What a full weekend of sports-watching goodness. Let's not spend too much time with the intro — there's a lot to cover — let's get to work.
Live from the "7-Up Stinks Studios" here we go...
Draft has come and gone (tear)
Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones responds to questions during a news conference after he was selected as the sixth overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, April 28, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
The 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. But, it's done — so it goes — and there's only like 360 days until Andrew Luck is picked first in the 2012 draft. We're already excited.
Anyhoo, this year's draft covered three days and left positive feelings/spin coming from almost every official from almost every team (there's no way Seattle is pleased with the happenings of this draft — and someone in a Seahawks golf shirt needs to explain how Alabama tackle James Carpenter went before his Heisman winning teammate, Mark Ingram).
That said, there's no scoreboard or points system, only conjecture. Which team won the 2000 draft? Well, the Patriots did because they landed Tom Brady in the sixth round, but no one knew that in the days after the 2000 draft, and this year's winners are impossible to determine this morning. What you can judge is which teams addressed needs and which teams made the most of its picks in regard to value.
Here are the quick winners:
— Falcons/Browns: The ultimate win-win deal was the trade that highlighted the first round. The Falcons sent five picks to the Browns for the chance to draft Julio Jones; the Browns gave up a potential superstar to rebuild its roster. The Falcons are on the NFC short list of Super Bowl contenders; the Browns are on the road to respectability.
— Detroit: A defensive line that has Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh is awesome in its awesomeness.
— Denver, Indy, Green Bay and Arizona among others did not over-think their picks and addressed the holes in their rosters (Peyton Manning is smiling today considering all the offensive line help the Colts added). Plus, here's saying the Cards, who drafted Patrick Peterson in round one, will address quarterback through a trade — something along the lines of a Dominque Rogers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb type-of thing.
The two biggest unknowns are easy:
— When will we start talking about the NFL again without using terms like 8th Circuit Court and labor negotiations;
— The biggest draft question mark remains how the rookie quarterbacks play out for the three teams (Tennessee, Jacksonville, Minnesota) that reached for a quarterback in round one. And also consider this for those three teams — each of which could struggle in 2011 — what do you do if you have the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and Andrew Luck and/or Matt Barkley are sitting there?
More draft winners (and a contest idea)
In this file photo, DJ Williams celebrates with Ryan Mallett during an Arkansas Razorbacks victory over LSU in November 2010.Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Here's a quick top-five list in 10 words or less about five players drafted Saturday that will pay dividends and have fans and GMs alike saying, "how did we not get that guy?" And yes, it's a 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10 — enjoy:
Green Bay drafts Arkansas tight end DJ Williams (fifth round) — Packers add arguably best pass-catching TE on day three
Atlanta drafts Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers (fifth round) — Change of pace scatback insurance for Jerious Norwood
New England drafts TCU tackle Marcus Cannon (fifth round) — Cannon had first-round talent, must overcome illness
Arizona drafts UNC linebacker Quan Sturdivant (sixth round) — Another first-day talent; Cards defense improved greatly at draft
Carolina drafts Auburn tackle Lee Ziemba (seventh round) — Auburn's career starts record holder will contribute.
Ziemba's selection also leads us to...
Quake from SportTalk on 102.3 won the PATCO Speedline (as named by Chas9) Draft Challenge, edging Nick Bonsanto form ESPN Radio 105.1 FM. Each got two points — Cam Newton going first overall and Stefen Wisneiwski going 48th to Oakland. Quake picked Ziemba as his Mr. Irrelevant choice and the former Auburn offensive lineman went 244th overall — 10 picks from the end — to the Panthers. The group tied for third (by correctly predicting that the Panthers would draft Newton) was Steeler Fan, EC, BigBearzzz, WarEagle, ThatIDoKnow, OT Watcher, Weena, ElJefe, 5-at-10, Mrs. 5-at-10, Pretend Al Davis, Dr. B (he is a doctor after all), Cowboy Joe (he is a cowboy after all) and Chris Goforth.
Quake won some tickets to a Braves game in the coming days, and Nick gets his choice of a pair of Lookouts tickets or a bobblehead doll.
Hope everyone enjoyed it, and we made a commitment to KBurg to have a Kentucky Derby contest, and since the Derby is Saturday, well, anybody got any suggestions other than who's going to win?
Some options include:
— the "Somebody's gotta win, Somebody's gotta lose — first and last challenge" which as it sounds means you pick the first-place and last-place horses;
— the "Fastest two-minutes in sports guestimation" which calls for you to submit the exact time it takes for some horse to become a legend and some jockey to panic about being interviewed by the woman riding that horse. (The 5-at-10 thinks, halftime interviews and in-game sideline interviews are stupid, but the postrace horseback Q-&-A is simply ridiculous.)
And then there were EIGHT
Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, tight, smiles during the final minute of the fourth quarter of Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Oklahoma Thunder in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 1, 2011. Grizzlies enter Marc Gasol, left, of Spain, looks on. Memphis won 114-101. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
OK, when did Grizzlies Fever strike and who had the phrase "Your Western Conference Champion Memphis Grizzlies" copyrighted?
Wow. After dismissing the top-seeded Spurs in round one, the Grizzlies thumped the Thunder on Sunday. And Sweet Wes Unseld's Outlet Pass, when did Zach Randolph become a cross between Karl Malone and Steve Kerr (Z-Bo as Randolph is called was 1-of-1 from 3 and 9-of-9 from the foul line).
Also of major shocking note Sunday was the Heat's 99-90 win over Boston. No, Miami winning was not the big shocker — the Heat were at home and the Heat crowd was actually into it. No, the Heat overpowered Boston with their bench, and with reserve James Jones scoring 25.
Sidenote: Dwayne Wade is fun to watch. That is all.
The rest of the conference semifinals start tonight when the Bulls host the Hawks and the Lakers host the Mavs.
NASCAR throwback race
Kyle Busch celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Saturday April 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Clem Britt)
There was bad blood and trash talkin' and a little bit of whiny-ness and this was a weekend without Danica Patrick. Thank you and remember to tip your waiters and waitresses.
The passion at this weekend's NASCAR race was enjoyable. Kyle Busch edged Denny Hamlin at Richmond, which is saying something since beating Hamlin at Richmond is like beating Duke at Cameron Indoor.
Couple of things to note here:
— Busch is putting together a Hall-of-Fame start to his career. Yes, that's tough to hear because he's kind of jackwagon. But dude turns 26 today and he has 21 wins — which is tied for second with Richard Petty for most before your 26th birthday. Jeff Gordon is first, and anytime you're tied with Petty and/or right behind Gordon on any list related to NASCAR and wins, well, that's a good thing.
— Someone needs to tell Jimmie Johnson that just because he didn't say please and thank you, he's not talking trash. (And if anyone is thinking about counting him out, just stop. It's still the 48's title to lose until someone else is holding that awful looking trophy in Homestead.)
— Let's get it on. The squabble between Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman is far from done. This will be interesting to watch.
Hey, it's a good thing that we used the phrases "NASCAR" and "interesting to watch" in the same sentence (and it wasn't, "Hey, remember when NASCAR used to be interesting to watch.")
This and That
— The fans chanting "USA, USA, USA" at the Phillies-Mets game last night after news started circulating that our forces had killed Osama bin Laden was awesome. The patriotic chorus from the Philadelphia crowd — which earned its rep as a tough group; they booed Santa Claus after all — was chill-inducing. "I don't like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit, but they got this one right," Mets third baseman David Wright told the AP. "I guess it's a proud moment to stand out there and you've got 45-50,000 chanting. That was pretty special."
— Roger McDowell was fined and suspended two weeks for his alleged homophobic comments and threats about 10 days ago in San Francisco. Hard to know the actual circumstances, but if the allegations are close to accurate — especially a uniformed MLB team coach threatening a father in front of his kids — then McDowell got off extremely easy.
— Former UT basketball recruit Kevin Ware has decommitted from Central Florida. Ware was tight with Bruce Pearl, then backed out after Pearl was fired. He had some parting shots for new UT coach Cuonzo Martin, who said the Vols would not be recruiting the metro-Atlanta product. Now Ware's shady recruitment has made the pages of the New York Times, the AJC and the Orlando Sentinel. Score this one for coach Martin in the "addition by subtraction" category. (Sidenote: when you type "Decommitted" into the google to check your spelling, the third entry is "decommitted Alabama" — not saying' anything, just sayin.')
— For EC, this weekend there was a huge MMA event. Some really bad dudes beat on some other really bad dudes. There was blood and big bucks and studs and tattoos — it was a lot like an Ohio State football meeting without Jim Tressel's sweater vest. Two items of note: First Randy "The Natural" Couture retired after losing his fight. Dude's 47 — YES 47! — it's time; second, former NHL enforcer Donald Brashear is going to toss his fists into the Octagon.
— To say former Braves pitcher John Smoltz missed the cut in his pro debut at the Nationwide Event is like saying the 5-at-10 missed getting picked in the NFL draft this weekend. Smoltzie can flat-out play but flat-out stunk it up this weekend — shooting 84-87 and missing the cut by a scant 27 shots and was a mere nine shots back of next-to-last. Ouch.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...