April 30, 2012
With this year’s NFL Draft concluded, there were, as always, plenty of surprises. Here were some of the big ones from last week’s mega event.
Browns Trade up to grab Trent Richardson: Few would argue that Richardson is a top talent in this year’s draft. He was projected by most as the top running back, so it’s difficult to lambaste Cleveland too much for this pick. But it’s what the Browns gave up that made this a bit of a head-scratcher. Cleveland was so determined to snag Richardson that they gave up 4th, 5th, and 7th round picks to move up a single spot in the trade to Minnesota. The Vikings already have Adrian Peterson, so there was little chance they would have drafted Richardson. The Browns were hedging against the possibility of another team moving up in front of them and wanted to be sure they got their man. Still, three picks was probably a bit much to move up a single spot.
Redskins Draft RGIII … and then Kirk Cousins: Talk about a fairly awkward moment. The Redskins, as expected, took Heisman winner Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick overall, essentially making him their franchise quarterback. Washington is without any real stability under center, so it’s safe to say that he’ll probably get his shot to start sooner rather than later. Teams are usually interested in giving a young quarterback weapons, but the Redskins did just the opposite in the third round. You could almost hear the collective ‘huh’ from fans after Washington drafted Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third round. The move made little sense as the Redskins have more pressing needs and instead of giving Griffin a weapon to make the team better, they drafted another player at his position that probably won’t play much. It’s doubtful that Cousins will really push Griffin, but Washington appeared to be buying some insurance with this move. If Griffin doesn’t pan out, then it could be argued that this was a wise move. But until that happens, the Cousins pick warrants plenty of criticism.
Patriots Trade up to take Dont’a Hightower: Hightower was one of the elite linebackers in this draft and once the Steelers passed on him, New England moved up in the first round to take him fearing he wouldn’t last long. Hightower was a prime target of the Steelers, but once highly-rated guard David DeCastro fell to them, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to upgrade their offensive line. That opened the door for the Patriots to, in turn, upgrade their defense – one of the league’s worst last season.
Seahawks take Bruce Irvin at No. 15: This was perhaps the first big reach of the first round and one of the bigger ones in the whole draft. Irvin was a strong player for West Virginia, no doubt. But there are questions that he may not even be able to play every down in the NFL since he’s fairly one-dimensional, used mainly as a pass-rusher. Seattle could have probably traded down to secure an additional pick or two and still ended up with him if he was really the guy they wanted all along.
Mohamed Sanu gets Scammed: The story of the entire draft may have been when Sanu was prank-called by a fan claiming to be a Bengals representative, saying the team was taking him in the first round. An excited Sanu and company were then mortified when Cincinnati went with Kevin Zeitler and hilarity ensued in the Twittersphere. Ordinarily you might feel bad laughing about something like that, but the Bengals took him later in the draft so everything turned out fine. Still, imagine being told you were drafted only to find out you weren’t. Embarrassing.
April 27, 2012
Maybe you’re new to NASCAR and could use an introduction?
Maybe you’re a superfan and you want to help your uninformed friends/family members/random people on the street realize the awesomeness of stock car racing?
Maybe you like beautifully-designed artwork that is not only pleasing to the eyes but chock full of neat info?
No matter who you are, this is a great infographic put together by Quicken Loans Racing.
NASCAR 101: The Beginner’s Guide to NASCAR – An infographic by the team at Quicken Loans Racing
April 26, 2012
NFL Mock Drafts are never accurate, but they are incredibly fun to make and tear apart after 10 picks. Here is my mock draft attempt:
The pick is already in. The Colts will rebuild around their new franchise QB.
Mike Shanahan hopes RGIII is what the Redskins need to get them into the playoffs.
The first pick that hasn’t already been made, the Vikings give Ponder a LT to grow with.
The Browns cannot pass on a stud RB to help control clock in the AFC North.
The Bucs get the top CB in the draft, and the eventual replacement of Ronde Barber.
Sam Bradford gets his #1 receiver for years to come.
Jacksonville could go in a lot of directions, but I really like what Gilmore brings to their defense.
Miami is desperate for a QB, and I think they reach to get one with the 8th pick.
Panthers need help up front and Fletcher Cox is a safe player with Pro Bowl potential.
Kuechly would be another great addition to the Bills re-stocked defense.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Guards don’t normally go this high in the draft, but DeCastro isn’t a normal guard.
Seattle needs to be able to get to the QB and Coples can provide just that.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Barron immediately upgrades their Secondary and starts Day 1.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Andy Reid loves to build depth on his lines in the Draft. Brockers would be great in rotation.
16. New York Jets – Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
Rex Ryan would love having teams guess where Ingram will be lining up each play.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Corner is a big need for the Bengals, and they get a stud in Kirkpatrick.
Mercilus can be the rush OLB the Chargers have been missing since Shawne Merriman.
Could go WR, but with Reiff still on the board I think they try to keep Jay Cutler upright.
The Titans need help at Guard and Tackle. Glenn can play either spot.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
The Bengals are back on the clock, and fortify the interior line for Andy Dalton.
22. Cleveland Browns – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
With Trent Richardson already selected, the Browns continue to upgrade their offensive weapons.
23. Detroit Lions – Jonathon Martin, OT, Stanford
The Lions may look to trade down with no corners of value here. If not they have to get a Tackle.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
With no offensive lineman to pick, the Steelers would love to add Hightower to their linebacker corps.
Denver has a HUGE need at DT. They get a HUGE DT in Poe.
A big WR opposite Andre Johnson could be too good to pass up.
The Patriots need a pass rushing OLB and McClellin would be a great fit.
28. Green Bay Packers – Doug Martin, RB, Boise St.
The Packers could easily go with either Upshaw or McClellin, but getting the #2 RB would help as well.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
With Hightower gone, Konz could be the pick, but an OLB opposite Terrell Suggs could be lethal.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Harbaugh likes tough, smash-mouth football. Konz could fortify the line for the 49ers.
31. New England Patriots – Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
No one thinks the Patriots make both 1st round picks, but Smith fits a need.
32. New York Giants – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Giants always go best player available. Fleener is that guy in this draft.
April 25, 2012
The 2012 NFL draft is now just hours away, and a handful of teams are set to hit the jackpot this season.
Some of the teams that will have success in this year’s draft had a lackluster 2011 campaign but hit a home run in free agency to set themselves up nicely for the April 26 draft. Others had a phenomenal 2011 season and are afforded the luxury of a draft full of options and calculated risks.
Fans following these teams will have big smiles on their faces along with high expectations for the upcoming season.
The St. Louis Rams Have Already Had Success by Trading Down in the 2012 Draft
The St. Louis Rams have done nothing but cultivate a winning franchise this offseason.
Despite a 2-14 2011 season, the Rams made an intelligent decision by hiring new head coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher brings a proven track record, winning attitude and an automatic jump start to the stumbling franchise.
He also helped lure free-agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the team, who gives the Rams defense an identity.
Now the Rams turn to the draft, where they’ve already swapped the No. 2 pick with the Washington Redskins for the No. 6 pick. In doing so, the Rams also picked up another second-round pick this season.
That means the Rams will have three picks within the top 40—not bad for a franchise looking to turn things around.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fans Should Be Ecstatic
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans should be more than happy right now thanks to the franchise making a splash in the offseason.
With the signings of offensive lineman Carl Nicks, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright, the Bucs drastically improved in free agency. This allows the team to draft players without depending on them to make an instant impact in 2012.
With the No. 5 overall selection and six picks in total, the Bucs have the opportunity to return to their winning ways of 2010, when they finished 10-6.
Certainly fans will expect the Bucs’ first-round pick to make a good first impression, but the pressure on that player is radically reduced by the teams’ free-agent signings.
Although 2011 was a season to forget, 2012 should be one to remember for the Buccaneers.
With a Strong Draft the Kansas City Chiefs Will Be a Playoff Team in 2012
The Kansas City Chiefs were decimated by injuries in 2011 but will be playoff contenders in 2012.
With the signings of Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston in free agency, the Chiefs set themselves up for a prominent draft. The team has eight picks in total and can afford to draft the best available player with its first three picks.
The Chiefs will look like a completely new squad in 2012, so fans should be pumped.
The Philadelphia Eagles Have Plenty to Look Forward to in the 2012 Draft
With nine picks in the 2012 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles are bound to get better.
After a 2011 season where nothing short of a Super Bowl appearance was expected, success in 2012 is a must for the franchise and it all begins with the draft.
The Eagles have five picks in the first four rounds, including two second-round selections. With these picks the Eagles will likely look to improve with a big wide receiver and an offensive lineman.
Eagles’ fans should be excited for 2012 as they look to erase the disappointment of 2011.
The Cincinnati Bengals Will Continue to Make a Statement with the 2012 Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals are setting themselves up for success for years to come.
Not only did they make the playoffs in 2011, but they now have nine draft picks in 2012. These picks include No. 17 and No. 21 of the first round. And with these picks coming so close together, the Bengals can draft a combination of needs, like an offensive lineman and a running back.
The Bengals franchise will solidify itself as a contender with a dynamite draft in 2012.
The Green Bay Packers Will Do Nothing but Improve with 12 Draft Picks in 2012
Although the Green Bay Packers didn’t finish with the championship belt in 2011, they won 15 games in the regular season.
Just when NFC North opponents didn’t need the Packers to continuously improve, the Packers have 12 draft picks in 2012. Even better for the Packers, six of those picks are within the first four rounds of the draft.
This gives the Packers plenty of chances to make another run at the Super Bowl next season—watch out!
April 24, 2012
Worst team ever?
Could the greatest player of all time also be part of the worst team of all time? Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats have lost 21 games in a row. They must find a way to win one of their final two games (at Orlando or home against the Knicks) to avoid finishing the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history. I hope they get that win.
Best in the East
It is a long shot, but the Heat could still sneak past the Bulls for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It shouldn’t matter too much for either team unless they meet in the conference finals and go to a game seven. Either way, it is highly unlikely the Bulls will let home court advantage slip away. Chicago is also currently tied with San Antonio for the best record in the NBA so home court in the NBA Finals could still be up in the air if those teams were to meet.
Final playoff spot
15 of the 16 playoff spots have been taken. The eight seed in the West and the right to take on the Spurs in the first round will go to either the Jazz or the Suns. They meet tonight in Salt Lake City. It is pretty much win or go home. It’s not a game seven, but it doesn’t get much bigger in the regular season. If you don’t believe me, just ask my boss. He’s a Jazz fan.
The elbow that knocked James Harden out of the game on Sunday certainly wasn’t very peaceful. World Peace claims it was unintentional. Whether it was or not, he’s likely to be suspended. The question is for how long. If it is more than just one game, he’ll be sitting out of playoff action. How will this affect the Lakers?
Whose town is it?
Speaking of the Lakers, they are just a half game ahead of the Clippers in the race for the Pacific Division title and the three seed in the wide open Western Conference. I am sure both teams want the division title bragging rights and even more importantly, to avoid the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. And if you are the Clippers you really don’t want to lose your last two games and let Memphis steal the fourth seed and home court advantage in the first round matchup.
Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are both averaging 27.9 points per game. I’m wondering how bad Kobe wants the scoring title. We’ll find out when we seen how many shots he takes in a possibly meaningless game at Sacramento on Thursday night. Durant’s season will be finished and Bryant will know exactly how many points he needs in the last game of the NBA’s regular season.