NFL mock drafts didn’t completely suck this year. Surprise!

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Only a few picks were really surprising, but none came completely out of nowhere.

Most mock drafts got a majority of the picks wrong in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That was to be expected and will probably always be the case when it comes to forecasting the NFL Draft.

The highest-graded mock draft of the year — as scored by Huddle Report — was via NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig, who correctly matched 11 players to the right team. That’s right, the best mock draft got 21 of the picks wrong. It just comes with the territory.

But compared to most years, 2019 was a pretty strong year for draft prognosticators.

Huddle Report awards two points for matching a player to the right team and one point for predicting a player will get picked in the first round. Last year, the average score was 34.5 and Rotoworld’s Evan Silva was the only who had a score over 43. This year, the average jumped to 38.2, and there were seven mock drafts that scored at least 46.

It helped that the top of the draft was much easier to project than last year. But there also weren’t many picks that were that unanticipated. Here’s where mock drafts did well this year, and where the predictions were hardest to make:

Where mock drafts nailed it

Four of the first five picks weren’t hard to predict

Over three-fourths of the 71 surveyed in the SB Nation Mock Draft Database had Kyler Murray to the Cardinals (92%), Nick Bosa to the 49ers (95%), and Devin White to the Buccaneers (76%). Only one other pairing — Jawaan Taylor to the Jaguars (52%) — even topped the 50 percent mark.

Still, most mock drafts thought the Jets would probably go with Quinnen Williams at No. 3 overall. At No. 4, the Raiders were projected to take one of the remaining prospects of the Williams, Josh Allen, and Ed Oliver trio:


While the Raiders’ selection of Clelin Ferrell came a bit out of left field, there were plenty of mock drafts that correctly predicted the other picks in the top five.

Mock drafts got the quarterbacks in the right spots

Daniel Jones to the Giants at No. 6 overall was one of the shockers of the entire weekend. He was a consistently underwhelming quarterback at Duke, and the attempts by Giants general manager Dave Gettleman to rationalize the selection have only made things look worse.

It was also a bit of a surprise that Washington sat tight to pick Dwayne Haskins in the middle of the first round. There was chatter in the days just before the draft that the team was prepping for a trade as high as No. 3 overall to get a quarterback. Instead, Washington waited and got excellent value when Haskins fell to No. 15.

Drew Lock to the Broncos is a match that’s made sense for over a year. But few expected the Missouri quarterback to be available in the middle of the second round. Oddsmakers set the over/under for his draft position at pick 10.5, with the under as a slight favorite. The result went way over when Lock went to Denver at No. 42 overall.

The circumstances for all three picks could be considered surprising. But mock drafts did well to predict which team would draft each one. Haskins was the favored match for Washington, whether it was before or after a trade, Jones was the favorite for the Giants at No. 17, and Lock was the favorite for the Broncos at No. 10.

Combine that with the overwhelming consensus that the Cardinals would take Kyler Murray, and you could say experts were 4-for-4 on projecting where the top quarterbacks would wind up — even if they didn’t always come off the board when they were supposed to.

6 other teams took the player most expected them to take

After the top five picks, there weren’t many more obvious player-team matches. The highest percentage pairing was Taylor to the Jaguars at No. 7 overall.


Instead, the Jaguars took Josh Allen, who was projected to be off the board in the first top six picks. But Jacksonville still snagged Taylor when he slipped into the second round.

There were five other picks that mock drafts got right: T.J. Hockenson to the Lions, Christian Wilkins to the Dolphins, Garrett Bradbury to the Vikings, Marquise Brown to the Ravens, and Josh Jacobs to the Raiders.

The last of those picks, Jacobs, was the favorite for the Raiders at both No. 24 and 27 overall.


Altogether, that’s a lot of accurate predictions.

Where mock drafts were way off

Clelin Ferrell was a huge curveball

In the 71 mocks surveyed, the highest Ferrell landed was at No. 9 overall to the Bills in Cam Inman’s mock draft for the Bay Area News Group.

Mel Kiper of ESPN had Ferrell going to the Patriots with the very last selection of the first round, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News didn’t have Ferrell in the first round at all. Nobody expected Ferrell to go as early as he did, so there were a lot of reactions like this when his name was called:

Earlier in the draft process, there were a few who thought Ferrell would go early. About a week after the Super Bowl, NFL Network’s Maurice Jones-Drew even nailed a Ferrell-to-the-Raiders prediction. But as the draft got closer, Ferrell settled in as a mid-first round prospect in most mocks.

The Falcons’ offensive line spree was unpredictable

Atlanta had a top-10 offense during the 2018 season, but finished No. 25 in points allowed and No. 28 in yards allowed. After signing guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter in free agency, it seemed obvious that the Falcons would focus on defense with the No. 14 pick in the first round.


Instead, the team picked Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom and then doubled down by trading back into the first round to take Washington tackle Kaleb McGary.

It wasn’t just surprising that Atlanta invested so much in the offensive line. It’s also surprising that those are the two players the Falcons chose to draft.

Lindstrom didn’t appear in the top 15 picks in any of the 71 mock drafts surveyed, and McGary was only a first-round pick in four of them. When Lindstrom was picked, new Bengals tackle Jonah Williams was the only offensive lineman off the board. When McGary was picked, offensive tackles Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little, and Cody Ford were all available.

The odd decision of taking both players as high as they did — along with the fact that a need at defensive tackle was ignored — earned the Falcons a C+ in Dan Kadar’s draft grades.

The Packers, Texans, and Seahawks took sleeper prospects

In 2018, there were two first-rounders who didn’t appear in a single mock draft that we surveyed. The first was Rashaad Penny to the Seahawks and the second was Terrell Edmunds to the Steelers.

That didn’t happen at all in 2019, but there were four players who were unexpected additions to the first round. One was the aforementioned McGary to the Falcons. The others were Packers safety Darnell Savage, Texans tackle Tytus Howard, and Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier.

Savage made a late surge into mock drafts, but still only appeared in 12 and never any higher than No. 25 overall, four spots below where he went. Howard was only in two mocks, although Manish Mehta correctly predicted it would be the Texans who took the small school offensive tackle. Collier was also only in two mock drafts, but was a fringe first-rounder in Todd McShay’s earlier mock drafts for ESPN.

The 2019 NFL Draft had its fair share of surprises, but if you kept up to date on mock drafts, nothing truly came completely out of the blue.


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The Bob Emergency, Part I

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This is a study of athletes named Bob, made by a non-athlete named Jon

More than 10,000 people named Bob have entered the world of sports. Today, there are only nine. Bobs are special people, and in losing them to retirement, we stand to lose more than we might imagine.

In part one of The Bob Emergency, Jon Bois looks at their rise within the world of sports and highlights some of his favorite Bobs. This isn’t a list of “the essential Bobs,” because there is no one qualified to make such a thing. Instead, this is an attempt to celebrate Bobs and their contributions to sports.

Bob Cousy and his help revolutionizing basketball.

Bob Armstrong’s work breaking down the color barrier in boxing, along with Bob Fitzsimmons.

And one of the most legendary Bobs of all time – athlete or not – Bob Gibson.

Each Bob has left a mark on the world but is part of a fraternity that is slowly dying out. Welcome to the Bob Emergency.


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Noah Centineo, Sonic, Mayor Pete, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Stacey Abrams, Erik Prince, Al Sharpton, Paul Rudd: HOT LINKS

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VENEZUELA. Coup underway. Live updates from CNN…live updates from The Guardian

POLLS. Biden up 24 points over Bernie in CNN poll: “…and roughly 30 points ahead of the next strongest candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (8%). Warren ranks about evenly with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (7%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (6%) and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (5%), who round out the list of those earning 5% or more in the poll.”

CLIMATE CHANGE. Beto O’Rourke releases $5 trillion proposal. “The plan, which calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, would recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement and restore Obama-era power plant regulations and fuel standards, two points that every Democratic presidential candidate supports.”

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Biden features gay couple in new ad (at 2:55).

MY DAYS OF MERCY. Kate Mara and Ellen Page hit it off in new drama.

STACEY ABRAMS. Georgia Democrat says she’s not running for Senate but leaves door open to presidential race. “I’ve been deeply honored by so many fellow Georgians asking me to serve. But my responsibility is not simply to run because the job is available. I need to run because I want to do the job.”

NEW HIRE. Trump campaign hires Donald Jr’s girlfriend and former FOX News host Kimberly Guilfoyle as senior adviser. ‘Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. were recently spotted searching for a mansion in the Hamptons — complete with a gun room for Don’s cherished firearms.’

JERSEY SHORE. Vinny Guadagnino strips down for Chippendales.

PAYMENT PLAN. Trump wants to charge migrants fleeing violence a fee to seek asylum in the U.S.: ‘The memorandum does not describe how courts are to speed up hearing asylum applications to meet the tight time limit demanded, with courts facing a backlog of 800,000 pending immigration cases. The measure is likely to face legal opposition from refugee rights groups, with the US a signatory to the 1951 UN conventionguaranteeing refugees “free access to courts of law” in territory where they seek to claim asylum.’

ERIK PRINCE. House Intelligence Committee to make criminal referral of Blackwater billionaire and brother of Betsy DeVos. “The evidence is so weighty that the Justice Department needs to consider this.”

TAXES. Mayor Pete releases 10 years.

IN HARLEM. Buttigieg meets with Al Sharpton: “I thought he was very much authentic,” civil rights leader and MSNBC host Sharpton told reporters. “He seemed firm in who he was and what he represented.”

AN AHA MOMENT. Mayor Pete’s transformation from data geek to leader with heart. “NBC News interviewed Buttigieg and more than 40 South Bend politicians, activists, law enforcement officials, real estate developers, voters, businessmen, clergy, community leaders and academics to better understand the evolution of the candidate who has shaken up the presidential race unlike any other.”

MAYOR PETE’S FOUNDATION: Gay donors.

CHASTEN. Mayor Pete’s secret weapon? ‘No other Democratic contender has seen their partner or spouse play such a visible part in the campaign … But strategists say that having Chasten Buttigieg play such a big role brings youth and authenticity to his husband’s campaign, providing an advantage in a Democratic party where some are hungering for a fresh alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the two septuagenarians currently leading in the Democratic primary polls.’

SETH ROGEN. “I smoke weed all day every day of my life.”

MULTILINGUAL. Chris Evans says he can speak fluent bro, but he’s not one.

SLOW DANCE OF THE DAY. Noah Centineo and Jimmy Fallon.

NEW TUNE OF THE DAY. Morrissey “Morning Starship”.

TRAILER OF THE DAY. Sonic the Hedgehog.

FAN QUESTIONS OF THE DAY. Game of Thrones.

INAPPROPRIATE KIDS DUO OF THE DAY. James Corden and Paul Rudd.

TWO FOR TUESDAY. Andreas and friend.

The post Noah Centineo, Sonic, Mayor Pete, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Stacey Abrams, Erik Prince, Al Sharpton, Paul Rudd: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Oprah’s Name for Mayor Pete: ‘Buttabeep, Buttaboop’

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In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah Winfrey revealed that she’s “studying the field” of 2020 Democratic candidates.

Said Oprah: ‘I’m reading Shortest Way Home by [Pete Buttigieg], I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop. (Laughs.) The name’s either going to really hurt or [really help] — I think it’s going to help, actually. Just the other day, I was at Apple with Spielberg and we were in the hallway talking about, (employing a dramatic voice) “What are we going to do?” And I said, “Have you heard of this Butta guy?” He goes, “No, Butta-who?” I go, “Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.”‘

She added: ‘I like saying “Butta.” (Laughs.) So I’m reading about him. I have Kamala’s book. I just got the Vanity Fair piece on Beto [O’Rourke]. I’d done some research background stuff on him before. I already know Cory [Booker]. So I’m quietly figuring out where I’m going to use my voice in support.’

Buttigieg said he doesn’t care what she calls him, as long as she calls him, CNN reports: ‘”In the car on the way over, somebody just said that Oprah mentioned me, which is arguably a bigger deal than coming in second in a poll,” Buttigieg said.’

The post Oprah’s Name for Mayor Pete: ‘Buttabeep, Buttaboop’ appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Just 16 Minutes of Sleep Loss Can Harm Work Concentration The Next Day

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Have you had a less-than-stellar performance review lately? Do you daydream, or are you making bad decisions?

It might not be about your job but about your sleep. And it’s not all your fault.

We each study different aspects of health and aging. A recent study we conducted found that poor sleep may inhibit judgment and lead to off-task and distracting thoughts at work. Making sleep a priority can improve cognitive performance at work.

Less sleep, less concentration

Using eight-day diary data from a sample of 130 middle-aged workers in a U.S. IT firm, we found that a previous night’s sleep characteristics predicted next-day “cognitive interference,” or the experience of off-task and distracting thoughts.

To measure this, we used a 5-point frequency (0=never to 4=very often) and averaged responses on nine items that measure the experience of off-task and distracting thoughts than usual. For example, one of the questions was “How often did you have thoughts that kept jumping into your head today?”

On days following shorter and poorer quality sleep than usual, workers reported more cognitive interference. Across the participants, sleeping just 16 minutes less than usual was associated with one additional point on the cognitive interference scale the next day.

The participants also reported that after experiencing more cognitive interference on a particular day, they would go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than usual due to fatigue.

The link between previous night’s sleep and next-day cognitive interference was more apparent on workdays, less on non-workdays. Perhaps participants have more opportunities for cognitive interference and less opportunities for sleep during workdays. The results suggest that putting a larger emphasis on optimizing sleep health will result in more effective work performance.

From this study’s results, we deduce that shortened sleep may reduce work productivity. Previous lab-based experimental studies have shown that sleep deprivation, such as restricting sleep duration to four or five hours has negative effects on performance in cognitive tests.

However, there has been a lack of observational studies examining the relationship between sleep and cognitive functioning in participants’ own daily lives. Our study adds empirical evidence that poorer sleep the night before work will result in slower mental activity, delayed decision-making and potentially an increase in mistakes.

Less sleep, more stress

In previous collaborative work, I (Soomi Lee) also found that poor sleep can lead to experiencing more stressors and conflict the following day. On days following shorter and poorer quality sleep than usual, participants reported higher work-to-family conflict than usual. And on days following shorter sleep and lower quality sleep than usual, participants reported less time for themselves to exercise, and also less time for their children.

Data for both studies are from a larger study called the Work, Family & Health Study, which was designed to examine multi-site companies within the information technology and the nursing home sectors.

The two studies used a sample of IT workers, which represents a higher-income, professional-level workforce. Workers in this occupational sector tend to work long hours and experience a permeable boundary between work and personal life. Overtime work, frequent phone calls after work hours, late work-related emails, and early bird meetings, such as 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. meetings, may disrupt workers’ sleep.

The findings show that workers’ sleep can impact job performance in multiple ways, including decision making and intrusive thoughts. Sleep complaints are prevalent in the adult population, especially among workers. About 40 percent of U.S. workers report insomnia symptoms. These symptoms can impair middle-aged workers’ daily functioning in multiple ways. Thus, paying attention to sleep health appears important even for successful working life.

Along the same lines, employers also need to make efforts to promote or at least not systematically disrupt their employees’ sleep; good sleep may promote work productivity and make a less stressful workplace.

Some sleep tips

To prioritize sleep, individuals and organizations need to act. Organizations could create and support a culture that minimizes any sleep-disruptive activities from work, such as work-related phone calls during non-work hours, any sense of obligation to respond to after hours emails, and early bird meetings.

Individual employees could also establish good sleep routines and follow them every day. For example, they need to shut off phones and ignore emails after a certain hour, after 9 p.m. for example, in order to turn on a relaxed mode before bedtime and get at least seven hours of sleep.

Regular exercise can also be beneficial to have good quality sleep. A challenge is that most workers feel they have too much to do and no time for sleep and exercise. However, they need to cut off the vicious cycle between poor sleep and poor performance. When sleep is stolen on a day-to-day basis, there will be a high cost to pay in terms of health in later life, and perhaps productivity tomorrow.

Soomi Lee, Assistant Professor of Aging Studies, University of South Florida; David M. Almeida, Professor of Human Development, Pennsylvania State University; Orfeu M. Buxton, Professor of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, and Ross Andel, Director of School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post Just 16 Minutes of Sleep Loss Can Harm Work Concentration The Next Day appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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4 NFL teams that deserve the most praise for their 2019 draft class

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Retired offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz thought these teams deserve the most praise for their draft class.

The 2019 NFL Draft weekend has come and gone, with so many teams improving with their newly acquired talent, which of course is the goal of the three-day event. Instead of naming winners and losers of the entire draft, or even handing out grades, I’m going to do something slightly different.

Here are the teams I thought drafted extremely well and did the best to address their needs.

Buffalo Bills

Even though I’ve been hard on Josh Allen after a subpar rookie season, that doesn’t cloud my thoughts about Buffalo. I can recognize when a franchise has put together a good offseason, which the Bills have.

Earlier this offseason, I praised their free agent signings, all of which addressed putting weapons and protection around Allen. They entered the draft with the same purpose: Get more pieces to help Allen succeed.

After they selected Ed Oliver — who they absolutely couldn’t pass up — at No. 9, the Bills drafted Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford. He’s a long-term solution at either tackle spot, or possibly guard. He’s physical and loves to finish. We saw last year how one player like this, Colts guard Quenton Nelson, can change the attitude of an entire offensive line.

The Bills also added speedy running back/slot receiver Devin Singletary from Florida Atlantic and multi-purpose tight end Dawson Knox. Knox averaged 18.9 yards per catch and can be a downfield threat for Allen, as well as excellent blocker in the run game.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles entered the draft with just a few holes and while they didn’t address linebacker (no one was available later in the first round), they did build around Carson Wentz. That’s not a bad thing.

Left tackle Jason Peters is back for 2019 in what will most likely be his final NFL season. Lane Johnson is firmly at right tackle and won’t be moved to left. Enter Andre Dillard from Washington State. Dillard was the best pass-blocking tackle in the draft, with a need to improve in the run game. The Eagles are a perfect fit for Dillard because they have outstanding offensive line coaches who will get the most from him. Dillard, while getting stronger and learning the finer points of run blocking, can sit behind Peters until the veteran retires.

The Eagles also drafted Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, a big-bodied 50-50 ball catcher. Arcega-Whiteside is a former all-state high school basketball player and it’s clear watching him on the field. He’s excellent at boxing out corners and high-point catching balls, especially in the red zone.

The reason I love this pick is what it can do for the offense. If teams want to double Zach Ertz, Arcega-Whiteside will be singled up. He will win those matchups with most corners in the NFL. If you want to see more of Arcega-Whiteside, here’s a decent highlight video.

Arizona Cardinals

I rightfully have bashed Arizona’s handling of Josh Rosen, but make no mistake, the Cardinals did work in the draft. They drafted the best quarterback in this class and then began to load up on players around him.

With the pick acquired in the Rosen trade, the Cardinals draft wide receiver Andy Isabella from UMass. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the highest-graded college WR in their database, which only dates back to 2014. Nonetheless, Isabella can fly and Kyler Murray can let it loose in his direction. The Cardinals also took Hakeem Butler, a big WR out of Iowa State, who can be another down-the-field weapon for Murray.

On the defensive side, the Cardinals added the most complete corner in the draft, Byron Murphy, with the first pick of the second day. Murphy is a shutdown corner who can tackle extremely well and will be awesome across from Patrick Peterson. Then there’s fifth-round Alabama safety Deionte Thompson, who is a hard-hitting box player.

What’s best about these picks, and most of the Cardinals’ picks, is the value. They got these players in positions of value, often close to a round later than expected.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints had one glaring hole on their team. That was center, following the retirement of Max Unger. The Saints drafted Erik McCoy in the second round, as they didn’t have a first-round pick. McCoy is an immediate starter for them. He’s highly intelligent and an instinctual player who can handle any style of run play, which is exactly what the Saints do. They are extremely multiple in the run game.

But most importantly, he will quickly earn the trust of Drew Brees. Brees can look at McCoy to lead this unit and get them heading in the right direction before the snap.


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Tactically Naive: The Premier League mid-table is risen!

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The Premier League mid-table is tormenting the teams vying for the last two Champions League spots, which is a nice distraction from Liverpool and City’s unimpeded runs.

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Tactically Naive, SB Nation’s weekly soccer-football column. We’re a day late this week, but that’s OK. You were thinking about Game of Thrones anyway.

The “race” for Europe

Some extremely surprising news from the Premier League this weekend: Liverpool won! And then — you’ll never guess, not in a million years — Manchester City only went and did the same!

So it’s as you were in the title race: the team that never looks like dropping another point is just ahead of the other team that never looks like dropping another point. Hyped for next week.

In truth, this is a little unfair to the World’s Noisiest League. Ignoring the S-tier for the moment, it was actually an exceptional round of fixtures for silly things happening to big teams. Everybody else in the top six dropped points, as the race for the other two Champions League places heated down.

On Saturday, West Ham became the first visiting team to win at the Please Contact Daniel Levy For Sponsorship Opportunities Stadium, a result that looked quite worrying for Spurs until United and Chelsea fought each other and themselves to a draw, and Leicester stuck three past Arsenal. Nobody wants to finish in the Europa League places, you’d think. But apparently nobody wants to finish anywhere else, either.

It’s like watching Sideshow Bob and the rakes, except every rake is another Sideshow Bob, and they crash into each others faces and go “uuuuhhhhh”. And then both fall over, and wait for a third Sideshow Bob to come and step on them, and then a fourth, until the entire screen is just Sideshow Bob standing on Sideshow Bob, groaning, repeating, around and around, and … ahem. That kind of got out of hand. You take the point though.

Two things are happening here. The first is that all the teams in 3rd through 6th are, on some level, having a bit of an odd time. Even Spurs, with their Champions League semi-final and their shiny new stadium, are scuttering along nervously, hoping that nobody notices the yawning hole where their midfield should be.

Meanwhile Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United are each having a different flavour of identity crisis. Chelsea aren’t finding Sarriball as fun or as good as was promised, while Arsenal are discovering that The Who might have had a point: “Meet the new boss … oh god, the football’s weird like with the old boss, but we don’t have years of respect and affection to fall back on. Boris the Spider.”

Manchester United’s identity crisis has been sparked by a complete absence of identity, which is a good trick if you can manage it. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s doing his best, of course, but at some point he’s going to realise that the club of Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane is now the club of Ed Woodward and Yanmar Tractors, and his heart will break, and his little face will crumple, and a single solitary tear will roll down his adorable face …

… and then, next season, his broken spirit reforged in the flames of vengeance, he and his team of iron and blood will lay waste to the league. And he will take the trophy in his hands, and snap it over his knee, before walking out of the world forever.

Maybe.

Anyway, the other thing, which is arguably more important than the conniptions of the indolent rich, is that the Premier League has a proper mid-table again. And that does more for the spectacle than any number of recursive Simpsons jokes.

Within that mid-table, Wolves, Leicester, Everton, Watford, and West Ham have been doing excellent work to keep those above them honest. Wolves have been the pick, beating all four Sideshow Bobs over the course of the season, as well as knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup in rousing style. Turns out that Gestifute know how to pick a footballer.

The rest haven’t been quite as sexy, but they have done their parts as well. Watford have beaten Spurs, West Ham have trounced Manchester United, Everton have turned over Chelsea, and practically everybody’s had a dig at Arsenal. That loss to Leicester was their fourth in five league games, all against residents of the mid-table. And they could easily have lost against ten-man Watford as well.

It’s probably worth taking a moment to acknowledge Everton in their own right: darling, broken, strange, inexplicable Everton. Almost always there, always never quite there. Is there another team in English football that could make such a nonsensical sandwich as beating Arsenal, then losing to Fulham, then thrashing Manchester United? And make it seem so natural, and almost inevitable? There is not, for that is what Everton are for. A danger to everybody, most of all themselves.

This is all tremendous, obviously. A strong and dangerous mid-table matched with a handful of interestingly imperfect strong teams keeps the whole league fizzing along nicely. It gives us set-piece games outside the internal battles of the big six or the relegation scrap, and it means that there are questions every weekend. Questions to which we don’t already know the answers.

It is, in fact, exactly how a football league should function, and exactly how the Premier League has always pretended to function. Anyone can beat anyone, so the boast goes, and while tiers are inevitable, each should be able to inconvenience the next.

So if we pretend that this is an 18-team league with a four-way title race that the mid-table keeps rudely interfering with, then we’re almost there. Just a shame about the two invulnerable supergods hovering above it. Ah well. Bring on the European Super-League, send them on their way, and embrace the chaos.


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Fake Sexual Assault Accuser Spills Details on Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman’s Scheme to Smear Pete Buttigieg

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Hunter Kelly / Twitter

Hunter Kelly, the young Michigan college student enlisted by right-wing troll operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman to smear presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg with sexual assault allegations spilled details of the scheme which fell apart after Kelly had second thoughts about taking part.

Wohl and Burkman booked Kelly a flight to Burkman’s home in Baltimore, where they gave him details of the plan, the Daily Beast reports. The plan included a press conference where Kelly would say Buttigieg sexually assaulted him in D.C. though Kelly had never set foot there. Wohl, who created the Twitter and Medium accounts in Kelly’s name and posted to them without his input or permission, also promised to buy him “any house I wanted” for going through with the plan.

Jacob Wohl / Pete Buttigieg

Kelly called family to come pick him up and described packing his things before going downstairs and telling the men “I could not do this because that is not the type of person I am.”

Said Kelly: “Jack Burkman may have promised me a lavish lifestyle, but at a price that would cost me the two most important things to me: honesty and integrity. Had I gone forward with this despicable scheme they concocted, I would have lost both of those things and became another one of their useless pawns.”

The post Fake Sexual Assault Accuser Spills Details on Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman’s Scheme to Smear Pete Buttigieg appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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The A+ move each team made in the NFL Draft

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All 32 teams made at least one smart draft decision this year.

The grades may imply otherwise, but every team made at least one good move in the 2019 NFL Draft. Some of them are straightforward like taking a great player in the first round. Some of them are more complicated.

In an effort to hand out at least one A+ per team, here is the best move by each one in this year’s draft:

Arizona Cardinals

Giving Kyler Murray the targets he needs. Committing to Murray would have been a really bad idea if Arizona didn’t give him receivers to work with besides 35-year-old Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk going into his second year. The Cardinals not only added three wide receivers, they added ones — most notably, Hakeem Butler and Andy Isabella — who perfectly fit the offense they’ll run.

Atlanta Falcons

Sticking to a plan. Everyone said the Falcons should have taken a defensive tackle early in the draft. Instead, they took two offensive linemen in Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. Why? Because Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times last season. The value of both players can be argued. The reasoning less so.

Baltimore Ravens

Continuing to zag while everyone else zigs. It seems like a lot of teams are trying to catch up to what the Rams are doing in the passing game. The Ravens, however, are devoted to athletic quarterback Lamar Jackson and the run game. And what stops teams from loading up the box to stop the run? Speedy receivers who can get deep like first-pick Marquise Brown and third-round pick Miles Boykin.

Buffalo Bills

Finding the perfect match. It’s easy to point at a team’s first-round pick as its best draft choice, but that’s the case for Buffalo. In second-year defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, the Bills have someone who can play the nose and clog things up. Ed Oliver, taken at No. 9, is the ideal pairing next to him as a penetrating three-technique.

Carolina Panthers

Insurance for Cam Newton. You can argue the value of a quarterback with the No. 100 pick when you have a 29-year-old franchise quarterback like Cam Newton. But with him coming off a shoulder injury, the Panthers needed a quality backup and got one in Will Grier. And no, he’s not there to take Newton’s job.

Chicago Bears

Finding UDFA roster talent. After having no picks in the first two rounds, and just five picks overall, the Bears got to work after the draft. Undrafted signings like wide receiver Emanuel Hall and tight end Dax Raymond should seriously push for a roster spot.

Cincinnati Bengals

Getting Geno Atkins a running mate. The veteran defensive tackle has been Cincinnati’s best player for almost his entire career. But he can sometimes be neutralized by double teams. Getting Renell Wren in the fourth round gives the Bengals a good young defensive tackle who can play next to Atkins.

Cleveland Browns

Not trading a 2020 first-round pick. It could have been easy for the Browns to trade a 2020 first-round pick to get into Round 1 of the draft this year. Instead, they waited and landed cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round. Don’t forget, he was connected to Cleveland in the first round before the Browns traded their pick as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.

Dallas Cowboys

Depth along the offensive line. The Cowboys seem to be at their best when the offensive line is playing at a high level. But when some injuries popped up last season, the line struggled. Taking Connor McGovern in the third round gives Dallas an insurance policy on the interior of their offensive line.

Denver Broncos

Waiting on Drew Lock. John Elway and the Broncos could have taken quarterback Drew Lock in the first round and it would have surprised no one. Instead, the team waited until the 42nd overall pick. This is the smart play on a flawed quarterback rather than drafting him in the top 10.

Detroit Lions

Going safe. The Lions could have gambled on a player on defense with the No. 8 pick. Instead, they took Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. Expectations will be high for a tight end drafted in the top 10, but Hockenson is the kind of safety valve Matthew Stafford has never had.

Green Bay Packers

Finally, a tight end. Jimmy Graham is 32 and only had two touchdowns last season. The Packers needed a tight end badly and got a good one in Jace Sternberger with their fourth pick.

Houston Texans

Hitting needs. The draft is about talent, but it’s also about teams filling roster holes. That’s what the Texans did with their first three picks, taking two offensive tackles (Tytus Howard and Max Scharping) and a cornerback (Lonnie Johnson).

Indianapolis Colts

Getting a 2020 second-round pick. In what some considered an average draft, the Colts punted on the first round, trading their pick to Washington for two second-round picks. General manager Chris Ballard has become the master of accumulating good draft capital. Indianapolis had three second-round picks this year and four in 2018.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Drafting Josh Allen at No. 7. Some of the best moves are the easiest. Everyone expected Allen to be taken in the top four. He joins a pass rush group that includes Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. That’s dangerous.

Kansas City Chiefs

Adding more to the secondary. The Chiefs struggled last season on defense because the secondary play was abysmal. After signing safety Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, they smartly drafted Virginia’s Juan Thornhill late in the second round.

Los Angeles Chargers

Stacking a loaded defense. After taking defensive lineman Jerry Tillery and safety Nasir Adderley, this defense is spilling over with talent:

Los Angeles Rams

Getting roster protection. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are free agents after this season. If the Rams can’t retain both, they should be fine after landing Michigan cornerback David Long in the third round.

Miami Dolphins

Making a low-cost risk. Miami got obscenely good value in the Josh Rosen trade. His contract is already cheap. But the Dolphins safeguarded the deal by acquiring a 2020 second-round pick from their move down from No. 48 to No. 62. If Rosen struggles, the Dolphins can take a quarterback next year and still have a pick similar to the one they gave up for him.

Minnesota Vikings

Committing to the run. The Vikings took players on offense with their first four picks. That included offensive linemen Garrett Bradbury and Dru Samia, tight end Irv Smith Jr., and running back Alexander Mattison. After being a middling passing offense early last season, head coach Mike Zimmer strong-armed Minnesota into being a running team and this draft solidifies the philosophy.

New England Patriots

Getting an eventual high pick for Jarrett Stidham. You know this is going to happen. Just accept it.

New Orleans Saints

Replacing Max Unger. It was critical that the Saints replaced their retired center early in this draft. In Erik McCoy, the Saints traded up to get a rookie starter who will help their offense continue to play at a high level.

New York Giants

Stealing a starting nickel cornerback on Day 3. Most thought Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love would have been picked on Day 2 of the draft. The Giants got him at No. 108, and he could press for the starting job as New York’s slot cornerback.

New York Jets

Taking a blocking tight end. That’s right. Taking a blocking tight end was actually a smart pick. Getting Trevon Wesco in the fourth round gives the Jets a tight end who can block, taking the burden off blossoming starter Chris Herndon.

Oakland Raiders

Getting tougher. What was Oakland’s identity before the draft? They didn’t really have one. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell isn’t a finesse speed player. He’s a grinder who can stuff the run just as well as he can get to the quarterback. Running back Josh Jacobs runs hard. Johnathan Abram is the hardest-hitting safety in the draft. Defensive end Maxx Crosby is hustle and determination. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is stereotypical high-effort grit in the slot. General manager Mike Mayock drafted types over traits, and that’s what the Raiders needed.

Philadelphia Eagles

Getting Carson Wentz a jump-ball target. Arguably no wide receiver in the draft is better at high-pointing contested catches than JJ Arcega-Whiteside. He gives the Eagles something Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson can’t do, and that Alshon Jeffery won’t be able to do for much longer.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Getting Joe Haden’s apprentice. The veteran cornerback only has a year left on his contract, but he has an understudy in third-round pick Justin Layne. The Cleveland native watched Haden playing for the Browns and will soak up advice from Haden like a sponge.

San Francisco 49ers

Getting more wide receiver talent. Other than 2018 second-round pick Dante Pettis, the 49ers were lacking in wide receivers. It could be overlooked because head coach Kyle Shanahan can scheme success for lesser players. But now that he has Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and gadget weapon Jalen Hurd, watch out.

Seattle Seahawks

Turning pick No. 21 into six players. Seahawks general manager John Schneider is a master trader in the draft. He maneuvered around multiple times to turn pick No. 21 into safety Marquise Blair (No. 47 overall), wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (No. 64), wide receiver Gary Jennings (No. 120), safety Ugo Amadi (No. 132), linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (No. 142) and running back Travis Homer (No. 204).

When you have a quarterback who is about to average about $33 million per season for the next three years, it’s imperative to have a lot of cheap options to build the roster.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Taking Devin White at No. 5. Tampa Bay’s defense needs a foundation player. Vita Vea, drafted in the first round in 2018, is a solid player. But the Buccaneers needed a player they can build the defense round. That’s what White, the draft’s top linebacker, gives them.

Tennessee Titans

Getting top-five talent at No. 19. Maybe Jeffery Simmons doesn’t play this year. But he’ll be fully healthy in 2020 and the Titans will have a defensive tackle who can change games.

Washington

Stealing a franchise quarterback. Washington was stuck in the middle of the first round in need of a quarterback. Without having to move up, Dwayne Haskins fell into the team’s hands, and Washington won the first round.


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