The NFL draft: First off, I apologize to our more sensitive readers for the obscene content of my former post, although I renege none of its hatred or vitriol and persist in hating the Kolb pick and everybody in the Eagles' FO. I've watched whatever highlight films of his I can find (this one seems to be the best, if not the best choice of resolution or backing music), and he strikes me as a weak-armed run-first system guy who never worked under center (and the Eagles almost never run a shotgun, preferring instead, as I've often lamented, to run one-back play-action horseshit even on third-and-long). Suffice to say I don't think Kevin Kolb will ever be the Eagles' starting quarterback, and if he is, he'll be Bobby Hoying redux.
But fine -- franchise quarterbacks dont' come often, especially in the second round. The bigger issue is that they didn't pick a single real safety: Gaddis out of Clemson and the Barksdale guy (can we start a petition to make him change his first name to Avon?) from Albany are both hybrid CB/S guys not ideally suited for either position. I bet cash money that will come back to haunt them in a very material sense, probably this season -- but I like a few of their later picks a hell of a lot and think they addressed glaring needs. Namely:
Abiamiri out of ND is exactly what they needed on the D-line, a big earthmover end who can stop the run, the kind of guy they usually forsake in favor of undersized "high-motor" busts like McDougle, Patterson, Bunkley -- hell, all the way back to Mike Mamula.
Bradley from Nebraska -- a 6'4", 254-lb LB -- is another welcome departure from their tendency to draft fast undersized linebackers who invariably wind up sucking (Reid has yet to draft a starting-quality linebacker -- see McCoy, Reese, Caver, Gardner, Gocong, etc. -- with the possible exception of Gaither last year, and it's too early to say with him). This guy's not a freak athlete, but he's almost Trotter's size and can't possibly be any worse in coverage than Dhani Jones.
Tony Hunt could finally be the big back Eagles fans have been waiting for since Reid took over. I love Westbrook -- I think he's still underrated, despite his recent hype, because he's not as fragile as people think, runs well between the tackles, comes up big in big spots, is a very good blocker, an excellent receiver, and all-around, probably the best running back in the NFC and the single most dangerous player I've seen since Marshall Faulk. But we could use a change-of-pace guy to play the Brandon Jacobs/T.J. Duckett role in goalline situations and third-and-short. Maybe now Andy will even decide to fucking run the ball sometimes in those situations. Probably not, but I can dream.
However, Doyle makes an excellent point that draft-day speculation -- and indeed the media blitz that is the NFL draft -- is invariably wrong and, further, pointless. NFL scouts fail in evaluating talent most of the time and we probably can't do any better.
The NBA: Unfortunately, I just finished working four days in a row and don't have cable, so I haven't been able to watch any of the first-round games save for snippets caught between serving Smithwicks. So I'll leave most of it to Connor, except to take minor issue with a couple of his statements from the previous post:
I agree that its players' streetball ethic has helped the NBA's popularity. However, I also think it's partly to blame for its decline in popularity since the MJ/Magic/Bird days, largely for the reason you touch upon -- white America can no longer identify with many of the players, or no longer wants to try, which in turn has led to the NBA's quest to Tigerfy its players, as you mentioned.
The only other thing I have to offer is that the LeBron/A-Rod comparison is dead-on. That's the first time I've seen it made, and I hadn't considered it, but the parallels are all there.
The Phillies: Another strong outing from a starting pitcher today. Seven innings, one earned run from Leiber. Myers pitched another scoreless eighth. And the back end of the 'pen blew it again. This time El Pulpo Flashed a fastball to Andruw and he hit it halfway to Punxsutawney.
Clock's ticking, Chaz. Make Myers the closer soon or you're out of a job and the Phils will be out of the Wild Card race.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a post discussing Josh Hancock's death and the sports media's response. I expect it will piss a lot of people off for no good reason.