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NFL Draft Rounds 2-7 and NBA Playoffs Round 2

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

Eastern Conference:

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

Western Conference

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

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2011 NFL Draft Round 1

It’s been less than 6 hours after the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and the evaluating has already begun.

Thirty-two players were selected Thursday night and nobody knows how their careers will turn out. Nobody knows whether Patrick Peterson is the next Deion Sanders or if Cam Newton is the next JaMarcus Russel, only time will tell. Until then, we can entertain ourselves by analyzing each draft pick under a microscope and give our own opinion.

Here are my thoughts on the first round of the NFL Draft, broken up into 4 different categories:

Charlie Sheen’s Winners:

The title is self explanatory isn’t it? These teams were the winners of Day 1 and look to build onto their draft in the coming days.

Detroit Lions: Before last year it had been a while since winning and the Detroit Lions were mentioned together, but the Lions look to be putting together another solid draft. The addition of Nick Fairley to the defensive line should strike fear in all NFL quarterbacks. The Lions need to address their linebacker and cornerback issues if they want to take the next step into the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints weren’t the same last year following their Super Bowl victory. They were struck by injuries and their defense struggled throughout the year. The Saints stole two remarkable talents in Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. Jordan should help provide pressure on the opposing quarterback while Ingram will have an immediate impact in the ground game.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens addressed one of their weaknesses from last year with the drafting of DB Jimmy Smith. Smith’s talent and athletic ability has been compared to Nnamdi Asomugha but he has off-the-field issues that made teams hesitate on drafting him earlier. The Ravens have the perfect core group of guys to make sure Smith heads in the right direction.

The Royal Wedding Group:

I understand the Royal Wedding is a big deal. Although I think it is dumb, I can understand why some people want to get up in the morning to watch it. Most girls grow up wanting to become a princess and this is the closest that you will get to that fantasy. This group is picks that I don’t quite agree with, but I understand the logic.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons traded everything and the kitchen sink to get up to the 6th spot in the draft. They drafted Julio Jones which gives them another stud wide receiver to play opposite Roddy White. The Falcons definitely got better on offense but is that what they needed? They could have used the draft picks they threw away to shore up their defense which was thrashed by the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last year. I understand getting better on offense, just not sure the juice was worth the squeeze.

New England Patriots: With two picks in the first round, many expected the Patriots to address their pass rush struggles and build on a defense that was less than average last year. Instead, the Patriots drafted OT Nate Solder and traded away their other first round pick instead of drafting Mark Ingram. I know it’s not wise to disagree with the man in the hoodie, but I question whether these decisions will work out. I understand compiling draft picks, but Ingram could’ve helped them.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars seized the chance to draft Blaine Gabbert and traded up with the Washington Redskins to grab him. Gabbert is a highly regarded prospect but I don’t know if that’s what the Jaguars needed. David Garrard just came off one of his better seasons and the Jaguars have other holes that needed to be filled.

The Jump Over a Tennis Net Group:

This past weekend while playing tennis, I decided it would be a good idea to try to jump over a tennis net while trying to catch up to a ball that went out of bounds. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. After I failed to clear the net, ehhh not so much. This group is the picks that can make or break your franchise. You will either look like a genius by successfully hoping over the net, or look like a moron when you fall flat on your face. Good luck.

Carolina Panthers: With the first pick in the NFL Draft, the Panthers chose Cam Newton. I’ll admit, Newton is a rare talent and he could do great things in the NFL, but Newton could also be a huge bust. Adjusting to the NFL will be a huge learning process for Newton and I’m not sure he can succeed at this level.

Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns had a chance to select a playmaker with the 6th pick but traded it to the Atlanta Falcons. The trade is beneficial to the Browns but only if the players they choose with those picks pan out. The move was a risky one and could burn the Browns, or it could turn the franchise around.

San Francisco 49ers: It is clear the 49ers had a massive brain freeze when they selected Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rodgers. A few years from now, will they be regretting this year’s draft as well? Instead of taking Blaine Gabbert or J.J. Watt, the 49ers chose DE Aldon Smith at 7th overall. Gabbert could’ve been their answer to a franchise quarterback. For now, the hopes of their season rest on the right arm of  Alex Smith, or tanking the season to draft Andrew Luck next year.

Matt Millen’s Losers:

This name should also be self explanatory but if not, this is BAD! These are picks that Matt Millen would make if he were trying to get your franchise to become the second team to go 0-16. Beware.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans drafting Jake Locker 8th overall was your first “WOW!” of the NFL Draft. After parting ways with Vince Young, it was obvious the Titans needed another franchise QB. Taking Locker at 8 was a stretch and it could backfire on the Titans.

Minnesota Vikings: Your second “WOW!” of the draft come only 4 picks after the first when the Vikings selected QB Christian Ponder 12th overall. Many experts gave Ponder a second round grade but the Vikings obviously felt extremely confident with him. With the talent still on the board at 12, Ponder needs to turn out to be an excellent franchise quarterback for the Vikings to avoid criticism.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks offensive line is poor and the fact that they won a playoff game last year is a mini-miracle in itself. This team has a ton of needs and drafting OG James Carpenter fills one of those needs. The problem is, Carpenter didn’t need to be drafted there. Carpenter  received a grade of 85 by ESPN, the lowest of any of first round draft pick. There were other viable options for the Seahawks who look to be headed for another subpar season.

Tomorrow should be another exciting day of the NFL Draft as rounds 2-3 will completed starting at 6 p.m. It shall be interesting to see who teams pick after having time to discuss the results of the first round. Good luck to all of your favorite teams. Click here for full NFL Draft coverage and results.

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