A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning:
DRAFT WEEK IS UPON US
After LSU’s pro day in 2007, you needed a Shop Vac to deal with the pools of drool beneath every NFL scout who watched JaMarcus Russell throw. One AFC personnel guy told Bob McGinn, who has been following the draft religiously for 37 years, “The greatest workout of all time was JaMarcus Russell.” We know how that turned out. Maybe only Ryan Leaf was a bigger first round bust as a quarterback in the last 30 or so years.
Until the first name is called in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday night, we’ll be hearing plenty of “anonymous” sources claiming they’ve got the inside scoop. We will also see tons of mock drafts, essentially best guess scenarios by folks who like to hear themselves talk. Florida’s Kyle Pitts is thought to be a “generational” tight end prospect but when CBSSports asked 13 of its writers to do a mock draft, Pitts went eighth and only one of the 13 had him higher.
Pitts will go first round, probably either fourth to the Atlanta Falcons or sixth to the Miami Dolphins. Kadarius Toney probably goes first round, too, but after that it’s any body’s guess where the other draft-eligible Gators are picked. Here are the grades given for the 11 Dane Brugler of The Athletic thinks have a shot to hear their names called over the three days:
Kyle Pitts, TE: Pitts is a runaway top choice at wide receiver and gets a 1st-round grade. Kadarius Toney, WR: Brugler rates Toney the 4th best wide receiver prospect, trailing Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), Jayden Waddle (Alabama) and Devonta Smith (Alabama). He gives Toney a 1st-2nd grade. Kyle Trask, QB: Brugler rates Trask the seventh best QB prospect in the draft behind Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) and Davis Mills (Stanford). He gives Trask a 4th-round grade. Stone Forsythe, LT: Forsythe gets a 3rd-round grade from Brugler. He’s Brugler’s 12th-ranked offensive tackle. Trevon Grimes, WR: Grimes is the 25th-ranked WR by Brugler with a 4th-5th round grade. Marco Wilson, CB: Brugler has 18 cornerbacks ranked ahead of Wilson, to whom he gives a 4th-5th round grade. Shawn Davis, S: Davis gets a 5th-round grade as the 12th-ranked safety in Brugler’s rankings. Evan McPherson, PK: McPherson is Brugler’s highest ranked kicker. He has a 5th-6th round grade. Tedarrell Slaton, DT: Slaton is the 18th-ranked D-lineman with a 6th-7th round grade. Brett Heggie, C: Heggie is Brugler’s 11th-ranked center with a priority free agent grade. Donovan Stiner, S: Stiner is the 28th-ranked safety with a priority free agent grade.
TRE MANN, NBA DRAFT LOTTERY? Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, the best college basketball writer in the business bar none and one of the best connected with NBA scouts, filed his NBA mock draft on Sunday with perhaps the biggest mover Florida’s Tre Mann. Parrish projects Mann going with the 11th pick overall to the New Orleans Pelicans, which is lottery and worth millions to Tre and his family. When the college season began back in November, Mann was thought to be a very late first to mid-second rounder but he showed constant improvement all season and by February was playing as well as any guard in the SEC.