published Monday, April 30th, 2012

5 at 10: Draft review, playoffs everywhere and welcome back Tim Hudson

The entire sports world pulled a Maximus Decimus Meridius this weekend. "Aren't you entertained?" (Spit.) Wow — there was a lot going on. Let's get to it.

From the "Talk too much studios" here we go.

  • photo
    Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, right, poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected 20th overall by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, April 26, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Feeling the draft

Do you know that we're just something like 360 days from the 2013 draft. Sigh.

OK, let's review this weekend's draft, and we feel pretty sure the topic will come up again this after when we stop by SportTalk from 4ish-6.

This draft seemed to be more about need than best player available. Maybe that's a product of the rookie wage scale (and the bevy of trades were a direct by-product of that change). Whatever it was there was a crazy wave on energy in this draft, especially last week's first round.

Here are some thoughts:

The Atlanta Falcons needed interior line on each side of the ball and landed some. Peter Konz is a center from Wisconsin, not exactly the cover boy of draft guides. Still he'll get on the field quickly and make the Falcons better. Plus, you have to factor in last year's trade for Julio Jones into this draft's evaluation.

The Titans reached for first-round receiver Kendall Wright. The team had bigger needs than a slot receiver and there was some serious talent — hello Dont'a Hightower — on the board when Tennessee picked Wright No. 20 overall. There's a lot to like about Zach Brown, the speedy former UNC linebacker the Titans took in the second round, but it does not feel like the Titans got better this weekend.

Around the league let's do a little best/worst from each day:

Day 1: (Take away the quarterbacks at the top of the draft)

Best pick: Dallas moving up and getting a franchise, shut down corner in Morris Claiborne. The secondary was the Cowboys' biggest need and they added a rookie that will be among the five best at his position in the league.

Worst pick: Three-way tie for different reasons. Seattle took Bruce Irvin with the No. 15 overall pick. Even if Irvin is the defensive rookie of the year, you can make an argument that it was a bad pick simply because the Seahawks could have taken him in round 2. Ryan Tannehill screams bust, but the Dolphins had to have a quarterback.

Why did Cleveland take Brandon Weeden, the 28-year-old Oklahoma State quarterback? And even if you think he can contribute now, here's how this is going to play out. The Browns are in the toughest division in football, and they likely could have a top five pick again next year. And let's supposes that with a rookie QB one offensive weapon in Trent Richardson — can you even name a Cleveland receiver? — against a schedule that includes the NFC East, there's a real chance that Cleveland may have the No. 1 overall pick. And with a top-five pick next year, the Browns would be guaranteed to get a quarterback better than Brandon Weeded. With that here's our top 15 prospects for the 2013 draft (yes, we love the draft; you know this):

1) Matt Barkley, QB, USC

2) Jarvis Jones, DE/LB, Georgia

3) Robert Woods, WR, USC

4) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

5) Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

6) Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

7) Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

8) Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

9) Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

10) Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

11) David Amerson, DB, N.C. State

12) Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

13) Brandon Jenkins, DE, FSU

14) Jelani Jenkins, LB, Florida

15) Barrett Jones, OT, Alabama

16) Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

17) Johnathon Hankins, DT, Ohio State

18) Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

19) Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

20) Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee

Best and worst of Day 2 (second and third rounds)

Best moves — We're super-high on Courtney Upshaw and think he'll be in enough Pro Bowls that 10 years from now, everyone will be asking, "How did Courtney Upshaw fall into round two?" As for the best, well, the Rams added three starters on day two of this draft with WR Brian Quick, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Janoris Jenkins and a back-up in RB Isaiah Pead. Loved the 49ers addition of LaMichael James, a real home-run threat and change-of-pace back.

Worst moves — In a draft of reaches, the Seahawks continued to stretch beyond their skis. Russell Wilson would have been on the board in round five but Seattle took him in round three and linebacker Bobby Wagner was a second-round pick that could have been a third-rounder. Plus, Jacksonville took a punter in round three. Are they even trying down there? They didn't go get Tebow because they have Blaine Gabbert and they take draft a punter in round three. They are the Royals of the NFL... and that's not a compliment.

Best and worst of Day 3 (rounds four through seven)

Best moves — Loved the addition of speed backs Lamar Miller (Dolphins) and Chris Rainey (Steelers). The Cardinals added tackle Bobby Massie, who had a second-round grade by some. A couple of Nebraska defenders — Alfonzo Dennard and Jared Crick — who were preseason all-stars before struggling last season may be starters.

Worst moves — That the draft ended and we have a year to ponder the next one. Sigh.


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    Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, left, tries to get by Memphis Grizzlies' Marc Gasol, of Spain, during the first half of Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, April 29, 2012. Los Angeles Clippers defeated Memphis Grizzlies 99-98. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Playoffs everywhere

OK, the NBA playoffs started and there was a triple-double by Lakers center Andrew Bynum, Derrick Rose, the reigning MVP, blew out his ACL, Boston point guard Rajon Rondo assumed the league's thug quota was love since Metta World Peace was suspended and bumped a referee, the Clippers rallied from a 27-point deficit to beat Downtown Patrick Brown's beloved Grizzlies, LeBron went medieval on the Knicks. Did we leave anything out?

Here's how the first-round matchups look and when they go again:

Eastern Conference

Atlanta leads Boston 1-0. Next: Tuesday at Atlanta

Miami leads New York 1-0. Next: Tonight at Miami (TNT)

Orlando leads Indiana 1-0. Next: Tonight at Indiana (NBA TV)

Chicago leads Philly 1-0. Next: Tuesday at Chicago

Western Conference

Oklahoma City leads Dallas 1-0. Next: Tonight at OKC (TNT)

LA Lakers lead Denver 1-0. Next: Tuesday at L.A.

San Antonio leads Utah 1-0. Next: Wednesday at San Antonio

LA Clippers lead Memphis 1-0. Next Wednesday at Memphis.

There also is the matter of the NHL playoffs and we're starting to think the 5-at-10 may be a hockey jinx. As soon as we started following the Preds, they fall into a 2-0 hole against Phoenix. Well, we're ending this right here. The Preds are dead to us (Not really Deboman, we're just trying to jinx the jinx, you know?)

And to complete the trifecta, the PGA event in New Orleans went into a playoff and Auburn grad Jason Dufner edged Ernie Els. On the course, Dufner has the emotional range of CheeseWhiz and the temperament of a potted plant. Dude is so even keel it's tough to tell if he's 5 under or lining up a 30-footer for triple. And he's a good guy. As friend of the show wc777 sent us during Sunday's final round, the folks on the Golf Channel said after a double-bogey that Dufner's the "Honey Badger" of golf because he just don't care. Good times all around.


Braves now holding an ace

Atlanta welcomed back front-line starter Tim Hudson on Sunday. And while Hudson said, "Nothing was great," about his stuff in a 4-3 win, his presence at the top of the rotation is assuredly better than good.

Hudson pitched in and out of trouble through five rocky innings and got the win when the Braves took the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Dan Uggla walked with the bases loaded.

And as April gives way to May, having Timmy Hudson back in the fold with Tommy Hanson, Mikey Minor and Brandon-y Beachy is nice. Plus, these Braves end April tonight against Pittsburgh with Minor on the mound and a chance to finish the month 15-8.

Considering that first month started 0-4, was without Hudson, was with Jair Jurrjens battling stinking, no regular other than Michael Bourn hitting better than .300 and Brian McCann hitting .242, April has been an overwhelming success for Johnny Braves Fans everywhere.


This and that

— The Texas Rangers are the best team in baseball and it's not that close. That's a bunch that is having a good time being really good and it's fun to watch.

— Back to the Clips rallying from 27 down... how does that happen? If Memphis does not bounce back strong in Game 2, that may set that could be the kind of loss that damages the organization to the core.

— As the teams continue to change conferences in college sports, it appears the WAC is about to fold. Seems like it wasn't that long ago that the WAC was the king of squirts and now it's the squirt of the squirts. So it goes. The WAC can't even keep Texas-San Antonio from bolting to Conference USA.

— How about the local kid making good, part I? BJ Coleman was picked by Green Bay in the seventh round, which allowed Jefe to grab the title in the second annual Feeling the Draft Challenge. Jefe had three points (Richardson, Kendall Wright and Green Bay) to edge StuckinKent, Weena, Deboman, scole023 and Chas9 by a point. Thanks to everyone for playing.

— How about the local kid making good, part II? Luke List won the Nationwide event in Valdosta on Sunday. List, who has always been on the cusp, finally pushed through and earned $112,500 with the win. "It feels fantastic," List told reporters afterward. "It's hard to describe. I really put my head down, especially on the weekend. I knew where I was all day and it was nice to perform under the pressure. Hopefully, this will be a turning point for me and I can get a few more this year." List has always been able to crush it — List averaged a field-best 329 yards this weekend off the tee on the 7,781-yard course, the longest on the tour —and now he finished the deal. Great job.


Today's question

It's a free-for-all Monday.

We'll start... What was the best sporting event of the weekend?

Which team had the best draft?

Is anyone interested in a Kentucky Derby challenge?


about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Livn4life said...

The Draft is Over and I don't feel so good myself. The Cleveland Weedout qb choice probably puzzles me most. I do hope to see T. Richardson burning it up at the Mistake by the Lake as the stadium was once called. Local Kids good Parts I & II are fabulous. I hope both keep it going and show that our illustrious area has some really good athletes. If Luke doesn't go onto better things I will be teed off. I am no NE fan but believe the Pats did some damage in making their defense better and Hightower is a beast. As for a Kentucky Derby challenge, I feel confident the Kats will have more hosses on the team next year...oh you meant the real horses. Nay on that and I'm not just stallin'. Have a great week 5-er.(that is what N. Ireland people call their 5 pound note)

April 30, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
Stewwie said...

OKC-Dallas was a great game the other night capped with Durant's amazing shot at the end to win it. That's going to be a great series.

Bray as the 18th-best prospect for next year's draft? In his dreams maybe.

April 30, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Livn —

The local lads are both good kids too, which is nice. And yes, the Patriots defense got a lot better — although the safety (Wilson?) in round 2 was a big time stretch.

We get the feeling you are against the Derby Challenge — but you still have a lot of love in the Pun for the Roses. Thank you, thank you.

Stew got what we need (Biz Markie version) —

We love, Love, LOVE the Thunder. That's a fun bunch right there. And the Greg Oden over Kevin Durant debate will be the Jordan/Bowie of this generation.

And we're not an over-the-top Bray fan, but dude is going to show out at the combine and such. He better arm/accuracy than Weeden or Tannehill. And it's not that close.

— 5-at-10

April 30, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Big props to Luke List for winning, and big ups to Jason Dufner. He won't have to hear the talk about losing the PGA in a playoff or stumbling after being the 36-hole leader at The Masters.

Really don't think the Falcons did enough to help themselves. They desperately need help at tackle. Pigeons spend more time on Sam Baker than they do on Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel, on the grounds of the Capitol. Plus, they need pass rushing help and got ... none. Bad draft, bad draft (if you say it like Cartman saying bad kitty it makes ... OK, it makes no sense, except in my mind.)

Getting Hudson back is a definite shot in the arm for the Braves.

April 30, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
chas9 said...

I'd have won if I'd gone with my first impulse. I had the Falcs taking Konz before changing my mind. I can show you the back of the envelope I wrote it on. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of what I am. A loser. A nobody.

Patrick's story on Derek and the 7 dwarves makes several good points. But somebody needs to explain "the wolf" the story refers to.

I'm with Mr. Stew. If #18 is the over-under on T-Bray, I'll take the under. (Or would that be the over?)

Yes, please, on the Derby contest.

April 30, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[But somebody needs to explain "the wolf" the story refers to.]

At first glance, I thought he was referring to the intensity of SEC competition. It sounded like a subtle jab at Justin Wilcox who bolted the SEC for the PAC-12.

Then I thought maybe the "wolf" could simply be the rumors of Dooley's potential firing in the next year or two if things don't turn around. If Dooley is fired, the whole staff could be fired, and guys may want to go ahead a choose their next jobs now.

Jay, what is your take on what the "wolf" is that Dooley was referring to?

I just noticed that Aaron Murray is not on your top 20 for next year. Did you mean to leave him off the list?

April 30, 2012 at 1 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Fair criticism of the Falcons draft. Fair and well-reasoned and even somewhat civil... Wait... What happened to our Spy and who is using his handle. (Tom Watson... pigeons... Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha... What's our record for these little period things ... Did we leave the refrigerator running... Hope so.)

9er —

We believe you, and know that you're always a contenda. Hey, we're talking about Bray the gunslinger — and who knows he may implode this fall — but if he stays on the field and puts up the numbers UT is going to need to be healthy, he's going to turn heads. Trust us.

Stewwie —

Yes we meant to leave Aaron Murray off the list. First, we feel like he'll be a four-year guy at Georgia. Second, he's not even 6-foot-1. He's a great college player who will play in the NFL, but we don't think he's a first-rounder.

Hey, we know what your thinking... "The 5-at-10 is nuts... He'd rather have Tyler Bray than Aaron Murray..." No. We'd rather have Aaron Murray in the SEC, but we think scouts would prefer Bray's tools than Murray's. Call it the Sanchez/Tebow corollary.

As for the wolf stuff. We'll get back to you.

— 5-at-10

As for the wolf...

April 30, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
tigerdawg said...

no comment on the skins taking RG3 and cousins? It's hard to find the upside in that after they traded away their future draft picks through 2099 for a top QB and then use another early pick on a backup for him

April 30, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

TD —

StuckinKent also asked about this morning.

We think it's less than wise. What's the upside? grooming Cousins as trade bait?

That said, there is downside everywhere. If you're RGIII, you have to question how much Washington is committed to you. If you're Cousins, you have to wonder if they are picking you as a back-up or what.

And what happens if the competition is was closer than expected and divides the locker room.

Think of it this way, T-D: What if you got hired for a new job and then two days later your new company — which moved heaven and Earth to hire you — hired someone to groom as your possible replacement.

April 30, 2012 at 3:31 p.m.
wcole777 said...

It's the truth about Dufner, he just don't care. I thought for sure that his first PGA victory would draw out a smile or some kind of little hop off the ground, maybe a putter flip or caddie chest bump, but I was slap wrong. No doubt I have to claim the Zurich Tourney as best event of the weekend! I just can't believe he looked the same after the win (especially after beating a hall of fame legend in a flippin playoff). The photographer for dude's wedding next weekend best be charging by the hour because I think it may be easier to get a shot of small children sitting still than it would be to get any emotion out of Dufner. Needless to say, WAR EAGLE! It's about time we got a guy rocking the PGA tour. Thanks for the shout out, sir! And yes, let's roll the dice on the horses.

April 30, 2012 at 3:33 p.m.
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