Posted on: February 9, 2009 8:52 pm

2009: NFL Mock Draft

1. Detroit Lions: T Andre Smith, Alabama

You can't throw and you can't run if you don't have the time to make something happen. With a little more time in the pocket, Dan Orlovsky and Calvin Johnson will make sweet music together-- they might end up with 4 wins. Smith can anchor the O-line for years to come.


2. St. Louis Rams: T Jason Smith, Baylor

Orlando Pace has little-to-no gas left in the tank, and Smith is beastly enough to replace him. He's a powerful tackle who can open the door for Steven Jackson and protect Marc Bulger.


3. Kansas City Chiefs: OLB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest

Sure, they have more pressing offensive needs, but a defense with Curry, Glenn Dorsey, Derrick Johnson, and Tamba Hali is a scary young defense. With Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez shouldering the load and a maturing Dwayne Bowe on the deep strike, they're a good-looking surprise team.


4. Seattle Seahawks: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri

He's rated below Michael Crabtree on most draft boards, so why wouldn't they go with Crabtree?

Answer: Matt Hasselbeck is growing older, and still injury-prone; backup Seneca Wallace has a stronger, less-accurate arm that rewards a speedier reciever. It's a slightly kooky reason, but there you go. (Also, I'm not certain of Tim Ruskell's eye for talent; he drafted Marcus Trufant at 11th overall.)


5. Cleveland Browns: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech

He won't last past five, I'm sure of that, and barring a trade-up, Cleveland will leap at the chance to put him on a deadly-potent offense alongside Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow Jr.,  Jamal Lewis, and Derek Anderson.


6. Cincinnati Bengals: DE B.J. Raji, Boston College

At this point, he's the best defensive player on the board in a draft heavy with O-linemen, and could help shore up their run defense. With Carson Palmer back and Chad Johnson still wearing stripes for the time being, they'll probably pick up their secondary offensive threat in, say, round 2.


7. Oakland Raiders: T Michael Oher, Ole Miss

The Raiders need help in so many places that I literally just took this pick out of a hat. It makes sense, though, with a talented young RB, a QB with serious upside, and a leaky-as-a-colander offensive line.


8. Jacksonville Jaguars: T Eugene Monroe, Virginia

The #1 target in Jacksonville is, at this point, either Matt Jones or Jerry Porter-- not good options at wideout. However, with the best two wide receivers off the board, they can get more mileage out of a good offensive lineman instead.


9. Green Bay Packers: QB Matt Stafford, Georgia

Aaron Rodgers has proven to be a very capable quarterback thus far, but grabbing the best one on the board could work to Green Bay's advantage as they at least block the Bears.


10. San Francisco 49ers: DE/OLB Aaron Maybin, Penn State

I'm not sure that the Niners will pull the plug on QB and former #1 Alex Smith just yet. A defensive star works better than choosing Mark Sanchez of USC, and Maybin has the potential to be a Jared Aleen-type end.


11. Buffalo Bills: QB Mark Sanchez, USC

A top-round pick still beats Trent Edwards or J.P. Losman, though not necessarily by much; Sanchez will probably coast into training camp before having to fight for a starting job.


12. Denver Broncos: RB Knowshon Moreno

The Broncos haven't had a franchise runner since Terrell Davis retired, and it makes more sense to draft a good runner than to let the offensive line make some unknown into a temporary star.


13. Washington Redskins: DE Brian Orakpo, Texas

It makes no sense that they would draft a linebacker or corner as they already have good ones. Orakpo is the best end on the board.


14. New Orleans Saints: CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

Jenkins is the best corner in this draft, and the Saints can use help at that position.


15. Houston Texans: DE Everette Brown, Florida State

Line him up opposite Mario Williams and stand back. Rey Maualaga is still available, by the way, but it makes no sense to draft someone who would just sit behind Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans.


16. San Diego Chargers: MLB Rey Maualaga, USC

It's a tossup between Maualaga and James Laurinatis, but Maualaga is a better run defender, and a definite upgrade on Matt Wilhelm. Plus, a huddle with Maualaga and Shawne Merriman would be one loud, scary, firing-up huddle.


17. New York Jets: G/T Duke Robinson, Oklahoma

He can play either guard or either tackle spot, and will help the Jets' interior rush.


18. Chicago Bears: OLB Clint Sintim, Virginia

With Lance Briggs still unhappy, Sintim could be a great insurance policy. He could probably even start on the other side.


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Darius Heyward, Maryland

Their run game is quite solid, and the hodgepodge of QB's is not quite cleared out, but Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, and Chris Simms can all throw the ball; the problem is, there's nobody to throw to. Heyward will help them out here.


20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas, in the Roy Williams trade): WR Percy Harvin, Florida

One might think the Lions had learned their lesson with first-round wideouts (see: Mike Williams), but Harvin is versatile enough to play running back and good enough to be a second wideout.


21. Philadelphia Eagles: T Eben Britton, Arizona

An underrated tackle from an excellent program; with Jon Runyan slated to clear out after the seaon, Britton could take over and do quite nicely.


22. Minnesota Vikings: S Will Moore, Missouri

Darren Sharper isn't getting any younger. Moore won't replace him, but could be a more-than-adequate replacement.


23. New England Patriots: T Will Beatty, UCONN

The Pats don't have any holes, they could stand to take a good backup.


24. Atlanta Falcons: MLB James Laurinatis, Ohio State

Laurinatis will learn under Keith Brooking and eventually take over for him, giving the Falcons a talented young defensive cornerstone.


25. Miami Dolphins: CB Vontae Davis, Illinois

Davis is the second-best corner in this draft, and will help out a sorely-lacking 'Fins defensive backfield.


26. Baltimore Ravens: OLB Brian Cushing, USC

Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs are set to walk; Cushing could be just as good, and not as expensive.


27. Indianapolis Colts: DT Perria Jerry, Ole Miss

He'll help the Colts the only place they need it-- run defense. He plays like Jamal Williams of the Chargers, soaking up blockers and throwing his weight about.


28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina): C Alex Mack, Cal

He's a quick-but-strong interior lineman. They don't particularly need the help, but he's an upgrade.


29. New York Giants: DE Mike Johnson, Georgia Tech

Michael Strahan is retired, and Osi Umienyora isn't the most durable of guys. Johnson provides some stability and skill on the edge.


30. Tennessee Titans: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State

He's the best tight end in the draft, and better than Bo Scaife; the Titans don't have any holes to fill so they can afford to draft him.


31. Arizona Cardinals: RB Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State

Edgerrin James is aging, and Tim Hightower and JJ Arrington aren't starters. Look for Wells to put a little gas in their ground game.


32. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Tyson Jackson, Louisiana State

Again, a team without holes to fill; Jackson is very good and could probably even press Brett Keisel for the second starting job.




Category: NFL
Tags: Mock Draft
Posted on: September 7, 2008 11:20 pm

NFL 2008-09-- First Impressions

A quick run-down:


The Chargers were upset big by the Panthers in the closing seconds, Pats lost Tom Brady for the year (and the mass suicides have begun in Boston), and the Colts defied expectations by laying down to the Bears. That leaves the AFC wide open, or does it?

The Patriots still have enough firepower to invade a small country, with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Adalius Thomas, Lawrence Maroney, and the capable Matt Cassel at the helm. There shouldn't be much of a drop-off, though Cassel will likely make several mistakes, typically expected of a first-time starter. I'll peg them at maybe 12-4, but remember how Drew Bledsoe lost his job and Brady took it. Naturally, the same won't happen this year, Brady being a New England institution and all. However, look for every GM in the league to take a long hard look at Cassel. If somebody make the Pats an offer they can't refuse (Ocho Cinco? Anquan Boldin?), it wouldn't be impossible to imagine Cassel shipping out via trade. This would effectively sink the Patriots, of course, because 3rd-stringer Kevin O'Connell is a huge question mark, likely incapable of leading them to any playoff success. We don't know if Cassel can do that either, but he's learned from Brady for 3 years. I'll take that as "experience".

The Colts simply looked ugly today. They were overwhelmed by the toothless Bears offense, led by juggernaut Kyle Orton. The offense wasn't great either. Chalk it up to rustiness caused by not playing in the preseason, or another year on the bones of Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning, but they should kick into gear and scratch through the tough AFC South for a playoff berth later this year. 11-5.

Ditto for the Chargers. The only thing that really concerns me with this club is injuries. They've shown they can slug through and be competitive with a good team (last year's AFC Championship, anyone?), but with a staggered Shawne Merriman, Nick Hardwick, and Marucs McNeill and questionable LT, Philip Rivers, and Antonio Gates, this team could be shipping into some rough waters. Don't forget, though, that they won 7 straight to claw into the playoffs last year. Anyways, they should respond to the patchy play and cries for Norv Turner's head and finish around 13-3.

Anybody else is on the periphery. Jets? Questionable. Steelers? Same. Bengals? Dream on. Only the Jags have shown they can stand up with the cream of the crop, and they're nursing a few question marks of their own.



This league is much muddier. That's all I have to say about that. About 10 of the 16 teams could be contenders, and it's far to early to figure that bit out right now.



It's way too early to pick the Super Bowl right now, but I'm going to do it anyways.

A fairly pedestrian pick here as the Chargers top the Cowboys 23-14.



Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: August 2, 2008 10:35 am

Do the Deadline Shuffle: Winners and Losers

Well, the trade deadline has passed. It's time to examine who got the short end of the stick and who came out smiling on July 31.



Boston Red Sox- To pick up talent like Jason Bay AND to get rid of the troublemaking Manny Ramirez? Theo Epstein is indeed a genius. This move should revitalize the Sox and ultimately put them ahead of the Yankees and Rays.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- How developed is baseball's West Coast bias that the Angels have the best record in MLB but nobody so much as burps in their direction? They changed that when they went after-- and got-- Mark Texiera from the Braves. The switch hitting masher will fit in perfectly at first base, repacing Casey Kotchman, part of the trade to Atlanta.

New York Yankees- I hate to say it, but... picking up Xavier Nady and Pudge Rodriguez, as well as ridding themselves of bullpen liability Kyle Farnsworth, were shrewd moves by the Steinbrenners, Jr. Kudos, sirs.

Milwaukee Brewers- The Brew Crew picked up a reigning Cy Young award winner. No way around it. If C.C. Sabathia can stay healthy through the stretch drive, they'll push for the NL Wild Card. If not... they'll be paying a helluva lot of cash to keep him around.

Chicago Cubs- Rich Harden. Ha. As if they needed to get any better. Conventional wisdom holds that the Cubs will inevitably crap out in the playoffs, but it's harder and harder-- or rather Harden and Harden-- to see it happening this year.



Tampa Bay Rays- To remain static while your division rivals do not is never a good idea. Just as it seemed they were going to jump on Jason Bay... *poof*. The deal never materialized. Which isn't what the Rays need. Now T-Bay is stuck without a right-handed masher for the postseason run. Well, maybe next year...

Oakland A's- They traded away, over the course of the season, a once mighty rotation. Barry Zito, Rich Harden, Dan Haren. Now, the deadline having come and gone, they never tried to reestablish their starters and have put Justin Duchscherer in front as their ace. Now, I've nothing against Moneyball, but perhaps the wallet could've been loosened a little? No? That's whay the A's have no postseason shot.

San Diego Padres- Only a blockbuster deal could've given this team any hope. Needless to say, it never happened. Hence, the Padres are still stuck with Greg Maddux and Brian Giles. They're in full-blown rebuilding mode come the offseason. (And if anyone had known Khalil Greene was going to go Kevin Brown on a storage locker, they might of shopped for a decent utilityman...)



Cleveland Indians- The good news is that Matt LaPorta, the prospect from the Sabathia deal, has fantastic potential. The bad news is that he can't pitch. Unless Fausto Carmona can be king of the hill for the Indians, they'll remain average for a few more years.

Chicago White Sox- They got Ken Griffey, Jr. Unfortunately, with his declining outfield abilities and the fact that 1st base and the DH positions are already filled by Paul Konerko and Jim Thome respectively means the South Siders don't have a place for their new superstar.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Same as above. Manny Ramirez arrives in a crowded outfield. They could feasibly start him, Andruw Jones, AND Juan Pierre at the same time. Now there's a scary thought. However, you can't deny that his bat and a change of scenery will benefit the Dodgers and himself. The only question here is whether or not Joe Torre will brook his shenanigans.

Atlanta Braves- Casey Kotchman is a decent 1Bman-- not as good as Texiera, but adequate. Will the drop-off be too severe for the Braves to handle?

Pittsburgh Pirates- Dealing away Nady and Bay hurts a lot. But they did recieve a handful of question marks, including "once highly-regarded prospect Craig Hansen". They probably will come out of this doing fine, though it will take a few years to find out.

Posted on: May 18, 2008 12:03 pm

Hockey Is the New Baseball- It's Awesome

Hockey may be the most exciting sport on the planet. It combines the grace of skating and the skill of target shooting with bone-breaking hits and regular fistfights.

Hockey is America's new pasttime, though Canadians are probably wondering what took us so long to come around. With expansion bids in Winnipeg, Kansas City, and Las Vegas, and some fringe interest in San Diego, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Quebec City, hockey is the most rapidly expanding sport in North America.

Winnipeg had the Jets, who relocated to Phoenix and bacame the Coyotes; the American cities all had successful and wildly popular IHL teams.

Picture this: San Diego adopts the minor league team's name and becomes the Gulls. IHL alums Ray Whitney and Corey Stillman are lured back to SoCal, where both played at 19, with Gulls legend Lindy Ruff to coach.

Las Vegas, a gambling mecca, turns hockey into a huge moneymaker, as it signs the flashy Stars such as Jarome Iginla (if the Flames ever let him get away). 

KC picks up Keith Tkachuk from the nearby Blues, adding a recognizable face to the new franchise.



I'd love to see it. Baseball has fallen from the throne- now hockey is king.

Category: NHL
Posted on: May 18, 2008 11:50 am
Edited on: July 6, 2008 2:52 am

Baseball is the New Hockey-- It Sucks

OK. After about a month of baseball season, I'm already sick of it. Early World Series pick Detroit has imploded, the usually solid Padres and Rockies have slipped to the league cellar, and the young and full-of-promise Orioles have not yet bucked the time-honored tradition of sucking. Meanwhile, the big-money Cubs, D-Backs, and Red Sox are, as usual, making everyone else look bad.  Why has America's pasttime come to this?


I'll tell you why. It's no longer America's game. The death knell for the All-American hometown boys sounded when El Duque came to town, Ichiro crossed the pond, and, most recently, Japanese All-Stars Kosuke Fukudome and Daisuke Matsuzaka went to the big-money Cubs and Red Sox.

As the league gets more diverse, the fun goes away. You don't have players from your hometown shagging flies. Heck, not even your home nation. Even in the J-League, people are losing the thread as their stars are wooed by American teams with more money. In return, they get guys who can't hack it in MLB. Ever hear of Hiram Bocachicca? He was a Padres reserve last year who went to the Orix Blue Wave, Ichiro's former team. Now, he's a decent outfielder, but he sure as hell isn't Ichiro.


That's why baseball is the new hockey. You may find some who turn out to cheer for the boys, but by and large, nobody cares. 

Category: MLB
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