Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 2:15 AM
THE NFL DRAFT - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THEN THE TRULY AWFUL MOVES FROM A WILD & WACKY FIRST ROUND ... NBA'S FRIDAY NITE LITES - THREE BIG PLAYOFF GAMES ON TAP
The National Football League Draft's opening round was high on drama ... but, if you ask us, rather low on gridiron IQ.
Sure, as we forecasted in our JMock Draft, there were plenty of first-round/draft-night trades (five of 'em in all) and we had the predictable run on quarterbacks as a record four slingers went in the top 10 selections and overall there were five signal-callers picked in Round I starting with 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma fame (he's now headed to Cleveland) and ending with 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville (he's off to Baltimore).
There were a batch of non-quarterbacks selected that were make-sense picks considering Indianapolis at #6 desperately needed some offensive line help (see Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson) and we loved what Oakland did after trading down to pick #15 with OT Kolton Miller (UCLA) but gotta go "Mr. Negative" for the most part as there were more than a few SMH (as in shaking my head) moves ... and we're not just saying this 'cause we only tabbed 21 (of 32) correct first rounders.
For the record, we had RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State) at #2 to the New York Giants, Indy's Nelson going at pick #6 and Atlanta grabbing WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama) at pick #26 but we must "gong" the likes of the aforementioned Cleveland Browns who wound up with QB Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State) with the draft's first and fourth overall picks, respectively, and should have gone either QBs Sam Darnold (USC) or Josh Rosen (UCLA) with that first pick and then grabbed DE Bradley Chubb (N.C. State) instead with the next premium pick. If you are "into" handing out draft grades, then we say the Browns get no better than a C- for those two selections.
The truly awful moves from Round I?
Well, how about nobody taking Rosen till the Arizona Cardinals traded up for 'em at #10? Okay, so we didn't particularly care for Rosen's post-draft comments about being "pissed off" but what are you gonna do when a college kid is unhappy but - trust us - he'll be the best pro quarterback in this bunch and Cleveland, the NY Jets and even Buffalo (who traded up to #7 for Wyoming's Josh Allen) are gonna rue the day they let Rosen slip right through their fingers.
And what were a few teams outside the top 10 thinking?
Tampa Bay - at #12 overall - tabbed 350-pound run-stopper Vita Vea (University of Washington) when the Bucs really needed to land a defensive back or a quality wide receiver; New Orleans traded up 13 spots to pick #14 and gave up (among other items) its 2019 first-round selection for DE Marcus Davenport (UTSA) who was a borderline first-round pick in our opinion; and we were not in love with what Buffalo did at pick #16 after trading up to get LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech). Yes, it's a real nice story that Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds (to Pittsburgh at #28) became the first set of brothers to be picked in the first round but the Bills should have grabbed someone with more "value" such as Florida DT Taven Bryan (he went #29 to Jacksonville) or perhaps the aforementioned WR Ridley.
In case you're wondering, we count QB Rosen and DL Bryan as the best "value picks" of Round One while stating the likes of QB Mayfield, CB Ward, DL Vea, DE Davenport, OLB Leighton Vander Esch (to Dallas at #19) and WR D.J. Moore (Maryland) as all having gone way too high in Round I.
Guess what we're really saying is these pro teams spend countless hours/dollars on "getting it right" when it comes to the NFL Draft but we would only be handing out a couple of "A's" for first-rounders and a few of 'em might even get failing grades.
P.S., there were wagering opportunities - as you might have known - for the NFL Draft Round I and here were some of the categories:
Total QBs taken ... The over/under was 5.5 and "only" 5 QBs were tabbed.
Offensive Players ... Over/under was 17.5 and there were 17 offensive players nabbed in Round 1.
Defensive Players ... Over/under was 14.5 and there were 15 defensive guys selected.
Finally, if you had "over" 3.5 Alabama players and "over" 1.5 Georgia players, you won both providing you were willing to lay heavy-hitting prices.
It's a monster Friday night on the hardwood and here's quick-hitter comments on the three post-season games:
TORONTO at WASHINGTON - Raptors lead series 3-2; 7 p.m. ET, NBA-TV
No question that home court has been the be-all/end-all here as host teams are 5-0 SU (straight-up) and ATS (against the spread) but the Wizards ain't gonna extend this to a Game 7 if guards John Wall and Bradley Beal shoot 3-of-12 in the fourth quarter here (as they did in the 108-98 loss in Game 5).
CLEVELAND at INDIANA - Cavaliers lead series 3-2; 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
LeBron James' top-of-the-key/buzzer-beating triple won it in Game 5 and please note "The King" is averaging 34.8 ppg in this series ... can Cleveland wrap it up in Nap Town if James doesn't go for 40-or-so points?
OKLAHOMA CITY at UTAH - Jazz lead series 3-2; 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Gotta believe the Jazz is still reeling after blowing that 25-point lead in Wednesday's 107-99 loss at Okie City but keep in mind Utah's outscored the Thunder by 39 points in the 73 minutes played by OKC's Russell Westbrook in the two games in Salt Lake City.
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