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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One of the most powerful leaders in the United Arab Emirates has found himself entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian interference in America’s 2016 election.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, believed to be the Emirates’ day-to-day ruler, is the only world leader included in Mueller’s cast-of-characters index near the end of the 448-page report. His inclusion, stemming from his mysterious role in a 2017 meeting between a Trump associate and a Russian middleman for Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles, stands out from otherwise glancing references to the wider Mideast.
But left unsaid — or possibly redacted — is what motivated the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, to insert itself as a middleman in contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia. However, the report’s release comes as the UAE backs Trump’s maximalist policies against Iran and as Emirati officials have been on a blitz of meetings with American officials, showing the importance they still place on their relationship with him even as faces opposition.
“The Emiratis saw an opportunity for a do-over with the Americans with a new, incoming administration with a president they personally knew,” said Ryan Bohl, an analyst with the Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. “They didn’t take into account that other institutions, like the military, the State Department, Congress, would all have an opinion too.”
Emirati government officials did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press about Sheikh Mohammed’s inclusion. However, it comes the same week that Sheikh Mohammed, 58, found himself included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.
The ranking shows what has been known regionally for some time: that Sheikh Mohammed wields tremendous influence both home and abroad.
Sheikh Mohammed’s 71-year-old half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, remains the Emirates’ president and ruler and ruler of oil-rich Abu Dhabi but has been rarely seen since suffering a stroke in 2014. Sheikh Mohammed also maintains a tight relationship with neighboring Saudi Arabia’s own upstart crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
In a country where leaders rule absolutely, the Mueller report provides a brief glimpse into the deal-making and connections of the UAE. It puts Sheikh Mohammed at a luxury hotel in the Indian Ocean Seychelles islands in January 2017, just before Trump’s inauguration, with his adviser George Nader. Nader is a Lebanese-American businessman convicted in a Czech Republic court in 2003 of multiple counts of sexually abusing minors, later would cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.
This meeting put Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund close to Putin, face to face with Erik Prince, the founder of the private military firm Blackwater who had ties to Trump officials, according to the report. Dmitriev earlier had asked Nader for access to Trump transition team members, the report said. While initially distrustful of meeting Prince, Nader reportedly made a point to stress that Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, would become Trump’s education secretary.
“Dmitriev told Nader that Putin would be very grateful to Nader and that a meeting would make history,” the report said.
What happened at the Jan. 11, 2017, meeting that Dmitriev, Nader and Prince attended remains unclear, in part due to a series of redactions in the report. However, in the released material Prince reportedly told Dmitriev to warn Putin not to get Russia involved in Libya’s still-ongoing civil war.
The Washington Post broke news of the meeting in April 2017. Prince, who reportedly has helped the UAE form its own mercenary forces, later told Congress the meeting was happenstance and that “I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy.” That’s directly contradicted by Mueller’s report, which says Nadler set up the meeting with Prince ahead of time.
It’s unclear what implications Prince could face over the Mueller report. A request for comment to Prince’s new firm, Frontier Services Group, was not immediately answered.
The rest of the Mideast gets far less attention in Mueller’s report. There’s mention of a U.N. Security Council vote calling on Israel to stop building settlements in Palestinian territory, a vote which former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn made calls to Russian officials about and later lied to investigators. Saudi Arabia is mentioned only in context of Trump showing staffers on Air Force One a resignation letter from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
However, the small UAE plays an oversized role in the report, as it does in Mideast politics due in part to its closeness to America. Some 5,000 American troops are stationed in the country, while Dubai’s Jebel Ali port remains the U.S. Navy’s busiest foreign port of call.
What’s public from Mueller’s report does not elaborate on Sheikh Mohammed’s role in the Seychelles meeting. However, Sheikh Mohammed also had sought a meeting in the U.S. with Trump transition officials before he entered the White House.
But Sheikh Mohammed undoubtedly welcomed Trump’s hard-line approach to Iran after President Barack Obama’s administration signed onto Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. And while Sheikh Mohammed hasn’t been back to the U.S. for some time, the UAE’s foreign minister and its minister of state for foreign affairs both have traveled to Washington in recent days. Trump also spoke by phone to Sheikh Mohammed on Thursday night after earlier vetoing a bill that called for the U.S. to pull its military support from the Saudi and Emirati war in Yemen.
“For now, the Emiratis know they have a strong ally in the White House,” Bohl, the Stratfor analyst, said. “What would be much more notable if we see them trying to reach out to potential Democratic successors as a backup plan for Trump.”
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap .
We are all living in a post-“Sorry Not Sorry” lip sync world, and I for one could not be happier.
Every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, fans anxiously await the Snatch Game. It’s a make-or-break moment for the queens each time, and it’s responsible for the series’ most memorable moments.
Although last night’s Snatch wasn’t one of the best, the episode shocked with not one, but two ICONIC, LEGENDARY moments that will be etched in the annals of herstory forever and ever, amen.
But first, the drama from our last Untucked still lingers. Yvie insinuated Sikly was talentless and someone flipped Vanjie’s freak-out switch. Silky opts to ice Yvie out, while Vanjie goes full fire screaming. Is it the most well-articulated argument? No. Was Yvie acting with malicious intent giving Vanjie some tough love? No. Does any of that stop Vanjie from an unrelenting screaming fit? Also, no.
The mini-challenge this week is a fun little excuse to plug Ru’s new book, GuRu. The gals all need to pitch a self-help book of their own. Silky runs away with this one, shilling for her book, Eat It: Chronicles of the Buffet. It’s pure Silky, and it’s got the most fully-realized vision of the bunch.
Her win comes with a chunk of change from Postmates, which brings All Star alum Morgan McMichaels in to do a cute little segment with Ru that involves a callback to pingpong balls being shot out of her … well, you get the idea.
Of course, this week is all about Snatch Game at Sea, which is really just regular Snatch Game with Ru in a captain’s hat. The ladies’ choices had me feeling both too old and too young. Silky was doing T.S. Madison, Plastique picked Lovely Mimi, Vanjie picked the “Cash Me Outside” girl. I have such cursory knowledge of these folks. Are they … a Snapchat?
On the opposite end, Nina picks Harvey Fierstein (as Edna Turnblad) and Jo Anne Worley, pulling a Bob the Drag Queen double Snatch. They’re obscure picks, especially for a crowd that thinks “Cash Me Outside” girl is a celebrity, but you know Ru will eat it up. Shuga Cain picks a perfect Snatch character in Charo, while Yvie is taking on View moderator and EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg.
Most concerning is Brooke. Despite her frontrunner status, Brooke is Shooke about Snatch. She doesn’t do characters, but she’s going to try her best at Celine Dion. It’s a choice that a better comedian could absolutely slay, but Brooke doesn’t have much to offer beyond the backward tuxedo jacket and some kind of Canadian accent.
Ru’s walkthrough is joined by season five winner and Snatch champion, Jinkx Monsoon. Yvie and Brooke are clearly in trouble, and they warn Vanjie to maybe think more expansively about where the jokes can come beyond “Cash me outside.” There’s also some concern that Plastique’s nail tech character may be too close to what she did in the Black Panther-themed acting challenge earlier this season.
That last critique seemed to be unfounded once the ladies are on stage. Veep‘s Clea DuVall and Tony Hale are our contestants, and both are definitely game. The Snatch itself is something of a letdown. Silky bulldozes the competition by basically being Silky, but you can’t deny she’s funny doing it. Nina has a lot of fun starting as Harvey Fierstein, but it’s her transformation into Jo Anne Worley that really deserves high marks. She hits the signature singing “Wooooooh!” and does a very cute little bit that transforms Snatch Game to Snatch Word, a reference to Worley’s time on Password.
Shuga also puts on a strong performance. It’s very Charo 101, but she stays in character and imbues the performance with real love from the Love Boat staple. Plastique as Lovely Mimi and A’Keria as Tiffany Haddish both exceeded my expectations with a few successful gags landing throughout.
Then we’ve got the real tough stuff. As Whoopi, Yvie fully misses the mark. The look is right, but the joke she keeps harping on is that Whoopi hasn’t had any good roles in a long time, which doesn’t feel remotely true, much less a definitive characterization. There are so many ways to tackle Whoopi, and Yvie chose none of them.
As predicted, Vanjie got nothing on “Cash Me Outside” girl (whose name I refuse to commit to memory). She starts with a weird high-pitched voice that she immediately drops. The rest of the performance is just Angry Vanjie.
But the real bottom of the barrel is Brooke as Celine, who doesn’t even attempt a joke. It’s just a Canadian accent (that really doesn’t even sound like Celine). At least Yvie was trying. This felt like a real retreat in the face of challenge.
Before the runway, Yvie attempts to smooth things over with Silky, but Dr. Ganache still ain’t having it. Vanjie has better luck making nice with Yvie, attributing their spat to the way sisters fight. Again, Vanjie’s self-awareness is on display, knowing her behavior was not becoming for a woman of her age. It was another example why there’s so much more depth to this sometimes silly character.
It’s all sequin everything on the runway, and all the queens BRING it, but none more than Brooke. Knowing her Snatch performance is going to land her in the bottom, she goes all the way out. She emerges in an afro and sequined cape, tossing both off to reveal the sexiest little barely-there pink swimsuit and long blonde locks. Not only is it one hell of a reveal, she sells all over the runway, posing and dropping like none other. It is truly one of, if not THE, greatest runway presentations of all time. The judges are literally SCREAMING the whole time. It’s art.
The judges feedback was all pretty predictable. Silky is the clear winner, but Nina and Shuga both get praise for their work. Vanjie is called out for yet another swimsuit and a character that was nowhere near fully baked. Yvie is also on the chopping block for missing so many chances to play up Whoopi’s most notable roles, like View moderator and Sister Act star.
Then there’s Brooke. The judges can barely verbalize how much they love it, but it’s just not enough to save her from the bottom two.
Just when we thought we peaked with Brooke’s runway, she and Yvie are tasked with lip syncing to Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry.” It’s a PERFECT song for this. It’s got attitude, it’s got clear shablam moments and it’s part of the Gay Community DNA in terms of songs everyone basically knows.
And yet? Brooke and Yvie outdo even the loftiest expectations. They do a perfectly timed dual drop/flip and both spend more time than one would think is humanly possible lip syncing while COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN. They burn the whole friggin’ house down. I watched this lip sync no less than six times, and I got chills every time. It’s a THRILL. It’s Drag Race at its absolute best.
Ru clearly can’t send either home, so it’s a double shantay.
Where does that leave us? Check out our rankings below, and leave yours in the comments!
How would you rank the queens?
The post An Unforgettable Runway Saves a Sinking Snatch Game At Sea On ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
The FBI News Review: Alerta de Google: Cesar Sayoc: Man arrested after making racist death threats against Omar, Tlaib and Booker, officials say dlvr.it/R38Ppb
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Everyone has thoughts about the NFL Draft, but some takes are so bad that you can point and laugh before the draft even happens.
Talent evaluators screw up royally every year. Most mock drafts are horribly wrong, and every prospect has both defenders and detractors. There’s no shortage of rumors, and a ton of them are BS.
You probably have an opinion about the 2019 NFL Draft that won’t age well, and there’s a good chance you have one that’ll give you the chance to say “I told you so.” But the truly special takes are the ones so awful that you can point and laugh immediately after someone says it.
With the 2019 NFL Draft now less than a week away, here are five of those takes, ranked from bad to worst:
There’s a scene in the movie Moneyball that always stuck with me. If you haven’t seen it, the gist is that Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) captures a bit of magic by dismissing traditional scouting methods and leaning into analytics.
The flaws of the old ways of player evaluation are shown in one meeting when “good face,” “good jaw,” and “ugly girlfriend means no confidence” are used to breakdown potential players to go after.
It’s probably an exaggerated scene, but it gets the point across. And every once in a while a take comes along that makes me think it might not be that exaggerated after all:
If you are an interior defensive lineman who has NFL aspirations, don’t wear a cute single digit or get slick with a lower number. Wear big numbers 97, 78, 99… just makes you feel bigger on tape. I can’t explain it, but it does. Don’t plant those “smaller on tape” subliminals
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) February 16, 2019
There’s probably a long list of defensive linemen who wore small numbers in college and did just fine in the NFL. Off the top of my head, there’s the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, who wore No. 7 at South Carolina.
If any team gives Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver — who wore No. 10 in college — a lower grade because of his number, they deserve to miss out on him. Michigan’s Rashan Gary wore No. 3 in college too. Who cares?
Does this count as a take, or is it a report? Whatever it is, it’s certainly silly.
According to Dan Patrick, a scout says Kyler Murray’s announced height — 5’10 and an eighth of an inch — at the NFL Combine was a lie. It was “inflated” and “if he refuses to measure at the pro day, it would be telling.”
.@dpshow says that a scout told him that he believes Kyler Murray’s height was “inflated” at the combine.
“If he refuses to measure at the Pro Day, it would be telling.”https://t.co/chCZUAoDIV
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 6, 2019
The conspiracy theory kept cooking when Murray did indeed skip out on measurements at the Oklahoma Pro Day.
Good luck trying to explain why on Earth the numbers from the NFL Combine would’ve — or even could’ve — been inflated.
This take died its rightful death when Russell Wilson got the lucrative extension he so obviously deserved the week before the 2019 NFL Draft.
But for a while there was somehow a debate whether or not Wilson was a player the Seahawks should build around. Banging that drum has been Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit, who says Wilson has “never been a top-10 quarterback” and that he’d rather have Jacoby Brissett.
Apparently that shtick is working out for Benoit, because he and his MMQB coworker Gary Gramling had a mind-numbing discussion earlier this month about tossing Wilson on to the trading block and starting over.
Here’s the shot:
If I’m Seattle, if I can get two first-rounders for Wilson, I think I’m doing that.
And the chaser:
I would say, in theory, you could transition a rookie quarterback into that approach pretty well and not skip a beat. That brings us back to the money. Why would we pay Russell Wilson $30 million-plus when all we’re asking him to do is run a fairly simple scheme that other quarterbacks can run.
Thankfully for everyone’s sanity, the Seahawks didn’t agree with that take and gave Wilson the lofty salary he’s so obviously worth.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has loud thoughts about everything. It’s his job and he does that exact description of the job about as well as anyone out there. He’s reportedly about to get $10 million per year because of it.
It also makes him the most susceptible for having loud thoughts about a topic that he knows nothing about. Like when he told everyone that he wasn’t completely sold on Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins because he’s “more of a runner than a thrower.”
In which Stephen A. Smith says that Dwayne Haskins is “more of a runner than a thrower.” pic.twitter.com/Gtowi8y0Pp
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) February 8, 2019
It’s a ludicrous take considering Haskins is the model of a pocket passer who had 4,831 passing yards with the Buckeyes and just 108 rushing yards. It doesn’t mean Haskins can’t run, but Murray had more rushing yards against Alabama in the Orange Bowl alone.
At first, Smith wouldn’t back down on his evaluation.
Haaaaa! Now that’s a good comeback. But we shall see. Haskins wants to throw. I know this. Also know he’s nowhere near the athlete J.T.Barrett was. But I’ve got to see him be that pocket passer that everyone swears he is on the NFL. That’s just ME. We shall see. https://t.co/gtEcW0n0if
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 8, 2019
But eventually he admitted he had it wrong, and apologized to Haskins for it, calling himself “an ignorant fool.”
With Dwayne Haskins in studio on First Take, Stephen A says he went back and watched the tape, and that he was an ‘ignorant fool’ in his past Haskins analysis pic.twitter.com/AVkIoRocz9
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) April 19, 2019
All’s well that ends well, and at least Smith didn’t land in the top spot.
Drum roll, please.
Sometimes a quarterback takes a surprising tumble down draft boards. But does anybody believe the scenario Aaron Taylor of CBS lays out could come to fruition? Anybody?
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) April 16, 2019
Essentially, Taylor says Murray is a fit for the Cardinals and absolutely nobody else. This, despite tons of evidence to the contrary. For one, the Raiders — owners of the No. 4 pick — have been transparently infatuated with Murray.
“Someone in Indianapolis told me Jon Gruden is the worst poker player in the NFL. He and Mike Mayock can talk all they want about Derek Carr … but I’ll tell you Jon Gruden is very interested in Kyler Murray.” – Peter King on @dpshow
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) March 4, 2019
Jay Glazer of The Athletic also said there’s a healthy market of teams expected to be on the hunt for a trade if the Cardinals don’t swipe Murray right away:
“I see an absolute feeding frenzy from teams looking to trade all the way up for Murray. I just don’t see him dropping past that. But man, if the Cards don’t take him, that No. 2 slot that the 49ers own would probably be the most sought-after slot in a long time.”
The market for Murray at the top of the draft order is hot enough that the quarterback didn’t take a scheduled visit with Washington, owners of the No. 15 pick.
Murray falling out of the first round wouldn’t just be a surprise, it’d be maybe the wildest turn of events in NFL Draft history. The likelier reality is that Aaron Taylor just had a really silly take.
FULL MUELLER REPORT. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler subpoenas Justice Department for unredacted Mueller Report. Must hand over by May 1. Subpoena HERE.
ERIK PRINCE. House Dems would like to see him again, given the lies exposed in the Mueller Report: “Erik Prince was the founder of Blackwater, he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos. He’s somebody who’s very much connected to Trump World,” Blake said. “There’ve been questions previously about whether he misled Congress in his testimony about his meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker.”
RUNNING. Joe Biden to announce next week. ‘Discussions among his core group of advisers about the exact timing of his announcement and subsequent campaign events are ongoing and subject to change, multiple officials said. Those discussions were set into motion earlier this month, as Biden himself publicly acknowledged a decision was all but a formality.’
MEDELLIN. Madonna and Maluma to perform at Billboard Music Awards. ‘Today (April 19), Billboard confirmed Madonna and Maluma signed on to perform their slinky new duet at the Kelly Clarkson-hosted awards show on May 1. The duo has what should be a serious hit on their hands with the slinky opus. Since dropping Wednesday it’s amassed more than 5 million streams between YouTube and Spotify. The track will get a boost next week with the release of the accompanying music video.’
MARIJUANA. Support for legalization hits new high: “Sixty-five percent of Americans now think marijuana should be legal — a record high in CBS News polling. Most view marijuana as less harmful than alcohol and believe it is less dangerous than other drugs. Many opponents of legalization, however, think it leads to a rise in crime and most favor the federal government taking action to stop the sale of pot in states where it is currently legal.”
AFTERLIFE. Luke Perry buried in a mushroom suit.
RICHARD GREEN. Psychiatrist who argued that being gay is not a disorder dies at 82: ‘Green died of esophageal cancer April 6 at his home in London, his son, Adam Hines-Green, told The New York Times. In 1972, early in his career, Green wrote an article in The International Journal of Psychiatry taking issue with “the premise that homosexuality is a disease or a homosexual is inferior.” The following year, the American Psychiatric Association dropped homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.’
ON THE RAG. This week on the gay magazines.
ART AFTER STONEWALL. How gay liberation changed the art world: ‘In a new exhibition, Art After Stonewall: 1969-1989, the reverberations of Stonewall and a growing openly queer art community are explored in depth. The exhibition opens on April 24 at the Grey Art Gallery and the Leslie Lohman Museum in New York, then travels to the Columbus Museum of Art. Simultaneously, Rizzoli has published a book of the same name with contributions from writers, curators, and artists.
TEASER OF THE DAY. Toy Story 4.
NEW TUNE OF THE DAY. Carly Rae Jepsen “Julien”.
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY. Kygo and Rita Ora “Carry On”.
MUSIC VIDEO 2 OF THE DAY. Lil Dicky “Earth” featuring Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Zac Brown, Brendon Urie, Hailee Steinfeld, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart, Adam Levine, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, SIA, Miley Cyrus, Lil Jon, Rita Ora, Miguel, Katy Perry, Lil Yachty, Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor, Joel Embiid, Tory Lanez, John Legend, Backstreet Boys, Bad Bunny, Psy, Kris Wu.
FRIDAY FLASH. Edwin.
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This week, retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz also answers questions about the 2019 TNF schedule and Dwayne Haskins’ draft stock,
The mailbag is here for the week. We’re now less than a week away from the 2019 NFL Draft, and I’m so pumped. The mailbag will most likely be off next week as I’ll be writing draft recap columns, so be on the lookout for those!
This week, we’re going talk about a couple draft prospects, as well as the new and improved Thursday Night Football schedule.
Football elements aside, where would be the most hilarious place for Nick Bosa to end up that doesn’t fit his political views? Seattle? — @joe_229
The Bosa topic is an interesting one. First off, no one in the locker room cares about Bosa’s tweets. They care about winning. Can Bosa help you win? Yes. That’s what matters.
Also, there are plenty of players in the locker room who support Donald Trump and share the same political values as Bosa. And guess what, we all get along. It’s not social media, where everyone is angry all the time.
In 2016, heading into the election, a Lions teammate and I had discussions every single day about Clinton vs. Trump. We argued, we counter argued, and we got heated at times. But we were still friends. That’s the way most people discuss politics.
As far as the tweets go, if I were Bosa, I’d have deleted them but not admitted to that publicly. It’s caused way more of a media firestorm for announcing the tweets have been deleted. Why delete them if Bosa still believes in the things he tweeted? Because of this: social media outrage. It will never go away.
Remember now, people can have beliefs that change over time. Kids tweet what they know, what their parents believe, what they hear at home or on the news, and what might seem cool at the time. Someone who tweeted something inappropriate at 17, 18, or maybe even 20 years old, can change as they get older, just like all of us.
I’ve never been outraged at tweets. I get outraged at actions.
The NFL has put an emphasis on making Thursday night games better with premier matchups. What are your thoughts on this year’s TNF schedule? — @writingdavid
Yes, the NFL has tried to make the Thursday Night Football and the Monday Night Football matchups “better” so people tune in. This season, I think they’ve done a good job of that.
The league has more Thursday night matchups between division opponents for a couple of reasons. First, the travel is typically shorter in division and that’s helpful for the away team on a short week. Secondly, you’re playing an opponent you know very well and gameplanning should be easier on a short week. It makes sense.
So we get heavyweight matchups like Falcons vs. Saints on Thanksgiving night, which could be an important contest for the division. The same with the Steelers vs Browns in Week 11 on TNF. First Energy Stadium will be lit, as the young kids say, for that matchup.
I think the slate this season is outstanding.
Hi Geoff. I, very foolishly, said that I would eat a reasonable portion of my hat if Dwayne Haskins drops below 10. How likely am I to eat my hat on the opening day of the draft? — @wizardamphibian
Hope you have an empty stomach on draft day because it’s going to get filled with your hat.
It seems like Haskins as fallen quickly in the last few weeks. It seems very clear the media liked Haskins much more than NFL teams did. Haskins had a fantastic season at Ohio State and produced on the biggest stages, like against Michigan and Washington to end the season. He seems like a wonderful person, and he’s intelligent and well-liked. He’s got the prototypical QB body and can sling it.
However, scouts and front office personnel worry about a few things. One, his footwork can be shoddy in the pocket. His feet aren’t set as he throws and he doesn’t step into throws at times. Also, he seems lost in the pocket if the ball isn’t on time.
There’s not a great track record of NFL success for quarterbacks who have only been a one-year starter in college. Haskins has the physical tools but needs to continue to learn coverages and not be baited into bad throws. This is why he’s dropping and I think out of the top 10. Drew Lock and maybe even Daniel Jones will go ahead of him.
Still, I think Haskins can be an outstanding NFL QB, even if he’s not drafted “high.”
The organization could still be doing more to make transfer rules fair to players.
The NCAA announced a handful of good decisions about transfer rules on Friday, which should prevent college sports from becoming even less fair than they are now to the athletes who populate them.
That’s not to give out too much credit. One of the best decisions was simply not to make a rule change that would’ve taken the NCAA in the wrong direction. The others were highly limited moves toward the good, by the same organization that’s warped the whole system.
But baby steps are still steps, so let’s run through them.
Most athletes who transfer need to sit out a season upon arrival at their new school. Though the NCAA’s granted more and more waivers lately for other players, the biggest exception is for grad students who already earned a degree. The NCAA had been batting around a rule change that could have dramatically reduced grad transfer opportunities.
Under that proposal — which would’ve only applied to football and basketball — if a grad transfer didn’t complete a degree within two years, their school would have to burn a scholarship slot on that player for two years. The idea was to encourage schools to make sure players are taking academics seriously. Most grad transfers only spend a year at their next school, so devoting two years of a scholarship spot would hurt — likely more in basketball, with its 13 scholarship slots per year in Division I than in football, with its 85.
Anyway, the NCAA’s DI Council voted that idea down. That’s for the best. It’s fine and good to push schools and players to care about academic performance, but this proposal, like so many NCAA rules, would have punished future players for things they didn’t do — in this case, for someone else not completing a degree. It also would’ve hurt football walk-ons, who often get rewarded with the final few scholarship spots once fall camp comes around.
Such a rule change would’ve cut into a grad transfer rule that, by its nature, encourages players to get their degrees and attain the freedom to transfer without sitting. It would have limited player agency while sending mixed messages, at best, on academics.
If an incoming player has enrolled in summer school, and then that player’s head coach leaves the school before the start of the fall term, the player can transfer freely.
Most coaches aren’t moving around in the summer, with most sports out of season, but there are a few late surprises every year. And under this new rule, if, for instance, Ole Miss’ head football coach got ousted in July after phone records tied him to an escort service, then every incoming freshman would be allowed to go elsewhere and play.
The NCAA’s initial press release on the matter suggested that all players on the roster would get this privilege if the coach left in summer. It’s not clear why they shouldn’t, given that those players likely agreed to play for the same head coach an incoming freshman did.
A rule like this could have let Baker Mayfield play immediately at Oklahoma in 2014, after he transferred from Texas Tech and said the Red Raiders hadn’t offered him a scholarship.
It’s not clear how many walk-ons have transfer opportunities in front of them at any given time, but this, too, seems like the right move. Why should a player who’s not on scholarship be required to sit out if they get an offer from a team that would pay for their school?
In 2018, the NCAA axed a rule that required players to get permission from their schools before other programs could contact them about transfers. That only went so far, because many conferences still have restrictive rules on the books, but it was a start.
At the same time, the NCAA set up its now-famed TRANSFER PORTAL (which is sadly not a magical transportation device) to provide infrastructure for prospective transfers to get in touch with other schools.
But it’s worth remembering that a) transfers aren’t some kind of big epidemic, and b) unpaid players are still held to stingier movement rules than the coaches who make millions of dollars to lead them.