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Pro Sports Wrap - by Sam Ruesler

Pro Sports Wrap - April 2011

2011 First Round Draft Notes

April 29th 2011 15:07
I can't say that I'm happy, but I'll have to give Cam Newton a chance. I didn't want the Panthers to take him at number one, but I don't want him to bust now that he's "the guy" for my favorite team. I wish the Panthers took a Marcell Dareus or A.J. Green and give Clausen and Moore another shot. After all, it is rare that a QB does well after just one year. It takes time. Smart teams like the Bucs wait three years for their QB, and the Bucs were rewarded when Josh Freeman had the year he had last season.

Newton is one of my least favorite players already, but I can't deny his athleticism. I just wish he had better footwork and was a better person. Jake Locker deserved to be picked at number eight by the Titans. He was high on their board, fits their system well, and he wasn't a reach. There are plenty of unintelligent people that dropped Locker from the first choice over Sam Bradford the year before, to somebody values in the late teens. And why? Well, that's because suddenly mystifying accuracy problems arose. This happens when those said unintelligent "experts" read stats- meaningless in college football- like completion percentage and don't watch what actually happened. Locker's receivers were terrible, and he was almost always under pressure due to an incompetent line.

Christian Ponder was a reach at 12, but the Vikings couldn't risk waiting too long. They made a smart choice because if you think that QB can be the guy, then by all means take him. Bill Musgrave wants to instill a WCO, and Ponder is the most accurate QB in the draft and best suited for the West Coast Offense. Ponder is an early second round talent and would have been most likely off the board by the time the Vikings would pick again.

I don't like the Saints' idea to trade up to the first round to select Mark Ingram. You should never do that for a running back. The Patriots accepted the basically free second round choice, and they own the top pick in the second round thanks to another horrible draft-day trade by Carolina the year before. That pick is a highly coveted one, but the Pats should keep the first of their three second round choices to select Da'Quan Bowers. He's far too talented to pass up on, and he is a first-round talent. The Pats could use a pass rusher like Bowers.

The Falcons did a nice job in trading up to get Julio Jones at number six. They knew that they desperately needed a playmaking receiver, and the choices after Jones were all developmental projects. It wasn't a reach because a lot of teams near that pick also looked like they really wanted one of only two top receiving prospects. The other guys are all boom-or-bust players or sleepers. The Falcons got their man.

Von Miller will be a good pass rusher in this league, but he is awfully similar to a great pass rusher the Broncos already have; Elvis Dumervil. I would have taken Marcell Dareus in that spot, because the Broncos start the poor Kevin Vickerson at defensive tackle. The Bills gladly picked up Dareus, and he will form a great defensive line duo with Kyle Williams.

I thought Aldon Smith was taken too high. Smith has a lot of upside, but the 49ers would have been better off drafting Robert Quinn and then re-signing Manny Lawson. Quinn and Fairley took big drops, and the teams that took them pounced on both top prospects on the D-Line. While the Rams and Lions are set on the line and have needs elsewhere, they took the best guys available and acquired two elite prospects outside of the top ten.

Prince Amukamara also took a huge plunge, and the Giants finally have a coverage corner. Terrell Thomas is solid, but he's a physical corner that mainly stops the run. Thomas isn't really a coverage player. Aaron Ross and Corey Webster are poor corners, so Amukamara will greatly boost a secondary that just couldn't cover. I love his instincts.
No. 1 Pick

2011 Pre-Draft Team Needs List

April 28th 2011 14:18
Patriots- O-Line Depth, Pass Rusher, Vertical Wide Receiver, depth RB, Safety
Jets- Pass rusher, offensive line
Dolphins- RB, Guard, QB
Bills- QB, O-Line, Pass rusher, Run-stopping DE
Colts- Corner, O-Line, RB, DT
Jaguars- Safety, Corner, outside pass rusher
Texans- Safety, Corner, Pass rusher
Titans- QB, O-Line depth
Steelers- O-Line, Corner
Ravens- Run-stuffing 3 technique, Corner depth, WR
Browns- WR, DE
Bengals- QB, WR, O-Line Depth
Chargers- O-Line, DE
Chiefs- D-Lineman, WR
Raiders- O-Line, WR
Broncos- D-Line, Corner, Safety
Eagles- Corner, O-Line
Cowboys- Corner, Safety, O-Line depth
Giants- O-Line depth, Coverage Corner
Redskins- QB, RB, WR, O-Line, D-Line, Coverage CB
Panthers- QB, WR, DT, Corner depth
Saints- O-Line depth, Pass Rusher, RB depth
Falcons- Pass rushing depth, DT, WR
Bucs- Pass rusher, OL, WR, CB depth
Packers- Trenches
Bears- DT, O-Line
Vikings- QB, Secondary, O-Line
Lions- O-Line, Back 7, Slot WR or at least better 3 guy
Seahawks- QB, O-Line, Corner, WR
Rams- WR, Secondary
49ers- QB, WR, O-Line, Corner,
Cardinals- QB, O-Line, Pass rusher
What Needs Will the Draft Fill?


2011 Pre-Draft Notes Part 2

April 27th 2011 14:20
For Part 2, I want to start off by talking about the best draft strategy. Now, this isn't a pinpoint strategy of who to take schematically and stuff like that. These are notes, not in-depth previews where I go into schemes. I may delve into schemes at some point, but I want to talk about upside guys.

In the NBA, the successful teams- like the Spurs- don't look for high-upside guys with superstar potential when they're picking in the 20s. No, they're looking for solid players that they can plug in for 15-20 minutes or so each night. I think NFL teams need to do that and value players that can come right in and do a solid job rather than those upside players that almost never pan out.

Although I hate fantasy football and how it changes how people evaluate players and the statistics they use, there is one pre-draft strategy that I am a fan of. Savvy fantasy players will pick the guy with the highest floor, least chance of busting, when in doubt. I want to see NFL teams do that when evaluating say Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.

The solid-picking strategy is really at its best from the 3rd round on. Teams like the Packers are known for finding talent in the later rounds because they don't go for the guys that they know can step in and play. They may not have the most upside, but every prospect has a healthy amount of upside. That's the thing too, upside is overrated. Those solid prospects can turn into that big-time player.

I feel bad for the running backs in this draft. There are almost no teams with severe running back questions, and it will be difficult for guys like DeMarco Murray and Kendall Hunter to get drafted where they want to be. It may take longer than it should for players like them to get their number called. I really like Roy Helu Jr. as a leader and workhose back, and I think he could pay dividends if selected in the later rounds. The best policy when drafting running backs is to wait until the end where you can find talent for cheap. You should never overpay for running backs unless if you think that they can be a very important part of your team.

Almost all of the receivers after the big two in this draft are boom-or-bust. Guys like Randall Cobb and Jon Baldwin are talented, but nobody knows what to really expect from them. The pass rushing talent in this draft is amazing, and teams lacking that pivotal pass-rusher should be able to shore up that need in this year's draft. There is a huge lack of talent at safety, and Rahim Moore is the only safety that should be going in the first two rounds. Aaron Williams is a corner that may convert to safety, so he might make it two if he moves over.
Are You Fired Up?

2011 Pre-Draft Notes

April 26th 2011 14:41
My mock drafts are primarily based on the players I think each team will pick, but the notes are all about my personal opinions. For instance, Cam Newton should not be picked in the top ten at all. There are too many warning signs, and you can't invest a good part of your franchise on someone who may not even try to play at a high level for your team. I don't like Newton's footwork either. Blaine Gabbert shouldn't be a top ten pick, but I would definitely take him in the middle of the first round.

Jake Locker is my best quarterback ranked QB. He's accurate, it's just that his receivers and O-Line were horrible. Locker can be a great player. Why else was he thought of as the number one pick over Sam Bradford? Locker has all the tools, he can scramble, and he's the best leader in this draft. Locker's a stud, just watch.

Colin Kaepernick is the fifth best QB on my board. I love his raw athleticism, arm strength, ability against the pass rush, and overlooked intelligence. Christian Ponder can become a quality starter in a WCO. Ryan Mallett has an arm, but not much else. Andy Dalton seems like just a good backup at the NFL level to me. My QB rankings are as follows:

1. Locker
2. Gabbert
3. Ponder
4. Newton
5. Kaepernick
6. Mallett
7. Dalton

All the other guys, like Ricky Stanzi, aren't worth much except for Pat Devlin. I would give Dev a look in the fourth round. Stanzi should go in the fourth too, because he'll probably end up being an average backup. Greg McElroy is smart, but he doesn't have NFL talent.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is an interesting player to watch come draft day. He's a sleeper that can be an impact player at defensive tackle for a team with another year of development. I love his explosion between the gaps. AJ Green and Marcell Dareus are the two best players in the draft. If I'm the Panthers, I have to take one of those two guys. I would pick Dareus because defensive tackle is more of a need. At least at receiver, you have a stud in Smith and two players with potential in Gettis and LaFell.

Dareus would enable them to move to a 3-4, coach Ron Rivera would like this, and Dan Connor would be able to get some more playing time. Connor is the best run-stopping linebacker you've never heard of. Patrick Peterson isn't a superstar in the making quite yet. Even with all his physical tools, you have to remember that he is only an average coverage player. His ball-skills are pretty good, he can press any receiver, he's got a great mixture of speed and strength, and he's an impact player on returns. However, he needs to work on his coverage skills. Be sure to check tomorrow for part two.
Best QB in Draft

2011 Second Round Mock Draft

April 25th 2011 14:31
33. New England Patriots- RB Mikel LeShoure
34. Buffalo Bills- QB Christian Ponder
35. Cincinnati Bengals- QB Ryan Mallett

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2011 First Round Mock Draft

April 24th 2011 12:48
1. Carolina Panthers- DT Marcell Dareus
2. Denver Broncos- CB Patrick Peterson
3. Buffalo Bills- LB Von Miller

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2010 PSW Norris Trophy

April 23rd 2011 13:32
There were many defensemen that had great seasons this year, and it is extremely difficult for me to pick just one of them. Keith Yandle, Lubomir Visnovsky, Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Letang, Dustin Byfuglien, Shea Weber, and Christian Ehrhoff were outstanding in the 2010-2011 NHL season. My pick will be given to the guy that was a great defender and a great points-scorer as well.

Detroit Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom

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2010 PSW NBA Coach of the Year

April 22nd 2011 14:39
The Chicago Bulls have had the biggest turnaround in the NBA from last year. They were a border line playoff team in an Eastern Conference that had no depth, but they are now the best team in the NBA. So far, the Bulls are up 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs. This is all thanks to the Celtics-style half-court defense brought in by a former Celtics assistant coach.

Erik Spoelstra, Greg Popovich, and Lionel Hollins deserve recognition for also doing a great job; first-year Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau's work this season has been unmatched. The defense he brought in was modified, and Thibodeau was able to shut down top offensive teams like the Miami Heat. He frustrated LeBron James and Dwayne Wade when the Heat faced the Bulls

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2010 PSW NBA and NHL All-Stars

April 21st 2011 15:17
I have assembled both of my All-Star teams for the NHL and NBA with both league's regular seasons having ended. There are three All-Star teams (or lines for hockey) and there is a goalie for each NHL line. This has nothing to do with team value, but rather how well the player played overall.


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2010 PSW NBA Defensive POY

April 20th 2011 14:44
I am going to take a break from the NHL awards and give out my award for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year. This award was easily given out to Dwight Howard (his 3rd straight). I have no disagreements with this, and I will show you my statistical reasoning for picking Howard.
Defensive Player of the Year

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2010 PSW Jack Adams Trophy

April 19th 2011 14:56
Each year, the Jack Adams Trophy is given to the best NHL coach that season. I am going to give my own Jack Adams award for this website based on what happened during the 2010-2011 season. Barry Trotz, Dave Tippett, Dan Bylsma, and Guy Boucher were my four finalists. My final winner was a coach that showed why he is mentioned among the best in the league with another job well done in guiding his team through the playoffs in the midst of a myriad of set-backs that would leave most coaches overwhelmed.

Pittsburgh Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma

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2010 PSW Calder Trophy

April 18th 2011 14:43
The NHL season is over, and I am going to kick off my awards with the NHL's rookie of the year. The Calder Memorial Trophy is given to this player, and there were a few deserving candidates like Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, and Michael Grabner. Only one of these great rookies can win this award, but they will all shape the landscape of the NHL for years to come.

Carolina Hurricanes Center Jeff Skinner

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4/2011 Team Scope: Atlanta Thrashers

April 17th 2011 14:01
The Thrashers finished the season with 80 points and a 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Thrashers were good on the power play, but they were terrible at penalty-killing and let in far too many goals. That's surprising considering Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec make up a solid pairing in goal, and Dustin Byfuglien is one of the best defensemen in hockey.

Coach Craig Ramsay did a nice job this year after the Thrashers did a great job at the beginning of the season. However, they broke down as the season wore on which is a too familiar feeling for Atlanta's hockey team. They played really well during the first 40 or so games of the season, and GM Rick Dudley sees this as a sign of good things to come for the future. The Thrashers were able to sustain a high level of play for about half the season, and this shows that they will be able to improve with a solid scoring free agent acquisition

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2010 NBA Playoffs Preview Round One

April 15th 2011 13:53

1 Bulls vs 8 Pacers

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Carlos Delgado Retires

April 14th 2011 12:45
I really don't get why people aren't talking about Carlos Delgado's recent retirement (April 13th). Everybody was buzzing about Manny Ramirez, but I have only heard minor waves about another great slugger. Delgado is one of the 200 best baseball players of All-Time thanks to his incredible power. He slammed 473 dingers, drove in 1,512 runs, had a career OBP of .383, and had a career slugging percentage of .546. Those are eye-popping power numbers, and he ought to get much more recognition with those kinds of totals.

Carlos Delgado was a superstar first baseman during his first eleven seasons of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays. He retires as one of the greatest players in franchise history in ten significant statistical categories including homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, walks, doubles, and extra base-hits. Delgado won the Silver Slugger Award in the years 1999, 2000, and 2003 while also winning the Hank Aaron Award in 2000 for being the best offensive player in the AL. I think the award that defined his career best was his Roberto Clemente Award in 2006. The Roberto Clemente Award is given to the player that combines on the field excellence with charity work

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4/2011 Shooting Guard Rankings 1-10

April 13th 2011 12:54
1. Kobe Bryant- Dwayne Wade is baring down on his neck, but Bryant is still the king of the position. He plays much better defense than Wade and is the better pure scorer and shooter.
2. Dwayne Wade- Bryant's age is the only reason why people believe Wade is the better player. If somebody is older, we shouldn't just penalize them because of age when they are still better than the younger player. Heck, it's only a difference of a couple of years. I'll put Wade at the top when he's better than Kobe; it's as simple as that.
3. Joe Johnson- Johnson is one of the most consistent scorers in the NBA, and he is solid at rebounding and passing

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2010 NHL Playoffs Round One

April 12th 2011 11:55
Eastern Conference

1 Capitals vs. 8 Rangers

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4/11 Game Preview: Heat and Hawks

April 11th 2011 14:35
The Heat are currently in a vicious battle with the Celtics for the East's number two seed. They may have the upper hand now after finally beating the Celtics in a 100-77 statement win that featured an insane block from Dwayne Wade and an even more impressive performance from LeBron James. The Hawks are going to be the 5th seed in the East, and they will pose a challenge for the Heat who are looking to distance themselves from the Celtics in the standings.

The Hawks have been playing poor defense of late, and they have to get back on track against a team that will rip them apart if they do not defend well. Offensively, the Hawks have to be able to spread the ball around. They can do that with guys like Kirk Hinrich, Al Horford, and Joe Johnson. Hinrich is the X-Factor in this game. He is Bibby's replacement, and he can burn up the former Hawk as Bibby is one of the worst defensive point guards in the game

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4/9 Game Recap: Angels and Jays

April 10th 2011 18:09
I was able to catch the end of the Angels' 6-5 victory in a long game against the Toronto Blue Jays played in Los Angeles. There were a lot of runs early on as starting pitchers Brett Cecil and Matt Palmer got blown early to the tune of 10 hits and 5 runs allowed apiece (4 ER for Palmer). However, four relievers in that game were perfect through at least an inning of work. Only one reliever gave up an earned run, and that came from the game-winning single.

Maicer Izturis was definitely the hero of the game for the Angels. He not only hit the game-winning single to score Peter Bourjos from second, but he also had 3 hits with two ribbies and a run during the game. Dan Haren came in at the end to get the win (2-0) and struck out a batter in a perfect inning of work. I view Haren as a darkhorse candidate to win the Cy Young. Before the season started, my good friend Aryan- who used to own a blog here- and I were talking about what would happen before the season. I told him that Haren and Russell Martin were my bounce-back players. So far, they have done me right

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4/2011 Team Scope: Denver Nuggets

April 9th 2011 13:02
The reason why the Nuggets are playing at an extremely high rate after the Melo trade is the emergence of role players that now have more touches. There is also less uncertainty surrounding the future of the best player on the team which in turn effected the other players on the team. Denver also has a nice all-around roster that is quick on the outside and strong in the interior.

Ty Lawson epitomizes a quick point guard, and he is also a solid shooter that is at his best in transition; a staple in George Karl's offense. The only knock on Lawson is his defense, but Raymond Felton and the interior have that important portion of the game covered. Felton and Lawson form a solid point guard duo. Felton is a good defensive player because of his quickness and fast hands, and he is also superb in transition. However, he is a subpar shooter that is terrible at long 2's

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No.1 vs. No. 2 Seed in NBA

April 7th 2011 14:36
The Spurs clinched the number one seed in the West after a win against Sacramento and a Lakers' loss against the Warriors. Everyone has been talking a lot about it, but I'm here to tell you that all this talk is meaningless. The title of this post is a verbal irony that almost sums up my feelings on this subject.

When you think about it, the one and two seeds are elite teams that are pretty much evenly matched. Only a few games will separate these teams, but a team's record really isn't that important come playoff time. The only advantage the number one seed has over the number two seed is that they get the home court advantage- one game- over the two seed. That one game is further devalued when you take into account that any elite team can still win games on the road

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2010 NCAAB PSW Player of the Year

April 6th 2011 15:28
Connecticut Point Guard Kemba Walker

Jimmer Fredette doesn't deserve this award. Jimmer is the best offensive player in the country, but he is a subpar passer that does nothing else but score. He is also one of the worst defensive players out there, and he doesn't even try at that half of the game. Kemba is ultra-clutch, and nobody has anywhere near the number of tough, crucial shots that Walker has hit this year. He is easily the National Player of the Year

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Kentucky Shooting Guard DeAndre Liggins

The official award went to Kenneth Faried, but my pick goes to DeAndre Liggins of Kentucky. He is a lock down defender that can also get boards, and that's a nice bonus from a guard. He is an unselfish player that leads by example and can also play at shooting guard

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2010 PSW NCAAB Coach of the Year

April 4th 2011 14:54
I already did my conference picks for the Big Six conferences, and it is time for me to unveil my major awards. I will name my Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. These awards are only based on the regular season. I also released my three All-American teams earlier, so you might want to check those out. I am ready for a great finals matchup tonight against Butler and UConn. I have no idea who is going to win, and I am inching over to the Butler side. No matter how you look at it, this game is going to be one to keep tucked into your memory for the rest of your life.

Coach of the Year Louisville Rick Pitino

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Wow, it's come to this already. I am psyched. Butler is back and as good as ever, even without Gordon Hayward who was the team's best player on last year's squad. Shelvin Mack pushed Butler over VCU, and they find themselves facing the best player in college basketball. However, UConn is about more than just Kemba Walker. Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, and Alex Oriakhi are also solid players. Lamb is a great sidekick for Walker.

Brad Stevens and Jim Calhoun will be pitted against each other in a matchup that won't disappoint. It's Butler's stingy defense against Kemba's show. Connecticut was able to get by Kentucky, but Butler is going to be an even bigger challenge. For all the talk about Calhoun vs. Calipari, Butler have the youngest coach to ever get to 2 Final Four appearances. While Cal is better than Stevens, Stevens will find a great scheme to try and slow down Walker

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2010 PSW NCAAB Conference POYs

April 2nd 2011 13:57
It is time for me to unveil my picks for Conference Player of the Year for each of the Big Six conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, and PAC-10). After the National Championship, I will announce my Player of the Year. Are you fired up?

Big East Connecticut Point Guard Kemba Walker

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2010 NCAAB PSW All-Americans

April 1st 2011 19:10
First Team

PG Kemba Walker Connecticut

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