NBA Playoff Update - NFL Draft: QBs

Hurley's Won 6 of 8 in the NBA Playoffs!
Plus An 11-6-1 Run In Baseball!!
More two-sport winning goes Tuesday night!

TUESDAY NBA PLAYOFF REPORT...PLUS TOP QBs IN NFL DRAFT

By Jim Hurley:

No, this is not a typo:

The NBA Playoff Betting Favorites exited Sunday night's action a collective 9-21 ATS (against the spread) for a .300 winning rate and all this means to you-and-me if that if you've been on a strict diet of NBA Underdogs at $100 a pop than you entered Monday's schedule up a resounding $1,100 ... now that'll buy you some tall court-side beverages at your next post-season game!

No doubt the dogs have seized the day in the NBA during the first nine days of playoff action this spring but it's one underdog in particular - the very much alive-and-kicking New Orleans Hornets - who have everyone in the pro hoops world buzzing ... sorry, pardon the pun!

The "Bees" will enter Tuesday's Game #5 showdown with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers with all the momentum following Sunday's 93-88 home win but what's really important - of course - is the status of Lakers' megastar Kobe Bryant and his ankle that took a turn for the worse late in Game #4 and no question that bum ankle affected a couple of his late-game long-range shots that sailed wide right.

The Lakers could not contain Hornets' PG Chris Paul who cranked out 27 points with 15 assists and 13 rebounds in that "get-even" affair and now Bryant might not be able to adequately defend Mr. Paul when this series resumes inside the Staples Center on Tuesday evening - than what's the game plan, boss-man Phil Jackson?

If the Lakers are "comfortable" with this series now being a best two-of-three, than they could fool us because Bryant's hurting, big man Pau Gasol (16 points in Game #4) appears lost on plenty of occasions and nobody's hitting from outside the three-point arc as evidenced by LA's putrid 4-of-18 triple success in Game #4.

Put up or shut up time for the Hollywood guys?

Well, they're not quite there yet but do you really think the Lakers want to go back to N'Orleans later this week down three games-to-two and knowing that Bryant and Gasol (and others) are "off" their game these days?

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoffs and Major-League Baseball Winners each and every day when you either call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or when you go online right here: The check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for weekday afternoon Baseball; after 1 p.m. ET for all weeknight NBA Playoffs and MLB games; and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.

    

THE NFL DRAFT: THE QUARTERBACKS

Editor's Note: This concludes our daily look at the Position-by-Position coverage of this year's NFL Draft. Note that our annual Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft (a look at the entire first round) will be posted on this website on Wednesday: Now, here's a look at the draft's top Quarterbacks:

CAM NEWTON, QB, Auburn - Last year's Heisman Trophy-winning/BCS National Championship-winning signal-caller may have been College Football's single-biggest star in the past 15-to-20 years but will he be a savior on the next level? Newton - who stands in at 6-foot-5, 248 pounds - has the requisite arm strength to be a big-time thrower in the NFL plus he's accurate although some of his medium-to-long passes can be off the mark. His 2,854 yards passing with 30 TDs and just 7 INTs was eye-opening stuff, to be sure, and the consensus belief is that he'll improve with age and experience but hard to ignore the fact he's played only one full year in college and has more than a few off-the-field issues that could serve as distractions. Still, figures to go with the draft's numero uno pick with the woe-be-gone Caroline Panthers.
 
BLAINE GABBERT, QB, Missouri - Many draft boards list this former Tigers slinger ahead of Newton because this 6-foot-4, 235-pounder from Ballwin (MO) comes from a pro-style offense and last year threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns despite the fact he played much of the season with a gimpy ankle. Gabbert - who leaped at the opportunity to turn pro following his junior season (and following the decision by Stanford QB Andrew Luck to stay put in Palo Alto) - is expected to go somewhere in the draft's top half-dozen selections and don't be surprised if a team drafting 15-or-lower trades up for him (did someone say, Miami Dolphins?). Some folks have favorably compared him to last year's top draftee QB Sam Bradford.

CHRISTIAN PONDER, QB, Florida State - The Seminoles' slinger is thought to be a late first-round type draftee thanks to a heady nature but overall arm strength (not great) and the inability to often times read enemy defenses could kayo him to second-round status. The 6-foot-2, 229-pounder from Colleyville (TX) was injury-prone in his final season in Tallahassee as he suffered shoulder and elbow injuries plus a concussion stole playing time from him as well. Note that Ponder averaged 302 yards passing as a junior and only 185 yards a game last year and so there is some concern that he took a step back although his leadership skills are a major plus.

JAKE LOCKER, QB, Washington - Here's one of the biggest mysteries in this entire draft as the strong-armed slinger from Ferndale (WA) is a highly-gifted athlete at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds but he's underachieved on the college level as most folks believed he regressed in his senior season. Locker's career stats include 7,639 yards passing (second-best in Washington's quarterback-rich history) and 29 career rushing touchdowns but he did show a tendency to get hurt (see broken thumb as a sophomore and a rib injury as a senior) and there's some NFL teams that simply don't think his mind is NFL-ready, though some recent workouts for Minnesota and Seattle were positive. Could he be an eventual heir to Tom Brady in New England (pick #27)?
 
RYAN MALLETT, QB, Arkansas - Wasn't it just a few months ago that all the NFL Draftniks were calling for this former Michigan transfer to be the top pick in this year's draft? The 6-foot-7, 253-pounder threw a whopping 62 TD passes in his two seasons in the SEC (and just 19 INTs) but his slow feet have NFL folks worried as he must re-set to get everything on the ball and so his value has dropped in recent weeks - he's not a fit in a West Coast offense and it's believed he needs a star-studded O-line to give him every second to pick/choose receivers. Look for Mallett to go in the #45-to-#50 draft range.

NOTE: Don't miss out as we present our annual Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft in the next column here. Find out who goes where and if there are any blockbuster deals on tab too!

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Aug

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