NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

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National stat leaders in weekend college football focus … Interesting week in college football, at least from a draft watcher’s perspective. In fact, there are no top 10 match-ups on this weekend’s college schedule with #16 Michigan at #10 Penn State maybe the actual highlight on the docket. So with no really must-see games, we are going to be watching several non-big games that do feature some really interesting prospects that are currently way up there in the national college stats. Baylor at Oklahoma State in the Big XII, for example, has three top prospects worth a second or third look, while Boise State will feature one of the top edge rushers in college football when the Broncos play at BYU. Here is a quick preview of who we’ll be watching this weekend with an eye toward the 2020 draft.

NFL transaction wire buzzing with a couple of major deals … Update: The Browns will reportedly receive a 5th round pick in 2021 from the LA Rams for C/G Austin Corbett. The NFL trade deadline doesn’t actually come up for another two weeks, but the league’s transaction wire has been buzzing all day with several major deals; for good measure there are also rumors of other deals supposedly in the works. In the day’s biggest deal, the LA Rams have reportedly acquired star Jacksonville DB Jalen Ramsey in exchange for first round picks in both 2020 and 2021, as well as a 4th rounder next year. Ramsey has been in something of football limbo pretty much all season long after requesting a trade prior to the season. The deal comes just hours after the Rams sent two-time Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters to Baltimore for LB Kenny Young and what is being reported as a 5th round pick this coming April. Meanwhile, Washington is strongly denying published reports that they are close to trading hold out OT Trent Williams to Cleveland. The Browns, though, have made a deal involving an offensive lineman as they have reportedly sent C/G Austin Corbett, the first player selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, to the LA Rams for an undisclosed pick. For the record, the league’s trade deadline comes up on October 29. In the meantime, the GBN has updated its list of future traded picks. The unofficial, ‘if the draft were held this week’ selection order for the 2020 opening round has also been updated with Jacksonville acquiring the Rams pick which is #18 this week.

Weekly first-round selection order posted … With week 6 of the 2019 season now in the books, the weekly ‘if the draft were held today’ selection order for the opening round of the upcoming draft has been posted here. Please note that the strength of schedule figures for each team reflect that for their full 16-game schedule. There are several other selection orders out there that only base their SOS on their opponents played to date.

Ducks’ TE; pair of vet ILBs out for year … There are at least a trio of season-ending injuries from the college football wars. Oregon TE Jacob Breeland, ranked 13th on the GBN positional ranking for the 2020 draft, will reportedly miss the rest of the year after injuring his knee in the Ducks’ win over Colorado this past weekend. Breeland is the Ducks’ leading receiver with 26 receptions to date for over 400 yards. At the same time, Baylor ILB Clay Johnston is also out for the year with a suspected injured knee. Meanwhile, it kind of slipped under the radar last weekend as Missouri ILB Cale Garrett is expected to miss the rest of the year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral tendon. The 6-3, 230-pound Garrett is the 22nd rated ILB on the GBN positional ranking, while the 6-1, 235-pound Johnston is #38 on the list. Elsewhere, UCLA WR Theo Howard, who was the Bruins’ leading WR last season, but has only played in 1 game so far this season because of a hand injury, has announced that he will redshirt this season and will transfer to another school for the 2020 season where he should be eligible immediately for his final year of eligibility.

Cavs CB Hall has season-ending ankle surgery … Updating the story on Virginia CB Bryce Hall, one of the top prospects at the position for the 2020 draft, the school has confirmed that he underwent season-ending surgery yesterday. Hall was carted off the field during the second quarter of Friday night’s loss at Miami with what appeared to be a severe ankle injury. Hall, currently the 30th ranked player on the GBN Top 100, was making his 39th consecutive start. The school, though, did not provide any further details regarding Hall’s prognosis including how long the recuperative period is expected to last.

Upsets upset weekly draft selection order … A couple of dramatic upsets earlier today have jumbled the top picks in the current selection order for the 2020 draft. In particular, two of the league’s four remaining winless teams got off the schneid this afternoon as Washington held off Miami 17-16, while the NY Jets shocked Dallas 24-22 for their first wins of the campaign. Both games were decided by failed two-point conversion attempts in the final minute. When the smoke had cleared Miami and Cincinnati, which lost in Baltimore today, were the NFL’s last two remaining winless teams. And depending on who’s counting, both have a claim on the #1 pick, at least for this week. Cincinnati technically has the worse record as the Bengals are 0-6, while Miami has already had its bye and is 0-5. At the same time, though, the Dolphins have a significantly weaker strength of schedule figure than the Bengals and would reclaim the #1 spot if they were to lose their game in hand. Meanwhile, if the draft were to be held this week, Washington, Atlanta and the Jets would hold the 3rd thru the 5th picks respectively, although again the 1-4 Jets have a distinctly weaker SOS figure than either the Redskins or Falcons, both of whom are 1-5, and would move up to the 3rd spot if they lose their extra game. As usual, the full selection order for the opening round of the upcoming will be updated after tomorrow night’s Monday nighter.

‘Phins snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; stay winless along with Bengals … Miami dodged a potentially disastrous slip-on on the road to the first pick overall at the 2020 this afternoon when they came within a two-point conversion of knocking off the previously winless Washington Redskins. Washington held on to defeat Miami 17-16 for its first win of the season after the Dolphins had rallied for two 4th quarter TDs including one with 0.06 seconds on the clock. However, Miami went for two and failed so drop to 0-5. Cincinnati also remained winless, and, at 0-6, will technically have the #1 pick if the draft were held this week, with a 24-17 loss in Baltimore earlier this afternoon. Meanwhile, the NY Jets, the NFL’s other remaining winless team, is currently on the field as we speak hosting Dallas.

‘Skins-‘Phins in draft bowl for the ages … Well, the dark ages maybe! No question, though, that there will be a shakeup in the current selection order for the opening round of the 2020 draft as Washington plays at Miami in an early Sunday afternoon game. The Redskins and Dolphins are currently two of the leagues four remaining winless teams so barring the unlikely event if a tie, someone has to win. In fact, figure that this year’s winless teams are going to win some games in some order as they play each other a bunch of times this fall. In addition to Washington today, for example, Miami also has two games with the New York Jets and one with Cincinnati still on the schedule. The Jets also play both Cincinnati and Washington, in addition to their two division games with the Dolphins.

Cavs CB Hall carted off with ankle injury … Some really great college games winding down at this hour; however, there is some bad news from Virginia after star CB Bryce Hall was taken off the field on a cart during the second quarter of last night’s loss at Miami with what appeared to be a severe ankle injury. Hall, currently the 30th ranked player on the GBN Top 100, was making his 39th consecutive start.

Tigers, Gators SEC dual hilites weekend college action … It looks like it should be a great weekend to be a college football fan with a number of outstanding games on the docket with national and conference implications. And none is bigger than tomorrow night’s SEC showdown between #7 Florida and #5 LSU in Baton Rouge. Here is a quick preview of who we’ll be watching with an eye toward the 2020 draft in this weekend’s big college games.

Jets to get QB Darnold back from mono … The winless NY Jets announced earlier today that QB Sam Darnold will return to the lineup Sunday afternoon when the team hosts Dallas, after missing the past three games because of a case of mono. Darnold, who actually practiced last week, but wasn’t cleared, passed his ultrasound and blood test today and is now fully good to go. That should be a big plus for the 0-4 Jets who are currently very much in the running to end up with the #1 pick overall. With Darnold sidelined the past three weeks, the Jets have been going with second-year pro Luke Falk, a 6th round pick in 2018, who completed 64% of his pass attempts in his three games, but had no TD passes versus 3 picks.

Initial first-round selection order posted … With week 5 of the 2019 season now in the books, the initial weekly ‘if the draft were held today’ selection order for the opening round of the upcoming draft has been posted here. As noted earlier, the first few picks are ‘complicated’ by byes. Miami and the New York Jets have the weakest strength of schedules of the four remaining winless teams, but have had their byes and have played a game less than Cincinnati and Washington. Also please note that the strength of schedule figures for each team reflect that for their full 16-game schedule. There are several other selection orders out there that only base their SOS on their opponents played to date.

Bills get future Raiders pick for WR Jones … Oakland has reportedly acquired WR Zay Jones from Buffalo in exchange for what is being described as a 5th round pick in 2021.

Tua, OSU QB Young headline first GBN Top 100 … We are deep enough into the 2019 college football season to get a decent read on how the top prospects for the upcoming draft are starting to sort themselves out. And there is no surprise that Alabama junior QB Tua Tagovailoa remains the top prospect overall on the first full GBN Top 100 for 2020 which has just been released here. Meanwhile, Ohio State junior DE Chase Young is the top non-QB prospect and the #2 candidate overall. Indeed, the Buckeyes and Tide kind of dominate the top ten with the Buckeyes’ junior CB Jeffrey Okudah in at #3, followed by Alabama junior WR Jerry Jeudy at #4. For the record, Georgia OT Andrew Thomas rounds out the top 5, while QBs Justin Herbert of Oregon and Georgia’s Jake Fromm sit at #s 6 and 11 respectively.

Skins fire HC Gruden; Callahan named interim … One of the worst kept secrets around the NFL was that Washington head coach Jay Gruden was skating on very thin ice in the wake of the Redskins ‘ofer’ start to the campaign. Indeed, if there was any surprise around the league, it is that Gruden lasted into the 5th week of the season. However, the end finally came for Gruden after Washington lost 33-7 to New England at home yesterday to drop to 0-5. Gruden will be replaced by assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who takes over on an interim basis this morning. Callahan arrives just in time for Sunday’s ‘big’ game this weekend when the Redskins play at Miami, in a game that could have a huge impact on the ultimate early selection order for the 2020 draft.

Byes fuzzy race for top pick … We still plan to post the first weekly ‘if the draft were held today’ selection order for the 2020 draft after tomorrow night’s Monday nighter. However, IF the draft were to be held this week, it would be a tough call as to which team would have the #1 pick overall. Cincinnati would technically be sitting on this year’s top pick as the Bengals have a weaker strength of schedule than Washington, the league’s other remaining 0-5 team. However, both Miami and the NY Jets also have a winning % of .000, but are actually only 0-4 as both have already gone through their byes, and both have a weaker strength of schedule than the Bengals. Interestingly, the next few picks are actually currently more settled than the first four, at least for this week. If the draft were held today, for example, Pittsburgh would pick 5th, followed by Atlanta, Denver and Arizona.

Pigskin’s weekly prospects review … Every week, GBN Associate Editor/Scouting Director Pigskin Paul Guillemette posts his observations from the past weekend’s college football highlights focusing on players that stood out with an eye toward the 2020 draft.¬† Here is this week’s post.

Defensive positional rankings posted … The initial GBN positional rankings have been posted for the defense including DE, DT, ILB, OLB, CB, and F/SS.

Offensive positional rankings posted … The initial GBN positional rankings have been posted for the offense including QB, RB, WR, TE, OT, OG and C. The defensive rankings will be posted tomorrow.

‘Phins back back into top pick; Jets lurking … We are still a week or so away from starting to post the weekly ‘if the draft were held today’ selection order for 2020; however, IF the draft were to be held this week, it would be a tough call as to which team would have the 31 pick overall. Miami would have a claim on the top pick as the Dolphins have the weakest strength of schedule of the four remaining 0-4 teams. However, the Jets also have a winning % of .000 and have a even worse SOS than the Dolphins (.469 versus .484), but are only technically 0-3 after going through their bye last weekend. Meanwhile, Cincinnati would pick after Miami, followed by Washington, Denver and Arizona, with Miami (with Pittsburgh’s pick) and Atlanta, the league’s two 1-3 teams, would pick 7th and 8th respectively. Interestingly, 13 of the NFL’s 32 teams are currently 2-2. Of those, Cleveland (.388), Indianapolis (.444), Jacksonville (.452) and Baltimore (.457) have the weakest strength of schedules and would pick 9th thru 12th were the draft held this week. Again, we’ll have the first full weekly selection next week.

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