The NFL Draft is officially over and there were multiple winners and losers in the draft.
The ultimate winner was us, the fans. The constant back-and-forth bickering between the NFL and the players is obnoxious. The state of the lockout changing what seems like every other day is frustrating. The fact that the NFL and the players can’t find a way to split 9 billion dollars is ridiculous.
With the state of the NFL season up in the air, the draft was a chance for fans to attempt to forget about the lockout. Whether your team drafted someone you loved or hated, it was nice to think about your team’s issues on the field football, rather than off the field. Here are some of my thoughts from Rounds 2-7:
- Detroit Lions: The Lions made a risky, but great pick in Nick Fairley. Fairley could be a bust or he could be terrifying for opposing offenses. In the second round, the Lions drafted WR Titus Young from Boise State and then traded up to select RB Mikel LeShoure from Illinois. Last year, the Lions struggled on defense, not so much offense. I like the picks, just not where they were selected. If the Lions wanted to reach or take a chance on a player, it should have been on defense. Either Suh and Fairley along with the rest of the D-Line will have to get immediate pressure on the QB, or the secondary will struggle again.
- New England Patriots: Another team that made some interesting picks that surprised many people. They selected one cornerback and two running backs in the middle round. One of the many needs experts felt the Patriots needed to address was their inconsistent pass rush. Apparently, there wasn’t a player on the board the Patriots liked. Once again, they compiled draft picks for the future and now have two picks in Round 1 and Round 2 in 2012.
- Ryan Mallet: If I was a QB, who had off-the-field issues, and wanted to make a smooth transition to the NFL, the one team I would want to be drafted by was the New England Patriots. Well, Ryan Mallet got Christmas in April. Mallet gets to go the Patriots, learn from Brady and Belichick. Whether Mallet is the successor the Brady is questionable, but whether he will learn and become a better QB is almost certain.
- Da’Quan Bowers: Bowers, who was once considered to be the #1 pick in the draft, fell all the way to the 51st overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers win with the pick but the fall for Bowers must’ve been disappointing. With health concerns surrounding Bowers, teams must have been scared to take a chance on his risky knees. Bowers will have a chance to succeed in Tampa, and it would not surprise me if he is beyond motivated in his rookie season. The rest of the NFC South better look out.
Today marks the start of the second round of the NBA Playoffs and there are some interesting match-ups. After going 6-2 in the first round, I was feeling pretty good about myself, but these series could go either way. Here are my picks:
1 Bulls vs 5 Hawks
The Bulls beat the Pacers in 5 but did not look impressive while doing it. The Hawks were impressive in taking down the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard but Kirk Hinrich sustained a knee injury at the end of the series. Hinrich-Rose was going to be a huge key for the series but now Rose will dominate. The Bulls got some needed postseason experience and will dominate the Hawks.
Bulls in 5
2 Miami Heat vs 3 Boston Celtics
Do I need to say more about these two teams? If you followed basketball this year, you know that these two teams hate each other. The Heat’s Big Three looked good in the first round against Philadelphia and will take on Boston’s Big Three + One that was just as impressive in the first round. The Celtics won the regular season series but lost the last time these two teams met. The Celtics aren’t as big as they were last year after the Perkins trade, but the Heat aren’t the team that will exploit their weakness.
Celtics in 7
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 3 Dallas Mavericks
The Lakers gave everyone a scare when the Hornets tied the series up 2-2 heading back to L.A. The Lakers then turned the switch and dominated the Hornets to take the series in 6. The Mavericks beat the Blazers in 6 which came as a surprise to me. The Mavericks were a dangerous team throughout the year but tailed off heading into the playoffs. Kobe looks healthy after his foot injury and Bynum looks healthy after his knee injury. The Lakers won’t bow out this early and have the experience to come back if they happen to fall behind.
Lakers in 6
4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies
The Thunder took down the Denver Nuggets, who many pegged as a dangerous team in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant looked mature and calm while leading his team to multiple close fourth-quarter wins. The Grizzlies knocked off the Spurs who were the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They were physical inside on defense and offense and got consistent play out of Zach Randolph. Shane Battier gives them another shutdown defender and a veteran presence in the locker room. The Thunder may be young, but they are big and talented. The Perkins trade was pure genius by the Thunder and it will pay dividends immediately.
Thunder in 6