Two more weeks! Can you feel it?! For two days, I am free. I literally have no cares in the world. This is like a mini vacation from reality. For two days, I will not budge from my TV (except for the occasional beverage). I will watch 255 college athletes have their dream come true, and have their name called at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Not all of them will play in the NFL, but the moment their phone rings, and a coach is on the other line telling him he has just been picked by an NFL team...I won't ever be able to fathom what that would feel like. Some people don't understand why I make such a big deal about it, so I try and explain why it is. This is like a story unfolding. Basically everyone that becomes anyone in the league I love so much starts right here. These guys I have been watching on Saturday for three or four years are now taking the next step. This is going to be an extra-special event for me, because, in a way, I'm taking the next step in my life and turning pro. These are really exciting times, and things are starting to click for me, and I have never been happier in my life than I am right now. So, let's get into it shall we?
Ok, first thing I have to say is that I am scrapping the MLB Preview. I actually liked doing it, and I hope the AL East and Central were good reads for you, but here's the thing: It took so much time to do those two, that literally, I wouldn't be able to get it all done by about the end of July. Plus, I like bouncing around from different topics, and that kind of weighed me down a little. So sorry about that, I know I said I would do them all, but unfortunately, this is not my job (yet) and I really wish I could devote all my time to doing this, because this is one of the best things to happen to me ever (seriously).
I am mad at the conspiracy theorists out there who are trying to ruin "The Sopranos" for me. What really got me was that I was looking at this through ESPN and CNN/SI. These are sports sites! Damn it! I don't want to know where they are shooting the final episode. I don't want to hear factual information about a fictional show. I want to be kept in the complete dark about everything. That's what makes the show so great, and that's what makes TV and movies great in general. What would be the fun of going into a movie, or watching a TV show, and knowing how it all ends? I mean really, let it all go. Sure, I have thoughts and ideas about what might happen, but I don't want to hear about real things that are happening that could potentially spoil how the show reaches its conclusion.
The NHL Playoffs have been outstanding, especially the quadruple OT game between Vancouver and Dallas. All there is left to say is this: If you're not with it now, you'll probably never get it, and I feel bad for you, because these are the some of the most skilled and tough athletes in the world, and it's unfortunate that more credit is not given to these guys.
A recent ESPN poll asked the question "should Ohio State freshman Greg Oden enter the NBA Draft?" As of 11:00 on Sunday, around 70,000 people responded, with 58% saying yes, 42% no. Then there is a state-by-state breakdown. Anyway, flash forward to Massachusetts: 82% yes, 18% no...oh, big surprise. Anyway, his dad is on record as saying he's leaving, but his mother and his "adviser" Mike Conley, Sr. (who's son, Mike Conley, Jr., is also deciding whether or not to leave early...if you don't think the Oden decision will have any effect, you are out of your mind) have been pretty tight-lipped about the whole situation. I understand that Oden loves school, but when it comes down to it, this is something he has to do. College is always going to be there, but the opportunity to most likely be the #1 pick in the Draft won't be. Kevin Durant had the same dilemma (actually his was a little tougher considering Oden is pretty much a lock to go #1, while Durant, if he produced anything close to what he did this year next year, would have gone #1 in next year's Draft, but he weighed the risk/reward factor, and knew that injuries could happen at any time, and decided to declare). I think Oden and Conley will both leave. The deadline is April 29th (oddly enough, that's also Day 2 of the NFL Draft...what a day!).
I know that a lot has already been said about this, but I figured I would throw my two cents in. The idea of wearing #42 on Jackie Robinson day was a noble one by Ken Griffey, Jr., and then, a few other players got on board and decided to pay honor to Robinson. And then, baseball kind of lost me. All of a sudden, entire teams were having their guys wear the #42. Here's the thing: As hard as this may be able to process, not everyone knows who Jackie Robinson is. And some of these people are the players wearing the number. I find it kind of trivial that guys are wearing the uniform number of a guy who did so much for the game, and they don't even know, or sometimes care, about who this guy is. Again, I think it's great that Major League Baseball is doing a great thing by paying tribute to Robinson, but when you start forcing people into doing something, what was a great idea really starts to lose its credibility. If one or two players, who volunteered like Griffey to wear the number, it would have definitely been a more poignant way to honor a man who revolutionized the game for his generation and future generations to come. But simply making players wear the number (I think most had a positive response, but I'm kind of targeting the other crowd here) really diminishes the importance and the meaning of it all (by the way, I have absolutely no problem with the Dodgers doing this, but St. Louis and Milwaukee?...where did that come from?).
Alright, let's press on into my third edition of the Mock Draft. Again, I am going to save the full analysis until my final draft. There have been a few changes made here. Also, I am going to make note of teams I feel will be moving up(+) or down (-) with their picks. So here we go:
- Oakland- JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
- (-)Detroit- Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
- Cleveland- Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
- (+)Tampa Bay- Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
- Arizona- Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
- (-)Washington- Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
- (+)Minnesota- LaRon Landry, S, LSU
- (-)Atlanta- Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
- (+)Miami- Levi Brown, OT, Penn St.
- (+)Houston- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
- San Francisco- Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
- Buffalo- Patrick Willis, ILB, Ole Miss
- St. Louis- Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
- (-)Carolina- Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
- (-)Pittsburgh- Jarvis Moss, DE/OLB, Florida
- Green Bay- Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
- Jacksonville- Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
- Cincinnati- Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
- Tennessee- Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
- New York Giants- Joe Staley, OT, Eastern Michigan
- Denver- Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
- Dallas- Justin Blalock, OT/OG, Texas
- Kansas City- Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio St.
- New England- Paul Posluszny, OLB, Penn St.
- New York Jets- Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
- Philadelphia- Michael Griffin, S, Texas
- New Orleans- Lawrence Timmons, OLB, Florida St.
- (-)New England- Eric Weddle, CB/S, Utah
- Baltimore- Ryan Kalil, C, Southern Cal
- San Diego- Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
- Chicago- Jon Beason, OLB, Miami
- Indianapolis- Aaron Ross, CB, Texas