Archive for October, 2010

In part 2 of the CHEAP SEATS NBA preview, it’s time to move out West. The West has been dominant for what seems like forever, with nobody except for the Celtics being able to even dent their armor. With much of the focus being on a few upper tier teams on the East, can any team in the West besides the defending champion Lakers make any noise? One thing for sure is that the talent is spread out all over the Western Conference, and mostly every team can play with the next team.

Without further delay lets take a look at the West, followed by the predictions on who will be the NBA Champion and winners of each of the most prominent postseason awards.

Northwest Division

  1. Portland Trailblazers (3)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder (4)
  3. Denver Nuggets (6)
  4. Utah Jazz (8)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (15)

A year after becoming the youngest scoring champ ever, Durant's expectations are to pickup some hardware while leading the Thunder deeper into the playoffs.

Summary: The talent is spread around in this division, with three teams that could legitimately take a shot at the title. The Blazers bring back a team that has been on the brink for several years now, but haven’t made it all the way. They have plenty of depth, especially in the frontcourt and Brandon Roy back healthy to seal the deal….the Thunder made big strides, improving by 27 games last year. Kevin Durant is far from the only star in the Oklahoma City skies, as Russell Westbrook is also an All-Star in waiting. They will continue to rise this year, but still need some more experience before the guaranteed takeover….there is a lot of uncertainty around the Nuggets, as they have no idea how long they will be able to hold Carmelo Anthony. With him, they can challenge for the division. Without they’ll will most likely lock up 4th place….the Jazz underwent several changes to their core, but if Al Jefferson holds onto his health, him and Deron Williams can push this club back into the postseason….there is a world of “potential” on the Timberwolves, but they have little to no experience and play very little defense. Another year in the Lottery is ahead.

All-Division Team// C: Al Jefferson-UTH, PF: LaMarcus Alridge-POR, SF: Kevin Durant-OKC, SG: Brandon Roy-POR, PG: Deron Williams-UTH

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (1)
  2. Phoenix Suns (11)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (12)
  4. Golden State Warriors (13)
  5. Sacramento Kings (14)

All Eyes on 24: Kobe leads his deepest Laker team yet into action in search for his second 3-peat.

Summary: There’s them and then everybody else. The Pacific is a division that has perhaps the clearest winner of any, with L.A. sitting firmly in place above the rest of a developing division that has several teams setting themselves up to compete again…once again. While you should never look ahead too far, the two-time defending champion Lakers are in the position to do just that, as they face no legit challenge in this division. While Kobe Bryant’s healthy will be an issue all year, the Lakers had perhaps the most effective offseason of any Western team, bringing in Matt Barnes and Steve Blake to give them one of the best benches in the game to compliment one of the best starting fives already intact….when Amar’e Stoudemire left for NY, the Suns immediately set out in retooling their approach. Instead of landing another big scoring forward, they instead got smaller and faster, which will suit Steve Nash just fine….it’s expected for the Clippers to be constantly rebuilding, but with Blake Griffin finally joining their ranks, they may finally have the right guy to start their assent, finally. Now if Baron Davis will just let him do it….the Warriors most radically changed their team, bringing over David Lee in a surprise acquisition to give their dynamic young Monta Ellis/Stephen Curry backcourt an All-Star level frontline performer….there’s a lot of work to be done for the Kings in year two of the Tyreke Evans era, but if big man first rounder DeMarcus Cousins stays hungry (just on the court though), they have added another key piece in what will continue to be a huge rebuilding effort.

All-Division Team// C: Chris Kaman-LAC, PF: Pau Gasol-LAL, SF: Jason Richardson-PHO, SG: Kobe Bryant-LAL, PG: Tyreke Evans-SAC

Southwest Division

  1. Dallas Mavericks (2)
  2. Houston Rockets (5)
  3. San Antonio Spurs (7)
  4. New Orleans Hornets (9)
  5. Memphis Grizzlies (10)

After only playing in 45 games '09-'10, will Paul be able to push the Hornets back into the playoff picture?

Summary: Simply the best division in basketball. There are no nights off with any of these teams, and predicting where they finish could be an exercise in dumbassness (it’s a word now). Despite picking up in age every year and being one of the most unreliable playoff teams in sports, the Mavericks are still among the deepest of all teams in the NBA. With some needed defensive additions under the rim (Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood), Dirk Nowitzki can stay on the outside and be a full-time sniper now….the Rockets had a great offseason across the board, in drafting (Patrick Patterson), free agency (resigned Louis Scola, added Brad Miller) and by simply letting time pass, which brought Yao Ming back to them, who’s presence and scoring touch could put them over the top in the Southwest. They are DEEP….the league’s retirement villa in San Antonio, who seem to have the same club for the last 30 years, has managed to stay strong still. The Spurs bring back their Duncan/Manu/Parker core once again, but have put the youth behind them in (finally) land big man Tiago Splitter in an NBA jersey. Once again, they’ll be in the mix all year….The Hornets get the biggest return boost of any club, with All-Universe PG Chris Paul back fully healthy. His presence alone makes them a threat again, and boosts the threat of the whole Hornets club….It really sucks for the Grizzlies to be in this division. They could be around the top of any other division in the conference, but still could pull the upset card on any team in this one as well. Locking up Rudy Gay as their franchise player was a great call, and they could legitimately end up in last place in their division and STILL make the playoffs this year as an 8 seed, seriously.

All-Division Team// C: Tim Duncan-SA, PF: Dirk Nowitzki-DAL, SF: Rudy Gay-MEM, SG: Kevin Martin-HOU, PG: Chris Paul-NO

************

Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals: Miami over Chicago

Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Lakers over Portland Trailblazers

And finally…..the main event.

NBA FINALS: Miami Heat over Los Angeles Lakers (4-2)

This is hard to call, because if both of these teams make the Finals, it would be the most talented overall Finals matchup in many, many years, maybe since the Lakers/Celtics battles of the 80’s. But here are 3 points to why I see it this way.

  1. Consistency of Match up: The Lakers have done a great job of getting pieces to counteract the perimeter game of the Heat, but it’s a perfect storm type of scenario. If Ron Artest or Barnes gets into any type of foul trouble (which is more than just a possibility), it leaves the entire load on Kobe, and his offense will most likely be affected by the energy used to hold LeBron and/or Wade in check. And the Lakers really need his scoring to be at top gear in order to stick with the Heat attack.
  2. Maintenance of Health: Over the past few years, the Lakers have lost a critical piece of their attack to injury in both seasons: Andrew Bynum. The distinct advantage the Lakers have is their size, and they need all of it fully ready to go to beat the Heat over an entire series. Pau Gasol will need to focus on his matchup with Bosh on both ends of the court. Bynum is the X-Factor in exploiting the Heat’s weakness and if he’s not ready, they won’t have any clear-cut advantage. Also, Kobe has to be able keep it together and conserve energy to be at maximum ability by the time this matchup happens. His health has been a constant struggle over the past few years, but he has used his supreme talent to overcome it. However, this is a different case, he has never faced a matchup like this before and he will need every bit of his talent and health to lead the Lakers over the game’s other two premier players combined now.
  3. Cohesion: One thing the Lakers have over any other team in the game is cohesion and chemistry. They flat-out play well together, know their roles and stick to them. Currently the Heat is a brand new team that has none of this. However, similar to how the Celtics had gelled three years ago by the Playoffs, the Heat’s best days are ahead of them. By the time the Finals roll around they will have found their niche in the system and will be a team with two tremendous talents and a far above average third option that will be comfortable with each other. I feel that talent will win out over experience this time, and a passing of the torch will begin.

Awards

MVP: KEVIN DURANT; Runners up—LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant

Defensive Player of the Year: DWIGHT HOWARD; Runners up—Gerald Wallace, Thabo Sefolosha

Rookie of the Year: BLAKE GRIFFIN; Runners up—John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins

After a season ending knee injury last year, Griffin looks primed to take home top rookie honors still.

Sixth Man: COREY MAGGETTE; Runners up—JJ Redick, Jamal Crawford, Antawn Jamison

All-NBA First Team: C: DWIGHT HOWARD, F: KEVIN DURANT, LEBRON JAMES, G: KOBE BRYANT, DWYANE WADE

After the most hyped off-season of all-time the regular season has a big act to follow-up. Now that all off the signing, spending, drafting and ESPN-sponsored/street hype is over with, it’s time to do what it’s all about: take to the court and settle it.

For many years, the East has been considered the little brother that is rightfully beat up by the much bigger and stronger West. However, after this summer’s events, the little brother looks like it has followed Hulk Hogan’s commandments AND ate their Wheaties and are ready to fight back now with vengeance. Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer have crossed over, and (in the words of Kobe himself) “the Heat have formed Voltron“. All of this before factoring in a Boston team that pushed the champs to the limit last year. In other words, the East is ready, but is it just a matter of all the cream going to the top? Or is there some depth to the West on all year across the board.

In the first part of the CHEAP SEATS NBA preview, we’re looking at the Eastern Conference. Tomorrow the West, Playoffs and Awards preview will follow. The number in (parentheses) is the predicted finish in the conference for each squad and playoff teams are in bold.

Central Division

  1. Chicago Bulls (3)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (5)
  3. Indiana Pacers (9)
  4. Detroit Pistons (10)
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers (14)

The time is now: Rose is on the doorstep to ascending to superstar status & taking the Bulls with him.

Summary: This is a division with almost every team as been completely made over. For the last few years, everything has run through Cleveland, but with LeBron riding out of town, that’s going change immediately. The Bulls missed out on the top of the globe free agents, but may have made themselves better overall by spreading the wealth & making a team around in-house starstar-in-training Derrick Rose….No team made more subtle changes than the Bucks and they will be a match up problem for nearly every team they face. With there is no more complete starting 5 in the division….Darren Collinson will give the Pacers the PG they have desperately needed, but will they have the size they need to complete? Danny Granger can’t do everything, but gets damn close….The Pistons are still in the midst of a prolonged & weird rebuilding, and probably will be making several changes in season attempting to move pricey vets Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. The sooner the better, because Rodney Stuckey,  and first round….The Cavaliers will be exposed for being exactly what caused LeBron to leave, being a collection of role players with no go-to threat. There’s still talent here, but it’s not having a true big threat scorer (Jamison is not that anymore) and a thin bench will sink their ship much sooner than later.

All Division Team // C: Andrew Bogut-MIL, PF:Carlos Boozer-CHI, SF-Danny Granger-IND, SG-John Salmons-MIL, PG: Derrick Rose-CHI

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Celtics (2)
  2. New York Knicks (8)
  3. New Jersey Nets (11)
  4. Philadelphia 76ers (12)
  5. Toronto Raptors (15)

The Biggest Apple: Amar'e should go off in the East and be around the biggest scorers in the L.

Summary: This has been Boston’s playground for the last three years, where they have been the clear bullies of the yard, with many of the biggest bottom feeders in the league in this division. Not much will change here this year. The defending Conference champion Celtics return their entire core, and added Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal to make them one of the deepest teams in the League, if they can keep their health intact as a unit….The Knicks didn’t land their top target in the summer, but they did land Amar’e Stoudemire and essentially gave him a license to kill in the Eastern Conf, expect him to be one of the top scorers in the game, and should be enough to pull the Knicks into the playoff picture….The Nets gutted their core and brought in youth (Derrick Favors), depth (Troy Murphy, Jordan Farmer) and a proven coach (Avery Johnson) to ensure they won’t challenge for the loss record again, even him they don’t hit the playoffs yet….The Sixers have some work to do still and have an awkward roster that has too many of the same thing. Evan Turner’s the future, but they have to decide what to do with the current jams on the wing in Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young….The Raptors lost the only thing they had worth turning the TV on when Chris Bosh left, and they be playing for the Lottery all season.

All Division Team // C: Brook Lopez-NJ, PF-Amar’e Stoudemire-NY, SF: Paul Pierce-BOS, SG: Andre Iguodala-PHI, PG: Rajon Rondo-BOS

Southeast Division

  1. Miami Heat (1)
  2. Orlando Magic (4)
  3. Atlanta Hawks (6)
  4. Charlotte Bobcats (7)
  5. Washington Wizards (13)

Dwight Howard and his Magic are still strong and should not be forgotten in the hype around the Heat.

Summary: The Southeast is the Eastern Conference’s greatest battle ground, host to four playoff teams from last year. There has been no team in history that has received the hype that the Heat have coming into a season, now they have to take the nastiest three-headed monster the NBA has seen, maybe ever, on to the court and justify it….Either way you slice it, matching up nightly against Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh was tough enough individually, it’s going to be a nightmare to do it as a collective….Despite what’s happened on South Beach, up in Orlando there is still a very good and diverse Magic team, that features the most intimidating defender in the game with Dwight Howard. They will ensure the Heat will not run off and hide with the division….The Hawks bring back their entire core from last year and will look to prove their huge playoff flame out was a fluke. Last year, they could out run many Eastern teams, but they’ll have a much tougher time now, playing an equally athletic Heat team, establishing that dominance….The Bobcats were perhaps the most gritty, team-based club in all of basketball in route to making their playoff debut last season. They kept their core in place and should still be a survivor of the East….the Wizards are coming off a controversy filled season, but bring back a prize in the form of top pick John Wall, who already has taken over the team. Now they have the tougher task of rebuilding while trying to overcome some of the toughest teams in the game.

All Division Team // C: Dwight Howard-ORL, PF: Chris Bosh-MIA, SF: LeBron James-MIA, SG: Dwyane Wade-SG, PG: Jameer Nelson-ORL

This weekend the opening of controversy season got under way for college football, with the initial Bowl Championship Series polls were displayed to the public. While these are always open for debate, along with various interpretations of the BCS abbreviation (in many cases I ignore the “C” and switch words on the B and S, but I digress).

While the formula for this poll is up for debate between purists and statisticians, it is indisputable that it gives teams something to play towards. It also gives me something to answer on opinion on my texts, Twitter and even dinner with family time. To bring all of that to the middle, I sat down with the two main pure polls (AP and USA Today), along with the BCS poll, each teams schedules and the most reliable of all these methods, my opinion. Here is my interpretation of how it should look now and what’s going to weigh into where it ends up.

1. Oregon Ducks (6-0, #2 BCS, #1 USA Today, #1 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 54.3 PPG, 16 PAG

Key wins: @ Tennessee (48-13), Stanford (57-31)

Lowdown: They are blowing teams out right now and are in a conference where they only have to play one more ranked team in Arizona, and that’s at home. They are a track meet of a running team, and have yet to be able to be held under 40 points yet.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, #1 BCS, #3 USA Today, #3 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 19 PAG

Key wins: Florida State (47-17), Texas (28-20)

Lowdown: Oklahoma is moving ahead by staying undefeated in a power conference, despite having many close calls. They destroyed Florida State early and survived a down year Texas team in the River River Shootout. Somehow these slight wins were enough to boost them to #1 in BCS minds, despite being the consensus #3 otherwise. They feature an immediate test to this throne, going into Columbia, Missouri against a tough Mizzou defense.

3. Boise State (6-0, #3 BCS, #2 USA Today, #2 AP)

Profile: WAC; 47.5 PPG, 12.3 PAG

Key Wins: Virginia Tech (33-30), Oregon State (37-24)

Lowdown: They beat a top 15 team in Virginia Tech to open the season to prove they can play under the bright lights. Many critics say they don’t play on an even level with other Top 10 teams. I say don’t put them automatically in the Top 2, which could walk them into the BCS Championship and let them continue to play, and if they win out, be the first team to move into the Top 2 if one of the team loses. They deserve a shot.

4. Auburn Tigers (7-0, #4 BCS, #5 USA Today, #5 AP)

Profile: SEC; 40 PPG, 24.4 PAG

Key Wins: South Carolina (35-27), Arkansas (65-43)

Lowdown: Auburn has steadily rose up the standings all year and have beaten several quality teams convincingly, including three currently ranked foes. However, they’re fate is destined with Alabama, who they face in the season closing rivalry game. However, both of their signature wins have come against teams that have pushed Alabama, including the Gamecocks, who knocked them from number one.

5. LSU (7-0, #6 BCS, #6 USA Today, #6 AP)

Profile: SEC; 26.7 PPG, 14.4 PAG

Key Wins: North Carolina (30-24), West Virginia (20-14), @ Florida (33-29)

Lowdown: LSU has had a bit of a rabbit’s foot and have had a lot of things work out perfectly so far, as they have won several very close games to maintain their undefeated record. With back-to-back match ups with Auburn and Alabama, it will be shown very soon if they are legit or not.

6. Michigan State (7-0, #7 BCS, #8 USA Today, #8 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 16 PAG

Key Wins: Wisconsin (34-24), @ Michigan (34-17)

Lowdown: They have played several close games and have simply out-toughed all of their opponents and beating Wisconsin and Michigan consecutively have proven them as the  class of the Big 10 early on.

7. Alabama (6-1, #8 BCS, #7 USA Today, #7 AP)

Profile: SEC; 33 PPG, 12.9 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Arkansas (24-20)

Key Loss: South Carolina (35-31)

Lowdown: Everybody’s #1 coming into the season has hit some tough speed bumps, with Arkansas and South Carolina pushing them as far as they can go, with South Carolina finally knocking them off. Even with the L, they still are the best of any one loss team and if they keep winning deserve to move up first, even before other undefeated clubs, because they still are plain better.

8. TCU (7-0, #5 BCS, #4 USA Today, #4 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 40 PPG, 9.3 PAG

Key Win: Oregon State (30-21)

Lowdown: This is the team that has just moved along all season and are over ranked for what they have done. They did beat a quality Oregon State team, but otherwise there is nothing here that says they deserve to be high ranked than a BCS conference undefeated or even some one lose clubs. While they are top 5 in all major polls, I can’t give them that credit unless they beat Utah in two weeks.

9. Ohio State (6-1, #10 BCS, #10 USA Today, #11 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 39.6 PPG, 13 PAG

Key Wins: Miami (36-24)

Key Loss: Wisconsin (31-28)

Lowdown: The Buckeyes easily moved along beating every team convincingly in route to ascending to #1 for a week, just to never take the fight to Wisconsin in their first tough road game of the season. They are still a quality team, and can easily move back up towards the top 5 with a strong finish.

10. Utah Utes (6-0, #9 BCS, #9 USA Today, #9 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 45.8 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Win: Pittsburgh (27-24)

Lowdown: Similar to conference mate TCU, they’re road to the a high BCS vote has been dictated against impressive wins versus underwhelming opponents. They’re match up for the MWC crown versus TCU is what they’re entire season is built around. For now, this is about where they should be placed.

11. Stanford Cardinal (5-1, #12 BCS, #14 USA Today, #12 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 43 PPG, 23 PAG

Key Wins: @ Notre Dame (37-14), USC (37-35)

Key Loss: @ Oregon (52-31)

Lowdown: Stanford has played an impressive early schedule and has been solid every week, but a blowout versus Oregon pushes them down the poll. They have played well every week otherwise and could have a seat in the Rose Bowl if Oregon shoots above it in to the BCS Championship game.

12. Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, #13 BCS, #11 USA Today, #10 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 36 PPG, 18 PAG

Key Wins: Ohio State (31-28)

Key Loss: @ Michigan State (34-24)

Lowdown: Wisconsin is one of the teams that can play the biggest part in the Big 10, and by default BCS, picture. They fell to Michigan State, yet came back and knocked Ohio State from the top spot. They have been competitive all year, and because of this, they will be able to move up freely if they beat Iowa and win out.

13. Missouri Tigers (6-0; #11 BCS, #16 USA Today, #18 AP)

Profile: Big 12, 34.5 PPG, 10.8 PAG

Key Wins: Illinois (23-13), Texas A&M (30-9)

Lowdown: The Tigers take this position as the top representative of the Big 12 North, but they have yet to face a big name opponent on the season for a truly signature win. They have only traveled once outside Missouri, yet won convincingly. They have ascended to this spot by doing what they are supposed to do, but the show-and-prove part of their season is coming up and most of it is on the road. Mizzou will either shoot up the standings or settle out rather quickly.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1; #15 BCS, #12 USA Today, #13 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 13.2 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Michigan (38-28)

Key Loss: @ Arizona (34-27)

Lowdown: They have played tough matchups all season, and save for a bad second half versus Arizona, they would be undefeated to this point. A gritty win in Ann Arbor versus Michigan and a convincing defeat of Penn State cement them as a solid contender for the Big 10 title. With back-to-back matchups with Michigan State and Wisconsin it remains to be seen how big of a player Iowa is in the season’s events.

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1 #16 BCS, #13 USA Today, #14 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Wins: @ Kansas State (48-13), @ Washington (56-21)

Key Loss: Texas (20-13)

Lowdown: The Huskers were one of the most dynamic teams in the season, reaching half way up the Top 10 until falling to Texas last weekend. For them to fall out of the Top 15 BCS teams is odd to me, because while Texas has been inconsistent they are a solid team that was the #6 team in the nation at a point, so they shouldn’t be severely punished for falling to them. The bottom line is that they have looked better winning five games than they were in losing one by seven points, and they have plenty of chances of to climb again.

With the first week of revealed BCS standings about to start up, it remains to be seen how long these stand revelevant. However, it is clear there are some teams being slighted, while others are being given a bit too much credit. But as always, all they can do is take it to the field and let the B(C)S take care of the rest, for better or worse.

Greetings people,

Due to some technology failures (a busted laptop screen to be exact), I haven’t been able to post recently. However, after watching 3 teams slide to 0-5 this weekend (Buffalo, Carolina and San Francisco), while also seeing 2 potential top 20 prospects lose their seasons to academic scandal at North Carolina (Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin), I felt the need to put my observations on the upcoming NFL Draft into play here.

It’s half way through the season, conference play is coming in full speed and the BCS is about to go into effect here soon, so now is the best time to start looking at the best prospects available in April’s NFL Draft. As always, these are who are the best prospects in professional systems AND are draft eligible. Underclassmen are noted by their standing, otherwise all are seniors.

Feel free the champion for and debate your guys. Tomorrow I may do an overall ranking of the players with round projections.

Quarterback

  1. Andrew Luck-Stanford-6’3/235 lbs (Junior)
  2. Ryan Mallett-Arkansas-6’6/240 lbs (Junior)
  3. Jake Locker-Washington-6’3/225 lbs
  4. Christian Ponder-Florida State-6’2/219 lbs
  5. Blaine Gabbert-Missouri-6’6/235 lbs (Junior)
  6. Nick Foyles-Arizona-6’5/245 lbs (Junior)
  7. Terrelle Pryor-Ohio State-6’6/ 230 lbs (Junior)

 

Luck is looking every bit the top potential top pick so far (16 TD/4 Int).

 

Running Back

  1. Mark Ingram-Alabama-5’10/ 215 lbs (Junior)
  2. David Thomas-Kansas State-6’2/228 lbs
  3. Ryan Williams-Virginia Tech-5’10/200 lbs (Junior)
  4. DeMarco Murray-Oklahoma-6’1/207 lbs
  5. LaMichael James-Oregon-5’9/185 lbs (Junior)
  6. Jacquiz Rodgers-Oregon State-5’7/190 lbs (Junior)
  7. Kendall Hunter-Oklahoma State-5’8/200 lbs

 

James has been running crazy and is showing he has NFL ability, despite his size (Sproles anybody?)

 

Wide Receiver

  1. A.J. Green-Georgia-6’4/210 lbs (Junior)
  2. Julio Jones-Alabama-6’4/220 lbs (Junior)
  3. Jon Baldwin-Pittsburgh-6’5/ 230 lbs (Junior)
  4. Michael Floyd-Notre Dame-6’3/ 227 lbs (Junior)
  5. Leonard Hankerson-Miami-6’3/205 lbs
  6. Ryan Broyles-Oklahoma-5’11/183 lbs (Junior)
  7. Niles Paul-Nebraska-6’1/224 lbs

 

Green has Andre/Calvin Johnson type playmaker written all over him.

 

Tight End

  1. Kyle Randolph-Notre Dame-6’6/265 lbs (Junior)
  2. Luke Stecker-Tennessee-6’6/250 lbs
  3. Lance Kendricks-Wisconsin-6’4/240 lbs
  4. George Bryan-North Carolina State-6’5/260 lbs (Junior)
  5. Anthony Miller-California-6’3/260 lbs
  6. D.J. Williams-Arkansas-6’2/240 lbs
  7. Wayne Saunders-South Carolina-6’5/270 lbs (Sr)

 

Rudolph is far and away the best tight end available. Think younger Todd Heap.

 

Offensive Tackle

  1. Anthony Castonzo-Boston College-6’7/270 lbs
  2. Nate Solder-Colorado-6’8/315 lbs
  3. Derek Sherrod-Mississippi State-6’6/305 lbs
  4. DeMarcus Lane-Arkansas-6’5/315 lbs
  5. Gabe Carimi-Wisconsin-6’7/325 lbs
  6. Matt Reynolds-BYU-6’6/322 lbs (Junior)
  7. Jason Pinkston-Pittsburgh-6’3/310 lbs

 

In a thin year for tackles, Solder is solid as the second best available, although he is a project.

 

Offensive Guard/Center

  1. Rodney Hudson-Florida State-6’2/280 lbs *Center/Guard
  2. Mike Pouncey-Florida-6’5/310 lbs *Center
  3. Clint Boling-Georgia-6’5/320 lbs *Guard
  4. Orlando Franklin-Miami-6’6/320 lbs *Guard
  5. Andrew Jackson-Fresno State-6’5/288 lbs *Guard
  6. Ben Ijalana-Villanova-6’4/320 lbs- *Guard/Tackle
  7. Stefan Wisniewski-Penn State-6’3/312 lbs *Guard/Center

 

Mike is following in his 1st round brother's footsteps as a versatile lineman able to play anywhere inside.

 

Defensive End

  1. Adrian Clayborn-Iowa-6’3/280 lbs
  2. Cameron Hayward-Ohio State-6’4/280 lbs
  3. Robert Quinn-North Carolina-6’3/280 lbs (Junior)
  4. Ryan Kerrigan-Purdue-6’4/260 lbs
  5. Allen Bailey-Miami-6’6/288 lbs
  6. Da’Quan Bowers-Clemson-6’4/280 lbs (Junior)
  7. J.J. Watt-Wisconsin-6’6/295 lbs (Junior)

 

Quinn has top overall pick talent, but character concerns could slide him down most boards.

 

Defensive Tackle

  1. Marcell Dareus-Alabama-6’3/303 lbs (Junior)
  2. Stephen Paea-Oregon State-6’1/285 lbs
  3. Jared Crick-Nebraska-6’6/285 lbs (Junior)
  4. Marvin Austin-North Carolina-6’3/305 lbs
  5. Nick Fairley-Auburn-6’4/300 lbs (Junior)
  6. Jurrell Casey-USC-6’5/288 lbs (Junior)
  7. Drake Nevis-LSU-6’2/285 lbs

 

A dream for the 3-4 scheme, Dareus is a 300 pounder that is as comfortable at tackle as he is at end.

 

Inside Linebacker

  1. Quan Sturdivant-North Carolina-6’2/227 lbs
  2. Don’t’a Hightower-Alabama-6’4/260 lbs (Sophomore)
  3. Greg Jones-Michigan State-6’0/235 lbs
  4. Kelvin Sheppard-LSU-6’2/244 lbs
  5. Nate Irving-North Carolina State-6’1/235 lbs
  6. Ross Homan-Ohio State-6’0/232 lbs
  7. Chris Galippo-USC-6’2/ 250 lbs (Junior)

 

A tackling machine, Jones has added size but kept all his speed this season.

 

Outside Linebacker

  1. Bruce Carter-North Carolina-6’3/230 lbs
  2. Akeem Ayers-UCLA-6’4/250 lbs (Junior)
  3. Von Miller-Texas A&M-6’3/240 lbs
  4. Travis Lewis-Oklahoma-6’2/230 lbs (Junior)
  5. Jeremy Beal-Oklahoma-6’3/260 lbs
  6. Mark Herzlich-Boston College-6’4/245 lbs
  7. Dontay Mach-Nevada-6’1/236 lbs

 

A tremendous playmaker, Ayers could move way up draft boards by Draft time.

 

Cornerbacks

  1. Patrick Peterson-LSU-6’1/22 2 lbs (Junior)
  2. Prince Amukamara-Nebraska-6’1/200 lbs
  3. Ras-I Dowling-Virginia-6’2/200 lbs
  4. Janoris Jenkins-Florida-5’11/190 lbs (Junior)
  5. Brandon Harris-Miami-5’11/190 lbs (Junior)
  6. Aaron Williams-Texas-6’1/192 lbs (Junior)
  7. Jimmy Smith-Colorado-6’2/205 lbs

 

Great combo of size and speed, Peterson can match up with any assignment.

 

Safety

  1. Rahim Moore-UCLA-6’1/195 lbs (Junior)
  2. DeAndre McDaniel-Clemson-6’1/210 lbs
  3. Quinton Carter-Oklahoma-6’1/200 lbs
  4. Deunta Williams-North Carolina-6’2/210 lbs
  5. Mark Barron-Alabama-6’2/210 lbs (Junior)
  6. Robert Sands-West Virginia-6’5/221 (Junior)
  7. Ahmad Black-Florida-5’9/190 lbs

 

McDaniel can play either safety position and can be a potential Week 1 starter in 2011.

 

Who do you like so far? Who’s missing? Who would you like to see on your team? Let me know and let’s hash out who’s gonna rise and fall by the time Roger Goodell takes to the podium in the spring.