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Sports Today: No 2 potential NFL quarterbacks are created equally


Nothing represents the craziness of the NFL draft better than the juxtaposition of J.T. Barrett and Malik Zaire. 

For the second time in their lives, the two quarterbacks are pretty much peers

RELATED: Barrett, Zaire part of big group working out for Bengals

Five years after being four-star college football prospects, their potential in the pros is much more in doubt — even though virtually nothing about the intervening years is similar. 

Barrett was a three-time Ohio State captain who started 44 games for the Buckeyes. He set numerous passing, rushing, total offense and touchdown records in Columbus. 

There’s more film available of him than any scout could ever get through. 

Meanwhile, Zaire endured a five-year, two-school odyssey that included only five starts. 

Every snap the Alter High School grad took a the college level probably could be dissected multiple times without fear of being late for supper. 

And yet these guys might have the same odds of making an NFL team and sticking. 

Weird, huh? 

The one who said, “I’m not a finished product yet,” was Barrett, who has more game experience than just about any quarterback ever coming out of college. 

(For what it’s worth, Zaire may have said something like this, too. I didn’t hear all of his interview with local reporters in the Bengals locker room.) 

Barrett also said these workouts aren’t going to change anyone’s mind about who he is as a quarterback. 

RELATED: The Curious Case of J.T. Barrett and the NFL draft

On the flip side, Zaire has the lure of the unknown on his side, for better or for worse. 

Both look like intriguing options for the Bengals, who are fortunate to be able to get an extra, up-close look at them thanks to proximity. 

In some ways, Barrett looks like a perfect replacement for AJ McCarron, who left in free agency after backing up Andy Dalton the last three seasons. 

›› MORE: Dalton says Bengals offense is starting from scratch

Both are heady players who were big-time winners at powerhouse programs. Neither is going to throw the ball through a wall, but they have a lot of intangibles that could help them exceed expectations and be a great presence in the locker room. 

Zaire must be considered a longer shot because aside from that lack of game experience having to have hindered his development, he’s also a couple of inches shorter than Barrett. 

Zaire might have more in common with Jeff Driskel, another highly-recruited quarterback whose college career (including time at Florida) didn’t work out as planned. 

(That’s a bit of a stretch since Driskel played a lot more in college — including a full season as a starter for the Gators and another at Louisiana Tech — but he’s been described by the Bengals as a raw player with a lot of upside as they have kept him the past two seasons.) 

Will either of them put on a Bengals jersey again some day? 

I still like the idea of jumping on the Lamar Jackson train (they reportedly had the Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville in for a visit recently) if he is available in the right circumstance (i.e., he slips to the second round and they trade up), but grabbing a developmental guy like Barrett or Zaire seems a lot more likely… 

This has been some week for Andre Gordon, eh? 

The Sidney point guard announced he is going to spend his senior season at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, and he received a scholarship offer from the University of Dayton

Gordon is a really intriguing player as someone who can shoot, get to the basket and run a team. 

He played against good competition in the GWOC, but he’ll be exposed to yet another level at Huntington Prep, a school that draws talent from across the country and plays a national schedule. 

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said on Monday night. “When I was in fifth grade I remember asking my parents if we could go to Flyin’ to the Hoop to watch Huntington Prep and Findlay Prep and IMG (Academy). Now, I’ll be on that stage.”

Could he be in for a homecoming to the Miami Valley in 2019?

He has been courted by Ohio State and has offers from Wright State, Cleveland State, Toledo and Kent State, but he told David Jablonski his announcement he is going to Huntington Prep brought more recruiting interest almost immediately. 

This is a a great opportunity for Gordon, one that hopefully leads to big things. 

It’s a loss for the area, though, and I am hoping it does not become a trend. 

Maybe it already has. 

Former Dunbar teammates Caleb McConnell and DeVon Baker transferred to Spire Institute at Geneva, Ohio, as seniors this past season. McConnell verbally committed to Rutgers this past weekend and Baker decommitted from Siena

Others to leave the area in the past 15 years include Justin Bibbs (Chaminade Julienne), Ivan Harris (Springfield South) and Juwan Staten (Thurgood Marshall)… 

The Cincinnati Reds lost again, and you’ll never guess why. 

Just kidding: It was the offense letting them down again. 

One night after scoring 10 runs in a win over the Brewers, the Reds were shut out 2-0 on three hits in Milwaukee. 

They wasted a solid start from Sal Romano, who allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, and the bullpen, which held the hosts at bay for the last three frames. 

On the bright side, Scott Schebler should be back by the end of this week, and Eugenio Suarez has already started doing some baseball activities less than 10 days after suffering a fractured thumb. 

Initial fears had Suarez missing six weeks or more, but it looks like his stay on the disabled list will be much shorter than that. 


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