Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are you Excited for the Draft?

DJ Steve Porter's "NFL Draft Remix"

Get hyped NFL Fans! Its finally here. Who will your team pick? You can make as many mock drafts as you want, the only way to know what's happening is to tune in to ESPN tonight at 8pm, tomorrow at 7pm, and Saturday at noon. We know the top 2 picks, but what about the other 30 in the first round?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Literally Sports' Official NFL Mock Draft

     1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford (6'4, 234, 4.67)
Colts fans have been waiting for this pick ever since last preseason. After an abysmal 2-14 season, Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed suspicions by releasing Peyton Manning. A new era is beginning in the city of Indianapolis, one that will bring Luck to the whole state of Indiana.

     2. Washington Redskins - QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor (6'2, 223, 4.41)
Ever since the trade went through that gave the Redskins the number 2 overall pick, their fans have been clamoring for RGIII to come to town. It looks like their wish will be granted on Thursday, and all may soon be well in DC.

     3. Minnesota Vikings - OT Matt Kalil, Southern California (6'6, 306, 4.99)

Last year, the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder in the first round. A questionable pick, but nonetheless, that is who they have invested their money in, and that is who they are stuck with. What is the next logical decision? Draft a big guy to protect his blindside.

     4. Cleveland Browns - RB Trent Richardson, Alabama (5'9, 228, 4.45)

Peyton Hillis was the heart of the Cleveland Browns' offense during the 2010-11 season. In 2011-12, he was sidelined by the Madden Curse, and now he is off the team. They need to find a workhorse to replace him, and Trent Richardson is the right man for the job.

     5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne, Louisiana State (5'11, 188, 4.50)

There are a lot of problems in the Buccaneers' defensive backfield, most notable are Aqib Talib, who may or may not be going to jail later this summer, and Ronde Barber, who is so old that the only way to put his age into perspective is to tell you that his twin brother retired 6 years ago. They need corners, and Claiborne is a pretty good one.

     6. St. Louis Rams - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (6'0, 207, 4.46)

Sam Bradford got pummeled last year, and it would make a lot of sense to draft an offensive lineman right here. Since there are no O-lineman worthy of this selection, there is a good chance that the Rams will trade down, but if they don't, Justin Blackmon would be the perfect fit at Wideout to stretch the field for a team that finished in the Top 5 of the league in dropped passes.

     7. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina (6'1, 264, 4.79)

The Jaguars tried to fix their pass rush a couple years ago by drating Tyson Alualu. In two years, he has a grand total of 6 sacks. In fact, his 2011 production was even worse than his rookie year. He is not a long term starter at the position, and they will be looking to fill that need in the draft.

     8. Miami Dolphins - QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (6'3, 221, 4.58)

Ryan Tannehill will not drop past the number 8 pick. If the Dolphins do not end up selecting him, so be it, but he will not fall farther than this pick, because quarterbacks are so highly valued in this league. Although I seriously doubt his potential, he does have all the tools to be a starter in the NFL.

     9. Carolina Panthers - DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State (6'4, 298, 4.79)

The Panthers would like to get some help for Cam Newton with this pick, but the bigger issue at this point is their defense. Quite a few teams were able to run all over the Panthers front 4, but a 3-technique DT like Fletcher Cox will be able to fill those holes quickly.

    10. Buffalo Bills - OT Riley Reiff, Iowa (6'5, 313, 5.23)

Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed to a big time deal last year, Fred Jackson had a career year at the running back position, and Stevie Johnson is proving himself to be a true number 1 wide out in the NFL, and allowed the least sacks in the NFL. However, last year's starting Left Tackle signed with the Eagles during the off season, so it is only natural that they will choose to find a replacement for him in this year's draft.

    11. Kansas City Chiefs - DT Dontari Poe, Memphis (6'3, 346, 4.98)

The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to become a defensive team. They selected defensive players in the Top 5 in two of the past three years. This year, the hole is at nose tackle, and Dontari Poe is the perfect run stopper in to do the job.

    12. Seattle Seahawks - LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College (6'3, 242, 4.58)
This pick was fairly simple. The Seahawks gave up on former Pro Bowl LB Lofa Tatupu, and now they need a new leader in the middle of their defense. Kuechly's size and speed make him a great prospect for any of the linebacker positions, and I think Seattle would gladly pick him at number 12.

    13. Arizona Cardinals - OG David DeCastro, Stanford (6'4, 316, 5.43)
The Cardinals running game has been suffering in recent years as a result of their struggling offensive line. Getting a 'big ugly' in the middle gives them exactly what they need: Size, Strength, and Toughness.

    14. Dallas Cowboys - DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina (6'5, 284, 4.78)
Quinton Coples makes perfect sense here, because they are lacking play makers on their defensive line. Coples is a strong defensive end that can make plays in the running game & the passing game, something that will be needed in the ever-strong NFC East.

    15. Philadelphia Eagles - SS Mark Barron, Alabama (6'1, 213, 4.53)
Although the Eagles spent a lot of money on getting the top Defensive Back on the market last year, that did not translate into very many turnovers forced by their defense. At some point, if they are going to get over the hump, it will be with defense, because their offense is already set into stone. Barron will bring the aggressiveness this team needs.

    16. New York Jets - WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (6'2, 220, 4.47)
The Jets have two starting quarterbacks and two starting running backs, but at the position where two players actually start at the same time, Wide Receiver, their number two guy is Chaz Schilens? Nuff said. If Floyd is available, he has to be the pick here, his production is undeniable.

    17. Cincinnati Bengals - CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina (6'0, 190, 4.40)
The Bengals are actively looking for a shutdown corner to fill the void in their defensive backfield, and Gilmore could be just that. His solid build and considerable speed are great for bump and run coverage, a staple of the Cincinnati defense.

    18. San Diego Chargers - CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (6'1, 186, 4.51)

The Chargers are in need of some defensive backs. Quentin Jammer is getting older, and Antoine Cason isn't as good as upper management hoped he would be. Kirkpatrick is a big, physical corner a la Jammer, and will fit in perfectly with this defense.

    19. Chicago Bears - DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse (6'5, 266, 4.87)

The Chicago Bears are a tough, defensive team, but their defensive line is getting older, and Julius Peppers could use a younger player to take under his wing. A run stopper with pass rushing ability, Jones is suited for a left defensive end position.

    20. Tennessee Titans - DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (6'2, 279, 4.73)

The Titans need an impact pass rusher coming off the strong side. Derrick Morgan is more of a run stopper, and does not make the big plays that are going to keep fans in the stands. This move will add energy and explosiveness to a team that is lacking that special something.

    21. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (6'4, 215, 4.36)

AJ Green does not have a legit starter to play opposite of him. Getting another big guy will be good for the young Andy Dalton, who will be trying to avoid the sophomore slump. This will add another dimension to their offense, and help build a perennial winner out in Cincinnati.

    22. Cleveland Browns - OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia (6'5, 345, 5.15)
Colt McCoy took some big hits last year, most notably the nasty one from James Harrison that gave him a mind-numbing concussion. He needs somebody to protect him, and Cordy Glenn is the man to do this. He's big enough to run block with the best of them, and quick enough on his feet to handle edge rushers.

    23. Detroit Lions - CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama (5'10, 193, 4.46)
The Detroit Lions have a HORRIBLE defense. In only his second ever start, Matt Flynn threw for six touchdowns on their weak defensive backfield. Adding to that, their top corner back signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the off-season. Jenkins may have some off the field concerns, as do some of the other Lions, but he is a good player and a play maker on defense.

    24. Pittsburgh Steelers - LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (6'2, 265, 4.68)

The Pittsburgh Steelers will soon be just as old as the Baltimore Ravens on defense. The leader, James Harrison, will be 34 when the upcoming season begins, and soon he will need a tough guy to replace him. Hightower has the size, speed, and mean streak to be a Steeler.

    25. Denver Broncos - DT Michael Brockers, Louisiana State (6'5, 322, 5.36)

The Broncos solidified their offense by making the biggest free agent signing in NFL History this off-season with the acquisition of Peyton Manning. Since that is settled, they will need to fix a defense that allowed the Patriots to score 35 points in the first half of the Divisional Round of the Playoffs this past year. It all starts up front: a rush up the middle disrupts a quarterback more than anything.

    26. Houston Texans - WR Kendall Wright, Baylor (5'10, 196, 4.42)

Andre Johnson has been playing Wide Receiver all by himself his whole NFL career. Kevin Walter is not a legitimate starting receiver on the other side of the field, and that will need to change if the Texans are going to continue to compete with the best teams in the league. Wright has the speed to stretch the field, draw coverage away from Andre Johnson, and open lanes for Arian Foster.

    27. New England Patriots - OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State (6'3, 260, 4.63)

In recent years, the Patriots have traded down with a lot of their early round selections. If they decide to go against that this year, the best position to draft would be Outside Linebacker. Let's face it, Rob Ninkovich
is no game-breaker on the edge, and that is what the Patriots need to create a formidable defense reminiscent of the old days.

    28. Green Bay Packers - DE Andre Branch, Clemson (6'4, 259, 4.70)
Defense is the reason the Green Bay Packers were unable to repeat as Super Bowl Champs. A defense that  ranked 5th in the NFL in yards allowed in 2010, slipped all the way to last in the league in 2011. The biggest defense between those two teams was their pass rush: 47 sacks in 2010 vs 29 sacks in 2011. The Packers need another edge rusher, and that is what Andre Branch will bring to their team.

    29. Baltimore Ravens - OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford (6'5, 312, 5.33)
Michael Oher, subject of the Hollywood film The Blind Side, just is not good enough to be a blindside blocker. Bryant McKinnie has the position for now, but he is 33 years old and his production is slipping. Jonathan Martin is a mature, smart player with a resume' that a team like the Ravens will not be able to ignore if he falls on draft day.

    30. San Francisco 49ers - DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (6'2, 308, 5.08)

On a defense that allowed just over 14 points per game, one possible area of improvement is the middle of their defensive line. Every other void on the team is filled and ready for a super bowl run, so if they can solidify that spot the only thing left to worry about is the ghost of Alex Smith's past.

    31. New England Patriots - DE Nick Perry, Southern California (6'2, 271, 4.64)

Once again, the New England Patriots have found a way to get multiple draft picks in the first round of a draft loaded with talent. In an effort to replace the hole left by the injured Andre Carter, they could look at taking the versatile Nick Perry with this pick. It is not known what will happen with Carter as of yet, but they need depth at the position either way.

    32. New York Giants - RB Doug Martin, Boise State (5'9, 223, 4.55)

The Giants have had the same 1-2 punch ever since their first Super Bowl run, but they let Ahmad Bradshaw slip off to the number one contender in the NFC. In that case, their top priority should be drafting a complimentary runner. The Giants were at their best when both of their backs were healthy, so they cannot afford to go into this season with Bradshaw as their every down back.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Who is the best player in the NBA?

     Who's the Best?

     The biggest debate in the world of basketball has nothing to do with which team will win the NBA finals this year, it is all about individual success. Kobe or LeBron? What about Durant? Is Derrick Rose not the reigning league MVP? Are Wade and Nowitski not Finals MVPs? The questions are endless, but the debate can be solved with an in-depth look inside the numbers.

Kevin Durant & Derrick Rose
     The first thing you have to figure out is: What does it mean to be the best player in the NBA? For me, to be the best player in the league, you must have proven success over a long period of time, up to date dominance, and stats to back you up. Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose are great players, but the best player in the NBA will always be a seasoned veteran. Everyone knew that Michael Jordan was great when he averaged 28 points per game in 1984, but he did not truly become the best in the game until 1991 when he won his first championship. Neither Durant nor Rose have led their team to the finals, and they are yet to accomplish many of the things that other players in the league have been able to do.

Dwyane Wade & Dirk Nowitski

     In my opinion, the Finals MVP is the most satisfying award that a basketball player can receive. It is a testament to the fact that you have proven yourself on the NBA's biggest stage. Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitski have both done that, and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame after they retire. 3 years ago, I would have put Wade at the top of this list. Now, however, it is a totally different story. Neither of these players are able to dominate the league over the span of a 90-100 game regular and postseason the way they did earlier in their careers.

Kobe Bryant & LeBron James

     Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are undoubtedly the two best players in the game today. Bryant has 5 championships, while James is only a month away from winning his third league MVP. Both players have their pros and cons, as Bryant does not dominate in every aspect of the game the way that James does, but LeBron is yet to prove to the world that he can perform at his highest level in the NBA Finals.

The Best Player in the NBA

     The deciding factor is this: Kobe's advancing age has allowed LeBron to become that most impactful player in the game year in and year out. According to ESPN's advanced stat calculator, LeBron James' Player Efficiency Rating (PER) has been the highest in the NBA each of the past 5 years. In addition to that, his postseason numbers are rated higher than Kobe's for each of the past 3 years. People may not like LeBron for many reasons, but there is no way that you can dispute his amazing talent and consistent production.

Sometimes James' shortcomings have overshadowed his dominance, but we must never forget he makes plays like this. Or this. And most of all, the fact that he has no regard for human life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Match-Up For The Ages

     In the aftermath of the University of Kentucky's National Championship, an interesting question was asked: How would they fair against Michigan's Fab Five? Conventional wisdom tells us they would fail miserably, as that team had 2 NBA All-Stars and in all, 5 players with truly amazing ability. However, further analysis into the situation explains why this match-up would be a lot more competitive than many other writers believe. 

Team Match-up
     In their first year, the Fab Five lost in the National Championship to a Duke team led by Christian Laettner and Grant Hill a dynamic duo that won 2 national titles. In their second year, they lost to a UNC team with no players that had successful NBA careers. Despite their reputation as a game-changing group of basketball players, they were unable to accomplish in two years what Kentucky's class did in only 1 year. To be fair, the Wildcats did have some form of veteran leadership, with sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones, as well as Senior Darius Miller. Another difference between the two is their wins and losses. The Wolverines had periodic slip-ups and losses, but the Wildcats only lost 2 games, both of which to teams that they also defeated at some point in the season, making them the standard for all of college basketball. 

Individual Match-ups
     A potential game between these two teams would be all about the individual match-ups. Most Notable: Jalen Rose vs Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Juwan Howard vs Terrence Jones, and Chris Webber vs Anthony Davis. Although Rose was the team's point guard, Kidd-Gilchrist did well against Louisville's Peyton Siva and Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor. Also, at 6'8 215 pounds, Rose was a different kind of monster. his quickness and athletic ability was equal to that of Kidd-Gilchrist, and his offensive prowess would allow him to prevail as the victor between the two of them. Terrence Jones and Juwan Howard might be the most intriguing match-up, as both of these players served as the enforcers for their respective teams. Both of them are about 6'9 250 pounds, but Juwan Howard's mean streak would give him the ability to take advantage of Jones on the boards and in the post. Chris Webber and Anthony Davis would undoubtedly steal the show. The Big Uni-Brow vs The Big Timeout. Both stand around 6'10 and 225 pounds, and they are both a cut above the rest of the players in terms of athletic ability. The alley-oops, blocks, and slam dunks would be endless. In the end, Webber gets the edge, because he has always had a toughness about him that I do not see in Anthony Davis. 
The Verdict
     In all honesty, the supporting casts would play a major role in deciding the game's outcome, because the big three's match up very well against one another. The size of Ray Jackson and Jimmy King gives them the advantage over Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb. Many people speculate that the NCAA was more competitive back in the 1990s, because players were not typically leaving school after 1 year of college. Level of competition definitely differs between the decades, but a champion is a champion, so Kentucky's success cannot be refuted or disputed. However, after taking every factor into account, the Fab Five still gets the W against Calipari's Wildcats. Simply put, they were just too good.