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NFL to match at least $5M US raised by fans through draft telethon


Clunky at times, poignant at others, and exceptionally entertaining in spots, the NFL draft entered its third and final day with Cincinnati selecting an Appalachian State linebacker on Saturday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has insisted the sporting world needed the draft to be held on time. Sure, it’s been remote/virtual/digital; make your own choice. But the amount of eyeballs watching has been, well, an eye-opening number. And through Friday’s third round, the accompanying telethon had raised more than $5 million US for six organizations battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“That work continues today,” Goodell said, “and the NFL will again match every dollar donated by fans.”

The league even awarded the 2022 draft to Las Vegas after all events on the Strip for this year were cancelled due to the nationwide shutdown on large gatherings.

Concerns about all sorts of technological issues have been unfounded. Sure, there were awkward moments, but those come even when the draft is a mega-event drawing hundreds of thousands of fans to the “Rocky Steps” in Philadelphia or lower Broadway in Nashville.

10 players from NCAA champs LSU selected

There’s been no real change in which schools or conference is dominant in this process. The Southeastern Conference had 40 players chosen through three rounds; 40 previously was the most through four rounds. Not surprisingly, 10 players came from national champion LSU, including top overall pick Joe Burrow, who the Bengals hope will be their franchise quarterback.

Programs as Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia had been blanked.

Meanwhile, App State had its second player chosen, linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, the Sun Belt’s defensive player of the year who was a standout at the Senior Bowl — a game the Bengals coaching staff worked.

The Redskins dealt their unhappy veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco on Saturday morning, and then chose yet another LSU Tiger: tackle Saahdiq Charles, who has been plagued by off-field issues and served a six-game suspension.

The Niners will send a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-rounder to acquire Williams. The deal reunites him with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive co-ordinator in Washington when Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010.

The first quarterback chosen on Day 3 was Washington’s Jacob Eason, who went to Indianapolis. The Colts, of course, signed Philip Rivers as a free agent and still have incumbent Jacoby Brissett. Both have contracts only through 2020, though.

Eason, whose father Tony was a wide receiver at Notre Dame, lost out to Jake Fromm at Georgia, then transferred to Washington. Fromm still remained on the board after 122 picks.

Three spots later, the Jets took Florida International QB James Morgan.



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