Saturday, April 21, 2007

NBA Round 1 Predictions

The NBA season is finally over and it is time to get into the real are my calls for the first round of the NBA playoffs....

Eastern Conference
(1) Detroit vs. (8) Orlando
- Dwight Howard is my favorite young player in the game....he is going to be an MVP one day....the Magic lost the season series 4-0 to Detroit....look for Orlando to win 1 game.....when looking at the playoff matchups, it would have been better for Detroit to be the #2 seed instead of the top the #1 seed their next round opponent will be either Chicago or the defending champs, Miami......while the #2 seed’s next round match-up will be against Toronto or New Jersey.....anyway, Detroit in five games

(4) Miami vs. (5) Chicago - the Bulls have to be sick....a win on the last day of the season would have set them up with the 2 seed and a lot easier route to the conference title they get Shaq Diesel in round one... Dwayne Wade is not 100% and that hurts the Heat....I think Pat Riley knows his team is not going to go far in the playoffs, that is why he already announced he is coming back next season....the Bulls won the season series 3-1....this is the best opening round series....its time the Baby Bulls grow up....players like Deng and Hinrich need to step up their game -- and I think they will.....Chicago in six games

(3) Toronto vs. (6) New Jersey - these teams split the season fact, most Americans cannot name you 2 players on the Toronto team who are not named Bosh....the Raptors are a 3 seed because of winning the weak Atlantic Division.....Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson are all veterans.....New Jersey in six games

(2) Cleveland vs. (7) Washington - this is a rematch of last year’s great first round matchup.....I would have taken the Wizards if Butler and Arenas were not out....Arenas would have made the Cavs pay from last year.....this will be an easy time for the Cavs.....Lebron will have fun in this series....Cleveland in five games

Western Conference
(1) Dallas vs. (8) Golden State
- this looks like a cakewalk for the Mavs....but not so fast my friend.....Golden State took the season series 3-0 as they were the only team the Mavs did not beat this year.....I will tell you this, the Mavs will win at least game in this fact, they will win four games.....Dallas in five games

(4) Utah vs. (5) Houston - the Rockets are my surprise team in the playoffs....Yao is dominating the inside and T.Mac can do it from outside.....right now, Yao is the best center in the NBA....Houston in five games

(3) San Antonio vs. (6) Denver - okay people, this is why Denver traded for "the Answer".....Iverson was brought in to win not playoff games, but playoff serieses.....yes, that is plural - I think....the Nugs will give San Antone a battle and in fact may jump to a 2-1 lead....but Spurs win....San Antonio in seven games

(2) Phoenix vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers - Kobe will win at least 1 game all by himself in this series.....but Phoenix is a team on a mission.....Steve Nash will not let the Suns lose to the Lakers.....Phoenix in six games

Playoff predictions - the series I want to watch comes in round 2 out West with Dallas taking on Houston....something tells me Houston is going to dump the one is paying attention to the they have a veteran coach in Jeff Van the East, the Cavs will make it to the conference finals - and you know what - even The Finals......Detroit is prediction for the NBA Finals is Phoenix over Cleveland in 6 games....but once again, my surprise team is Yao Ming....if it wasn’t for the broken leg earlier this year, Yao would have been the league MVP....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Mark Story of The Lexington Herald-Leader about Kentucky Basketball

Today we are taking a break from the NFL draft as this edition of "Five Good Questions" is with Mark Story of The (Lexington) Herald-Leader....Mark is a columnist for the paper and he provides some insight how Big Blue feels about their new men's basketball coach.....

Q1. How happy is the Kentucky faithful with Billy Gillispie as the new head coach?
Granted it's the honeymoon period right now, but I think Kentucky fans are pleased with the selection of Billy Gillispie. Billy G. helped himself immensely in his introductory news conference, showed both confidence and humor and said all the right things. He's also been portrayed as a 24/7/52/365 basketball-loving workaholic. That goes over well in a state filled with college basketball passion.

Q2. What type of temperament and personality must a coach have in order to survive as the head coach of Kentucky basketball? Does Gillispie have that temperament and personality?
The most successful Kentucky basketball coaches, think Rupp and Pitino, have had a bit of an edge to them in their public personas. I think it's far too soon to tell whether Billy Gillispie is cut from a similar cloth. I do know that the guy who coached Texas A&M in Rupp Arena during the NCAA Tournament was incredibly intense and focused and showed a very different face than the Billy Gillispie that appeared at the UK introductory news conference.

Q3. Now that it is over, did Kentucky realistically think they had a chance at getting Billy Donovan?
I think Kentucky felt like, correctly, that it had to at least run its job past Billy Donovan, who is a former UK assistant. I would say that the speed with which UK moved after Billy D. said no suggests that Kentucky was prepared to get that answer.

Q4. If Gillispie turned down the job, who were some other names that were on the list?
Had Gillispie said no, I think there is a very good chance that John Pelphrey could've gotten the call to come home.

Q5. What does the Kentucky brass think about Ohio State's Thad Matta? Why wasn't he selected over Gillispie?
I don't know what the Kentucky brass thinks of Thad Matta, having never asked. His name never came up much in connection with UK because he rather emphatically took his name out of consideration very early in the process.

Q5a. I can't let you go without asking you who is your pick for the Kentucky Derby?
No horse that failed to race as a 2-year-old has won the Kentucky Derby since Apollo did it in 1882. Curlin did not race as a 2-year-old. Spitting in the eye of history, I like Curlin to win this year's Derby. But I'm not claiming to be much of a horse racing expert.

I want to thank Mark Story for taking the time to is much appreciated!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top 10 defensive picks are not a sure thing

Earlier this week we looked at the offensive players who picked in the top 10 in the NFL Draft since we go to the flip side of the ball and look at the defense.....remember, each player will receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F.....I added two more grades for those who were recently drafted and I was unable to give a grade.....IP means "incomplete, but moving in a positive direction"......IN means "incomplete, but moving in a negative direction".....

Defensive line - there have been 15 defensive linemen chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000.....

2000 - Courtney Brown - F; Corey Simon - C
2001 - Gerard Warren - C; Justin Smith - B; R. Seymour - A; Andre Carter - C+; Jamal Reynolds - F
2002 - Julius Peppers - A; Ryan Sims - B-; John Henderson - B+
2003 - Dewayne Robertson - C; Johnathan Sullivan - F; Kevin Williams - A; Terrell Suggs - A
2004 - none - 1st dl selected was Tommie Harris at #14
2005 - none - 1st dl selected was Travis Johnson at #16
2006 - Mario Williams - IN

Linebacker - there have been 4 linebackers chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000....

2000 - Lavar Arrington - C; Brian Urlacher - A+
2001 - none - 1st lb selected was Dan Morgan at #11
2002 - none - 1st lb selected was Napolean Harris at #23
2003 - none - 1st lb selected was Calvin Pace at #18
2004 - none - 1st lb selected was Jonathan Vilma at #12
2005 - none - 1st lb selected was DeMarcus Ware at #11
2006 - A.J. Hawk - IP; Ernie Sims - IP

Secondary - there have been 11 secondary chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000....

2000 - none - 1st sec. selected was Deltha O'Neal at #15
2001 - none - 1st sec. selected was Adam Archuleta at #20
2002 - Quintin Jammer - D; Roy Williams - B
2003 - Terence Newman - C
2004 - Sean Taylor - A; DeAngelo Hall - A; Dunta Robinson - C
2005 - Pacman Jones - D; Antrel Rolle - C; Carlos Rogers - C
2006 - Michael Huff - IP; Donte Whitner - IP

Summary - I was surprised that only 4 linebackers were selected during this time.....probably the biggest miss at this position was Shawne Merriman going at #13 in 2005 to San Diego....overall it's hard to judge this position being that only 4 players were drafted in the top 10 over the last 7 years....

In the secondary, I gave Pacman Jones a D because of his off-the-field problems....on the field I would have given him an A or B+, but it just kills a team when their cornerback is suspended for a whole season just two years into his playing career.....probably the biggest miss at this position came in 2002 when safety Ed Reed slid all the way to #24 to Baltimore....

Up front, the line has had its share of hits and misses....Courtney Brown was supposed to anchor the Browns defensive the same way Joe Greene did with the Steelers....yeh, right!!!....Dwight Freeney is the best lineman not taken in the first 10 picks....and at that, he just missed out when he went #11 in 2002 to the 2004, Vince Wilfork went #21 to New England and Will Smith went #18 to New Orleans – those were two nice grabs....and if not for the steroid issue, Luis Castillo would have went higher than #28 to San Diego in 2005....

Guest Horse Racing Columnist - with the Triple Crown season fast approaching, I was able to secure a horse racing expert to take us through the big races.....former (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reporter Railbird Bob Roberts has agreed to provide his thoughts.....Roberts recently retired from The Plain Dealer and is now working for Thistledown Race Track in Cleveland.....I want to thank Railbird for wanting to help out.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Five Good Questions with - Clare Farnsworth & Art Spander about the Seahawks & Raiders

Today we have another’s segment of "Five Good Questions" is with Clare Farnsworth of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.....Clare covers the Seattle the second game of the doubledip, we have Oakland Tribune columnist Art Spander.... Art has been covering the country’s top sporting events for over 40 years....Art discusses what is up with Raider Nation....

First, Clare Farnsworth about the Seahawks.....

Q1. The Seahawks do not have a first round pick this year because of the trade for Deion Branch. Now after-the-fact, are the Seahawks sorry they dealt for Branch and lost their first round pick?
Funny you should ask. I actually did a story on just that topic at the NFL scouting combine. Club president Tim Ruskell first offered a humorous response when asked if he was having any second thoughts: "Maybe on that day, I could see going, 'Who would I pick at that spot?' I might get a little shake when it gets close to the Patriots' pick." He quickly added, "No. No regrets." Coach Mike Holmgren said: "Absolutely not. No. No. Any time you think about trading a No. 1 pick for anybody, the simple question you ask is, 'If he was available to you in the draft, where you pick, would you take him?' Easy answer. I'm glad Branch is on our team." Since the combine (in February), I've revisited the subject with both - off the record - and they still say it was a no-brainer trade.

They did think the pick would be lower in the round, because they expected to finish better than 9-7. They do admit that Branch did not produce the kind of numbers last season that he probably will this season. But the bottom line might have been provided by Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who weighed in with the "known commodity" vs. "crapshoot" aspect: "I think it was a heckuva move by the Seahawks. Deion Branch is an outstanding player."

Q2. Seattle has the 55th overall pick. Is there any chance they may trade to move back into the first round? If so, who would be that "special" player to make them want to trade up?
I don't see the Seahawks moving back into the first round because of the cost. It usually takes your first-round pick plus a second- or third-round pick just to move up in the round. To go from 55th overall even into the bottom of the first round would cost them almost their entire draft this year, or their first-round pick next year. They are in a situation where they don't have to come out of this draft with a player who can start immediately, but they do need depth and a couple of players who can develop into starters. So they seem content that they can get two good players on the first day.

Q3. As of today, what positions are the Seahawks looking to fill with that 55th pick?
These guys are married to the "best available player" philosophy, and it's hard to blame them. The Seahawks have been burned when they reached to fill a need and gotten some good players at positions that weren't pressing needs by going BPA (Alexander, Hutchinson, Spencer). Their priority positions are defensive tackle, guard, tight end and defensive end. Who they take, and at which position, will be determined by what happens above them and who's available. Sorry for the coach-speak, but it's true.

Q4. Are the Seahawks done in the free agent market? How would you rate their off-season moves so far?
The Seahawks still could revisit the free-agent market depending on what happens in the draft. They need more bodies on the offensive line, another pass-rushing defensive end and run-stuffing defensive tackle, more depth at cornerback, a young tight end. But they won't make another "splash" signing in free agency. First, that player isn't out there anymore. Second, they don't have the money. What they continue to look for is a veteran quarterback, which would allow them to use backup Seneca Wallace as a situational receiver, runner and returner. They can't get caught in a situation where Wallace gets hurt, then Matt Hasselbeck gets hurt. That would leave David Greene, and he's just not ready. The problem is, finding a veteran QB that will come in under these strange circumstances. They talked to David Carr, but he went to Carolina where he can be No. 2 behind Jake Delhomme.

Q5. Shaun Alexander suffered through various injuries last season. How has he been doing in the off-season and is he ready for training camp?
Shaun is actually enjoying this offseason, because it has been an "off" season. Last year, after the team's Super Bowl run and his short-lived run into the NFL record book, he was here, there and seemingly everywhere doing a little bit of everything. It took a toll. This year, he's been able to spend some down time with his family and concentrate on his offseason conditioning. As for training camp, Shaun never has done a lot - or in the preseason, either. They get him enough work to get him ready, but never overwork him. The thing to watch with Shaun is that he turns 30 on Aug. 30. Turning 30 has been the undoing of some great backs in NFL history.

Now Art Spander about the Oakland Raiders.....

Q1. First off, what is your impression of new Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin? Does he possess any unique qualities that could help him turn around the Raiders?
One thing I (and others) have learned in dealing with Al Davis ("I am the organization'') since the late 1960s is you'll never know what we will do (for example, such as drafting) Janikowski? By-passing Leinart? etc. But nobody has been able to coach them the last few years (personnel is one reason, maybe Davis intervening is another) so a change wouldn't hurt. How much control will he have? If Gruden were to answer....well, you know.

Q2. As of today, what do you think the Raiders will do with the first pick in the draft?
The consensus is Jamarcus Russell....(something I know; you can't play in the NFL without a QB) but maybe the Raiders manuever and get a (later first round) pick and somebody else.

Q3. Kiffin has stated that Randy Moss is not on the trading block. All the talk last season was that Moss is a cancer on this team. What is the lowdown on Moss?
We hear it both ways. Davis probably wants to keep Moss, for which he gave up too much, and Kiffin (smartly) wants to get rid of Moss. But for what? Rumors are Moss somehow will end up with the Packers. Good riddance. By the way, regarding Moss and our old SF friend T.O., I heard a guy on a talk show say whoever the Raiders or 49ers (who also gave that number to the dear departed Antonio Bryant) end up with as WRs.don't give out No. 81.

Q4. Does Al Davis still make all the final decisions concerning the team or has he relinquished a little of that power to new coach Lane Kiffin?
Yes. End of story.

Q5. The offensive line did a poor job at protecting the quarterback last season. Just two years ago the Raiders took lineman Robert Gallery with the second overall pick. Why has Gallery been a bust so far? And, are his days with the Raiders numbered?
Gallery may not be any good. The Raiders may have blown it. Or when they moved him from RT to LT, he may not be able to handle the biggest pass rusher. Gallery will be around at least this coming season. You don't give up on second picks so fast.

I want to thank both Clare and Art for their is much appreciated!!! Also, I want to correct an error in yesterday’s column – Jim Polzin works for The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Five Good Questions Doubleheader - Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas

Today we have a doubleheader.....and none of that day-night crap’s segment of "Five Good Questions" is with Eric Hansen of The South Bend Tribune.....Eric covers Notre Dame football and provides some analysis on Brady the second game of the doubledip, we have Jim Polzin of The Capital Times.... Jim covers Wisconsin football and provides some feedback about Joe Thomas.....

First, Eric Hansen about Brady Quinn....
Q1. Brady Quinn is one of the top rated quarterbacks in the draft. You have watched him over the past 4 years, describe his strengths and weaknesses.
His biggest strength is that he wants to and can get better. A lot of guys think they don't have room to imrpove. Brady wasn't just Notre Dame's most talented player last year. He was also the team's hardest worker -- in the weight room, on the field, in the film room. And he's got the kind of leadership skills, that he drags other players along with him for the ride. His knowledge of the game is so far ahead of the curve. That's going to show up in the pros. He is a good person, who stands for something, and in this day and age, I don't think you can overlook that. Weaknesses? I think sometimes he holds on to the ball too long instead of running or throwing it away.

Q2. It seems like many of the draft publications are purposely pointing out Quinn's negatives. How has Quinn handled this pressure and criticism?
I think he has handled it better than most people would have, certainly better than I could have. He hasn't just put his head in the sand and pretended the criticism wasn't there. He didn't overreact to it either and proclaim he was going to shut out the press. He pointed out when he thought writers didn't do their homework. He pointed out some inconsistencies in their arguments, but didn't dwell on it. He let his performances in the workouts do most of the talking.

Q3. One of the draft magazines stated that Quinn turned off some NFL teams at the Combine because he came across as being cocky and arrogant. What is the lowdown on Quinn's personality - is he cocky/arrogant - is he mentally tough?
I did not read that particular publication, but I was at the combine and didn't hear any of that. I don't know where that came from. This is the first I have heard of it. I think it's a fabrication on its surface, but I didn't see the story. If he received criticism, it was for not doing any throwing or running the 40. He earned big points for his personality and his interviews. That's why the question is so perplexing. It would be like asking "why was Woody Hayes so mild-mannered and shy?"

Q4. It looks like Quinn could go to the Lions or Browns. In your opinion, which of the those two teams would best fit Quinn and his style of game?
I think the Browns. I think it's an organization that's making better decisions all-around. Charlie (Weis) and Romeo (Crennel) are on the same page when it comes to coaching philosophy, so the transition would be close to seamless. I think Brady would win over Browns fans.

Q5. A question about this year's Notre Dame team. Since Jimmy Clausen enrolled at Notre Dame early, has Quinn been mentoring Clausen during the last few months? Is Jimmy Clausen going to be the starting quarterback for N.D.'s first game of the 2007 season?
I wrote about this in the paper. Quinn has spoken with all four quarterback candidates. The other positive influence on Clausen and the others has been Ron Powlus, the former ND quarterback who is in his first year as Irish quarterbacks coach. As far as Clausen being the starter against Ga Tech? I would say less than 50 percent. I think if the season started tomorrow, Demetrius Jones would be the starter. Clausen is a talent, no doubt, and mentally he is ahead of the curve. But those other three guys are all very, very good. We'll know a lot more when Charlie Weis narrows the four down to two after the spring game. My guess, the two will be Clausen and Jones, but I wouldn't be surprised if Zach Frazer snuck in there.

Now Jim Polzin about Joe Thomas.....
Q1. Joe Thomas is the top rated offensive lineman in the draft. You have watched him over the past 4 years, describe his strengths and weaknesses. Is he better at run blocking or pass protection?
Most Wisconsin offensive linemen come out of here as better run blockers because the Badgers like to pound the ball, but Thomas is better in pass protection. He's no slouch as a run blocker, but his combination of strength and athleticism make him a great pass protector. The offensive line coach at Wisconsin, Bob Palcic, coached Tony Boselli at USC and Jonathan Ogden at UCLA; Palcic said Thomas is in the same league as those two.

Q2. With the NFL cracking down on off-the-field problems with its players, what type of person is Thomas away from the football field?
Thomas is probably a better person than he is a player, and that's saying something. I think one of the things that makes him appealing to NFL teams is they know they won't have to worry about spending a bunch of money on a guy who's going to get in trouble. He never had any problems in Madison, was a respected captain and, if I'm not mistaken, managed to carry a 3.5 grade-point average while competing in football for four years and track and field for two.

Q3. A few years back, Iowa's Robert Gallery was drafted second overall and was supposed to anchor the Raiders line for many years. So far, Gallery has been a bust in Oakland. What are the differences between Gallery and Thomas?
After watching Gallery play at Iowa, I figured he'd be a star at the next level. I haven't seen him play enough in the NFL to know what the problem is. Perhaps the issue is playing for a poor franchise, and a change of scenery could work wonders for Gallery. I know this about Thomas: He's not training for the NFL Draft, he's training to be the starter in the 2007 season opener, wherever he ends up. And he wants to play in the league for a long time and play in Pro Bowls and be a Hall of Famer. He won't be satisfied with anything less.

Q4. Does Thomas have that "nasty streak" that many offensive linemen have in order to play in the NFL?
Thomas is competitive in whatever he does, whether it's playing darts against his buddies or trying to keep a defensive end away from his quarterback. I don't think you become a two-time All-American and Outland Trophy winner without a nasty streak. Perhaps some of that goes unnoticed because he's so polite and accommodating off the field.

Q5. We all know the NFL game moves at a faster pace and all the players are elite. Does Thomas have the quickness to handle a speed pass rusher?
Athleticism is what sets apart Thomas from the other left tackles in this year's draft class. Put it this way: He played tight end in high school and probably could have been a really good tight end at the college level. He was also athletic -- and versatile -- enough that the Wisconsin coaching staff moved him to defensive end on two occasions because of a shortage at that position. I think what attracted Thomas to the UW coaching staff in the first place was watching him play basketball in high school. He really moved well for such a big man and probably could have played basketball at the college level had he chosen that sport over football.

I want to thank both reporters for their time....Eric was on a tight deadline, but he still managed to find a few minutes to help me out.....and Jim came off the DL with tonsillitis to get me his thoughts.....once again, thank you both for your is much appreciated!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

You are in our thoughts

Our thoughts and prayers are with those of Virginia Tech and the people of Blacksburg....

Guest Columnist - Zach from The Big Picture

Today we have a guest columnist.....I would like to raise a frosty cold mug of Bud Lite and welcome Zach from
  • The Big Picture
  • Zach is from Seattle and part of my West Coast Connection....I encourage everyone to check out his blog....his work inspired me to get back into blogging....I have asked Zach to breakdown this year’s NFL Draft.....and after much research and studying, here are his views about the big day.....

    1. Oakland – JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
    2. *TRADE* Tampa (from Detroit) – Calvin Johnson, huge effin' stud, Georgia Tech
    3. Clevland – Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
    4. Detroit (from Tampa) – Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
    5. Arizona – Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
    6. Washington – Amobi Okoye, DT, The 'Ville
    7. Minnesota – Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
    8. Atlanta – LaRon Landry, S, LSU
    9. Miami – Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
    10. Houston – Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
    11. San Francisco – Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
    12. Buffalo – Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
    13. St. Louis – Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
    14. Carolina – Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
    15. Pittsburgh – Jarvis Moss, DE/LB, Florida
    16. Green Bay – Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
    17. Jacksonville – Reggie Nelson, DB, Florida
    18. Cincinnati – Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
    19. Tennessee – Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
    20. New York Giants – Jon Beason, LB, The U
    21. Denver – Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
    22. Dallas – Darrelle Revis, CB, Pitt
    23. Kansas City – Ted Ginn Jr., the Ohio State
    24. New England – Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
    25. New York Jets – Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
    26. Philadelphia – Michael Griffin, S, Texas
    27. New Orleans - Chris Houston, DB, Arkansas
    28. New England – Tanard Jackson, DB, Syracuse
    29. Baltimore – Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
    30. San Diego – Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
    31. Chicago – Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
    32. Indianapolis – Tank Tyler, DT, NC State

    -Sidney Rice from South Carolina, if he falls to the second round, will be a steal. He'll make an immediate impact next season.
    -Also like Jason Hill, wide receiver, Washington State. He's got great speed and is being overlooked by many.
    - Love Garrett Wolfe, running back, Northern Illinois. He's small, quick and elusive. Barry Sanders? Huh? Huh?
    -Daymeion Hughes, CB, Cal. The guy was a shutdown corner for an underrated defense. He would constantly cover the conference's best wide receiver. He slowed guys like USC's Dwayne Jarrett and Washington State's Jason Hill.

    -Hard to tell…don't think Quinn will do much right away. Hell, same goes for Russell. Neither, in a deeper QB draft, are top-10 picks.
    -Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska. Don't like him one bit. Some see him sneaking into the top-10.
    -Ted Ginn Jr. Unless he can return kicks like Devin Hester, he's an undersized receiver.

    Lots of depth at wide receiver. Many teams need them, but I think certain teams – like the 49ers at No. 11 – can wait and snag a pretty decent guy in Round 2. Say a Steve Smith or Sidney Rice. Good things happen to people that wait, right?…QBs are weaker than they've been lately. Many have Stanford's Trent Edwards the third guy behind Quinn and Russell. Edwards was out most of last year for the hapless Cardinal and unproductive when playing…I hate when teams draft on size and potential. There's something to be said for a guy who tore it up in college, no matter how tall, fast, or well-endowed he is. I like Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe in that regard.

    I want to thank Zach for taking the time to be a guest columnist.....I will be asking him to make more guest appearances throughout the year.....

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    Top 10 picks are not a sure thing

    Having a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft is not a lock for I am going to review the offensive players who were chosen in the top 10 of the NFL draft since 2000....each player will receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F.....then I added two more grades for those who were recently drafted and I was unable to give a grade.....IP means "incomplete, but moving in a positive direction"......IN means "incomplete, but moving in a negative direction".....

    Quarterback - there have been 10 quarterbacks chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000.....
    2000 - none - 1st qb selected was Chad Pennington at #18....
    2001 - Michael Vick (photo) - C
    2002 - David Carr - D; Joey Harrington - F
    2003 - Carson Palmer - A; Byron Leftwich - C
    2004 - Eli Manning - C; Phillip Rivers - B
    2005 - Alex Smith - C
    2006 - Vince Young - IP; Matt Leinart - IP

    Running back - there have been 7 running backs chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000....
    2000 - Jamal Lewis - B; Thomas Jones - B
    2001 - Ladainian Tomlinson (photo) - A+
    2002 - none - 1st rb selected was William Green at #16
    2003 - none - 1st rb selected was Willis McGahee at #23
    2004 - none - 1st rb selected was Steven Jackson at #24
    2005 - Ronnie Brown - C; Cadillac Williams - C; Cedric Benson - C
    2006 - Reggie Bush - B

    Wide receiver/tight end - there have been 15 wr/te chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000
    2000 - Peter Warrick - D; Plaxico Burress - B; Travis Taylor - F
    2001 - David Terrell - F; Koren Robinson - D
    2002 - none - 1st wr selected was Donte Stallworth at #13
    2003 - Charlie Rogers (photo) - F; Andre Johnson - A
    2004 - Larry Fitzgerald - A; Kellen Winslow - B; Roy Williams - A; Reggie Williams - C
    2005 - Braylon Edwards - IP; Troy Williamson - F; Mike Williams - D
    2006 - Vernon Davis - IP

    Offensive line - there have been 8 offensive linemen chosen in the first 10 picks since 2000
    2000 - Chris Samuels - A
    2001 - Leonard Davis - C
    2002 - Mike Williams - F; Bryant McKinnie - B; Levi Jones - B
    2003 - Jordan Gross - F
    2004 - Robert Gallery (photo) - F
    2005 - none - 1st selected was Jammal Brown at #13
    2006 - D’Brickashaw Ferguson - IP

    Summary - I was surprised that only 7 running backs were selected.....Jamal Lewis got a B because of his off-the-field, he did not deserve an A along with way!!!...
    Of the 10 quarterbacks selected, only Carson Palmer is rated an A in my book......I gave Vick a C.....yes, he has been to the Pro Bowl and taken his team to the NFC title game....but come on, it seems like every year it is another learning curve for this guy....he has been in the league for 6 years and he is still learning???......he is a talent, but he is more of a media talent with his flashy plays than being a consistent good quarterback over a 16 week period.....

    At the wr/te position, it seems like it is hit or bust.....either you get a stud who is an A receiver or a dud, like Rogers or Terrell who are a total flop and you end up with egg on your face, unless of course you are Matt Millen......I will say this about wr Mike Williams....I gave him a grade of D, but I really do believe that if he was on another team, this guy could become a B receiver.....

    On the offensive line, Chris Samuels has been the only stud.....the biggest bust of all may be Robert Gallery.....he may be the modern day Tony Mandarich -- all the physical tools, but unable to make it work when it counts.....I’ll be honest about Jordan Gross, I don’t even remember this guy.....I had to do some research on him....

    I will review the defensive side of the ball at a later date....

    Finally I want to recognize Jackie Robinson today.....60 years ago today
    he made a
    statement....Thank You Jackie!!!