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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Three-Day NFL Draft begins Thursday


Last updated 4/27/2021 at 12:34pm

The National Football League’s annual draft which begins tomorrow should have a heavy emphasis on quarterbacks, with as many as five expected to be selected with the first 10 picks.

The NFL was one of the very few sports organizations that played a complete schedule last season due to COVID-19, although many of the games were played at a later time and date than originally slated.

Most of the games were played in stadiums with no fans or very few spectators. And there was a smattering of players who opted to sit out because of the hazard of the coronavirus while others played a limited number of games because of the pandemic.

Scouts from all of the NFL teams had a very difficult time watching this year’s collegiate group of pro prospects in action because most schedules were very sketchy and changed within a 24-hour period.

There also was no scouting combine or private workouts where the top college players were at one site going through the strenuous events together.

Many of the mock drafts had five quarterbacks among the first 10 picks, with the first three selections expected to be quarterbacks for the third time in history, according to an article appearing last week in the Houston Chronicle. “It’s possible the first four prospects off the board could be quarterbacks,” the article surmised.

There’s not much doubt the first pick in the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars will be Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. He’s already promised to donate $20K to Jacksonville’s local charities.

The next three choices—also quarterbacks—should be Brigham Young’s Zach Wilson, Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State in some order. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones should be one of the top 10 picks, too.

The Texas high school systems, which produced current NFL starting quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Jalen Hurts, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Ryan Tannehill plus back-ups Andy Dalton, Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Colt McCoy, has a trio of quarterbacks in Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Sam Ehlinger of Texas and Kyle Trask of Florida who should go fairly high in the draft.

Hopefully one of these talented quarterbacks will be available when the Houston Texans get their first pick (No. 67) in the third round, although some mock drafts show them taking defensive tackle Milton Williams of Louisiana Tech to fill the huge gap left by J.J. Watt.

It must be pointed out that Tom Brady (sixth round), Russell Wilson (third) and Kirk Cousins (fourth) weren’t drafted in the first two rounds.

If new Texans general manager Nick Caserio wishes to use his 67th pick on a quarterback- there are several talented second-tier prospects such as Mond, Trask, Davis Mills and Jamie Newman who should still be available to replace the troubled Deshaun Watson who doesn’t want to play for Houston any more.

Knowing that many of the top college players will already be gone by the time Houston picks, Caserio planned to improve the team through free agency and was very active this off-season and signed 19 players including running backs Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay plus quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Despite a 21-year NFL career—the first 20 with the New England Patriots—this will be the first draft he will be in charge of. So, it will be Caserio who will get credit or blamed for a player’s success or failure.

Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys won’t have any problems at quarterback since Dak Prescott signed his fat, lengthy contract and can focus on improve their suspect defense. They pick tenth in tomorrow’s draft and are expected to take Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Owner Jerry Jones ordered the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the most important hire for first-year head coach Mike McCarthy, replacing him with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who helped the Seattle Seahawks win the 2014 Super Bowl.

The Cowboys also lost seven players to free agency including three-year starting safety Xavier Woods but haven’t invested in a high-round pick at safety before the third round in 19 years.

Dallas has 10 picks, including four compensatory selections for losing 2020 free agents, and should concentrate on defensive players which is more acute than last year when four of their seven picks were on defense.

Houston has eight picks in this year’s draft with the third-round pick, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, three sixth-round picks and one in the seventh round.

KWICKIES…After 21 years, three NCAA women’s basketball titles and a dozen Big 12 regular-season titles, Kim Mulkey is leaving Baylor for the LSU job. The 58-year-old Mulkey, who hails from Tickfaw, La. and played her college basketball at Louisiana Tech where she was an All-American point guard, has chalked up 631 career victories for a phenomenal .859 winning percentage. She was named to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2020. Her son, Kramer Robertson, played baseball at LSU.

Saturday marks the first weekend in May which means the running of the Kentucky Derby. The race sort of sneaked up on me so I really don’t have any words of wisdom about the winner. The only horse I know anything about is Hot Rod Charlie who won the Louisiana Derby. The morning of the Breeders Cup the horse started at 30-1 odds which kept dropping and by post time were 94-1. Hot Rod Charlie finished a surprising second and became eligible for the Kentucky Derby. Post time at Churchill Downs for the Derby is 5:50 p.m. and can be seen on NBC-TV.

Congrats to the Little Cypress-Mauriceville boys golf team for their Class 4A Region III victory last week led by medalist Jack Burke who shot 69-72—141. The Bears beat Belton by 38 strokes thanks to teammates Travis Love, Wyatt Wozniak, Will Van Pelt and Tim Weaver. The Bears will be honing their games for the Class 4A State Championships on May 17-18 at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle.

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has ended here affiliation with Nike, Inc and announced a long-term partnership with Gap Inc.’s Athleta.

JUST BETWEEN US…Orange’s Chad Dallas got back to his usual winning ways Saturday at College Station by allowing the Texas Aggies one run, five hits, no walks and struck out five in his seven innings of work as his Tennessee Volunteers downed the Aggies 6-1 in a game that was rained out Friday night and played as the first game of a Saturday doubleheader. The Aggies came back from a 4-0 deficit to nip the Vols 6-5 in the nightcap. The Vols hung a football-like score on the Ags in Sunday’s series finale, 20-7, as Tennessee upped its record to 32-9 overall and 12-6 in the SEC while Texas A&M stands at 23-19 overall and 5-13 in the conference. Tennessee hosts rival Kentucky for a three-game series starting Friday, which is Chad’s turn to pitch.


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