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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 1:33 PM

THE NFL DRAFT REPORT - FINALLY, WE ZOOM IN ON THE TOP INCOMING QUARTERBACKS AS WE INCH CLOSER TO THURSDAY NITE ...

NBA PLAYOFF NEWS & NOTES: GETTING UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH JAZZ-THUNDER

How close are we finally getting to the NFL Draft?

Well, let's just say we know there's plenty of folks in the Dallas area that have been warming up their vocal chords getting ready to boo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ...and we hear they're in top form!

Yes, the 2018 NFL Draft - no doubt the most anticipated draft in the past 35 years (see that quarterback-driven 1983 draft) - has taken over the sports headlines all week long and remember we'll getcha our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft first thing Thursday morning right here in this column space ... so don't dare miss out!
In today's Jim Sez we'll rattle off the names of the top half-dozen quarterbacks that will get drafted - maybe all in Round I - but first a quick reminder that we're winning big these days in both the NBA Playoffs and Major-League Baseball.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are continuing to rock-n-roll these NBA Playoffs and so make sure you cash in big with all our pro hoops winners plus there's load of Major-League Baseball on the daily docket too. Check it all out right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and keep piling up the profits this spring!


THE NFL DRAFT

It's our final installment of the position-by-position look at the top players in this year's NFL Draft set for this Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. We wrap up our coverage with the top Quarterbacks:

SAM DARNOLD, QB, USC - Truth of the matter is this 6-foot-3, 222-pounder played better in 2016 than he did a year ago as last year the Trojans' slinger committed 22 turnovers while throwing for 4,143 yards and 26 TDs. Cerebral type player who throws well on the run - and apparently in bad weather too as evidenced by his pro workout day in the rain - and throwing on the run and in bad weather may be key if indeed Darnold goes #1 to the Cleveland Browns.

JOSH ROSEN, QB, UCLA - The "other" signal-caller who played his college ball in Los Angeles is the best pure passer in this man's draft and he comes off a 3,717-yard /26 TD / 10 INT season a year ago. Rosen can really zing it but may - at times - be a bit overconfident in his rocket right arm but the down side (say his critics) are concussion-related issues and a question as to whether he'll be hungry enough to win. Odds are he slips no lower than the draft's #3 pick with the New York Jets.

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, Oklahoma - Is it possible that the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner can wind up being a top five pick? Mayfield -- who last year threw for 4,627 yards with 43 TDs and just 6 INTs - has impressed scouts/general managers in recent weeks even with his at-times brash attitude and there's even some sentiment (though we don't believe it) that he'll be the numero uno pick come Thursday night.

JOSH ALLEN, QB, Wyoming - Can't beat the size here as the Firebaugh (CA) native stands 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and he's more mobile than one might think. Allen can look pinpoint perfect with some passes and then miss other intended targets by five yards and so he needs some polishing on this next level and note last year's stats were rather ho-hum at 16 TDs / 1,812 yards passing. Some shoulder issues hampered his production last season in Laramie. Look for Allen to get nabbed somewhere in the top 10-to-12 picks.

LAMAR JACKSON, QB, Louisville - The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has been a forgotten man for many folks in the lead-up to this draft but expect him to land somewhere in Round I. Jackson - who threw for 3,543 yards with 30 TDs while rushing for 1,571 yards and 21 TDs in his sophomore/Heisman season - followed that up with 3,660 yards passing / 27 TDs along with 1,601 yards rushing and 18 TDs and so he's really been college football's most dynamic offensive player for the past two years.

MASON RUDOLPH, QB, Oklahoma State - We've seen one web site list this former Cowboys' star as the 10th-best overall player in this draft ... whoa, you might want to pump the brakes there! Truth is Rudolph - who stands at 6-feet-5 and 235 pounds - is adept at dropping his throws "into the bucket" of downfield targets and has a nice feel getting away from traffic in the pocket. Might wind up being a real steal in the latter portion of Round One.

NBA PLAYOFF NEWS / NOTES

Okay, so we've already had one playoff round upset in the West where the New Orleans Pelicans (+ 180) swept the beleaguered Portland Trail Blazers ... now will the Utah Jazz (+ 115) be next up when it comes to a Round One upset?

The Jazz enter Wednesday night's Game 5 against the host Oklahoma City Thunder with a three games-to-one series lead as Quin Snyder's crew followed up a 13-point win/cover in Game 3 with a 113-96 win/cover as 4.5-point favorites in Monday's Game 4 - rookie G Donovan Mitchell's 33 points / 7 rebounds / 4 assists was the scene-stealer there but what about the fact the Thunder shot a dreary 39 percent from the floor?

Gotta say that if Okie City flames out here at home in Game 5 it'll mark a major bust for this team that counted on the trio of Russell Westbrook / Paul George / Carmelo Anthony to get 'em far but - then again - save for Westbrook which of these other overrated players ever thrived in post-season play?

Here's the Jazz-Thunder game-by-game series as we head into a Game 5 (all home teams are in CAPS below):

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
4-15OKLA CITY- 4Utah116-108
4-18Utah+ 3.5OKLA CITY102-95
4-21UTAH- 5 Okla City 115-102
4-23UTAH-4.5Okla City 113-96

NOTE: Our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft in tomorrow's column.

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