5-at-10: NFL offseason story lines, buzzer-beating highlights, UT welcome AU in SEC power play

UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Combing through the combine

I love the draft. You know this.

The combine is happening as we speak. There are likely three must-have QBs and maybe more depending on how highly you rank a J.J. McCarthey or even a Michael Penix Jr. or a Bo Nix.

The Falcons are in desperate need of a QB1.

But the non-QB story this offseason has to be the continued devaluation of RB1s.

Derrick Henry is a free agent. Josh Jacobs and Saquan Barkley reportedly are headed to free agency as well since neither the Raiders nor the Giants, respectively, will use the tag designation on either of them.

Man, there was a time when every team clamored for a franchise back. No more.

Heck, as we consider that picks 1-2-3 in the first round in April could be QB1s Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels, it was only 19 years ago that RB1s went 2, 4 and 5.

Buzzer beaters

Max Strus drilled a 59-footer for Cleveland last night to beat Dallas.

Reed Sheppard drained a runner from just inside the foul line to lift UK over Mississippi State.

It was a fun night of dramatic finishes.

And in some ways it leaves as many questions as it does answers.

Take Strus' heave. The video was epic. But the Cavs are sneaky stout, and who would have guessed LeBron's former team would be better than LeBron's current team?

The Cavs are part of a top-heavy East that includes Boston, which is crushing folks and well on the way to 60-plus wins. Miami, Milwaukee, New York and Cleveland are strong too.

Sheppard's dagger was not as long but just as true, and the famous son of a Wildcats legend is writing a pretty impressive narrative of his own in Lexington.

The game-winner pushed Sheppard to a career high 32 points and continued a pretty impressive stretch run for UK, which has won four its last five with Arkansas and Vandy on the horizon before ending the season in Knoxville.

Speaking of Knoxville

Auburn visits UT tonight in what will be a physical basketball game between two of the better defenses in all the land.

The Vols are seventh in defensive efficiency; AU is 10th.

The Vols are second nationally in opposition shooting percentage; AU is third in that category.

The Vols have two huge edges tonight, however, and here's more on the match-up from Paschall.

First, location, location, location. UT has been pretty salty at Thompson-Boling, where visiting teams are shooting a paltry 34.5% from the floor.

Second, Auburn senior Jaylin Williams is a game-time decision according to Bruce Pearl, but I doubt he plays tonight. Williams likely would be one of the main defenders on UT star Dalton Knecht.

Side question for the group: If Pearl had stayed at UT, would he have won a natty by now? Discuss.

This and that

— Interesting list of the top 24 prep baseball players in the area from TFP preps ace Patrick MacCoon. Not overly shocking to see Baylor School has three pitchers ranked among the area's top 18 on that list.

— The City Council passed the funding requests for the new Lookouts Stadium. Hamilton County commissioners did the same earlier this morning.

— Conversely, it looks as if the governor of Illinois is not inclined to use public funds to help the White Sox build a new stadium.

— Rest easy Ole Anderson, a true 'rastlin' all-timer. He died Monday. He was 81.

— Shohei Ohtani is pretty good at baseball.

Today's questions

Which side you picking tonight — AU or UT?

As for today, Feb. 28, let's review.

The final "M*A*S*H" aired on this day in 1983.

Luka Doncic is 25 today.

Rushmore of best foreign-born basketball players.

Go and remember the mailbag.

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