Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Goddamn Patriots

Full disclosure as always, I can’t stand the New England Patriots. The initial reason I didn’t like them was because of Tom Brady’s smug attitude after the Raiders/Patriots game in which he fumbled the ball but it was called back on a bogus “tuck rule” that hadn’t been seen in the NFL in twenty years. His quote: “I was throwing the ball.” People have said that he had sarcasm in his voice, but I heard no such tone. That was enough for me to dislike Brady and his team, and they haven’t done anything since then to make me like them.

But this “SpyGate” stuff is just absurd. So many times the opportunity has existed for the Patriots to man up and take their punishment, and put everything behind them. But of course, they haven’t done that. They’ve whined, they’ve skirted the issue, they’ve claimed innocence, and they’ve said the signals don’t offer much of a real advantage. And because of that, they’ve left the door open for the issue to continue to haunt them. They could really use someone with some political background on their public relations team, because no politician would be dragged down for this long.

Way back in September, when the suspicions of impropriety first began to surface, everyone took them seriously, probably more seriously than necessary, in fact. I remember hearing folks on ESPN’s Around the Horn calling for blood, saying head coach Bill Belichick should be suspended for a game, or a season, that the Patriots should lose multiple draft picks, and that the team and Belichick should be fine upwards of a million dollars. I believe the idea was that, with the NBA betting scandal just recently put to rest, and with baseball still enduring the heart of the steroids controversy, the NFL needed to get out in front of this and make sure it didn’t linger.

The actual punishment seemed valid; $750,000 total is a pretty large amount of money, and losing a first round draft pick is a very serious blow. A mea culpa by Belichick at that point, along with a sincere apology, and we might have been done with it there. But instead we got “misinterpreted the rules” and “we’re moving forward.” Those are fine if you’re a dictator or candidate, but as a member of an institution (the very institution who you are alleged to have cheated), you need to seem sincere and humble in your apology, or it’ll come back to bite you.

Fast forward to the Super Bowl, and you’ll remember that was the first time allegations came out concerning taping the Rams’ walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots said it wasn’t true, and Matt Walsh, the video assistant who blew the whistle on the whole thing, didn’t say anything. But since then, they’ve whined about it causing a distraction for the players before facing the eventual NFL champion New York Giants. Hey, bummer, you’re in the Super Bowl and people are talking about you. Act like you’ve been there before.

And now, Matt Walsh, someone who Belichick claims he couldn’t pick out of a lineup, has come forward with tapes (plural) and spoken with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as a few members of the press, in an effort to uncover the truth. And what is the truth? The Patriots had been engaging in the taping of defensive signals for no less than 7 years. The questionable “advantage” of the tactic is completely irrelevant; if you get caught speeding on a highway, it doesn’t matter if you weren’t actually putting anyone else in danger. The law dictates that exceeding the speed limit is illegal and punishable, not only when people are actually put in danger, but any time, because the action itself is dangerous (as deemed by the governing body). Taping opponents’ defensive signals isn’t cheating only if you’re getting an advantage; it’s cheating any time you do it because the action itself is improper (as deemed by the governing body).

The kicker for me, though, the thing that made me decide to make this blog post (though it’s a few weeks old), was the whole scenario with the Boston Herald printing the largest apology in sports history, or at least so I’m told, concerning the unfounded allegations that the Patriots had taped the Rams’ walkthrough in 2002. Everyone talked about how irresponsible it was for the newspaper to print that the tape existed before verifying, and how Patriots owner Robert Kraft was right to feel vindicated after the correction.

Umm, did I miss something?

The Patriots did get punished by the league as noted above, right? And Matt Walsh dictated the lengths to which they would go to get the signals and avoid detection, right? And Belichick, despite all of the hemming and hawing about its usefulness and that it was just a misunderstanding of league rules, has essentially admitted to everything that Walsh has claimed, right? So the Patriots were legitimately guilty of everything they were accused of, except for the taping of the Rams’ walkthrough (and that’s not to say there wasn’t a tape somewhere of the Rams’ defensive signals, just nothing from the walkthrough). Wow, total vindication there, Bobby Kraft.

Isn’t that sort of like being charged with 100 counts of jewelry theft, and only getting convicted on 99 of them because the victim found one of the bracelets they thought was missing? I mean, you’re still guilty as sin, New England. You just sound ridiculous when you say, “We're relieved that this is over and you see that this is nonsense and we were unfairly accused and we're moving on,” as Kraft did following the Herald apology.

If you’re a New England Patriots fan (and at this point, I hope we’ve got some of you reading because you need to take your medicine), you’ve got to own up to the fact that your glorious stretch here will be forever sullied by “SpyGate.” Your team did something wrong, and by refusing to admit to it, they came to look like a bunch of babies, with Belichick as the Tommy of the group.

I am not in favor of trying to take away the Super Bowls from the Patriots as some of my more fiery colleagues are. I think a fair punishment at this point would be probation. Not some kind of sissy probation, though; I'm talking about college football style probation: ban them from the postseason for three years. If we're going to say that the NCAA should be tougher on big time programs who break the rules, why not hold the biggest programs (NFL teams) to the highest standard? And I'll tell you this: banning a professional team from the playoffs will get the attention of every owner, coach, and player. There'll be none of these claims of misunderstandings, because everyone will double-check everything they do. If a team wins titles because of cheating, then you have to eliminate the incentive, by depriving them of the opportunity to win titles.

I'm looking forward to another NFL season where I'll be rooting against the Patriots every week. Go Skins!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I'm heading to Atlantic City for the long Memorial Day weekend, hoping to come back with at least the clothes that I arrived with. Anything on top of that (you know, like cash) is just a bonus. We're staying at Resorts on Thursday night for free, as I'm finally taking advantage of the money I've lost in the past and getting a free weekday room. Then, Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights, we're going to the Showboat, which had slightly lower prices than the other casinos with vacancies.

There was some discussion when we were making plans about staying in a crummy hotel as opposed to one of the casinos. Initially I figured a hotel/motel would be better because of the price, but a few factors changed my mind:
  • Convenience. There's nothing quite like walking out of your room, taking an elevator, and immediately placing bets. Hotels can get close, but they can't match it.
  • The "Fancy" factor. I've stayed in a couple of very nice hotels, but casinos are just a little bit better. The room we got at Resorts a few years back was just huge, and while you don't use much of that space, you feel more comfortable with it there.
  • Safety. Atlantic City is not a nice town. If you go more than one block off the boardwalk, you're asking for trouble. Staying at a casino means that you never have to set foot on the sidewalk if you don't want to, and trust me: you don't want to.
  • Price. I know what you're thinking. Casinos, Joe? They're always so expensive. And you're right, staying in a casino is substantially more expensive than staying in a motel. But really, what's the value of that price? You'd still be paying around $200/night at the crummiest of places in Atlantic City, and if you're going to be shelling out that kind of cash, don't you at least want to enjoy the place you're paying for? You work hard for the money. You'd better treat you right.
Best wishes for everyone this weekend. Have a fun and safe holiday, and we'll see you Tuesday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Show Scheduled: May 20, 2008

We'll be doing a full Joe & Joe Sports episode tomorrow night, starting around 9:30. Potential topics:
  • NBA conference finals matchups
  • Who to hold on to and who to cut loose in early fantasy baseball
Use the widget to the right, or click here to check out past episodes, and to tune in tomorrow night!

The Washington Wizards Should Trade Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas is a great player. Joe told you all about how well he's played, and that he's still relatively early in his career. And he wasn't really wrong in describing him to you. He gave you the facts, and the facts clearly state that Arenas is a top tier player.

But he's got to go.

First things first, let's deal with the basketball side of things. Arenas has averaged 27.7 points per game over his past three full seasons (not including this past year, when he only started 8 games). Arenas also averaged 20.3 field goal attempts per game during that stretch. As a comparison, Allen Iverson, the premier scoring point guard in basketball, averaged 30.2 points per game and 23.4 attempts per game. I see Iverson as a more valid comparison for Arenas than Kobe Bryant, since Kobe is a legitimate two-guard, and Arenas is supposed to be a point guard.

And there's the first problem I have with Arenas. He's covering a position that, to be fair to everyone, he doesn't play. He's most effective individually when he's got the ball in his hands, but he's not much of a distributor. Arenas' career high assists per game is 6.1, lower than Iverson's average in any of the past five years. Stephon Marbury, an alleged team-killer because of his lack of a willingness to pass the ball, played for a decade before his assists per game average dropped below 6.1 per game. I'm not saying that Marbury was a better player in his first ten years than Arenas is today....or am I?

The real problem for me is that the Wizards have to position him as at least the unofficial point guard, because if he doesn't have the ball in his hands, he's not doing what you're paying him to do. But what good is a guy playing point guard if he's jacking up 20 shots a game? Find me an NBA championship team that's had a point guard like that in the last 20 years. The closest I could find was Isiah Thomas in the 1989-90 season, when he averaged 18.4 points and 16.3 attempts. But he also had 9.4 assists per game, 50% more than Arenas' best season.

The thought that they had a point guard may have also led to the Wizards picking Oleksiy Pecherov (with 319 total NBA minutes) over Rajon Rondo in the 2006 NBA draft. Rondo is obviously no Gilbert Arenas, but as I've suggested, the Wizards don't need an Arenas.

"Injury-prone" may not yet be a hat that Arenas wears, but after last year where he missed the playoffs altogether, and this year when he played 94 minutes in 4 games and then shut himself down, it may be time to get fitted. Joe says it's part of the same injury; maybe so, but if it's lingered for over a year now, at what point does it become a legitimate concern? Do you have to hit Mark Prior status and miss multiple seasons before you make a conclusion? Taking a chance on an inevitable max contract on a guy whose last NBA action was pulling himself from a playoff series because of injury is risky. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool.

Now, let's take a step back from Arenas' numbers and look at the big picture: the Wizards haven't won anything with this crew. They've lost three straight first round matchups against the Cavaliers (to my dismay and Joe's delight), including the 2005-06 series when Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison were all healthy and effective, averaging 71.7 points between the three of them during the series. If they can't win with their "big three," then why would you want to keep them together? For a while, just getting into the playoffs was a treat for Washington basketball fans, but that time has passed. We want to see a team moving forward, getting better, and positioning itself to take the next step towards the NBA finals (I'm not delusional; just reaching the finals is a great achievemnt for 90% of the teams in the NBA). So if these guys can't do it, we've got to get some guys who can.

And how's this for a transition, getting rid of Gilbert Arenas gives the Wizards the opportunity to get some other guys. Arenas deserves and will get a max contract, and as many of us know, you get an extra year and some more money if you sign with your current team (which is the reason you see sign-and-trade deals). So, for Arenas to get a true max contract, he'll have to sign with the Wizards and then get traded to another team. (The sign-and-trade concept also allows teams without cap space to acquire free agents, as a result of the NBA's salary cap rules).

This could be a great situation for the Wizards, as the one thing Joe and I do agree on is that Jamison is not an elite frontcourt player, which means the Wizards don't have one. Among the high-caliber frontcourt players who could be available in their own sign-and-trades: Jermaine O'Neal, Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor, as well as other potential free agents like Baron Davis, Ron Artest, Andre Iguodala, Shawn Marion, and Josh Smith. Are all of those players more valuable than Arenas? No; in fact, it's debateable as to whether or not any of them are more valuable than Arenas. But I'd rather have at least a couple of them, like Brand, Marion, and Smith.

Would a sign-and-trade actually get the Wizards anything, though? I mean, Rashard Lewis' sign-and-trade netted the Sonics just a second round pick. But Joe Johnson was traded for Boris Diaw and two first round draft picks, and Kenyon Martin was traded for three future first round picks. Given Arenas' tremendous talent, it's fair to expect that the Wizards would be able to work something out where they get solid value in return.

Additionally, even after a sign-and-trade, the Wizards would likely still be a few million dollars under the salary cap, giving them the option to pursue another mid-level role player, such as an energy forward or a bench shooter. That opportunity to shift the talent around from small to big is a rare one, and I think it's one that Washington has got to take advantage of. Especially if the Clippers are as dumb as they look and would be willing to part with Brand for Arenas.

As I said, the point that Joe made about Jamison not being an elite frontcourt player is correct, but let me give you some more information about this player that Joe was so quick to bash. As he said, Jamison was one of four 20-10 guys in basketball last year, and he did sport by far the lowest FG% of any of them. But Jamison doesn't shoot from under the basket, he shoots jumpers and 3-pointers. Shaq's field goal percentage has always been higher than Rashard Lewis', that doesn't mean that Lewis is innately worse than Shaq. Jamison is a rare rebounder who also shoots from the outside. In fact, you could add up the 3-pointers made by the top 23 other rebounders in basketball and not equal the total 3s made by Jamison. He also had more steals than any of the other top 22 rebounders. So let's give him a little credit.

Additionally, as Jamison is a Wizards' free agent and has spent more than 3 years on the team, the Wizards can re-sign him at any price up to a max contract if they so desire. So the choice isn't so much between Jamison or Arenas; it's between Jamison and Arenas or Jamison and whoever they could get for Arenas.

Now, try this fantasy on for size. Arenas gets traded for Brand. Starting lineup is Antonio Daniels at point, Butler as a tall shooting guard, Jamison as a tall small forward, Brand as a heavy power forward, and Brendan Haywood in the pivot. I'm not saying that's the best starting lineup in the league, but I am saying that's an extremely balanced squad in terms of both offense/defense and inside/outside. I like that five a lot better than Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Butler, a smallish Jamison, and Haywood. Stevenson, Nick Young, Darius Songaila, and Etan Thomas would make up a nice bench, and you'd have a nice target in the draft/free agency of a backup point guard.

Gilbert Arenas has done fine work for the Wizards. But for this team to take the next step, they've got to move Agent Zero.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Washington Wizards Should Keep Gilbert Arenas

Why should the Washington Wizards maintain the services of Gilbert Arenas? The short answer is 29.3, as in 29.3 points per game, Gilbert Arenas scoring average in 2005-2006. That is an elite number. How elite? Well only three players have topped it since 2005-2006. Maybe you have heard of those players, it's Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Lebron James, that's it. In three seasons only Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Lebron James have gone higher than 29.3 ppg. Plain and simple, Gilbert Arenas is an elite scorer in the NBA.

There are two arguments that one can use against the Wizards keeping Agent Zero, the first one is that Arenas is over the hill, injury prone or just can't score 30 points a game for entire season again. The idea that Gilbert is past his prime is laughable. Kobe is three and a half years older than Arenas and nobody is telling the 2007-2008 MVP that he is past his prime. Also, Kobe has had three of his top five scoring seasons since turning 27, coincidently the age Arenas will be next year. Gilbert may not be Kobe Bryant, but he certainly isn't over the hill.

Is Gilbert Arenas injury prone? Maybe. The MCL injury that ended his 2006-2007 injury lingered into 2007 eventually causing him to have surgery, missing most of the 2007-2008 injury. Really only sounds like one injury to me, so rather than brand the guy with the "injury prone" label, let's just see how next season goes after Arenas has had an entire offseason to recover.

Can Arenas score maintain a 30 ppg scoring average again? Looks like it. After the aforementioned 29.3, Gilbert scored at a 28.5 ppg clip in 2006-2007 and hasn't been fully healthy since. His 19.3 in 2007-2008 looks like a pretty big drop off, but looks can be deceiving. In the nine games that Arenas came off the bench for late in the 2008 season, he scored at a rate of 0.57 points per minute of floor time. While this is down from his impressive 0.72 pt/min in 2006-2007 and 0.69 pt/min in 2005-2006, it's certainly not bad for a guy that wasn't even close to 100%. In fact, over the course of a 40 minute game, it's only the difference of six points, something I can easily see Arenas overcoming when he returns to full health. Even if Gilbert only comes back to score at a 0.57 pt/min clip, that would have probably put him somewhere around the 8th best scorer in the NBA, somewhere around Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Redd. If Michael Redd is the ground floor, it's definitely worth it for the Wizards to see how high the Gilbert Arenas elevator can go.

The second argument is that the Wizards would be better off building around Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison and developing Roger Mason Jr. or Deshawn Stevenson into the combo guard that Arenas is. Caron Butler is under contract until 2011-2012, so he is definitely part of the Wizards long-term plans. The debate is between Antwan Jamison (currently a free agent) and Gilbert Arenas (a free agent if he options out of the last year of his contract, which he has indicated he will do). The choice here is Arenas. While Jamison is coming off a 20 point, 10 rebound season (matched by only 3 other players in the NBA this season: Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson and Carlos Boozer) he isn't an elite NBA big man. Yet somebody is going to pay him like an elite big man, probably somewhere near $20 million per season. Jamison shot a miserable 43.6% from the floor this year (Howard, Jefferson and Boozer were all over 50%). In fact, of the 18 players that averaged at least nine rebounds per game in 2007-2008, only Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a lower point to shot attempt ratio than Jamison. This puts a little tarnish on Antwan's 20 ppg. While Jamison's rebounding ability is legit (although playing more than 1 min/game more than any of the other guys averaging at least 9 reb/game), he is historically known as a guy that doesn't play a lot of defense, something you would ideally like from a power forward. So it comes down to a choice, the Wizards can either pay for an elite scorer or a defensively challenged, poor shooting power forward.

The combination of Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas will pick up most of Jamison's scoring load, while the developing, defensive-minded Andray Blatche and the returning Eton Thomas can clear the boards and provide a toughness down low that the Wizards haven't had in some time. This is a much better solution than retaining Jamison (with his aforementioned flaws) and having a gaping hole at point guard. If you haven't been convinced yet, consider that the 2007-2008 Wizards team was basically the Jamison/Butler option, and how did that work out?

Update: Cleveland Browns Draft Analysis

It looks like the Browns didn't have a pick until the fourth round, so, gracious and generous as he is, my partner has decided it would be a more valuable use of his time to pick a fight with yours truly about whether or not the Wizards should sign & trade Gilbert Arenas than to comment on whether Beau Bell (LB, UNLV) can solidify a rushing defense that gave up 130 yards per game on the ground. My guess is he can't, but best of luck to him.

Joe's hoops post should be up tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Washington Redskins Draft Recap

Hold on, before you go crazy and start expecting draft recaps for every team, stop right there. I'll be doing a draft recap on my hometown Washington Redskins, and my partner will try to get you some analysis on his hometown Cleveland Browns. For everyone else, you'll have to do your own research.

FIRST DAY

Round 1: The Skins traded out of the first round, and while they didn't have any picks, I did want to say that trading down may have been a mistake. They only acquired later picks this year, and no picks for next year, which would have been a better call, I believe. They were able to get some solid prospects later in the draft, and I'm not suggesting that they should have necessarily kept the pick, but I think they should have pursued future commodities, not just more, worse commodities.

Round 2: This is where the Skins made their hay. They acquired Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, two wide receivers who could develop into #1 guys, and a tight end in Fred Davis who has some attitude concerns but has definite playmaker ability. I've heard a lot of local commentators say that Washington made a mistake in drafting three receivers and not taking a lineman early in this draft, and I've heard national commentators commend the Skins for a great draft and give them the highest rank in the NFC. I think the truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. It might have been a mistake to focus so much on one aspect of the team early on, but it's fair to say that they believed that Davis and Kelly were the best players on the board at the point where each of them were drafted.

Worth noting also is that Washington ended the season with the 20th rated points per game average in football, placing them as the second worst among playoff teams. For anyone who watched the Skins last year, I don't have to tell you how lethargic the offense looked 95% of the time. Adding playmakers in the passing game was definitely a valid priority for this team, and you take them when you can get them. I don't fault the Redskins for seeing a need and attempting to address it.

There was a bit of an outcry that the defensive line needed help getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but the numbers reflect a very solid defense last year. They had the 11th best points defense, and the 8th best yards defense. The seven teams ahead of them were Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, New England, Tennessee, Baltimore, and the New York Giants, all of whom sport notoriously effective defenses. So while certainly the Skins could use a premier pass rusher, who couldn't? When it came down to it, a premier pass rusher wasn't available at those picks, and I'd be much more unhappy with my team if they made bad value picks that happened to fit one of multiple points of need. I'll take a few chances in the passing game with three guys who were all looked at as potential first round picks at one point in this pre-draft season.

SECOND DAY

I don't know much about most of these second day picks, but the Skins did make a splash by taking an early Heisman hopeful in Colt Brennan. I can't say for sure what he's going to look like in the pros, but in the sixth round, a guy who sported a college career 167.6 passer rating and completed 70% of his passes is a worthwhile risk. I think generally the second day quarterbacks (Dennis Dixon, John David Booty, Josh Johnson, Brennan) may look at least as good as the first day guys (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Chad Henne, Brian Brohm) when all is said and done. Watching the development of young quarterbacks is always one of the more interesting storylines of a draft to look back at.

So that's the situation. I like the way the Skins draft looks on paper right now, and that's the only way we can look at it at this point. It'll be very interesting to see what sort of playing time each of those three early picks gets, with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle-El, and Chris Cooley locked in as the starters. Don't be surprised if that's one of our main topics come NFL preview radio show time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Portal

I tried to think of a witty title for this post, but I was up late playing the aforementioned game, and I'm too tired now at work to be creative.

Portal is part of The Orange Box, a 5-game pack from the makers of Half-Life. In addition to Portal, it includes the previously released Half-Life 2, as well as two follow-up "episodes," and Team Fortress 2, a multiplayer shooter game that involves characters with different roles (medic, engineer, soldier, 6 others). While I'm excited about playing the rest of the games in the suite, Portal is the only game I'm going to discuss right now.

The basic concept of the game is one of solving puzzles. Think of a first-person version of The Adventures of Lolo or Solomon's Key. The equivalent of Solomon's wand in this game is the Portal gun, which you don't have fully together until level 7 or so. Using the portal gun, you can create two ends of a portal, one orange and one blue. The two portals link to each other, so you can transport yourself to many different places in the world, and you'll have to do just that to progress in this game.

The first 15-20 challenges are refined, constructed rooms, designed specifically to test the player in a training sort of context. There are still deadly foes, so your life is on the line, but the game auto-saves after every minor accomplishment, and it offers a manual save anywhere in the game, so you won't have to worry about "lives" like in old NES puzzle games. After the final "test" room, you begin the more intense and more Half-Life style portion of the game. You still use your portal gun to move forward in the game, but things are much more dangerous, and you'll have to dodge bullets and pistons to stay alive.

One of the more endearing aspects of this game is GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence that guides you through the test rooms, and becomes the main antagonist by the end of the game. It's a robotic female voice that offers advice, quips, and sometimes outright lies about your progress in the game (such as the one room that she states is impossible). She's very funny, as are a few other aspects of the game, such as the machine gun drones who whine when you disable them. GLaDOS also sings a song at the end of the game that really embodies the attitude of the game. If you're itching to hear/see it, YouTube has got a bunch of videos of the end credits (the song is called Still Alive). For those of you who own Rock Band for the 360, it's a free download to add the song to your game.

The one shortcoming of the game is that it's very short. I played for two hours one night, then beat it the following night after another hour. But even though the game doesn't last very long, it's got a decent amount of lasting appeal, as I could definitely see going through the game again in a month.

A link I've found when reading about the game is here. It's a blog with a lot of Portal-inspired media, like songs and sound clips. Some pretty neat stuff on there, worth checking out I think.

NFL Draft Top 10 Recap

Oh, who really cares about predictions? We've all got only partial information, and it only takes one unexpected pick to throw a whole sequence awry. And when you take a chance on the #2 pick and miss (as we did with Gholston), the rest of your predictions will suffer accordingly.

When you think about it, though, Chris Long was definitely the right pick for St. Louis at #2. He's as good a talent as Gholston, but more importantly, he's got good character and is very charismatic. That will go a long way towards giving the Rams' defense a face that they haven't had in a long, long time.

I'm still surprised that an elite level defensive tackle like Glenn Dorsey fell all the way to the fifth pick and the Kansas City Chiefs. I don't think McFadden is as talented as Adrian Peterson (Min), nor is he as focused. Part of the reason Peterson was such a tremendous player last year was that he brought his A game every week. McFadden didn't do that in college, and isn't likely to change that in the pros. I like Dorsey as a long term big time player on that KC defensive line.

The Jets, the team that did acquire Gholston, got a premier defensive line presence. With Shaun Ellis and the newly acquired Kris Jenkins as the other projected starters, the Jets will have one of the best front 3's (among 3-4 teams) in football. That being said, I've over-projected the Jets as far as wins and losses for 5+ years now, so I'll temper my expectations.

But enough about the wrong. We got the first pick right (after the Dolphins had already signed Jake Long to a deal), and we correctly predicted that the Falcons would draft the top QB, Matt Ryan, in an effort to distance themselves as much as possible from Michael Vick. I like the pick from a team image standpoint, but not so much from a football standpoint. I think there were better ways to make this team better, and while getting a long term replacement for Vick is important, nothing makes people forget like winning. That's got to be front and center for the Falcons going forward.

What I took away from this draft more than anything was that I don't really like the NFL draft as much as the NBA draft. The NFL draft involves a lot of players I know nothing about, a lot of teams I don't care about, and a lot of analysis that seems awfully repetitive by round 2. You really only need that pros and cons page to tell you what you need to know: good speed, good leaping ability, suspect hands, lazy route-running. That's your average first round wide receiver.

But with either draft, the fun really enters when you do your research, so I'm looking to spend a lot of time reading about basketball prospects and team needs. That way, maybe we can get more than 2/10 right come NBA draft time.

Top 500 Songs - Dave Matthews Band

This was always going to be the hardest of my band lists, because I like so many of DMB's songs, and have liked them so differently over...