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OK, first let's handle out BID-ness.

Here's today's A2 column on the mask mandate being lifted here in Hamilton County. It also generated this email this morning: "How much are you receiving from the Biden Administration to publish wimpy Corona articles?"

Good times.

You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the SEC impact on the first round of the draft. More on this shortly. A lot more.

Let's get to the Rushmores:

Rushmore of Michelle Pfeiffer films: Scarface, Fabulous Baker Boys,

Rushmore of Warren, and while Warren Peace is mighty clever, it's going to fall just short. Warren Spawn, Warren Beatty, Chief Justice Earl Warren and his single assassin report and Warren Buffett, Jimmy's uncle. Narrowly missing was Mary's brother Warren, "Franks and beans."

Rushmore of Olivers: Oliver Wendall Holmes, Oliver Twist, Oliver Stone and Oliver 'Ollie' McLellan, who made the big charity shots to get the barely big enough for three syllables Hickory Huskers to the state title game to face the mighty Bears of South Bend Central.

Rushmore of ballpark songs: (As nailed early Monday by Fat Vader) Take me out to the ballgame, Charge, Sweet Caroline, Centerfield. With an added bonus from friend of the show who is a bona fide expert on this topic: "I could put together a list, but rather, I'll list the one abomination that continues to get play.  Every time I hear "Everybody clap 'Yo hands" I just want to leave the stadium.  Just awful.  And lazy.  And bush-league." Good times.

Also, remember the Derby contest. Send me your winners and the horse you think is headed to the Alpo refinery.

OK, we got a ton of draft questions. Thanks for that, and thanks for everyone who played along on Twitter last night. I likely will be back in the playground tonight for rounds 2 and 3 too.

Good times.

I will try to move quickly on these. Shut it Spy.

 

From Frank

As a Gator fan I know you're right about that with Pitts but the question is can they stop anyone? Or run the ball?

Frank —

I think the Falcons are hoping and praying that the UNC running back is there when they pick No. 4 in round 2 tonight in an effort to address the ground game.

But your big question is an interesting one? Can the Falcons stop anyone? Don't think so, but in a draft that did not have an elite defensive difference-maker — I love Horn and Surtain, but the Falcons went corner 1 last year — I am good with making your strength even stronger.

Yeah, the Falcons' over/unders next year are going to start at 58 and go from there, but giddy-up. Love Kyle Pitts and so thankful the Falcons didn't reach for a D-tackle.

The gap between Pitts and TE2 in this draft is greater than the divide atop any position group this year and maybe in a long time. Plus, Arthur Smith was a former TE coach. Love the fit and if Julio stays (doubt it because of cap crunch), Pitts at 6-6, 250 with sub-4.5 speed will be facing single safety coverage.

Yes please.



From Drew 

I feel like the Cowboys didn't get enough in the trade, but made a solid pick at 12. What do you think?

Drew —

I think the Cowboys were a winner last night considering how the dominoes fell.

They wanted a corner, but the two best — Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain — went 8 and 9 before the Cowboys could pick at 10.

So they dealt down — and refused to be swayed by trading within the NFC East — and added picks. Then at 12 they got Micah Parsons, who a lot of folks feel is the best overall defensive player in the draft, to fill an injury-plagued LB crew that also had Sean Lee retire early this month.

Sure, maybe they could have got an extra pick or two from the Eagles, but that's maximizing value in my mind.

Now if DeVonta Smith, who the Eagles moved up to get, torches the Cowboys twice a year for the next decade, well, who knows.



From too many to count

Who were your draft winners and losers?

Gang —

Running short on time this a.m., and I'll email direct answers to you guys and gals asking specifically about teams and players that made headlines last night.

That said, we'll group as many of those questions together in a winners/losers section. Deal? Deal.

Winner: Chicago Bears and they fans. 24 hours ago you had pick 20 and may have been thinking, "Great we'll add a guard and we'll figure out how to lose a bunch of games 16-13 because Andy Dalton is our QB." Man, the Bears' QB history may be the worst run in the entire history of the league. When the best dude I can ever recall playing QB for your franchise is Jay Cutler, well, dang. Then, as my favorite non-long-haired QB in this draft started sliding the Bears bounced. A deal to 11 — and it was not that pricey all things considered — got the Bears Justin Fields and BANG a reason for the fan base to truly believe. Biggest home run of the night.

Loser: San Fran. Hey, it's tough to say boom or bust right now. Impossible in fact. But we can grade value and decision-making. And would you rather have Mac Jones and your first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 or Trey Lance and no 1s until '24? Seems like a reach and if you are betting that much of your future, it has to be a no-doubter.

Winner Alabama. Lots of folks ask, "Why do all those five stars go to Tuscaloosa and sit the bench for a year or two?" Well, it's because Nick Saban gets them to the NFL. Six Alabama players were picked in Round 1 and Saban now has had 39 first-round picks in his time with the Tide. Dude has 23 losses in that time. In fact, how about this first round breakdown with number of picks: Big Ten 7, Alabama 6, rest of the SEC 6, ACC 6, Pac-12 3, AAC 2, Independents 1 and FCS 1.

Loser: Yeah Big 12, no firsts? Ouch-standing.

Winner: Miami. Wow, they got Jaylen Waddle — the receiver they wanted from the start according to reports — the highest upside edge rusher in Jaelan Phillips to add a ton of athleticism. Now remember that they have multiple first-rounders next year and the year after because of draft positioning.

Loser: Oakland. Again, if Alex Leatherwood is a 10-year starter, then forget I even mentioned this. But in terms of value, Leatherwood was a monster reach at 17. I think he could very well have been on the board at 17 in round 2.

Winner: Pittsburgh. Love Najee Harris and the fit here is perfect. Know this, the three rookies I will target in my attempts to be a three-time champ in the Weston Wamp fantasy league are, in order, Harris, Ja'Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts. And would love to have all three right now.

Loser: Green Bay. Forget about the pick — they took speedy Georgia corner Eric Stokes, who many think was the second-best corner on his college team — and whether they reached or not. When Aaron Rodgers is depending out, you have failed as an organization friends.
Winner: Goodell's recliner. Cool add. And one regular reader was hoping the Pats fan would pop up and slug the commish. I was hoping the Pats would send one of Robert Kraft's masseurs from Florida to sit during their first-round pick. And getting Mac Jones at 15? Of course. That said, as great as Belichick's been, his first-round draft history is pretty rotten.

Thoughts? (And if you have team-specific questions, put them in the comments and I'll get to them today.  

 

From Todd

Hi Jay, let's assume that the Braves give Freeman his deal (should have already happened). What's next for this team to reach the peak we all want to see in a World Series win? Did they mess up by letting Charlie Culberson leave? Mark Melancon?
 
Todd —

Yes, Freddie should already be locked up long-term. I believe that deal will get done, but it should already be in the books. (Side note: I would love to be able to buy stock in Ronald Acuña right now, because he's already got $100 million guaranteed and will be renegotiating at the ripe ol' age of 26. If Harper got 13 years, $330 million, considering that Ronald is a much better defender, a much better base-runner and a much better teammate, he could very well be in a 10-year, half-a-billion-dollar neighborhood. And friends, that's a very nice neighborhood.)

Even with team friendly deals for Acuña and Albies to go with the extensions for Marcel Ozuna and (soon) Freeman, the issues are not with the lineup.

This bunch will hit. We know it will hit. Baseball is numerically predictable over the long haul and you have to trust it. Yes, slumps happen, but over the course of six months, we know what those guys are, and they will produce.

As for Culberson, great dude but the chemistry is not the issue with this bunch either. That's among the best locker rooms in the game, and Panda is doing plenty with the bat in replace of Charlie.

Melancon is an interesting name, and man this bullpen is a monster question mark. Side question: Nothing is more frustrating that watching a good and potentially very good team get hamstrung consistently because Luke Jackson can't get three outs in the seventh. That's a worry.

But to the gist of the question, for the Braves to reach the pinnacle, ownership is going to have to — HAVE TO — add a bona fide one to the top of the rotation.

Period, end of conversation. Because while the Braves have one of the better teams in the NL and we should all expect a postseason charge, when they get to the 'er' months and the games matter more and the at-bats matter more and everything matters more, well, handing the ball to Charlie Morton or Max Fried as the Dodgers call Trevor Bauer's number or the Padres give it to You Darvish or Blake Snell and the Mets look at deGrom and, well you get the idea.

Until they get an ace, the Braves can and likely will be good and potentially very good, but it's hard to see them ever being champs without one.

 

From J-Mac

What about banning menthol cigarettes? Do you think that is considered racist?.....which a lot of people do. I can see it from a safety standpoint since one article I read said that up to 80% of black smokers smoke menthol....but that is banning something that 80% of one race supports.
 
J-Mac —

Great question and I had to do some research because I had not heard about this controversy before your question.

Only in America could we put race into the conversation about cigarette smoking.

So a decision that could likely save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans a year — and 80% of that group is Black — is actually racist now because we are saving Black lives? Hmmmmmmm.

I'm against almost all forms of government over-reach, be it gun control (there are measures we can take to make it better) or just about anything else. So in practice I am against outlawing cigarettes because adult Americans with means can make their own decisions. (Now it's also why I am against universal healthcare, because I'm not gung ho on paying for those Americans who make terrible health decisions and will cost us billions if not trillions.)

And this comes from an only child who lost both parents — who were smokers for more than half a century — to cancer, including my mother who died from lung cancer.

But this is why so many of us in the middle (yes, Chas, right-middle, too) shrug our shoulders at so many calls of racism: This is a health matter. In fact, the origin of these bans are, from what I have read, and attempt to stop the 'flavored tobacco' products that appeal to younger Americans.

Does racism exist? Absolutely.

But is a measure that will save the lives of 4 times as many Blacks as whites now racist, too? Because if we cut the prices of menthols or made sure we gave them away in Black communities wouldn't a lot of folks view that as corporate America trying to kill more folks in the Black community, which would seem way, Way, WAY more racist to me.

And again, this is about the racist claim of this proposal not the merits of the measure. As a hard-standing believer in the Constitution, I am very hesitant to infringe on the rights of adult Americans, regardless what they look like, who they worship, how they pee or who they love, or just about anything else.

Great question J-Mac.

Remember the Derby contest and enjoy the weekend friends.

some text
Jay Greeson
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