First thing's first: Good morning and happy Friday, my friend! We've made it through another week together and that's cause for celebration.
Secondly, I must give you the heads up that this will be our last week together. Today is my last day with CBS Sports, as I'll be leaving the company to pursue my lifelong dream of being an unemployed guy who plays video games and drinks beer all day (at least for a few weeks until I start a new gig.) This could come as good news or bad news depending on how you feel about me invading your inbox every single morning, but I'm sad to be leaving you.
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Without getting too sappy or emotional, I do want to say that I've loved being the idiot who gets to bring you your news every day for the past year and a half. It's been a whole lot of fun. I also have to thank my editor, Nick Parco, who has constantly saved you from many of my worst jokes and grammatical errors. You owe him.
Don't worry, though, the AM newsletter will continue on without me via a rotating cast of CBS writers for the next month or so, and you'll be in good hands. Tom Fornelli's PM newsletter will remain unchanged, because nobody should ever make Tom change. He's perfect.
So, if you want to keep in touch, you can reach me on Twitter from here on out. But before we part ways, we've got one more spin in us. Let's ride.
📰 What you need to know
1. Our consensus 2021 NFL mock draft 🏈
We're officially less than a week away from the 2021 NFL Draft, which means it's time to start kicking draft coverage into hyperdrive. It also means that this is PRIME mock draft season. While we know who's going first overall (and we've got a pretty clear idea of who's going No. 2 as well), there's still plenty of intrigue as to how the first round is going to play out next Thursday. There's been lots of pre-draft shuffling already and it seems like there could be more to come in the days ahead.
I'm sure you've seen a few mock drafts here and there, but how about a consensus mock draft? We've compiled results from 13 mock drafts (created by our own analysts as well as some from ESPN and NFL Media) to gauge some general feelings at the moment:
- The Falcons (who hold the No. 4 pick) and Lions (No. 7) are viewed as the most likely trade-up destinations for teams in the quarterback market
- There seems to be an even split on Mac Jones, Trey Lance or Justin Fields going to the 49ers at No. 3
- No one can really agree on the edge rusher class. Player evaluations varied significantly and that led to those votes being split and potentially caused a few edge rushers to fall in the mock
You can check out the entire first-round consensus mock right here ... there are some rather interesting developments when you bring all of these mocks together (the Patriots trading up to pick Justin Fields at No. 7? I don't hate that idea.)
And just in case that's not enough to quench your mock thirst, you can also check out a full three-round mock or -- let's get crazy here -- SEVEN-ROUND MOCK DRAFTS FOR EVERY TEAM. Enjoy, but I also recommend pacing yourself ... you've got six days to go.
2. NBA Draft prospect Terrence Clarke dies in car accident
Some absolutely devastating news came across the wire last night when it was reported that former Kentucky guard Terrance Clarke died in a car accident in Los Angeles on Thursday. Clarke, who recently declared for the NBA Draft after his freshman season at Kentucky, was only 19.
- After arriving at Kentucky as a top-10 recruit, Clarke only played in eight games due to an ankle injury but was still considered to be a potential first-round pick
- He was in Los Angeles preparing for the NBA Draft. It was announced that he had signed with the Klutch Sports Group on Wednesday
- The Los Angeles Police Department said that Clarke, who was the solo occupant in his vehicle, ran a red light "at a very high rate of speed" before colliding with another vehicle, a light pole and a wall
Kentucky coach John Calipari released a statement on Thursday night:
- Calipari: "I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight. A young person who we all love has just lost his life too soon, one with all of his dreams and hopes ahead of him. Terrence Clarke was a beautiful kid, someone who owned the room with his personality, smile and joy. People gravitated to him, and to hear we have lost him is just hard for all of us to comprehend right now. We are all in shock."
It's always gut-wrenching when someone so young dies unexpectedly -- especially someone with so much talent and promise -- but it's especially heartbreaking that Clarke was literally in the process of working toward a lifelong dream and was so close to achieving that dream.
3. NCAA votes to change college football overtime rules 🏈
The NFL may have voted against changing its overtime rules this week, but the same can't be said for college football. The NCAA voted yesterday to make significant changes to college football's overtime format, and those changes will start with the upcoming season.
Here's a rundown of how OT will work from now on:
- Both teams will still get possession starting at the 25-yard line
- Teams will now be forced to go for a 2-point conversion if they score in the second overtime period (previously required in 3OT)
- If the game goes to a third overtime period, teams will be forced into a 2-point conversion shootout (previously required in 5OT)
These tweaks are probably not going to be for everyone -- a lot of people love the occasional marathon overtime games in college ball (myself included) -- but the NCAA has been pressured to make changes after several multi-overtime games put players in positions where they were more likely to be injured.
It's the NCAA's responsibility to protect its players but, man, I'm gonna miss watching 72-72 games in the wee hours of the morning with all of Twitter.
4. Explaining the new Champions League format ⚽
It's been a rather chaotic and eventful week in the world of international soccer, but don't let the absurdity of the Super League saga distract you from the fact that the Champions league has made some changes to its format.
The new format brings a bit of expansion -- there will be more games and more teams involved moving forward. Here's what's different:
- The initial stage will expand from 32 teams to 36 teams, but the group format will be scrapped. Instead, all teams will be placed into one single table
- Teams in the table will play at least 10 games instead of the current six
- The initial stage will no longer feature repeat matches. Clubs will face 10 different opponents with half of the games at home and the other half on the road
- There will still be a round of 16 knockout stage
For a little bit more detail on the changes (including how the four extra spots will be decided), head here. But you should know that the approved changes won't take effect until 2024, so you've got some time to study up.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Tom Brady hates the NFL's new jersey number rules
- Shoutout to this Texas Tech baseball announcer for making just about the chillest barehanded catch from the booth
- LeBron says the NBA is 'simply better off' when the Knicks are winning
📺 What to watch this weekend
🏀 Celtics vs. Nets, 7:30 p.m. | BKN -5.5 | TV: ESPN
🏀 76ers vs. Bucks, 3:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
🏀 Lakers vs. Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. | TV: ABC
🏒 Bruins vs. Penguins, 3 p.m. | TV: NBC
⚾ Padres vs. Dodgers, 7:08 p.m. | TV: ESPN
🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday
Padres-Dodgers games are simply incapable of being boring. This double-play late in last night's game was incredible.