Archive for April, 2012

The NFL Draft: 1st Round Grades

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Football

The 1st round of the draft was just as exciting as everyone could have expected. When I made my predictions, I decided not to predict any possible trades, but there were several in the just the first 10 picks. With that said, my picks were not as great as I had hoped. If you were to grade my picks directly I only got 6/32; but if you take into account teams still picking the predicted player but changing positions, my numbers go up to 8/32. Even so, a lot of teams made a lot of significant moves and it was an exciting 1st round.

Here are my grades for each of the picks of the first round…

Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck QB – Indy made this pick official much earlier in the week and would have been criticized if they went in any other direction, even with Griffin. The fans let the Colts supporters know that they were not respected during this first pick, but no one can deny that this young man is a talent that we will see flourish at some point in his career. The Colts made moves this offseason, with the release of Manning and loss of a couple of key players. Luck is the QB of the future for them and should begin to produce with their depleted talent almost immediately. Draft Grade: A

Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III QB – Before Luck could get off the stage, the fans in Radio City were chanting RGIII. He was smiling all the way up to the stage and showed off his crazy socks (bringing a new quirk to DC after Portis’s crazy costumes). A new era is starting in DC and the Redskins organization and fans could not be happier. There will be a lot of criticism for giving up 1st round picks for the next two years, but they were looking at the strength of this QB and his ability to make an immediate impact. Draft Grade: A

Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson RB – Fearing that another team was going to move up, the Browns were looking for that impact player to take over at the running back position. Hillis moved on and the AFC North is a strong running division (Rice with the Ravens and Benson with the Bengals). Richardson has a quick step and agility to break free before the tackles line up. The Browns also did not have to give up much to make this move. Draft Grade: A

Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil OT – No one will deny that Kalil is a strong pickup at an offensive lineman. The Vikings made it official that this guy is an instant starter. Ponder may not be the QB of the future for the Vikes, but someone needs to block for him. The running game will continue to be excellent with Peterson, but the passing game suffered with limited protection. Kalil should allow for a better opportunity for Ponder to contribute in the short term. Draft Grade: A-

Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon WR – When it comes to taking the next best player off the board, no one will question the Jags on this pick. They also need some more talent to give Gabbert someone else to throw to. The problem with this pick is that the Jags has many other needs, including possibly not continuing with Gabbert as the focus of the offense. It is likely that their passing offense will increase from worst to something slightly better, but Blackmon would have been better served to go to a team with a solid quarterback. Draft Grade: B+

Dallas Cowboys – Morris Claiborne CB – With changes on defense, the Cowboys needed some help and made a move to get a player who definitely would not fall out of the top 10. Some commentators have speculated that the offense could produce better if their defense did not give up as many points and blow leads late in games. Claiborne is an excellent cover guy but will struggle a bit with tackling until he gets more NFL experience. Draft Grade: A-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mark Barron SS – Not since Sean Taylor has there been a safety predicted to be such a big hitter than Barron. He is an excellent QB spy and quick in reaction to RBs and WR screens. The Buccaneers have had struggles on both offense and defense, but this is definitely a nice upgrade to match up against Newton, Brees and Ryan. Draft Grade: A-

Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill QB – The Dolphins have been an embarrassment this offseason. They missed out on every great QB free agent and were forced to overreach in the draft to get their guy for the future. Tannehill has a solid upside but is not as experienced as the top QB picks and should have been more of a later 1st round pick based on available talent. The Dolphins could have gone with a strong WR like Michael Floyd and picked up any of the other QBs from Weeden to Cousins in the 2nd round. Draft Grade: B

Carolina Panthers – Luke Kuechly LB – In need of an extra assistant on defense, Kuechly was an excellent pick and the best available LB in the draft. He should succeed where Dan Morgan struggled.  Draft Grade: A

Buffalo Bills – Stephen Gilmore CB – This young player is certainly an excellent pick, but there were some excellent offensive linemen that were available to protect their investment in Fitzpatrick. For their defense, Gilmore is an upgrade necessary to replace the lost talent over the past few years and limit the number of games the Bills will have to fight back for come-from-behind victories. Draft Grade: B+

Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe NT – These are not the Chiefs that used to go to the playoffs each season. They need help on both offense and defense. This is a player with a great quickness off the snap and will break through the line to get to the quarterback. Great pickup to strengthen that front line. Draft Grade: A-

Philadelphia Eagles – Fletcher Cox DT – Though I did not expect the Eagles to move up or even take Cox over Brockers, they gave up a little to shift only 3 spots up. Still, this is a defensive guy who improves the team just by being there. He is strong, quick off the snap and worthy of some attention for next season. Draft Grade: A-

Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd WR – In desperate need of a matchup with Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have continued their focus on upgrading their offense. Kolb will have a better chance to show off his talent with two strong receivers to work with. Draft Grade: A-

St. Louis Rams – Michel Brockers DT – Even without judging the pickup of Brockers, the Rams traded back twice (Redskins and Cowboys) to grab a lot of young talent for the rebuilding of the team. Understanding that both sides of the ball are an issue, Brockers will be excellent to work with Laurinaitis and Chris Long. Draft Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks – Bruce Irvin OLB – So the Seahawks got an extra pick out of the deal with Philadelphia, but there were much better players to pick over Irvin. Defense has been an area that has fallen backward, but why not draft a stronger lineman or another receiver for Flynn? Draft Grade: B-

New York Jets – Quinton Coples DE – The Jets already have character issues, but they seem to think that bringing in a DE who has poor work effort makes sense for their organization. The defensive line is the weakest part of their defense, but running is not the most significant part of the AFC East offenses to justify this pick. Draft Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick CB – With the offense showing vast improvement last season, the defense was actually one of the better ones in the league as well. The Bengals have been improving and could use the secondary assistance. Draft Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers – Melvin Ingram DE – With the loss of some great defensive linemen and linebackers, the run defense has been lacking and the ability to get to the quarterback. With Manning in the division, Ingram will definitely help with putting on the pressure, but he is not a strong as some of the other linemen in the 1st round. Draft Grade: A-

Chicago Bears – Shea McClellin OLB – Peppers, Urlacher and McClellin? This may be one of the better linebacker corps in the NFC and should hopefully match up well against the passing games of Detroit and Green Bay. Draft Grade: A-

Tennessee Titans – Kendall Wright WR – I thought they were going to give Locker more protection, but extra passing options does not hurt as well. They need help at wide receiver, which he provides in terms of speed. His vertical leap and height are a little on the smaller side. Draft Grade: B+

New England Patriots – Chandler Jones DE – With the worst overall defense in the NFL last year, this is an immediate improvement. Making the Super Bowl did not hide the lack of a run defense. This was an excellent adjustment to find an immediate impact player. Draft Grade: A

Cleveland Browns – Brandon Weeden QB – Though a confusing move, the Browns made it clear that McCoy is not their guy with this pick. Richardson gave the impression that offense was a focus, but Weeden says that their lack of offensive weapons meant that a QB was their idea of a smart move. He may be a good pick, but he is already an older guy and may have a shorter career, as well as shorter timeframe to produce before passing onto the next QB. Draft Grade: B-

Detroit Lions – Riley Rieff OT – Matthew Stafford proved himself last year, but protection is always a concern. Rieff could have been taken much sooner, so this was a bit of a steal as a late 1st-rounder. Draft Grade: A-

Pittsburgh Steelers – David DeCastro OG – As another lineman that could have been taken sooner, the Steelers got lucky that he dropped to this position. An aging offensive line cost the Steelers some of the success they could have experienced last season and DeCastro has a strong work ethic. Draft Grade: A-

New England Patriots – Dont’a Hightower ILB – Another strong defensive pick to upgrade their poor defensive play. Hightower was possibly interchangeable with the other LB prospects of the first round, but the Patriots should be happy with themselves for making this move. Draft Grade: A-

Houston Texans – Whitney Mercilus DE – No team lost more on defense than the Texans with both Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans leaving for new opportunities. Mercilus should make an immediate impact with the depleted line. There were better 1st round picks but this is a solid DE that they needed to pick. Draft Grade: B+

Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Zeitler OG – As mentioned earlier, the Bengals have improved in many ways but this pick gives better protection to their young, talented QB. Guards do not usually stand out as much, but Zeitler should find a home with his translation of the Alabama defensive scheme. Draft Grade: B+

Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry DE – Excellent offense does not overshadow poor defense. With a need to improve their defensive line, Perry can give a quicker burst to put pressure on the other NFC North teams. Draft Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings – Harrison Smith S – Similar to the need to build their offense, their defense needed some youthful talent. Smith is a quick player but will not make as immediate an impact as Kalil on offense. Draft Grade: B+

San Francisco 49ers – AJ Jenkins WR – The 49ers did not need to do much because they did not lose any of their starters. They would have been in the Super Bowl if one or two of the fumbles went the other way. Crabtree has not produced as well as expected, but they made moves to pick up two WRs in free agency, so this pick is a little suspect. Draft Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin RB – Though a few guys have been able to produce for short periods, the Bucs have been plagued with a serious of mediocre backs over the past several years, preventing Freeman from reaching his potential. Martin should be an immediate producer with his cuts and power. Draft Grade: A-

New York Giants – David Wilson RB – Though not projected for the first round, Wilson got lucky that the Super Bowl Champions were looking to replace Brandon Jacobs. There were better guys to pick to protect Manning, but Wilson has some potential to be productive alongside Bradshaw. Draft Grade: B-

Of the teams to fail to pick in the first round, the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints. The Ravens were in good shape last season but could have upgraded on the offensive line (managed with Round 2 Pick 28). The Broncos made a number of moves in the offseason and were able to work without the first round pick. The Saints did not make huge changes but did not need to do much. The Raiders were the biggest loser in the experience of missing out on a pick in the first round.

There is still another several rounds left, so lets see what late rounder makes the biggest impact.

In the current political landscape, the economy serves as the most significant issue for the upcoming fall election. About 2 weeks ago, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill repealing the state’s equal pay law. When questioned, explanations included the need for young men to feel like they could grow up to be breadwinners. How is this not seen as blatant sexism? This is a clear movement backwards in the concept of equal pay for equal work.When did women become second-class citizens? Oh wait, that has been the unfortunate reality for all of human existence.

Hilary Rosen, a democratic political consultant, came out with a statement against Ann Romney regarding her lack of experience to talk about the economy. Rosen’s statement included a belief that Ann’s stay-at-home mother status negated her ability to give feedback on the concerns of women regarding the economy, being as she has not worked during her adult life in a paying job. This statement came out after Mitt Romney referenced his advisement of women’s beliefs came from his wife. While being a full-time parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, there is a difference between what makes parenting difficult and experience with the economy when your husband makes my yearly salary in less than 14 hours.

The Daily Show decided to do a piece on this, with Jon Stewart highlighting the absurdity of FOX News saying the attacks against women did not rise to the level of “war.” While he focused more on the media’s attention to women’s electoral issues over the actual issues themselves, he did a great job at highlighting the disparity between men and women in today’s world. While most of the conversation right now is surround birth control and health care, specifically whether it should be covered or not, each of the issues highlight the problems with men making decisions on women’s rights with their own bodies. Here are some of the recent specifics around the country:

  • Women in Arizona will have to prove that they are using birth control through their health care for medical (not personal) reasons.
  • In Mississippi, abortion is now criminalized as murder.
  • Also in Arizona, doctors have no obligation to tell women if their child(ren) will be born with any birth defects, preventing any ability for a woman to choose to continue the pregnancy fully informed.
  • In Pennsylvania, sonograms will be required before abortions, to reinforce the “living” concept of the unborn fetus.
  • Virginia will require a transvaginal ultrasound before seeking an abortion, similar to the reasons for Pennsylvania.
  • New opposition has risen against the violence against women act, seemingly due to provisions that would extend its protections to same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants.
  • In Texas, legislators are seeking to block Planned Parenthood from receiving any state planning money.
  • In Wisconsin, there is a push to make single-parenting get labeled as child abuse.
  • In Topeka, KS, there are no provisions for domestic violence, making it non-criminal (at least in comparison to other states).

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The issues with birth control and abortion are ridiculous, in that they take away the right to choose from women. Certainly I am a pro-choice advocate, as I do not see it as my right or responsibility to make decisions for women about their bodies or give that power to legislators. I certainly value life, but many of these pro-life agenda items would force rape survivors to keep children conceived during their attack or keep levels of teenage mothers high as it would force all of these unprepared young girls to go through pregnancy and either choose to keep the child (which significantly limits the likelihood for the young girl to pursue her aspirations) or put the child up for adoption (which could result in significant psychological stress and strain due to separation from their offspring). I could dive into the entire pro-life/pro-choice debate, but the significant point is that women have the right to choose for themselves, as we would not put federal or state  regulations on men’s ability to engage in sexual activities.

Granting doctors the ability to withhold information that should be provided to expecting mothers regarding the health of their children is outright ludicrous. It is clear that this is also an underhanded ploy to encourage the pro-life agenda, as is the sonogram and ultrasound in Pennsylvania and Virginia, respectively. And no funding for Planned Parenthood? Sure it is Texas, but there is no excuse for withholding services to women that are not exclusive to abortion. Planned Parenthood provides services across the board with support for women and pregnancy, even though they are best know for their abortion services. Again, this is an attack on a woman’s right to choose.

How about the issue with violence against women? The protections against violence have been a partisan issue since the act’s initial inception. Now because there is an effort to protect same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants, conservatives wants to claim that the act is no longer in line with partisan politics. I know that both of these groups have significantly less or minimal rights in the US but this goes to a larger human rights issue that is much larger than extending rights to traditionally discriminated groups of people. The world could certainly be looking to us for guidance on this one and we are saying that we do not care about you unless you are a US citizen and heterosexual.

This is particularly a tough time to be an undocumented woman from a lesbian relationship, as there are virtually no protections in this country for you to choose what happens to your body. The conservative media sources want to escalate Christmas, sugars, fossil fuels, constitution and ladies night to war status, but true rights to choose for women is just not that important, at least as long as you are not a conservative.

Now if only our male congressmen would step aside to allow women to actually speak for themselves…

One of the best draft dramas in sports, the NFL draft is a three-day affair that captures the attention of millions of fans trying to see what young talent may be coming in to their city and team. Some of the drama has been ramped up with the prospects coming into this year from the college level. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are the two biggest names of the draft, but Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson are getting some great attention as well. The reality is that great coaches can find the talent outside of the first round, like the Patriots did years ago with Brady or the Redskins may have last year with Roy Helu.

I have a little competition going with my family about who will be taken in the first round, and although this is not my final official list, here is where things fall for the moment (just under 2 weeks away from the big night)…

Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck QB – Is there anyone else they could take? It is not even worth talking about the other needs of the team, but they will need to do something incredible before the season starts to draft and attract some other great talent to join the young man in Indiana. There is a small possibility that they could go with Griffin, but Irsay would be a failure if he passed up on the player that has been equated to Manning at his entry into the NFL.

Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III QB – They made the trade for a reason. RG3 represents the needed upgrade at QB that the coaches and fans have been searching for over the past decade. His dynamic style is just what the team needs to make a splash again in the NFC East. Even if there is a switch-up between the Redskins and Colts, is Luck really a consolation prize?

Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil OT – The defense could use some work, but the Cover 2 does not bode well for Claiborne as a Viking. On offense, they do not need to replace Peterson at this point, so it comes down to blocking for Ponder and the dynamic RB. Kalil provides the needed protection for Ponder to give him one more year to show he is an NFL starting QB.

Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson RB – Colt McCoy seems to be the guy for another year in Cleveland, but only because they could not move up in the draft ahead of the Skins. Richardson gives them a needed strength at RB that has been lacking (even during Peyton Hillis’s significant year). There is a need at QB, CB and WR, but they will try to sure up a needed run game before they work on their defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne CB – With an diminishing defense, the Bucs need to make some changes quickly to compete in the NFC South. Claiborne fits the profile of their past success at CB and will be an instant starter with both retirement and legal issues plaguing the DBs. There is a chance to pick up Richardson if he drops to this point, as he is an enticing replacement for a mediocre LaGarrette Blount.

St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon WR – Though there is an injury concern, Bradford needs some targets that have been lacking in St. Louis since the losses of Holt and Bruce years ago. They need help at almost every position, but there will still be some appreciation for Steven Jackson to keep leading at RB and a focus on supporting the ailing QB. Bradford will be on the chopping block if he cannot stay healthy and produce with support.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram DE – This is another team with a lot of needs. Gabbert is not proven and will probably fade out, but the offense needs even one decent talent to complement Jones-Drew. The defense was once in a good place to compete, but they are struggling and need to be prepared to contain the QB and stop a run game in the AFC South that includes Chris Johnson, Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Ingram could provide the needed protection but the Jags could consider grabbing a WR or trading down if they think they could increase the number of picks in the draft as they continue to rebuild.

Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill QB – There is a possibility that Irsay’s Twitter talk could get this QB picked earlier (Vikings or Browns), but the Dolphins need this pick after getting embarrassed so far this off-season. With Brandon Marshall gone, they need someone who can be built up to lead the way for the future, though a replacement WR or DL/LB could happen (but probably not).

Carolina Panthers – Luke Kuechly LB – The offense is now dynamic but the defense needs some work. Though the team was able to increase their points per game, their defensive points per game stayed too high. A quicker set of players for a team that has been trying to replace their aging defense will be a focus for this upcoming draft, as well as some supporting players to complement Newton’s dynamic abilities on offense.

Buffalo Bills – Riley Rieff OT – While their defense has gotten a little attention and still needs some help, their offense is a mystery. Fitzpatrick was playing inspired football before the big deal last year, but struggled after the extended contract. With some better protection, or another WR to pair up with Stevie Johnson, the Bills could at least stay ahead of the Dolphins and possibly the Jets in the AFC East.

Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe NT – It is necessary to think about the protection on offense (which is needed) but they have some strong defensive needs as well. Poe is the necessary replacement for Kelly Gregg, who has lost his step and is contemplating retirement. Kuechly could also get pulled in if he drops to this level.

Seattle Seahawks – David DeCastro OG – It is unusual to take a guard so high but the team need to keep good protection for their new QB, Flynn. If the Chiefs pass on this top OL prospect, he could be a good fit to give more opportunity to both Flynn and Lynch to get the offense running in the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd WR – If he is left available considering the WR needs with some of the other teams, he would give a needed boost for Kevin Kolb to prove his talent. Their focus is going to be on offense in the early rounds. OL will be the other possibilities.

Dallas Cowboys – Quinton Coples DE – The Cowboys have a lot of issues in recent years with drafting the right talent. Besides Miles Austin, they have missed on a number of possibilities and need to work on defense. Coples gives them a necessary upgrade on the line and can begin to work immediately, even if he did not give himself much of a positive review during an interview about his effort. Next stop, replace Romo…

Philadelphia Eagles – Michel Brockers DT – While the “Dream Team” was not horrible on offense, their defense gave up too much last year and they are still losing players (next up is Asante Samuel). Grabbing someone for the DL is a necessity, though they could make an odd move up for Tannehill and embarrass the Dolphins yet again.

New York Jets – Mark Barron SS – This is the part of the draft that starts to look at a potential shared transition into their projected positions, with safety being an important need for the Jets. Alabama is going to get some love with some middle of the first round picks, for the Jets being a need to back up Landry’s uncertainty with his injury problems. They could also look at WRs to replace Burress and Holmes.

Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) – Stephon Gilmore CB – With a need in the secondary, the Bengals could ignore some of the legal drama of the available CBs. Gilmore is a talented corner coming out of South Carolina, but Dre Kirkpatrick or Janoris Jenkins could get selected instead if the management wants to ignore the character issues.

San Diego Chargers – Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB – Defense is a need for this team that has picked up and dropped a number of greater LBs over the past decade. Their offense still needs some work as well, but Rivers can use his weapons better if he is not constantly running back to the field with a defense giving up points too quickly. Upshaw, Kirkpatrick, Gilmore or Barron are good fits to add something to the defense.

Chicago Bears – Kendall Wright WR – While Coples could fall to this spot because of a character flaw and even though the Bears would like someone opposite Peppers, Wright would be a good choice to help deepen the WR group, who will be missing Knox due to back surgery. Offensive line could be a second route to upgrade to protect Cutler.

Tennessee Titans – Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB – The Titans could go with an upgrade on the offensive line to help Johnson and Locker, but defense needs some help. The run defense upgrade that Mercilus can provide could help both in blocking and rushing the edges. Another DT would be possible, but they drafted a few guys last year.

Cincinnati Bengals – Cordy Glenn OG – With the first pick being defensive, their next pick is going to be to help out Dalton and the offense. There is a future for this team in an AFC North that is seeing a struggling Steelers franchise and an inconsistent Ravens team. Glenn could be an anchor for this team. A WR would be helpful as well.

Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – Jonathan Martin OT – The upgrade on offense continues with some blocking for McCoy and the new RB. Since the Bills are one of the few teams who will want to go after an OT, the Browns may get away with a strong pick later in the round. There could be a move to either grab Kendall Wright, if available, or Brandon Weeden, if they do not feel confident with McCoy.

Detroit Lions – Dre Kirkpatrick CB – Since the offense has really improved with Stafford and Megatron, they need to work on the defense to match up with the strong offenses of one of the most competitive divisions currently in the game. Kirkpatrick may fall to this spot due to character issues, though he has been found not guilty at this juncture. Janoris Jenkins would be a similar pick, but the secondary should be the focus at this spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower ILB – With James Farrior out of Pittsburgh, they need a matchup with Timmons. Hightower would be the next best available and the other possible choices for the Steelers would have to drop from their current spots, being taken earlier in the 1st round.

Denver Broncos – Peter Konz G/C – In need of another young lineman to help the interior for Manning’s Broncos, Konz could be that guy to serve as the new Jeff Saturday. Manning would probably want another young WR talent, but the better ones will be taken at this point and John Fox could find his standout WR somewhere in rounds 2-4.

Houston Texans – Stephen Hill WR – While the Broncos could ruin this pick, the Texans have needed someone a little better to partner with Andre Johnson, also considering the more consistent injury issues in the WR corps. He could actually be the best WR to come out of the 1st round, even taken 4th behind Blackmon, Floyd and Wright.

New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – Nick Perry DE/OLB – While their offense is strong (like the Packers), their defense was one of the worst and allowed for the collapse during the Super Bowl. The talents of Perry will be great for improving the defense for the future, particularly the pass rush.

Green Bay Packers – Shea McClellin DE/OLB – As stated above, defense is the biggest need for the Packers. The offense is fairly strong, though a better RB would be a great addition as well. David Wilson or Doug Martin could sneak up into the 1st round…maybe even LaMichael James could shoot up the draft.

Baltimore Ravens – Janoris Jenkins CB – Since Peter Konz will be taken earlier, they need to continue to upgrade their aging defense. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will not last beyond this coming season, and they lost Dominique Foxworth and may lose Cary Williams. Speed and ability will be a focus.

San Francisco 49ers – Coby Fleener TE – Surprisingly, this would be the first TE taken, even after watching the duo of Hernandez and Gronkowski with their production. Vernon Davis is nowhere near the end of his production, but a complement would be great for the offensive attack, especially since they do not need to do anything to upgrade their defense. They will take a couple defensive players late to help find a couple backups.

New England Patriots – Fletcher Cox DT – Continuing to add to their defense, the line is important for stopping the run game that ranked last for yards allowed. Cox is the best DT available and would be great to allow them to compete in the playoffs again.

New York Giants – Mike Adams OT – The Giants barely made the playoffs and then won the Super Bowl. They were not perfect though, as their defense was inconsistent and they lost to the 5-11 Redskins twice. Protecting Manning will be the first focus. WR could be another spot, though they still have Cruz and Nicks.

Several teams will be forgotten in the first round, as they traded away their picks in previous years or lost them due to trades, but this is the prediction at the moment. There is a distinct possibility that some of this could change and trades could mess up the whole order, but that is the drama of the draft.


I have got to give credit to “The Daily Show” for coming up with the right title for following the presidential race. While my greatest interests represented on this site seem to be more about entertainment and sports, there is a side to me that tries to keep up to date on the important issues that plague our great nation and seem to be the focus for our politicians. With this being an election year, the stage has basically been set for a battle between the incumbent Barrack Obama and the now frontrunner Mitt Romney. This has technically not become solidified as there are still a few candidates left in the race for the Republican nomination, but it is a foregone conclusion that he will be named the party’s representative by the time the convention rolls around.

While Romney may be the nominee, the rest of the Republican field has made its impact on the primary race. Conversation popped up originally that Sarah Palin would be running, though she chose to stay with FOX News. The party wanted to see Chris Christie from New Jersey, but he chose to stay out of the fray. The party even wanted Jeb Bush to jump in at the last minute, but he chose to stay in Florida. Here is what was left…


Mitt Romney: Former Governor of Massachusetts – Romney ran back in 2008 and lost to John McCain in the primaries. He is a mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University. As the current frontrunner, he stands for strength in foreign policy, a repeal of Obama’s health care reform (though he developed something similar for Massachusetts), reform of federal spending, stands firmly pro-life and wants a national definition for marriage as of between a man and woman.

Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the House – Though constantly plagued by issues of debt and scandal during the primaries, Gingrich refuses to quit the fight. As a native from Virginia, he pushes forth a conservative agenda more to the right than Romney. The issues for Gingrich include making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent, reforming the Obama health care plan, the need to develop a stronger, unified path in the US’s foreign agenda, maintaining an anti-abortion stance and the need to maintain greater control over the country’s borders.

Ron Paul: House of Representatives (Texas) – Regarded by many as a wingnut, Paul has run three times for the presidential opportunity. Paul has been a long-running member of Congress and has views that both follow party lines and defy them. Among those positions are an agreement on both economic and health care perspectives of his party, a view of reducing military involvement around the world and a combination of disapproving of same-sex marriage but allowing the states to decide for themselves.

And for all of the ones who dropped out…


Rick Santorum: Former US Senator (Pennsylvania) – Probably one of the most conservative candidates formerly in the running, Santorum looked to be the biggest, long-term conpetition for Romney until multiple losses caused him to drop out. He was able to capture the conservative population with his strong stances on health care, social policies and foreign affairs.

Rick Perry: Texas Governor – Though he is the nation’s longest serving governor, Perry chose to run on a platform of economic cuts, military service and increased border security. He was well known for his antics during debates and his anti-progressive identity.

Jon Huntsman: Former Utah Governor, Former US Ambassador to China – With international experience, he was the candidate that truly had the best record with foreign affairs, but it was also seen as a crutch in comparison to the preferences of his party’s perspectives on foreign policy. Otherwise, his candidaacy seemed eerily similar to Mitt Romney’s.

Michelle Bachman: House of Representatives (Minnesota) – As a strongly contributing member of the Tea Party movement, she was the only woman who announced a candidacy from the Republican party. Though her stances were fairly representative of her party, she could not make a strong enough splash to stand out as a viable candidate.

Herman Cain: Radio Talk Show Host, Former President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza – As the only candidate without significant political experience, Cain ran on a 9-9-9 plan for economic recovery. He proposed the need to reduce corporate tax rates and develop a federal sales tax. His antics and commentary created a national buzz, but only from an entertaining standpoint.

I will come back to the issues more for just the currently active candidates soon.

It is interesting that I have been a tech guy for so many years but I truly struggled with making the decision to purchase the iPad. When I first got my iPhone, the only thing that had been holding me back was that I was a Verizon guy and it took several years for the first iPhone to make it to Verizon. I actually jumped ship and went to AT&T only several months prior to the broadening of the market to the other phone providers. With the iPad, my struggles have been simply about whether I needed it when I also had an iPhone and what would be its primary purpose. I finally got to a point whether I was able to justify that I would get great use out of the iPad for both work and personal reasons.

While there are a number of uses for the iPad, I have made myself open to exploring them all. Here are the first set of apps I downloaded for my new device:

Social Networking

  • Facebook & Twitter: While there are apps that merge the browsing and updating of both of these programs, I prefer to keep them separate. I also have my Twitter updates linked up to forward to Facebook anyway.
  • WordPress: I have to support the site where I do my blogging.
  • LivingSocial: Good deals, good life experience.
  • AroundMe: When you do not know what is available near you…
  • Yelp: Somewhat similar, I am curious what people think about places to eat, shop and enjoy.
  • Thrillist: Similar to AroundMe but with the added benefits of LivingSocial.
  • Skype: With Wi-Fi, this is a great way to talk to people quick and easy.


  • Netflix: This is a great way to take advantage of the HD video quality and faster processor.
  • Flixster: As a movie buff, I love the ability to stay on top of what is out and upcoming in the world of movies.
  • IMDB: Same as above.
  • Urbanspoon: Though somewhat social resource, I like its different way to find information like with Yelp.


  • TasteBook: It is social networking for people who love to share their cooking exploits.
  • Epicurious & Recipes: Obvious.
  • Amazon: Great way to explore the site’s offering on a mobile device.


  • ScoreCenterXL: ESPN updated the simple way they displayed information on their iPhone app.
  • YahooFantasyFootball*: Not out currently, but I could only imagine that it will be more information than the iPhone versions.


  • Flipboard, Zite & News Pro: A fully customizable way to get some of the best headlines around the nation and the world.
  • CNN, Wash Post & NPR: A few specific organizations to catch up on the latest.
  • TED: Awesome videos of people who think differently.


  • Family Feud: Great social version of the classic game.
  • Words HD & Hanging HD: Upgrades on the iPhone versions, but they were not free upgrades…
  • Draw Something: Very fun to do with the stylus.
  • DragonVale: Raising a zoo full of dragons.

There are a few others I have found, but I am curious if there are any other great ones out there I should know about. Thanks in advance for the help.

Chag Pesach Same-ach!  (חג פסח שמח)

I truly love Passover for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is a holiday that gathers the family together and includes a shared experience with the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. Seder, which means order, includes reading from the Haggadah, enjoying a Kosher dinner and finishing with a few additional elements from the Haggadah. Here is the order in a little more detail:

  • Introduction to the Seder
  • The Four Questions
  • The Four Sons
  • The Telling of the Exodus
  • The Ten Plagues
  • Introduction of the Seder Plate
  • Spotlighting the Matzo
  • Spotlighting the Maror
  • Dinner
  • Finding and Eating the Afikoman
  • Reflecting on God’s Support during the Exodus
  • Songs and Games

Traditionally, my family ate beef brisket when my grandparents were still around to host the seder. My mom eventually switched over to a honey mustard chicken (which is excellent), though she made a matzo-encrusted chicken this year. Here is the traditional dinner our family enjoys:

  • Matzo & Butter
  • Gefilte Fish
  • Egg Soup
  • Matzo Ball Soup
  • Chicken, Potato Kugel and Green Beans
  • Flour-less Chocolate Cake and Sugar-coated Strawberries

I now have to wait for another 365 days to enjoy another seder and I am completely honest when I say that cannot wait!

Back on March 13th, The Daily Show did a segment on Rush Limbaugh and his rantings about Sandra Fluke and birth control. On his program, he equated her insinuations as representative of slutty and prostitution-related behavior. FOX News followed up not by either supporting or opposing Limbaugh’s comments, but instead decided to turn the tension back onto the liberal media and figures like Bill Maher. The argument made was that the comments were only meant to be comedy. Clearly infuriating John Stewart, he went off for a solid couple minutes on FOX News’s failure to take ownership of the smut coming out of their news personalities’ mouths. It is a rather entertaining segment of his program and highlights a significant problem with the conservative media. The liberal media has its own problems, but this is something that caught my attention as well. Take a look at this video and watch Jon Stewart’s callout of the utter ridiculousness FOX News put on display.

There are some really bad flops out there in sports. When players either overact the significance of a push or a slight delay in a reaction, but Mick Pennisi took this to a new level. In an international match, the rebounder grabbed the ball and got tangled with Pennisi. When the whistle was blown, the player threw the ball at the top of Pennisi’s head. A full second elasped before Pennisi reacted and fell to the ground. Take a look at the in-game footage of the event and prepare to crack a smile.

Just when I thought Under Armour had stolen the show last season with the upgrades to college uniforms, Nike has stepped in to create a new set of uniforms for the NFL for the upcoming season. Possibly to hide a little of the scandal between the Saints and the league’s many other legal troubles, this is still a big announcement for the players and the fans. It is interesting that most of the teams’ overall designs did not change that much (*cough* Browns *cough*). Here is a taste of the new-look uniforms for many of the teams. Now most of these uniforms will not make it to the field, but the Seahawks are going to be pursuing a new branding campaign that spices up their


The first pair includes the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens. This is a pairing of alternating flares. The Cardinals center the uniform with the black but then strike lightning into the pants and shoulders to make this a confusing concept. The Ravens have always had a much darker sort of image but have reversed into a shiny silver the offset the black and purple.


These two uniforms are absolute fails. Where the Buffalo Bills go ultra-bright, the Carolina Panthers are trying to hide in the darkness. I know the Bills need help, but Nike seems to be trying to blind their opponents. Maybe they got some hints from the Maryland Terrapin Under Armour uniforms from last year. For the Panthers, the jungle cat seems like it is hiding in the helmet and the lack of blue almost makes it tougher to know what team you are watching. And what is up with the font for the numbers?


I have to admit that the Chicago Bears uniform is not that bad. I am missing the “C” on the helmet, but the colors are not nearly as funky as most of the other teams. The Cincinnati Bengals are a completely different story. This is a uniform that must have been put up on the idea board and accidentally fell into the approved pile. The pants and the sides of the jersey are absolutely tacky.


Above the waist, the Dallas Cowboys are fine. The Dallas Star is still pronounced on the side of the helmet. The bottom half is just awful. Did someone spill oil on the concept art and accidentally let it go into production? Those pants are just confusing. For the Broncos, the color scheme seems like it did not change much but the helmet took a return to the classic image of the horse, rather than the horse head. Not a bad switch back.


Neither of these jerseys have much of a change other than the pronouncement of their colors. The lighter shade of the Detroit Lions blue feels a little like a college or high school football uniform, instead of a professional one. The Indianapolis Colts it fairly unchanged but looks sleeker than any other jersey in the group.


Here is a paring of epic fails. The Jacksonville Jaguars look like they are trying to represent a CFL or XFL uniform style. No uniform should ever include leopard, or jaguar, print, even when it is the mascot for the team. The Chiefs get an upgrade with the helmet (though it looks like a potential Redskins design), but the shoulder pads are just too much and look like they are either suppose to be the USC Trojans or Florida State Seminoles.


This pair of New York teams take two different directions. While the New York Giants look like they took a wrong turn to make their uniforms new and exciting, the New York Jets took a much sleeker route. The Giants warped the “NY” on the side and the numbers on the jersey to make them look like kids uniforms. The Jets, on the other hand, mixed a combination of jet black and classic green to make their uniforms take on a new flair.


For the most part, the New Orleans Saints did not change much about their design, except for those awful shoulders. The accent takes away for the overall look already solid design of the previous uniform. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a whole host of problems with this design. The helmet is the one positive accent with the steel pattern merged into the Steelers’s yellow. The one takeaway with the helmet was the classic Steelers logo. There is nothing you can say about the armband, but why did they use Playskool numbers on the jersey? Another child’s uniform on display.


Other than the number and the shade of gold with the belt and socks, the San Francisco 49ers may have something going with this uniform. The helmet is one of the best in terms of the color contrast but the accent color gold keeps this from being a success. The Tennessee Titans apparently have taken the “It’s a boy” concept with their overuse of the baby blue. The flame on the helmet is a nice accent but where is the rest of the color contrast?