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2010 NFL Draft First-Round Recap

Here’s a recap of the first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft with a blurb on the Top 10 selections and how they fit with their respective teams:

1) RAMS – SAM BRADFORD, QB, OKLAHOMA

Bradford was the guy. They are desperate for QB help and they really don’t have a decent option on their roster. He should walk in and start week one with their limited choices. He needs a lot of help and will have to adjust to playing under center and calling his own plays but he should develop nicely.

2) LIONS – NDAMUKONG SUH, DT, NEBRASKA

I love this pick. It was the easiest pick in the entire draft and the Lions didn’t bungle it. Suh is a monster and had one of the most dominant games by a college player I’ve ever seen. He’s going to be a star in the NFL and help turn the Lions’ defense around.

3) BUCCANEERS – GERALD MCCOY, DT, OKLAHOMA

The Buccaneers came up short in the Albert Haynesworth sweepstakes a year ago but now they’re getting the defensive tackle they coveted. I doubt McCoy will become as good as Haynesworth but they need him to anchor their line. After striking out with Gaines Adams in the first-round a few years ago they were desperate for some help up front. I don’t think he’ll compare to Suh, but the Bucs loved him.

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Seven Automatic BCS Bids Could Make Things Worse

It looks as if the Mountain West Conference will become the seventh conference to receive an automatic BCS bid two years from now.  Amidst a four-year evaluation process that began in 2008 and 2009, the MWC is the leading candidate to receive the seventh spot due in large part to Utah qualifying for a BCS game in 2008 and TCU following suit last season.  Like almost everything that has to do with BCS rankings, it remains unknown what exactly all of the criteria are that the Mountain West Conference needs to fulfill over the next two years in order to secure the bid.

While I agree with the notion that some teams in the MWC have been very, very good over the last couple years, (Utah and TCU were undefeated in 2008 and 2009, respectively) the rest of the conference is weak.  Utah, TCU, and BYU will probably be competitive year after year, but beyond that teams like Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado State and San Diego State make the MWC one of the more top-heavy conferences in the country.  I’ll admit if there has to be a seventh team added that will receive an automatic bid, the MWC is probably as good an option as any conference, but is it really necessary to create a situation in which seven out of ten BCS bids are automatic?

It’s no secret that the computer system that is the BCS standings is flawed.  In fact, that’s one of the furthest things from a secret in all of sports.  Leaving only three spots open for all of the other teams in college football to grab in order to gain a BCS berth is asking for trouble.  Some of the conferences (Big East) have a hard enough time fielding a team that’s worthy of their BCS bid some years.  Yes, Utah beat perennial powerhouse Alabama in 2008 to finish the season ranked No. 2 in the country, but don’t expect teams from the MWC to be that stellar every year.  The way the automatic bids are designed now, with six conferences receiving a bid and the other four spots up for grabs, leaves a good amount of flexibility for “Cinderella” stories and teams from small conferences to climb to the top.  The NCAA should leave it that way.

Source:
Two years into evaluation, MWC in good spot [ESPN College FB Nation Blog]

Darrelle Revis and Chad Ochocinco Now Partners? Plus LBS Contest!

Yes, despite going back and forth with words at the end of the season, Jets CB Darrelle Revis and Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco have now teamed up as partners. Revis has joined Chad’s OCNN, Ochocinco News Network, as one of their correspondents. In his first assignment, he even taught some kids how to riverdance and get fined by the NFL just like Chad!

As a bonus, we have a gift from the OCNN up for grabs that will go to the winner of our contest. All you have to do is predict which team will select Jimmy Clausen in the draft. Winner gets a prize from the OCNN sent to you. Anyway, here’s Revis’ debut as an OCNN correspondent. What do you think?

Drew Brees Not Worried About the Madden 2011 Curse

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been chosen to grace the cover of Madden NFL 2011. Along will taking home the Lombardi Trophy earlier in February, Brees said that being the cover boy is “a great way to cap off an amazing year.”  It certainly is. Brees now has a Super Bowl title and Super Bowl MVP trophy, he’ll be starring in the highly anticipated NFL season opener against the Vikings, and now he’s got a pretty sweet cover on the new Madden game. Of course the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news was “What about the Madden curse?” But Brees said he’s not worried about any curse on his Twitter page:

Here’s what I have to say about the Madden curse: Destiny is more powerful than a curse. Whatever is meant to be will happen. Faith.

It’s a good attitude to have, but will it be enough? Troy Polamalu succumbed to the Madden Curse most recently while Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander and Vince Young all had issues during their cover year. Others, like Larry Fitzgerald played fine during their cover year. I’m hoping that Drew’s good year can keep on course and that he’ll prove the curse is merely a myth.

Sources:
Brees on cover of ‘Madden NFL 11′ [AP/ESPN]

Cubs are Hurting Zambrano by Sending him to Bullpen

The Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday that pitcher Carlos Zambrano would no longer be in their starting rotation. Instead, Big Z will be placed in the bullpen as an eighth inning pitcher, an area that the Cubs have greatly struggled with this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the bullpen had already blown four of seven saves this year.

The Cubs were pressed to make a move because starter Ted Lilly is coming off the disabled list Saturday. Instead of moving Carlos Silva into the bullpen, which was the expected move, Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella decided Big Z would be the better fit. I’m not too sure this was the right move. Zambrano has been a hot head in the past, and I think that even though he has kept his cool so far it won’t be long till explodes once again.

Some Cubs fans have already been celebrating the news that Zambrano, who disappointed them last year and so far this year, would no longer be in the starting rotation. But I don’t think this was a good move. For one, Zambrano always gets off to a slow start. If he is only going to be pitching as the eighth inning guy, he doesn’t really have much room for error. This will inevitably lead to Cubs fans hating him more than they already do. Second, Zambrano is used to working on a starter’s schedule and having four days off between starts. Now he’s got to be ready to pitch everyday, although it’s unlikely Piniella will use him that frequently. Lastly, the Cubs are diminishing the value of Zambrano. As of right now he has a huge contract ($91.5 million, $17.9 of which is for 2010) and if the Cubs can convince Zambrano to waive his no trade clause, there is no team in their right mind that will pick up and eighth inning guy for that type of money.

Either way, Zambrano is the one who will suffer for this move. His value is greatly diminished by sitting him in the bullpen, and the Cubs fans will eat him alive if he starts to suck in that setup spot too. Zambrano ended his press conference by saying “I will be back.” I don’t know about that Big Z, if you blow this one, you might want to get far away from the Windy City.

Sources:
Cubs Move Carlos Zambrano to Bullpen [Chicago Breaking Sports]

Sam Bradford Is the Right Pick for Rams

One of the discussion topics for The Washington Post sports panel I’m part of is whether Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is the right choice for the Rams in the first-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. My response to the question centers largely around one issue: value. Here are my thoughts:

I answer this question the same way I did last year with the Detroit Lions. If you feel that there’s a quarterback in the draft who will be a franchise QB, then the right move is to take him. For St. Louis, we know they don’t have a quarterback and they haven’t had good quarterback play the past three years; they desperately need help at that position. From a scouting standpoint, only they can answer the question of whether or not they feel like Bradford can be a a franchise quarterback. If they do, they have to take him.

If you look at the teams that have been successful over the past several seasons, they all have something in common: strong quarterback play. Look at the Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Saints, and Chargers. All those teams have had consistently good quarterback play and they have won consistently. While teams with strong defenses can pop up to make a great run here-and-there, the chances of them falling back to the pack the following year is great. If you look at the recent history of the league, the key to having long-term, consistent success if having a good quarterback.

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Dwight Howard’s MVP List: Kevin Durant and Amare Stoudemire Above LeBron

Whether it’s because he plays in Orlando or because he’s a center, it does not seem like Magic center Dwight Howard gets the respect he deserves when it comes to the debate of the best players in the NBA. He has Shaq badgering him about the Superman nickname and then there supposedly is a Magic player who said the team was better without Dwight. Even if that’s just the perception, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has turned the question into reality by openly vouching for Dwight’s MVP candidacy on numerous occasions. At the same time, Van Gundy said LeBron will win MVP as long as he’s around. Apparently that line of thinking got into the head of Howard because he didn’t even have LeBron in his top two spots for NBA MVP. Here’s what Howard said during a Tuesday interview on PTI:

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