know what to think or how to go about it,” he added.

SHORTSTOP ZACK COZART is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday and is going through baseball routines to see if he is ready.

“Zack is progressing and had a good workout Monday in St. Louis,” said Price. “We’re between a rock and a hard place with him. As we’re finding out, there is just no guarantee that people can come back and help you the rest of the season.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to insure when we bring guys back that they are ready to go,” Price added. “We’d certainly like him to be in the highest percentile of not likely to be re-injured.”

The medical staff will put Cozart through his paces Tuesday and Wednesday before activation and Price said, “We are trying to get him back to full speed and that’s the rock and the hard place. If you bring him back and he re-injures it or has another setback there is always the thinking that this is what you should have done or this is what you shouldn’t have done.”

BRONSON ARROYO WAS placed on the 60-day disabled list this week, a prodecural matter, because he says he won’t pitch again. But the Reds, instead of taking away his uniform and showing him the door, showed extreme class by permitting him to stay with the team.

“That was never really a question for us,” said Price. “If he couldn’t rehab and get back, would he want to stay with the ballclub?

“I don’t think he wants to just come out here and throw on a Reds t-shirt and be a cheerleader,” said Price. “He wants to have respoonsibilities and he always will. We would never, for a second, consider asking him to leave. We want him to be a part of this. He serves as a great mentor to a lot of these young pitchers. He is a great teammates and somebody who can teach our guys professionalism and preparation and how you deal with people and treat people and how you show appreciation for the game.”


THIS SHOULD COME as no surprise to anybody who has not spent the last two months in Pago Pago, but here goes.

Since May 7, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Scott Feldman is 5-and-2. The rest of the Reds starters are 3-and-18.

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Dayton locks up men’s basketball coaching staff

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 6:38 PM

The Flyers had it going on last season, when Charles Cooke led the team in scoring and rebounding, and new head coach Anthony Grant hopes to keep the program humming with the hires of three assistants.
Getty Images

 There was a little more than standard news coming out of Dayton’s men’s basketball Monday, as the Flyers finalized new head coach Anthony Grant’s hires of Devin Davis, Casey Cathrall and Andy Farrell to flesh out his staff. A highlight video from last season has also gone public.

Grant played cards of familiarity with two of his hires, all of whom previously agreed to join the Flyers before contractual loose ends were tied up.

Davis starred previously at Miami University for the Redhawks, and was on Grant’s staff at the University of Alabama.

Farrell’s been on campus quite a bit before, as he graduated from Dayton in 2007 after time spent as a student manager. He’s since been at VCU, DePaul, Longwood University and Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Cathrall, the youngster of the group, will serve as strength and conditioning coach for the Flyers.

If you’re Jones-ing for Dayton hoops action, here’s the video released by the program Monday.



Wayne football: Top 7 players in Warriors high school program history

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 5:52 PM

Ohio State’s Braxton Miller carries the ball on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Here’s who we consider the all-time seven best football players at Wayne High School. Have something to say about this alphabetical list? Email your comments to


1. Will Allen, DB, 2000 grad: OSU All-American; two key plays during 2002 national championship season were INT that secured 14-9 defeat of Michigan and a tackle that caused Miami RB Willis McGahee to suffer a blown left knee in Fiesta Bowl title game. Senior transfer from Trotwood-Madison, played on Wayne’s first of four D-I state title games, a loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius. Eleven-year NFL career ended in 2015.

»SIDNEY FOOTBALL: Verbal commits to Northwestern, Toledo

2. Arnie Jones, FB/DT, 1971: One of five OSU captains in 1974 during the Archie Griffin era. Played for Moe Ankney with the Warriors. Ankney went on to be the head coach at BGSU.

3. Mike Mickens, DB, 2004: All-American at Cincinnati, ended Bearcats career as all-time leader in INTs (14) and INT return yards (296). D-I state 300 hurdles champ as a junior. In his third season as assistant coach at BGSU.

»DUNBAR FOOTBALL: Verbal commit to Oklahoma

4. Braxton Miller, QB, 2016: Among the most celebrated QBs in OSU history, which is saying a lot. Led Warriors to the 2010 state title game as a senior in 2010, a loss to Lakewood St. Edward. Switched to WR as a Buckeyes senior following a series of injuries. Entering second season with the Houston Texans.

5. Roosevelt Mukes, WR, 1985: Ranks among Cincinnati’s top 10 all-time receivers in catches and TDs. Longtime Warriors assistant coach. Huber Heights school district administrator.

6. Robert Redd, WR/CB/KR, 1998: Totaled 152 career catches for 2,007 and 27 TDs at Wayne. Among all-time career stat leaders at BGSU, where he followed his uncles Ronnie and Raymond Redd. Had long indoor arena football career.

7. Torrance Wilson, RB, 1995: The youngest and the best of the outstanding Wilson siblings, which included Terry, Tommy and Demetrius. Then-Warriors coach Mike Schneider insists Torrance is the best player he ever coached, which spans 40-plus seasons. Key member of 1995 D-I state track title team.

Honorable mention: Jermaine Daniels, DT, 1991 grad; Eric Dixon, RB, 1988; Alex Earley, QB, 2006; Marcus Freeman, FB/LB, 2004; brothers Vince, RB, 1977, and Victor, DB, 1978, Heflin; Reggie Johnson, QB, 1995; Ronnie Redd, WR/DB, 1990; Raymond Redd, WR/DB, 1990; Greg Shackelford, LB, 1985; D’Mitrik Trice, QB; Larry Turner, OL, 2000; Jerel Worthy, DT, 2009.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton



Two Browns picked among top 50 NFL players who shouldn’t be traded

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 5:45 PM

The Browns' Myles Garrett has not played a down in the NFL but he's already ranked among the top 50 players in the league who should not be traded. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/AP

The Browns did a complete teardown a year ago. It resulted in a 1-15 campaign, but also clinched Cleveland the No. 1 pick. 

Defensive end Myles Garrett, the reward for such a disparaging season, is one of the most valuable assets in the NFL. He and veteran tackle Joe Thomas were ranked on NFL Spin Zone’s top 50 most untradeable players list.

Thomas, an elite left tackle for the last decade, was ranked 44th. That seems low for a player of his stature, but at 32 years old, his value is depreciating regardless of performance. He’s endured a share of difficult seasons, yet signed an extension and has remained committed to the franchise.

Thomas is a 10-time Pro Bowl pick and seven-time First-Team All-Pro. His career will likely earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Garrett came in at No. 38, which is fair for someone who hasn’t played an NFL down. Garrett was lauded as one of the better pass rushing prospects in recent memory. He was the consensus best player in the 2017 draft, which prompted the Browns to pass on the quarterback options and pick Garrett.

“This one is all about hope,” Randy Gurzi of Spin Zone said. “The Cleveland Browns have been a terrible franchise for far too long. Just as we spoke about Joe Thomas and the stability he brings to the offense, that’s what they hope to get out of first overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, Myles Garrett. The defensive end out of Texas A&M obviously won’t have that strong veteran presence Thomas offers, but he can be a vocal leader that teammates will buy into.”

The Browns’ defense could be better than people think. Its ceiling depends on how quickly Garrett develops. In a year, ranking at 38 might be too low.