Our NFL Draft Analyses Starts Here Plus NBA Playoff Talk









Ready or not, the National Football League Draft is set to kick off next Thursday, April 27th and so that means we dig in here on a day-by-day basis in these Jim Sez columns … and remember our NFL Mock Draft will be posted next Wednesday, so don’t miss out.



Now, let’s check out the top Cornerbacks and Safeties for this year’s NFL Draft:


JAMAL ADAMS, SS, LSU – Lots of high-quality safeties in this draft but here’s best-of-the-bunch guy who should be a top five/six pick. Adams is rock-solid against the run and packs a punch with his compact 6-foot, 215-pound frame. Quite likely headed to Tennessee at pick #5.


MARSHON LATTIMORE, CB, Ohio State – Here’s another likely top five/six pick who truly plasters opposing pass-catchers but this former Big 10 star must steer clear of the nagging hamstring/leg injuries that often bogged ‘em down the past two years. How does going to the NY Jets with pick #6 sound?


MALIK HOOKER, FS, Ohio State – Embarrassment of riches in Columbus last year when it came to secondary stars (CB Gareon Conley likely will be a late first-round pick, you’ll see) and this former basketball star has all the goods with great field awareness and he’s a proverbial magnet to the football. Let’s tentatively pencil ‘em in for the Los Angeles Chargers at #7.


JABRILL PEPPERS, SS, Michigan – Truth of the matter is this multi-purpose/multi-positional player could wind up playing something other than the strong safety spot in the pros but we’ll peg ‘em as a backline defender – landing at New Orleans with pick #11 a real possibility but don’t be totally shocked if he drops to the #16-to-#20 pick range.


KEVIN KING, CB, Washington – Rare college senior who actually played first half of his career in Seattle at safety but slid back to corner in 2015 upon coaches’ requests. Solid open-field tackler with great natural instincts. Could stay put in the great northwest with Seattle at pick #26 … and maybe that means bye-bye for CB Richard Sherman.


CHIDOBE AWUZIE, CB, Colorado – Here’s a four-year starter hailing from the pass-happy Pac-12 that should be a late first-rounder on one of those really top-flight NFL teams … we’re thinking Green Bay at pick #29 or maybe defending NFC champion Atlanta with pick #31.


GAREON CONLEY, CB, Ohio State – We mentioned this Ohio native (hails from football-nutty Massillon) up above and now we’ll slot ‘em into a very late first-round pick with NFC South clubs Atlanta (#31) or New Orleans (pick #32) likely getting a shot at this skilled cover corner.


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Here’s some quick-hitter previews as we check out the Wednesday menu in the NBA …


ATLANTA at WASHINGTON – Wizards lead series 1-0; Game 2 at 7 p.m. ET on NBA-TV

We “suggested” that the tag-team tandem of Hawks’ stars F Paul Millsap and PG Dennis Schroder needed to score 50-or-more points in that Easter Sunday contest if Atlanta was gonna snag Game 1 but they managed “only” 44 points and couldn’t handle the efforts of Wizards G John Wall (see 32 points and 14 assists). Game 2 X-factor is the free-throw line – Atlanta had 39 FT tries to Washington’s 17 and should that happen again we see the Hawks knotting up this series in D.C.


OKLAHOMA CITY at HOUSTON – Rockets lead series 1-0; Game 2 is 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Did you see how angry Okie City megastar Russell Westbrook was when he went to the bench late in his team’s 118-87 loss at 7.5-point fav Houston the other night? The league’s likely MVP sported an ultra-modest stat line of 22 points/11 rebounds/7 assists as he was hounded by super-pest Patrick Beverley who may wind up being the most important player on either side here not named Westbrook or Houston’s James Harden (37 points in Game 1). Gotta believe that if the Thunder – a 7.5-point dog for now here in Game 2 – is gonna right the ship than OKC guard Victor Oladipo (6 points in Game 1) must be a prime-time player – hey, TNT’s Charles Barkley ripped into Oladipo for his Game 1 no-show, so that should be motivation enough here, right?


PORTLAND at GOLDEN STATE – Warriors lead series 1-0; Game 2 is 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Here’s the facts …

This Golden State Warriors team might well cruise to their second NBA championship within a three-year span (they entered these playoffs at – 275 to $100) but that doesn’t mean Steve Kerr’s club is gonna stack up the profits. The Warriors – following last Sunday’s 121-109 non-cover win against 15.5-point underdog Portland – are now just 40-40-3 ATS (against the spread) overall this season and for the record this will mark the sixth time in seven games that G-State is laying a twin-figure price. If Golden State is going to cover this rather bloated number, then the Kevin Durant/Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson/Draymond Green quartet has to be down for 100-or-so points (they combined for 95 points in Game 1) and that ever-improving Warriors bench now starring Ian Clark (12 points in 12 minutes in the playoff opener) must give that occasional much-needed energy lift especially if Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are going nutso!



NOTE: More NFL Draft goodies plus NBA Playoffs and MLB News/Notes in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez. See ‘ya then!




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