NFL Round One Recap - NBA Friday Night

NFL DRAFT REPORT...PLUS NBA PLAYOFF TALK

By Jim Hurley:

We'd like to say sorry to the folks at American Idol, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and all those other silly reality shows that junk up TV these days and tell you this:

Last night's NFL Draft was the best reality TV witnessed in a long, long time:

Not only was the just over 3 ½-hour first round simply jam-packed with surprises but there was great theatre in terms of human interest stories - just see the drafting of Baylor G Danny Watkins (the former firefighter) by the Philadelphia Eagles and the teary-eyed Alabama RB Mark Ingram who was drafted at #28 by the New Orleans Saints ... and than had an e-mail from his jailed father read to him by an ESPN reporter.

Great stuff.

But you're reading this Jim Sez column because you want to find out everything you can about the NFL Draft's Round One action and we'll take a little different approach than both aforementioned ESPN and the NFL Network and let you in on some keys to the evening.

First, this quickie reminder as we head into a great sports weekend:   There's lots of NBA Playoff and Major-League Baseball action on the daily menu and Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the winners each/every day when you either call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you go online right here. Keep in mind the check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all weeknight NBA Playoffs and MLB games; and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Keep on piling up the profits in Hoops and Baseball right here with America's #1 Handicapper.

THE NFL DRAFT - ROUND ONE

Okay, so here are some of the key Round One stories - and keep in mind we'll have lots more to say about this year's NFL Draft in the coming days. Let's tackle a few subjects on our mind right here/right now:

THE FIRST PICK - No surprise here as Auburn QB Cam Newton was gobbled up (officially) a few minutes after 8 p.m. ET at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City but we sure could have done without all the camera shots (and quotes) by his pain-in-the-neck father. Newton is being viewed as a savior by the Carolina Panthers but anyone wanna bet right now that he throws more INTs than TDs this year?

THE TRADES - Forgive us for thinking this way but this NFL Draft resembled an old-fashioned NBA Draft where first-round trades are the norm and not the exception. No question the biggest deal of the night was the one that the Cleveland Browns pulled off with Atlanta - the Falcons dealt away five draft picks in all (including a first-rounder next year) just to move up to #6 to grab Alabama WR Julio Jones and it was really funny stuff when the first few highlights ESPN aired of Jones were all pass drops ... ugh! The Browns need to stock up this threadbare team but we want to know if it dawned on Cleveland to sit tight and take Jones here and thus give QB Colt McCoy a moving target.

 Just wondering.

The aforementioned Ingram was drafted with the Saints' second overall pick in Round One following a deal with New England and - while we accurately forecast where the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner would wind up (although we believed it would happen with pick #24) you do have to wonder now if Reggie Bush has lost some trade value. Might this have been a case where the NFL's no-trade edict (for now) hurt the Saints?

Finally, there were some trades that didn't happen even though the Baltimore Ravens used up all their time before passing (okay, for just one spot from #26 to #27) after failing to pull off a deal that might well have added a couple of picks to GM Ozzie Newsome's future haul and why did the Jacksonville Jaguars trade up for the right to grab Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert at #10? The conventional wisdom espoused on the cable networks last night was that Gabbert would assume the starter's role from incumbent David Garrard in "a year or two" but didn't the Jags need about a gazillion other things before they drafted their future quarterback?

THE D-LINEMEN - The first-round record 12 defensive linemen that were drafted on Thursday night didn't come as one of the many Draft Night shockers (we actually eyeballed some mock drafts that had 13 or 14 defensive linemen getting picked in Round One) but it makes one wonder how NFL quarterbacks are gonna stay in one piece through a 16-game schedule (and that 18-game regular-season docket is right around the corner, folks). There were some giant men hugging family and friends in the "green room" last night including a 325-pound Marcel Dareus (Alabama) shuffling off to Buffalo and a 355-pound (or more) Phil Taylor (Baylor) who went to Cleveland at pick #21. These dudes are bigger than ever - just hope the Radio City folks had enough grub to feed 'em last night!

THE FOUR QUARTERBACKS - If someone would have wagered that four quarterbacks would have been snapped up in the draft's first dozen picks than you would have fitted them with a straight jacket but that's exactly what happened and, while we won't beat the proverbial dead horse with the shared opinion that Minnesota's selection of Christian Ponder (Florida State) at #12 was a "reach" (no, it was more like an absolutely foolish pick!) what drove us crazy is just how many apologists there were for Washington Huskies slinger Jake Locker who shockingly went to the Tennessee Titans at #8. Didn't this guy go 4-of-20 passing in one game last year? The fact of the matter is - in a perfect world - none of the quarterbacks (including the aforementioned Newton) should have gone before the sixth or seventh overall choice and, no, we're not among the folks (see ESPN's Mel Kiper) who believes TCU's Andy Dalton should have gone somewhere in Round One.
        

THE NBA PLAYOFFS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SAN ANTONIO at MEMPHIS - Grizzlies lead series 3-2

The $64,000 question has been making the rounds in NBA-land the past 48 hours - did the Memphis Grizzlies let the four-time champion San Antonio Spurs "off the hook" with that stirring 110-103 overtime tilt two nights ago?

No doubt that even some Memphis players - most notably Zach Randolph (team-high 26 points in Game #5) - were none too pleased that the Spurs were able to get off a game-tying triple at the regulation buzzer as relative unknown Gary Neal canned the all-or-nothing shot (yes, TNT analyst Charles Barkley, we know that you would always foul in that situation!) but now that's all rear-view mirror stuff and the Grizz must show a maturity to their game here plus Lionel Hollins' crew must prove that it can drive the proverbial nail into San Ant's coffin ... if this one goes back to the Alamo City than the gang from Memphis could be beat even before a Game #7 tip!

Two things to watch from a Memphis standpoint here in Game #6:

First, the Grizzlies must step on the gas pedal and make this a run-run game. No doubt that will serve a couple of purposes here including the fact that it will take SA's Tim Duncan out of the proceedings at times (note that Duncan canned just 5-of-13 FGs for 13 points in Game #5 but he did play 40 minutes out of a possible 53) plus Memphis must tighten up its three-point defense right from the start. The Spurs connected on just 7-of-22 triples overall in that last game but we believe that allowing San Antonio to chuck up a batch of trifectas could be hazardous to the home team's health here.

Hey, who's to say that Manu Ginobili (Game #5-high 33 points including four treys) can't take this game over all by himself when it gets to crunch time?  

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

4-17

SAN ANTONIO

- 6.5

Memphis 101-98

4-20

SAN ANTONIO

- 8

SAN ANTONIO 93-87

4-23

MEMPHIS

- 2

MEMPHIS 91-88

4-25

San Antonio

- 1.5

MEMPHIS 104-86

4-27

SAN ANTONIO

- 7

SAN ANTONIO 110-103 (ot)

(All home teams in CAPS in chart above)

NOTE: Get caught up with all the NFL Draft, NBA Playoffs and MLB Notes in the upcoming editions of Jim Sez.

21
Nov

Today’s Hot Plays