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Lots to get to this week, so let's go!
Caught in the Draft
- Though it was already a done deal, the Miami Dolphins selected former Miami offensive tackle Jake Long. Essentially, this meant that the first "real" pick of the '08 Draft was...Chris Long, a defensive end at Virginia. The St. Louis Rams saw interest in both of them.
- Looking to put the sordid recent past behind them, the Atlanta Falcons took QB Matt Ryan from Boston College, while Arkansas running back Darren McFadden will don the Silver and Black.
- The Kansas City Chiefs got rid of a disgruntled defensive end in Jared Allen and replaced him with LSU's Glenn Dorsey, a defensive tackle. Meanwhile, the New York Jets made their second wise draft pick in three years with the selection of Ohio State linebacker Vernon Gholston.
- The New England Patriots, who had their original first-round pick forfeited because of the whole "Spygate" fiasco, originally picked seventh. However, a last-minute deal with the New Orleans Saints saw both teams flip-flop their order. Thus, the Saints at #7 took USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, while the Pats reserved the tenth slot for Jerod Mayo of Tennessee.
- If you were looking for draft-day deals involving players such as Jeremy Shockey and Chad Johnson, there weren't any.
- Other notables from a quick first-round – at 3:30, the quickest since '91 – included:
- Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon – Carolina Panthers, #13
Seems his knee rehab paid off
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State – Arizona Cardinals, #16
A word to the Cards' equipment manager: have fun getting that name on the back of the jersey
- Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, #20
- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois – Pittsburgh Steelers, #23
- Kenny Phillips, S, Miami (FL) – New York Giants, #31
With Mayo already off the board, this reporter expected Dan Connor to be picked. But, the defending Super Bowl champs get a pass here, as they fill their needs in the secondary quite nicely
- Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon – Carolina Panthers, #13
The Best of the Rest
- Donnie Avery, WR, Houston – St. Louis, #33
A wideout had to wait until round 2 to be picked this year, a first since 1990
- Brian Brohm, QB, Green Bay Packers, #56
Let's not get into any speculation about whether he'll be the next Favre just yet
- Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia – Houston Texans (from Jacksonville Jaguars through Baltimore Ravens), #89
Rich Rodriguez wasn't the only departure from Morgantown in '08
- Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan – Giants, #95
Coach Coughlin and Amani Toomer should hopefully whip this guy into shape
- Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky – Giants, #198
He and fellow Wildcat Jared Lorenzen will battle to be Eli Manning's backup
- David Vobora, OLB, Idaho – St. Louis, #252
- The New York Yankees had a kind of a rough weekend in their first meeting with the Cleveland Indians since a swarm of bugs invaded Jacobs (now Progressive) Field during last October's ALDS matchup. The Yanks came all the way back on a bases-clearing triple by Jorge Posada in the top of the sixth, but wound up losing the game on a base hit by Victor Martinez in the last of the ninth, 4-3. However, the Yanks' lone rotation bright spot, Chien-Ming Wang, battled C.C. Sabathia in a pitcher's duel on Sunday where the only run scored in the game came off the bat of Melky Cabrera, thus explaining the 1-0 finish. The late-inning combo of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera helped to seal the deal.
- Another clash of the titans occured in the Senior Circuit, where Arizona Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb squared off with San Diego Padres head man Jake Peavy. Webb's mates, including catcher Chris Snyder and his two-run jack, prevailed by a count of 2-1. The day before, the Fathers got the win 4-3 on a walk-off homer from Tadahito Iguchi.
- Saturday turned out to be Chris Redman's Almost But Not Quite Terrible Horrible No-Good Day, as the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher gave up all 10 of his earned runs in the first inning. Redman eventually settled down, pitching six innings while scattering seven hits, walking five and striking out one. The Dodgers, though, lost to the Colorado Rockies, 11-3.
- After their 95-75 blowout loss on Friday night, the Detroit Pistons got themselves off the deck with a 93-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Tayshaun Prince's 23 points and a 20-10 double-dip from Rasheed Wallace helped the Fighting Flip Saunders to even their series at two games apiece.
- Another team also stayed alive, even though it may be too much, too little, too late. Tony Parker led the world on Friday night with 41 points as the San Antonio Spurs took it to the Phoenix Suns, 115-99 to take a commanding lead in their showdown. But, the Suns got the home crowd buzzing on Sunday afternoon with a wipeout of their own, 105-86, thanks to 14 and 12 from Shaquille O'Neal and 20 points and 20 boards from the unheralded Boris Diaw.
- The Dallas Mavericks looked to have a fighter's chance after their 97-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets. But, David West's 24 points helped lead the Hornets to a 97-84 win and a 3-1 series lead.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are also riding high in their series against the Denver Nuggets, going up three-nil with a 102-84 win fueled by Kobe Bryant's 22 points and seven rebounds. The loss also fueled Carmelo Anthony's frustrations, as he pulled a Stefan Djordjevic (anyone see "All the Right Moves"?) in saying that the coaches "quit" on him.
- Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer each scored 14 points (the latter getting four more boards), but they sure helped in the Utah Jazz' 86-82 win over the Houston Rockets to extend their series lead, 3-1.
- Chris Bosh may have scored 39 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome 18 points each from Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson as the Orlando Magic cruised to a 106-94 win over the Toronto Raptors.
- And finally, something happened in Atlanta that hadn't occurred in almost a decade: the Atlanta Hawks hosted an NBA Playoffs game. The hometown crowd got a boost after they defeated the top-seeded Boston Celtics 102-93 behind 27 points from Josh Smith and a 17-14 double from Al Horford. All this and Kevin Garnett's 32-and-10 performance for the C's...
NHL Stanley Cup Conference Semis
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have home-ice advantage, and they sure are using it. Further edification comes with a two-game sweep of the New York Rangers, the first game won on an Evgeni Malkin goal a minute from the end of regulation, 5-4, and the second behind Marc-Andre Fleury's 26 saves in a 2-0 shutout.
- On the other end of the spectrum, the San Jose Sharks had theirs swept out from under them by the Dallas Stars. Brendan Morrow won the first game, 3-2, with the winner in OT, while Niklas Hagstrom scored two goals and Marty Turco stopped 29 shots in Sunday's 5-2 rout.
- The Detroit Red Wings are still the team to beat in the Western Conference bracket, beating the Colorado Avalanche handily on Saturday, 5-1, with two power play goals from Johan Franzen.
- Meanwhile, the surprise of the playoffs remains the Philadelphia Flyers, who opened their series 4-2 over the Montreal Canadiens.
Across the Pond
- After a season of near-turmoil at Stamford Bridge, Avram Grant and his Chelsea charges woke up this morning to find themselves tied for the lead in the Premiership table. The Lions got there with a 2-1 win over Manchester United, a potential opponent in the UEFA final on May 21, BTW. Chelsea got all of its scoring off the foot of Michael Ballack, the last of which came on a penalty shot. Both CFC and Devils are seven points clear of Arsenal.
- Focusing on the basement, Birmingham City drew Liverpool, 2-2, while 19th-place Fulham got a 3-2 win away at Manchester City. Look for a battle to stay out of the drop zone next weekend when Blues and Cottagers square off.
- During his brief NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, it seemed Kyle Busch could never reach Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway, be it getting involved in a wreck or having some other bad luck befall him. 2008 would be different, as the youngest of the Brothers Busch took the checkered flag for his first career win at the 2.66-mile track in Alabama.
- Meanwhile, Dan Wheldon took the IRL event at Kansas Speedway, the last until the Indy 500 on Memorial Day Weekend (that'll be on the AWIR docket at that time), while Kimi Raikonnen won the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Handing out the honors
- Hall of Fame defensive end and FOX NFL Sunday host Howie Long: How does it feel to have your son go #2 in the Draft?
Go back in time
We've been around for quite a while – just over a hundred articles in this series, as a matter of fact! So if you're curious about how we handled the NFL Draft each of the past two years, click the links below to fire up the time machine:
Russell, Quinn and Johnson – The draft that gave us Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart (and PacMan Jones)
That's all for this week
Until next week (and boy howdy, will we be loaded), let's all be good sports...