NFL Draft 1st Round + NBA Playoffs

HERE’S OUR NFL DRAFT 1ST-ROUND QUICKIE RE-CAPS …

PLUS TONIGHT’S NBA PLAYOFF MENU AS PACERS-WIZARDS, THUNDER-CLIPPERS
TAKE CENTER STAGE WITH BOTH SERIES AT 1-1

By Jim Hurley

Hope you enjoyed all that NFL Draft Night drama … the Johnny Manziel fall to pick #22 was reality TV at its very best, but we’ve wrapped up the first round in this Jim Sez column and so let’s take a pick-by-pick look at what just happened in New York City:

1.   HOUSTON – JADEVEON CLOWNEY, DE — The Texans never were overwhelmed by any last-minute trade offers and were 95 percent locked in to grab the South Carolina stud all along.

2.   ST. LOUIS – GREG ROBINSON, OT — The early word is that he’ll begin his pro career as a left guard as he must fine-tune game, but this is proof Rams are serious about protecting QB Sam Bradford.

3.   JACKSONVILLE – BLAKE BORTLES, QB — The first stunner of Draft Night came with this selection of rugged UCF signal-caller, but count us among the folks who say the Jags blew it (again) and should have drafted that Texas A&M gunslinger.

4.   BUFFALO (trade with Cleveland) – SAMMY WATKINS, WR — Our Jim Sez Mock Draft had Browns swinging a deal with Oakland here but instead frisky Bills (picking at #9) movin’ on up for this uber-talented pass-catcher but will he be effective come the stormy December weather?

5.   OAKLAND – KHALIL MACK, LB — The silver-and-black geeked that this tackling machine was still here at the fifth pick but gotta tell you that they would have nabbed Watkins if it could have.

6.   ATLANTA – JAKE MATTHEWS, OT — First Texas A&M guy snatched off the board (sorry, Johnny Football!) and a likely 12-to-15-year pro like his famous father.

7.   TAMPA BAY – MIKE EVANS, WR — We tabbed this one right on the button as Bucs get that wide-out threat opposite WR Vincent Jackson, but kid better get a grip on his on-field emotions or he’ll be a big bust!

8.   CLEVELAND (trade with Minnesota) – JUSTIN GILBERT, CB — The Browns stunned the “experts” by trading down, then trading up a pick and then still not drafting QB Manziel. Must agree with draft guru Mel Kiper and give this pick a “thumbs down” even if Cleveland boned up an already-strong secondary.

9.   MINNESOTA (trade with Cleveland) – ANTHONY BARR, OLB — The Jim Sez Mock Draft banged out the right pick here even with Vikes dealing down a spot as NFL’s worst-ranked defense grabbed best-available defender but expect ‘em to play on the D-line.

10. DETROIT — ERIC EBRON, TE — Our early choice for NFL Rookie of the Year as QB Matthew Stafford will eyeball former North Carolina stud plenty and he could be 90-catch guy.

11. TENNESSEE – TAYLOR LEWAN, OT — The former Michigan left tackle is mean/nasty, but wouldn’t the Titans have been better served with a top-flight LB … or even Mr. Manziel?

12. NEW YORK GIANTS – ODELL BECKHAM, JR., WR — The Giants trust this former LSU star will be more dependable that the 2013 version of Hakeem Nicks, but truth is Jints would have grabbed Matthews or Lewan if they were still on the board.

13. ST. LOUIS – AARON DONALD, DT — ESPN analyst Ray Lewis compared ‘em with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp (not too shabby) and so St. Loo addressed line issues with one-two punch in Round I and maybe they will close the gap on Seattle and San Francisco in NFC West.

14. CHICAGO – KYLE FULLER, CB — No question that the Bears really wanted DL Donald but this former Virginia Tech star was top 20 material and thus a rock-solid, B+-type selection.

15. PITTSBURGH – RYAN SHAZIER, OLB — We had this former Ohio State star as a legit top 10 pick and so Steelers got “good value” even if a cover corner might have made more sense.

16. DALLAS – ZACK MARTIN, G/OT — There’ll be no Tony Romo vs. Manziel drama in “Big D” after all but how come Cowboys didn’t land a DB? And that’s why they’re an 8-8 team every damn year!

17. BALTIMORE — C.J. MOSLEY, ILB — The Alabama connection with GM Ozzie Newsome was overblown on Draft Night but a solid (if predictable) choice.

18. NEW YORK JETS – CALVIN PRYOR, S — The Louisville alum adds some attitude to J-E-T-S secondary that needs to make enemy pass catchers pay for their YAC.

19. MIAMI – JA’WUAN JAMES, OT — The Dolphins had their hearts set on Notre Damer G/T Martin but couldn’t trade up and so take best available blocker.

20. NEW ORLEANS (trade with Arizona) – BRANDIN COOKS, WR — Fastest wide-out in draft opens things up even more for TE Jimmie Graham and Saints should be back to averaging 30-plus ppg once again.

21. GREEN BAY – HA-HA CLINTON DIX, S — It’s about time the Packers nabbed a ball-hawk for their secondary but we wonder why he wasn’t picked earlier (like early teens)?

22. CLEVELAND (trade with Philadelphia) – JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB — The two-hour, 45-minute wait must have felt like forever for 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who had weight lifted off his shoulder with this pick as Browns got it all right with all the Round I/etc. deals.

23. KANSAS CITY – DEE FORD, DE — Speed-demon pass rusher might get bumped back to OLB and remember we wanted him picked by a turf team … and that’s not the case.

24. CINCINNATI – DARQUEAZE DENNARD, CB – No question he was “best available talent” on the board here (we had ‘em going #16 to Dallas) and former Thorpe Award winner firms up a Bengals’ secondary that was not as good as advertised last year.

25. SAN DIEGO – JASON VERRETT, CB – Was all set to be Cincy-bound, but Dennard’s drop in this draft allowed Bengals to re-think things and so Chargers stepped in and found gold here with super-aggressive corner and therefore eschew (for now) addressing the D-line.

26. PHILADELPHIA (trade with Cleveland) – MARCUS SMITH, DE – The Eagles grabbed a guy not on anyone Round I draft board but his quick off-the-ball moves too good to pass by here.

27. ARIZONA – DEONE BUCANNON, S – Pac-12’s top tackler last year wasn’t on anyone’s Round I draft board but he’s good fit with ‘Zona secondary that needed a big hitter. Now, let’s see if he tackles as well as he cries!

28. CAROLINA – KELVIN BENJAMIN, WR – Former Florida State star gives Panthers physical nature to pass game after team said bye-bye to WR Steve Smith.

29. NEW ENGLAND – DOMINIQUE EASLEY, DE – Risky pick by the Pats as former Florida star has undergone two ACL surgeries and has tough time staying on field … why not more secondary help for CB Darrelle Revis and mates?

30. SAN FRANCISCO – JIMMIE WARD, S – The Niners just add to their stockpile of great, young defensive players and Northern Illinois’ top tackler for two years running could see time as cornerback too (says ESPN’s Jon Gruden).

31. DENVER – BRADLEY ROBY, CB – The Super Bowl runner-up may be taking a chance on a guy that doesn’t always play at high level and we think Broncos should have opted for O-line help.

32. MINNESOTA (trade with Seattle) – TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB – Give us some credit for having this Louisville slinger going with the final pick in Round One (we had Tennessee trading into the spot) but can he or will he play sans gloves in the pros? He better!  

And now hear this …

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been bashing the books right from the start of this year’s NBA Playoffs and nothing’s gonna change here as we’ve entered Round II.

We’ll continue to rock-n-roll our way through the NBA post-season – and so just go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and be sure that we’ll send you straight into the winner’s circle.

Plus, there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring!

THE NBA REPORT

Here’s the Friday night NBA sked:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

INDIANA at WASHINGTON – Series tied 1-1; Game 3 is 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
A Roy Hibbert sighting?

Heck, it was a lot more than that in Indiana’s nip-and-tuck 86-82 non-cover win against 5-point underdog Washington this past Wednesday night as the Pacers’ center registered a season-high 28 points to go along with 9 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, but what’s the odds now that the 7-foot-2 Hibbert puts together back-to-back stellar outings this post-season?

On the flip side, the Wizards can point to a pair of categories as to why they didn’t snag a two games-to-love lead in this series as Washington shot a woeful 5-of-12 from the free-throw line (Nene’s 0-for-4 was a true killer) and the long-ball shooting was awful too as Randy Wittman’s guys bagged just 5-of-21 trifectas with PG John Wall missing all four of his threes en route to a shabby 2-of-13 FG night.

Hey, you know Wall will bounce back here even if the Pacers keep getting in his grill but tell us if Hibbert’s a 20-point, 10-board game here and we’ll crown Indiana as a two games-to-one series leader here.

DATE   WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-5   Washington + 4  INDIANA 102-96
5-7 INDIANA - 5   Washington 86-82

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

OKLAHOMA CITY at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Series tied 1-1; Game 3 is 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Let’s give you our honest-to-goodness opinion:

This may wind up being a full-fledged seven-game series but so far—despite the rantings of the TNT folks — there’s been back-to-back non-competitive games in this set with the Clippers winning Game 1 by 17 points followed by the Thunder’s 11-point win in Game 2 and so from a hoops standpoint let’s trust that Games 3 and/or 4 in Los Angeles brings some drama to this series.

It was great for OKC that MVP Kevin Durant could unleash a 32-point showing in Game 2 and that PG Russell Westbrook could sport a splashy 31-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist game (yes, we know that final assist was bogus!), but we found as true keys to victory in Game 2 was the play of Thabo Sefolosha (14 points on 6-of-9 shooting with some great man defense) and the interior defense of C Kendrick Perkins, who clogged up everything in the paint and didn’t let either Blake Griffin (just 15 points in Game 2) or C Deandre Jordan (7 points) become a factor down low.

If Clippers’ do-everything PG Chris Paul (17 points and 11 assists in Game 2) can get everyone involved in LA’s fast-break game than Doc Rivers’ squad could well hum its way to the winner’s circle here but let’s watch to see what the Clippers’ assist-to-turnover ratio and let’s see if the aforementioned Jordan can finally swat away a few shots and get the energy flowing inside Staples Center.

DATE   WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-5   Clippers + 5.5 OKLA CITY 122-105
5-7 OKLA CITY   - 5.5  Clippers 112-101

NOTE: More NBA Playoof goodies straight ahead in the next Jim Sez.

26
Sep

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