5-at-10: NFC draft breakdown, Braves better protect their best, Bama betting controversy

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. gestures to the crowd as he runs the bases after hitting a home run in the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. gestures to the crowd as he runs the bases after hitting a home run in the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


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NFC draft review

If you missed our team-by-team AFC look at best and most-puzzling picks, you can find it here.

If you are looking for our team-by-team NFC draft analysis, well, pour a cup and pull up a chair.

(Early true or false — it is Tuesday: True or false, "cup o' Joe" is your go-to coffee expression.)

NFC South

Atlanta — Best pick: Matthew Bergeron. The Syracuse offensive lineman will likely move inside to guard, but in terms of value, Bergeron — who was a first-rounder on most boards — in round 2 is a quality addition.

Puzzling pick: The numbers just don't prove the worth of Bijan Robinson at 8. By comparison, he'll have to be as good as Christian McCaffery to be worth that investment, so either he's going to be the best RB in the league or it's a bad pick. No pressure kid.

Carolina — Best pick: Bryce Young. The Panthers did not overthink the No. 1 pick and took the best QB in the draft. Is he a bit wee? Yes, yes he is. But the former Alabama Heisman winner is a boss.

Puzzling pick: Jonathan Mingo. Man, something tells me the Mingo (second round) vs. Jalin Hyatt or Cedric Tillman (both in the third round) comps are going to be one-sided and not how the Panthers are hoping.

Tampa Bay — Best pick: Cody Mauch. Yes Tom Brady is gone and the Bucs' long-term QB plans must be addressed, but Mauch is a pick and plug offensive lineman who mauls folks.

Puzzling pick: Actually a lack of a QB is the most puzzling part of the Bucs' draft haul.

New Orleans — Best pick: A couple actually for the Saints, who took Bryan Breese, the former Clemson DT to address the team's most glaring need, and fourth-round steal Jake Haener, the former Fresno State QB.

Puzzling pick: Kendre Miller. The Saints have a slew of needs — a cap situation so dire that this class will be counted on heavily — but running back is assuredly not among them.

NFC North

Chicago — Best pick: Tyler Scott, the former Cincinnati WR, who the Bears grabbed in round four. In truth, I was hoping the Falcons would take Desmond Ridder's former teammate.

Puzzling pick: The Bears clearly had a plan, but I wonder whether Darnell Wright, the UT tackle, was the best offensive lineman on the board when the Bears took him at 10. That's especially true with Broderick Jones still available at that time.

Green Bay — Best pick: Colby Wooden. Meet the next former Auburn Tigers defensive player who will be better on Sundays than he was on Saturdays. A defensive lineman with his size and speed on Day 3 is the definition of a steal.

Puzzling pick: Was it a designed spite move to draft two tight ends and two wide receivers in the first Green Bay draft without Aaron Rodgers?

Minnesota — Best pick: Jordan Addison continues the Vikings' run of finding top-quality wide receivers in the back half of round 1.

Puzzling pick: The Vikings took a pair of CBs with Kelee Ringo still on the board. That made me go, hmmmmmm.

Detroit — Best pick: Brian Branch, the Alabama safety, somehow fell to Detroit at 45 after a lot of folks had him pegged as the top player at his position. And the Lions of course landed everyone's favorite third-round QB Hendon Hooker, so there's that.

Puzzling pick: The Lions rebounded on Friday and Saturday with a nice collection of picks after a puzzling round 1. Jahmyr Gibbs is a very good player. The Lions over-picked him by at least one full round at 12 however. Still, I like the Lions' draft way more than most.

NFC East

Philadelphia — Best pick: All of them? Maybe. Seriously. To add two of the top 10 overall players in terms of talent and potential in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith with picks 10 and 30 is staggering. Philly led the NFL in sacks last year and just added those two dudes. Man, here's betting Dak Prescott and Daniel Jones were cussing up a storm last Thursday.

Puzzling pick: Maybe the Illinois safety Sydney Brown, but that was a need pick. In truth it was almost a perfect draft.

Dallas — Best pick: First-rounder Mazi Smith is a monster of a dude at 330 and RB Duece Vaughn has a chance to be Tony Pollard's back-up.

Puzzling pick: Couple of thoughts here, as the Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker is a need, but there were better tight ends on the board at the time. (Hello Darnell Washington.) Plus, I can't help but think what Nolan Smith on the other side of Micah Parsons would look like on third down in Dallas.

New York Giants — Best pick: Another team with multiple options. Jalin Hyatt in round three was a home run pick, but running back Eric Gray — the former UT player who portalled to Oklahoma — on Day 3 is an absolute steal. The Giants had a very good draft.

Puzzling pick: Other than not taking a QB on Day 3, not sure there really was a pick that puzzled to be honest.

Washington — Best pick: Not sure there is one here. Maybe former Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez, but that arguably is the Commanders' deepest position.

Puzzling pick: Another team that did not take a QB, which is especially egregious in a draft filled with reaches. Most notably may have been the Commanders' first pick. Mississippi State corner Emmanuel Forbes is a fine player. But Christian Gonzalez, the Oregon corner who went one pick after Forbes, is gonna be a star.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams — Best pick: Easily the most active team on Day 3 with 11 fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks, the Rams made me think of me playing Madden Dynasty mode back in the day. As for best pick, we all know Stetson Bennett is going to find a way to overachieve, but of the Day 3 haul for the Rams, corner Tre Tomlinson and big Georgia O-lineman Warren McClendon were great gets.

Puzzling pick: A lot of folks will say Bennett, considering the Rams took him in round four, but I will never doubt that fella's will to get it done.

San Francisco — Best pick: Ji'Ayir Brown. Man, the 49ers get stuff done. With no first- or second-round pick, the 49ers landed arguably the best safety in the draft.

Puzzling pick: None, really. Despite the top-end picks, the 49ers had a pretty strong draft.

Seattle — Best pick: The Seahawks added the best corner (Devon Witherspoon) and a top-flight WR. That's always a good start to any first round.

Puzzling pick: Zach Charbonnet as a second-rounder? Yeah, no.

Arizona — Best pick: It may have been trading back for extra draft capital for 2024, but Arizona added the best tackle in the draft (and made QB Kyler Murray smile) while also getting LSU edge rusher BJ Ojulari and Auburn LB Owen Pappoe, each of whom have tremendous ceilings.

Puzzling pick: The third-round selections look like tremendous reaches, but hey, you're the Cardinals. It's not like anyone will be paying attention anyway.

Picking some Braves nits

OK, a Monday doubleheader split against the Mets was fine.

And yes, there are some nits to pick with A.J. Minter and the stress-inducing Braves bullpen, which almost cost Atlanta Game 1 Monday.

And yes, we need to give Alex Anthopoulos another round of "atta boys" for his acquisition of Sean Murphy, who hit a couple of homers and drove in the entire population of Whitwell on Monday.

And yes, that was a very out-of-character performance from Spencer Strider, who gave up four earned ands walked three in five innings.

And yes, there is some consternation that Vaughn Grissom is making more errors than a tipsy first-day waiter who refuses to write down your order.

But here's my beef.

The next time someone hits Ronald Acuña Jr., somebody on this Braves pitching staff needs to make amends.

Period.

I am tired of watching arguably the most talented baseball player on the planet not on the Angels' roster hit a tape-measure homer in one game and then take a 95 mph heater in the solar plexus in the next game.

Period.

And here's betting he's tired of it, too. Especially without some support.

Come on, Snit. Call Maverick, because it is way past time to buzz someone's tower Skipper.

Bad bet

So sportsbooks in Ohio have shut down all wager opportunities on Alabama baseball because of some irregular activities noticed by one of the watchdog groups that monitor such things in Vegas.

Here's more from ESPN gambling ace David Purdum.

That's some stuff right there folks.

The irregular activities happened in last Friday's Alabama-LSU game when 'suspicious wagering' was noticed by U.S. Integrity, a group that monitors betting.

Alabama was down 8-1 after seven innings before the Tide's comeback fell short in an 8-6 loss.

No other details were reported and LSU swept the Tide in a three-game series over the weekend.

Keep an eye on this one, friends.

This and that

— So Bud Light sales are now down 26%. See everyone thinks this is because of the Dylan Mulvaney dust-up. Not many know that I quit drinking "Co-Colas," so that hurt Bud Light, too.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall catching up with UT boss Josh Heupel as the Vols Caravan rolled through Chattanooga on Monday. I completely forgot Heupel was left-handed.

— So without Joel Embiid, James Harden showed out and the 76ers stole Game 1 in Boston. In the West, the Suns are down 0-2 and Nikola Jokic continues to look like the best draft pick in sports history not named Tom Brady or Mike Piazza.

— Rest easy Gordon Lightfoot.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning, Ernie.

True or false, we should start using "portalled" as a verb instead of "transferred" in terms of college athletes changing schools.

True or false, the Eagles had the best draft.

True or false, if you were an NFL GM you would draft a QB at least every other year if not every year.

True or false, you hate it when waiters don't write down your order. True or false, that should be one of those Progressive "you're becoming like your parents" commercial topics.

True or false, those Progressive "you're becoming like your parents" commercials are gold, Jerry. Gold.

As for today, May 2, let's review.

Wow, the MCU debuted on this day 25 years ago when "Iron Man" was released.

Feels like we should have some sort of MCU Rushmore, but what could it be? Vader, any suggestions?

Also, Dwayne Johnson is 51.

Rushmore of "rock," and have a little fun, will ya?


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