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Dorsey’s Dugout- Team USA Advances, NBA Draft, LeBron and More

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Dorsey’s Dugout- Team USA Advances, NBA Draft, LeBron and More

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

Team USA is back in the knockout round of the FIFA World Cup after losing 1-0 to the final team in their group Germany. The Americans now give themselves a shot to advance another round next Tuesday when they face off against Belgium. They are a team that the United States should beat, especially since they were able to do the near impossible.

Before the World Cup began, it was a consensual non-possibility that the Americans would survive the “group of death” that featured heavy weights such as Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Survival is the best way to define what the Americans did through group play, which resulted in a big win over Ghana and a draw to Portugal.

This is one of the biggest accomplishments that USA soccer has had in the World Cup in quite some time, but the ride is not over yet. The Americans have shown they can play with the upper class of the soccer world, so they have a chance to make a splash in the round of 16.

Tim Howard has allowed a goal each match, but he has made quality saves to always give team USA a chance to win. Howard has been solid, especially since the possession time has been favoring the opponent every match. There is hope on the defensive end of the field and things should swing upward on the offensive side.

Clint Dempsey is the best player for the American squad and he has been consistent throughout group play. He has scored two goals in three games and he continues to get his opportunities. Dempsey nearly scored an equalizer using his head in the closing moments against Germany. With the best player continuing to produce scoring chances, it should open up opportunities for other players.

Jozy Altidore has missed every game ever since his injury early on against Ghana. With extended time until their next game, there is a chance that Altidore can get his second start. If Altidore can crack the lineup, the offense gets an immediate impact.

If there is one player that needs to step up it is Michael Bradley. He has not played well at all throughout group play so he cannot play any worse. Luckily for Bradley, he has a chance at redemption now that team USA has moved into the knockout round. If Bradley can take his game to another level, the Americans will definitely advance.

Any way that the Belgium game goes next Tuesday, it is a huge accomplishment for Jurgen Klinsmann, coaching his first World Cup with the Americans, to get out of the group of death. This is not where the road ends for Team USA, as they will win Tuesday against Belgium 1-0. With that win they will most likely have to face Argentina.

NBA Draft

One of the most anticipated draft classes that has come in nearly a decade, the NBA draft featured a plethora of future potential stars. Once former Kansas standout Joel Embiid fractured his foot during a workout, there was uncertainty at the top of the draft board. Everyone waited to see what the Cleveland Cavaliers would do with the first selection in this year’s draft.

After selecting Anthony Bennett first overall in last year’s very weak draft, the Cavaliers selected Kansas Jayhawk freshman Andrew Wiggins. The Wiggins selection did not come as a big surprise because there is a lot of upside with the pick.

The former Jayhawk product has elite athleticism and is productive on both sides of the floor. Wiggins can match up with just about any player on the wing in the NBA defensively. His length gives him an advantage one on one and on the boards down low.

Jabari Parker is the safest player in this draft and is the most NBA ready right away. Parker is a much better offensive player than Wiggins is right now. Wiggins still needs to improve his jump shot and ability to finish consistently at the rim. The former Blue Devil has a better offensive game than Wiggins, but defensively is not as sharp. Parker was a great pick for the Bucks in their start to rebuild the franchise.

Joel Embiid most likely would have been the first selection if not for the foot fracture, but he found his way to becoming the third overall pick to the 76ers. It is a great decision for Philly to go with Embiid, who is clearly not in a hurry to win now, as they seem to be taking a patient approach. They still have Nerlens Noel and might be dealing away last year’s rookie of the year Michael Carter Williams.

If Philadelphia gives Embiid the proper time to recover, they could be getting one of the best players to come out in a very long time. Embiid has an extreme amount of potential and you cannot teach being over seven feet. Watching Embiid at Kansas, you could see drastic improvement from his first game to his last.

The other picks that stood out the most in the top ten and look to be great additions is what both Boston and Los Angeles did. Marcus Smart is arguably the best scorer in this years draft alongside Parker. Adding Smart to a backcourt with Rondo is potentially lethal. Rondo makes everyone around him better and if they can find a way to play together, it will make for one of the better young back courts in the league.

Julius Randle makes for a great addition to the Lakers starting five, as he will provide good offensive output. Any time you play with Kobe Bryant, your opportunities will open up. Randle has a good inside and outside game, so he is a versatile player on the floor. If the Lakers can add someone like Kevin Love via trade, Randle, Love and Bryant will make for a solid three-pair.

NHL Awards

The NHL awards took place Tuesday in Las Vegas and most of the top tier awards were predictable. Sidney Crosby was the most obvious choice for the Hart Trophy, which is the NHL’s most valuable player award. There wasn’t really another candidate that gave Crosby a run for his money for the Hart, especially since the awards in the NHL are based on the regular season. If it were based on post-season, Getzlaf would have gotten it since Crosby had a 13-game scoring drought in the playoffs dating back to last post-season.

The most puzzling award winner seemed to be Bob Murray, who was awarded general manager of the year. Not to take anything away from Murray, the Ducks had a fantastic season and ultimately lost in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup champion, but the GM of the year should have gone where the Cup resides.

Dean Lombardi made the best move during the trade deadline and it paid off in the biggest way possible. Marian Gaborik was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets and was one of the main difference makers for the Kings in the top six. Anze Kopitar and Gaborik had instant chemistry, which propelled them through the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In the twenty-six playoff games played, Marian Gaborik led everyone in scoring with 14 goals. The former Blue Jacket also cashed in eight assists that brought his points total to 22 in the 26 games played. Without Gaborik and his timely goals, the Kings do not win the Stanley Cup.

Patrice Bergeron won the Selke tropy, which goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. The Boston Bruin won the Selke in 2012 and once again this year. Bergeron is definitely one of the best defensive forwards, but Anze Kopitar should have brought the hardware home. Kopitar was the best defensive forward in the league and it was on display during the playoffs. He has not won the award yet in his career and deserved to after this seasons performance.

NBA Free Agency:

Carmelo Anthony

After opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony heads to free agency with many options out there. There are all kinds of sources putting out possible destinations for Anthony, even the possibility of teaming up with his good friend LeBron James. All this sounds great and all, but there is one team that is a perfect match for Carmelo. There is no better place for Anthony to go than to the Windy city. The Chicago Bulls are a perfect destination for the former Knick for a number of reasons.

The Bulls are a defensive powerhouse, which could make up for the liability Anthony brings defensively. What the Bulls showed they did not have during their only playoff series against the Wizards is a closer.

The Bulls had difficulty scoring in the fourth quarter and never had a go to guy. With the uncertainty of Derrick Rose’s future, Anthony would provide the lineup with a consistent scoring threat.

Tom Thibodeau is one of the best coaches in the NBA and would find the best ways to utilize Anthony in the lineup. He could potentially make Anthony a better defender in the Bulls system. If Rose comes back healthy, Thibodeau could make the adjustments to fully maximize Anthony and Roses potential together.

LeBron James

It is time for the Decision 2.0 and there are plenty of rumors everywhere discussing the future of the 4-time MVP. Anywhere from Cleveland, LA or even Houston the possibilities seem endless. Everyone needs to relax because the King is not going anywhere. If you are LeBron James, why would you leave the Miami Heat?

From an organization standpoint, how much better does it get than Pat Riley? If James decides to give Miami his loyalty, Riley will find the pieces to put around James to bring the team back to championship caliber.

The Heat already drafted Shabazz Napier, the tremendous guard from the NCAA champion UCONN Huskies. In a few years everyone will be looking back at the 2014 draft and say why did we pass on Napier because he will be an impact starter from the beginning. If LeBron decides to stay, Napier will be one of the better rookies in the NBA.

Napier has the all around game as a point guard: he is a versatile scorer, underrated passer and is an absolute stud defensively. The most noteworthy ability seen in his time at UCONN is his killer instinct. Napier has the mindset and ability to take over a game and hit the big shot. With this much potential talent at point guard, LeBron will not leave Miami.

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Dorsey’s Dugout- The First Edition

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Dorsey’s Dugout- The First Edition

Posted on 20 June 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

This is the very first edition of my new weekly column that tackles all sorts of topics in the sports world today. I have opinions on all different kinds of events or sports that are going, so the new weekly column called “Dorsey’s Dugout” is where you can find my latest take on any hot topic.

There has been so much going on lately, including two of the big four sports seasons concluded with another major sporting event that comes around once every four years. So much to write about so now let the first edition of the new column kick off starting with the NBA Finals reflection.

NBA Finals

The Spurs-Heat rematch was what everyone wanted to see after the Heat miraculously came back in game six and won the series in seven games last season. It was their second championship in a row and Miami looked like the favorite to repeat. Despite being the “2-seed” in the East, everyone knew who the beast from the East truly was and were ready to see if they could three-peat against the team with the top record in the NBA during the regular season.

Last year’s finals was one to never forget with so much going on, including Danny Green’s historic three point shooting performance throughout the series and Ray Allen’s season saving three pointer from the corner. There was a bad taste that resonated with the Spurs after the loss and Tim Duncan made no secret of that before the rematch began.

Once the first two games in San Antonio came to a close with the series tied at one heading to Miami for another two games, I thought the Heat were in full control and ready to run away with the third trophy in four years. Lesson learned here, never underestimate the power of revenge.

San Antonio looked like a different team when they hit the floor in south beach. Greg Popovich outcoached Erik Spoelstra for the remaining duration of the series and fundamental basketball was at its absolute peak of excellence.

Throughout the regular season, many fans of the NBA always made the comment about how boring the Spurs were to watch. They do not have an explosive player like a LeBron James and their style of play is not all up and down the floor with flash, but this series was a display of excellent basketball all around. It was not just one player trying to get it done; it was a team effort all around.

If I were a basketball coach trying to teach the game, I would make my team watch the Spurs play from games three through five. The way the ball was moved around unselfishly and how every teammate was willing to make that extra pass, it may have been boring for some who watch the NBA, but I found it to be a beautiful display of basketball.

The Finals were won due to basketball being played fundamentally spectacular led by the winningest trio in NBA postseason history. Duncan now has his fifth ring and solidified his place in basketball history once again. In my eyes, he is the greatest power forward of all time.

How sweet was this victory for Manu Ginobli? Manu was one of the scapegoats in last year’s Finals due to his poor play, but  this year was a different story. Manu was just being Manu scoring over double-digit points in four of the five games.

There are plenty of support players that surround the long-tenured trio such as Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills. There is not a player outside of that trio that had more of an impact on the series than Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

It was remarkable what the 22 year old out of San Diego State accomplished this post-season. For Leonard to be that young and not full of experience in the NBA with the responsibility of guarding LeBron James one on one, it was astonishing.

When the series was tied at one, coach Popovich made it known they needed more from Leonard to take the next step in the series. With a combined 18 points in the first two games, Kawhi answered his coach’s request with three straight 20+ point performances, including a 29 point-performance in game three. Once Leonard took his game to the next level, the Heat were unable to catch up.

What came as the biggest surprise from this series besides the rise of Kawhi Leonard was how lopsided the Finals were. After a tremendous finish last season, this year could not have been more of a blowout unless Miami never captured game two.

No one could have seen a 4-1 Spurs win before the Finals began, it would have almost been deemed impossible. What we learned most from this series going forward is “teams” win championships and the Heat were not a good enough team throughout the lineup.

The Spurs starters were clicking on all cylinders and the bench came out providing a spark. On the other side of the floor, some of the Heat starters were inconsistent and struggling.

So now the off-season begins in the NBA and there are many storylines that will unfold within the next few months. Will the Spurs veterans call it a career riding out on top of the world or come back for more? Will LeBron James opt out and force us to watch another national televised “Decision” to see where he ends up? My thoughts on the James off-season will be coming later in another column. For now, the Spurs are the champions of the NBA. They are the best overall team in every possible aspect and deserved it this season.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NBA Finals was not the only championship series that took place during the beginning portion of the summer time. The Stanley Cup was the other major series that went on during the nights the NBA had off.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are the cream of the crop when it comes to post-season play in professional sports. There is absolutely no other major sport that can compare to what playoff hockey provides throughout its entirety.

The best way to sum up the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the following phrase that I continuously say to those who aren’t the biggest of hockey fans. It is the best playoffs in sports, playing for the best trophy in sports and commentated by the best in all of sports.

It takes so much to win the Stanley Cup and the trophy itself is a trophy unlike any other in sports. Lord Stanley continues to grow in size each season as more teams and players names are inscribed onto the trophy after each season. As for the final part of the phrase in regards to the commentating, there is nothing better in viewing sports than listening to Mike “Doc” Emrick commentate a hockey game.

Doc Emrick is a legend in the commentating world and listening to him work throughout the playoffs is more than a gift. The enthusiasm and excitement he brings to the network every night is truly spectacular. When one team in a game is down one goal with an empty net and down to its last breath, Doc Emrick calling the last two minutes or so of a game sounds similar to a horse race. It is absolutely gripping and consistently has the fans on the edge of their seats in their living rooms.

Now for the Stanley Cup playoffs that took place just recently, the team that was handed Lord Stanley on their home ice, goes down in the history books. The 2014 Los Angeles Kings are a historic hockey team that displayed resiliency that I have never seen out of a team in maybe all of sports in my short lifetime.

The Kings were 4-1 losers to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals last season, so they had aspirations of getting back to that position to avenge their loss. The Kings hit a brick wall during the first round against one of their fiercest rivals.

Los Angeles was dead in the water round one to the San Jose Sharks, as they were down three games to none. After a game three loss in overtime on their home ice, the Kings were on the verge of getting swept. It was a devastating loss and their leader in goal Jonathan Quick had given up 17 goals in three games.

A moment that will forever stand out in the Kings history is Quick acknowledging his teammates on the ice telling them he will play better and everything will be ok. He was the last man off the ice for the Kings, which is unusual for a goaltender.

After giving up 17 goals in his first three games, Quick only gave up five in the next four, which gave the Kings a golden chance to recapture the series. Jonathan Quick looked like the same goaltender that won the Conn Smythe in 2012.

The rest of the team did its part and came back from a three-game deficit to win the series in game seven. The Kings became only the fourth team in the history of hockey to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a series. This is just the first bit of history that the Kings made throughout the playoffs.

After a first series that had the Kings fans sitting uncomfortably, the second series was another roller-coaster ride. Round two Los Angeles faced their other California rival, Anaheim. It was the first time that these two had ever met in the playoffs ever.

The Kings won the first two games on the road, but then allowed the Ducks to steal both games at home. The series was at 2 all when they went back to Anaheim for game five. The Ducks won game five and the Kings went back home for game six on the verge of elimination.

Los Angeles was once again in a situation with their backs against the wall, but they did not let the pressure get to them. They went on to win the next two games to advance to the Western Conference finals. After just the first two series, the Kings were 6-0 when facing elimination. A team that kept its composure no matter the circumstance, had its chance at sweet revenge the next round against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks won Lord Stanley the season before and were coming into the Western conference finals with a bit more rest than the Kings. Los Angeles had their Cup hopes crushed by Chicago last season, so they wanted to return the favor.

A team that had been battle tested and always climbing their way back into series’ consistently, the Kings fought their way for a 3-1 lead over Chicago. The Kings had always had their backs against the wall, but now were in full control. They had their chances to move on, but were unable to capitalize on the golden opportunity.

Chicago had tied up the series at three a piece and had a chance to move on to the finals for a second straight season. LA was once again in a familiar situation, on the brink of elimination despite the 3-1 lead they had. Game seven of these conference finals was as good as it gets in hockey.

LA went into the third period down one goal and looked as if Chicago was on their way to another Finals appearance. With just over seven minutes left in the third frame, Marian Gaborik scored on a rebound to even the game up at four. With the game tied at four and all sixty minutes had passed, an overtime period was needed to conclude the western conference finals.

The last time a conference final needed an overtime period to decide a game seven was twenty years ago when the Rangers eliminated the New Jersey Devils. It did not take long for the series to end as Alec Martinez threw a puck to the net with traffic in front. The puck went over and in behind Corey Crawford to send the Kings to the Stanley Cup.

The Stanley Cup Finals had a similar 4-1 series victory that the NBA Finals presented us with, but the Cup finals were not lopsided like the NBA Finals was. Three out of the five games featured overtime periods, two of which were double overtimes. The Stanley cup playoffs were hard fought, but the team that deserved it the most ended up being the last team standing on the ice.

Alec Martinez scored the game winning goal that sent the Kings to the Stanley Cup and it was Martinez who ended the long journey at home in double overtime. Game five was as intense of a hockey game as there could have been with amazing performances between the pipes from both Lundqvist and Quick.

The Los Angeles Kings won on home ice and the ride was one of the most historic runs I have ever witnessed in sports. Some of the marks that the Kings made in the history book are the following: Fourth team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, first team to ever win three game sevens on the road on the way to a Stanley Cup, their 26th game played in one post-season ties for the most ever and their 64 playoff games played in last three seasons is an NHL record.

Watching the Kings for the duration of this past playoff run was a historic portrayal of resiliency. A team that consistently had their back against the wall with deficits in series leads and in games never quit and overcame those deficits.

Two Stanley Cup titles in the past three years begins to raise the constant discussions on whether they are on the verge of being an NHL dynasty. They are close to doing so, but will need to capture another title. For this team, winning another Cup is not too far fetched.

They have the best goalie in the world with Jonathan Quick, the best defenseman in Drew Doughty and they are deep within the corps of their forwards. The acquisition of Marian Gaborik sparked the Kings run this post-season, as he led everyone in the playoffs in goals. What an acquisition that was at the deadline.

The resiliency that was on display for the roller-coaster ride that was the Los Angeles Kings proves that there is nothing in the same league as playoff hockey. It is the hardest fought journey for the most storied trophy in sports with the top guy in the business calling the dramatic finish. I cannot wait until hockey is back for the next season. This past year was an amazing portrayal of how dramatic the Stanley Cup playoffs are year in and year out.

The Rest of the Sports World

With the NBA and NHL seasons wrapped up, there is still plenty going on in sports. The World Cup is in full blast, the NFL mini camps are about finished and the off-seasons are ahead for the other major sports. Here are some of the topics I would like to cover and my thoughts on each.

USA over Ghana

What a game it was this past Monday when the American squad finally captured three points over the arch rival Ghana. Clint Dempsey is the face of USA soccer now that Donovan was not brought back on the team and Dempsey got the nation going from the get go.

Dempsey scored just over thirty seconds into the match giving USA the one goal lead. It was an inbounds play from the sidelines and could it have been a more pretty display of futbol?

Great inbound pass, touch pass to Dempsey and an incredible individual effort the finish the play. It got the nation rocking from the start and the rest of the game had the Americans on the edge of their seat.

Ghana tied the game up near the matches end, but that was long overdue. They had dominated the game as USA just sat back and played a defensive style of game. Klinsmann’s crew failed to establish possession in the offensive side of the field consistently throughout the match and it led to a plethora of chances for Ghana.

I wrote a major piece above talking about resiliency in regards to the Kings, but the Americans had their own version of it. After giving up a goal that you could feel the devastation countrywide, USA responded with a converted corner to win the match.

Coach Klinsmann got a major win to start off the World Cup for team USA and it is a step in the right direction if they hope to make it out of the group of death. I had been on the record for bashing Klinsmann due to some off the wall comments he has made leading up to the games in Brazil, but he did an excellent job game one.

Team USA’s next match is this Sunday against Portugal. Portugal is desperate as they lost in their first game to Germany, so the Americans are going to need to bring their best effort Sunday. If they play the same way they did against Ghana, they will be wiped off the field.

NBA Draft Chatter

Joel Embiid, arguably the top talent in the NBA Draft, suffered a foot fracture and will be undergoing surgery in the near future. This injury puts the draft in a frenzy now just six days away from the night the first card is drawn.

Before the foot injury, I would say that Embiid is the best player in this draft. His potential is through the roof, especially if you watched him play at Kansas. From his first game as a Jayhawk to his last, his improvement on the floor is a worlds of difference.

He has so much room to grow as a player still, it is potentially scary how great he could be. His back injury was a concern and now the concerns grow with the foot fracture.

If I am a GM in the top five, I cannot risk taking a chance on Embiid despite the potential. His injury problems scare me away and we have seen this same theme so many times in the draft. As a Jayhawk fan, I have strong opinions on the two stars that are in this draft.

Andrew Wiggins is perceived as the man to get this year, but I am not fully on his bandwagon. Its not because he did not live up to the hype he was given during the pre-season because that was astronomical. It is because what I saw on the hardwood floor.

Wiggins has serious potential just like Embiid in some ways because Wiggin’s athleticism is top tier. When it comes to actual basketball on the floor, I saw flaws on a consistent basis.

The way teams found a way to slow down Wiggins during the season was going to a zone defense. It prevented him from using his stellar athleticism to attack the paint and get to the rim. It forced him into becoming a jump shooter and a three-point shooter. Wiggins struggled when he was forced to take jump shots because he could never get into rhythm.

Even when Wiggins got to the rim, he struggled to finish good opportunities. Where Andrew succeeded throughout his freshman year was on the defensive end. He is a good defender one on one and is a great rebounder. He often used his rebounding ability to finish second chance opportunities in the paint.

Wiggins is still extremely young and has plenty of time to grow, but I do not take him at one. I would take Parker with the first selection. The perfect situation in my eyes for Wiggins is at the third overall selection with the Sixers.

This concludes my first edition of Dorsey’s Dugout. It is my new weekly column that brings you into my corner and allows me to give out all my opinions on anything going on in sports. There is still plenty to cover going forward and will be back next week with still more to write about. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week.

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C.J. Mosley’s great, but Ravens’ draft class will be defined by who they take next

Posted on 09 May 2014 by johngallo

It’s a great start. But one player rarely makes for a great draft class.

It’s not surprising the Ravens took C.J. Mosley, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound inside linebacker out of the University of Ozzie Newsome, I mean Alabama.

What’s not to like: He runs a 4.63 40-yard dash and can jump 35 inches. He was one of the best linebackers available in the draft – one so good the Ravens would have picked him as high as No. 10, if you believe Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta.

“There’s no question in my mind that he’s going to be ready to play from Day 1,” Newsome, the general manager, said.

Mosley won The Butkus Award in 2013, given to the nation’s top college linebacker, after posting 108 tackles, forcing a fumble and defending five passes for the Crimson Tide.

“He’s the one guy that you can’t find anyone to say anything bad about him – how reliable, accountable and dependable he is on and off the field,” Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said.

Coach John Harbaugh agreed.

“You’re going to love him,” he said. “You’re going to love his work ethic. You’re going to love his personality. He’s going to be in here Monday ready to go to work.”

Mosley is the sixth inside linebacker on the roster, but he was simply too good to ignore.

“We know we got better as a football team because of the way C.J. plays,” Newsome said.

Yes, Baltimore should be better with Mosley, but whether the Ravens can transform from a mediocre, 8-8 team to one that makes the playoffs will be determined by who they add with their final seven picks.

The Ravens have the Nos. 48 (second round), 79, 99 (third rounds), 134, 138 (fourth rounds), 175 (fifth round) and 194 (sixth round) picks, so they have plenty of chances to fill glaring weaknesses.

Here are three areas the Ravens must address:

Offensive line: If the season started tomorrow, who would start at right tackle? Raise your hand if you had Ricky Wagner, a fifth-round pick who played in all 16 games with two starts as a rookie last year. Upgrading an offensive line that was terrible in protecting Flacco and just as bad in creating holes for Ray Rice is critical if the Ravens are going to return to the playoffs. The Ravens have been superb at picking offensive linemen in the first round. Ogden (1996) played in 11 Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Ben Grubbs (2007) made one. The odd man out: Oher, who never lived up to his lofty expectations and signed with the Titans during the offseason.

Options:

Rounds: 2-4: Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA, 6-4, 307; Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama, 6-7, 332; Morgan Moses, West Virginia, 6-6, 312; Jack Mewhort, Ohio State, 6-6, 309; Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, 6-6, 236; Cameron Fleming, Stanford, 6-5, 323; Billy Turner, North Dakota State, 6-5, 315; Michael Schofield, Michigan, 6-7, 301.

Rounds 5-6: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill, 6-5, 298; Justin Britt, Missouri, 6-6, 325; Seantrel Henderson, Miami, 6-7, 331; Matt Patchan, Boston College, 6-6, 302.

My pick: Richardson.

Safety: The Ravens’ bolstered the position by signing former St. Louis Ram Darian Stewart in free agency. Stewart played in 13 games (six starts) last season, when the 5-foot-11, 216-pounder made 36 tackles. The Ravens need someone to replace James Ihedigbo, who signed with Detroit during the offseason. The Ravens drafted Matt Elam in the first round last year as they try to find the next Ed Reed, a future Hall of Famer and former defensive player of the year who made eight Pro Bowls.

Options:

Rounds 2-4: Brock Vereen, Minnesota, 6-0, 199; Dezmen Southward, Wisconsin, 6-0, 211.

Rounds 5-6: Craig Loston, LSU, 6-1, 217; Vinnie Sunseri (recovering from torn ACL), Alabama, 5-11, 210; Ahmad Dixon, Baylor, 6-0, 212; Tre Boston, North Carolina, 6-0, 204.

My pick: Loston.

Running back: Rice, Bernard Pierce and Bernard Scott – that’s the Ravens’ depth chart at the position right now. If the Ravens enter the season with that Holy Trinity of Mediocrity, Flacco might have to throw until his arm falls off if the Ravens are to make a deep run in the playoffs. Rice, Pearce and Scott combined for 373 carries for 1,110 yards – an average of 2.9 yards per carry – and six touchdowns. If that happens this season, the Ravens will have a really high draft pick in 2015.

Options:

Rounds 2-4: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State, 6-0, 230; Bishop Sankey, Washington, 5-10, 209; Tre Mason, Auburn, 5-9, 207; Jeremy Hill, LSU, 6-1, 233; Andre Williams, Boston College, 5-11, 230; Terrance West, Towson, 5-9, 225; Devonta Freeman, Florida State, 5-8, 206; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona, 5-9, 207.

Rounds 5-6: Charles Sims, West Virginia, 6-0, 214; Lache Seastrunk, Baylor, 5-10, 201; Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern, 5-9, 209; James White, Wisconsin, 5-9, 204; De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon, 5-9, 174

My pick: Thomas.

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Houston, there’s no problem: Johnny Manziel is the No. 1 pick

Posted on 06 May 2014 by johngallo

I really wanted to dismiss Johnny Manziel as the top pick.

I wanted to justify knocking him down a few rungs on the board because he’s a “running quarterback,” and you know what running quarterbacks don’t do? Win Super Bowls. I heard Manziel’s name, and I thought of Michael Vick – a guy who will get your team on ESPN’s top plays but not a Lombardi Trophy.

I thought it was just too risky to take Manziel No. 1 because that’s what history told me. Since 1990, 14 quarterbacks have been taken first overall, yet just two – Peyton and Eli Manning – have won the Super Bowl. But what’s even more glaring is that eight – Tim Couch, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford and Cam Newton – haven’t won a playoff game. That leaves Drew Bledsoe, Vick and Jeff George and Andrew Luck as top picks who have won at least one playoff game, though in fairness, Luck likely won’t be on this list long.

Super Bowl winners Joe Flacco (18th), Ben Roethlisberger (11th) and Trent Dilfer (sixth) weren’t even the first quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2008, 2004 and 1994, respectively. Aaron Rodgers was picked 24th overall in 2005. Drew Brees was picked in the second round in 2001. Tom Brady went in the sixth round, after 198 players had been selected. Hell, Kurt Warner wasn’t even drafted and would have taken $6 an hour if a team offered, which would have been 50 cents more than he was making an hour stocking shelves at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

I read about Manziel’s celebrity lifestyle and thought he’s too busy being the man off the field to be the man off it, much like I did when Mark Sanchez thought he was the biggest thing to hit New York since King Kong.

But then I did some research, looking past Manziel’s highlight-reel plays and ability to hang with so many hot chicks that he’d make Hugh Hefner envious.

Manziel’s running fuels his passing. Without his legs, Johnny Football would be just plain ol’ Johnny.

There’s a difference between being a “running quarterback” and one who uses his speed to extend plays.

Consider: Manziel had 521 more rushing yards and 27 more first downs on scrambles more yardage than any quarterback from a BCS automatic qualifying conference – ACC, American Athletic, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 – in the past two years. He had 29 rushes for at least 20 yards, which led the SEC, the nation’s best league, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

“I don’t know really who you would compare Jonny Manziel too,” George Whitfield, Manziel’s personal quarterback coach, told ESPN during an interview on May 6.

Try Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. As a senior at Wisconsin in 2011, he led all BCS automatic qualifying conference quarterbacks with 416 rushing yards on scrambles, including 18 that went for at least 10 yards.

All Wilson has done since entering the NFL as a third-round pick is win a Super Bowl and more games than any other quarterback the past two seasons combined.

Maybe Manziel is really Wilson’s long lost twin who just lives a vastly more public lifestyle? It’s scary because the statistical comparison is there.

“I don’t see them as an exact match, but I definitely do get it,” Whitfield told ESPN. “Russell Wilson came into the league seasoned, mature and played an awful lot of football and played a lot of baseball and Johnny looks up to him. I just don’t know if those two are carbon copies.”

Maybe not carbon copies, but very, very close, according to measurements.

Height: Manziel: 5-11¾; Wilson: 5-11

Weight: Manziel: 207; Wilson: 204

Hand size: Manziel: 9 7/8; Wilson: 10¼

Arm length: Manziel: 31 3/8; Wilson: 31

40-yard dash: Manziel: 4.68; Wilson: 4.55

Broad jump: Manziel: 113 inches; Wilson: 118

Vertical jump: Manziel: 31.5; Wilson: 34

Three cone drill: Manziel: 6.75; Wilson: 6.97

I wasn’t too high on Russell entering the 2012 draft. Maybe it was because I thought – and still do – the Big Ten is inferior to the SEC. Or maybe, it was because I never saw him win a big game since the Badgers lost to Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon. And maybe, it was because Wilson didn’t carry the Badgers.

Regardless, I was wrong.

But I’m right about Manziel.

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They Might Be Ravens: A Look at the 2014 Draft

Posted on 01 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Draft prognostication could easily re-brand itself as mental masturbation.

Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Walt Cherepinsky, and anyone else regarded as an “expert” on who might choose who in next week’s NFL Draft, is merely taking a wild guess.

Things change.  Deals evolve.  GMs get pick-happy.  No one really knows what’s going to unfold in next Thursday’s first round, let alone the next six rounds that will carry on through the weekend.

Considering the track record of GM Ozzie Newsome, as well as today’s new that he openly stated the team is already fielding calls and offers to trade out of its first round spot, it’s nearly impossible to predict–with any degree of accuracy–who the Baltimore Ravens will select.

Instead of predicting via traditional mock-draft style, in this series, we’ll do a deep-dive into some of the potential early-round picks and their likelihood of donning a purple jersey this fall.

The following players, in one way or another, have the best shot at being the Ravens’ first draft pick–whether that pick comes at 17 or doesn’t happen until the second-round, these are the players that it’s safe to assume the Ravens have the most interest in–partly due to position, mostly due to talent on the board.

In the coming week, this series will highlight each of these players individually.

Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan:  Will likely be long-gone by pick 17–unless his off-the-field issues turn out to be more troublesome than originally thought.

Zach Martin, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame:  Originally thought as a mid-first-rounder, it’s looking more likely that he will be closer to the first-half of the first-round.

Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia:  Depending on who you talk to and who you read, Moses is a fringe-first-rounder with a lot of upside.  The only issue is that he is a true left tackle–where the Ravens need a right.

Cyrus Kouandijo, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: Even though he has tremendous size (6-6, 322) he’s been labeled as un-athletic and slow–also has a history of knee issues.

JaWuan James, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee:  A smart, high-character player, he lacks footwork and polish.

Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina:  A true playmaker and matchup nightmare, there’s little chance he’ll be available after pick 12.

Troy Niklas, Tight End, Notre Dame:  Not a first-rounder, he could be a player the Ravens consider if they do trade out of the first round and pick up a second, second-round pick.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama:  Originally thought to be one of the Ravens’ favorites, he’s crept much further up the board, perhaps into the top-10.

Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville:  It’s possible he’ll be available at pick-17, the only problem is that he’ll be there because other teams are shying away from him due to his inability to make big defensive plays.

Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State:  One of the most talented corners in the draft, it’s likely he won’t fall as far as 17, but if he does, don’t be surprised if the Ravens don’t take a hard look.

Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State:  It’s unlikely the Ravens would take him at 17, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech:  See comment on Roby.

Justin Gilbert, Cornerback, Oklahoma State:  A fringe-first rounder, he’s more likely a candidate to be taken in the second-round, should be be there when the Ravens hit the clock.

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State:  An absolute burner, the Ravens will certainly kick the tires if players like Lewan and Clinton-Dix are off-the-board.

Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Indiana:  It’s possible, barring a trade out of the first round, armed with two second-round picks, the Ravens would take a flier on this boom-or-bust pick.

Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Ohio State:  Probably not really on the Ravens’ radar, but he’s the number-one back in the draft–a true position of need.

Terrance West, Running Back, Towson:  The local product could very well be a second-round target for his hometown team.

CJ Mosely, Linebacker, Alabama: Considering Newsome’s affinity for his alma mater, this isn’t too much of a stretch.

Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA:  This could be a dark horse pick, as Barr is a pass-rushing specialist with a ton of upside–he could be the “best player on the board” by the time the Ravens pick at 17.

Stay tuned for individual analysis–”MM”–on each of these players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2014 Pre-Combine Mock Draft

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2014 Pre-Combine Mock Draft

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

The NFL season is over and now the long off-season takes flight. Fans of every team now have reason for optimism as we head into the next few months. Free Agency brings excitement, but nothing creates more buzz and discussion than the NFL draft.

The draft is the most crucial part of building a consistent winning franchise, not free agency. If you think differently, look no further than the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks.

The combine is days upon us, so now it is time for my pre-combine mock draft. For the record, it is extremely too early to begin these discussions, but we do them anyway. It is hard to predict what teams will pick whom without seeing how free agency unfolds. So now its time for the way too early mock draft:

1. Houston Texans- Johnny Manziel

This is the most college player that has entered the draft since Tim Tebow. Manziel has a unique skill set, but his size makes him a difficult prospect to judge. Russell Wilson is a huge reason why the door is now open for Manziel to potentially be the number one overall pick. His ability to extend the play makes him an attractive prospect. This is Johnny Manziel’s best place of opportunity at being a successful NFL QB to me.

2. St Louis Rams- Greg Robinson

St Louis has this second pick thanks to the Washington Redskins for the RG3 pick just a few short years ago. The Rams have other needs, but they do hold the 13th pick as well. So with the second pick, they will draft the top left tackle prospect of their choice. Jake Long went down with an ACL tear, so they will need a replacement until he is once again healthy. Greg Robinson is SEC battle tested and his presence was hard to miss when watching the national championship game.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jadeveon Clowney

The Jaguars are in need of a QB also, but this team has been amongst the worst in pass rush for years. Gus Bradley enters year two and he is a defensive minded head coach. He was there to see how Seattle rebuilt their defense through the draft and he will mimic that exact process. They drafted a safety at the start of round two last draft, so now its time to build the front of the defense. Clowney would be a home run pick for the Jags at the third spot. He has all the potential in the world to be a top 5 defensive player in the league. His motor is at times question, but we will see his motivation at full force once he hits the field.

4. Cleveland Browns- Teddy Bridgewater

Many draft experts will put Blake Bortles as this selection, but the hire of Kyle Shanahan makes this my clear-cut choice. It’s no secret that the Browns need a franchise QB. This would be a good situation for Bridgewater because there are weapons in Cleveland. They have Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon and a good offensive line. I like this situation for Bridgewater.

5. Oakland Raiders- Blake Bortles

Another top QB prospect goes off the board here in Oakland. Pryor did not look all that bad in limited situations last season, but as Dennis Allen heads into a make it or break it year, a QB selection could be the risk taken here. Bortles has the prototypical size and look of a franchise QB. Oakland is in need of other weapons to help a QB out, so a Sammy Watkins selection remains a possibility.

6. Atlanta Falcons- Jake Matthews

The Falcons had a horrific season last year after entering it as a potential super bowl contender. Nobody could have predicted Atlanta’s downfall, but it could be a blessing in disguise. It will not take them long to get back into the NFC south race, but they need to fix the offensive line and defense. Protecting their franchise QB is priority number one, so the next best left tackle is the selection here. As the draft gets closer, it would not surprise me to see Atlanta try and trade up to the second selection to make a play for Clowney.

7. Tampa Bay- Anthony Barr

Barr is one of my favorite prospects in the NFL draft. He is a polished pass rusher and the Bucs need to add more of those types of players. Their defensive front is solid, but their linebacker corps needs work. Barr would be a perfect fit for this situation. Lovie Smith is now head coach so defense will be the selection here. It is between Barr and Mack, but I see Smith taking a chance on the big school player.

8. Minnesota Vikings- Khalil Mack

Mack is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. He made his name at the start of the college football season by having a monster game against Ohio State. Mack is a versatile linebacker and there’s not a better situation for him than going to a team led by coach Zimmer. Zimmer was a genius in Cincinnati when working with defense. Mack’s raw ability in combination with a great coach like Zimmer makes this a tremendous selection. Last season the Vikings selected Floyd and Rhodes to the defense, they now address the middle with this selection.

9. Buffalo Bills- Eric Ebron

This is one of my to die for NFL prospects in this years draft. Ebron has great size, but also incredible athleticism to go with it. Ebron was a force for North Carolina all season. Tight ends have become so important in today’s game and the Bills don’t have a stud tight end. There is talk about Watkins here, but they drafted Woods and Goodwin last draft. They are still without a stellar tight end to assist their young QB, so I feel they will go star tight end over receiver here.

10. Detroit Lions- Darqueze Dennard

The Lions need to repair their secondary fast. Their defensive line is amongst the best in the league, but the back end of the defense continues to fail them. In a division that features Aaron Rodger and Jay Cutler, the secondary needs to be up to par. Dennard is the local Michigan St product and the top CB in the draft, so this would be the best selection for Detroit.

11. Tennessee Titans- Sammy Watkins

The Titans have several different holes on both sides of the ball. Ken Wisenhunt comes in as head coach, so you know he will try and reboot the offense. Tennessee needs a receiver to compliment Kendall Wright and Watkins would be the perfect piece to go along with Wright. Delanie Walker was also a solid tight end last season, so with Watkins being added to the mix they have a good foundation.

12. New York Giants- Taylor Lewan

The Giants were horrific on offense last season all around. Eli Manning had a turnover-crazed year and the run game was non-existent. They addressed the offensive line last season with the selection of Justin Pugh, but they are going to need more than just him. Lewan is one of the best tackles in the draft and would help Eli feel more protected. Maybe with better protection, Eli wont be throwing so many interceptions. Linebacker is a possibility here too such as Mosley from Bama.

13. St. Louis Rams- Mike Evans

Mike Evans was Manziel’s go to man at Texas A&M and his size is ridiculous. He is reminiscent of Vincent Jackson and his size is needed in the Rams receiver rotation. The Rams have solid weapons, but all of them are on the smaller end. Evans would give the Rams the size they need and his presence would help free up Tavon Austin.

14. Chicago Bears- Timmy Jernigan

Jernigan is the top defensive line prospect and even one of the best defenders in the entire job. He was a big part of a physical Florida state defense that helped them win the national championship. The Bears need to repair the defense because they do have a high powered offense. The defense at one point suffered the loss of seven defensive starters. They need to begin to fix the defense so what better way to start with the defensive line. Jernigan’s strength is being a force in the run game, but he also is versatile. Soldier Field would be a great fit for Jernigan.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- CJ Mosley

The Steelers have holes on the offensive line and could deal with that here, but their defense needs help as well. It is in need of a spark of youth on the interior of the line backing corps. Jarvis Jones was the outside pick in the last draft and he will get better with time. The Steelers could use help on the interior defensive line, but with Mosley dropping here it is tough to pass on this kind of hard-nosed playmaker.

16. Dallas Cowboys- Ha Ha Clinton Dix

It is time for the Cowboys to finally draft a safety. There was speculation that they would select Vaccaro last year, but were unable to. The Dallas defense was one of the worst defenses in the league, especially in the back end. It is time for Dallas to add another defensive playmaker to the secondary along with Morris Claiborne. The defensive front could be in play here too, keep in mind Louis Nix III and Aaron Donald.

17. Baltimore Ravens- Cyrus Kouandjio

There is speculation that wide receiver and tight end are needs here, but offensive line right now is the bigger issue in Baltimore. The Ravens could not run the ball last season if their lives depended on it and Joe Flacco was constantly on his back. The Ravens can deal with their needs at receiver and tight end later in the draft. The receiving class is deep and Baltimore only needs a second tight end. Dennis Pitta will be retained, but it is uncertain what will happen with both the tackles. Cyrus gives Baltimore a great left tackle prospect and drafting from Alabama is a common occurrence with Ozzie Newsome.

18. New York Jets- Marqise Lee

The Jets defense was so good it helped lead them to an improbable eight win season. Geno Smith was a roller coaster ride in his rookie season, but ended the last quarter on a high note. There is no talent surrounding Geno Smith, so adding weapons around him is a necessity. Stephen Hill has been a disappointment and Santonio Holmes is found more on milk cartons in New York then on the field. Cumberland ended up being Smith’s most reliable target and that needs to be fixed. Lee gives Smith a reliable playmaker who can also get down the field. New York should not be thinking any other position of need with this pick.

19. Miami Dolphins- Morgan Moses

Moses is a tackle prospect that will rise as May comes closer. He has great size, but he is slightly raw. Just look at last years draft and you will see this is not a reach. Offensive line draft selections were at a premium last year and teams were selecting players higher than they were supposed to go. Moses fixes an obvious need for Miami with the ongoing bullying scandal. Zach Martin is an obvious choice here for most draft experts because of his versatility. While this is true, don’t overlook ties that Moses has with Miami. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was the head coach at Virginia that recruited Moses to play there.

20. Arizona Cardinals- Zach Martin

The Cardinals continue to build on the offensive line to help protect Carson Palmer. Cooper was unable to play last season because of a season ending injury in the preseason. Adding Martin to the mix along with a healthy Cooper would boost their overall offensive play right away. Martin is in question whether he can be a left tackle or not. The safe thing with drafting him is his versatility. He has the potential to be an all-pro guard, similar to a Marshall Yanda.

21. Green Bay- Aaron Donald

This is one of my top 5 favorite players in the draft. Donald’s only concern is his size, but I am not worried about that at all. This guy is the definition of a football player. If you watch the Pitt film, disruptive is all that you see. Donald is an absolute monster and pairing him with BJ Raji would be incredible. The Packers need to revamp the defense and this would be a fantastic start. While secondary is a need, it is going to be hard to pass on a guy like Donald.

22. Philadelphia Eagles- Calvin Pryor

The Eagles offense was high powered in Chip Kelley’s coaching debut. That does not need any work, but the defense does. Having Pryor slip to their laps at 22 would be hard for Philly to pass on. They need more playmakers in the secondary. A defensive pass rusher could be of interest here, but is there a pass rusher higher rated than Pryor at this spot?

23. Kansas City Chiefs- Odell Beckham Jr.

The Chiefs defense for the most part of last season was great, especially when healthy. The offense needs more to it than just Charles carrying the load. To help take the pressure off, Alex Smith needs another weapon on the outside that is dependable. Dwayne Bowe is your bigger style of receiver, so I don’t see Benjamin as the pick here. Beckham is that dependable and physical type of receiver KC needs.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- Justin Gilbert

Leon Hall was hurt last season and Terrence Newman is way past his prime. Having the second rated Corner slip to 24 here would be great for the Bengals. Their front seven is already in place, so the secondary will be the part of the defense that needs repair. Gilbert at 24 would be a steal.

25. San Diego Chargers- LaMarcus Joyner

You could argue that Joyner would be the number one corner in the draft if it weren’t for his short stature. His ball instincts are the best of any corner in this year’s class. San Diego needs to continue to add to their secondary, especially when facing Denver twice a season. Pass rusher could be another position of interest here, but Joyner would be a great defensive playmaker from day one.

26. Cleveland Browns- Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson is the best receiver out of the Big 10 and possesses great size at 6’3. His speed is in question, but the Browns already have a speedy Josh Gordon to stretch the field. Robinson will be a late riser as the draft gets closer. It doesn’t hurt the Browns to add more weapons to the mix, especially if they draft Bridgewater at 4. Running back could also be a pick here. The day of running backs going in the first round are just about over, but at least the Browns have a previous first rounder in this draft to play with.

27. New Orleans Saints- Antonio Richardson

The Saints played Terron Armstead last season, the rookie from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, he did decent. The Saints found success in the post season running the football, so they would like to continue that trend. Adding a tackle like Richardson would boost the run game and it would help protect Bree’s even more than he already is. Richardson would be a good value pick here.

28. Carolina Panthers- Kelvin Benjamin

I am a huge fan of Benjamin as a prospect. To me, he is the second best receiver in the draft, but his inconsistent hands make it hard for people to rank him that high. He has all the size and athleticism that make him a man child and man amongst boys. If Carolina is lucky enough to draft him, the NFC south better watch out. Cam Newton needs more weapons than just the aged Steve Smith on the outside. Adding Benjamin to this offense would be lethal and if this pick does indeed happen, I’m ready to make an offensive rookie of the year pick.

29. New England Patriots- Austin Seferian-Jenkins

It is no question that the Patriots want to get back to their two tight end offense they liked to run with Gronk and Hernandez. Jenkins gives the Patriots an athletic tight end with great size. His playmaking ability in the red zone makes him attractive here and would help keep the pressure off the injured Gronkowski. They could look at receiver, but they had several rookies last year that have another year to grow. Tight end is the more glaring need.

30. San Francisco 49ers- Louis Nix III

The 49ers often take chances on injured players because they already have great depth and can afford to take those risks. Nix III is a hefty gap clogger and would be a great fit to the defensive front rotation in San Francisco. He is considered one of the top defensive tackles of the draft, but his late season injury helps slip him down here to me. This would be one of the best value picks of round one for a consistent Super Bowl contender.

31. Denver Broncos- Marcus Roberson

The Broncos playoff run put on full display of their dire need. Champ Bailey is not getting younger and Chris Harris suffered a devastating injury in the post season. So corner back is the obvious need for Denver here and they should look no further than that. Roberson is the next best guy off the board or they could go with Roby from Ohio State.

32. Seattle Seahawks- Jarvis Landry

The Hawks don’t have a need at defense whatsoever, so offense will be the side of the ball to add to. With both receivers entering free agency and Percy Harvin never being consistently healthy, Landry would be the good choice here. Jace Amaro the tight end from Texas Tech could be another name to remember. I just feel receiver is the biggest need because you figure Seattle will lose at least one starter to free agency.

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John Wall

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Big Chee Show: June 27th, 2012

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Big Chee

NBA Draft Preview 6_27_12

Chee makes a rally cry for the O’s during their two game losing streak and the Bros make a grim prediction for the Wizards in tonight’s NBA Draft. Show brought to you by Driscoll & Desimone Investments LLC. www.bigcheeshow.com

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Glenn gives Courtney Upshaw the Bama Ozzie quiz

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Glenn gives Courtney Upshaw the Bama Ozzie quiz

Posted on 28 April 2012 by WNSTV

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Bernard Pierce apologizes to Glenn for 5 TDs vs. Maryland Terps

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Bernard Pierce apologizes to Glenn for 5 TDs vs. Maryland Terps

Posted on 28 April 2012 by WNSTV

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NFL Mock Draft

Posted on 29 March 2012 by John West

The 2012 NFL Draft is upon us and I couldn’t be happier. This is the time of the year where Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome shines brightest amongst his peers. A lot of other teams are trying to solve some of the roster issues by purchasing free agents at or above their real salary cap value. Ozzie just resigns some key players, drafts the best available talent on the board, and makes some shrewd free agent signings right before camp opens. It seems so easy when Ozzie does it.

Anyway, below is a good guess as to how the first round of the 2012 NFL will go. Go Ravens!!

1. Colts Andrew Luck QB Stanford
2. Redskins Robert Griffon QB Baylor
3. Vikings Matt Kalil OT USC
4. Browns Trent Richardson RB Alabama

The Browns blew it big time. They had to address their quarterback position and with 2 first round draft picks they didn’t pull the trigger with the Rams. They are now left with 11 picks in this years draft, which will allow them to fill many holes, just not quarterback. Here they take a game changing running back and go from there.

5. Bucs Morris Claiborne CB LSU
6. Rams Michael Floyd WR ND
7. Jaguars Justin Blackmon WR Okla St.
8. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M

The Dolphins blew it big time. Same story as the Browns only the Dolphins have to take a QB with this pick. The WR flip at 6 and 7 is new and it’s because of the poor pro day for Justin Blackmon. I think the Rams will take the bigger WR. In the end its always a crap shoot with WR’s in the first round so I think the Rams take the one with the less risk and that’s Floyd out of ND.

9. Panthers Dontari Poe NT Memphis
10. Bills Riley Reiff OT Iowa
11. Chiefs David DeCastro G Stanford
12. Seahawks Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
13. Cardinals Melvin Ingram DE/OLB South Carolina
14. Cowboys Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
15. Eagles Like Kuechly LB Boston College

Lots of picks here that fall very near their draft rating and also meet a big draft need for the pro team. The Cowboys have a huge need at CB and lots of draft boards have Dre Kirkpatrick at or around 15 to 18. So the Cowboys take him at 14. Same with the Eagles. Kuechly is the highest rated ILB but lots of drafts have that position rated out at 18-21. The need for strong interior linebackers for the Eagles is so great they have to take him.

16. Jets Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB Alabama
17. Bengals Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State
18. Chargers Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Illinois
19. Bears Jonathan Martin OT Stanford
20. Titans Michael Brockers DT LSU
21. Bengals Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
22. Browns Cordy Glenn G Georgia

The Browns and Bengals finish up this stage of the first round with 2 picks and I think the Browns will focus on offense and the Bengals on defense. The Bengals are playoff team and this draft could help solidify their playoff status for a couple of years to come. I think both of these picks will turn into very good players and I like what the Bengals are doing overall as a franchise. The Browns are embarrassing, but they make 2 good picks here. The Bears need offensive line help very bad and will take the highest rated offensive lineman left on the board multiple times in this draft, starting at the 19th pick.

23. Lions Kendall Wright WR Baylor
24. Steelers Mike Adams OT Ohio State
25. Broncos Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech
26. Texans Nick Perry DE/OLB USC
27. Pats Devon Still DT Penn State
28. Packers Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina

The Steelers need all sorts of help on the offensive line. The Texans need to try to replace Mario Williams and the Packers are old in the defensive secondary. The Pats will add talent to their defensive front seven and Peyton Manning will want another big tall fast WR to throw to in Denver.

29. Ravens Mark Barron SS Alabama

The Ravens can go a lot of places with this pick. I think Ozzie will look to trade down as he usually does. In fact I would not be surprised if he does. If Barron is taken and LB Don’ta Hightower is here I could see Ozzie taking him. If both players are gone I expect Ozzie to trade out of this pick. However in this mock draft, with the Ravens need at S so high, I expect the Ravens to take Mark Barron.

30. 49ers David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
31. Pats Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska
32. Giants Don’t’a Hightower LB Alabama

I think the 49ers need more explosive weapons on offense and back-up to Frank Gore. I think the Pats are horrible in the secondary and the Giants always take the best available talent.

Here is a quick list of some of the players I think/hope the Ravens will be looking at for the rest of this draft.

Bobby Massie OT Ole Miss
Kevin Zeitler G Wisconisin
Mike Brewster C Ohio State
Nick Toon WR Wisconsin
Nate Potter G/OT Boise State
Travis Lewis OLB Oklahoma
Mike Martin DE Michigan

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