Monday, May 01, 2006

Randomization: 05/01/06

Time to grade the ungradeable. The same people who like to tell us about how you can't truly judge a draft until two or three years after it happens are out there grading everyone's draft this morning, doing exactly what they usually are telling us can't be done. I'm not going to fall into that trap. Instead of grading teams, I'm going to look at which teams appeared to draft with a solid focus on what they needed and wanted to add to their teams, and I'm going to talk a lot about the Packers and Vikings, both of whom I think did well, but weren't perfect.

It was an interesting draft, starting with one of the most talked-about storylines in recent draft history. The Houston Texans took Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. Williams, a defensive end out of North Carolina State, was an exceptionally productive player at NC State, and he's undoubtedly a great athlete with great potential, but he's not Bush. Bush is a once-in-a-lifetime difference-maker who is so versatile and so talented that it's unfathomable that any team could pass on a chance to get him. Even with Deuce McAlister in the backfield, the Saints will get Bush on the field, and they'll find a way to get him the ball. The Texans, meanwhile, are hopeful that Williams will improve his consistency and play with more leverage at the pro level. If he doesn't, they'll forever be known as the team that passed on Reggie Bush.

The Vikings should have traded out of the first day after the first round. By reaching for C Ryan Cook and QB Tarvaris Jackson (they traded up for Jackson) in the second round, the Vikings had the look of a team that didn't really have a good grasp of the draft process. Cook could have been easily had on the second day, and there's no chance that the Vikings really needed to move up for Jackson, who is a multi-year project at the NFL level, though he does have a ton of potential (note avoidance of word "upside"). Cook does have some potential, though. He's a tall kid who has the athletic ability to play a number of different positions on the line. That said, the first-round choice (LB Chad Greenway) fills a need with a potentially great player, and the Vikings got some nice players on the second day (DE Ray Edwards, S Greg Blue). It certainly beats the second-round choice of Michael Boireau during the Denny Green Errora. Second-round CB Cedric Griffin fills a need, and Blue was an All-American safety in college, so you know he can play, physical limitations aside (apparently, scouts didn't like his overall athleticism).

The Packers got quantity, as well as quality. Green Bay made some deals, including one for Javon Walker (more on that later). They ended up with 12 total picks in the draft, and they did pretty well when it comes to filling needs with players who fit the systems. The picks of LB Abdul Hodge (third round) and DT Johnny Jolly (sixth round) stand as the best potential values for the Pack. Hodge may step in immediately as the starting MLB, allowing Nick Barnett to move to the strong side while first-round pick AJ Hawk starts on the weak side. Second-round picks Daryn Colledge (OL) and Greg Jennings (WR) were good gets for Green Bay, too. The Packers may have picked up their new starting guards in this draft (Colledge and third-rounder Jason Spitz), and Jennings has the chance to develop into a solid wide receiver. The Packers drafted two linebackers, four offensive linemen, and three wide receivers.

The Lakers got calls?? Shocking! I don't think anyone batted an eye yesterday when three trained and allegedly qualified NBA officials ignored obvious fouls on Phoenix guard Steve Nash when the game was on the line, and the egregious non-calls allowed the Lakers to take a 3-1 lead in their NBA playoff series. That said, it underscores the need for the NBA to fix their officiating problems. Late in regulation, Smush Parker mugged Nash, took the ball away, and fed Kobe Bryant for a game-tying layup to force overtime. That obvious non-call, however, was nothing compared to what we saw at the end of overtime. Nash, admittedly, made a mistake, as he dribbled into a half-court trap near the sideline. That doesn't change the fact that Nash was fouled by Laker Luke Walton before Walton was able to tie the ball up. The Lakers were trying to foul Nash, and the officials ignored it. Walton won the ensuing jump ball against Nash, and Bryant drove the ball down the floor for the game-winning fadeaway jumper at the horn. It's sad, really, that the officials feel it's necessary to help out the number seven seed in the Western Conference. If the Lakers end up playing the Clippers, however, it could all end up being worth the trouble. And exactly three people on the planet who don't have Laker season tickets would root for the Lakers.

Other notes - Larry King style...The Oilers can finish their gargantuan upset of Detroit tonight in Edmonton in Game 6. Edmonton won Game 5 at The Joe, and Rexall Place should be somewhat loud tonight...The Brewers scored 25 runs in two days to beat the sCrUBS twice at Wrigley Stadium. El Caballo set a club record with 10 home runs in April, as Milwaukee finished the month a more-than-respectable 14-11...Detroit Tiger fans are left to wonder when the Twins will show up for the weekend series at Comerica Park. The Tigers outscored the mighty Twins 33-1 in winning three straight. No, that's not a typo. I said "33-1". Even Tiger fans were left upset by the lack of fight in the Twins over the weekend.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Which Tiger fans were those?

I'll take whatever wins I can get.