Sorry for the dead month there BPD fans. Whatever that lung illness was sucked big time. But now, I am back and re-engerized. A lot is going on in the world of sports and I’m excited to be writing again.
Since a lot has happened let me start by writing a cheers and jeers column for events that have occured the past few weeks.
This year’s NFL Draft did not disappoint. The most trades of any draft and Mel Kiper kept the weekend interesting.
I can’t really bust on too many teams this season. Most teams did seem to help themselves at least a little bit. Locally I thought the Bears did pretty good. I am not sold on Forte and they should have taken a QB in the first 5 rounds. Overall though they did pretty good.
Other teams I thought did well were KC, Baltimore, Atlanta, Green Bay, Arizona, Miami and Pittsburgh. They addressed their need areas and should reap the benefits down the road. On the other hand, teams like Houston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Detroit didn’t have particularly good days.
Some sleeper picks I think will develop into huge stars are Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall. 22 other teams passed on this kid and I think 5 years from now he may be the best back in the NFL. Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson will be the next Wes Welker. He is a big game receiver and has the speed to go deep. Pittsburgh again with WR Limas Sweed have found the partner in crime for Hines Ward. Sweed isn’t a #1 but he’ll make a great #2 next to Ward. Chicago WR Earl Bennett may end up being the best receiver of this year’s class. Chicago will look to him as the #1 right away and if the O-Line play improves off of last season he should post big rookie numbers. Cleveland LB Beau Bell gets overlooked and falls in the draft. The guy is a tackling machine and should post 100+ tackles per year once he becomes the starter. Finally, I dig Tampa Bay QB Josh Johnson. With Griese and Garcia on the roster they won’t rush him. He is great on the run and has a very strong arm. It wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t starting in Tampa by 2010. Furthermore, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up becoming a clone of Randall Cunningham.
I don’t have too many jeers for draft day but I’ll list a couple. Jacksonville DE Derrick Harvey is taken with the 8th overall pick. They obviously drafted need but WTF. You could have moved down 4 or 5 spots, picked up a couple of picks and still got your man. Carolina RB Jon Stewart being picked before Rashard Mendenhall was a bit of a surprise. I think Stewart will be OK but he is very vanilla and will be just your run of the mill RB. Besides, they needed a top OT to protect the QB and didn’t get one. Ooooops. Detroit Gosder Cherilius being selected before Otah was just a joke. At 17 overall Detroit probably could have moved out of the 1st Round and still got this kid. Finally, Tennessee RB Chris Johnson was a surprise in Round 1. He is OK and will turn into a decent RB if he can stay healthy. However, Tennessee desperately needs a top WR and the top WR was still on the board. Instead of hearing Devin Thomas we hear Chris Johnson.
Holy Cow and HEY HEY! The Chicago Cubs are in 1st Place and appear to be one of the better teams in the NL. Granted it is early and we still have the goat thing working against us but things look up. If they can acquire a CF to platoon with Reed Johnson and find one more legit starter they could FINALLY get to the big game.
But the Cubs aren’t the amazing story…try the RAYS. Tampa is just 1/2 game back of the defending World Champion Red Sox. I look at the roster and for the most part it is all pops and buzzes to me. They look very competitive and should contend most of the season. They may also have enough in the minors to make the moves in July to push Boston to the brink and keep the Yankees out of playoff contention.
But are the Rays the most interesting story. NO!!!! The Florida Marlins whose line up resembles that of a minor league team and whose payroll is less than that of A Rod is a top the NL East. They are fast, young and not backing down to any team right now. They have already beaten rivals like NY and Philly and if those teams can’t get healthy and play more consistently they could win the East.
But are those winners the biggest story. No way Jose! The biggest losers are the biggest stories. The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians were supposed to run away with their division. They were supposed to win 100 games each and battle for the World Series. Right now they are battling to stay out of the cellar. The BIG MONEY Yankees and Angels are struggling to get above mediocrity. If it isn’t pitching than it is hitting. If it isn’t the hitting it is the pitching. Big excuses for the big payrolls.
Finally it is NHL playoff time (usually more entertaining than the NBA). However Detroit and Pittsburgh are laying the smack down on Philly and Dallas so I have been tuning into the NBA a bit more than usual. If only the NHL could do something to draw me back in.
There we go! Post gratuitous pictures of Sheldon Souray’s GF Angelica Bridges and that will bring me back. Until then, don’t bother me until the Stanley brings his cup.