Monday, April 30, 2012

Final Draft Grades: AFC West

Denver Broncos Heading into the draft, I may have been under the assumption that president of football operations John Elway was moving all his chips to the center of the proverbial table and adding pieces around his off season gem, future Hall Of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Coming out of the draft, I really don't see where he did that, in any way, shape, or form. Their first selection of the 2012 NFL Draft wasn't until the second round at pick #36. They added a defensive tackle, sure a need position for Denver but I'd consider their pick, defensive tackle Derek Wolfe as a late second or early third-round pick, not selected over Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Connecticut's Kendall Reyes, the pick was a miss. When they finally picked on the offensive side of the ball, they took a quarterback! Project Arizona State signal-caller Brock Osweiler at number fifty-seven! Would Elway himself have been comfortable with the Broncos ever taking out insurance on him? It wasn't till pick #108, when the Broncos selected a center, that I felt good about their draft at all, they filled a need with Baylor's Phillip Blake, and we can live with that. However, the real miss was passing on impact running back Isaiah Peed and waiting till the following round to take Ronnie Hillman from San Diego State. Final Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs Before this draft we promised ourselves several things, one of them pertains to the Chiefs. Any team who reached on Memphis defensive lineman Dontari Poe was automatically failing the post-draft grading process. However, while the Chiefs did take Poe with the 11th pick overall, I did like nearly all of their late round picks. Fifth-rounder, Alabama corner back DeQuan Menzie is a terrific pick in the late rounds. Running back Cyrus Gray from Texas A&M in the sixth round gives the Chiefs even more depth in the backfield after acquiring Peyton Hillis already this off season. Finally, the addition of Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway in the last round is just a pick I like because I've always been a fan of the Wolverines. Final Grade: C

Oakland Raiders The draft has been over for four days now and I'm not sure if the Raiders have picket yet, are you? Not being able to pick before 94-players were off the board doesn't exactly give you an edge on the competition. What else can really say about a team that traded away prime selections for the corpse of Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor through the supplemental draft, neither of who will take snaps for this team by the end of 2013, but I digress. I do however like one pick the Raiders made. In the fifth round the Raiders added 6'4" receiver Juron Criner from Arizona. Criner had a monster year two seasons ago in 2010 and was an All-PAC 10 selection. With the new addition of free-agent back-up quarterback Matt Leinart, it's possible the Raiders are just looking to add some depth all around. Final Grade: C+

San Diego Chargers I loved nearly everything about the Chargers draft, but then again they've always had a knack for adding talented players onto their roster. Their selection of Larry English, the outside linebacker/defensive end from Northern Illinois back in 2009 didn't work out the way they had hoped, but it didn't deter them from attempting a similar move this year. As South Carolina speed rusher Melvin Ingram slid down draft boards last Thursday night, the Bolts pulled the trigger at #18 in the first round and took him, great pick and we loved it just like we loved English back in 2009. In consecutive rounds the Chargers improved their defense again and again. Ingram in the 1st, Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes in the 2nd round, and LSU safety Brandon Taylor in the 3rd round, all fantastic picks. The hope for San Diego is that two of these three defensive players become pro-bowlers and impact their defense for some years to come. We always love when a team attacks one side of the ball that they really need improvement on, and with San Diego, the 20th ranked rush defense last season, this did just that. Final Grade: A-

. . NFC West up next!

Final Draft Grades: AFC South

Houston Texans Unlike some other clubs, the Texans really couldn't help but have a so-so NFL Draft. They've lost a couple offensive linemen in the off season and more importantly linebacker DeMeco Ryans and former top pick pass rusher, Mario Williams. Adding three offensive linemen through the draft shows they were just as concerned with that position getting filled more than any other, to be honest this was a team that was most likely an injury to their quarterback, Matt Schaub, away from making a deep playoff run a season ago. Their first pick of the weekend, defensive end Whitney Mercilus from Illinois will be a high value selection if he can make up for some of what they lost with Ryans and Williams going elsewhere in agency, and the same can be said for adding Nebraska's Jared Crick in the later rounds. Mercilus being a 1-year wonder in college does concern me. Oh, and I absolutely do not care for their 68th overall pick, Ohio State receiver DeVier Posey, it's just not smart, he's an average starter at best. Final Grade: C+

Indianapolis Colts Look, if Indianapolis had no other picks other than the top overall pick, I'd give them the same grade I'm going to give them for the entire draft they did have. Stanford's QB Andrew Luck is going to start from Day 1 in Indy, they did what most teams dream of doing - add a franchise quarterback the year you part ways with your previous franchise quarterback. Luck is the real deal in every way, and he'll prove that going forward. Then, Indianapolis managed to put two very good tight ends around him, his teammate in Palo Alto, Stanford TE Coby Fleener and Clemson TE Dwayne Allen. Fleener gives Luck a familiar face to pass to in his first season in the NFL, passing to tight ends is something he's very good at to boot. Allen will help in the run blocking game and possibly even on the right side where Indy failed to pick up another top tier offensive tackle. Later adding skill position players like FIU's receiver T.Y. Hilton and Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard just further emphasized the point; Indy is putting quality players around their franchise quarterback, something Washington and Cleveland could learn from. Final Grade: A

Tennessee Titans The Titans clearly made some organized moves to improve depth and holes in their defense. Of their seven selections, the Titans stuck to the defensive side five times. However, their 1st round-selection Baylor receiver Kendall Wright was an extremely special pick to us. Adding Wright and provided Kenny Britt can come back healthy this season really improves the pass game in Tennessee and thus improves their explosive running game with Chris Johnson. Their next three selections, LB Zach Brown (52nd), DT Mike Martin (82), and CB Coty Sensabaugh (115) are all expected to come in right away and start making plays on that Titan defense, alot to expect from some really valuable positions! Lastly, one of my steal picks at pick #190, Oklahoma State safety, Markelle Martin. Obviously the Titans had a need in the secondary with Cortland Finnegan's departure and they filled it with Coty Sensabaugh but Martin just really adds to that. He's a quick player who is used to playing against those pass-happy Big 12 schools and can translate at the next level. Final Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars It pains me that one of my favorite players in this draft, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, ended up in Jacksonville, but I felt like Jacksonville needed to make a move like this and I applaud that. Look, the Jags need star players who can put 'cheeks in the seats' and get people excited about their franchise and at #7, they were just out of reach of doing that, the trade to jump up to #5 put them in perfect position and they hit it out of the park. Why do we like Blackmon so much? It's simple, he's a great kid and an awesome team player, oh and he's just flat out great on gameday. Early second round, the Jaguars pick up Clemson pass rusher Andre Branch, great pick and if you weren't going to attack the position early on the first round, get the best available at the same position when you get to pick again, and they did that. Now to the bad; The Jaguars, of all teams, wasted a f*cking third round-pick on California punter Bryan Anger! Here's the thing, he's the highest punter drafted since 1995, and there is a reason for that! Are the Jaguars the team that can validate drafting a punter this high? No, No, and No. If I was a Jaguars fan I would have shut the television off and ran my head through a wall after this pick. I get that the Jaguars probably are going to punt an awful lot, but come on man! Final Grade: D (just for that pick alone!)

. . . next up, AFC West

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Final Draft Grades: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens Till Ray Lewis and Ed Reed retire, I'll always say that any young defensive player with upside who is lucky enough to get drafted to play alongside them, is going to really benefit. Enter Alabama edge rusher Courtney Upshaw. Fell out of the first round and then Baltimore moves up to the 35th pick overall to take him, brilliant move from Ozzie Newsome. This pick on the second day of the draft had me thinking the plan to move out of the first round went off to perfection, Baltimore thought they could get him a little later and the move back allowed them to do so and grab more selections in the process. Furthermore, the Ravens were able to pick up a compliment back to Ray Rice in drafting Temple's Bernard Pierce in the third round. Doubling his production from 2010 to 2011 before a late season injury, Pierce got some teams paying close attention. Final Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers Bar-none the smartest back-to-back picks I've seen in a while. First round, the Steelers hit the jack pot and sweep up the best guard in the draft, Stanford's David DeCastro. Watching 11 of the 15 picks leading up to their twenty-fourth overall selection go to the defensive side of the ball, Pittsburgh doesn't think twice before they add DeCastro. Second round, pick #56 comes and the Steelers don't hesitate to take another sliding offensive lineman in Ohio State tackle Mike Adams. The only thing holding back Mike Adams was himself, the lack of effort, the failed drug tests (recreational not performance enhancing), and the multiple suspensions at the collegiate level. It all kept NFL teams away, but not a veteran team like Pittsburgh, not with a locker room full of guys who have made the wrong decisions and came out on the other end. If Adams and DeCastro can anchor this line going forward, it'll go a very long way to Pittsburgh being able to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger healthy. Also, Washington's defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu and Florida running back Chris Rainey add depth at two positions the Steelers needed to do so. All-in-all they've had a great three days of the 2012 NFL Draft. Final Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals We're big fans of what the Bengals did last year, and that was even before it worked out and the duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green turned in awesome rookie years. This year however, I've got some questions. Why at #17 did the Bengals select Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick when guard David DeCastro was still available, at a position they seriously needed help at? Yes, they did go ahead and draft Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin at the same position ten picks later, but he's not DeCastro. Overall it was a mixed bag for Cincy, I really like adding the Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu to come in and play opposite A.J. Green but then didn't like drafting both Devon Still from Penn State and Brandon Thompson from Clemson at the same defensive tackle position when running back was a need they missed out on till much later. Had the Bengals grabbed Lamar Miller the Miami running back rather than Brandon Thompson at pick #93 in the 3rd round I would have given them a much better grade than I'm about to. The Bengals draft for me would have looked like DeCastro, Sanu, Still, Lamar Miller, and I'd even have stayed with their 6th round pick of Ohio State running back Boom Herron, forgive me if I'm not a fan of free-agent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Final Grade: B-

Cleveland Browns Holmgren missed. While four of their first five picks were meant to put bolster the 29th ranked offense from a season ago, I just think they missed. President of the Cleveland Browns, Mike Holmgren, evaluated his current quarterback Colt McCoy while never putting any pieces around him to work with, that I don't get. RB Trent Richardson was a given, they needed that impact player and got him. Rumours were swirling that Holmgren was ready to take the Baylor receiver Kendall Wright and when the Titans took him at #20, the Browns just changed gears and drafted Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. Was this Plan B? Receivers Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, and Rueben Randle were all still available, he knows that right? What would have been wrong with adding Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn with their second first round pick and then adding one of those three receivers with their early second round pick? Why make the obvious choice if you could just select a near-thirty year old quarterback to? Oh, and you still don't have anyone for him to throw the ball to. Final Grade: D-

. . . AFC South up next!

Final Draft Grades: AFC East

Buffalo Bills With their first round selection the Bills made the safe pick in South Carolina DB Stephon Gilmore, which should improve their 19th ranked pass-defense. I call Gilmore a safe pick because he doesn't have the baggage that Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and Northern Alabama's Janoris Jenkins came along with, both of whom we considered better NFL prospects at the same position as Gilmore. That being said, Gilmore is a very solid pick inside the top ten. Adding Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn falls into the same category as Gilmore, a very quality selection at the point in which he was selected (41st). Glenn is, to put it lightly, massive. He'll move to the inside on the Buffalo offensive line and really give them a push up front in their running game, the Bills got a steal getting first round talent in the second round here. We thought taking a slot receiver in North Carolina State's T.J. Graham in the third round was a reach, but as solid as they'd been already, you can't blame them for taking a shot with the 5'11" Graham. Lastly on Buffalo, we were very pleased with their selection of Tank Carder the outside linebacker from TCU in the fifth round. Carder is an interesting player and plays very instinctively, if it works out, the Bills may have grabbed a future leader in their locker room. Final Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins I was searching for a team which I could slam early on, and the Dolphins were a reasonable choice. I don't like Ryan Tannehill as a player at all, their 1st round selection (8th overall). Despite having an amazing looking wife, everything else Tannehill does is average at best for me. Dolphins fans are going to talk themselves into this pick because Tannehill's former college coach Mike Sherman is now the offensive coordinator in Miami and head coach Joe Philbin is the former Green Bay assistant who got current starter in Seattle Matt Flynn prepared to take on the league and of course coached up all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Our contention you ask? Tannehill is neither Flynn or Rodgers. So, does Tannehill start over Matt Moore or David Garrard? I'm going to say he's 3rd on the depth chart however, you still thought he was worth the eigth overall pick? Last word on Miami's draft, I too like a Stanford offensive lineman and drafting Jonathan Martin is a quality pick in the second round. He'll eventually be the successor to Jake Long at left tackle, Miami's 2008 top pick overall who they are becoming more and more anxious to part ways with. Final Grade: C+

New England Patriots Great first round as I wrote (Friday), if Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones stays healthy the Patriots may have committed the coup of the 2012 NFL Draft. After the first round however, the Belichick'ian' way took over. A safety from Illinois, (Tavon Wilson) which no one had coming off the board in the second round, and two more late round defensive backs showed what Belichick was looking to do, swing away at the secondary and hope you get lucky. All that being said, moving up in the first round not once but twice really showed everyone what the Patriots had in mind, sure up their defense, and they did just that.  Bama's Dont'a Hightower really is in the best position for him to come in and make a first round pick type impact. Final Grade: A-

New York Jets I'm starting to seriously dislike the Jets. I know, I'm late to that party. Seriously though, I'm smarter than Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. If i was him, I'd have targeted Chandler Jones and or Melvin Ingram from South Carolina if I was in the market for a first-round defensive end, not the inconsistent North Carolina end Quinton Coples. Also, I get that it's simply splitting hairs, but we had South Carolina (slightly overweight) receiver Alshon Jeffery rated higher than the speedy Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill. One thing you can say about Jeffery that you can't about Hill, he's got no problem with his hands, something we like in a guy catching the ball. I like almost none of what the Jets have done in both free-agency and now the draft. Acquiring Tebow created a problem the Jets have under center, or amplified an existing problem, either way it's an issue that Tannenbaum and the Jets crreated, and then they reached on Coples in the first round, I just don't get it. Final Grade: C-

. . . .AFC North up next!

Friday, April 27, 2012

NFL Draft: Round 1 Three Up / Three Down

I hope no more trades happen till you read this, but the way last night went, it could . . .

Let's Get After It!

Three Up

New England Patriots If you woke up today and didn't watch the draft because of how disappointed you've been in Bill Belichick's draft career, you'd be stunned. Bill ditched his usual routine and finally drafted a couple of super-talented players with all the picks they'd acquired. First there was Chandler Jones from Syracuse, a kid who spent much of the first part this past season injured but then when he got healthy, boy did he show up. Chandler Jones gained a ton of momentum in the past three weeks leading up to the draft. He's the type of pass-rusher who is going to give the Patriots defense a ton of flexibility, something they have seriously lacked over the past few seasons. Then, they went ahead and added Dont'a Hightower, the versatile linebacker from Alabama. Hightower can stop the
run up the middle and also play great from sideline to sideline as he demonstrated in Nick Saban's complex defensive system in Tuscaloosa. Talk about getting outside of the comfort zone for New England and Bill Belichick, on Thursday night he moved up twice to draft both players which he wanted to give his defense the teeth they've been lacking.

NFL Fans Hey, that draft was fun. With the rookie salary scale now in place, teams where not only more apt to make deals to trade up for players they coveted, they actually did it! The Browns didn't hesitate to swap picks with Minnesota to ensure they got their man in Trent Richardson, despite it being just one slot! The Cowboys jumped up to the sixth overall pick to get the defensive back they never thought possible. The Jaguars moved into the top five to get the receiver that they wanted! It was mind boggling for the most part! Not only did the draft seem like it flew by, it did fly by coming in under four hours. All-in-all, a draft like that is just more exciting, even the teams who played deep into the playoffs can get their fan bases excited about what they may or may not do because now the price tag isn't nearly as difficult as it once was! Bravo Goodell, bravo!

Dallas Cowboys Of course they're our favorite team, but you have to give them credit. We know that Jerry Jones loves trading in the first round, but this time he nailed it. By moving from #14 to #6, the Cowboys were able to net the best cornerback in available in the draft. LSU's Morris Claiborne is going to instantly impact the Cowboys terrible pass defense from a season ago, that's filling a hole and doing it the best possible way. The Cowboys did the one thing that I've been dying for NFL teams to do for years, go get your players no matter what you have to do, when you really like them. Why worry about next years pick or next rounds pick if the guy that can make your team legitimately better is available for you to go out and get?

Three Down

New York Jets It's not that the Jets picked North Carolina defensive-end Quinton Coples, it's who they passed on when they selected Coples which I take issue with. Still on the board for Rex Ryan and the J-E-T-S was the bigger more consistent South Carolina pass-rusher Melvin Ingram. Also, who their division rival New England (more on him in a moment) selected, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Coples is a player who is going to have to be coached up, has under-performed based on what we thought he was a couple years ago at North Carolina, and isn't even going to play every down because of what he lacks. While it was cute for the Jets to put it out there in the days leading up to the draft that they were very interested in finding a way to acquire Alabama running back Trent Richardson, stick to doing your homework on guys you might actually have the chance to pick.

Seattle Seahawks You cannot convince me otherwise, Pete Carroll isn't a draft guy. He did a great job by picking up some extra picks and moving back in the in the first round to #15, yet then went and selected a guy he probably, no wait, definitely could have gotten on day two. Undersized West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin might be very fast with a 'great motor,' and Carroll might be all kinds of jacked and pumped with landing him, but he's a player who doesn't play against the run and being selected in the top half of the first round, there is no way that Seattle just got everything they could have out of that selection, not a chance. Doesn't this seem oddly familiar to what they did a year ago drafting Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter at twenty-five (25) when no one had him that high?

Tampa Bay Bucccaneers I'm still curious as to how handing the Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon and giving up their opportunity to take a cover-corner like Morris Claiborne benefits them in the long run. Cam Newton and Matt Ryan play in their division and they're only going to get better and better in the passing game, does a safety really make them better defending the pass, more so than a cornerback would have? ESPN's John Clayton wrote something very similar this morning and it's true. They're already getting torched every year by New Orleans and with the other two division opponents playing them twice a year, how soon is it before you make a move and find a cornerback to vastly improve your secondary? When you had plans to take a defensive back anyway, isn't the cornerback the logical choice? Ask Dallas (more on that soon).

More NFL Draft talk in the coming days . . .

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

He's That Good!

Have you had enough of Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Robert Griffin III ?!?! Quite frankly, so have I. See, at LynchyRightNow, we've been confident for nearly two-years now that former Stanford signal-caller Andrew Luck was not only a mortal lock to be the top player selected whichever year he chose to come out, but more so that he deserves every bit of the hype that comes with the 'top pick' nod. Robert Griffin however, does not.

My knock on Robert Griffin is far from an uber-bias toward the Palo Alto signal-caller. To us, Grif is a product of the environment in which he'll be selected. I'll remind you that two prospects with very good resumes at the same position, Oklahoma's Landry Jones (6'4", 230 lbs.) and Southern California's Matt Barkley (6'2", 220 lbs.), both opted to return to college for another year. What their actions did has dictated the type of NFL Draft we'll see on Thursday night.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. If either Barkley or Jones was the alternative and not Ryan Tannehill, Do the Rams get as much as they did (two future 1st round picks and a 2012 second-round pick)?

2. Would the Redskins still have been the team to move up?

3. Wasn't it referred to as 'suck for Luck' for a reason?

Here's how we answer:

1. No, both Barkley and Jones emphatically lessen the cost of Robert Griffin. In fact, just call up Mike Holmgren in Cleveland and ask him, he'll agree. He's the executive passing on Tannehill when he would like nothing more than to head into 2012 with a quarterback of his choosing.

2. Probably not, isn't head coach Mike Shanahan notoriously known for meddling? However, now we expect him to be the coach to let RG3 play his own game at the next level? Ask Donovan McNabb how he felt about his experience with Shanahan.

3. Yes, it was. It was referred to that because the Stanford quarterback is the prototype. He's intelligent enough to handle an NFL playbook right now, he's got a big arm, mobile, and doesn't lack confidence. For SI to ask the question on it's April 23rd cover, "Who should go first?," is absurd.

It may seem like we have an axe to grind with Robert Griffin but I promise you it's not. More so it's about the hype surrounding a player who is not Cam Newton, not John Elway, and not as talented as his draft-mate, Andrew Luck.

Andrew Luck is a three-year starting quarterback at one of the most demanding academic schools in the country. You want a kid who can rip through an NFL playbook and come out ready to go, who's better? How about a winner? 23-3 In his final two seasons in the collegiate ranks. You saw what 49ers quarterback Alex Smith did in his first season under Harbaugh right? Career bests in passer rating and total yards, think
Luck has benefited somewhat from Harbaugh's tutelage while at Stanford? While at Stanford, Luck threw for nearly 9,500 yards and 82-touchdown passes. Would you like a real Elway comparison? He's it.

When it comes to Robert Griffin, here's a player who I have serious reservations about. Comes out at his Baylor Pro-Day to his own rap music, that's focus isn't it? He doesn't have the size that Cam Newton has, that 6'5" height that Newton used in his first year at the next level seriously came into play often, height Griffin is going to have to make up for not having. At Baylor, he was spoon fed a very simplistic offense without a ton of variety. Big 12 defenses respected his ability to run so often that it limited their ability to apply pressure off the edge, that won't happen in the NFL. In a league where he is going to have to audible out at the line, read who is looking to get after him, and adjust to an entirely different pro system he's never seen before, is instant success really a guarantee?

Before you sit back and call them 1A and 1B, know it isn't that simple and it sure isn't even true. As much as Robert Griffin wants to tell you and everyone around him wants to tell you that this draft contains two top picks, it doesn't. . .

With the 1st Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft

. . . LynchyRightNow

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You what?!?!

There are definately days out there where I hear this when I praise a certain athlete, "You what?!? He's terrible, I hate him." It got me to really thinking. Why do you hate Mike Vick now? Have you heard about this guy, who did this? Why can't we dig a little deeper and find out who really causes a problem, or who really hurts others around him? Are we all just listening to the 1st story on the news? Or, are we opening up the magazine and reading a little more?

Let's get after it!

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick

I understand, you really like Fido the dog, maybe even love him. Point taken. Buuutttt, you understand he's an animal right? How was that bacon you had with your coffee? The turkey on your club sandwich you had for lunch? The crab meat you ate as an appetizer out at dinner? How about that filet you filled up on? Just so we're all on the same page, none of those animals went quietly. Now, don't get all fired up. Hold on. Wait for it . . .you're a hypocrite. Old news though, we're past that, Vick spent 548-days in prison, lost two years of his career, and we'll never know how many greenbacks. My point is, he made some bad choices but did indeed pay for those bad choices in more ways than one.

Who you really shouldn't like; Patriots receiver Donte Stallworth

Don't recognize the name? Come on now, you're the same person who just said you hate Michael Vick, and you don't know Donte Stallworth? Well, I'll fill you in. Stallworth had too many cocktails in a posh Miami bar back in 2009, got behind the wheel of his Bentley sedan, and proceeded to strike, with his vehicle, and kill a man heading home from working the night shift as a crane operator. That would be manslaughter. Murdering a man on his way home to his family because you were to ignorant to call a car service rather than get behind the wheel is far worse than anything Michael Vick did. Oh, and Stallworth did only 24-days of a 30-day prison sentence, reached an undisclosed amount to settle with the family of the victim, and lost his license for life with the ability to get it reinstated after five years to go to and from work, at his job as an NFL player!

7x Tour de France Champion, American cyclist Lance Armstrong

Now this one I'll never understand. Armstrong raised more than $325 million for the research and awareness of cancer throughout the world, and that was a number posted over two years ago! Has never had any of those 'Tour de France' victories stripped away from him, only been accused and exonerated from false accusations in a sport where largely they go by the motto, "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying," and still women don't like him. For the better part of the last twenty-years he's been the face of cancer survivors across the globe, I'm shooting out random numbers but I'll bet of every 50 people you meet on the street, at least two of them have on his signature 'LIVESTRONG' bracelet. Now that's impressive. If you're still not convinced, believe me his wife who he left for Sheryl Crow, I'm sure she was well taken care of.

Who you really shouldn't like; shamed American cyclist Floyd Landis

Now here's a guy to loathe. Not only was he shamed after failing PED tests and stripped of his Tour de France championship, at the time the first in the history of the sport, but then he proceeded to try and take everyone down with him, including the guy above who raised countless of millions of dollars for cancer research everywhere! Landis spent years trying to fight his failed tests only to later just come clean and admit it, oh and he even wrote a book about how he wasn't guilty! Then again, if you want to hate Lance Armstrong for being friends with Matthew McConaughey, well then I'm on board with that as well.

14x Major golf Championship winner, Tiger Woods Yes, his off-the-course activities have now far exceeded anything he's done on the course, as remarkable as that sounds, it's true. And yes, he is definately not someone you would want your kids to look up to at this point. Oh, and the level of infidelity reported was most likely a fraction of what he's actually done throughout his playing days, as hard as that is to believe, it's also probably true. Wait, scratch that, you should loathe Tiger too.

Who you really shouldn't like; Fair enough.

Miami Heat super-star, LeBron James

Look, I don't care for LeBron, don't get this twisted around. I really don't like the guy, never really have. However, why you don't like him? That's absurd. He's playing in a city more fun than nearly half of all U.S. cities, far more fun than Cleveland. Furthermore, he's playing on a team with players the same caliber as he is, something he'd never experienced before. He doesn't curse around the court like Kevin Garnett, he's never been arrested for something that may or may not have happened in Denver like it did to Kobe Bryant, he's never gone into the stands and punched a fan in the face, so really, why do you like him? Because he's arrogant? Rich? Well, that just got rid of 85% of the players in the NBA.

Who you really shouldn't like; New York Knick, Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo is only good when he's the guy. He can't handle other people drawing attention away from him. Probably doesn't like Jeremy Lin, probably got his head coach fired when the rest of the team started looking to 'Melo for answers. Oh, and he could care less about whether his team wins or loses, as long as he gets his!

I guess what I'm attempting to say here is, stop reading the cover of magazines and listening to the headlines. If you want to make yourself sound well-informed and mildly intelligent, open the magazine!

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our 5 Burning Draft Questions

When I go to the grocery store I don't buy the apples with bruises on them and I don't buy bananas that have gotten brown on the outside. (Not as witty with analogies as I thought, moving on.) With that attempt at humour out of the way, here are our Five Burning NFL Draft Questions . . .

Get After It!

5. Cleveland or Miami; Which team wakes up angry on Friday, April 27th realizing they've just drafted Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill thirty-two picks too early?

Everything that went down with St. Louis, Cleveland losing out on the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes, has left them with a huge sour taste in their mouths. After fired head coach Tony Sparano led a Dolphins team to an inspired 6-3 finish and playing their way out of 'Suck For Luck', you had to know it was a sign of bad things to come. Peyton said no, Alex Smith said no, and Matt Flynn would rather play in Starbucks country than with his old coach on South Beach, talk about doomed. It's our belief however, that Holmgren has decided to give Colt McCoy another year and draft a quarterback in a later round, say Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden. Leaving the Dolphins with the unfortunate task of having to select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, or as I like to call him 'the yellow skittle,' the one you're forced to take out of the bag after the rest are gone! Hey Miami, we weren't the ones who told you to pass on now perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan back in 2008!

4. Who is better for Tampa Bay at #5? LSU CB Morris Claiborne vs. 'Bama RB Trent Richardson

This all depends on what Cleveland does, but for argument sake we'll say Cleveland takes Tannehill or gives payback to St. Louis and goes out of character to draft highlight-film receiver Justin Blackmon away from the Rams. Leaving Tampa Bay in a very tough spot. The Bucs could really use Richardson in the backfield, who in our mind is one of four, can't miss, A+ talents in this draft (joining Luck, Blackmon, and Luke Kuechly), however their secondary is a mess. With LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne available and his former defensive backs coach in Baton Rouge, Ron Cooper, in the Tampa 'war room,' he's got an advocate who is probably foaming at the mouth to continue coaching the former LSU standout. I'm going to have to agree with Cooper on this one. Claiborne can be very effective at the next level and in a passing league you need that more than you need a pass-catching running back with a great set of skills, despite that Claiborne's shoe size is higher than his Wonderlic score.

3. No Tebow in J-Ville, now what?

In Blaine Gabbert we trust? Oh, or Chad Henne. I hope the masses understand that it wasn't Jaguars owner Shahid Khan's choice to not bring in the adopted-son of Florida, Tim Tebow. The people in Tebow's camp, including himself, and not God, wanted Tebow to be a Jet for more than one reason:

A) Under new head coach Mike Mularkey, it's no guarantee that Tebow would have beaten out Chad Henne and or Blaine Gabbert for the starting job.

B) The Jaguar fans aren't exactly the type to rent out billboards along Northeast Florida clamoring for 'Tebow-time'.

C) The Jaguars are terrible.

All that being said, general manager Gene Smith has a couple really good options at pick #7. With any luck, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon finds himself slipping out of the top six. At that point Gene Smith would have a no brainer on his hands. Blackmon's a big target with great hands and a terrific ability to move down the field after the catch. This however would mean Cleveland selected Tannehill, the Bucs opted for Trent Richardson, and St. Louis didn't want to pass-up on Morris Claiborne, none of which I see happening. Next we move onto the safest possible move, take the South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram. Nearly 280 lbs. of dominate speed coming off the edge looking to bury a rookie quarterback in Indianapolis, a second-year quarterback in Tennessee, and a fragile quarterback in Houston, it's a quality move. Finally, DON'T DRAFT MICHAEL FLOYD. He got himself into enough trouble in South Bend, Indiana and I've been to J-Ville, it's way more fun than South Bend.

2. RGIII to the 'Skins, Blackmon to St. Louis . . that worked out for all parties involved, didn't it?!?!

It worked out for Washington, in the short term however. True, they get Robert Griffin III, a dynamic athlete of whom we should all be a little more skeptical of, but terrific athlete none the less. I'm going to just say it, Cam Newton helped Carolina win six-games in his rookie year, and I don't believe they are the same exact player at all, Cam's better. So yes, I do question that it isn't as much of a slam dunk as we're making it out to be. The (3) 1st-round picks it cost them and a 2nd-rounder, not a big deal, that is if you think RGIII is the guy you've obviously made him out to be. As far as St. Louis goes, someone in that organization is willing to possibly trade themselves out of Justin Blackmon, a huge mistake in our opinion. At pick #6 the guarantee that Blackmon is still around is not as favorable as it was at #2. If the rumour is true and St. Louis could have done the same deal with Cleveland but kept themselves in the top five and didn't for whatever reason, well that's just crazy. Holmgren could offer the #4 pick to any number of teams willing to put together a package big enough to take Blackmon. What if Jacksonville comes calling on draft morning? They trade-up and take Blackmon at #4, Tampa sticks with Claiborne at #5, leaving St. Louis to scramble at #6 possibly taking Fletcher Cox the defensive tackle from Mississippi State, and Cleveland can go ahead and take Trent Richardson at #7, the same guy they would have taken at #4. I agree, the package that Washington put together for RGIII was worth it to pull the trigger, especially if you believe in Sam Bradford, but show you believe in him by locking up a talent like Justin Blackmon.

1. Will the defending AFC Champion Patriots use their late first-round selections to move up, and to where?

I'm not sure if New England even has to, to get what they want that is. They don't have the ammunition to do what they did in 2008 by moving up to get Jerod Mayo, and even if they put it together, who is the player of need worth it, as Mayo was then? Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is a terrific player, but it'd cost to much at this point and they've already got Brandon Spikes, who isn't all that bad. With drafting where they are they can improve their defensive line after the departure of Andre Carter, and wait to see if any particular player they've highlighted on their draft board begins to slide. Would it shock people if they stepped-up to select Janoris Jenkins, despite the off-the-field issues? Here's a talented cornerback/return-man who with any other rap sheet would find himself amongst the top 15-selections. Florida connections, has the call been made to Urban about just how frustrating Janoris was? Is North Carolina defensive end Quiton Coples the type of player that Belichick would try to move up to take if he began a draft-day slide? As always with New England, you really never know, right?!?!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

We're Baaaaaack

Quick Disclaimer; I was off getting married / honeymooning / and in general, running myself ragged. But I'm back, and I appreciate the readers coming back with me. Oh, and Happy Birthday to my godson who turns 1-year old today!

So, where do we start?!? Coach Calipari and his band of freshmen won a National Title for the University of Kentucky while we were out. Congratulations Lucifer, you win this round. We may not like Coach Calipari's methods, those of us in or around the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis probably would have rather Monday night turn out slightly different for Coach Calipari, for sure. However, the man does have a point. He recruits fantastic freshmen classes, top notch NBA-talent, and holds no punches when it comes to that. When asked about it, Coach Calipari referenced the tennis athletes, the golf athletes, and even the baseball athletes who jump to the professional ranks the moment they can, and what is so different from his hoopsters? Most likely, not-a-thing. Super-freshmen Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist most likely will chase their dreams toward The Association in late-June, while Coach Calipari has successfully earned his first National Championship, despite making us all feel dirty about it.

Ready-made defense, couple good offensive weapons along with a good offensive line, and a head coach who will stay out of the way of said offense. That's what Peyton Manning went into in Denver. A patch-work defense, a locker room in disarray, and a head coach who cannot stay out of his own way, let alone your way. Welcome to New York Tim Tebow. Doesn't seem like the way we should treat the second-son of God, does it? Now don't go blaming John Elway for doing what he needed to do to lure a future Hall of Fame quarterback with supposed 'gas left in the tank,' that's a move you make. As for Rex Ryan and the Jets? You can only say you're going to win the Super Bowl so many times before people start to get restless. To make it worse, your Stadium-roommates win their second in the decade while you're still talking about it. Bringing in Tebow might be the best you could do to create an additional distraction, I guess get better in the red zone, and sell a sh*t-ton of jerseys, but I can't say it was a need. While I'm not a Sanchez fan, but he's definitely a better passer than Tebow. For that raw-deal that Tebow just got moving to The Big Apple, blame a 6-4 quarterback from Houston, TX that is poised to be the top pick in April's NFL draft. Yep, just made NFL prospect Andrew Luck public enemy #1 in the Tebow household, that happened.

I can't get excited for Tiger anymore. I don't care that the most exciting part of The Masters weekend is Saturday and Sunday, I just don't buy Tiger will be there anymore. With that, let us be honest about what has transpired. Believe me, I'd want nothing more than to see Tiger Woods return to his former glory and have the billions of people who loved him get wrapped up in it again, all the while feeling a little dirty about it. We've had tastes of this right? Michael Vick in Landover, MD back in 2010 smashing the Redskins on a record-breaking night. I loved every bit of it, but if Michael Vick ever reaches a Super Bowl, ohhhh boy! It'd be like if Barry Bonds discovered a cure for cancer, I'd be excited, I'd clap a few times, but it's Barry Bonds?!?! That's where I'm at with Tiger Woods. I want him to be there on Sundays to add excitement, to get people jacked-up to watch some golf! Then again, it's Tiger Woods. You know, cheated on his wife more times than I've Tebow'ed since December! You know, publicly made a creepy apology about his infidelity, which was shockingly MORE creepy than the actual act of infidelity! Maybe we should just give this one to another old or young white guy who doesn't rock a red Nike polo on Sundays, who doesn't get me interested in golf, and who allows me to enjoy my resurrection day in other ways!

Thank you again for checking back in! I'm back! Follow me on Twitter!