Tagged in: draft

Bengals release Andy Dalton after drafting Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals reportedly released quarterback Andy Dalton on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cincy drafted LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft last week.

Dalton threw for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2019. As the season wore on, the writing was on the wall regarding his future in Cincinnati.

The Bengals benched Dalton for their Week 10 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, which proved to be a 49-13 loss. They were 0-8 by that point, so it made sense to give Ryan Finley, the team’s fourth-round pick last year, a few starts to see if he might be Dalton’s long-term successor under center.

Following three consecutive defeats, Cincinnati turned back to Dalton for the rest of the year.

The 32-year-old spoke of how his demotion made him approach the game a little differently.

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“It feels good,” he told reporters in November. “Just as a player who has started basically every chance I’ve been able to without being hurt, it gives you a different perspective being on the other side. I’m glad to be back out playing. I feel I can help us win, so I’m excited to be going these last five games.”

The Bengals’ 33-23 victory versus Cleveland Browns in Week 17 had an air of finality. Fans cheered Dalton off the field as he walked back to the locker room, and he said after the home match he knew it might have been his last game with the team.

Cincinnati is in need of a reboot after going 2-14 in 2019. The team’s selection of Burrow was forecast for months beforehand, and now the path is clear for him to take over the starting job as a rookie.

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UCLA Chris Smith enter NBA draft

UCLA junior Chris Smith is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

“I’m 100% committed to the process and am excited to see what the future holds,” Smith stated.

Smith, the No. 72 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, is coming off a breakout season, earning Pac-12 Most Improved Player and All-Pac-12 first-team honors.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per match for the Bruins, helping his team recover from a poor start to finish the campaign 12-6 in the Pac-12. UCLA was the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament prior to it being canceled.

Smith enrolled at UCLA as a 17-year-old and is the youngest junior in the ESPN 100; he is younger than most sophomores and even some freshman projected to be drafted, having only turned 20 in late December.

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He is intriguing to NBA teams not only due to his age, but also his versatility.

He has perimeter skill, making 35% of his 3-pointers this campaign and 85% of his free throws. Defensively, he was regularly tasked with defending opposing guards, doing a better job of buying into using his tools more regularly as the season moved on under Mick Cronin, one of the reasons UCLA won nine of its last 11 games.

The NBA draft is programmed for June 25, but following worldwide suspensions of basketball activities during the coronavirus pandemic, NBA front-office executives and others in the industry told ESPN they are bracing for the potential impact of a delayed 2020 draft with a heavily reduced pre-draft process.

A player like Smith would be highly sought for private workouts and interviews, as teams would surely like to get a better handle on the likelihood of him reaching his untapped potential.

The NBA informed teams on Monday that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice.

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NFL confirms virtual draft with team personnel at their homes

The NFL draft will be performed in a virtual format, with team personnel working from their homes.

In a memo sent to the 32 teams Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined procedures for the April 23-25 draft. The guidelines contained no group gatherings.

“We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC (a group of league executives),” Goodell wrote, “and this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”

All team facilities were closed on March 26 and Goodell has ordered them to stay shut indefinitely.

“We will reopen facilities when it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates,” he wrote.

The draft initially was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, but the NFL canceled all public events last month as a safeguard against the coronavirus.

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On Monday, Goodell instructed the teams on how they should plan to make their selections.

“We have made this decision for several reasons,” he wrote. “All clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way.

“Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisers, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”

Several team general managers had sought a delay in the draft, basically citing an unfair playing field.

But the owners pushed for the draft, the NFL’s biggest offseason event, to take place as scheduled.

It is up to each team to ensure not only safe and healthy conditions, but to offset any perceived competitive imbalance under the directions set forth by Goodell.

“We are operating in an environment unlike anything we have experienced before,” Goodell added, “one that requires flexibility, patience, and cooperation.”

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