And, we officially have a controversy regarding one of the top quarterbacks projected to be picked early in the 2018 NFL Draft beginning tonight. The question is: how controversial? And, will it cost Wyoming’s Josh Allen tremendously or not at all?
First, here’s the report from Yahoo Sports late Wednesday night detailing tweets from Allen years ago, where he is using racial slang phrases and partially quoting rap lyrics, etc. These tweets actually date back to his high school and even middle school days early in this decade.
It’s also important to point out that Yahoo is reaching so hard for controversy that in their item, they detail a 14 year old Allen tweeting “I Hate Lebron! … #LeBronSucks ” in a tweet during the NBA Finals. It’s hard to take that as something other than a basketball take from a junior high schooler, which he was at the time.
Yahoo obviously did detailed social media searches on all the top prospects looking to find anything sensational or controversial. The tweets have now been deleted from Allen’s account but the “screengrabs,”etc. are still there and up to everyone’s interpretation.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reached to what he described as “a top five team” selecting tonight, as to what they thought about this Allen news/twitter controversy and they hadn’t heard anything about the story.
In the ESPN item, Schefter says that Allen acknowledged that he sent the tweets and also apologized when reached by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, but there are no quotes attributed to him or no audio/video of him doing so.
Meanwhile, the more pressing and important situation is what, if anything, does this do to his draft status? Most analysts and mock drafts of repute have Allen being selected early and, maybe even #1 overall by the Browns.
Allen has worked out and met with numerous teams in the top 10 of the draft like the Giants, the Jets, the Broncos, etc. And, he is also possibly on the radar for the Dolphins, who are still scheduled to pick 11th tonight.
Late Thursday morning, NFL Network insider, Ian Rapoport tweeted this update on the controversy from what he’s heard:
Two notes: 1. Teams have been told some of Allen's tweets were quoting song lyrics and movie or TV show scenes. Others were meant to be jokes to friends. But he did send them. 2. Teams have been reticent to judge Allen based on tweets from high school. https://t.co/JSl4VZlwmN
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2018
Look for Allen to release a statement or give ESPN or the NFL Network and interview later today or tonight to apologize for the controversy that his youthful insensitive tweets caused.
Will he start to plummet in the draft, anyway?
We’re about to find out.
Dolphins and Jaguars may be very interested in deep WR class
It’s never too soon to start talking about possible premium draft picks coming in April for the NFL’s 2020 draft. And, for the Dolphins and the Jaguars they may both very well be interested in what appears to be the deepest position this season.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has been touting the 20/20 receiving draft class for several weeks now. And, that included his appearance on the NFL Total Access show Thursday night:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 14, 2020
“I started scouting with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. This is bar none, the deepest, best wide receiver class that I’ve seen, since I began scouting.”
To be more specific, Jeremiah has laid out the six receivers that he has right now in his top 25 of overall players The 2020 draft to be held in Las Vegas at the end of April. Those include: Oklahoma Speedster CeeDee Lamb, Alabama stud Jerry Jeudy, maybe the fastest player in the entire draft tide receiver Henry Ruggs III, National Champion LSU lanky speedster Justin Jefferson, Arizona State physical, big receiver Brandon Aiyuk and Colorado junior eligible Laviska Shenault.
As Jeremiah makes clear, not all of these receivers may end up going in the first round and there are several other names besides on his list that are probably NFL caliber who will still be around in the third round or later and yet make an impact on Sundays.
And that brings us to both the Dolphins and the Jaguars who are likely in need, especially early I’ll try to get one of these Playmakers.
In 2019, the Dolphins saw DeVante Parker develop into the possible number one yearly receiver that they believed he would become when they took him in the first round in 2015. Miami also has high hopes for un-drafted big receiver Preston Williams who was showing promise until suffering a torn ACL in midseason last year. However, other than that, Miami doesn’t have much else to hang their hat on.
As for Jacksonville, clearly in 2019 former second round pick D.J. Chark demonstrated that he has potential to be a number one receiver year in and year out. He showed an early connection with backup rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and Chark finished the season with 1,008 yards on 73 catches and 8 scores. Jacksonville also got good output from another guy with speed in Chris Conley.
But, from there the talent level drops off in North Florida.
So while there are plenty of factors and variables, like which receivers are when you are coming up for selection, there will apparently be no shortage of players to choose from that can make an impact on night three or even day three of the NFL Draft.
Prominent state names among NFL Combine invitees
A sign that the NFL Draft process is well underway is when the NFL publicizes their official list of players who will be attending the 2020 Scouting Combine at the end of the month.
— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2020
Some of the most notable names include Heisman Trophy and National Championship winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, along with other potential number 1 draft picks at that position, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Justin Herbert of Oregon. There was one state invitee at the QB position and that’s James Morgan, the FIU quarterback.
The running back position has Heisman finalist Jonathan Edwards and also, has several familiar names to state fans led by FSU leading rusher, Cam Akers.
Akers (photo above), who declared early for the 2020 draft giving up his final season of eligibility, is joined by Miami running back and receiving specialist DeeJay Dallas. Also invited was Florida under-sized power back LaMical Perine.
The wide receiver position is particularly deep with invitees by the NFL, and that includes the Gators trio of Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain. Also, invited is outstanding UCF wide out Gabe Davis, who gave up his final year of eligibility in Orlando and will be at the combine.
Arguably the best tight end in the draft is Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic who led the position nationally in catches and yardage. Bryant could be a first round pick in late April. Also on the Combine list is USF tight end, Mitchell Wilcox.
On the defensive side of the ball is the leading pass-rushing sack artist from college football in 2019 in Chase Young of Ohio State. Miami’s Jonathan Garvin was another defensive lineman added to the mix. Next, Hurricanes linebackers Shaq Quarterman and teammate Michael Pinckney were among the linebacker invitees from Friday.
At defensive back, UCF’s Neville Clark is joined by Florida’s C.J. Henderson, FAU’s James Pierre and Florida State’s Stanford Samuels.
The combine is a five-day process allowing interviews for players with the 32 teams and then, individual position group workouts and 40 yard dash times that will take place at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NFL Network still holds the exclusive rights to televise the workouts, which has now expanded to over 50 hours of coverage for that week