DeflateGate Debacle

Ever since reports surfaced of the Patriots possibly deflating footballs in January’s AFC Championship Game, the NFL has swung our opinion on the matter two times, or even three in some cases.  Now maybe this isn’t the NFL’s fault,  but it was on them for dragging this out so long, leading to those opinions to be swung.

Wednesday’s report, done by Ted Wells and sent to the NFL, revealed everything, and I mean everything.  Text messages, video surveillance, phone calls with dates and time lengths, and a scientific experiment done by an external group the NFL hired.  I mean, we thought this was a joke, and now it is no longer one, and perhaps never was.

The report points out three people:  Tom Brady, Jim McNally, and John Jastremski, the last two being Patriots locker room assistants.

Overall, the report concluded that Brady, McNally, and Jastremski all had something to do with it, using the phrase “more than probable”.  Well, that’s not good enough for some people.

I put this tweet in yesterday.  Obviously, this morning’s news regarding him (Bill Simmons) puts a new spin on things.

Alright, so maybe the report did conclude more than that.  Really, it’s on those three guys, and that’s it.  No one else in the Patriots organization had any knowledge of this.  No one.  That alone is insane, adding to the overall madness this thing has brought.  Everything from obscenities-filled text messages between McNally and Jastremski, phone calls between all three, and gifts from Brady to both locker room assistants.

Notice “gifts”?  I mean, since college football doesn’t allow anything close to that, it seems just a little childish that this would happen in the NFL.  Really?  Gifts for putting the PSI down in a football a bit?  Really Tom Brady?

While that’s not the most important thing, it’s still pretty ridiculous.

As for discipline, the NFL claims that they are looking into every option for three people involved.  With McNally and Jastremski, they should fired, and that’s it.  That’s about as harsh of a penalty you can put on them, since they aren’t a player or coach.  I’ve gone back and forth on Tom Brady, and whether he deserves punishment.  I mean, he knew it was going on; he orchestrated the whole thing.  He knew it was against the rules, and he knew he was cheating.  Brady also lied, to the NFL, his team, his coach, his fans.  I mean, he probably deserves to get punished.  I’m not sure the team does though.

Look, if Brady does get any type of punishment, it’s probably gonna be a hefty fine.  My Dad is right, this is totally over blown.  Yes, they broke the rules, and yes, Tom Brady lied.  But did the air pressure of the football really help the Patriots beat the Colts in the AFC Championship Game? With a 45-7 final score, I don’t think so.

If Brady does say, get suspended, it wouldn’t affect his legacy.  It’s insane to think he could be suspended, but the NFL is reportedly considering all options here.  It wouldn’t taint his legacy.  Players get suspended all the time.  It’d be silly and unfair for the NFL to kick him out for the year, which is on the table, per CBS Sports.  A 1-4 game suspension wouldn’t have an effect on his legacy.  Again, guys get suspended all the time and it really doesn’t matter legacy wise, unless you have a drug problem or you’re kicked out.

Overall, we all probably made a bigger deal out of this than we should have.  Me, the media, the NFL, everything.  This really wasn’t that big of a deal.  Perhaps, if the Ray Rice Fiasco (notice the capital) hadn’t happened, this would have been much more low-key.  The Ray Rice thing was a big deal, because the commissioner found himself in a pretty bad situation, in which he knew he screwed up, and wouldn’t admit it.

Since that happened, any chance people got to criticize the league was looked at as gold.  And while this isn’t totally on the league, the previous incidents made it look worse than it really was.

Short column here, but just wanted to get a thought out on it.  Reports say that a punishment for Tom Brady will be released soon.  

NBA Playoffs Preview: Second Round Preview+What We’ve Already Seen

The first round wasn’t great.  There was only one Game 7, compared to five last year.  Turns out the Western Conference wasn’t all that dominate, but is going to provide some ridiculous second round matchups.  With the way the schedule worked out, I wasn’t able to write true previews for two of the four series.  Below are the matchups that start tonight.  Underneath those are recaps of the Game 1s yesterday, along with predictions for the rest of those series.

East:

Cavaliers vs. Bulls

Poor Boston.  I ripped them to shreds for making the playoffs, making my case that Indiana would have been a more fun team to watch.  Turns out I was wrong.  Even though Boston got swept by Cleveland, they made that series fun.  They hung around in games, being pesky for the first half.  The Celtics fell apart in the second half of games, when Cleveland’s offense got going.  Slow starts aren’t what Cleveland needs in this next series.

The Boston series left Cleveland without Kevin Love for the rest of the postseason, who dislocated his shoulder after going for a ball besides Kelly Olynyk.  The play wasn’t dirty.  I can tell you that.  That game was ugly, but Olynyk wasn’t trying to hurt Love.  It was simply two guys going hard for a basketball in a playoff game. Get over it.  And shame on the NBA for suspending Olynyk.  Had Love not been hurt, I highly doubt he (Olynyk) would have been suspended.  Game 4 was an ugly one, but that wasn’t the dirtiest play.

To many, Chicago didn’t play well in the Milwaukee series.  They won the series in six, but were up 3-0 at one point.  I nailed this pick, having the Bulls in six in my preview.  The Bulls won by 54 points in Game 6, closing out the series with a bang.  That game was chippy, with Giannis Antetokounmpo getting thrown out in the second quarter.  I’m not sure how hard the Bucks tried that night, but they played the Bulls tough. The media (including me, I had them with 15 wins) underrated them before the season, and did again with this series (I didn’t).  Perhaps Jason Kidd is actually a really good coach, and this could be a really good team next year.  Watch it happen.

As for Cavaliers-Bulls, this series took a big turn when Cleveland lost Kevin Love.  I have done nothing but trash how Kevin Love fits with the Cavaliers all year long, but this now becomes a big blow.  How?

Chicago is a big and long team.  They have bodies, lots of them.  They have a three-headed monster with Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah.  Mirotic has been hurt, but returned for Game 6 against Milwaukee.  With him fully healthy, that creates a tough matchup for Cleveland.  I’m sure that’s who Love would have been on.

Basically, Cleveland has struggled with rim protection all year. That’s been Chicago’s strength.  They have the defense down low to shut down Timofey Mozgov and Tristian Thompson.  Thompson has great footwork, and is gonna get paid this Summer, but could struggle in this series.  I’m worried for the Cavaliers down low in this series.  It could be a big enough problem that it causes Cleveland to falter.

As I said in the first round preview, Chicago’s guards are just kinda there.  I mean, Derrick Rose has played well, but is no match against Kyrie Irving.  Irving should be able to shut him down, and depending on how much the Cavs switch, he could end up with Iman Shumpert on him.  I don’t see Rose as a huge factor in this series.

Without Love, this is time for Lebron James to step up.  He needs to be the perennial scorer since the Cavs’ problem will come from down.  Creating space against guys like Jimmy Butler is tough.  I’m not saying Butler will be on Lebron full-time, but that matchup is one that’s coming.  Cleveland, to try and limit the problem down low, will have Lebron on one of the three Chicago big guys for most of the game.  It’s small ball, which is tough to play against Chicago, but it leaves the back-court for Cleveland open, giving them shots.

I expect lots of scoring to come from jump-shots and threes.  The paint will clogged for the Cavaliers, which puts a burden on Kyrie, Lebron, and Iman Shumpret to make shots.  J.R. Smith is someone who will be spotty.  You never know what you’re getting.   A big game from him will give the Cavs a boost.

Overall, this is gonna be an excellent series.  I’m expecting at least six games.  I had Cleveland coming out of the East in the beginning of the year.  Everyone did, and everyone still does.  However, Chicago poses matchup problems that Cleveland doesn’t have answers for.  While the Cavs will win games from jump shooting, they don’t have a lot down low.  That’s how Chicago wins games.  That’s how they win this series.

Prediction:  Bulls in 7

West: 

Rockets vs. Clippers

The Rockets beat Dallas easier than I expected.  Houston out-shot Dallas in every game, while causing chaos on defense.  The Mavericks actually started Raymond Felton in a game.  That sums up that series.

Unlike Houston, the Clippers series was fantastic.  It saved the first round.  I mean, every game was competitive.  Both teams were matched up insanely well.  I’m gonna get into it more below.

For this series, it comes down to whether Houston can play good enough defense down low.  With Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, that gives the Rockets huge matchup problems.  Dwight Howard has played very well, and dominated Dallas, but he’s their only big guy, and he’s the only one who can guard Blake and/or DeAndre.  That’s a problem.

Dwight will most likely be on Jordan, which is an easy matchup.  Jordan is a liability on offense.  All he does is throw up baby shots that barely go in.  And don’t even get me started on free throws and Hack-A-DeAndre.  My take:  Learn to make free throws.  Don’t change the rule.

The Rockets take and make a ton of threes, and that’s how they’re gonna have to win games.  When LA’s subpar bench comes in, that’s when the Rockets can experiment with lower percentage shots.  It’s not like the Clippers are gonna comeback at them tough with their second unit.  Dwight will have room.  Really, Houston has to build a lead when the Clippers starters are on the bench.  And when Chris Paul and Blake come back in, keep shooting.  The paint game won’t work for Houston when LA has their best players in.

The Clippers can do anything on offense.  Shoot threes, throw it down low.  Mid-range jump-shots is what they need to avoid.  Houston plays very good defense at the perimeter.  LA can throw it to Blake, who’ll, oh man, this is gonna get really ugly for Houston.  They have no one to guard him.  No one fits that mold.  If we’re gonna finally see the monster Blake Griffin series, this is the time for it to happen.

I really think LA is gonna win this series, even though I went against them hard in the Spurs series.  The West is all about matchups, and this is the wrong matchup for the Rockets.  With no one down low but Dwight, the Clippers big men are gonna wreak havoc.  However, Houston will get two games from a combination of Hack-A-Whoever (with this series, there’s gonna be Hack-A stuff every game), and a game where they’re on fire from deep.  Look, I know I’m being hypocritical after going against LA in the first round, but this is what happens in the West.  It’s a bloodbath, and decisions are tough.

Prediction: Clippers in 6

What We Saw This Weekend, And What To Expect Going Forward:

The following series began yesterday.  Here’s what I saw from those Game 1s and what to expect going forward with them.  They’re sorta previews.

Warriors vs. Grizzlies

Yesterday’s game said a lot.  I really thought this was gonna be a tough series for the Warriors, and yesterday kinda shut that thought down.  My original pick on this was Golden State in 7.  Game 1 sure didn’t lead me to believe that’s gonna be the case.

Memphis’ problem has to do with their inability to shoot and make threes.  They don’t shoot much outside at all.  The Grizzlies were 29th in the league in three point attempts per game this year.  They don’t shoot threes, because in most of their games, they didn’t have to.  All they did was throw it down low to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.  They tried that Sunday.  Problem is, you need more than that in the playoffs.

We know what Golden State is.  They have the now MVP and take a ton of threes per games.  And boy do they make them.  Memphis’ strategy of throwing it down low works most of the time, but this series is different.  Three is a bigger number than two (duh), and since the Warriors hit threes, two’s don’t keep Memphis in the game.  They fall behind when the paint game isn’t working.

Z-Bo (Zach Randolph, in case you’re not aware of the nickname), has a great advantage in this series.  There isn’t anyone who will guard him tough, like LaMarcus Aldridge did last series. Aldridge made him work.  The Warriors switched between Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut on Z-Bo Sunday.  He played very well with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists (FYI:  Guess what his +/- was for the game?  -17!  See, I love advanced analytics, but man, are there some faults.), but Memphis lost by 15 points.

This is the problem.  The Grizzlies have a great duo down low, and play great together.  However, when Golden State is hot, there’s no way Memphis can catch up because they don’t have the three point shot.  It’s amazing that this series could be determined by the simple equation.  3>2.

However, Memphis is gonna get a game.  They have to.  I mean, Z-Bo and Gasol are gonna be too much at some point.  They’ll get a game, but this series looks more and more like a breeze for the Warriors.  Also, though they hate each other, the Clippers just did Golden State a big favor.

Prediction: Warriors in 5

Hawks vs. Wizards

What a weird Game 1 this was for the Hawks.  They played great in the first half.  They were playing team ball like usual.  Moving the ball around, making passes.  It was something they didn’t do much in the Nets series.  They looked like their regular season selves.

Then the second half hit, and Washington’s offense got infused with non-Randy Wittman stuff.  They were moving the ball around and being smart. That continued, and Washington built a lead.  The Hawks really never came back.

Going forward, Atlanta has to stick to their original offense, and not worry about what the Wizards are doing on the other end.  Washington is gonna be pesky, but there will come a time where that offense is just a mess, and then the Hawks will take over.  John Wall and Bradley Beal got banged up in the Game 1 win, but still produced.  Beal might actually mean more to this team, since he’s more of the scorer.  With those two healthy, the Wizards will get another game.

However, the Hawks are eventually gonna find themselves, and playing a Randy Wittman-ran offense will help them.  This is the series they should resemble their regular season-selves.  If they don’t, then this season is a disappointment.

Prediction: Hawks in 6


On Spurs-Clippers Game 7…….

Saturday was a great sports day.  Those only come around once or twice a year.  Spurs-Clippers was the best event on that day, beating out the Kentucky Derby (which was very fun) and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which didn’t quite live up to the hype.

My family hosted a party that night, based around mostly the fight, but we turned to Spurs-Clippers before the main event, which didn’t start till 11 PM CST.  I watched the whole game.  And I mean, the whole thing, and I’ll tell you:  That might have been one of the best basketball games I’ve ever watched.

These teams coming in were so evenly matched.  And Game 7 was example #1,475,987 of it.

Chris Paul, who played the game on one leg, was amazing, and hit the game-winning shot, a beautiful floater off the glass with one second left.  The shot didn’t even hit the white square, and had it not of gone in, we would’ve headed to overtime.  Paul finished with 27 points, 6 assists, and 2 rebounds totaling for a +/- of +6.  And again, he played on one leg due to a hamstring that acted up.  That injury will keep him out of Game 1 tonight.

It was a legacy game for Paul, even though he’s never made a conference finals.  The guy is an amazing competitor, and Saturday night was only another showcase of it.

As for the Spurs, I mean, what are you going to do?  They played great defense on that possession.  It was just one ridiculous shot by the alpha-dog that ended their season.  Nothing you can do.

San Antonio is gonna be an interesting team this summer.  There’s a lot of possible change for them.  Tim Duncan is 39.  Manu Ginobili is 37.  Kawhi Leonard is a free agent.  A lot could change.  Or nothing could change.

I turned off Game 7 Saturday night under the impression that Tim Duncan was playing basketball again.  I mean, the guy is still incredible, and can still do it all.  I saw him in person in January, which resulted in a 108-93 Spurs win against the Timberwolves at Target Center.  It wasn’t my first time seeing him live, but I’ll tell you what:  There was no difference between now and three years ago.  He’s still the same.  He might even still be in his prime.  Duncan averaged 13.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.9 blocks a game this year.  That’s close to a double-double average, at 39 years old.  I would be shocked if Duncan hangs it up, especially after how this season ended.  You can’t go out like that.

Though Ginobili is younger, he’s more likely to retire.  He battled injury this year, and didn’t play to well.  The Spurs would like him back, but honestly, Ginobili is more likely to retire than Duncan.  When you watch him play, it’s that simple.  He’s old and ain’t great anymore.

Kawhi is an interesting wrinkle to this.  He’s a free agent, and is getting the max from someone.  I’ve thought all along that he was coming back, but now I really think he could leave.  Here’s why:

Oh! Look!  You wanna know why?  It’s what you just read above.  Tim and Manu are running out of years.  Who knows when Gregg Popovich will step down!  If I’m Kawhi, I’m not thrilled with the long-term outlook of this team.  Sure, I could be the alpha-dog, but I wanna win, and that situation in the next three years doesn’t look great.  I’m not gonna speculate where he will go, as I foolishly tried to do at school today, and failed as I realized there aren’t a lot of options that make sense.

So again, a lot could change, or nothing could change.  We just have to see.


On the Thunder hiring Billy Donavan…..

You know how I felt about the Thunder firing Scott Brooks.  This hire doesn’t make me feel any better about that team this coming year.  Billy Donavan was a great coach at Florida, and had multiple NBA players come through there.  He’s experienced, but this is the NBA, and he has much different players.

My main disagreement with the hire has to due with the transition.  College basketball is similar to the NBA, but there’s a lot of difference.  Adapting could take time, and that’s not what Oklahoma City needs.  They’re coming into the most important season in franchise history, with Kevin Durant’s upcoming free agency.  This is a must win season for the Thunder.  They have to succeed, and bringing in someone brand new, who has no NBA experience is a tad frightening.

I think this will work out, but you have to see both sides of the picture.  This may not work.  The offense could be cluttered as Donavan can’t figure out how to use everyone.  This is really risky by Sam Presti.  And if it doesn’t work, it could cost them KD.

2015 NFL Draft Diary: Round One

A diary from last’s nights NFL Draft, where I recap every pick made in the first round.  I stopped writing after pick No.23.  Up to then, this was live reaction from me.  The rest was written today.  

  • Here we are!  Buccaneers are on the clock right now.  Pretty sure I know who it’s gonna be.  War room people are on the phone.
  • Louis Reddick is doing a great job.  Like him on the broadcast.

No.1, QB Jamies Winston to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We’d seen this coming for months.  Tampa Bay gets their franchise quarterback.  Winston might take some time to adjust, but’ll be faster than Marcus Mariota.  Tampa Bay will develop him and give him weapons to work with.  Again, this is nothing new.  Just hope he can stay out of trouble.

No.2, QB Marcus Mariota to the Tennessee Titans

Again, no surprises.  However, with all the talk before the pick, I’m actually kinda surprised he didn’t get moved.  Philadelphia had a god father offer for him, but it obviously didn’t get accepted.  Like Winston, it’ll take time for Mariota to adjust.  He’s coming into a completely different system.  It’ll take time, and I’m not sure we’ll be able to judge him after next season.  The Titans got their guy though.

  • Ok, so now we could see some movement.  This is when it heats up.  Jaguars pick is in.
  • Okay, really?  We’re having a commercial after two picks?  Man.

No.3, DE Dante Fowler Jr. to the Jacksonville Jaguars

WHOA!  Was not expecting that!  I really expected him to go No.5 to Washington.  Can’t believe Leonard Williams is still on the board.  Jacksonville fills a hole in the defense here.  The guy is a beast.  He’ll fit in well.  Like the pick, just surprised.  Gus Bradley had a huge impact on this pick.  Great system fit.  Should effect the defense right away.

  • Huge decision for the Raiders here.  Leonard Williams or Amari Cooper?

No.4, WR Amari Cooper to the Oakland Raiders

Wow, so Leonard Williams stays on the board till No.5.  Love this pick for Oakland.  Cooper is deep threat who can grab anything.  This gives Derek Carr some one to throw to.  Good pick.  Offense slowing being built there.

No.5, OT Brandon Scherff to the Washington Redskins

Wow.  Leonard Williams still on the board.  Redskins take Scherff here.  Very high, but fills a huge need.  Guy is nasty, and can run and pass block.  Gives Robert Griffin III some protection back there.  Like the pick, but feel like they could have traded down and still gotten him.

  • Jets taking awhile here.  Could be a trade down.  They like Leonard Williams though.
  • This is taking forever.  Interesting pick coming.

No.6, DE Leonard Williams to the New York Jets

Oh my god.  This defense is gonna be ridiculous next year.  I can’t believe he fell this far to No.6.  This guy can get around anyone, and will blow up an offense play.  Defensive line could get crowded, but they’ll sort it out.  Be worried, AFC East QBs (and their collarbones and ACLs).

No.7, WR Kevin White to the Chicago Bears

At this point, this made sense for the Bears.  Brandon Marshall is gone and they need to fill that hole.  White can do it all.  He can catch any ball, and has the speed to go down field.  He has hops to go get it.  He kinda reminds of Calvin Johnson a bit.  Also, who would have thought two years ago that the Bears would be drafting a wide receiver in the top ten.

No.8, OLB Vic Beasley to the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta has needed someone like this forever.  A guy who can rush the passer off the line and the middle of the field.  The Falcons have been suffering from missed tackles for awhile.  This was the right pick, and I think he’ll have a immediate impact.  Great choice.

No.9, OT Ereck Flowers to the New York Giants

What?  Way to high.  I don’t think this was their biggest need.  Was thinking defense here, but with Shane Ray and Randy Gregory slipping, I guess this was the only option without trading down.  Flowers is a big guy who can pass block very well.  Like the player, but not the pick.

No.10, RB Todd Gurley to the St. Louis Rams

Holy moly.  What just happened?  This makes no sense.  Sorry, but this team traded for Nick Foles, who has weapons around him.  Why not throw the ball around?  The Rams have depth at running back.  It’s not like they’re desperate.! Tre Mason and Zac Stacy are there!  Anyways, one, this is too high.  They could have traded into the later 1st round and gotten him.  Also, there’s no one to block for him.  That offensive line is not great.  This is not an ideal situation.  Don’t like it one bit.  Weird pick.

No.11,CB  Trae Waynes to the Minnesota Vikings

This had been coming for months.  Cornerback was Minnesota’s biggest need, and they got the guy they wanted.  Waynes can cover anyone, and comes from a great secondary at Michigan State.  Love the pick, and it fits perfectly.

No.12, DT Danny Shelton to the Cleveland Browns

Yup.  Had seen this coming for awhile.  Cleveland needed a defensive tackle.  This guy is a beast, and he’s huge.  Great run defender, and can get to the quarterback.  Great kid, cool story, better football players.  Love it. Awesome pick for the Browns.

No.13, OT Andrus Peat to the New Orleans Saints

Great pick.  Love Andrus Peat.  The guy is huge and is a great pass blocker.  Will fit in well due to the NFL-style system they run at Stanford.  However, might take a little time to adjust.  Not a project, but the Saints can’t give up early.  Too much potential.

No.14, WR DeVante Parker to the Miami Dolphins

Not a huge fan of this pick.  I liked Parker next to the 49ers.  Parker is very similar to Kenny Stills, who, Oh!  They traded for him!  I get they want to surround Ryan Tannehill with weapons, but Parker and Stills are basically the same wide receiver.  An offensive lineman would have been a better pick.

No.15 (TRADE) Chargers trade up with the 49ers, and take RB Melvin Gordon Jr.

Full trade:

49ers get: No.17 overall, 2015 4th round pick, 2016 5th round pick

Chargers get: No.15 overall.

Yup.  This makes total sense. San Diego traded up and got what they wanted.  They needed a running back, but then again, he went too high.  Gordon would have been there later at No.17.  Seems like a lot to give up to move two spots.  Gordon though, is a beast, and puts up huge stats. With Ryan Matthews gone, Gordon will come in and start immediately, and will hopefully stay more healthy than Matthews.  Love the fit, but not the pick.

No.16, CB Kevin Johnson to the Houston Texans

I was already in love with this guy just because of his name (KJ!!!!!!).  Houston needed some help back there, and Johnson is a great cover cornerback.  Tackling needs works, but he can shut down a wide receiver.  That’s what the Texans need.  He can develop.  Corners take time.  Be patient Houston.

No.17, DE Arik Armstead to the San Francisco 49ers

With all the retirements on the 49ers defensive front, this pick was huge.  Armstead is a big dude who can make tackles.  He’s stuffs his gap and can get to the QB.  The effort is still questionable, but that should improve at this level.  Still think they wanted DeVante Parker, but the 49ers went for need here.  Good overall pick.  We’ll see how it plays out.

No.18, CB Marcus Peters to the Kansas City Chiefs

Whoa.  As a Chiefs fan, this concerns me.  Peters has a great skill set, but has many off-the-field concerns.  I’m not sure I’m able to trust him.  I hope it changes, because he’s so talented.  They’re rolling the dice here.  Hope it works out.  Great ball-hawk in Peters, and in a defense that struggled to get turnovers, it’s a perfect fit.  But again, I’m too worried about the off-the-field concerns.

No.19, C/OG Cameron Erving to the Cleveland Browns

Oh the Browns try so hard.  They know their need, but take the completely wrong player! Erving is a guard/center, and the Browns need a tackle.  Do they realy think they’ll be able to move him there?  Why waste time moving him around and instead take D.J. Humphries?  I don’t get it.  Another typical dysfunctional Browns move.

No.20, WR Nelson Agholor to the Philadelphia Eagles

Alright.  Chip Kelly always makes thing interesting.  I was preparing to write about Agholor, but not in this round.  They probably could have gotten him in the second round, but they were drafting for need.  Agholor is a go down the field receiver who will catch anything.  Whoever ends up playing QB for them will have a nice target.  He’s essentially the replacement for Jeremy Maclin.

No.21, OT Cedric Ogbuehi to the Cincinnati Bengals

Hm.  Can’t say they took the right player.  I’ve liked T.J. Clemmings for awhile now, and I’m shocked that he didn’t get taken here.  Ogbuehi is very good, but is raw and needs more work.  However, the Bengals have time to develop someone as their offensive lineman have a couple years left.  This is a wait and see if it works pick.  Low floor for this guy with a possibly high ceiling.

No.22, OLB Bud Dupree to the Pittsburgh Steelers

This is why I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Unbelievable.  I wanted my Cardinals to take Bud Dupree.  The guy is a beast who can rush and cover.  Pittsburgh needed to rebuild the back seven after losing multiple to guys to retirement and free agency.  Ryan Shazier was taken by them last year, another linebacker I liked.  Man, I can’t believe this happened.

No.23 (TRADE) Broncos trade up with the Lions and take DE Shane Ray

Full trade:

Broncos get: No.23 overall (used on Shane Ray)

Lions get: Manny Ramirez, 2015 5th round pick, 2016 5th round pick

Wow!  The first big trade of the night!

I stopped writing here last night.  These next nine picks were written today.  

Alright, so this trade was really interesting.  Denver traded up because they were reportedly worried that Arizona was taking Shane Ray.  I love Shane Ray, but the marijuana arrest early this week caused him to fall.  But really, Denver?  I mean, they overpaid to move up five spots.  Manny Ramirez is older, but is a solid tackle and will probably start for Detroit.  Two 5th rounders aren’t huge, but one could be useful.  The main point:  Denver could have gotten Shane Ray at No.28.  I really believe that.

As for the fit, he’ll be paired with DeMarcus Ware, so that’s fun.  That creates an insane back seven, one that should be able to handle passing teams pretty easily.  Love the player, not the pick.

No.24, OT D.J. Humphries to the Arizona Cardinals

After losing out on Bud Dupree, this cheered me up.  Humphries was one of the better tackles in the draft, and fell farther than I expected him to.  I’m really happy with this pick.  Humphries will come in and hopefully start, though the Cardinals say he’ll compete with Bobby Massie for the starting position.  That’s a battle that should be very easy to win.  After whiffing on Jonathan Cooper two years ago, Arizona is making up for that with this pick, and I’m okay with it.

No.25, OLB Shaq Thompson to the Carolina Panthers

God I love this pick.  Shaq Thompson is a hybrid linebacker who can play outside and drop back and play safety.  He’s a two-in-one, which is something that scares people away.  Not sure why.  I love this pick because 1): It’s adds even more depth to a Carolina linebacking core that’s stacked.  2):  The Panthers secondary isn’t great, and with his ability at safety, that’ll add talent.  Love this pick.  Smart move by Carolina.

No.26, WR Breshad Perriman to the Baltimore Ravens 

This was a surprise that Perriman went this high, but after re-thinking, it makes sense for Baltimore.  He’s a go-and-get-it guy, who will catch anything down field.  He’s essentially, as I noted on Twitter, the replacement for Torrey Smith.  Same type of receiver, and another weapon for Joe Flacco.

No.27, CB Byron Jones to the Dallas Cowboys  

Why didn’t the Chiefs take Byron Jones at No.18?  Anyways, Jones is a top three cornerback in this draft, and the Cowboys needed at least one more guy back there.  Morris Claiborne has been nothing but a disappointment.  Jones is trying to do the opposite.  Like this pick for Dallas.

No.28, OG Laken Tomlinson to the Detroit Lions

Alright.  Great kid.  Great story.  Not a fantastic pick.  I knew Tomlinson was getting drafted, but I didn’t think it would be this high.  The fit makes sense, but it’s possible the Lions could have gotten him later.  The Lions lacked interior lineman.  Adding Tomlinson will help protect Matthew Stafford in the backfield.  Love the player, not the pick.

No.29, WR Phillip Dorsett to the Indianapolis Colts

Eh.  I get that the Colts want to add weapons, but there were other options here.  Perhaps they just want all University of Miami guys.  Anyways, Dorsett is a big receiver who can catch any ball.  Good player, and he should contribute next year.  They’ll use him well.

No.30, FS Damarious Randall to the Green Bay Packers

I’m a homer for Randall as he went to Arizona State, but this wasn’t a great pick.  One, Randall went to high.  The Packers must have really liked him.  He would have been available well into the second round.  Also, where is he gonna play?  This guy is a safety, and that’s where the Packers are good.  Cornerback was their need.  Maybe they think they can convert him?

No.31, ILB Stephone Anthony to the New Orleans Saints

Two strange picks back to back.  I’ve actually never heard of Stephone Anthony.  So yeah.  That’s kinda a problem.  The Saints defense was a mess last year.  Maybe this guy can give them a boost.

No.32, DT Malcom Brown to the New England Patriots

I still have no idea how Brown fell this far.  And look at where he ends up!  To the perfect team.  The Patriots lost Vince Wilfork, so Brown is pretty much the replacement for him.  I loved him coming into the draft, and thought he’d go before No.20.  This is a typical Patriots pick, and boy, did they nail it once again.

What Could’ve Happened:

  • I had heard all day yesterday that Tennessee had been in talks with multiple teams about No.2 overall.  Turns out, it was all smokescreen.  There were talks, but the Titans were set on Marcus Mariota from the beginning.
  • The Browns were one of four teams that inquired on No.2.  They also had interest in Sam Bradford from Philadelphia.
  • The Jets were also reportedly interested in No.2, but were turned down quickly.
  • The Eagles were in the mix too.  Philly was doing all they could to try and acquire Mariota, but Tennessee some how turned down a package that included three picks and three players.  The package was insane.
  • The Bears were also interested in No.2.  Their package reportedly included Jay Cutler
  • Tennessee sticked to their guns.  They wanted Mariota from the beginning.
  • I thought for sure Washington was trading down.  And after that pick they made, why didn’t they?
  • Cleveland, never-minding the Mariota talk, was interested in trading up to No.5 with Washington, by the way.

Who’s left?: 

Players I really like who are still available:

  • Landon Collins
  • Jalen Strong
  • Randy Gregory (obvious off-the-field issues)
  • Jalen Collins (obvious off-the-field issues)
  • La’el Collins (obvious off-the-field issues)
  • Eddie Coleman
  • Jordan Phillips
  • T.J. Clemmings
  • Duke Johnson
  • T.J. Yeldon

That wraps up the first round!!!  I’m not covering rounds 2-7 on Twitter, but will provide picks of notable players.  I’ll have a wrap-up of notable picks, picks I liked and didn’t like, and players who went to high and to low from rounds 2-7 sometime next week.  NBA Playoffs Second Round Preview will be up Monday afternoon, even though Grizzlies-Warriors starts Sunday.