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Archive for April 2010

30
Apr

The Charmin All Stars: NBA edition

>You are probably wondering what the hell The Sharmin All Stars are. The Sharmin All Stars are athlethes that are not worth the toliet paper you wipe your ass with. The criteria is for an athlete to be well known, be a relatively high draft pick, played well and feel apart, and making a decent amount of money but under achieving at such a level that you honestly sit there and think he is not worth the toilet paper in your bathroom. So here is the list.(This is just NBA, other sports soon to come)

Jermaine O’Neal: O’neal was making this list even prior to his playoff appearance, but after watching him dick around through five games of the playoffs he elevated himself to a whole new level. (I am think of coming up with a new list just titled the Jermaine O’Neal All Stars: that would be athletes who underachieve in contract years, check back in a few weeks for that.) Back to O’Neal this was a guy who averaged 20.6 ppg from 2001-2007, he use to be an all-star he use to be the go to guy, now though i wouldn’t pick this guy in a game of pick up basketball with a group of my friends. Contracts years usually mean players go balls to the wall in order to get that fat new paycheck from whatever franchise is dumb enough to give them it. O’Neal though basically said fuck the next contract by averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds. Can anyone guess how much money O’neal made this season? Take a guess? If you guessed $23 million then your right. I can think of so many other ways that the Heat could have spent that money, like buying Alonzo Morning some new kidney’s. O’neal took sucking to a whole new level this postseason congrats.

Gilbert Arenas: On the list for one reason, the guy has a $180 million contract and makes T.I. look like he doesn’t have a gun problem. Also i think he may have a gambling problem though no one talks about it because i still cant figure out how he consistently lost in the first round. He had to be betting on those games. He can play know question but you just never know about this guy, what if his stat line looks like 6 points, 2 assists on 3-15 shooting. There is a 50% chance that he go goes all Virginia Tech on Josh Howard in the locker room.

Elton Brand: Elton Brand should be sending a thank you letter to Jermaine O’neal because if not for O’Neal, Brand would take the cake on this list. Watching Sixers games this season i often wondered if that was Elton John in a sixers jersey instead of Brand. In two seasons with the sixers Brand is averaging 13.4 ppg after signing an $80 million contract. Him making 80 mill is more of a crime than if Big Ben and Donte Stallworth were to team up for a night of raping every 18 year old in a city and then getting drunk and running them over.

Earl Clark: This guy also needs his own all-star team(athletes that make you question if they have a pulse) I think there is more oxygen collectively pumping through Sean Taylor, Chris Henry, Michael Jackson, and all of Donte Stallworth’s victim compared to Earl Clark. I understand that Clark is only a rookie but come on in 51 games this guy only averaged 2.7 ppg. Christ i think Tim Legler could put those numbers up now. Just watching Suns games this year you would look down the bench and see Earl Clark sitting there like he was on time out or something. Either way he sucks, the Suns system fits Clark perfectly yet he sat on the bench and collected splinters on his ass.

Kirk Hinrich: Congrats Kirk you have been just awarded the Reason why people think Whites suck at basketball award. You my man couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat. I personally think the Bulls should just sign J-Mac (the kid who is handicap who dropped about 20 points in a high school game, its been on ESPN about a 1 million times.) No joke he cant shoot this past season he shot 37% from 3 and he is considered the teams best shoot. Anyone surprised that they got bounced in 5 in the playoffs. If im Derrick Rose im contacting Donte Stallworth, tell him i will give him a 30 rack and the keys to the Benz and then tell him to go out and find John Paxton, Vinny Del Negro, and Hinrich and just go to work.

Mike Beasley: I had to do it. I know he is only two years into his career but this guy is a bust. He’s more known for the fact that he spends equal time with Dr. Drew than with Dwayne Wade. Yes he averaged 14 points and 6 boards which is not bad for a second year player but you know if you asked D Wade after a night of Dennis Rodman like drinking he would tell you “man that kid sucks why the fuck did we draft him.” It doesn’t help Beasley that he was taken No. 2 in the draft and just two years later would be considered the 13th best pick. Would i really be the only person in America surprised to read this summer on the bottom line that Michael Beasley has died due to a drug overdose.

Sean May: I bet you that most people don’t even know who Sean May even is. My point exactly, I know Sean May because I love UNC and remember when he dominated college basketball and was a lottery pick. He was the MOP of the tournament his junior year, now your more likely to find May at your local Wendy’s than on the hardwood. This past season he averaged 3.3 ppg, May certainty qualifies to be on Earl Clark’s All Star’s list because I don’t believe May has a pulse and if he does could luck finding it beneath all the fat.

Greg Oden: This poor guy just can’t catch a break. I mean it’s not a good thing that he’s more successful sexting than he is as a professional basketball player. On a side note can anyone actually picture Greg Oden sexting? First off what female in their right mind says to themselves man i wanna see Greg Oden naked? And second off do you think he has to send the pic in two messages because he is so large? Like does the recipient get just an upper body shot and then have to wait a few minuets for the rest? Athletes who should never sext, Greg Oden certainty is right up there.

Rasheed Wallace: Sheed should be on the list that rates most intelligent athletes in sports because he would rank right up there. He convinced Danny Ainge(who by the way is highly overrated as a GM) to sign him to a 3 year contract despite showing he no longer gave a fuck about basketball and that all he was going to do was run from one three point line to the other. Any Celtic fan will agree with me that Sheed was the worst Celtic in a long time, you know its bad when fans are asking for Sheldon Williams. Sheed you to be great, he use to have a swag about him that came off like hey if you fuck with me, ill kill you. Sheed is such an after thought that he doesnt even make headlines when he gets fined now. Did anyone even know he got fine during the first round for calling out the officiating and D-Wade? Nope that’s what i thought.

Posted by Marcus-Tracy McGrady- Probably the most talented player on this list. His seasons with Orlando were phenomenal 2 time scoring champion All-NBA first team and all that cool shit. Well in his five full seasons with Houston McGrady played 78,47,71,66 and 35 games in that order. I don’t know if I’ve seen any superstars as fragile as McGrady. It’s like the man is made of fuckin’ porcelain. He had a couple productive years, but definitely not the kind of player you can build a franchise on like Houston tried to do with him and Yao. After 2009 when he played 35 games, the team advanced out of the first round and took L.A. to 7 games without him needless to say he was about as welcomed as AIDS in Houston and found a home in New York. Now that he’s averaging a pedestrian 8.2ppg for for the Knicks, guess how much this 30 year-old, injury-prone, wash-up, who has never advanced out of the first round get’s paid? $23 million. Are you fucking kidding me?? Not that it matters NY is just using him for his contract so they can drop his ass and sign LeBron.

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30
Apr

NBA Second Round Previews:

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“MA! SIT DOWN”
1.Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21)
Last Championship: n/a
Previous Playoff run: 2009 Lost in Conference Finals (4-2) to Orlando
Previous round: 4-1 Over Chicago
Best Playoff Performer: LeBron James 31.8ppg 9.8rpg 8.2apg
Biggest Concern: LBJ’s “elbow injury”

4. Boston Celtics (50-32)
Last Championship: 2008
Previous Playoff Run: 2009 Lost second round (4-3) to Orland Magic
Previous Round: 4-1 over Miami
Best Playoff Performer: Paul Pierce 19.6ppg 5.6rpg
Biggest Concern: Age. LeBron James

Last Playoff Meeting: 2008 Second Round 4-3 Boston
Season Series: Tied 2-2
Most intriguing match-up: Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James

This series is pretty intriguing because it pits a young superstar and his prospective championship squad against an aging championship team lead by a group of seasoned veterans who have looked like a shell of their former selves most of the season. Still, I think Boston can win this. It’s not bias I think they have the talent, defense and veteran leadership to take Cleveland. They probably won’t though. Cleveland is just better than them in almost every aspect of the game.

Prediction 4-2 Cleveland


3. Phoenix Suns (54-28)
Last Championship: n/a
Previous Playoff Run: 2008 Lost 1st round 4-1 to San Antonio
Previous Round: 4-2 over Portland
Best Play-off Performer: Jason Richardson 23.5ppg 6.8rpg
Biggest Concern: Spurs dominance over the Suns in the play-offs

7. San Antonio Spurs (50-32)
Last Championship: 2007
Previous Playoff Run: 2009 Lost 1st round 4-1 to Dallas
Previous Round: 4-2 Over Dallas
Best Play-off Performers: Manu Ginobili 19ppg 5apg, Tim Duncan 18.2ppg 9.5rpg
Biggest Concern: Health

Last Playoff meeting: 2008 1st round 4-1 San Antonio
Season Series: 2-1 Phoenix
Most Intriguing match-up: Tim Duncan vs. Amare Stoudemire

After finishing off in-state rival Dallas in 6, Duncan and company travel to Phoenix play another rival. While some of the play-off games played between these two are historical, this rivalry is one-sided. Nash’s Suns have never been able to eliminate Duncan’s Spurs in a seven game series . In 2007 it got ugly (see above). I don’t expect there to be as much bloodshed, but I do expect history to repeat iselft

Predication: 4-3 San Antonio

30
Apr

Orginiality at its finest

>We have all in been in fantasy leagues where there is that one guy who names his baseball team Sox34 or go Yanks. Well i hate those people. So here is my list of fantasy names, use them.

NFL/College football:

Cleo’s Sour Lemons, Gene UpChuck, Marc’s dirty Sanchez, Josh Scobee doobie doo, Ronnie what can Brown do for you, DJ i cant Hackett, Vince i want to die Young(Marcus), Dwayne’s Bowe and arrow, Marshawn i need to be Lynched, Patrick corn on the Cobb, Selvin only the good die Young, LenDale i wish i was White, Santonio im burning down ya Holmes, Ahmans Greener pastures, Heath’s Miller Lite, Jason Campbell’s Soup, Deion im hanging by a Branch, Dominic im following the yellow brick Rhodes, Matt i build sand Cassell’s, Josh i wish i could Reed, Shaun im over the Hill, Know-Sho Moreno, Casey im a fan of Dick, Brian the Price is right, Arrelious i live around the Benn, Sergio’s Kindle research, Jacoby’s built Ford tough, Dennis Pitta Pit.

NBA/College:

Patient Zero, Jason i beat my Kidd, DeJauns Blair Witch Project, Lavance’s Field of dreams, Rudy i was better off Gay, Kevin ill pay for Love, Raja ring my Bell, Derrick im pushing up Roses, Eddie im bringing down the House, Josh my game is a sinking Shipp, Brian i stabbed Rudoplh, Matt i was raised in Barnes, Adoonal’s aluminum Foyle, Aaron all i see is shades of Gray, Jrue i dont celebrate the Holiday’s, Sean May i introduce myself, O.J. hold the Mayo, C.J. i got Miles to go till im good, Jamario you couldn’t find my game on the Moon, Tayshaun’s Prince of Persia.

MLB:

David if loving you is wrong i dont want to be Wright, Kerry’s morning Wood, Mark’s Prior Commitment, Ted’s Lilly Pond, Randy Winn me a gumball, Ben i wet my Sheets, Garrett’s Atkins diet, Eric’s 3rd degree Byrnes, Nick’s Swisher Sweets, Rickie i havent got laid in Weeks, Brad Hawpe on my nuts, Ryan i touched your kid in Church, Bill Hall’s cough drops, Coco’s Rice Crispys, Jon im a MaLester, Chan Ho’s walk in the Park, Scott i got Downs Syndrome, Jayson im not Werth shit, JJ dont call me a Putz, Phil give me a diet Coke,Aaron i dont know how to Cook, J.R. throw me a Towles, Matt lets take the Stairs, Brad a Penny for you thoughts,

30
Apr

NHL Eastern Conference Semi-final Preview

By: Mike Asti

The East Conference went completely nuts in the first round with all but one lower seed advancing. As of now with Pittsburgh claiming home ice almost by default, it seems that it is the Pens Conference to win. While it will now be seen as a disappointment if the defending champs do not make it three years in a row in the finals these under dogs will not lay down with out a fight. This conference could easily employ the saying “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

(4) Pittsburgh PenguinsRegular Season Record: 47-28-7, 101 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 3-1
Last Stanley Cup Win: 2009
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 2009
Total Championships: 3
Last Postseason Appearance: 2009
Players with Stanley Cup Rings:
Chris Kunitz (2), Bill Guerin (2), Ruslan Fedotenko (2), Craig Adams (2), Marc Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Sergei Gonchar, Pascal Dupuis, Alex Goligoski, Matt Cooke, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Tyler Kennedy, Michael Rupp, Mark Eaton, Max Talbot, Eric Godard

(8) Montreal Canadiens
Regular Season Record: 39-33-10, 88 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 1-3
Last Stanley Cup Win: 1993
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 1993
Total Championships: 24
Last Postseason Appearance: 2009
Players with Stanley Cup Rings:
Scott Gomez (2), Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, Hal Gill

Montreal’s reward for shocking the Presidents Trophy winning Capitals is a match up with the back to back Eastern Conference representative in the finals and defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. While the Pens took 6 games to knock out a injury plagued Ottawa team they are loaded with talent across the board. Pittsburgh has the edge in basically every category in this up coming series against the Yankees of hockey, Montreal. The superstars are a clear advantage for the Penguins with arguably the two best players in the league on the roster. Crosby and Malkin have become the second coming of Lemieux and Jagr for this franchise as they have not only compiled individual awards but also already have two finals appearances and a ring to their young careers. Montreal’s top scoring threats are the elder statesmen Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, these guys were once studs helping New Jersey hoist the cup but have now become secondary scorers at best at this point in their careers. These two guys would be third line players at best on Pittsburgh. Clearly if players who should be secondary scorers are forced to shoulder the load the Pens would then have the role playing advantage. Pittsburgh made deep playoff runs the past two years due to role players stepping up when needed. Max Talbot’s two goal night in the game 7 victory against Detroit in last years Cup Finals says it all. Kris Kunitz brings experience not only from last year but also from being apart of the 2007 championship Ducks team so he also has the ability to come up in the clutch. Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko are the grizzled vets on the team but these two guys are not taking up a charity roster spot by any means. Both players are still an extreme presence on the ice and can score if set up properly. Luckily for them they are put in the best situation with young studs on both ends to pass them the puck.

On defense Montreal could make an argument that Hall Gill could be a factor. Gill has made a career out of shutting down future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr and brought that level of excellence on d to the finals a year ago frustrating Marian Hossa all through the series. Gill is now on the enemy side with the Canadiens. Despite his ability to eliminate super stars I do not think it will affect this series. If he stops Crosby Malkin could carry the load or vice versa. The Pens are also so deep that they could even dominate with both both of the big two being taken out of the game offensively. On Pittsburgh’s blue line they bring out Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang as the main line of defense. Gonchar is a border line Hall of Fame guy with tons of playoff experience but is starting to show his old age and no longer has any ability to catch up to the speedsters of the league. Fortunately for him that wont be an issue in this series since Montreal brings a Chinese water torcher type of attack. They rarely get a break away or odd ran mush and use the old Devils trap frequently. Letang is hot and cold and at times shows signs of being the future top d man but also can appear to be lost. Both of these two guns on Pittsburgh have a sharp shot and can score if necessary. Defensive scoring is almost non existent on the Candiens.

I opened by saying the Pens have the edge in just about every category and while that is true if Montreal has a chance it will be because of one guy, Jaroslav Halak. He single handedly beat Washington by doing what is labeled “standing on his head” in the hockey world. Halak made save after save against the likes of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin could he do the same to Crosby and Malkin? The answer is yes, but it will be much more difficult due to the depth of the Pittsburgh squad. If Halak recaptures the magic from round 1 he could have a chance to steal the series. Despite his baby face resume when it comes to post season play he actually could provide the Habs with their only edge in the series. The hot goal tender often can get the better of the more seasoned net minder. Marc Andre Fleury was the first of the many top draft picks that helped to rebuild the Penguin franchise. He does have the experience factor on his side by being the starter during every recent playoff series including the last two Stanley Cup Finals. However, he still has the tendency to allow the soft goal and rebound. His rookie like instincts still rear their ugly head when he often comes out of the net so far that if it wasn’t for his pads he could be mistaken for a defenseman. This matchup between the pipes will be the main thing to keep an eye on through this series.

My pick: Halak can’t do it all by himself and the Pens are just to strong and experienced, Pittsburgh in 5.

(6) Boston Bruins
Regular Season Record: 39-30-13, 91 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 2-2
Last Stanley Cup Win: 1972
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 1990
Total Championships: 5
Last Postseason Appearance: 2009
Players with Stanley Cup Rings:
Mark Recchi (2), Shawn Thornton, Miroslav Satan

(7) Philadelphia Flyers
Regular Season Record: 41-35-6, 88 pts
Head-to-Head Record: 2-2
Last Stanley Cup Win: 1975
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 1997
Total Championships: 2
Last Postseason Appearance: 2009
Players with Stanley Cup Rings: Chris Pronger

This series pits two cursed franchises against each other. The Flyers and Bruins despite always putting a very talented roster together always seem to under achieve in the playoffs. So far this post season both of these clubs are actually over achieving. The experience factor can also be thrown out the window as these teams only combined to have 4 total players with Stanley Cup rings. Pure talent and will to win could decide this one.

Scoring wise I think the Flyers have a very slight advantage. Philly brings to pline guys like Jeff Carter, Daniel Brierre, and Mike Richard to the table while the Bruins send out Patrice Burgeron and David Krejci. Boston may be deeper overall but when just discussing the star players Philly has the edge. The Flyers Carter and Richard are true leaders and have two of the best wrist shots in the league. Brierre has the playoff experience and when healthy can be a difference maker due to his speed and strong stick handling ability. The Bruins premiere skaters are often underachievers but have stepped up this season. Burgeron has been one of the best face off guys in the league along with Kris Draper for years but often gets over looked. These guys both know how to put the biscuit in the basket. Despite having better top tier players, Boston has the clear cut strong core overall offensively. On top of the top guys the Bruins have future Hall of Famer Mark Recchi, his career is winding down but he still can step up when needed and not only proved it all year with 43 points but also in the first round of the playoffs as he is tied for the team lead with 5 to this point. Recchi always finds himself on a good team and when surrounded by young talent can truly be a threat. Recchi also has the most playoff experience among any player in this series with two rings from the 91 Pens and 06 Hurricanes. Look for him in over time situations, it’s there guys like him step up. The other vet and player to keep an eye on in the series is Miroslav Satan. It was a year ago that he was sent to the minors by Pittsburgh and had pundits saying his career was over. He rebounded to earn his first title last post season and now with Boston is showing signs of the Buffalo player of the late 90’s. Satan is the other playoff point leader with Recchi. The Flyers secondary scoring is no where near as deep but can still be a factor. Simon Gagne who once was labeled a super star provides a nice punch after the big 3. He is joined by Claude Giroux and Ian Lapierre. These two guys played over their heads in the first round and are career agitators rather then scorers. If these two are relied on for offense this series could be over in 4.

This series puts two of the hottest goalies head to head. Brian Boucher for the Flyers finds himself leading the charge on a Philly playoff run a full decade after doing it in his rookie season. Boucher is coming off arguably the two best games of his career to close out the Devils. However, he is a career back up for a reason and only earned the job after free agent acquisition Ray Emery was forced to go on injured reserve. Boucher could keep this hot streak up but he should not be someone to rely on if Philadelphia not only hopes to win this series but make any further noise in the playoffs. Boston counters Boucher with another red hot net minder, Tuuka Rask. Last year Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas lost the starting job mid season and Rask managed to hold ship due to strong defense the rest of the way. Once the playoffs hit and the games began to matter a fire was lit under Rask and he has been man child since. Even more so then Halak or Boucher Rask has been the best goalie so far in the playoffs. I am calling this an advantage for Boston between the pipes. This toss up series continues with the competition on defense. This basically boils down to Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger. Chara is a giraffe on the ice ad uses his size in order to intimidate his opponents. Every time he is on the ice it is noted and on home ice the opposing coaches try their best to avoid dealing with him. Pronger is another shut down d man and is one of the best all around defensemen in NHL history. He was the first player since Bobby Orr to earn the Hart (MVP) and the Norris (Best Defenseman) trophies in the same season, he has compiled numerous 50+ point seasons, and appeared in two Cup Finals earning a ring in 2007 with the Ducks. That only begins to describe the vast resume of this strong but capable d man. Pronger and Chara both can stop a scoring chance with the best of them but Pronger’s playoff experience and ability to blast a slapper or one timmer at any moment makes him possibly the best overall skater in this entire series. Much like Chara Pronger is not afraid to take risks and tends to get a dirty reputation from the refs and opposing players and coaches. Another playoff suspension for Chris may be the only way to stop him from having an impact in deciding this best of 7.

My pick: This may be the most competitive series in this round outside the Red Wings Sharks showdown. Rask will out play Boucher and if he doesn’t Thomas will. Pronger will also steal a game with his ability to eliminate to line scorers. Home ice may play the biggest role in this series over any other due the home team getting the last line change each time and having the ability to avoid either Pronger or Chara. The Bruins have the home ice and the better overall team. Boston in 6.

To recap my earlier post on the West. These East predictions would lead to a Pittsburgh Boston match up in the Eastern Conference Finals and a Red Wings Blackhawks re-match out west.

My Stanley Cup Final representatives will be posted following the Semi-finals but lets just say I see some deja voo ahead.

26
Apr

Final Draft Recap: AFC West

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Denver Broncos
22nd Overall (from New England) — Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
25th Overall (from Baltimore) — Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
45th Overall — Zane Beadles, OG, Utah
80th Overall — J.D. Walton, C, Baylor
87th Overall (from Philadelphia) — Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
137th Overall (from Cleveland through Philadelphia) — Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State
183rd Overall — Eric Olsen, C, Notre Dame
225th Overall (from Pittsburgh through Tampa Bay) — Syd’Quan Thompson, CB, California
232nd Overall (from Baltimore through Tampa Bay) — Jamie Kirlew, DE/OLB, Indiana

Yikes. I don’t even know where to begin. Actually I do. Josh McDaniels has balls–a big round pair of them. He took the two highest upside players at QB and WR in the first round, but the guys who are by far the two biggest projects in the entire draft at their positions. And that was twice in the first round. Now I at least understand why Tebow thought there was a good shot of him going in the Top 15 a month before the draft…he knew Denver was smitten with him.

Well Josh McDaniels is going to look like a total visionary in ten years, or a complete and total fool. Tebow fits McDaniels shotgun-based offense well and McDaniels has a very good history with making average quarterbacks succeed, but now McDaniels has a supremely hard worker who actually has talent and upside, just needs major refinement in his game. If anyone is going to get it out of Tebow, it’s going to be McDaniels. And if he does, Tebow is going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, McDaniels will look like a pure genius and the legend of Tebow will grow so much that he’ll have to coach before he devotes himself to underprivileged people…okay I’m getting carried away but you get the point. This is a big deal. It’s the biggest gamble in perhaps the history of the draft.

But that’s not McDaniels only gamble, and it’s this other gamble that might really hurt his chances of keeping the Broncos job. McDaniels didn’t address his aging defense until round five and his incomplete front seven until round seven. I thought we all understood that while the 3-4 defense is deadly it’s only deadly when properly run! Mike Nolan worked his magic with an old defense last year, but he’s in warmer pastures in Miami now. The Dolphins are incredibly old in their front three, and can’t seriously expect Jammal Williams to last the full season (and if he does to play at the same level he played at as a Charger his whole career). Still, the Broncos got a major steal in Eric Decker in the third round as well as Perrish Cox in the fifth, who is as talented as any corner in the draft but has major character concerns and was suspended for the Cotton Bowl. He also admitted to showing up out of shape to the Combine. Still, he has huge upside and could be paired with Alphonso Smith as the corners of the future in Denver.

Denver also made sure to add three interior linemen, of all them I expect the most successful to be center J.D. Walton. He should have a nice career in Denver in what was a deep center draft. Denver also took Jamie Kirlew out of Indiana who once caught fire and had over 15 sacks as a sophomore. He never came close to that production again. The Broncos defensive staff will see if they can get it out of him and put him across from Dumervil.

Grade: B-
Reasoning: McDaniels deserves a decent grade just for being super ballsy, but this draft is a make-or-break draft for the Broncos franchise with reports of owner Pat Bowlen losing money on the team. I see six future starters here, but I can’t guarantee all of them are going to be good. With the risk of the early picks, McDaniels can’t get anything higher than a B-. He completely ignored getting a late-round NT to spell Jammal Williams and again ignored 3-4 DE. This is a draft class that people are going to be keeping an eye on for a while due to the controversial nature of it.



Kansas City Chiefs

5th Overall — Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
36th Overall — Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Ole Miss
50th Overall (from Atlanta) — Javier Arenas, CB, Alabama
68th Overall — Jon Asamoah, OG, Illinois
93rd Overall (from Minnesota through Houston) — Tony Meaki, TE, Iowa
136th Overall — Kendrick Lewis, FS, Ole Miss
142nd Overall (from Miami) — Cammeron Sheffield, OLB, Troy

In all honesty this draft makes me want to vomit. Outside of Eric Berry I’m pretty sure I disagree with every single pick. While Berry is a terrific all-purpose player at safety who will make an immediate impact (and imagine having him and Bernard Pollard) the Chiefs made major reaches on most of their picks. Dexter McCluster is a weapon, but he’ll never be anything more than a slot receiver and there’s no place for him in the backfield with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. And then they took a pure nickel corner in the 2nd round. I understand that the league is starting to use more 4 and 5 WR sets so having at least three good corners is important, but drafting a nickel corner who will be nothing more then a nickel corner in round two is just ridiculous. I like Jon Asamoah, but his short arms are a concern and Branden Albert really has not progressed as quickly as hoped. He may be better suited as a left guard where he played in college.

Then there’s Tony Meaki. Sure the potential is there, but he never stays healthy. Kendrick Lewis was an okay pick and could legitimately start this season. Cameron Sheffield is a high-upside project who isn’t likely to see the field much this season. The Chiefs failed to address NT or legitimately address 3-4 OLB. Expect a poor run game, a poor pass rush, and probably a secondary that will struggle because of that and a lot of youth.

Grade: D
Reasoning: I see three starters at the most. Berry has Hall of Fame potential, but I get the feeling he won’t be a career Kansas City Chief. Just a gut feeling.



Oakland Raiders

8th Overall — Rolando McClain, MLB, Alabama
44th Overall (from Jacksonville through New England) — Lamarr Houston, DT/DE, Texas
69th Overall — Jared Veldheer, LT, Hillsdale
106th Overall — Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
108th Overall (from Jacksonville) — Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Clemson
138th Overall — Walter McFadden, CB, Auburn
190th Overall (from New England) — Travis Goethel, LB, Arizona State
215th Overall — Jeremy Ware, DB, Michigan State
251st Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Stevie Brown, DB, Michigan

Stop the presses and color me surprised the Oakland Raiders had one of the best drafts in the league this weekend. I can’t even believe I’m saying it, but maybe Al Davis still has a thing or two left in his noggin. Rolando McClain was a superb pick for the Raiders. While Kirk Morrison was a good MLB, Al Davis wasn’t particularly high on him and McClain is a lot more physical then Morrison. The Raiders are putting a premium on finally stopping the running game and that is no better emphasized by the fact that both Richard Seymour AND LaMarr Houston are going to play end in Oakland. Oakland may very well have the biggest ends in all of the NFL in a 4-3 defense. The Raiders may be sacrificing a little pass rushing for the sake of finally stopping the run…either that or Tom Cable and the Pats switching to a 3-4. Cable says they aren’t but that “we’ll see what he’s doing.” Maybe a switch to the 5-2?

And if Oakland plays their cards right, and I think they will here with Cable as the head coach, they may have found both their LT and RT of the future. Jared Veldheer is a small school tackle with a ton of upside and athleticism and very good feet. If he’s coachable and can add some weight he should be able to take over as the left tackle in Oakland’s zone blocking scheme in year two. He compares favorably to Giants 2nd round pick in 2009 William Beatty who will be a starter this year. Then Bruce Campbell in the 4th is incredible value. Campbell has terrible technique, but ridiculous upside because of his raw strength, speed, and power. He will also need time on the bench, but compares to former Maryland Terp Jared Gaither who has turned into one of the better left tackles in the league.

Oakland also find nice depth in the secondary with the additions of Walter McFadden and Stevie Brown. McFadden should see some decent playing time in sub-packages. Clemson speedster Jacoby Ford will give his considerable talents towards the return game, and I expect him to win one of the return jobs despite never returning punts or kicks at Clemson (cue C.J. Spiller).

Grade: B+
Reasoning: Color me surprised if Oakland doesn’t get four starters out of this draft, a return man, and possibly another starter in Walter McFadden. This is probably their best draft in seven or eight years. Add in the trade for Jason Campbell (a 2012 4th round pick) and the Raiders have a quarterback who can take care of the ball much better then Russell and is far more accurate. Campbell doesn’t push the ball downfield that well, but he’s highly accurate and will keep Oakland in quite a few more games while they determine what the long-term solution is at quarterback.



San Diego Chargers

12th Overall (from Miami) — Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
79th Overall (from San Francisco) — Donald Butler, ILB, Washington
110th Overall (from Miami) — Darrell Stuckey, FS, Kansas
146th Overall (from Denver through Detroit, Cleveland, and Philly) — Cam Thomas, NT, North Carolina
168th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee
235th Overall — Dedrick Epps, TE, Miami (FL)

An interesting draft for San Diego. I have mixed feelings about Ryan Mathews as a player and thus even more so mixed feelings about a trade up for him. San Diego is clearly placing the blame of their failed running game on LaDainian Tomlinson seeing as they traded up for a running back and did not address right tackle at all. Donald Butler I liked more as a 4-3 MLB. He has the size to play inside in a 3-4, but he’s not a great block shedder which is essential in a 3-4. Darrell Stuckey was a great pick-up he’s a playmaker with a lot more discipline and should replace Cromartie as the playmaker in the secondary. Cam Thomas was an ENORMOUS steal in the 5th round as he has the talent to go in the second but didn’t have a ton of production. He really made a case for himself with an impressive Senior Bowl and if he plays that well in the NFL he’s going to be a superb replacement for Jammal Williams.

Jonathan Crompton and Dedrick Epps won’t see too much playing time. Crompton was drafted to replace Charlie Whitehurst who was traded to Seattle. Crompton offers a lot of upside as a pro-style quarterback, but he needs major work on his accuracy and decision making. He’s also a constant threat to get hurt.

Grade: C+
Reasoning: I see four starters here, which is impressive, but the Chargers failed to address some big needs and I’m not sure one of those starters will have much success here.

26
Apr

Final Draft Recap: AFC South

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Houston Texans
20th Overall — Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
58th Overall (from Arizona through New England) — Ben Tate, RB, Auburn
81st Overall — Earl Mitchell, DT, Arizona
102nd Overall (from Kansas City) — Darryl Sharpton, MLB, Miami (FL)
118th Overall — Garrett Graham, TE, Wisconsin
144th Overall (from Carolina through Kansas City) — Sherrick McManis, CB, Northwestern
187th Overall — Shelley Smith, OG, Colorado State
197th Overall (from San Diego) — Trindon Holliday, WR/KR, LSU
227th Overall — Dorin Dickerson, FB/TE/WR, Pittsburgh

Houston found it’s replacement for Dunta Robinson with Kareem Jackson. I like Jackson a lot more for Houston’s scheme then Robinson, so I like the pick, but Houston failed to address their nose tackle situation. Ben Tate could be an early candidate for OROY if he can get hot enough to steal the majority of the carries. Not a huge fan of the undersized Earl Mitchell, but he should be fine in nickel packages with Amobi Okoye pinning his ears back. Darryl Sharpton was a pure depth pick in the 4th round, as the Texans linebacking corps is one of the best in the NFL with Zac Diles, DeMeco Ryans, and Brian Cushing. Trindon Holliday could be explosive on returns and Gary Kubiak wants to use project Dorin Dickerson as a wide receiver, so they might not see a ton of return from this class.

Grade: C
Reasoning: Very little immediate impact, and the chances of projects like Dorin Dickerson succeeding are slim.



Indianapolis Colts

31st Overall — Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
63rd Overall — Pat Angerer, ILB, Iowa
94th Overall — Kevin Thomas, CB, USC
129th Overall — Jacques McClendon, OG, Tennessee
162nd Overall — Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma
238th Overall — Ricardo Matthews, DT, Cincinnati
240th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Kavell Connor, LB, Clemson
246th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Ray Fisher, DB, Indiana

Well the Colts addition of Jerry Hughes is pretty terrifying. Whether he plays linebacker or is simply the nickel end and the breather for Freeney/Mathis, Hughes is going to put up numbers like Mark Anderson did as a rookie. The Colts big passing game gives them a lead and they tell their pass rushers to pin their ears back and it becomes very difficult to stop them. Indianapolis realizes that they’ve got to keep that pass rush as good as possible, and adding a situational pass rusher with their first round pick is worth it for a team like Indy. They could have a situational rusher come close to if not pass double digits in sacks. Pat Angerer was a good selection as he can start off on the strong side and eventually kick to the middle when Gary Brackett hangs it up.

Kevin Thomas adds to the bevy of corners that the Colts already sport, and while he doesn’t have much upside, coming from a pro-style defense he’s an able cover man and tackler. He could develop into a solid number two corner. Jacques McClendon was a nice pick in the fourth as he should really add size to the Colts line that they need. He’s a very solid interior pass blocker. Blocking tight end Brody Eldridge is sure to carve a niche for himself as well. Look for Ray Fisher to compete for a job as a return man.

Grade: B
Reasoning: I see three eventual starters, but the only true immediate impact could come from Hughes and McClendon with Ray Fisher possible making an impact as a return man. Indianapolis didn’t address DT early which means they must have a little faith in last year’s 2nd round pick Fili Moala.



Jacksonville Jaguars

10th Overall — Tyson Alualu, DT/DE, California
74th Overall — D’Anthony Smith, DT, Louisiana Tech
143rd Overall — Larry Hart, DE/OLB, Central Arkansas
153rd Overall (from New England through Tampa Bay and Oakland) — Austen Lane, DE, Murray State
180th Overall — Deji Karim, RB, Southern Illinois
203rd Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Scotty McGee, KR, James Madison

Boy the Jaguars certainly wanted to add depth and versatility to their line. John Henderson is on the outs, but Terrence Knighton is a brilliant nose tackle. One would think that the Jaguars would want to grab a pass rushing tackle, and they did…but nobody knows if he’s going to play end or tackle in Jacksonville. The Jags moved Derrick Harvey to LE…but that’s where Alualu is best fit if at end. The Jags also signed Aaron Kampmann with the intention of him playing right end. D’Anthony Smith was a major reach in the third round and he could have replaced John Henderson, but I think Alualu will actually do that…it’s all very confusing. Jacksonville is a mess, and this could be the draft that gets the front office and coaching staff blown up.

Larry Hart and Austen Lane weren’t both necessary. Two project pass rushers? Hart may even move to OLB full-time in a 4-3. I also thought the Jags were high on Rashad Jennings as the back-up to MJD…so what’s with Deji Karim?

Grade: F
Reasoning: One good selection and that was the 10th overall despite it being a major reach (Alualu would have gone no higher then 29th overall to New York) and they may play him out of position and off the bench to spell another former first round pick who they just said they had a vote of confidence in. This honestly doesn’t seem like a good use of resources. If Alualu does move to DT I’ll bump this up to a D-. For now, it’s an F with a major reach in the first round and a bunch of project picks on Days Two and Three. This one could be the one that gets Jacksonville out of Jacksonville.



Tennessee Titans

16th Overall — Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
77th Overall — Damian Williams, WR, USC
97th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Rennie Curran, OLB, Georgia
104th Overall (from Seattle) — Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
148th Overall — Robert Johnson, CB/S, Utah
176th Overall (from Seattle) — Rusty Smith, QB, Florida Atlantic
207th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Myron Rolle, SS, Florida State
222nd Overall — Marc Mariani, WR, Montana
241st Overall (Compensatory Selection) — David Howard, DT, Brown

Tennessee easily had the best draft in their division. They got an absolute steal with Derrick Morgan at 16th overall who will have enough playing time to tackle the top five in DROY voting. Damian Williams is a round two talent and will be a terrific possession receiver at the next level who does have good separation ability. Rennie Curran is a high motor guy who projects to be the replacement of Keith Bulluck. He’s the dark horse for DROY and probably has the best chance of any player not taken in round one.

I’m not a huge Alterraun Verner fan, but the ball hawk from UCLA would be a nice compliment to Cortland Finnegan and should get a shot at the job as Roderick Hood really struggled last year. Robert Johnson is a really good pick-up as he can double as a sub-package corner and a rotational safety. Chris Hope had a major fall last year, and the Titans clearly aren’t sold on him anymore. 6th round pick Myron Rolle has a very good chance to steal his job despite poor timed speed. David Brown is a project pick in the 7th round…which is when projects should be taken.

Grade: A
Reasoning: I see at bare minimum four future starters, probably five, and maybe even six if David Brown develops into anything. The Titans hit every need, and hit it with value picks. They also have two early candidates for DROY on their squad and BOTH could be starting this season. The Titans may be young, but they’re going to be dangerous in 2010. Their receiving corps now has a ton of potential as well with up and comer Kenny Britt, speedster Nate Washington, sideline man and good possession receiver Justin Gage, rookie Damian Williams and tight ends Bo Scaife and Jared Cook (who is a major mismatch for linebackers and safeties). Along with Chris Johnson who is coming off of a 2000 yard season and a very good offensive line that hopes that switching Eugene Amano to center and putting Leroy Harris at guard will keep the line youthful and fresh. If Vince Young delivers on his promising 09 campaign (and forgets his bad last two starts) the Titans will compete for a wildcard spot, if not a division title this year.

26
Apr

Final Draft Recap: AFC North

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Baltimore Ravens

43rd Overall (from Miami through Denver) — Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
57th Overall — Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama
70th Overall (from Seattle through Philly and Denver) — Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon
114th Overall (from Denver) — Dennis Pita, TE, BYU
156th Overall — David Reed, WR, Utah
157th Overall (from Arizona) — Arthur Jones, DT/DE, Syracuse
194th Overally — Ramon Harewood, OT, Morehouse

Well Baltimore likely found three guys who will contribute immediately if Sergio Kindle doesn’t have to have microfracture surgery. Kindle and Kruger will form a nice rotation with Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson. Kindle’s initially responsibility will be to keep Johnson fresh. Terrence Cody will be worked in as both a nose tackle and will see some time at defensive end more than likely with both Kelly Gregg and Trevor Pryce nearing the ends of their careers. And either Dickson or Pitta will claim the starting tight end job this upcoming season from Heap. They were my #2 and #3 TE’s respectively, so it seems that Baltimore is counting on one of them to beat the other out. Baltimore also may have gotten two late round steals in Arthur Jones and Ramon Harewood. Jones needs to stay healthy for a full season and Harewood is a major project. He’s only played organized football for four years.

Grade: B+
Reasoning: I think they got at least four future starters here, but I don’t think any of them are going to turn into big time players.



Cincinnati Bengals

21st Overall — Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
54th Overall — Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
84th Overall — Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas
96th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
120th Overall — Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia
131st Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Roddrick Muckelroy, LB, Texas
152nd Overall — Otis Hudson, OG, Eastern Illinois
191st Overall — Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas
228th Overall — Reggie Stephens, OL, Iowa State

Well the Bengals have no problems bringing in guys that regular fans can recognize. Several of those players have played in national championship games in recent years. In fact, the Bengals went all BCS schools save for Otis Hudson. Gresham is a good choice if he’s actually utilized as Carson Palmer needs more weapons in the passing game as the Bengals have struggled to find a receiver to compliment Ochocinco the way Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry did. The Bengals likely will be disappointed in Antonio Bryant, but Gresham should be fine as a No. 2 or No. 3 in the progression.

The Bengals have added, in back-to-back years, defensive ends who have the talent to be drafted in the Top 5, but both are perennial underachievers. Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. If Cincinnati got one or both to live up to their potential the pass rush would be disgusting. Imagine trying to defend Julius Peppers off of both ends…that’s what this would be like. But like I said they are big underachievers.

Geno Atkins adds great depth to an already deep interior line. Brandon Ghee should be a nickel/dime corner and adds insurance in case the Bengals can’t come to an agreement with Jonathan Joseph who enters the final year of his contract. I’m not a huge fan of Jordan Shipley, but those in the know think he’s going to be the next Wes Welker. I’m not sure if those people really are in the know.

Grade: B
Reasoning: It’s a high-risk, high-reward draft. The Bengals have a tendency to do that a lot.



Cleveland Browns

7th Overall — Joe Haden, CB, Florida
38th Overall — T.J. Ward, S, Oregon
59th Overall (from Dallas through Philly) — Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee
85th Overall (from New England through Oakland) — Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
92nd Overall (from New York Jets) — Shawn Lauvao, OT/OG, Arizona State
160th Overall (from New York Jets) — Larry Asante, SS, Nebraska
177th Overall — Carlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida
186th Overall (from Carolina) — Clifton Geathers, DE, South Carolina

Well Cleveland’s draft certainly was interesting. Haden was the right choice at seven. The only other legitimate option was Spiller, but it’s a deep running back class and Haden is the cream of the crop of man corners. T.J. Ward was a reach and I think that Abram Elam or possibly even Sheldon Brown if he moves to free safety will hold him off. Montario Hardesty is a great pick to go with Harrison and Hillis in a committee with Hardesty likely taking the brunt of the load. I don’t love Shawn Lauvao in a man blocking scheme and he’s likely moving inside to guard. Colt McCoy I think is a career back-up, but he’s in the best place for success under Mike Holmgren who is teaching Brian Daboll the West Coast Offense. Clifton Geathers is a project, but a downright steal in the 7th as he has the potential to be a very good 3-4 DE in the mold of Chris Canty.

Grade: B+
Reasoning: I see four future starters who are going to be really good: Haden, Hardesty, Asante, and Geathers. McCoy and Lauvao will also likely find themselves starting eventually, but I don’t see either succeeding. Mitchell is a total project and Ward has too much competition at safety.



Pittsburgh Steelers

18th Overall — Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
52nd Overall — Jason Worilds, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
82nd Overall — Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Southern Methodist
116th Overall — Thaddeus Gibson, OLB, Ohio State
151st Overall — Chris Scott, OT/OG, Tennessee
164th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Crezdon Butler, CB, Clemson
166th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Stevensen Sylvester, LB, Utah
188th Overall — Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
195th Overall (from Arizona) — Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan
242nd Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Doug Worthington, DT/DE, Ohio State

The Steelers, like I thought, were bluffing on Roethlisberger and just trying to send their 28 year old franchise quarterback a message. The Steelers reloaded again in this draft acquiring Maurkice Pouncey in the first who should start from day one and is one of the better interior line prospects in years. Jason Worilds, Thad Gibson, and Stevensen Sylvester were all added to bolster the pass rush, as one of them will be expected to inevitably replace James Harrison and at least be a situational rusher behind Harrison and Woodley. Jonathan Dwyer is a low-risk, high-reward gamble in the 6th, but he’s had weight issues throughout his entire career. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders could both find playing time in Pittsburgh, and both have a big upside.

Grade: B+
Reasoning: Did they have to grab three pass rushers? Great pick with Emmanuel Sanders in the third. He could be a big steal as a slot receiver this year with Ward at flanker and Wallace at split end.

26
Apr

Final Draft Recap: NFC North

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Chicago Bears
75th Overall — Major Wright, S, Florida
109th Overall — Corey Wootton, DE, Northwestern
141st Overall — Joshua Moore, DB, Kansas State
181st Overall — Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan
218th Overall — J’Marcus Webb, OT, West Texas A&M

The Bears did a really decent job of acquiring guys who can contribute right away considering that they didn’t have a first or a second round draft pick. Major Wright and Corey Wootton can come in right away. Wootton needs to add a little weight, but as a 4-3 DE he’s perfect at left end and is a great run defender to compliment Peppers on the blind side. Major Wright should immediately start at free safety and he’s a ball hawk with great range. Joshua Moore, Dan LeFevour, and J’Marcus Webb are all major projects to undertake though. LeFevour is insurance for Cutler, and I like the idea to take a quarterback, but not LeFevour. There’s a lot I like about LeFevour, but his arm strength isn’t good enough to play in the blustery Chicago November’s and December’s.

Grade: C+
Reasoning: Two starters. Three projects. They did nothing to address the hole at left guard and didn’t give Cutler any other weapons. He’s stuck with Hester and Knox in the Mike Martz offense behind an offensive line that isn’t good enough to block for an extended amount of time like Martz’s offense requires.


Detroit Lions
2nd Overall — Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
30th Overall (from Minnesota) — Jahvid Best, RB, California
66th Overall — Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa
128th Overall (from Minnesota) — Jason Fox, OT, Miami (FL)
213th Overall — Willie Young, DE, North Carolina State
255th Overall (Compensatory) — Tim Toone, WR, Weber State

You can finally say it: the rebuilding process in Detroit is over. With this draft the Lions managed to acquire a dominant all-purpose defensive tackle who will inevitably be paired with Sammie Lee Hill the big nose tackle from Stillman. The Lions also picked the perfect running back for the fast-turf in Ford Field. The Lions picked up a guy will start at some point this season in Amari Spievey and got a huge steal in Jason Fox who should push Jeff Backus for playing time as early as Training Camp. Willie Young is a guy with a questionable motor, but a guy who could be a rotational rusher. Detroit’s biggest need going into the season is going to be finding a true pass rusher because KVB isn’t going to be that guy and Young isn’t ready and Cliff Avril may be better suited for a 3-4. Tim Toone will have to fight for return duties and special teams activities. Getting four starters in six picks is great. Getting four guys who could all at some point spend a weekend at a Pro Bowl site is even better.

Grade: A
Reasoning: I see four starters here, with the potential for five. And I think all four of the starters can be mainstays in Detroit and could help this team finally get back to respectability.



Green Bay Packers

23rd Overall — Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
56th Overall — Mike Neal, DT/DE, Purdue
71st Overall (from Cleveland through Philly) — Morgan Burnett, S, Georgia Tech
154th Overall — Andrew Quarless, TE, Penn State
169th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Marshall Newhouse, OL, TCU
193rd Overall — James Starks, RB, Buffalo
230th Overall — C.J. Wilson, DE, East Carolina

I love what Green Bay did with their draft. While I’m not a huge Bryan Bulaga fan, he is a nice fit for the Packers system, and Green Bay has a tendency not to rush their guys into uncomfortable playing situations. Bulaga will take over when, inevitably, either Chad Clifton and/or Mark Tauscher need to take a seat on the bench. Bulaga has time to add some strength even though he has very short arms. He could also kick inside to guard if necessary.

Mike Neal is a classic Ted Thompson pick. He’s a player that TT fell in love with because of his absolutely incredible athleticism. I actually spoke with a Purdue player and he said Neal was one of the locker room leaders and is an extremely high character player with a lot of motivation. The pick makes sense since Justin Harrell is made of glass and Green Bay has two defensive ends entering contract years.

The trade up for Morgan Burnett was brilliant. He’s a very good in-the-box safety who also happens to be a good cover guy. His versatility allows defensive coordinator Dom Capers to mess around with Burnett and stud Nick Collins. Atari Bigby has actually been a solid option for Green Bay, but he can’t stay healthy. Burnett is going to compete with him right away in camp.

Andrew Quarless is another stellar athlete, but he won’t get much playing time in Green Bay–especially with breakout player Jermichael Finley ready to put up even bigger numbers then he did last year. Quarless is a project at this point.

Marshall Newhouse was a superb pick. He can play in either man or zone blocking and has a huge frame with a nice wingspan. Newhouse won’t be ready to start right away, but could take over at tackle or guard (probably tackle in GB’s case) midway through the season–likely on the right side.

James Starks and C.J. Wilson are two more very high potential picks. Starks needs to stay healthy, but the collegiate production as a freshman, sophomore, and junior was very good. He missed his entire senior season and he has a great frame to add weight. Starks could push Ryan Grant for the starting job eventually, but in the near future will be a special teamer and will push for carries from DeShawn Wynn. Starks could easily find himself getting 10 carries a game in the final six or seven games. As for Wilson, he’s a very talented pass rusher considering his great size and the great athlete is a lot closer to being a complete player then most players taken in the seventh round. He has at least a season to become a more disciplined run defender and play with better leverage, but Green Bay could have hit a serious home run here.

Grade: B+
Reasoning: I see four starters here and probably five (either Starks or Wilson). Very good draft for a team that is seriously close to bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to it’s true home.



Minnesota Vikings

34th Overall (from Detroit) — Chris Cook, CB/S, Virginia
51st Overall (from Houston) — Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
100th Overall (from Detroit) — Everson Griffen, DE, USC
161st Overall — Chris DeGeare, OT/OG, Wake Forest
167th Overall (Compensatory Selection) — Nathan Triplett, LB, Minnesota
199th Overall — Joe Webb, QB/WR, UAB
214th Overall (from Cleveland through Detroit) — Mickey Shuler, TE, Penn State
237th Overall — Ryan D’Imperio, LB/FB, Rutgers

I have mixed feelings on Minnesota’s draft. Chris Cook is a solid pick as he fills a need at either corner or safety. He’s the ideal cover two safety as he’s a VERY good tackler. He doesn’t tackle low though, he needs to get better at that, but he’s one hell of a hitter. Trading up for Toby Gerhart was a joke. The Vikings needed to find a receiving option out of the backfield to compliment AP, instead they got another bruiser. I love Gerhart, but offensive versatility is enormously important.

Everson Griffen was a steal in the fourth. Major upside, but production problems caused him to fall. Griffen also has some problems with his weight and lacks an array of pass rushing moves. Griffen should be able to be groomed as the insurance for Ray Edwards, who wants a big pay day and may be out of Minnesota after 2010.

Chris DeGeare is a solid interior linemen, but he’s not a superb athlete. I think he’ll definitely move inside with the Vikings and may never be anything more than a back-up. Nathan Triplett likely is only going to be a special teams contributor. Joe Webb started his career at UAB as a receiver, moved to quarterback, and is now going to be a receiver again in Minnesota. The transition actually isn’t that bad for him. Mickey Shuler is a great blocking tight end, and that’s an extremely underrated position in the NFL. Ryan D’Imperio is going to move to fullback after playing linebacker at Rutgers. I’m not a big fan of the transition, but D’Imperio is probably willing to do anything to make the roster.

Grade: C+
Reasoning: I can’t see them getting more than three starters out of this class. Griffen may never even start. Cook looks like the only safe bet. The absolute maximum is going to be four starters, but even then we’re not talking impact starters.

26
Apr

MLB 2000’s All Decade Team

By: Mike Asti

1B – Albert Pujols

This great slugger’s career began in 2001. During this time he has accumulated 366 homeruns, 1,112 RBI, 1,717 runs, a .334 Avg., and a .628 Slg. He won the NL MVP 3 times and finished second twice. In both of those runners up seasons he was second to a hitter who has lost the right to even be named at this point. In my opinion Phat Albert is already a 5 time NL MVP. Pujols led the Cards to 2 NL pennants and 1 World Series title. He could walk into the hall of fame already but with over a decade of years to go in his career the sky is truly the limit. Albert Pujols is on pace to set not only the career home run record but also the mark for most runs batted in. This selection was by far the easiest. Oh did I mention there have been no mentions of steroids with this man. Please Albert, don’t ruin my life.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Howard, Jim Thome, Carlos Delgado, and Prince Fielder

2B – Jeff Kent

The end of the decade coincided with the end to this future hall of famers career. Kent kicked off the decade by winning the NL MVP award over that unnamed guy in 2000. Two years later in 2002, he would play in his first World Series and lose a tough 7 game series to the Angels (Kent earned a ring in 1992 with Toronto but did not play in those playoffs due to being traded to NYM late in the season). Kent leads all second basemen in history with 377 career home runs. He picked up 216 of those big flies during the 2000’s. On top of his MVP in 2000, he also finished 6th for the award in 2002. Kent picked up 5 100+ RBI seasons and 7 seasons with 20 or more home runs. Over this decade Kent played for the Giants, Astros, and the Dodgers.
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Alfonso Soriano, and Craig Biggio


SS – Derek Jeter

Along with Pujols this was another obvious choice. Jeter was an immediate impact player since coming into the league in 1995. He won a rookie of the year award and was a member of 3 championship teams in the 90’s to only 2 this decade but it was in the 2000’s when his individual hall of fame success began. Jeter played in 4 World Series with the Yankees over these 10 seasons winning 2 in the first and last years. During this decade Jeter became the all time Yankees hits leader surpassing Lou Gehrig. Over this time he accumulated 5 seasons of 200 or more hits and 2 other years with 190+. The “Captain” also flashed some leather winning all 4 of his gold gloves at the very difficult short stop position.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, and Miguel Tejada

3B – Alex Rodriguez

To make this very clear I know including A-Rod and leaving Bonds (damn I named him) out is a bit hypocritical but I will explain. This player led the American league in home runs 5 times despite 3 of those seasons coming during his infamous steroid filled Texas days. He won 3 MVP’s with 2 coming during his so called clean period. It was during the 2007 season when he became the youngest player to ever hit his 500th career home run. A-ROD won 2 gold gloves at short stop before switching over to the hot corner after leaving the Rangers following the 2003 season. Rodriguez played in 2 AL championship series with New York and after 16 seasons won his first world title in 2009.
Honorable Mention: Chipper Jones (is starter if steroids kick Alex off but also could be considered an enigma similar to Pedro), Miguel Cabrera

LF – Manny Ramirez

“Man Ram” came into his own over the past 10 seasons. Ramirez has been implicated for testing positive for steroids during his Dodger days but even leaving those years out (I honestly do believe he started roiding with LA) he is still by far one of the most feared hitters of the decade. Manny picked up two World Series titles after falling in the fall classic twice in the 90’s. He won the World Series MVP in 2004 when he helped the Red Sox break their 86 year curse. Ramirez hit his 500th career long ball in 2008 and was an all star 9 times. Manny hit 348 of his of his 546 dingers in the 2000’s.
Honorable Mention: Lance Berkman, Bobby Abreu, Alfonso Soriano, and Barry Bonds (I will give him this honor since I started A-Rod and Manny but to be honest Manny steroids or not deserves the decade title over Barry. Bonds stat line included mostly just the first half of the 2000’s despite it being amazing)

CF – Torii Hunter

This may be the only player put on this list almost 90% for his defense. If anyone earned that right it was Torii Hunter over the past 10 seasons. Hunter won 9 gold gloves. His total of 9, which will surely be increased already places him into a tie among outfielders for third most all time behind guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente. He hit over 20 home runs and stole 15 or more bases 5 times.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Beltran and Juan Pierre


RF – Ichiro (Last name Suzuki)

Similar to Mr. Pujols this players Major League career began at the turn of the century. Ichiro came over from Japan and right away made his mark. He won the AL MVP award in his rookie year which also earned him the ROY honor. Every year of his career he compiled over 200 hits leading the league 6 times. His highest total came in 2004 with 262, the record for a single season. He broke Wee Willie Keeler’s record producing 9 consecutive seasons with 200 or more hits. If you never heard of Keeler before, that is most likely because he accomplished his 8 year mark from 1894 to 1901. Ichiro has also been an all star every year of his career and was named the All Star Game MVP in 2007. He also has won a gold glove all 9 years of his American playing days. With just over 2,100 hits Ichiro still has a shot at the coveted 3,000 bench mark despite not entering MLB until after his 27th birthday. Unfortunately Ichiro only appeared in the post season once but was a member of both championship Japanese teams in the World Baseball Classics.
Honorable Mentions: Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, and Bobby Abreu

C – Jorge Posada

The sexy pick seems to be Joe Mauer, so this selection may come as a bit of a shock. I feel even though Mauer would still be under consideration his career did not even begin until mid way through the decade. For that reason I decided to pick one of the most underrated players of my generation. Posada like Jeter, played in 4 World Series with the Yanks winning two. He also was a member of the 3 title teams in the late 90’s. Again like Jeter this decade his individual career took off. Jorge compiled 8 seasons with 20+ home runs as well as 8 years with 80 or more runs batted in. Those numbers for a catcher are outstanding. He finished in the top 7 in the AL MVP race twice and could provide a compelling case for having that same standing several other times in the 2000’s. The most important statistic for a catcher is durability. Posada played in over 100 games 9 times and over 140 in 6 seasons this decade. With all that said, I personally feel Jorge Posada will some day join the pantheon of New York Yankee greats in Cooperstown.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez, and Joe Mauer

DH – Frank Thomas

I am probably the only person to pick the Big Hurt to this spot. However, I feel it is well deserved. Thomas will be advancing into the Hall of Fame one day and even though his best years came in the 90’s he was no slouch this decade. He was selected as into the top 15 of the AL MVP vote three times and was amongst the top 5 twice. He hit 40 home runs twice and jacked 39 in 2006. Thomas picked up 3 seasons with over 100 runs batted in and 2 others with over 90. The sexy pick of David Ortiz had 3 seasons with 40+ home runs and 5 years with over 100 RBI. He has now been flooded by steroid allegations. Those allegations, implicate him to being a rampant steroid user throughout the entire 10 year period. It was in 2007 when Frank knocked on the doors of Cooperstown with his 500th career home run. Thomas was also a member of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox team. A case could be made for Jim Thome due to him spending more time as a DH then at first base overall.
Honorable Mention: Jim Thome and David Ortiz

P – Randy Johnson

The Big Unit was a dominant force for most of the decade. He followed his CY Young award in 1999 with 3 more consecutive titles. During this time he won 64 games including 2 seasons with 20+ wins and a 19 victory total campaign. Johnson also was a member of a World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks team in 2001. He was named the co World Series MVP. Over the past 10 seasons Johnson compiled 143 wins and a .647 win percentage. He also picked up 32 complete games. The unit won 17 or more games 6 times this decade and solidified his place as one of the best left handed pitchers of all time. Did I mention he also threw a perfect game in 2004?

P – Curt Schilling

Johnson’s former teammate was apart of some of the biggest moments and games of the past 10 years in baseball. Schilling never won a CY Young in his career but finished second three times this decade. Schilling won three World titles, 2 with the Red Sox and 1 with Arizona in 2001, 2004, and 2007. In 2001 was co MVP in the fall classic and in 2004 was a key contributor to breaking Boston’s 86 year baseball title drought. Schilling sent the Sox to the World Series with a victory in the infamous “Bloody Sock Game” in game 7 of the ALCS. In this decade Schilling picked up 117 wins and a .650 win percentage in only eight seasons. Those are 117 wins out of only 216 totals for his entire career in the regular season.

P – Johan Santana

The third spot on my list could be given to one of two guys. My choice is Santana. Johan won two CY Young awards in the tougher American League. In these seasons he accumulated a combined 39 wins and only 12 losses. This decade marked his entire career to this point in which he has picked up 122 wins, only 60 losses, and a 3.12 earned run average. Halladay is the other candidate for this spot but Santana had been an ace for a larger portion of the decade and won two CY Young’s in comparison to Halladay’s one. Roy Halladay has also still failed to experience post season play at any point in his career.
Honorable Mention: Pedro Martinez (he is an enigma due to his prime taking place from 1997 until 2004), CC Sabathia, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens (Steroids obviously hurt his chances but his great years took place in only first half of decade anyway)

RP – Mariano Rivera

This choice was almost as obvious as Pujols or Jeter. The only player still allowed to wear Jackie Robinson’s number, 44, could also be labeled the greatest closer in history. Rivera came into the league at the start of the recent Yankee dynasty in the mid to late 90’s. He originally was a set up man for the 1996 title team before becoming a shut down closer. In the 2000’s he added 2 more World Championship rings to the 4 he won before the turn of the century. Rivera pitched in a total of 4 World Series this decade. He joined Hoffman in the 500 save club during the later half of the decade and picked up 397 out of his 526 career saves in the 2000’s. He recorded a 2.08 ERA and even added 45 wins to his decade resume. “Mo” is a beast out of the pen and a sure fire first ballot hall of famer.

RP – Francisco Rodriguez “K-ROD”

K-ROD began his career and the decade in 2002. During this time, much the same way Rivera did in 96’, Rodriguez was the star set-up man on a World Series title Angel’s team (helping to ensure Bond’s did not win a ring certainly helped him get on my good side right away). Following that season he became the closer and had immediate success. K-ROD compiled 246 saves over his time in the majors. This included leading the league in saves 3 times and breaking the all time record for saves in a single season in 2008. In that record setting campaign he finished as the inaugural member of the 60 save club. He totaled 62 saves to set the new record. Over this time Rodriguez finished in the top 5 for the CY Young award given to the best overall pitcher in each league 3 times. He also finished 6th for the AL MVP in his record breaking season of 2008.
Honorable Mention: John Smoltz, Joe Nathan, Trevor Hoffman, Jonathan Papelbon

Baseball Player of the Decade: Albert Pujols (see above column for the reasons)
Close Calls: Mariano Rivera, A-Rod (steroids disqualify him from this highest honor), and Ichiro

25
Apr

NHL 2000’s All Decade Team

By: Mike Asti

C – Joe Sakic

The future hall of famer was the stabilizing and constant force on an Avalanche team that contended year after year. Sakic helped lead the Avs to his second Stanley Cup title in the 2000-2001 season. This man was apart of the fiercest rivalry in hockey yet still chose his number in honor the Captain of that team, Steve Yzerman. Sakic put up his best statistical years in the late 90’s but was still a scoring threat this decade. He compiled 6 seasons with over 75 points and 2 years surpassing 100. His best season came in his cup year as he put up 118 points with 54 goals and 64 assists while being a +45. Joe had 7 seasons with over 25 goals while sharing the ice with several all star caliber players.

Joe Thornton

Despite not being as famous as Sakic I feel Thornton also earned the right to be the starting center on the all decade team of the 2000’s. Thornton has been an assist machine over the past decade. He put up 7 seasons with over 50 assists and 6 with over 60. This current season is still in progress as he is on pace to be near 80 with already 37. Thornton also had 3 seasons with over 100 points with his best season coming in 2005-2006. That year he picked up a career high 125 points including 96 assists. Unfortunately Thornton has never had the team success Sakic has. He has never been deep in the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Pavel Datsyuk (3 finals, 2 cups, 1 Selke), and Sidney Crosby (2 finals, 1 cup, 1 MVP, However, he did not debut until mid way through decade)

RW – Jerome Iginla

The Calgary Flames superstar has been a member of the NHL’s elite for almost his entire career. Iginla put up 8 seasons with over 30 goals including twice surpassing 50. He never compiled over 100 points but accumulated over 85 four times and over 90 twice. His highest total was 96. Iginla lead the Flames to their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1989 in 2004 despite losing to the Lightning in 7 games. Jerome was voted second for the Hart trophy for the league MVP once but was selected as the MVP by his peers that season.
Honorable Mention: Jaromir Jagr (His best years were fron 92 until 01), and Marian Hossa

LW – Ilya Kovalchuk

This scoring sensation came into the league at the start of the decade and has been on fire ever since. Koalchuk put up amazing numbers including 6 seasons with over 35 goals and 5 years with over 40. Only one time in his career did he fail to reach the 30 goal mark. In his rookie year he picked up 29 goals. He has only reached the post season once. This is in contrast to a guy like Zetterberg who reached the playoffs every year of his career including going to the final twice and winning the Stanley Cup once, in 07-08. Zetterberg also was the Conn Smythe winner for the playoffs that season but if you put his regular season stats next to Kovy’s they are really not even close (I was even surprised). Zetterberg also did not debut until 2003 the year after the Wings won their first cup of the decade, a team Datsyuk was a member of but Henrik was not. If Zetterberg was on that team I may have bumped him up. Ovechkin like Crosby would be chosen first but did not enter the league until half way through the decade.
Honorable Mention: Henrik Zetterberg (2 finals, 1 cup, 1 Conn Smythe), Alexander Ovechkin (2 MVP’s), and Markus Naslund

D – Nicklas Lidstrom

Lidstrom is by far the easiest selection on this list. He has been amongst the high class of the NHL his entire career and only enhanced his legacy in this decade. Lidstrom won 2 more Stanley Cups in the 2000’s giving him a total of 4 to his credit. The first came in 2001-2002 when he also won the Conn Smythe trophy for the playoff MVP and the second came in the later portion of the decade in 2007-2008. He also appeared in the finals for the 6th time in 2008-2009 despite losing in 7 games to the Penguins. Individually Lidstrom racked up 6 Norris trophies as the leagues top defenseman and was also the runner up once. He also became the only European captain to ever win the Stanley Cup following his 07-08 finals victory. The man they call “Lids” is just a beast. Lidstrom had 6 seasons with over 60 points, 4 with 70 or more and one 80 point season while playing shutdown defense.

D – Chris Pronger

Pronger started the decade with one of the best seasons for a defenseman in history. He became the first d man since number 4 Bobby Orr to win the Norris trophy and be named league MVP in the same year. In that year he picked up 62 points and was a +52. Pronger played in his first two Stanley Finals of his career this decade after numerous early exits with the Blues in the 90’s. Pronger appeared in the finals in back to back seasons with two different Western Conference teams. In 2005-2006 he was on the losing end as a member of the Edmonton Oilers falling in a hard fought game 7 to Carolina. A year later he hoisted the cup for the first time with the Anaheim Ducks after beating Ottawa. He notched 40 or more points 8 times and tallied 50+ 4 times over the past 10 seasons. This was all done while being a hard nosed brawler.
Honorable Mention: Scott Niedermayer (4 Finals, 3 Cups, 1 Norris, 1 Conn Smythe), Brian Rafalski (5 Finals, 3 Cups), and Rob Blake (1 Cup)

G – Martin Brodeur

When you break the all time wins record for net minders during the decade there is a good chance you may make this list. Brodeur moved past Patrick Roy as the NHL’s leader in victories for a goalie in 2009. He now has 602 and counting. During the 2000’s he picked up 2 more Stanley Cup titles in the 1999-2000 and in 2002-2003 seasons on top of his ring from 1995. He led the devils to the finals a total of 3 times this decade taking his team back in 2000-2001 before losing in 7 games to Colorado. A goalie career is often measured by team success but individually he was on fire. Brodeur won 38 or more games 7 times and 40 or more 6 over the decade. In 6 seasons he led the entire league in victories. His highest goals against average this decade was a stellar 2.57 every other year except one he was below 2.40. Martin Brodeur may go down as the greatest goalie of all time and it is largely due to his production during the 2000’s decade.
Honorable Mention: Jean-Sebastien Gigere (2 finals, 1 cup, 1 Conn Smythe during final runner up season), and Roberto Luongo (He is a beast)

Coach – Mike Babcock

“Babs” is the clear cut choice at this spot. He came out of nowhere this decade to become one of the best coaches in the league and spark a pace that could place him in the hockey hall of fame one day. Babcock led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals 3 times this decade. In the 02-03 season he coached up a very young and inexperienced Ducks team to the finals before losing in 7 games to New Jersey. During that postseason he would see his team complete a surprising upset of the defending champion Red Wings who were then labeled the “hall of fame squad.” That series would become ironic a few years later when he would leave Anaheim to coach Detroit. He has since led the Red Wings to the finals twice in back to back years in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons winning his first Stanley Cup title during his first finals appearance with Detroit. During this time he saw the wings win 50 or more games 5 straight years and also took them to the Western Conference Finals in 2006-2007 before losing to the eventual champion Ducks that year. At this rate the sky is truly the limit for the amount of president’s trophies, western conference titles, and Stanley Cup championships he could add to his resume with the Red Wings.
Honorable Mention: John Tortorella and Ken Hitchcock

Hockey Player of the Decade: Nicklas Lidstrom
Close Call: Martin Brodeur

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