Friday Tidbits 4/11/08

11 April 2008

Chris Paul dished out 15 assists to go along with his 33 points in a win over New York.  He followed it up with a triple-double vs. Golden State.  He’s making his fantasy owners love him even more as he had 16 assists vs. Minnesota.  Joel Pryzbilla, who had been rebounding like Rodman lately, broke his hand, and will miss the rest of the season.  Stop the presses, the Knick won…twice.  Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Adrian Dantley, Dick Vitale, and Pat Riley were elected into the basketball Hall of Fame.  Al Jefferson had 40 points for the Wolves, but lost.  Chris Bosh messed around and got a triple-double.

Jarome Iginla scored his 50th goal.  This week’s shutouts:  Philly’s Martin Biron vs. New Jersey & Pittsburgh, St. Louis’ Manny Legace vs. Columbus, Buffalo’s Jocelyn Thibault vs. Boston.  Phoenix’s Daniel Carcillo had a hat trick against Dallas.  Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek had one against Boston.  Buffalo D Teppo Numminen made his return following heart surgery.  Tampa Bay C Vincent Lecavalier will have shoulder surgery.  Montreal will host the 2009 All-Star game.  Keith Tkachuk scored his 500th career goal.  So what if it was an empty-netter.  Dallas signed D Nicklas Grossman to a two-year deal. The Wild’s Nick Shultz had an appendectomy.  Tampa Bay won the top pick in the NHL Lottery.  The Rangers beat New Jersey 4-1 to take the opener.  Pittsburgh beat Ottawa 4-0 to take the 1-0 lead.  Joe Sakic scored the game-winner in OT as Colorado stole home ice from the Wild.  Calgary dropped San Jose 3-2 in the series opener.  Detroit took Game 1 over Nashville 3-1.  Montreal beat Boston 4-1 in their series opener.  Evgeni Nabokov and San Jose shutout Calgary to even the series at 1.  Marty Turco and Dallas blanked Anaheim.  For some moronic reason Washington and Philly haven’t even squared off yet.

Josh Beckett made his season debut.  It wasn’t a pretty one (5 runs in 4-2/3 innings).  Toronto locked up Alex Rios for seven years, $70 million and Aaron Hill for four years, $12 million.  Michael Cuddyer landed on the 15 Day DL with a dislocated finger.  Bill Hall and Chase Utley each hit a pair of HRs on Friday.  Dontrelle Willis walked 7 as Detroit fell to 0-5.  Kelly Johnson, Mike Jacobs, Frank Thomas, Joe Crede hit Grand Slams.  Jake Peavy struck out 8 while allowing just 1 run on 2 hits.  Gerald Laird hit a pair of HRs to go along with his 6 RBI on Sunday.  Ben Sheets fired a shutout.  Ken Griffey, Jr. hit HR #594.  Greg Maddux won his 348th game.  Pat Burrell and Mark Reynolds each blasted 2 HRs on Monday. Arizona signed Chris Young to a six-year extension.  Talk about taking care of business early.  Scott Spiezio got three years probation for drunk driving and hit-and-run.  I have a couple of thoughts.  First, he should have got another year for that awful soul patch.  Second, to be serious, you or I would have served time.  Derek Jeter strained his quad.  Torii Hunter hit a pair of HRs, the second being a game-winning Grand Slam on Monday vs. Cleveland.  Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch for the Red Sox home opener.  He was greeted with a standing ovation.  Rich Harden missed a start because of a sore back.  He’s so soft.  The Mets put Matt Wise on the DL.  Atlanta Brave prospect Jordan Schafer received a 50 games suspension for HGH.  Bengie Molina hit a pair of HRs on Tuesday.  Cliff Floyd (knee) landed on the DL.  San Diego put Michael Barrett (elbow) on the DL.  El Duque (foot) is out indefinitely. Detroit finally won.  Mike Jacobs and Albert Pujols hit a pair of HRs on Wednesday.  Mike Napoli and Jason Kubel hit Grand Slams.  Cleveland signed Fausto Carmona to a four-year, $15 million deal.  It could increase $28 million more over three years if Cleveland picks up his options.

Michael Vick is playing jailhouse football to pass the time.  My crack statistics team reported Vick has a passer rating of 75.7.  Some things never change.  Washington signed Jerome Mathis to return kicks.  Cleveland waived  DB Kenny Wright.  David Garrard signed a seven-year, $60 million deal with Jacksonville.  Overpaid.  The Patriots signed LB Victor Hobson.  The Benglas continued cleaning house by cutting RB Quincy Wilson, who was arrested in June.  San Diego signed S Clinton Hart to a five-year deal. The Jets signed S Kerry Rhodes to a five-year, $33 million extension. 

Kansas knocked off Memphis in OT to win the National Championship.  Mario Chalmers hit a three to send the game into overtime.  He won the Most Outstanding Player Award.  Darrell Arthur was great with 20 points and 8 boards for the Jayhawks.  Earlier Memphis proved everybody wrong (well, most everybody) by knocking off UCLA to go to the title game.  Chris Douglas-Roberts  and Derrick Rose combined for 40 of Memphis’ 68 points.  Chris Douglas-Roberts led the way with 28 points.  Derrick Rose added 25 points and 9 rebounds.  Kansas jumped off to a huge lead, let UNC get within 5, and then pounded them to submission.  Brandon Rush led the charge with 25 points.  One I missed last week:  Ohio State won the NIT tournament.  Mike Montgomery is leaving Stanford for the Cal job.  Dick Vitale earned a spot in the National Collegiate Baskeball Hall of Fame.  Coach K will probably introduce him.  Eric Gordon is going pro.  Joining him is Arizona’s Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger, Louisville’s Earl Clark, Florida’s Marreese Speights, LSU’s Anthony Randolph, UCLA’s Kevin Love and Darren Collison, Syracuse’s Donte Greene, Stanford’s Trent Johnson, West Virginia’s Joe Alexander, Texas A&M’s DeAndre Jordan, USC’s O.J. Mayo and Alabama’s Ronald Steele.  Miami signed Coach Frank Haith to a five-year extension.   John Calipari was named the Naismith Coach of the Year.  He didn’t look the part in the closing minutes of regulation on Monday.  Bill Self will stay in Kansas.  LSU hired Trent Johnson as their new Coach.

Penn State won’t talk contract with Joe Paterno until after the season.Florida WR Percy Harvin had heel surgery.  Penn State kicked WR Chris Bell off the team after he threatened a teammate with a knife.  Syracuse RB Averin Colier with miss time with a fractured foot.  Carl Edwards won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Tennessee repeated as Women’s NCAA Basketball Champs.  For Pat Summit, it was her 8th title.

Justin Rose and Trevor Immelman lead the Masters.  Tiger is 4 shots back.  

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

Thanks again for supporting my blog. Be sure to check out My Friends’ blogs. They do amazing work.

Time for the 17th installment of the NFL Free Agent Report.  Click here for a link to earlier reports.

Aaron Glenn
Jacksonville signed the CB to add to their secondary.  He had 15 tackles and an INT, which he returned for a TD, last year for New Orleans.  He has 41 career INTs.

Clinton Hart
San Diego signed their starting Safety to a five-year deal.  He made 85 tackles last year to go along with 5 INTs and a sack.  In three playoff games he made 17 tackles.  His best came in San Diego’s win over Indianapolis where he made 12 tackles and a pick.

Victor Hobson
The Patriots signed LB Victor Hobson away from the Jets.  He had 62 tackles and 2 sacks last year. In 2006 he had 100 tackles and 6 sacks.  He provides some much needed youth to the Patriots’ LB corps.

Kerry Rhodes
The Jets kept their spending ways going by signing their star Safety to a five-year, $33.5 million deal.  He had 68 tackles, 2 sacks, and 5 INTs last year.  He has 10 picks in his three-year career.  He had INTs in four straight weeks (11-14) last year.

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

Image courtesy of Palco Sports

A good friend of mine works for Palco Sports, which is “the leader in 2nd Generation Airsoft Replica Firearms”.  Two of their Airsoft Guns were featured in a recent Guns Magazine issue.  They are the German MP-40 and the US Thompson M1A1. 


The MP-40 is a replica subgunmachine that was used by the Germans in World War II.  You can use it in either semi-automatic or full-automatic mode.  It can hold fifty 6mm BBs.  You can fire up to 600 rpm.  It is available at many sporting goods stores, various hobby, paintball, and specialty shops , or online at places like for a suggested retail price of $199.99.

Thompson M1A1

The Thompson M1A1 is a replica subgun used by the Allied Forces in WWII.  It can also be use in either semi-automatic or full-automatic mode.  It holds up to 47 6mm BBs, which can be fired at 700 pm.  A Hi-cap mag of 300 rounds is also available.  Like the MP-40, it is available at many sporting goods stores, hobby, paintball, and specialty shops , or online at places like for a suggested retail price of $219.99.

Airsoft is similar to Paintball, where the object is to eliminate your opposition by shooting them.  Instead of a Paintball though, a small plastic BB is used, and some newer BBs are even biodegradable.  The beauty of the Airsoft replica guns is that they look like and feel like the actual guns, so much so that they are required by law to have a orange muzzle marker to show they aren’t real (but just to be safe, don’t pretend they are real, or you might get shot with a  real gun).  Another benefit is the cost of Airsoft.  You can get started with Airsoft for at least half the cost of Paintball.

There are a few different games you can play with Airsoft.  First, there is CQB or CQC (Close Quarters Battle/Close Quarters Combat).  This is great if space is at a premium.  You can simulate urban warfare.

Another option is MilSim, in which you incorporate some role-playing elements.  You assign missions for your teams to complete.  Some of these MilSims can last for days. 

And, of course, people are inventing new games all the time, which is half the fun.

Another area where the Airsoft guns are taking off is Military/Law enforcement training.  Since they are replicas of the real thing, with many of the high-end guns made of metal, training can be done virtually anyway, which helps prepare for any type of emergency imaginable.

So if you’re looking to get out and have some fun with friends, Airsoft may be the way to go.  There is a drawback.  Since there is no visual evidence, you’ll have to rely on the honor system.  That’s fine for must of us (getting hit doesn’t hurt as bad as a paintball, but you aren’t itchin’ to get hit again right away), but it may mean you have to leave that habitual liar at home. 

Additional Online Shops
Champion Paintball
Eastern Paintball
Joe’s Sporting Goods

 | Posted by | Categories: Uncategorized | Tagged: Airsoft, Close Quarters Battle, Close Quarters Combat, CQB, CQC, MilSim, Paintball |

Wednesday, April 9th
Mark Ellis
went 4 for 5 with a run, a triple, an RBI, and 2 SBs.  Albert Pujols shared top honors going 3 for 4 with 2 runs, 2 HR, and 3 RBI.  Jason Kubel made it a three-way tie going 2 for 4 with 1 run, a Grand Slam, and 6 RBI.  Mike Napoli also hit a Grand Slam.  Johnny Peralta Augie Ojeda, Edger Renteria, Amaris Ramirez, Jason Bay, Bobby Crosby, Willy Aybar, Corey Patterson, Skip Schumaker, Brendan Harris, Brian McCann, Ryan Spilborghs (with 5 RBI), Willy Taveras, Yorvit Torrealba, and Eric Byrnes had three hits.  Mike Jacobs hit a pair of HRs.  He also drove in 4 runs. 

Zack Greinke went 8 shutout innings against the Yankees. His ERA after two starts is 0.60.  Ryan Dempster shared top honors with 7 shutout innings allowing 1 hit and striking out 5.  He beat Zach Duke who allowed 1 run in 7 innings while striking out 6.  Jarrod Washburn fired 7 innings for Seattle, allowing just 1 run.  Jonathan Sanchez threw 6 shutout innings, striking out 10 batters.  Justin Germano went 7 shutout innings allowing 4 hits and striking out 3.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

Leafs7420, a friend of mine from Sporting News, wanted me to profile Roberto Alomar.  Here are my findings. 

Photo courtesy of John Biever/SI/Icon SMI

The Numbers
2379 Games (81st All-time)
9073 At Bats (57th All-time)
.300 Batting Average
1508 Runs (61st All-time)
2724 Hits (51st All-time)
504 Doubles (43rd All-time)
80 Triples
210 HR
1134 RBI
4018 Total Bases
474 Stolen Bases (40th All-time)

Playoffs: 58 Games, 72 hits in 230 At Bats (.313), 32 Runs, 17 Doubles, 1Triple, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 20 SB

1998 All-Star MVP
10 Gold Gloves 
4 Silver Sluggers
12 All-Star Appearances
MVP Votes in 7 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Five times
On Base % – Five times
OPS – Once
Runs - Six times (Led league in 1999)
Hits - Seven times
Doubles - Three times
Triples – Five times
RBI – Once
Walks – Once
Stolen Bases - Seven times
Games – Three times
At Bats – Twice

Roberto Alomar was an unbelievable player.  He was easily one of the best at his position in his era, and likely any era.  He was equally as talented on offense as he was on defense.  The only thing that is keeping him from being a first ballot guy in my book is he wasn’t at the very top of certain categories (hits, batting average, runs, doubles, triples) as often as I figured he would.  Of course there was the spitting incident, but that isn’t enough to keep him waiting too long for the call in my opinion, especially when  you consider what players of his era were doing.  This one is a lock for me.

Be sure to check out for more information.

Baseball Reference

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Jim Rice
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
Al Oliver
Steve Garvey
Jim Kaat
Pete Ro$e
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Dave Concepcion
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
Ron Santo
Ron Guidry
Gil Hodges
Dave Parker
Tony Mullane
Keith Hernandez
Don Mattingly
Dwight Evans
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Harold Baines
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Joe Carter
Rusty Staub
Gary Gaetti
Jimmy Ryan
George Van Haltren
Roger Maris
Lance Parrish
Mo Vaughn
Mark Grace
Dennis Martinez
Chuck Finley
Fred McGriff
Wes Parker
Steve Finley
Orlando Cepeda
Albert Belle
Willie Randolph
Graig Nettles
Luis Gonzalez
Lefty O’Doul
Rocky Colavito
Boog Powell
Jerry Koosman
Mike Cuellar
Edgar Martinez
Brooks Robinson

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

George Kurtz of The Fantasy Sports Forum made his predictions for the opening round of the NHL Playoffs.  Let’s take a look at what he had to say.  George’s comments are in blue.  My picks are in orange.

With the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin on Wednesday, here is a preview of what to expect.

Eastern Conference
(1) versus Boston (8)

Montreal won the season series 8-0.  I wouldn’t expect much to be different here.  Boston is an average team in a conference that is a little above average.  Could you even name who their top scorer is?  The Habs on the other hand have one of the better offenses in the NHL and a power play that is top notch.  Alexei Kovalev needs to lead the Canadiens in the playoffs, just like he has during the regular season.  
George’s Pick –
Montreal four games to one.
My pick – Montreal in five.  Boston is too overmatched. 

Pittsburgh (2) versus Ottawa (7)
This was not a good draw for Ottawa.  They are having problems on defense and in net, and who comes to town, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marion Hossa – fun, fun, fun.  In addition, Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher will be out for the first round.  
George’s Pick –
Pittsburgh four games to two
My pick – Pittsburgh in five.  Too much offense.

Washington (3) versus Philadelphia (6)
Washington is the hottest team in the NHL, having won 11 of their last 12 games.  Sort of reminds you of the Colorado Rockies from baseball in 2007.  Philly has been up and down and is battling injuries to Daniel Briere and Simon Gagne.  The key to the series is Alexander Ovechkin, as he’s been an unstoppable force all season.  If Philly can keep him in check, they than can win the series.
George’s Pick –
Washington four games to three.
My pick – Washington in seven.  Ovechkin is on fire. 

New Jersey (4) versus Rangers (5)
The Rangers won the first seven games of the season series, yet in the most important game, the one that decided home ice advantage for the first round, they lost in a shootout.  Neither team scores a whole bunch, and they are both led by two terrific goalies, but when push comes to shove, the Rangers can score more than the Devils. 
George’s Pick –
Rangers four games to two
My pick – New Jersey in seven.  Goaltending will make the difference. 

Western Conference
Detroit (1) versus Nashville (8)
Nashville draws the short straw here.  Detroit is the best team in the NHL.  The only question marke they have is Dominki Hasek.  Can he stay healthy throughout the marathon which is the Stanley Cup Playoffs?  If he can, the teh Red Wings are the team to beat.
George’s Pick – Detroit four games to one.
My pick – Detroit in four.  Get out the Brooms. 

San Jose (2) versus Calgary (7)
Calgary has been an up and down team.  They seem to go as well as Jarome Iginla is playing.  
San Jose has been on fire for over a month now.  The addition of Brian Campbell seems to have been the missing piece the Sharks needed.  Patrick Marleau couldn’t have picked a better time to get hot.
George’s Pick –
San Jose four games to two.
My pick – San Jose in five.  San Jose is just too good.

Minnesota (3) versus Colorado (6)
If there is one lower seeded team that no one wants to play, Colorado is it.  Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic are magic come playoff time, and they could be once again.Minnesota needs someone other than Marian Gaborik to come up big.  Pavol Demitra where are you?  
George’s Pick –
Colorado four games to three.
My Pick – Minnesota in seven.  Homer pick.   

Anaheim (4) versus Dallas (5)
One of the more interesting matchups in the first round.  Anaheim needs as much scoring as possible.  The return of winger will help fill that void, when he’s ready.  Anaheim is not going to give up many goals with their defense.  Sergei Zubov is almost certainly out for at least the first round, which will affect Dallas.
George’s Pick – Anaheim four games to two.
My Pick – Anaheim in seven.  The defending champs will live to fight another day.

Round 2
New Jersey over Montreal
Pittsburgh over Washington
Detroit over Anaheim
San Jose over Minnesota

Conference Finals
Pittsburgh over New Jersey
San Jose over Detroit

Stanley Cup Finals
San Jose over Pittsburgh

 | Posted by | Categories: Uncategorized | Tagged: NHL, playoffs, Stanley Cup |

Tuesday, April 8th
Aubrey Huff was the big hitting star Tuesday.  He went 4 for 4 with 4 runs, a double, a walk, and 4 RBI.  Aaron Hill matched him with a 4 for 4 game, including a two-run HR.  Brian Giles went 4 for 5 with and RBI.  Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki, Jose Lopez, Matt Holliday, and Matt Kemp each had three hits.  Bengie Molina smacked a couple HRs.

Jake Westbrook threw a complete game, allowing three runs on 7 hits.  He struck out 4.  Oliver Perez worked 5-2/3 shutout innings for the Mets.  He allowed 3 hits.  His bullpen blew the lead.  He hasn’t allowed a run in 11-2/3 innings this year.  Brian Burres allowed just one run in 6 innings for the surprising Baltimore Orioles.  Diasuke Matsuzaka threw 6-2/3 innings of shutout ball.  He allowed 4 hits and struck out 7.  Brian Bannister allowed 2 runs in 5 innings while striking out 6 Yankees.  Tim Lincecum allowed one run in 6 innings, striking out 7.  Doug Davis’s last start before cancer surgery went well.  He struck out 7 in 6 innings while allowing just 2 runs.  I wish him even more success with his surgery.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

I’ve scoured the fantasy baskeball waiver wires to find gems so you don’t have to. 

Chris Quinn  
- The funny thing about being on a sucky team like the Heat, is when your team goes into tank mode, unexpected fantasy stars emerge.  Quinn is one of those guys.  In the last five games he’s averaging 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.6 three-pointers per game.    She’s shot 41.7% from the floor and 88% from the line.  He qualifies at PG & SG.

Rodney Stuckey
- Rodney Stuckey is in a different boat.  His team (Detroit) is so good that it has accomplished all that it’s going to accomplish in the regular season.  They have decided to get their starters rested for the playoff run.  That has translated to three big games for Stuckey.  He’s averaged 20.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.  He’s shot 51.4% from the floor and 87.5% from the line.  He also qualifies at PG & SG.

Leon Powe - Powe makes his return to the waiver wire.  In his last five games he’s averaging 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.6 blocks, and 0.6 blocks.  He’s shot 53.8% from the field and 87.9% from the line.  He’ll likely factor in more down the stretch as the C’s rest the Big 3. He qualifies at SF & PF. 

Josh Powell - Powell has found that rebounds is easier alongside Elton Brand.  In his last three games he’s averaging 11.3 rebounds.  His scoring average (10.3) is misleading as 22 came on Sunday.  He did block 1.3 shots and shoot 55.6% from the floor.  You’ll have to live with the 1 for 5 FT shooting he produced.  He qualifies at SF, PF, and C, which gives him some nice flexibility down the stretch in daily leagues.

Spencer Hawes
- Sacramento is going to give Hawes an extended look to see what he can do.  In his last three games the rookie has averaged 9.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.3 steal, and 0.7 block per game.  He shot 40.6% from the field and 3 for 3 from the line.

 | Posted by | Categories: NBA | Tagged: Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Bin |


Gary Hartman from  The Fantasy Sports Forum posted his projected first round in the upcoming NFL Draft.  I’ve provided that info to you as well as my thoughts.  Gary’s picks are in blue.  I went with orange.

1. Miami- Chris Long DE, Virginia
Great talent that does not come around very often and Parcells would love to have an impact pass rusher.

I think Bill Parcels starts the rebuilding process the old-fashioned way…blocking.  Jake Long is too valuable to pass up.

2. St Louis- Vernon Gholston DE/OLB, Ohio State
Great all-around prospect and athlete that can anchor a defense for years to come. Pass on Dorsey because DE is more of a need than DT.

I’m afraid Gholston may be a workout warrior so I’ll guess St. Louis goes with Chris Long instead.

3. Atlanta- Jake Long OT, Michigan
Amazing player who will anchor the Falcons O-Line for at least a decade.

Atlanta has plenty of issues to address.  Matt Ryan is a possibility, but I think Glenn Dorsey is the name they will call to improve their defensive front.

4. Oakland- Glenn Dorsey DT, LSU
They will pass on McFadden because they probably can’t afford to pay him, and they just locked up Fargas, who proved he can get the job done just fine. And besides him, Dorsey is by far the BPA.

Oakland is where I think Vernon Gholston will end up as Al Davis can’t resist this physical specimen. 

5. Kansas City- Sedrick Ellis DT,USC
There is really no OT worth taking here so they go the best defensive player available. Proven himself to be top 5 worthy.

I could see Kansas City calling Ryan Clady’s name to improve a weak offensive line.  With guys like Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, and Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs desperately need to improve their offensive line play to keep the offense from stalling out.

6. New York Jets- Darren McFadden RB, Arkansas
Get the best overall player in the draft with this steal, will carry the Jets offense for many years.

New York seems to have been putting their team together in the anticipation of landing McFadden.  They won’t let the future Rookie of the Year pass them by.

7. New England Patriots- Leodis McKelvin CB, Troy St
Cornerback is their number one need but they’ll have a tough decision between him and Rodgers-Cromartie.  They’ll go with McKelvin, who they believe is the more complete corner.

I agree the Patriots need to improve their secondary, but their linebacking corps needs to be addressed as well.  However, they typically don’t do that in the first round so I agree with both the selection of a CB as well as it being McKelvin.

8.Baltimore Ravens- Matt Ryan QB, Boston College
They really need a QB of the future and they won’t let Ryan slip by.

Totally agree.  Baltimore can’t afford to not pick Matt Ryan.

9. Cincinnati Bengals- Keith Rivers OLB, USC
A little bit of a reach here, but the Bengals need every position on D except corner, so they’ll take the best player available.

Sedrick Ellis is the pick for Cincinnati in my opinion.  Free agency left a gaping hole in their defensive front, and Sedrick will be the logical choice to help fill it.

10.New Orleans Saints – Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie CB, Tenn St
Jason David has proven he sucks and Gay is nothing special. McKenzie is not what he used to be either. They still have huge problems at corner and this pick helps that out immensely.

I could see Cromartie going here, but I think the Saints will go with LB Keith Rivers instead. 

11. Buffalo Bills- Malcolm Kelly WR, Oklahoma
His stock has been dropping a bit and people have been down on him because of knee issues, but he was great in college and would be great along side Lee Evans.

Buffalo won’t be able to resist Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to fill the hole that Nate Clements left when he departed last year.  The Bills do need help at WR, but will address that need later.

12. Denver Broncos- Ryan Clady OT, Boise State
Can really use someone to anchor that O-Line and they get the next best left tackle prospect.

In the wake of Brandon Marshall’s stupidity and the departure of Javon Walker, the Broncos turn to Limas Sweed to give Jay Cutler a nice target.

13. Carolina Panthers- Chris Williams OT, Vanderbilt
Desperately in need of an OT and Williams is just as good as Clady and will hold that line together.

I agree this is the move for Carolina.  They need a lot of help on the O-Line.  Williams will provide that help.

14. Chicago Bears- Devin Thomas WR, Mich St
Could have gone OT here, but Otah is a bit of a reach.  And who is their number one receiver as of now? I don’t even know the answer.

With Berrian’s departure, the Bears have an obvious need.  However, I think they will address that later.  Instead they will draft Illinois’ Rashard Mendenhall to make up for the Cedric Benson mistake.

15. Detroit Lions- Rashard Mendenhall RB, Illinois
Really need that RB of the future and Mendenhall is a top 10 talent.
I agree that RB is a need for the Lions, but with Mendenhall off the board they turn to Oregon’s Jonathan Stewart.

16. Arizona Cardinals- Mike Jenkins CB, USF
Rolle moved to S and their corners are very thin.
Totally agree the Cards need a CB here but I think the pick is Aqib Talib.

17. Minnesota Vikings- Derrick Harvey DE, Florida
Vikings pass rush needs work and they get a huge steal with Harvey here.

Great choice for the Purple.  They need help getting to the Quarterback.  Harvey will be a welcome addition to their D-Line.

18. Houston Texans- Jeff Otah OT, Pitt
O-Line has been a problem for the Texans since they have come into the league and Otah will help ease it.
This is another great choice.  Drafting an Offensive Lineman isn’t sexy, but it’s a great way to improve your offense.

19. Philadelphia Eagles- DeSean Jackson WR, Cal
WR is still a glaring need for the Eagles, as they have a bunch of mediocre ones but no one that stands out.
Having missed out on the few free agent WRs that were available this year, I agree that their plan must be to draft one in the first roun.  DeSean Jackson would be a great pick for the Birds.

20. Tampa Bay Bucs- Brian Brohm QB, Louisville
No set QB of the future, and Brohm immediatley brings that to the table.
I tried to think of a better need for the Bucs, but couldn’t come up with one.  The collection of QBs Tampa has is a junk pile.  Brohm gives them a potential franchise QB.  Chucky won’t pass that up.

21. Washington Redskins- Phillip Merling DE, Clemson
Can use that intense, game changing pass rusher and get it in Merling.
Agree that Merling would be a nice fit, but Malcolm Kelly would bring size to a small WR corps.

22. Dallas Cowboys- James Hardy WR, Indiana
Dallas has no set 2nd Receiver and Hardy automatically brings that and an impact from day one.
I think Patrick Crayon can hold down the job for a little while.  Jerry Jones wants McFadden, but Felix Jones will be the Razorback he ends up with.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers- Branden Albert OG, Auburn
The Steelers really need O-Line help and Albert is a versatile player who can help replace Faneca immediately.
Great pick.  With Faneca gone, this is an immediate need to protect Big Ben and spring Willie Parker. 

24. Tennessee Titans- Limas Sweed WR, Texas
Still need that big, physical target for Vince Young.
With Sweed, DeSean Jackson, and Malcom Kelly off the board, the Titans will turn to James Hardy to give Vince Young a weapon for his disposal.

25. Seattle Seahawks- Jonathan Stewart RB, Oregon
Is well worth the injury risk as Duckett and Jones are only short term answers. Stewart can bring the long term, pro-bowl type answer.
The Seahawks have issues at receiver, which will lead them to select Devin Thomas.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars- Quentin Groves DE/OLB, Auburn
Very versatile front 7 guy who can bring help to a needy pass rush.
The Jags would be giddy if Phillip Merling fell into their lap. 

27. San Diego Chargers-Reggie Smith S/CB, Oklahoma 
He can immediately address their supbar safety position, as well as add depth to the corners.
I think the Charges would be wise to draft depth on their offensive line here.  A good choice would be Gosder Cherilus.

28. Dallas Cowboys- Aqib Talib CB, Kansas
Really need a CB to go along with Newman, and Pacman is not there yet.
With their second pick, I think the Cowboys will go the WR route.  Early Doucet will be there choice.  Of course, they may try to package these picks to move up.

29. San Francisco 49er’s- Dan Connor OLB, Penn State
Can really use a physical OLB and Connor gives it to them.
Quentin Groves would be a nice addition to the 49ers defense.  He could play either DE or OLB.

30. Green Bay Packers- Antoine Cason CB, Arizona
Woodson and Harris are both getting old for corners and from the looks of the NFC Championship game, it’s looking like Harris is losing a step.
The Packers do need to upgrade their aging  secondary.  Antoine Cason would be a great pick.


31. New York Giants- Kenny Phillips S, Miami
Safety is the Giants absolute number one need and Phillips is a great athlete who brings all the tools of a future All-Pro
I agree once more.  This would be a perfect pick for the Super Bowl Champs.

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Monday, April 7th
Torii Hunter
was Monday’s hero with a game-winning Grand Slam. For the game he went 3 for 5 with 2 runs, 2 HR, 5 RBI, and a Stolen Base. Adrian Gonzalez was great going 4 for 5 with four runs, a HR, and 2 RBI.  Pat Burrell and Mark Reynolds each smacked a pair of HRs.  Joe Crede smacked a Grand Slam.  Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Nate McLouth, Brian Roberts, Bobby Abreu, Hanley Ramirez, and Cristian Guzman each had three hits.

The top pitching performance came from Wandy Rodriguez, who threw 7-1/3 shutout innings allowing three hits while striking out 6.  Greg Maddux went 7 innings allowing 1 run on three hits with 5 strikeouts to earn his 348th career victory.  Cole Hamels also went 7 innings.  He allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits with 4 Ks.  Javier Vazquez allowed 3 runs in 7 innings with 8 Ks.  Mike Mussina went six strong innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits.  Aaron Cook (7 innings, 2 hits, 1 run) and Tom Glavine (6-1/3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs) each took no-decisions in their pitchers’ duel.  Dan Haren allowed 1 earn run in 6 innings while striking out 5.  Fausto Carmona went six innings with 1 unearned run and four hits.  He was outdueled by Joe Saunders who went 8 innings allowing 1 run and four hits with 5 Ks.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

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