ESPN’s Draft Academy moves to ESPN+ this year to give an in depth look at six prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft Class.
Draft Academy will be an eight-episode series detailing the path of potential first round picks Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Missouri QB Drew Lock, Alabama RB Josh Jacobs and Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown as well as Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham and Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson.
The first seven episodes will be available each Thursday and will highlight the lead-up to the NFL Draft on April 25, while the final episode will drop May 2 to recap the draft weekend experiences. Episode one debuted Thursday.
“Draft Academy has proven to be about so much more than physical preparation, it’s about overcoming obstacles, fighting to beat the odds and family bonds,” said Libby Geist, Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “I never imagined how loudly I’d be rooting for Shaquem Griffin before last year’s Draft Academy, and this season is sure to bring that same passion and emotion.”
The 2018 edition of Draft Academy was the inaugural season of the series, which aired on linear ESPN networks. USC QB Sam Darnold, Wyoming QB Josh Allen, Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Central Florida LB Shaquem Griffin, Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. Brown and Houston QB Kyle Allen were featured. The entire series is available on ESPN+
While Shaquem Griffin’s story is unrivaled, the 2019 prospects have interesting stories of their own to detail.
Joey Bosa is a lock to be taken at the top of the 2019 Draft despite a groin injury early in the 2018 season that resulted in him leaving the Buckeyes program early to focus on the NFL. Bosa is also fighting the shadow of his brother Nick who has quickly become one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Josh Jacobs was a relative unknown heading into the 2018 season for the Crimson Tide. Despite largely unrecruited and finding himself homeless, Jacobs landed at Alabama. Jacobs outshined Damien and Najee Harris in the 2018 Bama backfield to solidify himself as the top running back in the 2019 class.
Marquise Brown is the cousin of now Oakland Raider WR Antonio Brown and goes by the nickname “Hollywood” Brown. His flashy style is hard to miss, and he shows glimpses of his All Pro cousin in his game.
SEC alums Lock and Stidham both began the 2018 season as the top QB prospects, but have since been overlooked by Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. Both are looking to prove they are worth a Day 1 selection.
Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson is the late round focus in this year’s series. Standing 6’7” and sporting a canon right arm, Jackson is fighting to hear his name called on Day 2 of the Draft.
Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network
“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”
Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.
“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”
Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.
“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”
Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’
“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.
A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.
In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.
The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”
He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.
Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO
“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”
Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).
DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.
Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.
“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
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