28 April 2008

Tampa Bay Draft Evaluation

Before I begin, hearty congratulations are in order for the Orlando Magic after they defeated the Toronto Raptors in 4 of 5 games to move on to the second round in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

My analysis of the Bucs' draft picks:
Overall, I think the Bucs did a reasonably good job with this year's draft. I was a little bit underwhelmed after the first two rounds, but they pulled it through with their second-day selections. Almost all of these guys should make the team and be solid contributors.

First Round (20th overall)
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Talib certainly has the physical tools to be successful; the questions with him are about his mental makeup and character. This clip of Talib being burned by Kansas State's Jordy Nelson (a second-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers) is the most knowledge of either player that most fans have. But Talib, in Monte Kiffin's cover-2 scheme, should be a solid CB2 or nickelback for years to come.

Second Round (58th overall)
Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian St.
When I saw that the Bucs had drafted the 5'9" speedster, my reaction wasn't positive: "we've drafted a smurf," I wrote on one internet message board. Analysts from ESPN and other sources were quick to counter that Jackson could be a good slot receiver for Tampa... I'm unconvinced. Little bitty guys from small schools, even little bitty guys who run really fast, tend to get smushed when they get to the NFL.

Third Round (83rd overall)
Jeremy Zuttah, OG, Rutgers
Zuttah should be a solid OL, and possibly decent starter, for the next decade or so. He's a big guy (6'3", 303) who might eventually develop into a RT; for now, he's a G/C, and a pretty good one. Great pick.

Fourth Round (115th overall)
Dre Moore, DT, Maryland
Moore is a guy who has the size and athletic ability to be something really special, if he can only get his head together. He wasn't consistent in college (which is why he fell to the fourth round), but showed the stereotypical "flashes of brilliance" throughout his career.

Fifth Round (160th overall)
Josh Johnson, QB, San Diego
Johnson isn't going to play this year, or next; he will be, at best, a 3rd QB for the next two or three years. Why draft him? He's a QB with decent accuracy, and a good arm, who runs in the mid-4.5's, and had 42 touchdowns to 1 interception last year. Great potential - could be a starter down the road - but very, very raw.

Sixth Round (175th overall)
Geno Hayes, OLB, FSU
He's undersized, but pretty quick, and he was quite productive last year. Should be a good special teams player.

Seventh Round (238th overall)
Cory Boyd, RB, South Carolina
Boyd is a decent back, but nothing special; tough guy. Has a shot to make the team, but won't be a major contributor in the near future.

Topic Fragment

I promise that later today, I will upload my analysis of the players taken by the Bucs.

For now, though, the first wannabe sentence of this article is a truly horrid fragment:

"Raja Bell, who after being a non-factor in Games 2 and 3 (13 points combined), gave the Suns the offensive spark they had been missing Sunday, scoring a game-high 27 points, including 21 in the first half."



26 April 2008

My Last-Minute First-Roud Mock

The NFL draft starts in just over an hour. So: it's time to put together a mock draft!

1. Miami Dolphins
Jake Long, OT, Michigan

2. St. Louis Rams
Chris Long, DE, Virginia

3. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

4. Oakland Raiders
Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

5. Kansas City Chiefs
Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

6. New York Jets
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

7. New England Patriots
Keith Rivers, LB, USC

8. Baltimore Ravens
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

9. Cincinnati Bengals
Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

10. New Orleans Saints
Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State

11. Buffalo Bills
Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State

12. Denver Broncos
Brandon Albert, OG/OT, Virginia

13. Carolina Panthers
Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

14. Chicago Bears
Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

15. Detroit Lions
Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida

16. Arizona Cardinals
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

17. Kansas City Chiefs
Limas Sweed, WR, Texas

18. Houston Texans
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

19. Philadelphia Eagles
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt

21. Washington Redskins
Kenny Phillips, S, Miami

22. Dallas Cowboys
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson

24. Tennessee Titans
DeSean Jackson, WR, California

25. Seattle Seahawks
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

26. Jacksonville Jaguars
Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina

27. San Diego Chargers
James Hardy, WR, Indiana

28. Dallas Cowboys
Jarod Mayo, LB, Tennessee

29. San Francisco 49ers
Dan Connor, LB, Penn State

30. Green Bay Packers
John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame

31. New York Giants
Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

24 April 2008

He's a moive star

From the very first sentence of Chris Ballard's SportsIllustrated.com article "Dale Webster's Endless Summer," which chronicles a guy who's surfed every day for the last 32 years:

"(To watch Dale Webster in the moive, Step Into Liquid, go here. Webster's cameo starts at the 19:33 mark.)"

How does that happen? How does such a blatant error slip unnoticed into the first sentence of a front-page article on a major website? These aren't rhetorical questions - I really wonder.


22 April 2008

I'll conceded that Don Banks made a mistake

Just a quick note today, as I have to finish revising an essay and then turn it in before midnight.

From Don Banks' article on things that should happen during draft weekend:

"7. The Saints move up in the top 10 to take Sedrick Ellis: OK, I'll conceded it's not possible for New Orleans to do everything I've suggested."

He'll conceded? Clever wording there, dude, putting your sentence simultaneously in the future, past, and present tenses.


19 April 2008

NBA playoffs: first-round predictions

Before I start, an apology for not posting for a few days; the end of the semester is approaching, and things are kind of frantic.

First round

Lakers over Nuggets in 5

Sadly, this could very well be the most exciting playoff series; the Lakers play at the 6th-fastest pace in the league, while the Nuggets are easily first. Look for winners to be consistently in the 120-point range.

Rockets over Jazz in 6
Houston's lost Yao Ming, but they've compensated for it by stepping up their defensive efficiency (second-best in the league, behind only Boston).

Spurs over Suns in 7
Yes, Shaq will to a certain extent contain Tim Duncan. But look for Ginobili to - figuratively, of course - explode playing against the Marion-less Suns.

Mavericks over Hornets in 6
As skilled as Chris Paul is, I can't see Jason Kidd, in his first playoff series with a legitimately talented, well-balanced team, failing to make it past the first round.

Celtics over Hawks in 5
I'm giving the Hawks a game here just because I see Josh Smith and Joe Johnson going off at least once.

Wizards over Cavs in 6
Have you noticed that every upset I've picked has been in 6 games? The 2-2-1-1-1 format lends itself to home teams coming through if the series goes to seven. This matchup won't go to seven, though: the Wizards, with Arenas coming off the bench, will dominate.

Magic over Raptors in 7
As an Orlando fan, the Raptors make me nervous; they have good guard play and a solid big man in Chris Bosh. But I'm hopeful that Turkoglu and The Gentleman On Whose Cape Thou Shalt Not Tug (TGOWCTSNT) will pull the Magic through.

Pistons over 76ers in 5
Detroit should win this series based just on quality of names: the Pistons have guys named Tayshaun, Chauncey, Rip, and Rasheed; Philly just has two guys named Andre.

14 April 2008

Are they or aren't they?

Former olympic 100m champion Maurice Greene probably didn't dope. We know that he didn't test positive during his career.

But reports of doping have dogged him lately, leading IAAF spokesman Nick Davies to issue a statement of support for Greene. At least, I think Davies issued a statement of support for Greene.
To quote from the Associated Press article as displayed on ESPN.com:

"Davies said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had been looking into the link for years without finding any proof. "If it was Maurice, it was not enough to even interest USADA, who are very interested," Davies said."

So there wasn't enough of a connection for the USADA to investigate, except that they investigated? And therefore they weren't interested in the matter, except that they were?

In the immortal words of Napoleon Dynamite: huh?


13 April 2008

Woods loses Masters in playoff

ESPN.com's final leaderboard for the Masters features Trevor Immelman winning with a score of 8 under par.

It also features Tiger Woods in second place with a score of 8 under par.

Clearly, Woods staged an improbable comeback, thrilling crowds with his relentless charge as he birdied hole after hole in his final round... or, far less likely, ESPN.com just got the scores wrong in the featured graphic of their headline story.

Can we initiate a nation-wide slow clap? Please?


Toady alert!

According to SportsIllustrated.com's Don Banks, the Dallas Cowboys should look for "another running back to compliment Marion Barber," among other needs.

Perhaps this new running back could give Barber massages as well? Bring him a paper before practice?


EDIT: 3:51 PM

On the very next page, we see another error! Quoting: ""Just a little bit of time could mean a whole lot of draft money,'' bemoaned Kelly, thereby revealing his first priority."

Bemoan is a transitive verb. Unless Malcolm Kelly (a wide receiver and prospect in the upcoming NFL draft) is bemoaning himself - which would be quite a feat - Banks has misused the word.


12 April 2008

The Bills are stealing from themselves... and then making spelling errors

A double whammy of an error today, found in the Buffalo Bills' Team Needs profile on NFL.com. To quote the profile's opening sentence: "Having lost two players in free agency to a unit that was already somewhat supsect, the Bills have a major need at the tight end position."
Two conclusions wait to be drawn from that incredibly eloquent introduction. First, the Bills' tight ends were a solid unit last year (that much is not in question), but the Bills are apparently either cannibalizing themselves (if the "unit" is a part of the Bills), or losing players to a pre-blighted band of scalawags. Second, nobody apparently bothered to run the profile through spellcheck before posting it on the internet for millions of people to read.


11 April 2008

John Smoltz is Doc Brown

According to ESPN.com's Christopher Harris, John Smoltz is apparently one of those rare people who has the ability to travel backwards in time.

There's a graph in the middle of the article detailing pitchers who have returned from Tommy John surgery; Smoltz, of course, is one of the more successful examples. The graph, though, lists him as having surgery in March 2003 - and then returning from that surgery to pitch 59 innings in 2001.

It's not so much a grammar error as it is a factual error - Smoltz actually had surgery in March 2000 - but it's humorous nonetheless.
Click on the image for a larger view.

07 April 2008

Well, that was quick...

It's been less than twenty minutes since the NCAA men's basketball championship game ended - the Jayhawks are hoisting the trophy even as I type - and ESPN.com already has a game summary posted on their frontpage.

Problem is, that summary, which comes courtesy of the Associated Press, features this gem of a second paragraph:

"Mario Chalmers hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to push the game into overtime, and the Jayhawks grinded it out from there for a 75-68 victory Monday night over Memphis in one of the best title games in recent memory."

Grinded? Really?

Click the screenshot if you need a larger view.

06 April 2008

We need 5 QB, 7 RB....

According to this analysis by NFL.com's Mike Mayock (a distinguished gentleman to whose player rankings, if you will recall, I took exception back in mid-February), the Miami Dolphins have "numerous needs at most positions."

How can a team have numerous needs at most positions? Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that they have numerous needs, or that they have needs at most positions? Perhaps the Dolphins need not just starters but backups and third-string players as well? Perhaps they have only two or three players signed, and plan to restock their entire roster through the draft?

Somehow I doubt it.
Click on the picture if you need a larger view.

05 April 2008

The highest and highest payrolls

Today's find (from Ian Thomsen's SI.com article) doesn't indicate any lack of knowledge - it's just a funny typo.

Click the picture to enlarge if you can't immediately tell what's wrong.

04 April 2008

Picking UNC-KU

Tonight, North Carolina plays Kansas at 8:47 PM. In my pre-tournament bracket, I picked UNC, and I'm sticking with them in this game. Why?

To me, the two most important positions in college basketball are point guard and center. A good center can dominate the basket areas and take his team a long way (remember Andrew Bogut taking Utah to the Elite Eight a few years ago?), and a good point guard can completely control the flow of a game to the point that the other team is befuddled and taken out of its rhythm (remember Jameer Nelson and St. Joseph's?).

UNC has, in Tywon Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough, a better PG/C combination than does Kansas in Russell Robinson and Darrell Arthur. While the SG matchup is a draw (Mario Chalmers vs. Wayne Ellington) and Kansas has the advantage at SF (Brandon Rush vs. Marcus Ginyard) and PF (Darnell Jackson vs. Deon Thompson), the Tarheels will, thanks to Hansbrough and Lawson, emerge victorious.

Prediction: UNC 82, Kansas 75

EDIT 4/5 12:33 PM
Yes, I'm aware that the game is actually Saturday. I was in a rush and got sloppy. Apologies all.

01 April 2008

"Impressive" isn't an adverb

Even though NFL.com's Jason Feller seems to think that it is, the daunting construction shouldn't modify verbs - it's an adjective. To quote from Feller's article: "Even the most casual fan knows of Brady's legendary exploits, but it is worth illuminating just how impressive he has performed throughout his career."

Would it look right if Feller had said that "it is worth illuminating just how impressively this performance was?" This is the same error, but in reverse. Nice work, dude.

Click the picture if you want to see a larger version.