NFL First Round Wrapup - Friday's NBA Previews


By Jim Hurley:

Now, quarterback Sam Bradford has had two great moments in New York City.

The 2008 Heisman Trophy winning-slinger from Oklahoma was - as expected - named the top pick in this year's NFL Draft on Thursday night but all we have to say is we hope the former "Boomer Sooner" has some good wheels because he could be running for his life behind this rotten St. Louis Rams offensive line.

While Bradford's selection kicked off the first-ever prime-time edition of the NFL Draft it was the folks picked about an hour-or-so later who really got the draft storms brewing and we'll get you our quickie one-liners on all of the 32 first-round draftees in just a moment but first let's get to this very important reminder:

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Okay, it's time to go rapid-fire with our Jim Sez comments regarding Thursday night's opening round of the 2010 NFL Draft (and here's stuff you didn't get from those yakkers on ESPN and/or the NFL Network):

1. ST. LOUIS - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: Sorry, Rams fans, but something's telling us this guy might be every bit as injury-prone as predecessor Marc Bulger.

2. DETROIT - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: The Lions last year ranked a dismal 25th in the league against the rush and that stat fact is about to get a serious upgrade.

3. TAMPA BAY - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: More than one draft expert believed this cat was the best overall player in the draft but can he be an instant impact player for a team that last year ranked dead-last in the NFL in rush defense?

4. WASHINGTON - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: Not a shock that the 'Skins want a protector for QB Donovan McNabb but was this really the top tackle in this draft? We say nay!

5. KANSAS CITY - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Chiefs could have shown some moxie and traded down but played it safe with a guy we've thought to be an "overration" for a long time.

6. SEATTLE - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: Our mock draft had the Redskins grabbing him (and they should have) and so Seahawks have their "next Walter Jones".

7. CLEVELAND - Joe Haden, CB, Florida: Hats off to the Browns for messing up everyone's first-round mock draft and good for new decision-maker Mike Holmgren that he didn't snap up a quarterback here.

8. OAKLAND - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: Word is that three or four of the next six teams picking here would have grabbed this 'Bama star and so maybe (for once) the Raiders knew what they were doing on this draft night.

9. BUFFALO - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Our Jim Sez Mock Draft had the New York Giants trading up for this pick and then nabbing Spiller and so we were "half-right" here but one wonders if this selection wasn't mostly about ticket sales. Hmmm.

10. JACKSONVILLE - Tyson Alualu, DT, California: Major stunner here considering folks thought the Jags would go LB or DB if they couldn't get their mitts on the aforementioned Spiller.

11. SAN FRANCISCO - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: The Niners traded up with Denver to make this selection and San Fran will ask this behemoth to handle the less-challenging right tackle spot - a smart move.

12. SAN DIEGO - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State: The Chargers swung a deal with Miami for this pick and hope all will forget LaDainian Tomlinson in due time but we watched this kid get stuffed four times from goal-to-go in last year's bowl loss against Wyoming.

13. PHILADELPHIA - Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan: The Eagles had an array of LBs to choose from here and settled on this former maize-and-blue star and you know this pick got panned in Philly real fast.

14. SEATTLE - Earl Thomas, S, Texas: We'll take a bow for hitting this mid-first rounder right on the button and, as we forecasted earlier in the week, the 'Hawks wanted to land one offensive and one defensive player with the #6 and #14 selections and really hit a home run (if you ask us!).

15. NEW YORK GIANTS - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: The big question now for the "Big Blue" is does this mean DE Osi Umenyiora gets traded by the week's end? We're shaking our head saying "yes"!



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16. TENNESSEE - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: No surprise at all that the Titans snapped up this former Techster but the surprise is that he lasted this long (we had 'em going at #13).

17. SAN FRANCISCO - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: The Niners gobble up a second straight O-lineman and something's telling us that right about now RB Frank Gore is writing a "thank you" note to the SF brain-trust.

18. PITTSBURGH - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: Do you really think the Steelers ever entertained the notion here to draft either QB Tim Tebow or QB Jimmy Clausen and thus make bad-boy Ben Roethlisberger really uncomfortable?

19. ATLANTA - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri: The Falcons need an instant jolt to the LB position that simply is lacking in playmakers and so yet another Big 12 stud will look to make his mark (seventh player taken from that conference at this point).

20. HOUSTON - Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: Good for the Texans that they keep adding quality to a defense that - dare we say - will be great by the end of this 2010 season.

21. CINCINNATI - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: Bonus part of this pick is that Bengals QB Carson Palmer should have loud-mouth WR Chad Ochocinco open more than he was last year.

22. DENVER - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: Who knew that this was just gonna be an "appetizer" pick for the Broncos who make their big splash three selections from this spot.

23. GREEN BAY, Bryan Bulaga, G, Iowa: This former Hawkeye star was in some folks' top five but he dropped big-time after it was discovered that he was not a great athlete at all.

24. DALLAS - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: Typical jazzy Cowboys selection but all this glitz means nothing if this kid brings all his college "baggage" into the NFL.

25. DENVER - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: When this former Heisman Trophy winner was interviewed on ESPN, he didn't seem all that surprised that the Broncos took 'em here and so now the day-to-day scrutiny begins on the next level. Would Minnesota have taken Tebow at #30? The answer is "yes".

26. ARIZONA - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: The Cardinals are crumbling on defense and so Redbirds merely tabbed the top defender on the board and now keep fingers crossed that lefty Matt Leinart can be QB of the present/future.

27. NEW ENGLAND - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers: The Pats are counting on him to be a special teams star (blocked seven kicks in college career) but should Bill Belichick's team instead have opted for new blood at wide receiver?

28. MIAMI - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State: The funny thing here is this former Nittany star could remind folks of a younger Aaron Taylor in terms of a never-ending motor.

29. NEW YORK JETS - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: This New Jersey native also will have numerous special teams duties (we heard GM Mike Tannenbaum say so on Thursday night) and so he becomes instant "dual threat".

30. DETROIT - Jahvid Best, RB, California: Rare divisional deal (with Minnesota) pushed Lions into this second Round 1 pick and the Barry Sanders comparisons will get old by training camp.

31. INDIANAPOLIS - Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU: If the Colts' Dwight Freeney wears down this winter, than this high-quality pass-rusher offers up some much-needed relief.

32. NEW ORLEANS - Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State: Nice touch having Saints Super Bowl-winning QB Drew Brees make this selection announcement at the Radio City Music Hall podium but trouble is nobody in the "peanut gallery" knew who this kid was!



Let's check in on the NBA Playoffs with a look at tonight's three tilts:

BOSTON at MIAMI - Celtics lead series, 2-0

Are the Miami Heat all set to "cry uncle"?

When we last left Dwyane Wade and Company, they were getting spanked 106-77 by the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics this past Tuesday night and still-young Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra was using the word "embarrassing" to describe his club's play.

Good for him!

Hey, maybe everyone should have listened to the Celtics prior to the start of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference series when many of the players proclaimed they were ready to make a big run here just in case the whole thing was gonna get blown up at year's end - maybe no more Garnett after this 2009-10 season and maybe no Ray Allen (team-high 25 points in Game 2) and/or head coach Doc Rivers too.

In Game 2, the Celtics used a mind-numbing 44-8 run that bridged the second and third quarters and thus slammed the door shut on any hope that Miami would take advantage of the one-game suspension of Garnett who figures to get treated here in South Florida as if he's Public Enemy #1.

If the C's want to now flex their muscles and - for all intents and purposes - end this series here than Garnett should take a cue from his Game 2 fill-in Glen "Big Baby" Davis who was a stat-sheet stuffer deluxe with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Davis gave Boston a major energy boost plus it must be duly note that Boston was sharp in all phases the other night in Beantown with a 48 percent shooting rate from the floor (that's 36-of-75 FG shooting) and 22-of-27 makes from the free-throw line.

Miami's been installed as a 4-point favorite for this Game 3 but Wade - who was the only Heat player to show up for Game 2 with a game-high 29 points (11-of-18 FG shooting) - better get some help here from a team that also lost the board battle 50-to-33 in Game 2.

Put up or shut up, Miami!

DALLAS at SAN ANTONIO - Series tied 1-1

You didn't really think this was gonna be a short-and-sweet series in the Lone Star State now ... did you?

The Spurs - who never seem to panic following a playoff loss in the Tim Duncan/Gregg Popovich Era - "got even" on Wednesday night with a stirring 102-88 win at 3-point home favorite Dallas (now didn't that Las Vegas price tag appear suspiciously "short" to you?) and so the venue changes to the Alamo City and now we're gonna see how much these teams really dislike one another.

In Game 2, the Spurs sucked the life right out of the American Airlines Arena in Dallas with a quickie 6-0 start (followed by a Mavericks time out) and never were headed as San Antonio cut way back on its turnovers - 17 in Game 1 and only 9 in the next-game win - and kept Dallas megastar Dirk Nowitzki from ever cutting it loose as he shot a dismal 9-of-24 from the floor en route to a strangely silent 24-point game.

On the flip side, the aforementioned Duncan looked sprite on many drives past Brandan Haywood to the hoop as he finished with 25 points and pulled down 17 rebs too in a showing reminiscent of a mid-2000s Duncan and - as you likely saw - the Spurs gobbled up all the loose balls and long rebounds (51-to-42) too and thus any/all Mav comebacks were thwarted before they could ever climb within a handful of points.

If the Spurs are gonna make it two wins in a row in this best-of-seven set, than both hot-shooting Richard Jefferson (19 points in Game 2) and energizer Manu Ginobili (23 points in 33 minutes) must make the Mavs pay for their occasional defensive lapses plus Dallas point guard Jason Kidd (just 1-of-7 FG shooting in Game 2) must be more of a factor with his outside shot - especially if Nowitzki is quieted for any length of time here.

Then, again, who's gonna be surprised if this one goes back to Dallas next week at two games apiece, right?

DENVER at UTAH - Series tied 1-1

Now who's feeling sorry for the Utah Jazz?

The injury-riddled bunch - no Mehmet Okur (torn Achilles and out for the year) and no Andrei Kirilenko (calf injury and out for this series) - are back home after getting the split they desired in Games 1 and 2 with a passion-filled 114-111 win at six-point favorite Denver this past Monday night and Jerry Sloan's club no doubt threw down the gauntlet that this will indeed be a long series for the heavy-duty favored Nuggets (a solid 2-to-1 choice with the Vegas gang prior to the start of this best-of-seven series).

Okay, so the Jazz shot lights-out in that Game 2 victory - Utah sank 36-of-68 field-goal tries for 32 percent shooting - and it helped matters that point guard Deron Williams (33 points and 14 assists) played perhaps his best game in months with all the chips on the line at the Pepsi Center. Williams drained 16-of-18 free throws including a pair in the game's final 11 seconds to boost the short-handed Jazz who - to their credit - never moaned or groaned following that 126-113 loss in Game 1 regarding their injury situation but now the $64,000 question is will the absence of Okur and Kirlenko gonna "catch up" to 'em before this set is done?

In tonight's tilt in Salt Lake City, the Nuggets must continue to go strong to the hoop - almost all of their second-half points in Game 2 came on drives and not perimeter jumpers - plus Denver needs someone other than Carmelo Anthony (32 points on 25 FG attempts in Game 2) to get revved up with guard J.R. Smith (just 3-of-10 FG shooting on Monday night) the most likely candidate.

Just one question for Denver's fill-in-for-George Karl head coach Adrian Dantley ... Are you having fun yet?


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