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Ohio State QBs in the NFL: Justin Fields can end stigma from history of NFL Draft busts

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Ohio State QBs in the NFL: Justin Fields can end stigma from history of NFL Draft busts

Ohio State’s Justin Fields continues to be the most scrutinized quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class.  

Fields’ work ethic was questioned in March, which prompted a strong rebuttal from Ohio State coach Ryan Day. The notion that Fields is a “one-read quarterback” was dissected. This week, Fields revealed that he is managing epilepsy — a neurological disorder which can cause seizures.  

None of those factors prevented Fields from being one of the best quarterbacks in college football the last two seasons. He passed for 5,373 yards, 63 TDs and nine interceptions and rushed for 817 yards and 15 TDs in leading the Buckeyes to back-to-back CFP appearances. 

MORE NFL DRAFT: Complete 7-round mock | Top 100 big board

It likely won’t impact his NFL Draft status too much either. Sporting News’ latest mock draft has the Broncos trading up to get Fields with the No. 4 pick. The Falcons and 49ers also are logical landing spots within the top-10 picks.  

From there, Fields can achieve a breakthrough that would benefit Day and the Buckeyes at both levels. Ohio State has not produced too many quarterbacks who have had prolonged success at the NFL level.  

A total of 15 quarterbacks have been selected in the common draft era starting with Rex Kern in 1971. Terrelle Pryor was a NFL supplemental draft pick in 2011.  

Six of those quarterbacks never took a snap in a regular-season game. Rex Kern, the quarterback of the 1968 national championship team, switched to defensive back. Here is a look at the quarterbacks from Ohio State and their career numbers in the NFL:  

Ohio State QBs in the NFL  

YEAR NAME ROUND RECORD CAREER STATISTICS
1982 Art Schlichter 1 0-6 1,006 yards, 3 TDs, 11 INTs
1985 Mike Tomczak* FA 42-31 16,079 yards, 88 TDs, 106 INTs
1988 Tom Tupa 3 4-9 3,430 yards, 12 TDs, 25 INTs
1992 Kent Graham 8 17-21 7,801 yards, 39 TDs, 33 INTs
1996 Bobby Hoying 3 3-9-1 2,544 yards, 11 TDs, 15 INTs
1999 Joe Germaine 4 0-0 136 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
2004 Craig Krenzel 5 3-2 718 yards, 3 TDs, 6 INTs
2007 Troy Smith 5 4-4 1,734 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs
2011 Terrelle Pryor** 3 3-7 1,994 yards, 9 TDs, 12 INTs
2016 Cardale Jones 4 0-0 96 yards, 0 TDs 1 INT
2019 Dwayne Haskins 1 3-10 2,804 yards, 12 TDs, 14 INTs

*Denotes undrafted free agent  
**Denotes supplemental draft pick
  

Schlichter and Haskins are the bookend first-round picks, and both struggled with those high expectations. Tupa played punter for most of his career. Krenzel and Jones won national championships, and Smith won the Heisman Trophy, but they combined for 13 starts in the NFL.  

Tomczak, who was an undrafted free agent, had the most success. Graham is the only other quarterback with more than 20 starts at the NFL level.  

Knowing that track record, it’s OK to take a closer look at Haskins, who started in Urban Meyer’s final season with Day at offensive coordinator, and Fields, who is Day’s first starter as a head coach.  

Haskins, who was released by Washington last season and picked up by Pittsburgh, faced this same criticism after a banner season at Ohio State in 2018 in which he finished with 4,831 yards, 50 TDs and eight interceptions. Haskins still has time to revive his career, but that flop in Washington has led to some unfair residual questions about Fields, too. 

MORE: Justin Fields among riskiest picks of the 2021 NFL Draft

When will an Ohio State quarterback have prolonged success in the NFL?   

Ohio State also can loosely claim Joe Burrow – but he emerged as a standout quarterback at LSU before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with the Bengals. Fields is the one that can change that stigma about Buckeyes quarterbacks in the NFL, however, and it can have an impact at both levels.  

If Fields has success, then that will benefit Day, who is entering his third year at Ohio State with a three-way quarterback race among C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller and five-star freshman Kyle McCord.  

Another five-star freshman – Quinn Ewers – is committed to the class of 2022. Fields could be the launchpad for a QB-to-the-NFL pipeline like what Lincoln Riley has developed at Oklahoma with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and next-man-up Spencer Rattler. Clemson and Alabama have first-round quarterbacks in this draft, too, with Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones, respectively.  

That is the real development worth watching. Which college football powerhouse can produce the best NFL quarterbacks in the future?  

That is the question Fields can answer over the next few years.

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook’s NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook's NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

Russell Westbrook made history Monday night, notching his 182nd career triple-double — and moving past Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA record.

Robertson’s record lasted 47 years, from 1974 through Monday night when a fourth-quarter rebound in front of a reduced-capacity crowd in Atlanta gave Westbrook sole possession of the record. It took him 12 years to surpass Robertson’s record after he achieved his first triple-double (17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in 2009 as a rookie with the Thunder.

MORE: Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

Monday’s triple-double was Westbrook’s 36th of the year. That insane output is helping him average, for the fourth time in his career, a triple-double over the course of the season. The previous such campaigns came in 2016-17 through 2018-19.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds in the Wizards’ 125-124 loss to the Hawks; the loss dropped Washington to 32-37 on the season, but the team still ranks 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards’ playoff hopes pale in comparison to the history Westbrook made, however.

He even made sure to get the game ball from officials so he could be certain to commemorate the historic achievement.

Here are some of the best reactions to Westbrook’s history-making feat:

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Kenny Mayne’s ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

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Kenny Mayne's ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, one of the most recognizable talents in sports broadcasting, is leaving the network, he announced on Monday.

The 27-year ESPN anchor broke the news on Twitter, describing his exit from the worldwide leader in sports as a “salary cap casualty.” Naturally, he could only include some of the dry humor that helped him become a beloved presence in the studio and on millions of sports fans’ TVs.

MORE: ESPN anchors get emotional over laid-off co-workers: ‘We are all hurting’

The longtime “SportsCenter” host’s final day will be on May 24, bringing to an end a 27-year stint at ESPN that began in 1994. His absence will undoubtedly be noted among fans who appreciated his humor and presence in ESPN’s studios — but his Monday announcement is as good a reason as any to remember the incredible cover letter that first landed him the gig in 1994.

Mayne sent a short and sweet cover letter to ESPN’s John Walsh in 1994, offering him three checkboxes in the former’s bid to land a job with ESPN:

Unsurprisingly, Mayne made Walsh smile. Walsh wouldn’t be the last person to smile at Mayne’s humor and creativity.

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

The Celtics will have to fight for a playoff spot without one of their most important players.

Boston announced Monday night that All-Star forward Jaylen Brown has suffered a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and will miss the rest of the 2020-21 season. He is expected to undergo surgery later this week.

MORE: Will LeBron James return vs. Knicks?

The Celtics offered no specific timetable for Brown’s return to the court, but as The Athletic’s Jared Weiss noted, Boston guard Romeo Langford suffered the same injury last year and took about six months to recover. If Brown stays roughly on that timeline, he should be available to rejoin the lineup for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Brown dealt with injury and COVID-19 issues throughout the season, but the 24-year-old still managed to earn his first All-Star selection with some of the best individual numbers of his career. He averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

Without Brown available, Boston will rely heavily on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to produce offensively. The Celtics will also need more from trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier, who most recently scored 30 points in a loss to the Heat on Sunday — his highest scoring output since joining the team.

Even if other players step up in Brown’s absence, the Celtics, currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, are unlikely to make a deep run in the 2021 NBA playoffs. They would face an uphill battle in a potential first-round series against the 76ers, Nets or Bucks, the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.

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