2017 NFL Draft 1st-Round Review

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Well that didn’t go as planned. Despite months of draft analysis from experts, and countless mock drafts, the 1st-round of the 2017 NFL Draft was as unpredictable as the weather (Mel Kiper and Todd McShay do look a lot like meteorologists today). In between the plethora of boos hurled at Roger Goodell, the 1st-round provided more twists and turns than the Taconic Parkway (New Yorkers know what I’m talking about). There were multiple trades and many players rose or fell from their projected draft spots.

No surprise at the top, as the Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett from Texas A&M with the 1st overall pick. The Browns evening didn’t end there. They traded the 12th pick to the Houston Texans for the 25th pick and the Texans 1st-round pick in 2018. The Texans drafted Deshaun Watson from Clemson at 12 while the Browns drafted Jabrill Peppers from Michigan at 25. I don’t love either pick, as I think Watson, despite his outstanding career at Clemson, is an undersized quarterback who lacks the arm strength to succeed in the NFL . Peppers is a ‘tweener’ (safety/linebacker) who comes with baggage after failing a drug test at the NFL combine. The Browns then traded back into the 1st-round by shipping the 33rd pick and a 4th-round pick to the Green Bay Packers for the 29th pick. The Browns selected David Njoku from Miami. Njoku was the 3rd tight end selected in the 1st-round, and while I like the player, I wonder who will be throwing him the football this year….

Of the many trades from Thursday night, my favorite was the 1st one (for the 49ers that is). New 49ers General Manager, John Lynch, swindled the Chicago Bears. There is no other way to put it. The Bears traded up 1 SPOT, from the 3rd to 2nd pick, giving up 3rd and 4th-round picks from this year as well as a 3rd-round pick in 2018. Only problem is, the Bears LITERALLY didn’t have to do that. How did that conversation go?

Lynch: Listen Chicago, we’re getting multiple offers for the #2 pick here. If you can’t give us 3 valuable draft picks to move up only 1 spot, I’m afraid you’re going to miss out on your guy.

Ryan Pace (Bears GM): That sounds extremely fair. Now we can get Mitch Trubisky! You want me to throw in my 1st-born child too?

Yes, you heard that right. The Bears gave away the farm, to move up 1 spot, to draft a guy that was going to fall to them anyway. Even if Trubisky ends up being good, he simply is not worth such a high draft pick. He has only started 13 games at the collegiate level! The 49ers then drafted Solomon Thomas from Stanford, who yup you guessed it, is the guy they wanted anyway! Nice work Chicago. The 49ers, like the Browns, weren’t done for the evening. They moved back into the 1st-round by sending Seattle their 2nd and 4th-round picks in exchange for the 31st pick. John Lynch continued to impress in his 1st draft as the 49ers selected Reuben Foster of Alabama, who despite off-field issues, is regarded as one of the most talented players in the draft. The other major trade from last night saw the Kansas City Chiefs trade the 27th pick, a 3rd-round pick, and their 1st-round pick in 2018 to the Buffalo Bills to move up to the 10th pick. They selected Alex Smith’s potential successor in Patrick Mahomes II from Texas Tech. Mahomes has an absolute cannon for an arm, which often leads to risky throws. Only time will tell if Andy Reid can mold Mahomes into a successful NFL quarterback.

And last but not least, let’s talk about New York. We’ll quickly brush over that New York team that wears blue or purple or whatever color that is, so we can get to my New York Jets. The Giants gave Eli Manning another safety valve and drafted Evan Engram out of Ole Miss. Engram is an undersized tight end who will bring playmaking ability to an already talented receiving core for the Giants.

And then there were the New York Jets. As I like to call them, My New York Jets. With tank mode in full-effect, it was imperative that the Jets did not draft a quarterback on Thursday night. And thanks to the Chicago Bears, they didn’t even get that chance. The top 5 picks saw 3 offensive players fall off the board, leaving the Jets with the pick of the defensive litter. And even though the suspense was cut short when ESPN camera’s accidentally showed LSU safety Jamal Adams receiving his call of a lifetime, Jets fans have to be ecstatic that he fell into their laps. With the Jets’ secondary in shambles, they just picked up, according to some experts, the best player in the draft. Personally, I love the pick, and I love Adams already. First of all, CHECK OUT THE SUIT!! And talk about passion. His interview immediately following the selection was filled with raw emotion and the promise to “work his butt off”. Jets General Manager Mike Mccagnan has stuck to the motto ‘draft the best player available’ in the 1st-round. As for the 2nd-round, eh………not so much. So, let us collectively hold our breath until we reach the Jets next pick (39).

How do you feel about the Jets 1st-round draft pick? How do you feel about your teams draft pick? Tell me in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!    

 

 

Happy Birthday Aaron Judge!!

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Did you see that?!?! This has become a common reaction to the early season accomplishments of New York Yankees’ outfielder, Aaron Judge. A mountain of a man, standing 6’7″ tall, Judge has taken the league by storm, one moonshot home run at a time. Wednesday night, Judge celebrated his 25th birthday by playing against the Boston Red Sox for the first time. Judge didn’t wait long to give himself a gift and introduce himself to this historic rivalry.

The first pitch Judge saw Wednesday night, an 89-m.p.h. fastball from Rick Porcello, landed exactly where you’d expect; the cheap seats. The 2nd inning, 2-run home run was the 7th of the season for Judge. He now has 7 home runs and 15 r.b.i.’s while batting .281 in his first 18 games. And to think just 4 short weeks ago, Judge nearly lost the right-field competition to Aaron Hicks. Good work Joe Girardi! This is Judge’s second audition in the big leagues (playing in 27 games in 2016), and I’d say he’s got the part. And who said you never get a 2nd chance at a 1st impression?!

The birthday boy’s evening didn’t end there. In the 3rd inning, Judge figured it was time to flash the leather. Xander Bogaerts popped-up a ball down the right-field line. As it appeared it would hang up just enough for Judge to make a play on it, he took off full-speed toward the foul line. The ball met his glove simultaneously with his knees meeting the half-wall, making an incredible catch and tumbling into the first row of the stands (pictured above) in a very Jeter-Esque manner. Dare I say that Judge’s home run in the 2nd inning was an inside-out swing reminiscent of one Derek Jeter as well? I’m just sayin’. 

Thanks to Judge’s hot start (and some surprisingly OUTSTANDING starting pitching), the Yankees have opened the season 12-7, just 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. Only time will tell if the Yankees and Judge will continue their strong play. For now, I will enjoy watching him hit 448-foot home runs into the stratosphere.

Do you think Aaron Judge is the real deal? Are the Yankees really contenders or is the other shoe about to drop? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

The Captain Is Back!!

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Derek Jeter is returning to baseball. No, he’s not coming out of retirement to play for the Yankees, rather he is looking to fulfill one of his long-term goals to own a Major League Baseball team. Jeter is part of a group, which includes former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, that could purchase the Miami Marlins. As of Tuesday, April 25th, the Jeter-Bush group had reached a tentative agreement to purchase the Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria.

Loria purchased the Marlins in 2002 for $158.5 million. The current sale, first reported by the Miami Herald, is set at $1.3 billion. Not a bad return on investment for Loria, a former New York art dealer. Loria previously owned the Montreal Expos, purchasing the team in 1999 for $18 million. Loria essentially ‘flipped’ the Expos, selling to the MLB’s Commissioner’s Office in 2002 for $120 million. Well apparently I’m in the wrong business. I should be buying and selling MLB teams. Marlins fans will likely have a parade once the sale is official. Loria has been called “baseball’s most hated man” and “the worst owner in sports history”. These lighthearted nicknames most likely stem from the controversial construction of the Marlins’ new stadium, in 2012. Wait, so I can’t use taxpayers’ hard earned money to build my new stadium and then cut payroll by $70 million? No Jeff, that’s not how that works. Anyway, back to Jeter….

The sale isn’t official yet, but the Jeter-Bush group has attained exclusive negotiating rights with the Marlins. Reportedly, they outbid a group including Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg Romney, and Hall-Of-Fame pitcher Tom Glavine. No offense Romney family, but Mitt and Tagg? Too many Matts and Thomas’ in the world? Okay seriously, back to Jeter….

Jeter has always been outspoken about his aspiration to own a MLB team. That dream may be becoming a reality. Since entering the league in 1995, Jeter has been a great ambassador for baseball. He always represented the Yankees with class and dignity. Above all else, Jeter made one thing a priority throughout his career, WINNING. I’m certain he will carry that same mentality to his ownership role.

The Jeter-Bush group has a few more steps to climb before the sale is official. Their financial structure must be approved by MLB (I’m sure that won’t be a problem). And, any sale requires 75% approval from MLB owners. I will never doubt The Captain, so expect winning ways to return to Miami (somewhere, right now, Pat Riley’s on the phone trying to get in on that action – anything for a W right?). The only part baseball fans will have to get used to is seeing Jeter don something other than pinstripes.

Are you excited to see Derek Jeter own a Major League Baseball team? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Serena Williams Redefines Dominance

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We may never see dominance like this ever again. Over the last 22 years, we have seen Serena Williams transition from a 14-year old Phenom to the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time. Serena won her first Grand Slam Title at the 1999 U.S. Open, at the ripe old age of 17!! Believe it or not, she is not the youngest woman to win a Grand Slam (making it about the only record she doesn’t hold). That distinction belongs to Martina Hingis, who won the 1997 Australian Open at the age of 16. Serena beat Hingis (then Number 1 in the world) in the finals of the 1999 U.S. Open. The list of Serena’s accomplishments would take days (possibly weeks) to write, so if you’d like to learn more about Serena’s career, please click here. Today, I am going to highlight why Serena Williams is the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time and the 2nd most dominant athlete in the history of sports. Who’s the most dominant athlete of all-time?? Oh, you’ll have to keep reading to find out….

Serena Williams has landed in news headlines this past week. Mostly for amazing reasons, however, she unfortunately had to defend herself from the blatantly racist comments made by Ilie Nastase (a former tennis professional from Romania). Serena, as always, remained Serena: “This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.”

On the lighter side of things, this past week Serena shared her utmost joy with the world. Serena is pregnant!! This is a beautiful moment, and I want to wish her and her family health and happiness in the next chapter of their lives. This isn’t just an ordinary pregnancy (not that any pregnancy is ever ordinary), but Serena accomplished something I don’t think any other pregnant woman ever has before. Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while she was approximately 8 weeks pregnant. Let us all take a second to let that sink in………………………………………………………okay, still not wrapping your brain around that one? Yeah me neither. Allow me to put into perspective just how impressive her 2017 Australian Grand Slam Title was:

  1. She won her 7th Australian Open (An Open-Era Record)
  2. She became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam Singles Title, breaking her own record (Age 35)
  3. She passed Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam Singles Titles in the Open-Era (23)
  4. She beat her own sister in the Australian Open Final (marking the 28th time they’ve played against each other – Serena holds a 17-11 advantage)
  5. She regained the World Number 1 Ranking
  6. And oh yeah she was anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks pregnant throughout the tournament

Serena Williams is beyond a shadow of a doubt the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time. She is also the 2nd most dominant athlete of all-time. The most dominant athlete of all-time is Wayne Gretzky. Yes, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Babe Ruth were/are amazing athletes. But the separation from these athletes and the 2nd best athletes in their respective sports doesn’t compare to that of The Great One.

Don’t worry sports fans, Serena will be back. In a letter she penned to her unborn child she wrote, “I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year”. Serena, congratulations, best of luck, and we look forward to seeing you on the court again soon.

Who do you think is the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time? Who do you think is the most dominant athlete of all-time? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

The New York Islanders Want To Call Long Island Home Once Again

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Saturday, April 11th, 2015 was a sad day. This marked the last regular season home-game the New York Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum (a 5-4 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets). The Islanders made the playoffs that season, so the last official game at Nassau Coliseum was on Saturday, April 25th, 2015 (a 3-1 win in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals). The Islanders called the Coliseum home since 1972, their first game being played on October 7th, 1972 (a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Flames). The Islanders put themselves on the map in the 1980’s winning 4 consecutive Stanley Cup Championships (1980-1983). They represented Long Island for 43 seasons, being the only major sports team to call Long Island home. Following the 2015 season, the Islanders packed their bags, sat in 3 and a half hours of traffic (to go 28 miles), and relocated to Brooklyn (where they now call Barclays Center home). Well Islanders fans, they might be returning home!

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman revealed on Friday that the Islanders are preparing a bid for a new arena at Belmont Park’s racetrack site. This makes me very happy. Since the Islanders moved to Brooklyn I haven’t attended a game. It wasn’t out of protest, rather it is highly inconvenient to travel to Brooklyn from Long Island. If you’ve ever travelled in or around Long Island or New York City during rush hour traffic you know what I’m talking about. And I live smack dab in the middle of Nassau County. I can only imagine the anger and amount of broken TV remotes there were from Islanders fans who reside in Suffolk County. The Islanders returning to Long Island would be great for the community, the economy, but most of all the mental state of Islanders fans. On the logistical side of things, Barclays Center and the Islanders are staring down a January 2018 deadline to renegotiate the terms of their 25-year lease. It’ll be a step in the right direction if the Islanders are able to opt-out of their commitment at Barclays Center. For now, we wait optimistically.

In other New York hockey news, the New York Rangers advanced to the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games. I’d say congratulations, but naaaaa.

Are you excited about the possibility of the Islanders returning to Long Island? Tell me how you feel in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Lebron James Is Decent At Basketball

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There is a short list of things better than sleep. Watching Lebron James play basketball is one of those things. So, if Thursday was your go to bed early day, I feel bad for you. In case anyone had forgotten, Lebron James is still the best player in the world. He reminded us by leading his Cleveland Cavaliers to the greatest comeback win in NBA playoff history. Thanks to his 41 point, 13 rebound, and 12 assist triple double, the Cavaliers became the first team to ever comeback from a 25-point halftime deficit. I knew the Indiana Pacers were in trouble when their 20-point lead shrank to 10 points in a 1:55 span of the 3rd quarter. The Cavaliers now hold a commanding 3-0 lead over the Pacers. And in case you hadn’t noticed, first round loss and Lebron James don’t often collide in the same sentence. Thursday night’s victory extended Lebron James’ winning streak in first round games to 20. That’s insane!

Side note: Can anyone guess the last team to win a first round game against Lebron James? If you said my 2012 New York Knickerbockers you’d be correct. Thanks Melo’.

This streak is tied for the longest since the 1983-1984 postseason, where the playoffs expanded to 16 teams. Last night’s performance also put Lebron in rarefied air. He passed Kobe Bryant for 3rd on the all-time postseason scoring list.

One of the most impressive things about last night’s comeback was Lebron did it by himself. Occasionally in the past, Kevin Love would grab a crucial rebound or JR Smith would decide it’s time to snap out of an 0 for 17 shooting slump. And of course there was the NBA Finals clinching 3-pointer hit by Kyrie Irving last year. However, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue decided to sit Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for THE ENTIRE 4th quarter. So much for the Big Three. Of course, Lebron can’t win a championship by himself. We don’t have to look far to find proof of that. Insert cough here, 2015 Finals, cough again, 2007 Finals, cough cough.

As for the task at hand, I believe the Cavaliers are 1 of only 3 teams that can realistically win the Championship this year. The other 2 would be the New England Patr….oops I’m sorry, I’m just so used to them winning I figured they may win the NBA Championship too. The Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs are the only other teams who have a chance this year. Personally I don’t envision the Warriors losing more than 2 games to anyone en route to another Championship. But as long as Lebron James is still lacing up his Nike sneakers, I won’t be counting him out.

Who do you think will win the NBA Championship? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

I’m More Of A Rhombus Guy Myself, Phil

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Well, the New York Knicks lost again on Tuesday. The Knicks lost?? But I thought their season was over?? Oh, they might not be playing games anymore, but that hasn’t kept them from being losers. I bet you didn’t realize Squints from The Sandlot was actually talking about the Knicks….

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But seriously, the Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves finished tied this season with a record of 31-51 (stellar I know). And two days ago, the Knicks lost a ping pong ball tiebreaker (those are 4 words I didn’t think I was going to say today), leaving them 7th in the draft order, 1 spot behind the Timberwolves. This is assuming neither team lands a top 3 pick when they select the draft lottery on May 16th. But Dave, it’s only 1 spot, why are you making a big deal about it? First, 1 spot can mean the difference between Stephen Curry and Jordan Hill. Second, it represents the Knicks’ culture. The Knicks are, for lack of a better term, ‘stuck in the mud’.

This losing culture starts and ends with Knicks’ Owner, James Dolan. Little Jimmy Dolan, as I like to call him, inherited the Knicks from his daddy, Charles Dolan. And despite biting the hand that feeds him, Little Jimmy is still The Chairman of Madison Square Garden Company. This means he is only in charge of the things he couldn’t screw up if he tried (financially speaking that is). However, he has screwed up the Knicks’ franchise, mightily.

Dolan hired Phil Jackson to be President of the Knicks 3 years ago. Let me start by saying, I don’t care who you are or what you say, no one in the world thought this was a bad hire. But after 3 looooooooong years, there is only 1 header that can rest atop Phil Jacksons’ performance review; DUMPSTER FIRE!! Phil Jackson is regarded as one of the best coaches in NBA history, but unless he plans to scale down the 8,490 foot ladder from his golden pedestal to start coaching again, it’s time for him to pack his bags. Only problem there is, James Dolan refuses to fire him. Dolan, aka Einstein, has repeatedly stated he must honor his contract with Phil for 5 years. Yeah that’s great, but you had an opt-out written into the contract. This gives either side the legal right to part ways after 3 years (which last time I checked is NOW). Sooooooooooooo Jimmy, what are we waiting for? What if Phil literally set fire to the Garden? Would that be a fireable offense? Well, let me run through the things I call fireable offenses:

  • Don’t address the media for 2 and 3/4 years and when you finally do state the obvious that your best player would probably be better off elsewhere
  • Hire “your guy” Derek Fisher, and then unceremoniously fire him a year and a half into a 5-year contract even though you were clearly tanking
  • Everything you have done, said, or thought about saying as it pertains to Carmelo Anthony (Melo’ is who he is – a great scorer who gets rebounds by default because he’s 6’8″ and has no interest in playing defense; whatsoever)
  • Insane stubbornness to run a wildly out of date system known as “the triangle” even though numerous NBA players have publicly stated they have zero interest in playing it
  • Attending Shaq’s statue unveiling (even though I’m a big fan of The Diesel) while he should have been attending the Kentucky/UCLA Sweet Sixteen match-up. I mean, it’s not like there were 11 NBA prospects in that game….
  • And last but not least, signing Joakim Noah to an obscene 4-year, $72 million contract. Need I say more?!

 

 

 

There are way more things Phil Jackson has done wrong in the past 3 years, but I ran out of paper. The solution to this problem is simple: Fire Phil, hire someone competent (like me), collect draft picks rather than give them away, build through the draft, and once you have a base of 2 or 3 solid players attract free agents. Period, end of story.

Have a solution to the Knicks’ problems? Tell me in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!