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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Marc Lawrence — Who would’ve thought? Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski… both Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before passing final judgement, though, we’ll have to wait and see if Brady and Gronk still have magic left in the tank. So why did New England get so little in return for arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the game? It’s about leverage, and they didn’t have any. What shocked me the most about the trade, though, is why the tight end-starved Pats didn’t insist on either of Tampa Bay’s starting tight ends, O.J. Howard or Cameron Bates?


Sometimes everything you know about someone isn’t all you know. In the case of the NFL draft starting tonight, ESPN reports these morsels of enlightment: Not only did the top cornerback in the draft, Jeff Okudah, spend three years making plays on defense at Ohio State, he also took three years of Swahili in Columbus … Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was a competitive weightlifter in high school. When he got to Norman in 2019, the 220-pounder completed a 585-pound squat that sent his Sooners teammates, and social media, into a frenzy … Ross Blacklock, is a 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle from TCU. His father is Jimmy Blacklock, who played and coached for the Harlem Globetrotters … Jake Fromm, who went 35-6 as Georgia’s starting quarterback over the past three seasons, led his Little League team from Warner Robins, Georgia, to the Little League World Series in 2011. He hit three homers and struck out 11 of the 18 batters he faced … Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden can solve a Rubik’s Cube in a minute and do a full flip while catching a football. But perhaps most impressive, he bowled a perfect game two months after trying the sport for the first time. For takes on 45 other NFL draft prospects click here.
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One other NFL Draft first round prop that caught my eye: Player to get drafted first by the Cleveland Browns. You can play these two choices each at +1400 at Draft Kings. 1) OT Tristan Wirfs: Offensive (left) tackle is right at the top of Cleveland’s shopping list this draft and Wirfs checks all of new GM Eric Berry’s boxes. He has the top SPARQ score (speed, power, agility, reaction, quickness) in this year’s class after he lit up the combine. Wirfs’ 135.6 SPARQ score puts him in the 99th percentile among current NFL offensive linemen. Berry was with Philadelphia last year when the Eagles selected OL Andre Dillard in the first round. Dillard also had the top SPARQ score of offensive linemen … and 2) LB/S Isaiah Simmons: We understand the Browns need for a left tackle. But this draft is loaded with offensive tackles and they can always land an outstanding one in Round Two if necessary, especially if Simmons is available. The defense is badly in need of a linebacker and a safety and Simmons is a game changer who checks both boxes. Simmons’ ability is off the charts and his SPARQ score ranks in the 98th percentile. If either player becomes a Cleveland Brown then this prop returns a nice dividend.
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