I won’t bore you with a complete mock draft, because the more picks a person makes the more variables, and the more chance they are really, really wrong. I will tackle the top ten picks, though. I think there will be some trade action in the top ten, but none has happened as I write this, so I won’t try to guess what might happen. I’ll also resist the temptation to go with what I think teams should do, and instead will try to go with what I think teams will do. For example, I think the Jags will pick Mark Sanchez if he is available, but I really, really don’t think that they should.

1. Detroit – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
– Anyone is okay for the Lions as long as it isn’t a wide receiver. That would just be bad karma. I’m not convinced that Stafford is a franchise QB, but the Lions seem to think he is. At the very least, he can’t be any worse than Joey Harrington.

2. St. Louis – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
– The Rams have all sorts of needs, but they need a tackle now that Orlando Pace has moved on.Smith and Eugene Monroe are neck and neck and either could go here, but Smith seems to have a bit more momentum at this point.

3. Kansas City – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
– No team in history has ever registered fewer sacks in a season than the Chiefs did last year. Curry is a versatile defensive player who can make life uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. He’s by far the best defensive player on the board, so this is a no-brainer.

4. Seattle – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
– They need to protect Hasselbeck and his eventual replacement, so this makes sense. I could have seen them picking a QB here if one was worthy, but I don’t think they are convinced enough about Sanchez to pay him this kind of money.

5. Cleveland – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
– Eric Mangini is far from a genius, but he could look like one if he makes this pick and then does the right thing by keeping Braylon Edwards around. Those two could combine to be a truly terrifying duo, regardless of who is throwing to them.

6. Cincinnati – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
– So much for Smith’s freefall. He hasn’t been impressive at all since the season ended, but the game time tells a different story. Smith needs to protect the fragile Carson Palmer, and Smith is the best remaining. The Bengals aren’t afraid of bad attitudes, either.

7. Oakland – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
– This probably isn’t Oakland’s biggest need. Bran Orakpo would make more sense in a lot of ways. I just can’t see Al Davis passing on a big, fast, impressive receiver like this. He’s a sucker for them, and he hasn’t had one in a while.

8. Jacksonville – Mark Sanchez, QB, Jacksonville
– I hope I’m wrong here – I would much rather see Sanchez fall to San Francisco, Denver, or Washington and see the Jags fill one of their other big needs.

9. Green Bay – Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
– The Packers could really use offensive line help, but they can get that later just as well as they can here unless one of the top tackles drop.Otherwise, they could use someone to anchor their defensive line, and I like Maybin better than B.J. Raji in terms of the upside and the amble involved. Besides, a DE is more interesting than a DT.

10. San Francisco – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
– The Niners would leap at either of the top two QBs if they fell down here, and I can see scenarios where Stafford might. If not then I look for them to address their pass rush, and Ayers has been climbing boards quickly since the end of the season.

Last year in the NBA was the year of the huge trade. Pau Gasol ended up in Lakerland, a great move that propelled Los Angeles to the Finals. Shaquille O’Neal was traded from Miami to Phoenix for Shawn Marion in a trade that seemed to make both teams worse. Jason Kidd went to Dallas for Devin Harris in midseason, an experiment that has not yielded what it promised – yet.

Continue reading “Trades and Signings Impacting Playoffs in NBA”

Posted in NBA

Tax day has come rolling around. So it’s perhaps unlikely to be thinking of Santa Claus right now. But that may be exactly what Celtics fans are doing. Boston may be thinking with no small amount of anguish about the team they had on Christmas Day, compared with the team they have today.

Continue reading “How Far Can the Celtics Go Without Garnett?”

I’m no NFL general manager or scout, and I don’t have access to a tiny fraction of the data that they do. That doesn’t stop me from getting hunches about players in the draft, though. I can’t pretend to be always accurate, but I have my moments both good and bad – I had a strong sense that Robert Gallery wasn’t going to pan out, but I thought the same about Matt Ryan. My hunches are imprecise science, but then so is the draft. At the very least I have about the same track record this year as the Lions. Better, even – I wasn’t fooled by Joey Harrington. Here’s a look at four likely first rounders this year who I just can’t seem to warm up to:

Matthew Stafford
– Let’s start right at the top. I know Stafford has all the measurables, and that scouts have been drooling over him since before the season. I just can’t reconcile what everyone says with what I have seen when I have watched Georgia play. He can be extremely impressive at times, but he can also look rattled and out of his element. I think back most to the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs should have won very easily, but the Tech clearly got into Stafford’s head and rattled him. That was just one example of what I feel about Stafford – some guys can get more out of their team than they should be able to. Stafford never seemed able to get his team to live up to its massive potential.

Continue reading “Guys I Wouldn’t Draft”

Boston fans are feeling hungry again. Earlier this decade they were laying claim to being “Title Town, USA.” And they certainly got used to some winning. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. But since then they have lost some pop, including Manny Ramirez. They are currently a .500 team. The Boston Celtics were last year’s NBA champs and looked good early this season. But now Kevin Garnett is out and they are struggling just to stay even with the Chicago Bulls. The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls earlier in the decade. They were cruising to another two years ago until the NY Giants snuck it away in the last minute.

Continue reading “Are the Bruins Back?”

This is not a very interesting draft year when it comes to quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford is the clear leader, but he’s far from a lock, and he probably would only have been third or fourth to go last year. Mark Sanchez has his backers, and he has obvious skills, but just one year of real experience raises questions for him. Josh Freeman has risen up to become the clear third choice, and he’s physically impressive, but Kansas State was far from a powerhouse under his watch, and questions about his leadership and intelligence are right below the surface. Any one of those three guys could turn into a very good NFL quarterback, but it’s not too hard to imagine any of them as disappointing flops, either. Things don’t get that much more positive further down the list of quarterbacks, either. Still, we all know the stories of guys who are drafted late and with few expectations and turn into serviceable players. Or better in the obvious case of Tom Brady. With that in mind, here’s a look at three quarterbacks who could be the next big bargain:

Continue reading “Potential QB Bargains”

It’s early in the MLB season. But two teams are looking good enough right now to suggest that the National League may be ready to win the World Series. Neither the AL nor NL have dominated the World Series in the 2000’s. It has been almost a perfect alternating pattern.
Each NL victory has been followed the next year by an AL victory. The exception was in 2004-5. The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox were both long overdue and won it all.

Continue reading “National League: How Hot is Hot?”

Because the NBA is such a showcase for amazing athleticism, it’s easy to believe that success in the sport is only a physical thing.
As the first weekend of playoff basketball showed, that’s not entirely true. There is a reason that coaches talk a great deal about the mental game. This might seem a bit surprising. After all, basketball isn’t exactly chess. A guy who is really tall and fast and can hit a jump shot should be able to succeed. Right? Not necessarily.

Continue reading “Mind Games in the NBA”

It remains to be seen where he ends up on draft day, but few guys have free fallen more since the end of the season than Ball State QB Nate Davis. Davis had an incredibly impressive start to his season this year, and Ball State turned into a national sweetheart after running through the regular season undefeated. He’s got a nice arm, he can scramble, and he plays an exciting style of game. There was talk then that he could even be a first round choice. But then things went awry. Ball State lost to Buffalo in the MAC title game, and then got crushed by Tulsa in theGMAC Bowl. Davis had eight fumbles in those games and the questions started to come up. Things didn’t get better when he was lacklustre at the Combine. The ultimate sign of the depth of his problems was evident when only one team showed up to his pro day. That’s ugly.

Continue reading “An Unfortunate Free Fall”

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